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…

 

(more…)

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.

Is Michael Bennet Re-Electable?

I don’t know where ColoradoPols gets its numbers for “The Big Line -2016,” but I have a feeling that somebody is way off the mark when it comes to Sen. Michael Bennet’s chances of getting re-elected in 2016.  The most recent Quinnipiac poll showed voters say 40-32 percent that he does not deserve reelection in 2016.  If you go to his Facebook page and read his posts you may note that he spends a lot of time trying to work with Republicans.  There he is out in a wheat field with his pal, Koch-Republican Corey Gardner, touting  “bipartisanship the Colorado way.”  A little further down he proudly proclaims how he’s working with Voucher King, Orrin Hatch, to adopt successful educational programs and “invest in what works for kids,” a Republican code word for giving taxpayer money to for-profit corporations and charter schools.   Just read the comments that Colorado citizens write in response to Sen. Bennet’s posts.  People are angry.  And they’re fed up with being told that as a purple state in a center-right nation, it’s necessary for Democrats like Sen. Bennet to reach out to Republicans in order to get elected and, then reelected.  That’s nonsense.

The folks who publish this website spend a lot of time and energy telling us what we already know – that Republicans in Colorado are out to destroy public education, marginalize women minorities, and feed the rich at the expense of everybody else.  But I rarely see you take a fellow Democrat to task.  And if anybody deserves it, it’s Michael Bennet.  Just this year he has voted for a bill to build the Keystone XL pipeline and to override the President’s veto of that bill.  He has voted to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership bill.  And he has joined Senate Republicans to stifle the Obama administration’s efforts to secure a deal that would stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  I won’t be a bit surprised if he votes with Republicans again to kill the deal altogether.

Somebody needs to tell Sen. Bennet that he needs to start acting and sounding like a Democrat if he wants to get re-elected in 2016.  And I’m calling on the editors at ColoradoPols to do more, much more, to push him in that direction.  Colorado has already lost one Democratic senator.  We can’t afford to lose another.  But that is exactly what is going to happen unless Sen. Bennet changes his ways.  One can only hope it’s not too late.

 

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.

(more…)

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!

—–

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.”

#JebNoFilter Talks Sharknado, Because Why The Hell Not

It’s the summer of an off-year in American politics, a time when voters are about as tuned out to political subject matter as they ever are–which is always relatively tuned out, but even more so during vacation season 15 months from the next main event. But the political industrial complex remains fully staffed, and always looking for ways to bank-shot a moment of your attention. This chance to cleverly insert next year’s candidates’ names into the nonpolitical discussions of American voters going about their daily business in July of an off-year, so the theory goes, is of a high long-term value compared to the 24/7 barrage of paid political messaging we’ll all be subjected to in not too many months. The word “viral” is passé these days, it’s all about “authenticity.” Which makes it go viral. There are high-dollar seminars you can go to to learn about this.

The above should help explain Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush–excuse us, Jeb!–raving on camera about the Sharknado movie franchise. It’s #JebNoFilter, everybody! Watch out:

Here is the antidote to Donald Trump’s lunacy America is waiting for. The good news for Jeb! is that, unlike Trump’s every offending word, nobody will remember this Bush I-esque cornball stuff in the early primary states. Unless Saturday Night Live gets ahold of it, in which case they’ll remember the parody. That might honestly be a best-case scenario for the viral authenticity team.

Remember last year’s godawful Say Yes To The Dress Bob Beauprez ad? There’s a lot of, you know, experimentation in this business. Mistakes will be make.

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.

(more…)

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

(more…)

Mosquitoes, Beetles & Global Warming – Climate Change and Colorado’s Great Outdoors

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado, summertime. The living is easy…  

Sure we have some of the best winter recreation in the world, and Color Sunday drives and hunting season make fall the busiest part of the season for many Colorado communities. But there is something about a Rocky Mountain summer that is hard to beat. 

The wet May and early, heavy monsoons much of the state has been getting since, have brought forth wildflowers that many say are the most outrageous, rainbow array seen in years.  Truly a display of Colorado pride. 

All the moisture, and warm weather between, has also led to another fact in this year’s backcountry – there are lots of mosquitoes out there.  And mosquitoes are not just an annoyance, but bring public health warnings.  In Colorado, for the West Nile Virus, which is likely to become an even larger problem under climate change.

Invasive species aren’t just species — they can also be pathogens. Such is the case with the West Nile virus. 

As Science Magazine (Online) reports:

The higher temperatures, humidity and rainfall associated with climate change have intensified outbreaks of West Nile virus infections across the United States in recent years, according to a study published this week.

…Warmer weather helps spread West Nile virus because it extends the length of the mosquito season, said Vicki Kramer, chief of the vector-borne disease section at the California Department of Public Health.

Higher temperatures also let mosquitoes reach biting age sooner and speed multiplication of the virus within insects, said Kramer.  Thus in a warmer climate not only are there more biting mosquitoes, but those mosquitoes carry more copies of the West Nile virus, making them more likely to infect their human targets.

“It takes a while for the disease to build up,” says Kramer.  “That’s why we see more cases in August than in June.”

(more…)

Donald Trump Dominates Spanish-Language Media

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post reports on a fascinating angle to the Donald Trump for President show:

While the national newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC covered Trump’s visit to Laredo, Tex., coverage of the GOP presidential candidate dominated the national news broadcasts on Univision and Telemundo. Republicans fearful of how Trump is hurting the party’s image with the nation’s fast-growing Latino voting population need only play back Thursday night’s broadcasts as proof.

Univision devoted six minutes of coverage to Trump’s visit, while Telemundo gave him a total of nine minutes. No other Republican or Democratic presidential candidate was mentioned on either program. [Pols emphasis]

Even though he is just one of 16 Republican Presidential candidates, there’s no question that Trump has been taking the lion’s share of media coverage since he formally entered the race in mid-June. Trump has used his bombastic style to suck most of the oxygen out of the room wherever he goes lately, and while Republicans recognize the problem, there’s not a lot they can do about it at the moment because The Donald has his own, er, “Trump Card.

It’s probably a good bet that Trump won’t still be a Presidential candidate one year from now, but he’s already causing significant damage to a Republican Party that is polling at its lowest levels since 1992. That damage could be irreversible for 2016 if Spanish-language media continues to cover Trump’s campaign as though he is the de-facto GOP nominee; the last thing Republicans want to be doing heading into next fall is scrambling to convince Hispanic voters that Trump does not speak for the rest of them.

Greg Brophy Demands More Subsidies for Greg Brophy

It appears former state Sen. Greg Brophy is settling into his new life in D.C. as the Chief of Staff for Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley). He’s even taken to using Washington’s local bike share program, which allows him to get to Union Station and complain about things.

We know this because Brophy tweeted about it this week, snorting that he was using the “commie bike share program.” He also suggested he should be paid for not parking his bicycle somewhere besides Union Station, which he said always has plenty of empty spots on the bike rack.

So, what you’re saying is that you deserve — we’ll call it a “subsidy” — for your commie bike riding?

We’re talking about the same Greg Brophy who has received $113,000 in corn and wheat subsidies since 1999 from commies taxpayers. Perhaps he can start a fundraising campaign to help him pay for his bike share membership.

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 24)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Here’s to unclogging the Internet tubes. 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 circus that is the Republican field for President in 2016 is not making Americans feel better about the GOP, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center:

The Republican Party’s image has grown more negative over the first half of this year. Currently, 32% have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60% have an unfavorable view. Favorable views of the GOP have fallen nine percentage points since January. The Democratic Party continues to have mixed ratings (48% favorable, 47% unfavorable).

The 32% favorability rating for the Republican Party is the lowest mark in Pew’s polling since 1992.

► Another week, another shooting; a man in Louisiana opened fire in a movie theater on Thursday, killing two women and injuring many others before taking his own life.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

(more…)

Q&A with Lynn Bartels on her Last Day at the Denver Post

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Lynn Bartels leaves The Denver Post today, ending a 35-year run in journalism, with 22 of those years in Colorado. After starting her career in New Mexico, Bartels joined the Rocky in 1991 as its night cops reporter. In 2000, she started covering the state legislature. The Denver Post hired Bartels in 2009, immediately after the Rocky closed.

This week, Bartels answered some questions via email about the state of journalism in Colorado and her career as a reporter. (See other interviews in this series here.)

Why are you leaving The Post? Would you have stayed on if not for the economic troubles facing the newspaper and the pressure this puts on reporters?

Bartels: Certainly, I wouldn’t be leaving if a buyout hadn’t been offered. In fact, when I went to sign the paperwork, they asked where my package of stuff was, and I said I threw it away because I didn’t think I was going to take the buyout.

I always said, “I can’t leave newspapers. Who would hire me?” It turns out, I had some interesting opportunities. And that made me look at the industry and consider the buyout. I took the offer that made my family the happiest and where my new boss made me laugh during the interview ordeal. I thought, “I could really work for Wayne Williams.” Friends pointed out when I talked about that job I seemed happy. And it’s still politics and elections, which I love.

(more…)