Category: Embarrassing Republicans

Republicans have one last-ditch chance to save themselves, and the country

The President’s defenders deny any reason exists to remove Donald Trump from office. There’s nothing to see here. Everything is fine and normal, the President’s call with Ukraine President Zelinsky was “perfect” and he did absolutely nothing wrong. The impeachment is all a big hoax.

Meanwhile, House Impeachment Managers have presented days worth of detailed evidence, including the President’s own damning words, testimony from alarmed government employees, timelines and tweets detailing the totality of the President’s corrupt behavior, how he put his own interests above those of the country, intimidated witnesses, hid evidence of his wrongdoing, invited foreign governments to influence our elections, violated the Constitution and his oath to protect national security.

The difference is stark.

In the words former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele:

“When national polling shows that these folks think that Donald Trump was a better president than Abraham Lincoln, you know this is fucked up.”

State Senator Ray Scott (R) attends Denver rally opposing childhood immunizations

Colorado State Senator Ray Scott

You can judge legislators by the company they keep.

The Colorado Times Recorder reported that Mesa County’s State Senator Ray Scott attended a rally on the state Capitol steps January 8 in which two thirds of attendees displayed signs opposing immunizing children against disease. Yes, you read that correctly: this was a crowd of people who oppose immunizing children against disease. Other points of view represented included opponents of public health, opponents of equal rights for LGBTQ persons, gun rights and anti-tax activists.

Also attending the rally were members of the white nationalist group the Proud Boys, designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Ray Scott is planning on abdicating his seat in the legislature to run for Mesa County Commissioner this year, a position that pays three times what he currently makes as a state senator.

Woman reports she was injured at “No One is Above the Law” pro-impeachment rally

A woman was pushed to the ground by a Trump supporter at the pro-impeachment rally Tuesday evening in front of the federal building on Rood Ave. at 4th Street in Grand Junction. The woman hit her head on the concrete and was injured. She recognized Congressman Scott Tipton’s Constituent Services Representative Brandon Bainer standing nearby and asked him to call 911 for her. She says he didn’t help her but instead said “I am on my own time and after 5:00.” The woman recognized Mr. Bainer because she goes to Congressman Tipton and Senator Cory Gardner’s offices frequently and has met him there many times.

Pro-impeachment rally most raucous in G.J. history

A rally at 5:30 p.m. yesterday (12/16) in front of the federal building at 4th and Rood Ave. to support the impeachment of President Trump turned out to be the loudest, most energetic rally in the city’s history as some raucous Trump supporters turned out to counter the demonstration.

About 200 sign-and placard-holding impeachment supporters were met by about 40-50 raucous “Bikers for Trump,” State Representative Janice Rich and other assorted self-styled “Deplorables for Trump” on the steps of the federal building at Rood and 4th Street. Trumpers amplified the volume of their comparatively small crowd by using bullhorns to try to overpower the pro-impeachment chanting, to no avail. Their actions just energized the impeachment crowd even more, who yelled ever more loudly and in unison chants like “Impeach Trump!,” “Lock him up!” and “Flush the turd!” At one point, the entire crowd started chanting “USA! USA!”

Why Trump is being impeached: a helpful explanation for western slope Republicans

President Donald J. Trump

The large number of Trump supporters living on Colorado’s western slope no doubt vehemently oppose his impeachment. This blog is to help them understand why impeaching the President is imperative to protect our country, our democracy and our national sovereignty.

Trump has broken important U.S. laws, multiple times. In so doing, he has demonstrated that he poses a profound threat to our country. One of the laws he violated protects our country from foreign interference at very high levels of government:

Soliciting foreign interference in our elections

Trump has repeatedly invited foreign interference in our elections to benefit himself, an act that violates 52 U.S. Code § 30121, titled “Contributions and donations by foreign nationals.” This law states it is illegal for a person to solicit or accept “a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value” from a foreign national, “or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election” with a foreign national.

Offensive vehicle plagues the Valley, disgusts parents picking up kids outside Chatfield Elementary School

This vehicle bearing a gigantic, profane decal was spotted in the parking lot at the Texas Roadhouse on November 15. Now it’s plaguing a local elementary school.

This obnoxious vehicle and its huge, offensive window decal was spotted in the parking lot at the Texas Roadhouse on November 15. At that time I dismissed it as yet another disappointing reminder that there are people living among us here in the Grand Valley who tend to be full of hate and who lack respect for others.

But it was quite another thing when the same offensive vehicle was seen parked outside Chatfield Elementary School where it was seen by a mom who was waiting to pick up her seven year old daughter. Unfortunately, her child spotted the offensive car, instantly giving the child reason to question her mom’s efforts to keep her from swearing.

Talk about putting a well-meaning parent in a bad spot.

Mesa County blunders headline on economic development web page

The headline today on Mesa County’s web page about economic development. Can you say “embarrassing”?

Way to rep the county, Mesa County Commissioners.

Mesa County’s website about economic development seeks to lure businesses to here and to “elevate the community profile,” so it doesn’t help when the county blunders the big headline of the page that seeks to do that. Commissioners might want to correct the glaring misspelling in the page’s headline. The error gives business owners the impression that education is unimportant in Mesa County, but that can’t possibly be true, can it?

Rick Wagner’s column illustrates problems with conservative thought

Rick Wagner’s column in the October 16, 2019 issue of the Daily Sentinel

In his column in the 10/16/2019 issue of the Daily Sentinel, local lawyer and perennially annoying right-wing political columnist Rick Wagner asks why Proposition CC on the current ballot is identified using double letters. “Have we run through the alphabet once already?” Wagner guesses, apparently attempting to infer something negative about the state ballot. He doesn’t answer the question, and is content to not to find out the real answer.

This demonstrates a common problem with right wing argumentation: They are an incurious bunch and think information doesn’t matter. Don’t know something? Gloss over it, make a joke, make some incorrect innuendo. No one cares, no big deal.

Wagner thinks his readers should just take his word for whatever he says.

Performance evaluations for Janet Rowland’s first terms as Commissioner, by citizens

Performance evaluations by citizens of former Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland’s first two terms in office were disappointing.

A search of Daily Sentinel archives for information on Republican Janet Rowland’s first two terms as Mesa County Commissioner (2004-2012) turns up substantial criticism of her by Mesa County residents. These critiques amount to performance evaluations of her by the local electorate during her previous terms in the office.

For those who are unaware, Rowland is currently running for a third term as county commissioner. State law prohibits anyone from serving more than two consecutive terms as County Commissioner. She can run again if at a minimum of four years has elapsed since she previously held the position. That is the case with Rowland and the reason she is able to run again.

But just because the law allows someone to run for extra terms as county commissioner, is it a good idea?

Not in this case.

State Senator Ray Scott cites full-on wacko nutbag source in tweet on climate change

Ray Scott’s September 17, 2019 tweet citing NaturalNews.com, a conspiracy-theorist website that rivals InfoWars

One of the most dangerous things about Colorado State Senator Ray Scott is that he can’t tell the difference between credible sources, authoritative sources of information and paid promotional research or websites known for trading in wacky conspiracy-theories.

Case in point: On September 17, 2019 Senator Scott posted a tweet saying “NASA admits that climate change occurs because of changes in Earth’s solar orbit, and NOT because of SUVs and fossil fuels.” To support this claim, Scott cites an article published by a website called “NaturalNews.com.”

So… what’s the problem?

NaturalNews.com is not anywhere close to being legitimate scientific website. In fact, it’s the polar opposite. It is described as “a conspiracy theory and fake news website” that hawks dietary supplements, promotes alternative medicine,” makes “tendentious nutrition and health claims,” promotes “fake news, and espouses various conspiracy theories.” NaturalNews.com is as far from an authoritative, legitimate science-based website as you can get.

Sen. Ray Scott’s tweet opposes progress and planning for future

Ray Scott’s tweet lamenting planning for the future, and indicating he can’t wait for such folly to end

Is Republican State Senator Ray Scott concerned about Colorado’s economy and workforce?

It sure doesn’t look like it, judging from his twitter feed.

On September 4, Scott posted a tweet that said “2022 an’t come fast enough.” It was his response to an announcement that Governor Polis had just created a new government office to deal with pressing new problems facing Colorado’s workforce. Scott’s tweet referred to the year when Governor Polis’s first term in office will be over.

Sen. Scott tweeted his disdain Governor Polis’ newly-created “Office for the Future of Work,” announced September 4.

Sen. Scott either 1) failed to investigate the need for this office, or he 2) doesn’t care what’s going to happen to Colorado workers in the near future if we fail to plan for coming trends.

One more thing about commissioner candidate Janet Rowland…

Former County Commissioner Janet Rowland (January 2005 – January 2013) advocated a program that paid women with drug addictions $300 to get sterilized

Former Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland, who has already had two terms in the recent past and is now running for a third term, has given Mesa County voters plenty of reasons not to elect her again, but here’s another one, and get ready. This one is kind of creepy.

In 2008, Rowland promoted a program that paid drug-addicted women $300 to get sterilized so they couldn’t reproduce. The program, called Project Prevention, targeted its advertising mainly at women, and 37% of the women who had been sterilized under the program were African-American. In 2009, African-Americans made up just 12.4% of the U.S. population.

Senator Ray Scott caught watching a movie during the legislative session

ICYMI (in case you missed it), “Next with Kyle Clark,” (a front range Channel 9 TV news features show) broadcast video of our own Republican Mesa County State Senator Ray Scott spending his time watching a movie on his phone during a legislative session.

Colorado Pols identified the movie as the widely-panned 2018 Mark Wahlberg vanity vehicle called “Mile 22,” that got a one-star rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s no wonder Scott wants to ditch his senate seat and run for Mesa County Commissioner. It appears he’s bored to tears having to represent all of his conservative western slope supporters at the Capitol in Denver.

State Senator Ray Scott lied to the Daily Sentinel about social media blocking case

Full disclosure: I was the plaintiff in the lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado brought against State Senator Ray Scott for blocking constituents from his official social media accounts.

On August 31, 2019 the Daily Sentinel printed an article about the settlement we reached in the case.

Had the Sentinel contacted me for this article, I would have let them know that Ray Scott lied to them about several specific pieces of information regarding the case.

Ray Scott’s first lie:

Scott told the Sentinel that he blocked people from his social media accounts “only if someone posted a profane or inappropriate comment.”

That is absolutely false.

Court Settlement: State Senator Ray Scott must unblock constituents from his social media

Ray Scott

Senator Ray Scott blocked and banned constituents from his social media accounts simply for disagreeing with him on his policies. Then he got sued.

Every elected official in Colorado is now on notice: you cannot block constituents from your official social media accounts because they don’t agree with your point of view. If you do, you’re breaking the law.

ACLU of Colorado announced a settlement (pdf) today on behalf of Anne Landman, a constituent who State Senator Ray Scott blocked from his official social media accounts in 2017 after she was publicly critical of several of his policy positions. As a result of the lawsuit, Scott has now unblocked Landman and must refrain from censoring anyone else with critical viewpoints from his social media accounts as a Senator, or in any future elected position. 

“The overwhelming majority of cases has made very clear that the official social media pages of public officials, like Senator Scott’s, are public forums where individual’s speech is constitutionally protected,” said ACLU Staff Attorney Sara Neel. “Recognizing this, Senator Scott has agreed to unblock all users from his social media pages and will not block anyone else in the future based on viewpoint.” 

Beware electing Janet Rowland as county commissioner again

Former County Commissioner Janet Rowland (January 2005 – January 2013) once compared same-sex marriage to bestiality on a state-wide talk show, drawing condemnation from around the nation.

Janet Rowland is running for Mesa County Commissioner.

Yes, again.

She’s already been a Mesa County Commissioner — from January, 2005 to January, 2013 — but that doesn’t mean her being commissioner again is a good idea. It arguably is not a good idea. From her previous two terms, we have an abundance of experience with her and know what is in store if Janet Rowland gets another chance to be Commissioner. 

So let’s take a look at the past and see what it tells us.

Morally and ethically challenged

Certainly Janet has done some good things through her career, like trying to address child abuse and finding homes for foster kids. While those endeavors are laudable, we also need to take into account all the things she’s done that have set a poor example for kids, and our entire community and that have harmed the County.

Plagiarism

Shortly after losing statewide election for lieutenant governor as Bob Beauprez’s running mate in 2006, and while she was previously Mesa County Commissioner, Janet was a guest columnist for the Grand Junction Free Press, at the time a competing newspaper to the Daily Sentinel. She wrote several articles for the Free Press until one day a sharp reader noticed Janet had lifted most of one of her columns word for word from a government-published pamphlet, and brought this information to the attention of the Free Press’s editor.

 

Feb. 3, 2007 column in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel about Janet Rowland plagiarizing a guest column she wrote for the G.J. Free Press.

The Daily Sentinel reported on Rowland’s plagiarism on February 3, 2007:

A Mesa County official has plagiarized a government substance abuse booklet in her two most recent columns in the Grand Junction Free Press, that newspaper’s editor confirmed Friday.

The majority of Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland’s Feb. 1 column in the Free Press, titled “The importance of a strong parent-child bond,” was lifted verbatim from a 2006 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism publication titled, “Making a Difference: Talk to Your Teen About Alcohol.”

A reading of Rowland’s unattributed column and the text of the booklet revealed the two are virtually identical. The only differences were found in the column’s first sentence and its lead into several bullet points.

The editor said if Rowland had been a staff writer, she probably would have been fired.

 

Janet’s first reaction to the plagiarism charge was to claim she couldn’t even remember writing the columns. (Denial.) When that failed to tamp down the controversy, she next said the information she used in her columns had been intended for “mass duplication anyhow,” adding that if people wanted to make what she did out as something evil, that was THEIR prerogative. (Sour grapes.) Next, she blamed the plagiarism on others, saying she had included the necessary attributions in her column, but Free Press staff had edited them out. (Lying and blaming.) Free Press management quickly produced the emails that contained the articles exactly as they had received them from Janet for publication, showing that they contained no references or attributions.

Mesa County residents and Mad Dog PAC put up gun control billboard in G.J.

Mesa County residents fed up with the national epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. are teaming up with Mad Dog PAC of Washington, D.C. to run a billboard in Grand Junction aimed at pressuring congressional Republicans to address the national epidemic of gun violence and rampant mass killings happening around the country.

The billboard targets Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner in particular, who is up for re-election in 2020 and is known for taking no action and offering only prayers, platitudes and condolences after every mass killing that occurs.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives has already passed effective gun control legislation, but Senator Mitch McConnell (Republican, KY), Majority Leader of the Senate, has blocked the bill from coming to a vote to appease the National Rifle Association which works to stop legislation aimed at making Americans safer from gun massacres.

The anti-Cory Gardner/gun control message will be on the billboard on I-70B in front of Sprouts and Rimrock Marketplace, on the board facing west, where it will be visible to drivers coming into Grand Junction. The message will be up for one week starting next Tuesday, August 20, and will stay up longer if donations are received to keep it up longer. If enough funds are received the message will also go up on additional boards around town.

Contact Anne Landman for information on how to donate to the billboard campaign.

 

Job openings with the county pay $87,500/year plus benefits and require no experience

Salaries for each of the three Mesa County Commissioners for the month of June, 2019

Mesa County has two job openings right now that pay $87,300/year gross salary with additional generous perks and benefits, and that require absolutely no experience and no required level of educational attainment. That’s a pretty good wage in Mesa County for someone with no experience and no particular educational attainment, since the wages here are so low compared to the rest of the state. (The average weekly wage in Denver in the last quarter of 2018 was $1,414. In Mesa County it was $895). The opening is for two new county commissioners. The only requirements to be county commissioner — literally — are that you have to be a minimum of 18 years old and have lived in either County Commissioner District 1 or District 3 for at least one year. That’s it. In case you don’t believe me, the photo above gives the salaries for each of our three county commissioners for just one month — the month of June, 2019. The information was printed in the legal notices in the Sunday, August 11, 2019 issue of the Daily Sentinel. You can see the minimal requirements for the job yourself posted on Mesa County’s website. Multiply the above salary by 12 to get your new annual gross salary if you land this job ($87,500/year). Oh, and did I mention it’s also free to apply? You can even have a criminal record and it’s okay. This position can be held for up to 8 years.