Burying January 6th With Colorado Republicans

Ernest Luning reports for the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog on yesterday’s vote in the U.S. House to establish a commission to investigate the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of ex-President Donald Trump seeking to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College vote–a goal shared by at at least two Republican members of Congress from Colorado, Reps. Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn, who joined in the objections to certifying the vote on the House floor both before and after the rioters stormed the building:

Colorado’s three House Republican members were not among the 35 GOP lawmakers who voted Wednesday to create an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The measure won approval 252-175 in the Democratic-controlled House over objections from Republican leaders and former President Donald Trump, with all four of the state’s Democrats voting in favor.

“If you didn’t know that TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” Rep. Andy Clyde (R-GA) said.

We’ll start with a necessary point for everyone to acknowledge: 35 House Republicans defying their leadership (not to mention the ever-watchful ex-President) and voting for a commission to investigate the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol is a very big deal. The suspension of critical thinking required to separate Trump and high-ranking Republicans who backed his sore loser backlash against the outcome of the 2020 presidential elections from the violence on January 6th is just too much for anyone not totally surrendered to Trump’s cult of personality. The cause and effect is so damningly obvious that even many Republicans, including 35 members of Congress who were in the building that day, can’t just set it aside for political expediency.

Of the three Republican minority members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, by far the biggest disappointment from yesterday’s vote was Rep. Ken Buck. As readers know, Buck has gone rogue from the MAGA message by conceding Biden’s victory relatively quickly (mid-December, we’re grading on a generous curve), and working to dispel misinformation about Colorado’s election systems that also happened to refute the larger bogus case Trump was making about election fraud in contested states.

Yesterday, Buck tried again to hold on to his shrinking plot of faux middle ground, and failed:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, said in a statement that the attack on the Capitol was wrong and that he “unequivocally condemned the violence and urged that the perpetrators be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” but said he was voting against legislation he called “a blatant exercise in partisanship” that was “too narrow in scope.”

This is a similar talking point to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who in the wake of the violence on January 6th condemned the President’s role in causing it but has since then steadily backed away from putting that condemnation into action, either by impeachment or now via a commission to investigate. Unfortunately for Buck, there were way too many defections among his fellow House Republicans to hide behind this false equivalence argument likening the January 6th attack to other protests and acts of violence. What makes January 6th different is the fact that Republicans all the way up to President Trump played a direct role in inciting the violence.

Which brings us back to Lamborn and Boebert:

At least in Boebert’s case, nothing yells louder than a guilty conscience. Boebert’s full-throated advocacy for overturning the results of the 2020 election by any means necessary in the leadup to January 6th, and her at-least idiotic (hopefully that’s all) Tweets about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s location while rioters were entering the building, mean she would logically be a target of this commission’s investigation. It therefore makes perfect sense why Boebert doesn’t want a commission! When the guilty get a vote on whether they should be held accountable, unsurprisingly most of them will vote no.

But that is not justice. Justice for January 6th is, hopefully, yet to come.

Guess Who Voted NO on the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill?

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Senate approved the approved the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act”  by a vote of 94-1 (Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley was the sole NO vote). The legislation is now on its way to the desk of President Biden after the House of Representatives today approved the measure by a 364-62 tally.

Here’s what Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) had to say about today’s vote:

Violence toward Asian Americans is unacceptable…for most people.

But not for Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle).

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle)

Boebert was THE ONLY MEMBER OF COLORADO’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION to vote NO on a bipartisan bill that seeks to combat the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States. National Public Radio explained the legislation in a story a few weeks ago after it was approved in the Senate:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation was the mark of progress since “dark chapters in our history,” with accounts of discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community rising under former President Donald Trump.

“Over the past several years, the forces of hate and bigotry seemed to have gained strength too often encouraged by our former president,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “The Senate makes it very clear that hate and discrimination against any group has no place in America. Bigotry against one is bigotry against all.” [Pols emphasis]

Through grant programs and other efforts, the legislation incentivizes law enforcement agencies to better track instances of hate crimes and establish related hotlines. It also requires the attorney general to designate a Department of Justice official to initiate a review of such hate crime reports quickly for law enforcement departments across the country.

The attorney general would also direct guidance for agencies to take part in new, related online reporting requirements and efforts to expand public awareness campaigns.

Perhaps we should not be surprised that Boebert voted against a bill aimed at reducing hate crimes against Asian Americans. After all, Boebert has a history of making disparaging and racist comments about Asian people in general (see HERE and HERE for just two examples). Back in February, Boebert was also the only member of Colorado’s Congressional delegation to vote NO on the Equality Act. More recently, Boebert was one of only two members of Congress in total to vote in opposition to a routine reauthorization of the nation’s bone marrow registry and umbilical cord blood.

We feel pretty confident in saying that Boebert is not doing what the nice people in Congressional District 3 would want her to do.

Inexplicable and indefensible: That’s Lauren Boebert.

Get More Smarter on Friday (May 14)

On this day in 1796, the first person was inoculated against smallpox. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Get vaccinated and you can get back to normal. As The New York Times explains:

“We have all longed for this moment,” Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said as she announced the shift at a White House news conference on Thursday. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

Fully vaccinated people are still told to cover their faces when flying or taking public transit, when visiting health care facilities, and in congregate settings like prisons and homeless shelters.

The recommendations came as a surprise to many people in public health. They offered a stark contrast with the views of a large majority of epidemiologists surveyed in the last two weeks by The New York Times, who said that until many more Americans were vaccinated, there would be too many chances for vaccines, which are not 100 percent effective, to fail…

…On Thursday, the governors of New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia, and the mayors of New York City and Washington, D.C., all Democrats, said that they were taking the new guidance under advisement before adopting it. Los Angeles County also said that it and the State of California were reviewing the new guidelines. In deference to local authorities, the C.D.C. said vaccinated people must continue to abide by existing state, local or tribal laws and regulations, and to follow local rules for businesses and workplaces.

The Denver Post reports on how Colorado is reacting to the new CDC guidance:

Colorado’s mask mandate is going to change in the near future to align with new federal guidance that says vaccinated people can safely go without masks in most indoor settings, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday afternoon…

…The new guidance issued Thursday doesn’t have the force of law, so states, counties and other governments will have to decide how they want to respond. It also doesn’t suggest policies for public settings, where vaccinated and unvaccinated people mix.

Meanwhile, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) says that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is equivalent to the “mark of the beast” from Revelations.

In a related story, CNN reports that Congressional Democrats have a 100% vaccination rate.

 

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is being sued by a former staffer and Marine Corps veteran for promoting an unsafe working environment and forcing staffers to run personal errands for he and his wife. The lawsuit also claims that Lamborn has been allowing his son to live in a utility closet in the basement of the U.S. Capitol.

POLITICO has more on what is shaping up to be a serious problem for Lamborn:

“Well, I don’t care about you guys getting it.” That’s what Rep. Doug Lamborn (R–Colo.) allegedly told a staffer in October 2020, right after discovering that his Capitol Hill office was turning into a hotbed of Covid-19 infections.

It’s one of the many eye-popping accusations in a new lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in the District Court for the District of Columbia by Brandon Pope, a former Lamborn staffer who says he vocally pushed back on what he called the congressman’s “reckless and dangerous approach” to the pandemic — and was fired for it.

The lawsuit claims that Lamborn ignored congressional pandemic protocols and endangered his own staff, mocked aides who wanted to wear masks, forced staffers to show up for work in person and dismissed social-distancing guidelines. Eventually, those actions resulted in “widespread transmission of the virus throughout both the district and Washington DC offices,” the lawsuit states, leading both offices to shutter for a time.

 

Colorado lawmakers are continuing debate on SB-200, legislation that would lay out specific guidelines for meeting emissions-reduction goals, despite a veto threat from Gov. Jared Polis. As Judith Kohler reports for The Denver Post, a new report should make it harder for Polis to justify a potential veto:

A new report says Colorado will fall drastically short of its goals for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions without more ambitious targets and enforceable limits on pollution, a feature of a bill in the legislature that has Gov. Jared Polis threatening a veto. [Pols emphasis]

The analysis released Friday by Energy Innovation and RMI, formerly Rocky Mountain Institute, says their modeling projects Colorado’s overall emissions will drop from 2005 levels by just 3.4% by 2030 and only 18% by 2050. That’s a long way from the goals of at least 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050 set by a 2019 law and in the “Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap” issued by Polis in January.

The state law includes the near-term goal of a 26% decline in emissions by 2025. Supporters of Senate Bill 21-200 say the specific limits on emissions in the new bill are intended to build upon the objectives set by previous legislation and the governor’s road map.

“Our climate goals are only as strong as our plans to execute them. This bill takes Gov. Polis’ climate goals and works to ensure that his plan happens,” said Kelly Nordini, executive director of Conservation Colorado. “If the governor’s team has another way of building more certainty into their road map, we’d love to hear that.”

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has about one month left in the 2021 session…

The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition is calling on Gov. Polis to veto HB-1051.

Colorado Public Radio looks at a long list of transgressions included in new legislation aimed at reforming Colorado’s misdemeanor offenses.

RealVail.com updates on the progress of legislation to fund much-needed transportation infrastructure repairs in Colorado.

The Colorado Sun reports on the advancement of legislation aimed at helping immigrants. In a separate story, the Sun looks at a bill that seeks to require more transparency in how companies track their employees.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports on a positive reception for a media literacy bill in Colorado.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 12)

Happy Birthday to Gov. Jared Polis, who is 46 years old today. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As had been expected, House Republicans voted on Wednesday to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) from caucus leadership ranks for the crime of refusing to pretend that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 Presidential election. As The Washington Post reports:

The voice vote to remove her as chair of the House Republican Conference underscored that the party will not tolerate disagreements with Trump, whose active support many argue is needed for the party to win the House majority in the 2022 midterm election.

Cheney, 54, has called her decision to publicly fight Trump a matter of principle, warning that allowing him to falsely claim that the election was stolen amounts to an attack on Democracy and is destructive to the GOP and its values.

“If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy,” Cheney told her Republican colleagues Wednesday morning, according to a person familiar with her remarks who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting. “But I promise you this, after today, I will be leading the fight to restore our party and our nation to conservative principles, to defeating socialism, to defending our republic, to making the GOP worthy again of being the party of Lincoln.”

We don’t yet know the results of the voice vote, though it’s safe to assume that Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) voted to oust Cheney. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) appears to have been one of the few dissenting Republican voices on removing Cheney. Said Buck, “Liz Cheney was cancelled today for speaking her mind.”

As Thomas Friedman writes for The New York Times, this is a very big deal:

It is hard to accept that this is happening in today’s America, but it is.

If House Republicans follow through on their plan to replace Cheney, it will not constitute the end of American democracy as we’ve known it, but there is a real possibility we’ll look back on May 12, 2021, as the beginning of the end — unless enough principled Republicans can be persuaded to engineer an immediate, radical course correction in their party.

 

It wasn’t that long ago that Liz Cheney was hosting a fundraiser for Lauren Boebert:

 

In related news, The Associated Press reports that Senate Republicans are pushing back against Democrat efforts to ensure fair elections:

Republicans in the U.S. Senate mounted an aggressive case against Democrats’ sweeping election and voter-access legislation, pushing to roll back proposals for automatic registration, 24-hour ballot drop boxes and other changes in an increasingly charged national debate.

The legislation, a top priority of Democrats in the aftermath of the divisive 2020 election, would bring about the largest overhaul of U.S. voting in a generation, touching nearly every aspect of the electoral process. It would remove hurdles to voting erected in the name of election security and curtail the influence of big money in politics…

…Though it is federal legislation, Republicans are fighting a national campaign against it rooted in state battles to restrict new ways of voting that have unfolded during the pandemic. Just Tuesday, the Arizona Legislature sent the governor a bill that would make it easier to purge infrequent voters from a list of those who automatically get mail-in ballots, the latest battleground state to push through changes likely to take months or years to finally settle in court.

 

Let’s get caught up on news from the state legislature:

Colorado Newsline reports on a “tax fairness” proposal from Democrats that would limit tax breaks for high-income individuals and businesses.

The Colorado Sun examines how Colorado can and cannot spend federal stimulus funds.

El Paso County Commissioners are opposing legislative efforts to create a Front Range rain line.

Denver7 reports on legislation concerning businesses charging a fee when customers opt to pay with a credit or debit card.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Ken Buck’s Lonely Stand For Liz Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney (R).

As the fully-expected ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position in the Republican U.S. House minority leadership proceeded as planned this morning, one fellow Republican member of Congress, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, emerged as one of Cheney’s most visible defenders–leaving fellow Republicans fuming as Buck also publicly refuses to embrace Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen. Forbes:

Lawmakers who were in the room said the vote was decisively against Cheney, with Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) estimating “probably three-quarters” voted to remove her and “one quarter” voted to retain her.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, Cheney’s metaphorical head in hand, says it’s Year Zero for the Republican Party. It was just last year that they appeared jointly at a Denver fundraiser:

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck (R-CO).

But as The Guardian reports, Ken Buck was vocally not happy about Cheney’s fate:

Congressman Ken Buck, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus in the House, described Liz Cheney as a victim of “cancel culture”.

“Liz Cheney was canceled today for speaking her mind and disagreeing with the narrative that President Trump has put forth,” Buck told reporters shortly after the vote to remove Cheney as conference chair. [Pols emphasis]

Buck was one of Cheney’s few defenders in the House Republican caucus going into the vote, and he was the only Republican lawmaker present for Cheney’s defiant floor speech last night, according to CNN.

As for Cheney’s replacement, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York?

On the underlying issue pertinent to Cheney’s ouster today from her House leadership position, which is the results of the 2020 presidential election, Ken Buck surprised everyone by attempting at substantial political peril to dispel the prevalent myths about the 2020 elections here in Colorado–and by doing so, refuting the case Trump himself was making to his supporters in the buildup to the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Like Liz Cheney herself, Ken Buck’s conservative credentials on the issues are unassailable, and in Buck’s career in office he has outraged Democrats with far more regularly than he ever stood with them. Defending Liz Cheney isn’t about partisan politics, but rather an obligation to the truth that Buck, unlike the vast majority of Republicans today, honors above any one man.

Which means Boebert, Matt Gaetz and his “America First” tour, and the “election truther” who succeeded Buck as Colorado GOP chair will be coming for Buck next.

When Boebert scoffs at the “GOP of the past,” how is she not talking about Ken Buck too?

Colorado Republicans Rage At Facebook’s Trump Ban

This guy again.

As the New York Times reports and you doubtless already know, Facebook’s appointed Oversight Board yesterday declined to lift the company’s ban on former President Donald Trump utilizing the platform, directing the company to clarify its rules and come back in six months for another review:

A Facebook-appointed panel of journalists, activists and lawyers on Wednesday upheld the social network’s ban of former President Donald J. Trump, ending any immediate return by Mr. Trump to mainstream social media and renewing a debate about tech power over online speech.

Facebook’s Oversight Board, which acts as a quasi-court over the company’s content decisions, ruled the social network was right to bar Mr. Trump after the insurrection in Washington in January, saying he “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.” The panel said that ongoing risk “justified” the move.

But the board also kicked the case back to Facebook and its top executives. It said that an indefinite suspension was “not appropriate” because it was not a penalty defined in Facebook’s policies and that the company should apply a standard punishment, such as a time-bound suspension or a permanent ban. The board gave Facebook six months to make a final decision on Mr. Trump’s account status.

CBS4 Denver has the reaction from Colorado’s minority Republican congressional delegation, and they are uniformly on full-tilt outrage. Rep. Ken Buck, whose crusade against Big Tech’s allegedly censorious ways predates Trump’s post-insurrection social media blackout, invoked the nastiest (and most dreadfully overused) comparison in the GOP playbook, Communist Gyna:

Following the news that Facebook Oversight Committee upheld former President Donald Trump’s ban, the three Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation were quick to react.

Rep. Ken Buck went to the social media platform itself, posting a link to an NPR article about the decision and commenting: “Silencing former leaders is something they do in Communist China, Big Tech has too much power.”

Not to be outdone, Rep. Lauren Boebert apparently thinks someone has been executed?

3rd District Rep. Lauren Boebart voiced her criticism on Twitter, tweeting “The Facebook Oversight Board acted as the judge, jury, prosecutor, appellate court and executioner. Big Tech needs to be broken up.”

Even Colorado’s least charismatic member of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn, took a swing:

“Unfortunately, Facebook’s decision to keep the ban on President Trump comes as no surprise. No social media company should have the power to entirely block a public official from communicating with the American people. Facebook’s oversight board is a farce. We must reign in #BigTech.”

Here we come to the central issue, which is the idea as Lamborn falsely suggests that Facebook has the ability to “entirely block a public official from communicating with the American people.” As we saw this week with the much-hyped launch of former President Trump’s blog, Trump is fully able to communicate with the American people online as much as he wants. He’s just not doing it on private commercial social media networks who have the full authority–let’s go a step farther and call it a right–to deny the use of their system to people who misuse it for criminal purposes like inciting a riot.

Though we certainly do not have the reach of a global platform like Facebook, we do have some experience on this blog with regulating the limits of content we consider inappropriate, undesirable, or any other way we might choose to evaluate what our readers post in comments and community blogs. Our standards are liberal enough that we’re generally accused of not policing content adequately as opposed to allegations of censorship, but we absolutely retain the right to moderate posted content and deny access to abusive users. If, for example, readers started plotting in comments to overthrow the state government, we’d feel an obligation to stop that.

In short, there’s a huge disconnect between the “free market” values these conservatives claim to uphold and their allegation that these private companies have committed some kind of unconstitutional suppression of former President Trump’s free speech rights. Free speech is not and has never been an entitlement to somebody else’s broadcast platform to amplify your speech at their expense. The violent insurrection on January 6th directly caused by the refusal of Trump (and for that matter, Boebert and Lamborn) to accept the results of the 2020 elections is ample cause to to permanently ban Trump from any private platform that wishes to.

But that segues into a conversation none of them want to have.

Don’t Want To Play? It’s Your District That Will Pay

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck (R-CO).

The Colorado Sun’s Sandra Fish brings us an interesting story today about how the transfer of power in Washington has changed the way business is being done–and how reluctance by Colorado’s three Republican members of Congress to step up to the proverbial pump for their home districts could leave their constituents out of big investment opportunities:

The four Colorado Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have assembled a list of nearly $200 million in special spending on transportation initiatives and community projects in their districts as Congress reopens the door to the controversial practice of earmarking…

It’s been 10 years since Congress ended earmarks, the practice of allowing individual members to designate funding for projects in their districts. Scandals and controversy surrounding the spending practice led to its demise, and conservatives remain skeptical of earmarks.

“Tea Party” fiscal policy expert.

In truth, the biggest factor behind Congress imposing its “temporary” ban on earmarks in February of 2011 which has persisted to the present today was the Republican takeover of the U.S. House in the 2010 “Tea Party” wave elections. “Earmarks” were condemned by this new wave of far-right Republicans in Congress as a tool of corruption, but that’s neither an accurate nor fair representation of a longstanding practice by which lawmakers identify and seek funding for specific needs in their districts. That’s why Democrats, back in full albeit narrow control for the first time in a decade and looking to make historic investments, are looking to members of Congress to help set priorities.

For Republicans, this presents a choice: and our local Republicans are making the wrong one.

Republicans in conservative districts have disavowed the practice, including the three GOP U.S. representatives from Colorado. That could mean Colorado Springs and the state’s rural areas lose out on some funding opportunities.

In her February Fox News opinion piece, Rep. Lauren Boebert called bullcrap on bringing home the bacon for CD-3:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are quietly pushing a campaign to reinstate earmarks so they can fund liberal pet projects and buy votes with your tax dollars.

Republicans should unite behind our promise to put the American people first, drain the swamp, and commit to putting a stop Democrats’ plans to revive pork-barrel politics.

Rep. Ken Buck said the same for his district in a Newsweek op-ed in March:

Now, today, Democrats are trying to revive the practice—and some Republicans on Capitol Hill seem willing to go along. This time around, however, politicians are attempting to give a new image to the unpopular term “earmarks.” We hear now that these projects will often be referred to as “member-directed funding for community projects.” Apparently that phrase polled better than “taxpayer-funded pet projects to help members of Congress gain political favor.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

Responding to the Colorado Sun, Rep. Doug Lamborn’s office was even more blunt:

“As of now, Congressman Lamborn’s office will not be working on community-funded projects,” Cassandra Sebastian, Lamborn’s spokeswoman, said in an email.

That may disappoint some of the Republicans’ constituents…

The campaign against earmarks waged by the “Tea Party” movement in 2010 was, like so much of the rhetoric from that crazy and portentous year in American politics, based largely on anecdotes trumping data and rank misinformation. Individual examples of perceived waste were invoked to discredit the far larger share of spending on popular and necessary projects. It’s a political game as old as dirt, but until the next elections Republicans have only the choice to step up for their districts–or allow needs for their constituents to go unmet out of pure political spite.

The out-of-state ideologues these Republicans are largely beholden to won’t care.

But stakeholders in their districts who pay the price for this grandstand will get their say at the polls.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Ghosted (Feat. Charles Ashby)

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

This week on Episode #73 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the pending birth of our newest Congressional district. We also learn that people kinda like having a functioning government; that Republicans like pretending that there is a “War on Meat;” and that a certain State Representative was once a Congressional candidate in California.

But those are just appetizers for the main event: Our discussion with Charles Ashby, political reporter for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and the dean (probably) of the State Capitol Press Corps. Ashby catches us up on a ton of political news and tells us what happens every time he contacts the press office of Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 29)

International Dance Day? We can get down with that. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Here’s something that you have never seen before in American history: Two women (Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) seated behind the President of the United States during a Presidential address to a joint session of Congress.

The Washington Post has more on President Biden’s first big speech to Congress:

President Biden on Wednesday night used his first speech to a joint session of Congress to argue for a dramatic expansion of government services, making a plea for sweeping plans to provide universal preschool, free community college and expanded health care and new tax breaks for families — much of it funded by higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

While he also renewed calls for an array of priorities — including immigration changes, gun control and police reform — Biden more broadly portrayed a country that is rapidly emerging from the depths of a global pandemic and has survived events that, in his view, tested American democracy as rarely before.

“We have stared into an abyss of insurrection and autocracy — of pandemic and pain — and ‘we the people’ did not flinch,” he said toward the end of a 65-minute speech.

In addition to the historic picture above, Biden’s speech was unique in another way. Instead of a packed House of Representatives chamber, Biden spoke to a much smaller group that was socially-distanced for health and safety reasons.

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) was among the Representatives from Colorado in attendance on Wednesday evening. Boebert stuck to her default “look angry about everything Biden says” position, even shaking her head in disgust when Biden discussed a proposal to lower the cost of prescription drugs for Americans.

Elsewhere, The Hill notes that Biden called on Congress to quickly pass sweeping new election reform legislation.

 

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, some COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado are approaching levels not seen since December:

Colorado is one COVID-19 outbreak short of the point where many K-12 schools moved to remote learning in December, with more students infected than at the previous peak.

As of Wednesday, the state reported 210 active outbreaks in schools, the highest number since Dec. 2, when there were 211. Outbreaks had fallen from December through mid-January, fluctuated through March, then began growing in earnest, increasing by 80 in April.

Outbreaks also continued to grow in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and child care centers, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The state defines an outbreak as two or more cases connected to the same location or event. An outbreak is considered over when four weeks have passed with no new cases.

 

The Colorado legislature’s big health care bill, HB21-1232, should be celebrated for what it WILL do, not what it won’t do:

 

Here’s more news from the state legislature…

A big climate change bill aimed at boosting the ability to regulate air emissions in Colorado is moving along through the legislature despite a veto threat from Gov. Jared Polis.

Governor Polis will sign the following bills today: HB21-1131 (Cooperative Electric Associations Governance Requirements);  SB21-066 (Juvenile Diversion Programs); SB21-130 (Local Authority for Business Personal Property Tax Exemption); and  SB21-079 (Deregulate Meat Sales Direct To Consumers).

Alex Burness of The Denver Post updates on the status of SB-62, which seeks to reduce the population of Colorado’s prisons.

Meghan Lopez of Denver7 reports on legislation that would boost training for Colorado police officers.

Efforts to create a Front Range rail system are moving along.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Guns, Globes, and Vaccines

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, the United States is the best at mass shootings; there is a giant ice globe sitting on the lawn outside of the State Capitol; opponents of the “Colorado Option” have run out of arguments; State Rep. Ron Hanks has trouble with history; and we check back on two popular segments: “What the Buck?” and “The Boebert Report.”

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Ken Buck Jubilates Prematurely

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

CBS4 Denver reports that Rep. Ken Buck is ebullient over a recent agreement between Apple and the Colorado-connected developers of the “free speech” social media platform Parler to allow the app once again in the App Store, after being removed in the immediate aftermath of the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol:

Colorado Congressman Ken Buck applauded a decision to reinstate the Parler App in Apple’s app store. Buck and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter to Apple in March “demanding answers about why Apple removed Parler from the App Store.”

In the letter to Buck and Lee, Apple says it reached out to Parler developers to discuss their violations of Apple’s guidelines on Jan. 8.

“The volume and types of prohibited content available in the Parler app further indicated that Parler also was out of compliance with Guideline 1.2 since their moderation practices were clearly inadequate to protect users from this harmful and dangerous content,” Apple stated in the letter.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Law enforcement officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Over subsequent weeks, as CNN reports, Parler has reportedly made changes to satisfy Apple’s requirements that their privately-owned commercial systems not be used for such dangerous purposes as coordinating and managing an assault on the U.S. Capitol:

The letter — addressed to Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Ken Buck and obtained by CNN — explained that since the app was removed from Apple’s platform in January for violations of its policies, Parler “has proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices.”

…Apple declined to comment. In a statement Monday evening, Parler said it planned to relaunch on Apple’s app store the week of April 26. The Apple version of Parler will block some posts that are permitted on Parler more generally, but those posts will remain accessible on Parler for Android and on the web, Parler said.

Curiously, Rep. Buck completely omits any mention of changes made by Parler to satisfy Apple’s requirements, simply suggesting that his letter to Apple on Parler’s behalf led to Apple dropping its objections to Parler on their service. Far from it–Apple, a corporate interest more concerned about liability than politics, is requiring that the Parler app on its platform block content that may still be available on the Parler network through other devices.

“Apple’s decision to reinstate Parler on the App Store is a huge win for free speech,” Buck said. “I am proud of the work that Senator Lee and I were able to accomplish here. It’s time for Amazon and Google to follow Apple’s lead and stop the censorship of Parler.”

Wherever you land in the debate over free speech versus corporate subsidy of speech, which are two separate issues that become much harder to sort out in today’s digital age of mass social media communications, the fact is that Buck is dead wrong to call this a “win for free speech” in the laissez faire manner he suggests. Parler is making a major concession to Apple to prevent Parler from putting Apple in the position of subsidizing violence.

What this is is a win for responsible speech and responsible corporate citizenship, albeit limited to Apple’s corporate domain. Once you know the full facts, it’s basically the opposite of what Buck thinks he is celebrating.

But at least we can all celebrate together.

Get More Smarter on Monday (April 19)

‘Tis a mighty blustery day outside, and it’s going to get blusterier: Denver could set a new record low temperature today in advance of a snowstorm that is forecasted to drop 8-14 inches of snow in the Metro Area. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

All adults in the United States are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. At least half of the adult population in this country have already received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Despite rising cases of COVID-19, many Colorado counties eased pandemic-related restrictions on Friday.

 

Governor Jared Polis will officially sign two gun safety bills today — one dealing with safe storage of firearms and the other about mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms. The Colorado Sun has more background on the legislation.

Now, let’s get you caught up on more legislative news. Thursday is Earth Day, which makes this week a great time to use the social media hashtags #CoClimateWeek and #ClimateJusticeNow. It also means this could be your best chance to see a giant ice globe in person:

Saja Hindi of The Denver Post looks at the week(s) ahead in the fight over a “Colorado Option” healthcare proposal. Last week we outlined how opponents of the legislation are doing a pretty terrible job of arguing their case.

Lawmakers are considering setting aside a significant amount of money in the state budget to help law enforcement purchase more body cameras.

CBS4 Denver looks at legislation that could restrict public access to arrest records.

Fox 31 Denver discusses a bill that would provide free mental health services to Colorado children.

Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman previews the legislative week ahead.

 

Closing arguments are being made today in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of several crimes in connection with the May 2020 death of George Floyd. Is is expected that the case will be in the hands of a jury by the end of the day. Minneapolis is bracing for news of a verdict.

 

CNN reports on a violent weekend across the United States:

Americans awoke Friday to news of yet another mass shooting, this time at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, where eight people were killed late Thursday.

By the end of the weekend, at least nine more people had died from gun violence in back-to-back shootings across the country — in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Nebraska and Louisiana. At least 10 more were wounded.

Since March 16, when eight people were killed and one wounded in shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, at least 50 mass shootings have been reported in the United States. CNN defines a mass shooting as a shooting with four or more casualties — dead or wounded — excluding the shooter.

Some of the shootings this weekend fell short of that definition. But together, they underscored the fact the United States faces not just the Covid-19 pandemic, but a gun violence epidemic, as well.

Call it what you will. Just don’t call it normal.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

In Ironic Twist, CO Republicans Refuse to Re-Do “Sham” Election of El Paso GOP Leaders

(All you can say is sham-wow – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former GOP Chair Congressman Ken Buck exiting stage left.

The Tea Party/Patriot wing of the Colorado Republican Party flexed its collective muscle last Saturday, leaving no doubt who’s in charge of the state GOP.

Despite a video featuring cavalcade of endorsements from nearly two dozen legislative and party officials, former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, the establishment’s choice to succeed Congressman Ken Buck as GOP Chair, lost decisively to current Vice-Chair Kristi Burton Brown.

Gessler’s loss wasn’t the day’s only defeat for establishment Republicans, however. GOP Central Committee members, comprised of local and state precinct leaders and delegates, voted Saturday to overturn their own leaders’ decision to order a new election of party officers in El Paso County, after dozens of party members submitted signed statements raising concerns about the voting process, including the El Paso County Sheriff, who called it “a sham.”

The party, whose elected members have introduced multiple bills purporting to strengthen election security based on debunked conspiracies of election fraud, has yet another internal voting controversy within its own ranks.

In a March 17 report, the Colorado GOP Executive Committee ordered a new election for El Paso County GOP officers, to be held within 60 days of the adoption of the report, which was expected to take place at last Saturday’s Central Committee meeting.

The unusual situation stems from objections surrounding current El Paso County Chair Tonkins’ “preregistration” requirements for voting members to participate online.

CPR’s Bente Birkeland reported on some elements of the controversy prior to the meeting, including the very short notice of online pre-registration requirements to be completed a week prior to the meeting date. CPR’s story followed a report by the Colorado Springs Independent’s Heidi Beedle who covered the apparent partnership between Tonkins and extremist militia group FEC United, which was both recruiting voting members to support Tonkins and also supposedly providing security at the event.

Upon reviewing the evidence presented to them, nearly all of the top leaders of the Colorado Republican Party found enough problems with the election that they voted 13-3 to “set aside” the election result and order a do-over.

(more…)

Colorado Republicans Buck, Boebert, Lamborn & Ganahl Keep Parler & Gab Accounts on the Down-Low

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/CU.Regent.Heidi_.Ganahl-1.jpgLike it or not, social media accounts are an indispensable component of all professional communications, but especially for elected officials, who can share their message without having to go through reporters. As a rule, the more attention the better. More followers mean a bigger megaphone to talk directly to constituents.

For Colorado Republicans posting on far-right sites Parler and its even more extreme competitor, Gab, however, it appears there’s an exception to that rule.

None of the three Republican members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, nor University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, the lone statewide Republican elected official, list Parler or Gab among the other social media sites on their websites. The Colorado Times Recorder searched for all of seven of the state’s Members of Congress, as well as both At-Large Regents, but didn’t find Parler or Gab accounts for any of the Democrats.

Both Congressman Ken Buck’s official website and campaign site direct visitors to four social media platforms where people can find him: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Neither mentions a fifth platform, Parler, which until recently was growing in popularity as a far-right anything-goes alternative to mainstream sites.

Buck doesn’t advertise his presence on Parler, but he’s quite active, posting almost daily.

(more…)

Big Tech Trumps Big Coup For Buck, Boebert

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck (R-CO).

Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff reports on a vote by two Republican members of Congress from Colorado, Reps. Lauren Boebert and Ken Buck, along with a very small Republican minority in the U.S. House against a resolution condemning the recent military coup in the nation formerly known as Burma:

Colorado Reps. Ken Buck and Lauren Boebert were among a small group of Republican members of the House of Representatives who on Friday voted to oppose a nonbinding resolution condemning the military coup in Myanmar.

The House passed H. Res. 134, which condemned the violent military takeover of the Southeast Asian country that began on Feb. 1, on an overwhelming 398-14 vote, with 182 Republicans joining 216 Democrats in approving the resolution. But 14 GOP House members, including Buck, Boebert and other figures on the party’s right flank — including Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia — voted against the measure.

Since being on the wrong side of a 398-14 vote is unusual enough to attract attention, we’re naturally going to speculate about why these 14 of the hardest hard-right Republican members of Congress–who are also some of ex-President Donald Trump’s most indefatigable torch-bearers–would vote against condemning a nation’s military taking over the country when an election doesn’t go their preferred way.

There is, of course, the obvious answer.

But Rep. Lauren Boebert says no, her vote was about resisting the censorious control of “Big Tech,” which is apparently a bigger deal than standing up to a military coup–despite the fact that the resolution apparently only wants to make sure the Burmese military doesn’t use “Big Tech” platforms to commit crimes against the Burmese people:

Boebert’s office indicated that the congresswoman’s objection to the resolution concerned a brief provision calling on Biden to “ensure that United States-based social media companies, including Facebook, not allow their platforms to be used as vehicles for disinformation campaigns or advocating violence against the Burmese people.”

“The bill called on Big Tech to be the arbiter of truth,” Ben Stout, Boebert’s communications director, wrote in an email to Newsline. “Big Tech censorship is out of control and they have proven they can’t be trusted with such authorities.”

As for Rep. Ken Buck?

A spokesperson for Buck did not respond to a request for comment.

In both cases, we want to believe that a bout of anti-Facebook groupthink seized these 14 particularly excitable Republicans, rather than two members of Congress from Colorado having deliberately cast a vote approving of military coups to resolve disputed elections. Because while both are questionable, one is definitely worse.

And so soon after America’s own would-be coup, neither Buck nor Boebert should cast such votes lightly.

Bob Beauprez Warns GOP on Stimulus Objections

If there’s one thing that Bob Beauprez understands, it’s bull crap (er, horse crap).

Last week the House of Representatives gave final approval to The American Rescue Plan (ARP), a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that President Biden promptly signed into law. The ARP contains all kinds of helpful things for Americans of all political backgrounds, including $1,400 direct payments to families; extended unemployment benefits; the expansion of child tax credits that could cut child poverty by 50%; much-needed relief for state and local governments; and new money to help schools reopen as quickly as possible.

Not one Republican in either chamber of Congress voted in support of the ARP. Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) spoke for Colorado Republicans in opposition to the bill, rattling off a bunch of debunked facts and figures as part of her rudderless attack on what has proven to be one of the most popular pieces of legislation in modern American history. Just this week, Boebert tried out another attack on the legislation that made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Republicans are having a hard time making a logical argument against the ARP, for obvious reasons. As James Downie writes for The Washington Post:

The just-passed stimulus package is a rarity in today’s Washington: a major new law that’s a win in terms of both politics and policy. Poll after poll shows overwhelming support. As my colleague Greg Sargent notes, the bill is even popular with both lower-income Republicans and non-college Whites, two key components of the Trump-era GOP coalition. Millions of Americans are already receiving desperately needed payments to help the country get back on its feet from a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s rhetoric on the stimulus bill doesn’t match the chryons.

A lack of a coherent message won’t stop Republicans from crapping on a stimulus package that they should have just supported in the first place. But as the right-wing Washington Examiner explains, Republicans might want to listen to former Colorado Congressman and two-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez’s warning about relentlessly attacking something that people are generally happy about:

Another former Republican congressman, Bob Beauprez of Colorado, refused to call Biden’s spending package a “legislative win” given it wasn’t a bipartisan agreement. But he did echo Heye’s point about what conservatives call irrelevant inclusions in the framework.

“I’m not sure I’d want people to talk about it much more because they might actually find out what’s in it,” he joked. [Pols emphasis]

Beauprez questioned the package’s positive polling — “Free money? That does sound good.” — and the pressure it places on the country’s finances — “buying votes with borrowed money.” But those are more nuanced messages that are harder to convey to the public.

Beauprez may have been a terrible statewide candidate in Colorado, but he’s no dummy: He understands that Republicans have backed themselves into a corner by attacking a stimulus package that is really helpful to base Republican voters. Americans need help NOW, and Democrats are providing that help; Republicans, meanwhile, are hoping that people will overlook this help because they are more concerned about nebulous federal deficits down the road. It’s not a fair fight, and rational Republicans know this.

We can’t believe we’re saying this, but…Republicans should listen to Bob Beauprez.

Caption This Photo: Ken Buck Wears Lauren Boebert’s Tagline

It’s another photo of Colorado Republican Party Chairman Rep. Ken Buck with his beloved boltless AR-15 at his Washington, D.C. office, but with a twist: this time wearing a face mask emblazoned with Rep. Lauren Boebert’s famous retort to Beto O’Rourke in September of 2019 in Aurora, arguably the moment that launched Boebert’s unlikely political career: “hell no, you’re not taking my AR-15.”

On the one hand, it’s quite a metaphor for how Boebert has taken over as the face of her party.

On the other, Ken Buck is wearing a face mask. Let’s make sure to encourage this behavior.

The GMS Podcast: Using a Giant Carrot as a Stick

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the massive stimulus package that was just passed by Congress and try to figure out what in the hell Rep. Ken Buck stands for. We also introduce a new segment we call “Legislating With Crayons,” and we dive into another episode of “The Boebert Report.”

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Boebert, Lamborn Vote to Adjourn…at 10:00 in the Morning

Qaucus leaders Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene

At 10:07 am this morning in Washington D.C., the House of Representatives held a Roll Call vote on a Motion to Adjourn, which is absolutely as stupid as it sounds.

The Motion to Adjourn failed to pass, but not before 149 Republican Members of Congress voted ‘YES’ on ending their day before it even began — including Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs). This has been a common vote recently, spearheaded by Boebert’s fellow Qaucus member, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. As The Hill reported last week:

Greene’s efforts to delay congressional business by forcing futile procedural votes to adjourn the House each day are disrupting committee hearings and virtual constituent meetings — and ticking off a growing chorus of Republican colleagues.

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) had to rush out of a committee hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on monetary policy. Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) had to step out of a video conference with an international conservation group. And Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) had to halt a Zoom meeting with local chambers of commerce from the Great Lakes region.

“Aggravated,” Wagner replied when asked by The Hill how she felt about having to vote on one of Greene’s motions to adjourn one recent morning.

Before stepping onto the House floor, Wagner added, “Ms. Greene doesn’t have three hearings today like I do.”

Greene doesn’t have as much on her plate as most of her colleagues after being stripped of her committee assignments in February on account of the fact that she is a complete lunatic, so she’s made it her personal mission to waste everyone’s time. Today, Boebert and Lamborn played along with Greene’s commitment to pointless obstruction, presumably in an effort to slow the final passage of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

ABC9 News in Georgia summarized what Greene and colleagues accomplished this morning:

Via ABC9 News in Georgia

 

Wow. Please clap.

How dare you make Doug Lamborn do his job!

As The Hill reports in a separate story from today, this “Motion to Adjourn” nonsense is wearing thin with Republicans:

Forty-one House Republicans on Wednesday voted against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s latest motion to adjourn, yet another sign her party is growing increasingly frustrated with the Georgia Republican’s procedural delay tactics.

That figure was more than double the 18 Republicans who voted against her motion last week to end House business for the day.

Some of those Republicans who have bucked Greene and GOP leaders have correctly predicted that the number of “no” votes will only grow as Greene continues to force more of these votes. [Pols emphasis]

It will be interesting to see how long Boebert and Lamborn continue to play along with this silly stunt (Greeley Republican Rep. Ken Buck did not vote on the motion today).

In some ways, it might be a good thing if Greene keeps this up, because it really separates the serious from the unserious in Congress. It’s difficult for Boebert and Lamborn to say that they are there to represent their districts when they regularly try to skip out on doing their jobs altogether.

The GMS Podcast: Saying No to Boebert’s No to Our Noes

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii review the wacky CPAC weekend — including Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s incomprehensible rhetoric — and break down the opening week(s) of the 2021 Colorado legislative session.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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On This, We Can Agree: Ken Buck is a Buffoon

UPDATE: Buck’s social media fishing expedition has not paid off (he asked people to retweet and “like” his message). As of 9:00 am on Wednesday:

 

—–

One fish, two fish.
Red fish, blue fish.
Ken Buck is a f***ing idiot.

This guy.

The United States is still trying to halt a pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans and devastated the economy.

More than 11.4 MILLION Americans are about to lose unemployment benefits if Congress doesn’t quickly approve a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.

People were literally freezing to death in Texas last month because the state’s power grid was designed by monkeys.

The FBI says we surpassed 2,000 cases of domestic terrorism in just the last few months.

But a couple of Dr. Seuss books won’t be published anymore because of racist imagery, and THAT is the single most dangerous problem “we face as a free society,” according to actual Congressperson and State Republican Party Chair Ken Buck.

Ken Buck Comes Crawling Back To The Big Lie

President Donald Trump, Rep. Ken Buck.

One of the more surprising developments in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election was the attempt by Colorado Republican Party chairman Rep. Ken Buck to debunk the false allegations of election fraud which underpinned now ex-President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the result. In early December, as the misinformed anger that would boil over into insurrection on January 6th was building, Buck went so far as to convene a virtual town hall attended by hundreds of local Republicans in which Buck and Republican county clerks assured the party faithful that the election was accurate and secure–at least in Colorado, even though our all-mail ballot election system tabulated in large part by Dominion Voting Systems hardware amounts to everything Trump baselessly blamed for his defeat in other states.

After Rep. Buck unexpectedly came to the defense of Colorado’s election system in the face of Trump’s denials, he was criticized by Trump loyalists for his choice of fact over partisan fiction. A few weeks later, Buck announced his decision to not run again for the job of state party chairman, and as of today both of the frontrunners in the race to succeed Buck in that job are campaigning on the Big Lie of a stolen 2020 election.

Well folks, sometime between early December when we praised Ken Buck for showing integrity and today, something happened to Buck’s backbone:

In a turnabout so jarring it will give you whiplash, the 2020 elections that Ken Buck defended last December are now something we don’t want to repeat! And even though most of what Buck is warning about above is already law in Colorado–you know, the same law Buck defended–it’s suddenly wrong to apply those standards uniformly across the country? Everybody knows that Republicans are mobilizing against HR1, but Rep. Buck wasn’t obligated to open his mouth and provide a receptacle for his waiting foot.

Our disappointment is genuine. It was one of the best things Ken Buck did in his whole career.

And now Buck has flushed that goodwill, and the credibility that came with it, down the toilet.

500,000 Dead Americans, Zero Apologies From Colorado GOP

Having officially passed the tragic milestone of half a million Americans dead, we can say with certainty today that the COVID-19 pandemic was not a “psyop.”

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams got it wrong:

“I’m going to rant just a bit,” wrote Reams on Facebook. “I understand that nobody wants to catch Coronavirus but statistically, even if you catch it you’re likely to be just fine. [Pols emphasis] What I’m concerned with is our Country catching a huge case of socialism. We (our government) has self imposed an economic crash in the name of saving us from a virus and now they are offering the “solution” through money that isn’t really available; let’s call that debt. If you read the attached article, examine what is being suggested and ask yourselves if this is makes sense. Maybe it’s just me but I’d rather take my risk with the virus then socialism.”

So did Reams’ buddy, Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck:

Fauci and his team insisted that the best-case outcome for the virus was between 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities stemming from the coronavirus. But that was before the number was revised down to 75,000. And, that was before it was revised down again to 60,000. Surely, more revisions are to come… [Pols emphasis]

Play this nine infuriating seconds of video:

 

Remember former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville downplaying the threat in the most offensive terms:

Describing the metro area’s stay-at-home order as “outlandish and outrageous,” leading to a “gestapo-like mentality,” Colorado’s Republican House leader vowed Wednesday to fight it, ignore it, and continue doing his job.

“It’s completely insane,” said Colorado House Republican leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock this morning on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show, as first reported by 9News. “I think we have — what? — something like 40 people, maybe it’s 80 people, somewhere in that range, who have actually been hospitalized…” [Pols emphasis]

And a joke now ex-Sen. Cory Gardner told last August that did not age well:

“My 8-year-old son came to me and said, ‘Dad, I know when the pandemic ends.’ And I said, ‘You do?’ He says, ‘Yes, the day after the election.’ [Pols emphasis] Now, he picked that up somewhere or heard that somewhere, or maybe mom and dad were talking too much around him,” Gardner told a laughing crowd.

If we had the time and inclination, we could write a book just about Republicans in Colorado who made tragicomic fools of themselves by disregarding the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic from the beginning of the crisis. Had these politicians only endangered their own safety, recounting their stupidity in hindsight would involve more comedy and less tragedy. Unfortunately, it is this willful disregard for public health and safety for the purpose of election-year posturing on the part of Republicans that has led directly to the United States suffering more illness and death from COVID-19 than any other nation.

None of them have said they were sorry. Most of them never will. As a nation we may be too numbed and fatigued to be outraged. But everyone who scoffed at this possibility owes an apology now that this once-unthinkable death toll from COVID-19 is a reality.

At long last, have they no shame?

Rep. Ken Buck Doesn’t Know How Anything Works

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

CBS4 Denver reports that Rep. Ken Buck, outgoing chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, is calling for Gov. Jared Polis to “boost” natural gas production in Colorado–after the state of Texas temporarily shut off exports of natural gas in order to restore stable electricity service to what’s become derisively known in recent days as the “Freedom Grid.”

Colorado has the second largest natural gas reserve in the county but production has dropped over the last couple of years. Rep. Buck said Gov. Polis should take action now to increase production.

“I understand the governor has a goal for renewable in a certain time period and if that’s the way the people of Colorado want to go, that’s great. But to cut back on natural gas production right now when Texas is cutting back on its export of natural gas is a serious mistake,” Buck said.

So, there are a lot of problems with this, the biggest of which is that Gov. Jared Polis has absolutely no power to simply snap his fingers and increase natural gas production in Colorado. In a statement responding to Buck, Polis’ office said as much:

Colorado’s natural gas market is a responsibly regulated system of wells and pipelines that is geared towards supplying natural gas according to market forces, individual company capital investment decisions, [Pols emphasis] and pipeline capacity and is not something that can be turned off and on like a spigot.

We have to think that at some level Rep. Buck is aware of this, just like he should know that the price of natural gas in Colorado peaked in 2006 and has been in decline ever since–and that is the biggest reason by far why Colorado is not “drill baby drilling” for oil and gas all over the state. If for argument’s sake Polis were able to defy market economics and compel with dictatorial power an increase in natural gas production, by the time that increase came on line the temporary ban on exports from Texas would be long over.

And you know what that means? An even bigger glut of natural gas.

It’s just another situation in which Ken Buck fired off a bunch of words that appeared relevant to the issue at hand, but under scrutiny are revealed to be almost comically ignorant of what is actually taking place. Colorado gains nothing from a knee-jerk boost in natural gas production, any more than Texas benefitted from being overdependent on natural gas electrical production which failed en masse during this historic cold snap. After the attempt to blame renewable energy sources outright for the power failures in Texas fell flat with a little fact checking this is an interesting pro-fossil fuel pivot, but it’s no less factually off base than Lauren Boebert was when she blamed the suffering in the Lone Star State on “frozen windmills.”

As Ludwig Wittgenstein famously observed, “whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”  In plain Weld County English this means if you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t talk.

Neither Buck nor Boebert seem to get this.

Ken Buck Wants To “Whatabout” Trump Back Onto Facebook

President Donald Trump, Rep. Ken Buck.

Axios reports, Republicans in Congress led by Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck are leaning into the ongoing debate by Facebook’s external Oversight Board over whether or not to rescind the ban imposed on former President Donald Trump, following the failed January 6th insurrection Trump rallied and incited:

The board is taking comments on whether it should uphold Facebook’s decision to ban former President Trump. With their letter, GOP lawmakers are avoiding commenting on the merits of the ban, instead pivoting to bias claims that are popular with their conservative base.

What they’re saying: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), the top Republican on Judiciary’s antitrust panel, writes in the letter that Republicans believe Facebook’s “de-platforming standards are not applied in a fair and neutral manner.”

“Instances where conservatives viewpoints have been censored, blocked, diminished harm the free exchange of ideas and irreparably damage conservative Americans’ faith in the fairness of purportedly neutral actors like Facebook,” Buck writes in the letter, also signed by nine other Republican lawmakers including Reps. Darrell Issa, Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz.

Rep. Buck distilled down his opinion for Twitter, where it was recently announced that Trump’s ban from by far his favorite social media platform will be permanent:

If Big Tech can censor President Trump, they can do it to you too. [Pols emphasis]

That’s technically true, since as private commercial media platforms “Big Tech” providers like Facebook, Twitter, and server hosting companies are under no obligation whatsoever to do business or otherwise subsidize anyone they choose for any non-discriminatory reason not to. Free speech, as it’s been said many times but guys like Sen. Josh Hawley still don’t seem to understand, is not an entitlement to access to somebody else’s platform in order to broadcast your speech.

Over the last decade, the viral spread of objectively false information on social networks has has severe negative consequences for American society that Donald Trump is as much of a symptom as a cause. Obviously, if you’re a believer in this objectively false information, attempts to suppress it on social media look like censorship–and even understanding that this kind of regulation is necessary does not relieve us from the debate over how judiciously such power should be applied.

Donald Trump, who relentlessly pushed lies that very nearly derailed the American political system and incited his followers as the nation’s chief executive to physically assault the legislative branch, is not a close case. Through his actions Trump has defined the urgent need for responsible actors to not allow their investments to be used as platforms for mass disinformation campaigns.

Ken Buck knows all of this. He knows that Trump’s lies about the election led to violence. And he knows private companies have the right to make their own decisions about who they associate with. In just about any other circumstance, he would defend that right.

But like Republicans in the U.S. Senate refusing to convict Trump, Buck’s putting his team before his country.