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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Get More Smarter on Friday (May 29)

We don’t normally do a GMS update later in the day like this, but since there is SO much happening in the world, we figured it might be helpful. 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 second day of protests are underway in Denver after a long night of anger on Thursday over police brutality. The Denver Post has a rundown of Thursday’s protests if you happened to miss the news (also check this story from The Colorado Times-Recorder). The Colorado legislature will not reconvene until Monday because of the the protests. If you’re trying to be out and about today, be aware that RTD has suspended all lightrail and bus services in downtown Denver.

Meanwhile, one of the officers accused in the death of George Floyd has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

 

► President Trump is speaking out about protests related to the death of George Floyd…and not in a way that is at all helpful. As The Washington Post reports, Trump’s rhetoric led to a response from Twitter:

“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump tweeted shortly before 1 a.m. Friday, adding, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Critics immediately condemned Trump’s tweet, asserting that he was promoting violent retaliation against protesters, and Twitter took swift action. “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence,” read a gray box that now hides Trump’s tweet from public view unless a user clicks to see it. In doing so, Twitter also prevented other users from liking the president’s tweet or sharing it without appending comment.

Prior to this exchange, Trump signed a (legally questionable) Executive Order on Thursday accusing social media companies like Twitter of “censoring” right-wing voices. Notably, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg isn’t saying shit.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, took a different approach. Via POLITICO:

Biden said Friday that the death in Minnesota of a black man who had been detained by police exposed racial injustice that “none of us can turn away” from, urging Americans to treat the volatile national moment as a turning point for race relations in the U.S.

Biden said Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer detained him and knelt on his neck for several minutes, was denied basic “human” and “civil rights.”

 

As The New York Times reports, President Trump says he is officially cutting U.S. ties with the World Health Organization:

“We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” Mr. Trump said in remarks in the White House Rose Garden.

The declaration was a major escalation of his efforts to blame China and the W.H.O. for the spread of the virus and deflect blame from his handling of a crisis that has killed more than 100,000 people in the United States. Last week, Mr. Trump threatened to pull funding if the W.H.O. did not “commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days.”

The United States is the single largest donor to the W.H.O., contributing about 20 percent of its budget in 2018 and 2019. The world’s pre-eminent global health organization, the W.H.O. has been targeted by the Trump administration for its handling of global data as the virus spread.

 

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is demonstrating true crisis leadership.

 

 

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 (May 27)

Holy crap! It’s almost June! 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

 

► President Trump has declared that wearing a mask these days is a litmus test of your political beliefs, which is not going over well with a lot of Republicans. As The Washington Post reports:

A growing chorus of Republicans are pushing back against President Trump’s suggestion that wearing cloth masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus is a sign of personal weakness or political correctness.

They include governors seeking to prevent a rebound in coronavirus cases and federal lawmakers who face tough reelection fights this fall, as national polling shows lopsided support for wearing masks in public.

“Wearing a face covering is not about politics — it’s about helping other people,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said Tuesday in a plea over Twitter, echoing comments by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) last week. “This is one time when we truly are all in this together.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who faces a tough reelection fight, has added “#wearyourmask” to his Twitter handle, after photographing himself earlier the month wearing a mask in an airport as part of an appeal for the public to “remain vigilant.” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate who is running for reelection this year, shared a photo of himself in a mask on Monday, asking others to adopt the practice.

Trump mocked Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden for wearing a mask on Memorial Day, calling the practice “politically correct.”

 

Governor Jared Polis says social distancing and stay-at-home measures helped level out Colorado’s coronavirus curve as he announced plans to allow restaurants (and ski areas) to reopen. Colorado Public Radio has more on Polis’ press conference on Monday; The Denver Post reports on Colorado restaurants taking a cautious approach to reopening.

 

The Gallagher Amendment could be facing a reckoning this fall, as The Denver Post reports:

Sens. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, and Jack Tate, R-Centennial, want to repeal the Gallagher Amendment and, Hansen said, they have “broad” support to do so.

Gallagher, which has been in the state Constitution since 1982, was intended to keep property taxes low, but it has squeezed revenue and services at firehouses, schools and police departments across the state. The economic impact of the pandemic will force more cuts.

Hansen said he and Tate will introduce a resolution this week to put the question of whether to repeal Gallagher to voters in November. They’d need two-thirds support from lawmakers in each chamber — and Hansen said he thinks they have it.

Governor Polis said Tuesday that he supports the effort to repeal the Gallagher Amendment.

 

 9News sets the scene at the state legislature as lawmakers reconvened for the first time since mid-March. If you were worried that Republicans might have an actual plan, you can rest easily.

Lawmakers will attempt remote voting measures today, despite objections from Republicans. A similar scene is playing out in Congress, where Republicans filed a lawsuit to prevent Democrats from moving ahead with proxy voting in the House of Representatives.

 

 

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: Abortion Bans Are Bad

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast: Does the right to contract a deadly virus stop at the tip of your windpipe? The Colorado legislature goes back to session in an alternative universe that barely resembles where they were in March; our second favorite U.S. Senator from Colorado, Cory Gardner, becomes the first candidate for senate do decline the 9News debate in 22 years; the great tax cut wars of 2020 begin and one side is a bunch of lying liars; and our latest edition of WHAT THE BUCK? (Because you don’t see Morgan Carroll making a fool out of herself every single week, now do you?)

Later, we talk with Jaki Lawrence, Strategic Communications Director for Cobalt, who walks us through yet another partisan abortion ban which will not only go down in flames but also waste a lot of time and money in the process.

If you missed last week’s episode with Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo), 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 [Squints] Memorial Day Weekend (May 22)

At long last, you can spend three straight days at home. 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

 

In what is increasingly beginning to resemble a trend, this was not a good week for Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). Gardner picked a needless fight with the most-watched news outlet in town, then followed up that performance with a downright embarrassing flop on a threat to prevent the U.S. Senate from going into recess without passing another coronavirus relief bill. Click here for more on Gardner’s big clumsy fold.

Gardner is claiming that he backed off of his threat to hold up the Senate recess because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised a vote on full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF); this is silly, since the LWCF pledge was already made months ago. Former Governor John Hickenlooper, Gardner’s likely opponent in the General Election, clapped back in a statement to POLITICO…followed by a pretty sad reply from Gardner himself:

“Cory Gardner made a big stink about keeping the Senate in Washington, but less than a day later, he’s given up and seems happy to do whatever Mitch McConnell says,” former Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement.

Asked about Hickenlooper’s comments, Gardner said the former governor is “under a lot of pressure” for his ethics issues.

“So I understand why he has to act out irrationally,” Gardner responded. “John Hickenlooper’s a kneejerk partisan and has no desire for Washington to succeed. His hope is Washington fails … shame on Gov. Hickenlooper.”

Gardner can’t call ANYONE a kneejerk partisan with a straight face.

As for Congress and coronavirus, NBC News has more on what might come next:

In the House, Democrats last week passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act, which includes state and local aid, another round of $1,200 direct payments, pay raises for front-line workers, an extension until January of the $600-per-week unemployment compensation and a raft of other measures that Republicans have derided as a “liberal wish list” unrelated to the suffering of Americans because of the pandemic.

President Donald Trump has dismissed the bill as “dead on arrival.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has replaced his suggestion to let cash-squeezed states go bankrupt with a call for a “pause” in new relief funding.

The Senate left town for a 10-day recess Thursday without taking up any coronavirus relief legislation, but while McConnell is urging patience, he hasn’t shut the door to another bill, indicating that discussions could begin next month.

McConnell has said repeatedly that he wants the next round of legislation to focus on liability protections for employers and a cut in unemployment benefits for all of those freeloading Americans without jobs.

 

Colorado has surpassed the 5,000 COVID-19 tests per day mark. Governor Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced a testing partnership on Thursday that will allow anyone in Colorado to get tested for the virus.


The 2019-20 school year is coming to a close. Today is the last day of “classes” for school districts in big counties such as Jefferson and Douglas. Denver Public Schools won’t wrap up until next Friday. Jefferson County Public Schools plans to release a plan for the 2020-21 school year today, as Denver7 reports:

On Friday, JeffCo Public Schools will release a draft of its reopening plan to the public. It will include a plan for in-person learning, but also some continuation of remote learning.

“We know we will have families who are afraid, or they have medical conditions, or a student is medically fragile or someone in-home has a medical condition — so we’re going to have to create remote learning options for them,” said Jason Glass, superintendent of JeffCo Public Schools.

Glass said remote learning will also remain an option in case schools has to shut down again.

As for the plan to get students back in the classroom, Glass said it will include screenings, hygiene procedures, and changes to the structure of the school day and scheduling to allow for increased social distancing. Parents, students, teachers, and administrators will be able to review the plan and provide feedback. The plan could also change throughout the summer as conditions with the novel coronavirus pandemic change.

Meanwhile, public education looks likely to take a 15% cut in the state budget because of the $3.3 billion hole created by COVID-19. As The Denver Post reports, the Joint Budget Committee did a good job limiting the education funding pain.

 

Governor Jared Polis is encouraging Coloradans to remain vigilant and stick to social-distancing practices. over the Memorial Day weekend. Polis says that restaurants in Colorado may begin to start opening early next week.

 

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 Whatever Day This Is (May 20)

Hey, today is 5/20/20! There will be seven more of these 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

 

President Trump is really nervous about states implementing mail balloting for the 2020 election. As The Washington Post reports:

President Trump on Wednesday threatened to “hold up” federal funds to Michigan and Nevada in response to the states’ planned use of absentee and mail-in ballots in upcoming elections as a means to mitigate risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

In morning tweets, Trump did not specify which funds he might withhold, and he has not always followed through with similar threats. But his message comes as many states grapple with how to safely proceed with elections.

Amid the pandemic, Trump has repeatedly railed against mail-in voting, claiming with scant evidence that it is subject to widespread fraud and has hurt Republicans in previous elections.

Trump took aim at Michigan a day after its secretary of state announced a plan to send absentee ballot applications to all of its 7.7 million voters for the state’s primary elections in August and general elections in November.

We noted last month that Trump was actively advising Republicans to oppose expanded voting efforts because of the belief — shared by others — that Democrats will benefit if more people vote.

 

President Trump is working hard to blame China over COVID-19 as the death toll in the United States surpasses 90,000.

 

Colorado Republicans are mad — because being mad is pretty much their 2020 strategy — about how Gov. Jared Polis is allocating some federal stimulus money. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

The legislature’s powerful Joint Budget Committee is currently drafting the state budget — one that has been hobbled by the pandemic. Republican State Sen. Bob Rankin has served on the committee for a number of years and was disappointed by the announcement.

“For the governor to announce this allocation of funds — without so much as consulting the chief budgeting body — is not only a lapse in leadership but has now eliminated the people’s voice over how their money is spent,” he said in a statement.

Now, instead of a discussion on how to divide the federal dollars, the JBC will work through the technical aspects of the CARES money, how it can or cannot be used.

GOP Congressman Scott Tipton added that the $275 million local direct assistance might not be adequate “given some of the challenges that our counties have had.” He had early concerns that dollars for state and local governments would mainly stay at the state level.

We’ll give Tipton a little credit here — at least he has signed on to legislative efforts sponsored by Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) to increase federal funding for state and local governments. Anyway, as Denver7 notes, the bulk of the money in question is being allocated to local school districts, which is tough for anybody to complain about.

 

 Brian Eason of The Colorado Sun updates how Colorado lawmakers are thinking when it comes to dealing with a $3.3 billion hole in the state budget. 

The Joint Budget Committee tentatively decided to eliminate the state’s $225 million annual payment to the pension next budget year, which begins July 1. Because the pension’s money is invested over time, that would add an estimated $990 million to the pension’s long-term debt if it’s approved by the full legislature.

The vote represents just the latest domino to fall as the fiscal impact of the coronavirus shutdown reverberates across Colorado’s public sector. And there may be more to come. So far, budget writers have not taken action on several other PERA changes they’re considering that could add anywhere from $500 million to $2.5 billion more to the pension’s unfunded debt, deepening a financial hole that the pension was just beginning to repair.

For more on the state budget machinations, check out this interview with Rep. Daneya Esgar, the Chairwoman of the Joint Budget Committee, in the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast.

 

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 (May 19)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married on this day in 2018. So, that’s neat. 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

 

Governor Jared Polis announced on Monday that Coloradans can now receive free COVID-19 testing. From The Denver Post:

Ten weeks after the coronavirus’s presence first was confirmed in the state, any Coloradan with COVID-19 symptoms can now get tested, for free, whether or not they have health insurance, Gov. Jared Polis announced Monday.

That’s a major change. In the initial months of the pandemic, testing was limited largely to front-line health workers and people who already were hospitalized with suspected COVID-19, or who had severe enough symptoms they could secure a doctor’s order.

Since mid-March, Polis has said the state needed to be testing up to 10,000 people every day in order to execute an appropriate response — but Colorado, for many weeks, was only testing a few hundred people every day. Only recently has the state consistently been testing several thousand people per day, with its daily peak of about 4,500 reached last week.

That it took the state so long to reach this testing capacity was a point of great frustration for the governor, who previously described himself as “so disappointed” in the country’s meager testing infrastructure.

If you feel like you have any coronavirus symptoms —  including a dry cough, shortness of breath or loss of a sense of smell — then you should get tested ASAP. Click here to locate a testing site near you.

 

 Governor Jared Polis signed an executive order outlining spending for federal stimulus funding related to the coronavirus outbreak — the bulk of which is going to local school districts. Republicans in the state Senate are very sad that Polis didn’t ask for their advice, or something.

 

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) can’t find the words to even come close to criticizing President Trump, and it’s killing his re-election hopes.

Here’s another bad sign for Gardner: He’s being used as a measuring stick for Senate Republican hopefuls in 2020:

 

President Trump told reporters on Monday that he has been taking a potentially-deadly medication for the last week or so in order to combat a virus that he doesn’t even have. On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence said that he is not taking hydroxychloroquine.

 

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. Daneya Esgar Gets More Smarter

Daneya Esgar

Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo), Chairwoman of the Joint Budget Committee

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo), the Chairwoman of Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee, about the agonizing decisions involved in setting a state budget with a $3.3 billion hole in revenue.

We also ponder the truth in the FreeDumb movement; Ian fights with FEMA on Twitter (no, really); and we return to our popular new segment, “What the Buck?”

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 Monday (May 18)

Happy “International Museum Day.” Please celebrate without actually going to a museum. 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

 

A new edition of The Rocky Mountaineer — a polling and messaging project of Global Strategy Group and ProgressNow Colorado — is now available. From a press release:

President Trump’s approval rating has slid and he trails Joe Biden by double digits while he gets poor marks for his COVID response. Governor Jared Polis, on the other hand, has seen his ratings surge as voters reward his steady response to the crisis.

Finally, Colorado voters strongly support changing TABOR to allow higher taxes on the wealthy to close the state’s budget gap, and give high favorability marks to legislative and congressional Democrats while Trump drags down Republicans up and down the ticket heading into the summer.

Biden leads Trump in Colorado by 13 points, which is not as bad as Trump’s numbers in two recent polls but still not good news for the GOP. We broke down the horrible numbers for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in a separate post. Gardner’s numbers have been consistently brutal for several years now, and they keep trending downward.

On the Democratic Primary side, the race for the U.S. Senate nomination between former Gov. John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff is not looking good for the latter:

As The Washington Post reports, a $500 billion fund created for the Treasury department to assist American businesses isn’t doing much of anything.

 

New polling numbers from Gallup show that Congress is rated better by Americans than it has been in more than 10 years. As it turns out, Americans actually like when Congress does its job. This should be a bit of a wakeup call for the likes of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is trying to slow-walk any further legislation through the end of the year.

 

It’s fun to pretend that everything is a conspiracy, but Colorado’s decision to change the way it reports COVID-19 deaths does NOT mean that the state was exaggerating earlier numbers. From The Denver Post:

How COVID-19 deaths are counted has become politically divisive, with critics claiming the numbers are inflated and medical experts saying deaths may actually be undercounted. Still, the number of deaths is a crucial data point that informs public understanding of the pandemic’s severity and health officials’ response to the crisis.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is now clarifying that its death tally includes the total number of fatalities among people who had COVID-19, including those deaths in which the respiratory disease was not the cause of death listed on the death certificate.

By the agency’s count, there were 1,150 people who had died with COVID-19 in their systems as of Thursday.

 

The New York Times has more on the firing of yet another inspector general late Friday:

The State Department inspector general fired by President Trump on Friday was investigating whether the administration had unlawfully declared an “emergency” last year to allow the resumption of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their war in Yemen, according to a Democratic member of Congress who asked for the inquiry.

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, said that investigation might have been “another reason” for the firing of the inspector general, Steve A. Linick. The White House announced the firing Friday night, and officials said the recommendation to remove Mr. Linick had come from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Mr. Linick’s office, which has hundreds of employees assigned to look into fraud and waste at the State Department, was also examining the potential misuse by Mr. Pompeo of a political appointee to do personal errands for him and his wife, Susan Pompeo.

 

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 (May 13)

It was two months ago today that President Trump declared a national emergency because of the coronavirus pandemic (on Friday the 13th, no less). 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

 

House Democrats are pushing for a massive new coronavirus relief bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flatly opposes. On Wednesday, Democrats found a new ally in Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who warned in no uncertain terms that more stimulus funding is a necessity for the American economy. From The Washington Post:

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave a dire warning Wednesday that the U.S. economy could become stuck in a painful multi-year recession if Congress and the White House do not approve more aid to address the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout. [Pols emphasis]

“Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery,” Powell said in a videoconference with the Peterson Institute for International Economics…

…The Fed chair urged Congress to remember that the longer people remain out of work, the deeper the scarring becomes on the U.S. economy. There is a domino effect where consumers lose jobs and sharply cut spending, and that can cause more businesses to close, hurting more jobs. Companies that go out of business also stop paying their suppliers, which can drag down other firms.

Central banks across the country are also encouraging Congress to hurry up and pass another big relief bill, as are bipartisan leaders of the National Governors Association.

Governor Jared Polis is meeting personally with President Trump at the White House today to lobby for more relief for state and local governments. Polis is scheduled to take questions from the media following his afternoon meeting.

 

Forecasts for Colorado’s state budget are worse than anticipated, as The Denver Post reports:

At least a tenth of Colorado’s state budget for next year must be cut, lawmakers were advised Tuesday morning.

For weeks, economists and lawmakers have been preparing for a hard hit, but now they have a specific number to work with: The total shortfall for this year and the fiscal year that begins July 1 is about $3.3 billion — including just shy of a $900 million reduction for 2019-20 — according to nonpartisan legislative analysts.

“Colorado is facing what may be the most dire budget situation in our state’s history, but I know that we will join together and meet this challenge,” said state Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, chair of the bipartisan Joint Budget Committee.

The projected loss will eat about 10% of the overall state budget and 25% of the state’s general fund, which covers core services such as education and transportation. The governor’s budget director, Lauren Larson, described this decline in revenue as “precipitous and alarming.”

As we’ve mentioned before, you can blame the coronavirus here so long as you spend equal time complaining about TABOR.

Colorado’s budgetary problems are about to get even worse, as 9News reports:

The pandemic has already slowed Colorado’s economy to a crawl. But now the state’s complicated tax laws are promising to cut residential property taxes by 18% according to a new forecast presented to the Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday. That would be one of the biggest drops in state history.

While it may be welcome news to homeowners, the projection shows the cuts could cost school districts $491 million and county governments, which fund services including libraries and fire departments with that tax revenue, more than $200 million when the new tax rates are set in 2022.

You can blame The Gallagher Amendment for this one.

 

► Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, gave a somber warning about re-opening the country too soon during his Senate testimony on Tuesday.

 

At least he’s not your law-breaking state party chair…well, unless you are a Republican in Colorado.

 

Arguments in Colorado’s “faithless electors” case are being by the U.S. Supreme Court today.

 

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 (May 12)

Happy International Nurses Day, which should probably just be every day from here on out. 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

 

The big political and coronavirus story in Colorado yesterday involved a Castle Rock restaurant called C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen, which opened its doors to swarms of people on Sunday in defiance of local and state orders to please not make it easier for people to die from COVID-19. On Monday afternoon, Gov. Jared Polis pulled the restaurant’s business license indefinitely for creating a public health hazard.

As Kyle Clark reports for 9News, this was not the plan for anti-social distancing activists:

 

The Denver Post explains the latest Colorado coronavirus update from Gov. Jared Polis:

State parks will once again allow camping beginning Tuesday, Polis said, while a decision on whether ski resorts, restaurants and summer camps can reopen will be made May 25.

Additional steps in the state’s ongoing “safer at home” plan to gradually restart businesses and ease some social distancing will be considered after June 1, the governor added.

Those dates were chosen based on the availability of data on the novel coronavirus in Colorado, Polis said, which lags about 10 to 14 days behind the actual spread of the virus in the state.

 

► Dr. Anthony Fauci is testifying before a Senate committee today on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is not mincing words, saying: “We don’t have the coronavirus outbreak under control.”

 

No, it’s not just you: We have no idea what President Trump is talking about when he throws out the word “Obamagate.” As MSNBC reports:

The president has recently been issuing tweets about something he’s calling ‘Obamagate,’ which he declined to discuss in further detail when asked Monday during a White House briefing.

Trump says that “Obamagate” is “the biggest political crime in American history.” Republican Senators seem as perplexed by this as everyone else, as POLITICO explains:

President Donald Trump’s aggressive campaign to encourage sweeping investigations of his predecessor Barack Obama met a unanimous response from Senate Republicans: No thanks. [Pols emphasis]

Trump’s Senate allies on Monday stopped short of echoing Trump’s claim that Obama acted illegally when the Justice Department began probing incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn in late 2016. And they indicated that the Senate would pass on investigating the former president as they conduct their own investigations that could soon ensnare other senior Obama administration officials.

Trump mentioned “Obamagate” in a bizarre press conference on Monday that ended with The Big Orange Guy storming off in anger because he didn’t like questions being posed by reporters.

 

Arguments in Colorado’s “faithless electors” case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow. According to a press release from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office:

On Wednesday, May 13, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Colorado Department of State v. Baca. The case will be heard at 9 a.m. Mountain Time and for the first time, audio will be streamed live at www.supremecourt.gov and on CSPAN…

…Attorney General Phil Weiser will make the arguments on behalf of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. Of 20 cases that the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear, due to COVID-19, it will only hear ten. Colorado Department of State v. Baca is one of them.

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: What the Buck?

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss two polls that spell doom for our second favorite U.S. Senator from Colorado; everything is totally under control with the coronavirus as cases mount well past one million; Republicans still want to kill Obamacare (even though it’s one of the few things actually helping during this pandemic); and the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party commits at least one crime.

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Friday (May 8)

It’s almost the weekend! Remember when we had weekends? 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

 

The unemployment rate in the United States has reached a level not seen since the Great Depression. As Vox.com reports:

The US shed 20.5 million jobs, and the unemployment rate surged to 14.7 percent in April, according to preliminary data released by the US Department of Labor Friday morning — worse than any unemployment rate on record in modern data, and higher than anything experienced since the Great Depression.

To make matters even worse, this figure almost certainly understates the true situation. April unemployment numbers are released in May based on surveys that took place during the week that contained April 12. And since April 12 in the US, things have only gotten worse: The initial unemployment insurance claims figures released in the final two weeks of April indicate that the labor market continued to deteriorate at a rapid pace, albeit slightly less rapidly than in the first weeks.

Ernie Tedeschi, a labor market economist, projected Thursday based on real-time data that the current unemployment rate is actually 20 percent. And in the jobs report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said it believes murky classification of temporary unemployment in the household survey caused the official number to be about 5 percentage points lower.

As Denver7 reports, about 420,000 Coloradans have filed unemployment claims in the last seven weeks.

 

►  Don’t worry too much about the current state of affairs, because The Economy Fairy is here to save us! From Greg Sargent at The Washington Post:

President Trump’s campaign has already telegraphed its argument along these lines. And at its core is one of Trump’s biggest and most insulting lies yet.

The claim is that, having once created the most spectacular economy in the known universe, he will now do so a second time.

“We built the greatest economy the world has ever seen,” Trump intones in a major new ad campaign. “And we’re going to do it again.” That ad heralds “the greatest comeback story,” which in truth signals an extraordinarily audacious and propagandistic rewriting of recent history.

For all of you who already understand full well that Trump had virtually nothing to do with the pre-coronavirus economy, this is your stop:

Trump didn’t build the pre-coronavirus economy he hails as his own. He inherited its major trends. This is true by just about every major metric, such as job growth and the decline in the unemployment rate, both of which had been steady during the Obama years and carried over into Trump’s presidency.

 

The Donald Trump Justice Department announced on Thursday afternoon that it was DROPPING ITS CASE against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn…even though Flynn has repeatedly admitted guilt for his crimes. Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post calls it “another corrupt act by the most corrupt attorney general ever,” in reference to AG William Barr. National Public Radio tries to understand how this is even happening, while Charlie Savage of The New York Times sums things up with a single lede:

The Justice Department’s decision to drop the criminal case against Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, even though he had twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, was extraordinary and had no obvious precedent, a range of criminal law specialists said on Thursday. [Pols emphasis]

The New York Times reportedly separately on Thursday that the White House had been preparing for President Trump to issue a pardon for Flynn, but advisers urged Trump to let the Justice Department do it for him wait a little longer.

 

 Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who moonlights as the State Republican Party Chair (or vice-versa) is caught trying to force a local Republican official to put a candidate on the Primary ballot who failed to qualify through the caucus/assembly process. Conrad Swanson of The Denver Post updates a story that is quickly going from worse to worser for Buck:

Kris Cook, chair of the Denver Republican Party, found out about it Wednesday only to hear hours later that Buck canceled a committee meeting that had been scheduled for Friday.

“We’re touching on something here that’s not quite clean, and it’s not quite the image I have of what the party ought to be,” Cook said, later adding: “I think it’s worth questioning whether him in that role is going to have a negative effect on the rest of this cycle.” [Pols emphasis]

We’ll go ahead and answer that one now: Yes.

 

 

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 (May 5)

Happy Cinco de Mayo; 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

 

We’ve said it again and again in this space, but it bears repeating: The vast majority of Americans DO NOT want the country to open up too quickly because they are still afraid of COVID-19. As The Washington Post reports:

Americans clearly oppose the reopening of restaurants, retail stores and other businesses, even as governors begin to lift restrictions that have kept the economy locked down in an effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

The opposition expressed by sizable majorities of Americans reflects other cautions and concerns revealed in the survey, including continuing fears among most people that they could become infected by the coronavirus, as well as a belief that the worst of the medical crisis is not yet over…

…Americans continue to give President Trump negative marks for his response to the outbreak, while offering widely positive assessments of their state governors, a trend that has been consistent throughout the pandemic.

Meanwhile, as POLITICO reports, federal government workers are slow to return to their offices, in part because they have no idea what President Trump wants them to do:

The Trump administration last month laid out guidelines for reopening government offices and bringing operations back to normal, looking to gradually reduce the number of employees who are teleworking across the country. But the memo from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management did not set any time lines or mandates, leaving significant discretion to the individual agencies. Democratic lawmakers, labor leaders and more than a half dozen federal employees POLITICO spoke to complained there has been little transparency or clear guidance from the agencies about the way forward.

 

CNN reports on a potential bombshell of a story about a whistleblower, coronavirus, and the Trump Administration:

Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine, formally filed an extensive whistleblower complaint Tuesday alleging his early warnings about the coronavirus were ignored and that his caution at a treatment favored by President Donald Trump led to his removal. [Pols emphasis]

Bright had led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority since 2016 until last month, when was reassigned to a narrower position at the National Institutes of Health.

In his whistleblower complaint, Bright says he raised concerns about US preparedness for coronavirus starting in January but was met with “indifference which then developed into hostility” by leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

►  TABOR + COVID-19 = Bummer for Colorado.

 

The Denver Post reports on local decisions about extending (or not) stay-at-home guidelines:

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock will not extend his stay-at-home order past Friday, his office said Monday — instead, he will begin to slowly relax restrictions that have been in place for well over a month.

Details about the next phase of reopening have not yet been provided, except that face masks will be required in public places beginning Wednesday. Hancock and other city officials will discuss guidelines for reopening businesses and progress on coronavirus testing at a 1 p.m. Tuesday press conference.

In addition, Tri-County Health Department will make an announcement Tuesday about Adams and Arapahoe counties’ stay-at-home orders, a representative for that agency said.

Colorado Public Radio has more on how Colorado is gradually moving to re-open.

 

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 and May the Fourth Be With You

Happy Star Wars 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

 

Governors around the country — including Colorado Gov. Jared Polis — are reporting that they have had to literally hide shipments of emergency medical supplies from the federal government. As Gov. Polis told Colorado Public Radio last week:

On buying more than 100,000 COVID-19 tests from South Korea, but not announcing they’d arrived:

“We kept it under wraps. We simply didn’t know if anybody would swoop in. I mean we didn’t want another state or the feds or anybody. … We don’t want to give the competition, which could mean other countries, could mean our own country, could mean other states — we don’t want to give them a heads up of what we’re doing.”

Republican governors in Massachusetts and Maryland have reported similar practices. Last week, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock called out Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) for not doing more to help Colorado in this regard.

Meanwhile, as Marianne Goodland reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, the Trump administration is pushing back on claims from Governors that medical supplies have been snatched up by the federal government.

 

President Trump is trying to fire the acting inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services because she did her job and reported on supply shortages and testing delays.

 

As The Washington Post reports, President Trump is being advised on coronavirus response strategies by “experts” who don’t really know what they are talking about:

The span of 34 days between March 29, when Trump agreed to extend strict social-distancing guidelines, and this past week, when he celebrated the reopening of some states as a harbinger of economic revival, tells a story of desperation and dysfunction.

So determined was Trump to extinguish the deadly virus that he repeatedly embraced fantasy cure-alls and tuned out both the reality that the first wave has yet to significantly recede and the possibility of a potentially worse second wave in the fall.

 

How’s this for irony? The coronavirus appears to have killed the “public option” — at least for now. As Jesse Paul reports for The Colorado Sun:

Democrats in the Colorado legislature announced Monday that they are setting aside their contentious effort this year to pass a bill creating a public health insurance option.

The prime backers of the legislation, House Bill 1349, say the coronavirus crisis has made it impossible to ensure that all of the relevant stakeholders — hospitals, doctors and insurance companies — can be involved in the lawmaking process.

But the Democrats pushing for the measure, which is a priority of Gov. Jared Polis, say the pandemic has highlighted the need for the public option, which was set to really be a private insurance plan that’s offered through the state with strict regulations.

While COVID-19 may have illuminated the problems with our current healthcare system, the chaos of the pandemic has made it extremely difficult for the legislature to tackle bigger issues like a public option. Last week lawmakers also announced that legislation to create a paid family leave program in Colorado was also put on hold because of coronavirus.

 

 The Denver Post helps explain which businesses can re-open in Colorado beginning today, with an important caveat:

The relaxed measures do not apply to counties where stay-at-home restrictions have been extended until May 8: Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Gilpin and Jefferson.

 

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: U.F…Oh, Who Even Cares?

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast…we talk about UFOs! No, seriously. Hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii also discuss the latest on coronavirus; Sen. Cory Gardner poppin’ bottles; a potential ballot initiative nightmare this November; and an update on a couple of important stories that we’ve discussed before. House Majority Leader Alec Garnett joins us later to talk about how and when the legislature will return to work.

If you missed last week’s episode with Rep. Joe Neguse, 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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