Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 30)

And that about does it for September; please tip your servers, or whatever. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

So, yeah, about that debate last night…

Here’s analysis from The New York Times; CNN; POLITICO; National Public Radio; and The Washington Post.

Via The Washington Post (9/29/20)

As Vox.com reports, polling info from Data for Progress indicates Vice President Joe Biden was the clear winner from Tuesday:

A new poll by Data for Progress provided exclusively to Vox shows that viewers thought Democratic nominee Joe Biden decisively won Tuesday’s first presidential debate against President Donald Trump, by a 52-39 margin.

The poll surveyed debate watchers but then weighted the demographics of the survey group to the population of likely voters in November. Most pollsters don’t do this, which ends up skewing their results toward Democrats because left-leaning college graduates are disproportionately likely to watch debates.

But even with the more Trump-friendly weighting, the poll shows a clear win for Biden and, not coincidentally, a fairly overwhelming sense that Biden’s conduct during the debate was more presidential.

 

► Perhaps the most important moment of Tuesday’s Presidential “debate” came later in the discussion, when President Trump refused to condemn white supremacists and militia groups:

As The Hill reports, these comments were…problematic for Trump aides to defend:

White House and campaign aides on Wednesday struggled to clean up President Trump’s comments a night earlier in which he declined to explicitly condemn white supremacy, instead directing a far-right group to “stand back and stand by” during the first presidential debate.

Trump’s comments about the Proud Boys, a far-right militia group, dominated headlines the morning after the debate.

Multiple Trump surrogates faced questions about the remarks during cable news hits, where they downplayed his calls for the group to “stand by” and pointed to the president’s past denunciations of white supremacists.

“The President’s past denunciations of white supremacists”? When was this? As Chris Cillizza notes for CNN, Trump has a LONG history of NOT calling out these extremist groups.

Via CNN (9/30/20)

And as NBC News reports, the “Proud Boys” were very, um, proud on Tuesday evening:

The Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, pledged allegiance to President Donald Trump on Tuesday night after he told the group to “stand back and stand by” during the first presidential debate.

Many people on social media who identify with the group echoed that language, saying they were “standing down and standing by.” One known social media account for the group made “Stand back. Stand by” part of its new logo.

As The Colorado Times Recorder reports, this was not the first time that Trump has winked at the “Proud Boys.”

 

House Democrats continue to push for another coronavirus relief package, negotiating terms with the White House and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in the absence of any involvement from Senate Republicans.

 

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 29)

We’d say, “let’s get ready to rumble,” but we don’t want to get sued. Instead, 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

Debate!

The first General Election debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden takes place tonight in Cleveland, OH. The 90-minute, commercial-free debate at Case Western Reserve University begins at 7:00 pm (Colorado time).

Tonight’s debate may be the last good chance Trump has for defining Biden. POLITICO explains why the stakes are so high. A new poll from The Washington Post shows Biden opening a big lead in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

 

There have now been more than 1 million deaths worldwide from COVID-19. As The Associated Press reports, that’s probably a low estimate:

Even at 1 million — greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas, more than four times the number killed in the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean — the toll is almost certainly a vast undercount.

Many deaths were probably missed because of insufficient testing and inconsistent reporting, and some suspect concealment by countries like Russia and Brazil.

And the number continues to mount. Nearly 5,000 deaths are reported each day on average. Parts of Europe are getting hit by new outbreaks and experts fear a second wave may await the U.S.

Here in Colorado, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise — as does the number of hospitalizations related to the virus.

 

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is one of nine male Republican Senators who will meet today with Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Gardner is the only one of the nine who is in danger of losing re-election in 2020; going ahead with this meeting anyway indicates that Gardner realizes his goose is cooked. [UPDATE: Or maybe Gardner is NOT participating in the meeting today?]

Meanwhile, The Colorado Times Recorder reports that Gardner is changing up his tune on why he opposed a confirmation hearing for a SCOTUS nominee in 2016.

 

The New York Times dropped another story in what is expected to be a series of new pieces about President Trump’s finances. The takeaway: Trump sucks at business but is good at being Trump:

But while the story of “The Apprentice” is by now well known, the president’s tax returns reveal another grand twist that has never been truly told — how the popularity of that fictional alter ego rescued him, providing a financial lifeline to reinvent himself yet again. And then how, in an echo of the boom-and-bust cycle that has defined his business career, he led himself toward the financial shoals he must navigate today.

Mr. Trump’s genius, it turned out, wasn’t running a company. It was making himself famous — Trump-scale famous — and monetizing that fame.

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, the latest NYT story further demolishes the narrative of Trump as a successful businessman.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 24)

Election Day is now 40 days away. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► Dear Leader Trump is worried enough about his odds of winning another term in office that he is refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the increasingly-likely scenario in which he loses to Democrat Joe Biden. As The New York Times reports:

Via The New York Times (9/23/20)

Asked whether he would “commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the November election,” Mr. Trump demurred, passing on a chance to call for a calm and orderly election process.

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” he told a reporter during a news conference at the White House. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”…

…“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” the president said. That was an apparent reference to mail-in ballots, which for months he has railed against, without evidence, as rife with fraud and likely to produce a delayed, tainted or outright illegitimate election result.

Mr. Trump’s refusal — or inability — to endorse perhaps the most fundamental tenet of American democracy, as any president in memory surely would have, was the latest instance in which he has cast grave uncertainty around the November election and its aftermath. Democrats are growing increasingly alarmed as Mr. Trump repeatedly questions the integrity of the vote and suggests that he might not accept the results if he loses.

Democrats may be growing increasingly alarmed, but what about Republicans? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that there would be an “orderly transition” in January but wouldn’t comment on Trump’s earlier statement. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) blasted the suggestion that a peaceful transfer of power would even be questioned by a sitting President. But for the most part, Republicans stayed quiet. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner? He said some…words:

 

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Trump’s recent comments about the upcoming election are quite troubling:

Add it all up and we have a President who is now on record saying: a) he won’t commit to a peaceful transition of power unless b) all mail-in ballots are eliminated because c) that would mean he would win again and d) has repeatedly raised the possibility of staying on beyond even the eight-year term limit on the presidency…

…So, what Trump is doing is creating the perfect excuse to never concede: He is saying that the vote will be fair and he will agree to a peaceful transition of power if there are no mail-in votes. Which he knows literally cannot happen. And so, if he loses, he already has his fallback plan in place: The acceptance of mail-in ballots means the entire election was a hoax and a fraud. And why should he admit he lost an election that was rigged against him?…

…If you don’t think that’s a uniquely dangerous position to hold for the continued strength of our democracy, well, you’re just not paying attention.

 

With coronavirus cases increasing in the area, Boulder County Public Health issued a new order for residents between the age of 18-22. As Denver7 reports:

In an effort to slow the sharp rise of positive COVID-19 cases in Boulder, and transmission of those 18 to 22 years old, Boulder County Public Health issued a new public health order that prohibits all people in that age group from gatherings of any size.

This applies to all indoor, outdoor, on-campus and off-campus locations, according to the order.

In addition, the order identified 36 addresses where people have repeatedly violated the public health orders, and requires those individuals to stay at their residence at all times. The only exceptions to this part of the order are to seek medical care, exercise outside alone, and obtain necessary supplies such as food, pet food, medical supplies and products needed for safety and sanitation via curbside pickup or contact-less delivery.

 

► Sandra Fish of The Colorado Sun takes a look at Senate District 27, which appears to be the top State Senate battleground of 2020. This story is not good for Republican candidate Suzanne Staiert:

Staiert is representing a dark money nonprofit whose affiliated super PAC spent $175,000 on advertising supporting her campaign.

It’s the newest twist in a nasty campaign filled with mailers and digital and TV advertising that question her past job as deputy secretary of state. She even filed a criminal complaint regarding one of the mailers that she says is false.

Staiert faces Democrat Chris Kolker, a financial planner, in a seat being vacated by current Republican state Sen. Jack Tate. Kolker is an afterthought in the campaign, barely mentioned in the messages from outside political groups who are aiming at Staiert, the attorney who pressed ethics complaints against former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

More than $508,000 in outside spending is targeting Senate District 27, most of it opposing Staiert. It’s one of the Democratic Party’s top legislative contests in the November election, and a Sun analysis shows the district is seeing the most outside money of any statehouse race so far.

Staiert has a strange record of shady affiliations with dark money groups. She is also very sensitive to any sort of criticism. “It’s been really just stressful and unpleasant,” says Staiert of the common practice of examining candidate records and backgrounds.

 

 Several new data points make the case that another Blue Wave is coming to Colorado. Read until the end for the “Holy Shit Numbers.”

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 22)

So long, summer; hello, autumn. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► President Trump still plans to nominate a new Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justice by the end of the week, and it’s looking like Senate Republicans are going to ignore their own hypocrisy and allow a confirmation vote to take place. As The Washington Post reports:

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announced Tuesday that he believes President Trump should get to choose a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg regardless of whether he wins in November. The move clears the way for a vote this year by the GOP-led Senate on a nominee that Trump is expected to name Saturday.

Late Monday, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) announced that he would support a confirmation vote for a new SCOTUS nominee — despite the fact that Gardner argued vociferously in 2016 that a new SCOTUS pick should wait until a new President was elected. As Denver7 reports:

There has been immense pressure for the Republican senator to make a statement on what he would decide to do with a potential nominee since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last Friday, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republicans blocked hearings and a vote for President Obama’s March 2016 nominee, Merrick Garland, saying at the time that voters should decide the pick in an election year. Justice Antonin Scalia had died in February of that year…

…Denver7 asked Gardner’s office on Friday following the announcement of Justice Ginsburg’s death what the senator would do with a potential nomination but did not receive a response until his office sent out a news release Monday. He declined to comment on the nomination to some reporters in Washington D.C. and did not directly address a question about the vacancy at an appearance on the Western Slope this weekend.

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “nothing matters but SCOTUS” political strategy appears to have worked again. The big question now: Will voters punish Republicans at the polls?

 

► The death toll from COVID-19 in the United States has surpassed the 200,000 mark. As The Washington Post reports, President Trump told rallygoers in Ohio on Monday that everything is cool:

President Trump falsely claimed at a Monday night campaign rally that the coronavirus “affects virtually nobody” below the age of 18 and is mainly a risk to elderly people with heart problems and other preexisting conditions. In a March 19 interview with Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward, however, Trump acknowledged that “plenty of young people” were affected and admitted that he had downplayed the risks of the virus.

COVID-19 cases in Colorado are on the rise for the third straight week, potentially marking a third spike in our state. Classes at the University of Colorado-Boulder are moving online for at least two weeks because of an outbreak among students.

Meanwhile, the City of Denver is shifting COVID-19 testing strategies toward a focus on smaller pop-up testing sites.

 

► President Trump went on Fox & Friends on Monday and reminded us that Sen. Cory Gardner is “very, very loyal to the party.”

 

The Denver Post editorial board endorsed Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) for re-election in CO-6.

 

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

 

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The GMS Podcast: Sen. Leroy Garcia Gets More Smarter

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo)

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, we talk with Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia about Pueblo politics, CO-3 candidates, and green chiles.

Your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii also discuss a new poll showing what lots of other polls are showing: Trump and Gardner are losing by double digits and progressives and their policy positions are popular! President Trump knowingly lied about the coronavirus and has blood on his hands (including that of 2,000 Coloradans); and Cory Gardner still hasn’t said jack about it. We also find Cory auditioning for his next career as a luxury car washer and revisit some more old political slogans to see if there’s any wisdom in them.

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

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 17)

Today is Constitution Day in the United States; or as President Trump would say “The What?” 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► We’re just a few weeks into the 2020-21 school year, and the coronavirus pandemic is overruling well-made plans for safe student instruction. Three days before the nation’s largest school district was set to bring kids back to class, New York Mayor Bill deBlasio — for the second time — delayed in-person classroom instruction.

Here in Colorado, administrators are trying to get a handle on significant outbreaks at universities and colleges. Jefferson Junior/Senior High School in Jefferson County is moving to online instruction after three students tested positive for COVID-19. Half of the students at Cherry Creek High School in Denver are now doing remote learning after an outbreak believed to be related to a weekend party. New data from the State of Colorado shows infection rates trending upward in Colorado.

 

Two new television ads from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) are being picked apart by fact-checkers and generally not holding up well. The fact that KDVR calls Gardner’s anti-Hickenlooper ad “Gardner’s Maserati Ad” proves exactly what we were saying about the spot when we first saw it last week.

 

► The Federal Reserve says a quick economic recovery won’t happen unless Congress acts on another stimulus bill. On Wednesday, President Trump endorsed a bigger stimulus package than what Senate Republicans have discussed.

 

A new poll shows the race in CO-3 between Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush and Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert to be a neck-and-neck battle:

 

As The Washington Post reports…just read it for yourself:

Hours before law enforcement forcibly cleared protesters from Lafayette Square in early June amid protests over the police killing of George Floyd, federal officials began to stockpile ammunition and seek devices that could emit deafening sounds and make anyone within range feel like their skin is on fire, according to an Army National Guard major who was there.

D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam D. DeMarco told lawmakers that defense officials were searching for crowd control technology deemed too unpredictable to use in war zones and had authorized the transfer of about 7,000 rounds of ammunition to the D.C. Armory as protests against police use of force and racial injustice roiled Washington.

In sworn testimony, shared this week with The Washington Post, DeMarco provided his account as part of an ongoing investigation into law enforcement and military officers’ use of force against D.C. protesters…

…But DeMarco’s account contradicts the administration’s claims that protesters were violent, tear gas was never used and demonstrators were given ample warning to disperse — a legal requirement before police move to clear a crowd. His testimony also offers a glimpse into the equipment and weaponry federal forces had — and others that they sought — during the early days of protests that have continued for more than 100 days in the nation’s capital.

There’s a decent chance someone actually uttered the phrase, “Bring me the heat ray.” This year is so weird.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 16)

The Denver Nuggets are in the Western Conference Finals after becoming the first team in NBA history to come back from consecutive 3-1 series deficits. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► President Trump is disputing — despite recordings of his own voice — that he downplayed the coronavirus pandemic by inventing himself a new word: “Up-played.” As NBC News reports:

President Donald Trump told a voter that he did not downplay the coronavirus in the early days of his administration’s Covid-19 response — even though he has been heard on tape saying he did — during an ABC News town hall Tuesday.

“If you believe it’s the president’s responsibility to protect America, why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities?” a voter asked Trump.

Trump responded: “Yeah, well, I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action.” [Pols emphasis] The voter appeared to try to follow up and remind the president that he acknowledged having downplayed the threat of the coronavirus in a taped interview with journalist Bob Woodward earlier this year.

During the town hall, Trump said that many people don’t want to wear masks and claimed that “there are a lot of people think that masks are not good.”

Asked who those people are, the president said, “Waiters. They come over and they serve you, and they have a mask. And I saw it the other day where they were serving me, and they’re playing with the mask. I’m not blaming them. I’m just saying what happens. They’re playing with the mask, so the mask is over, and they’re touching it, and then they’re touching the plate. That can’t be good.”

As The Hill reports, Trump also came up with a new turn-of-phrase regarding one potential approach to combating the pandemic:

President Trump defended his assertion that the novel coronavirus would “disappear” with or without a vaccine on Tuesday, saying the United States would develop what he called “herd mentality.”

“With time it goes away,” Trump said during an ABC News town hall in Pennsylvania when pressed by host George Stephanopoulos on his public comments about the virus. “You’ll develop, you’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality. It’s going to be, it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen. But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.”

Trump was (probably) referencing “herd immunity,” which is a different thing than “herd mentality” (you’re on your own trying to explain “herd-developed.”) Medical experts say that “herd immunity” would require both a vaccine and at least one million coronavirus deaths in the United States; “herd immunity” is thus more of a consequence than a strategy.

The Washington Post fact-checked Trump’s ABC News appearance and might have run out of ‘Pinocchios.’

 

 Roughly half of the students at Cherry Creek High School near Denver have been moved to remote learning because of a COVID-19 outbreak being blamed on a weekend party.

 

► The Colorado Springs Independent looks at the potential election fallout from President Trump’s persistent denigration of the military.

 

As The Durango Herald reports, Republican Congressional candidate Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is having trouble keeping her origin story straight. This may be partially because her talking points don’t make a ton of logical sense.

 

 Tuesday’s Primary Election in Delaware was the last Primary of the 2020 election season.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 15)

By this time one month from now, you may have a 2020 ballot on your kitchen table. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

Vulgarity. That’s the difference between President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner. Both Republicans are shameless opportunists who will seek to exploit any issue for their own political gain; Gardner just doesn’t directly say as many awful things as Trump.

Why do we bring this up? Because Gardner is out with a new television ad that is beyond despicable. Gardner is sitting at a table with his mother, who is a cancer survivor, and talking about his legislation to protect pre-existing medical conditions — legislation that doesn’t do anything and is anathema to everything Gardner has always espoused about government health care. But Gardner is trailing Democrat John Hickenlooper in the 2020 Senate race, so he’s flipping his own script.

As NBC News reported over the weekend:

Sen. Cory Gardner ran his first Senate campaign railing against the newly enacted Affordable Care Act, but six years later, the once-maligned law is getting little mention in his bid for re-election.

The Colorado Republican isn’t alone.

After years of campaigning against Obamacare, Republicans trying to retain control of the Senate appear to be conceding that attacking the ACA is no longer politically advantageous, a shift compounded by the millions of people who now depend on the law for their coverage, including protections for pre-existing conditions.

“Now with Obamacare being entrenched into people’s daily lives, they just don’t want their health care messed with, and so it becomes hard for Republicans to articulate on that point,” said Doug Heye, who worked on repeal efforts in 2014 as deputy chief of staff to then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Shameless.

 

A group of Colorado Republicans are AGAIN trying to recall Gov. Jared Polis, and their timing couldn’t be worse for the rest of the GOP. Instead of spending the next two months trying to get Republicans elected, these recall folks are instead going to be chasing a Nov. 13 petition signature deadline that they cannot possibly meet.

 

Chris Cillizza of CNN has more on the continuing fallout regarding President Trump’s comments to Bob Woodward that he intentionally played down the coronavirus pandemic — including Trump’s insistence in March/April that everything “re-opens” before Easter:

This timeline is brutal for Trump. It makes clear that he knew, even as he was urging the country to reopen and for churches to be packed on Easter Sunday, that the virus was incredibly easy to pass from person to person.

For Trump to say that his entire strategy was to avoid panicking the public by “downplaying” the virus is bad enough.

But to actively encourage the reopening of the country when he knew that the virus was extremely contagious is, in a word, irresponsible. And in two words, dangerously irresponsible.

 

Haze from multiple wildfires in the Western United States is now visible in New York City.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (September 11)

There are 53 days until Election Day. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► Both President Trump and his 2020 opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, are visiting Shanksville, PA today to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The Washington Post looks back at what each candidate was doing on that fateful Tuesday:

Joe Biden was on an Amtrak train on Sept. 11, 2001, when his wife called to tell him about the attacks on the World Trade Center, and when he reached Washington, he grew frustrated that he couldn’t get to the Senate floor for a speech because the U.S. Capitol had been evacuated.

Biden nonetheless found ways to make his point — that institutions like Congress and NATO are bulwarks against such assaults on democracy. “I refuse to be part of letting these bastards win,” Biden said that day.

Hundreds of miles to the north — and four miles from Ground Zero — Donald Trump was sitting in a tower bearing his name, watching CNBC and preparing to call a local TV station to offer his own commentary, including a lament that the stock market was forced to close.

Given the coronavirus pandemic and the racial justice protests, Ishaan Tharoor of The Washington Post wonders if the “9/11 era” is now over.

 

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is doing a better job than the federal government of preventing fraudulent benefit claims:

More than three out of four claims made for unemployment assistance under a program for self-employed workers and independent contractors since July 18 were fraudulent, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said Thursday.

“We have prevented $750 million to $1 billion in improper unemployment insurance payments going out the door,” said Cher Haavind, the department’s deputy director during a press call Thursday morning. About $40 million in federal money, however, may have gotten into the hands of criminals.

Revisions to initial claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for the weeks of July 18 to Aug. 22 showed that of the 62,498 initial claims approved, only 14,292 were deemed legitimate, the department said. And in the two weeks since Aug. 22, the department estimates it has been hit with 40,000 to 50,000 fraudulent PUA claims.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was set up under the CARES Act to help individuals who didn’t pay premiums for unemployment insurance but suffered a loss of income due to the outbreak.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado will soon begin paying out a temporary — and partial — extension of unemployment benefits related to an executive order from President Trump.

 

As POLITICO reports, Democrats are out to a big lead in early voting across the country:

Democrats are amassing an enormous lead in early voting, alarming Republicans who worry they’ll need to orchestrate a huge Election Day turnout during a deadly coronavirus outbreak to answer the surge.

The Democratic dominance spreads across an array of battleground states, according to absentee ballot request data compiled by state election authorities and analyzed by Democratic and Republican data experts. In North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Democrats have a roughly three-to-one advantage over Republicans in absentee ballot requests. In Florida — a must-win for President Donald Trump — the Democratic lead stands at more than 700,000 ballot requests, while the party also leads in New Hampshire, Ohio and Iowa.

Even more concerning for Republicans, Democrats who didn’t vote in 2016 are requesting 2020 ballots at higher rates than their GOP counterparts. The most striking example is Pennsylvania, where nearly 175,000 Democrats who sat out the last race have requested ballots, more than double the number of Republicans, according to an analysis of voter rolls by the Democratic firm TargetSmart.

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for President Trump to spend so much time and effort casting doubts about mail ballots.

As The New York Times reports, wildfires in the Western United States are getting perilously close to large population centers:

The wildfire crisis on the West Coast grew to a staggering scale on Friday, as huge fires merged and bore down on towns and suburbs, state leaders pleaded for firefighting help, and tens of thousands of people were told to evacuate.

Oregon, Washington State and California are enduring a wildfire season of historic proportions, with the firefighting effort compounded by the coronavirus pandemic and misinformation online. At least 15 people have died in the fires, with more expected as teams search through burned homes.

The fires have consumed more than three million acres in California, almost a million acres in Oregon and destroyed entire towns in Washington. The blazes have torn through idyllic mountain towns, reduced subdivisions to beams and embers, and spewed foul smoke-filled air across a region that is home to millions of people.

The Mayor of Portland has declared a state of emergency as a wildfire approaches the city’s suburbs.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 10)

This is one of those days where it feels like we’re drinking from a news firehose. So, let’s make sure you’re caught up and so you can 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

Over the years, political candidates in Colorado have produced television ads of varying degrees of quality and usefulness. Some of these ads are so terrible that you remember them years later. This new spot from Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has joined what we like to call the “Pantheon of Dumbassery,” alongside all-time awful commercials from the likes of Bob Beauprez and Walker Stapleton.

 

► The U.S. Senate voted today on a doomed half-assed coronavirus relief bill introduced by Senate Republicans earlier in the week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is spinning a losing vote as a political victory because he was able to get most of his caucus to support a pointless endeavor. As Roll Call reports, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is not impressed:

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer in his rebuttal reiterated his attack on the bill as “emaciated.” It lacks, among other things, housing assistance, nutrition assistance, aid to state and local governments and funding to build out broadband connections that Democrats insist on, he said.

“It is one of the most cynical moves I’ve seen, a fairly transparent attempt to show that the Republicans are doing something, when in fact they want to do nothing,” Schumer said.

House Democrats passed a $3.4 trillion package in May, but have since offered to meet the Senate GOP roughly halfway at $2.2 trillion.

That last part is particularly important. The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May, and the Senate has been sitting on their thumbs ever since. But today Senate Republicans finally figured out that they should at least vote on something, so they did. Now they’re planning a parade for themselves. As The Huffington Post reports, don’t expect any more help from Congress anytime soon.

Via Vox.com (9/10/20)

 

It didn’t take long for Joe Biden’s campaign to produce an ad featuring President Trump’s own damning words about the coronavirus pandemic, in which Trump admits to lying to Americans about the severity of the problem:

The White House is absolutely flipping out trying to figure out how to spin this away for Trump.

 

As The Colorado Springs Independent reports, a much-maligned TV spot from Sen. Cory Gardner is getting more negative attention because of the embarrassingly-amateur effort that went behind creating a fake environmental group to give Gardner some credibility.

 

You won’t be surprised to learn that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sees his job as less of a public service and more of a Republican Party service. As CNN reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was on a mission. It was late February, and two vulnerable Republican senators facing voters this fall were pushing a bill that had generated opposition from conservatives but was important to their states — and their own reelections.

So on the morning of February 27, as Washington was coming to grips with the coronavirus, McConnell took Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana to the White House where they made the case to Trump to get behind a public lands bill. Trump quickly got in line, and quipped to his budget chief, Russell Vought:

“Sorry, Russ,” according to sources familiar with the episode.

Four months later, McConnell set aside precious floor time and scheduled votes on the bill even though it was not on the radar for much of Washington, paving the way for its passage — and for Gardner and Daines to cut campaign ads touting the achievement.

“Not only was it the right thing to do from a good government point of view, but sure — it ought to help Cory and Steve, they did a lot of work on it,” McConnell told CNN this week.

In other words, the big public lands bill that Gardner loves to tout was not because of the Yuma Republican’s persistent work…but because he is in danger of losing his re-election bid in 2020. If you like your politics to be purely transactional, this should be right up your alley.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who moonlights as the State Republican Party Chairman (or vice versa), is running a new fundraising ad that touts his support for NOT wearing a mask AND shooting a gun.

 

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

 

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Diane Mitsch Bush and Alexis King Get More Smarter

Diane Mitsch Bush (left) and Alexis King

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, we have two great guests: Diane Mitsch Bush, Democratic candidate for Congress in CO-3, and Alexis King, Democratic candidate for District Attorney in Jefferson and Gilpin Counties. Make sure not to miss Mitsch Bush’s record-setting performance on our QAnon-based game, QDonkulous!

Your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii also talk about Ken Buck’s fashion choices; Dudley Brown’s life choices; and another of many bad choices in general for Cory Gardner.

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

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 3)

The Denver Nuggets begin their second-round playoff series tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► President Trump told voters in North Carolina on Wednesday — TWICE — that they should vote by mail AND in person. You, uh, can’t do that.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr is totally on board with whatever election security nonsense President Trump dreams up. From The Washington Post:

For example, claiming that expanding mail-in balloting is “changing the rules” is like saying that restaurants moving to outdoor service is “changing the rules.” There’s a reason for the shift: limiting the risk posed by the coronavirus. Admittedly, it’s not ideal, but it’s also something that could have been done all along.

Then there’s Barr’s citing “logic” to dismiss mail balloting as risky. He did so again at another point in his interview with Blitzer:

BLITZER: You’ve said you were worried that a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots, thousands of fake ballots to people that it might be impossible to detect. What are you basing that on?

BARR: I’m basing — as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m basing that on logic.

BLITZER: Pardon?

BARR: Logic.

You know who else falls back on “logic” as a defense of their beliefs? QAnon adherents.

Chris Cillizza of CNN calls Barr’s “defense” of scaring people about ballots “indefensible.” Barr repeatedly claimed that he wasn’t sure if it was legal to vote twice in the United States, but what would he know? He’s only THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.

 

Colorado Republicans are going all-in on President Trump’s re-election message that everything is on fire and we’re all going to be killed if Joe Biden wins in November.

 

Hey, Jefferson County Department of Health: WTF?

As Denver7 reports, the Jeffco Health Department has still not commented on Tuesday’s COVID CHAOS superspreader rally.

 

As The Nation reports, the coronavirus response among major health-related agencies in Washington D.C. is a full-on “clusterfuck.” POLITICO can confirm said “clusterfuck.”

 

The real killer of police officers in the United States? COVID-19. As The Washington Post explains:

In a speech this week in Pittsburgh, Joe Biden linked the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the coronavirus to its handling of protests and riots with a surprising statistic: “More cops have died from covid this year than have been killed on patrol,” he said.

The Democratic presidential nominee’s claim is true, according to data compiled by the Officer Down Memorial Page and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, two nonprofits that have tracked law enforcement fatalities for decades.

As of Sept. 2, on-the-job coronavirus infections were responsible for a least 100 officer deaths, more than gun violence, car accidents and all other causes combined, according to the Officer Down group.

NLEOMF reported a nearly identical number of covid-related law enforcement deaths. It also noted that fatalities due to non-covid causes are actually down year-over-year, undermining President Trump’s claims that “law enforcement has become the target of a dangerous assault by the radical left.” [Pols emphasis]

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 2)

Today is the official anniversary of the formal end of World War II. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► As The Colorado Sun reports, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner still very much wants to get rid of Obamacare…but that’s about the extent of his health care plan. Gardner and other Republicans are finding that ACA opposition is not very popular with voters.

Via The Colorado Sun (9/2/20)

 

In case you missed it, this happened on Tuesday:

As we noted yesterday, the White House is facing increased pressure to explain why the President really made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed Hospital last November.

 

Democrat Joe Biden raised $364.5 million dollars IN AUGUST. Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden is expected to announce that his campaign raised more than $300 million IN AUGUST. As The New York Times explains:

The sum would shatter past monthly records as small donors have poured money into Mr. Biden’s coffers, especially since the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, and big contributors, from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, have given checks that can be as large as $721,300.

In a sign of the financial momentum behind Democrats, ActBlue, the main site that processes donations to the party, reported the second-biggest fund-raising day in its history on Monday, with more than $35 million donated. A majority of Mr. Biden’s August total came from online grass-roots donors, according to another person familiar with the figures.

The people familiar with Mr. Biden’s fund-raising did not know the exact final figure for the month of August, or how much higher than $300 million it would be.

Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign holds the current record for fundraising in one month at $193 million. Biden will OBLITERATE that number.

 

Senate Republicans and President Trump’s campaign have announced new ad buys in several states…none of them in Colorado. In other words, it sucks to be Cory Gardner.

 

 If you know anyone who attended the “Covid Chaos” event at Bandimere Speedway in Jefferson County on Tuesday, you should probably not go anywhere near them for the next 14 days.

Gah!

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 1)

Four more months, and we’re done with this wretched year. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

► President Trump says that…wait, what?

As The Washington Post explains:

As the nation grapples with volatile protests, President Trump on Monday night claimed in a Fox News interview that “people that are in the dark shadows” are “controlling the streets” and manipulating his Democratic opponent Joe Biden to sow chaos.

When host Laura Ingraham suggested the claim “sounds like conspiracy theory,” Trump doubled down, launching into a tale of a plane that allegedly flew from an unnamed city to Washington, D.C., this weekend loaded with “thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear.”

The strange exchange prompted head-scratching from prominent Trump critics and produced few clear answers about what precisely Trump was referring to.

Seriously…what?

The Fox News host then asked who the president believed was pulling the strings. Trump replied, “People that you’ve never heard of. People that are in the dark shadows.”“What does that mean?” Ingraham asked. “That sounds like conspiracy theory. Dark shadows — what is that?”

“No, they’re people that you haven’t heard of,” Trump continued. “They’re people that are on the streets, people that are controlling the streets.”

Trump then described a plane “from a certain city this weekend, and on the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear.” Ingraham asked where the plane was coming from, but the president demurred.

“I’ll tell you sometime,” he said. “It’s under investigation right now.” [Pols emphasis]

Trump, the actual President of the United States of America, appears to be promoting debunked conspiracy theories of airplanes full of protestors — Antifa Airlines! — descending on cities across the country.

 

Speaking of Trump, the White House is facing increased pressure to explain why the President really made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed Hospital last November. As Chris Cillizza reports for CNN:

Days before Thanksgiving 2019, President Donald Trump made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed hospital, a trip the White House later dismissed as nothing more than a “quick exam and labs” as part of his annual physical.

Even then, the explanation was fishy. Presidents don’t make trips that members of the press don’t know about almost ever — unless they are flying into a war zone and their safety is at risk. And the leader of the free world certainly doesn’t just pop in to the hospital to get an early start on his annual physical — especially without the medical staff at the hospital being given a heads up.

And now, thanks to a new book by New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, we now know that Vice President Mike Pence was put on alert to take over the duties of president if Trump had to be anesthetized during the trip. [Pols emphasis]

Maybe Trump just gets a different kind of physical examination than every other person in America. Yeah, maybe.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is out with a new re-election ad in which he takes credit for a Paycheck Protection Program that was approved by a 96-0 vote in the U.S. Senate. Just think: If not for Gardner, the vote might have been 95-1!

 

Denver police officials are making it clear that they do NOT want self-appointed militia members showing up to “help” them deal with protests.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 27)

Happy Banana Lovers Day. Please keep that celebration to yourself, whatever it is. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

► President Trump will accept the Republican nomination for President tonight in an address from (gag) the South Lawn of the White House. As POLITICO reports, Trump plans to blame Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden for pretty much anything that went wrong in the last 50 years:

“We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years. At the Democrat convention, you barely heard a word about their agenda. But that’s not because they don’t have one. It’s because their agenda is the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee.”

While Republicans have spent this week going after Biden, the president’s aides contend that the media has filtered the convention and hasn’t adequately highlighted criticisms of Biden’s policies. Over the course of this week, additional policy attacks have been added to Trump’s speech.

This is the part where we remind you that the Republican Party quite literally DOES NOT HAVE A PLATFORM FOR 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke on Wednesday evening and assured convention-watchers that everything is totally cool with the coronavirus.

 

As The New York Times reports, the director of the CDC is (sorta) backing off of controversial new coronavirus testing guidelines issued this week:

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has scaled back the agency’s recommendation advising some people not to get tested after exposure to the novel coronavirus, now saying “testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable Covid-19 patients.”

The statement by Dr. Robert R. Redfield was issued to some news outlets late Wednesday, and more broadly Thursday morning, after a storm of criticism over the new C.D.C. guidelines — involving potentially asymptomatic people — which were the product of the White House Coronavirus task force and not the C.D.C.’s own scientists. Dr. Redfield made the statement in an effort to clarify the new policy, an official said. However, the guidelines issued earlier this week remained on the C.D.C.’s website as of Thursday morning, and it appears unlikely that the agency will change them…

…The clarification is unusual. Public health experts say clear, consistent communications are essential to fighting an infectious disease outbreak, and Dr. Redfield’s comments may further confuse things.

 

Dear Leader Trump is fleecing American taxpayers, as The Washington Post reports:

Via The Washington Post (8/27/20)

 

Trump has now visited his own properties 270 times as president, according to a Washington Post tally — with another visit planned for Thursday, when he is scheduled to meet GOP donors at his Washington hotel.

Through these trips, Trump has brought the Trump Organization a stream of private revenue from federal agencies and GOP campaign groups. Federal spending records show that taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $900,000 since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of the president’s travel, according to a Post analysis.

Now, new federal spending documents obtained by The Post via a public-records lawsuit give more detail about how the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service — a kind of captive customer, required to follow Trump everywhere. In addition to the rentals at Mar-a-Lago, the documents show that the Trump Organization charged daily “resort fees” to Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Pence in Las Vegas and in another instance asked agents to pay a $1,300 “furniture removal charge” during a presidential visit to a Trump resort in Scotland.

 

Hurricane Laura came ashore in Louisiana on Wednesday as one of the strongest storms to hit the United States in recorded history. Fortunately, the storm is slowing significantly as it moves northward.

 

 It’s long past time to do something about army-playing militia members bringing assault rifles to protests in hopes of picking a fight.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 25)

Happy Liberation Day to all of our francophile friends. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 Republican National Convention kicked off on Monday with a lot of anger and bluster. The big story of the RNC is more about what’s missing — like previous Republican elected officials (such as former President George W. Bush) and a party platform. That’s right! Republicans literally don’t have a party platform in 2020. Nothing. Nada.

As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, the public portion of the RNC got off to quite the “culty” start:

It has now become widely accepted that President Trump has essentially hollowed out the Republican Party and turned it into little more than a personality cult. But no level of appreciation of this state of affairs could possibly have prepared us for what we’re witnessing at the GOP convention.

What was truly striking about the convention’s first night, in addition to the widely expected parade of white grievance we’re seeing, is the sheer unbridled messianism that’s been on display.

In this telling, Trump’s performance as president hasn’t just been infallible on every front, though of course it has been that. His personal qualities, too, have been a divine gift to the nation, one that should keep us bowed in deep reverence and thankfulness at all times.

Check out this example provided by Sargent of an “elderly nursing supervisor” speaking directly to Dear Leader Trump:

I am so in awe of your leadership. Honestly, I know many people have said often interesting things, but it takes a true leader to be able to ignore all that stuff and do what is right, and not be offended by all the words being said.

Uh…yeah. As CNN’s Chris Cillizza concludes:

Monday night’s festivities were a remarkable demonstration of how the Republican Party at this moment is less a collection of like-minded people gathered around a set of common principles and much more a cult of personality built around the man one GOP delegate called “Donald J. President.” Virtually every speaker — Sen. Tim Scott was a notable exception — dedicated at least some chunk of their speech to fawning praise of the President, often in terms that would make the average person blush.

Colorado Congressman/State Party Chairman Ken Buck stuck to the script from the beginning, praising the Trump administration because “they’ve protected us from a worldwide pandemic.” Just for reference, there have been nearly 6 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States and nearly 180,000 deaths. So, yeah, bang up job!

 

New coronavirus cases are down in Colorado for the fourth straight week, but the virus continues to rage around the country. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is concerned about “an alarming trend” in cases in Kansas; at least one person has now tested positive for COVID-19 in every county in the state.

 

We’ve discussed in this space the disgusting political tactics used by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who is pretending to run a bill protecting pre-existing medical conditions even though his entire career has been about eliminating things like pre-existing medical conditions. 9News dismantled all of this in a must-watch “Truth Test” on Friday.

The Colorado Times Recorder has more on the yacht-sized loopholes in Gardner’s bill.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (August 21)

Today is National Senior Citizens Day AND National Spumoni Day. Please celebrate responsibly. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

Former Vice President Joe Biden is now officially the Democratic nominee for President in 2020. Biden accepted the Democratic nomination in an emotional speech on Thursday night from his home base in Wilmington, Delaware. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post hits on a theme that seemed to be picked up everywhere in media coverage of the last night of the Democratic National Convention — Biden’s humanity:

President Trump has tried every dirty trick in the book — and a few new ones — to cast doubts about the workings of Joe Biden’s brain. But Trump has been focusing on entirely the wrong organ. Biden’s appeal is from the heart.

The Democratic presidential nominee, in the most crucial speech of his long career in public service, had no problem clearing the low bar Trump had set. The evening began with a clip of Biden quoting Kierkegaard and ended with him quoting the Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

But the power of Biden’s acceptance speech — and the power of his candidacy — was in its basic, honest simplicity. The rhetoric wasn’t soaring. The delivery was workmanlike (he botched an Ella Baker quote in his opening line). But it was warm and decent, a soothing, fireside chat for this pandemic era, as we battle twin crises of disease and economic collapse and we only see each other disembodied in boxes on a screen. Biden spoke not to his political base but to those who have lost loved ones to the virus.

While Biden was preparing to deliver his acceptance speech, President Trump was spouting some ridiculous nonsense at a Pennsylvania rally before being interviewed by Sean Hannity of Fox News. Chris Cillizza of CNN looks at some of Trump’s more absurd statements on Fox News.

Elsewhere in Biden news, POLITICO takes an early look at a potential Biden cabinet.

 

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday and exclaimed that it was “outrageous” that anyone would accuse him of trying to hamper voter turnout this fall. Amber Phillips of The Washington Post breaks down 5 big takeaways from DeJoy’s testimony today.

DeJoy will speak to the House Oversight Committee on Monday.

 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is (sorta) speaking up about the dangers of QAnon candidates in the Republican Party. McCarthy is facing questions about his continued role leading the GOP caucus after some members accused him of not doing enough to stop the candidacy of QAnon lover Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia. Appearing on Fox News on Thursday, McCarthy took a stronger stance, as The Hill reports:

“Let me be very clear,” McCarthy told Fox News. “There is no place for QAnon in the Republican Party. I do not support it and the candidate you talked about has denounced it.”

Greene also came under fire after videos emerged of her making bigoted remarks and questioning whether a plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, comments she later walked back.

A number of GOP lawmakers have expressed concerns that Greene’s comments and association with QAnon could stain the party’s image and potentially have a negative effect on vulnerable members’ races this year.

McCarthy emphasized Thursday that Greene has distanced herself from the QAnon theory and deserves a chance to prove herself once elected to the deep-red district. [Pols emphasis]

Greene has only pretended to back away from her support for QAnon. Here in Colorado, Republican congressional candidate Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert has made half-hearted attempts to “distance” herself from QAnon, only to continue to repeat some of their most-trafficked conspiracy theories.

 

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

 

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The GMS Podcast: Cardboard Cory and QAnon Madness

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast

We interview filmmaker Nick Rosen about his new Cardboard Cory documentary and check in with journalist Erik Maulbetsch of The Colorado Times Recorder about a QAnon rally in Denver.

Also, we talk Kamala Harris as the VP pick; we find Sen. Cory Gardner writing empty bills and advertising everywhere but in Colorado; we update the GOP’s war against the post office; check Lauren Boebert’s arrest records, and so much more.

If you missed our last episode, click here to catch up or scroll through all of our past episodes at GetMoreSmarter.com.

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 20)

Happy World Mosquito Day! Wait…what? 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 actual President of the United States of America has now essentially endorsed the QAnon conspiracy theories. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN:

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump did something incredibly dangerous.

Asked by a reporter about QAnon, a conspiracy group that has been labeled a potential domestic terrorism threat by the FBI, Trump said this:

“Well, I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate. But I don’t know much about the movement. I have heard that it is gaining in popularity and from what I hear it’s — these are people that — they watch the streets of Portland — when they watch what happened in New York City in just the last six or seven months, but this was starting even four years ago when I came here. Almost four years, can you believe it?

“These are people that don’t like seeing what’s going on in places like Portland, and places like Chicago, and New York and other cities and states. And I’ve heard these are people that love our country and they just don’t like seeing it.”

…The President of the United States has now said that he thinks a group of violent conspiracy theorists are “people who love our country” and are a sort of antidote to the protests and violence in major cities in the country.

It’s stunning — even for Trump. And it’s extremely dangerous because it emboldens people who have already shown a willingness to act on their wild conspiracy theories in violent ways.

If this doesn’t concern you, then you should be aware of Trump’s endorsement of Florida Republican congressional candidate Laura Loomer. If THAT doesn’t concern you…well, then enjoy your day.

 

Private fundraising efforts to collect enough money to help “build the wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border have turned out to be a giant scam, with help from a couple of notable names in Colorado. Steve Bannon, who was President Trump’s chief political strategist, is among those who have been indicted in the scheme. This leads us to another headline today from The Washington Post:

Via The Washington Post (8/20/20)

On the topic of a border wall, here’s a fun old post for #ThrowbackThursday.

 

The editorial board of The New York Times cuts straight to the point:

Via The New York Times (8/20/20)

 

Vote! Vote! Vote! As The Associated Press explains, Democrats are hammering home a simple message this week at the Democratic National Convention:

Former President Barack Obama warned that American democracy could falter if President Donald Trump is reelected, a stunning rebuke of his successor that was echoed by Kamala Harris at the Democratic Convention as she embraced her historic role as the first Black woman on a national political ticket.

Obama, himself a barrier breaker as the nation’s first Black president, pleaded with voters Wednesday night to “embrace your own responsibility as citizens — to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure. Because that’s what is at stake right now. Our democracy.”

Throughout their convention, the Democrats have summoned a collective urgency about the dangers of Trump as president. In 2016, they dismissed and sometimes trivialized him. Now they are casting him as an existential threat to the country. The tone signals anew that the fall campaign between Trump and Joe Biden, already expected to be among the most negative of the past half-century, will be filled with rancor and recrimination.

Yet on the third night of the Democrats’ four-day convention, party leaders also sought to put forward a cohesive vision of their values and policy priorities, highlighting efforts to combat climate change and tighten gun laws. They drew a sharp contrast with Trump, portraying him as cruel in his treatment of immigrants, disinterested in the nation’s climate crisis and in over his head on virtually all of the nation’s most pressing challenges.

This big news from Wednesday night at the DNC was Kamala Harris’s acceptance of the nomination for Vice President and former President Obama’s complete dismantling of Trump. The DNC’s virtual week winds up tonight with Joe Biden’s acceptance speech for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 18)

The Denver Nuggets have a 1-0 series lead over the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA playoffs. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

► There’s big news today on the story of Russian interference in the 2016 election. As The New York Times reports:

Via The New York Times (8/18/20)

A sprawling report released Tuesday by a Republican-controlled Senate panel that spent three years investigating Russia’s 2016 election interference laid out an extensive web of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russian government officials and other Russians, including some with ties to the country’s intelligence services.

The report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, totaling nearly 1,000 pages, provided a bipartisan Senate imprimatur for an extraordinary set of facts: The Russian government undertook an extensive campaign to try to sabotage the 2016 American election to help Mr. Trump become president, and some members of Mr. Trump’s circle of advisers were open to the help from an American adversary…

…the report showed extensive evidence of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and people tied to the Kremlin — including a longstanding associate of the onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, whom the report identifies as a “Russian intelligence officer.”

The Senate report for the first time identified Mr. Kilimnik as an intelligence officer. Mr. Mueller’s report had labeled him as someone with ties to Russian intelligence.

This report from the Senate Intelligence Committee — which is CONTROLLED BY REPUBLICANS — pretty well blows up President Trump’s claims of a “witch hunt.” Mike Littwin of The Colorado Sun calls the report “maybe the most shocking moment from the U.S. Senate since John McCain’s thumbs-down vote on ending Obamacare.” The Huffington Post zeroes in on the finding that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was deemed a “grave” security threat.

 

Postmaster Louis DeJoy is scheduled to testify at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Friday about funding requirements for the postal service to handle mail ballots this fall. As POLITICO reports, DeJoy is already bending to widespread criticism:

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced Tuesday that he was suspending “longstanding operational initiatives” at the United States Postal Service, amid fears that the changes could delay election mail this fall in the middle of the pandemic.

“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy said in a statement.

Meanwhile, as The Washington Post reports, state governments aren’t waiting for the feds to take action:

At least 20 states plan to file lawsuits this week against the U.S. Postal Service and its new postmaster, Louis DeJoy, seeking to reverse service changes that have prompted widespread reports of delays and accusations of an intentional effort to thwart voters from mailing their ballots this fall.

The suits, expected to be filed in federal court imminently, will argue that the Postal Service broke the law by making operational changes without first seeking approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission. They will also argue that the changes will impede states’ ability to run free and fair elections, officials from several state attorney general offices told The Washington Post. The Constitution gives states and Congress, not the executive branch, the power to regulate elections.

“We’re trying to stop Trump’s attacks on the Postal Service, which we believe to be an attack on the integrity of election. It’s a straight-up attack on democracy,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) said in an interview. “This conduct is illegal. It’s unconstitutional. It’s harmful to the country. It’s harmful to individuals.”

“We’re asking a court to make him stop,” he said.

Colorado is among the states filing lawsuits.

 

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper is going after Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) for his silence on efforts by President Trump to defund the U.S. Postal Service as a means of suppressing votes in the 2020 election. As The New York Times reports:

But Democrats running for the Senate in states that rely heavily on the mail made clear they would continue to press the issue. John Hickenlooper, the former Democratic governor of Colorado, took to Twitter in a campaign video to upbraid the impact of the delays and laid the blame squarely on Mr. Trump and his Republican opponent, the incumbent Cory Gardner.

“It just makes me want to pull my hair out, and Cory Gardner hasn’t said a word,” Mr. Hickenlooper said. [Pols emphasis]

Gardner has said some words about the postal service — quite a few of them, actually — but he has yet to offer a coherent public comment about the issue.

 

Day One of the Democratic National Convention is in the books. POLITICO is tracking all of the DNC news, including Monday’s big speech from Michelle Obama. As The Washington Post notes, this speech from the former First Lady is not one that Melania Trump is going to want to borrow. Check out CNN for more analysis on the highlights and lowlights from Monday.

President Trump denigrated Michelle Obama on Tuesday — at an event celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage, no less — because he is sad that Obama said that Trump was “in over his head.”

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (August 14)

You’ve probably noticed that the air quality along the Front Range is less than optimal. But on the plus side, it will be a lot harder for anyone to notice that you haven’t showered since Monday. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

You have more than one reason to wear a mask in Colorado this weekend. As 9News reports:

Governor Jared Polis (D-Colorado) visited the Incident Command Center for the Grizzly Creek Fire Friday morning where he said getting it under control was the top priority in the nation.

He was at the fairgrounds in Eagle at 8 a.m. That is the command center for the fire which has now burned more than 14,000 acres near Glenwood Springs since it was first reported Monday afternoon…

…As of Thursday night, it had burned 69,135 acres and was 7% contained.

 

► If you’re wondering about the latest on another coronavirus stimulus bill, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that you can stop speculating on a potential deal, because the bad news is that the U.S. Senate has adjourned UNTIL MID-SEPTEMBER. As The Hill newspaper reports:

The Senate left Washington, D.C., on Thursday until September — the latest sign that a deal on a fifth coronavirus relief package is, at least, weeks away.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had kept the chamber in session this week, which was technically the first in its August recess, as a last-ditch attempt to create space for the administration and congressional Democrats to get an agreement.

But with talks stalemated, senators argue there is little reason for them to keep holding daily, roughly 1 1/2-hour sessions.

McConnell continues to blame Democrats for a lack of progress on coronavirus relief, nevermind that the United States Senate is controlled by Republicans.


Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) appears to be panicking about his re-election chances. Gardner is running fundraising ads around the country touting his “achievements” alongside President Trump — but you can’t find those ads here because Gardner is still trying to convince Colorado voters that he’s not a Trump toadie.

Oh, and don’t be surprised to see a Gardner ad in Colorado soon that touts his “work” on protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions. Gardner has repeatedly sought to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which already DOES protect people with pre-existing conditions, but he is now the sole sponsor of a bill title (sans the actual bill text) he calls the “Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act.” No, really.

 

 Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold is pushing back against President Trump’s baseless claims that mail balloting is rife with fraud. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

“He’s trying to affect turnout in November by undermining a system that we know works, and works well for Democrats and Republicans and, of course, independents,” Griswold said…

…Colorado is one of several all-mail ballot states to receive letters from the Postal Service indicating that ballots, usually sent by clerks via “marketing mail” but treated like first class, will no longer get that treatment and could be slower to make it to people’s mailboxes.

Griswold said the Colorado election model is “safeguarded” from a possible delivery slow down. Ballots are sent out weeks ahead of time and voters are asked to mail in them back at least eight days before Election Day.

Colorado also has a new law in place this year that requires replacement ballots to be sent via first-class mail.

Trump made it clear on Thursday that he opposes additional funding for the Postal Service because he doesn’t want more people voting for Democrat Joe Biden in November. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Friday that his caucus is committed to providing sufficient funding for the USPS despite Trump’s objections.

 

 

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

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Deja Vu All Over Again and Again

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast

Americans are still struggling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has surpassed 5 million cases in the U.S. alone and claimed the lives of 162,000 Americans. The economic impact from the pandemic continues to grow amid Senate Republican inaction; President Trump signs executive orders that are probably illegal and definitely inadequate…but apparently no one is listening to Donald Trump anyway;, our 2nd favorite U.S. Senator from Colorado tells people to Take a Hike; and self-proclaimed pro-police demonstrators physically assault Black Lives Matter counter-protesters and film it all themselves!

If you missed our last episode, click here to catch up or scroll through all of our past episodes at GetMoreSmarter.com.

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 12)

The Glorious Twelfth! 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he has selected California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate. As The Washington Post reports, Republicans are a bit confused about how to attack Harris:

At 4:45 p.m., Trump campaign aide Brad Parscale tweeted that the pick meant that the “Bernie Bros get burned,” pointing to a story about liberal resistance to her candidacy.

Around exactly the same time, though, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said something quite different. “Kamala Harris’ extreme positions … show that the left-wing mob is controlling Biden’s candidacy, just like they would control him as president,” McDaniel said in a statement.

But by late that evening, the RNC was back to making a very different case. “Liberals revolt against Biden, Harris ticket,” an RNC news release said. It pointed to Bernie Sanders supporters and others who attacked Harris as insufficiently progressive. “Even if Joe Biden’s campaign handlers gave their base the same notes they gave Biden for his video chat with Kamala D. Harris, it’s highly unlikely the left’s reception of Kamala would have gone any better,” it said. “Talk about embarrassing.”

Trump backers’ response to Harris’s selection has been somewhat dizzying. They have mostly painted her as the kind of radical that McDaniel did, even labeling her a socialist. But as with the man whose ticket Harris is joining, they have offered mixed messages by also suggesting she is a disappointment to Sanders supporters and even a tool of Wall Street.

As Annie Linskey and Vanessa Williams write in a separate story for The Washington Post, the selection of Harris was an emotional moment for many Black women in America. POLITICO takes a look at the history of selecting female running mates and why 2020 might turn out different than in the past:

Female vice presidential candidates appeared on major party tickets in 1984 and 2008, and in 2016, a woman headed the ticket. Each time, headlines heralded the historic choice; each time, for any number of reasons, the ticket lost. Those races also gave us a window into how women running for executive office are treated in the U.S.: The candidates were more likely than men to be questioned about their spouses; their attire and looks often became a part of the story; they had to make extra effort to show they were “tough” enough to serve.

Now that Senator Kamala Harris has become the third female VP candidate on a major-party ticket in history, POLITICO Magazine asked some smart female political observers to tell us: How will things be different for this VP choice, for this woman, and for this race? Or has nothing changed at all?

 

There were several interesting Primary outcomes in a couple of states on Tuesday, but the biggest story is in Georgia. As POLITICO explains:

Marjorie Taylor Greene has won the GOP nomination for a deep red congressional seat in Georgia despite widespread condemnation from party leaders over her videos where she expressed racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views.

Greene, who is also a believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory, defeated neurosurgeon John Cowan in a primary runoff election on Tuesday for the deep-red Northwest Georgia district, where the GOP nomination is tantamount to a seat in the House.

A businesswoman who self-funded much of her campaign, Greene won the first round of the primary by a 19-point margin. But a week after, GOP leaders including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who chairs the House Republican campaign arm, took the rare step of disavowing her candidacy after POLITICO uncovered hours of videos where she demeans blacks, Muslims and Jews.

Greene, who has said that Black people are slaves to the Democratic Party, has been likened to longtime Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who lost his own GOP Primary race this year in part because of his racist past (President Trump naturally Tweeted a congratulatory message, calling Greene “a future star.”) Greene also embraces QAnon conspiracies, which will bring more attention to Colorado’s own conspiracist Congressional candidate, Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert. This whole mess should be a concern for all Republicans, writes Chris Cillizza of CNN.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar held off a well-funded Primary challenger in Minnesota. For a look at other notable outcomes, check this page from The New York Times.

 

The New York Times looks at a school re-opening in Georgia, where the early COVID-19 results are not good:

Altogether, more than 900 students and staff members in the district have already been ordered to quarantine. On Tuesday, one high school closed its doors until at least Aug. 31.

While many of the nation’s largest school systems have opted in recent weeks to start the academic year online, other districts have forged ahead with reopening. In Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana and elsewhere, some schools, mainly in suburban and rural areas, have been open for almost two weeks.

Their experience reveals the perils of returning to classrooms in places where the coronavirus has hardly been tamed. Students and teachers have immediately tested positive, sending others into two-week quarantines and creating whiplash for schools that were eager to open, only to consider closing again right away.

CNN has more on the problems in Georgia following its effort to reopen schools.

 

 There’s still no news on progress regarding a potential stimulus bill. The House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion measure in May, but Senate Republicans haven’t been able to even come up with a plausible bill of their own. As CNN reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol Wednesday that she doesn’t want stalled negotiations for another round of coronavirus relief to drag until the end of September, when government funds are set to expire.

“I hope not. People will die,” she said…

…Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, blamed Democrats for the stalled talks.

This is the part where we remind you, again, that McConnell ISN’T EVEN IN THE ROOM FOR NEGOTIATIONS ANYMORE. The Senate is the only Congressional chamber that has not moved forward on another relief bill; the Senate is controlled by Republicans.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, the loss of extended unemployment benefits is about to hit Colorado HARD:

An emergency federal program had been paying $600 a week to unemployed people, but it expired late last month. With the change, state economists expect that Coloradans will reduce their purchases by 6 percent —  which could knock $20 million a month from the state’s tax revenues, state budget director Lauren Larson told top state lawmakers at a meeting on Tuesday.

“We’re very concerned that we need Congress to act and act quickly,” Larson said.

 

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 6)

Happy Independence Day to our friends in Bolivia and Jamaica, respectively. Please celebrate responsibly. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 New York Attorney General has filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA) because of widespread fraud. As The Washington Post reports:

The chief executive of the National Rifle Association and several top lieutenants engaged in a decades-long pattern of fraud to raid the coffers of the powerful gun rights group for personal gain, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the New York attorney general, draining $64 million from the nonprofit in just three years.

In her lawsuit, Attorney General Letitia James called for the dissolution of the NRA and the removal of CEO Wayne LaPierre from the leadership post he has held for the past 39 years, saying he and others used the group’s funds to finance a luxury lifestyle.

She also asked a New York court to force LaPierre and three key deputies to repay NRA members for the ill-gotten funds and inflated salaries that her investigation found they took.

James accused the NRA leaders of flouting state and federal laws and signing off on reports and statements they knew were fraudulent, while diverting millions of dollars away from the NRA’s charitable mission to benefit themselves and their allies.

But wait…there’s more!

Meanwhile, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced Thursday that his office filed a separate lawsuit against the NRA Foundation, which is based in Washington. Racine accused the organization of being a puppet of the NRA, despite legal requirements that it independently pursue charitable purposes. Instead, Racine found, the foundation repeatedly loaned the NRA money to address its rising deficits.

The NRA will no doubt fight this lawsuit…with whatever money they have left:

 

For the third week in a row, Senate Republicans will likely be headed home — this time for a longer break — without making any progress on another coronavirus relief bill. As POLITICO reports:

The Senate will technically stay in session next week but will not hold any votes unless there is a breakthrough in coronavirus negotiations. That means senators — like their House counterparts — will be back home, waiting for word from the leadership whether a deal has been reached…

…The senators’ departure from Washington despite a tentative Friday deadline signals just how far apart Democrats and the White House remain on reaching an agreement. The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 157,000 Americans, while tens of millions more are unemployed. The Labor Department reported Thursday that 1.19 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week in state programs, a decline from previous weeks but still a sign that the economy is showing little sign of improving.

The report was the first since a federal $600 weekly unemployment benefit allocated in March’s $2 trillion CARES Act officially expired.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still blaming Democrats for his chamber’s failure to come up with any sort of a relief plan…even though McConnell himself somehow isn’t even involved in the negotiations anymore.

For the “glass half full” types out there, a planned meeting on Thursday evening may break the deadlock somewhat.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who moonlights as the State Republican Party Chairman (or vice-versa) is using the Colorado GOP mailing lists to sell copies of his new book. Drain the swamp, indeed.

 

 The Get More Smarter Podcast reached its 50th Episode this week. Tune in below:

 


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

 

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The GMS Podcast: Future Taiwanese Lobbyist Cory Gardner

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, we’re celebrating Episode #50!

Senate Republicans keep shouting “O’Doyle Rules!” as their car flies off the coronavirus cliff; we find our second favorite U.S. Senator boning up on his mandarin in preparation for his next job; QAnon makes it to the White House; we weigh the relative merits of a little spray paint against all of the horrible things visited upon this nation since 2016; and we interview yet another Jason Bane for our ongoing series, “The Jason Bane Focus Group,” marking the first time the podcast has gone INTERNATIONAL!

If you missed our last episode, click here to catch up or scroll through all of our past episodes at GetMoreSmarter.com.

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

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

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