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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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 24)

Happy Bannockburn Day. Please celebrate responsibly. Now, 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

 

A new poll from The New York Times and Siena College shows that President Trump is absolutely cratering:

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has taken a commanding lead over President Trump in the 2020 race, building a wide advantage among women and nonwhite voters and making deep inroads with some traditionally Republican-leaning groups that have shifted away from Mr. Trump following his ineffective response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new national poll of registered voters by The New York Times and Siena College.

Mr. Biden is currently ahead of Mr. Trump by 14 percentage points, garnering 50 percent of the vote compared with 36 percent for Mr. Trump. That is among the most dismal showings of Mr. Trump’s presidency, and a sign that he is the clear underdog right now in his fight for a second term…

…among a striking cross-section of voters, the distaste for Mr. Trump has deepened as his administration failed to stop a deadly disease that crippled the economy and then as he responded to a wave of racial-justice protests with angry bluster and militaristic threats. The dominant picture that emerges from the poll is of a country ready to reject a president whom a strong majority of voters regard as failing the greatest tests confronting his administration.

Trump gets crushed in this poll on questions about how he has handled the coronavirus pandemic. According to the poll, the only demographic where Trump has any advantage over Biden is among non-college educated white voters.

 

 Tuesday marked the highest number of new coronavirus cases in the United States since late April. The United States is doing such a poor job of containing the pandemic that the European Union may soon block travelers coming from America.

The coronavirus news isn’t all bad, fortunately. In Colorado, mortality rates are declining among people infected with the virus.

 

Two federal prosecutors are testifying in front of a House committee today about the high-level political pressure placed upon their work by the Trump administration and Attorney General William Barr. As CNN reports:

Two prosecutors in the Justice Department will ratchet up the criticism of Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday with remarkable congressional testimony accusing senior Justice Department officials of politicizing DOJ investigations and the sentencing of a friend of President Donald Trump.

Aaron Zelinsky, a prosecutor on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, plans to testify that the sentencing recommendation for Trump’s longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone was watered down due to political pressure from the “highest levels” of the Justice Department, according to Zelinsky’s prepared remarked released Tuesday. Zelinsky, who now works in the Maryland US Attorney’s Office, said the pressure came due to Stone’s “relationship with the President.”

John Elias, a career Justice Department prosecutor in the Antitrust Division, accused Barr of ordering investigations into 10 mergers of cannabis companies because he did not like the industry, according to a copy of his testimony. Elias also charged that political leadership in the Antitrust Division pushed an investigation into California’s emissions standards last year following a tweet from the President attacking the state.

Wednesday’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee comes amid a new flurry of questions surrounding Barr’s decision to fire Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which has investigated Trump and his associates. Berman initially refused Barr’s request for his resignation, vowing to remain until the Senate confirmed his replacement sparking a chaotic situation that ended after Trump and Barr fired him and Berman agreed to leave.

 

In not-unrelated news, a federal appeals court has ruled that a criminal case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn should be dropped. From The Washington Post:

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan cannot scrutinize the Justice Department’s decision to drop its long-running prosecution of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and must dismiss the case, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the court said it is not within the judge’s power to prolong the prosecution or examine the government’s motives for its reversal in the politically charged case. Flynn twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia’s ambassador before the Justice Department moved in May to dismiss the charges.

 

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: Rep. Chris Kennedy Gets More Smarter

Assistant House Majority Leader Chris Kennedy (D-Lakewood)

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii marvel anew at the ever-sinking poll numbers for President Trump; discuss the state of the debates in the U.S. Senate Primary between Democrats Andrew Romanoff and John Hickenlooper; and have a good laugh at an absurdly-bad new television ad from our second favorite U.S. Senator from Colorado, Cory Gardner.

But first, we wrap up the very weird Colorado legislative session that finally adjourned this week with State Rep. Chris Kennedy, the Assistant Majority Leader in the State House of Representatives. Warm up those brains and find out what happens next with several big policy ideas that were shelved because of the coronavirus outbreak and related budget troubles.

If you missed last week’s episode featuring polling guru Andrew Baumann, click 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 Wednesday (June 17)

Happy World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought…day. Please celebrate responsibly. Now, 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 have finally countered a police reform plan put forth by the House of Representatives. It’s a bit light.

Via The Washington Post (6/17/20)

Senate Republicans on Wednesday unveiled a policing reform bill that would discourage, but not ban, tactics such as chokeholds and no-knock warrants, offering a competing approach to legislation being advanced by House Democrats that includes more directives from Washington.

The Republican proposal, which Senate leaders said would be considered on the floor next week, veers away from mandating certain policing practices, as the Democratic plan does.

Instead, it encourages thousands of local police and law enforcement agencies to curtail practices such as chokeholds and certain no-knock warrants by withholding federal funding to departments that allow the tactics or do not submit reports related to them.

The legislation also requires local law enforcement agencies to report all officer-involved deaths to the FBI — an effort pushed by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who is spearheading the GOP bill, since 2015 — and it encourages broader use of body-worn cameras for officers.

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order outlining new policies to deal with police brutality — as he offered effusive praise for law enforcement officials. From CNN:

Speaking during a discursive noontime event in the Rose Garden, Trump initially sought to adopt a unifying tone as he announced an executive order that, among other steps, creates a federal database of police officers with a history of using excessive force.

But later he veered from that topic and that tone to assault his political rivals and tout the stock market’s recent rally.

It was a performance that laid bare the balance Trump faces as he continues to embrace a hard line “law and order” mantle, which he believes benefits him politically, even as he confronts a national reckoning over systemic racism in police departments and outcry over violent police tactics.

Don’t feel bad: We also had to look up the meaning of “discursive.”

Denver7 looks at how Trump’s executive order compares to legislation passed in Colorado over the weekend:

“The federal executive order is more of a guideline,” said Andre Andeli, a lecturer in the criminal justice and criminology department at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

 

As The New York Times reports, China is shutting things down again as a new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading through the country:

With a fresh outbreak of coronavirus infections tied to a market — 137 cases after an additional 31 were reported on Wednesday — Beijing has started living through a milder, and so far limited, version of the disruptive restrictions that China enforced earlier this year to stifle its first tidal wave of infections. Residents in the capital have been sharply reminded that even in China — with its array of authoritarian powers — the virus can leap back to life, triggering new rounds of limits on their lives.

The new outbreak in Beijing has brought embarrassment and a tough response from the Chinese Communist Party. Officials had been proud to the point of gloating in recent weeks about their success in stifling the pandemic in the country. Now the virus is back.

Here in the United States, Texas, Florida, and Arizona set new records for daily COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence says not to worry…so, yeah, you should probably start to worry a little.

 

The Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate held their final pre-Primary debate on Tuesday. As The Denver Post reports:

Racial justice was a big topic during the debate, given the protests that have been taking place on the streets of Denver and multiple other cities following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who was pinned by the neck under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee.

Both candidates conceded that they had not done enough to address the issue during their time in politics. Hickenlooper said despite efforts to reform police conduct in Denver when he was mayor of the city during the 2000s, “we didn’t go far enough and I regret that.”

Romanoff echoed those sentiments, saying “none of us have done enough.”

 

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 (June 15)

Happy Global Wind Day. Please celebrate responsibly. Now, 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 Washington Post reports on a monumental Supreme Court ruling today:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees, a major gay rights ruling written by one of the court’s most conservative justices.

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 6 to 3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes LGBTQ employees.

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear,” Gorsuch wrote. “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

Gorsuch and Roberts were joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

 

The Colorado legislature will wrap up the 2020 session today, and it looks like a police reform bill will be the main takeaway of the session restart. From The Denver Post:

Colorado passed one of the most comprehensive police reform packages in the country Saturday, setting limits on police use of force and mandating data collection to make sure cops who are fired from one agency don’t get rehired by another.

Gov. Jared Polis has said he will sign the historic bill into law once it reaches his desk.

“This is, in my estimation, the largest single advancement of individual civil rights and liberties for Coloradans in a generation,” said Denver civil rights attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai.

Among the biggest changes, Colorado’s Senate Bill 217 bans the use of chokeholds and carotid control holds, limits when police are allowed to shoot at a fleeing person and requires officers to intervene in cases of excessive force or face criminal charges. The bill requires all officers to use body-worn cameras and departments to release the footage within 45 days, and it allows for officers to be held personally liable for civil rights violations.

Colorado lawmakers have a few more items on their agenda for Monday before the adjourn for the year. Colorado Public Radio and The Denver Post take a look at other important decisions made over the weekend.
 
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has withdrawn its approval of an anti-malaria drug touted by President Trump as a treatment for COVID-19.

 

► Dear Leader Trump is trying to convince everyone that he is NOT the wobbly old man that he appeared to be while visiting West Point over the weekend. As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN, Trump has turned his health into a story — wobbling at the podium and shuffling meekly down a ramp afterward — because of his own past actions.

Trump claimed on Twitter that he was just being careful in descending a ramp because it was slick from rain that didn’t exist:

 

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 Friday (June 12)

President Trump will be 74 years old on Sunday. If you lived in Florida, you could celebrate on a Trumptilla (the downside, of course, would be that you lived in Florida). Now, 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 lawmakers may or may not be nearing the end of a strange, two-part legislative session. The Denver Post has more on the progress of what has become the most-watched bill of the year:

A House committee amended Colorado’s police accountability and reform bill to give law enforcement more time to implement some changes and added a ban on carotid control holds before voting to support the bill at midnight Wednesday.

The approval came on a party-line vote, with all four Republicans on the House Finance Committee voting against Senate Bill 217, despite near-unanimous support in the Senate. [Pols emphasis] It followed hours of testimony by people who’ve had family members killed by police in Colorado.

One of law enforcement officials’ biggest objections about the bill has been that agencies need more time for training on the changes, so lawmakers set a September deadline for new use-of-force regulations to take effect. The new policies include a requirement to incrementally use force if other methods don’t work.

Other parts of the bill — including a ban on the use of chokeholds and limits on when police are allowed to shoot at a person who is running away from them — would take effect immediately if the bill is signed into law.

The four Republicans who voted against the bill: Reps. Rod Bockenfeld, Richard Champion, Janice Rich, and Shane Sandridge. Republican Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg was the lone ‘NO’ vote in the State Senate.

On the topic of police accountability, Denver’s Office of the Independent Monitor is promising to take a closer look at tactics employed by the Denver Police Department (DPD). The Denver School Board voted to phase DPD out of its schools altogether.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who moonlights as the State Republican Party Chairman (or vice versa), is being investigated for ordering a Republican official in El Paso County to falsify vote totals from the caucus process.

 

Governor Jared Polis is keeping a close eye on nearby spikes in reported cases of COVID-19. From Colorado Public Radio:

Colorado is closely watching some nearby states, as the number of COVID-19 cases in Utah and hospitalizations in Arizona continues to jump. Those spikes are alarming, Gov. Jared Polis said during a press briefing Thursday.

“A rising cause for concern,” he said. “We’ve seen no evidence yet of that leading to increased transmission on our side of the border, but we watch that and we worry.”

Colorado has confirmed 28,647 cases of COVID-19, according to the state’s latest numbers. Officials have also reported 1,583 deaths related to the disease to date. But the state has seen a downward trend in hospitalizations for 11 of the last 14 days.

In Arizona, a surge of hospitalizations means the state is nearing capacity on ICU beds. The state has confirmed 31,264 cases of the disease and 1,127 deaths. Arizona’s stay-at-home order ended after May 15. Colorado’s went through April 26.

Officials in San Antonio and Houston believe a second wave of COVID-19 is hitting already. In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown announced a one week “pause” in reopening the state after a surge of new cases — including two deaths on Thursday.

 

You should be receiving a Primary ballot in the mail this week. For more information on the Primary Election and to track your ballot, go to GoVoteColorado.com.

 

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: Let’s Talk About Polling

Andrew Baumann

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, Turd Ferguson makes his debut in front of the Independent Ethics Commission; a police accountability bill moves surprisingly swiftly through the state legislature; and the walls are caving in for one political party.

Hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii also interview Andrew Baumann, Senior Vice President of Research at Global Strategy Group, for insights on interesting poll numbers in Colorado and throughout the country. We also take a step back and ask Baumann how pollsters make their research scientifically-valid and why a small percentage of people still claim to be unfamiliar with Donald Trump.

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

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 9)

A couple of inches of snow in June? Sure, why not; this won’t even crack the Top 10 on unusual events in 2020. Now, 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

 

Pundits often argue that America is a deeply-divided country at the moment, but as The Washington Post reports, we seem to agree on some of that division:

Americans overwhelmingly support the nationwide protests that have taken place since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, and they say police forces have not done enough to ensure that blacks are treated equally to whites, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.

President Trump receives negative marks for his handling of the protests, with 61 percent saying they disapprove and 35 percent saying they approve. Much of the opposition to Trump is vehement, as 47 percent of Americans say they strongly disapprove of the way the president has responded to the protests.

The poll highlights how attitudes about police treatment of black Americans are changing dramatically. More than 2 in 3 Americans (69 percent) say the killing of Floyd represents a broader problem within law enforcement, compared with fewer than 1 in 3 (29 percent) who say the Minneapolis killing is an isolated incident.

Annnndd…then there’s President Trump. As CNN’s Chris Cillizza reports, Trump has latched onto a conspiracy theory that a 75-year-old man thrown to the pavement by police in Buffalo is Antifa, or something:

In a country on high alert for incidents of unnecessary use of force by police against those protesting in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the video sparked outrage. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the episode “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.” The two officers involved in the incident were suspended.

But on Tuesday morning, the President of the United States suggested — without offering a shred of evidence — that the entire episode was the result of a broad scam involving Antifa, a protest organization “whose political beliefs lean toward the left — often the far left — but do not conform with the Democratic Party platform.”…

…Trump appears to have developed this, uh, theory from watching a clip on the One America News Network, the Fox News of Fox News.

Ladies and gentlemen, the actual President of the United States of America:

As The Denver Post reports, social justice protests in Colorado are spreading to smaller communities outside of the Denver Metro area:

The social justice uprisings in major American cities sparked by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd have been spreading peacefully out from Denver, up and down the Front Range and into isolated rural communities across Colorado…

…Over the past five days, Colorado residents have demonstrated on the streets of at least 18 towns and cities from Aspen to Westcliffe, according to local press reports and photos and video shared on social media. An initial focus on police abuse was broadening to encompass wider justice concerns.

The demonstrations have been largely peaceful — Colorado Springs officers fired tear gas, Alamosa police are investigating a shooting — following the initial violent standoffs in Denver with police in riot gear who used chemical agents and pepper balls.

As Westword reports, the Denver Police Department is saying all the right things about a commitment to reform and transparency in the wake of protests.

 

As 9News reports, a funny thing is happening at the State Capitol on Monday: Senate Republicans are supporting meaningful legislation.

 

►  The ballots are coming! The ballots are coming!

 

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: Double the Banes!

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, Coronavirus is not our first topic as protests about police violence take over headlines; Colorado Republican lawmakers do the worst thing they could have done; and we find our second favorite U.S. Senator, Cory Gardner, in a really bad place (again).

Later, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii interview another person named Jason Bane in a new feature we’re calling The Jason Bane Focus Group.

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

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 3)

Today is World Bicycle Day, which is probably terrifying to those folks who believe in a massive United Nations-bicycle conspiracy. Now, 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

 

American military leaders are speaking out in opposition to President Trump’s statements on Monday that he would use armed soldiers to quell protests across the country. As The Washington Post reports:

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Wednesday that he does not support the use of active-duty military forces in quelling countrywide unrest — a statement that puts him at odds with President Trump, who has threatened to send troops into U.S. cities.

Esper’s announcement comes after a week of increasingly violent unrest gave way to largely peaceful protest Tuesday evening. Brutal clashes between police and the public seemed to subside, and there were only sporadic reports of looting and other mayhem across the nation.

As CNN reports, Esper probably moved closer to getting fired by President Trump, but at least he’ll maintain something of a conscience.

Democratic Senators are also warning the White House not to proceed with the forceful use of military personnel on American streets and to invoke the Insurrection Act. From POLITICO:

“In short, we oppose in the strongest terms the use of the U.S. military to impede the First Amendment rights of Americans,” the senators wrote. “In cases where there is a need for additional security, state and local law enforcement, with support from the state National Guard, who live with and within the communities they serve, under the control of each state, are fully capable of responding.”

And what did Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) have to say? From CNN:

Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican up for reelection in Colorado, didn’t directly answer the question.

“Peaceful protests are going to have to continue,” he said when asked if he was comfortable with what happened near the White House. [Pols emphasis]

Gardner ducked a similar question from Colorado Public Radio on Monday, claiming ignorance about President Trump’s directives to state governors to get tougher on protestors.

Governor Jared Polis, meanwhile, had no problems standing up against Trump.

 

The Colorado legislature is halfway through the process of finalizing a new state budget with $3.3 billion in cuts. Today the House of Representatives voted — on a strict party-line vote — to approve an amended budget for discussion in the State Senate.

 

►  Colorado Democrats unveiled an extensive bill to deal with police accountability, as Jesse Paul writes for The Colorado Sun:

Democratic state lawmakers on Tuesday began to unveil a sweeping bill aimed at increasing law enforcement accountability in Colorado by collecting racial profiling data, ensuring officers hold each other accountable and making it easier for the public to file lawsuits against police.

The measure, which could be introduced as soon as Wednesday, also would beef up how law-enforcement involved deaths are investigated, prevent problematic officers from moving to different police departments and sheriff’s offices, and require agencies to use body cameras while giving them guidelines on how and when to release footage.

 

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is expected to announce today a decision on additional charges for officers involved in the killing of George Floyd.

 

A sixth day of protesting in Denver on Tuesday took a less-confrontational turn as large groups gathered for a peaceful protest.

 

 Infamous racist Republican Rep. Steve King is finally on his way out of Congress after losing a Primary battle on Tuesday.

 

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 (June 2)

Happy International Sex Workers’ Day; please celebrate responsibly and in private. Now, 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

 

► Dear Leader Trump announced on Monday evening that he would use armed military forces to quell nationwide protests if state governors did not act more aggressively — remarks that were condemned locally by Gov. Jared Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. He also said he was a “friend” to peaceful protestors just before he walked to St. John’s church for a photo op on a route cleared of peaceful protestors by tear gas. As The New York Times reports:

Via The New York Times (6/2/20)

People who gathered outside the White House to protest police brutality spent Monday waving signs and screaming for justice. They watched as police officers and National Guard units flooded Lafayette Square, delivering on a threat made by President Trump. And just before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew went into effect, they were hit with flash-bang explosions and doused with tear gas.

It was because the president, who spent part of the weekend in a secure bunker as protests roiled, wanted to have his picture taken holding a Bible at a battered church just beyond the gates.

The actual President of the United States of America

Stephen Collinson of CNN called the stunt “a moment of vanity and bravado.” As The Washington Post reports, the Right Rev. Mariann E. Budde was incensed by Trump’s photo op:

“I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop,” Budde said.

She excoriated the president for standing in front of the church — its windows boarded up with plywood — holding up a Bible, which Budde said “declares that God is love.”

“Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence,” Budde of the president. “We need moral leadership, and he’s done everything to divide us.” [Pols emphasis]

As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, President Trump staged ANOTHER photo op on Tuesday at a notable religious site and got blasted once again:

In a statement Tuesday morning as the president was arriving, Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory slammed the visit and the tactics Trumped had used for the photo opportunity at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” Gregory said. [Pols emphasis]

 

Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, delivered a speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday morning that was much more evocative of the sort of “presidential” address Americans might have hoped to see from Trump. From NBC News:

Joe Biden on Tuesday praised the nationwide peaceful protests to the death of George Floyd, calling his killing in police custody a “wake-up call for our nation” and drawing a stark contrast between President Donald Trump’s tactics and how he would respond.

In a speech from Philadelphia City Hall, Biden repeated Floyd’s final words before he died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes — and said it was time “to listen to those words … and respond with action.”…

…”I won’t traffic in fear and division. I won’t fan the flames of hate. I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country — not use them for political gain,” he said. “I’ll do my job and take responsibility. I won’t blame others. I’ll never forget that the job isn’t about me.

 

An early glimpse at polling data shows that Americans seem to be largely sympathetic to protests following the killing of George Floyd. Via Morning Consult:

 

A separate poll from CBS News shows that a majority of Americans agree that police officers generally treat white people much better than they treat black people.

 

If you’re wondering what Colorado’s U.S. Senators had to say about Trump’s comments to state governors earlier on Monday, you won’t be all that surprised to read this from Colorado Public Radio:

While Gardner said he did not hear Trump’s comments, fellow Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet was not surprised by the president’s tone.

“It’s disgraceful we have somebody in the White House who thinks the answer to this is more violence and more division,” the Democratic senator said. “We need more enlightened leadership than that.”

Bennet said what was needed wasn’t more force, but a real response to “the institutional racism that exists in this country at every level of our society.”

Gardner said all Americans can and should do better.

Cory Gardner: Real man of courage.

 

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

 

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