Archive for the 'KNUS' Category

Conservative talk-show hosts frustrated that Coffman isn’t talking to them

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Journalists should let us know more often when politicians are ducking them.  Or when they only talk through spokespeople.

After a week or two goes by, and a public official still refuses to talk, reporters should tweet it, if nothing else.

On March 28, KNUS radio’s Steve Kelley and co-host Bill Rogan chose to talk openly about their difficulties landing Rep. Mike Coffman and Rep. Cory Gardner.

Kelley: Congressman Coffman and Gardner are not talking, apparently.

Rogan: Ducking us. And I don’t like that.

Kelley: Well, that’s what it feels like at this point. So we’ll give them one more day, and then look, the clubs are coming out.

Rogan: They’ll come on Saturday, and we’ll do a special edition of Kelley and Company, just to accommodate Coffman and Gardner.

Kelley: See, I don’t know.

Rogan: I’m not too happy with these two.

Kelley: At this point, I’m not either. We can say that. It’s a free country.

Strongly anti abortion, Kelley told me last week he’d been trying to reach both politicians since they flipped on personhood.

Gardner finally appeared on Kelley’s conservative talk show, “Kelley and Company,” last week. It turned out that Gardner had changed cell phones, and he shuffled press contacts, so it was all a misunderstanding, Kelley said on air.

Coffman, however, is still not returning calls from Kelley’s producer, Kelley said, noting that Rep. Diana  DeGette and Sen. Mark Udall don’t return his calls either.

But Coffman’s lack of response surprises Kelley, who sees his conservative KNUS show as a friendly audience for Coffman, even if he asks a challenging question on occasion, Kelley told me.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/radio-host-frustrated-that-mike-coffman-wont-return-his-calls

In assuring radio host he’s still “pro-life,” Gardner says his record “speaks for itself.” But what is it?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

On conservative KNUS radio last week, GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner assured listeners that he remains “pro-life” even though he recently un-endorsed the personhood amendment, which would ban abortion in Colorado.

“I remain a pro-life legislator who believes that my record actually speaks for itself while I’ve been in Congress,” Gardner told KNUS radio host Steve Kelley.

If his record speaks for itself, does Gardner stand behind it?  Because left out of the radio conversation was the annoying fact that Gardner’s legislative record in Congress includes his endorsement of federal personhood legislation, which he has yet to un-endorse. His name is still right there, having joined as a co-sponsor in July of last year.

Gardner also told Kelley:

“If you look at my record, it is a pro-life record. And that will always be on my record, and continue to be a part of it. So, I think that that is something that we have not been trying to turn away from.” [Bigmedia emphasis]

Gardner’s “pro-life” record, which (in case you missed it) he says “will always be on my record,” also includes co-sponsorship of bills in Congress aiming to de-fund Planned Parenthood and to re-define “rape” to include only the “forcible” kind. (Gardner later said his effort to redefine rape was a misunderstanding.)

His “always-on-my-record” record at the state legislature includes sponsorship of legislation banning all abortion, even for rape and incest, as well as other anti-abortion bills, like one mandating ultrasounds prior to abortion. These have yet to be un-endorsed.

Gardner’s response to Kelley, touting his anti-abortion credentials to receptive ears, sounds like Gardner’s statement at a Tea Party forum in 2009, when he was running for Congress for the first time.

Gardner was asked if he’d carry legislation banning abortion, and he replied, “Yes. And I have a legislative background to back it up.”

Gardner later told journalists he would not carry anti-abortion legislation in Congress. Then he did it.

 Partial transcript of appearance of Rep. Cory Gardner on KNUS’ Steve Kelley Show, April 16, 2014.

KELLEY: .. Are you pro-choice? Are you pro-life?

GARDNER: Well, if you look at my record, it is a pro-life record. And that will always be on my record, and continue to be a part of it. So, I think that that is something that we have not been trying to turn away from.

KELLEY: So, no ambiguity, you’re still pro-life, but — and your votes support that. But as senator, will you continue in that vein?

GARDNER: Well, again, I’m not – I remain a pro-life legislator who believes that my record actually speaks for itself while I’ve been in Congress.

KELLEY: So, does the Personhood Amendment, –and again, just to refresh folks’ memories, there was a change, not only you but Congressman Coffman, as well. What was the turning point? When you looked at it for what we’ll be voting on. What changed your mind?

GARDNER: Well, if you look at the number of people who do not support Personhood, I think it might even come as a surprise to many people who aren’t as studied on the issue as we have become, but groups like National Right to Life, groups like the Eagle Forum have raised serious questions if not outright opposing, uh, the effort. L0ok, I think there are things we can agree on, things we can disagree on. But the bottom line is, how do we find those common areas where we can agree and, and, actually make policy — good policy choices that we can all work together on.

KELLEY: It’s been suggested that that would be political – not political suicide, but it is a strategically wise move. Because it’s much different being a senator than a congressman, and that you’ve got to appeal to wider swath of people, here. Was it strategic?

GARDNER: Well, again, I think if you, if you – people who have brought that question up, we brought it up before the Republican assembly. So, clearly we wanted to make sure that we were true to our record and true about our record, and not letting the, the opposition – Mark Udall, in this case – destroy my record.

Journalists should note that Archbishop believes “godlessness” in Colorado is comparable to Nazi Germany

Monday, April 21st, 2014

In a recent radio interview, Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila compared Colorado’s “godlessness” to Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia and said it portends a government that will “eventually fall.”

Citing the growing number of atheists and agnostics here, Aquila also said godlessness in Colorado engenders a “lack of respect for the goodness of the human person.”

Soon after making this bigoted comment against atheists like me, Aquila became the face of opposition to a bill, killed last week, that would have barred state and local governments from interfering with reproductive healthcare decisions.

An April 15 rally, led by Aquila, galvanized opposition to the bill and got saturation local media coverage.

Reporters cited a letter, signed by Aquila, which called on Catholics to “pray for the conversion of the heart and mind of those who support such irrational, unscientific, and a denial of conscience legislation.”

Fair enough. His opinion. But if Aquila is going to jump up and down about science, journalists should cover Aquila’s unscientific views, including his anger at the media for failing to cover Satan, who is “real.”

KNUS’ Dan Caplis asked Aquila on April 3 what’s surprised him here in Denver, since he took over as Denver Archbishop in 2012.

Aquila responded that the “godlessness that is present here [in Colorado]” has been a “very real challenge.”

AQUILA: [Godlessness] opens up all sorts of opportunities for evangelization, for helping people and reaching out to them, but it’s also a real challenge in terms of seeing the lack of respect for the dignity of human life, the lack of respect for the goodness of the human person.

CAPLIS: What forms do you see this godlessness – this secular godlessness taking?

AQUILA: I think in terms of, first of all, the numbers that claim to be atheist today, or agnostic, certainly are up in percentage of people. Also is the almost just total pushing of God from the public square. And we know that was not true 50 years ago. That God was, and certainly in the founding in this — of our democracy and all, God was very much a part of that. And very much — it was religious beliefs that this country was founded upon. And when you look at history, when you read the founding fathers’ statements, even when you read the Declaration of Independence, there is the recognition of a creator. And when you look at the buildings that were built a hundred years ago – a hundred and fifty years ago, whether it be the Supreme Court or other buildings in Washington D.C., they have the Ten Commandments on them.

CAPLIS: Right.

AQUILA: And people did not blink an eye at that. And when one studies history, whether it be salvation history or whether it be history – even in the last hundred years, we can see when a country or a people remove God from the equation, they eventually fall.

CAPLIS: Right.

AQUILA: And whether it was Nazi Germany, whether it was Stalin, whether it was other governments.

Caplis concluded his Aquila interview with a great suggestion for a future show that might help fill in the media gap left open after last week’s one-dimensional coverage of Aquila:

AQUILA: Well, you are known as a man of action, and very much appreciate your time. I’m hoping we can get together on a regular basis. I’d love to – for example, I’d love to do one show just on the devil – heaven, hell, the devil. And get your take on that. As you say, it’s something we don’t talk about a lot. Probably, people like me don’t want to think about it a lot. But it would be one of those things that would really be great to dig into as we head into the political season. You know, just talk about – and I’ve heard you speak so eloquently and bravely on this before, — you know, the obligation of people to carry their faith in all aspects of their life, including the political process. [I] would love to do a show just on that.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/archbishop-says-godlessness-in-co-is-comparable-to-nazi-germany-4314

Media should not report Satan is real

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Everyone’s a media critic, including Denver Archbishop Sam Aquila who told KNUS radio host Dan Caplis last week the media is distorting Pope Fancis, in part by failing to report that Satan is real.

Aquila on Pope Francis press coverage: .And rarely do you hear the secular media reporting on that – that there is evil in the world, that there is – that Satan is real, the devil is real and he can really draw you away from the gospel message. And, of course, in a secular world that denies God, they’re going to deny the evil one, too. And so it gives free rein to the evil one and that is really problematic because it is not good for humanity.

I understand Archbishop Aquila is an Archbishop. And I understand Dan Caplis is a social conservative, and I understand I’m a biased atheist.

And we’re all entitled to our beliefs, truly. But the media should report that Satan is real?

Media omission: Wadhams says CO Tea Party is now “part of the Republican establishment”

Friday, April 11th, 2014

An important storyline for reporters to track coming out of the Republican Party’s state convention this weekend is, simply, how are Colorado Republicans getting along with each other these days?

To hear former state GOP Chair Dick Wadhams tell it, historic divisions between the Tea Party and establishment wings of the party are now over because the Tea Party is now “part of the Republican establishment:”

Wadhams: All those new activists that brought so much vitality to our party since 2010, this is now their third election cycle of being involved. They’re part of the Republican establishment now! [Laughs] After they’ve been involved three times, they’ve been elected country chairs. They’ve been elected party precinct committee people. They’ve been involved in the party. The fact is, they are playing as big a role in the party as the establishment is. Where the breakdown occurs, Dan, is when we nominate candidates who can’t win a general election. [BigMedia emphasis.]

…I do think there was a misperception when the Tea Party first became such a force in 2010, that there was a process that basically shut them out of nominating candidates, that there was some kind of small power group that determined who the candidates were going to be. Nothing is further from the truth.

The nominating process of the Republican Party is as open and fair as you can think, because the people who show up at precinct caucuses and the people who show up and vote at the Republican primary, are the people who nominate candidates, not a handful of people sitting in a back room. In fact, we did some things when I was state chairman to empower that grassroots movement.

That’s what Wadhams told KNUS yapper Dan Caplis April 3, without addressing, among other GOP-establishment power plays, the epic backroom deal that cleaned the Republican senatorial primary field for Cory Gardner.

Wadhams also said, if there’s any animosity within the Republican party–over divisions about the 2005 Referendum C tax increase, for example–Tea Party activists should just get over it:

Wadhams: If Republicans are still talking about that, they need to get over it. First of all, that’s also an attack on former Governor Owens. Fine, disagree with Governor Owens and his administration on Referendum C. But give the guy credit. He’s the only guy to win the governorship in 40 years. So he had something special that a whole bunch of other candidates didn’t have.

This weekend’s state Republican convention will illuminate whether Wadhams is right about oneness within the state GOP, and, whether he’s right or wrong, this will likely be the biggest story that emerges from the convention.

Waller’s promise to be activist AG, in contrast to his opponent, raises questions about other candidates

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Love him or hate him, Scott Gessler has brought an activist’s style to his job as Secretary of State, while others in his position, including Republicans, have tried to stay out of the partisan fray. Ditto for Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

So going into November, when we’ll be voting for a new AG and SOS, the question is, do we want to elect an AG and SOS in the Gessler/Suthers mold. Or do we want more passive, traditional office holders, regardless of their political party?

It’s an important question for media figures to tease out of the candidates, and reporters can take a cue from State Rep. Mark Waller who addressed the issue spontaneously when asked Sat. by KNUS’ Jimmy Sengenberger what sets him “apart” from his primary challenger, Cynthia Coffman.

WALLER: You know, I think there are a couple of things that set us apart. Number one, we view the role of Attorney General’s office a little differently. You know, [Cynthia Coffman] has said a couple of times that she feels that I’d be more of an ‘activist’ Attorney General, if I were to become the AG, meaning that I would engage more upfront on the development of legislation and fight against bad legislation that’s moving forward. And I would be more. You know, I would take the role as an elected official more seriously and place more focus that way, on the office. Whereas, you know, the way she sees the office, it’s more of a nonpartisan office, where it’s the role and responsibility of the Attorney General to be the the lawyer for the state. So, I think we see those roles a little bit differently…. See, I’m an old military guy, Jimmy. I deployed to Bagdad, Iraq in 2006 where I prosecuted insurgents. I led other lawyers and paralegals there. You know, if I can lead lawyers and paralegals during a war in Bagdad, Iraq, I’m very confident I can do it in the state of Colorado, as well.

Listen to Waller discuss his promise to be activist attorney general

What about Democratic AG candidate Don Quick and the SOS candidates, Dem Joe Neguse and Republican Wayne Williams?

Do they see themselves in the Gessler/partisan mold? Or would they take the more nonpartisan approach of former GOP SOS Natalie Meyer, as explained here?

Where was the radio discussion of how Tancredo’s high-school graduation requirements align with his immigration position?

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Just after gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo departed from from KNUS’ Peter Boyles show this morning, where Boyles told his listeners, “If there’s a god, [Tancredo] becomes governor,” Tancredo talked about immigration with Dan Caplis, whose KNUS radio show starts right after Boyles’.

Caplis: If you had that power, right now, what would you do with the folks who are already here?

Tancredo: …I think everyone who applies for a job in this country should have to be here legally and should have to prove that. Now, certainly, would there be hardships? I have no doubt. But a decision was made when the person came here illegally. I mean, that decision brought with it a lot of ramifications. One is that indeed you may end up having to leave at some point in time. And that means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Leave I-don’t-know-what behind, you know, familiar relationships and all that sort of thing. But you have to determine that you are ok with the idea that people who are here illegally would have to go home. [BigMedia emphasis]

Tancredo isn’t shy about discussing his proposed e-verify solution to the immigration problem, whereby employers would have to run the Social Security numbers of potential employees through a national database prior to hiring them, but Tancredo usually doesn’t mention the “hardships” involved for the undocumented immigrants.

Below, in a 2011 video shot during Tancredo’s 2011 presidential run, Tancredo said, “All you have to do is restrict the ability of an employer to give a job to somebody who is here illegally. People self deport when that happens. It happened in Arizona.”

Today on the radio, Tancredo again said that his e-verify solution “in effect” is “self-deportation,” but his heart peeked through when he talked about the “hardships” of leaving “familiar relationships,” which obviously include children, fathers, mothers, nieces, uncles, neighbors, teachers, entire communities in the most personal sense and beyond. Those are the human hardships involved.

Ironically, Tancredo began his interview with Caplis by saying that, as governor, he’d mandate that, as a high-school graduation requirement, all Colorado students be able “to articulate an appreciation for western civilization, American exceptionalism, and the Constitution.”

Absent was a discussion of how destroying the families and communities of undocumented immigrants fits in with Tancredo’s proposed high-school-graduation criteria.

Can Tancredo really ride a joint into the governor’s office?

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo thinks he can ride his support for pot legalization into the governor’s office.

That’s what he said Tuesday on Michael “Heck’ve a job” Brownie’s KHOW talk show, when Brown asked him how he can “grab the unaffiliated” voters in the general election, if he wins GOP primary.

Tancredo: “One thing, admittedly, makes a lot of my more conservative friends mad at me, and that is my support for Amendment 64 [pot legalization]. But that translated into a lot of support among people who aren’t necessarily the typical Republican voter.”

No one pointed out that it’s Tancredo’s conservative friends who will be deciding whether he wins the Republican primary and is able to enter into an orbit where unaffiliated voters matter to him. [Then we can discuss how it plays among suburban women.]

Tancredo’s other explanation for his popularity among unaffiliated voters: “I am sort of the anti-Republican Republican.”

Ironically, being the anti-Republican Republican might help Tancredo among Republicans, but still, I was waiting for Brownie to ask, “Do you think unaffiliated voters might possibly remotely maybe find other reasons not to like you, like the fact that you’re anti-choice (anti-abortion, even for rape), anti-undocumented immigrant (round ‘em up and throw ‘em out), anti-environment (global warming is “Bull“), etc., etc. (and that’s a big fat etcetera, etcetera).”

Talk show host’s political insight shines with his “two-whacks” Gardner theory

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

To the people who tell me I should get hazard pay for listening to conservative talk radio, I prove you wrong by offering this intelligent insight from KHOW radio host Dan Caplis, delivered during a discussion about why Rep. Cory Gardner would take on Sen. Mark Udall in November:

Caplis: “My guess is, there’s a big-picture plan in play, and if should Cory lose, and I think he will likely win, but nothing is for certain, the campaign keeps rolling into ’16 and he beats Michael Bennet… So I think Cory gets two whacks at it here.”

Since I heard Caplis’ “two-whacks” Gardner theory last month, I’ve shared it with the three people I know who’ve heard of Gardner and are already paying attention to the Senate race, and everyone nods their heads in enlightenment. Of course. So I’ve decided to share it here, with a big hat tip to Caplis.

On the radio, Caplis didn’t get into the details on why Gardner would need two whacks, or even more, to win but it makes a ton of sense when you think about it.

First, there’s the simple fact that Gardner is essentially an untested candidate, with no state-wide campaign experience, who’s prevailed in safe elections in districts that welcome his far-right positions on everything the environment and Medicare and to women’s issues and gay rights.

He was first launched into elected office with no election at all, after he was appointed in July 2005 to a State House seat (HD63) left vacant by Greg Brophy, who ran for state State Senate. The next year, Gardner ran unopposed in the Republican primary, and his Democratic opponent had no hope in the safe GOP district that voted 73 percent for Gardner. Two years later, in 2008, Gardner was completely unopposed in both the GOP primary and general election.

Gardner briefly faced a handful of GOP opponents when he first ran for Congress in 2010. But they failed to gain the requisite 30 percent at the District Assembly, where Gardner successfully positioned himself to the right of his competitors on personhood, gay rights, and even the posting of the 10 commandments in public buildings. His opponents dropped out, and Gardner was left unopposed at the primary ballot box.

Going into the general election, Gardner was the overwhelming favorite to defeat Rep. Betsy Markey, who was seen as lucky to be holding the seat at all in the conservative district. Democrats, you recall, seemed to be praying that a third-party candidate could somehow propel Markey to victory, but the prayers weren’t answered, as Gardner won with 51 percent of the voter over Markey’s 40 percent. And, oh yeah, 2010 was the big Tea-Party wave year.

Gardner himself was probably surprised that his CD4 seat actually got even more conservative due to the 2010 redistricting process, setting up Gardner to win re-election in 2012 with 56 percent of the vote.

When I first heard Caplis two-whacks theory, I didn’t know all these details about Gardner’s softball campaign history, but I still thought Caplis had it right just based on Udall’s appeal and war chest, as well as all the uncertainty we see on the 2014 political landscape.

Everyone watching Gardner had this question in the back of their minds: Why would Gardner risk the end of his political career on one iffy election and, at the same time, forsake a political path that looked like it really could be heading toward Speaker of the House? Two whacks increases the odds and takes the pressure off.

But even with the two-whacks carrot, Caplis pointed out on air that really intense national pressure was required to push Gardner into the Senate race:

Caplis: I think what happened, my guess, is that there was so much pressure on Cory nationally because, as you know, the control of the U.S. Senate may very well depend on who wins this Colorado Senate seat.

This is quite a different story than what Gardner has been telling talk-radio audiences, that he decided to jump in the Senate race when he found out his health-insurance premium would jump due to Obamacare–a sob story that’s been debunked.

Caplis’ national-pressure explanation, coupled with his two-whacks theory, makes more sense than Gardner’s. It’s an example of how Caplis, in between repeating GOP talking points and obsessing on trivialities, provides a lot of political insight on his KHOW show.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/dan-caplis-explains-two-whacks

Tancredo’s thoughts on God’s “plan” spotlight need for more candidate questions about religion

Monday, March 10th, 2014

“I happen to believe in something else,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo told KNUS radio host Jimmy Sengenberger last month. “And that is, there is a plan for all of us. God has a plan. I happen to believe that, okay? Do you, Jimmy, believe that God knows who’s going to be the governor next time in Colorado?”

God himself does,” Sengenberger replied. “We don’t. But God does.”

God knows that, right,” said Tancredo. “He knows right now. Therefore, it’s in his hands, right? And I put it there. And I say to myself, ‘I will do everything I can do. I will work as hard as I can. I will be as available as I can. But at the end of the day, it’s in his hands, and it will be determined.’ And so I have to tell you this also. If it works out that I am not the candidate…it’s ok with me. I am at ease with it. I am at peace in my own heart, because, frankly, it’s the way it should be. God has a plan.”

I’m an atheist, and so I obviously don’t agree with Tancredo/Sengenberger that God has a plan, but I admire how Tanc’s belief manifests in a Buddha-like attitude toward his political campaign.

In any event, you realize, after hearing Tanc talk, how little media focus there’s been, in recent CO elections, on the personal religious beliefs or habits of candidates.

During the last election, we read in The Denver Post that Joe Coors was on the golf course in San Diego (16th hole) when God told him to “Go home. Go home.”

The personhood amendment, which would ban all abortion, even for rape, forces a discussion about when life begins and why–which can lead to religion–as we saw in the video of Rep. Cory Gardner saying he circulated personhood petitions in his church.

But the attitude among reporters seems to be that religion is somewhat off limits in political discourse these days, particularly beyond the broadest identifiers, unless it’s relevant to a specific point in a debate–about banning abortion, for example.

But I enjoyed hearing Tanc talk openly about God. It was illuminating. And I’m sure most people would like reporters to bring up the subject more often, maybe in the context of how religion does or doesn’t guide their actions and decision-making.