Thursday Open Thread

“In the face of an obstacle which is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid.”

–Simone de Beauvoir

Has Coffman become less hostile to LGBT people? Or Just his website?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman has purged his official website of an article showing his support of the anti-LGBT “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” policy, which allowed gays to serve in the military only if they kept their sexual orientation secret.

At least until June 14, Coffman’s “Media Center” section of his website displayed a Feb. 3, 2010, USA Today opinion column by Coffman titled, “Don’t Interject Sexuality.”  You can see the page cached on Google here.

Just as Coffman once scrubbed “comprehensive immigration reform” from a portion of his website, the don’t-ask-don’t-tell article is now gone from the Congressman’s site, even though other opinion articles by Coffman remain there from as far back as 2009.

Coffman’s article stated:

The determination to accomplish the mission, along with the will to survive, welded the unit into an effective ground combat team: An interdependent bond was formed between each and every Marine in the unit.

That strong interdependent bond held our ground combat team together and made us into an effective fighting unit. The bond was founded upon a mutual trust: Although each Marine could be singled out for a task that could put his life at risk, Marines would always have the confidence that the orders given to them on the battlefield were never tainted by any emotional bias.

U.S. Marine Corps ground combat teams are composed of men only. Interjecting sexuality into a ground combat team potentially creates an emotional divide between Marines that undermines confidence and prevents that interdependent bond from forming, ultimately compromising the combat effectiveness of the unit.

We need a very deliberative and reasoned approach before considering a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a proven policy that has served the military and the nation well since 1993.

It’s unclear whether the scrubbing of this article means Coffman has changed his position in support of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which is discriminatory and has been repealed.

If he’s changed his position, why? Maybe Coffman’s office, which doesn’t respond to me, will return another reporter’s call to explain.

And while he’s at it, maybe he’ll also explain why he no longer favors banning all abortion, even for rape and incest. As far as I can tell, reporters have yet to ask for details on why he abandoned this position.

No Soup For You! No Money for Colorado GOP from Trump Event

Where are those babies?

Where are those babies?

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman has some fascinating details on Donald Trump’s planned visit to Colorado Springs on Friday. It seems that the Colorado Republican Party is still on Trump’s shit list:

Ticket prices range from $2,700 per person for the reception alone to $10,000 per couple for the reception and a photograph with Trump and $25,000 per couple for the reception, a photograph and what is described as a “VIP meeting” with the candidate.

Local consultants the Starboard Group are handling the arrangements for the fundraiser.

According to the invitation, the state Republican parties sharing in the proceeds are: Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

A spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party said the state GOP wasn’t a part of the joint fundraising operation due to “technical reasons” and suggested asking the RNC for an explanation. A spokeswoman for the RNC didn’t respond to an inquiry from The Statesman. [Pols emphasis]

Apparently there are still some hard feelings left over from that #NeverTrump movement that was coordinated in no way associated with the Colorado Republican Party. Also, there was that delegate sweep for Ted Cruz.

Luning also points out that Friday’s event in Colorado Springs appears to be intended as a sort of middle finger to the Koch Brothers, who are holding one of their super-secret donor meetings at the Broadmoor this weekend (and totally didn’t invite Trump).

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 27)

Get More SmarterIn two more days, there will be just 100 more until Election Day. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► History was made — again — in Philadelphia on Tuesday when Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman in American history to capture a major party nomination for President.

Day Two of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) also involved a Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton delivered a powerful speech intended to help humanize his wife, Hillary. For more DNC coverage from Tuesday, check out winners and losers from “The Fix.” Or check out this story for more on how Colorado supporters of Bernie Sanders are encouraging their brethren to come together for Hillary Clinton.

 

► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump publicly called on Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails in attempts to expose negative information about the Democratic Presidential nominee.

Let’s say that one more time: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump publicly called on Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails…

 

► Colorado Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn is getting a firsthand look at one of the oldest lines in politics: The cover-up is (almost) always worse than the crime. Glenn is defending his own remarks to reporters that an old altercation with his father — dating to 1983 — may have involved someone else named Darryl Glenn. A different Darryl Glenn who somehow ended up with the same social security number as the Republican nominee for Senate. Seriously.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Where Does Michael Bennet Stand On the Issues?

Wow!  I can’t believe that Michael Bennet would say these things.

Here are some of the issues I’ll fight for as your Colorado U.S. Senator

• End endless wars

• Adopt single payer national health insurance

• Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget

• No to nuclear power, solar energy first

• Aggressive crackdown on corporate crime and corporate welfare

• Open up the Presidential debates

• Adopt a carbon pollution tax

• Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East

• Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law

• Adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax

• Put an end to ballot access obstructionism designed by elites to exclude people and control election outcomes

• Work to end corporate personhood

• Defend, Restore and Strengthen the Civil Justice System

• Increase minimum wage to $15 an hour

• Make college free

• Equal pay for women

• Pathway to citizenship

• End foreign aid to countries except for humanitarian crisis

• Abolish nuclear weapons

• Ban on fracking

• Vote against the Trans Pacific Partnership

• Get America off fossil fuel by 2050 and make the Paris Summit COP21 agreement binding

• Reject Super PAC, Corporation and special interest funds

Tax Reform Issues:

• Enforcing stiffer penalties for offending institutions, including revoking the corporate charters of accounting and law firms and banks that facilitate the hiding of global wealth;

• Crack down on U.S. jurisdictions like Delaware, Wyoming and Nevada whose laws allow shell corporations to hold and transfer wealth anonymously;

• Creating an independent global commission on tax dodging that has the subpoena power to investigate and bring transparency to this global shadow banking system;

• And institute a global tax on all earnings by US-based multinational corporations.

Aw, shucks!!  I was mistaken.  Michael Bennet didn’t say these things.  Arn Menconi, the Green Party candidate for Colorado Senate did.  Who knew?!!!

So, Um, Trump Wants Russia to Help Him Become President

trumpburnThere’s really no other way to put this: Donald Trump is actively encouraging Russia to help him defeat Hillary Clinton for President. From the New York Times:

Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially encouraging an adversarial foreign power’s cyberspying on a secretary of state’s correspondence.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Mr. Trump’s call was an extraordinary moment at a time when Russia is being accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election. His comments came amid questions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, which researchers have concluded was likely the work of two Russian intelligence agencies. [Pols emphasis]

Later in the news conference, when asked if he was really urging a foreign nation to hack into the private email server of Mrs. Clinton, or at least meddle in the nation’s elections, he dismissed the question. “That’s up to the president,” Mr. Trump said, before finally saying “be quiet” to the female questioner. “Let the president talk to them.”

You may commence trying to defend Trump in the comments below. Just please don’t pretend that this isn’t a really, really weird thing for a major Party’s Presidential candidate to say in public.

The Coverup: Worse Than The Crime Every Time, Darryl Glenn

Darryl Glenn.

Darryl Glenn.

Colorado Republicans are furious with the Denver Post’s Joey Bunch, over a story published late yesterday casting doubt on statements made by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn regarding a decades-old alleged altercation with his father (now deceased):

On a November night in 1983, Colorado Springs police answered a call from a father who said he had been struck in the face by his son, a senior in high school a month past his 18th birthday.

That young man was Darryl Glenn, according to a police report and other documents obtained by The Denver Post. Glenn, who is running for the U.S. Senate, has said he has no knowledge of the incident and that it may have been someone else — either his half-brother or another person named Darryl Glenn.

When The Post presented the candidate with the documents this week, his campaign spokeswoman said Glenn had no recollection of any run-ins with police. His responses to inquiries from reporters about the assault charge have been inconsistent.

Ultimately, reports Joey Bunch, the charges in this case were dropped. Glenn has no other criminal court records that we know of, either before or after his graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy–an important consideration given that a criminal conviction could have jeopardized his appointment. But this dropped charge is apparently all that could be found in a thorough vetting of Glenn. Ordinarily, this would not be a story worth writing or reading at all.

Except that it appears Glenn wasn’t truthful about what happened.

That’s a clip of Darryl Glenn earlier this year, questioning his then-primary opponent Jon Keyser about the controversy over Keyser’s forged petition signatures. Glenn invokes the Air Force Academy’s “Honor Code” as he asks his fellow AFA grad if Keyser would withdraw from the race if enough signatures were found to be fraudulent to disqualify him. The Air Force Academy Honor Code is pretty simple:

I will not lie, [Pols emphasis] steal, or cheat, nor will I tolerate those among us who do.

After Keyser explained that he would not withdraw, just after this video ended, Glenn retorted, “I’m sure the Academy is pleased with that answer.” And the entire crowd on hand winced a little.

Again, we agree that this three decade old incident which resulted in no charges is itself no big deal. But the responses Glenn offers when asked about the incident are simply not believable–to the point of being, well, downright ridiculous. Nobody in their right mind can seriously believe that some other person named Darryl Glenn appeared in court in 1983 to be advised of charges for punching this Darryl Glenn’s father.

It’s a situation in which a simple admission to the unremarkable facts of the case would have put an end to the story–probably before it was even written. To say “the coverup is worse than the crime” is an understatement, because there wasn’t even a crime.

All we have now is Darryl Glenn rather obviously lying. And no matter what brought us here, that’s a story.

Hickenlooper Nabs Big-Time Speaking Slot at DNC

Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper

We’ve known since last week that Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper would be speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, but until today, we didn’t know when. As the Denver Post reports, Hick has been handed one of the most desirable time slots of the entire convention:

He won’t be introducing Hillary Clinton, but Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper still landed a prime time speaking slot this Thursday at the Democratic National Convention, the curtain call of the four-day gathering.

Hickenlooper told Denver Post TV that he is slated to speak between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. eastern — not long before Clinton is expected to deliver her acceptance speech at the Wells Fargo Center. The topic of the speech was not disclosed.

This is a pretty big deal. Democratic House leader Crisanta Duran is also speaking on Thursday, sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 pm, but Hickenlooper’s time slot is about as good as it gets if you aren’t the nominee for President. Hick will speak shortly before Hillary Clinton is announced to accept the Democratic nomination for President, which all but guarantees that he will speak in front of a huge national TV audience.

Hickenlooper’s high-profile speaking slot is also another good indication that he will likely be picked for some sort of Cabinet post if Clinton is elected President.

At Least We Got That One Vote Counted Correctly

Scott Turner

Scott Turner

Well, that sucks.

Scott Turner is a Republican who narrowly lost to Longinos Gonzales, Jr. in the June 28th Primary for El Paso County Commissioner (District 4). The final tally had Gonzales winning by just 34 votes — a tantalizingly narrow margin that nevertheless fell outside of the window for an automatic recount conducted at county expense.

But 34 votes just seems so close. It was such a narrow margin, in fact, that Turner agreed to reimburse El Paso County for a recount (which is allowed under Colorado election law, provided the margin between candidates is sufficiently small). The results of the recount were made public today, and, well, it’s hard not to feel a little tinge of sadness for Mr. Turner:

Official Results
July 7, 2016
Gonzales, Jr: 3,450 votes
Turner:  3,416 votes

Recount Results
July 26, 2016
Gonzales, Jr: 3,450 votes
Turner:  3,417 votes

As you can see, the recount did not change the outcome in El Paso County Commissioner District 4…but Turner did end up with one more vote. And it only cost him $2,660!

We don’t know anything about either of these candidates, but you don’t need any personal information to understand how much this would suck for Scott Turner. Sorry, dude.

On the plus side, it certainly affirms that our vote counting systems in El Paso County are in good shape.

Conservation Colorado Backs Local Control Ballot Measure

Fracking near a high school in Greeley, Colorado.

Fracking near a high school in Greeley, Colorado.

A press release from Conservation Colorado yesterday throws support behind Initiative 75, the statewide ballot measure campaign that would enshrine rights of local communities to better control oil and gas development within their boundaries:

Conservation Colorado today endorsed Initiative #75, the ballot measure entitled “Local Government Authority to Regulate Oil and Gas Development.”

Conservation Colorado Executive Director Pete Maysmith released the following statement:

We have long believed that local governments should have a say in decisions directly affecting their communities, including if, when, and how drilling occurs within their borders. We made our position clear when we fought for this commonsense policy during our work with the governor’s oil and gas task force, our involvement with the Fort Collins Supreme Court case, and our advocacy for similar bills in multiple legislative sessions. Since little progress has been made in these arenas, we believe there is tremendous merit in putting this measure on the ballot and letting the voters decide.

As oil and gas development creeps closer to homes and schools, it’s critical that we empower local governments to better balance energy development with public health and safety. We are proud to lend our support and resources to this effort.

Initiative 75 is a direct response to court rulings invalidating local moratoria and bans passed by a number of northern Front Range cities in recent years. Another measure that would mandate a large setback between oil and gas and other development is also headed for the November ballot, but there is a growing consensus that the 2,500 foot requirement in that initiative is too large–a de facto ban on development of oil and gas in most of the state. The fact is, there is little political appetite for a wholesale ban on oil and gas development in Colorado, and large inflexible setbacks run counter to the “local control” message that has proven successful in cities that passed their own moratoria and bans.

But giving local governments back the power they lost in court after trying to protect themselves?

This measure has a very good shot at passing.

Laura Woods Blames “The Left” For Yard Sign Vandalism

woodsvandalized1

Let’s start by saying unequivocally that we don’t condone vandalism, against politicians or anybody else. As you can see in the photo above being circulated by Republican Sen. Laura Waters Woods’ campaign, somebody vandalized one of her yard signs being displayed on the fence of an Arvada constituent earlier this month.

And if you’re to the left of Woods on the political spectrum, she blames you.

Within 5 days Team Woods has had two banners vandalized. One at 92nd and Ingalls was stolen within 20 hours of being hung, and one on Pierce was spray painted! All of this brought to you by the “tolerant left”!! [Pols emphasis]

In a comment on Facebook to the photo posted above, Woods explains her blame further:

In two election cycles, I’ve had banners painted, vandalized, knocked down and stolen and my opponent’s signs are untouched. THAT’S why I blame the left…

Now, we of course don’t know who decided to tag Woods’ yard sign, but from experience we can tell you in these situations it is almost never one’s political opponents who commit crimes like petty vandalism of yard signs. It’s true that Woods has big vinyl signs all over Senate District 19–and their ubiquitous presence might all by itself be a motivator for some juvenile delinquent with a can of spray paint to deface one.

Either way, it’s silly and irresponsible to blame one’s opponent for this kind of thing with no proof. Woods claims she has installed motion-sensing “game cameras” near some of her banners in an attempt to record future acts of vandalism. If Woods actually catches an adult with any bonafide connection to her opponent vandalizing her signs, or has her allegations against “the left” confirmed in any way by competent investigators, we’ll be the first to apologize and correct the record.

Otherwise, it’s another exercise in paranoia–from a lawmaker so paranoid she was afraid to use her real name on the radio.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 26)

Get More SmarterBarack Obama may not be the best orator in his own home. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia began with controversy on Monday — largely because of the presence of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But once Democrats got their shouting out of the way and Wasserman Schultz stepped aside as DNC Chair, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders helped quiet the crowd. From Politico:

Bernie Sanders loyalists heckled and hassled Democratic stars all day. But when Sanders himself addressed the Democratic National Convention on Monday, the party’s nightmarish day finally brightened.

“Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” Sanders boomed. And delegates, for the most part, cheered his call.

That was the clearest sign of an easing after an excruciating day of failed attempts at projecting unity following the divisive and protracted Democratic primary.

Colorado delegates are apparently confident that Democrats will unite behind Hillary Clinton this week.

 

► While Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President was a pivotal moment at the DNC on Monday, the most powerful speech of the night — and the new standard-bearer for the rest of the week — was an address by First Lady Michelle Obama. As “The Fix” writes, Republicans had better keep their fingers crossed that Mrs. Obama doesn’t ever decide to run for office herself.

 

► Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign is apparently feeling pretty good about its chances in Colorado. As First Read reports, Clinton’s campaign is adjusting its TV advertising budget away from Colorado and putting more money in state’s considered to be swingy-er.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Elected GOP officials say good-bye to the Colorado Republican party

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

With Colorado Trump campaign manager Patrick Davis  relying on the “robust operations” of the Colorado Republican party, it’s particularly newsworthy that GOP county and district officials are resigning from their elected positions and leaving the party.

In the past week, Patrick Crowder, vice chair of the Rio Grande Republican Party, and Craig Steiner, chair of House District 43 Republicans, said good-bye to fellow Republicans.

Steiner, who’s a long-time GOP activist, Central Committee member, and former Douglas County GOP chair, resigned on Friday, writing on Facebook:

…I believe over the last week the Republican Party lost all remaining pretense of principled conservatism while the national party simultaneously lost any credible claim to being the party of the “rule of law.”  The nominee is a nutcase who can’t even stop defending the National Enquirer the day after the Convention. And in a way I haven’t seen in past elections, this race has turned people I know into people I barely recognize. It’s disheartening.

Though I’ve considered myself a Republican since I saw Reagan debate Carter at age 9, today with sadness I updated my party affiliation.

As I am no longer a registered Republican, I have submitted my resignation as chairman of Republican House District 43.  I have also submitted my resignation as a member of the Colorado Republican Central Committee.

After Steiner, who did not immediately return a call for comment, came Crowder, who tweeted Sunday that he’d resigned his vice chair post and become unaffiliated.

Asked why he left the GOP, Crowder said, “Trump is scraping out everything that the Republican Party has stood for and building a wall in its place.”

“A lot of farmers are concerned about our beef and potato exports,” he continued, telling me about recent conversations at a GOP fundraiser. “There’s a lot of concern about what’s going on.”

Crowder doesn’t see “core Republican principles,” including “sanctity of life” and economic positions, “reflected in our nominee.”

Steiner and Crowder are elected party officials who’ve left the GOP, but other party stalwarts and activists continue to resist pressure to peel off the #NeverTrump label. More on these folks in another post.

Meanwhile, if you hear of more Colorado Republican officials who’ve left the party, please let me know.