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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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 5)

Happy “Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian Defenders” day. Please celebrate responsibly, 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.

 

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 

 

Several states held Primary Elections on Tuesday, but perhaps the most significant outcome came in a Democratic-held congressional district in St. Louis, MO. From The Washington Post:

Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush lost by 20 points two years ago in her primary challenge against Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.). With higher turnout, despite the novel coronavirus, Bush beat Clay in a rematch on Tuesday by three points.Clay, the 64-year-old chairman of the House Financial Services housing subcommittee, has represented the St. Louis district for 20 years. His father, Bill Clay, held the seat for 32 years before him. He touted endorsements from high-profile establishment figures, especially Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)…

…Bush, 44, talked on the stump about her experiences getting evicted as a single mother of two and tear-gassed in the streets as a protester. She did not get involved in politics until 2014, after a Black teenager had been fatally shot by a White police officer in Ferguson. Bush has been a frequent presence at demonstrations that grew after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day, and she pledged to keep taking to the streets if elected. During the campaign, she contracted covid-19 and spoke of that experience, as well.

POLITICO has more on some of the more notable results from Tuesday, including two big wins for Republicans in Kansas:

Democrats haven’t won a Senate race in Kansas in more than 80 years, but Kris Kobach as the GOP nominee threatened to make the state an improbable toss-up. Instead, Rep. Roger Marshall won the primary, giving the GOP a much more electable candidate to go up against a strong Democratic recruit.

In one of Kansas’ key congressional districts, indicted Rep. Steve Watkins was looking like a juicy target for House Democrats — but they won’t get the chance to run against him after state Treasurer Jake LaTurner ousted the freshman in a primary, boosting Republican chances of keeping the seat.

Watkins went down just weeks after being charged with voter fraud during the 2019 Topeka-area municipal elections.

Also notable from Tuesday: Missouri voters approved a Medicaid expansion proposal over the objection of Republican leaders.

 

You can count Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper among the Coloradans frustrated at Senate Republicans and their inability to make any headway on another stimulus bill. As we wrote on Tuesday, multiple studies have shown that a $600 extended unemployment benefit that expired in July was absolutely not preventing Americans from seeking work.

As The Associated Press reports, Gov. Jared Polis is urging Congress to do think big on providing federal help to Americans:

Polis is urging Congress to go beyond simple renewal of earlier federal pandemic assistance and provide a more extensive package of aid to blunt the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

Polis, a Democrat, said he wants food stamp benefit increases, home heating and child care assistance, support to meet anticipated surges in Medicaid demand and an automatic extension of immigrant work visas for workers in health care and agriculture.

The requests, in a Tuesday letter to the state’s congressional delegation also signed by Democratic Treasurer Dave Young, also ask for more U.S. financial support for water projects, clean energy and public lands infrastructure — key initiatives of Polis’ administration.

Polis insisted Tuesday that the initiatives would be long-term job generators and said Congress should “use this opportunity to invest in resilient, climate-focused solutions as our communities recover” from the pandemic.

As CNN reports, discussions about another coronavirus stimulus bill seem to be at last moving forward in Congress. You’ll note that Senate Republicans are still nowhere near the negotiating table:

The Tuesday meeting between Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and the top White House negotiators, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, was by far the most productive of all the meetings up to this point, according to both sides.

Schumer said both sides made concessions and, most importantly, the talks had gone beyond identifying areas of disagreement or even topline points of overlap and have now moved to trading actual paper proposals between sides. It seems minor or just an obvious step in the process, but the trading of paper means things are getting real, finally.

 

Citing coronavirus concerns, former Vice President Joe Biden will NOT travel to Milwaukee, WI to accept the Democratic Presidential nomination later this month. Biden will instead deliver his acceptance speech from his home state of Delaware.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s re-election campaign is considering violating the Hatch Act a scenario whereby Trump accepts the Republican Presidential nomination with a speech from the South Lawn of the White House. As The Washington Post reports:

The South Lawn, which can be subject to intense heat and afternoon thunderstorms in late August, is one of several sites under consideration for the week of festivities, including the Trump International Hotel in D.C., which the president leases from the federal government, officials said. Any costs incurred by the government to host the events would be repaid, said the Republican, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Several hundred Republican delegates plan to gather for a pared-down session of official meetings on Aug. 24 in Charlotte to nominate Trump. That will be followed by three more days of speeches and programming from undetermined sites, culminating in Trump’s acceptance speech on Aug. 27.

In a press briefing last month, Trump dodged a question about holding the acceptance speech in the White House.

Listeners of The Get More Smarter Podcast may recognize that we literally predicted this would happen in the latest episode:


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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 4)

Happy “Barack Obama 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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 

 

As The Denver Post reports, the number of new coronavirus cases in Colorado saw a recent drop after six weeks of increases:

The number of new coronavirus cases in Colorado dropped 18% last week, marking the first week-over-week decline since confirmed infections began increasing in the state a month-and-a-half ago.

The state health department recorded 3,243 new COVID-19 cases between July 27 and Sunday, down from 3,961 cases the prior week.

The drop in new cases comes after Colorado saw infections rise for six consecutive weeks following a long decline, as more residents left their homes while the state reopened, which can increase the chances of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Colorado also is seeing a decline in hospitalizations and the rate at which COVID-19 tests come back positive. The former is an indicator of the severity of the pandemic, while the latter provides insight into the transmission of the disease within the community.

Patriots Wear Face Masks!” That’s the new line from President Trump, who had long been an outspoken opponent of mask-wearing.

 

► President Trump’s insistence on re-opening public schools is drawing opposition from his own advisers, as The Washington Post reports:

Deborah Birx was at a vacation home in Delaware when White House communications staffers called to say they needed to put her on the Sunday shows. Ever the good soldier, the coordinator of President Trump’s coronavirus task force appeared remotely on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Asked whether schools should fully reopen, Birx answered: “If you have high caseload and active community spread … we are asking people to distance learn at this moment, so we can get this epidemic under control.”

Administration officials say Birx has been arguing this privately, citing recent studies to make her case, but saying so publicly was one of the factors that put her crosswise with Trump. The president responded to the interview by calling her “pathetic!” in a tweet on Monday morning and continued his aggressive push to fully reopen schools during an afternoon news conference, disregarding warnings against doing so from a chorus of public health experts while ignoring mounting evidence that this could lead to potentially deadly outbreaks.

 

As Colorado Public Radio reports, the November ballot keeps growing in size:

Colorado voters will have many decisions to make in November, and not just about their elected officials. The state will also decide on topics ranging from abortion to voting and taxes. And with the deadline now passed for groups to turn in signatures to the Secretary of State’s office, the list of ballot measures could rise to an even dozen.

Five initiatives made it in by Monday’s deadline and will now have their petitions reviewed by state officials. Under Colorado law, a campaign needs at least 124,632 valid signatures for a measure to make the ballot.

Denver7 has more on the various measures that will be added to the ballot for 2020.

 

 Details are still emerging following a tremendous explosion in Beirut, Lebanon earlier today. As The Associated Press reports:

Massive explosions rocked downtown Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings and blowing out windows and doors as a giant mushroom cloud rose above the capital. Witnesses saw many people injured by flying glass and debris.

An Associated Press photographer near the port saw people lying injured on the ground, and hospitals called for blood donations, but exact casualties were not immediately known.

Miles from the scene of the blast, balconies were knocked down, ceiling collapsed and windows were shattered.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.

 

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 29)

Happy “International Tiger Day.” Please don’t try to have a beer with a tiger. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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 

 

As The New York Times reports, the United States has surpassed 150,000 deaths from COVID-19.

 

Senate Republicans and the White House can barely agree on what to eat for lunch (though it’s either hamburgers or meatloaf), so they’ve made little progress on a new coronavirus stimulus bill as extended unemployment benefits are about to run dry. As The Washington Post reports, President Trump is now talking about a mini-bill:

President Trump called for a quick fix Wednesday to address expiring unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions, saying the other parts of the GOP’s $1 trillion relief bill can wait.

“The rest of it, we’re so far apart, we don’t care, we really don’t care,” Trump told reporters outside the White House, referring to divisions between the two parties.

Democrats have repeatedly rejected the idea of a piecemeal approach that would involve a stand-alone unemployment insurance bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not embraced the idea either, insisting any bill must include a five-year liability shield for businesses, health-care providers and others — a non-starter for Democrats.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking alongside Trump, said the two sides were “very far apart.”

This is the part where we remind you that the House of Representatives passed a coronavirus relief bill (the “HEROES Act”) in mid-May. Senate Republicans have been sitting around drawing doodles in their notebooks for more than two months now.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis laid out a list of items that Colorado needs Congress to provide ASAP:

Polis warned of dire consequences to the economic welfare of millions of Coloradans and to the state’s ability to contain the pandemic in a letter sent to the state’s congressional delegation as the U.S. Senate begins deliberating the next phase of coronavirus relief while infections surge across the nation.

“The continued uncertainty regarding the extension and funding of key federal programs for Coloradans is making many of our neighbors contemplate extremely difficult choices regarding their financial futures,” Polis said.

 

Governor Jared Polis on Tuesday also called on all Coloradans to be more smarter about protecting themselves and others from COVID-19. From The Denver Post:

Coloradans who attend large events, don’t wear masks and don’t follow social-distancing guidelines are not only putting themselves but others at risk, Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday in response to concerns about a large event in Weld County over the weekend.

concert and rodeo in Weld County on Sunday drew about 2,000 people during the coronavirus pandemic in a county that has resisted the governor’s orders for wearing masks and other restrictions to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Although county commissioners may believe they don’t have to enforce orders from the governor, Polis rejected the claim at a news conference Tuesday, saying it’s the law and the way to fight it is through the courts…

…“Attending large gatherings doesn’t just put yourself at risk but also puts your job and your family and your loved ones at risk,” Polis said. “No government policy can force anybody not to be stupid, but I’m calling on Coloradans not to be stupid.” [Pols emphasis]

 

Attorney General William Barr testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, delivering a masterful performance…assuming you were expecting a disgustingly corrupt and indifferent stance on just about anything he was asked. Vox.com explains how Barr has helped to make Trumpism possible in the United States. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post marvels at Barr’s clear-eyed support for meddling in U.S. elections.

Today, the House Judiciary Committee will hear from leaders of the nation’s four biggest tech giants: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

 

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 28)

Happy “World Hepatitis Day.” Please, um, 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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 

 

Attorney General William Barr is testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee today. The Washington Post previews the fireworks:

As he makes a highly anticipated appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Attorney General William P. Barr is expected to face critical questions from Democrats about the government’s response to anti-police brutality protests across the nation, his controversial interventions in high-profile cases and an array of other matters.

Barr will tell the House Judiciary Committee that President Trump has not inappropriately intervened in Justice Department business — even though Barr has more than once moved in criminal cases to help the president’s allies — and he will defend the administration’s response to civil unrest in the country, according to a copy of his opening statement.

Barr, according to the statement, will take a defiant posture as he testifies before the panel for the first time since Democrats took control of it, alleging that they have attempted to “discredit” him since he vowed to investigate the 2016 FBI probe of possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, and the media has been unfair in covering unrest.

Two Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation sit on the House Judiciary Committee: Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley). As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, the word of the day will be “obfuscation.”

Click here for live video and updates on Barr’s testimony.

 

► After recessing for a three-day weekend, Senate Republicans returned to Capitol Hill and introduced their half-baked proposal for a new coronavirus relief package. Vox.com explains the details:

The GOP bill arrives as Congress faces a pressing deadline: Enhanced unemployment insurance (UI) is set to expire this week, with millions receiving their final federal unemployment payments allotted by the Cares Act this past weekend. A federal eviction moratorium has also elapsed, and state and local governments increasingly feeling the strain of both dwindling tax revenues and rising coronavirus costs are looking to Congress for help.

Republicans have long chafed at spending more money on stimulus, and this reluctance is apparent in the new bill. Currently, UI recipients are receiving an extra $600 per week on top of their standard benefits, an amount Republicans would like to cut to $200 through September. Additionally, GOP lawmakers have prioritized the inclusion of liability protections for businesses, which would shield them from coronavirus-related lawsuits, while appearing to shy away from more funds for state and local governments.

Republicans introduced their stimulus bill, dubbed the Heals Act, 10 weeks after House Democrats passed their version, the Heroes Act, in the lower chamber. While the two proposals have some overlap — including support for another round of $1,200 stimulus checks — lawmakers have many other differences they still need to work out.

The headline here is that Senate Republicans are seeking to cut the amount of money provided for extended unemployment insurance by two-thirds. Colorado Public Radio looks at the impact on the Senate’s failure for some 330,000 Coloradans.

 

 The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is making a fool out of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) by deciding to keep running a controversial TV ad centering on the explosion of a home in Firestone in 2017. The NRSC had agreed to pull the ad last week after multiple complaints, including a half-hearted plea from Gardner himself to drop the spot.

Gardner, meanwhile, is facing a new set of campaign finance complaints related to his appearance at a $1,000-a-bottle champagne tasting in Palm Beach, Florida in late February.

 

► Colorado hit a new weekly high for COVID-19 cases, but it is unclear if these numbers indicate a troubling trajectory. Elsewhere, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock warned in his annual State of the City address that the battle with COVID-19 is far from over.

 

 New polling in Colorado shows Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden with a double-digit lead over President Trump. The same poll shows Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper maintaining a solid advantage over incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). Hickenlooper also boasts a 13-point advantage over Gardner among Unaffiliated voters in Colorado.

As Morning Consult explains, Democrats are leading Republicans in key races across the country.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

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The GMS Podcast: David Ortiz Gets More Smarter

David Ortiz, Democratic candidate for HD-38

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, it’s Pandemic-Presidential-Pardoning-Pence-Pandering-Vice President-Picking-Palooza! (we’re getting a little out of control with the ‘p’ words).

In this episode, we have another edition of the Boebert Report; we can’t seem to find our second favorite U.S. Senator from Colorado, Cory Gardner; AND we interview David Ortiz, Democratic Candidate for State House in Littleton and Centennial (HD-38) who is running against a dude with an impossible-to-not-snicker-at name.

If you missed our last episode, click here to catch up.

Now you can find all of our episodes in one place 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 (July 22)

Happy “Pi Approximation 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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 

 

Senate Republicans and the White House are in disarray over how to proceed on another coronavirus stimulus package. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz spoke for all of us, if unwittingly, in a story from The Washington Post on Tuesday:

Via The Washington Post (7/21/20)

 

Indeed, Sen. Cruz: What in the hell are you doing?

The Washington Post updates with the latest today:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pushing to unveil an approximately $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill as early as Wednesday, legislation that would include a new round of payments to individual Americans and tens of billions of dollars for schools, with some of the money tied to classrooms reopening.

But McConnell is still working to overcome divisions with the White House, as President Trump has insisted on the inclusion of a payroll tax cut that is deeply unpopular with Senate Republicans. Whether to include that provision remained a critical outstanding question Wednesday, a day after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows encountered a barrage of criticism on the issue during a private lunch with GOP senators on Capitol Hill.

And it’s already clear that the package McConnell is finalizing will not be fully embraced by fellow Senate Republicans. Several conservative lawmakers are irate about spending another trillion dollars after already pumping $3 trillion into the economy in March and April. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) denounced the plans as “insane” and “an abomination” after storming out of the GOP lunch Tuesday to deliver a rant to reporters.

Senate Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and there’s little chance the legislation they are currently crafting would be able to secure the 60 votes needed to proceed to a final vote. But emerging from the discussions with a formal plan would give them a starting point to begin negotiations with House Democrats, who passed a $3 trillion tax and spending plan in May aimed at addressing the coronavirus’s impact.

Here’s the short version: The U.S. economy is headed for disaster if Senate Republicans do not act swiftly to ease financial burdens on Americans and local municipalities (extended unemployment benefits expire at the end of July; the House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion relief bill BACK IN MAY). President Trump is demanding a payroll tax cut, which will accomplish precisely squat for the 12 million people who are unemployed. Senate Republicans like Rand Paul, meanwhile, are more concerned about the national debt, which will be relevant for no-one if the economy completely bottoms out. The Colorado Sun has more on how an end to unemployment extension benefits will impact Coloradans.

And what has Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said about all of this? Empty platitudes, mostly: “We have to—together—get through this by making sure that people are able to get back to work, that businesses are able to survive, that individuals know that they’re going to be okay.” Neat. Now pass a damn bill.

 

On Tuesday evening, President Trump held his first coronavirus briefing in months, which he began by telling the American people that the virus will “get worse before it gets better.” Trump also claimed, laughably, that he has always supported wearing masks in public. But the biggest takeaway from Tuesday, as The Washington Post notes, is that Trump did not actually provide an update on efforts to combat the virus, to create a vaccine, or on the federal response in general.

 

Senator Cory Gardner is getting called out for his mealy-mouthed response over calls to take down an ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) that is patently false and plainly offensive.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 21)

Today is “Racial Harmony Day” in Singapore, which seems like something that should be a thing everywhere. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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 

 

With the coronavirus continuing its rampage across the United States and the economy suffering in-kind, Congressional Republicans are working on some sort of new relief bill. As The Washington Post reports:

The emerging GOP coronavirus relief bill appears likely to embrace some of President Trump’s key priorities, despite opposition from within his own party, including a payroll tax cut, very little aid to state and local governments, and measures tying school funding to the reopening of classrooms.

Some of these provisions are already sparking pushback from key Senate Republicans, and an even bigger showdown with Democrats appears inevitable.

That clash could come Tuesday, when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows are set to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) for the first bipartisan talks on what will almost certainly be the last major coronavirus relief bill before the November elections. Mnuchin and Meadows will also meet with Senate Republicans on Tuesday as they seek to quell any discontent…

…Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is giving Congress just three weeks to write the bill before adjourning for summer recess. With multiple issues dividing the two parties and creating rifts between the White House and Senate Republicans, it’s shaping up as a daunting task.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is among those who are skeptical about the efficacy of a payroll tax cut — which isn’t going to do much for the 12 million unemployed Americans who are unlikely to be able to return to their former workplace. Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing for a bigger bill that would include extended unemployment benefits, new stimulus checks, and more financial help for state and local governments.

Vox.com explains what a disaster it could be if Republicans don’t renew extended unemployment benefits.

 

We really don’t need to explain why this is so absurd:

Meanwhile, President Trump will hold his first daily coronavirus briefing in several months today at the White House. The move is an obvious election ploy for attention that may backfire; Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings in April were widely derided by Republican advisers as counterproductive and an overexposure of the President.

 

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden says that Russia will face significant consequences if it continues interfering in U.S. elections. From The Washington Post:

Joe Biden threatened on Monday to retaliate against Russia by imposing sanctions, freezing assets, deploying cyberweapons and exposing “corruption” if Vladimir Putin interferes again in this year’s U.S. presidential election.

“I am putting the Kremlin and other foreign governments on notice,” the former vice president said in a 653-word statement. “A range of other actions could also be taken, depending on the nature of the attack. … I will not hesitate to respond as president to impose substantial and lasting costs.”

During a virtual fundraiser that evening, Biden noted that he recently began receiving classified briefings again as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and suggested such meddling is underway. “We saw it in ‘16, we saw it in ‘18, and we’re seeing it now,” Biden told donors. “Russia, China, Iran and other foreign actors are working to interfere in our democracy and undermine our faith in our electoral process. We can’t let that happen.”

 

 9News fact-checks a rather disgusting attack ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) regarding Democrat John Hickenlooper and a deadly home explosion in Firestone a few years back.

 

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (July 20)

Today is the 8th anniversary of the Aurora Theater Shooting. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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 

 

Colorado is trending in the wrong direction on the coronavirus pandemic, reaching the highest number of statewide cases since May. Experts say that wearing masks in public can substantially slow the spread of COVID-19, but they are also encouraging Coloradans to avoid gathering in crowds altogether.

 

As The Washington Post reports, vulnerable Republican Senate candidates such as Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner are finding themselves stuck in a corner as the Senate attempts to advance more coronavirus relief legislation despite opposition from the Trump administration:

As the Senate returns this week for a three-week sprint before the August break, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing competing demands from President Trump and Republican senators, including some who are up for reelection in states hit hard by the virus and are coming under withering attacks by Democratic challengers over the pandemic.

In particular, the expiration of an additional $600-per-week in unemployment insurance by July 31 is adding pressure on vulnerable GOP senators as 20 million to 30 million people remain out of work. McConnell and many other Republicans adamantly oppose extending the enhanced benefit at its current level, saying it discourages some from returning to work because they make more money by staying home…

…“We have to — together — get through this by making sure that people are able to get back to work, that businesses are able to survive, that individuals know that they’re going to be okay,” endangered Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) said in a phone interview.

 

► President Trump is going to resume his regular airing of grievances daily coronavirus briefings this week. From The New York Times:

President Trump said on Monday that he is bringing back the daily coronavirus briefings that he halted in April, a tacit acknowledgment that the public health crisis that he has sought to put behind him is still ravaging much of the country.

With cases and deaths on the rise, Mr. Trump told reporters that he would probably hold the first of the new series of briefings on Tuesday at 5 p.m. He attributed his decision to revive them not to the increasing threat of the virus but to the fact that the briefings had high television ratings.

“I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching in the history of cable television. There’s never been anything like it,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a previously unannounced meeting with congressional Republicans. “It’s a great way to get information out to the public as to where we are with the vaccines, with the therapeutics.”

Trump views these daily briefings as official government versions of a political rally, though he had backed off the daily events amid concerns from advisers that he was “over-saturating” Americans with Trump talk.

 

► President Trump sat down for an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News over the weekend. Aaron Blake sums up the incredibly-bizarre interview for The Washington Post:

Trump’s interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace was a painful affair from start to finish. Wallace is always a good and tough interviewer, unlike the Fox opinion hosts Trump frequents, and he is always prepared, but this was on another level. The interview wasn’t overly adversarial; Wallace was perfectly willing to talk about the things Trump was interested in and to play ball when Trump responded in relatively good faith. It wasn’t slanted; instead it merely raised the very factual counterpoints dealt with frequently in coverage of Trump. And it wasn’t rushed, which meant that Wallace could dig into the points Trump was making without fear of neglecting other topics he wanted to touch on.

Chris Cillizza of CNN goes through the entire interview to highlight 55 of Trump’s most crazypants quotes from the Fox News interview. Here’s two of those quotes, along with Cillizza’s analysis:

3. “But when you talk about mortality rates, I think it’s the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.”

We don’t. We have the seventh highest coronavirus mortality rate in the world, according to Johns Hopkins. Which Wallace told Trump. Trump is using numbers from the European CDC, according to Wallace.

4. “Look, I take responsibility always for everything because it’s ultimately my job, too.”

“I don’t take responsibility at all.” — Donald Trump, March 13

 

 

As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville appears likely to lose that title in a few months:

It is increasingly likely that Patrick Neville, the far-right leader of Colorado’s shrunken House GOP caucus, will be overthrown later this year.

Neville, of Castle Rock, has been minority leader since 2016, but Rep. Hugh McKean, a Loveland Republican, has been public about his plans to seek the job of minority leader heading into the 2021 legislative session in January. More than a dozen lawmakers and other Capitol sources say they believe McKean’s victory is all but assured.

This outcome was made much more likely on primary night in June, when a slate of Republican candidates more aligned with Neville’s vision was trounced by a group of less hard-right candidates.

We wrote about exactly this subject here at Colorado Pols just a few weeks ago. In a new post today, we break down the chaos among state Republicans.

Meanwhile, Neville is trying to raise money for his anti-mask wearing cause. Colorado is under a statewide mask ordinance as of last week, which isn’t making right-wing Republicans very happy.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Post-Primary Podcasting

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, it’s Post-Primary-Processing-Pallooza! A local gun group pulls the trigger and a tiny little flag that says BANG pops out of the barrel; Cory Gardner wears a mask; Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert wears a gun; we tempt the fates by attempting to be light hearted about the coronavirus; even Trump’s fake poll shows him losing by 10 points; and we may get a look at the Big Orange Guy’s tax returns after all!

If you missed our last episode, click here to catch up.

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 Monday (July 13)

If you want to know what it feels like to be President Trump right now, just go stand outside on the pavement for about 10 minutes. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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 is attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci because Fauci isn’t playing along with Trump’s plan to pretend the coronavirus outbreak is totally under control. As Maggie Haberman explains for The New York Times:

President Trump’s advisers undercut the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, over the weekend, anonymously providing details to various news outlets about statements he had made early in the coronavirus outbreak that they said were inaccurate.

The move to treat Dr. Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for decades, as if he were a warring political rival came as he has grown increasingly vocal in his concerns about the national surge in coronavirus cases, as well as his lack of access to Mr. Trump over the past several weeks. It has been accompanied by more measured public criticism from administration officials, including the president.

And it came just days after the White House called school reopening guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overly restrictive, part of a pattern of the administration trying to sideline recommendations that could slow the reopening of the economy, which Mr. Trump views as vital to his flailing re-election effort.

Aides to Mr. Trump first released to The Washington Post what the paper called a “lengthy list” of remarks that Dr. Fauci had made about the virus when it was in its early stages.

As Philip Bump writes for The Washington Post:

What’s unusual about the White House’s efforts to undermine Anthony S. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading voice on the novel coronavirus pandemic, is that the only way in which Fauci has undercut the president is by being honest about the moment…

…What Fauci has done is make obvious both that the pandemic is as bad as it seems and that there are ways in which it can be addressed, which at times conflict with what Trump would like to see. Trump’s vision for what happens with the virus’s spread is fairly straightforward: Businesses reopen and kids go back to school and he gets reelected and then it just sort of becomes a nonissue somehow. Maybe he doesn’t get to that fourth step; it’s not clear. What Fauci and, more broadly, government and medical experts foresee is grimmer: With better containment and Americans taking more responsibility for stopping the spread of the virus, maybe we can keep the death toll down until there’s a vaccine.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) should theoretically be interested in defending Fauci, who he has called “a national treasure.”

If you’re wondering if you missed Sen. Cory Gardner’s comments on Dear Leader Trump’s late Friday decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone, never fear…Gardner hasn’t said a damn thing!

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Trump’s “get out of jail” card for Stone is even worse than it looks at first glance:

These are not small crimes. Let’s be very clear what Stone did: He lied to Congress about his efforts to find out what WikiLeaks had in terms of hacked emails that were designed to damage Clinton. He also threatened someone — with death — unless that person lied to Congress about the nature of his role in the backchanneling of WikiLeaks information…

…And now Stone has been rewarded with a commutation of what was to be a 40-month prison sentence set to start Tuesday — not because he didn’t do what he was convicted of doing but rather because a) he stayed loyal to Trump (“There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president,” Stone said when he was formally indicted) and b) his conviction played into Trump’s deep-seated resentments that the fact that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help him somehow invalidates his victory.

 

Douglas County Republicans are classy. A certain section of rich, white, suburbanites in Metro Denver are out of their freaking minds.

Meanwhile, a mask requirement for Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties goes into effect on July 24.

 

As The Denver Post reports, President Trump’s ban on temporary worker visas is causing havoc in Colorado:

“Honestly, it’s just horrendous,” Brian Carlson, the CEO of Lafayette-based Green Landscape Solutions, said. “What I tell people is at this point my business plan comes down to a lottery or luck.”

But 2020 is not just any year — the visa roller coaster has come off the tracks. The H-2B and other programs have been frozen by presidential decree. Whether or not that will mean the hundreds of thousands of Colorado workers who are unemployed amid the COVID-19 pandemic will seek out the jobs normally filled by foreign laborers remains to be seen…

…The president’s bans are not only impacting landscaping businesses like Carlson’s that are in peak season but stand to reverberate through some of Colorado’s key industries, including winter tourism.

 

Senate Republicans are getting very concerned about being significantly outraised by Democrats across the country. As POLITICO reports:

“It’s a slow-moving trainwreck,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican consultant who led Marco Rubio’s digital strategy in the 2016 presidential campaign. “The warning signs are flashing right now, and they’re ignoring it.”

Democratic Senate campaigns have outraised Republicans in small-dollar donations (under $200) in 10 of the 12 most competitive races, according to a review of the most recent Federal Election Commission reports, which this week are due for an update covering the second quarter. Already, many Democratic campaigns have announced that they raised massive sums in the last three months, while few Republicans have tipped their hands. Unitemized donations also represented a higher percentage of individual receipts for Democrats in every competitive race featuring a GOP senator.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 8)

Happy birthday to retired Chinese basketball player Wang Zhizhi! 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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 United States has surpassed 3 million coronavirus cases.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling today that will finally make right-wing Republicans happy. From The Washington Post:

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration may allow employers and universities to opt out of the Affordable Care Act requirement to provide contraceptive care because of religious or moral objections.

The issue has been at the heart of an intense legal battle for nine years, first with the Obama administration sparring with religious organizations who said offering contraceptive care to their employees violated their beliefs, and then with the Trump administration broadening the exemption, angering women’s groups, health organizations and Democratic-led states.

Wednesday’s decision greatly expands the ability of employers to claim the exemption, and the government estimates that it could mean that 70,000 to 126,000 women could lose access to cost-free birth control.

And the Trump campaign wonders why female voters are abandoning him in droves.

There should be another big Supreme Court announcement on Thursday — whether or not congressional committees and a New York prosecutor should be allowed to see Trump’s personal financial records.

 

► President Trump says that any hesitancy to re-open schools in the fall is about trying to make him look bad, or something. Now he’s threatening to cut off federal aid for school districts that don’t just open up regardless of the health risks. Chris Cillizza of CNN thinks this is a bad move for Trump:

Via CNN (7/8/20)

“We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons,” said Trump. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way. So we’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open.”

The “why” here is simple: Trump’s poll numbers — and chances at winning a second term this fall — have taken a huge hit as the country has turned on how the President and his administration have handled the ongoing pandemic. (Trump’s job approval was at just 38% in a new Gallup poll released earlier this week.) He desperately wants to kickstart the economy and needs people to feel as though they are returning to “normal,” and getting kids back to school is, he believes, one of the best ways to do just that.

The problem is that Trump is so focused on his political imperatives that he is losing sight of the bigger picture here: Forcing — or pressuring — schools to fully reopen will jeopardize the health of teachers and could well boomerang back on him from both a public health and political perspective.

Attempting to “force” schools to open could have a cascading effect that ends up “forcing” schools to close altogether:

…if a USA Today/Ipsos poll conducted in May is any indication, plenty of teachers will walk away from the profession rather than risk their health. That survey showed that 1 in 5 teachers said they would not return to the classroom if schools reopened in the fall, a number that could well cripple any attempts to reopen schools anyway.

The reality is that school opening decisions are made by governors and local officials, not the President of the United States. And, even if schools do reopen, it’s not at all clear that enough teachers will show up to make it feasible.

Earlier this week, Florida’s Education Commissioner announced that he would require all schools to be open for in-person learning five days a week.

 

Sticking with the subject of education, international students in Colorado are facing more questions than answers about resuming classes in the fall. From The Denver Post:

International students at Colorado universities are worried about their educational futures following a new directive from federal immigration officials that would require them to change schools or leave the country should their institution revert to full online learning this fall.

The new guidance is meant to encourage schools that closed their campuses and moved online due to the pandemic to physically reopen, Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a CNN interview Tuesday.

“If they don’t reopen this semester, there isn’t a reason for a person holding a student visa to be present in the country,” Cuccinelli said. “They should go home, and they can return when the school reopens.”

Tanya Roussy, a University of Colorado Boulder graduate student from Canada who is researching physics, said Tuesday that she felt it was “pretty clear with this government that cruelty is the point.”

 

You’re going to be reading a lot about businesses that received PPP loans from the federal government now that data has been made public. The list of businesses that received loans of at least $1 million is…frustrating.

Irony? Yeah, there’s that, too.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 7)

There is no coronavirus. There is no coronavirus. There is no coronavirus. [Opens eyes] Shit, there is still coronavirus. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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 

 

► Experts say that we are still in the first phase of the coronavirus outbreak because we have not yet reached a point of lower infection rates — and that first phase is still raging. Melbourne, Australia (the country’s second-largest city with 5 million residents) is locking down for another six weeks in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. The United States might not be far behind. As The Washington Post reports:

Hospitals across the Sun Belt continue to be inundated with coronavirus patients, with Arizona reaching 89 percent capacity for intensive care unit beds on Monday, as Alabama, California, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas also reported unprecedented numbers of hospitalizations. For the 28th day in a row, the country’s rolling seven-day average of daily new cases shattered all previous records, although the number of deaths has remained relatively stable.

The United States is “still knee deep in the first wave” of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday. Unlike Europe, “we never came down to baseline and now are surging back up.”

At least 2,926,000 coronavirus cases and 127,000 deaths have been reported nationwide since February. The Trump administration hopes that Americans will grow inured to the growing death toll and accept the tens of thousands of new cases being reported each day as the new reality, three people familiar with the White House’s thinking told The Washington Post. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that even longtime Trump allies are privately admitting that people should be wearing masks everywhere they go:

Three months after reversing course and recommending masks — a move officials later conceded was confusing and awkward — top Republicans and allies of the President are only now coming to the realization that mask-wearing will be an essential element to containing a still-raging pandemic. [Pols emphasis]

White House officials are discussing taking a more active role in encouraging masks as they shift to a strategy of preparing Americans to live long-term with the virus. After appearing at a string of events without social distancing and where masks were scarce, Trump’s campaign said Sunday it would host a New Hampshire campaign rally where attendees will be “provided a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear.”

Yet Trump’s willingness to shift personally on the issue is far from clear. While he likened himself to the “Lone Ranger” on one of the few occasions he wore a mask in private, he has not used his powerful social media platforms to encourage his supporters to do the same. And in meetings with advisers, Trump has stated that more strenuous calls to wear masks might send the wrong message as he attempts to move on from the virus.

So, let’s see if we can parse out this logic: If we ignore the coronavirus, it will go away…which is why we can’t wear masks, because then the coronavirus would know that we aren’t really ignoring it? Don’t make eye contact with COVID-19!!!

And since we’re on the topic of ignoring the coronavirus, here’s an interesting bit of news via POLITICO:

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for Covid-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity.

Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters in capital Brasilia.

 

► President Trump seems to be dead-set on playing only to his base as he gears up for the last few months of his re-election campaign. But as Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, this makes absolutely no sense:

What Trump is doing at the moment — judging from the Gallup numbers — is running a very effective primary campaign. He is consolidating his base behind him using fear and overt racial appeals. (Trump’s tweets on Monday calling on NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace to apologize are the latest evidence of that purposeful weaponizing of race.)

The problem, of course, is that Trump doesn’t have a primary problem. He has a general election problem. And by running a primary when a general election is what’s called for, Trump is making it harder and harder for himself to ever make the turn to a more traditional general-election strategy of outreach and inclusion.

Why? Why cut off your nose to spite your face? Because Trump can’t help himself.

As for those new Gallup numbers, Trump’s approval rating is holding steady at a not-so-robust 38%.

 

Faithless electors, repent! As The Denver Post reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that states can require electors to vote for the winner of the state’s popular vote for president in the Electoral College.

The decision was made based on two cases — one in Colorado and one in Washington State.

Delivering the court’s reasoning for both cases in Chiafalo v. Washington, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that nothing in the U.S. Constitution prevents states from punishing so-called faithless electors — members of the Electoral College who don’t vote in accordance with the people of their state. Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused herself from the Colorado decision because of her friendship with Colorado elector Polly Baca.

 

You’re going to be reading a lot about businesses that received PPP loans from the federal government now that data has been made public. The list of businesses that received loans of at least $1 million is…frustrating.

Irony? Yeah, there’s that, too.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Election Day (June 30)

The Primary Election is FINALLY here. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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 

 

► If you still have a Primary Election ballot at home, DO NOT put it in the mail! Go to GoVoteColorado.com to find a ballot drop off location and make sure to return your ballot BEFORE 7:00pm. If your ballot isn’t in a drop box by 7:00, it’s not going to be counted. 

As Blair Miller reports for Denver7, ballot returns are expected to greatly exceed the total voter turnout from the 2018 Primary Election.

 

► Democrat Amy McGrath appears to have defeated Charles Booker in last week’s hotly-contested U.S. Senate Primary in Kentucky. The Associated Press called the race for McGrath after nearly a week of ballot counting; McGrath will challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.

POLITICO takes a separate look at Colorado’s U.S. Senate Primary Election and concludes that former Gov. John Hickenlooper appears to be a good bet to hold off a challenge from former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. Booker’s loss in Kentucky is another ominous sign for Romanoff, since both candidates tried to position themselves as the most progressive candidate on the ballot:

A handful of national progressive organizations, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, backed Romanoff down the stretch, and Our Revolution, which launched out of Sanders’ first presidential run, also endorsed him. But many of the groups who jumped into Kentucky stayed on the sidelines in Colorado.

If you’re looking for hints as to the outcome in today’s big Senate battle, take a look at what Colorado Pols readers think will happen.

 

Colorado isn’t the only Western state holding a Primary Election today. Voters are also casting ballots — though mostly by mail — in Utah, where the top-ticket race is a battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. As POLITICO reports, former Gov. Jon Huntsman is in real danger of losing a GOP Primary to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox:

Huntsman’s willingness to serve in both Democratic and Republican administrations — as well as his reputation for moderation that includes his role as a co-chair of the bipartisan group No Labels — is testing Utah Republicans’ tolerance for the kind of technocratic governance he represents.

“This race is kind of Huntsman versus Huntsman,” said Doug Foxley, a political strategist and senior adviser to the Huntsman campaign. “Some of these people have feelings about Jon — and they’re either voting for him, or they’re voting against him.”

Recent polls show the primary as a near-tie between Huntsman and Cox. Also on the ballot are two well-known state Republicans — former state House Speaker Greg Hughes and former state GOP chairman Thomas Wright — who have ranked behind the two frontrunners.

Voters are also going to the polls in Oklahoma today, as POLITICO notes, but the overarching story of the day might be the spotlight on mail balloting in Colorado and Utah.

 

► President Trump has repeatedly claimed that he was not briefed about intelligence concerns that Russia had issued “bounties” for the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan. But as The New York Times reports, that position may not hold for much longer:

American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, two officials familiar with the matter said.

The investigation into the suspected Russian covert operation to incentivize such killings has focused in part on an April 2019 car bombing that killed three Marines as one such potential attack, according to multiple officials familiar with the matter.

The new information emerged as the White House tried on Monday to play down the intelligence assessment that Russia sought to encourage and reward killings — including reiterating a claim that Mr. Trump was never briefed about the matter and portraying the conclusion as disputed and dubious.

But that stance clashed with the disclosure by two officials that the intelligence was included months ago in Mr. Trump’s President’s Daily Brief document — a compilation of the government’s latest secrets and best insights about foreign policy and national security that is prepared for him to read. One of the officials said the item appeared in Mr. Trump’s brief in late February; the other cited Feb. 27, specifically.

It is well known that Trump does not normally bother reading his daily intelligence briefin

 

 Does Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) have a breaking point when it comes to President Trump? We asked that question last year, and we asked it again on Monday. The answer is the same.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Pre-Primary Predictions

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, it’s Primary-Prognostication-Palooza! The President takes a pounding in the polls, a potential politician pretends to be a professional, and more pretentious pablum from some political putzes. Tune in to hear our predictions for the June 30 Primary Election in Colorado.

If you missed last week’s episode featuring Assistant House Majority Leader Chris Kennedyclick here.

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 Friday (June 26)

Don’t look now, but we’re rounding the bend of June and rolling into July already. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or 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

 

***If you still have a Primary Election ballot at home, don’t put it in the mail! Go to GoVoteColorado.com to find a ballot drop off location near you.*** 

 

It might still be the first wave. Maybe it’s a second wave. The number doesn’t really matter, because the important part is that the COVID-19 is still growing in the United States with 40,000 new cases being reported. Texas is seeing a huge spike in coronavirus cases, as is Arizona — two Republican-led states in the southwest that were too anxious to reopen without making sure it was safe to do so.

The Washington Post explains how Arizona lost control of the pandemic:

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is recording as many as 2,000 cases a day, “eclipsing the New York City boroughs even on their worst days,” warned a Wednesday brief by disease trackers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which observed, “Arizona has lost control of the epidemic.”

But physicians, public health experts, advocates and local officials say the crisis was predictable in Arizona, where local ordinances requiring masks were forbidden until Gov. Doug Ducey (R) reversed course last week. State leaders did not take the necessary precautions or model safe behavior, these observers maintain, even in the face of compelling evidence and repeated pleas from authoritative voices.

“We have failed on so many levels,” said Dana Marie Kennedy, the Arizona director of AARP, who said her organization has yet to receive a response to four letters outlining concerns to the governor. She is working on a fifth.

Neither the governor’s office nor the state health department responded to requests for comment.

Florida — another Republican-led state — is slowing down its reopening process because of a surge in cases; on Friday, Florida reported nearly 9,000 new cases (the state’s previous daily high was 5,500).

Colorado has also seen an uptick in coronavirus cases, but not nearly to the extend of neighboring states. Within Colorado, El Paso County is one of the worst-hit areas; it’s not a coincidence that El Paso is a solid-red Republican county.

At the White House today, Vice President Mike Pence will provide a media briefing on the nation’s coronavirus response…the first such briefing IN TWO MONTHS.

President Trump, meanwhile, is apparently watching an entirely different movie than everyone else:

 

President Trump is hemhoraging support. As a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds, Trump’s disapproval ratings have reached an all-time high:

Trump’s approval rating sits at just 40% overall, while a record 58% disapprove.

What’s more, a whopping 49% of voters “strongly disapprove” of the job Trump is doing. That kind of intensity of disapproval is a record never before seen for this president or any past one. [Pols emphasis]

So much winning! The #1 most disliked President ever!

 

Sticking with the subject of political polling, 9News released new data on Thursday showing that the race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination is pretty much over. According to data from SurveyUSA, former Gov. John Hickenlooper is a 2-to-1 favorite over former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff ahead of Tuesday’s Primary Election.

 

Hickenlooper is probably not going to beat Romanoff by 30 points, but as the saying goes, you can tell the “fat lady” to start warming up.

 

Political suicide. On Thursday the Trump administration announced another boneheaded decision that one Republican consultant called “pretty dumb” earlier this week. As The Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late on Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act, telling the court that “the entire ACA must fall.” The administration’s argument comes as hundreds of thousands of Americans have turned to the government program for health care as they’ve lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to the brief by saying there is “no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.” Dismantling the ACA would leave more than 23 million people without healthcare plans, according to a recent analysis by the liberal-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.

“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” Pelosi, who on Wednesday filed a bill to expand the ACA, said in a statement.

Again, the Trump administration is making a big show of trying to take away health insurance for millions of people in the midst of an historic global pandemic that is pummeling the United States. Is Trump trying to lose in 2020?

This is also bad news for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who has repeatedly voiced support for destroying the ACA through the courts.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

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