Archive for the 'Talk Radio' Category

Dear Jeffco students, sorry if it feels insulting, but you’re “pawns”

Friday, October 24th, 2014

After one of the meetings of the Jeffco School Board, I was driving my teenager home from school, and we heard conservative radio host Kris Cook’s analysis of the meeting:

Cook: “They had students saying, ‘Don’t censor my history,’ and taking umbrage at the fact that we, correctly, labeled them as pawns, because they have been made into pawns. I’m sorry students. I know that feels insulting. But your critical thinking skills are not where you think they are. And that is not your fault. Honestly, you’ve been offered a one-sided view for so long that you don’t know how to assess both sides of a situation and come down on what the truth may be.” [BigMedia emphasis]

I looked over at my teenager, who definitely has enough critical-thinking skills to understand a school-board proposal, and thought, why the crass condescension?

And Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has said essentially the same thing, that teachers are manipulating the Jeffco students.

My kid doesn’t go to the Jeffco schools, but if you’ve ever spent time with teenagers from Denver, Jeffco, or anywhere, or if you’ve ever been a teenager yourself, you know that when they decide to focus on something other than Facebook or Snap Chat, they’re amazing.

So I emailed Cook, who hosts KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado, and I asked why she had such a low view of the intellect of Jeffco teens.

Cook wrote that “no censorship had been proposed by Julie Williams or anyone else on the school board,” and, yet, the “students, by their own admission, were protesting censorship of the AP US History curriculum.”

It is apparent from the students’ statements that they had not read Williams’ proposal prior to making their statements. So where have the students received such a ground of certainty that the proposal was about censoring the curriculum, when such language is in fact the polar opposite of what was proposed?

In order to answer that, I ask myself: who has something to gain by mobilizing the students to protest a censorship that hasn’t even been proposed? The only answer that makes any sense is the union. They have plenty to gain by demonstrating to the school board that they wield the power in Jefferson County as they head into salary negotiations before the August cliff next year. The students have nothing to gain from this (except a day off from school). The parents have nothing to gain. Only the union stands to achieve anything beneficial from this.

Cook went on to write that, prior to the big Jeffco board meeting, students participated in a union-organized rally. And a “supposedly student-to-student Facebook site, JeffcoStandUp” contained pro-union ads and information on how teachers are paid.

Cook is correct that some of the students (and adults) overstated what the board was doing, turning it from a “review” to an actual proposal.

But I disagree that parents and students had nothing to gain from protesting the board’s request for a superfluous review committee that was apparently intended to drive policy changes around curriculum without the support of the Jeffco community.

It’s a huge leap to say all the students are pawns just because they might agree with some of what the union is saying.

That’s like saying Cook or Beauprez is a pawn of school board.

Or that Cook is a pawn of RMGO or one of her advertisers, or Rand Paul, or someone who makes the same arguments as she does on her radio show every afternoon.

Full response of KLZ 560-AM’s Grassroots Radio Colorado host Kris Cook to my question about her comment that Jeffco students are “pawns:”

The students, by their own admission, were protesting censorship of the AP US History curriculum. They felt strongly enough about this to walk out of class and stand on sidewalks holding signs. The curious thing is that no censorship had been proposed by Julie Williams or anyone else on the school board.

Here is the actual text of the “suggested review criteria” from the proposal made by (and later withdrawn by) Williams during the September 4 board meeting:

“Review criteria shall include the following: instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage. Content pertaining to political and social movements in history should present balanced and factual treatment of the positions.”

The students’ statements have morphed “Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder” into “The proposal said that they would try to limit events in our history that have been examples of civil disobedience,” one statement among many documented by JeffCo Truth (see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0lAX5OuIoo). As I’m sure you’ll agree, that is not an accurate restatement of the proposal. It is not in the proposal. It is not suggested by the proposal. It isn’t even insinuated by the proposal.

It is apparent from the students’ statements that they had not read Williams’ proposal prior to making their statements. So where have the students received such a ground of certainty that the proposal was about censoring the curriculum, when such language is in fact the polar opposite of what was proposed?

In order to answer that, I ask myself: who has something to gain by mobilizing the students to protest a censorship that hasn’t even been proposed? The only answer that makes any sense is the union. They have plenty to gain by demonstrating to the school board that they wield the power in Jefferson County as they head into salary negotiations before the August cliff next year. The students have nothing to gain from this (except a day off from school). The parents have nothing to gain. Only the union stands to achieve anything beneficial from this.

This answer has been bolstered by evidence uncovered since I made those statements on Grassroots Radio Colorado. Students participated in and spoke at a union-organized rally before the October 2 school board meeting. The supposedly student-to-student Facebook site, JeffcoStandUp, contained an ad for Boots on the Boulevard II, a union-organized protest. This page also contained a very thorough explanation of how the teachers are compensated – not usual fodder for a student-led movement.

As a result of the above, I believe it is reasonable to state that the students have been made pawns of the union by having an inaccurate interpretation of Williams’ proposal communicated to them. Further, the students did not check this interpretation against the actual proposal. My statements flow from this reasoning. I welcome other interpretations and the opportunity to discuss them with you and your readers.

Has right-wing media–and a special booking agency–killed Beauprez?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

The vast collection of bizarre online media programs and bunker-crazy talk-radio hosts has probably cost Bob Beauprez the governor’s office.

Beauprez can’t shake off the digital archive of underground thought that he articulated on these shows beginning after his last gubernatorial loss in 2006 and continuing into this very year. It’s defined him.

Calling Obama “a different kind of American than any I know” on the “Talk to Solomon Show,” saying, on the Talkback with Chuck Wilder Show, that there’s a “growing sentiment” that America might be on the “verge of something very, very bad,” and “folks realize they may need to protect themselves against the government that was supposed to be instituted to protect us,” warning, on the Internet show “Christian Today,” that “I hope and pray we don’t see another civil war but this administration is pushing the boundaries like none I think we’ve ever, ever seen,” expressing his love for the “Tea Party movement,” on KLZ 560-AM’s Wake Up with Randy Corporon, as “the healthiest thing we have seen in very long time in America,” and accusing Americans of being like “sheep” who’d blindly allow the government to implant microchips in their bodies.

It goes on and on, and you can read more here and here. And if you bottom feed on the Internet for a while, you can probably find something new and shocking yourself.

How did Beauprez get there? How did he find all these weird shows?

It’s a good bet that many of them came from Beauprez’s apparent booking agency, called “SpecialGuests.com.”

This outfit’s special guests are truly special, but in the depressing sense, and include a collection of pundits plucked from the right-wing underground. Stars include Gun Owners of America Director Larry Pratt and Phyllis Schlafly, to give you an idea of what’s available today.

On SpecialGuests.com, Beauprez’s description references his right-wing blog, A Line of Sight, which would have certainly attracted the shadowy shows he frequented:

ABOUT YOUR GUEST, BOB BEAUPREZ:

…Since 2007, Bob has published a monthly e-magazine called A Line of Sight (http://www.alineofsight.com/), a public policy and opinion resource on current political issues. Then, in 2009, he authored his first book: A Return to Values: A Conservative Look at His Party…

Bob continues to stay politically active, guest hosting on various radio talk shows, doing numerous media interviews nationally, and maintains a busy public speaking schedule.

Beauprez’s “numerous media interviews,” and the conspiracy-tinged questions he was asked as a “special guest,” are now a special part of his downfall.

Michael “Heck-of-a-Job” Brown doesn’t want “stupid people” to vote

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Remember Michael “Heck-of-a-Job” Brown, George W. Bush’s go-to guy on the Katrina disaster/embarrassment/tragedy.

Now he’s a talk-radio host on KHOW 630-AM in Denver, and he’s still doing a heck of a job.

We caught “Brownie,” as Bush called him, on the air saying he doesn’t want “stupid people” to vote, because they’re “more likely than not to vote for a Democrat.” Who do you think he wants to see voting?

Most talk-radio rants should just be ignored. But, needless to say, there’s a great response to this one. Let’s vote so the Brownies in our country don’t get more power. In Colorado, you can still register at www.justvotecolorado.org.

Media omission: Beauprez says Jeffco teachers are manipulating students to walk out over merit pay

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

In an interview on KOA 850-AM Tuesday, gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez sharply criticized Jeffco students and teachers who’ve been protesting against a proposed curriculum review, saying the conflict is “really” about merit pay, not the curriculum.

Asked what message he has for “students, parents, teachers, and administrators in the Jefferson County school district,” Beauprez said, “Get back to the task at hand, and that’s instructing the kids.”

“This [protest] supposedly was about curriculum,” Beauprez told KOA, touching on the topic of tonight’s meeting of the Jefferson County School Board, “But I think it’s a long ways removed from curriculum. I think it’s really just a manifestation of the ongoing battle between the school board and the teachers’ union over pay, and in this case, merit pay. The curriculum is a very secondary issue.”

In particular, Beauprez implied that Jeffco students were being manipulated by teachers, calling the student actions a “teacher-encouraged protest.”

Asked what role the governor should play in the dispute, Beauprez aligned himself with the Jeffco Schools’ Superintendent, and he sounded (see below) as if he believes gubernatorial intervention would be justified if the conflict continues.

Beauprez said it’s now “very close to that moment in time when the legitimate requests and needs of the parents and the students are not being met, and teachers are not meeting their contractual obligation to be in that classroom teaching kids.”

The Colorado Indpendent’s Tessa Cheek reported Tuesday that Jeffco parents were upset by simlar, but less strident, comments Beauprez made in a recent speech. Cheek reported:

“What we’ve got going on in JeffCo right now is a bit of a complicated situation,” Beauprez said in a forum at Metro State college on Friday.

“I think the school board, an elected school board, they have a proxy from the citizens of Jefferson County to review that curriculum and to opine about that curriculum,” he continued. “And the remedy — if the citizens, the voters, decide that the school board has made a mistake — the remedy comes pretty quickly, in the next election. That’s the way I think it should work.”

The comment hit a nerve for Shawna Fritzler. She’s a registered Republican with a nine-year-old daughter who attends a JeffCo public school. She’s also the president of her school’s Parent Teacher Association and a citizen-chair of the JeffCo public school’s planning and advisory council. She said she is frustrated to see a top-of-the-ticket politician weigh in during an election year without enough context.

“Bob Beauprez says to take it to the ballot box,” she said. “You want me to wait three more years of my nine-year old’s education? My daughter has to wait for an election? That’s asinine.”

On KNUS radio this morning, conservative Dan Caplis said he believes “all of this theater is geared to the launch of a recall election” of the Jefferson County School Board.

Here is a transcript of Bob Beauprez’s remarks on KOA 850-AM’s Colorado Afternoon News, Sept. 30, 2014

MALE ANNOUNCER/INTERVIEWER: […] evaluations and talk about creating a committee to review the AP History course. Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bob Beauprez joining Colorado’s Afternoon News to talk about the trouble in Jefferson County.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Thanks for joining us, sir. What message do you have to parents, students, teachers, and administrators in the Jefferson County school district? [static, pause, technical difficulties] We seem to be having a problem with getting candidate Bob Beauprez on. We’re a little bit of delay difficulty, here. Some Technical issues here, on Colorado’s Afternoon News, at 5:22

MALE ANNOUNCER/INTERVIEWER: This is an important — you know, an important subject for folks out there in Jefferson County.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Mm-hmm.

MALE ANNOUNCER/INTERVIEWER: Uh, the school board making some big decision. Of course, they’re going to be talking about this again on Thursday night.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Okay, I think we have him now, and I’ll repeat my message, just in case you didn’t hear me. What message do you have to students, parents, teachers, and administrators in the Jefferson County school district, sir?

BOB BEAUPREZ: Well, get back to the task at hand, and that’s instructing the kids. And that’s what people pay their taxes for. That’s what parents expect. That’s what children deserve. And frankly, that’s what, I know, that teachers took the job for. They want [to teach] children, or else they wouldn’t be there. This has been an on-going dispute, I think, between the teachers’ union and the school board over the merit pay schedule and particularly the pay as it relates to teachers that might find — might be found not quite measuring up to the standards that the school board expects them to achieve. Now, let me be clear. I’d like not to have to take sides on this one, but I do believe that the school board — an elected school board, any elected school board — they have a proxy from the voters and particularly the parents who send them there, to make sure that they’re speaking out and exercising judgment on their behalf. And that would include, from time to time, reviewing curriculum. This supposedly was about curriculum. But I think it’s a long ways removed from curriculum. I think it’s really just a manifestation of the ongoing battle between the school board and the teachers’ union over pay, and in this case, merit pay. The curriculum is a very secondary issue. When it crosses the line, is when instruction of children –uh, the students– starts being impacted, and clearly it is. You know, when you’ve got to close the high schools because of a supposed sick-out — we all get that joke — there’s something seriously wrong.

MALE ANNOUNCER/INTERVIEWER: So what role, if any, does the governor have in a situation like this?

BOB BEAUPREZ: Well, I’d like to leave it to local control as long as you possibly can. Uh, but we’re right up against now that the counting of students for the sake of reimbursing on a per capita basis, the amount of money that the state reimburses –sends back — to the school districts to fund education. That’s always an issue, and there never seems to be enough. But if we’ve got a sick-out, if we’ve got schools closed because teachers don’t show up, or we’ve got a whole lot of students missing because they’ve decided to walk out and join in the teacher-encouraged protest, that’s a whole different matter. So, at some point, I don’t know where that line is– I think a governor would know it when he sees it, but you’re starting to get, in my opinion, very close to that moment in time when the legitimate requests –needs–of the parents and the students are not being met, and teachers are not meeting their contractual obligation to be in that classroom teaching kids.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Thank you for your time, sir. That’s Bob Beauprez, candidate for governor. As for the count day tomorrow, across the state, the state department of education’s website show that there is a count day window that extends from 5 days before count day to 5 days after count day.

MALE ANNOUNCER/INTERVIEWER: And it’s important, because each student brings with them about seven thousand dollars. And so, [if] you lose the count — maybe even ten kids — you’re looking at a lot of money, there.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah. […]

Listen to Beauprez’s remarks from the KOA interview: 

 

Proving Post’s Carroll even more right, Beauprez says, in newly discovered audio, that citizens stock guns to protect themselves from own government

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Over the weekend, Denver Post Editorial Page Editor Vincent Carroll pointed out that gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has shown a “tendency in recent years to voice support for the fringe issue du jour on the right, whether it’s northern Colorado secession or repeal of the 17th Amendment permitting the direct election of senators.”

I just found yet another instance of Beauprez voicing “support for the fringe issue du jour on the right.” This time, Beauprez was on a right-wing radio show Dec.21 2012, a week after the Sandy Hook massacre. And the hot topic was the stockpiling of guns and ammo.

Host Chuck Wilder asked Beauprez, who’s running against Gov. John Hickenlooper, if he thought people were buying guns and ammo to protect yourself against the bad guys or to protect yourself against the government which might say, ‘Only the government is going to have guns?’”

Beauprez responded by saying there’s a “growing sentiment” that America might be on the “verge of something very, very bad,” and “folks realize they may need to protect themselves against the government that was supposed to be instituted to protect us.” 

Listen to Beauprez say Americans are stockpiling guns for possible use against the government

Beauprez’s use of the word “realize” indicates his agreement with the sentiment, I’d say.

Beauprez’s comments extend the theme, expressed by the Republican candidate previously, of impending civil war in America. On the Internet show “Christian Today,” Beauprez once said:

Beauprez: I hope and pray that, that we don’t see another revolution in this country, I hope and pray we don’t see another civil war, but this administration is pushing the boundaries like none I think we’ve ever, ever seen.

For more of the objectively fringy comments, like the ones Carroll mentioned, read Susan Greene’s recent piece in the Colorado Independent.

Partial transcrirpt of the  “Talkback with Chuck Wilder Show”, Dec. 21, 2012, on the digital Cable Radio Network.

Beauprez: I don’t mean to minimized this tragedy. It is a horrible tragedy. But the rush of politicians to somehow blame the gun when there is a whole lot going on than the weapon. If you are going to ban guns, you’re going to have to ban a whole lot of other things, baseball bats, kitchen skillets. 

Chuck Wilder: Some people, you know, they will look for a giant conspiracy. And that’s why, you know, all the K-Mart stores have already sold out of their assault weapons that they sell. That’s why, right now, what was it, 6,000 or 8,000 a day are joining the NRA since last Friday.

Baeuprez: We’ve got that going on in Colorado, the rush to apply for concealed-weapon permits, the gun training businesses are overwhelmed with people.

Chuck: You’ve got to ask yourself, Bob, and I’ll ask you. Do you think it’s to protect yourself against the bad guys or to protect yourself against the government which might say, ‘Only the government is going to have guns?’ You know what I’m saying?

Beauprez: I think a lot of the rush right now for people to get what firearms they want or need, to load up on ammunition, to get better trained, because, at a minimum, they think it’s going to be much harder to do very soon. You’re absolutely correct, there is a growing sentiment within this country that we might be on the verge of something very, very bad. And folks realize they may need to protect themselves against the government that was supposed to be instituted to protect us.”

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/bob-beauprez-says-americans-stocking-guns-for-possible-use-against-own-govt

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

Tuesday, 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

Fact check: Gardner demanded defunding Obamacare to avoid government shutdown

Monday, August 18th, 2014

The Associated Press’ Nicholas Riccardi reported Aug. 15 that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s spokesman, Alex Siciliano, “noted that, before the shutdown, Gardner had warned against requiring Democrats to defund the Affordable Care Act as a requirement for keeping government open.”

Maybe Siciliano doesn’t listen to Gardner much on talk radio. Maybe he’s too busy talking to reporters on behalf of his boss.

But when I read Riccardi’s piece, I recalled hearing Gardner advocate for, as opposed to against, demanding Dems defund Obamacare or face a government shutdown.

On August 1, 2013, two months before the government shutdown, Gardner told KOA’s Mike Rosen:

Rosen: “Perhaps we can talk about some other items on the agenda, such as the current dispute, even with the Republican Party, about whether Republicans, who have a majority in the House, ought to take a stand now, as the continuing resolution question comes up, take a stand on Obamacare, and refuse to fund it, while at the same time, agreeing with a continuing resolution that would allow the rest of the federal government to operate. Have you got a position on that?

Gardner: I want to do anything and everything I can to stop Obamacare from destroying our health care, from driving up increases in costs. Whether that’s through the continuing resolution, I want to defund everything that we can….

Rosen: There’s a political concern that if the Republicans stand their ground on this [repealing Obamacare], they are going to be blamed for shutting down the government.

Gardner: Well, I think if the government gets shut down, it’s going to be the President’s decision to do so. I believe that we don’t need to shut down the government because we ought to just lift this health-care bill out of the way and let America work. [BigMedia emphasis]

If that’s a warning “against requiring Democrats to defund the Affordable Care Act as a requirement for keeping government open,” then mushrooms aren’t popping up in our mountains right now (and they are).

Next time Gardner’s Siciliano tells me something, if I’m a reporter, I think I go the extra mile to make sure it’s accurate.

Coffman’s fact-free attack on a judge deserves media scrutiny

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

In a blog post about a week ago, I gave conservative talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt some unsolicited information on why Rep. Mike Coffman is still so upset at losing his conservative district and now being a square peg in the round hole of Aurora.

Coffman told Hewitt that Democrats had “targeted my seat in the redistricting process.”

“A Democratic judge – you know, certainly his affiliation, I’m sure, — in Denver signed off on their map, without any amendments, and it certainly is what they call a ‘D+1’ [‘D’ plus one] district.”

An astute reader informed me that, in fact, judge Robert S. Hyatt is an unaffiliated voter, and likely has been since 1979, according to public records.

I checked this out myself, and confirmed it, with a high degree but not complete certainty, as I was unable to reach the retired judge himself–and he likely wouldn’t have divulged this information anyway.

As my correspondent pointed out, Coffman’s reckless — and fact-less — attack on the independence of the judiciary deserves scrutiny by reporters, particularly in light of Coffman’s oath to defend the U.S. Constitution.

As a progressive, I can tell you that Hyatt is no friend of progressive causes over conservative ones, as a brief examination of Hyatt’s decisions makes obvious. Remember, he ruled in favor of conservatives just last year in a case clearing the way for the recall of two Democratic state senators.

CO Republican Party Vice Chair Calls for Investigation into Tancredo Attacks

Friday, August 1st, 2014

On KLZ’s nooner show Aug. 29, Freedom 560, Colorado Republican Party Vice Chairman Mark Baisley announced his support for an investigation into the Republican Governors Association’s involvement (via the Republican Attorneys General Association) in attack ads against gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo.

Ken Clark: Quite frankly, you’re right about one thing. And that is simply that it was — Who was it? It was the CREW folks that actually did dig this up — and yes they’re left leaning and yes, and they did leak this information to Lynn Bartels. However, there is one problem with all that. It’s true!!!
o It is true!
Clark: Yeah! The RGA got involved, the RGA, the establishment Republicans, the national establishment got involved in our election here in Colorado, manipulated it, and lied — flat out lied against Tom Tancredo. Now, did Bob Beauprez know this was happening? I doubt it. In this article that Lynn wrote, she claims that — or Ryan [Call] claims that he had no idea it was going on. Frankly, I don’t buy that, because right before the election, Ryan Call was putting out propaganda from the Party that used all of Bob Beauprez’s lingo on how he described himself. So, I’m having trouble with the idea that Ryan Call just didn’t know this was going on. Sorry, but he’s the chairman of the state Party
Baisley: Okay, and I don’t know the answer to that. Chairman Call and I have not spoken on this topic. And so, I’ll reach out to him today. But, regardless, the RGA has done something that is just wrong. And they obviously know that it’s wrong, because they took such great pains to hide their actions. And we need to come against them very strongly. So, I’m calling for the Republican Party in Colorado to stand up to the national influences and say, “Look, you SOBs! This is our state! We’re Western culture. We think rather independently. Stay the hell out of our world, here!” And let’s even– let’s have a local investigation. Let’s have the state Party denounce that kind of involvement and let us just do what we do best, get out the vote for our nominee, and go beat the Democrats. But stay out of our world! And yeah, even if there’s an investigation that needs to be done to bring out what were the dominoes that led us to this point, that would be great, too. I’d be all for that. [BigMedia emphasis.]
Clark: Well, yeah, because I agree with you, Mark. And you know what? I am very, very pleased to hear you come out so forcefully and strongly, and stand up and actually make the call for an inviestigation into this matter. Mark, I think that is huge. That’s the kind of leadership we’re looking for. Now, there’s a mealy mouthed press release we got from Beauprez. It really didn’t go that far. And I understand he is the candidate, but at the same time, if he didn’t know that these guys were doing this– and you’re absolutely right, Mark, they were doing everything they could to hide those dollars.

Listen to Mark Baisley on KLZ FREEDOM560 7.29.14

 

Filling in the talk-radio blanks on why Coffman is still upset at being a square-peg in the round-hole of Aurora

Friday, July 25th, 2014

If you follow the 6th Congressional District race, Coffman vs. Romanoff, you know that everything we’re seeing, from Coffman’s attempts to re-invent himself (abortion, immigration) to Romanoff’s decision to run at all, goes back to the 2010 redistricting, which turned the seat from red to purple.

From day one after the new district was created, reporters referenced the question of whether, when it comes to his new district, Coffman is a square peg in a round hole, a bad fit, even a Cuckoo bird* (my friend’s analogy). The election will answer this question.

But whether you think Coffman is anything like a Cuckoo bird, you wouldn’t expect Coffman, three years after redistricting, to be bringing up the square-peg issue himself, almost hating on his own district.

As Coffman said on the Hugh Hewitt show last week:

Coffman: Well, what they did, is they targeted my seat in the redistricting process. A Democratic judge – you know, certainly his affiliation, I’m sure, — in Denver, signed off on their map, without any amendments, and it certainly is what they call a ‘D+1’ [‘D’ plus one] district. So, it’s a Democrat-leaning district. Obama carried it by five points last time. I’m the number-one target for any sitting House Republican by the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee.  And I’m proud of it. I need the support of all the folks out there who seeks to return to a constitutional government to the United States.

Listen to Coffman’s thoughts on redistricting on Hugh Hewitt 7.18.14

Hewitt doesn’t know enough about Colorado politics to be expected to correct some of Coffman’s facts here, so I’ll fill in for him.

First, there’s the politics. I read this as Coffman admitting that he’s not right for his own district. He’s pissed at Democrats for targeting his seat, and he’s mad at the “Democratic judge” for approving it. Yet, he wants to be the representative. Fine, but how far will he go (and can he go) not to be the square peg? That’s the heart of the matter out there in Aurora.

With respect to the facts (or lack thereof), Coffman’s claim that the judge was a biased Democrat is completely baseless and, honestly, makes Coffman look sour-grapes-desperate. Aside from the fact that Judge Robert Hyatt had no choice but to accept one of the proposed maps in toto, without amendments, Hyatt is widely respected and has shown it over the years.

As The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels, wrote just before his redistricting ruling:

The Denver judge who will draw new boundaries for Colorado’s seven congressional districts already has shaped the state’s political landscape with rulings cheered and jeered by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Judge Robert Hyatt in June threw out a lawsuit from retirees who argued the state legislature had no right to reduce benefits from the Public Employees Retirement Association.

He kicked Marc Holtzman off the ballot in 2006, ruling the Republican didn’t collect enough petition signatures as required by law. That paved the way for Bob Beauprez to wrap up the GOP nomination for governor.

I’ve written a lot about media coverage of this race, but I’d forgotten just how red Coffman’s old district was at 46 percent Republican, 26 percent Democrat, and 28 independent. That’s why Trancredo happily held it before Coffman.

Before redistricting, Coffman was like a shade-loving potted plant, happy in his place under a Cottonwood tree. Then the Cottonwood tree blew down, and suddenly sunlight started streaming onto Coffman, and he has to become sun-loving or die. That’s a tough adjustment, and most plants can’t handle it.

That’s kind of stupid, but it illustrates the underlying dynamic that should inform reporting on the race.

*the Cuckoo bird lays its eggs in another bird’s nest, dumps out the other bird’s eggs, and leaves the other bird to sit on them and raise the babies. They’re imposter babies, hoping that they don’t get recognized as being nothing like the real babies.