Archive for October, 2015

If my anonymous conservative critics “have something to say, just say it,” says conservative operative

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Advancing Colorado’s Jonathan Lockwood has this to say to conservatives who trashed him anonymously in a Oct. 26 Colorado Indpendent article:  “If you have something to say, just say it.”

The Independent’s Kyle Harris reported that “few conservatives are willing to go on record about Lockwood — he’s either too powerful, or too irrelevant, or too volatile, depending on who’s talking.” Some conservatives, Harris wrote, see Lockwood “as a ‘sideshow,’ drawing attention to himself rather than the issues he’s hired to spin.”

In response, on Facebook, Lockwood wrote:

Apparently there are conservatives who are more like burglers, wearing ski-masks hiding their identity, and won’t come out and say what they want to say on the record. If you have something to say, just say it.

These political burglers who squander their donors’ money on buyig urls and losing campaigns, apparently share their opinion of me with people like Laura Chapin and Alan Franklin, people who want to see the free market burn and the Constitution trashed, which should be telling. Every single effort I’ve worked on, won.

These people want to impose their version of ‘what people are supposed to say,’ don’t follow their own rules and I think what I have learned is that if you are making a difference and making an impact and changing lives for the better, fighting for freedom, free markets and a freer society, people will trash you, make fun of you for everything from your appearance to your history and background, and make campaign jobs ending and new opportunities presenting themselves, rapidly working from a press secretary to an executive diretor, a ‘bad thing.’

“No one can figure out who those anonymous people would be,” Lookwood told me, adding that he’s gotten an “overwhelmingly encouraging response” to his Facebook post. “Nobody really believes that conservatives would say those things.”

“What I’ve been able to do is bring together people from all over the political spectrum,” he said. And that includes Republicans of all stripes, he said.

The original post did not contain Lockwood’s response.

GOP chair hinted that he’d assign lousy green rooms to his least favorite candidates

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Prior to last night’s Republican debate, Politico reported that some of the candidates were less than thrilled with their “green-room” assignments. These are rooms where the presidential aspirants waited prior to and after their appearances on the debate stage in Boulder.

New Jersey Govenor Chris Christie’s space was “dominated by a toilet,” while Trump’s room had “plush chairs and a flat-screen TV,” according to Politico.

The unequal room assignments could possibly have been the intentional work of Colorado State Republican Chair Steve House.

On the Colorado GOP Watch Facebook page yesterday, anti-House activist Marilyn Marks posted audio of House hinting that he’d assign shoddy green rooms to candidates he doesn’t like and vice versa:

On May 19, House said the following at a Lakewood, CO, Tea Party meeting (audio here).

House: “I cannot support a candidate before general election. There are certain presidential candidate that I like and those I don’t like. ….
I have a debate in October at CU. I will be dealing with green rooms for 20 or 30 candidates, and some I am going to like, who want red M&M’s, and some I’m gonna say ‘are fools and shouldn’t be there,’ and some will get assigned to showers in the locker room and others to restrooms, because that is just the way the lottery of it. But I can’t FORMALLY pick a candidate in the process until there is general election.”

House has actually dissed Trump in the past, so his giving Trump plush chairs doesn’t quite square with what we know of House’s candidate preferences. But, on her Facebook page, Marks speculates that House may have been trying to “make amends” for his prior public statement about Trump.

In any case, here’s what Politico reported:

During a tense 30-minute meeting at the Coors Event Center, which was described by three sources present, several lower-polling campaigns lashed out at the RNC. They accused the committee of allotting them less-than-hospitable greenroom spaces while unfairly giving lavish ones to higher-polling candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

The drama began Tuesday afternoon as RNC officials led campaigns on a walk-through of the debate site. After touring the stage, candidates got a peek at what their green rooms looked like.

Trump was granted a spacious room, complete with plush chairs and a flat-screen TV. Marco Rubio got a theatre-type room, packed with leather seats for him and his team of aides. Carly Fiorina’s room had a Jacuzzi.

Then there was Chris Christie, whose small space was dominated by a toilet. So was Rand Paul’s.



Witt says teachers “bring students” (pawn-like) into Jeffco recall fight

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

On KNUS 710-AM’s Weekend Wakeup with Chuck Bonniwell and July Hayden Saturday, embattled Jeffco School Board Chair Ken Witt continued his attack on Jeffco teachers and students, saying that students are essentially pawns, “brought into this kind of thing” to advance the agenda of teachers and unions.

Questioned by Hayden, Witt said:

Witt: It’s absolutely the case that passions run high in education. And it’s unfortunate when our educators get involved in the passion, and bring students into it, instead of keeping it outside and the dialogue outside the school grounds… The unfortunate fact is that as these kinds of dialogues happen about education, particularly the union, brings those who are actually delivering the education into the fray, if you will. Unfortunately, there is some spillover into the classrooms. And of course it’s never appropriate for our students to be brought into this kind of a thing.

Bonniwell: Well, the children are pawns…

Witt: Yeah. It is unfortunate.

Listen to Witt here.

The accusation that students and others in Jeffco are pawns of the teachers’ unions, or somehow brought into the debate agains their will, is demonstrably false, as everyone knows after seeing the spontaneous protests against Witt, Williams, and Newkirk’s policies.

Why Witt keeps saying it, particuarly as he’s fighting to save his seat on the Jeffco Board is beyond me, because it damages him. It insults the intelligence of the students and community has no zero chance of helping him stay in office.

Listen to the entire interview here:

Reporter allows Republican to imply that CNBC is responsible for keeping students out of the debate

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Republicans continue to blame CNBC outright, or imply that CNBC is responsible for severely limiting the number of seats available for today’s GOP presidential debate, when, in fact, all signs point to the Republicans as the ones who made the decision to fill only about 1,000 of the 11,000-seat arena at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“The way it was explained to us was, the event was meant for a TV audience, not so much live audience,”  the Colorado Republican Committee’s Brian Lynch told Colorado Public Radio’s Rachel Estabrook, for a piece that aired nationally last night.

Explained to us? By whom?

Lynch doesn’t say, and there’s no indication Estabrook asked him.

We know from a university spokesman that CNBC set the number of seats that could be filled for the event, and the Republicans were in charge of distributing tickets.

What we still don’t know is, how many seats Republicans had to give away. CNBC “did not respond to interview requests” from Estabrook.

But logic says, CNBC would subtract the number of seats needed for its equipment and personnel—and let the GOP have the remainder of the tickets. Why not? I mean, Republicans rented the Coors Events Center.

But, in any case, what’s crazy is, journalists are letting Republicans deflect criticism that Republicans should let more students in—without clarifying who’s, in fact, responsible.

If you listen to NPR’s story last night, you’re left thinking CNBC is responsible, especially becuase it’s not commenting.

The question remains, how many tickets did CNBC make available to Republicans for distribution? And why is CNBC mum as Republicans to blame it?

Pregnancy-prevention program reduces teen abortions by 50 percent–and it’s still controversial

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Last week, the Colorado Department of Health and Ennvironment (CDPHE) blasted a news release to reporters crediting a pregnancy-prevention program for reducing teen abortion and pregnancy rates by 50 percent in Colorado, an increase of over 10 points from a year ago.

The program provides free or reduced-cost intrauterine devices (IUDs) and other long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) to teenagers and low-income women.

But  as I reported for RH Reality Check today, Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt says the program, called the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, is “killing children” and health officials are “science deniers.”

“Although CDPHE’s science-deniers try to spin this increase in early-term abortions as a decline in late-term surgical abortions, they are killing children nonetheless, just sooner, and with your money,” Klingenschmitt said in an email, echoing the belief of other Colorado Republicans.

“Setting aside the injustice of making all Colorado taxpayers fund these so-called ‘free’ contraceptives for teens with or without their parents’ authorization, the LARC program is clearly a taxpayer-funded abortifacient, which violates our state Constitution’s prohibition on direct or indirect taxpayer funding of abortions,” wrote Klingenschmitt, pointing to a footnote in an Obama Administration legal brief stating that LARC implants may prevent fertilized eggs from attaching to the uterine wall. “These unethical methods increase abortions substantially, by preventing conceived and living embryo babies (with unique human DNA) from implanting in their mother’s uterus, often without telling the mother she is doing so.”

Reflecting mainstream scientific thinking on the subject, Larry Wolk, Colorado’s chief medical officer, has pointed out that it’s “not medically correct” to say that LARC implants cause abortions.

Under the widely accepted scientific definition, pregnancy occurs after a zygote (fertilized egg) implants in the uterine wall, and because these methods of contraception work prior to implantation, they do not cause abortions….

“This initiative continues to prove its effectiveness,” Wolk said in a news release with the latest statistics about the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, referring to data showing adouble-digit decrease in the teen pregnancy and abortion rate over last year’s composite data. “Thousands of low-income Colorado women now are able to pursue their dreams of higher education and a good career and choose when and whether to start a family.”

Colorado Republican lawmakers, during the 2015 legislative session, blocked funding for CDPHE’s Family Planning Initiative, which was grant-funded from 2009 to June of this year. Wolk subsequently procured more private funding to run a scaled-back program for another year.

CNBC still won’t help explain why the GOP has turned a 11,000-seat arena into a bunker

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

You have to admire the Republicans for going to Boulder for their debate Wednesday.  It took some serious conservative backbone to descend on a town that stands for so much that Republicans do not.

But then what happened? Republicans rented a giant 11,000-seat auditorium for their debate and are treating it like a big giant bunker, keeping Boulder out.

Showing their generosity and love of the youth vote, Republicans are giving students a whopping 100 tickets for the debate, even though it will be held on the campus of the University of Colorado. A total of only 1,000 tickets total are being distributed, with most apparently going to insiders and operatives.

This has left journalists asking how many tickets do Republicans have to distribute, if they wanted to give out more? And’s who’s responsible for allowing so few people in?

The Republicans won’t tell, and you wouldn’t expect them to, given that they don’t want to offend the students, who are signing petitions and clamoring to attend. Everyone knows Republicans don’t need to give young people more reasons not to like them—beyond the existing turnoffs of the GOP positions on choice, gay marriage, climate change, etc.

And CU won’t give out the ticket number either, only saying CNBC, which is airing the debate, set the audience size and the Republicans are in charge of ticket distribution.

So, in an ironic twist of journalism, the answer to the question of how many tickets are theoretically available resides within a news enterprise. That would be CNBC.

And CNBC, modeling the behavior journalists hate most, isn’t commenting. And in so doing, CNBC is covering for Republicans, allowing them to shift blame elsewhere and more easily avoid divulging how many tickets are available and why they aren’t being distributed.

So you have the Republican National Committee saying only that the debates are designed for television–and the leader of the Colorado Republican Party even blaming the “networks” for narrowing down the number of available seats to a “very small number.”

Any CNBC reporter, or any self-respecting journalist for that matter, would want to report the truth.

But in an upside down twist on journalism, CNBC has it, if they’d only tell. It knows how many people Republicans could have allowed in their bunker in Boulder.

Kopel’s praise of ProgressNow makes TV show more interesting

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Dave Kopel, research director at the right-leaning Independence Institute, slapped a pat on the back of left-leaning ProgressNow Colorado, on the latest edition of Colorado Inside Out, agreeing with the state’s top online progresive organization that Republicans should let more people, especially students, view their debate in Boulder Wednesday.

“I think ProgressNow is correct that it is ridiculous that they have this 10,000-seat arena, and they’re only letting a 1000 people in,” said Kopel on Colorado Public Television’s Colorado Inside Out Oct. 23 (@31:34 here).  “If you want to do it in a TV studio with hardly any audience, go ahead and do that.  But if you’ve got it there, it should be opened up to the public.”

He’s right. It’s crazy ridiculous to limit the seating to 1,000 people, with only 100 tickets going to students at the University of Colorado, where the debate is taking place.

Kopel has clashed with ProgressNow, especially on gun issues, so it’s good to see him call out the truth as he sees it, in his role as pundit on the TV show. If you watch the show regularly, you know Kopel doesn’t always align himself with conservatives. Recently he’s praised Democrat Morgon Carroll and dissed conservative school board member Julie Williams.  It makes the show, which can get a bit sleepy sometimes, more interesting.


If he were in charge, radio host says he might execute Obama

Monday, October 26th, 2015

I asked a few of my progressive friends, who think conservative talk radio spreads the plague through the airwaves, whether they think the hosts fill air time by discussing whether they’d execute Obama.

Most said, yes, they could see talk radio hosts saying this.

But actually, I’d never heard a radio yapper say it, and I listen to a lot of talk radio.

That is, until it came from the mouth of KLZ 560-AM’s morning-show host Steve Curtis, a former chair of the Colorado Republican Party and death penalty advocate.

During a show earlier this year, he asked his co-hosts what they’d do with Obama, if they could “take over the government today.”

Curtis: I’d imprison him. I might execute him, if I were to take over the nation today. This is just, you know, one of the things I think about. What does this man deserve for the hatred, the bitterness, the division, the lack of strength with which he has led this country, the way that he has weakened our defenses, the way that he has excused the bad behavior of our enemies — and I mean the enemies of the country from both within and without?

I emailed Curtis, told him I was writing a blog post, and asked if he wanted “to explain or clarify your recent comment that you might execute Obama if you were in charge of the government?”

I was hoping he would say he was joking, but, instead I got:

“I think the statement and the question that follows stand on their own within the context in which they were made,” replied Curtis, and he invited me to talk about it on his show. I accepted this offer.

I can’t figure out what context Curtis is referring to, except the context that he actually thinks Obama might deserve execution.

You can read a transcript of the conversation for yourself below, and listen here:

HOST STEVE CURTIS:   If you are able to take over the government today, what would you do with Obama?  What would you– I mean, what would you do with him? Would you do anything?  I’d imprison him. I might execute him, if I were to take over the nation today. This is just, you know, one of the things I think about. What does this man deserve for the hatred, the bitterness, the division, the lack of strength with which he has led this country, the way that he has weakened our defenses, the way that he has excused the bad behavior of our enemies — and I mean the enemies of the country from both within and without?  What would you do with this guy?  And then, what would you do with his administration?  And what would you do with the Congress of the United States? I mean, if you if you could just wave your wand today, any ideas?

CO-HOST DAN MUERER:  Well, I don’t know if I’d go as far as execution, but I’d sure – I’d like to throw them all in prison.   I mean, or send him back to Kenya, or Indonesia. He’s not a traditional American. Not at all. He doesn’t have the point of view of a traditional American.

CURTIS:  Well, I’m not sure that he’s an American.

MUERER:  He’s – he’s –. [laughs] Well, –.

CURTIS:  No, I’m serious.

MUERER:  It’s true!

CO-HOST ANDY PETH:  There’s only one reason I question him being an American citizen. Okay?

CURTIS:  What’s that?

PETH:  And I’m not a birther or any of this. Because he claims to be. I mean, this guy–he lies!  Everything he says is a lie!  And the simple fact that he claims to be an American citizen, that’s the only thing that actually makes me question if he is. Who seals their birth records?  Who even does that?  I mean,  what, did he –

CURTIS:  And college records and everything else. Yeah!

MUERER:  They’re all sealed.

PETH:  Yeah!  Is he trying to cover up for a crime?  Did he knock over a 7-Eleven on the day of his birth?  I mean, what is he trying to cover up here? This is ridiculous. And do I know he wasn’t born [inaudible] I have no clue!  I don’t care!

MUERER:  Nobody knows.

PETH:  But, I’m just like, the biggest liar I have ever seen in my life claims to be a U.S. citizen?  That’s the only thing to make me question it.

MUERER:  Well, I like to call him the Keynesian from Kenya!

PETH:  Yeah!  There you go!

Colorado is a good place to ask Cruz and Rubio about their support for federal personhood legislation

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Before Wednesday’s Republican debate in Colorado, home of the personhood movement, it’s worth a quick review of the top GOP candidates’ positions on personhood laws, which would ban abortion by giving legal rights to zygotes (fertilized eggs).

The Personhood Alliance, a national anti-choice organization, has made this quick review easy by publishing a micro website with the abortion positions of the top six Republican presidential candidates.

Surprisingly, among the candidates listed on the website, only Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are on record as personhood supporters. Both pledged to co-sponsor federal personhood legislation, called the Life at Conception Act, but neither of them actually did so.

I wondered if Rubio and Cruz went to Washington and discovered there was no such thing as federal personhood legislation.

Of course, that’s what Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said last year about the Life at Conception Act, even though he was actually factually a co-sponsor of the House version. On the Senate side, the legislation was sponsored by a fading GOP presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul.

Unfortunately neither Rubio’s nor Cruz’s office returned my call, so I can’t tell you why they have yet to hop on the federal personhood bill, as promised.

As I wrote Friday for RH Reality Check (here), Personhood Alliance spokesman Gualberto Garcia Jones thinks Cruz is more likely to fully embrace personhood than Rubio, illuminating the limits of Rubio’s careen rightward.

But, still, both Cruz and Rubio are personhood backers, which could prove to be a major vote getter as they work through the GOP primary but also a serious liability if one of them actually wins the nomination and confronts more diverse voters.

In any case, reporters looking for local angles for GOP debate stories might ask Cruz and Rubio  why we need to give zygotes legal protection under the good old 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Coffman opposes dual pathways to citizenship specified in the Dream Act

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

UPDATE: Coffman spokesman Tyler Sandberg tweeted me that Coffman does support a pathway to citizenship through education — a position that can be learned by using the “Google button.”  I have even reported instances in which Coffman has uttered a sentence to this effect in media appearances (See for example here.), and I should have included this in my blog post. But this issue is an example of the problem reporters have in covering Coffman. Does a sentence buried in the middle of a TV interview actually represent Coffman’s position, when that policy can be contradicted by another vote on the record or lost in the conversation around military enlistment, which is the only bill Coffman’s put forward?

When Coffman took to the Denver Post opinion pages in 2013 to endorse “comprehensive immigration reform,” any number of his supposed policy commitments were left vague enough to give him room to escape supporting the bipartisan Senate bill that actually passed. And by the next year, he had reversed himself on whether “comprehensive” reform needed to be done all at once or in a step-by-step approach. Additionally, all of these back and forth statements on legislative procedure is omitting Coffman voting against President Obama’s deferred deportations for children before reversing and voting for them.

Still, I should have referenced Coffman’s media statements in support of a path to citizenship through education.


Back in 2013, as Rep. Mike Coffman was testifying in favor of allowing undocumented children to gain citizenship through military service, he said:

Coffman: “The first question that we ought to ask ourselves here today is whether or not we believe that the young people, who were brought to this country illegally as children by their relatives, who grew up here, and who went to school here, who probably know of no other county, ought to have a pathway to citizenship and I believe that the answer to that question is yes.”

Reporters covering Coffman need to be sure to note that Coffman’s path is single-track, through military service only. That’s in contrast to the Dream Act, which Coffman voted against in 2010. It would have offered young undocumented immigrants a double-track path to citizenship, through military service or education.

The difference is important, because the Dream Act has long been the focus of legislative efforts to help young undocumented immigrants, who know our country as home. The most common version offers a dual-track path, but, in any case, Coffman’s chosen path should be clearly stated.

So, The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews should have specified the type of path Coffman supports when Matthews wrote over the weekend:

Coffman added that he supports a pathway to citizenship for immigrant children but not adults, although he wanted to create some arrangement for parents, such as “guest worker status.”

Coffman supports a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants through military service. It’s a distinction that means a lot to the young immigrants involved and to those who’ve been pushing for immigration reform for so long now.