War on….Thread

(We love newspaper comments – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

From the Sentinel comments…Women are to blame for all that sexy sex stuff, we men cannot help ourselves…
 
By Jerry Sanders - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Say Henry. “Reproductive freedom” is not health care. Laws be damned. She makes that choice of “freedom” whenever she takes her clothes off.

Its FDR's fault that some cop shot an unarmed black man 6 times from a distance after he was surrendering.

Somehow it all goes back to Obama (not a 'real American') and his War on Coal.  Discuss.

 

Steyer Money Swings Into Action Against Gardner

Tom Steyer.

Tom Steyer.

​FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

NextGen Climate Colorado, the group founded and funded by San Francisco billionaire and climate change activist Tom Steyer, is hitting Colorado’s airwaves for the first time Tuesday with a new TV ad attacking GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner…

The spot taking aim at Gardner, R-Yuma, features a number of people shutting doors and drawing down window-shades; the message to Gardner: “Keep out.”

“He thinks he knows better than the scientists, NASA and the U.S. military on climate change,” a female narrator says over sinister images of a window being closed and a door being pulled shut.

On the screen, text reads: “Denies the science of climate change.”

But the narrator moves right on to highlight a number of other issues: Gardner’s opposition to same-sex marriage and his support for personhood and additional legislation to restrict access to birth control.

As promised, billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer is wading into the Colorado U.S. Senate race to support a conservation minded incumbent Democrat against a GOP challenger who has publicly expressed doubt about humanity's role in global climate change. It's a good hit on Cory Gardner, with polling on the issue showing his climate change skepticism to be a minority view. But having made the decision to target Gardner because of his views on climate change, as you can see, Steyer's group has a broad menu of hits to attack Gardner with.

Does Steyer's investment in Colorado's U.S. Senate race make a hypocrite of Democrats who attack Republican out-of-state funders like the Koch brothers? Maybe a little, although Democrats will argue a, you know, qualitative difference on the issues.

Pragmatic Democrats may be more inclined to shut up about the Kochs until November and let fire fight fire.

Laura Woods’ Donors Get to Pay for Tickets and Fines

Republican Laura Waters Woods is challenging Democratic Sen. Rachel Zenzinger in one of the most competitive State Senate districts in Colorado (SD-19, Arvada). Woods is going to need every penny she can raise in order to win a seat that has been held by Democrats for more than a decade…so it's probably not a good idea for her to be spending campaign resources to pay off parking fines and other late fees.

Check out this screenshot from her most recent campaign finance report:

Laura Woods Expenditures

Donate now so that Laura Waters Woods can pay for parking tickets!

There is nothing illegal about using campaign funds to pay for things like parking tickets and late-filing fees, but this is pretty unusual — and not very smart.

Tim Neville Could (Still) Be in Serious Trouble

Neville-FundraisingPage2

See the option for “contribute anonymously” on Neville’s fundly page? Yeah, you can’t do that.

UPDATE (8/19/14): According to a second letter sent to Tim Neville from Christopher O'Dell, questions remain as to what happened with all of the "anonymous" donors that appeared on his campaign website. Neville responded to the initial letter with a short email explaining that these anonymous donations were indeed accounted for in his campaign finance reports, but Neville has yet to get into detail about the more than 50 anonymous donations that had appeared on his Fundly.com campaign website.

—–

As Eli Stokols reports for Fox 31:

Tim Neville, a Republican running for a Jefferson County state senate that could determine which party controls the chamber next year, has been accused of violating Colorado’s campaign finance laws — by a fellow Republican.

Christopher O’Dell, a former Jefferson County GOP chairman, sent Neville a letter Monday asking him to explain apparent violations of campaign finance laws allowing for anonymous contributions of no more than $20 and individual contributions of no more than $400.

According to fundraising information linked publicly on Neville’s own campaign website, Neville has received around a dozen anonymous contributions exceeding the $20 limit, including one as large as $400.

Neville, who was appointed to fill the vacant District 22 seat in 2011 only to see his seat disappear during reapportionment in 2012 when he was drawn into S.D. 16, also appears to have received at least three contributions from individuals that exceed the $400 limit.

Campaign finance violations are, unfortunately, an all too-common occurence in Colorado politics, but there are two pieces to this story that could make Neville's troubles particularly concerning.

Neville is the Republican candidate in SD-16, challenging Democratiic Sen. Jeanne Nicholson in what we've said before is likely to be the single most competitive State Senate race in 2014. That means that Democrats have every incentive to pursue these violations as far as possible. This leads us to the second major problem for Neville — the more you follow this rabbit down the hole, the more curious it gets.

(more…)

33 Consecutive Months Of Job Growth In Colorado

3d graph arrow blue

As the Denver Post's Howard Pankratz reports, what may be the worst possible news for GOP  political campaign messaging is great news for the rest of us:

Colorado logged its 33rd consecutive month of job growth in July and unemployment dipped to 5.3 percent, the ninth-lowest rate in the country.

The state last hit 5.3 percent unemployment in October 2008.

In June, the state unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. Since then, Colorado has added 5,500 non-farm payroll jobs, raising the total to nearly 2.5 million jobs, the fifth-fastest job increase in the United States.

"Employment gains and the improving labor market are pretty widespread across the state," said Alexandra Hall, chief economist for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Politically, there's very little for detractors to carp about in these latest numbers: the unemployment rate fell not due to workers leaving the workforce or government job growth, but thousands of honest-to-Pete private sector jobs being created in Colorado.

Despite all of the day-to-day message battles between Republican and Democratic campaigns and surrogate spin doctors, it remains a truism in politics that a good economy gives incumbents a big advantage in any election. Voters reliably punish incumbents when they feel uneasy about their own economic prospects, and reward incumbents when they feel positive. This is a big reason why, in the present economic climate of not just recovery but real bullishness beginning to peek its head out, Republicans hoping to oust Democrats both in Colorado and nationally cannot acknowledge that the economy is doing well. To do so, as we've discussed previously, would be to admit the inadmissible: that Obamacare hasn't wrecked the economy as Republicans not only predicted beforehand, but insisted has happened in the months since the law took effect.

And if Obamacare didn't destroy the economy, a whole lot of other things descending from that aren't true either. Very quickly, a small admission like "yes, the economy is getting better" could lead to major troubles for the GOP's whole ideological edifice.

Bottom line: one of the biggest dangers Republicans face today is this simple news report being broadly understood by the voters: who then hear the words "the economy is a disaster" from a GOP politician, and realize it isn't true. If Republicans lose control of this narrative, and economic bullishness becomes a prevalent mindset before November, it will severely weaken their case for undecided votes.

In the meantime, we'll say it gladly: congratulations to the thousands of Coloradans headed back to work.

Hey Bill Maher, Colorado Needs You

(Mike Coffman is not likely to agree – promoted by Colorado Pols)

We need your help with this one. I know, I know. We ask you to sign a lot of petitions. If you haven’t signed one in a while, please take a moment right now to sign this one.

Have you heard about this #FlipADistrict thing HBO’s Bill Maher is doing on his show? He’s asking folks to help him pick a truly terrible member of Congress, and then he’ll spend the next few months shining a national spotlight on the selected “loser of a Congressman”. The goal is to flip the district to someone better.

Well, Bill Maher has narrowed the #FlipADistrict field down to his final four. And Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District made the cut!

(more…)

Gardner Gets Hammered for Hiding Details on Insurance

GardnerLetter-Cong

Rep. Cory Gardner waving his healthcare “cancellation” letter during a Congressional hearing last fall.

Republican Congressman Cory Gardner has been peddling a story about his family's insurance coverage and the horrors caused by Obamacare for some time now — but the opaque nature of his argument is coming under increasing scrutiny from the media.

In Gardner's latest television ad, the GOP Senate candidate again tells the tale of his family's insurance plan being cancelled as part of the Affordable Care Act. But in a new "Truth Test" from 9News reporter Brandon Rittiman, Gardner's campaign fails miserably when pressed for details:

Gardner released his cancellation letter, from Rocky Mountain Health Plans, but took out all the details about his old plan.

The Gardner campaign denied repeated requests for details about the coverage that Gardner and his family had under the plan that was canceled, saying only that it came with a premium of $651.75. [Pols emphasis]

The campaign declined to provide evidence of the previous price or any details about the level of coverage and deductibles under the prior plan.

The cheapest new alternative listed in the cancellation notice was a "bronze" plan listed at a premium of $1246.90.

Even if Gardner's old cheaper plan was meager in its coverage, Gardner would have a legitimate policy argument to make by saying he shouldn't be required to buy a better plan than he had before.

However, if he's going to use his personal healthcare story as part of the political debate, it would be better to have the full context.

Rittiman isn't the first to scratch his head at Gardner's insurance claims, but what is interesting to note in this "Truth Test" is the increasingly aggressive line of questioning leveled at Gardner's campaign — and the consistent refusal to provide requested information. Gardner has repeatedly claimed that hundreds of thousands of Coloradans saw their health care plans cancelled because of Obamacare — a talking point that has long ago been proved false — but reporters are increasingly turning their attention to the rest of the story.

You can read between the lines here as Rittiman concludes his "Truth Test":

Like ads before it, this one references real issues with Obamacare.

But when you get the full story, it doesn't sound as bad as the Gardner campaign would like it to.

As for the congressman's personal story, you should take it with a grain of salt because we don't have all the details. [Pols emphasis]

Remember, folks, that the letter Gardner consistently discusses is actually addressed to his wife — and we only know that because Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols kept asking him until he revealed the contents. From a Fox 31 story last fall:

Later that same day, Gardner appeared on CNN’s Crossfire and told the exact same story.

Since then, FOX31 Denver has asked Gardner to provide a copy of the letter or to provide additional details about the policies.

Five times.

After our story aired on Good Day Colorado Friday morning, Gardner released a copy of the letter with some information redacted, that he says his family received.

The bottom line here is really quite simple: If Gardner's personal health care sob story is free of holes, as he claims, then why not just turn over the proof to a reporter and end this line of questioning once and for all?

The truth is rarely this complicated.

Gardner demanded defunding Obamacare to avoid government shutdown

(So much for that – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

The Associated Press' Nicholas Riccardi reported Aug. 15 that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner's spokesman, Alex Siciliano, "noted that, before the shutdown, Gardner had warned against requiring Democrats to defund the Affordable Care Act as a requirement for keeping government open."

Maybe Siciliano doesn't listen to Gardner much on talk radio. Maybe he's too busy talking to reporters on behalf of his boss.

But when I read Riccardi's piece, I recalled hearing Gardner advocate for, as opposed to against, demanding Dems defund Obamacare or face a government shutdown.

On August 1, 2013, two months before the government shutdown, Gardner told KOA’s Mike Rosen:

Rosen: “Perhaps we can talk about some other items on the agenda, such as the current dispute, even with the Republican Party, about whether Republicans, who have a majority in the House, ought to take a stand now, as the continuing resolution question comes up, take a stand on Obamacare, and refuse to fund it, while at the same time, agreeing with a continuing resolution that would allow the rest of the federal government to operate. Have you got a position on that?

Gardner: I want to do anything and everything I can to stop Obamacare from destroying our health care, from driving up increases in costs. Whether that’s through the continuing resolution, I want to defund everything that we can….

Rosen: There’s a political concern that if the Republicans stand their ground on this [repealing Obamacare], they are going to be blamed for shutting down the government.

Gardner: Well, I think if the government gets shut down, it’s going to be the President’s decision to do so. I believe that we don’t need to shut down the government because we ought to just lift this health-care bill out of the way and let America work. [BigMedia emphasis]

If that's a warning "against requiring Democrats to defund the Affordable Care Act as a requirement for keeping government open," then mushrooms aren't popping up in our mountains right now (and they are).

Next time Gardner's Siciliano tells me something, if I'm a reporter, I think I go the extra mile to make sure it's accurate.

GOP’s Breakdown In Jeffco Increasingly Evident

Beneath the election season bravado.

Beneath the election season bravado.

Vic Vela of Colorado Community Media has an excellent summary of the state of play in Jefferson County legislative races, where Republicans hungry for a win in 2014 have been dealt a major setback via bungled candidate recruitment and insurgent hard-right primary wins. It's a story we've been talking about here for some months now, but as the primary winners for the Republican Party start campaigning for the general election, the problems facing Jefferson County Republicans are increasingly undeniable to even the fairest-minded of journalists:

A Senate seat win in Jeffco in November could flip party control in that chamber. String together a couple of victories in Jeffco House races and things get interesting there.

So why then, with so much on the line, have Republican candidates in Jefferson County been making news of late for all the wrong reasons?

Since June, three Jeffco Republican candidates seeking House and Senate seats have been accused of violating campaign finance disclosure laws — though the allegations at this point are unproven.

Meanwhile, another candidate in a House race has been tangled in a court battle over whether she's even going to be allowed on the November ballot — and that's after the previous Republican hopeful in that district withdrew his candidacy after his ties to white supremacism became known.

And political analysts have wondered since June whether Jefferson County primary voters were wise to pick candidates who might be too conservative to win Senate races in districts that are evenly split in party registration numbers.

Vela touches on a number of Jefferson County races where extremist candidates, unqualified candidates, and late replacement candidates trying to salvage the situation have hobbled Republicans out of the gate. There's HD-29, where Republican Robert Ramirez pulled out of the race at the last minute to be replaced by hard-right movie theater owner Susan Kochevar. In HD-23, where Republicans are still reeling from white supremacist Nate Marshall's aborted candidacy. And of course Republican Senate nominees Laura Waters Woods and Tony Sanchez, both distantly to the right of the mainstream in their swing districts after Rocky Mountain Gun Owners' support helped them defeat more electable contenders.

Right now, the bravado from Colorado Republicans as election season approaches is perhaps at the highest level we've seen at any point since Democrats took control of the state legislature in Colorado almost ten years ago. At the same time, even GOP stalwarts like former GOP chairman Dick Wadhams have flatly stated that candidates like Woods and Sanchez cannot win in competitive Jefferson County. The victory of RMGO's favored hard-right favorites could well result in a terrible disappointment for Republicans on Election Night as winnable races slip from their grasp. And the real twist? The "momentum" claimed by Republicans in state legislative races today is in large part due to gun rights hysteria whipped up by RMGO!

Either way, folks, the GOP is dancing with the ones that brung 'em. So there's not much to pity.

Pardon the Mess: Denial of Service Attack on Colorado Pols

A quick note to apologize again for downtime this morning–a very large amount of traffic swamped the site moments ago, forcing our system administrations to block all access to our database. Some users received a "site suspended" message as a result of the temporary blocking of database access calls.

Our hosting company is presently working to determine the origin of this large spurt of traffic, but it appears consistent initially with what's known in the industry as a "denial of service" attack–an attack where web servers are flooded with bogus requests to deny access to legitimate users. Such attacks can be difficult to precisely determine based on their distributed nature, often taking advantage of thousands of infected computers to flood servers–which looks maddeningly similar to normal web traffic. Regardless of what you might call this, we understand from our hosts that this is almost certainly intentional.

We've been working to manage trouble that crops up from time to time with our WordPress installation, but by all accounts this appears to be different, so we're taking the unusual step of letting people know what happened. Should it recur, or become a major ongoing problem for us, it's possible there is a…nontechnical aspect to what's happening. We don't know that yet, but if we find out that's what's happening, we'll be a lot more vocal.

In the meantime, carry on.

Democrats To Bob Beauprez: Ditch Rick Perry’s Endorsement

Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

​New Democratic-aligned message group Making Colorado Great, which is focused on the gubernatorial race this year, put out a release this morning calling on GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez to renounce his recent endorsement by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Perry, as you may have heard, was indicted last week on felony charges relating to alleged abuse of power. Excerpt from today's release:

"We call on Beauprez to immediately renounce his endorsement by indicted Texas Governor Rick Perry," stated Michael Huttner, spokesman for Making Colorado Great.

Perry, who was indicted on two felony counts of abuse of power last Friday, endorsed Bob Beauprez during the Republican primary on May 20, 2014.

Bob Beauprez continues to tout Perry's endorsement -– even more than that of Mitt Romney–on his official campaign website.

On his official campaign website Beauprez states he is "proud to receive the endorsement of conservative Governor Rick Perry this morning…Rick Perry is a good man and an outstanding Governor."

Beauprez isn't the only Colorado Republican candidate with Rick Perry baggage in tow: Rep. Mike Coffman was an early endorser and state chair of Perry's train wreck 2012 presidential campaign. The charges against Perry stem from actions he took against a district attorney whose office oversees the state of Texas' Public Integrity Unit–the office responsible for policing public corruption, and due to its location generally controlled by Democrats. Perry vetoed the funding for the public corruption unit after the DA in question pled guilty to a DUI. As of now, Perry's Republican allies are staunchly defending him–but depending on how only the second indictment of a Texas governor in 100 years unfolds, Perry could become a problematic association for any Colorado Republicans who have invoked his name.

Factcheck.org: Gardner’s Personhood Distinction Is BS

As the debate has continued over GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner's abandonment of the Colorado "Personhood" abortion ban initiatives, the can of worms he opened attempted to put this issue to bed before election season has become increasingly evident. Instead of ending questions about his longstanding support for Personhood, which in addition to banning all abortion even in case of rape or incest could also outlaw certain forms of "abortifacient" birth control, Gardner's disavowal of the Colorado Personhood measure has led to a damaging and protracted look at the underlying details of the issue in the press.

In particular, Gardner's continued sponsorship of the federal Life at Conception Act, which contains the same essential language as the state Personhood measure granting a fetus rights "from the moment of fertilization," has opened Gardner to accusations of outright deception. If he still supports the federal equivalent of Personhood, plainly his claims to have "rethought" the matter are fictional–an attempt to, as Republican strategist Katy Aktinson cynically admitted, "muddy [the issue] up enough to take it away" from opponent Mark Udall. The much more straightforward reason, as Democrats alleged from the beginning, is that Gardner realized his support for Personhood is a fatal liability in his statewide U.S. Senate race.

In response to ongoing questions about this, Gardner campaign has told the press that there is a difference between the federal Life at Conception Act and the Colorado Personhood ballot measures:

"The federal proposal in question simply states that life begins at conception, as most pro-life Americans believe, with no change to contraception laws as Senator Udall falsely alleges," [Gardner spokesman Alex] Siciliano said.

Cory Gardner's Personhood twist

You'll recall that we and others immediately questioned this statement–the language in the federal Life at Conception Act and Colorado's Personhood intiatives that could outlaw so-called "abortifacient" birth control are in fact functionally identical, and there is nothing in the Life at Conception Act Gardner remains a sponsor of that prevents it from having the same effect. News stories at first accepted Team Gardner's statement at face value, but slowly we began to see in the reporting that journalists were aware of the discrepancy.

Yesterday, the Annenberg Public Policy Center's Factcheck.org settled the question: Team Gardner is full of bull.

Gardner announced his change of position eight months after he had signed on as a co-sponsor to the federal “Life at Conception Act,” which would extend “equal protection for the right to life” under the 14th amendment to the “preborn” from the “moment of fertilization.” That language — giving the rights of a person to the fertilized egg — is exactly what raises the question of what such a measure would mean for some forms of birth control. Yet Gardner’s campaign told us he was not withdrawing his support for the federal legislation. Spokesman Alex Siciliano told us by email: “The federal proposal in question simply states that life begins at conception, as most pro-life Americans believe, with no change to contraception laws.”

We don’t see how the Colorado initiative and the federal bill, which supporters in Congress describe as a “personhood” measure, are different on this point. [Pols emphasis] And neither does one of the groups supporting the state initiative. Jennifer Mason, a spokeswoman for the Yes on Amendment 67 Campaign, which supports the ballot measure, told Colorado public radio station KUNC: “Obviously [Gardner's] a victim of some bad political advice, there’s no reason for him to pull local support while he’s still 100 percent behind the federal amendment. It doesn’t make any sense.”

We agree. And we didn’t receive any further explanation from the Gardner campaign on the contradiction. We asked Nash at the Guttmacher Institute if there was something in the federal bill that would preclude the concerns over birth control, but Nash agreed that the “moment of fertilization” language was the reason these types of proposals had the potential to prohibit access to hormonal forms of birth control. [Pols emphasis]

In other words, exactly what we said all along.

It's not like this is a hard conclusion to reach: both Personhood and the Life and Conception Act are extremely short–a sentence or two at most in all their various iterations. Honestly, we have no idea what the Gardner campaign was thinking throwing out this nonexistent distinction. It was really easy to see that it's false. The elementary critical thinking required to see that Colorado's Personhood ballot measures are a threat to "abortifacient" birth control is no more difficult in the case of the Life at Conception Act.

Hopefully, this puts an end to the maddening up-to-now acceptance without question of Gardner's bogus defense we've seen from reporters either too busy or too lazy to rebut a plainly false statement. There's nothing unfair about checking to make sure the assertion you are reprinting is factually correct–or at least factually defensible. This bogus claim, very important to Gardner's credibility on a key issue, is neither.