“Honey Badger” Unchained

Fresh off his loss to Kristi Burton Brown in the race to be the next Colorado Republican Party chairman, former Secretary of State, “election truther” of record, and red meat slinger extraordinaire Scott Gessler seems much more upfront about how he really feels:

By “communists” we don’t think Gessler means you personally. We don’t think. We hope anyway, because being thrown from a helicopter sounds awfully unpleasant.

It’s a joke, see? This is what “Honey Badger” thinks is funny.

Everybody to Republicans: Quit Lying About Colorado Elections

We noted earlier today the growing chatter about Denver being awarded the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the related discussion about Colorado’s election laws as compared to the new draconian regulations instituted in Georgia.

Republicans are making a concerted effort to spin a completely false narrative that Colorado’s election laws are actually MORE restrictive than in Georgia. The blowback from local and national media outlets has been swift.

Take a look…

 

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The Real Lesson Of Chairman Danny Moore’s Ouster

Danny Moore of the Colorado Redistricting Commission

Yesterday afternoon, Colorado’s Congressional Redistricting Commission voted to 11-0 to remove Republican Danny Moore from his position as chairman of the commission, with Moore himself abstaining. This vote came just a few days after a news story disclosing Moore’s history of second-guessing the results of the 2020 presidential election, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as the “China virus,” and alleging that a shooting last year in Denver involving an armed security guard working for a local TV station was a “setup confrontation.”

As 9NEWS reports, Moore’s fellow commissioners rejected his protestations that the attacks on him were somehow racially motivated, or that he was merely offering these allegations about the 2020 elections for “debate”–meaning his colleagues shouldn’t consider them reflective of Moore’s judgement:

During the meeting, Moore suggested his demotion and the media reports about his posts stem from racism. Other members disagreed.

“This has nothing to do with the color of anyone’s skin in terms of how we operate as a commission,” commissioner Simon Tafoya, a Democrat, said…

“Had I known that you felt this belief with respect to the election having been stolen, I would not have supported your candidacy of chairman of this commission,” commissioner Lori Smith Schell, who is unaffiliated, said in the meeting. [Pols emphasis]

AP reporting via the Grand Junction Sentinel makes the point well:

Commissioner Lori Smith Schell said she would not have supported Moore as chair had she known about the social media posts, but supported allowing him to remain as a commissioner.

“Your race is not an issue in this discussion … your belief that the last presidential election was stolen, and the last Colorado election was tainted … are what is at issue,” Schell said.

The scrutiny came as the newly appointed commission faces months-long delays in receiving U.S. Census data that are threatening to derail the high-stakes redistricting process ahead of the 2022 election. It also injects partisan controversy into the commission, which was billed as a way to tame the politics around the redistricting process. [Pols emphasis]

The immediate problem with Danny Moore continuing as chairman of the redistricting commission seems to be that he had lost the trust of the rest of the commissioners, including fellow Republicans, by blindsiding them with his history of questioning election results and embracing unfounded, socially repellent conspiracy theories. That the commission supported allowing Moore to remain as a regular member acknowledges the simple fact that Moore is far from alone in those beliefs, however baseless they may be. Moore’s misguided views on the election are unfortunately the view of a majority of Republicans, and for that reason he must be considered representative of Republicans. As a board member of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, Moore is in regular contact with the highest echelons of Republican leadership in the state.

Obviously, if belief in these bogus conspiracy theories is disqualifying from serving as the chairman of the state’s congressional redistricting commission, it’s not a great look for Republicans even if Moore is allowed to remain as a member. But at a certain level, we’re forced to acknowledge that finding Republicans who don’t believe these fictional narratives may not be easy–and those who pass this litmus test might not look, for good or ill, like what the Republican Party has become.

No commission can solve these larger fundamental problems. They can only work around them.

All-Stars In Denver: The Huge Win Republicans Can’t Celebrate

UPDATE: Statement from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold:

Colorado is recognized as the national gold standard for elections, and I’m thrilled with the decision to move the MLB All-Star Game to Coors Field in Denver.

The truth is Colorado’s election model works. We mail ballots to all voters, have early voting, and same day voter registration. Voters can participate easily in our elections, which are also the most secure in the nation. Election accessibility and security can go hand-in-hand.

We give voters ample time and options to participate in our elections. County clerks send ballots out more than three weeks ahead of Election Day. Drop boxes and voting centers open around the state soon thereafter. These various options give voters time to send their ballot back in the mail, drop it into a drop-box, or vote in-person.

And the proof is in our voter turnout, consistently amongst the top in the nation. We’ve got the most accessible and secure elections in the country, and are grateful that MLB is giving us the opportunity to showcase how elections can be!

—–

Coors Field.

We’re still getting our heads around the whirlwind events of the last four days, after Major League Baseball announced last Friday afternoon that the 2021 All-Star Game would relocate from the state of Georgia after that state’s passage of highly controversial vote suppression laws in response to statewide Democratic victories in the 2020 elections. Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado immediately swung into action following this announcement to sell Denver’s Coors Field as an alternate location for the economically lucrative event, and yesterday evening the news broke that the Midsummer Classic would be played in Colorado for the first time since 1998.

Like we said yesterday morning, Colorado has one of the most accessible and modern election systems in the country, and the result has been consistently high rates of voter participation ever since the new system was enacted in 2013. Colorado sends mail ballots to every active voter, allows same-day voter registration, and allows collection and drop-off of a limited number of completed ballots at drop boxes across the state.

Basically, we do everything Donald Trump claims “rigged the election” against him in 2020 as standard practice in Colorado. The problem is, well, there’s no problem–our years of experience has proven that these reforms actually do work. More voters vote, elections are accurate and secure, and Republicans even occasionally win in a state whose political trajectory has been moving Democratic for years. In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, as Trump was insisting that he rightfully won re-election, even Colorado Republican leaders like ex-chairman Rep. Ken Buck and GOP county clerks worked to debunk the nonsensical claims of Trump’s conspiracy theorists with respect to Colorado elections. And since Colorado relies on the very same Dominion Voting Systems hardware and other practices Trump had seized on to allege fraud, this means Colorado Republicans were, for anyone paying attention, effectively dismantling Trump’s falsehoods everywhere.

As Westword’s Michael Roberts reports, this important leadership role for Colorado in refuting nationwide false narratives about how elections work put our state in a position to prosper bigly at Georgia’s expense–while continuing to strike directly at the Big Lie:

The Georgia law is one of the most draconian in the country — opponents argue that it will disenfranchise people of color by adding new restrictions to mail-in ballots and voter registration — and the response has been just as drastic. In addition to MLB’s move, other major outfits are pulling big events from the state, particularly Atlanta.

But the loss of the All-Star Game particularly hurts. When Atlanta hosted this event in 2000, it got a $49 million economic boost, according to Baseball Almanac. This year’s game was estimated to bring another $100 million to the city…

Dominion Voting Systems, the Denver-based company that’s been the focus of most of those unfounded election-fraud rumors across the country, particularly Georgia, is headquartered only blocks from Coors Field (not that employees are working in that building these days). Moving the game here is a political home run for free and fair elections, as well as Denver’s economy.

It’s been suggested that the passage of draconian vote suppression laws in Georgia could backfire on Republicans in another way, by mobilizing their opponents to work that much harder. At the same time, moving the All-Star Game to Colorado forces Republicans to acknowledge our state’s success. The first response we’re seeing from Republican spin machines is not good, trying to advance an absurd narrative that Colorado’s election laws are somehow more strict than Georgia’s by comparing early voting days (15 vs 17)–and totally ignoring fundamental differences like all-mail ballots and same-day voter registration:

The reality is much more nuanced. When it comes to picking a state that makes voting accessible — and provably so — it’s very difficult to do much better than Colorado…Yes, Colorado has slightly fewer [in-person early voting days] than Georgia will have. But given how few people use that option and how accessible mail-in voting is, it’s incontrovertible that it’s easier to vote in Colorado.

The simple fact is this: Colorado’s success in increasing voter participation securely exposes vote suppression in other states for what it is. Colorado’s model election system is a major dilemma for Republicans bent on suppressing the vote in their own states. Bringing the All-Star Game here to highlight this reality, to celebrate our success in contrast to what’s happening in so many other states, is a political masterstroke that will resonate beyond Colorado’s four corners.

For some Colorado Republicans and plenty more elsewhere, however, it’s going to be an awkward few days.

Hell Yes, Colorado Will Take The All Star Game

UPDATE 8:00PM: It’s for real, folks, get ready to party like it’s 2021:

FOX 31’s Colleen Flynn:

Major League Baseball is expected to announce that Coors Field will host this year’s All-Star Game on July 13. Law enforcement sources told FOX31 they will work the game in Denver. The Associated Press also has sources reporting the move.

The MLB announced Friday that the 2021 All-Star game was being moved out of Atlanta over new voting restrictions in Georgia. Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday that the MLB supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes any restrictions to the ballot box.

Altitude TV’s Vic Lombardi first broke the news, tweeting that he had multiple sources telling him the game will be hosted at the home of the Rockies.

—–

Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA).

Following up on Friday’s big news that Major League Baseball is pulling this year’s All Star Game out of Atlanta, Georgia in response to that state’s passage of highly controversial vote suppression laws, the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders reports that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock are excited at the prospect of landing the event here:

Shelby Wieman, a spokeswoman for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a big Rockies fan, said Polis would love to see the All-Star Game return to Coors Field.

“The Governor knows that Colorado is the best home for the All-Star Game, especially because Colorado also has strong laws that enable voters to cast their legal ballots any way they choose including through mail or in person,” Wieman said. “The Governor will be burning up the phones the next few days to see if there is an opening to bring the All-Star game to Denver.”

Mayor Michael Hancock would also welcome the chance for the event to come to LoDo, said Theresa Marchetta, director of strategic communications and media policy for Denver’s mayor.

FOX 31’s Colleen Flynn:

At this point, Colorado hosting Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is all speculation. In fact, there are reports out there that Milwaukee, Chicago and Kansas City are the front runners due to their ties with Hank Aaron.

However, according to The Athletic, top industry officials pointed to the home of the Rockies as a possible site for the game and festivities.

Moving the 2021 All Star Game from Atlanta to Denver would be a strong statement politically, directly addressing the issue that prompted the move away from Georgia. As our readers know, Colorado has one of the highest rates of voter participation in the country, with an election system considered the “gold standard” for accessibility and security. Basically every falsehood that Donald Trump and Georgia Republicans relied on to second-guess the 2020 election results with is debunked by Colorado’s experience, a fact which not even local Republicans can refute despite their regular hackneyed attempts to do so.

So Colorado’s got that going for us, and we think it’s a solid argument.

And if you really want to have some fun, turn off the humidor.

Comparing January 6th’s Lauren Boebert To Friday’s Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

Fox News’ Brittany De Lea reports that Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado is all over the deadly vehicular attack last Friday  on U.S. Capitol Police that left one officer as well as the mentally ill sole perpetrator dead–or more to the point, all over the blame game for the attack:

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., questioned whether the FBI and Department of Homeland Security were – or should have been – aware that the suspect who attacked Capitol Hill on Friday may have been a threat, or whether the agencies had been distracted by “woke training”…

The suspect, who has been identified as a 25-year-old man from Indiana named Noah Green, rammed a barricade at the Capitol on Friday in his car, killing Capitol Police officer William Evans and injuring a second officer. The suspect is said to have exited his vehicle with a knife and lunged at officers. The suspect, who was shot, also died on Friday.

It appeared to be a “lone wolf” attack, sources told Fox News, and the suspect identified himself as a follower of the Nation of Islam on Facebook.

To be as fair as possible, we’ll acknowledge that Rep. Boebert did offer condolences to the fallen Capitol Police officer before pivoting to whether the police were “too busy doing woke training” to (we guess) not die:

Friday’s fatal attack on a vehicle barrier near the U.S. Capitol comes after Boebert filmed a promotional video in March of herself walking the perimeter of the razor-wire fence erected around the building after the storming of the Capitol by pro-Donald Trump insurgents on January 6th. “Madam Speaker, tear down this wall,” said Boebert in that video, invoking Ronald Reagan in Berlin–and on March 24, the fence came down. Boebert wasn’t the reason the fence came down, though she would have gladly taken credit for it except perhaps for a brief period last Friday afternoon.

Given Boebert’s high-profile role in the post-election agitation that led directly to the riot on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol, both Boebert’s grandstanding for the Capitol fence to be removed before security considerations permitted it as well as Boebert’s intense focus on this one attacker over the hundreds who stormed the Capitol on Trump’s behalf go beyond hypocrisy into something closer to what psychologists call “gaslighting.” The goal is not so much to convince her critics, but to simply confound them in apoplectic rage over a pretense no one, not even Boebert herself, actually believes.

Although any reasonable person would have realized either on January 6th or immediately afterward that it was time to shut up get out of the spotlight until the dust settles, Boebert’s strategy is the opposite: a frontal assault of hypocrisy in the hope that the resulting wreckage will be unrecognizable.

Like Trump, folks. She learned this from Donald Trump. And on her smaller scale, Boebert is heading to the same end.

Get More Smarter on Monday (April 5)

Happy Singmogil. Please celebrate responsibly. 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.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*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 

 

Health experts continue to warn that we could be nearing another surge in the COVID-19 pandemic. As CNN explains:

The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant has fueled an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in parts of Europe. And experts worry the US could be next if Americans don’t double down on safety measures until more people are vaccinated.

What’s worse, experts say, is that the variant is changing the pandemic’s playbook and could spell trouble for younger groups that haven’t yet been vaccinated.

As The Washington Post reports, an increase in infections is particularly worrisome in India:

India on Sunday reported more than 100,000 new cases of the coronavirus, a grim measure achieved by only the United States and briefly Brazil, and a sign that the infections in the nation of 1.3 billion could be spinning out of control.

India, which has one of the world’s largest vaccine-manufacturing capacities, is immunizing citizens at a rate of 2 million a day but has not made significant headway, with just 5 percent of the population having received a first dose. India is also slowing down its vaccine exports in the face of domestic demand, with potentially dire consequences for other countries.

Experts believe that changes in behavior, waning immunity from prior infections and the spread of new variants are all contributing to the dramatic rise in cases.

Here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis extended a statewide mask order for another month at the request of local health officials.

On the subject of COVID-19 vaccinations, we still don’t know if Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have received their vaccines.

 

The Denver Post reports on an influx of federal money coming to Colorado:

Over the next 13 months, nearly $2 billion will move from the federal treasury to the bank accounts of Colorado’s counties, cities and towns — a redistribution of tax dollars that experts and officials say is without parallel in modern American history.

“The sheer amount of money that is flowing is unprecedented,” said John Swartout, the executive director of Colorado Counties Inc., a membership association for city and county officials. “There’s been nothing like it.”

For Colorado’s local governments, the money represents an opportunity they have never had and may not get again soon. It’s a chance to fill holes in budgets and bridges, to address decades-long addictions and afflictions, to build up and better their towns.

The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion stimulus and COVID-19 relief package that passed Congress last month without a single Republican vote and was signed into law by President Joe Biden.

 

► Let’s get some updates on the State Legislature, which will begin to tackle “The Long Bill” (the state budget) this week…

Lawmakers are looking for ways to expand access to birth control via Medicaid.

Police accountability will be a hot topic in the next few weeks.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, some gun owners want lawmakers to know that they oppose an Assault Weapons Ban that doesn’t exist.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports on legislative efforts to address a shortage of child care options in Colorado.

The Colorado Sun reports on a proposal to pay school board members for their time.

Here’s more from The Denver Post on the plastic bag ban discussion.

 

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

 

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Down Loser’s Memory Lane With Kristi Burton Brown

As noted by Ernest Luning at the Colorado Springs Gazette, what we assume was a relic from the 2020 elections still lurking in the Colorado Republican Party’s A/V department has taken a turn for the ironic:

For emphasis, this does not repeat not mean freshly defeated Sen. Cory Gardner is planning to run again against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, and in addition to being a political suicide mission everyone can agree this would be an odd way to announce it. Gardner’s campaign logo came up mistakenly on the television located behind newly elected GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown in her inaugural video update to the party faithful because their 2020 content hadn’t been cleared off yet.

Unfortunately that does mean instead of a hopeful glimpse at the future, this inaugural update video turned into more of a sad look back at the Colorado GOP’s past. Gardner’s narrow election victory in 2014, after all, was the last significant statewide win for Republicans in Colorado up to the present day–contrasted against today’s Democratic majority of the state’s congressional delegation, both U.S. Senate seats, and every statewide office except for one CU Regent at-large seat held by Democrats.

With all of this in mind, it makes sense that when you make a mistake like this, the internet can be most unforgiving in response! Thus one mistaken image from a losing campaign flashed on screen becomes a grand tour: Great Moments in Republican History.

The moral of the story: if you don’t want to become a meme, don’t hand us the content on a plate.

Monday Open Thread

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”

–Henry David Thoreau

Weekend Open Thread

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

–Thomas A. Edison

Georgia Paying Economic Price for Voting Restrictions

This is for you, Georgia

As The Hill newspaper reports, corporations and business executives are growing louder in their condemnation of a sweeping rollback of voting rights in Georgia that was signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in March:

Georgia lawmakers are on defense as prominent companies and business executives have come out in opposition to legislation signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) that has been criticized as an effort to stifle minority voters.

Georgia-based Coca-Cola and Delta on Wednesday joined a growing number of corporations this week criticizing the omnibus bill, S.B. 202.

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey called the new measures “unacceptable” and “a step backwards,” while Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the bill “includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives.”

Major League Baseball announced today that it will move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of the draconian voter restrictions passed by the Georgia legislature, which include making it illegal to distribute food or water to people standing in line at polling places. Losing the All-Star game will cost Georgia tens of millions of dollars in economic impact from tourism and other events related to the mid-summer classic.

Republicans across the country have been trying to make it harder to vote in various states — including Colorado — as a response to losing the 2020 Presidential election. Many of these Republicans insist that voting reforms are necessary in order to “restore public faith in elections” — which is a ridiculous canard based on their own lies about nonexistent 2020 voter fraud.

Georgia Republicans are thus far digging in against criticism of their voter suppression efforts, but corporate blowback in this state should help Democrats in the U.S. Senate as they work to pass nationwide voter protections included in the “For the People Act.”

In Ironic Twist, CO Republicans Refuse to Re-Do “Sham” Election of El Paso GOP Leaders

(All you can say is sham-wow – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former GOP Chair Congressman Ken Buck exiting stage left.

The Tea Party/Patriot wing of the Colorado Republican Party flexed its collective muscle last Saturday, leaving no doubt who’s in charge of the state GOP.

Despite a video featuring cavalcade of endorsements from nearly two dozen legislative and party officials, former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, the establishment’s choice to succeed Congressman Ken Buck as GOP Chair, lost decisively to current Vice-Chair Kristi Burton Brown.

Gessler’s loss wasn’t the day’s only defeat for establishment Republicans, however. GOP Central Committee members, comprised of local and state precinct leaders and delegates, voted Saturday to overturn their own leaders’ decision to order a new election of party officers in El Paso County, after dozens of party members submitted signed statements raising concerns about the voting process, including the El Paso County Sheriff, who called it “a sham.”

The party, whose elected members have introduced multiple bills purporting to strengthen election security based on debunked conspiracies of election fraud, has yet another internal voting controversy within its own ranks.

In a March 17 report, the Colorado GOP Executive Committee ordered a new election for El Paso County GOP officers, to be held within 60 days of the adoption of the report, which was expected to take place at last Saturday’s Central Committee meeting.

The unusual situation stems from objections surrounding current El Paso County Chair Tonkins’ “preregistration” requirements for voting members to participate online.

CPR’s Bente Birkeland reported on some elements of the controversy prior to the meeting, including the very short notice of online pre-registration requirements to be completed a week prior to the meeting date. CPR’s story followed a report by the Colorado Springs Independent’s Heidi Beedle who covered the apparent partnership between Tonkins and extremist militia group FEC United, which was both recruiting voting members to support Tonkins and also supposedly providing security at the event.

Upon reviewing the evidence presented to them, nearly all of the top leaders of the Colorado Republican Party found enough problems with the election that they voted 13-3 to “set aside” the election result and order a do-over.

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Boebert Bestie Matt Gaetz’s Problems Rapidly Compound

Reps. Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert (R).

ABC News reports the latest on allegations that flamboyant Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz has sexual proclivities that, as former President Donald Trump once infamously said of Jeff Epstein as a compliment, run on the “younger side.”

Which is the polite way to describe alleged sex trafficking of minors:

The federal investigation targeting Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is specifically looking into whether he and an associate in his home state of Florida provided cash or others things of value to women they had sex with after connecting online, The New York Times first reported Thursday evening and a source familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News.

Gaetz’s associate, former local politician Joel Greenberg, was indicted last year for allegedly trafficking a teenage girl for sex in 2017, and the Justice Department is also trying to determine whether Gaetz had sex with the 17-year-old, according to sources. Greenberg pleaded not guilty to the charges…

“Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex,” Gaetz’s office said in a statement to The New York Times. “Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting allegations completely. Matt Gaetz has never ever been on any such websites whatsoever. Matt Gaetz cherishes the relationships in his past and looks forward to marrying the love of his life.”

But CNN has salacious new details about Gaetz’s inappropriate workplace behavior that seem very difficult to explain away:

Behind the scenes, Gaetz gained a reputation in Congress over his relationships with women and bragging about his sexual escapades to his colleagues, multiple sources told CNN.

Gaetz allegedly showed off to other lawmakers photos and videos of nude women he said he had slept with, the sources told CNN, including while on the House floor. The sources, including two people directly shown the material, said Gaetz displayed the images of women on his phone and talked about having sex with them. One of the videos showed a naked woman with a hula hoop, according to one source.

Apparently the allegation that Rep. Gaetz maintained a kind of “point system” to compare his work-related sexual conquests with other like-minded young male lawmakers is not new, as the Orlando Weekly reported in January of 2020:

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