Cory Gardner Praises Dear Leader’s Glorious Targeted Killing

President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner.

9NEWS reports, Sen. Cory Gardner is not just backing President Donald Trump’s recent aggressive actions in the Middle East–while fellow Republican Senators denounce the administration’s arrogance in consultation with Congress as “insane” and “demeaning”–he’s laying it on thick:

“The president made the right call at the right time to neutralize the threat and to save American lives. Imagine having done nothing, having done nothing and allowing the attacks to proceed,” Gardner said. “At yesterday’s classified briefing, General Milley and our national security personnel made it clear — the death of General Soleimani saved lives.”

The briefing Gardner referred to was a classified briefing on the airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, held by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and other high ranking security officials on Wednesday.

“I commend the administration for taking decisive action last week in Baghdad against Tehran-backed terrorists planning an imminent attack on American targets. The administration’s action, with regard to Qassem Soleimani, was not only decisive, but necessary and legal under longstanding presidential authority to protect American lives from imminent attack,” Gardner said.

As we noted yesterday, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah was incensed by the high-handed treatment of U.S. Senators by administration officials in an earlier briefing, where it was suggested that even questioning the President’s war powers would be seen by the administration as “emboldening the enemy.” As a result, a deeply offended Sen. Lee and fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul say they will vote in favor of a resolution passed by the House to limit the President’s authority to strike Iran. As for proving that the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was a defensive action in response to an “imminent” attack, as Vox reports:

“The president has not supplied convincing evidence that his strike stopped an imminent attack on US forces. Nothing we’ve seen has changed my mind,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), who has proposed a bill to withhold funding for an Iran war unless Trump seeks congressional authorization, said on the Senate floor after the briefing.

Paul referenced claims by O’Brien, Trump’s top national security aide in the White House, who has said the 2002 authorization for war with Iraq supported the legal rationale for killing Soleimani — an Iranian — in Baghdad. “That is absurd, that is an insult,” he said.

And according to a Democratic Senate aide, the briefers didn’t touch on anything that would provide evidence of an “imminent” attack. [Pols emphasis] “There was no way they could know for sure,” the aide said after speaking with their boss on what happened inside the room. “There was nothing specific they could point to.”

No problem for Sen. Gardner, who seems to have heard only what the White House wanted him to hear and not a word more. Gardner has learned in the last three years to talk his way around even the worst foreign policy mistakes by Trump, and follow the proselytized MAGA base’s lead in effusively praising the President no matter how poorly that praise may age–like when Gardner praised Trump for holding a summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and then watched helplessly as Trump’s engagement with North Korea devolved into the usual insults and renewed missile tests.

The moral of the story? If you want honesty, you won’t get it from Gardner–even when fellow Republicans are no longer restrained.

Get More Smarter on Friday (January 10)

The First Son-in-Law is 38 years old today. 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…

► The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to limit President Trump’s ability to take unilateral military action without Congressional approval. As CNN reports:

The vote was 224-194. Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Francis Rooney of Florida crossed party lines to vote in favor while Democratic Reps. Max Rose of New York, Ben McAdams of Utah, Anthony Brindisi of New York, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma and Stephanie Murphy of Florida voted against the resolution.

Now that the resolution has passed the House it will next go to the Senate.

Freshman Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, a former CIA analyst and senior Defense Department official, is the sponsor of the resolution, which calls on the President “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran” unless Congress declares war or enacts “specific statutory authorization” for the use of armed forces.

You read that correctly — Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz voted IN FAVOR of the resolution.

Of course, the Senate is where all good things go to die; it is unlikely that Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell will even entertain a vote on the matter if he can avoid it. Some Republican Senators have expressed support for a “War Powers Resolution” after a disastrous White House briefing on Iran earlier this week.

Meanwhile, President Trump may have decided to kill Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani to perhaps appease Republican Senators whose support he needs in a coming impeachment trial.

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says her chamber may send impeachment documents over to the U.S. Senate as soon as next week. From the New York Times:

In a letter to colleagues Friday morning, the speaker moved to end a weekslong impasse over the impeachment process that had left the president’s fate in limbo. She did not announce the members of the team she will ask to manage the case, but said the House should be ready to vote to appoint them sometime next week.

“I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Ms. Pelosi wrote after lawmakers departed the Capitol for the weekend. “I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.”

Once the House votes and the articles are transmitted, the Senate’s proceeding, only the third impeachment trial of a sitting president in American history, will begin promptly — as soon as Wednesday based on Ms. Pelosi’s timeline.

 

► If you thought that Republican lawmakers in Colorado might be more reluctant to embrace their lunatic right-wing base after last year’s string of recall failures…well, we know you probably didn’t think that. The GOP still loves itself some lunatics.

Meanwhile, Colorado Republicans made it very clear during Thursday’s “State of the State” address that they have zero fucks to give about immigrants or refugees in Colorado.

For more on Gov. Polis’ “State of the State” speech, check this recap from The Denver Post or this annotated version of the entire speech via The Colorado Sun.

 

► Don’t miss the first 2020 episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an in-depth interview with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett.

 

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

The Get More Smarter Podcast: More Smarter Legislating


In the first 2020 episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, we kick off the Colorado legislative session from the State Capitol with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett. We also discuss Iran and impeachment (and how Sen. Cory Gardner is screwed on both), and Rep. Garnett faces off against Ian Silverii in the world’s best worst game, “Duke or Donald.” 

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

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

Colorado May Stand with Immigrants, But Republicans Do Not

Republican lawmakers remain seated after Gov. Jared Polis says that Colorado supports immigrants and refugees.

Governor Jared Polis (D-Boulder) today delivered his second “State of the State” address to an audience of Colorado lawmakers and elected officials.

Polis’ speech focused largely on health care issues and providing financial relief for Colorado families dealing with the high cost of health coverage and prescription drugs. Most of today’s “State of the State” remarks received bipartisan applause, but Republican legislators were noticeably stingy with recognition when Polis briefly touched on the importance of supporting immigrant and refugee families in Colorado. Said Polis:

…In the face of unprecedented hostility from this White House toward our immigrant communities, we can say loudly and proudly that in Colorado, we stand with DREAMers and with refugees.

Most of the room stood and applauded after this line, but as you can see from the video below, Republicans quietly sat on their hands instead. It was not a good look…

House GOP Leadership Welcomes Fringe, Fascists To Capitol

Yesterday’s Opening Day rally at the Colorado legislature featured a motley crew of color-coded far-right activists (we are not making up the color-coded thing), sounding off on a range of issues from opposition to childhood vaccination to the state’s new “red flag” law to protect the public from preventable gun violence–and a range of more bizarre issues in between like conspiracy theories about 5G cell phone service. Also in attendance were members of the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist “pro-Western civilization” group regularly involved in political street violence.

Here’s how 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark summarized the contrast between “the Republicans inside the building” and “the Republicans outside.”

We got a glimpse today of the difficult position that the minority Republicans are in when you compare their stated legislative priorities to what their supporters rally for on the capitol steps.

Republicans inside called for transportation funding.
Republicans outside carried anti-vaxxer signs.
Republican inside linked teacher performance with bonuses.
Republicans outside linked former President Obama and Hitler.
Republicans inside included a call for bipartisanship.
Republicans outside included the Proud Boys, recently featured in a 9 Wants To Know investigation on hate in our state.

So that is the trouble that looms ahead for the Republicans inside the state capitol. They have to answer to the Republicans outside.

The only thing we’re obliged to add is the photo collage at the top, courtesy the Colorado Times Recorder, which closes the loop in this discussion of the Republicans “inside the capitol” versus the right-wing protesters who turned out in force outside to vent their particular flavor of misguided rage. The protesters outside the capitol yesterday were eventually joined by a large contingent of elected Republican lawmakers–including House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, Rep. Dave Williams, Rep. Lori Saine “In The Membrane,” Rep. Susan Beckman, and a number of others.

That’s critical to understand. The Republicans inside the capitol went outside.

Once that happened, it was no longer possible–or necessary–to tell the “inside” and “outside” Republicans apart.

Republican Senators Furious Over “Demeaning” Iran Briefing

THURSDAY UPDATE #2: Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) expanded on his comments in an interview with National Public Radio. Greg Sargent of The Washington Post singles out one of the more distressing pieces of that interview: Trump administration officials wouldn’t acknowledge a single hypothetical scenario in which they would consult Congress prior to taking significant military action.

As Sargent writes for the Post:

Our system is now functionally that one person makes these extraordinarily consequential decisions. Plainly, the person in question is not fit to do so.

Indeed, in this case, you’d think the starkness of the situation would get Congress — or, more precisely, congressional Republicans, since virtually all Democrats will do the right thing this time — to reassert its authority…

…Trump has threatened war crimes, has boasted about the size of his missiles and just ordered an assassination of a senior military leader in a sovereign country without alerting Congress or seeking its approval, based on intelligence that is dubious at best and on rationales that have fallen apart.

But Trump’s tweet calling on “all House Republicans” to vote against the new war powers measure now means that being loyal to Trump is synonymous with giving him unconstrained warmaking authority, despite all the madness we’ve seen. And so it shall be.

—–

THURSDAY UPDATE: Um, what?

Vice President Mike Pence said today the White House didn’t actually tell Congress any significant information about the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. From The Washington Post:

Appearing on the “Today” show, Pence said the Trump administration actually did not share some of the most important information, because of its sensitivity…

…So to recap: The White House is now saying the information provided to lawmakers indeed might not have been as compelling as it could have been, but that Congress and the American people just need to trust that it’s there.

As The Post’s Shane Harris noted, that’s difficult to swallow. Even if an administration doesn’t share all the information widely with Congress for fear of leaks, it generally shares highly classified information with a smaller group of high-ranking lawmakers who are experienced in intelligence matters.

If the goal of the White House is to make supporters like Sen. Cory Gardner look like complete idiots…it’s working.

Remember that this Tweet came after Gardner had already praised the earlier briefing.
—–

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee unloads on Trump administration officials today after a “demeaning” briefing on military action in Iran in which they were told not to question White House decisions.

Today may have been a singularly important moment for America during the Trump administration — the day that unquestioning support from Republican Senators finally started to crack. As The Hill newspaper reports:

GOP Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) ripped the administration over a closed-door briefing on Iran on Wednesday, announcing they will now support a resolution reining in President Trump‘s military powers. 

Lee, speaking to reporters after a roughly hourlong closed-door meeting with administration officials, characterized it as “the worst briefing I’ve seen, at least on a military issue.”…

…Lee said the officials warned that Congress would “embolden” Iran if lawmakers debated Trump’s war powers.

“I find this insulting and demeaning … to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States,” Lee said.

Both Senators Paul and Lee made it clear that they would now be supporting the War Powers resolution sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, which would limit the President’s ability to use military force in Iran. Senator Lee noted that he had been undecided on this decision until today’s briefing.

It’s difficult to get a full sense of the fury emanating from Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee unless you listen to his remarks in full. Take a look:

Here’s just a brief snippet of Lee’s rant in front of members of the media this afternoon:

“It is not acceptable for officials within the Executive Branch of government — I don’t care if they’re with the CIA, with the Department of Defense, or otherwise — to come in and tell us that we can’t debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran. It’s un-American. It’s unconstitutional. And it’s wrong.” [Pols emphasis]

From what Lee and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul are saying, today’s Iran briefing seemed to be largely about Trump administration officials telling U.S. Senators to just shut up and accept whatever foreign policy decisions are being made by the White House. Obviously, this was not well received by independent-minded Senators.

Of course, some Republicans are still not willing to question the Trump administration. Here’s Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) unashamedly parroting talking points from the very same briefing that incensed his colleagues:


In a 2014 campaign ad, Gardner infamously looked into the camera lens and claimed, “when my party is wrong, I’ll say it.”

But when it came time to “say it,” Gardner was nowhere to be found — despite Republican colleagues giving him all the cover in the world to pretend to challenge President Trump.

For Colorado voters in 2020, what Gardner didn’t say today says plenty.

Throwback Thurs: Gardner Once Promised to Hold “Town Meetings” so Voters Could Hold Him “Accountable”

(You’ve come a long way, Cory – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

When he was first running for Congress in 2010, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) promised that voters could hold him “accountable once the election is over” by, among other things, attending his “town meetings.”

But Gardner hasn’t held a town meeting in over two years.

In a 2010 interview with the Franklin Institute, a few months prior to entering Congress with his defeat of Democratic U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, Gardner said he looked forward to constituents who would “hold our feet to the fire, who will attend our town meetings, who will contact the office, email us, call us, when they see us on the streets, making sure we’re doing what we said we would do.”

By being accessible in these ways, Gardner said he’d be “accountable for [his] actions once the election is over.”

A call to Gardner’s office asking about his promise to be accountable to constituents was not returned.

This isn’t the first time Gardner has gone over a year without holding a town hall meeting.

Colorado’s Republican senator went from the spring of 2016 until August of 2017 without holding a town hall, drawing sharp questions from reporters for dodging the public for so long.

Over a thousand of Gardner’s constituents were so upset that they held a town hall meeting in February, 2017, without Gardnerdirecting questions to a cardboard cutout of the senator.

Cardboard Cory: Folk Hero

The Gardner cutout, dubbed “Cardboard Cory,” went on to become a folk hero among Gardner’s opponents and others, appearing on Twitter, Facebook, and at events all over Colorado.

As pressure mounted, Gardner finally surprised political observers by announcing he’d hold not one but three in-person town hall meetings on the same day, apparently trying to dilute the expected onslaught from the public. He started in Colorado Springs in the morning, then moved to Greeley and Lakewood (Colorado Christian University).

A Denver Post headline summarized the string of town halls this way: “On a ‘rowdy day’ of three town halls, Cory Gardner is shouted down by crowds.”

Now, Cardboard Cory is again holding meetings while Gardner is not. Activists even featured the cutout on a statewide bus tour last year.

Thursday Open Thread

“Who you are is speaking so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Live Today: Mayor Pete And Brother Jeff

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, who most readers know better as the electrifying young Democratic presidential candidate currently posting unexpectedly strong poll numbers in early primary states, is in Denver today for a pair of fundraising events–but you can catch him gratis this afternoon on Facebook Live for an informal interview with local community organizer Jeff Fard.

Buttigieg’s rise in the polls in New Hampshire and Iowa has been offset by a persistent deficiency in support from voters of color, and Buttigieg has been working hard in recent weeks to win over this crucial Democratic primary voting bloc–or if not win them over as a first choice, at least ingratiate himself enough to pull together a majority coalition in the event Buttigieg’s early strength proves more than a flash in the proverbial pan.

It should be noted also that the somewhat imposing image above is a standard for Fard’s podcast guests, not designed by Buttigieg’s campaign. That may or may not prevent it from becoming a bit of, you know, a meme.

Rep. Dave Williams, Facing Primary, Goes Hard “Anti-Vaxxer”

Rep. Dave Williams (R), with Congressman Steve King (R-IA).

We wanted to take note of a primary challenge reportedly brewing in Colorado House District 15, the infamously nut-tolerant Colorado Springs safe GOP seat once held by Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt and currently in the possession of Rep. Dave Williams. Williams, who trades on a charming amalgam of Latino heritage and virulent anti-immigrant demagoguery, has always had a less than firm grip on this seat on account of being generally an unpleasant individual–and now, GOP challenger Missy Ward is taking on Williams in a red-on-RMGO proxy war:

It took less than three days after filing to run for State House Representative of HD 15 for the threats from RMGO and their puppets to begin.

An elected official called to tell me that RMGO, Joe Neville and Jon Hotaling are already working their bully tactics against me.

This is exactly what I expected from this group of radical, women hating, abusers.

They SHOULD be threatened by a smart, independent woman and domestic abuse survivor like myself that refuses to be their pawn.

Today, Williams’ supporters were found spreading this message to attendees at the conservative protest rally outside the state capitol:

To the overwhelming majority of Americans who support vaccination and think the law should be much tougher in terms of requiring school-age kids to get their shots, being labeled “pro-vaxx” would be rightly considered a compliment. But it’s crucial to remember that in a GOP primary in a safe GOP seat, the sensibility of the majority counts for basically nothing. Rep. Williams has clearly determined that becoming the face of “anti-vaxxer” politics in Colorado is his ticket to political survival.

And as bad as that may be for the Republican brand outside those super-safe districts, he could be right.

Crazies Of All Stripes Get Ready For Legislature’s Opening Day

WEDNESDAY UPDATE #2: It’s not a party until the Proud Boys show up with their boots on:

Now that elevates the discourse.

—–

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Via the Colorado Times Recorder, the Colorado Freedom Force Opening Day rally has begun at the state capitol with an estimated 200 protesters sounding off their color-coded conspiracies:

Stay sanitary out there.

—–

With the second regular session of the 72nd Colorado General Assembly kicking off tomorrow, the noisier segments of the local fringe-right are set to make their presence cringeworthily known! First up is another protest hosted by the always-entertaining Americhicks, featuring a cross-section of right wing activists spanning issues from guns to abortion to vaccine conspiracy theories.

There’s even a handy color code to help outsiders sort the freaks out:

Wait, there’s a conspiracy theory for 5G cell service? Yes, gentle readers–there is.

From there, the freakshow heads indoors for a “town hall meeting” with GOP Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs. Williams is apparently the House sponsor this year of something he calls the “Vaccine Consumer Protection Bill.” While school districts and local governments around the country are tightening their vaccination requirements in response to outbreaks of preventable diseases, Williams and the GOP “anti-vaxx caucus” want to go the other way:

For your health and convenience, hand sanitizer is conveniently located throughout the building.

Day 1 of 120, folks. We do not foresee it becoming any less kooky.

BREAKING: Iran Launches Missile Attack Against U.S. Base in Iraq

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: As CNN reports, there have been no reported American casualties from last night’s missile attack by Iran on American bases in Iraq–and it appears that may have been design, with the Iranians trying to de-escalate the situation while still appearing tough:

Wednesday morning’s missile strikes against al-Asad airbase and Erbil airport — both of which play host to US troops — were clearly not an act designed to kill the most Americans possible…

The missile attacks don’t make sense if Tehran’s goal was to really hurt US troops in large numbers — as some had been pledging to do.

They do make sense, however, as the execution of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s order to strike back openly, military-to-military, in response to the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

Or, maybe Iranian missiles are just crappy. Either way, it’s being interpreted as restraint.

—–

As NBC News reports:

A U.S. military air base in Iraq’s Al Anbar province was hit by more than two dozen ballistic missiles from Iran on Wednesday local time, according to the Department of Defense.

“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil,” the department said in a statement.

It is unclear whether there is any damage to Al-Assad air base or whether there are any casualties.

Iranian state TV described it as Tehran’s revenge operation over the killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, according to the Associated Press. NBC News has not confirmed the report.

Obviously we will update this post as more information becomes available.

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