Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 29)

Get More SmarterNo, your office does not have a “trade deadline.” Let’s 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).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► “Turn-In Tuesday” contained quite a surprise; supporters of a recall campaign in Jefferson County turned in more than 110,000 signatures in an effort to oust three right-wing school board members. Recall proponents needed less than three weeks to collect — and significantly exceed — the required number of signatures to place the measure on the November ballot. Opponents of the recall will now have a difficult time challenging the signature collection process, as Westword explains:

Now, the clerks have fifteen days to validate the signatures. Then there’s a fifteen-day window for any protest of the validity of the signatures. McCord hopes that doesn’t happen. “If somebody does protest, they will drag us past the date by which we can get on the November ballot,” she says. “Then we end up in a special election that costs the district a whole lot of money that we don’t want to spend.”

The parents estimate that a special election would cost half a million dollars. “We got lots and lots of extra signatures,” McCord adds. “So there wouldn’t be any valid protest. It would be frivolous.” [Pols emphasis]

Of course, this won’t stop opponents from making ridiculous Baghdad Bob-style arguments.

Congressional Republicans are fidgeting over how to deal with a new challenge to House Speaker John Boehner. In a surprise move on Tuesday evening, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) offered a motion to vacate the chair — an effort to force a vote on whether Boehner should remain Speaker. As it approaches its annual August recess, Congress appears to have completely run off the rails.

 

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Wednesday Open Thread

“The best apology against false accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest deeds set against dishonest words.”

–John Milton

Jeffco Recall Campaign Turns In Over 111,000 Signatures

UPDATE: The Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland:

The Jefferson County Clerk has 15 business days to review the petitions and deem the signatures sufficient. After that, opponents have 15 days to protest or challenge signatures.

That’s where the cost could go from a low of about $10,000 to more than $500,000. The district will have to cover the costs, whether it’s for the November election or a special election.

According to Jeffco United for Action, which led the petition drive, if even one protest is filed, because of time constraints, there will not be enough time to get the recall onto the November ballot. The recall will instead take place through a special election, resulting in the $500,000 cost.

Gurdikian said she hopes the opponents recognize that there are more than enough signatures to get the issue to the ballot, and not waste taxpayer money by forcing a special election.

Westword’s Melanie Asmar:

Now, the clerks have fifteen days to validate the signatures. Then there’s a fifteen-day window for any protest of the validity of the signatures. McCord hopes that doesn’t happen. “If somebody does protest, they will drag us past the date by which we can get on the November ballot,” she says. “Then we end up in a special election that costs the district a whole lot of money that we don’t want to spend.”

The parents estimate that a special election would cost half a million dollars. “We got lots and lots of extra signatures,” McCord adds. “So there wouldn’t be any valid protest. It would be frivolous.”

—–

Volunteers deliver Jefferson County recall petitions today.

Volunteers deliver Jefferson County recall petitions today.

A press release a short while ago from Jeffco United For Action announces the delivery of over 37,000 petition signatures to recall each of the conservative majority members of the Jefferson County school board: Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams. This total dwarfs the required 15,000 signatures needed for each recall to proceed, virtually guaranteeing that Jefferson County voters will settle the question once and for all:

Today, Jeffco parents, educators and community members rolled over 111,000 signatures in little red wagons into the Jeffco Clerk’s office to recall Jeffco Schools Board of Education members Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams. They turned in just over 37,000 signatures for each of the three board members to the Jefferson County Clerk & Recorder.

“We’ve seen such amazing support over the last few weeks. We have had people seeking us out at sporting events, coffee shops, grocery stores and parks all across the district to sign,” began Tina Gurdikian, a mom of two Jeffco Schools students.

“In an unprecedented move, we as a community collected more than double the number of signatures needed to recall school board members Witt, Newkirk and Williams. The message is clear, the people of Jefferson County want to hold this Board Majority accountable and demand a recall vote on November 3rd,” continued Gurdikian.

“We have done our job, and now it’s time to let the people vote on November 3rd whether the School Board Majority deserves to be recalled,” continued Wendy McCord, also a mom of Jeffco students.

Having crushed their original goal on a highly compressed schedule, recall organizers have done all they can to ensure that the recall questions appear on the regular November ballot in Jefferson County–which will both increase turnout and prevent the unnecessary expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars to hold a separate recall election.

The only question? Whether the recall opponents who have complained all along about this possible added expense try to make it happen.

“Because of overlapping timelines for November elections and recall elections, for the Jeffco voters’ will to be honored we need our opponents not to play political games in attempting to protest what are clearly 15,000 valid signatures. Should they choose to play games, opponents to the recall will cost the school district over half a million dollars, dollars that could otherwise be going to benefit our students. It is time for our community to have an honest conversation about the direction of our school district,” concluded Wendy McCord.

By all accounts recall organizers were surprised by the huge response to the recall petition drive, but turning in well over double the number of signatures required also serves an important strategic purpose. Accounting for delivery of mail ballots and the 15-day period for filing protests, the window in which to turn in signatures for the recall timed correctly to appear on the November ballot was quite small–only three days, July 28-30. If opponents choose to challenge the petition signatures line-by-line in an attempt to get enough thrown out to drop below the 15,000 minimum, it will most likely result in the recall being held after the first Tuesday in November. And that would indeed mean a large added expense to the school district.

In short, if opponents engage in an almost-certainly futile challenge of this overwhelming number of signatures, they will be the ones responsible for the additional hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the recall. The huge safety margin in turning in 37,000 signatures per board member when only 15,000 were required makes any such challenge either a fool’s errand or an act of intentional retaliation–with Jeffco students paying the price. And either way, it won’t stop the recall from going forward.

With all of this in mind, it would be better if the board majority just faces the proverbial music.

Jeffco Recall Opponent Channels Baghdad Bob in Response

Baghdad Bob.

Baghdad Bob.

Comical Ali. Baghdad Bob. The former Iraqi Information Minister (real name: Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf) secured his name in Internet infamy when he appeared regularly during the 2003 Iraqi Invasion to confidently deny the American surge into Baghdad and U.S. military success in general — sometimes with American tanks as his backdrop. As The Atlantic wrote in 2013:

Sahaf’s nickname, “Baghdad Bob,” now denotes someone who confidently declares what everyone else can see is false–someone so wrong, it’s funny.

Back here in Colorado, opponents of the campaign to recall three right-wing Jefferson County School Board members are channeling Baghdad Bob in their response to the news that more than 90,000 signatures supporting the recall were gathered in less than three weeks. This would be a massive success for a grassroots group for any issue on any level, which makes it difficult for opponents to tamper enthusiasm.

Enter Sheila Atwell, head of a group called “Jeffco Students First” that supports the right-wing majority school board. Atwell told 9News last weekend that she is surprised that it took 17 days to get the required signatures, saying that they should have been able to do it in a week:

We did the math here. In order to gather more than 90,000 signatures in just one week, organizers would have had to average 9 signatures PER MINUTE, 24 hours a day. That’s completely silly, of course.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 28)

MoreSmarterLogo-SunscreenIf you don’t want to get traded, you might want to avoid Coors Field this week. Let’s 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).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Parents and activists in Jefferson County will submit 90,000 petition signatures to the County Clerk today on what supporters are calling “Turn-In Tuesday.” Proponents of  recalling three right-wing Jefferson County School board members needed less than three weeks to collect 30,000 signatures (for each member; by completing the signature-gathering process so quickly, there should be plenty of time for the recall questions to appear on the regular November ballot for all Jeffco voters.

► The Colorado Rockies traded star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on Monday night, sending the 9-year veteran to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for shortstop Jose Reyes and — more importantly — two top pitching prospects. This has nothing to do with politics, of course, but Tulo is a big enough name in Colorado to warrant a mention here.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

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Tuesday Open Thread

“I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy–but that could change.”

–Dan Quayle

Aurora Victim’s Parents Face Bankruptcy After Suing Online Ammo Dealers, Vow To Change Colorado Law

Aurora shooting victim Jessica Ghawi.

Aurora shooting victim Jessica Ghawi.

Back in May, we took note of a particularly troubling development in the aftermath of the 2012 mass shootings at the Century Theater in Aurora. The parents of Jessica Ghawi, one of the theatergoers killed when James Holmes opened fire in a packed movie theater on July 20, 2012, are facing dire financial straits after their lawsuit against online ammunition and body armor dealers who sold Holmes items used in the Aurora shooting was dismissed.

Under a Colorado law passed as a Republican “backlash” against stricter gun control measures following the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, House Bill 00-1208, requires the immediate dismissal of any lawsuit brought against firearm or ammunition dealers, and further requires (using the term shall as opposed to may) that the judge order the plaintiffs in that lawsuit to pay the gun dealer’s legal fees. The problem in this case is that the suit filed by Lonnie and Sandy Phillips was not frivolous, investigating legitimate questions of liability arising from the online sale of ammunition and other dangerous products. Critically, the suit also sought no monetary damages–just a change in business practices by online gun and ammunition dealers.

Following another shooting incident at a theater in Louisiana last week, the Phillipses appeared on MSNBC’s News Nation with Tamron Hall, and disclosed that they now face bankruptcy over the $200,000 judgment against them. For all the publicity surrounding the Aurora shooting and trial underway now, the plight of the Phillips family has received very little press attention, and Hall expressed shock at learning the details of their case:

The main argument from supporters of the gun dealers seeking money from the Phillips family is that they were given legal assistance by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. They assert that the Brady Center should pay the gun dealers, since obviously it would not be very good press for said gun dealers to start seizing assets of the parents of someone their products were involved in killing. At the end of the segment, Sandy Phillips addresses this question with Tamron Hall directly, asking “would you be willing to pay one penny to the people who helped murder your daughter?”

Because further appeals of the judgment dismissing their lawsuit would only expose them to further liability, the Phillipses say they are dropping their appeal to seek a legislative remedy. Repealing Colorado House Bill 00-1208, or at least modifying its punitive “shall award” language to allow for the possibility of a legitimate case against gun dealers at some point in the future, could perhaps be called a happy ending.

With the obvious caveat that there are no happy endings to this tragic story.

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 27)

MoreSmarterLogo-SunscreenDon’t forget your sunscreen today. Let’s 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).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The petition drive to recall three right-wing members of the Jefferson County School Board is moving along faster than Donald Trump in a Mexican restaurant. Activists needed less than three weeks to collect 30,000 signatures to recall each board member — about double the amount required by law.

► Republicans are imploding on both the local and national level, and the rhetoric is becoming particularly heated in the U.S. Senate. As Politico reports from Sunday:

Republican leaders, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), delivered what senators described as punishment for Cruz’s brazen floor tactics — the Texas senator first accused McConnell of lying and later sought to change Senate procedures in order to push for an Iran-related amendment.

So when Cruz came to the floor looking for at least 11 senators to agree to hold a roll-call vote, only three raised their hands. McConnell, sitting at his desk, turned around and peered at Cruz, who looked stunned at what had just happened. The Senate dispensed with his effort by a voice vote and quickly moved on, doing the same to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a Cruz ally who sought to use arcane procedures to force a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood.

It all went down in an instant, but the message was clear: If Cruz doesn’t want to play nice with his Republican colleagues, they will respond in kind.

Don’t worry, American people; Republican Congressional leaders have to start governing eventually. Right?

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

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New Coffman® Trumped By Knee-Jerk Immigration Vote

Mike Coffman gets Trumped.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

As the Washington Post reports, don’t ever let it be said again that Republicans can’t get an immigration bill passed:

The House voted Thursday to punish local jurisdictions — known as “sanctuary cities” — that defy federal immigration authorities in order to protect immigrants living illegally in the United States.

The 241-to-179 vote, which was backed by Republican leaders and fell largely along party lines, is the most dramatic action taken by Congress after a spate of new attention on illegal immigration sparked by the July 1 killing of a 32-year-old California woman…

Some law enforcement organizations, civil rights groups and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have pushed back on efforts to crack down on sanctuary cities, arguing that new policies would be counterproductive by undermining the trust between local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

In the wake of the tragic killing of Kathryn Steinle by an undocumented immigrant who had been deported from the United States several times, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives rushed a bill to the floor bypassing the normal committee process to punish so-called “sanctuary cities”–jurisdictions that don’t investigate immigration status when working with residents or taking reports of crimes. Supporters of local governments who have made that policy decision say immigrants are more willing to cooperate with law enforcement in investigations of serious crimes if they don’t fear automatic arrest over their immigration status.

City governments, local law enforcement, not to mention millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States are waiting for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level to resolve the conflicts between federal and local policy, rationalize the broken status quo, and restore functionality to a system that hasn’t served the needs of the nation or immigrants wanting to come to American in many decades. Until then, knee-jerk retaliation against the headlines of the day are all we get on this issue from the Republican-controlled Congress.

coffmanaye

That includes Rep. Mike Coffman, whose “reinvention” on the issue of immigration since being redistricted out of his formerly safe GOP seat into a diverse battleground has once again been “Trumped” by his actual vote. Despite Coffman’s repeated attempts to cast himself as a “moderate” on immigration since redistricting, this vote has yet again failed to square with his newfound rhetoric. A good example of this delicate posturing came right after President Barack Obama’s executive order to halt deportations of DREAMer students–when Coffman voted to defund the program, claiming it gave prosecutors “too much discretion.”

Defending Thursday’s vote, Coffman said “it cannot be seen as anti-immigrant, as anti-Hispanic.” But with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump demagoguing the tragic yet anecdotal incident universally cited as the reason for rushing this bill through the GOP-controlled House, making this a focus of a campaign that has already outraged Hispanics over Trump’s unapologetic racist overtures…how can it possibly be seen as anything else?

Give the way Trump is dominating Spanish language news coverage of the 2016 presidential race, it’s an easy guess who Hispanic voters will identify this action with. Donald Trump is driving the agenda in today’s Republican Party–and in Colorado’s most competitive congressional race, Mike Coffman is happy to help him.

Vice chair of state GOP: Look at all the Hispanics on Los Angeles’ “Most Wanted” list!

(Stay classy, Colorado GOP vice-chair! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Danny Trejo as Machete.

Danny Trejo as Machete.

It’s widely known that Donald Trump’s angry comments about Mexican immigrants bringing drugs, crime, and rape to America are false. Recent immigrants, including undocumented ones, are actually factually less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

But the facts did not stop Trump, and, closer to him, they didn’t stop Derrick Wilburn, the elected vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party and founder of American Conservatives of Color, from polluting his Facebook page with mean bigoted comments about Hispanics.

Earlier this month, Wilburn suggested that his Facebook friends “take a look” at Los Angeles’ “Most Wanted” list, so they can see all the Hispanics.

Wilburn: Ann Coulter and Geraldo just got into it on “The Kelly File.” Ann told Geraldo to look at the LA “Most Wanted” and say illegals don’t commit most of the crimes. Here is the LA “Most Wanted” …take a look for yourself…I had a hard time finding one name that wasn’t Hispanic.

Who cares about real crime data when you can look at the “Most Wanted” list in Los Angeles, find people who appear to be Hispanic, and then apparently agree with Ann Coulter that undocumented immigrants commit most of the crimes in America?

Wilburn’s post continues: Granted we don’t know which if any of those are illegal, but, combine this with the beautiful young woman who was walking along with her family on a pier in San Francisco yesterday when a (Hispanic) man comes up behind her and SHOOTS HER IN THE BACK! In broad daylight. She was with her family, her father desperately tried to revive & save her life but was unsuccessful.
http://abc7news.com/…/sfpd-make-arrest-in-pier-14-f…/824358/

No matter where you are on the Obama supporter/Obama detractor spectrum – why do we want this? How does this president’s determination to reward any & everyone illegally in our nation with full citizenship status (not to mention access to welfare, IRS tax ‘refunds’ [even tho they’ve paid no income taxes], cell phones, housing credits, medical care, etc., etc.) benefit the American citizens? And if it doesn’t, then why does our chief elected *representative* want to do it so badly?

To Wilburn’s credit, he’ll usually discuss his outrageous Facebook posts with me, but this time family obligations understandably prevented him from talking to me. So we have to let his Facebook post speak for itself in this case.

And what it says is, “I’m mad, and I’m going to act like a bigot. And I don’t really care.” If you can find some other way of interpreting Wilburn’s post, please let me know.

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Monday Open Thread

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

–George Bernard Shaw

Jeffco School Board Recall Petition Drive Wraps Triumphant

UPDATE 5:00PM: Recall organizers announce they will turn in over 30,000 signatures to recall each conservative majority Jeffco school board member, more than double the 15,000 required, to the Jefferson County Clerk’s office Tuesday morning:

Turn-In Tuesday

Join us as we turn in more than 30,000 Signatures For Each Board Majority Member!

We will be turning in more than double the required signatures to the Jeffco Clerk this Tuesday at noon. We would love lots of you to join us as we turn in these signatures. Please arrive by 11:30 am at the Clerk’s Election office (not at the Taj Mahal, but in a separate building).

Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder
3500 Illinois Street, Suite 1100
Golden, Colorado 80401

Once we turn in the signatures, we will turn our focus to the November election!

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Ken Witt, John Newkirk, Julie Williams (WNW).

Ken Witt, John Newkirk, Julie Williams (WNW).

9NEWS’ Nelson Garcia reports, the campaign seeking to recall three far-right members of the Jefferson County Board of Education, Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams (collectively known as “WNW”) has reached its goal of 15,000 required signatures to recall each board member with a comfortable margin–a drive that took less than three weeks to complete despite a 60-day deadline.

“We’ve been collecting signatures for 17 days. Our goal was 20,000 to 25,000 signatures and have surpassed that goal already,” [Jeffco United for Action spox Lynea] Hansen said. “I think it also says very loudly and clearly that Jefferson County wants this recall.”

[Volunteer Lorelei] Bratton thought it would take longer to gather enough signatures.

“It’s been incredibly inspiring,” Bratton said.

Hansen says Witt, Newkirk, and Williams have shown a lack of transparency and have abused school board policy.

“Everybody’s really worried about the direction that JeffCo Schools is headed in and this is their answer to helping stop that change that isn’t good change.”

Jeffco recall petitions.

Jeffco recall petitions.

Having easily brought in the number of Jeffco voter signatures required in so little time, it’s basically assured now that the recall question will appear on the regular November ballot in Jefferson County, along with the two seats up for election this year currently held by outgoing progressive minority school board members. Again, this is a key development, since recall opponents’ messaging against the recall has up to now revolved around a huge expense for the district to hold a recall election. Organizers never planned anything but a recall election in November, however, and said so. Today, they can assure anybody who was concerned that the recall election will not cost the school district hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The only thing we can add is that, by all accounts we have heard, the reason the petition drive was quick and easy is that the community in Jefferson County is keenly aware of what is going on in the battle over their school board. Voters who have no idea who, say, their state representative is are paying attention–and needed no convincing to sign the recall petition. The highly visible public protests carried out by Jeffco students last fall over the board majority’s disastrous proposed “review” of AP history curriculum, along with subsequent protests along Jeffco’s highest-traffic arterial street, have succeeded in making this school board a household discussion item–and the sentiment is overwhelmingly against what the right-wing board majority has done. High quality public schools are a major and longstanding point of civic pride for residents of Jefferson County, and they perceive that to be under threat.

As we’ve said before, what’s happening here can’t be manufactured. You couldn’t buy it for a billion dollars. It is an authentically grassroots uprising by a legitimately aggrieved community. In an era when seemingly every political “movement” is the product of some lavishly funded and focus-grouped professionalized action plan delivered from on high, it might even be called an inspiring thing to witness.

Either way, if the petition drive’s swift success is any indicator, God help “WNW.”

As former talk-radio hosts tell all, KLZ set to announce new morning show host Monday

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

WashPost-Scandal-71615-500KLZ 560-AM will install a new morning-show host this week, replacing Randy Corporon, who resigned in protest after station owner Don Crawford, Jr, temporarily banned former Rep. Tom Tancredo and (reportedly) GOP Chair Steve House from KLZ’s airwaves.

“Yes, our man, Rush, will announce and introduce him Monday during his show,” Crawford emailed me last week when asked if he’d decided which conservative would fill Corporon’s shoes. (In recent weeks, the station held on-air auditions for the job.)

Meanwhile, Corporon, along with KLZ’s other “liberty lineup” hosts Ken Clark and Kris Cook, who resigned along with Corporon, lit deeply into Crawford at a recent “Liberty Libations” event. Their presentation (below) to the libations folks illuminates not only their version of the events involved in the trio’s decision to resign from the radio station but also the angry divisions within the state GOP.

The videos were posted by GOP activist Marilyn Marks. It’s all interesting, if you’re a junkie and you want to pass some weekend down time in front of your computer.

But it gets especially good at about the 22-minute mark. The second video includes Tancredo talking off screen.

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Weekend Open Thread

“Stupidity, outrage, vanity, cruelty, iniquity, bad faith, falsehood–we fail to see the whole array when it is facing in the same direction as we.”

–Jean Rostand

Bigots, Birchers, and Islamophobes in Colorado Mainstream Now

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Groups promoting hatred and fear of Muslims, gays, immigrants, unionized workers, and people of color are openly meeting in Colorado. These meetings are being promoted by mainstream Republican activists, and are aimed at influencing policy by informing local law enforcement and legislators of the  “threats” these groups pose. The John Birch Society had an Executive Dinner in Denver July 24.  RMGO is promoting an anti-Muslim training session for law enforcement, community and the public Aug. 13-15.

John Birch Society- the Founding Bigots

The John Birch Society met July 24, at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in North Denver.  Many mainstream GOP activists planned to attend, according to their Facebook pages. The John Birch Society (JBS) has a long history of racism and religious bigotry in the United States, and was where the Koch Brothers learned how to prey upon the fears of the ignorant.

In the JBS world view, communists are everywhere.

The JBS had its origins in the McCarthy era, as an anti-Communist group.  “Birchers” preached that all Civil Rights Movement leaders and actions were Communist-inspired. My father, an editorial writer for the Post, used to rail about the “Goddamn Birchers” who would oppose every piece of civil rights or anti-poverty legislation in Denver, and tried to suppress his editorials in the 1960s.

Although JBS leadership now wears three-piece suits, and meets at $50 a plate fundraising dinners in nice hotel ballrooms, their messaging has changed very little: “Those people” (leftists, feminists, unionists, environmentalists, gays, Muslims, the UN, Democrats, people of color promoting Obama’s “race war”) are conspiring to take away your American way of life,  and they must be stopped, preferably with a hefty donation to the JBS. 

The JBS contributes heavily to “Right to Work” and other ALEC- generated legislation.  Colorado legislators are rated  on the JBS “Freedom Index”. Rated at 70% or higher: Mike Coffman, Doug Lamborn, Scott Tipton,  Cory Gardner, and Ken Buck . It will be interesting to see which of these Republican politicians attended the JBS dinner.

 John Guandalo: RMGO sponsored workshops August 13-15 on “Understanding the Threat” of the Global Islamic Movement

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