Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 28)

Happy National Superhero 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

 

► Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to be softening on his resistance to providing federal aid to local municipal governments decimated by the coronavirus. McConnell has spent much of the past week in vocal opposition to helping out local governments, which has not been a popular stance. As The Washington Post reports, McConnell and President Trump may be getting the message:

As states across the country see their budgets decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, attempts by President Trump and top Republican lawmakers to paint the issue in partisan terms have been directly challenged by a growing cast of voices from across the political spectrum.

Republican and Democratic governors are warning of financial calamity if Washington doesn’t provide relief, some GOP lawmakers have joined with Democrats to call for a massive aid bill, and budget experts contend that leaving states to fend for themselves will only prolong the nation’s recovery from the economic shock brought on by the pandemic.

Still, Trump has pushed the idea that a federal aid package would largely benefit fiscally irresponsible states run by Democrats. It’s the latest attempt by the president to cast a partisan frame around a crisis that has ravaged much of the country with little regard for political affiliation.

Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) is the sponsor of The Coronavirus Community Relief Act, a measure to assist local governments which has broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Neguse discusses this legislation in the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast.

Check out CNN for more on McConnell’s shifting stance on this issue.

 

The White House is not happy that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is advising Senators and candidates to avoid defending President Trump on his coronavirus response. From POLITICO:

On Monday — just days after POLITICO first reported the existence of the memo — Trump political adviser Justin Clark told NRSC executive director Kevin McLaughlin that any Republican candidate who followed the memo’s advice shouldn’t expect the active support of the reelection campaign and risked losing the support of Republican voters.

McLaughlin responded by saying he agreed with the Trump campaign’s position and, according to two people familiar with the conversation, clarified that the committee wasn’t advising candidates to not defend Trump over his response…

…The 57-page memo, which was authored by a top GOP strategist, was perceived by Trump aides as giving candidates leeway to avoid backing the president on what could be the defining issue of the 2020 campaign. And they held a series of conversations on Friday and over the weekend figuring out how to respond.

The memo urged GOP Senate candidates to stay relentlessly on message with attacks against China, where the coronavirus originated, when pressed about the pandemic on the campaign trail. When asked about Trump’s response to the pandemic, the document advised candidates to pivot to an attack on the authoritarian country rather than offer an explicit defense of Trump’s response.

It’s hard to argue with the NRSC’s logic here. How do you defend the indefensible?

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) apparently got the memo.

 

Colorado is joining forces with other Western states on a shared path toward reducing stay-at-home guidelines. As Denver7 reports:

The Western States Pact is a group of governors from the western states that have a shared vision for modifying the stay-at-home orders and continuing to fight the novel coronavirus. The governors have pledged that health outcomes and science, and not politics, will guide their decisions regarding COVID-19.

The Western States Pact is centered around three core principles: 1) Prioritizing the health of residents, 2) Relying on science, not politics, in making decisions about reducing restrictions, and 3) Working together with other states on a common rollout. Colorado joins Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington in The Western States Pact.

 

Governor Jared Polis is reminding Coloradans that we could return to “stay-at-home” status if the new “safer-at-home” program doesn’t slow the coronavirus.

 

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 Thursday (April 23)

Today is definitely Thursday; we triple-checked. 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

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks that state and local governments should just declare bankruptcy and stop bothering Congress for help. From POLITICO:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday insisted that flailing state and local governments should be able to “use the bankruptcy route” rather than receive aid from the federal government — signaling renewed opposition to a top Democratic demand for the next coronavirus relief package.

In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, the Kentucky Republican also expressed concern about adding billions more to the national debt in addition to the nearly $3 trillion Congress has already sent out the door to combat the economic and public health challenges of the pandemic…

States do not have the ability to declare bankruptcy under current law, and modifying the bankruptcy code would likely be a heavy lift in Congress. [Pols emphasis]

Oh, so NOW McConnell is worried about the national debt; he didn’t seem too concerned about this when Republicans were ramming through a massive tax cut for the wealthy.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is debating today on a $484 billion coronavirus relief package that has already passed the Senate; the legislation does NOT provide financial relief for state governments.

 

President Trump totally agrees with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s aggressive plans to re-open his state. Or he definitely disagrees. It’s hard to know, really. From CNN:

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday night and expressed support and praise for the Republican’s move to reopen businesses in his state starting Friday, a source familiar with the call said. Trump later said the opposite — that he told Kemp he disagreed “strongly” with the decision.

The call came as public health officials warned that Kemp is moving too quickly, some business owners said they would keep their doors closed and mayors said they feared Kemp’s action would deepen the coronavirus crisis in their communities…

…But the President said during Wednesday’s news conference that he told Kemp he disagreed “strongly” with the governor’s decision to reopen some businesses in his state.

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains further, it does indeed seem that Trump is tossing Kemp under the bus in a major way:

It’s an absolutely remarkable bit of political blaming — made all the worse (or better depending on where you stand) by the fact that Kemp likely went into Wednesday night’s coronavirus task force press briefing believing that, even while criticism was mounting, he still had Trump’s support to fall back on. It’s like a trust fall exercise where the person behind you assures you they will catch you and then not only lets you fall but stomps on you when you are on the ground.

For Kemp, it’s a painful lesson to learn: Loyalty is a one-way street for Trump. [Pols emphasis] Trump expects totally fealty — he was not happy with Kemp when the governor passed over Rep. Doug Collins for the appointment to Georgia’s vacant Senate seat — and feels no real need to reciprocate. You need to be loyal to him. He will be loyal to you — as long as it serves his interests.

 

The OVERWHELMING majority of Americans continue to believe that governments should move slowly in reopening society and are worried more about the health crisis than the economy.

Via Navigator Research

 

Denver7 offers more clarity on Colorado’s new “safer at home” coronavirus response plan:

While Gov. Jared Polis announced the safer-at-home plans on Monday, he explained in more detail at a news conference Wednesday about what life will look like in Colorado beginning next week.

Polis used two Colorado analogies to summarize the new phase. For skiers, we’re moving from the bunny slopes to the greens, Polis explained. For hikers, we’re at a trailhead with 14,000 feet to go.

“If we fall down on green, it’s back to the bunny hill,” Polis said.

The safer-at-home phase, Polis explained, is a step forward for some businesses to re-open and employees to return to work. But many of the practices and measures enacted during the stay-at-home order will still be strongly encouraged.

 

Looking for GOOD news related to the coronavirus outbreak? Here’s a heartwarming story.

 

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 (April 22)

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first “Earth 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

 

Chris Cillizza of CNN highlights a very important moment from Tuesday that might be getting lost because of coronavirus news:

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is chaired by Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, released its long-awaited 156-page report detailing its investigation into allegations that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election.

And what did their investigation find? That Russia engaged in a deep and broad effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 race, aiming to help Donald Trump win. “The Committee found no reason to dispute the Intelligence Community’s conclusions,” said Burr in a statement on his committee’s findings…

…Here’s the thing that the Senate Intelligence Committee report should drive home for Trump — and everyone else: it is now entirely and completely beyond dispute that Russia sought to interfere in the last presidential election to help Trump and hurt Clinton.

In order to not believe that, you have to accept that the entire intelligence community, Mueller and his entire team and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee are ALL in on some sort of elaborate and incredibly well-coordinated scheme to deceive the American public because, uh, they all don’t like Trump or something? [Pols emphasis]

 

The director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, is warning that a winter round of coronavirus could be much, much worse. From The Washington Post:

“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”

“We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,” he said. Having two simultaneous respiratory outbreaks would put unimaginable strain on the health-care system, he said. The first wave of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has already killed more than 42,000 people across the country. It has overwhelmed hospitals and revealed gaping shortages in test kits, ventilators and protective equipment for health-care workers.

In a wide-ranging interview, Redfield said federal and state officials need to use the coming months to prepare for what lies ahead. As stay-at-home orders are lifted, officials need to stress the continued importance of social distancing. Officials also need to massively scale up their ability to identify the infected through testing and find everyone they interact with through contact tracing. Doing so prevents new cases from becoming larger outbreaks.

Asked about the appropriateness of protests against stay-at-home orders and calls on states to be “liberated” from restrictions, Redfield said: “It’s not helpful.” [Pols emphasis]

True as it may be, that last line probably means that Redfield won’t get to talk to reporters again for awhile. Saying mean things about President Trump gets you put into “time out” in this administration.

 

 Colorado Public Radio digs into the differences between “stay-at-home” and “safe-at-home” as Colorado takes cautious steps toward relaxing social distancing guidelines.

 

Here’s your daily CNN fact-check of President Trump’s coronavirus briefing.

 

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 (April 21)

The Flint, Michigan water crisis began on this day in 2014. Yes, 2014. 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

 

Governor Jared Polis on Monday outlined a path forward for Colorado to begin to return to normal life after more than a month of stay-at-home orders, though critics worry that there is still a severe shortage of coronavirus testing in our state. As Denver 7 reports:

Colorado public health officials said Monday that even once the governor begins to lift the stay-at-home order next week, strict physical distancing measures, the wearing of masks and better COVID-19 case detection and containment will be needed for months to avoid overwhelming the state’s ICU hospital beds.

Gov. Jared Polis said Monday afternoon he would allow the statewide stay-at-home order to expire Sunday, but plans keep those strict measures discussed by health officials in place as the state gradually begins to reopen through what Polis said would be “safer at home” guidance.

Polis said retail businesses could begin curbside delivery on Monday, April 27. Elective surgeries will be allowed beginning that same day. Large workplaces will be allowed to open at 50 percent capacity beginning on May 4. Polis says he hopes bars, restaurants, and clubs can reopen by mid-May but warned that more data was needed before he can make that decision.

 

There are conflicting stories about the progress of another coronavirus stimulus bill in Congress. As The Washington Post reports:

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday that lawmakers and the White House have reached a nearly $500 billion deal to replenish a small business lending program slammed by the coronavirus and to boost spending on hospitals and testing…

…However, a Senate GOP leadership aide cautioned that a deal was close but not yet completed as it awaited final sign-off from GOP leaders. The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private negotiations.

Democrats have been demanding that more money is included to provide relief to local governments and municipalities.

Meanwhile, The Colorado Sun breaks down Colorado’s $7.4 billion share from the first round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.

 

CNN once again fact-checks President Trump’s daily coronavirus briefing.

 

 We’ve mentioned before that nearly 8 in 10 Americans DO NOT AGREE with the narrative being pushed by protestors who are mad about stay-at-home orders. Now, a new poll shows that the majority of Americans believe these protestors are wrong. From Newsweek:

The latest survey by Yahoo! News and YouGov found that 60 percent of the U.S. public opposed protesters calling for an immediate end to social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders designed to protect public safety.

Less than a quarter of respondents (22 percent) said they supported the rallies calling for America to be “reopened” while a further 18 percent said they were “not sure” how they felt on the matter.

The coronavirus also disagrees with these protestors. The state of Kentucky saw a surge in coronavirus cases a few days after rallies from right-wing meatheads who are mad about stay-at-home orders.

 

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 (April 20)

Smoke ’em if you got ’em. 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

 

Remember earlier this month when President Trump fired the inspector general who was supposed to oversee the distribution of coronavirus stimulus funds? It turns out that this was not a good idea!

As The Washington Post reports, the small business loan program ran out of money because a giant chunk of it went to not small businesses:

The federal government gave national hotel and restaurant chains millions of dollars in grants before the $349 billion program ran out of money Thursday, leading to a backlash that prompted one company to give the money back and a Republican senator to say that “millions of dollars are being wasted.”

Thousands of traditional small businesses were unable to get funding from the program before it ran dry. As Congress and the White House near a deal to add an additional $310 billion to the program, some are calling for additional oversight and rule changes to prevent bigger chains from accepting any more money…

…In all, more than 70 publicly traded companies have reported receiving money from the program, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Executives at Shake Shack, a $1.6 billion company, returned a $10 million dollar loan it had received after criticism from small business owners.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration and Congress are hammering out details on another coronavirus stimulus bill that could inject another $470 billion into the small business loan fund. Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is pushing locally for more money to go into the Payment Protection Program.

 

 President Trump held another off-the-wall press briefing over the weekend that included defamatory comments toward the FBI and an open admission that he snubbed Utah Sen. Mitt Romney for a new committee purely out of spite. Then this happened:

 

The actual President of the United States of America is literally cheerleading for anti-government protestors. As Maggie Haberman writes for The New York Times:

Via The New York Times (4/20/20)

Whether his latest theme will be effective for him is an open question: In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released on Sunday, just 36 percent of voters said they generally trusted what Mr. Trump says about the coronavirus.

But the president, who ran as an insurgent in 2016, is most comfortable raging against the machine of government, even when he is the one running the country. And while the coronavirus is in every state in the union, it is heavily affecting minority and low-income communities.

So when Mr. Trump on Friday tweeted “LIBERATE,” his all-capitalized exhortations against strict orders in specific states — including Michigan — were in keeping with how he ran in 2016: saying things that seem contradictory, like pledging to work with governors and then urging people to “liberate” their states, and leaving it to his audiences to hear what they want to hear in his words.

Right wing protestors mad about stay-at-home orders yelled at the State Capitol on Sunday. The most enduring image from Sunday was a few unidentified nurses who took a break from working at a nearby hospital to make their own statement:

Marianne Goodland has more on Sunday’s circus:

Maybe half of those at Sunday’s protest wore masks. Few practiced social distancing.

As a reminder, nearly 8 in 10 Americans DO NOT AGREE with the narrative being pushed by these protestors.

 

As Will Bunch writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer, these anti-government protests look and smell a lot like the 2009 Tea Party — which was not the grassroots organization that it claimed to be:

I’d be something of a hypocrite to criticize the fact that people are writing about or broadcasting these protests because a) I’m here this morning writing about them and b) a decade ago I was so fascinated by a right-wing protest movement with similar, sometimes irrational demands and similar nebulous origins — the Tea Party —that I wrote an entire book about it, The Backlash. But what I learned back then is why I’m troubled by the way the Times, cable TV and other outlets are covering 2020′s “spontaneous”-not-really-right-wing rallies, because the real story is who stands behind them, and why.

 

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is the subject of an ethics complaint related to a $1,000-a-bottle champagne tasting party he attended in late February in Palm Beach, Florida. The pictures from the event are not a good look for Gardner.

 

 

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: Just Stay Home and Listen

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss big news in the first quarter fundraising numbers for federal campaigns; ponder whether Republican House Minority Leader Patrick Neville might be the worst person in Colorado; and try to understand why anyone would be protesting against efforts to prevent them from being killed by the coronavirus.

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 Friday (April 17)

Boulder, CO is officially the snowiest city in America this winter. Can we blame El Niño? 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

 

► It won’t shock you to know that President Trump is again behaving like an irresponsible jerk, but even this seems like a bit much for The Big Orange Guy. As The Washington Post reports, Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning to ENCOURAGE protestors who are mad at state governors for not letting them die of coronavirus.

 

We wrote yesterday about the sheer ridiculousness of these “protest” rallies, which do not at all reflect the opinions of the vast majority of Americans as indicated by numerous public polls. Does President Trump think that state governors are acting inappropriately? Probably not, but any opportunity to goose his base must not go un-seized.

Meanwhile, POLITICO looks at President Trump’s three-part “strategy” to re-open the country amid the coronavirus outbreak, which is mostly about telling the nation’s governors to take the lead. Trump also announced the creation of the “Opening Up America Again Congressional Group” that includes every Republican U.S. Senator except Mitt Romney. This is different (we think) than the “Council to Reopen America” that counts first son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump among its members.

Here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis says that social distancing measures won’t be relaxed until more widespread coronavirus testing is available.

 

As Vox.com reports, the Texas Attorney General is literally threatening criminal prosecution against any groups that advocate for people to request a mail-in-ballot because they are worried about COVID-19:

On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) office released a letter arguing that a Texas law governing who may obtain an absentee ballot must be read very narrowly — so narrowly that it could potentially disenfranchise millions of voters during the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter went even further than that, threatening criminal prosecutions against activists who encourage many younger voters to vote absentee.

The next day, a state trial judge in Austin rejected Paxton’s reading of this absentee ballot law, holding that Texas voters should have broad access to absentee ballots during the pandemic. But it is far from clear that Judge Tim Sulak’s order will survive contact with higher Texas courts.

All nine State Supreme Court Justices in Texas are — SURPRISE! — Republicans, so if when Paxton appeals this case, it will be heard by friendly ears.

 

Erik Maulbetsch of The Colorado Times Recorder goes into great detail in examining how Republican operatives manufactured a “scandal” that they have used as the basis of expensive and misleading advertisements:

The groups have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into amplifying a single misleading news headline that created a false impression that an obscure line item in the governor’s budget has something to do with the terrorist attacks of 2001.

That misnomer about 9/11 has not been repeated by the mainstream media since first appearing in print last fall, but that has not stopped the groups from airing that attack for weeks.

 

The Denver Post looks at the last gasps of the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of money this week. Colorado officials are already pushing for more small business support in the next big Congressional relief package.

 

 

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 (April 15)

Hey, at least your taxes aren’t due today. 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

 

President Trump and many Republicans still really want to open up the country around May 1. This makes scientists and health experts very nervous, as The Washington Post reports:

A draft national strategy to reopen the country in phases, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasizes that even a cautious and phased approach “will entail a significant risk of resurgence of the virus.”

The internal document, obtained by The Washington Post, warns of a “large rebound curve” of novel coronavirus cases if mitigation efforts are relaxed too quickly before vaccines are developed and distributed or broad community immunity is achieved…

…The framework lays out criteria that should be in place before a region can responsibly ease guidelines related to public gatherings: a “genuinely low” number of cases; a “well functioning” monitoring system capable of “promptly detecting” spikes of infections; a public health system able to react robustly to new cases and local health systems that have enough inpatient beds to rapidly scale up in the event of a surge in cases.

This would seem to necessitate ramping up testing and production of personal protective equipment at levels not currently being done.

Polls continue to show that the vast majority of Americans are not at all enthusiastic about rushing back to “normal” life. As Vox.com explains, the Trump administration is actually pretty freakin’ far from being ready for the country to reopen.

 

Late Tuesday, President Trump announced that he was cutting off funding for the World Health Organization because he needs a scapegoat for his coronavirus response failures. House Democrats don’t believe that Trump can legally make this decision, but “laws” aren’t really a concern for this White House.

Trump is also holding up the distribution of stimulus checks so that the “memo” line of the checks can include the name “Donald J. Trump. No, seriously.

 

Today is the filing deadline for political campaigns to report Q1 fundraising numbers.

 

As The Denver Post reports, state officials are cautiously optimistic that social distancing and stay at home orders have dramatically slowed the transmission of COVID-19 in Colorado. Here’s more from Denver7 and 9News.

Meanwhile, Colorado wants the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover most of the costs for the construction of temporary field hospitals in Denver and Loveland. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

The costs of the facilities are split between the states and the federal government under the federal Stafford Act. But Polis and other members of the National Governors Association think that’s an unfair expectation during an unprecedented outbreak.

“We believe that the unprecedented size, scale and duration of the COVID-19 impacts far exceed the response capabilities of the states and territories and warrants the full force and support of the federal government. Waiving the cost-share requirements will ensure that states and territories are able to adequately and rapidly respond to and support the American people,” read a letter from the NGA to President Donald Trump.

Polis has described the facilities as preparation for a worst-case scenario. They’ll hopefully see only dozens or hundreds of patients, he said. The Denver and Loveland facilities are for “Tier 3” patients who don’t need the full medical care of a hospital.

Colorado is also planning out how to respond to a potential second wave of coronavirus cases by preparing more medical facilities around the state.

 

CNN dutifully fact checks another of President Trump’s coronavirus briefings:

Another coronavirus briefing. Another series of false claims.

Speaking Tuesday in the Rose Garden of the White House, President Donald Trump denied making a comment he did make. He criticized the World Health Organization for the same thing he has done before. He wrongly suggested he was the only national leader to impose travel restrictions on China. He claimed he was “authorizing” governors to lift coronavirus restrictions even though this power always belonged to governors. He falsely claimed, again, that “nobody ever thought” there would be a crisis like this. And he repeated some of his favorite false claims about his tariffs on China.

It’s probably fair to say that CNN has had enough of Trump’s crap. We are all CNN.

 

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 (April 14)

Happy Pan American 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

 

Damage control! Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) and President Trump are both attempting to re-spin last week’s version of coronavirus pork barrel politics, in which Trump approved 100 ventilators for Colorado only after receiving a personal call from Gardner (and after Gov. Jared Polis said the federal government snatched up 500 ventilators that Colorado had already ordered). Click here to read more.

 

► President Trump held a 2 1/2 hour press conference on Monday afternoon/evening in which he mostly talked about what a great job he was doing as Commander in Chief and denigrated the media in general; one CNN story called it a “Presidential tantrum.” Ashley Parker of The Washington Post has a great rundown of Trump’s horrendously self-serving diatribe. Chris Cillizza of CNN breaks out 39 of Trump’s most ridiculous statements, including his early foray into media bashing:

“Now, with that, I have a couple of interesting — we have a few clips that we’re just going to put up. We could turn the lights a little bit lower. I think you will find them interesting.”

At this point, the President of the United States ran a propaganda reel/campaign ad touting how great he has done on dealing with the coronavirus. It ran on the White House grounds while Trump was in his official role as President of the United States. If you don’t have a problem with that, you aren’t paying attention.

Trump also made sure to mention that he has the sole authority to “reopen” the country regardless of the input of state governors. This is not true. At all.

“The authority of the president of the United States having to do with the subject we’re talking about is total.”

It just isn’t. Trump cannot rescind executive orders made by governors in states related to school closures or stay-at-home orders. Also, isn’t Trump a Republican? And didn’t Republicans build their party on a limited federal government and expansive state governments? Doesn’t anyone notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

Governors across the country are pushing back on Trump’s 10th Amendment ignorance.

 

Last week Wisconsin held a shaky Primary Election after the conservative-majority State Supreme Court overruled the Governor’s request to delay voting on account of coronavirus. In a remarkable bit of karmic electoral magic, a Democrat managed to knock off a Republican running for re-election on the very same State Supreme Court. As The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky won the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court, narrowing the conservative majority after a tumultuous election conducted in the midst of a global pandemic, according to unofficial results released Monday.

Karofsky’s victory marked the first time in a dozen years that a Supreme Court challenger beat an incumbent — and just the second time in more than half a century. Her win over Justice Daniel Kelly will shift conservative control of the court from 5-2 to 4-3.

Appearing by video conference from her home with her son and daughter behind her, Karofsky thanked her family and supporters and decried the decision to hold the election during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Look, we shouldn’t have had the election on Tuesday,” she said. “It was an untenable decision (on whether to vote), but the people of the state of Wisconsin rose up.

 

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 (April 13)

“April showers bring May flowers.” What’s the rhyme for “April snow…”? 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

 

Politico looks at how states around the country are confused about how to get medical supplies from the federal government. Colorado is now the canonical example for this new form of pork barrel politics:

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis was pleading with the federal government to send ventilators.

The state was starting to see hundreds of new coronavirus cases pop up each day, and Polis, a Democrat, worried that hospitals wouldn’t have enough life-saving ventilators to deal with the looming spike.

So he made an official request for ventilators through the Federal Emergency Management System, which is managing the effort. That went nowhere. He wrote to Vice President Mike Pence, leader of the White House’s coronavirus task force. That didn’t work. He tried to purchase supplies himself. The federal government swooped in and bought them.

Then, on Tuesday, five weeks after the state’s first coronavirus case, the state’s Republican Sen. Cory Gardner called President Donald Trump. The federal government sent 100 ventilators to Colorado the next day, but still only a fraction of what the state wanted.

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, who is also one of the most endangered Republican Senators in the country, was also awarded with 100 ventilators by the federal government over the weekend. Meanwhile, states continue to struggle with getting and maintaining help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

 

The big story of the weekend was a stunning expose from The New York Times detailing exactly how the Trump administration failed to prepare for the coronavirus outbreak.

Via The New York Times (4/11/20)

Throughout January, as Mr. Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government — from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies — identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action.

The president, though, was slow to absorb the scale of the risk and to act accordingly, focusing instead on controlling the message, protecting gains in the economy and batting away warnings from senior officials. It was a problem, he said, that had come out of nowhere and could not have been foreseen…

…Unfolding as it did in the wake of his impeachment by the House and in the midst of his Senate trial, Mr. Trump’s response was colored by his suspicion of and disdain for what he viewed as the “Deep State” — the very people in his government whose expertise and long experience might have guided him more quickly toward steps that would slow the virus, and likely save lives.

Chris Cillizza of CNN breaks down this incredibly damning story.

The President is not taking the criticism well, as you would expect, raging in every direction as he looks for people to blame who aren’t named Trump. There are growing concerns that Trump may be looking to oust Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the nation’s foremost experts on coronavirus. #FireTrumpNotFauci was trending Monday on social media platforms.

 

Weld County now holds the top spot for the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in Colorado. It can’t help that Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) keeps questioning the advice of health experts.

 

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 Good Friday (April 10)

Have a nice “Good Friday” and a Happy Easter. If we work together, maybe we can convince President Trump to pardon a turkey on Sunday. 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

 

► President Trump cherishes few things more than the opportunity to stand at a podium and see if he can construct new sentences out of mismatched words. But as The New York Times reports, an increasing number of Republican advisers are worried that Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings are doing far more harm than good — and not just for the country:

As unemployment soars and the death toll skyrockets, and new polls show support for the president’s handling of the crisis sagging, White House allies and Republican lawmakers increasingly believe the briefings are hurting the president more than helping him. Many view the sessions as a kind of original sin from which all of his missteps flow, once he gets through his prepared script and turns to his preferred style of extemporaneous bluster and invective.

Mr. Trump “sometimes drowns out his own message,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has become one of the president’s informal counselors and told him “a once-a-week show” could be more effective. Representative Susan Brooks of Indiana said “they’re going on too long.” Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia said the briefings were “going off the rails a little bit” and suggested that he should “let the health professionals guide where we’re going to go.”…

One of Mr. Trump’s top political advisers, speaking on the condition of anonymity so as not to anger the president, was even blunter, arguing that the White House was handing Mr. Biden ammunition each night by sending the president out to the cameras. [Pols emphasis]

Anybody who has watched even a snippet of one of Trump’s coronavirus briefings can understand these sentiments. Of course, Trump wouldn’t give up the opportunity to air his grievances on national television if the microphone was made entirely of coronavirus particles.

 

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado officials are urging residents and small businesses to act swiftly in order to collect federal stimulus money. Meanwhile, the Colorado Springs Independent points out that the federal government is bailing out on coronavirus testing in local areas:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has ended support for community COVID-19 testing sites effective April 10, leaving in doubt the future of the drive-up test site in Colorado Springs.

Dr. Leon Kelly, El Paso County coroner, said county Public Health is trying to find supplies and personnel to help run the testing site.

UCHealth, which established the site in a tent off South Parkside Drive, said Thursday it hopes to continue operating the site without FEMA support.

 

 Vox.com weighs in on the “ventilator patronage” story that broke in Colorado this week.

 

As The Washington Post reports, city and state governments are bracing for serious economic trouble:

The economic carnage unleashed by the novel coronavirus nationwide hasn’t just shuttered businesses and left more than 17 million Americans seeking unemployment benefits — it has also threatened city and state governments with financial devastation, according to local leaders, who say their ability to maintain roads, schools and basic social services is at risk at a time when their residents need help most.

Many states and cities, which were already cash-strapped, are now in dire straits, facing plunging tax revenue and spiking costs.

“I do think cities across the country are looking at some degree of austerity,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg (I), who predicts his municipality will face as much as a $100 million shortfall. “This is a reckoning for us.”

Colorado lawmakers are worried that the state budget could take a hit of some $3 billion.

 

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who will be the Democratic nominee for President, announced new policy proposals for expanding Medicare and forgiving student debt.

 

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 Thursday (April 9)

Happy “Day of the Finnish Language” 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

 

► President Trump and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) are getting rightfully hammered after gloating about delivering 100 ventilators to Colorado just days after the federal government prevented 500 ventilators from getting to our state.

The editorial board of The Denver Post comes in HOT on the subject today:

Via The Denver Post (4/9/20)

President Donald Trump is treating life-saving medical equipment as emoluments he can dole out as favors to loyalists. It’s the worst imaginable form of corruption — playing political games with lives. For the good of this nation during what should be a time of unity, he must stop.

The Post is referring to yesterday’s big news in Colorado, in which Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) patted each other on the back over 100 ventilators being delivered to Colorado…just a few days after FEMA blocked Colorado’s order for 500 ventilators.

Trump had only days before prevented Colorado Gov. Jared Polis from securing 500 ventilators from a private company, instead, taking the ventilators for the federal government. Polis sent a formal letter pleading for medical equipment, but the president took the time to make clear he was responding to a request from Gardner. We are left to believe that if Colorado didn’t have a Republican senator in office, our state would not be getting these 100 ventilators. How many ventilators would we be getting if we had a Republican governor and a second Republican senator? Would that indicate we had more Republican lives in our state worth saving for Trump and resources would start flowing? Should Utah be concerned that Sen. Mitt Romney voted to remove the president from office?

This behavior comes, of course, weeks after Trump informed states they would have to compete against one another in the procurement of medical supplies at a time of global shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As news outlets across the state (and country) reported, people were aghast at Trump and Gardner for using ventilators as a political tool. Here’s The Grand Junction Sentinel; 9News; CBS4 Denver; CNN; and The Denver Post, to name just a few.

Jeremy Jojola of 9News had a similar reaction:


 
The U.S. Senate has reached an early impasse in discussions on a fourth spending bill related to coronavirus relief.

 

► Another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment assistance last week, bringing the total number of claims to 17 million. The unemployment rate in the United States is now estimated to be about 13%, the highest figure since the Great Depression.

The news isn’t all bad, thankfully: There’s more evidence that social distancing efforts are working to flatten/smash/crush “the curve.”

 

 CNN checks the facts on President Trump’s latest coronavirus briefing. The Washington Post notes that all of our problems are miraculously solved when Trump is at the podium every afternoon, while Politico points out that Trump’s briefings are NOT helping his image with Americans.

As part of Wednesday’s briefing, Trump again claimed — without evidence — that increasing mail-in voting is a recipe for rampant corruption. Questions about mail-in balloting came after Trump earlier encouraged Republicans to “fight very hard” against expanding mail-in voting because Republicans will have a harder time winning elections if more Americans cast ballots. Seriously…that’s really what he said.

As 9News points out, Colorado is lucky that it moved to all-mail balloting years ago.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper makes the case for voting by mail in an Op-Ed for The Washington Post.

 

► How do you run a U.S. Senate campaign during a coronavirus lockdown? What’s it like to be in charge during a time of crisis? How will you get your hair cut? We ask former Gov. John Hickenlooper these questions and more 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 (April 7)

Happy Passover Holiday…oh, wait, it’s only Tuesday. 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

 

Governor Jared Polis addressed Coloradans on Monday evening in a rare speech covered live by every local news outlet. The big news from Polis’ speech is that a statewide “stay at home” order has been extended until April 26. As 9News reports:

Polis said the reason for April 26 date is because, based on data, staying at home is “our best chance, our only realistic chance to avoid a catastrophic loss of life the death of thousands of our friends, neighbors and family members.”

Polis encouraged Coloradans to continue to do their part: stay home, wear a mask when going out for critical items and practice social distancing.

“The federal government is literally paying us to stay home,” Polis added.

He said April will be known as the “lost month,” and said this generation has been called upon to sacrifice – temporarily – our way of life so we can return to normal.

Polis gave a nod to scientists at Colorado State University (CSU) for their work on a possible vaccine or cure and thanked other countries for personal protective gear donations.

Polis will answer viewer questions during a live televised “town hall” meeting tonight at 7:00 pm. Check this link from 9News for information on how you can submit a question.

 

If we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, this would be the biggest story of the month. Wisconsin is holding its Primary Election today after the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled the state’s Governor and gave their stamp of approval to voter disenfranchisement. From Vox.com:

The Supreme Court’s Republican majority, in a case that is literally titled Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee, handed down a decision that will effectively disenfranchise tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters. It did so at the urging of the GOP.

The case arises out of Wisconsin’s decision to hold its spring election during the coronavirus pandemic, even as nearly a dozen other states have chosen to postpone similar elections to protect the safety of voters. Democrats hoped to defend a lower court order that allowed absentee ballots to be counted so long as they arrived at the designated polling place by April 13, an extension granted by a judge to account for the brewing coronavirus-sparked chaos on Election Day, April 7. Republicans successfully asked the Court to require these ballots to be postmarked by April 7.

All five of the Court’s Republicans voted for the Republican Party’s position. All four of the Court’s Democrats voted for the Democratic Party’s position.

The decision carries grave repercussions for the state of Wisconsin — and democracy more broadly. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg notes in her dissent, “the presidential primaries, a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, three seats on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, over 100 other judgeships, over 500 school board seats, and several thousand other positions” are at stake in the Wisconsin election, which will be held on Tuesday. Of all these seats, the state Supreme Court race, between incumbent conservative Justice Daniel Kelly and challenger Judge Jill Karofsky, is the most hotly contested…

…Tens of thousands of voters are not expected to even receive their ballots until after Election Day, effectively disenfranchising them through no fault of their own. [Pols emphasis]

These days, Republicans aren’t even pretending that they aren’t actively disenfranchising voters.

 

► President Trump has fired his second inspector general in less than a week. As The Washington Post reports, Trump booted the IG who was supposed to be watching over the $2.2 trillion spending package approved by Congress last month.

 

 CNN checks the facts on President Trump’s latest coronavirus talkathon.

 

► How do you run a U.S. Senate campaign during a coronavirus lockdown? What’s it like to be in charge during a time of crisis? How will you get your hair cut? We ask former Gov. John Hickenlooper these questions and more 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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The Get More Smarter Podcast: John Hickenlooper

We mentioned on Friday that we would have some bonus content for The Get More Smarter Podcast, and here it is: An in-depth interview with current U.S. Senate candidate and former Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Listen in as host Jason Bane talks with Hickenlooper about campaigning during coronavirus; what he thinks about the government response to COVID-19; what it’s like to be a Governor in a time of crisis; and the challenges of getting your hair cut during a quarantine.

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 (April 6)

Today is “New Beer’s Eve,” apparently. 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

 

Big news outlets across the country are digging in on the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, and the conclusion is basically the same everywhere: #FAIL

Here’s a sampling of that coverage:

Via The Washington Post (4/4/20)

From The Washington Post:

Despite these and other extreme steps, the United States will likely go down as the country that was supposedly best prepared to fight a pandemic but ended up catastrophically overmatched by the novel coronavirus, sustaining heavier casualties than any other nation.

It did not have to happen this way. Though not perfectly prepared, the United States had more expertise, resources, plans and epidemiological experience than dozens of countries that ultimately fared far better in fending off the virus…

…The Trump administration received its first formal notification of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China on Jan. 3. Within days, U.S. spy agencies were signaling the seriousness of the threat to Trump by including a warning about the coronavirus — the first of many — in the President’s Daily Brief.

And yet, it took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus not as a distant threat or harmless flu strain well under control, but as a lethal force that had outflanked America’s defenses and was poised to kill tens of thousands of citizens. That more-than-two-month stretch now stands as critical time that was squandered.

 

From The Associated Press:

The government’s stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment is nearly drained just as the numbers of people infected with the coronavirus and in need of critical care is surging. Back in January, the first alarms were sounding about the outbreak in China. In time, it would become a global pandemic. An Associated Press review has found that the Trump administration squandered precious months before bolstering the federal stockpile of urgently needed medical supplies and equipment.

Via The Washington Post (4/5/20)

From Max Boot in The Washington Post:

Until now, I have generally been reluctant to label Donald Trump the worst president in U.S. history. As a historian, I know how important it is to allow the passage of time to gain a sense of perspective. Some presidents who seemed awful to contemporaries (Harry S. Truman) or simply lackluster (Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush) look much better in retrospect. Others, such as Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson, don’t look as good as they once did…

…This fiasco is so monumental that it makes our recent failed presidents — George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter — Mount Rushmore material by comparison. Trump’s Friday night announcement that he’s firing the intelligence community inspector general who exposed his attempted extortion of Ukraine shows that he combines the ineptitude of a George W. Bush or a Carter with the corruption of Richard Nixon.

 

Via The New York Times (4/6/20)

From Frank Bruni of The New York Times:

Do you remember the moment when President Trump’s bearing and words made clear that he grasped not only the magnitude of this rapidly metastasizing pandemic but also our terror in the face of it?

It passed me by, maybe because it never happened.

In Trump’s predecessors, for all their imperfections, I could sense the beat of a heart and see the glimmer of a soul. In him I can’t, and that fills me with a sorrow and a rage that I quite frankly don’t know what to do with.

 

Via Vox.com (4/2/20)

From Vox.com:

President Donald Trump’s failure to respond to the coronavirus pandemic didn’t begin with the administration’s inability to send out the millions of test kits and the protective medical gear for health care workers that experts say are needed to tackle the crisis. It didn’t start with Trump’s bungled messaging downplaying the crisis even as it’s worsened, nor with his mid-March insistence that social distancing measures could be lifted by Easter (he later backpedaled).

It began in April 2018 — more than a year and a half before the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, Covid-19, sickened enough people in China that authorities realized they were dealing with a new disease.

And how has Trump responded to this criticism? Exactly as you would expect:

 

Governor Jared Polis is fighting it out with the federal government as Colorado rushes to get enough ventilators to patients. From The Denver Post:

Colorado was making a deal with a manufacturer for an order of much-needed ventilators when the Federal Emergency Management Agency swooped in and took it themselves, Gov. Jared Polis told CNN on Friday night.

It was one thing for states to be competing among themselves for vital resources to fight the novel coronavirus, Polis said. Now they’re competing against the federal government, too.

“Either be in or out,” Polis told CNN’s Don Lemon. “Either you’re buying them and you’re providing them to states and you’re letting us know what we’re going to get and when we’re going to get them. Or you stay out, and let us buy them.”

Prior to Polis’ comments, CNN reported that Colorado had an order canceled for 500 ventilators, among other supplies, because the items were being bought by FEMA. A congressional source told CNN that Colorado was told it was not on the priority list and the state would have to find its own supplies.

Meanwhile, Gov. Polis is asking the federal government for more help as a fourth big coronavirus response legislative package begins to take shape.

 

► Michael Atkinson, the former intelligence community inspector general, is speaking out after being fired late Friday by President Trump. From CNN:

The former intelligence community inspector general, who informed Congress of the whistleblower complaint that led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment, said Sunday that he believes Trump fired him for doing his job.

Michael Atkinson said in a statement that he was “disappointed and saddened” by Trump’s decision to oust him on Friday, with the President stating that Atkinson did not have his “fullest confidence.”

“It is hard not to think that the President’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General, and from my commitment to continue to do so,” Atkinson wrote.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains why Atkinson’s firing is a big, BIG deal.

 

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: COVID Conspiracies

We’re a little late this week with a new episode. But then again, days of the week have lost all meaning anyway.

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett about everything the state legislature is not doing at the moment; we discuss the many ways in which local Republicans are digging coronavirus holes for themselves; we try to make rational arguments for two coronavirus conspiracy theories; and we find Sen. Cory Gardner unfamiliar with the man in the mirror.

Look out next week for some bonus content, featuring an exclusive new interview.

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 (April 3)

Hey, you made it through another week of this — that’s not nothing. 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 Trump administration is struggling to actually implement many of the economic relief measures contained in last month’s $2.2 Trillion spending bill. First, here’s CNN on those stimulus checks that were supposed to be coming right away:

Americans likely won’t begin to see direct payments from the coronavirus stimulus bill until at least April 13 and it could take 20 weeks for all the checks to be mailed, Trump administration officials told lawmakers, according to a House Democratic memo obtained by CNN.

The timeline means tens of millions of Americans will have to wait to get badly needed assistance, despite repeated earlier suggestions from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the money would go out as soon as April 6.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is also confounding the banks, as The Washington Post reports:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin vowed from the White House podium yesterday that small businesses battered by the coronavirus epidemic could access $350 billion in taxpayer-backed cash quickly starting on Friday. But as the rescue effort debuts, banks are concerned in part about how to assess the risks of small businesses applying for assistance directly to them, even as the federal government is guaranteeing those loans.

JPMorgan Chase, for instance, posted a notice online that it won’t be accepting applications from prospective borrowers. “Financial institutions like ours are still awaiting guidance from the SBA and the U.S. Treasury,” it said.

Banks are asking questions about the length of the loans, the interest rates they can charge, and how much due diligence financial institutions are responsible for performing on borrowers

Take the politicians out of Washington D.C.! Put businesspeople in charge! This is working out great!

 

Is the White House overestimating or underestimating the potential death toll from COVID-19? Nobody knows, because it’s unclear how the White House came up with its projections. From The Washington Post:

Leading disease forecasters, whose research the White House used to conclude 100,000 to 240,000 people will die nationwide from the coronavirus, were mystified when they saw the administration’s projection this week.

The experts said they don’t challenge the numbers’ validity but that they don’t know how the White House arrived at them. [Pols emphasis]

White House officials have refused to explain how they generated the figure — a death toll bigger than the United States suffered in the Vietnam War or the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They have not provided the underlying data so others can assess its reliability or provided long-term strategies to lower that death count.

Some of President Trump’s top advisers have expressed doubts about the estimate, according to three White House officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. There have been fierce debates inside the White House about its accuracy.

There is a non-zero chance that President Trump literally picked these numbers out of a hat.

 

As CNN reports, two top Trump administration officials were publicly voicing concerns about U.S. readiness in the face of a pandemic LAST APRIL:

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Tim Morrison, then a special assistant to the President and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense on the National Security Council, made the comments at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019.

“Of course, the thing that people ask: ‘What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?’ Pandemic flu, of course. I think everyone in this room probably shares that concern,” Azar said, before listing off efforts to mitigate the impact of flu outbreaks.

The Trump administration is facing scrutiny over its preparations for the coronavirus pandemic and its slow response to provide states and cities assistance in testing kits and personal protective equipment. The 2019 summit, hosted by the assistant secretary for preparedness and response in the Department of Health and Human Services to “discuss and solicit input on implementing the National Biodefense Strategy,” offers insights into early awareness of the potential for a pandemic threat.

Transcripts of Azar’s and Morrison’s comments at the summit, which have not been previously reported on, are available on the HHS website.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said no one predicted a pandemic crisis like the one caused by coronavirus. [Pols emphasis]

 

Here’s the latest fact-checking from CNN of President Trump’s coronavirus “news briefings.”

 

► Weld County has surged to the top of the list in Colorado for the largest number of coronavirus deaths. Weld County is represented in Congress by social distancing skeptic Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley). Sure, maybe it’s a coincidence.

 

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 Thursday (April 2)

On this day in 1513, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León first caught sight of land in what is now Florida; nobody was around to tell his cruise ship to go somewhere else. 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

 

As The Associated Press reports, jobless claims in the United States are skyrocketing to literally unprecedented levels:

More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — doubling a record high set just one week earlier — a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Combined with last week’s report that 3.3 million people sought unemployment aid two weeks ago, the U.S. economy has now suffered nearly 10 million layoffs in just the past few weeks — far exceeding the figure for any corresponding period on record.

 

► It is not hyperbole to say that states with Democratic Governors have generally responded better to the coronavirus outbreak than states with Republicans in charge. There are two stark examples of this in the southeastern United States, where Republican Governors in Florida and Georgia are reacting at the speed of molasses.

As The Washington Post reports, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finally issued a statewide stay-at-home order on Wednesday…much too late:

DeSantis took heavy criticism from state lawmakers for refusing to enact such an order until this week, even as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases have nearly surpassed 7,000 in the state, including at least 85 deaths as of Tuesday.

The daily reports from the Florida Department of Health drive the fact home: The number of people testing positive for covid-19 has accelerated rapidly, nearly doubling in the past four days, with 3,274 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 6,741 as of Tuesday evening.

The state reported 857 people hospitalized and 85 deaths as of Tuesday, with the heaviest concentration of infection in Broward and Miami-Dade counties along the southeast coast and pockets in other areas like Tampa and Orange County, home of Walt Disney World. On Tuesday alone, 14 deaths were reported in the state, according to the Miami Herald.

But DeSantis looks like a damn rocket surgeon compared to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Again, from The Washington Post:

After resisting a statewide stay-at-home order for days, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) succumbed to the pressure and issued one on Wednesday. Part of the reason, he said, was that he had just learned some new information.

Kemp said he was “finding out that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.”

“Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” he said. He added that the state’s top doctor told him that “this is a game-changer.” 

It may have been a game-changer, but it was a game-changer weeks or even months ago. [Pols emphasis] That’s when health officials started emphasizing that asymptomatic people are transmitting the coronavirus. The idea that Kemp didn’t know this is striking. But he’s merely the latest top politician to indicate that he’s unfamiliar with the science even as he’s making life-or-death decisions for his constituents.

Really? Really? Kemp just learned that asymptomatic people are transmitting COVID-19??? Chris Cillizza of CNN has more on the bumbling coronavirus responses of DeSantis and Kemp.

States with Democrats in charge, like California and Washington, are seeing a flattening curve of coronavirus infections thanks to their swift actions.

Governor Jared Polis — who has notably not had the same trouble as DeSantis and Kemp — is asking the federal government for more assistance in procuring personal protective equipment (PPE). From a press release:

On March 28, Governor Polis sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence requesting additional PPE and ventilators to address the severe shortage Colorado is facing.

“We are facing a crisis-level shortage of these essential supplies to protect our health care workers and first responders. Colorado’s COVID-19 death rate is rising faster than any other state right now; the pandemic is spreading so fast that lags in testing are masking the true conditions experienced by Coloradans across the state,” Governor Polis wrote.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is working quickly to secure its own medical supplies because the federal government has not been able to answer the call quickly enough. The Department of Homeland Security says national stockpiles of PPE are essentially depleted.

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Polis announced that Colorado schools would remain closed for in-person learning through at least April 30.

 

► Kudos for CNN for its daily fact-checking of President Trump’s coronavirus “news briefings.”

 

► The State Supreme Court has ruled that the Colorado legislature can pick up where it left off when work was suspended last month because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Lawmakers had asked the court to rule on whether the 120-day session language in the state constitution refers to consecutive days or if it can be split up by a recess (in this case because of coronavirus).

 

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 (March 31)

Happy April Fool’s Day Eve; 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

 

More people have now died in the United States from coronavirus than in the 9/11 attacks. With numbers of infections and deaths on the rise in the U.S., Dana Milbank of The Washington Post asks a very simple question about President Trump:

How does a human being use the phrase “a very good job” in contemplation of the deaths of 100,000 to 200,000 souls?

Worldwide, the number of coronavirus infections has surpassed 800,000.

 

► President Trump can’t change history no matter how much he tries, as CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains:

What Trump is doing now is what he always does about everything: Attempting to rewrite history so that it looks like he was always the smartest guy in the room, the one person who saw this all coming from a mile away.

“I’ve always known this is a real — this is a pandemic,” he said on March 17. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

That statement is, of course, demonstrably untrue. But Trump doesn’t care. Because his political career has proven to him that if he simply repeats the history he wants to be true, plenty of people will follow his lead. He’ll blame Democrats or the media (or both) for twisting his words or making thing up. Remember that this is a man who said this out loud: “Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. … What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

But the truth still matters. And the truth is that Trump repeatedly downplayed the threat coronavirus posed to the country, providing Americans with false hope when they needed candor and transparency most of all.

 

Doctors in Colorado are bracing for a surge of coronavirus patients as the outbreak moves inland from the East and West coasts of the United States. Meanwhile, as CNN reports, your odds of surviving the coronavirus outbreak are probably better if you live in a state with a Democratic governor.

 

Governor Jared Polis reiterated on Monday that students in Colorado will likely finish out the school year without stepping foot back inside a classroom. From The Denver Post:

“It is very likely that you won’t be able to resume normal classroom activities this school year,” Polis said during a news conference updating the public on efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak. “The school year hasn’t been called off yet statewide; we’re always hopeful. But districts have been preparing for that. That’s the likelihood.”

Students from many of Colorado’s largest school districts “returned” from Spring Break this week with extensive remote/online learning plans.

 

► Colorado lawmakers expect to get a ruling this week from the State Supreme Court regarding whether or not they can legally extend the legislative session beyond the traditional early May deadline. From CBS4 Denver:

The state legislature reconvened Monday just long enough to go into recess again. Lawmakers adjourned two weeks ago due to concerns about COVID-19. In order to recess again, without calling lawmakers back into session, they purposefully met without a quorum, or a minimum of 33 representatives and 18 senators.

If they don’t have a quorum, they can adjourn for up to three days. Lawmakers are hoping to buy time until the State Supreme Court rules on whether the 120-day session is consecutive, meaning it ends May 6, or whether they can resume at a later date when its safer.

The big question waiting to be answered revolves around whether the 120-day session language in the state constitution refers to consecutive days or if it can be split up by a recess (in this case because of coronavirus).

 

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 (March 30)

Did you know that it is still March? Anyway, 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

 

► President Trump is backtracking from a proposal to quarantine New York, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut. On Sunday, he also backed off of his plan to “re-open” the country by Easter (thanks in part to experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci). As Philip Rucker writes for The Washington Post:

Trump beat a hasty retreat on Sunday, announcing from the Rose Garden just before dusk that the federal government’s stringent social distancing guidelines, set to expire on Monday, would be extended through April 30.

More still — as the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 2,400, nearly 1,000 of them in New York alone — the president acknowledged that the silent enemy was gaining ground.

Trump said his decision was driven by the science, but he may have been moved more by the personal — seeing body bags carried out of the hospital near his Queens boyhood home and learning that a friend was now in a coma — judging by the emotion with which he spoke about both.

Trump said he was convinced by data modeling presented to him by two physicians advising him on the pandemic — Anthony S. Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator — that the death rate in this country probably will not peak for another two weeks.

Chris Cillizza of CNN has more on Trump’s Sunday Rose Garden press conference:

As the number of those sickened and killed by the virus has soared, Trump has increasingly used these press briefings as a chance to vent his frustrations — at governors, the media and anyone else he can think of.

What he did on Sunday night was, somehow, worse — coarser, more detached from reality — than what he has done before. I went through the transcript of the briefing and pulled out the lines you need to see.

As CNN reports in a separate story, Trump said a number of untrue things on Sunday:

On two occasions during Sunday’s coronavirus briefing, President Donald Trump falsely denied he had said words he had said publicly last week.

When PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor noted that the President had said he did not believe that governors actually need all the equipment they claimed they did, Trump said, “I didn’t say that” — even though he said precisely that on Fox News on Thursday.

Later, when CNN White House Correspondent Jeremy Diamond noted that Trump had said he wanted governors to be “appreciative” of him, and that “if they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said, “But I didn’t say that” — even though he said precisely that at the Friday briefing.

President Trump says that coronavirus cases will peak in the United States in mid-April…though he has provided no information or data to support that claim.

 

Colorado has secured major disaster relief status from the federal government. Here’s more from a press release via the office of Gov. Jared Polis; here’s a rundown from The Denver Post.

 

► Dirt ≠ people. Despite what Colorado Republican lawmakers would have you believe, representing large parcels of land is not the same as representing large numbers of people. These same Colorado Republican lawmakers are shaking their fists at Gov. Jared Polis and other public health officials for ordering people in non-essential industries to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19. The average person does not agree with House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and friends.

As Aurora Sentinel editor Dave Perry writes:

There’s no arguing the point that this is going to be bad — really, really bad. But Neville, Sonnenberg and others simply can’t grasp the difference between really, really bad and much, much worse.

Having to keep businesses shuttered for months rather than weeks is  worse. Having to watch people die in their cars outside hospitals because no one can treat them is far, far worse.

It’s not debatable. It’s common sense.

Common sense did not prevail in Colorado Springs this weekend as Republicans held a drive-thru county convention. On Sunday, TABOR Daddy Doug Bruce held a “You’re Not the Boss of Me” Picnic in Colorado Springs that was attended by a whole half-dozen people.

 

► The Colorado legislature did not reconvene today as lawmakers had initially hoped when the session was suspended two weeks ago. There’s still no good answer on whether the legislature can reconvene and hold a session beyond the 120-mark in early May.

 

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 (March 27)

We’d wish you a “Happy Friday,” but today kinda feels just like Thursday. And Wednesday. And also Tuesday. Anyway, 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

 

► UPDATE: The House passes the stimulus bill. Colorado Rep. Ken Buck voted against the legislation, giving him a perfect 0-3 record on coronavirus-related legislation.

—–

Members of the House of Representatives are heading back to Washington D.C. to vote on a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill that is in no danger of failing because one Kentucky Republican (and it’s not even Mitch McConnell) is being kind of a dick. As The Washington Post explains:

The House of Representatives prepared to vote Friday on a $2 trillion economic relief package to address fallout from the coronavirus, with scores of lawmakers begrudgingly returning to the Capitol after one GOP member threatened to raise a procedural objection.

With the economy reeling and millions of Americans seeking unemployment benefits, House leaders had hoped to pass the sweeping measure by a “voice vote” that would not require members to show up in person. Those who wanted to could come to the Capitol to speak in favor of or against the legislation that will send $1,200 payments to many Americans and free up large loans for businesses of every size.

If they used a “voice vote,” members in quarantine or who simply did not want to travel would not have to do so. There are now roughly 86,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, and 1,300 people have died just in the past few weeks.

But Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) threatened to raise procedural objections that would require a majority of the House to be present to quash, and so on Thursday evening leadership in both parties began urging members who could do so to return to Washington in order to have the numbers to overcome whatever objection Massie might raise. [Pols emphasis]

Massie may have seriously misread this situation, because President Trump is not happy:

As The Washington Post notes in a separate story, Rep. Massie’s colleagues are not at all surprised that he’s needlessly throwing wrenches:

During his seven years in Congress, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) has established a reputation as a uniquely irascible congressional gadfly — one who is frequently at odds with his own party’s leadership, rarely votes for major bills negotiated with Democrats, and, to make an ideological point, is willing to use the House rule book to inconvenience his colleagues.

In other words, he’s the Kentucky version of State Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs).

Just in case you thought opposition to the relief bill was relegated to some looney from Kentucky…Colorado Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) are railing about their own grievances with the legislation.

 

 Eight of Colorado’s 9 Members of Congress are urging President Trump to approve a Major Disaster request for Colorado. Who was the lone dissenter? Hint: His name rhymes with “suck.”

 

► Many of Colorado’s most prominent Republican lawmakers — including Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville — are growing increasingly vocal about their opposition to “stay at home” orders because…tyranny, or something. These actions are bad for their health and the health of their friends and family — and new polling info suggests that these positions will hurt them politically in November.

If you are interested in making specious and dangerous arguments yourself, here’s a cheat sheet to get you started on messaging.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and the Denver Post have more on the partisan pushback to coronavirus responses.

 

► Not all the coronavirus news is bad news, as The Washington Post reports from the state of Washington:

The suburban hospital that handled the first onslaught of coronavirus patients weeks ago — a crush of seriously ill and dying nursing home residents that signaled the beginning of the national health crisis — is now offering cautious optimism to people across the United States who are searching for an end to the springtime nightmare: They believe they might have flattened the curve here.

At EvergreenHealth Medical Center, two miles from the shuttered Lifecare nursing home where 35 patient deaths were linked to the virus, officials say their rate of new covid-19 cases has remained steady for two weeks, leveling off at a trickle. On some days, doctors here see just one new case and haven’t seen more than four in a single day since mid-March. Few need admission to the intensive care unit, which is now half full, two weeks after overflow necessitated transfers to nearby hospitals…

…“It is a glimmer of hope,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said. “This is suggestive that some of the things we’re doing together is having some very modest improvement. The things we did two weeks ago are now appearing in our hospitals.” [Pols emphasis] 

 

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 Thursday (March 26)

Happy Purple Day, which is probably not what you think it is. 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

 

If you are reading this in Colorado, you had better be doing it from home. As part of ongoing efforts to combat the coronavirus, Governor Jared Polis on Wednesday announced a “stay at home” order that takes effect as of 6:00 am today and runs until April 11. The Denver Post has more on the order from Gov. Polis.

♦ CLICK HERE to watch the press conference announcement.

♦ CLICK HERE to read the full text of the Governor’s order.

♦ CLICK HERE for an FAQ guide about the “stay at home” order.

♦ CLICK HERE to read the public health order.

The decision to issue a “stay at home” order for the entire state came as some of Colorado’s most highly-populated areas were issuing similar decrees locally — most recently the Tri-County Public Health Department (Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties), as well as Jefferson County Public Health and Boulder County Public Health (the City of Denver began its stay-at-home order on Tuesday evening).

The statewide order puts a bit of a lid on a controversy stirred up Wednesday by six Republican legislators from Douglas County who would apparently prefer to become a Sanctuary Virus County. Here’s 9News with more on this shameful political stunt:

House Minority Leader Neville also said Wednesday on The Peter Boyles Show that he feels the orders, in general, are leading to a Gestapo-like mentality.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, also a Republican, said earlier in the week that he would defer to the department to make the decision for his city. But Republican State Senate Majority Leader Holbert told 9NEWS he considered it an overreach…

…”For an unelected bureaucrat at Tri-County Health to put out this order and have no accountability to any elected official, that is wrong,” said Republican State Senate Majority Leader Holbert. “It is, in my opinion, against the spirit of our nation and our state it is against our constitution.”

“I’ve advised them to sever the contract as soon as possible. If it costs Douglas County money, what’s the cost of freedom and liberty — it’s probably worth it.”

Just so we’re clear, the Republican Senate Minority Leader and the Republican House Minority Leader would like Douglas County to sever its relationship with the Tri-County Health Department IN THE MIDDLE OF A GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

At least one Douglas County Republican is not a complete twit. County Commissioner Abe Laydon supports Tri-County Health and says “Now is not the time to politicize a pandemic.”

Elsewhere, Colorado Republicans across the state are pounding their chests about their brave opposition to social-distancing guidelines meant to prevent people from dying from the coronavirus outbreak.

 

► The Senate finally passed a $2 trillion coronavirus recovery bill late Wednesday. As The Denver Post reports:

The legislation passed by a vote of 96-0, with aye votes from Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, and Sen. Michael Bennet, a Denver Democrat. Both Colorado senators made clear earlier in the day that they supported the massive agreement…

…Before the vote, Gardner and Bennet voted against an amendment from Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., to cap unemployment benefits at a worker’s full salary.

In remarks Wednesday, Bennet criticized Senate Republicans for not including a $600-per-week unemployment insurance increase, which was later added at the request of Senate Democrats. He also credited Democrats with adding money for the health care system, middle-class Americans and lower-class Americans.

“States and local governments not only have to fight this health crisis, they have to pay teachers, police and firefighters, even as their tax revenues collapse,” Bennet said in a lengthy statement. “The initial bill included nothing to help them confront these yawning budget caps. It was ridiculous.”

The Washington Post has more details on the guts of the stimulus bill. Democrats had been pushing for $4 billion to support elections in the wake of the pandemic; they only ended up with $400 million.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill on Friday.

 

► Coronavirus deaths in the United States have surpassed the 1,000 mark.

 

► Health officials are sounding the alarm about a second wave of the coronavirus. As The Washington Post explains:

The 1918 flu hit the United States in three waves — a mild outbreak in the spring, the deadliest wave in the fall and a final spike when the virus returned that winter. All told, the pandemic infected a third of the world’s population and killed at least 50 million people, including at least 675,000 Americans.

One of them was the great-grandmother of Debbie Birx, the lead coordinator of the federal government’s coronavirus task force. “My grandmother, for 88 years, lived with the fact that she was the one, at age 11, who brought home flu to her mother … when her mother had just delivered,” said Birx, 63. “She never forgot that she was the child that was in school that innocently brought that flu home.”…

…The 1918 case study weighs on leaders of the public health community as they scramble to ramp up capacity and spur vaccine development in preparation for a sustained war against covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. “We’re dealing with Cycle A right now, not the one that could come in the fall of 2020 – although we’re getting prepared for it by the innovations that are being worked on,” Birx said at the White House on Wednesday evening.

 

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 (March 25)

Happy International Waffle Day. Please celebrate privately. It’s definitely time to 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 entire Metro Denver area is nearing lockdown status because of the coronavirus outbreak. Stay-at-home orders have been issued from the Tri-County Public Health Department (Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties), as well as Jefferson County Public Health and Boulder County Public Health (the City of Denver began its stay-at-home order on Tuesday evening). The Metro Denver population, depending on how you measure it, includes about 3 million people — or more than half of the 5.6 million residents of Colorado.

Colorado’s most populous cities without a stay-at-home order include Ft. Collins and Colorado Springs. The City of Fort Collins is apparently waiting on Larimer County to make a decision on a stay-at-home order. Colorado Springs is likewise leaving that decision to El Paso County officials.

A stay-at-home order has also been issued for Aspen; visitors to the resort area have been asked to leave.

 

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has been self-quarantining for the last week out of concern that he had interactions with people who had tested positive for COVID-19. Gardner says that he has not yet been tested for the virus, but as The Daily Beast reports, he damn well needs to be:

Last week, Sen. Cory Gardner walked up to a group of Capitol Hill reporters to share information with them about bills he was sponsoring to counter the coronavirus outbreak. According to people who witnessed the encounter, in order to separate the sheets of paper, the Colorado Republican licked his finger and thumbed the pages before handing them off to reporters to pass around. [Pols emphasis]

Several hours later, he was in self-imposed quarantine.

Gardner began his self-quarantine on March 17, and now he’s back?

 

► This is President Trump’s Coronavirus. Don’t argue with us — that’s what the White House is calling it.

 

► Senate and White House leaders have reached agreement on a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. As The Washington Post reports:

The Senate is aiming to vote Wednesday on a $2 trillion stimulus package that is designed to flood the U.S. economy with money in an effort to stabilize households and businesses that have been floored by the coronavirus outbreak.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the breakthrough on the Senate floor around 1:30 a.m., after a long day of talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other administration officials.

Senate aides were still scrambling to write the legislation, and House Democrats were expected to take it up no sooner than Thursday. Despite a brief burst of optimism about the landmark deal, they were still dealing with extreme pressure from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to make changes, as he alleged his state needed much more aid.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) breaks down the ins and outs of this debate in an epic Twitter thread. Democrats had been negotiating for more money to go to American families and small businesses, while Republicans insisted on bigger checks for big business. Check out this Politico story for more details on differences between a Democratic and Republican bailout plan.

 

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 (March 24)

Happy Birthday Affordable Care Actttttt…Happy Birthday, to you! It’s definitely time to 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 World Health Organization says the United States could become the next epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. But President Trump is worried that voters are going to ding him for screwing up both the coronavirus response and the economy, so he’s playing doctor — perhaps benching the actual doctors — and suggesting that he’ll soon relax social distancing restrictions. As The Washington Post reports, Trump don’t need no public health experts to tell him what to do:

As he watches stock prices plummet and braces for an expected surge in unemployment, Trump has received urgent pleas from rattled business leaders, Republican lawmakers and conservative economists imploring him to remove some of the stringent social distancing guidelines that he put in place for a 15-day period ending March 30, according to several people with knowledge of the internal deliberations.

The consensus among experts — including infectious disease expert Anthony S. Fauci and other senior officials on Trump’s coronavirus task force — is that restaurants, bars, schools, offices and other gathering places should remain closed for many more weeks to mitigate the outbreak, the worst effects of which are yet to be felt in the United States.

But Trump has been chafing against that notion and impatient to get American life back to normal.

“If it were up to the doctors, they’d say let’s keep it shut down, let’s shut down the entire world . . . and let’s keep it shut for a couple of years,” Trump said Monday. “We can’t do that.”

“If it were up to the doctors…”

As Dana Milbank writes for The Washington Post, this pandemic isn’t about you — it’s about him:

People are dying. Businesses are failing. Workers are losing jobs.

But above all we as a nation must keep in mind the terrible cost borne by President Trump…

…Trump’s reelection depends on a booming economy.

And so on Monday night he made the ultimate gesture of selfishness: Defying the pleas of scientists and public health experts, he said he would reopen the economy in the next few weeks.

 

► Alex Burness of The Denver Post outlines why Gov. Jared Polis has thus far resisted calls to issue a statewide lockdown or “shelter-in-place” order:

Polis has been walking a tightrope, and he will continue to do so: Measures he takes to force greater social distancing will do economic damage, while leniency on business and other social activities and settings will allow more people to leave their homes, and potentially spread or come in contact with the virus…

…With no statewide stay-at-home order in place, some courts have continued packing dozens into single hearing rooms. Parks are busy and some trailheads are slammed.

Polis not only believes that it’s impossible to enforce these and other behaviors out of existence, but he also has emphasized that there’s “only so much any government can do” in response to coronavirus. He’s repeatedly called on Coloradans to exercise personal responsibility.

A statewide shelter-in-place order is still being sought by some top public health groups.

Meanwhile, local municipalities are pushing ahead with their own measures. As The Colorado Sun reports, the City of Denver will be under a stay-at-home order beginning today at 5:00 pm and running until at least April 10:

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday announced a stay-at-home decree, closing nonessential businesses and banning people from congregating in parks and other public places. The order cuts off the last vestiges of normal social interaction in the city as health officials try everything they can to slow the spread of the new coronavirus…

…Denver parks will remain open for people to walk and hike in, but not congregate or play sports. Playgrounds and most retail stores will be shut down.

Public transit, including Denver International Airport and rideshares, are not affected by the order. Restaurants still will be allowed to deliver food and offer takeout meals. Medical marijuana stores are exempt, as are grocery stores, banks, laundromats, and child care facilities.

Denver’s shelter-in-place order originally included the closure of liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, and a restriction on construction operations; the order was amended a few hours later to offer exceptions, keeping liquor stores and dispensaries open to the public.

Elsewhere, residents of Aurora are anticipating a stay-at-home order in the near future. Pitkin County and the City of Boulder have now implemented similar orders.

 

► State Sen. Jim Smallwood (R-Parker) has tested positive for COVID-19, but says that he is not experiencing serious symptoms and is self-quarantining at his second home in California.

Also on Monday, Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D-Commerce City) announced that she had been misdiagnosed last week as testing positive for COVID-19 and is instead sick with a more common strain of coronavirus.

 

► As Politico reports, the Senate is expected to approve a massive coronavirus relief package today:

Congressional negotiators signaled Tuesday morning that they are likely hours away from clinching a bipartisan agreement on a nearly $2 trillion emergency stimulus package to confront the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic — capping five days of frenetic talks that have consumed a mostly empty Capitol.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are expected to announce an agreement later Tuesday, while President Donald Trump pushes for an immediate vote…

…Schumer and Mnuchin met in person six times on Monday, and their final meeting wrapped up around midnight. The Senate could hold an initial procedural vote as early as Tuesday afternoon if McConnell and Schumer can reach a time agreement.

Both sides were huddling with their legislative staff to review final details, and said they expect to unveil a broad deal within several hours with a vote taking place later Tuesday.

Notice who was NOT a critical part of these late negotiations? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. As The New York Times editorial board wrote on Monday, McConnell is the reason that a relief package hasn’t already been approved.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer appears to be pleased with the negotiations related to unemployment insurance. House Democrats unveiled their version of a stimulus bill late Monday night.

 

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 (March 23)

Today is Monday…right? Anyway, it’s definitely time to 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 U.S. Senate continues to discuss a big stimulus bill aimed at easing economic concerns related to the Coronavirus outbreak. As The Washington Post reports:

Senate leaders and Trump administration officials are resuming talks Monday morning on a giant stimulus bill aimed at propping up an economy hard-hit by the coronavirus, after weekend negotiations failed to produce a deal.

Senate Democrats voted Sunday evening to block the bill from advancing, infuriating Republicans. Democrats have alleged the bill does too much to help prop up businesses without directing enough money to households, hospitals and health professionals. White House officials have acknowledged the unprecedented assistance the legislation would steer toward corporations, but they have said this money would help protect millions of jobs…[Pols emphasis]

…The legislation aims to flood the economy with money, from individuals to small businesses to large industries amid a wave of layoffs and a sharp contraction in consumer spending. It would direct $1,200 to most adults and $500 to most children. It would also create a $500 billion lending program for businesses, cities and states and another $350 billion to help small businesses meet payroll costs.

Senate Democrats are calling the proposed package a “slush fund.” As Politico notes, the Senate is rushing to try to find an agreement on legislation by the end of today.

 

► Governor Jared Polis is taking new steps in response to the pandemic. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

On Sunday, Gov. Jared Polis ordered non-essential businesses to reduce the number of people physically present in the workplace by 50 percent, and more if possible.

He said that while the state was not wielding enforcement authority to keep people at home, there is a more severe enforcement authority that should keep people home for themselves and others: “the Grim Reaper.”

“It is not the threat of you being brought to prison, it is the threat of death,” he said…

…Polis expects private businesses to comply with the order by Tuesday. Businesses that can prove they are able to keep workers at least six feet apart are allowed to keep their workforce in the office…

…The governor also announced the creation of a new team, intended to find innovative ways to address the crisis. The Innovation Response Team Taskforce will focus on creating statewide testing systems, as well as creating services for people in isolation or quarantine such as WiFi or groceries.

As Denver7 notes, Polis is not at all happy with the Trump administration’s Coronavirus response:

“In many ways, I couldn’t have imagined that our nation’s response could have been so slow,” Polis said. “Like many governors of both parties across the country, I’m furious that as the leader of the free world, we’re being forced to close down businesses and restaurants and bars because the United States – unlike [South] Korea and Taiwan – didn’t have enough tests, enough personal protective equipment, or ventilators, to properly manage care for those who would get this virus.”

Governor Polis is also asking landlords and banks to be lenient on tenants and mortgage holders during the Coronavirus outbreak.

 

► Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is the first member of the U.S. Senate to test positive for COVID-19. Paul may have infected many others with his irresponsible actions, as Amber Phillips explains for The Washington Post.

Senator Paul is trying to defend his actions today, but as CNN reports, he’s doing it wrong:

“For those who want to criticize me for lack of quarantine, realize that if the rules on testing had been followed to a tee, I would never have been tested and would still be walking around the halls of the Capitol,” Paul said in a statement. “The current guidelines would not have called for me to get tested nor quarantined. It was my extra precaution, out of concern for my damaged lung, that led me to get tested.”

Uh…

 

► The Federal Reserve announced aggressive new measures aimed at keeping the United States economy afloat during the pandemic.

 

► President Trump appears to be growing weary already of the country’s (now) aggressive response to the coronavirus outbreak. As The New York Times reports:

President Trump on Sunday night said that the government would reassess the recommended period for keeping businesses shut and millions of workers at home after this week, amid millions of job losses caused by the efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Mr. Trump tweeted in all capital letters shortly before midnight. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”

Officials have said that the initial 15-day period for social distancing — limiting close contact between people by banning gatherings, closing schools and offices, encouraging remote work and urging people to maintain a six-foot distance from one another — is vital to slowing the spread of the virus, for which more than 30,000 people in the United States have tested positive. The 15-day period would end Monday.

 

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

 

(more…)

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