Get More Smarter on Friday (Oct. 22)

You only have a few more days to vote and stick your ballot in the mail, so get to it. Visit GoVoteColorado.com to check on the status of your mail ballot for 2021. 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 

 

The refusal of Senate Republicans to even debate a new election integrity bill SHOULD be the last straw for Democrats such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. As Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent write for The Washington Post:

On Wednesday, all 50 Republicans in the Senate — including supposed moderates such as Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — voted to filibuster the Freedom to Vote Act. That’s a stripped-down version of sweeping voting rights legislation Democrats have advocated.

If Manchin (or anyone else) needed more proof that Republicans will never partner with Democrats to secure voting rights and democracy, this was it.The Freedom to Vote Act was, for all intents and purposes, Manchin’s own bill. He demanded the changes that made it less ambitious than the For the People Act championed by progressives.

It was redesigned to his specifications. So instead of requiring nonpartisan redistricting commissions, it allows states to determine the mode of redistricting while establishing standards of fairness that would be enforced by courts. It also creates national standards for early voting and mail voting, but also allows voter ID requirements, albeit with some protections.

No Republican voted for this.

Waldman and Sargent note that two prominent voices are growing louder about the need to reform the filibuster: Angus King of Maine and Jon Tester of Montana. Says King:
“I’ve concluded that democracy itself is more important than any Senate rule.”

President Biden is also signaling that he would be open to changing Senate filibuster rules in order to pass voting rights legislation.

 

Colorado Republican candidates continue to struggle to come up with a decent answer about the “Big Lie.” Many of the top statewide candidates seem to have coalesced around the shaky narrative that Joe Biden is the President and that the election was not fraudulent in Colorado…but maybe it was everywhere else.

The latest attempt by a statewide Republican candidate to answer this question came from Senate hopeful Gino Campana; check out the transcript of this BRUTAL back-and-forth with right-wing radio host Peter Boyles. The interview contains a line that could go down in infamy: “Don’t 9News me!”

 

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Colorado are trending in the wrong direction compared to the rest of the country, as Colorado Newsline explains:

There are 1,130 people in the hospital with COVID-19 as of Oct. 21, Gov. Jared Polis said during a news briefing Thursday, and 893 of those cases, or about 80%, are unvaccinated individuals.

“This is a very stark reminder to anyone who thought this pandemic was over and that they could slip by without getting vaccinated,” Polis said. “This is a wake up call. If you haven’t been vaccinated, you’re facing a grave threat.”Polis said that crisis standards of care are “ready to be implemented if needed, potentially tweaked or improved.” Idaho and New Mexico both recently implemented crisis standards of care.

Hospitalizations are increasing among all age groups, but more rapidly in older populations. State epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said during the briefing that could be due to waning immunity in older people who got a vaccine earlier this year.

As Denver7 reports, 93% of Colorado ICU beds are currently in use. Governor Jared Polis says Colorado may need to ask for help from the National Guard if these trends continue.

 

And now, some good COVID-19 news: Boosters for everyone! As The Washington Post reports:

Tens of millions of Americans can sign up to get Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters beginning Friday after the nation’s top public health official endorsed recommendations from expert advisers that the shots are safe and effective at bolstering protection against the coronavirus.

The green light from Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, means that eligible Americans at risk of severe disease can choose any of the three boosters now authorized in the United States regardless of their original shot.

“The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe — as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given,” Walensky said in a statement Thursday night, several hours after receiving unanimous recommendations from the expert panel, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. “And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating delta variant.”

Get moving, folks. Boost that thang up!

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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Boebert Calls Her Own Bluff on 2022

When we wrote in this space on Tuesday about the new proposed Congressional maps in Colorado, we noted that for all of Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s tough talk about taking on Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) in 2022, the truth was that Boebert wanted nothing to do with this potential matchup.

As we noted at the time:

This is a good time to remind you that Members of Congress DO NOT need to actually live within the boundaries of the district they represent. The chances are probably pretty good that Boebert would just run in CO-03 instead of challenging Neguse in a district with a slight Democratic lean in terms of registered voters.

At roughly the same time on Friday that the Redistricting Commission staff were presenting the new proposed map to the Redistricting Commissioners, Boebert was Tweeting out a completely false accusation against the Commission Staff that was full of false bravado:

 

Less than a week later, Boebert was singing a much different tune. Here’s what she Tweeted out today:

 

Given that the newest proposed redistricting map is NOT final and could still change significantly in the coming weeks, there was no real need for Boebert to call her own bluff so soon. But like most bullies and blowhards, Boebert is more comfortable pretending to be a “fighter” in a district in which she already has a built-in advantage.

If you draw a line in the sand with Boebert, she’ll raise her voice and puff out her chest…and then she’ll just step back and draw a different line.

So, About that New Congressional Redistricting Map…

If you were paying attention to Colorado politics over the weekend, you might have noticed a lot of people running around like they were on fire.

On Friday, Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission released a new proposed map of Colorado’s eight Congressional districts (officially called “First Staff Plan”). As Thy Vo and Sandra Fish report for The Colorado Sun today, there is much wringing of hands and discussions of viewpoints considering some pretty significant new district lines being proposed:

The dozen members of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission questioned nonpartisan staff Monday about the latest draft map of the state’s U.S. House districts as they prepare to hear from the public about the plan this week.

The map, introduced Friday based on 2020 census data and which has thrown Colorado’s political world into a tizzy, is markedly different from an initial proposal based on 2019 population estimates.

Before we go any further, we should point out that the map introduced on Friday is not necessarily the map that will determine Congressional boundaries for 2022. The Redistricting Commission will hold four public hearings this week for comment on the First Staff Plan (FSP) Map, which can be confirmed with a ‘YES’ vote from 8 of the 12 Commission members. If this map is NOT approved, the nonpartisan redistricting staff can present as many as two additional proposals before the Sept. 28 deadline to finalize redistricting boundaries.

But if the “FSP Map” ends up being close to a final version of what we can expect for the next decade, then there is plenty to talk about. Here’s what that map looks like (CLICK HERE for a bigger version):

 

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Colorado Democrats Push to Lower Medicare Age to 60

(Clockwise from top left): Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Ed Perlmutter, and Jason Crow

All four of Colorado’s Democratic Members of Congress — Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Jason Crow, and Ed Perlmutter — have signed onto legislation seeking to lower the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 60.

As CNN reports:

This legislation comes as Democrats are working to expand Medicare benefits through their multi-trillion-dollar spending proposal being used to fulfill much of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. The lawmakers are introducing this legislation with the hopes of it being included in the final reconciliation package

…Lowering the eligibility age from 65 to 60 is widely popular across the Democratic caucus, with 70% pledging to support the measure earlier this year. It is even a priority that Biden himself has called for. Lowering the eligibility age by five years would expand Medicare to at least 23 million people, according to the cosponsors of the legislation.

In addition to trying to include a lower Medicare eligibility age in the reconciliation package, Democrats also want to use the voting maneuver, which allows them to pass legislation without relying on Republican votes, to also include a historic of expansion of Medicare to cover hearing, dental and vision care for the first time.

Polling data shows that reducing the age for Medicare qualification and expanding the program to cover hearing, dental, and vision care are both broadly popular ideas.

D’oh! Buck Deletes His Own Gibberish Tweet on Spending

The non-official Twitter account for Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) Tweeted out a spectacular bit of nonsense this afternoon before somebody apparently came to their senses and hit the ‘DELETE’ button. But, alas, nothing ever REALLY gets erased from the Internet, so we can show you exactly what Team Buck hoped to delete:

Since-deleted Tweet from @BuckForColorado

 

The screenshot above is taken from this video, which shows a Colorado State Chamber of Commerce event from last week that featured Buck and fellow Colorado Reps. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish), Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), Jason Crow (D-Aurora), and Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County). In the clip that was Tweeted (and deleted), Buck is yammering some nonsense about why the State Government should pay for things instead of the Federal Government (jump ahead to the 40:25 mark HERE).

Buck seems to be upset that the Colorado legislature would use COVID-19 relief funds — as requested by many Colorado business leaders — to help backfill the coffers that support unemployment benefits. But his point is rather in-artfully articulated:

BUCK: Nobody, nobody in either party wants to deny someone daycare services. For those that can’t afford daycare services, there absolutely should be daycare services. And there should absolutely be services available for those who can’t afford that. And there absolutely should be services available for those who can afford that and want to pay for it. The question really is, which level of government writes the check? And we’re faced with the issue now — if there are daycare services that are necessary, state government should write that check. State government has to balance its budget. The federal government doesn’t balance its budget. So to take federal money in an unbalanced way, in a deficit-spending way, to pay for those expenses is wrong. [Pols emphasis] Again, the governors are the group that decided how to shut down their economy, how to manage the situation on the ground in each individual state.

And by the way, when my friend Ed [gestures toward Perlmutter] says that Colorado had less deaths than Florida, Florida has always been a magnet for seniors. [This is seemingly meant to be a joke] Seniors are the most vulnerable, they went to Florida, and Colorado is one of the youngest, healthiest states in the country, and so to compare those two is kind of apples and oranges. But when you’re talking about this unemployment benefit, I think it’s really important to understand that Colorado has to step up in some way and accept some of the responsibility for that. I haven’t seen the bill yet — I’m not going to pass a judgment on the bill at this point — but in my mind, I think we have to make sure that we are putting the burden on the right level of government.

You can see what that’s probably not the best bit of public speaking for Team Buck to promote. We’d encourage you to watch the video yourself, if nothing else to catch the priceless reaction from Rep. Perlmutter as Buck rambles along.

One Twitter follower quickly noticed a different problem with Buck’s rambling:

Buck spent the early part of his career as a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice before serving two terms as the Weld County District Attorney. He was elected to Congress in 2014.

In a separate segment, Buck also decried the existence of extended unemployment benefits, repeating the oft-used GOP talking point that extended UI benefits are preventing the American workforce from fully recovering after the pandemic. Actual research, in fact, has shown that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE to support the idea that extended UI benefits were encouraging some Americans not to seek employment.

It’s well-known that Ken Buck will take every position on every subject at some point. Occasionally he even tries to make a logical argument, but most of the time — as in the segment above — Buck just spouts out words in an order that might make sense in his head but dies a quick death when exposed to outside air.

What Does Blue Do For You?

Back in May, we wrote in this space about reporting from The Colorado Sun related to how Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation were going about trying to secure federal funding for important local infrastructure and community projects in the wake of relaxed rules on “earmarks” in the new Congress.

Colorado Republicans in the House of Representatives have insisted that they will NOT participate in “member designated projects” or “community project funding requests” as part of some sort of narrow-minded protest against the earmark process in general. In March, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) even penned an Op-Ed for Newsweek in which he stated that “earmarks go hand-in-hand with corruption.”

Perhaps realizing that not supporting local projects is a bad look, Buck has since “Buckpedaled” on his opposition to earmarks with mealy-mouthed language about how he “supports” efforts by the City of Greeley to obtain funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Greeley Regional Interchange Project. Of course, Buck could have just made the funding request himself, but that would have conflicted with his efforts to pretend that he is ethically superior to other Members of Congress.

The point here is that while Colorado Republicans are shaking their fists at some mythical “Earmark Goblin,” Democrats in the House of Representatives are doing a LOT of work to move along important infrastructure and community projects in their home districts.

 

Perlmutter

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County), for example, helped to push through federal funding that will assist in making roadway and bike lane improvements on Federal Parkway; removing and replacing the I-70 Eastbound and Westbound bridges over 32nd Avenue; widening State Highway 72 (Indiana Street); and improvements to Wadsworth Blvd. and Colfax Ave. If you live in Arvada, Golden, Wheat Ridge, or Lakewood, you know how significant these improvements will be for your daily commute. Perlmutter also secured funding for 10 community projects (CPF) in CO-07, including body cameras for the Thornton Police Department; improvements to Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport; multimodal improvements to State Highway 93; and renovations for a new pediatric health clinic in Commerce City.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) promoted infrastructure projects that will revitalize the 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver and replace miles of decades-old light-rail track, switches, and concrete flatwork throughout Denver’s light-rail system. DeGette’s CPF requests includes money to help the City of Denver convert an old hotel into lodging for homeless residents; the creation of more affordable housing in Montbello; and assistance for Urban Peak in building a homeless shelter for children.

Crow

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) secured money to improve the Interchange at I-25 and Belleview; the intersection at Easter and Havana in Centennial; and the expansion of Gun Club Road in Aurora. His CPF requests include expanding services to domestic violence victims in Adams County; renovating the Village Exchange Center Facility;  funding for at-risk intervention and mentoring projects; and money for the Aurora Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center.

Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) helped push through funding for improvements to the Frisco Transit Center; State Highway 119; State Highway 52; State Highway 14; US 36; and the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel on I-70 that a good number of Coloradans will travel through at least once this year. His CPF requests include funding for domestic violence services in Adams County; support for a mechanical engineering partnership between Colorado State University and Adams State University; emergency operations in Gilpin County; wildfire risk reduction throughout CO-02; and a rural outreach partnership program run by the University of Colorado.

By comparison, Republican Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation made sure that local communities in their districts RECEIVED ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Lauren Boebert have brought $0 federal dollars back to their districts and local communities in 2021.

 

Guess who loses when Reps. Ken Buck, Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle), and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) refuse to participate in the process of procuring federal funding for local and community projects? The people who live in their district, that’s who.

(In Lamborn’s case, we’re not including any money that was spent on allowing his adult son to live in a storage room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol).

And who benefits from this refusal? Nobody, really, other than a couple of conservative grouches who work for anti-spending think tanks somewhere. Certainly nobody in Colorado is gaining anything from the inaction of these three Republicans. The constituents of CO-03, CO-04, and CO-05 should just be glad that Colorado has two Democratic U.S. Senators who are endeavoring to help fund other projects around the state.

If you want your elected officials to Tweet and gripe about social issues while ignoring their responsibilities to constituents, then you’re probably thrilled with Buck, Boebert, and Lamborn.

For everyone else, we’ll say it again: Elections matter.

Time To Admit Moving BLM To Grand Junction Was Wrong?

Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner passionately arguing for the relocation of BLM HQ to Grand Junction in 2019.

Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff follows up on a messy story we’ve been watching in the aftermath of the Trump administration’s four years of plundering management of the federal government–the controversial relocation of the Bureau of Land Management headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction, Colorado, sharing an office building with Chevron and other fossil fuel businesses.

That is to say the BLM would be sharing office space with Chevron, if the relocation to Grand Junction had actually happened. After all these years and consternation, the professionals who make up the Bureau have voted resoundingly with their feet:

Ex-BLM employees and public-lands advocates paint a dire picture of what happened to the agency following the relocation, which was announced by Gardner and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a Colorado native and longtime oil lobbyist, in July 2019. It’s a picture that was backed up by figures released by the Interior Department following President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January; out of hundreds of positions affected by the move, Interior officials said, 287 employees chose to resign or retire from the agency, while 41 accepted relocation. The latter number, however, includes employees who relocated to BLM field offices scattered throughout the West as part of a broader reorganization.

The number of employees who relocated to Grand Junction, BLM officials confirmed this week, is three…

“It is a joke,” [former BLM director Bob] Abbey said. “It would be humorous if there weren’t a lot of people whose livelihoods are dependent upon the Bureau of Land Management doing their job. And when that job’s not being performed, at any level of the organization, then it’s a disservice to the public that BLM employees are supposed to be serving.”

Today, the nominee to serve as the first permanent head of the BLM in over four years, Tracy Stone-Manning, is getting her first confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate. Stone-Manning, like her boss Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, have both criticized the relocation of BLM headquarters to Grand Junction. And as Woodruff reports, the results of the move speak for themselves. Rather than “moving the agency closer to communities they serve,” forcing this unwanted relocation on the Bureau has resulted in the experts being effectively disconnected from political decision making in Washington–which was perfect for the destructive purposes of the Trump administration, but a disaster for the Bureau’s mission to protect public lands.

Up against this emerging consensus, we have local Democrats who are still pushing for the BLM to come to Grand Junction while acknowledging, as Gov. Jared Polis does, that the Trump administration’s policies affecting public lands were “misguided.”

“While the Trump administration’s lack of knowledge of the West framed this initiative for him as one of energy dominance, the opportunity for [President Biden] is to see this initiative as an opportunity for locally driven conservation,” Polis wrote. “Where he seemed to think it would favor extractive industries, I know that Coloradans across our state realize the need to conserve the places we love.”

It’s important to note that the push to relocate the BLM’s headquarters to the West generally and Colorado in particular predated the Trump administration, and that’s where the support for the move among Colorado Democrats originated. Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner’s interest in moving the BLM was much more straightforwardly in line with the Trump administration’s desire to expand fossil fuel production. And at this point, it may be impossible to separate moving the BLM to Grand Junction from the Trump administration’s destructive motives for doing so.

Which means our local boosters might lose this one. In the larger scheme of things, they might need to.

We’ll just say Mt. Garfield isn’t a hill worth dying on.

Crow, Neguse, Perlmutter Tell Schumer To Ditch Filibuster

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Michael Bennet.

Colorado Public Radio’s D.C. correspondent Caitlyn Kim reports, 100 House Democrats sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pleading for Senate Democrats to take action on ending the legislative filibuster–the logjam now threatening the bulk of the ambitious agenda passed by the House and awaiting their fate in the Senate:

“My constituents do not care about arcane Senate rules or procedures,” said Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Aurora. “What they care about is ending gun violence. What they care about is providing quality affordable health care to their children. What they care about is the climate crisis.”

Crow admitted he’s not an expected champion for ending the filibuster, given the purple congressional district that he represents, but the second term lawmaker said he has had enough of seeing “bill after bill after bill” pass the Democratic-controlled House, only to die in the Senate…

Colorado Reps. Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter also signed onto the letter. Neguse highlighted bills around voting rights and gun safety that the House passed, but went nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate last session and look to be stalled this year because the Democratic-controlled Senate cannot get past that 60-vote barrier.

“Our constituents are tired of excuses. They are tired of inaction. They expect the Senate to do its job,” Neguse said. “It’s time for the Senate to get it together and take action and start legislating for the benefit of the American people.”

In the U.S. Senate, of course, the so-far intractable opposition of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to eliminating the legislative filibuster is a problem for which no solution has yet emerged. Among Colorado’s two Democratic Senators, Michael Bennet is by far the most vocal proponent of changing the rules to get legislation passed, citing his decade of experience in the Senate watching good bills die on the vine.

The situation will come to a head, and Senate Democrats who are standing in the way of the Democratic agenda arriving on President Joe Biden’s desk will have to make a choice. That choice will have a major impact–materially, and also politically on Democratic performance in the 2022 midterms.

Local Democrats should be thankful for Bennet, encouraging John Hickenlooper to do the right thing when the time comes, and reciting the Alcoholics Anomymous serenity prayer for the Joe Manchins they cannot change.

Biden Closes “AR Pistol” Loophole After Boulder

President Joe Biden.

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter previewed a series of executive orders from President Joe Biden announced a short while ago this morning in response to recent mass shootings including the killing of ten people at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder last month:

President Joe Biden’s administration will announce Thursday that it will further regulate a gun accessory allegedly used in the March 22 mass shooting in Boulder.

A senior administration official with knowledge of the coming executive orders said Wednesday that by early June, the U.S. Justice Department “will issue a proposed rule to make clear that when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, that firearm is subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.”

“As we know, the shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month used a pistol with an arm brace, which makes the firearm more stable and accurate,” added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In addition to this order to limit access to the specific configuration of AR-15 assault weapon used in the Boulder shooting, the Biden administration will also crack down on so-called “ghost guns,” guns fabricated at home using “finishing kits” and 3D printed parts to evade background checks. And in another nod to Colorado’s leadership on gun safety, the Department of Justice is being asked to draw up a “model” red-flag law to allow family members and law enforcement to temporarily take away guns from at-risk people like Colorado already has on the books.

In short, these are appropriate but limited actions that may nonetheless not satisfy the majority of the public in favor of stronger gun laws–but as NBC News reports they’re being characterized as just the beginning of a broader effort:

In a call with reporters Wednesday night, administration officials stressed that Thursday’s actions were just the first step and that Biden would still pursue legislative solutions to gun violence.

“This is an initial set of actions to make progress on President Biden’s gun violence reduction agenda,” one official said. “The administration will be pursuing legislative and executive actions at the same time. You will continue to hear the president call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence.”

As surely as we can predict another mass shooting tragedy, the debate over gun safety is far from over.

Get More Smarter on Friday (March 26)

It might actually start to FEEL like Spring later this weekend. 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 

 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law new voting rules that significantly restrict voter access and prohibit allowing people to bring water to someone standing in line to vote. This is part of a broad effort around the country by Republicans to make it harder for non-Republican voters to cast a ballot. As The Washington Post reports:

The measure is one of the first major voting bills to pass as dozens of state legislatures consider restrictions on how ballots are cast and counted in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, when President Donald Trump attacked without evidence the integrity of election results in six states he lost, including Georgia.

The new law imposes new identification requirements for those casting ballots by mail; curtails the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots; allows electors to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters and requires counties to hold hearings on such challenges within 10 days; makes it a crime for third-party groups to hand out food and water to voters standing in line; blocks the use of mobile voting vans, as Fulton County did last year after purchasing two vehicles at a cost of more than $700,000; and prevents local governments from directly accepting grants from the private sector.

The 95-page law also strips authority from the secretary of state, making him a nonvoting member of the State Election Board, and allows lawmakers to initiate takeovers of local election boards — measures that critics said could allow partisan appointees to slow down or block election certification or target heavily Democratic jurisdictions, many of which are in the Atlanta area and are home to the state’s highest concentrations of Black and Brown voters.

The measure, backed by Republicans, sailed out of the state House and Senate on party-line votes in a single afternoon.

As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, Republicans seeking to roll back voting rights are relying on a false narrative that they created themselves:

Republicans are deeply concerned about voter fraud because their voters believe the 2020 election was stolen from them, we are told, and Republicans merely want to restore their confidence in future elections.

This claim is absolutely central to the massive new wave of GOP voter suppression efforts — and utterly, insultingly preposterous to its core. Yet because we hear it constantly, it regularly skates past without even being remarked upon.

But it’s nonsense, and it should be called out as such every single time.

The Republican assault on voting rights is getting even more absurd in Missouri, where state lawmakers are trying to pretend that a ballot measure approved in 2020 with 53% of the vote didn’t win by enough votes for them to proceed with funding the measure.

Elsewhere, Vox.com wonders if Republicans understand that they are cutting off their own nose to spite Democrats.

 

The Denver Post has more on efforts led by Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) to convince President Biden to sign an executive order banning the importation of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Neguse’s efforts are spurred by Monday’s shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder.

Meanwhile, 9News reports that the suspected Boulder shooter did pass a background check when he purchased the weapon allegedly used to kill 10 people. The gun safety advocacy group Moms Demand Action held a vigil for victims on Thursday.

 

► As The New York Times reports, some far-right extremists who promoted the false “stop the steal” Presidential election narrative have found a new battle:

Although negative reactions have been relatively rare, the numbers are used by many extremist groups to try to bolster a rash of false and alarmist disinformation in articles and videos with titles like “Covid-19 Vaccines Are Weapons of Mass Destruction — and Could Wipe out the Human Race” or “Doctors and Nurses Giving the Covid-19 Vaccine Will be Tried as War Criminals.”

If the so-called Stop the Steal movement appeared to be chasing a lost cause once President Biden was inaugurated, its supporters among extremist organizations are now adopting a new agenda from the anti-vaccination campaign to try to undermine the government.

Bashing of the safety and efficacy of vaccines is occurring in chat rooms frequented by all manner of right-wing groups including the Proud Boys; the Boogaloo movement, a loose affiliation known for wanting to spark a second Civil War; and various paramilitary organizations.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 23)

We don’t know what to say anymore, either, but this is a good start. 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 

 

As The Denver Post reports, authorities have identified the names of 10 people killed during a shooting rampage at a King Soopers in Boulder on Monday. President Biden ordered flags at the White House to fly at half-staff in honor of the victims of Monday’s shootings. Biden plans to speak about the Boulder shooting this afternoon.

Police have also identified the suspect in Monday’s shooting as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa. As Yahoo! News reports, Alissa apparently suffered from severe mental problems:

Ali Aliwi Alissa, the suspect’s 34-year-old brother, told The Daily Beast that authorities searched his house all night after the shooting.

Alissa described his brother as “very anti-social” and paranoid, adding that, in high school, he would describe “being chased, someone is behind him, someone is looking for him.”

“When he was having lunch with my sister in a restaurant, he said, ‘People are in the parking lot, they are looking for me.’ She went out, and there was no one. We didn’t know what was going on in his head,” Alissa said, admitting that he believes his brother is mentally ill.

 

► As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, the Metro area has dealt with a disproportionate number of mass shootings in recent years:

Colorado has a disproportionate share of survivors of gun violence and of people like (State Rep. Tom) Sullivan, whose loved ones were killed. A 2019 analysis by The Denver Post found Colorado had more mass shootings per capita than all but four states. The Census-designated Denver metropolitan statistical area had more school shootings per capita since 1999 than any of the country’s 24 other largest metro areas.

 

► State lawmakers are speaking out about Monday’ shooting in Boulder. Meghan Lopez of Denver7 is following along with a running Twitter thread:

 

► Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) sent out a fundraising email TWO HOURS AFTER the Boulder shootings asking for donations to her campaign as she fights against any form of gun control. On Tuesday morning, Boebert issued a statement saying that she “refuses” to use the Boulder shootings as a springboard for advancing political issues.

 

► Let’s catch up on more news from the Colorado legislature:

Lawmakers and Gov. Jared Polis are planning a statewide listening tour to discuss how Colorado can best spend billions of dollars in federal relief money from the American Recovery Plan.

Colorado Republicans seem to be having some sort of competition about who can introduce the worst legislation.

A media literacy bill passed out of the State House on Monday and now heads to the State Senate.

Legislation intended to create more accountability on the use of ketamine by first responders is moving along at the State Capitol.

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require ski resorts to be more transparent about injuries suffered on the slopes.

A proposal to privatize Pinnacol Assurance is kaput.

 

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

 

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Impeachment Deux’s Biggest Winner? Rep. Joe Neguse

Rep. Joe Neguse (D).

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports, although the second impeachment trial of now ex-President Donald Trump ended in the same predictable acquittal as Trump’s first trial year ago, the compelling performance of Colorado’s two impeachment managers, Joe Neguse and Diana DeGette, has set them up for political dividends even as the immediate battle was lost:

Thirty-six people have been a presidential impeachment manager in American history and none younger than 36-year-old Rep. Joe Neguse. The Lafayette Democrat played a prominent role this week, often speaking just after lead manager Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin.

“Neguse is really making a national name for himself through this impeachment trial,” said Michael Berry, a professor of political science at the University of Colorado – Denver…

Neguse’s trial remarks have given him a national spotlight — as last year’s trial did for [Rep. Jason] Crow — and bipartisan hat tips. Benjamin Wittes at the think tank Brookings Institution said Neguse’s opening remarks Tuesday were the best in any modern impeachment trial. Republican consultant Tim Miller said Neguse “absolutely eviscerated” the Trump defense’s arguments that day. E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post called him “part Columbo, part Perry Mason, part Harry Bosch and part Jerry Edgar.”

Politico reports similarly effusive praise from all sides:

Rep. Madeleine Dean is being talked about as a potential candidate for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania in 2022, a top priority for the party. Democratic strategists are speculating that Rep. Joaquin Castro, relatively well-known before the impeachment trial, further distinguished himself as an impeachment manager, advancing talk of a statewide bid in Texas. And an ex-Jeb Bush aide went so far as to say that Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse gave his “2004 convention speech” — a nod to former President Barack Obama’s breakout moment in politics… [Pols emphasis]

For some of the managers, their presentations were shared widely on social media. Neguse, who is an attorney and the youngest impeachment manager, won acclaim for his compelling and high-minded arguments.

As the dean of Colorado’s congressional delegation and a member of Congress for over 25 years, Rep. DeGette already benefits from good name recognition. For Rep. Neguse, last week’s impeachment trial was more of an introduction to a nationwide audience–and Neguse did not miss the chance to make a great first impression. A preview of what was to come in this second trial was provided during the House Judiciary Committee hearings leading up to Trump’s first impeachment trial in late 2019, in which Neguse distinguished himself similarly.

As for upward mobility supercharged by last week’s high-profile exposure, Neguse of course must wait until the Democrats who occupy every statewide office he would consider trading up to themselves move up or out. For example, had Sen. Michael Bennet been appointed to a Cabinet position in Joe Biden’s administration, Neguse would have been by far the likeliest candidate to replace him.

Whatever comes next, there’s not a single office we can think of for which Joe Neguse would not be a stellar candidate. We talk a lot about Colorado’s deep bench of Democrats ready to move up to be the next governor or U.S. Senator or even beyond–and whether we mention him by name or not, Neguse is almost always who we’re thinking of first and foremost.

Now the whole country knows why.

Senate Republicans Acquit Trump for Second Time

UPDATE: Statement from impeachment manager Rep. Diana DeGette on today’s decision:

“Our case was strong, the facts were clear and the evidence we presented was overwhelming. This was the largest bipartisan vote to impeach a president ever, and even Mitch McConnell agreed that we proved our case. It’s shameful that so many Senate Republicans chose to hide behind a faulty technicality instead of considering the facts as we had laid them out.

“President Trump incited a violent insurrection against our government. He used his platform as the president of the United States to launch a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol building to try to stop Congress from certifying the election for his opponent. It was the highest of high crimes. It was the greatest betrayal of office. And it was the most brazen attack on our own government by a sitting U.S. president that our nation has ever seen.

“Our goal in pursuing a conviction against Donald Trump for his conduct was not to punish him, but to prevent the type of violence that took place that day from ever happening again. While we didn’t get the conviction we ultimately sought, I believe we made our case to the American people. And that’s just as important because, at the end of the day, they are now the ones who will ultimately decide whether Donald Trump is ever allowed to hold public office again.”

—–

Twice impeached, twice acquitted by Senate Republicans

As The Washington Post reports:

Senate Republicans voted against convicting Donald Trump Saturday for inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol Jan. 6, bringing a swift end to the former president’s second impeachment trial after Democrats abandoned plans to call witnesses in the face of GOP opposition.

Seven Republicans joined Democrats in a 57-43 vote in favor of conviction, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump in the Senate. Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Patrick Toomey (Pa.) were the Republicans who voted with Democrats.

There was never much of a question about whether Senate Republicans would vote to acquit former President Trump on impeachment charges for inciting an insurrection. There were enough Trump lackeys in the Senate who had made up their minds on impeachment well before the trial even began; that includes Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who advised Trump’s legal team on strategy and said on his podcast Friday that he told Trump’s team that they had “already won.”

As the Post reports, the vote to acquit Trump came after the Senate voted to allow witness testimony to take place in the impeachment trial:

The drama earlier Saturday began when lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) opened the day’s proceedings with an unexpected request to call Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) as a witness following reports of her account that Trump had refused the entreaties of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to call off the rioters.

Herrera Beutler described an expletive-laden phone call in which Trump falsely claimed that the rioters were members of antifa, the loose-knit movement of sometimes violent liberal activists. He also accused McCarthy of caring less about Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s victory than the rioters did.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) had told Democrats earlier Saturday that the decision about witnesses would be left to the House managers. So after Raskin’s request, the chamber voted 55-45 to allow witnesses, with five Republicans joining Democrats and with the chamber sliding into uncertainty as groups of senators huddled for hours to figure out what would come next.

Despite the vote, Senate Democrats remained cool to the idea of calling witnesses and extending the impeachment trial, believing that no amount of evidence was going to dissuade Trump backers from sticking with the former President. House impeachment managers ultimately agreed and allowed the proceedings to come to a close with a final vote.

McConnell can talk himself blue in the face, but that won’t excuse another acquittal.

Senate Republicans will now try to explain their decision to let Trump skate while many also acknowledge the damage caused by The Big Orange Guy. As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rushed to the microphone to make an ass out of himself soon after casting a vote to acquit Trump:

McConnell said Saturday that the former president is “practically and morally responsible” for provoking the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — but that the Senate was upholding the Constitution by acquitting him.

“The Senate’s decision today does not condone anything that happened on or before that terrible day,” McConnell said. “It simply shows that senators did what the former president failed to do: We put our constitutional duty first.”…

…McConnell spent much of his remarks condemning Trump’s actions and directly linking them to the Jan. 6 insurrection. The former president’s supporters, he argued, launched their violent attack “because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth, because he was angry he lost an election.”

That’s some pretty remarkable cowardice right there.

On a more positive note, Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) put an exclamation point on a week that saw his national profile increase considerably. Neguse’s final speech urging the Senate to convict Trump on inciting an insurrection featured a number of powerful lines that will be repeated for a long time:

Get More Smarter on Friday (February 12)

Midday Tuesday: That’s when temperatures in the Denver Metro area are expected to get back ABOVE freezing. Let’s get even more smarterer before our brains get all icy. 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 

 

► House impeachment managers wrapped up their case against President Trump on Thursday, with Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) again taking key roles. As The Denver Post reports:

As she made her case Thursday that former President Donald Trump must be convicted by the U.S. Senate for inciting an insurrection, Colorado U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette replayed and read aloud the words of Trump supporters who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Their own statements before, during and after the attack make clear: the attack was done for Donald Trump, at his instructions and to fulfill his wishes,” said the Denver Democrat, a prosecutor in Trump’s second impeachment trial. “Donald Trump had sent them there. They truly believed that the whole intrusion was at the president’s orders and we know that because they said so.”…

…Neguse, a Lafayette Democrat, gave a nine-minute speech late Wednesday afternoon. He attempted to pre-emptively cut down arguments from Trump’s lawyers that the former president’s remarks on Jan. 6 were free speech protected by the 1st Amendment.

“No president, no matter their politics or the politics of their followers — conservative, liberal or anything else — no president can do what President Trump did,” Neguse said. “Because this isn’t about politics, it’s about his refusal to accept the outcome of the election and his decision to incite an insurrection. There’s no serious argument that the 1st Amendment protects that.”

Colorado Public Radio has more on Thursday’s performances from DeGette and Neguse.

Impeachment 2.0 now shifts to the defense of former President Trump from his bumbling batch of lawyers. The front page of CNN summarizes the defense team’s approach pretty simply:

CNN.com (2/11/21)

 

Senate Republicans appear to be largely unswayed by compelling arguments made by the House impeachment team — including evidence that former President Trump knew full well that Vice President Mike Pence was under siege when he sent a threatening Tweet. Many of the GOP Senators are not even bothering to pretend that they are paying attention anymore.

 

As The New York Times reports, federal prosecutors charging members of the Oath Keepers militia movement say that the members themselves claim to have stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 at then-President Trump’s behest:

The new accounts about the Oath Keepers’ role in the Capitol assault came on the third day of former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial and included allegations that a member of the militia group was “awaiting direction” from Mr. Trump about how to handle the results of the vote in the days that followed the election. “POTUS has the right to activate units too,” the Oath Keepers member, Jessica M. Watkins, wrote in a text message to an associate on Nov. 9, according to court papers. “If Trump asks me to come, I will.”

This seems like a relevant point for Republican Senators to consider as they ponder impeachment questions. But if you are the betting type, it would still be hard to put money on the GOP doing anything other than looking the other way.

 

It’s amazing what you can get done when you have a President who actually knows what he’s doing. As The Washington Post reports:

President Biden said Thursday that his administration had finalized deals for another 200 million doses of the two coronavirus vaccines authorized in the United States, giving the country enough vaccine by the end of July to cover every American adult.

In remarks capping an afternoon tour of the National Institutes of Health, Biden said the federal government had purchased 100 million more doses from Pfizer and German company BioNTech, as well as 100 million more from Moderna, using options built into existing contracts with those companies.

The announcement was the centerpiece of an emotional address from Biden, who made a point of speaking through his mask as he called it a “patriotic responsibility” to wear one.

The United States will now have about 600 million vaccine doses by the summer, which is enough to vaccinate every American with the recommended two doses.

 

Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) loves to talk about “law and order”…just as long as the conversation isn’t about her or her COVID hotspot eatery, “Shooters Grill.”

Meanwhile, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel picks up the thread of Boebert paying off $20k worth of liens at around the same time she wrote herself a $21k mileage reimbursement check from her campaign.

 

Nearly 10% of Denver residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Major retailers such as Wal-Mart and King Soopers will soon be offering the vaccine to customers.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (February 11)

Happy “National White T-Shirt Day” (it’s not what you might think). Let’s get even more smarterer; 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 

 

Day three of Impeachment 2.0 is well underway, kicking off with the first appearance of Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) in her role as a House impeachment manager (another Colorado Member of Congress, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish), has been perhaps the breakout star of the hearings thus far). The Washington Post explains more about what to expect from today:

The House managers opened the second day of their presentation Thursday by trying to strengthen the case that former president Donald Trump incited the violent Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Democratic managers are initially focusing on what the insurrectionists said about their motivations.

On Wednesday, the managers used surveillance footage from the Capitol, along with Trump’s own words and tweets, to try to build a case against him. Trump’s attorneys are scheduled to begin their presentation on Friday. A verdict could come as early as the weekend.

The New York Times summarizes the action from Wednesday, which included more new video clips from January 6:

Filling the Senate chamber with the profane screams of the attackers, images of police officers being brutalized, and near-miss moments in which Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers came steps away from confronting a mob hunting them down, the prosecutors made an emotional case that Mr. Trump’s election lies had directly endangered the heart of American democracy.

They played frantic police radio calls warning that “we’ve lost the line,” body camera footage showing an officer pummeled with poles and fists on the West Front of the Capitol, and silent security tape from inside showing Mr. Pence, his family and members of the House and Senate racing to evacuate as the mob closed in, chanting: “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”

All of it, the nine Democratic managers said, was the foreseeable and intended outcome of Mr. Trump’s desperate attempts to cling to the presidency. Reaching back as far as last summer, they traced how he spent months cultivating not only the “big lie” that the election was “rigged” against him, but stoking the rage of a throng of supporters who made it clear that they would do anything — including resorting to violence — to help him.

Chris Cillizza of CNN provides his 5 key takeaways from Wednesday. Here’s the key video footage from Wednesday provided by House impeachment managers:

 

► Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on Rep. Joe Neguse’s performance Wednesday:

Neguse’s role in the impeachment trial has given the talented orator a national audience and drawn applause from pundits and politicians across the political spectrum. He’s a sophomore in the House and a rising star within the Democratic Party who has climbed the leadership ranks since his election in 2018.

On Wednesday, Neguse’s job was to “provide a roadmap” of the prosecutors’ evidentiary case, in the words of lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Neguse explained the case in broad terms, before six other managers went into greater detail.

“As you’ll see during the course of this trial, that mob was summoned, assembled and incited by the former president of the United States, Donald Trump,” Neguse alleged. “And he did that because he wanted to stop the transfer of power, so that he could retain power, even though he had lost the election.”

 

Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) offers up a new explanation for $22k in mileage reimbursement claims from her 2020 campaign that includes something about having to buy new tires. This is not going well for Boebert, who is dealing with a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics for questionable campaign spending.

 

State officials say that half of Coloradans age 70 and older have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Less clear is the number of first responders to have received a vaccine in Colorado.

As 9News reports, there are 57 confirmed cases of a COVID variant in Colorado believed to have originated in the U.K.. Officials say there are no confirmed variants from Brazil or South Africa in our state.

You may want to avoid Winter Park for awhile; the ski resort area has seen a huge outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

 

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

 

(more…)

Impeachment 2.0, Day 3

UPDATE: Rep. Joe Neguse once again brings it home:

—–

 

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) is making her first appearance today as one of the House impeachment managers.

The New York Times has more on what to expect in today’s (likely) final remarks from House impeachment managers prosecuting the case against former President Trump:

A day after delivering the Senate a harrowing account of the deadly violence, replete with chilling new video footage, the impeachment managers planned to pivot on the trial’s third day to argue why Mr. Trump must be the first impeached president ever convicted, and the first ex-president disqualified from holding future office.

Their task is a daunting one, aimed at persuading Republican senators who have shown no appetite for breaking with Mr. Trump, and building a historical record of his role in the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. Led by Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, they planned to assert that Mr. Trump’s actions badly damaged the nation’s standing around the world and warn that if left unpunished, the former president would be free to return to power and endanger democracy.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (February 10)

On this day in 1967, the 25th Amendment to the Constitution was formally ratified. Let’s get even more smarterer; 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 

 

► The historic second impeachment trial against former President Trump began on Tuesday with some impressive arguments from House impeachment managers and a bunch of meandering nonsense from Trump’s lawyers. As The Washington Post reports:

Several Republican senators on Tuesday criticized the performance of lawyers representing former president Donald Trump at his impeachment trial, with at least one saying that the “disorganized, random” arguments by Trump’s attorneys were what motivated him to change his mind and vote with Democrats.

After listening to opening statements, the Senate voted 56 to 44 to move forward with the impeachment trial, rejecting Trump’s legal team’s arguments that it was unconstitutional to do so. The vote mostly split along party lines and was almost identical to a similar one that was held last month.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the only Republican senator to switch his vote to support moving forward with Trump’s impeachment trial, blasted the meandering opening statements by Trump’s attorneys as incoherent and ineffective.

Chris Cillizza of CNN breaks down some of the more puzzling comments from Trump attorney Bruce Castor. This headline from The Philadelphia Inquirer sums things up nicely:

 

As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, Trump was apparently very upset with the performance of his legal team on Tuesday…but at least it gave him something to talk about:

He has recently gloated about falling ratings at Fox News, the conservative-leaning news channel that he abandoned in recent months in favor of rivals Newsmax and One America News. One person who spoke with the former president described him as sounding “bored out of his mind” and pressing for gossip: “What are you hearing? What are they saying?” Trump queried. [Pols emphasis]

“He’s still licking his wounds to some extent, and he’s also waiting for this to be behind him,” said one Republican in Trump’s orbit, adding dryly, “and then he’ll relaunch himself as the savior of the Republican Party.”

POLITICO has more on Trump’s reaction to Tuesday’s opening day of impeachment discussions.

 

The second impeachment trial against Trump is making a star out of Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish), who took a lead role on Tuesday and again today. Late Tuesday, Chris Cillizza of CNN echoed what many national outlets and pundits were saying about the performance of Neguse:

Neguse has the makings of a future face of the national Democratic Party — and he showed why on Tuesday.

Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on Neguse.

 

Democrat Kerry Donovan raised more than $100,000 in less than five days after announcing that she will run against Republican Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert in 2022.

 

Colorado Public Radio examines how Democrats plan to push for a “public option” health care reform plan when the state legislature reconvenes next week:

Democratic lawmakers have a new message for the health care industry: bring down patient costs by 2024, or face competition from a government-controlled plan.

That’s the gist of a “public option” bill some lawmakers plan to introduce in this year’s legislative session.

“I think it’s important to bring back the public option this year, and to continue to work on lowering the cost of health care, no matter how we can do that, because it’s still one of the top issues I hear from the people that I represent,” said state Sen. Kerry Donovan, who will sponsor the bill alongside Rep. Dylan Roberts.

The proposal was set to be a top priority for Democrats last year, only to be derailed by the pandemic. This year, a new version will include some changes intended to ease opposition from the health care industry.

The 2021 Colorado legislative session begins in earnest on Feb. 16.

 

 Colorado is expected to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 vaccines made available to the state.

 

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

 

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The GMS Podcast: Impeachment 2, Trumplectic Trumpaloo

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk Impeachment 2.0; keep apologizing to the rest of the country for Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert as the first serious contender to challenge for CO-3 announces; and discuss the Republican “Civil War,” to the extent that it really exists.

Later, we travel back to 2009 and consider whether or not Democrats have learned any lessons about governing on the federal level; we preview the 2021 legislative session; and delve into another update about the 2022 election.

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 Friday (January 8)

Happy “Typing Day.” Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

► As POLITICO reports, momentum continues to build for impeaching President Trump:

House Democrats are moving quickly toward impeaching President Donald Trump as early next week, a reflection of the seething outrage that remains over his incitement of deadly riots inside the U.S. Capitol.

Timing remains in flux and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to make a decision on exactly how to proceed, including whether to pursue a constitutional process that could remove Trump without impeachment. Top Democrats are still in talks with all their members and will hold a caucus-wide call at noon. But they are expected to decide today on their next steps, according to several lawmakers and aides.

Whether or not Trump could officially be impeached before his time in office expires at noon on January 20 is less important than holding Trump accountable for this week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol:

If Democrats pass articles early next week — and Pelosi immediately sent them to the Senate — the Senate would be required to begin a trial immediately under congressional rules. Trump’s first impeachment trial, on charges he abused his power and obstructed a congressional investigation, ultimately lasted four weeks before the Senate delivered its verdict.

That timetable suggests the goal of any impeachment is unlikely to be Trump’s removal and is much more focused on the option to prevent him from holding federal office in the future. Some Democrats believe that possibility could woo Senate Republicans, some of whom are eyeing a 2024 bid themselves.

 

CNN reports on another tragic loss resulting from the Trump mob’s attack on the Capitol building:

Prosecutors in the US Attorney’s office plan to open a federal murder investigation into the death of Brian D. Sicknick, a US Capitol Police officer who died Thursday night, a law enforcement official tells CNN.

Sicknick was injured Wednesday when a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol. He died at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday “due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” Capitol Police officials said in a statement.
The death is being investigated by the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide branch, the US Capitol Police and their federal partners.

Sicknick was many Capitol Police officers who were attacked with lead pipes and other blunt instruments.

 

 As Marianne Goodland reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, there is a growing list of high-profile names and organizations calling on the resignation of Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Doug Lamborn for taking part in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election:

The letter said the two lawmakers “have betrayed the trust of Colorado voters by helping incite violence against the body you were elected to, a body designed to serve us. By endorsing the president’s unsubstantiated and repeatedly debunked, discredited, and false claims of voter fraud, you encouraged and tacitly endorsed the actions of these terrorists and threatened the basic foundation of our democracy.”…

…Signatories to the letter include seven Democratic members of the Colorado General Assembly, city council members in Aurora, Broomfield, Denver and Edgewater; former Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Trish Zornio and Lorena Garcia, and two dozen progressive organizations, including unions, Planned Parenthood and ProgressNow Colorado.

Meanwhile, Boebert appears to have no concept of the harm she and fellow Trumpians have caused. In a video released today, Boebert sounds absolutely looney:

Boebert says that she wants people to view her floor speech on Wednesday. We agree. Here it is.

#ResignBoebert.

 

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

 

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Neguse Takes Leading Role Opposing GOP Election Challenge

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

A group of Republican Members of Congress on Wednesday will object to efforts to finalize the 2020 election of Democrat Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. These efforts are widely expected to fail, as POLITICO explains:

The Senate Republicans opposed to certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win are heading toward a hefty defeat on Wednesday. The only remaining question is this: how badly do they lose?

Just 11 GOP senators have joined the effort led by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to object to Congress’ routine approval of Biden’s Electoral College win. That makes 13 supporters — and many more have come out swinging against it…

…At least 21 GOP senators will vote to certify Biden’s election win, according to a series of interviews and statements. As of midday Tuesday, 17 Republican senators had not said what they would do publicly. With every Senate Democrat also sure to reject the challenge to Biden’s victory, President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign will easily fail even as it succeeds in splitting the GOP.

Wednesday’s last-ditch effort by Trump supporters to somehow keep The Big Orange Guy in the White House won’t be without involvement from Colorado’s Congressional delegation. Freshman Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and longtime Colorado Springs Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn will both oppose certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory. Colorado’s third Republican Member of Congress, Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley, has announced that he will NOT participate in efforts to block Biden’s victory.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) is among four members of the House of Representatives who will be responsible for arguing against nonsense claims against decertification. As Kyle Cheney of POLITICO reports:

Neguse and three other Democratic House Members will lead the debate on Republican objections to certifying Biden’s victory. This is another big moment for a Colorado Democrat; last year Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) was among seven House Members given the task of serving as “impeachment managers” in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. Crow earned rave reviews for his steady performance, despite the fact that the Republican-controlled Senate ultimately let Trump off the hook.

We don’t expect to hear much from Lamborn on Wednesday, but Republicans may allow Boebert to be among the GOP House Members who will attempt to make some sort of argument in favor of overturning the will of American voters.

In this debate — or any other, for that matter — we’d gladly put our chips behind Neguse over Boebert.

LIVE: Colorado Election Night 2020

UPDATE: Colorado called for Joe Biden and John Hickenlooper by national outlets at 7:01pm.

Welcome to blue statehood.

—–

Wondering where to watch tonight’s election returns? Well, wonder no more!

Your friends from “The Get More Smarter Podcast” will be LIVE tonight for an Election Night Extravaganza. Special guests will be dropping by throughout the evening to discuss 2020 election results in real time. We’ll kick things off at 6:30 pm on Facebook and Periscope. Check us out on YouTube or CLICK HERE FOR THE FACEBOOK LINK.

Who Wears it Better (Theoretically)?

The U.S. Senate campaign of Democrat John Hickenlooper is out with a new Spanish-language television ad featuring former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. As you can see yourself, there’s something…different about Salazar:

Apparently, Ken Salazar is rocking a mustache these days. Since we could all use a little lighthearted humor with the election cycle finishing up its final three weeks, we wondered how other Colorado politicians might look if they decided to change up their style by adding the ol’ face caterpillar.

Clockwise from top left: John Hickenlooper, Cory Gardner, Joe Neguse, Ken Buck, Jared Polis, Doug Lamborn

Now, we’ve long been of the opinion that politicians who want to be re-elected should avoid a mustache at all costs, but what say you, Polsters?

Click after the jump to vote on which one of these imaginary facial decorations works best…

 

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Senate Republicans Fail Americans

The U.S. House of Representatives is in session today. The U.S. Senate…is not.

The House passed a massive coronavirus relief package in May called the “Heroes Act.” The Senate has not taken up this legislation and has instead tried — and failed — to craft something of its own. Extended unemployment benefits passed by Congress in March will expire at the end of this month, but Senate Republicans were unable to come up with a plan to help the 20-25 million unemployed Americans who desperately need this assistance. So they went home for a 3-day weekend, saying they’ll try again next week.

Quite the conundrum, eh?

One of the major holdups is that Senate Republicans can’t agree on how much to reduce the $600 weekly benefits that some worry are a “disincentive” to seek employment (nevermind that such employment may not exist at the moment). As The Washington Post explains:

In practice, the jobless benefit lapse means that millions of workers are seeing their last enhanced benefit payment this week.

You may not be able to pay your rent at the end of next week, but that’s apparently not a huge concern for Senate Republicans, who have been screwing around with this proposal for two months and were in no hurry to move things along while they gathered for lunch on Thursday:

CNN’s Manu Raju (top) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

Oh, and if you’re wondering: Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) rushed back to Colorado today for a photo op in Greenwood Village with First Daughter Ivanka Trump.

This Sunday will mark 100 days to go until the November 3 election.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Rep. Joe Neguse

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast…the coronavirus is still a thing; election laws are merely suggestions; and Colorado Republicans are shooting first and aiming later.

We also have a long discussion with Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) who tells us what it’s like in Congress with everyone wearing masks and social distancing, and how we’re moving forward with the next few rounds of coronavirus legislation (including a bill sponsored by Neguse to help out smaller municipal governments).

If you missed last week’s episode, check it out when you’re done here.

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

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