New Pro-LGBTQ Laws Prompt Campaign to Convince Parents to Pull Kids Out of Public Schools

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Claiming that this year the “Colorado legislature has radicalized our public schools and chipped away at the authority of parents,” advocates of home schooling say it’s time to pull children out of public schools.

Why? New Colorado laws banning conversion therapy for minors and requiring comprehensive sex education courses, including the experiences of LGBTQ students, in schools that choose to teach sex ed.

“One of these new laws will make it illegal for a licensed counselor to help a child work through any gender confusion he or she may have,” says former Republican lawmaker Kevin Lundberg in an online video for ColoradoHomeSchool.com, run by the Christian Home Educators of Colorado. “And the new sex education law will force public schools to teach this new morality.”

In fact, parents and schools can opt not to participate in sex education. And advocates for LGBTQ rights point out that “conversion therapy” has been widely discredited and is opposed for use by medical professionals by, among others, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association.

“If you are troubled by these radical policies, you need to find a better way for your family,” says Lundberg in the video, referring to Colorado’s new laws. “…The future well being, health, and moral values of your children could hang in the balance.

“Your public school may not be the right choice,” says Lundberg in the video. “But what is? For many parents, private school is just too expensive. And they never thought home schooling could work for them. Now is the time to take another look.”

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Palm Trees, Kangaroos, and Barbecue


For all of its faults, sometimes social media can be an absolutely perfect window into a person’s soul. This Tweet today from Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is a great example:

Ah, beautiful Colorado — a land of palm trees, kangaroos, and world-renowned barbecue.

We’ve noted on many occasions that Gardner is difficult to find in Colorado. This is how you know you’ve completely lost touch with your home state.

Sullivan Recall: Kiss That Cash Goodbye



9NEWS’ Kyle Clark put a headstone Monday on the failed attempt by the Colorado Republican Party vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown with support from House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and allies (see below) to recall freshman Democratic state Rep. Tom Sullivan with a look at the “recall campaign’s” fundraising reports–reports that allegedly show precisely $0 raised or spent on the effort. But as anybody who knows how unaccountable “dark money” flows among nonprofit political organizations can tell you, it would be silly to think that’s the whole story:

KYLE CLARK: The failed attempt to recall Democratic State Rep. Tom Sullivan did not raise one dollar and it did not spend a dollar. We learned that from some financial filings. Now that sounds funny unless you heard us saying weeks ago that this recall was really about a gun rights group called Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. The head of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners says, they funded the entire recall and guess what? They don’t have to disclose their donors.

So we are left to take that special interest group at its word that this was not just a fundraiser designed as a recall that was never going to succeed. We are left to take them at their word that they took in $30,000 and spent more than that $45,000 on a failed signature-gathering effort.

If those happen to be your dollars, and your trust, my condolences.

Because recall elections are–controversially–not considered candidate elections but rather “issue questions” under campaign finance law, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is not technically required to spend disclosable funds in support of a recall of a state legislator. This works the other way, of course, though the instigator of a recall by definition bears the full moral responsibility for all such spending. But just as we’ve observed with the mission-impossible recall attempt against Gov. Jared Polis, raising money quickly becomes the principal objective–and if the goal is simply to amass cash, a recall that doesn’t go forward is a much more lucrative endeavor.

As the old saying goes, a fool and his money are soon parted. But in the era of “ScamPACs” and saturation-level solicitation for donations to all manner of fly-by-night political committees and campaigns, it’s extremely important that donors be aware of not just who they’re giving to, but what the specific plan is for spending their money–including obvious contingencies like the campaign unceremoniously folding up because it was the worst Republican decision since Darryl Glenn.

In every sense of the word, we hope all money donated to RMGO to recall Tom Sullivan was “disposable.” The only thing these donors can say about their money now…is that they don’t have it anymore.

Nobody Likes Cory Gardner


The Denver Post reports today on new polling information that tells a story we’ve grown accustomed to seeing: Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is really, really, really unpopular in Colorado. From the Post’s Jon Murray:

A new poll says more than half of Colorado voters are happy with how things are going under new Gov. Jared Polis but contains the latest sign of danger for U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner as he seeks re-election next year.

Nearly six months into the Democratic governor’s term, 55% of respondents said Colorado was headed in the right direction, versus 37% who said the state was off track, according to a poll released Wednesday. Polis himself was viewed favorably by 50% and unfavorably by 35% — a net favorability rating of 15 percentage points — in the Colorado Poll, conducted by a Democratic consortium that includes Telluride-based polling firm Keating Research.

But Gardner, a Republican who faces a phalanx of potential Democratic rivals, was viewed favorably by 40% and unfavorably by 39% in the poll. That’s similar to how he has fared in the Colorado Poll since President Donald Trump took office.

Gardner’s favorability numbers have been steadily shitty for a long time now, with Colorado voters regularly giving the Yuma Republican low marks in poll after poll. It’s not just the Republican brand in Colorado that is giving Gardner trouble; only 63% of Republicans hold a favorable view of Gardner, compared to 90% for President Trump.

Yes, we have a long time to go until the November 2020 election. Yes, a lot can change. But Gardner should be very concerned about what appears to be a solid ceiling in Colorado.

Housing Growth Cap (Q200) wins in Lakewood special election


(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Final update until July 11, when military, overseas, and “cured” ballots will be counted (but  probably not change results much) : Question 200, the Lakewood Growth Cap, won by 52.60% to 47.40%. Turnout was high for a municipal election: about 35%.

What this means: Growth in Lakewood will be held to 1%, and housing projects of over 40 units will have to go through citizen review.

From the Jeffco Clerk’s website:

Lakewood Special Election Results  – City of Lakewood Ballot Question 200

Shall the City of Lakewood limit residential growth to no more than one (1) percent per year by implementing a permit allocation system for new dwelling units, and by requiring City Council approval of allocations for projects of forty (40) or more units?
Yes (FOR THE ORDINANCE): 18,771  (52.60%)
No (AGAINST THE ORDINANCE): 16,913 (47.40%)
Total Votes Cast: 35,684 (35.81% of Lakewood’s 99,638 eligible voters)

A special election was held in Lakewood, Colorado on July 2, 2019. The all-mail-ballot election allowed voters to decide whether Lakewood will have a housing growth cap, which would limit density for new housing. It also mandates a more active role for community and local governments; units of over 40 apartments have to be approved by citizen and Council panels.

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Who Will Be the Democratic Nominee for President in 2020?


Who fills this spot in 2020?

When last we asked this question, Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were neck-and-neck, with Sen. Kamala Harris closing quickly. When last we asked, of course, the first Democratic debates had not yet taken place.

Now that we have the first debates in the books, polling data is starting to shift a bit. As the Washington Post reports:

After CNN on Monday released the first poll since last week’s Democratic debate, all the focus was on Joe Biden dropping and Kamala D. Harris and Elizabeth Warren rising.

But what about Bernie Sanders? Two more new polls Tuesday seem to fill out the picture of a 2016 runner-up who didn’t exactly impress last week and is losing ground early.

The CNN poll had Sanders dropping four points into fourth place, at 14 percent, though he was still in a statistical tie with Harris (17 percent) and Warren (15 percent).

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows a similar picture, with Sanders dropping from 19 percent to 13 percent and again falling into fourth place. And a new Iowa poll also has him in fourth place — but that’s not even the worst of it.

So, what say YOU, Polsters? Are you feeling confident about Warren and Harris? Is Bernie in as much trouble as it looks? What about former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper?

For the second consecutive poll, we forgot to include New York Mayor Bill de Blasio — which is probably symbolic in and of itself. If you’re that person who is supporting de Blasio, cast your vote below for “Someone Else.”

As always, we want to know what you think will happen here — not what you want to happen or who you personally might support. If you had to place a bet on the outcome TODAY, who do you predict will be the Democratic nominee for President in 2020?

And since there are still a bagillion candidates and we don’t want to take up the entire screen with this one poll, you’ll have to cast your vote after the jump…

 

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Gardner Claims Democrats Want To End Airport Customs Checks

(Words, words, words — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner Says Democrats Want to End Airport Customs Checkpoints

At a Republican communications training last Saturday, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) warned activists that Democrats want to eliminate the border and end customs controls at American airports.

[The Democratic presidential candidates] said they want to “decriminalize” [the border],” said Gardner. “That means you in essence have eliminated the border–not just the border–but when you fly into an airport, why would they even have customs at an airport, right? You don’t even need that. That is in essence what they’re arguing for.”

Gardner’s comments came at a three-hour event in Broomfield, billed as a “comprehensive communications training,” featuring Colorado Republican party leadership along with Trump campaign’s Colorado director Jefferson Thomas:

Join Colorado GOP’s Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown, COO Steve House, and Executive Director Lx Fangonilo for a comprehensive messaging training. Along with Trump State Director Jefferson Thomas and Gardner Campaign Manager Casey Contres, we will discuss specific issues, local concerns, and how to connect voters’ concerns to President Trump’s and Senator Gardner’s campaign issues.

As with many of his recent Colorado events, Senator Gardner surprised the crowd with his appearance. Focusing on what he sees as Democrats’ dangerous policy proposals, Gardner addressed issues discussed during last week’s Democratic presidential debates: healthcare, immigration, and more specifically, healthcare for immigrants.

His warnings on immigration in particular drew audible gasps from the audience. Gardner claimed that the Democratic contenders all said they wanted to eliminate the border, including ending customs controls at American airports.

 

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“Dismiss Polis” Moves Ahead, “Official” Recall Rages


We’re monitoring fresh developments in the long-discussed longshot movement(s) to recall Gov. Jared Polis, which as of next week will finally be able to open their 60-day window to collect an unprecedented 640,000+ signatures–an effort certain to fail without a massive infusion of cash, and even then in pursuit of an historically improbable objective just to reach the ballot. The slim likelihood of success has given rise to countercharges of grift and bad character between the two principal committees, both backed by considerable damning evidence–leading to a third Dismiss Polis campaign which yesterday claimed it will shortly begin circulating petitions.

A post to the smaller of the Polis recall Facebook groups, Resist Polis PAC yesterday announced the details:

A newly drafted recall petition, submitted this week by the Dismiss Polis Issue Committee to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, appears to be the solution concerned Coloradans wanting to recall Governor Jared Polis have sought for months.

Dismiss Polis is not affiliated with any previous recall efforts and will act as a neutral, third-party organization, being the solution to the necessity of only one petition circulating to recall the Governor.

Leadership from the Resist Polis PAC team has voted to circulate the petition of Dismiss Polis this summer, as it fits with our consistent message of unity across the state.

Polis recall petitions will be printed by Dismiss Polis and can be distributed to volunteer signature gatherers across Colorado by any recall organization wishing to assist in the recall efforts. Completed, notarized petition packets would then be returned to Dismiss Polis before all signatures are turned into the Secretary of State.

Our team at Resist Polis PAC encourages any other recall groups to make the right decision for Colorado and circulate the Dismiss Polis petition. Filing a second petition will cause division in a time when Coloradans need unity more than ever. [Pols emphasis]

Sounds like they’ve got their ducks in a row, right? Think again! The above post was to the Resist Polis PAC’s Facebook group, which consists of about 2,000 people. But over at the vastly larger “Official” Recall Polis Facebook group, which has over 40,000 users, alarms are being sounded by group administrators that “Dismiss Polis” is a doomed effort–and worse, even a diversion set up by Gov. Polis himself:

It’s no secret that there are three “Recall Governor Jared Polis” groups. We have ‘Official Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ (ORCGJP), a Political Issue Committee (PIC), ‘Resist Polis’, a Political Action Committee (PAC), and now ‘Dismiss Polis’, another PIC.

I want you to read this knowing where I stand on this issue, so I will begin by saying I am heavily involved in the ORCGJP group. I was approached by the Resist group, did some research, and figured out they were actually working for Polis, [Pols emphasis] trying to thwart the efforts of of ORCGJP, so I got in with ORCGJP. You will have to figure out this for yourself, but I have already…

We believe, due on their behaviour, that the other two groups exist only to thwart the efforts of ORCGJP… Evidenced by the fact that THE VERY PERSON who took the money from ORCGJP is the head of the Recall Group (Tom Good), and has proof of past run ins with the law including theft as well as embezzelment within a leadership position. How can one support the Recall or Dismiss groups? There are even documented admissions from the other groups, bragging about shutting down ORCGJP’s website over Memorial Day…. Does this sound like behaviour of like minded individuals, getting together on a common goal?… I think not…

Bottom line… DO NOT SIGN ANY RECALL POLIS PETITION 🇺🇸 UNLESS IT IS FROM ORCGJP 🇺🇸.

To summarize, there is a good chance that a petition to initiate a recall election against Gov. Jared Polis will be approved by the Secretary of State on or near the July 8th date they can legally begin to circulate. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of grassroots supporters of a Polis recall are being told that this petition effort is fraudulent and being warned not to sign. All of this combined with the yawning gap between even the most optimistic fundraising estimates and the expected need raises hard questions about the utility of the entire effort–questions that donors will be understandably reticent to answer in the form of a check. As for using a Polis recall petition as a segue into signing petitions against legislators? This controversy could be all it takes to make that strategy a loser.

How will it end? Most likely with a whimper. But like any temper tantrum, it has to play itself out.

Hick Purges Staff In Bid To Stay In Prez Race


UPDATE: Politico:

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s senior team urged him last month to withdraw from the presidential race gracefully and run for Colorado’s Senate seat or pursue other opportunities, a source familiar with the situation told POLITICO…

“We thought it was time to make a change,” he told MSNBC’s Craig Melvin. “You know, these campaigns are long, hard campaigns and you don’t always get it right with the first team.”

But a source familiar with the situation disputed the governor’s characterization, saying he is lashing out at the political professionals around him and surrounding himself with Colorado loyalists rather than confronting reality.

—–

As the Denver Post’s Nic Garcia reports, the presidential campaign of former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is entering the staff-shakeup phase, which though not in itself terminal is certainly a sign that Hick is not pleased with his standing after last week’s introductory presidential debates:

John Hickenlooper, struggling to gain traction in a crowded Democratic presidential primary field, announced a new campaign manager late Monday following the news that his national finance director was leaving…

The shuffling comes days after the former Colorado governor failed to have a breakout moment at the first Democratic debate and a day after a key fundraising deadline.

Politico first reported that Dan Sorenson, Hickenlooper’s finance director, was leaving to join former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign.

On Hickenlooper losing his finance director to the only somewhat less underperforming campaign of Beto O’Rourke, 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark had an amusing if painful Twitter rejoinder:

The consensus view is that of Colorado’s two presidential candidates, Sen. Michael Bennet acquitted himself better on last week’s debate stage. Though neither candidate managed what one could call a breakout moment, there’s speculation that Bennet’s face time in opposition to Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders could give him renewed legs as those candidates drop in support–speculation we’ll believe if and when we see it in poll numbers measurably improving for Bennet.

As for Gov. Hickenlooper, he’s almost sure to stay in this race through the next round of debates at the end of this month. That’s how long he’s got to turn his presidential campaign around with the qualifications for future debates set to tighten. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that how Hickenlooper manages the next month could matter more to Colorado politics than the presidential race.

Like the decision to run for president itself, it’s up to Hickenlooper to decide what comes next.

Remember When Cory Gardner Cared About Russia?


Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

We wrote on Friday about the joint press appearance by President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Trump made a mockery of years of controversy over Russian meddling in the 2016 elections by playfully wagging his finger at Putin and asking him facetiously to not hack the 2020 elections. The Guardian reports that wasn’t the only thing Trump and Putin yucked it up about in Osaka:

As they sat for photographs at the start of their first formal meeting in nearly a year, the US president lightheartedly sought common ground with Putin at the expense of the journalists around them in Osaka.

“Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do,” Trump said. [Pols emphasis]

To which Putin responded, in English: “We also have. It’s the same.”

Twenty-six journalists have been murdered in Russia since Putin first became president, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), many of them investigative reporters scrutinising governmental abuses.

Trump’s joking around with Putin about interfering with American elections and (especially, depending on your profession) joking about “getting rid” of journalists with a man who may be responsible for the deaths of dozens of journalists is just the latest conscience-shocker of 2019 for fellow Republicans–who seem to be contending with both more frequent and more severe lapses in moral judgment by President Trump as the next election season approaches. It is objectively difficult to comprehend how Trump could so audaciously make light of what the Mueller investigation and numerous other probes all have concluded took place: that Russian intelligence deliberately interfered in the 2016 elections in order to support Trump’s election.

It’s even harder to understand how Sen. Cory Gardner can be silent about this latest embarrassing display, which he has now been for several days. Almost exactly one year ago, President Trump met with Putin for a summit in Helsinki, Finland. At that time, Trump expressed doubts in a joint press conference that Russian interference in the 2016 elections had even happened. And that was too much for Cory Gardner, who fired off as close to an angry response to Trump as you’ll ever see within hours of the meeting:

Whether it be chemical attacks on allied soil, the invasion of Ukraine, propping up the murderer Assad in Syria, or meddling in our elections through cyber-attacks, Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains an adversary to the United States…I encourage the Administration to avoid the mistakes of past Administrations in normalizing relations with Russia at zero cost to Putin and his regime. [Pols emphasis]

Just like with Kim Jong Un and the Helsinki summit a year ago, Donald Trump is doing the exact opposite of what Gardner asked him to do. The difference between now and a year ago is that Gardner, for whatever reason, does not see any political value in challenging the President’s actions this time. Given that Trump has progressed from doubting the threat Gardner says Russia poses to openly mocking it, Gardner should if anything be more angry, not less. And that’s before the jokes about killing reporters.

Actions speak louder than words, but Gardner’s silence roars louder still.

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 1)


Did anybody see what happened to June? Anyone? It’s 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

 President Trump became the first American President to set foot in North Korea over the weekend. As the Washington Post reports, Trump’s photo op handshake with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un isn’t indicative of progress in denuclearization talks:

What we do have, though, is a potential moving of the goal posts — away from a fully denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

As Trump returned, the New York Times reported that his administration is entertaining the idea of a deal with North Korea that includes a “freeze” in its nuclear program, rather than the complete and total denuclearization the administration has demanded. The reported deal feels a whole lot like a trial balloon for a diluted deal. [Pols emphasis]

National security adviser John Bolton, it bears emphasizing, called the report into question Monday morning. He tweeted that, “Neither the [National Security Council] staff nor I have discussed or heard of any desire to ‘settle for a nuclear freeze by NK,’” Bolton said.

But note a couple things. First, Bolton isn’t quite saying that such a proposal isn’t on the table; he’s merely saying he and the NSC haven’t talked about it. Bolton also was a curious omission from the delegation that traveled to North Korea, and if there’s anything we know about this administration, it’s that the left hand isn’t always talking to the right.

What an amazing negotiator, this Trump guy.

This is also yet another egg on the face for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who has long touted the idea that he has Trump’s ear on North Korea.

 

Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in Colorado are announcing fundraising results from the second quarter of 2019. The campaign for former State Sen. Mike Johnston says it raised $1.6 million in Q2, which leads to a total of $3.4 million raised since Johnston first entered the race earlier this year. Democrat Dan Baer, meanwhile, says he raised $1.1 million in Q2 after first entering the race in mid-April.

 

► Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser wants a court to dismiss a silly lawsuit led by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) challenging Colorado’s new “red flag” law on piddling procedural grounds.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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AG: Dismiss Cheeseball Gun Nut Lawsuit


House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).

Colorado Public Radio reported Friday and we wanted to be sure it got a mention:

Gov. Jared Polis is asking the Denver District Court to dismiss a Republican lawsuit over the passage of a so-called “red flag” gun law last legislative session. The Colorado Attorney General’s office filed a motion Thursday.

Polis signed the measure into law April 12. The gun rights group, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and three Republican lawmakers sued Polis a few weeks later, arguing that Democrats who control the House did not fulfill a Republican request to read the bill out loud in a full and intelligible way.

The Attorney General’s office says those lawmakers should have raised concerns closer to when the original bill reading requests were made in March.

“But rather than complain then to the legislature, they kept quiet until the session ended, not allowing the legislature an opportunity to cure the alleged defect, and now ask this Court to intervene in a hotly contested political issue.”

It’s important to understand the nature of the legal challenge filed by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, Rep. “Pistol Packin'” Lori Saine, and Rep. Dave Williams, which is not a challenge to the actual extreme risk protection order (ERPO) itself but rather the legislative procedure in passing the bill. Readers of course remember the battle over reading bills at length in this year’s legislative session, which Republicans temporarily won (the case is still pending) when a judge ordered Democrats to have them read intelligibly. This suit seeks to invalidate a bill passed by both chambers and signed into law by the governor, on the basis that at some point along the way a superfluous request that the bill be read at length wasn’t honored.

Attorney General Phil Weiser’s response is that Republicans essentially sandbagged this complaint about the bill not being read at length so as to provide a pretext to challenge the bill after the end of the legislative session. That puts the court in a position of having to settle a wholly political question, which courts prefer not to do.

But most importantly, this is not a challenge to the law on its merits. For all the hue and cry about the ERPO law’s alleged unconstitutionality, similar “red flag” laws already exist in a dozen other states, and the law functions similarly to laws that already require persons subject to restraining orders to temporarily surrender their firearms. The reason Colorado House Republicans and their allies at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) chose this process angle against the law as the basis of their lawsuit is simple: they know a direct challenge to the law’s constitutionality will fail.

Once you understand that, this whole undertaking looks very different.

Monday Open Thread


“I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel–it’s vulgar.”

–Molly Ivins

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