Navy’s Discharge of “Dr. Chaps” Upheld

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Our friends at Right Wing Watch have the latest update today in the continuing story of Colorado's nuttiest Republican Representative-elect, Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt of Colorado House District 15. As followers of a story that has made the trip from fringe sideshow to poster child for the incoming Republican Class of 2014 know, Klingenschmitt is a former Navy chaplain who was discharged after (among many other things) wearing his service uniform to a political media event in contravention of specific orders. Klingenschmitt's discharge from the Navy became part of his campaign message, claiming it was the result of his "praying in Jesus' name" at a demonstration across from the White House in 2005.

Except it wasn't.

Gordon Klingenschmitt, the right-wing televangelist who recently won a seat in the Colorado General Assembly, built a career out of making wildly inaccurate claims about anti-Christian persecution in the U.S. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Klingenschmitt’s entire career as a conservative activist is also based on a persecution story that is completely made-up.

Klingenschmitt, who goes by “Dr. Chaps,” has based his political activism on his own personal story of persecution, claiming that the military censored and fired him because he said the name of Jesus in his prayers as a chaplain. He filed a lawsuit to protect his First Amendment rights and has used his story to win persecution points from the Religious Right and raise lots of money for his group, the Pray In Jesus Name Project.

But as Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State reports, Klingenschmitt lost his lawsuit last week…because the incident never happened.

As we’ve known for several years, Klingenschmitt was not dismissed for using the name of Jesus in a prayer, but for wearing military garb at a political event, in violation of military regulations, among other reasons that had nothing to do with the fact he delivered Christian prayers.

The ruling is worth a read all by itself, including an unflattering description of a Klingenschmitt fire-and-brimstone memorial service while serving aboard the USS Anzio, horrible reviews from fellow sailors–"worst CHAP I have seen in 17 years" reads one–and the details of Klingenschmitt's defiance of orders prohibiting him from speaking to the media in his military uniform. The court concludes:

[T]he Court finds unpersuasive Dr. Klingenschmitt’s argument that his First Amendment right to practice his religious beliefs was infringed by Captain Pyle’s Order that he not wear his uniform to the media event held in Lafayette Park in March 2006. Captain Pyle’s Order was based on Navy regulations that prohibit the wearing of a uniform in connection with political activities…

In short, the record fails to support a showing of any causal connection between any protected activity and Dr. Klingenschmitt’s separation. For that reason, and because his other challenges to the lawfulness of the recertification process are without merit, the Court concludes that the Navy’s decision not to recertify Dr. Klingenschmitt, which resulted in his administrative separation from the Navy, was neither arbitrary, capricious, nor contrary to law.

Klingenschmitt's troubles, based on our experience in the past years or so, would seem to have more to do with his own extreme combative ramblings than anything else. This is a man who claims that both Barack Obama and defeated Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis are "demons," and that only people who are "going to heaven" deserve equal rights from government. Klingenschmitt claims that "Obamacare causes cancer," and before apologizing suggested that Rep. Jared Polis wanted to "join ISIS in beheading Christians."

We always assumed stuff like that was coming out of "Dr. Chaps'" mouth in his Navy days, too.

The upside? Klingenschmitt's story should pair well with another Republican from Colorado Springs, Rep. Janak Joshi, who lost his license to practice medicine before being elected to the legislature in 2010.

Take pride, El Paso County! "Dr. Chaps" looks forward to representing you next.

For If It Prosper, None Dare Call It a “War on Women”

waronwomen

AP via the Denver Post, a familiar 2015 Colorado legislative battleground already taking shape:

Democrats who credit a drop in teen pregnancy to expanding access to long-acting birth control such as intrauterine devices have to persuade Republicans to use state money for contraceptives…

The Colorado Family Planning Initiative has provided low-income women access to birth control like IUDs and hormone implants for free or low cost at 68 clinics in the state. But state officials say $5 million is needed to continue the program.

The problem, of course, is that Democrats no longer have full control of the Colorado General Assembly. And that means the decision of whether to continue a program credited with reducing the rate of teen pregnancy in Colorado by 40%, in addition to reducing the number of abortions, is at least partly in the hands of Assistant Senate Majority Leader-elect Kevin Lundberg.

"We are talking about the most critical issue of protecting life or abortion," said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a Republican from Berthoud who will chair the Health and Human Services Committee. Lundberg said he doesn't oppose the use of condoms or pills. But he said IUDs are "abortifacients," meaning they cause abortions.

"That is not medically correct," countered Dr. Larry Wolk, the state's chief medical officer and the director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment… [Pols emphasis]

The thing is, we already know it's not medically correct, we just dealt with the incorrect assertion that interuterine devices (IUDs) are "abortifacients" when failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez said as much during a debate against Gov. John Hickenlooper this year. Beauprez was drilled by reproductive health experts for claiming IUDs are "aborifacient" after Hickenlooper cited this same program a successful policy. Other Republican candidates, like U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner desperately trying to convince undecided voters that the whole idea of banning birth control is "crazy," watched in horror as Beauprez at least morally validated the idea of doing just that.

Perhaps the biggest triumph of the 2014 elections in Colorado for Republicans was successfully "gumming to death" the issue of reproductive choice, which had cost them dearly in previous years as Colorado's electorate rejected abortion bans over and over. Led by Cory Gardner's deliberate campaign to "muddy up" the issue enough to blunt Democratic attacks, the GOP's insistence that the "war on women" is fake eventually suckered enough pundits, reporters, and editorial boards to sway conventional wisdom–at least through November 4th.

But as we'll all learn again next month, the "war on women" simply takes a break during election years.

More on why we know immigrants aren’t spreading disease

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Vicki Marble (R).

Sen. Vicki Marble (R).

Last week I reported that Tea-Party radio hosts Ken Clark (KLZ 560-AM) and Peter Boyles (KNUS 710-AM), along with Colorado's GOP State Senate Caucus Chair Vicki Marble, believe undocumented immigrants, as Marble put it, "bring the diseases. They bring whatever from across the border — things we haven’t seen in decades and thought we eradicated. Our whole country is at risk.”

There's no credible evidence for this, like there wasn't for attacks on immigrants throughout American history, but how do we know this?

"You have to assume that if [undocumented immigrants] get sick they are going to get medical care or die," said Dr. Michelle Barron in the infectious disease department of the University of Colorado School of Medicine.. "There is a long list of diseases that hospitals must report to the health department. Tuberculosis. Measles. Let’s say you came to the emergency room after traveling in Russia, and you have measles. That’s considered 24-hour-reportable. You would then be contacted by the health department and asked questions about vaccinations and where you’ve been. They would identify how big of a scope this would be."

"Public health departments actually report these things," Barron continued. "There's public reporting. The information wouldn’t be hidden in the background because of a political agenda. It’s part of the reporting that has to happen. If there is a trend, that would be investigated."

And, she added, if a serious disease outbreak or threat existed, it would be "all over the news," not left to the investigators on talk radio only.

But what happens if we can’t find the immigrants, I asked.

"The public health department has lots of experience hunting people down," she said. "They will go to your door. There are always the few people who won’t talk or answer the door, but they have their networks of people who will talk, even in homeless communities. Homeless people don’t want to get disease either. They will talk. The public health department is more savvy than people realize."

How to convince skeptics like Clark and Marble?

"Really and truly, you have to trust that the health care workers are doing the right thing," said Barron. "If you have already decided what you feel about this, no matter what evidence you are presented with, you are not going to believe it."

For more information, including a transcript of the Marble interview, click here.

 

Clock Still Ticking on the Greater Sage-Grouse

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Among the news-you-didn’t-hear leading into the holiday weekend, which got buried by other things—some worthy of attention and reflection, others the typical media noise—was a recent poll on the Greater Sage-Grouse.  It shows sportsmen in Colorado (and across the other 10 western state where the bird occurs) favor protecting its habitat. 

This is noteworthy as the federal government just announced it is listing the bird’s smaller relative the Gunnison Sage-Grouse as “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  This story was posted online by the Public News Service – Colorado:

Earlier this month the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it is classifying the Gunnison sage grouse as threatened. Under a court-ordered agreement, the agency will decide by next year whether to list the greater sage grouse.

Meanwhile the online news service ‘Environmental Protection’ reports:

The National Wildlife Federation on Nov. 19 released results from a poll of sportsmen and women in 11 states in the heart of greater sage-grouse country, with a majority of the respondents supporting efforts to protect the bird and the sagebrush landscape that supports it. A majority backed restrictions in important habitat to save the bird and avoid its placement on the federal Endangered Species List. Such a listing probably would lead to more stringent, long-term constraints on activities as hunting, fishing, recreation, and grazing, said John Gale, NWF's national sportsmen's campaign manager.

"First and foremost, it's critical that we save this iconic Western wildlife species," he said. "We can do that with strong conservation plans that protect key greater sage-grouse habitat while allowing responsible energy development, grazing, and other activities on other public lands."

He pointed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announcement last week that it is classifying the Gunnison sage-grouse as threatened to keep it from going extinct. The Gunnison sage grouse is smaller than the greater sage-grouse and now is found in portions of Colorado and southeastern Utah, which represent only 7 percent of its historic range, according to NWF.

The Durango Herald reported on the Colorado angle

According to survey results, nine out of 10 hunters believe it is important to take action to protect sage-grouse habitat. Almost as many believe protecting the animal will benefit other game species.

Support undoubtedly comes partly from the recognition that protecting sage grouse habitat is good for wildlife more broadly. And since the habitat lies mostly on public lands, stakeholders—including the State of Colorado–need to step up and protect the bird’s habitat quickly.  The ‘Environmental Protection’ article continues:

Land Tawney, executive director of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, said because most of the greater sage-grouse's habitat is on public lands, BLM and states where the bird is found must step up now. "It's not just about the bird; it's about the herds of mule deer and pronghorns, the hunting and other recreation made possible by healthy habitat," Tawney said.

Protecting priority habitat for the Greater Sage-Grouse benefits more than just that species, and if done right should not unduly impact other activities. 

NWF said the survey followed a recent report showing that almost none of the important greater sage-grouse habitat is currently home to any energy production and that 73 to 81 percent of areas with medium to high potential for energy development are outside the bird's habitat.

None of that is to say, of course, that we don’t need to act to put real, tangible and serious protections in place: we do.  The bottom line is Colorado needs to show it can adequately protect habitat for the Greater Sage-Grouse. 

From the Durango Herald story:

“Coloradans really care about their wildlife and public land,” [Colorado Wildlife Federation’s Suzanne] O’Neill said. “At the same time, they care about other uses of the land, and they’d like to see a balance. In this case, it will require collaboration among the state, BLM and many other stakeholders.”

The federal government will make a decision in 2015 whether or not to list the Greater Sage-Grouse.  With strong support for protecting the bird's habitat, its Colorado's opportunity to act now to show the feds it can adequately do that and avoid the listing. 

Oh Frack! OPEC Calls Shale Bluff, Sends Oil Prices Into Free Fall

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It seems that faced with declining profits of their own, as the frenzy to drill in American shale plays sent stockpiles skyrocketing and prices crashing, that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to call the shale drillers’ bluff.  Reuters is reporting:

Saudi Arabia's oil minister told fellow OPEC members they must combat the U.S. shale oil boom, arguing against cutting crude output in order to depress prices and undermine the profitability of North American producers.

For at least a couple of years a few observers have pointed to how over-leveraged most shale-heavy oil and gas drillers are, that shale oil–no matter how abundant hydraulic fracturing makes it appear–is an expensive prospect that cannot sustain itself.  Over-leveraged with a need to drill more and more and more at an ever higher ‘break-even’ cost, some astute observers have noted that shale bears all the hallmarks of a classic ‘bubble.’

“In 2016, when OPEC completes this objective of cleaning up the American marginal market, the oil price will start growing again,” said Fedun, who’s made a fortune of more than $4 billion in the oil business, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “The shale boom is on a par with the dot-com boom. The strong players will remain, the weak ones will vanish.” 

As with bubbles in the recent past, shale contrarians have been met in the manner of all naysayers during halcyon days of hype and hucksters.  But many have nonetheless steadily insisted that shale is not the panacea and ‘revolution’ its barkers want those seemingly born daily to believe.  And now, it appears likely, that the other shoe is about to drop: the shale bubble is about to POP

Investors have wiped more than $50 billion off the value of Europe’s biggest oil companies after OPEC members rejected calls to cut their oil output. 

Go ahead, seems the message sent by OPEC, make our day: See how long you can “Drill, Baby, Drill” with a mountain of high-interest debt and oil prices collapsing. And as with bubbles in the past—like booms in the western energy fields—any observer of history should already know how it ends. 

The only question: will this be the time we learn better?

 

 

 

Ferguson Protests Spread Across America, Colorado

A quick roundup on a story that has dominated national headlines since Monday evening and resulted in two consecutive days now of protests in Denver, Colorado Springs, and elsewhere–CNN:

Like Ferguson, outrage over the grand jury's decision escalated from coast to coast, with protests in about 170 cities nationwide.

From New York to Los Angeles and dozens and dozens of cities in between, protesters flooded the streets to denounce the grand jury's decision. Some demonstrations blocked bridges, tunnels and major highways. But the protests were largely peaceful.

"They have given us no justice! We will give them no peace," protesters chanted as they massed in front of the Underground Atlanta shopping mall.

In the New York area, they briefly blocked one of the entrances to the Lincoln Tunnel.

As the Denver Post's Anthony Cotton reports, protests yesterday evening downtown almost got out of hand, with a handful of protesters arrested, but overall stayed peaceful and law-abiding:

Besides the Brown protest, there were banners decrying the July shooting death of Ryan Ronquillo. And after an hour of marching, the protesters ended up at the front doors of the Denver jail, where they repeatedly shouted, "Marvin Booker, Marvin Booker," recalling the inmate who died at the facility in 2010…

Although there were no obvious signs of discord, things did get a bit tense when three armed sheriff's deputies, perhaps disquieted by the size of the gathering, stood on alert just inside the front doors of the jail.

Organizers had planned for the march to conclude at the jail, but a large group continued the protest, moving west on West Colfax Avenue and blocking the viaduct over Interstate 25…[p]olice formed a line to prevent protesters from moving onto the interstate about 8:10 p.m.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports a robust protest there Tuesday:

Hundreds of protesters, chanting "Hands up, don't shoot" and "Whose streets? Our streets," marched through downtown Colorado Springs on Tuesday, demanding police reform after a grand jury opted not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot a black teen in Ferguson, Mo…

Clutching a megaphone while blocking Cascade Avenue, Trina Reynolds-Tyler, a Colorado College senior, read a list of demands from FergusonAction.com, which has often helped support protests in Missouri.

Among the demands: Police departments nationwide need to stop using military equipment and weaponry and a U.S. Department of Justice review on racially biased policing across the nation. She said money going to law enforcement needs to be redirected toward community-based alternatives to incarceration.

Other events around the state related to the protests over the police shooting of Ferguson, Missouri teenager Michael Brown included an apropos forum on race relations in Boulder and a protest in Pueblo organized by the Colorado Progressive Coalition. Also fueling debate locally over police violence and race relations is a new report from Rocky Mountain PBS I-News highlighting racial disparity in Denver police shootings:

At a time when the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, has brought tensions between police and minority communities to the forefront, Rocky Mountain PBS I-News has found that racial disparities persist in police shootings in Denver.

Seven of the 33 people shot by Denver police and sheriff’s deputies in the past five years were African American, according to data collected by the Office of the Independent Monitor, a city watchdog. That’s about 21 percent, compared with an overall black population in Denver of 9.7 percent during roughly the same period, according to Census data.

Thirteen of those shot between 2009 and 2013 were Latino, and 12 were white. That means about 39 percent of the shootings involved Latinos, who comprise 32 percent of the population, while 36 percent involved whites, who account for 52 percent of the population.

Whether we like it or not, this is an issue that we need to be talking about in Colorado. So, please do.

Marble invites Tea-Party radio host to report from Senate chambers

(This is certain to end well - Promoted by Colorado Pols)

criticized conservative KLZ talk-radio host Ken Clark yesterday for spreading misinformation about undocumented immigrants, but one thing Clark and I agree on is that the Colorado General Assembly should figure out a way to be more open to non-journalists who report or comment on the happenings there.

And it looks like the new Republican leadership in the Colorado Senate may be planning to shake things up, and help guys like Clark get more access.

I'm not sure what the fairest way to handle access and/or press credentials is, but whatever Senate Republicans do, I hope it's even-handed.

Judging from this interesting conversation on the topic (below), there are hints it will be fair (a promise to give everyone a "even shot" and hints that it won't be (a personal invitation to Clark to report from the Senate "chambers").

The discussion occurred Nov. 19 on KLZ's 560-AM's nooner show, Freedom 560, among Clark, Sen. Kevin Lundberg, Assistant Majority Leader, and Sen. Vicki Marble, GOP Senate Caucus Chair. The topic was Clark's desire to have more access at the Capitol:

CLARK: Well, and I’m going to ask you one more question, and this is on a personal note, because as you are both painfully aware, I have been personally kicked off the floor of the House. I’ve been personally kicked off the floor of the Senate, and I was denied press credentials, because — whatever. They came up with a whole bunch of different excuses, and the press credentialing is controlled through the Senate. So, I guess I can assume that you guys aren’t going to kick me off the floor of the Senate this year.

LUNDBERG: [laughs] Ken, I have no intention of doing that. We need that transparency that allows everybody on, including incredibly popular radio hosts who talk about political issues every day of the week.

CLARK: Senator Marble?

MARBLE: I agree. I think you should have a seat right next to the [Senate] President, Bill Cadman.

CLARK: [laughs] We’ll see if Bill goes for that!

LUNDBERG: Well, I’m just going to give you an even shot with everybody else, Ken.

CLARK: Well, Senator Lundberg and Senator Marble, it was you two that went to bat to make sure that that [ban] was revoked, and it didn’t last very long. I think on the floor of the Senate, it was maybe a fifteen minute ban. That was it, because you guys raised holy hell and got that reversed. So, I appreciate that, I really do. I’m not holding out any hope for what might happen to me on the floor of the House. I will wear Kevlar. I will make sure that I am well protected. So, that will be good.

LUNDBERG: [laughs] Say no more.

CLARK: I think it’s going to also be imperative—and I’ll leave you with this, and I’ll give you each the last word. Senator Marble, I’ll start with you. It is going to be imperative that when you guys have bills that are coming through the Senate that you let people like me, Rich Bratten, Randy Corporon, Kris Cook, John Rush, —people know what is coming through. And I will be down there, fighting the battles with you guys on a daily basis. but it’s imperative that you reach out to us and make sure that we know the good things that you guys are doing so we can spread the word. And Senator Marble, how are you going to do that?

MARBLE: By keeping in very close touch with you, which, having you down at the Senate — you know — chambers, and having you at the Capitol everyday isn’t going to be very hard. If you don’t have the information, then it’s our fault. And I definitely can’t wait for the people of the state of Colorado to have a front and center seat with you, right there, giving the play by play. It’s about transparency, and believe me, we could not applaud your efforts of making everything transparent more. I thank you so much.

CLARK: Well, you know, that’s just kind of what we do. I go down there to watch how the sausage is made, and it ain’t pretty. It’s not. Senator Lundberg?

LUNDBERG: Ken, you’re right! It’s a pretty ugly process. And, as it Winston Churchill observed, it’s the worst form of government except for everything else. And so, it’s got it’s wrinkles and warts that we have to look past and work beyond. But my goal is to —as it always has been— to make sure people can see as much of what is happening as possible. I continue to publish during session, a weekly email report that if anybody goes to my website — KevinLundberg.com —they can sign up directly, there. And of course, Ken, any time I can be on the air and talking with you, I’d be glad to, as well as everybody else there at KLZ. And I’ll admit, I talk on a few other radio stations as well, because I want the entire state to know what we are doing.

Listen to Clark, Marble and Lundberg talk about about press access at state Capitol 11-19-2014

Wednesday Open Thread

"Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate?"

–Will Rogers

Hick Picks Kathy Green as Communications Director

From the office of the Governor:

Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced that Kathy Green will become communications director and official spokesperson, effective immediately. Green has served as interim communications director since July 2014.

"We were fortunate that Kathy Green joined our team as a interim communications director and during that time we realized we’d be fools to let her go,” said Hickenlooper. “Kathy is a remarkably skilled communicator and meshes seamlessly with our team. She helps bring out the best in all of us.”

Most recently, Green directed marketing and communication efforts for the Colorado Tourism Office and Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT, helping the state integrate media, public relations, and business-to-business marketing programs while supporting consumer-based public relations. Her work earned the agency top recognition from the Business Marketing Association and the global Communicators Awards.

Prior to joining the state, Green worked at the City and County of Denver supporting special media projects under then-Mayor Hickenlooper including the Better Denver Bond program, the 2008 presidential election, the Democratic National Convention and public safety issues. Before joining the public sector, Green owned a consulting firm offering multi-discipline services to clients across industries in both public and private sectors. She holds a journalism degree from Iowa State University.

Maximillian Potter, who took on the dual roles of Communications Director and Senior Media Adviser, will continue on in his Senior Media Adviser role reporting to the governor and will craft overall messaging of the governor’s office. 

This announcement brings some formality to the Communications office, which had been manned (somewhat) by Max Potter following the departure of Eric Brown last summer.

Sen. Marble delivers falsehood that immigrants bring eradicated “disease”

(Your Senate majority leadership in action - Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Vicki Marble (R).

Sen. Vicki Marble (R).

Warning: KLZ talk-radio host Ken Clark tells me the following blog post is a "hit piece consisting of lies and deceit in order to continue to manipulate the public and your readers at the expense of an elected official who is simply tying to protect her constituents." If only this were true….

The elected official Clark refers to is Republican State Sen. Vicki Marble. At issue is a searing falsehood Marble delivered to Clark on his nooner Freedom 560 show on KLZ 560-AM Nov. 19:

Marble: “Those illegals infiltrate into the system, of the United States, and they bring the disease. They bring whatever from across the border — things we haven’t seen in decades and thought we eradicated. Our whole country is at risk.”

A lengthy search (still in progress) for a factual basis backing up Marble yielded nothing, and I asked Clark why he didn't correct her on air:

Clark: The evidence is overwhelming that we are facing a health risk due to our administrations failure to protect our boarders and as a result are continuing to put our citizens at risk. Senator Marble is 100% correct when she states this fact and by failing to accept the truth and the evidence you are simply attempting to attack a public servant rather than seek the truth. She has been briefed by the Colorado Center for Disease Control as well and is privy to information that is not public, maybe you should try to get some information from them. [BigMedia emphasis]

I asked the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment if there was any evidence that undocumented immigrants are bringing any disease, much less ones that we thought were eradicated, into Colorado.

"CDPHE is not aware of any such evidence," was the simple answer from Mark Salley, CDPHE spokesperson.

Clark provided me with numerous links, none of which named a specific illness thought to be eradicated and brought to the United States by undocumented immigrants.

You can find Marble's comment at the 2:45 mark on this audio recording: https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/state-sen-vicki-marble-claims-immigrants-bring-eradicated-disease-to-us

Like other people, undocumented immigrants get sick with chicken pox, scabies, lice, and even tuberculosis, but, again, there's no evidence that they are spreading these illnesses in our country. There's speculation, yes, but nothing much more.

Marble's comment goes beyond the usual Tea-Party regurgitation of this speculation by accusing immigrants of introducing eradicated diseases, raising the specter of polio, lepers, etc.

This summer, Tea Party activists were up in arms about diseases allegedly being brought by migrant children crossing the border into the U.S. These concerns were shown to be basesless.

The New York Times reported in July:

Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said there have been only three cases of tuberculosis reported among the undocumented children who have come into Texas. More than 1,000 cases are reported annually in Texas. She also said that while there have been cases of scabies among the children, “it’s not outside the norm of what we would expect and not exotic to the United States.”

What does seem to spread in the United States is not diseases from immigrants but falsehoods from talk-radio hosts. KNUS host Peter Boyles broke the misinformation back in September that undocumented immigrants are spreading disease in Colorado.

And now the rot has jumped to KLZ. Maybe it's time to fumigate the offices at both KLZ and KNUS?

For transcripts and more info visit the bigmediablog.

GOP Majority’s Priority One: Killing Colorado Jobs!

Sen.-elect Cory Gardner.

Sen.-elect Cory Gardner.

As the Pueblo Chieftain's Peter Roper reports, a story with great significance to Colorado's economy:

The federal wind power tax credit, which Vestas and other windturbine producers rely on to support sales, is back in the cross hairs of conservative energy groups that want it eliminated…

The wind credit was one of the high-profile issues President Barack Obama campaigned for in 2012, the last time it was set to expire, and bipartisan supporters in windpower states extended the tax credit through 2013 after that election.

That extension allowed Vestas and other windpower companies to enter multiyear production contracts that are still fueling production at their factories, including the Vestas plant south of Pueblo.

The Hill reports that national conservative organizing group Americans for Prosperity, which has a large budget in Colorado, is leading the charge against the renewal of the wind production tax credit:

The conservative Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is publishing advertisements pushing individual Republicans to oppose tax credits for wind energy.

The ads launched Monday in the hometown newspapers of 15 GOP representatives in eight states who have not given clear positions on the wind energy production tax credit since it expired at the end of last year…

“It’s important that these members go on the record to let their constituents know that even during the little-watched lame-duck session of Congress, they’re committed to opposing needless corporate handouts at taxpayer expense,” Brent Gardner, AFP’s top federal lobbyist, said in a statement Monday.

Americans for Prosperity played a significant role in get-out-the-vote operations for Republicans this year, and funded a lavish ad campaign in support for Sen.-elect Cory Gardner. With that said, at least on the issue of renewing the wind production tax credit, Gardner is not quite giving this Koch brothers-funded organization their money's worth:

A spokesman said Gardner noted the congressman backed the 2012 extension and still supports extending it again — but ramped down over time.

At least not yet! This isn't the first time that Gardner has had to thread the needle between supporting Colorado's renewable energy industry, which he is obliged to do as any kind of responsible representative of the state, and conservative dogmatic opposition to any kind of "government subsidy" of this or that particular energy source. Groups like Americans for Prosperity say they're for eliminating all tax credits and so-called subsidies of energy production and "letting the free market decide." It's a convenient position to take as long as actually stripping the traditional energy industry of its many tax credits and subsidies remains politically impossible, which it of course is. In the meantime, AFP can make their hypocritical case against wind power tax credits without appearing so colossally hypocritical.

All of which works fine in states that do not have thousands of jobs tied to the wind power industry. Here in Colorado, these tax credits have a direct, tangible value in high-paying manufacturing jobs–the kinds of jobs that support many more jobs. Jobs we can't afford to lose.

That is why Gardner wants to "ramp down" these tax credits to keep his benefactors happy–just not right now, for the sake of pesky constituents back home who depend on them. That might make mortgages and college educations harder to plan for, but now that he's Colorado's junior U.S. Senator, Gardner can straddle this issue without conseqeunce for at least a few years.

And that appears to be what the voters want, folks.

Colorado’s BEST Political Ads (2014)

Here's our list of Colorado's BEST Political Ads in 2014. Click here to get back to the introduction page.

Colorado's BEST Political Ads (2014):

1. "Joe Neguse for Colorado First Ad," Joe Neguse (D) for Secretary of State [30 Seconds]
If there was a better political ad in Colorado in 2014, we didn't see it. The first campaign spot for Joe Neguse was a simple affair, with the candidate speaking directly to the camera about making his first-ever political advertisement. Rather than asking for your vote in the ad, Neguse talks about his desire to improve the voting process for everyone in Colorado. There isn't much in the way of fancy production value in Neguse's ad — it wouldn't have been necessary, anyway — but this straightforward approach really worked because the script is well-written and Neguse has the natural charisma to grab the viewer's attention. While not "technically" complex, this type of spot is much more difficult than it looks; some candidates either don't speak well in front of a camera or are working off of a script with too many buzzwords and rhetoric to make a connection with the audience. Neguse handled this one perfectly.

 

2. "Nice Guy," Cory Gardner (R) for U.S. Senate [30 Seconds]
"I'm Cory Gardner, and I'm going to tell you something you've never heard in a political commercial. My opponent, Mark Udall, is a real nice guy." If you had to sum up the 2014 U.S. Senate race with just two sentences, these opening lines would work pretty well. Gardner is his cherubic self, appearing confident and likeable, and you immediately understand the double-meaning behind the "nice guy" statement (the implication, of course, is that Colorado needs a Senator who is more than just a "nice guy.") The ad also does a terrific job of highlighting Gardner's Yuma roots as the son and grandson of tractor salesmen; you may have no idea what they are doing on the table in the background, but it seems homey and small-businessey. It is often said in politics that you must "make the case to fire" before you can "make the case to hire," and this ad does a great job of doing both while keeping the candidate likable.


3. "Big Shoes," Cory Gardner (R) for U.S. Senate [30 Seconds]
Gardner's campaign believed from the start that they had the more likable candidate in the Senate race (compared with Democratic Sen. Mark Udall); we'd argue with that reality, but Gardner's team certainly put that narrative to good use in their TV spots. This type of ad really works well when your opponent isn't defining himself — which is one place where Udall got into real trouble — but this stands as a strong advertisement on its own. A big part of making a candidate likable is also making him (or her) more relatable to the average voter, which is something that Udall did well in his 2008 Senate campaign. Gardner couldn't run on his record, so he created a persona that was non-threatening and genial. Whether this is the real Cory Gardner or just a great acting job is a debate for another time — this is just a good TV ad with a smart message and tone. 


4. "Deception II," NextGen Climate Action on Senate Candidate Cory Gardner [2 Minutes]
It's difficult to compare TV ads of different length, but a good TV ad should be strong no matter the running time. This 2-minute ad from NextGen Climate is 4 times longer than a typical 30 second spot and was drafted as the second of a three-part series of ads highlighting the "deception" of Cory Gardner. What the series does really well (and with this ad particularly) is to take the "Gardner is anti-women" narrative a step further by showing how Gardner's inconsistencies on a number of issues are a challenge to his credibility in general. Where NextGen really succeeds is in making side-by-side comparisons of how Gardner's changing answers about Personhood and other issues reflect an attempt to deceive voters by muddying his positions. The anti-Gardner narrative should have evolved to this point much sooner, instead of getting bogged down on contraception (the campaign of Democrat Mark Udall never really made this final connection for voters). Regardless, NextGen hit a home run with these ads by letting the facts tell the story while rhetoric took a breather.


5. State Senate/Jeffco School Board, "Colorado Voters' Voice" [30 seconds]
There were several variations of this ad linking Republican state senate candidates to the controversy surrounding the Jefferson County School Board, and all of them were well-done. These ads are a great example of connecting a big local issue — the attempted re-writing of history books in Jeffco — to candidates on the ballot for a separate office. You don't often see this kind of micro-targeting around a specific local issue, in large part because it requires quick thinking and flexibility to put it all together while the window is still open. It's also worth noting that several version of this ad were created for different candidates, and all were cut so that they didn't appear like they were part of a cookie-cutter campaign.


6. "Leading," and "Rebuilding," John Hickenlooper (D) for Governor [30 seconds]
These were the advertisements that probably ensured Gov. Hickenlooper's re-election. Both spots are positive and both focus on Colorado's economic growth under Hickenlooper's leadership, but they are more than just their collective parts; these ads really encapsulated the leadership qualities that you want to see from your Governor. By telling a story using Colorado's experience with wildfires and floods, these spots also help create a feeling of ownership with the viewer — a feeling that "we are all in this together." Hickenlooper had plenty of problems during the 2014 campaign, but his message discipline remained intact and enabled him to break through the advertising clutter with two great spots.

"Leading"

"Rebuilding"

 

7. "MIssing," Betsy Markey (D) for State Treasurer [30 seconds]
We have this spot in our "BEST" ads of the cycle for one very simple reason: It nearly won the race for Betsy Markey. This would have been a stronger spot if Markey's campaign had been able to generate more earned media attention for Walker Stapleton's keycard controversy — it could use a headline or two from a news outlet shaming Stapleton — but this was still a very strong ad that clearly explained both the "case to fire" and the "case to hire." This ad also made Stapleton's campaign completely poop its pants in the last month of the election cycle, the result of which probably disqualified Stapleton from making a serious bid for higher office down the line.

 

Colorado’s Best and Worst Political Ads: 2014

Back in late October, we asked you for suggestions for the Best and Worst political ads in Colorado this cycle. We took your suggestions and combed through YouTube searching for more candidates for Best and Worst political ads of 2014, and we've come up with finalists in both categories. We'll put the finalists to a vote to see which TV ads Colorado Pols readers think stood out the most this year.

Click here for Colorado's BEST Political Ads in 2014.

Click here for Colorado's WORST Political Ads in 2014.

How do we distinguish a "Good" advertisement from a "Bad" ad? There are a lot of different approaches for this kind of thing, but we decided to keep it simple and visceral. Our criteria:

► INSTANT IMPRESSION: A good political ad should stand out immediately in your mind — if you need to watch a particular ad a dozen times to make your decision, then it wasn't that good, and it certainly wasn't memorable.

PRODUCTION VALUE: Does the ad look like a 6th-grader made it with cheap movie-editing software? On the other hand, does the ad look over-produced and too melodramatic?

► MESSAGING: Is the ad clear about the candidate or issue it hopes to influence? Is it easy to understand without trying to cram too many talking points into 30 seconds?

► IMPACT: Rarely is one political ad responsible for determining the outcome in a particular race, and we didn't want to limit the discussion to candidates and campaigns that were victorious on Election Night. The Secretary of State race is a good example here; Democrat Joe Neguse was responsible for our favorite ad of the cycle, while Republican Wayne Williams (the winner in the SOS race) starred in some truly terrible spots. In this category, we also consider any negative effects from the ad in question — did the ad backfire and end up harming the candidate or issue it was designed to promote? Finally, we judge impact based on how we think the ad influenced an average voter; if a voter knew nothing else about the candidate or issue, would this ad be enough to get that voter leaning in the right direction?

► ONCE, TWICE, THRICE: We look at each ad three times, using the time-honored tactic of watching once with the sound off and once without looking at the screen (for an audible-only impression). This can be a critical test for a TV ad, and you can always tell when somebody got sloppy and didn't run through the proper tests before they released the spot to the networks. Going through this process is intended to help catch any potential problems before the ad was finalized. For example, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's infamous 2006 ad, which features the candidate standing next to the rear end of a horse, looks a lot different when you turn off the sound. To anyone watching the Beauprez ad at home without being able to hear the full audio, the visual takeaway is: Bob Beauprez = A Horse's Ass. Certainly not what they intended.

Follow the link below to view our list of the BEST and WORST political ads of the 2014 cycle:

Colorado's BEST Political Ad (2014): Finalists

Colorado's WORST Political Ad (2014): Finalists