Boebert-Blessed GOP Prosecutor Debunks Peters’ Conspiracy Theory

GOP Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters (R).

AP’s Colleen Slevin reports on the release of new information from Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein, a Republican, who as part of his criminal investigation into Clerk Tina Peters’ alleged breach of election system security did his due diligence investigating the election fraud claims made by Peters with help from a gaggle of election conspiracy theorists in the orbit of Mike “MyPillow Guy” Lindell–in particular that evidence exists in that stolen data that the 2020 presidential election was in some manner compromised.

The answer, which should come as no surprise, is a resounding no:

Prosecutors in a western Colorado county said Thursday they found no evidence of tampering in the 2020 presidential election as alleged by a clerk who has become a prominent voice among those promoting former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.

The Mesa County District Attorney’s Office presented its findings to county commissioners after investigating claims by Clerk Tina Peters, who is under indictment for providing unauthorized access to county voting equipment, a breach that led to a public release of sensitive information.

Peters, who is running for the Republican nomination to become the state’s chief election official, had issued a report in March claiming to have found evidence of “potentially unauthorized and illegal manipulation of tabulated vote data” during the 2020 presidential election and 2021 city elections…

There was “extensive evidence” that Peters’ conclusions were false and no proof found of outside election interference, Rubinstein wrote in a summary to commissioners. [Pols emphasis]

Last fall before Peters’ indictment by a grand jury, freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert held a meeting with DA Rubinstein to discuss the investigation into Clerk Peters, and issued a statement afterward affirming her confidence in Rubinstein’s office to prosecute the case fairly. Taking the time and effort to debunk Tina Peters’ claims of election fraud is an important step, or should be, in helping set the record straight about the 2020 elections as a whole.

The problem, of course, is a majority of Republicans don’t want the record set straight. Unless something big has changed we’re not aware of, that includes Lauren Boebert and a whole slew of Colorado Republican candidates.

It’s a glaring contradiction that has to be resolved.

Debate Diary: Republican Candidates for Secretary of State

The three Republican candidates for Colorado Secretary of State (SOS) took part in a candidate forum on Thursday, May 12. Republicans Tina Peters, Mike O’Donnell, and Pam Anderson met for what we believe to be the first time at the Foothills Republican Club in Jefferson County.

Of course, we HAD to commemorate the event with another one of our world famous Debate Diaries.

But before we get started with our “Debate Diary,” we should note a few things that might help make sense of what you’re about to read:

♦ We’ve seen a lot of political debates in Colorado over the years. Without a doubt, this was the single most incomprehensible candidate forum we have ever witnessed. 

 

The format of the forum was bizarre, with the first candidate who answered a question getting an extra minute to add more to their response once the other candidates were finished; most of the time, nobody had any use for this extra minute. The forum moderator was also terrible (more on that in a moment), which made it difficult to understand what the candidates were supposed to be talking about.  

But the biggest problem with this forum was with the candidates themselves. Anderson is clearly the most knowledgeable and qualified of the three SOS candidates, but she has a weird habit of leaving out key words or phrases in her answers or tossing out responses that need more context. For example, at one point Anderson said, “I know exactly where we need to go to solve the problem,” but it is unclear both what she means by a solution and what problem she is referencing in the first place.

O’Donnell adds nothing of substance to the conversation. He mostly talks about how he has been going line-by-line through the voter rolls and flagging things that he finds “weird.” Occasionally O’Donnell would toss in a bold statement near the end of his answer that nobody ever follows up on; for example, he alleged at one point that ballots are being bought and sold in Colorado. O’Donnell also seems to think that the SOS can overturn legislation.

And then there’s Peters. Her responses only make sense if you are VERY familiar with what Peters has been doing in the last 18 months; if you were watching this debate with a limited background on the candidates, you’d likely find most of Peters’s answers to be complete gibberish. Peters also makes no effort to give a good faith answer to any question, which limits any potential for debate. If Peters starts to get cornered on an issue, she responds by repeating the numbers of a particular statute or rattling off impenetrable acronyms.  

 

It’s hard to be bad at moderating a candidate forum, but Chris Murphy figured out a way. He’s absolutely brutal. Moderating a candidate forum is not rocket surgery; you just need to remember that a) Nobody is there to see you, and b) Questions should never be longer than the answers. 

It’s clear on several occasions that the candidates don’t really know much about what Murphy is referencing in a particular question. Things get even more confusing when Murphy throws in a personal anecdote that is (at best) tangentially related to the topic.  

Murphy also has a strange habit of taking a long time to set up a question and then, at the end, asking the candidates to answer a bunch of other questions. For example, Tell us how you would improve the mail ballot process, and also what is your favorite color and do you like Joe Biden and do you think Jena Griswold spells her name wrong?

 

Tina Peters said “I broke no laws/rules” about a dozen times. It’s more than a little conspicuous. 

 

We’re referencing the 9News live stream of the SOS debate for this diary; you can watch yourself below. 9News anchor/reporter Kyle Clark also live tweeted the debate if you’re interested in some extra reading.

Alright, let’s get to it. As always, unless otherwise noted, consider all comments paraphrased in the interest of time and/or preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

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Here Come the Insurrection Subpoenas

Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, January 6th 2021.

As The Washington Post reports:

The committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob has subpoenaed five Republican members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), after they refused to cooperate with the panel’s inquiry.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), who chairs the select committee, said Thursday that the panel has subpoenaed McCarthy and Reps. Mo Brooks (Ala.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Scott Perry (Pa.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio).

The move marks a significant escalation in the committee’s efforts to obtain information related to lawmakers’ communications with then-President Donald Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows before, during and after the attack.

In a statement, Thompson said the committee “has learned that several of our colleagues have information relevant to our investigation into the attack on January 6th and the events leading up to it.”

While Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert didn’t make the first round of subpoenas, it wouldn’t be a shock to learn that she is next on the list.

There are, however, some Colorado connections to the initial list of names included on the Congressional subpoenas. Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs was THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER at the State Republican Party’s annual fundraising dinner last month. And just last summer, Republican Rep. Jim “Gym” Jordan visited Colorado at the behest of Boebert.

We suppose it’s neat that Colorado got to see two of the key insurrectionist players in person before their schedules started to really get busy.

Eastman’s Latest Emails: A CU-erious Problem For Democracy

Coup daddy John Eastman.

Following Tuesday’s big scoop from the Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez, the disclosure of new email communications originating from lead 2020 presidential coup plotter John Eastman’s University of Colorado email account while he was serving as the school’s Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy and simultaneously helping Donald Trump overturn the results of the 2020 election, national news outlets have zeroed in on new details in these emails about Eastman’s advice to Republicans in Pennsylvania to submit bogus electors arrived at through highly un-democratic arithmetic in order to throw the state’s support to Trump. Politico’s Kyle Cheney:

Attorney John Eastman urged Republican legislators in Pennsylvania to retabulate the state’s popular vote — and throw out tens of thousands of absentee ballots — in order to show Donald Trump with a lead, according to newly unearthed emails sent in December 2020, as Trump pressured GOP lawmakers to subvert his defeat.

This recalculation, he posited in an exchange with one GOP state lawmaker, “would help provide some cover” for Republicans to replace Joe Biden’s electors from the state with a slate of pro-Trump electors, part of a last-ditch bid to overturn the election results.

Per the exchange, Eastman suggested that GOP legislators could simply cite their concerns with Pennsylvania’s absentee ballot procedures and then use historical data to “discount each candidates’ totals by a prorated amount based on the absentee percentage those candidates otherwise received.”

All of the authority to carry out what would have amounted to the erasure of thousands of legally-cast absentee ballots, according to Eastman, is inherent to the legislature’s supposed powers do basically do whatever they want with the results of a democratic election, including ignore it entirely:

“Having done that math, you’d be left with a significant Trump lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors — perfectly within your authority to do anyway, but now bolstered by the untainted popular vote,” [Pols emphasis] Eastman wrote in a Dec. 4, 2020 email to Pennsylvania Rep. Russ Diamond. “That would help provide some cover.”

This is Professor Eastman telling Republican lawmakers that not only do they have a pretext that would allow them to summarily invalidate thousands of legally cast ballots, but they don’t even need the pretext. If you subscribe to John Eastman’s interpretation of the law, there’s nothing except perhaps judgment in the afterlife awaiting lawmakers who decide the results of an election don’t count because they don’t like the outcome.

If you believe that, like Donald Trump himself says, “we won’t have a country anymore.”

In the Washington Post today, columnist Greg Sargent lays out the fundamental problem with what Eastman (and Trump) were proposing, and how even though it failed last time it must be prevented from being possible going forward:

“Eastman’s view is that the legislature has absolute power in terms of picking presidential electors,” elections expert Richard L. Hasen told me, even if that means “ignoring the will of the voters” or “the legislature’s prior rules on how to pick those electors.”

In the future, Hasen notes, bad actors might see this as “a path to steal an election.” [Pols emphasis]

There’s more: Right now many Republicans in thrall to Trump’s 2020 lies are running for positions of control over election machinery at the state level, including secretary of state positions.

Crucially, such people would be in a position to create exactly the pretext that Eastman envisioned. How? By using official stature to cast doubt on popular vote outcomes, manufacturing “cover” for a state legislature and/or governor to certify fake electors for a losing candidate. A GOP-controlled House could then count those electors and flip a state or even an election.

Although the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election by Trump and his minions did not succeed, the actors responsible for the near-success of this bloody coup are emboldened and working hard on a strategy to gain control of the nation’s election systems ahead of their next opportunity. Because there has been no accountability at any level for what happened in 2020, no one has been deterred from trying again. Meanwhile, as we’ve already seen in Colorado this year in the Republican primary for governor, second-guessing votes that don’t go their way has been fully embraced down the ballot. There is a whole generation of Republican voters now who may never trust elections again unless they win them.

January 6th should have been the end of this madness. Because it was not, a destructive force has been unleashed on American democracy in a long-term sense. And if we can’t acknowledge how close this plot came to succeeding, the next one is even more likely to.

This is, as they say, the whole ballgame. Nothing we do matters if this doesn’t.

Eastman Used CU-Funded Email, Travel For Coup Plotting

Former CU visiting professor John Eastman, CU Regent/GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl.

A new disclosure in the ongoing scandal surrounding the University of Colorado’s former visiting conservative scholar John Eastman, who is under investigation by the House Select Committee looking into the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, as reported today by the Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez:

John Eastman, a lawyer who represented Donald Trump following the president’s 2020 election loss, used his University of Colorado email account while serving as a visiting professor in Boulder to advise a Pennsylvania lawmaker on how to challenge that state’s electors, according to records submitted to Congress…

Eastman, CU Boulder’s visiting professor of conservative thought and policy during the 2020-2021 academic year, has come under increasing scrutiny for his role in advising Trump on how to stay in power after losing the 2020 election. A federal judge in California ruled in March that Trump and Eastman likely committed crimes in their efforts to overturn the election.

In addition to demonstrating how Eastman advised Pennsylvania state Rep. Russ Diamond on challenging that state’s results, the emails show CU Boulder reimbursed Eastman for around $500 for a trip he took to Philadelphia shortly after the November 2020 election to participate in an academic conference put on by his department, the Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization.

Where crucially,

It was during that visit to Philadelphia that Eastman’s role in advising Trump on how to remain in office began, The New York Times reported last year.

That Eastman was on the University of Colorado’s payroll while he advised ex-President Donald Trump on strategies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election is not new information, but the use of CU email and reimbursement for the trip to Philadelphia during which Eastman became a central figure in the 2020 coup plot is news to us. The disclosure of these communications directly related to the plot through CU’s email system, apparently unknown to the Select Committee investigating January 6th, certainly does warrant additional investigation by the CU Board of Regents.

And once again, the CU Regent who volunteered to field all the questions about Eastman’s relationship with the university, Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, needs to start answering some. How did Ganahl volunteer to own John Eastman, you ask? It started with her effusive praise for Eastman, which came even after he was condemned nationwide for an op-ed suggesting Kamala Harris didn’t have the citizenship qualifications to serve as vice president. Ganahl then closed the deal on ownership of Eastman by running for governor.

With every new John Eastman headline, Heidi Ganahl’s silence gets louder.

They’re Coming For Jenna Ellis’ Law License (Finally)

Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis during the December 2020 campaign to overturn the presidential election.

As the Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson reports, a national legal advocacy group has finally taken a step we’ve been awaiting for over a year now, and filed a formal complaint with the Colorado Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel over the conduct of locally-registered attorney Jenna Ellis as part of Donald Trump’s failed attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election:

The bipartisan watchdog group States United Democracy Center filed a complaint against Ellis Thursday with the Colorado Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, asking for an investigation into whether she violated her ethical obligations as an attorney.

After the election Ellis “knowingly spread falsehoods” about its results; helped Trump try to persuade former Vice President Mike Pence not to certify the election results by providing “misleading legal advice;” and “amplifying false theories of voter fraud.”

…Ellis could not immediately be reached for comment and it was not immediately clear whether she still lives in Colorado. She has passed the state’s bar examinations, though, and is currently permitted to practice law in Colorado.

Here’s more from the release announcing the complaint filed yesterday:

The complaint offers a detailed analysis of information that strongly supports the request to open an investigation into whether Ellis violated her professional and ethical obligations as an attorney. It focuses on her efforts to convince then-Vice President Pence to refuse to open and count lawfully certified electoral votes from six states on January 6, 2021, at the Joint Session of Congress. The complaint also describes Ellis’ attempts to falsely discredit the 2020 presidential election as fraudulent.

“Jenna Ellis called herself a member of former President Trump’s ‘elite strike force team’ and used her law license to advise Trump and others on how to overturn the will of the American people,” said Aaron Scherzer, Senior Counsel at the States United Democracy Center. “Postponing the counting of electoral votes as Ellis recommended was unlawful and would have had devastating consequences for our democracy.”

…More than a dozen bipartisan legal experts and former state leaders signed on in support of the complaint’s request that the OARC open an investigation into Ellis’ conduct. The list of signers includes the States United leadership team—Co-Chair Norm Eisen, former Ethics Czar in the Obama White House, Co-Chair Christine Todd Whitman, former New Jersey Governor, and CEO Joanna Lydgate, former Chief Deputy Attorney General of Massachusetts—as well as Governor Steve Bullock, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Representative Tom Coleman, the Honorable Frankie Sue Del Papa, Professor Claire Finkelstein, the Honorable Jim Hood, the Honorable Patricia A. Madrid, Professor Richard W. Painter, the Honorable Sarah Saldaña, and Professor Laurence H. Tribe.

The lead attorney in Trump’s fight to overturn the 2020 elections, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, had his law license suspended in both New York and the District of Columbia in June of 2021 due to Giuliani’s “demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large.” In March of this year, the California State Bar announced an investigation against former CU visiting scholar John Eastman that could result in the forteiture of Eastman’s license to practice law in that state.

From spreading baseless allegations of election fraud on national television to authoring her own memo for a plan to throw the certification of Joe Biden’s victory into parliamentary chaos on January 6th, 2021, Jenna Ellis would seem to be every bit as guilty of professional misconduct as Giuliani and Eastman. Ellis’ responses to scrutiny over her role in Trump’s coup plot, even while colleagues in the effort face career-ending sanctions, have consisted mostly of grade-school inanity:

All we can say is, the loss of Ellis’ law license might put an end to the smugness. At this point, having capitalized on her instant stardom as Trump’s coup-torney to emerge as a Newsmax talking head with (we assume) a much better salary, Ellis might not even care if she loses her license to practice law in Colorado.

But at least she won’t be able to call herself a “constitutional law attorney” while everyone who knows better groans.

‘2,000 Mules’ Beats a Dead Horse

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It was a packed house at the Cinemark Tinseltown theater in Colorado Springs for Monday’s premiere of conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza’s new film, 2,000 Mules. D’Souza’s film is the latest attempt by conservatives at questioning the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, which has been the subject of numerous forensic auditsthat failed to show evidence of fraud — in states like Arizona and Michigan.

D’Souza assembled a panel of conservative thought leaders from Salem Media Group that included racial slur enthusiast Dennis Prager, virulent transphobe Charlie Kirk, protester-punching Eric Metaxas, who is a co-defendant in the defamation lawsuit brought by former Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer, and Larry Elder to review his evidence.

D’Souza works with Catherine Engelbrecht of the group True the Vote, and Greg Phillips, a data expert who collected anonymous cell phone data to identify repeat visitors to ballot drop-off boxes in battleground states, a practice called “geo fencing.”

“So there are two independent lines of evidence obtained by the election intelligence organization that’s called True the Vote,” said D’Souza told KNUS radio host George Brauchler, during a May 2 on-air discussion of the film. “They got a giant amount of cell phone geo tracking data. This is the data that shows the movement of cell phones. And they bought the data from October 1, 2020, through the election. Now they sort of this data, they ran a kind of a search algorithm looking for these mules. Now, what’s a mule? A mule is a paid political operative, typically hired by a left-wing organization to dump fraudulent and illegal ballots into mail-in drop boxes, typically in the middle of the night. … Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote coined the term and when I say ‘coined’ it as she lifted it from, you know, drug trafficking and sex trafficking in human trafficking where the mule is kind of the go-between. So she basically just applied the term to this area to ballot trafficking in which we have people doing exactly the same thing. They’re serving as mules.”

D’Souza, who was pardoned by Donald Trump in 2018 for a 2014 campaign finance violation, claims that a shadowy network of nonprofits used paid ballot “mules” to distribute enough false ballots in battleground states to swing the results of the 2020 election.

This is simply the latest conspiracy theory to be trotted out for conservative audiences that can’t get enough relitigation of 2020.

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Ginni Thomas and Her “Big Lie” Beliefs Call for GOP Response

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was released from a hospital today after spending the last week being treated for what a spokesperson has called an “infection.” As CNN reports, official sources have been oddly evasive about Thomas’s condition:

Thomas, 73, entered Sibley Memorial Hospital last Friday after experiencing flu-like symptoms.

The court’s public information officer did not say anything about Thomas’ condition when he was released and declined to offer any more details on his stay in the hospital…

…The court announced Thomas’ hospitalization on Sunday and declined repeated requests for updates on his health since then.

It had been originally suggested that Thomas would be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, but that day came and went with spokespeople for the Supreme Court declining to answer any questions from reporters.

The health of Thomas has been overshadowed in recent days by revelations that his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, was extremely and remarkably persistent in trying to convince Trump administration officials to act more aggressively to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election. The big question now is this: Did her actions also influence her husband?

Via The Washington Post (3/24/22).

As Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reported on Thursday for The Washington Post:

Virginia Thomas repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in a series of urgent text exchanges in the critical weeks after the vote, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News.

The messages — 29 in all — reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results…

…The messages, which do not directly reference Justice Thomas or the Supreme Court, show for the first time how Ginni Thomas used her access to Trump’s inner circle to promote and seek to guide the president’s strategy to overturn the election results — and how receptive and grateful Meadows said he was to receive her advice. Among Thomas’s stated goals in the messages was for lawyer Sidney Powell, who promoted incendiary and unsupported claims about the election, to be “the lead and the face” of Trump’s legal team.

Obviously we now need to know to what degree that Clarence Thomas may agree with his wife about the 2020 election results. When the Supreme Court rejected Donald Trump’s request in January to block the release of Presidential records, Clarence Thomas was the sole dissenting voice on the opinion. Thomas provided no explanation as to why he was siding with Trump on the matter.


That decision in January now looks much different in the wake of reports that Ginni Thomas was incredibly active in trying to keep Trump in the White House despite his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in 2020. At the very least, legal scholars say that Clarence Thomas must now recuse himself from any discussions related to the 2020 election.

Via The New York Times (3/25/22)

But others are calling for more drastic steps. As Jesse Wegman writes for The New York Times:

Bench memo to the justice: You know what jeopardizes public faith in legal institutions? Refusing to recuse yourself from numerous high-profile cases in which your wife has been personally and sometimes financially entangled, as The New Yorker reported in January. Especially when you have emphasized that you and she are melded “into one being.” Or when you have, as The Times Magazine reported last month, appeared together with her for years “at highly political events hosted by advocates hoping to sway the court.”

Ms. Thomas’s efforts, and her husband’s refusal to respond appropriately, have been haunting the court for years, but this latest conflagration shouldn’t be a close call. “The texts are the narrowest way of looking at this,” Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor and one of the nation’s foremost legal-ethics experts, told me. “She signed up for Stop the Steal. She was part of the team, and that team had an interest in how the court would rule. That’s all I need to know.” [Pols emphasis] He said he has over the years resisted calling for Justice Thomas’s recusal based on his wife’s actions, “but they’ve really abused that tolerance.”

Wegman, a member of the Times editorial board, concludes by calling on Thomas to resign from the Supreme Court:

Justice Thomas has shown himself unwilling or unable to protect what remains of the court’s reputation from the appearance of extreme bias he and his wife have created. He would do the country a service by stepping down and making room for someone who won’t have that problem. [Pols emphasis]

This is not the first time that Ginni Thomas has inserted herself into an issue that was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, but it is certainly the most serious in terms of the impact it could have on the direction of the entire country. The opinions of Ginni Thomas also point to another disturbing reality in the extent to which she apparently subscribes to some of the weirdest of the QAnon conspiracy theories.

For example, Ginni Thomas ranted to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that the “Biden crime family” would soon be arrested and shipped off to Guantánamo Bay for “ballot fraud.” Will Sommer of The Daily Beast outlined other Qanon connections in a recent Twitter thread, concluding with this: “Ginni Thomas is dropping deep QAnon lore and may be, as they say on @QanonAnonymous, “red-pilled to the gills.”

QAnon conspiracies are a common thread among Colorado Republican candidates

In regularly repeating QAnon nonsense, Ginni Thomas sounds very much like Colorado Republicans such as U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks, Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, and GOP Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters.

It is downright chilling to see the degree to which this radicalization embraced by rank-and-file Republicans well before the 2020 election has infected the highest levels of the GOP elite.

Republicans in Colorado who are campaigning for higher office — and asking Coloradans of all political stripes to support them in 2022 — now have new questions that demand answers. Should Clarence Thomas resign from the Supreme Court? Are they at all concerned about the actions of Ginni Thomas? Are they willing to say anything about these revelations, or are they too terrified to upset the red-pilled Republican base in Colorado?

Some Republican politicians are too far gone down the rabbit hole to emerge with a rational thought now. Hanks, for example, has flat-out stated that Donald Trump won the 2020 Presidential election. We don’t even need to speculate about Tina Peters. But others, such as gubernatorial hopeful Hiedi Heidi Ganahl can no longer try to shrug off questions about the “Big Lie.” Colorado voters need to know if 2022 candidates agree with Ginni Thomas, and media outlets need to keep asking the question for as long as it takes to get a coherent answer.

Virginia Thomas, the wife of a Supreme Court Justice, believed so thoroughly in the “Big Lie” and other Qanon conspiracies that she went to great lengths to overturn the will of American voters and dismantle our democracy. There can be no more fence-sitting on this issue. Either you agree with Ginni Thomas, or you don’t.

One line. Two sides. Which is it?

Lauren Boebert Can’t Stop Talking About That Thing She Did

President Biden delivered his first State of the Union speech two weeks ago today. Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert IS STILL TALKING ABOUT IT.

Polling shows that Biden got a nice little bump following the SOTU speech, which became noteworthy also because of the childish antics of Boebert and fellow Qaucus member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene both screaming at Biden. The infamous picture of Boebert and Greene turned into quite the popular meme.

As The New York Times wrote two days after the SOTU speech, these images of Boebert and MTG were not helpful to the Republican Party:

Via The New York Times (3/3/22)

 

Like most normal people, you’ve probably already moved on from this incident.

Lauren Boebert is not like most normal people:

Boebert complains in the video above that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her to “shut up” following her SOTU outburst. She neglects to mention that Pelosi’s comments, which were made the day after the speech, were referencing the fact that South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham appeared to mouth the same words immediately after Boebert and Greene’s outburst.

Boebert can read all of the pretend letters she wants — it only makes her look MORE ridiculous. Now would be a good time for her to instead hunker down and focus on her actual job, but that’s probably too much to ask.

The Truth About Gasoline Prices

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: If you’re looking for accurate information about relationship between Russian oil and American energy prices, don’t ask local longtime oil and gas industry flack Kathleen Sgamma:

We’re glad the president is finally willing to sanction Russia as much as he’s been ‘sanctioning’ American oil and natural gas producers. [Pols emphasis]

In a season of bad hot takes this could be the worst yet, and it’s a window into the energy industry’s bunker mentality. This is how they really feel about sensible regulation of oil and gas drilling. Like Vladimir Putin feels after invading Ukraine!

Public-relations self-own of the week, folks. Original post follows.

—–

As The Washington Post reports, President Biden will ban Russian oil exports to the United States as part of addition sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

The Biden administration plans to ban imports of oil and natural gas from Russia as soon as Tuesday, following days of behind-the-scenes talks where officials studied far-flung ideas for protecting the global economy from an energy shock, four people with knowledge of the matter said.

The move represents one of America’s most far-reaching actions to penalize Moscow since the beginning of the war and would carry enormous geopolitical consequences, as the price of oil has already skyrocketed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, creating huge new costs for businesses and consumers…

…The administration up to now had sought to protect global energy markets from the impact of banning Russian oil and gas, while keeping a wary eye on soaring gas prices in the United States. The national average gas price on Tuesday was $4.17 per gallon, according to AAA, up from $3.62 a month ago and $2.77 a year ago.

But the ongoing atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine, as well as bipartisan pressure from Congress, quickly changed the administration’s calculus.

The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is nearing an all-time high, and that cost will likely tick upward with a ban on Russian oil — although the U.S. only imports a small percentage of its oil and gas (O&G) from Russia.

According to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, 71% of Americans support a ban on importing O&G from Russia even if it means an increase in gasoline prices at home.

Nevertheless, the price of gasoline will continue to be a talking point eagerly used by Republicans in Colorado…even if it is completely dishonest.

With all of that in mind, we thought it was a good time to dig into the details on how and why gasoline prices are rising (SPOILER ALERT: It’s not the President of the United States). For more information, check out this timely twitter thread from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (or this great press conference response). The Associated Press also has a good explainer on the details of cutting off Russian O&G exports.

Now, here’s our O&G Q&A:

 

Q: Why are gasoline prices rising?

Crude oil is the single largest component of gasoline, and therefore the factor that has the most influence on the price at the pump. The market for crude oil bottomed out in April 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and production worldwide has not yet caught up with demand. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated concerns about supply disruptions, which in turn has spooked investors into decisions that have further increased prices of crude oil. 

Crude oil is a commodity that is traded by investors around the world; in fact, it is the single most widely-traded global commodity. If traders are paying more for crude oil, then so are gasoline producers…and those costs are then passed along to consumers. 

Basic supply and demand issues also affect the price of gasoline. It’s not a coincidence that gas prices generally rise in the summer months, when more Americans are taking road trips. 

Via the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)

 

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Quick Conviction in First Jury Trial from Insurrection

No “legitimate political discourse” here.

Republicans may want to classify the events of Jan. 6, 2021 as “legitimate political discourse,” but the first jury trial of a suspect who took part in the insurrection doesn’t bode well for that silly GOP narrative.

As POLITICO reports:

Guy Reffitt, a Texas militia member who was at the head of an early wave of rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was found guilty of all five felony charges he faced related to the assault, including obstruction of an official proceeding, carrying a firearm during the attack and threatening witnesses.

The verdict is an important milestone for the Justice Department in the first jury trial since the attack that threatened the presidential transfer of power more than 14 months ago. Reffitt faces a maximum of 20 years in prison from the obstruction counts alone.

The unanimous verdict returned Tuesday after only about three hours of deliberations capped a week-long trial that featured graphic video and testimony of the pro-Trump mob that Reffitt joined, confronting police officers at the Capitol’s west front. There, prosecutors say, his prolonged standoff with several officers wielding non-lethal weapons helped divert focus while the larger mob tore through scaffolding assembled for the inauguration of Joe Biden.

The jury returned a unanimous verdict after just three hours of deliberation.

Guy Reffitt, pictured here on Jan. 6, 2021.

Reffitt’s attorneys tried all sorts of ridiculous tactics in an effort to save their client from a guilty verdict, including making claims that much of the presented evidence was somehow faked. This was also a point that Reffitt attempted himself, as CBS News reported last month:

Reffitt has written a letter to the judge presiding over his trial, Dabney Friedrich, declaring that the idea that there were crimes committed at the Capitol on January 6 is a lie.

“When all the lies and hyperbole have been peeled away, the world will know the truth. There was no insurrection, no conspiracy, no sinister plan and no reason to think otherwise,” Reffitt wrote. [Pols emphasis]

About 750 individuals have been charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6 insurrection; roughly 240 have entered guilty pleas, meaning there are hundreds of others whose cases still need to be resolved. Reffitt’s quick conviction is a bad sign for those folks who were hoping their role in the insurrection could be legally swept under the rug in the same manner that the Republican National Committee is trying to tidy up its narrative. As The Washington Post explained last week before the trial began:

For the first time, a defendant will be able to confront in open court a portion of the mountain of video evidence, online communications data and police testimony the government has amassed against roughly 750 federally charged individuals. A judge and a jury in D.C. also will weigh prosecutors’ novel application of rarely used criminal statutes to prosecute the first violent incursion of the Capitol by U.S. citizens.

A swift guilty verdict and stiff sentence could motivate many of the approximately 375 remaining Jan. 6 defendants who face felony charges and have pleaded not guilty to accept plea deals, legal analysts said. [Pols emphasis]

It looks like Republicans had better start coming up with a new excuse for the insurrection. Sadly for them, it appears that the truth still matters.

Biden Gets Big Bounce From Strong SOTU

President Joe Biden (D).

A new poll from NPR released this morning could mark a turning point for President Joe Biden, who took a hit in popularity in his first year in office while confronting the literal globe full of challenges left by his predecessor–after an unexpectedly powerful State of the Union address on Tuesday that thrilled beleaguered Democrats, showcased Republican embarrassments like Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, and confounded Biden’s ageist detractors for at least a moment or two:

After what’s been a bleak several months politically for President Biden, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey finds he is seeing a significant boost in his approval ratings across the board following his State of the Union address and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“This is an unusual bounce,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the poll. “It gets him back to where he was pre-Afghanistan.” [Pols emphasis]

Here’s a look at some of the numbers:

Overall approval rating jumped to 47%, up 8 points from the NPR poll last month. Presidents don’t generally see much, if any bounce, out of a State of the Union address. Since 1978, there had only been six times when a president saw an approval rating improve 4 points or more following State of the Union addresses, according to the pollsters. Three of those bounces were for former President Bill Clinton;
Ukraine handling is up 18 points to 52%;
Coronavirus pandemic handling is now 55%, up 8 points; and
Economic handling up 8 points to 45%.

Republicans have worked to establish a narrative about Biden’s supposed poor health and senescence for years before he became President, and on plenty of occasions Biden’s Democratic opponents were either happy to oblige or at least unwilling to challenge the right’s opportunistic and frequently misleading swipes. Biden’s strong performance in the State of the Union address this week blew a huge hole in the GOP-cultivated myth that he is not up to the job, and that’s clearly reflected in these dramatically improved numbers.

Don’t call it a comeback until it’s corroborated, and there’s room to grow, but it’s no “dead cat bounce.”

Joe Biden is very much in the game, and the fate of Democrats in the 2022 midterms is not yet sealed.

Colorado Republicans Whistle Past Lauren Boebert

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (left) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

In case you missed it, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene shouted at President Biden during the State of the Union speech on Tuesday — at the exact moment that Biden was talking about his son, Beau, an Iraq War veteran who died in 2015.

We waited a full news cycle to see which, if any, Colorado Republicans were going to comment on Boebert’s political theater performance; as it turns out, there wasn’t much to wait for. As far as we can tell, the sum total of the local GOP response to Boebert’s embarrassing antics was a both-sidery quote of disapproval from Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and an acknowledgment from State Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta) that he didn’t mind a little racism so long as it was meant to offend Democrats.

No other Colorado Republicans would even pretend to say something, as South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham did on Tuesday.

Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi commented on Boebert and Greene’s nonsense with this zinger:

“Let me just say this, I agree with what Senator Lindsey Graham said: ‘Shut up.’ That’s what he said to them. I think they should just shut up.”

Here in Colorado there were plenty of Democrats speaking out about Boebert’s assholery, but only crickets from the likes of State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown (who did find time to comment on the SOTU — just not about Boebert).

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl also commented on the SOTU, but did not mention Boebert; she was a guest on Mandy Connell’s show on KOA on Wednesday and the SOTU never came up (until the moment Ganahl left). This is pretty typical of Both-Sidey Heidi, who totally supports Boebert so long as the right person is asking. This was one of the many tweets that Ganahl deleted just before announcing her run for Governor last September:

This tweet from Heidi Ganahl has since been deleted.

Boebert has become the face of the Colorado Republican Party in large part because none of the adults in the room have stepped up to say something otherwise. Boebert’s antics on Tuesday hijacked the entire Republican response to the SOTU speech. Most Republicans just looked the other way.

Like Ganahl, Republicans pretend to love Boebert because they think their base wants them to love Boebert (and they are absolutely terrified of their base). They know the harm that Boebert is causing their brand, but they’re paralyzed in fear of losing support in a Primary Election if they raised their hand to object.

Remember this the next time you hear a Republican candidate in Colorado talk about how they would do a better job than Democrats of standing up to [Vladimir Putin/criminals/corporations/corruption/space aliens/etc.]. The GOP can’t even look its own bullies in the eye.

Enough is Enough: Heidi Ganahl Must Answer For John Eastman

Former CU visiting professor John Eastman, CU Regent/GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl.

As the Washington Post reported yesterday evening, a new court filing from the Select Committee investigating the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th and the plot by ex-President Donald Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election directly alleges that crimes were committed by Trump and attorney John Eastman, the alleged chief legal architect of the coup plot–which could negate Eastman’s claim of attorney-client privilege over his communications while working for Trump on the basis of Eastman knowingly assisting with the commission of a crime:

The alleged criminal acts were raised by the committee in a California federal court filing challenging conservative lawyer John Eastman’s refusal to turn over thousands of emails the panel has requested related to his role in trying to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors from states won by Joe Biden. Eastman has cited attorney-client privilege as a shield against turning over the documents because he has said he was representing Trump at the time.

The committee argued in its filing that Eastman’s claim of privilege was potentially voided by the “crime/fraud exception” to the confidentiality usually accorded attorneys and their clients, which holds that communications need not be kept confidential if an attorney is found to be assisting their client in the commission of a crime. They asked the judge deciding whether to release Eastman’s emails to privately review evidence the committee has so far gathered to see if he believes it establishes that Eastman was assisting Trump in criminal acts.

“The Select Committee also has a good-faith basis for concluding that the President and members of his Campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States,” according to the filing.

Newsweek’s Ewan Palmer reports on an email released by the Committee that appears to show Eastman, who was at this time on the University of Colorado’s payroll as the Benson Center’s “Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy,” imploring Vice President Mike Pence to commit a “relatively minor violation” of federal law:

To back up its claim, the committee revealed an email from Eastman in which he appeared to admit that his and Trump’s plans to stop the election results being certified in favor of Joe Biden were illegal… [Pols emphasis]

In one email to Pence’s lawyer, Eastman wrote: “I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation” of the Electoral Count Act to adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations into non-existent voter fraud.

“[Eastman] knew what he was proposing would violate the law, but he nonetheless urged the Vice President to take those actions,” the filing states.

Eastman’s central role in the planning and dubious legal rationale for the plot that would have seen Vice President Pence throw out the votes of millions of Americans has been known since at least last summer, but this is the first evidence we’re aware of showing Eastman explicitly acknowledging the criminality of what he is proposing. That could be enough to blow the doors off of Eastman’s claim of attorney-client privilege.

“The evidence supports an inference that President Trump, [Eastman], and several others entered into an agreement to defraud the United States by interfering with the election certification process, disseminating false information about election fraud, and pressuring state officials to alter state election results and federal officials to assist in that effort,” the filing added.

During Eastman’s visiting term at the University of Colorado, CU Regent now gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl enthusiastically supported Eastman’s position with the school, and praised him for “riling folks up” after Eastman published a widely-condemned column questioning Kamala Harris’ citizenship. Despite Ganahl’s arguably closer connection to Eastman than anyone running for office in Colorado, she initially refused to answer any questions about the 2020 presidential election calling them “divisive.”

Ganahl would very much like for this “divisive question” to go away, but it’s not going to–in fact it’s only becoming more urgent as the investigation into January 6th keeps finding John Eastman under every proverbial rock. There’s no getting to November without reckoning with this, and trying to evade press inquiries about Eastman Cory Gardner style will only make it worse.

It’s a question of which voters Ganahl can afford to alienate.

And the first choice of “none” is no longer available.

This is the Face of the Colorado Republican Party

UPDATE #2: Republican State Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta) made it very clear today that he has no problem with Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert as the face of the Colorado Republican Party:

 

In short, racism is cool so long as it upsets Democrats. Just…wow.

—–

UPDATE: Jimmy Kimmel nails it:

—–

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (left) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Tuesday.

This image should make you cringe — no matter your personal politics or partisan beliefs. This is Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and fellow Qaucus member Marjorie Taylor Greene SCREAMING at President Joe Biden during Tuesday’s State of the Union (SOTU) speech like they were all riled up by a Nickleback concert (which is actually something Boebert has done before).

It’s bad enough that Boebert tried to interrupt the SOTU by yelling at the President mid-sentence, something that is an incredibly rare breach of decorum. What made it so much worse was that Boebert yelled out right at the moment that Biden was talking about his son Beau Biden, an Iraq War veteran who died in 2015.

Via The Daily Beast

As The Washington Post reports:

President Biden on Tuesday called on Congress to pass legislation to aid veterans exposed to toxins while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan — a problem he said leads to cancers “that would put them in a flag-draped coffin.”

He was then interrupted by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who yelled, “You put them there. Thirteen of them!”

Boebert appeared to be referencing the 13 troops killed in a suicide attack last year during the final days of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“One of those soldiers was my son, Major Beau Biden,” the president continued.

In September 2009, South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson infamously yelled “you lie” during a health care speech given by then-President Barack Obama. Wilson apologized immediately after Obama’s speech, saying “I let my emotions get the best of me.” Boebert, on the other hand, celebrated her insolence with dozens of childish tweets.

Via CNN (3/2/22)

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, a former Army Ranger, was apoplectic at his colleague’s disgusting behavior:

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered the official Republican response following Biden’s SOTU speech, but Boebert effectively hijacked the GOP message for the night with her embarrassing antics. Chris Cillizza of CNN called Boebert’s outburst “the single most memorable moment” of the SOTU speech…and he didn’t mean that as a compliment.

“Consider that,” wrote Cillizza. “An American president was speaking about the need to help veterans when they return from the battlefield — and sharing his own loss of a son to cancer — when he was jeered by a member of the other party.”

Cillizza concludes with a point we are very familiar with here in Colorado: Boebert’s antics are all about political theater and appealing to her right-wing base of supporters. We understand that, but Boebert represents a district that is politically very different from the rest of the State of Colorado.

If Colorado Republicans do not speak out about Boebert’s awful behavior — and thus far we’ve heard only crickets — then they are saying with their silence that this sort of representation from an elected official is perfectly acceptable. Colorado Republicans are saying, effectively, Lauren Boebert is us, and we are her.

People in Mesa County might find this amusing, but the bulk of Colorado’s voters are likely to disagree.

The GMS Podcast: SOS Jena Griswold Gets More Smarter

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

This week in episode 99 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold about election security; running for re-election; and potentially facing off against Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters in November.

Later in the show, we discuss the Republican fascination with Russian President Vladimir Putin and consider whether the GOP is jumping the sharkcrimenado. We also examine more red on red political battles in Colorado (sorry, Hugh McKean) and Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s decision to move ever rightward.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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

Get More Smarter on Monday (Feb. 28)

In like a lamb. 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 

 

As The New York Times reports, there are growing signs that massive economic sanctions against Russia are causing significant damage. 

Here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis is leading a push to enact local sanctions on Russia as a result of that country’s invasion of Ukraine. Among the bigger moves, Colorado’s pension fund will pull millions in investments related to Russia. As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post:

The state pension fund will divest $7.2 million from a Russian bank, officials with Colorado’s Public Employees’ Retirement Association confirmed Friday, as Russia continued its military assault on Ukraine.

The board controlling the fund does not, as a matter of policy, divest from companies for moral reasons unless the state legislature or federal government directs it to do so. This divestment comes as a result of a federal order meant to sanction Russia by hurting its economy.

Colorado’s pension fund has about $8 million invested in five Russian-owned companies, a spokesman said. The majority of that — $7.2 million, as of Thursday — is invested in the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank, which is a target of federal sanctions. Neither state nor federal officials have yet commanded divestment from any of the other Russian companies tied to Colorado: OGK-2, Gazprom, Mosenergo, and Rosneft Oil.

U.S. Department of the Treasury officials have given until May 25 to comply with the order that mentions Sberbank.

Meanwhile, as The Colorado Sun reports, former Republican Gov. Bill Owens forgot that lesson about the stones and the glass houses. Owens has publicly criticized President Biden as the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolds, but as the Sun notes:

Owens is the chairman of the supervisory board of the Credit Bank of Moscow, which has been barred by the Biden administration from issuing shares and debt in the U.S. after the Russian invasion of Ukraine…

…The Biden administration has issued sanctions against state-owned banks and financial institutions in Russia, including Sberbank, VTB Bank, Bank Otkritie, Sovcombank OJSC and Novikombank.

Credit Bank of Moscow is among “13 of the most critical major Russian enterprises and entities” slapped by the White House with new debt and equity restrictions.

Maybe just don’t talk about Russia right now, eh Woody?

 

As the war in Ukraine escalates and world powers become more involved, there is concern that some blowback could be felt in the United States. 9News reports on worries about cyber security threats, while CBS4 Denver considers the local economic implications.

 

This headline from Colorado Public Radio is a pretty clear summation of election-related legislation in Colorado:

Via Colorado Public Radio (2/28/22)

As Bente Birkeland reports for CPR:

The national partisan divide over voting policies is playing out in the halls of Colorado’s capitol this legislative session, with Republican lawmakers introducing some of the same policies their colleagues in other states have adopted, or are considering.

Colorado lawmakers in both parties have introduced close to a dozen bills so far this year dealing with how elections are conducted: everything from new candidate reporting requirements to restricting firearms near voting locations to measures some Republicans claim are needed to fight potential fraud.

While many of Colorado’s Republican leaders, including lawmakers, local officials and state party officers, have said they believe the 2020 presidential election was legitimate and want to move on to other issues, some of the GOP election bills this session have brought the issue to the forefront.

 

 Colorado caucuses kick off this week, with many taking place on Tuesday, March 1.

 

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

(more…)

Stuff In Mesa County Is Just Getting Weird Now

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell.

In today’s edition of the Colorado Sun’s Unaffiliated newsletter, we got a preview of what might be the next stage of embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ defense strategy–note the omission of the word “legal,” because, well, it’s not exactly:

Embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, a Republican, has avoided four different process servers in a lawsuit filed by her ex-husband, Thomas Peters, according to court documents.

Thomas Peters alleges Tina Peters used “deceit and deception” to transfer ownership of his home to herself.

The lawsuit, filed in December, comes amid the criminal investigation and campaign finance complaints that have been lodged against Tina Peters.

Now, understand that this latest news bit is not related to the criminal investigation underway over Clerk Peters’ alleged tampering with election equipment and/or wire fraud, in her failed attempt to prove her heartfelt belief that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump–rather a civil matter between Peters and her ex-husband.

But check out how Clerk Peters, who is awaiting an indictment or further search warrants related to these much more serious charges at any time, is dealing with process servers (we assume) of all varieties:

On Wednesday, Thomas Peters’ attorney filed a status update claiming a process server tried to officially notify Tina Peters of the lawsuit at home, but that no one came to the door. Amazon and UPS packages were piled on the doorstep. Another server also tried to serve Tina Peters at a political event several weeks ago, but was met by a group of Peters’ “staunch supporters.”

“Upon approaching, she was literally blocked by a group of women who were dressed substantially similar to the Defendant, and they literally would not (let) the process server get to the Defendant,” according to the filing. [Pols emphasis]

We’re not sure what you’re picturing based on this description, but for us the visual is something along the lines of the Manson Family meets Spartacus:

I’m Clerk Peters, No, I’m Clerk Peters!

Honestly, if you’re a poor hapless process server, you didn’t sign up for this. Run away.

And if the time does come to lock Clerk Peters up, better take fingerprints.

Get More Smarter on Friday (Feb. 25)

On this day in 1991, the Warsaw Pact was officially declared to be kaput. 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 

 

 President Biden nominated Kitanji Brown Jackson to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, Jackson would be the first black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. 

 

Governor Jared Polis is promising that Colorado will make every effort to oppose Russian interests in the wake of that country’s invasion of Ukraine. From Elizabeth Hernandez at The Denver Post:

As Russian troops waged war on their homeland, Ukrainians living in Colorado came together in solidarity outside the state Capitol on Thursday and Gov. Jared Polis announced the state will work to ensure it’s not financially supporting the Kremlin in any way.

Scores of people waving Ukrainian flags and hoisting signs bearing slogans including “Putin! Hands off Ukraine!” and “Support Ukraine, save democracy in the world!” filled the Capitol’s front steps. Colorado is home to about 11,000 Ukrainians, the governor’s office said…

…Polis said Colorado will welcome Ukrainian refugees and examine whether the state has any contracts or investments with Russian entities that it should end or divest from, and urge higher education institutions to review and reconsider any grants or projects tied with Russia.

The governor’s office said it will look “to ensure that agencies are in no way supporting the Russian government.”

As 9News reports, Colorado Republicans are also united…in blaming President Biden for everything.

Meanwhile in Ukraine, Russian forces are closing in on the Capital city of Kyiv.

 

As The Associated Press reports, experts see the biggest threats to U.S. elections coming from within. Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who is running for Secretary of State, has a starring role in this article. 

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

(more…)

Ketanji Brown Jackson Picked To Succeed Justice Breyer

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

AP reporting via the Aurora Sentinel, President Joe Biden has made good on his promise to select the nation’s first African-American woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice to succeed retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, and to do so by the end of this month:

President Joe Biden on Friday will nominate federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, the White House said, making her the first Black woman selected to serve on a court that once declared her race unworthy of citizenship and endorsed segregation…

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said in a statement that the panel will “begin immediately” to move forward on the nomination and that Jackson is an “extraordinary nominee.” Senators have set a tentative goal of confirmation by April 8, when they leave for a two-week spring recess. Hearings could start as soon as mid-March.

That timeline could be complicated by a number of things, including the ongoing developments between Russia and Ukraine and the extended absence of Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, who suffered a stroke last month and is out for several weeks. Democrats would need Lujan’s vote to confirm Biden’s pick if no Republicans support her.

By all accounts one of the nation’s finest legal minds and as accomplished any as current member of the court, we would hope to see a few reasonable Republicans willing to make the confirmation process for Ketanji Brown Jackson trouble-free. We can hope for that, especially since the balance of the Court is not in jeopardy–but after years of treachery from Republicans in the process of selecting Supreme Court Justices going back to the punking of Merrick Garland in 2016, we have no reason to expect it.

We’re enthusiastic about the choice itself, of course, and congratulations on further history made today.

Eastman Was on CU Payroll When He Formalized His Work For Trump

(Plotting a coup on CU payroll — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former University of Colorado “Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy” John Eastman speaking in Washington D.C. January 6th, 2021.

Former Trump lawyer John Eastman was on the payroll of the University of Colorado (CU) when he formally became a Trump lawyer and then wrote a widely discredited memo on how Trump could subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Politico revealed this week that Eastman apparently formalized his legal relationship with Trump on Dec. 5, 2020, in an unsigned engagement letter, about five months before his appointment as a visiting scholar at CU’s Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization expired. The Benson Center is a privately endowed institute at CU, named after former CU Chancellor Bruce Benson, a prominent Colorado Republican.

Eastman worked as a volunteer under his agreement with Trump but he was still receiving his $185,000 salary from CU through May 7, 2021.

In early Jan. 2021, the university relieved Eastman of his teaching duties, due to insufficient enrollment in his classes, and on Jan. 21, 2021, he was banned from speaking at the university or performing outreach, but he still had the green light to “perform scholarship” involving “research and related activities,” according to CU statements cited in media reports.

Eastman’s press contact at the Claremont Institute didn’t return an email seeking answers these questions: Was anyone at CU aware of his agreement with Trump at the time? Did anyone at CU suggest he not sign the agreement? Did he check with anyone at CU before he drafted the agreement?

During his tenure at CU, Eastman received praise from at least one notable CU leader, GOP Regent and gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl, who called him “fantastic.”

Republicans Cheer Putin, Blame Biden as Russia Attacks Ukraine

Last evening (morning in Ukraine), Russia launched a full invasion of the former Soviet territory. While some Republicans said the right things about supporting Ukraine and pushing back against aggression from Russian President Vladimir Putin, most had…different ideas.

First, here’s former President Donald Trump saying that Russia invaded Ukraine because of the 2020 Presidential election in the United States:

This is the same Trump who earlier this week called Putin a “genius” for preparing to invade Ukraine with a “peacekeeping force.”

As MSNBC explains:

“As an American, I am angry and saddened,” the former president said of the conflict. “It happened because of a rigged election.”

Yes, as a deadly international crisis unfolds, what really matters to the head of the Republican Party is his pitiful Big Lie.

In the same on-air appearance, he admonished his own country’s leaders — Trump condemned what he saw as the Biden administration’s “weakness and stupidity” — before suggesting that he believed U.S. troops were part of last night’s military offensive. It fell to Laura Ingraham to explain that it was Russians, not Americans, that had launched an amphibious attack.

That’s right: Trump thinks the United States is sending troops into Ukraine (it is not).

Via Business Insider (2/24/22)

 

Meanwhile, as Chase Woodruff of Colorado Newsline reports, right-wing pundits in Colorado are using the Russian invasion as an opportunity to PRAISE VLADIMIR PUTIN:

Similarly, the Colorado Republican Party thinks this is a fine time to blame President Biden for Putin’s decisions. Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is echoing Trump’s rhetoric:

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) agrees with Lamborn, issuing a full statement to talk about how everything is Biden’s fault (Boebert also seems to think that approving the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada would have stopped Putin from invading Ukraine, or something).

And then there’s Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who may not even be paying attention to what’s happening in Eastern Europe:

 

Republicans are all over the place on Russia/Ukraine in part because there is no consensus among Congressional leaders about how they should respond.

Finally, here’s an interesting reminder from Kyle Clark of 9News:

Once Again: Stealing Is Never The County Clerk’s Job

Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder (R).

Keeping up to date with the latest in the ongoing battle between Secretary of State Jena Griswold and a handful of Colorado county clerks–now down to two that we know of–who are suspected of tampering with election computer systems as part of a half-baked and failed attempt to uncover evidence to support Donald Trump’s ongoing delusion that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. After determining that Douglas County Clerk Merlin Klotz either fibbed or didn’t know what he was talking about regarding the copying of election system hard drives, Griswold filed suit last week against Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder for doing the same thing.

Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee reports on the case being pressed in Elbert County, and why it’s different (at least for now) from the criminal investigations underway against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters:

The situation with Clerk Schroeder began with a lawsuit against Griswold. Among many things, the suit, which Schroeder is party to, argues that post-election software updates to the state’s voting equipment destroy ‘election records’ that clerks are required to maintain.

The updates, referred to as a ‘trusted build’ process, have become a target of conspiracy theorists pushing false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. They claim Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems used the updates to hide evidence of wrongdoing. Election software experts say data from Mesa County’s hard drive shows no evidence of that.

An affidavit in the lawsuit against Griswold revealed that the clerk made a full image backup of his county’s hard drives the day before the trusted build. In response to questions from the Secretary of State, Schroeder elaborated that he made the copy with only authorized employees of his office present, but had subsequently given it, and a second copy, to two outside attorneys — only one of whom he has identified — for safekeeping.

Since that point, the state and Schroeder have been in a standoff…

So, the first and most important thing to keep in mind is that this data has been released to a multitude of election conspiracy theorists who have found absolutely no evidence to support the conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems. The so-called “analysis” released by supporters of Clerk Peters revealed only that the people doing the analyzing had no idea what they were looking at. In fact, the act of tampering with these computer systems to access their data and make copies is the biggest actual security problem to have been uncovered by any of these half-baked efforts–that, and the public release of proprietary code creating risks of hacking that didn’t exist before it was released.

The difference in the case of Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder, while he was a big enough idiot to tamper with equipment he was sworn to protect, is that he does not appear to have given the data he stole to outside conspiracy theorists like the reputed progenitor of the “QAnon” conspiracy theory Ron Watkins. Problematically, however, we don’t know exactly where the data Schroeder took resides currently, because Clerk Schroeder is hiding the copies he made from Secretary of State Griswold:

[Schroeder] has also said that he’s keeping the drives exact locations secret because he fears the Secretary of State intends to seize them, [Pols emphasis] claiming that her office took control of Mesa County’s election equipment during the investigation into that office’s security breach. The Secretary of State decertified Mesa’s equipment after determining that leaked information from the hard drives had compromised their security.

All of which Secretary Griswold is legally authorized to do, unlike Schroeder’s theft of the data in question! This isn’t “whistleblowing,” it’s just misconduct. You would think that after the “analysis” of Mesa County’s stolen election systems data revealed nothing, just like every investigation into voting irregularities in the 2020 presidential election revealed nothing that could change any outcome, that Schroeder would return the stolen data–and count himself lucky to have escaped his own criminal investigation.

But like we said, Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder appears to be an idiot.

Wikipedia #FAIL for Ron Hanks

Pretty much anybody can make Wikipedia edits, though not with a pen.

State Representative Ron Hanks (R-Cañon City) is a busy guy. In his day job as a state lawmaker, Hanks spends a lot of time trying to get legislation to be discussed (with no hope of passage) that would fix all of the 2020 election fraud that never happened in Colorado. Hanks is a true believer in the “Big Lie,” having attended the Jan. 6 insurrection and repeatedly stated that it is his belief that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 Presidential election.

When he’s not on the clock at the State Capitol, Hanks is running a campaign for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, speaking to Republicans who consider his election conspiracy ideas to be much more palatable. Hanks feeds red meat to a hungry right-wing base and generally gets plenty of applause for doing so.

Hanks is focused on getting enough Republican support to get his name on the June Primary ballot. Someone in his orbit is also trying to convince the world that his “Big Lie” beliefs are worth serious consideration by the rest of the non-right-wing universe. Recently, someone who might be Ron Hanks or might just be a big fan of Ron Hanks (we know where we’d place our bet) tried to make some fairly silly changes to Hanks’s Wikipedia page. For example:

At around 7:15 pm on Feb. 8, a Wikipedia user tried to make a few changes to Hanks’s page. One edit changed “Hanks has questioned the results of the election and promoted false claims of election fraud” to “Hanks has questioned the results of the election and promoted credible claims of election fraud.” [CLICK HERE to see the comparison of edits on Wikipedia].

Another edit changed “since Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump…” to “since Joe Biden cheated Donald Trump…” That same paragraph was also edited to say that “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell’s election conspiracy theories were “credible.”

Just before midnight on Feb. 8, a few more changes were attempted in order to, er, clarify Hanks’s presence in Washington D.C. on insurrection day.

One edit changed a section stating that “Hanks participated in the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol and that ‘people had already entered the building’ by the time he arrived at a designated meeting area.” The attempted changes sought to read, “Hanks attended the January 6, 2021, rally at the ellipse, by the time he arrived at the Capitol he said that “people had already entered the building.” [CLICK HERE to see the comparison of edits on Wikipedia]

[Side note: This explanation is similar to how Colorado Springs Gazette editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen and his wife, Dede Laugesen, explain their appearances at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.]

In that same edit, someone also removed the word “conspiracy” from the sentence, “in a fundraising newsletter, Hanks continued to promote conspiracy theories regarding the certification of the 2020 election.”

Alas, all of these edits were rejected on Feb. 10 by a more senior Wikipedia user who labeled them “unconstructive.”

All of this information is publicly-available on Wikipedia. If you were so inclined, you could also use publicly-available websites to see where the IP addresses of each proposed change originated. If you went down that road, you might find that some of the edits were made from an IP address in the Cañon City area.

This might seem to be a strange use of time to most people, but it does prove once again that Ron Hanks is absolutely, positively dedicated to promoting the “Big Lie” far and wide.

In Colorado — in 2022 — that dedication just might be enough to win Hanks the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.