Deleted Denver Post article stubbornly remains in Post digital archive

September 15th, 2014

I was perusing the Denver Public Library’s Denver Post archive, on NewsBank, and smiled when I saw an article by former Post reporter Kurtis Lee titled, “Coffman shifts on abortion, personhood.”

That’s the story Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett removed from the Post’s website hours after it was published April 16.

I clicked on the article, and there it was, complete and unabridged. It noted that “not long ago, Coffman won praise from hard-line pro-life groups for his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest and support of personhood initiatives that effectively would have outlawed abortion in Colorado.” And it included Coffman’s response when asked to elaborate on why he abandoned his longstanding support for a personhood abortion ban: “There are parts of it that are simply unintended. … I think it’s too overbroad and that the voters have spoken.”

You recall the short-lived publication of the piece unleashed long-winded criticism from progressives, and, to his credit, Plunkett responded with blog posts of his own, explaining his decision to un-publish the piece and offering Coffman’s quotes and other new information in the disappeared article. But Lee’s original piece was never re-published on The Post’s website or in the newspaper.

Asked about the stubborn appearance of the article on The Post’s digital archive at the library, Plunkett said: “Once you take a story off your own web page, of course, it doesn’t mean it disappears from the internet. And here you’ve discovered that it still does exist, in fact, in an archive that we use. I just hope that all the stories that we put in [the archive] that we intend to publish stay in that archive. Every now and then I wonder. We sweat and bleed and go to all this trouble, and then we can’t ever find the stories again.”

Plunkett also said that he felt his blog posts at the time, containing the new information from Lee’s article, obviated the need to re-publish the piece. But if he had to do it over again, he would run the story with “one or two” additional paragraphs.

“Sometimes when you’re in the heat of the moment, you remember what you learned,” Plunkett said. “And what I learned was, if the story has something wrong with it, and it needs to be fixed, you pull the story and you keep working on it. In today’s environment, sometimes that’s not the smart move.”

Radio host says “illegals” bringing bed bugs and “weird” disease

September 12th, 2014

KNUS talk-show host Peter Boyles continues to find new ways to bottom feed on KNUS 710-AM in the mornings, saying Thursday that “illegals” are bringing weird “respiratory diseases” and “bed bugs” into America.

Boyles: I am not convinced this weird disease that’s hitting the little kids across the country. There’s stuff that hasn’t been—like bed bugs. That stuff hasn’t been in this country. Bed bugs are back. This disease. Respiratory diseases. And it’s coming in with the illegals. Of course it is.

Caller: And our kids are not used to that—

Boyles: Of course they’re not—

Caller: Because they haven’t grown up with those viruses. And their bodies haven’t had the chance to react.

Boyles: It’s like introducing alcohol to the Native Americans. They didn’t have it. It killed them. Bob, I love your call. This is insanity. It’s absolute insanity.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/boyles-says-illegals-responsible-for-increase-in-bedbugs-and-killer-viruses


This is another one of those situations when you wonder whether you’re doing more harm than good by repeating the shit Boyles says, but I usually come down on the side of shining the light on it.

I checked, and there’s no relationship between bed bugs and undocumented immigrants. Nor is there any evidence that the respiratory illness at children’s hospital has any connection to immigrants.

So why did Boyles say this? He hasn’t responded to my email asking that question. Until he does respond, we’re forced to speculate.

Turns out that Boyles talked about bed bugs before, back in 2006, and none other than Boyles’ soul mate Pat Buchanan confirmed Boyles’ theory that bed bugs are coming from illegal immigrants. So maybe it’s Buchanan’s fault?

BOYLES: Can you think of any other issue — domestic policy, or for that matter foreign policy, but let’s take it as domestic — there’s nothing that illegal immigration doesn’t smack into, destroy, take down, drain? Can you name an issue? I mean, education, criminal justice, health care?

BUCHANAN: Exactly. The environment — take the environment –

BOYLES: Same thing. And also, you know, when I first read this, and I’ve talked to other people about — now we, there was a piece on one of the local television stations on the return of, of all things, bedbugs.

BUCHANAN: Exactly.

BOYLES: And it comes up out of these flea-bag hotels, I’m sorry, and they find — and I have talked to cops and they say, “Oh man, it’s back and it’s back big” — and they say this is the return to bedbugs — have invaded the United States for the first time in 50 years.

BUCHANAN: Exactly. Bedbugs were found in 26 different states. It is clearly the illegal aliens.

Sorry to leave this depressing blog post with you on a Friday afternoon.

Media omission: Personhood ties run deep in Jeffco GOP campaigns

September 11th, 2014

I wrote last week about how senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s support for Colorado’s personhood abortion ban was part of his formula for winning the 2010 Republican caucus process, which was a big step to his being elected to Congress.

If you look at the State Senate races in Jefferson County today, you see that the influence of key personhood backers persists, meaning that Cory Gardner would have likely faced the same pressure to embrace personhood positions today as he did then. Gardner, of course, did not run in Jeffco, but similar dynamics play out statewide.

And don’t forget that Jefferson County is the most critical battleground between Democrats and Republicans for control of the state legislature. The swing district could also decide Colorado’s Governor and U.S. Senate races, and the outcome of Colorado’s Senate contest could put the entire U.S. Senate in Democratic or Republican hands.

The latest campaign finance reports reveal that Jeffco Republican candidates Tim Neville (SD-16), Laura Woods (SD-19), and Tony Sanchez (SD-22) all have notorious GOP strategic consultant Jon Hotaling on the payroll via his company, “Liberty Service Corporation.” Liberty Service Corporation was Sanchez’s largest expenditure ($1,750) during the latest campaign-finance-reporting period and the second largest for Woods ($1,000) and Neville ($1,000).

Hotaling’s firm has worked over the years for Rep. Janak Joshi, gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, and other personhood supporters, most notably for Colorado For Equal Rights, which ran the pro-personhood campaign, fronted by Kristi Burton, in 2008, according to campaign-finance reports. In 2008, Hotaling collected about $12,000 from Colorado For Equal Rights.

So a major consultant for Personhood is deeply integrated into the campaigns of the three Republican senate candidates in Jeffco. Neville, Sanchez, and Woods all support personhood, as defined by Colorado Right to Life, based on their responses to its candidate survey this year.

Using what Republicans themselves called unethical tactics, Woods and Sanchez hammered their Republican primary opponents on the abortion issue during their primary campaigns against Lang Sias and Mario Nicolais.

In one flyer produced by “Colorado for Family Values,” (see link below), Nicolais was pictured next to openly-gay Democrat Pat Steadman and accused of advancing the “radical agenda of gay marriage” by supporting civil unions.

A search for Colorado for Family Values on the Secretary of State’s website returns, “Decommissioning Colorado for Family Values,” which was previously called “Colorado for Family Values.” Its agent is Mark Hotaling, Jon’s brother. No expenditures are listed, apparently indicating a campaign-finance violation, like the one that prompted a complaint Tuesday by Colorado Ethics Watch against Colorado Campaign for Life and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

The bulk mail permit (#255) used for 2014 mailers against Sias by the Christian Coalition of Colorado, a staunch anti-abortion group previously directed by both Jon and his brother Mark Hotaling, is identical to the bulk mail permit number used by Colorado for Family Values for Gosnell mailers against Nicolais.

(Click here to see the Christian Coalition of Colorado mailer using bulk permit #255 and the Colorado for Family Values mailer using bulk permit #255.)

pile of accusations point to Hotaling as using similar mailers and messaging to destroy his past opponents, Republicans or Democrats.

For example, Hotaling was accused of orchestrating dirty tricks in support of Rep. Doug Lamborn’s primary victory in 2006 over talk-show host Jeff Crank and CO Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera. In that race, a mailer linked to Hotaling and his brother accused the ultra-conservative Crank and Rivera, of supporting the “homosexual agenda.” And you can imagine how that was received by Colorado Springs Republicans. On his KVOR radio show, Crank still talks bitterly about the race.

The mailed advertisement against Crank came from the Christian Coalition of Colorado, directed at the time by Jon Hotaling’s brother Mark, who’d just taken over the organization from brother Jon, who’d left to run Lamborn’s campaign.

Hotaling, who was once Marilyn Musgrave’s campaign manager, has been investigated by the Federal Election Commission (See graphic on page 9.).

I didn’t receive a response to phone and/or email messages offering Jon and Mark Hotaling, Sanchez, Woods, and Neville a chance to respond to the issues raised in this blog post.

I’m not saying all personhood backers are anything like Jon Hotaling.

My point in this short blog post, and there’s more where this came from, is that the personhood pressure, in its various forms, faced by Gardner as he worked his way to power, is still very much alive within Colorado’s GOP, even in Jeffco, one of the entire country’s most critical swing counties.

This post was updated 9/13/2014

Coffman snuggled by Spanish-language radio host, who works for the Independence Institute

September 9th, 2014

Mike Coffman spends 15 minutes with his Spanish tutor every night, and last month, he put his skills to the test by subjecting himself to the fire of a Spanish-language interview on KNRV’s radio’s “El Programa de Raaki,” electing to answer questions in Spanish.

But there was no fire at all. Not even a smolder, as Garcia snuggled Coffman as he stumbled through the interview below. At the end, Garcia repeated (in clear Spanish) Coffman’s proposal to offer a path to citizenship to Dreamers through military service.

She made no mention of Coffman’s opposition to a path to citizenship for millions of adult undocumented immigrants–or his opposition to the Senate-passed immigration-reform bill, or his votes to deport Dreamers, etc.

All this makes sense when you know that Garcia is actually an employee of the Independence Institute, the conservative think tank. But Garcia didn’t mention it during the Coffman interview, nor is it stated anywhere on the radio station’s website. And it’s never come up in previous shows I’ve listened to.

Closest thing is this disclaimer heard, in Spanish, immediately prior to the KNRV show, saying:

The following is a paid program. This station assumes no responsibility for the commentaries broadcasted.

The important thing is to be informed of what is happening around us. 1150 AM presents El Programa de Raaki. Here you will find out about how important it is to be familiar with the laws that affect us, about opportunities in education, we will talk about politics, and something more. [Music: “Let Freedom Ring," and more]

Who’s paying the bill? We don’t know, and Garcia did not comment in response to calls and emails, but “El Programa de Raaki” is featured on the home-page of the Independence Institute’s website and Garcia, who goes by Garcia-Ulam during her day job, is listed on the staff page.

A Google search took me to the July/August newsletter of the State Policy Network, which funds market-oriented think tanks, where Raaki Garcia explains the purpose of her radio show and tries to convince other think tanks to give Spanish-language radio a try.

Through The Raaki Garcia Show, Colorado’s Independence Institute reaches an audience the freedom movement often finds elusive: Hispanics. It’s the state’s only Spanish-language conservative talk radio show and Colorado’s top-rated radio show for the past year. “Hispanics from Mexico, Central, and South America grew up listening to talk radio . . . . It’s part of our culture . . . . We don’t grow up watching TV,” explains Garcia, who doubles as the Institute’s Hispanic Education Coordinator. [Fact check: Sources say KBNO has higher ratings than KNRV.]

The show has succeeded partially because Garcia was already known within Colorado’s Hispanic community, for whom trust is fundamental for any relationship. Building upon that trust, Garcia began introducing the Institute’s conservative economic policies and Colorado’s Republican legislators to her listeners. In interviews, she showcases legislators as people, rather than Republicans, to connect with her listeners and combat negative stereotypes about both the GOP and politicians more generally.

Garcia encourages other think tanks to start similar shows, lest they miss a huge, and growing, audience. To do it properly, she suggests finding a host who is already known, respected, and trusted within the local Hispanic community. Ideally, the host would both speak Spanish fluently and ethnically reflect the local majority Hispanic population (e.g., Cuban or Mexican). The think tank would then identify what new and relevant information they could share with the Hispanic community, whether that’s tax credits or education policy. [BigMedia emphasis]

The use of the show to promote Republican candidates, like Coffman, appears to be out-of-line with the Independence’s Institutes non-partisan tax status.

The introduction to the article doesn’t mention Republicans in particular, but it refers to “persuadable voters.”

Generating broad support for free-market policy reforms means state think tanks must reach persuadable voters outside their typical audiences. In the spirit of this year’s Annual Meeting theme, Dare to Disrupt, several think tanks have begun engaging non-traditional partners to advance their policy goals. SPN partnered with journalist Melissa Langsam Braunstein to share the stories of—and lessons learned by—four think tanks that have formed innovative partnerships to educate the public and advance freedom.

Reaching persuadable voters clearly overlaps with Coffman’s campaign goal, as he battles Democrat Andrew Romanoff to represent a district where the population is 20 percent Hispanic.

Coffman has been campaigning in Spanish, as reported by Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols last week, and he’s mostly able to get his points across, as you can hear in the Garcia interview below.

The Colorado Statesman described Coffman’s Spanish program in more detail:

Part of that effort in a district that counts more than 80 languages spoken in its public schools includes the congressman learning Spanish, a project that involves a couple hours spent with Rosetta Stone every week and nightly phone calls with a tutor. (The redrawn 6th CD counts a Hispanic population of roughly 20 percent.)

“He’s getting surprisingly good,” [Coffman spokesperson] Tyler Sandberg says. It makes a big difference when he shows up at community events and can communicate. “They appreciate his willingness to learn their language, especially first-generation who are more comfortable speaking in their native language.” Sandberg adds, “He can’t learn all the languages — he likes to joke that his Arabic is so poor he’d start a war by himself — but he learned a little Arabic when he was in Iraq, and the largest mosque in the state is in the district.”

But Coffman is far from fluent, in contrast to Romanoff, who is. At one point during the Garcia interview, which stands as a bizarre symbol of Coffman’s struggle to adapt to his redrawn district, Coffman’s answer to Garcia’s question made no sense whatsoever, presumably meaning Coffman totally misunderstood the query. Garcia cut off the Congressman and repeated the question to him in English. Coffman then answered in Spanish.

The snuggling is so blatant maybe Garcia thinks her listeners already know about her conservative leanings and affiliations. But I still think she should state them openly.

Jon Caldara regularly identifies himself as president of the Independence Institute prior to his Devil’s Advocate KBDI-TV show, which is sponsored programming.

And so do the other tentacles of the Independence Institute’s media empire. During her daily two-hour radio show on KFKA radio in Greeley, Independence Institute staffer Amy Oliver often mentions who employs her. So does Caldara on his weekly KHOW radio show. The Institute’s stable of media commentators, like Research Director Dave Kopel, sometimes aren’t properly identified by reporters, but maybe that’s not as much in their control.

As a progressive journalist, I’d be a hypocrite if I trashed Garcia for being a conservative radio host. And I have no desire to shut her down. Obviously she’s not trying to hide her libertarian association, but she should just be more up-front about it on her radio show.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/mike-coffman-on-knrvs-raaki-garcia-show

Radio host would be “shocked beyond imagination” if Beauprez likened Americans to sheep. Well, he did.

September 8th, 2014

I spoke last week with the radio duo of yore, Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman, who were co-hosting Dan Caplis’ KNUS show.

Caplis and Silverman think The Denver Post should have more coverage of Hick’s comments on CNN about the death-penalty, despite copious coverage already, including blog posts, letters, a front-page news story, titled “Gov. suggests killer could get full reprieve,” and then a pile-on weekend piece, “Colorado’s Death Penalty Voters Could Make Hickenlooper Pay.”

I pointed out that The Post has yet to even mention many of the most bizarre statements that Hick’s opponent, Bob Beauprez, made during his “wilderness years,” after he left Congress and started running (and talking) in Tea Party circles, like Beauprez’s radio 2010 comments,reported by the Colorado Independent’s Susan Greenethat we’re living “ever closer” to “one world order,” and “we’re living through what a short time ago was fantasy, Orwell’s 1984.”

Beauprez: “A lot of people think we’re kind of out there, that we’re on the fringe, for even talking like this, but the real failure is to not recognize the reality that’s around you,”

Yes, that’s the word “reality” he used.

I told Caplis and Silverman, among other things, about Beauprez’s suggestion, also reported by Greene, that Americans are like “sheep” who’d blindly allow the government to implant microchips in their bodies.

Greene also reported on Beauprez’s agreement with the suggestion that states would have more power if the 17th Amendment were yanked from the U.S. Constitution and Senators weren’t elected directly by the people.

But Caplis would have none of it:

Caplis: “I would be shocked beyond imagination if Bob Beauprez had taken the position, for example, that our Senators should not be elected or that people are like sheep, etc.”

Media figures like Caplis would do well to read Greene’s piece so they don’t say stuff like that. With any luck, they can read about it in The Denver Post some day soon, too.

9News Rittiman does journalism proud by asking key questions of both Gardner and Udall

September 7th, 2014

9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman got one-on-one interviews with both senatorial candidates last week, and the questions he chose to ask Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, should earn him the respect of conservatives and progressives.

One of Rittiman’s questions for Gardner has been consistently overlooked by Denver journalists:

Rittiman: How do you square your recent change on personhood at the state level with the bill that you still are on in Congress. The life begins at conception act?

Gardner: Well, there is no federal personhood bill. They’re two different pieces of legislation, two different things.

Rittman followed up by pointing out that other co-sponsors of the bill say it it is federal personhood, and asking, “But it’s still a piece of legislation that says abortion ought to be illegal, no?”

Gardner: No. It says life begins at conception. Look, Sen. Mark Udall is trying to say that it’s something that it’s not.

Rather than letting Gardner’s false statement slide, Rittiman reported:

Rittiman: At the very least, the bill is meant to set up a legal challenge to a woman’s right to choose. [Factcheck.org supports Rittiman's reporting here.]

Rittman also brought up the subject of Gardner’s failed healthcare plan, reporting: “9NEWS asked a few times for Gardner to share the details of his canceled healthcare plan, which he has used as an issue in the campaign.”

Rittiman: You don’t want to discuss the details of your old plan?

Gardner: “Well, look. This is about a promise that Mark Udall made. About being able to choose the health insurance that they liked for their family. Mark Udall didn’t tell people that if you had this policy or that policy you might be able to keep this but not that. Mark Udall promised if you like your plan you could keep your plan. He broke that promise.”

Rittiman should have explained to his audience that details of Gardner’s plan are important because Gardner has ranted about how much more money he had to pay for insurance under Obamacare, which covers pre-existing conditions and preventative care, among other benefits.

If Gardner’s old plan was bare-bones, or if it had a giant deductible that would make it too risky for average voters, then his complaint about the increased cost of his Obamacare insurance starts to smell rotten. As it is, the smell of his answer to Rittiman is pretty bad and deserves more scrutiny by journalists. Why won’t Gardner release details of his old plan?

As for Udall, Rittiman asked the question that comes up most frequently on conservative talk radio:

Rittiman: Frankly, does Colorado deserve for this campaign to be about more than just about abortion?

Udall: My campaign is about contrasts and comparisons. An election is a choice…. It’s my responsibility to bring that to the attention of Colorado voters, and I will continue to do so, but I will also talk about all the other things that I’ve accomplished.

Rittiman followed up twice by asking Udall about fracking, “They didn’t hear you saying specifically where you think the policy on oil and gas should go. Do you think that local governments ought to have the power to full on regulate it, or is it just about giving them meaningful input?”

Udall: Look, I’m gonna let governments speak from their point of view, but I think there’s a sweet spot there. You definitely want meaningful involvement, you want meaningful input. And again, there may be places where the local community decides that the use of that land is better directed at a park or a wildlife refuge or subdivisions, versus drilling for natural gas. I think there’s broad support for that, including in the industry.

Rittiman reported that Udall “opposed the now-dead ballot questions to restrict oil and gas operations, but still gets support from the environmental lobby.”

Some details on how Gardner “built his entire political career on support of personhood”

September 5th, 2014

Back in July, Cosmo’s Ada Calhoun quoted Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, as saying:

Mason: “[Cory Gardner has] built his entire political career on support of personhood. I think he’s just listening to some bad advice, and he’s playing politics.”

Calhoun didn’t get into the details of how and why Gardner relied on personhood to advance himself in politics, so I’ll hit on it briefly now, not only because it gives you insight into Gardner but, in the bigger picture, the anti-abortion movement’s lock on Republican candidates as they move through caucus and primary processes in Colorado.

From the time he was elected to the State Legislature, Gardner clearly made his anti-abortion stance a priority, sponsoring state personhood legislation, in 2007, defining life as beginning at conception and outlawing abortion even in the case of rape and incest.

In 2008, Gardner stood with other Colorado legislators in support of Colorado’s first personhood ballot measure, earning a shout out from Kristi Burton, the mother of our state’s personhood movement.

When she helped launch the 2012 personhood measure, which didn’t make the ballot, Burton praised Gardner as “very supportive” and “one of our main supporters” of personhood campaigns.

Gardner’s deep support from anti-abortion activists paid off when he launched his first congressional campaign against a tough field of candidates, including Tom Lucero, the former CU regent.

At a Tea Party event in November of 2009, Gardner was asked if he’d carry legislation to end the “practice” of abortion:

Gardner: “Yes, and I have a legislative background to back it up.”

The applause you hear in the video is a clue to how important the abortion issue is to the activists in attendance. You can imagine the reaction of any if the three candidates present had offered anything but a full-throttle acceptance of banning abortion.

Later, in 2010, Gardner touted his personhood chops at one Republican congressional candidate forum, where he infamously said the following. (Again, note the round of applause.):

Gardner: “I have signed the personhood petition. I have taken the petitions to my church, and circulating into my church. And I have a legislative record that backs up my support for life.”

All his trumpeting of his personhood stance set Gardner up perfectly to win the votes of pro-life delegates at the 2010 GOP district convention, where the congressional nominee is selected.

Indeed, as reported by the Colorado Statesman in May of 2010, Gardner “stormed the 4th Congressional District GOP assembly last Friday — winning 60 percent of the delegate vote and shutting out University of Colorado Regent Tom Lucero and businessman Dean Madere, the two other Republican contenders.”

Leslie Jorgensen, covering the assembly for the Statesman, reported a detail that brings us back to the exact point personhood’s Keith Mason made about Gardner building his “career on support of personhood.”

Jorgensen reported:

Christian Family Alliance of Colorado distributed a flyer to delegates that reported the three candidates’ positions on several conservative issues that included public funded abortions, the personhood ballot initiative, gay rights, and posting the 10 Commandments in public buildings. Gardner scored perfect responses, Lucero missed the mark on two issues, and Madere had “refused to respond.” [BigMedia emphasis.]

This (as well as the rest of this blog post above) obviously isn’t proof that Gardner owes his political career solely to his support of personhood, but it’s clear enough that personhood was one of the foundational building blocks of his climb to Congress, proving Keith Mason correct and shedding light on the short-term gain GOP candidates encounter by joining with anti-abortion activists. And the long-term pain they encounter if they seek state-wide office in Colorado and are forced to defend their positions.

Reporters continue to overlook fact that Suthers not duty-bound to defend CO same-sex marriage ban

September 4th, 2014

CORRECTION — A previous version of this post stated incorrectly that Cynthia Coffman is on record opposing same-sex marriage. In fact, there is no record of her position on this issue.

—————–

In a long question-and-answer story in Westword, Attorney General John Suthers once again lays out his case that he is duty-bound to defend Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban until the bitter end. Which isn’t bitter, actually, because everyone expects the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn such bans.

Sounding all above-the-fray and bipartisany, Suthers tells Westword about his high-minded commitment to defend Colorado’s laws, even when he disagrees with them.

It sounds like maybe a beautiful thing, if it were true. But it’s not.

Left out of the Westword interview (and other media coverage of Suthers’ position) is the fact that under Colorado law, our Attorney General doesn’t have to defend laws (and constitutional amendments) that he deems unconstitutional. In fact, he’s supposed to go after those laws.

As former Deputy Attorney General Don Quick, a Democratic candidate for Attorney General, wrote in The Colorado Springs Gazette in July:

Quick: First, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 2003 that it is the attorney general’s job to challenge a law when there are concerns about its constitutionality. I remember it well, as I was chief deputy to Attorney General Ken Salazar when the court ruled in our favor. Coffman knows this also, as her office did the same thing last year. The Legislature passed a law restricting the display of marijuana-related magazines, and the Attorney General’s Office refused to defend it because it believed it was unconstitutional.

Quick is referring Cynthia Coffman, a Republican who’s running against Quick to replace Suthers. Coffman, who works in Suthers’ office, has embraced the Attorney General’s view that he had no choice  but to defend Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The 2003 Colorado Supreme Court ruling, to which Quick refers, involved the infamous effort by Colorado Republicans, challenged by Salazar at the time, to change Colorado’s congressional districts after they’d been established by court order subsequent to the 2000 Census. The decision delivered by Chief Justice Mullarkey stated that if the Attorney General has “grave doubts” about the constitutionality of a law (in this case an election-related law affecting an upcoming election) he or she must, “consistent with his ethical duties and his oath of office,” seek to “resolve those doubts,” meaning, in this narrow case, file a lawsuit (consolidated cases 03SA133 and 03SA147).

What’s more, attorneys general in at least six states, decided not to defend their states’ same-sex marriage bans. And U.S. Attorney General Eric holder has advised state attorneys general, like Suthers, that they are not obliged to defend state laws they see as discriminatory.

Against this backdrop, Suthers’ high-minded rhetoric about his duty to defend the constitution starts to look dark, even self-serving, especially when you hear he’s running for mayor of Colorado Springs, which is one of the few places where a crusade against gay marriage counts in your favor. That’s also essential context for any future stories on Suthers’ current defense of Colorado’s constitution.

Here’s what Suthers told Westword:

Westword: Colorado law requires the attorney general’s office to be responsible to federal constitutional law. How do you navigate loyalties between state and federal law?

Suthers: It’s quite simple: If a higher court tells us that our state law is unconstitutional under federal law and that’s the final decision, then that’s the deal. If the U.S. Supreme Court denies cert [request for judicial review] in the Tenth Circuit decision, [Colorado's law banning same-sex marriage] is invalid and we accept that. But I think what you’re driving at is that some of my colleagues are saying that I’ve decided that this law’s unconstitutional under the federal constitution. I don’t think that’s my job.

Could you imagine if I selectively say: “You know, I think those gun laws passed by the legislature last year are unconstitutional. I agree with David Kopel [the attorney representing the plaintiffs in that case], so I’m not going to defend those laws.” Could you imagine the outrage in your newspaper if I did that? I frankly have a little bit of sympathy with this ma-and-pa baker out in Lakewood, who my office is prosecuting on behalf of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for not selling a cake to a same-sex couple. I understand why he thinks this is real governmental intrusion on his life. That’s the law in Colorado. We passed a public-accommodations law that protects sexual orientation as well as gender and ethnicity and religion. It’s my job to defend that statute, despite the fact that I’m getting tons and tons of criticism from certain circles about that. If I saw my role as something other than being the best lawyer and started deciding and picking and choosing because I don’t think this law’s right, I think this law’s unfair, despite the fact that the court hasn’t told me that this law is unconstitutional, and I decided not to defend that, that is a very slippery slope.

Stokols tried but failed to clarify Coffman’s immigration positions

September 2nd, 2014

In interviews aired over the weekend, Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols tried hard to clarify Rep. Mike Coffman’s squirrelly positions on immigration reform, but unfortunately, after you watch the interviews, you’re left scratching your head on key points.

For example, during Stokols’ Sunday show, #CoPolitics from the Source, Coffman reiterated his opposition to President Obama’s executive order allowing young undocumented immigrants, brought here illegally as children, to defer deportation for at least two years.

“I certainly don’t support it being done by executive order,” Coffman told Stokols, which makes sense because Coffman voted to defund Obama’s order this summer. “I believe it should be done legislatively.”

So you have to assume that, as of now, in the absence of DACA legislation, Coffman believes the dreamers should be deported.

Yet, in a news piece aired last night, Stokols also has video of Coffman saying he supports deferred deportations (without saying he doesn’t support them). A young man, who identified himself as a Dreamer, asks Coffman why he voted to defund Obama’s program to defer deportations.

“I thought we had an opportunity to make it permanent,” Coffman told the young man, neglecting to add he opposes Obama’s executive order.

Putting on his immigration happy face, Coffman also told Stokols that he supports granting young undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship through “higher education”

This is a significant departure from his previous position, which granted citizenship to Dreamers only through military service.

“I certainly support a path [to citizenship] for some of the young people that do higher education and do military service,” Coffman said.

http://kdvr.com/2014/08/31/rep-mike-coffmans-new-district/#ooid=xyZ2MwcDoxsreHde4B1yAh-onItfALRY

Stokols tried to understand the heart of Coffman’s broader immigration views when he asked, “When you say a step-by-step path, I’ve heard you use that phrase a lot lately, what does that mean? ”

Coffman replied by saying that he doesn’t like “big-sweeping” bill like Obamacare, and he said he doesn’t support a path to citizenship for adults who “broke the law.” He reiterated his support for work visas with no citizenship path, which would formally create a working underclass in America.

In explaining his immigration shifts, Coffman told Stokols “there needs to be more districts” like his, where competitive elections force politicians not to get stuck in ideological straight jackets, but earlier this year Coffman implied that the judge who okayed Coffman’s district was swayed by his affiliation with the Democratic party–though it turned out the judge wasn’t even a registered Democrat.

“I think it’s made me a better Congressman,” Coffman told Stokols, who still has his work cut out for him to get Coffman to explain the precise positions that him the better Congressman he says he is.

Boyles host doesn’t question Beauprez on why he wants to ban child migrants from Colorado

August 29th, 2014

As reported by The Denver Post Wedneday, gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez told KNUS-radio yapper Peter Boyles that he would not allow young immigrants from poverty-stricken Central American countries to be housed anywhere in Colorado while they await deportation decisions.

But Beauprez’s explanation for his young-migrant ban, which wasn’t picked up by any news outlet that I can find, is just as newsworthy as his position itself:

BOYLES (Aug 27 at 5 minutes): We know that Hickenlooper has welcomed these illegal children who have come into this country.  Would you allow Colorado to continue to receive these, quote, undocumented whatever-they-are, fill-in-the-bland, no matter how old they are or how young they are. Would you stop that?

BEAUPREZ: They’ve got to stay on the border, Pete. They shouldn’t even be allowed in the border, but to bring them this far inland makes it that much more difficult to send them back home.

BOYLES: Thank you!

BEAUPREZ: Yep. Done.

This far inland? I listened three times to make sure he said it. He did. Then I checked to see if these children ride on horseback to their deportation hearings, making it difficult to send them home from a inland location. They don’t. They ride in modern planes and buses, some of which have been blocked by anti-immigrant protesters.

Transportation logistics are irrelevant to Boyles’ agenda of ridding Colorado of immigrants, no matter how small or vulnerable. Or no matter the horror they’ve fled. He wants them out, and he’s not scared to say that housing and caring for undocumented children isn’t our job.

Yet Boyles didn’t ask Beauprez for a real reason for banning child migrants from Colorado.

So we’re left to speculate that Beauprez’s thinking is probably along the lines of, someone else will be compassionate toward them, and it’s messy for Colorado to chip in. And that’s a charitable interpretation.