Search Results for: neville recall

Cory Gardner Applauds Ken Buck’s Call for Recalls

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congressman Ken Buck gave a fiery campaign speech at the Colorado Republicans Central Committee meeting Saturday. Cheered on by U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, Buck hit all the usual red meat issues: guns, abortion, oil and gas, before delivering the coup de grace: a call for recalls.

Buck dared Democrats to “come and take” his guns, invoking Charlton Heston by saying they’d only get them from his “cold dead hands.” He claimed Democrats also want to “kill babies now after birth, while we want to stand up for life at every stage of life.”

Then he mentioned the failed anti-fracking ballot initiative Proposition 112, which Republicans have been claiming shows opposition to an oil and gas safety regulation bill moving through the state legislature.

“They want to shut down the oil & gas industry. We need to remind them [Democrats] that we won Proposition 112 and we need to teach them how to spell “RECALL.”

As he belted out his punchline, “we need to teach them how to spell “R-E-C-A-L-L,” the applause came not only from the audience, but from the three other Republicans who had just endorsed him for party chair: Regent Heidi Ganahl, District Attorney George Brauchler, and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner.

Buck’s speech did its job; the Colorado GOP Central Committee members elected him Chairman. Buck narrowly defeated State Representative Susan Beckman, who had broad support from her colleagues in the legislature, including House Minority Leader Patrick Neville who introduced her.

Do GOP Donors Want Their 2018 Election Contributions Used on Recalls?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Recall Colorado 2019 ad

At least one major donor to the Colorado House Republicans’ 2018 election campaign doesn’t want its leftover money going to fund recalls.

Xcel Energy is among dozens of companies that donated at least $5,000 to Values First Colorado, the House Republicans’ “caucus fund” committee, which aims supports GOP candidates running for the Colorado state house.

Responding to a request for comment, Xcel Energy made clear the expectation was for its donation to go towards 2018 general election expenses.

“We gave to all caucuses for the 2018 cycle. We expected our contribution to be used for the 2018 elections and not for recall efforts.” Mark Stutz, Xcel Energy Senior Media Representative

Calls to other donors including Anadarko Petroleum, The Colorado Gaming Association, Friends of Colorado Hospitals, and the Colorado Home Builders Association, were not returned. Ready Colorado and Colorado Ski County USA declined to comment.

As reported by Marianne Goodland of Colorado Politics, Values First Colorado (VFC), and other committees connected to it, closed out the 2018 election cycle with hundreds of thousands of donors’ dollars sitting unspent in bank accounts.

After raising $1.214 million, the Values First Colorado caucus-fund committee and its related IECs left ending balances of $305,961, just over a quarter of what the GOP House caucus raised for the 2018 election.

Last month VFC launched a website promoting possible recalls of at least two state lawmakers, Rep. Meg Froelich (D-Englewood) and Sen. Jeff Bridges (D-Greenwood Village). The site has since added a third target, State Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D-Greeley).

VFC is also running paid Facebook ads promoting the website using a variety of issues, from specific bills such as Oil & Gas Public Safety bill and the Extreme Risk Protection Order or “red flag” bill, to the broad subjective claim that Democrats are turning Colorado “into California.” According to Facebook’s political ad information, the VFC is paying for 75 active ads.

Asked if donors to VFC are aware that some of the money was being used on recalls, VFC registered agent Joe Neville said,

“Yes, some of the donors are. We have plenty of donors who do know what we’re doing with this. We don’t plan on spending every penny into this, but we are going to spend what it takes to get things done. Our goals are to make sure we have the tools available and the resources available for people in the grassroots who choose to put up a recall, if it makes sense for the organization and for being good stewards for our donors. If it helps the cause of getting back the majority and there’s reason for it, then we’ll be there to help people.

Asked specifically if donors have expressed concern at money being used to fund recalls, Neville replied,

“We’ve had plenty of conversations with our donors, and we had an after action report and frankly that’s between me and my donors.”

Jason Salzman contributed to this post.

Who’s Running The Polis Recall? Nazis. Yes, Really.

Over the past couple of weeks there have been a number of stories about groups organizing to recall Gov. Jared Polis from office. Because Gov. Polis is constitutionally protected from a recall effort for the for six months he is in office, it has not been possible for these groups to gather any signatures, and the massive requirement of over 600,000 valid signatures makes the attempt as a practical matter highly unlikely. Regardless, the agitation is contributing to the current zeitgeist of GOP rebelliousness against Democrats, who won in an historic landslide election in 2018 leaving Republicans with no way of stopping Democrats from passing desired legislation.

But for all the legitimizing press the Polis recall proponents have received this month, there’s been something very important missing–information about the people behind the effort. And as the Greeley Tribune’s Tyler Silvy reports today in one of the biggest stories ever from that media outlet, this data point is extremely significant.

Because some of them are Nazis.

Recall Governor Jared Polis page, a closed Facebook group, is nearly 30,000 members strong after adopting that name.

Shane Donnelly is one of the admins for the page, and appears to be in charge, as he has called the page “my group,” and commented that he “created this movement.”

He also once posted that Hitler was good to the German people, and “its time america has someone american.” Donnelly hasn’t responded to a Facebook message seeking comment. [Pols emphasis]

There’s no way we can effectively summarize all the the damning detail in this story, so make sure you click through and read it all. The short version is that an online right-wing activist named Shane Donnelly is the principal organizer of the “official” Polis recall closed Facebook group and the issue committee of the same name. The Tribune reports on a recent split between that organization and another group calling itself the Resist Polis PAC. Regardless it’s Donnelly’s group that has almost 30,000 members, the only hard indicator of support that exists for any of this.

And Shane Donnelly is not the only Nazi in the group.

Then there’s the OFFICIAL RECALL ELECTION COMMITTEE, which would discuss potential candidates for election to take Polis’ place should a recall be successful.

Judy Spady is officially involved with both committees, and she’s also an admin for the Facebook group, earning that title following Good’s exodus.

Spady’s public Facebook page is rife with anti-semitic posts, including a post from September 2017 saying “Israel did 9/11,” and another that credits the western world with creating radical Islam to “use fear to push the Jew World Order.” [Pols emphasis]

Now, let’s compare this revelation to the outrage over Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments about “allegiance to a foreign power” in reference to support for Israel, the advisability of which remains a subject of hot contention among Democrats after a push to condemn Omar via a resolution went sideways. Republicans of course had no such division in their ranks, if anything with a few like Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado voting against the watered-down Omar resolution because it didn’t single out anti-Semitism above all other forms of oppression:

In the history of the world, no group has suffered more insidious hatred than the Jews. Anti-Semitism can’t be compared with any other hate speech without marginalizing the history of Jewish oppression. I will not vote to overlook the anti-Semitism which has been covered up by the Democratic leadership…

Well folks, we’re sorry to inform Rep. Buck that the campaign to recall Jared Polis–which he’d better handle with care as a candidate for Colorado Republican Party chairman–is run by people who aren’t at all ambiguous in their hatred of Jewish people.

There’s a lot more to say about this, and it’s time for that conversation to happen. It’s not just that these vile fringe figures were given credibility in multiple news reports that they never deserved. The Recall Polis campaign is trading on the same ginned-up outrage as the recall campaign against House members personally fronted by GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. It’s the same message, motivating the same segment of the electorate. If anything, Neville would love to have the nearly 30,000 members of Donnelly’s Recall Polis group give Neville’s relatively obscure Recall Colorado page a like.

This is who they are. If it’s not who you are, and you’re part of their movement, you know what to do.

So You Wanna Recall Jared Polis, Do You?

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

As Colorado Public Radio’s Hayley Sanchez reports, good luck with that:

The rules for recalling a governor include collecting signatures from 25 percent of the number of the voters who cast a ballot in the last election for governor.

More than 2.5 million people voted in last year’s governor’s race, said Colorado Secretary of State office spokeswoman Serena Woods. To get the recall on the ballot, the groups will need more than 631,000 signatures in the 60 days after the petition is approved by the state’s office. If they fall short, there will be no recall.

On top of that, no recall effort can begin circulating until after a governor has been in office for at least six months. Polis has been in office for two. Woods said the groups could still submit their paperwork to the state’s office but nothing can be done until the six-month period has passed.

In the past few weeks the rhetoric among Republican agitators has ramped up to a fever pitch, accusing majority Democrats in the legislature and Gov. Jared Polis of the highest imaginable crimes for passing in marathon public hearings the agenda they won the majority in 2018 campaigning on. Zeroing in on three principal grievances–the already-signed bill to join Colorado with the National Popular Vote Compact, a popular “red flag” bill to temporarily remove firearms from people in a mental health crisis, and of course the oil and gas drilling reform measure Senate Bill 19-181–Republicans have openly declared their intention to rekindle the rebellious fires of 2013 and punish Democrats for having the temerity to keep their promises.

If it seems like this is the new normal when Republicans can’t win a straight electoral fight, that’s because it is.

In the legislature, a recall movement is getting underway as an unprecedented in-house campaign operation run by the GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. However that controversial move unfolds, initiating a recall against a statewide officeholder is a far more daunting prospect as evidenced by the massive signature count required to place the question on the ballot. Attempting to recall Gov. Polis, especially after letting passions cool the required six months to obtain a 60-day window to collect many times more valid signatures than a ballot measure requires, is not just a fool’s errand but a significant resource sink for Republicans already beset with infighting and demoralization.

The one thing we know in both cases is that no one can tell these people anything strategic. None of this is about political strategy. It’s about bitterness, ruthlessness, and at least in the case of Clan Neville it’s about money. The only thing that can stop it is…well, failure.

In this case, failure is the most likely outcome.

Minority Leader, “Recall Director”–Now THAT’S Statesmanship

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock)

Here’s the email blast that went out at 10:00AM from House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, writing in his alternate capacity as the newly-minted “Director” of Recall Colorado–an organization Neville is as of now fundraising for under the family’s Values First Colorado PAC to initiate recall elections against fellow House members:

From: “Rep. Patrick Neville” <director@recallcolorado.org>
Date: March 19, 2019 at 10:01:48 AM MDT
Subject: Democrats overreaching again
Reply-To: director@recallcolorado.org

Democrats in the General Assembly are rolling out an agenda that spits in the face of our Colorado values.

From undermining our ability to choose our President, to an unconstitutional gun grab, to indoctrinating students against parents’ wishes, Democrats are forcing overreaching legislation despite widespread opposition by Coloradans like you.

We’re launching a statewide effort to recall some of the worst Democrat offenders, and your support will be critical to ensuring our elected officials respect the will of the voters.

Will you help launch these recall efforts by chipping in $10, $25, $50 or even more today?

As you can see, Minority Leader Neville is dispensing with any pretense of separation between himself and his recall committee, presumably staffed and operated by the Neville family’s in-house political consultant firm Rearden Strategic. This would seem to be a deliberate choice, since either Neville’s father ex-Sen. Tim Neville or brother and longtime Rocky Mountain Gun Owners organizer Joe Neville could have served as the figurehead of the recall front group. It represents a significant departure from then-Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman’s standoff support for the recalls in 2013.

It should go without saying the House Minority Leader taking a director role in a campaign to recall majority Democrats from office is a severe blow to whatever sense of bipartisan comity that may have existed this session. The situation is further complicated by negative press the Nevilles received over their management of House GOP “independent expenditure” efforts this last year, which ended in electoral disaster and hundreds of thousands of dollars anomalously left unspent. Charging headlong into a recall campaign might temporarily deflect questions about their mismanagement in 2018. But will any of the state’s GOP powerbrokers be willing to invest again?

Whatever happens next, what we have here is proof positive that the House minority under Patrick Neville isn’t serious about governing. If Minority Leader Neville wants to personally run a recall campaign against his House colleagues in the middle of a legislative session, he should resign first, at least from leadership–and then perhaps consider why so many fellow Republicans would be happy to see him go.

More Fuzzy Accounting from the Neville Clan

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock)

Colorado politicos are still buzzing about a two-part story from the Colorado Springs Gazette in which Republicans openly questioned the 2018 soft money operations intended to support GOP candidates for State Representative. Reporter Marianne Goodland outlined the complaints about political spending overseen by House Minority Leader Pat Neville and his brother, Joe Neville (click for PART 1 and PART 2), including a curious case of hundreds of thousands of dollars that nobody bothered to spend prior to Election Day.

“Spend it to the end”: It’s an expression that floats around soft money groups. What it means is that you don’t leave money in the bank; you spend it on behalf of your candidates (or against their opponents) down to the last penny.

But that wasn’t the case for the Nevilles and the committees they ran in 2018, based on campaign finance filings.

After raising $1.214 million, the Values First Colorado caucus-fund committee and its related IECs left ending balances of $305,961, just over a quarter of what the GOP House caucus raised for the 2018 election.

Goodland writes that Pat Neville declined to respond to her questions about this unspent chunk of money. Joe Neville did respond, albeit poorly, claiming that the caucus just received more money than it could spend at the end of the election cycle — but this story doesn’t add up when you take a closer look at the campaign finance reports.

According to data publicly available on TRACER, some of the money raised by the Nevilles’ committee appears to vanish into thin air. We took a closer look at campaign finance reports from “Values First Colorado” and another committee run by Joe Neville, as Goodland reports:

Citizens for Secure Borders, another Joe Neville-run IEC, raised $274,200, all of it from Values First Colorado, and spent $144,740 on advertising. That left an ending balance of $129,460 after the last campaign finance reports were filed on Dec. 6.

Here’s a screenshot of reported expenditures from the “Values First Colorado” caucus fund committee to the Independent Expenditure Committee “Citizens for Secure Borders:”

As you can see, “Values First Colorado” reports contributing a total of $330,200 to “Citizens for Secure Borders.” But if you look at the campaign finance report from “Citizens for Secure Borders,” there is no mention of that $56,000 contribution:

Perhaps this missing $56k is just a (really big) accounting error, but it could also mean that “Values First Colorado” had even more “unspent” cash than the $305,961 noted by the Colorado Springs Gazette. Where some of that money actually ended up is anyone’s guess.

It’s also worth noting that we’ve seen this sort of thing before from Republican-aligned political committees. Seasoned Colorado politicos might still remember the Trailhead Group, a Republican political committee that was created to support candidates for legislative and state offices in 2006. As the website Colorado Confidential (now known as The Colorado Independent) reported at the time:

Colorado Confidential examined publicly available financial reports filed with the IRS by the Trailhead Group – a political committee created by some of Colorado’s biggest Republican names – and found several transactions totaling $200,000. Contributions to other political committees that Trailhead claims in its IRS filings are not found on the recipient’s books, and contributions from those committees back to Trailhead either don’t match Trailhead’s records or don’t appear at all. And on one occasion, a contribution was made to an organization for which Colorado Confidential can find no record of existence…

…Steve Weissman, Associate Director for Policy at the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute in Washington DC, spends a great deal of time tracking the money and the movement of funds associated with 527 organizations. He’s never seen this before.

“I don’t recall encountering situations where one group is saying they got the money and the other is saying they never received it,” says Weissman.

Republicans have plenty of reasons to question the political spending of its House caucus committee. You can add this missing $56,000 to that list.

The Knives Come Out For Clan Neville

Ex-Sen. Tim “Pa” Neville, Rep. Patrick “Boy” Neville.

The talk of the Colorado politics water-cooler set this Friday morning is a deep-dive from Marianne Goodland of the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette, covering in two detailed stories the intra-party division among legislative Republicans in the wake of the devastating 2018 wave election that gave Colorado Democrats almost unprecedented power at every level of state and county government.

The subject of today’s story is a dynastic Republican political family that we’ve written a great deal about in this space. Over the last few elections, the Neville family, led by now ex-Sen. Tim “Pa” Neville and his son House Minority Leader Patrick “Boy” Neville has acquired an outsize degree of influence in local Republican politics through both running family members and aggressive recruitment of loyal Republican candidates–leading in 2018 to management of the House GOP’s “independent expenditure” campaigns via the family’s political consultant business Rearden Strategic:

“It’s a family business and about controlling the power,” former Republican state Rep. B.J. Nikkel of Loveland, who served in the House from 2009 to 2013, told Colorado Politics.

Nikkel was referring to the control Neville, R-Castle Rock, and members of his family exercised over independent expenditures used to support Republicans running for the Legislature in 2018 or oppose their Democratic challengers — spending not coordinated with the candidates.

The Nevilles used that money “to keep their own little mountain of power,” Nikkel said, echoing comments made by other Republicans. [Pols emphasis]

Now, here’s the first thing to understand: there’s nothing out of the ordinary for the leadership in a given chamber to run the increasingly critical independent expenditure side of that party’s campaign. Before the Nevilles and Rearden Strategies did so for House Republicans in 2018, we had the example of GOP Senate President Bill Cadman’s Advantage Marketing–which very similarly to the Nevilles both developed the independent-side strategy for GOP Senate candidates and was widely seen as a vehicle for Cadman to cultivate his personal power base.

What’s the difference, you ask? On the surface it’s simple–Cadman won elections, while the Nevilles presided over one of the greatest humiliations for Colorado Republicans in the lifetime of anyone now living. But that’s not all: Cadman worked in concert with the state’s GOP elite and donor class, while the Nevilles sought to supplant that traditional Republican power structure with a much more radical model featuring the Neville family, hard-right movement ideologues, and Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners calling the shots.

Undeniably, there were some examples of what can only be called amateur work product, like the slate of Jefferson County candidates advertised by Rearden that was so riddled with errors it was worse than putting up nothing at all. Goodland also reports that over $300,000 in campaign funds were left unspent in 2018, which is sure to aggrieve every Republican House candidate who lost last year. So, there’s that.

But beyond the second-guessing over details, this backbiting against the Nevilles represents to us another attempt by establishment Republicans to purge themselves of what they consider to be out-of-touch losers holding the party down. Readers  may recall how two years ago, the same Anschutz-owned media outlet became deeply enmeshed in controversy over Bob Beauprez’s Pioneer Action group–who rather brazenly attempted to “frag” a number of Neville-backed Republican candidates in 2016. The Gazette aggressively attacked the Republican who filed complaints over Pioneer Action’s red-on-red attacks in 2016, only clamming up after the complaint against Beauprez’s group was upheld.

The shortest summary to all this is that there is a civil war going on behind the scenes for the soul of the Republican Party in Colorado. It is not a new struggle by any means, but last year’s historic defeat for Republicans has instilled figures on both sides of this fight with a sense of urgency. The factions at this point are well-defined: it’s a battle between the Republican establishment controlled by a few powerful wealthy donors like Phil Anschutz, versus an unruly GOP grassroots coalition that regards the wealthy donor class as part of the same problem along with the Democrats.

However this struggle resolves–and if it ever does–the political damage to the GOP will be significant.

Donald Trump and the recalled Jeffco school board: you won’t believe this

In 2015, I was proud to join my Jefferson County neighbors as we reclaimed our school board from far-right radicals who took control two years before. We literally made #JeffcoSchoolBoardHistory. After watching the school board attack the teachers and schools that make Jeffco one of the best places to raise a family in America, by an overwhelming 65% margin, we ended the ability of Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams to play ideological games with Colorado’s finest public schools–recalling them and replacing them with a clean slate that restored dignity and community respect to the Jeffco school board.

Unfortunately, Ken Witt, president of the recalled board, isn’t finished trying to harm public education in Colorado just yet. Last week, Donald Trump announced that Witt is the Trump campaign’s state “education coalition co-chair.”

Sign our petition: tell Trump to dump Ken Witt right now.

If there was anyone left in Jefferson County undecided about Donald Trump, choosing Ken Witt as his education co-chair in Colorado should settle the question. Trump couldn’t pick a more divisive figure of his campaign for our state if he tried. Witt’s disastrous tenure as president of the Jefferson County school board was beset with allegations of bullying students, hostility to teachers, breaking promises to voters on spending tax dollars, and dubious “reviews” of history curriculum to ensure what’s taught in the classroom doesn’t offend conservatives.

Tell Donald Trump to cut ties with Ken Witt for the sake of every child in Colorado.

(more…)

With collapse of Rand Paul, Dudley Brown may be cash cow for Tim Neville

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Journalists have raised doubts about whether State Sen. Tim Neville, who’s expected to announce his campaign against Sen. Michael Bennet today, can raise the $10 million or more required to unseat the well-financed Democratic uncumbant. It’s a reasonable question, for sure, but recent political shifts could be opening bank accounts for Neville that were locked just months ago.

Colorado’s own Dudley Brown has had close ties to the collapsing presidential campaign of Sen. Rand Paul (See joint photo.). Paul has signed fundraising appeals for Brown, which so pissed off the National Rifle Association (NRA) that the NRA didn’t even invite Paul to an NRA Leadership Forum, which was attended by 12 GOP presidential hopeufls in April.

Sen. Tim Neville.

Sen. Tim Neville.

Brown may now be looking for a new gun-loving federal candidate prop up with millions of dollars. And that lucky candidate could be Neville, whose close ties to Dudley are not in dispute as you can read below if you need to.

But does Dudley have that kind of money? Well, he’s president of the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR), which raised over $16 million in 501c4 political-attack funds, according to its lastest-available federal filing. It’s impossible to know how much of that dark money could be diverted to Colorado’s Senate race, but the money is big. And for what it’s worth, back in 2013, Dudley said his organization would spend at least $1 million on campaigns.

(more…)

Peter Boyles Critiques Local Coverage of the Hudak Recall Effort, as Only Peter Boyles Can

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In the heated battle and drama surrounding the efforts to recall Colorado State Senator Evie Hudak, accusations of malfeasance and misrepesentation have been thrown back and forth, a gubernatorial candidate has proffered obscene gestures, and local news outlets have entered the fray to parse out the truth and report on the contentious issues raised by the two sides.

Never the wallflower, KNUS 710AM radio talk show host, Peter Boyles, has become the media point man for the Recall organization, hosting the organizers Mike McAlpine and Laura Waters in daily appearances for updates and rallying cries. As you might guess, the tone of the show these days is combative and loud.

When KDVR Fox 31's reporter Eli Stokols and KCNC CBS4 Denver's Shaun Boyd ventured into Arvada and Westminster to report on the Recall and efforts to thwart it, they were not spared from Mr. Boyles cutting criticism and confrontation.

(more…)

New Report Confirms Paid Recall Campaign, Documents Assault

caninomugshot

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports this afternoon, a very bad story for the recall campaign against Sen. Evie Hudak:

Mike McAlpine, one of the organizers behind the Hudak recall effort, has denied hiring Kennedy. A Washington Times article Sunday reported that “so far the group is relying on its army of volunteers to collect signatures, but Mr. McAlpine said they may soon have to turn to paid signature-gatherers.”

Early on in the recall campaign, McAlpine acknowledged the financial assistance and support of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

RMGO’s Joe Neville, when interviewed Tuesday at the Recall Hudak Too offices on 64th Avenue, didn’t deny that his group was the one paying Kennedy.

“From RMGO, we’re going to take the $5 and $10 donations that we get and do whatever possible to make sure that this happens,” Neville said.

But let there be no more doubt that Kennedy is on the ground gathering signatures in Senate District 19, and has been for some time now…

While the confirmation of paid petition gatherers working the signature gathering campaign against Sen. Hudak–despite the false insistence by organizers that they were not–is the focus of today's excellent and detailed report from FOX 31's Stokols, a video clip posted to this story of an apparent assault by a pro-recall operative is perhaps the most shocking new disclosure:

[O]ver the weekend, a Democracy Defense Fund worker with a hand-held video camera was threatened by another signature gatherer who does have a criminal record.

A YouTube video shows John Canino, dressed in a neon yellow ‘Recall Hudak’ shirt, confronting the worker with a hand-held video camera and threatening him.

“You don’t have permission to take my picture. That means I can smash your f***ing camera,” Canino tells the volunteer.

Citing the Fourth Amendment, the volunteer responded, saying “I have every right to do this. If you knock it out of my hands, that’s assault.”

That’s when Canino’s hand slaps the camera out of the volunteer’s hands and the clip ends.

We too were forwarded a copy of recall petition gatherer John Canino's lengthy criminal record. Canino's record includes such charges as auto theft and harassment, and he is presently the subject of a permanent protective order. As you can see in the video clip above, Canino very clearly committed unprovoked assault against the person holding that camera. While wearing his day-glo "Recall Hudak" T-shirt.

In short, this man just did more to prove recall opponents right about the unsavory nature of people being dispatching to street corners, and even door-to-door to collect signatures, than anything Democrats could have done themselves.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 27)

Happy Banana Lovers Day. Please keep that celebration to yourself, whatever it is. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► President Trump will accept the Republican nomination for President tonight in an address from (gag) the South Lawn of the White House. As POLITICO reports, Trump plans to blame Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden for pretty much anything that went wrong in the last 50 years:

“We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years. At the Democrat convention, you barely heard a word about their agenda. But that’s not because they don’t have one. It’s because their agenda is the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee.”

While Republicans have spent this week going after Biden, the president’s aides contend that the media has filtered the convention and hasn’t adequately highlighted criticisms of Biden’s policies. Over the course of this week, additional policy attacks have been added to Trump’s speech.

This is the part where we remind you that the Republican Party quite literally DOES NOT HAVE A PLATFORM FOR 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke on Wednesday evening and assured convention-watchers that everything is totally cool with the coronavirus.

 

As The New York Times reports, the director of the CDC is (sorta) backing off of controversial new coronavirus testing guidelines issued this week:

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has scaled back the agency’s recommendation advising some people not to get tested after exposure to the novel coronavirus, now saying “testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable Covid-19 patients.”

The statement by Dr. Robert R. Redfield was issued to some news outlets late Wednesday, and more broadly Thursday morning, after a storm of criticism over the new C.D.C. guidelines — involving potentially asymptomatic people — which were the product of the White House Coronavirus task force and not the C.D.C.’s own scientists. Dr. Redfield made the statement in an effort to clarify the new policy, an official said. However, the guidelines issued earlier this week remained on the C.D.C.’s website as of Thursday morning, and it appears unlikely that the agency will change them…

…The clarification is unusual. Public health experts say clear, consistent communications are essential to fighting an infectious disease outbreak, and Dr. Redfield’s comments may further confuse things.

 

Dear Leader Trump is fleecing American taxpayers, as The Washington Post reports:

Via The Washington Post (8/27/20)

 

Trump has now visited his own properties 270 times as president, according to a Washington Post tally — with another visit planned for Thursday, when he is scheduled to meet GOP donors at his Washington hotel.

Through these trips, Trump has brought the Trump Organization a stream of private revenue from federal agencies and GOP campaign groups. Federal spending records show that taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $900,000 since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of the president’s travel, according to a Post analysis.

Now, new federal spending documents obtained by The Post via a public-records lawsuit give more detail about how the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service — a kind of captive customer, required to follow Trump everywhere. In addition to the rentals at Mar-a-Lago, the documents show that the Trump Organization charged daily “resort fees” to Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Pence in Las Vegas and in another instance asked agents to pay a $1,300 “furniture removal charge” during a presidential visit to a Trump resort in Scotland.

 

Hurricane Laura came ashore in Louisiana on Wednesday as one of the strongest storms to hit the United States in recorded history. Fortunately, the storm is slowing significantly as it moves northward.

 

 It’s long past time to do something about army-playing militia members bringing assault rifles to protests in hopes of picking a fight.

 

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

 

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Dudley Brown’s Downfall Sidesteps Bigger GOP Dilemma

Dudley Brown.

9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger tallies the damage for the once-feared “no compromise” gun rights advocacy group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, infamous over the course of many years for its ruthless bullying of fellow Republicans and backing a slate of fringe primary candidates in safe Republican seats, in last week’s primary elections–and there’s little question the 2020 Republican primary was a wipeout unlike anything the organization has experienced before:

In last week’s primaries, RMGO went 1-5 in backing candidates in contested Republican primaries.

In Senate District 23, which includes eastern Fort Collins, and straddles Interstate 25 by Longmont and Loveland, RMGO-supported Republican candidate Rupert Parchment lost to Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer. She defeated Parchment 55%-45%, to be the Republican nominee on the November ballot…

Four House candidates in northern Colorado and Jefferson County, supported by RMGO, also lost. Candidates Pat Miller and Grady Nouis, as well as current state Senator Vicki Marble (who ran for a House seat) and former Rep. Justin Everett, were all defeated in Republican primaries.

As the Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reports, longtime RMGO executive director Dudley Brown, once one of the most imposing figures in far-right Colorado Republican politics, is stepping down in considerable disgrace after the organization’s chosen candidates in the 2020 GOP primary were routed:

The group has had significant influence on Colorado politics over the years, blocking some gun legislation and getting its favored candidates elected. But RMGO has suffered some recent blows, including the 2019 passage of Colorado’s red flag gun law and a June state Supreme Court ruling upholding a large-capacity gun magazine ban. Most recently, many of RMGO’s candidates did not win in contested GOP primaries for statehouse and county commissioner seats last week.

The organization has faced some criticism — even from within the GOP ranks — for its tactics. The family of House Minority Leader Patrick Neville has been closely aligned with the group, and recent RMGO losses could add steam to talk of removing him as caucus leader…

It’s too early to tell if this significant change of fortunes for an organization that has traditionally wielded tremendous influence within the Colorado Republican Party represents a long-term shift in direction of the party, or a momentary nadir for the party’s still very powerful hard-right faction. A major nexus of RMGO’s influence over the Colorado GOP lies in the Neville family political machine, and the support for House Minority Leader Patrick Neville in the House minority caucus that survived the disastrous 2018 election and innumerable embarrassments committed by Neville since then.

The Neville Clan needed RMGO’s candidates to not lose. Dudley Brown’s downfall is very likely Pat Neville’s too.

Without question, there is a significant wing of the Colorado Republican Party deeply unhappy with the dominance of RMGO and the Neville Clan in GOP primaries, understanding that their choice of candidates is ruining the party’s chances with general election voters:

“They’re single issue,” said Will Sander, Weld County GOP chairman. “I think it’s a combination of that and people just realizing that there’s a history of RMGO candidates being successful in the primary and then not winning in the general election, and I think Republicans are tired of that and they’re ready to take back the House and take back the Senate.”

Ridding the legislature of such profound embarrassments as Vicki Marble, who did damage to the Republican brand far outside their districts, is a goal that has been long held by more than a few Republicans dismayed by the party’s decline. But looking at the current leadership of the state party, from Rep. Ken Buck as chairman to RMGO ally in the failed recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown and down through the ranks, it’s clear that the problem runs much deeper than any one figure or group. The Colorado Republican Party’s lurch to the irrational right in recent years is consistent with the party’s evolution nationally. In Donald Trump’s Republican Party, the pressure to radicalize comes from above and below.

At some level, you can’t purge your nature. Dudley Brown is a symptom of a larger disease.

To Win, Gardner Sees Need to Skirt Media’s “Pre-Approved Filter”

(“Enemy of the people,” etc. – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Sen. Cory Gardner’s complaints about the news media surfaced again Saturday, when KNUS host Randy Corporon put this question to the Colorado Republican:

CORPORON at 20:45: “You of course have been on the receiving end of so many attacks during your political career, including the way the newspapers and the television news–you, know they’re really not news reporters. They’re commentators, political activists, anymore. But have you ever seen anything quite like where we are right now with just the undeniable inaccurate dishonest spin being placed on anything that Republicans do right now.”

Gardner’s reply:

GARDNER: “I certainly haven’t seen it in my lifetime. You know, I don’t know that anyone has in their lifetime either. Look, we have to compartmentalize that, right. We have to acknowledge it, recognize it, and just say, ‘Okay, now, what do we do in spite of that.’ And that’s to get our message out to the people of Colorado, to get our message around the people who want to twist or turn it or ignore it. We have to figure out how to get onto the ground and get the grassroots engaged. In many ways, that’s what we are seeing.
“And perhaps that’s the fight some don’t like, is that they don’t like the fact that you can communicate directly with constituents without going through their pre-approved filter. But we have to do that, because we have to recognize that it’s real. And then just address it. That’s how we are going to win in November. It’s not just by wishing things were different. It’s by recognizing it and addressing it.”

These comments by Gardner, who didn’t return a call for comment, may reflect his thinking behind his decision last month not to take part in a debate on 9News, a decision met with cheers from some conservatives.

Gardner didn’t say why he rejected 9News and its partners, but state Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock told another conservative platform: “[Gardner] told me…. He was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t talk to those guys [at 9News]’” (here at 20 min 30 sec).

Gardner had accused 9News of bias, after multiple bump-ups with 9News reporters over the past year.

But Gardner’s embattled stance, vis-a-vis the news media, isn’t new. Back in 2012, Gardner blamed Mitt Romney’s loss in part on the media.

He once told a right-wing talk radio host that the media is biased against “people like us.”

Prior to the 2018 election, Gardner told conservatives that the media was “afraid” the GOP would retain control of the U.S. Senate. They “want us to fail,” said Gardner at the time.

Primary Fights Reveal Rift in Colorado Republican Caucus

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Patrick Neville’s seat is safe, but is his leadership title?

Patrick Neville with longtime ally Dudley Brown, shares his ultimately failed plans to recall fellow legislators last fall.

With Colorado’s primary election just two weeks away, statehouse campaigns to be the major party nominees are heating up. The competition is particularly fierce among the Republican races, where so-called dark money groups are spending unprecedented amounts of money.

The disputed primaries are once again revealing an ideological split within the Republican party, one that is well-known to Colorado politicos: the rift between the establishment GOP and its far-right wing, led by House Minority leader Patrick Neville. Despite historic losses in 2018, Neville still controls the caucus, and at least one Neville supporter appears to be nearly as concerned with protecting his leadership role as with retaking the chamber.

Emily Williams, wife of state Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs), posted a Facebook video warning of a leadership coup within the caucus, specifically that “outside money is trying to take out Patrick Neville as Minority Leader.”

She’s not talking about Democrats trying to flip conservative seats, but rather a group seeking to elect moderate Republicans to red districts. She went on to attack incumbent state Rep. Colin Larson (R-Littleton), who she claims is attempting to challenge Neville, by accusing him of sleeping on the job, literally.

“And so he [Justin Everett] is trying to get back in there and be a fighter and be amazing, which we desperately need, because I’m gonna be honest with you, alright? The current guy–I kid you not–taking naps while Republicans are up late fighting on the floor for your freedoms. This guy was going in the back and catching some Z’s while everybody else did the dirty work and the heavy lifting. And, oh, by the way, he’s trying to make a run on leadership against the likes of Patrick Neville.”

(more…)

“Unite America”–Back And Meddling In GOP Primaries

The Colorado Citizen Press, a blog associated with the activist/fundraising complex administered by the Neville clan, is hopping mad about spending in Republican legislative primary races connected to Unite America–the controversial organization once known as the Centrist Project that fielded a slate of unsuccessful “independent” legislative candidates in 2018. The organization in the end was better causing headaches for mainstream candidates in swing districts than actually electing its own people, so in 2020 they’re back with a new approach–messing around in Republican primaries.

Which feels right, literally and figuratively, after the experience with this group in 2018:

That’s right, New York liberal Kathryn Murdoch contributed millions of dollars to a progressive centrist group called Unite America, where she serves on the board. She worked for the Clinton Climate Initiative for years, as well as other progressive groups. She even donated $88,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund.

Unite America then contributed $507,500 to Unite Colorado Election Fund, an independent expenditure committee. Unite Colorado Election Fund appears to have sent hundreds of thousands of those dollars to Coloradans For Constitutional Values, though reports will likely not reflect this contribution until June 15, 2020.

Coloradans for Constitutional Values is spending that money to oppose conservative Republicans and support liberal-leaning Republicans…

Back in 2016, as readers will remember, former GOP Congressman Bob Beauprez organized a nonprofit political group whose primary purpose turned out to be attacking conservative Republican primary candidates. That tight focus on electioneering resulted in an embarrassing court ruling against the group, Pioneer Action, in the course of which a further embarrassing connection to the Colorado Springs Gazette was identified that has helped keep bad blood flowing between the Colorado Republican Party’s corporate and right-wing activist factions.

Beauprez’s effort to purge the GOP of immoderate figures not only failed but led to increasing control by conservative activists of the state party infrastructure. Hard-right candidates who survived this purge helped provide Pat Neville with a base of support in the House minority caucus that has endured catastrophic defeat in 2018, failed reprisals against Democrats in the 2019 recalls, and ongoing embarrassment for Republicans everywhere as Neville’s wacky politics seize hold of the GOP brand.

With this in mind, we feel pretty confident that Unite America pushing “RINO” candidates on the restive Colorado Republican base, like Beauprez’s attempted party purge in 2016, is just going to piss them off. Kathryn Murdoch, Rupert Morduch’s “radical centrist” daughter-in-law, is set to be the next high-handed conservative to see the lurch right in Colorado as harmful to the long-term viability of the Republican Party, throw money at the perceived problem, and then realize in dismay that the patient doesn’t want to be cured.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 2)

Happy International Sex Workers’ Day; please celebrate responsibly and in private. Now, let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

 

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

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

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

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

The actual President of the United States of America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Gardner said all Americans can and should do better.

Cory Gardner: Real man of courage.

 

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

 

(more…)

Gardner Campaigns on Polis’ Praise While Helping Prominent Foe Raise Money

(Duplicitous? Well, yeah, that’s how Gardner rolls. — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In the midst of an effort to claim the bipartisan high ground, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) used official (non-campaign) time to headline a fundraiser for the Colorado House Republican caucus fund, controlled by perhaps the most aggressively partisan opponent of Governor Polis in the state: House Minority Leader Patrick Neville.

Like any politician hoping to be reelected this November, Gardner’s schedule is packed with a mix of official and campaign events. The greatest perk of incumbency is the ability to conduct official business in a manner that benefits one’s campaign, and Gardner is no exception, as reporters frequently note.

On Friday, May 15, the senator’s schedule included multiple campaign and official activities. On the political front, the Gardner campaign launched its first campaign ad, highlighting Gardner’s official work to secure medical supplies and featuring a clip of Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) praising his effort.

In his official capacity, Gardner joined several virtual meetings. Two were with of Colorado’s powerful business lobbies: the Colorado Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Restaurant Association. During those meetings, he gave updates on federal legislation and answered questions from business owners.

Over the lunch hour, however, Gardner spent his taxpayer-funded time headlining a virtual “donor briefing” for the Colorado House Republicans’ 527 committee, Values First Colorado (VFC).

Attending the online “Lunch & Learn” wasn’t cheap: individual tickets cost $250. The host committee featured several prominent establishment names, including former Colo Governor Bill Owens, Colorado School of Mines Vice President Ann Walker, the lobbying firm Cherry Point Strategies, and charter school advocacy group Ready Colorado.

The centrist leanings of the hosts stand in contrast to the far-right positions of VFC itself. Last year the group spent donors’ money in support of failed recall efforts against Democratic legislators as well as Polis. The legislative recalls prompted major corporate donors Xcel Energy and Noble Energy to clarify that they had intended their money to support VFC’s 2018 general election work, not after-the-fact recalls.

That didn’t stop Neville from using extreme rhetoric, though. He accused Polis and the Democrats of having an “agenda to destroy Colorado,” specifically, “to turn Colorado into another California— a leftist-run, job-killing, high-tax, freedom-less wasteland where illegal immigrants, criminals and the homeless are prioritized over law-abiding and hard-working citizens.”

Take Back Colorado logo

Last fall Patrick Neville and his brother Joe, who is paid to be the registered agent various House GOP committees via his Rearden Strategic consulting firm, split “Take Back Colorado” off from VFC, registering it as its own independent expenditure committee. But as the face of both groups, Minority Leader Neville’s over-the-top accusations can’t be separated by a filing form.

This COVID-19 pandemic is a dream come true for Polis and the Democrats.-Colorado House Republican Leader Patrick Neville

Two days prior to the VFC fundraiser with Gardner, Neville asked for donations via the Take Back Colorado. He wrote:

(more…)

A Brief History: Ken Buck as State Republican Party Chairman

Who has a crooked first finger and is killing the Colorado Republican Party? This guy!

In recent history, serving as Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party has come with a heaping helping of downside and just a smidge of upside. The current State GOP Chair, who also moonlights as Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), has largely managed to stub his toe on every available rock in a little more than a year on the job.

Once upon a time, the GOP Chairman was considered a prestigious position among Colorado Republicans that could be used as a springboard for higher office; in the early ‘oughts, Bob Beauprez transitioned from Party Chair to Congress in CO-7, then became the GOP nominee for governor in 2006 (and 2014). But after Initiative 27 passed in 2002, the power of being party chairperson for any political party diminished significantly.

After an historic drubbing at the polls in 2018, Colorado Republicans were looking for a new leader to point the way out of their electoral abyss in 2020. Instead, they got Buck.

We wrote at the time that picking a chairman like Ken Buck, who openly ran without offering a forward vision of the party, and pledging to be a figurehead while working two jobs, would probably cause more problems than it solved:

This is really the Colorado Republican Party in a nutshell: One of the top contenders to be the next GOP Party Chair is proposing a return to an era in which the Colorado Republican Party was objectively not very successful, and then lashing out at anyone who questions his ideas.

Today, with Buck facing two separate allegations of tampering in a local caucus process, we thought we’d take a look back at Buck’s year of double-duty.

 

(more…)

“Save our Liberty. Save our Economy.”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A conservative talk radio host and former spokeswoman for a failed effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) is helping spread the word about MayDay-Colorado.com, which is encouraging Colorado businesses to open May 1, whether or not they have government authorization to do so.

Karen Kataline appeared this morning on conservative 710-AM radio to urge listeners to promote MayDay-Colorado and watch for the initiative’s banner at a drive-by “gridlock” rally in downtown from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 19.

“Guess what? We are opening for business on May Day, the old socialist holiday,” said Kataline on air. “We are taking it back, and we don’t need the governor’s permission. We are on solid constitutional ground.”

There’s no evidence that Polis’ order to shut down non-essential businesses to protect public health faces any serious constitutional challenge.

A MayDay-Colorado flyer available for download states: “Business Independence Day” and “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Save our Liberty. Save our Economy.”

Kataline said people should drive by the “gridlock” protest tomorrow and view the banner.

Kataline, who substitutes for regular hosts on talk radio stations in the metro area, said last month that the response to the virus has been marked by hysteria.

Polis has said that if the virus were to run rampant, it would do more damage to the economy than the efforts to try to fight it, as Colorado is doing.

Reached by phone, Kataline said she is not a spokeswoman for the group. She called the radio show to get the word out, she said.

Greg Lopez, a former mayor of Parker who’s already announced his candidacy to oppose Polis in the next gubernatorial election, came up with the idea to push back with small businesses and open May 1 regardless of state directives, said Kataline. She also said social distancing would be respected.

Lopez did not immediately return a call for comment.

The Protests Are Coming…Whether They Make Sense or Not

FRIDAY UPDATE: Oh, neat. President Trump is now ENCOURAGING this behavior.

—–

Views from a MAGA rally/government protest in Lansing, Michigan on Wednesday

Right-wing Republicans across the country are shaking their fists at stay-at-home restrictions because the coronavirus wouldn’t respond to their complaints. As a result, this week has seen ridiculous protests in places like Michigan, and Colorado is next on the list.

Organizers are planning an event called “Operation Gridlock Denver” (we’re not linking to any of this nonsense) that will take place on Sunday. Yes, you read that correctly. “Gridlock” on a Sunday. Planners of this event are stressing that people who attend should remain in their cars to protest stay-at-home orders, because you are obviously more likely to get infected by COVID-19 if you are out milling around with other people. If you don’t already understand the irony here, then we certainly can’t explain it any better.

Before anyone gets too carried away in thinking that these “protestors” represent more than a small percentage of like-minded morons, there are a few important points we’d like to address:

The Vast Majority of Americans Absolutely Do NOT Agree

A new poll from POLITICO/Morning Consult shows that 8 in 10 Americans are in no hurry to end social distancing practices because they are (rightly) scared of COVID-19:

More than eight in 10 voters, 81 percent, say Americans “should continue to social distance for as long as is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus, even if it means continued damage to the economy.” Only 10 percent say Americans “should stop social distancing to stimulate the economy, even if it means increasing the spread of coronavirus.”

Those poll numbers track with what Gallup has been following. Even after government restrictions on social contact are lifted, 71% of Americans would “wait to see what happens with the coronavirus” before resuming “normal activities.”

Via Gallup

 

Across the country, the Governors who have been leading the way on issuing stay-at-home guidance are viewed exponentially more favorably than President Trump, whose approval ratings are plummeting. In our state, 75% of Coloradans approve of the way that Gov. Jared Polis has responded to the coronavirus outbreak, compared to about 43% who approve of how Trump has handled the situation.

 

Protest Arguments Make No Logical Sense Whatsoever

This interview with a protestor in Michigan should speak for itself:

In case you can’t see the interview, it features a guy wearing a mask covering most of his face saying that coronavirus concerns are overblown. You don’t have to be House Minority Leader Patrick Neville to say something stupid about social distancing measures.

As we know from multiple failed recall attempts by a small band of right-wing grifters, the most outspoken of protestors don’t necessarily ply their trade with logic. Nevertheless, it’s important to point out the flawed reasoning here. Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, artfully explained for POLITICO why arguments opposing social distancing are lunacy:

A good example of the genre is an op-ed co-authored by former Education Secretary William Bennett and talk radio host and author Seth Leibsohn . It is titled, tendentiously and not very accurately, “Coronavirus Lessons: Fact and Reason vs. Paranoia and Fear.” Bennett and Leibsohn are intelligent and public-spirited men whom I’ve known for years, but they’ve got this wrong, and in rather elementary ways.

They cite the latest estimate of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington state that the current outbreak will kill 68,000 Americans. Then, they note that about 60,000 people died of the flu in 2017-18. For this, they thunder, we’ve scared Americans and imposed huge economic and social costs on the country.

This is such an obviously flawed way of looking at the question, it’s hard to believe that Bennett and Leibsohn don’t realize it.

If we are going to have 60,000 deaths with people not leaving their homes for more than a month, the number of deaths obviously would have been higher—much higher—if everyone had gone about business as usual. We didn’t lock down the country to try to prevent 60,000 deaths; we locked down the country to limit deaths to 60,000 (or whatever the ultimate toll is) from what would have been a number multiples larger. [Pols emphasis]

By Bennett and Leibsohn ’s logic, we could just as easily ask: Why did we expend all that blood and treasure fighting Hitler when he couldn’t even take Britain or conquer Moscow? Why did we adopt tough-on-crime policies, when crime rates are at historic lows? Why did we work so hard to find a treatment for HIV/AIDs, when so many of the people with the disease now have normal life expectancies?

Of course, it was precisely the actions we took that caused those welcome outcomes.

It’s probably not just top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway who believes that “COVID-19” means there were 18 other “COVIDs” that came before it.

There are definitely a few people who will head to Denver on Sunday to yell at the Capitol Building, and they absolutely have the right to do so. Let’s just not pretend that they represent the majority opinion of Coloradans on staying protected from COVID-19.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (February 19)

Today is the 50th day of 2020; please celebrate responsibly. 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 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► We really can’t be far away from Donald Trump declaring himself King of America. As The Washington Post reports:

On Tuesday, Trump granted clemency to a clutch of political allies, circumventing the usual Justice Department process. The pardons and commutations followed Trump’s moves to punish witnesses in his impeachment trial, publicly intervene in a pending legal case to urge leniency for a friend, attack a federal judge, accuse a juror of bias and threaten to sue his own government for investigating him.

Trump defended his actions, saying he has the right to shape the country’s legal systems as he sees fit. [Pols emphasis]

“I’m allowed to be totally involved,” he told reporters as he left Washington on Tuesday for a trip to California, Nevada and Arizona. “I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country. But I’ve chosen not to be involved.”

Of course, this is NOT true. The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer in the United States, but when the AG just does whatever the President wants…

The president’s post-impeachment behavior has alarmed Attorney General William P. Barr, who has told people close to the president that he is willing to quit unless Trump stops publicly commenting on ongoing criminal matters, according to two administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. It also has appalled several legal experts and former officials, who have said his direct intervention in legal matters risks further politicizing law enforcement at a time of fraying confidence in the Justice Department.

As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, Trump is almost daring Attorney General William Barr to quit his job:

Against the wishes of Attorney General William P. Barr, President Trump continued to tweet Wednesday about the Justice Department, relaying the sentiments of conservative allies that Barr should “clean house” and target those involved in the Russia investigation.

Former Colorado U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer is among many current and former Justice Department officials who think Barr should resign

You can thank Senate Republicans for fully unlocking Trump’s dictator mode. Here in Colorado, voters are well aware that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) voted for Trump’s impeachment acquittal purely as political protection.

 

The Democratic candidates for President will debate tonight in Nevada, which will also mark the first on-stage appearance of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Here’s more on how candidates are courting Coloradans leading up to Super Tuesday on March 3:

♦ Jon Murray of The Denver Post breaks down how Bloomberg has been courting politicos in Colorado for decades.

♦ Elizabeth Warren has launched a new ad campaign in Colorado.

 Amy Klobuchar will be in Denver on Thursday. Tulsi Gabbard will be in Colorado Springs and Boulder. Joe Biden will not be appearing anywhere.

♦ President Trump is in Colorado Springs on Thursday with Sen. Cory Gardner. As The Colorado Springs Independent reports, Trump’s expensive visit will be paid for…by local taxpayers.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Colorado Legislators Joined Extremist Groups for a “We Will Not Comply” Rally against Red Flag Law

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Approximately two hundred people rallied at the state Capitol Saturday against Colorado’s new “red flag” law, which allows guns to be taken from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Organizers of the “We Will Not Comply” rally included Rally For Our Rights activist Lesley Hollywood, conservative Facebook personality Sheronna Bishop, and gun rights activist Lauren Boebert, who just launched her campaign for Colorado’s Third Congressional District, where she will challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the Republican primary.

Conservative activist Sherronna Bishop, who runs a Facebook page called “America’s Mom,” emceed the event. She thanked two groups for providing security: Boots On The Ground Bikers For Trump, and the Three Percenters.

 

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists a number of “three percent” anti-government extremist groups in Colorado, including the American Patriots III%, which provided security. Also among the attendees were members of the Proud Boys, which is designated as a hate group by the SPLC.

(more…)

Garcia, Magnanimous In Victory, Accepts Post’s Mea Culpa

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D).

Colorado Public Radio’s Taylor Allen reports from yesterday’s well-deserved “victory lap” press conference by Senate President Leroy Garcia, after the recall campaign against him collapsed in a heap at the end of last week:

Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia on Thursday said he’s looking forward to the new legislative session — especially after surviving a recall effort to oust him…

Garcia was one of the six legislators who was the target of ousters during what he calls “the summer of recalls.”

“[It] spotlighted Colorado in a way that we wanted to be spotlighted in,” Garcia said. “And it’s sad to say that some Republicans took Colorado to a new low.”

“Quasi-newsman” Joey Bunch of the Colorado Springs Gazette does what he can to lessen the blow for the GOP:

“It’s no secret Republicans struggled with the new majority, and quite frankly, I would argue, with the reality,” Garcia said. “Some reverted to political shenanigans, in addition to endless temper tantrums.”

He called the recalls a tactic that was better left to Washington politics. Garcia didn’t say it, but the notable difference is that in Washington, it’s Democrats trying to oust Republican President Donald Trump via impeachment.

It’s difficult to see how impeachment “whataboutism” helps Republicans look any better after the once-balleyhooed “summer of recalls”–especially since a majority of Coloradans support impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump in the most recent poll, and unlike the recalls Trump is increasingly likely to actually be impeached. Beyond that, the moral difference between the failed Colorado recall attempts based on wild misinformation and Trump’s impeachment over serious abuses of foreign policy for political gain are fundamental enough to make the comparison absurd.

On the other hand, the Denver Post took a very different approach to the end of “recall season”–apologizing for their role in hyping what turned out to be a toothless threat from the Garcia recall organizers. Here’s reporter Alex Burness and politics editor Cindi Andrews commendably leveling with Post readers:

Reporters hate being lied to. But it does happen — pretty often, actually — and we are constantly sharing newsworthy statements we have no way to verify. We make sure to attribute these statements to the speakers, so they are not confused for verified facts…

With the previous recall efforts, organizers dropped their efforts when it was evident they wouldn’t have enough signatures — they didn’t go to the trouble of delivering near-empty boxes. We work very hard to avoid being conduits for false information, knowing we can’t always control that.

But we can reflect. And, as the grifters found out, lying to honest reporters doesn’t pay. They’ve permanently damaged their credibility, and their Budweiser-box display in Denver may have done long-term damage to their movement back home. The chair of the Pueblo County GOP told me Wednesday she wishes the organizers had just stayed home. [Pols emphasis]

Looking back not just at the failed Garcia recall but at every one of the attempts launched by Republicans to exact opportunistic revenge for 2018’s devastating losses, it’s clear that the credibility damage from these months of wasted time and money should extend well beyond the two amateur sideshow freaks who delivered the Garcia recall campaign’s four signatures. The Colorado Republican Party’s entire leadership elected this year cheered on and even helped organize the most optically disastrous of the recalls. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville raised money for his family political operation on the pretense of recalling his Democratic colleagues.

Leroy Garcia may be taking the high road, but Republicans still have much to answer for.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 17)

You have 75 days left to fulfill your 2019 New Year’s resolutions. 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 Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

 It’s CYA time in the investigation into President Trump and his dealings with Ukraine. As the Washington Post reports:

The U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, told House impeachment investigators Thursday that President Trump outsourced the job of handling U.S. policy on Ukraine to his personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, a decision that made Sondland uncomfortable but one he still carried out.

“I would not have recommended that Mr. Giuliani or any private citizen be involved in these foreign policy matters,” Sondland said, according to his prepared remarks obtained by The Washington Post.

Sondland, a major Trump donor who has became a focus of the impeachment inquiry due to his outsized role in U.S.-Ukraine policy, said in his remarks that he criticized the president’s handling of Ukraine policy, including the temporary hold on nearly $400 million in aid to the country and the recall of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Sondland called her an “excellent diplomat” and said he “regretted” her departure, which followed a campaign by Giuliani to paint her as disloyal to the president.

Meanwhile, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney CONFIRMED to reporters that military aid was withheld from Ukraine on the orders of President Trump. From Politico:

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged Thursday that U.S. military funds to Ukraine were previously withheld at least in part because of a desire to have the Eastern European nation investigate unfounded allegations that foreign countries may have aided Democrats in the 2016 election.

“Did he also mention to me in [the] past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely,” Mulvaney said of a conversation he had with President Donald Trump. “No question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held up the money.”

As CNN’s Manu Raju reports, this ain’t good for Team Trump:

 

► What was that thing that President Trump was saying about corruption and nepotism? Anyway, here’s Eli Stokols of the Los Angeles Times:

President Trump intends to host next year’s G7 conference at his Doral International Resort in Miami in June, the White House confirmed Thursday, a controversial decision certain to raise conflict of interest questions given the financial benefit to Trump’s business.

Trump first floated the idea of the Doral in August at the G7 meeting in Biarritz, France, telling reporters that his property was far better than others his administration had considered, given its proximity to a major airport and the abundance of accommodations and meeting space on site.

“Each country can have their own villa, or their own bungalow,” he said.

The idea immediately generated controversy. Trump is already fighting two lawsuits suggesting that he is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits U.S. office-holders from personally profiting from foreign governments.

But White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters that the decision would not represent a conflict.

“The president has pretty much made it clear that he doesn’t profit,” Mulvaney said. The resort would host the foreign delegations for the G-7 conference “at cost,” he said, adding that the Doral was “far and away the best physical facility for this meeting.”

Don’t worry, though. White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters that President Trump has “pretty much made it clear that he doesn’t profit” from this decision.

 

► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora):

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)