Coffman’s sketchy vision of Aurora with no Planned Parenthood

August 11th, 2016

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman is telling reporters again this week how he’s standing up for “vulnerable and underserved” people who need healthcare.

But as they contemplate Coffman’s news release, reporters should recall that the Aurora Congressman voted six or seven times, depending on how you count, to defund Planned Parenthood.

Those votes are, at the end of the day, less about Planned Parenthood than about the low-income women the organization serves, because, dah, if you defund a healthcare organization, you’re pushing its patients out the door too.

To bring the point home, if it lost federal funds, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Coffman’s own district of Aurora would have to turn away 2,200 patients who currently rely on the clinic for basic health care services like HIV and STD tests, birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings and more, according to a Planned Parenthood.

These are low-income women and men on Medicaid and women who are part of a federal cancer-screening program. So Planned Parenthood would have to raise private money to continue serving them.

Would safety-net organizations in Aurora be able to absorb all these patients, who’d be joining about 80,000 other low-income people statewide that Planned Parenthood could no long serve?

It’s a complicated question, and it’s one you’d think Coffman would have figured out in detail before his multiple votes against Planned Parenthood–and run his plan by his affected constituents to get their feedback. But he didn’t, so I’ll outline some of the issues for reporters.

There’s no exhaustive analysis of what would happen to Planned Parenthood patients in Colorado if the organization lost federal funding. A credible study of the impacts in Texas show disastrous consequences, including a 27 percent increase in births among women who used injectable contraception.

Urban Aurora is obviously different than Texas, but, still, it’s not fully certain that the network of Medicaid-friendly health centers in Aurora have the ability to readily absorb the 2,200 patients that could be cut out of Planned Parenthood, according to my interviews with a number of analysts. Even if it were, there are problems.

First, there’s the issue of where alternative care, if it were available, is located. For low-income people, who often rely on public transportion, access to healthcare can be dependent on its location.

Wait times are another unkonwn. Under Coffman’s anti-Planned Parenthood proposal, the influx on new patients at existing clinics could lengthen lines.

And there’s the preferences of the patients, particularly women who seek birth control and related care, who are served.

Does it matter to Coffman that patients may want to stay with Planned Parenthood, because they feel comfortable there?

I’m biased, I admit, but who could argue with Planned Parenthood folks who say that many women seek out Planned Parenthood, instead of other Medicaid-friendly clinics, because they want privacy. As women, they want a place where their medical and social needs are the top priority.

In any case, what’s Coffman’s plan for these women in his district? What does he have to offer them? What does he have to say to them?

Coffman has a vision of Aurora with no Planned Parenthood. Will he run his plan, if he has any, by the 2,200 women who now attend the Aurora Planned Parenthood clinic to see how they feel about it?

 

 

Does Woods want Soros turned over to Russia?

August 10th, 2016

Does Woods Want Soros Turned Over To Russia?I’m constantly telling my wife there’s no way Trump can win in Colorado, and she tells me I have no credibility, because I’ve said for the last year that Trump won’t win anything, here or anywhere.

How that ruins my credibility, I don’t know, but anyway, it’s a useful exercise to look for examples of politicians who’ve won in Colorado, despite exhibiting Trump-like behavior.

I’m not talking about talk-radio hosts, some of whom are deep on the Trump spectrum. Like Peter Boyles. And I’m not referring to politicians in deep red districts.

I’m talking about politicians from purple districts.

Who comes to mind? State Sen. Laura Woods, who has that same erratic quality as Trump. Woods won once by 650 votes. But can she win again, if she behaves like Trump?

Case in point, Woods recently shared an article on Facebook about billionaire Steyer’s political donations in Colorado, as part of his evil agenda to stop global warming, as well as donations by George Soros.

Woods’ Trumpish behavior came out in the comments, where she “liked” this:

“Russia has a bounty on his head and an arrest warrant in place for Soros. We need someone to turn them over to them.”

Does Woods want Steyer to be turned over to the Russians to be killed? Seriously? Does she think there’s an actual factual bounty? Does she think Soros chould be shipped out? Is this a joke?

Woods and Trump are similar on a lot of issues (guns, immigration, choice), but “liking” the bounty comment is the kind of Trump behavior I’m talking about. Throwing something out there that raises a ton of questions.

In Woods’ case, however, despite the fact that her race against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger is probably the most important contest in the state, few reporters are asking Woods to explain herself. And she’s not talking to me.

Of course, Woods has been loving Trump since she first heard him speak at Boulder’s Republican presidential primary debate—and just she recently told The Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning that Trump is “the people’s candidate.” That’s high praise. Is she modeling herself after him?

Olympics viewers should know that Coffman backed anti-Planned Parenthood agenda in bill funding U.S. response to Zika virus

August 9th, 2016

The Olympics are making lots of people think again about the Zika virus, and this, in turn, should give Rep. Mike Coffman a small slice of the media spotlight.

In a June vote that was ignored by local reporters, the Aurora Republican backed a House GOP bill that actually factually aimed to block the United States’ Zika-response funds from going to groups (like Planned Parenthood) for birth control and family planning programs—even though Zika affects the developing fetus and appears to be sexually transmitted.

Hence, birth control is obviously part of the response to Zika!

Yet, the GOP’s anti-birth-control sneaks slipped language in the Zika bill (See Zika Response Appropriations here) stating that money “related to patient care associated with the Zika virus” could only be spent on “prenatal care, delivery care, postpartum care, newborn health assessments, and care for infants with special health care needs.”

No money birth control. None for family planning. Nothing for anything pre-sex or pre-zygote.

As the Huffington Post reported at the time:

[Democrats] are particularly upset that the bill excludes $50 million in requested funds for maternal and child health and blocks supplemental funds from going to Planned Parenthood for birth control services. The bill mandates that the Zika funds be prioritized for mosquito control programs, vaccines and diagnostics, leaving no resources for contraceptives or condoms.

After Coffman voted for the GOP legislation along with House Republicans, U.S. Senate Democrats blocked the bill.

The Zika vote is also newsworthy now, because Coffman is making a big deal of promising to “stand up” to Trump, even though he still may vote for the mogul. As part of this, Coffman is claiming to be a different kind of Republican. But where was the different kind of Republican on the Zika vote a few short months ago, and so many other votes where Coffman slides under the radar with the GOP conservative majority.

And, no, when Coffman votes against birth control and Planned Parenthood, he doesn’t make an ad saying he’s going along with the Republican conservative status quo. That’s not news, but it should be.

For example, Coffman’s vote in June was his latest in a long list of attacks on Planned Parenthood and family planning. Depending on how you count, he’s voted six or seven times to completely defund the women’s health organization, a move that would stop about 2,200 low-income women from going to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Coffman’s own Aurora district.

I don’t recall Coffman making an ad saying he’s voting again against Planned-Parenthood funding, do you?

Coffman’s Democratic opponent in this year’s election is State Sen. Morgan Carroll.

What is Trump’s impact on races that will determine control of Colorado state government?

August 8th, 2016

This is the moment for reporters to dig into Donald Trump’s impact on state legislative races in Colorado, and no races are more important than those in swing state senate districts, like Republican Laura Woods’ contest against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger and the race between GOP Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty and Democratic state Rep. Daniel Kagan.

Both Woods and Doty have said they’ll back Trump, with Woods enthusiastically calling Trump the “people’s candidate.”

But reporters have yet to question Doty in any substantive way about her support for Trump. We have more than a hint that Doty thinks highly of Trump, because Doty called Sarah Palin’s July 12 endorsement speech of Trump “spot on,” and Doty said she “really enjoyed hearing Trump himself speak.

“I thought Sarah Palin was right on, just spot on! She was very, very good – brought a clear message that people need to get on board.  And I really enjoyed hearing [Donald] Trump,” Doty told KNUS 710-AM host Julie Hayden when asked for her “thoughts” on the speeches.

If Republicans lose their one-seat majority in the state senate, Democrats will likely control state government. So the stakes are high for Doty and Woods.

In a light-hearted attempt to encourage reporters to ask Doty about her “spot-on” Sarah comment, I offer this video:

GOP Congressional candidate criticizes Coffman ad

August 5th, 2016

Republican  Congressional candidate Casper Stockham thinks it was “wrong” for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman to produce an ad critical of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Coffman says he still may vote for Trump, which is not surprising since Coffman’s actual factual positions on abortion (opposed to a woman’s right to choose), immigration (opposed to birthright citizenship), Obama (questioning his citizenship), the debt ceiling (opposed to increasing it), and others are in line with Trump.

“If you are going to be a Republican, be a Republican,” said Stockham. “I’m voting for Trump, absolutely, because I’m the party nominee. I’m running for Congress on the Republican ticket. I find it fascinating what goes on in politics.”

Stockham is challenging U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette to represent Denver, a dense Democratic district, even more anti-Trump than Coffman’s Aurora district.

So I asked Stockham if he thought about distancing himself from Trump.

“I understand why [Coffman] did it, but I think it was wrong for him to do that,” Stockham said. “You would never find any Democrat Congressperson running a negative ad against Hillary Clinton or any nominee. And the reason is, the Democrat Party has its act together and the Republican Party does not.”

Stockham said he’s running “to serve the community.”

Radio host slams Coffman for helping Hillary

August 4th, 2016

Dan Caplis, a prominent Colorado Republican and conservative talk-radio host, denounced Mike Coffman’s latest TV ad this morning, saying on air that the ad “helps Hillary Clinton” and that Coffman must have “concluded in his mind and his heart and his conscience that Donald Trump cannot win.”

Caplis, whose name has been floated over the years as a possible GOP gubernatorial candidate, says Trump can win, and he wants to have Coffman on his KNUS 710-AM show to discuss the topic further.

Caplis: So you think Hillary and her camp are happy or unhappy with the Mike Coffman ad. Let’s not deny the obvious. Let’s respect each other with the truth.  This helps Hillary Clinton.

And because of the quality of Mike as is a man in a public servant, I give him the ultimate benefit of the doubt that he would not have done this unless he’s already truly concluded in his mind and his heart and his conscience that Donald Trump cannot win.

Maybe I’m giving Mike too much benefit of the doubt here, but I think he has earned, because the I just can’t imagine him being willing to help Hillary Clinton like this if he truly thought Trump had a chance to win for all the reasons I mentioned earlier, so I give Mike the benefit of the doubt.  He must’ve concluded that that this race is over and Donald Trump has no chance to win…

I completely disagree with that. I think Donald Trump is failing miserably. I think he’s failing at trying to throw the race away, for all the reasons I talked about at the top of the show. Donald Trump is throwing this race away, but he still has a very good chance to win, because America has already rejected Hillary Clinton. Trump still is a very good chance to win.

So if Mike Coffman has concluded, if we ever get the chance to talk to Mike about this and his explanation is ‘Yeah, I knew this ad would help Hillary Clinton but I’ve already concluded Trump has no chance to win,’ I would respectfully disagree with him.

In Colorado interview, Trump says U.S. has “phony, artificial stock market”

August 4th, 2016

Colorado Springs radio host Richard Randall landed an interview with Donald Trump Friday, and Trump took advantage of the obscure conversation to declare that the U.S. has a “phony, artificial stock market,” that will do “some very bad and very interesting things” when “interest rates go up a little bit.”

Trump has criticized the stock market in the past, but his statement here, on KVOR-740 AM in Colorado Springs, lays out his views as starkly as they’ve been expressed anywhere, as far as I can tell:

Trump: (@7:45) You know, one of the things, there are so many problems in our country that you can speak for two hours and you don’t cover the subject. The other thing that just came out, is home ownership. It’s the lowest in 58 years. Did they say 58? The lowest home ownership we’ve had, percentage-wise that we’ve had in this country in 58 years. The only thing we have is a phony, artificial stock market. So people think—But I’ll tell you what, nothing relates to the stock. Even in New York, on Wall Street and stuff, people think Wall Street. It’s a whole different world. The stock market is a phony number and it’s gotten there because nobody is paying any interest. When interest rates go up a little bit, you’ll see some very bad and very interesting things happen.

Libertarian presidential candidate’s spokesman responds to Woods’ “gun grabber” comment

August 3rd, 2016

In a post yesterday, I reported that Arvada State Sen. Laura Woods referred to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his running mate as “gun grabbers.”

Woods’ comment was confusing because Johnson is an uncompromising gun proponent, opposing virtually every gun-safety proposal out there, including proposals to stop suspected terrorists, whose names appear of the federal “no-fly” list, from buying guns.

Informed of Woods’ gun-grabber comment, Joe Hunter, a spokesman for Johnson, said Woods may be upset about Johnson’s willingness to have a “conversation” about how to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

“There is no gun grabbing going on here,” said Johnson, adding that Woods’ attack may be “coming from” her opposition to Johnson’s statements about guns and the mentally ill.

Hunter: “Johnson has acknowledged that when someone is clearly mentally ill and clearly capable of doing harm to others and him or herself, [Johnson] has said we should have a conversation about how to handle that, about what to do about that.”

Woods still won’t return my call seeking to know if this is, in fact, why she called Johnson a gun grabber, so we’re forced to speculate.

Woods, who’s running against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger to represent the Arvada/Westminster senate district, stated on Facebook:

Woods: “Dana Kirsch (sp?) Said Johnson isn’t any different than Obama on 2A. How is that a libertarian idea? I’ll never vote for him.”

A search for what “Dana Kirsch” wrote about Johnson, Obama, and the Second Amendment turned up nothing, but I struck gold with “Dana Loesch,” a right-wing gun extremist and talk radio host who tweeted a sentence very similar to Woods’ comment on Facebook:

Loesch: “I’ll post the audio of my past interview with Gary Johnson on 2A. His answers were in line with Obama’s positions on the issue.”

Loesch: “I see a lot of people talking Gary Johnson but after I interviewed him on 2A I found he’s not much different from Obama on gun laws.”

So, it’s pretty clear Woods was actually referring to Loesch, who is also upset with Johnson’s willingness to have a conversation about guns and the mentally ill.

So, by extension, it looks like Woods’ beef with Johnson is about guns and the mentally ill. She sides with Loesch in wanting no conversation about that topic.

I can’t figure out any other reason Woods would be mad at Johnson over his stance on guns, and she won’t return my call to settle the matter.

Why is Laura Woods attacking a candidate who, like her, opposes gun safety laws

August 2nd, 2016

Woods Calls Libertarian a Gun GrabberIn a Facebook post last week, State Sen. Laura Woods referred to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his running mate as “gun grabbers.”

A Republican from Arvada/Westminster, Woods has made no secret of her hard stance against all gun safety laws, including her opposition to Colorado billls requiring mandatory criminal background checks on people purchasing guns.

She also opposes a Colorado law limiting the number of bullets a person can load into a gun at one time. Woods wants gun to be allowed to hold, for example, 100 bullets if the shooter wanted.

And on Woods’ website, she emphasizes her belief that all people should be allowed to openly carry a gun in public, without concealing it and without obtaining a permit. Woods’ website explains that she favors passing bills enacting this extreme pro-gun position, called “constitutional carry” legislation.

But the strange part is, Libertarian Johnson, whom Woods called a gun grabber, seems to be just about as far from a “gun grabber” as you could possibly imagine, having once told Slate Magazine, “I don’t believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None.”

Johnson recently told USA TODAY he supports gun sales to suspected terrorists who can’t fly on airplanes because they’re on America’s terrorist watch list. And Johnson opposes a ban on automatic weapons.

Yet, Woods thinks Johnson is a gun grabber?

That’s a term used to describe someone who is believed to favor government confiscation of guns from ordinary citizens.

What could Johnson possibly say that would make him sufficiently opposed to basic gun safety to meet Woods’ standards for gun craziness?

Woods wants total-freedom-to-own-and-buy-guns, but so does Johnson, as you’d expect from a Libertarian, who sees these safety measures as an intrusion on privacy. Woods doesn’t return my calls, so I’ll leave it to another reporter to find out what she’s thinking.

Meanwhile, Woods’ views on guns will likely not fly so well in her Arvada/Westminster swing district, where she faces a challenge from Democrat Laura Zenzinger.

An overwhelming 80 percent of Coloradans support background checks for all gun purchases, and 60 percent support limits on the number of bullets allowed in a gun’s bullet holder, called a magazine, according to a Denver Post poll.

“I’m really disappointed in you, Senator. Promoting the lie that Gary Johnson is a gun grabber,” commented Stacy Petty, a former conservative talk-radio host in response to Woods’ Facebook post. “You need to check your facts before you post.”

But Woods holds to her extreme stance on guns, despite its apparent unpopularity, just as she stands behind her extreme position against abortion, even for a women who was raped.

“If you’ve looked at my voting record at all, what you will know is I’m an independent thinker,” Woods told Denver Post reporter John Frank in January.

“Republicans like Laura Woods see their party falling apart, and they are doing everything they can to trash anyone else who might potentially take away votes from whatever consevative base they might have,” said Hans Romer, the Libertarian candidate running against Woods and Zenzinger. “Laura Woods is playing politics.”

The outcome of Woods race against Zenzinger will likely determine control of state government, political analysts say, as Republicans hold a slim one-seat majority in the state senate. Democrats already control the governor’s office, and it’s likely they’ll retain control of the state house, after November’s election.

Stacy Petty Calls out Laura Woods

This post was updated with a comment from Romer.

Another election year, another journalist exposes a Republican Senate candidate talking in different directions on personhood abortion ban

August 1st, 2016

If you look at the Colorado Right to Life website, you’ll see that Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn is labled “pro-life.”

What does that mean, if you’re Colorado Right to Life? It means Glenn answered questions on seven “pro-life issues,” revealing his position “through specific language with no weasel-room.”

Colorado Right to Life states:

No candidate who supports abortion for any reason is “pro-life.” Regardless of what they may say, any truly pro-life citizen/candidate believes that government has an obligation to protect all human life from conception forward, and therefore pledge to oppose all abortion (with the understanding that a doctor may take action to save a woman’s life while also trying to save the baby’s life, even if the baby’s survival is doubtful due to other factors) – every innocent human being has an inalienable Right to Life at every age or stage of development.

But as the Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports today, Glenn appears to have described his abortion stance differently to different audiences.

Marcus quotes Glenn in an appearance on “Devil’s Advocate,” a television show sponsored by the conservative Independence Institute.

Glenn told Caldara: “As a person who has two adult daughters, I put myself in that situation. And I want to make sure that when we’re talking about health care, you want to make sure that women have the ability and access to health care, so that they understand all the different options that are out there. And at some point in time, maybe they might have to make that decision. But that is a personal decision that they have to make between them and… God.

Marcus’ report included a reaction to the Caldara interview from Colorado Right to Life:

“I’m willing to say on behalf of our organization that his comments were not nearly as strong as we would hope,” said Susan Sutherland, vice president of Colorado Right to Life. “He was just trying to play a little bit of political maneuvering there.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner ran into a similar situation in 2014 when he defeated incumbent Democrat Mark Udall. To defeat Udall, Gardner walked more to the middle on the abortion issue, attempting to distance himself from personhood.

Glenn proudly leaned to the right during the primary, which helped propel the relatively unknown El Paso County commissioner to success in a crowded GOP field.

And, of course, before Gardner, there was 2010 Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck, who, after the GOP primary, oops, took back his support for a personhood abortion ban  because, he said at the time, he didn’t understand the proposed amendment.

Like Buck, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman was cozy with the poor folks at Colorado Right to Life, before he jumped ship and took back his personhood support a couple years ago–though he’s never offered up much detail on why and how his position evolved on the issue.

I woudn’t be feeling very good if I were in the shoes of Colorado Right to Life, but we all agree that it’s better to have journalists expose the buckpedaling than leaving it buried in candidate questionnaires few people bother to read.