A Few Words On Rich White Suburbs Behaving Badly

Two stories on separate issues out of the wealthy southern suburbs of Denver, Colorado today tell a story together that we think says a lot about the disconnect between political conservatives in America today and reality–political and otherwise–going into the 2020 general elections.

The first, as the Denver Post’s John Aguilar reports, is from Greenwood Village, one of the richest (and whitest) suburbs along the Front Range:

Backlash has been swift since The Denver Post reported Wednesday that Greenwood Village’s elected leaders had passed a resolution stating that the city would “in all cases defend any police officer in any suit or proceeding brought under (Senate Bill 217) and pay or indemnify its police officers against all expenses” incurred from a legal challenge to officer conduct.

The suburb south of Denver, through its attorney and mayor, told The Post that it would never find a police officer to have acted in bad faith. Greenwood Village is seeking to protect its officers from personal liability even in cases when officers knowingly behave unlawfully — in contradiction to the new police reform law, which says officers can be on the hook for up to $25,000.

Greenwood Village’s highly controversial decision to swear off a key trigger for police accountability within their municipal boundaries was swiftly condemned by Attorney General Phil Weiser, and Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Black Lives Matter protesters descended on the city soon afterward:

Greenwood Village is 84% white, less than 3% Black and about 5% Hispanic. But on Thursday, the latest edition of Black Lives Matters protests came to this community of just over 15,000, where the median income is more than $127,0000 and the median home price is just shy of $900,000…

The resolution is illegal, said activist Terrance Roberts, a representative of the group Front-Line Party for Revolutionary Action of Aurora, who also claimed that Black people are not welcome in Greenwood Village.

Up until Greenwood Village took this provocative action in defiance of the law just passed in Colorado to address the front-and-center issue of police brutality, there were no significant protests in the city. There have historically been some troubling cases of police disregard for the rights of city residents, like the destruction of the home of city resident Leo Lech during a police pursuit of a criminal with only token compensation. But if the voters of Greenwood Village are upset at the sudden attention their quiet little ritzy suburb is getting, their first call should be to the elected officials who made their town a lightning rod.

Meanwhile across County Line Road in the bastion of COVIDiocy that is Douglas County, the time has finally come to throw off the tyrannical yoke of the Tri-County Health Department after the department instituted a mask “mandate” that municipalities can override if they want to. Ever since the pandemic first reached Colorado back in early March, Republicans in DougCo have raged over every kind of restriction necessary to contain the spread of the disease, to the point of inciting repeated acts of vandalism against Tri-County’s offices. But despite the resurgent growth of COVID cases in Colorado and across the nation, as the Aurora Sentinel’s Grant Stringer reports, a not-really mask “mandate” is the breaking point for DougCo commissioners:

Commissioners for the two counties covering almost all of Aurora have quickly thrown their support behind a region-wide mask mandate public health experts ordered Wednesday. The third county is threatening to divorce itself from the group.

The mask mandate, a work still in progress, prompted the Douglas County board of commissioners to now focus on leaving the long-standing, three-county health department and create one of their own.

“My fellow commissioners and I have directed staff to leave (Tri-County Health) and develop a public health department to meet the needs of our residents,” Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas said in a tweet Thursday. “We will also opt out of a mandatory mask order.”

That’s right, DougCo residents! The Republican governor of Texas may have ordered everyone in the Lone Star State to wear masks or face a $250 fine, but your board of rock-ribbed conservative Republican county commissioners are pulling your county out of the local health department and (apparently, it’s not clear yet) standing up a new health department, in the middle of a pandemic–because they think a mask “mandate” they are opting out of anyway is too much of an imposition.

The moral of these two stories? Within just a few miles of each other on the south side of the Denver metro area, you can find the worst possible official responses to the news events dominating the headlines on ready display. And though the issues may be very different, there is one common thread.

Horrifying tone deafness.

It’s Official: 2020 Is Killing The Party of Trump

President Donald Trump, Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Politico reports, and it’s very, very bleak news for Republicans at every level as November looms on the near horizon:

Support for President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has hit an all-time low, according to a new survey, with a similarly substantial majority of Americans also disapproving of his response to widespread racial unrest.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday reports that a record 67 percent of respondents now disapprove of “the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus,” while only 33 percent approve — the widest gulf in public sentiment since ABC News and Ipsos began surveying on the pandemic in March…

As for everything else going on?

The same percentage of respondents, 67 percent, also say they disapprove of “the way Donald Trump is handling race relations” amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice that began in late May after the killing of George Floyd. Just 32 percent of respondents say they approve of Trump’s handling of race relations.

These approval numbers on the central issues driving the news in 2020 are of course politically devastating for Trump and downballot Republicans assuming they translate into votes in November–and with all of 2020’s societal breakdowns and disruptions coming back to leadership that Trump has either failed to provide or villainously disregarded, this extremely high rate of public dissatisfaction is going to translate into votes. These numbers are another indicator that Trump’s total failure of leadership in the nation’s time of greatest need has set the entire Republican Party on a course for destruction in November. This is the “why” underscoring every poll showing Democrats from Joe Biden downward expanding their double-digit leads, and competing in places they shouldn’t be competitive.

Absent some deus ex machina no one can foresee today, there’s no coming back from this politically.

Gardner Trumpets His Success at Renaming Buildings. And It Works.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner sums up his accomplishments in a single gesture.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is bragging a lot these days about, as his campaign website puts it, having “had eight bills signed into law, more than the current Colorado delegation combined.”

Even if you’re the laziest of journalists, you can look up eight laws, right? So I had no excuse.

It turns out two of Gardner’s laws (25% of the total) rename buildings.

Two more (an additional 25%) mandate reports from federal agencies.

One Gardner law aims to help a foreign country (Taiwan) “observe” international meetings.

Why would Gardner, a Republican, draw our attention to such weak stuff?

Gardner is trying to “show he is effective,” said Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, in an email to the Colorado Times Recorder, adding that, “being effective is a good thing for a senator. Especially if you have to run with Donald Trump.”

“Of course, there are many ways for a senator to be effective–through amendments (I don’t see any) oversight (none, despite the corruption and mismanagement of the administration) constituent service (you tell me),” wrote Ornstein. “And it is hard to stand out in an era where little is done. But Gardner for the past 3-1/2 years has been a loyal foot soldier in the Trump army, voting for every nominee, no matter how unqualified or corrupt, voting to blow up the Affordable Care Act with no replacement, enabling a racist and nativist president without criticism.”

What’s surprising is that Gardner would specify a precise number of laws (eight), including some that invite mockery (naming buildings) instead of simply focusing on the three more substantive laws on his list, which provide money 1) for Colorado’s Veterans hospital and 2) for U.S. interests in Southeast Asia and 3) for modernizing operations at federal scientific agencies. (And he could spotlight his Great American Outdoors Act, (GAOA) providing ongoing funding for public lands, which is coming, but not yet signed into law.)

A call to Gardner’s office seeking to understand why he’d invite scrutiny of such flabby material was not immediately returned.

But the answer is probably as simple as: It sounds good to say you’ve had more bills signed into law than all of Colorado’s Washington lawmakers combined–instead of pointing to a few laws you passed.

And it works! See this paragraph from Colorado Springs Gazette editorial June 18:

“Senators do not get better than Gardner,” editorialized the Gazette. “The Senate passed his Great Outdoors Act on Wednesday, which was the 10th major piece of legislation passed into law at Gardner’s insistence and sponsorship. All other eight members of Colorado’s Washington delegation combined have not passed that many laws in the past six years.”

See what I mean? Even one of the state’s biggest newspapers was fooled.

Tenth “major piece of legislation?” That’s not just hype. It’s a falsehood. I’ll be watching for a correction from the Gazette,

Let’s hope voters see through this amateur manipulation.

Lauren Boebert’s “I Am Not A Witch” Moment

About a week before the June 30 Primary Election, we noted in this space that Republican congressional candidate Lauren “Yosemite Samantha” Boebert was really excited about the possibility that many of the “QAnon” conspiracy theories might someday turn out to be true. Ever since her surprise victory over incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton in last Tuesday’s Primary Election, Boebert has been trying — sort of — to downplay her love for QAnon conspiracies.

As Keagan Harsha reported for Fox 31 News on Monday:

While she may not be trying to distance herself in any way from the President, she is trying to separate herself from a far right wing conspiracy theory movement called QAnon.

Boebert has been criticized for appearing to sympathize with the movement, which has supported debunked theories that the Clintons and several other prominent Democrats are involved in a human trafficking and child sex ring, and that there’s a deep state working to undermine President Trump.

“I believe there are people working in the administration that at least appear to be actively undermining President Trump,” Boebert said.

However, while she supports a few of QAnon’s theories, Boebert says she is not a QAnon sympathizer.

“No. I’m not a follower. This is just a fake attack from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,” she said. “QAnon is a lot of things to different people. I was very vague in what I said before. I’m not into conspiracies. I’m into freedom and the Constitution of the United States of America. I’m not a follower,” she said. [Pols emphasis]

Boebert and her new team of political advisers no doubt understand that her sympathetic views toward QAnon conspiracy theories make her look…well, a tad crazy…so it’s no surprise that she is furiously backpedalling now that she is officially the Republican nominee in CO-3. Former State Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams tried to help out in an Op-Ed for The Denver Post today by promoting the idea that Boebert didn’t say what she is already on record saying:

Washington, D.C. leftist groups are already unfairly and inaccurately painting her as a right-wing extremist; she must not be pulled into discussions of conspiracy theories such as QAnon.

Sorry, Dick, but that ship already sailed. Nobody is “inaccurately painting” Boebert as a QAnon supporter; Boebert was captured ON VIDEO making her pro-QAnon comments in an interview with the “Steel Truth” show in May.

Here’s what Boebert said about QAnon in response to a direct question about the “movement”:

“Honestly, everything that I’ve heard on ‘Q’ — I hope that this is real, because it only means that America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values. And that’s what I am for. And, so, everything that I have heard of this movement is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together, stronger, and if this is real, then it could be really great for our country.”

Boebert can argue over whether she is a “supporter” or a “sympathizer” or a “follower” of QAnon, but that’s a distinction without a difference.

With any luck, Boebert’s QAnon conspiracy problems will eventually lead to a television ad like this infamous spot from Christine O’Donnell, a Republican Senate nominee in Delaware in 2010 who tried — and failed — to push back on accusations that she was an actual witch.

 

Republicans Disown House District 34 Primary Winner

HD-34 GOP nominee Mark Bromley.

Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports, the snakebit follies of Adams County Republicans in House District 34 continue as the party announces they will not support the winner of the primary election in that district, Mark Bromley:

The House District 34 Republican Central Committee announced recently it would not support the winner of the June 30 primary, Republican Mark Bromley of Northglenn.

The July 3 announcement cited Bromley’s threats against fellow Republicans and other candidates, and his “abject failure to exhibit beliefs that are consistent with the Republican platform, along with his indecent means of doing so.”

Those threats and other comments came through a series of now-deleted Facebook posts in which Bromley called a home-schooling parent “Home Hitler.”

Not that we would endorse characterizing home-school parents or most anyone else as a “_____ Hitler” unless they are, you know, actually a Nazi–which does happen, of course–but it’s especially bad for Republicans seeking higher office to refer to home-school parents as Nazis, since that’s an overwhelmingly Republican constituency. There’s nothing to suggest that Bromley is a moderate when it comes to education or any other issue, since he avidly promotes all of the current Republican conflict theories and even calls himself a supporter of homeschool education.

It appears that Mark Bromley is just an asshole, to friend and foe alike.

House District 34, in theory a competitive district, has been a frustration for Colorado Republicans since they were handed the seat by outgoing Rep. Steve Lebsock–who switched to the GOP as a parting shot to Democrats after being expelled from the House for his unrepentant sexual harassment. Lebsock’s GOP-appointed replacement Rep. Alexander “Skinhead” Winkler served one of the shortest terms in state legislative history before losing the seat by a wide margin in 2018 to the current incumbent Rep. Kyle Mullica. Mullica, who distinguished himself in his first term fighting to improve Colorado’s dismal child vaccination rate against thoroughly unhinged opposition, was in a good position to hold this district for Democrats comfortably going into November of 2020.

With Republicans now fleeing their own nominee, the anti-vaxxers are going to be sorely disappointed.

Believe It Or Not, Stuff Happened Before Trump was President

As The New York Times reports, Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden is pushing a new slogan intended to encourage voters to “Buy American”:

Joseph R. Biden Jr. will lay out a populist economic vision to revive and reinvest in American manufacturing on Thursday, calling for major new spending and stricter new rules to “Buy American” as part of an effort to more aggressively challenge President Trump on two of his signature issues: the economy and nationalism.

In a speech in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, Mr. Biden is expected to slash at Mr. Trump management of the economy while framing his own economic agenda around the campaign’s new tagline of “Build Back Better.”

Mr. Biden is expected to say his plans would leverage trade, tax and investment policy to spur domestic innovation, reduce the reliance on foreign manufacturing and create five million additional American manufacturing and innovation jobs, according to a preview outlined by senior campaign officials.

This news has aggravated some Republicans who were of the belief that President Trump was the first person ever to think of promoting American-made products. Here’s a “hot take” from Kristi Burton Brown, “Personhood” genius, Vice-Chair of the Colorado Republican Party and now “lead policy adviser” for Republican Congressional candidate Lauren “Yosemite Samantha” Boebert:

Donald Trump invented “Buy American” in the same way that Ivanka Trump was personally responsible for creating 10% of all American jobs.

The “Buy American Act,” which required the U.S. government to prioritize purchasing U.S.-made products, was approved by Congress in 1933. More recently, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — a stimulus package passed by Congress in response to the Great Recession — included a separate “Buy American” provision. Congressional Republicans even tried to get then-President Obama to roll back the “Buy American” section because of concerns that it was slowing down the progress of recovery programs.

Former President Ronald Reagan was criticized for his protectionist trade policies in the 1980s, as was his successor, George H.W. Bush. Former President George W. Bush encouraged the “Buy American” idea in his 2006 State of the Union speech. Former President Bill Clinton wrote an entire chapter about the importance of buying American goods in a book published in 2011.

We’d mention Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, but you get the idea.

At Least They’re Not Your COVID-Carrying Lawmakers

UPDATE: Since we’re on the topic of #COVIDiots, it’s worth noting that President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is going back to prison because he’s an absolute moron. From NBC New York:

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney later jailed for fraud, has been taken back into federal custody after allegedly violating the terms of his COVID-related release, his attorney said Thursday.

Earlier this month, Cohen was captured in photos by the New York Post dining out at a Manhattan restaurant.

Cohen’s attorney told NBC News that those photos may have prompted his return to custody.

——-

Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn of Mississippi

In another edition of our long-running series, “At Least They’re Not Your Legislator,” we take you to Mississippi, where a bunch of state lawmakers who refused to wear masks have learned the hard way that the coronavirus doesn’t care about your political statements.

As The Clarion Ledger reports:

Gov. Tate Reeves is warning the public to get tested for coronavirus if they have been in contact with a state lawmaker.

The number of coronavirus cases linked to an outbreak at the Capitol has grown to 36, which includes 26 legislators, according to the state’s top health official.

Many politicians flouted recommendations to wear a mask inside the Capitol in recent weeks. Now, about one in six of Mississippi state lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus [Pols emphasis]

…The leaders of both chambers — Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann — have tested positive for coronavirus. On Wednesday, the Enterprise Journal reported that Rep. Sam Mims, R-McComb, had tested positive for coronavirus. Mims chairs the House Public Health Committee.

Wearing a mask isn’t just about protecting others; new research shows that wearing a mask in public can reduce YOUR risk of contacting the coronavirus by as much as 65%.

Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks despite working indoors in close proximity to others ended up becoming the latest example of why wearing masks is so critical to combating COVID-19.

Funny how that works.

Dudley Brown’s Downfall Sidesteps Bigger GOP Dilemma

Dudley Brown.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday Open Thread

“True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve of virtue and reason.”

–Alfred North Whitehead

Why Hickenlooper Beat Romanoff

John Hickenlooper, Andrew Romanoff.

A few days after the 2010 U.S. Senate Primary Election, in which Sen. Michael Bennet defeated challenger Andrew Romanoff by 8 points, we took a long look at how and why Bennet emerged victorious despite not being particularly well-known among Colorado Democrats. Most of what we wrote on August 13, 2010 holds up remarkably well in comparison to the 2020 Democratic Senate Primary race between Romanoff and former Gov. John Hickenlooper, which Hickenlooper won by about 18 points.

Ten years ago, we cited four main reasons as to why Bennet beat Romanoff: 1) Ballot chasing, 2) Messaging, 3) Romanoff getting mired in details, and 4) Fundraising. The 2020 election is not an apples-to-apples comparison, of course, but the point here is that Romanoff made many of the same mistakes he made in 2010. Ballot chasing was less relevant in 2020 because of campaigning restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that Colorado is now an all-mail ballot state. The other three points are all pretty similar when you look at the two Senate Primary races. With that in mind, we’ll drop the first item from 2010 and add a different explanation:

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World, Meet Lauren Boebert–But Don’t Eat The Sliders

CD-3 GOP nominee Lauren Boebert.

Lauren Boebert, the novice political candidate out of Rifle who pole-vaulted to the national spotlight after dispatching 5-term incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton in the Colorado CD-3 Republican primary, is now getting the kind of scrutiny that congressional major-party nominees should always get.

And as the Daily Beast’s lede makes painfully clear today, it’s not going well:

In 2017, a Colorado restaurant’s tainted pork sliders poisoned dozens of attendees at a local rodeo, who came down with symptoms ranging from nausea to bloody diarrhea. Now the restaurant’s proprietor is running for Congress on her small-business-owner credentials…

The county health office began investigating, and quickly discovered that the event had been catered by “an unlicensed temporary retail food establishment associated with Shooters Grill.” The meat served there “was smoked at Smokehouse 1776, a retail food establishment located in downtown Rifle, Colorado across the street from Shooters Grill and owned by the same person.”

The main culprit was found to be the pork sliders, and those who ate them reported symptoms including bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and chills. Health authorities determined that the tainted pork was caused by “improper food safety practices of the unlicensed food providers.”

We took passing note back in May during Boebert’s battle to prematurely reopen the “COVID Cafe” of the reports back in 2017 that Boebert’s restaurant had sickened dozens of customers at a local rodeo where they were providing unlicensed food service. The prevalent local rumor was that some 80 people were afflicted with “Boebert’s Revenge,” also known as Clostridium perfringens, which causes a generally brief but exceedingly unpleasant condition readers know by such colloquial names as the “backdoor trots” or “Hershey squirts.”

Boebert herself denies the number of infected patrons was anywhere near that many, but we tend to think if you’re a restauranteur explaining exactly how many customers actually tested positive for Clostridium or not, you’re losing.

It’s just the tip of the iceberg, we’re told, for an unprepared candidate dreadfully out of her depth–but now that she’s the nominee in a district full of Republican voters no one can ignore, she’s sharing the stage with the biggest names in Colorado Republican politics. As was the scene yesterday in Fruita when Sen. Cory Gardner came calling for an obligatory photo-op with Colorado’s newest GOP luminary:

The time has come, for good or ill, for Republicans to pose like a team!

But everybody is responsible for their own meals.

Hickenlooper or Gardner?

Sen. Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper

We regularly offer up completely non-scientific polls here on Colorado Pols, and our wise readers are often pretty accurate in their estimations. Don’t believe us? Check out the results of last week’s poll on the predicted outcome of the Democratic Senate Primary.

Now that the 2020 Primary Election is in the books, it’s time to look ahead to November. Who is going to win Colorado’s marquee race? Senator Cory Gardner or former Governor John Hickenlooper?

As always, we want to know what you think will happen here — not what you want to happen or who you personally might support. If you had to place a bet — right now — on one of the following options, what would you select?

Click after the jump to cast your vote…

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 8)

Happy birthday to retired Chinese basketball player Wang Zhizhi! Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► The United States has surpassed 3 million coronavirus cases.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling today that will finally make right-wing Republicans happy. From The Washington Post:

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration may allow employers and universities to opt out of the Affordable Care Act requirement to provide contraceptive care because of religious or moral objections.

The issue has been at the heart of an intense legal battle for nine years, first with the Obama administration sparring with religious organizations who said offering contraceptive care to their employees violated their beliefs, and then with the Trump administration broadening the exemption, angering women’s groups, health organizations and Democratic-led states.

Wednesday’s decision greatly expands the ability of employers to claim the exemption, and the government estimates that it could mean that 70,000 to 126,000 women could lose access to cost-free birth control.

And the Trump campaign wonders why female voters are abandoning him in droves.

There should be another big Supreme Court announcement on Thursday — whether or not congressional committees and a New York prosecutor should be allowed to see Trump’s personal financial records.

 

► President Trump says that any hesitancy to re-open schools in the fall is about trying to make him look bad, or something. Now he’s threatening to cut off federal aid for school districts that don’t just open up regardless of the health risks. Chris Cillizza of CNN thinks this is a bad move for Trump:

Via CNN (7/8/20)

“We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons,” said Trump. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way. So we’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open.”

The “why” here is simple: Trump’s poll numbers — and chances at winning a second term this fall — have taken a huge hit as the country has turned on how the President and his administration have handled the ongoing pandemic. (Trump’s job approval was at just 38% in a new Gallup poll released earlier this week.) He desperately wants to kickstart the economy and needs people to feel as though they are returning to “normal,” and getting kids back to school is, he believes, one of the best ways to do just that.

The problem is that Trump is so focused on his political imperatives that he is losing sight of the bigger picture here: Forcing — or pressuring — schools to fully reopen will jeopardize the health of teachers and could well boomerang back on him from both a public health and political perspective.

Attempting to “force” schools to open could have a cascading effect that ends up “forcing” schools to close altogether:

…if a USA Today/Ipsos poll conducted in May is any indication, plenty of teachers will walk away from the profession rather than risk their health. That survey showed that 1 in 5 teachers said they would not return to the classroom if schools reopened in the fall, a number that could well cripple any attempts to reopen schools anyway.

The reality is that school opening decisions are made by governors and local officials, not the President of the United States. And, even if schools do reopen, it’s not at all clear that enough teachers will show up to make it feasible.

Earlier this week, Florida’s Education Commissioner announced that he would require all schools to be open for in-person learning five days a week.

 

Sticking with the subject of education, international students in Colorado are facing more questions than answers about resuming classes in the fall. From The Denver Post:

International students at Colorado universities are worried about their educational futures following a new directive from federal immigration officials that would require them to change schools or leave the country should their institution revert to full online learning this fall.

The new guidance is meant to encourage schools that closed their campuses and moved online due to the pandemic to physically reopen, Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a CNN interview Tuesday.

“If they don’t reopen this semester, there isn’t a reason for a person holding a student visa to be present in the country,” Cuccinelli said. “They should go home, and they can return when the school reopens.”

Tanya Roussy, a University of Colorado Boulder graduate student from Canada who is researching physics, said Tuesday that she felt it was “pretty clear with this government that cruelty is the point.”

 

You’re going to be reading a lot about businesses that received PPP loans from the federal government now that data has been made public. The list of businesses that received loans of at least $1 million is…frustrating.

Irony? Yeah, there’s that, too.

 

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

 

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Casper Stockham’s “Mask Burning Challenge”–Yes, Really

Republican perennial congressional candidate Casper Stockham, presently serving as the GOP’s sacrificial lamb running against longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. Ed Perlmutter in suburban CD-7–not least for the paycheck he’s allowed to draw from his campaign contributions–has found his gimmick for 2020!

The “Mask Burning Challenge.” It’s just what it sounds like. Find a face mask, and instead of putting it on your face like the Deep State tells you to, burn that sucker! Paper or natural mask fibers are recommended for this demonstration of personal liberty, unless you like huffing plastic fumes. Some receptive to this message may be into that, it’s true.

And above all, pics or it didn’t happen freedom fighters:

Move over, Tide Pods! This is the now dumbest “challenge” on the internet.

As everyone even casually familiar with Casper Stockham knows, this over-the-top ridiculousness isn’t about going to Congress. Casper Stockham is never going to Congress. In fact, if Casper Stockham were to ever find himself with a serious chance of going to Congress, Republicans would intervene to stop it from happening.

But as was once famously said on the Titanic, we believe you may get your headlines Mr. Stockham.

They won’t be good headlines, but Stockham won’t know the difference.