A blockbuster CBS News/60 Minutes and Washington Post investigation reveals that after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) cracked down on big pharmaceutical distributors who were knowingly pumping millions of addictive opioid drugs into the black market in cities and towns across the country, the U.S. Congress passed a law to block DEA from freezing such highly suspicious drug shipments to keep them from getting to the streets.
Governor Hickenlooper called a special session in early October so legislators could fix a mistake in Senate Bill 17-267, passed last spring, that is costing public entities across the state millions of dollars in lost pot tax revenues.
Legislators passed the bill with an error in it that keeps voter-approved special districts across the state from collecting marijuana sales taxes to fund their services. Many of the affected districts, like the Denver Regional Transportation District, the Denver Zoo, the Denver Botanic Gardens and Museum of Nature and Science are on the front range, but western slope entities are losing critical funding as well. Western slope districts losing funds because of the error include the Gunnison Valley Regional Transportation Authority, the Summit Combined Housing Authority, the Roaring Fork Regional Transportation Authority, the San Miguel Regional Transportation Authority and the Edwards Metropolitan District.
At a special session convened to address the problem during the first week of October, a bill to fix the error that originated in the Democratic-controlled House passed by a 37-25 vote, mostly along party lines. Our very own Rep. Dan Thurlow (R-Mesa County), was the only Republican House Representative who voted for the fix. In arguing to pass it, Thurlow said, “We’re here. We spent the money [for the special session]…I think we should just go ahead and fix it.”
The Trump administration has made a breathtaking and invasive demand to all 50 states demanding they turn over personal information on every individual registered voter in the country. The administration wants names, addresses, birth dates, political party affiliations, records of elections in which people have voted and the last four digits of people’s social security numbers.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, plans to turn the information right over on July 16 without any argument.
But there is one thing you can do to stop the Trump administration from getting your personal information: ask the Mesa County Clerk to make your voter information confidential.
Many remembered the days in the not-so-distant past, though, when a turnout of 10 or 12 people backing a progressive cause in our area was considered a successful turnout.
How times have changed on the western slope!
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported on March 15 that Mesa County’s three Republican County Commissioners publicly admonished a Collbran landowner for violating the law by hosting commercial events on his property for years without required permits.
Then they rewarded him by making his activities legal.
Activists are organizing a local tax day march on Saturday, April 15 in solidarity with a national effort to show President Donald Trump that Americans very much want him to reveal his tax returns.
The Trump administration poses unprecedented economic conflicts of interest to the office of president. People across the country are participating in Tax Day Marches to urge the president to make these potential conflicts visible, including pertinent documentation regarding foreign influences and financial interests which may confirm that President Trump is in conflict with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. Trump has insisted on keeping his tax returns secret. He is the first president in decades who has refused to make his tax returns public.
A guest post by Janet Johnson
On February 6, Colorado House Representative Yeulin Willett introduced HB-1152 in the Colorado legislature, a bill titled “Federal Mineral Lease District (FMLD) Investment Authority.” The bill certainly does “open an important conversation,” as the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel suggested in its February 2, 2017 op-ed on the subject.
Willett’s bill seeks to give counties “investment authority,” which would allow them to withhold some of the money the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) gives to Federal Mineral Lease Districts and invest it in a permanent fund. This request for and composition of the bill originated with the Mesa County FMLD. The other counties in Colorado that have Federal Mineral Lease Districts are Garfield and Weld County.
If yesterday’s massive Women’s March to protest Donald Trump in Grand Junction proves anything, it’s that western Colorado is clearly not a politically monolithic area for conservatives any more.
Grand Junction saw the largest crowd ever in its local history turn out today to participate in a march downtown in support of liberal values like women’s rights, equality, diversity and respect for all human beings. Grand Junction’s march was held simultaneously as, and in support of the massive Women’s March in Washington, D.C., as well and similar protests in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles other cities all across the world. The marchers turned out they day after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who openly insulted women in many ways during his long campaign for president and in public venues throughout his life and career.
Mike Anton is back, appearing on TV and speaking to groups around town, telling Grand Junction residents they should vote for an extra sales tax to build an events center downtown.
Do you remember Mike Anton?
Well then let’s recap exactly who Mike Anton is, and what he has done over the last few years, so you will remember him:
Remember how THAT turned out?
The New York Times and other news outlets including AlterNet, RawStory, and DailyKos are reporting that a bipartisan nationwide team of attorneys has performed detailed research into each of the 538 members of the electoral college and found that more than 50 members who voted for Donald Trump were ineligible to vote because they violated their state’s laws governing who is eligible to serve as an elector. For example, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi served as an elector and voted for Trump, but the Florida state Constitution specifies electors cannot hold any other paid government office while serving as an elector. In other cases, electors did not reside in the congressional district they were charged with representing, or were not registered to vote in the districts they were supposed to represent as electors. Each of these situations constitute legal violations of eligibility to serve as electors.
The report states:
“We have reason to believe that there are at least 50 electoral votes that were not regularly given or not lawfully certified (16 Congressional District violations and 34 dual office-holder violations). The number could be over a hundred.”
The group issued an “Electoral Vote Objection Packet” containing this information, as well as the specific language they need to use to object to certification of the vote, to members of Congress and are asking them to stop the certification of the 2016 Electoral College results scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Friday, January 6.
You can read the entire report here:
The Electoral Vote Objection Packet and spreadsheet detailing the problems the attorneys found with the 50+ electors can be seen here.
English writer Lord Acton once said “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The House of Representatives proved Lord Acton correct yesterday when, as their first act as the majority in the 115th House of Representatives, Republicans met in secret, at night behind closed doors, and voted to amend House rules to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).
The OCE is responsible for investigating corruption and misconduct by House members. It was created in 2008 after Randy “Duke” Cunningham, a former Republican representative from California, was sentenced to prison on bribery and other criminal charges he incurred while in office. The OCE perhaps best known for its investigations into the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and investigating former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who in 2010 was convicted on criminal charges of conspiracy to launder corporate money into political donations. In his defense, DeLay argued he was improperly convicted for just “doing what everybody was doing.”
If overall Republicans felt they were serving their constituents honestly and ethically in the best way they knew how, they probably wouldn’t give much thought to the OCE. But instead, they focused on it quickly and early with an eye towards destroying it. So why carry out an attack aimed at constraining the OCE, if not to pave the way for unfettered unethical activities like those we’ve already seen so much of in Congress?
Check out this online exchange between Mesa County Commissioner John Justman and one of his constituents:
On December 14, a Mesa County resident posted a link to an online petition titled “Defend the Arctic Refuge from Oil Drilling” on Facebook along with the comment “Tillerman will drill this.”
The person was referring to Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon, who has made drilling for oil his life’s work.
Surprisingly, the first person to chime in in the comment section below the post was none other than Mesa County Commissioner John Justman, who wrote “Good Job Tillerman,” signaling his approval for drilling the Earth to death while repeating the misspelling of Tillerson’s name.
In response, the constituent wrote:
“John sometimes I think you say these things to be funny. The truth is this time it is NOT funny. You will be dead before your grandchildren will have to deal with a entire change in the environment you and I have taken for granted. Today the North Pole had a high of over the freezing level and the “heatwave” is suppose to continue. These fragile areas have iconic creatures you and I are familiar, but your grandchildren will watch the last of those animals perish. If you believe that is good, then I question your fitness to serve as a Commissioner. That position takes great analytical and practical thinking about today and the future.”
To this take-down, Justman thundered back:
An invitation from a new nonprofit group called the “Opening Day Foundation” surfaced December 20th offering access to Donald J. Trump on the evening of his inauguration in exchange for donations of $500,000 to $1 million. Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, are listed as directors of the Opening Day Foundation on legal documents establishing the Opening Day Foundation, which was created on December 14, 2016. No address was provided for the foundation. The web address of the foundation is OpeningDay45.com. The “45” might refer to the fact that Trump will be the 45th president of the United States. The website only offers a landing page with a logo and no further information.
On December 19, the electoral college will vote on who the next president of the U.S. will be, and they are not all bound by law to vote for Mr. Trump. Now that it’s been concluded that Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2 million, it would be within the Eletoral College’s purview to change who they vote for.
At the same time, Constitutional experts are arguing that unless Donald Trump divests himself of all of his foreign business holdings, he will be in violation of Article 9, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution as soon as he takes his oath to uphold it.
The domestic media has been quiet about the fact that the Republican Party’s candidate for U.S. president, Donald J. Trump, has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed on September 30, 2016 for rape of a child. The plaintiff originally filed her case in June, 2016, but pulled it and then re-filed on September 30, 2016. The victim says she was 13 years old when Trump violently raped her at a Manhattan party in 1994. The woman pulled her original suit after filing it herself, without the help of attorney, and making errors in the filing. She has since refiled her case with the help of Florida attorney J. Cheney Mason, who served as co-counsel in the successful defense of Casey Anthony, the woman who was acquitted in 2011 of murdering her two year old daughter, Caylee Anthony, after the child’s disappearance in 2008.
The lawsuit names Trump and a friend of Trump’s, Jeffrey E. Epstein, who is a registered sex offender. The Florida sex offender registry describes Epstein’s crime as “procuring a person under age of 18 for prostitution.”
It is unprecedented for a candidate for U.S. president to face a rape a lawsuit during the course of a campaign.
Colorado’s Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Darryl Glenn, addressed a group of people in Jefferson County in 2015, telling them that pregnancy resulting from a rape is a “gift from God.”
Glenn is running against Democrat incumbent Michael Bennet.
In a subtle but stunning rebuke, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce has quietly declined to endorse Scott Tipton (R) in his bid this year to win re-election as Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District’s House Representative. In its 2016 Voter Guide (PDF), the chamber endorses candidates in other races, but for the first time it does not endorse Tipton.
The chamber has endorsed Tipton ever since he first ran for Congress in 2010, and maintained its support of the tea party favorite throughout the years, until now.
This year, no endorsement. Zero. Zip.
It’s election time again, and soon the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce will issue it’s “2016 Voter Guide” in an attempt to try and influence how people in Mesa County vote on ballot measures and local elected offices.
If you’re an average, hard-working working citizen in Mesa County, there is only one thing you need to know about the chamber’s voter guide: ignore it.
Because the chamber doesn’t represent Mesa County’s working population. It exists solely to promote the financial interests of the few Mesa County businesses who pay its dues, and nothing more. What’s more, most businesses oppose measures aimed at helping workers and their families, so the chamber reflexively opposes any ballot measures that would benefit the thousands of workers and residents who spend money locally and really keep this area humming.