Sentinel Blogs

Dave Perry: Preoccupations

NOTES ON EVERYTHING FROM THE EDITOR OF THE AURORA SENTINEL  — dperry@AuroraSentinel.com @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook


We owe our readers and all of America an apology.

Not just us, but all of the U.S. media have done a grave disservice to our nation’s readers, viewers and listeners during the past few years.

We have lied to you about the 2016 presidential election.

We have lied not in the way that Donald Trump and even the Colorado Republican Party say we have. Actually, it’s worse. We have failed to follow the number-one tenet of journalism: accuracy.

While we, and especially I, have repeatedly blamed the deterioration of the Republican Party and the rise of tea-party activists for making it possible to nominate Trump for president, it is the media that is most at fault.

We were dishonest in that, from the beginning, we treated Trump like any other political candidate, allowing him to say whatever he wanted. On occasion, and often not, we would later in the story or the broadcast add an aside, dutifully allowing competitors or some expert to say briefly that, no, there aren’t countless white people murdered each year at the hands of blacks. No, it isn’t widely accepted that President Barack Obama is a Kenyan citizen and not one born in the United States. No, American Muslims — and actually almost all Muslims worldwide — don’t hate non-Muslims and hope to kill as many as they can or become complicit with Mid-East terrorists.

Just like all of you, we were mesmerized by Trump because he was so laughable and entertaining. Facing almost two years of scores of policy wonks duking it out over partisan talking points looked bleak.

Trump changed all that from the first day. He rode down an escalator with his orange face and comical comb-over and told the world that Mexico sends hordes of rapists and murderers to our country.

It wasn’t until months later, after he rose feverishly in the polls — and his GOP competitors couldn’t yell loud enough or roll their eyes fast enough — that the media began pointing out higher up in the stories that Trump was erroneous about Muslims dancing in the streets as the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001. He was erroneous about the Colorado presidential caucus being rigged. He was erroneous about numbers about all kinds of things.

It was well after all of that, after Trump snagged the Republican nomination, that the media outside of editorials and columns began to point out when Trump lied about things. He lies a lot.

But so did we. We were played. We forgot that our most important job is to tell readers the real story, as accurately as possible. We’ve become so accustomed to being what we think is fair to our sources, that we’ve forgotten our first job is to be fair to our readers.

What we should have told you is that a clearly ill-prepared, celebrity billionaire erupted in a shocking racist delusion and announced he would seek the Republican nomination. We could have reserved that fact that he was a pompous lout for the editorial page.

Had Trump been a former state legislator from Idaho or a Midwestern CPA or an Arizona sheriff, that would have been the end of that.

We should have quoted psychologists and pundits, explaining why and how someone like Trump would seek any public office, especially that of the country’s chief administrator. And we should have immediately debunked anything we allowed him to spew into our pages and airwaves. Fact checking — after the fact? That’s a joke.

But we didn’t even do that in the beginning. We allowed Trump to use us to create a vast legion of fearful, paranoid and wretched followers, eager to hear his fantasy about the chaos in American urban areas where blacks only make time to murder whites and themselves, lying about  a massive crime wave that doesn’t exist. He’s created a virtual militia that passionately believe that every Muslim in America is a threat to our security.

We were polite or remiss in not pointing out that Trump is a crackpot, like we diligently point that out about people such as David Duke and Colorado’s own Capitol kook, state Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chapps” Klingenschmitt.

Day after day, week after week, we allowed Trump to gain millions and millions of dollars worth of unfettered, free air time and print advertising, building a massive propaganda machine. It sucked in millions of Americans who now believe that the United States is on the cusp of collapse, and only he can stop it from happening with iron rule. And he’s worked hard to ward off any potential dose of reality that could dispell the delusion. He began and will finish his campaign banging the drum against the media, which he says are corrupt, conspiring liars. Meanwhile, he uses them nearly 24/7 to perpetuate his growing repertoire of fantastic lies, exaggerations and refuted denials.

We are sorry. I am sorry. While I was at the front of the parade warning readers about the clear danger of what seemed then to be merely reckless rhetoric, we, too, have published endless inaccurate wire and local stories. We were complicit in allowing Trump and his followers to perpetuate gross and outrageous lies by not clearly calling them out early in the news pages.

Sunday night, as news that FBI Director James Comey has again cleared Clinton of criminal intent or behavior in a bizarre twist in her email saga, the Associated Press ran headlines of Trump’s reaction, claiming that the FBI is wrong, that Clinton is clearly guilty of something, and that “she knows it.”

It’s a lie. The entire short, miserable political life of Donald Trump is a complete and total lie, and we’re sorry.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@aurorasentinel.com

You’re being played.

Donald Trump is successfully creating a delusional world of fear and lies to persuade people who later will know better that he is just a ruthless con.

If you’re buying into the racket that Trump is selling this time, you’re about to get stuck with the worst time-share deal in the history of this country.

I get why about a quarter of Americans would fall for Trump’s scam. Some of these people put their faith into a belief that hard work will always lead to success — only to have their lives turned upside down by industry after industry that went after cheap labor abroad. Some of these people are flagrant or closet racists who live in fear of brown and yellow Americans assuming power and doing to them what, as a nation, we’ve done to minorities for centuries. Some of these people see Trump as a savior to route out a government run not by the will of the people, but the will of big-money interest calling the shots in Congress.

These are people who have bought into the decades-long demonization of Hillary Clinton. Clinton most certainly is guilty. But she’s guilty of being a political animal, just like every other U.S. president, congressman, senator, governor and state legislator in history. And she’s guilty of being a woman.

She’s guilty of being hunted and stalked by alt-right critics like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, who accuse her of being a “pay-to-play” government official. Her alleged crime is giving an audience to wealthy people from here and abroad in exchange for their donating huge sums of money to the Clinton Foundation. The sole purpose of that foundation has been to address problems in disease- and poverty-ravaged hot-spots on the planet that nobody else cares about. Gingrich? He was thrown out of his office after being found guilty of tax-exempt fraud and ethics violations — by his own party.

Donald Trump’s foundation is now shut down in New York and accused of using money he solicits for his business interests. Fraud.

And her GOP critics in Congress? Each and every one spends endless hours giving an audience to owners of big corporations, industries or interests who donate billions of dollars to their campaigns to keep them in office, Republicans and Democrats alike. These fat-cats don’t donate money to stop the spread of AIDS in Africa or feed starving children. They donate money to lawmakers to get votes for their own cash benefit. The entire American political system is based on pay to play, made even worse by the infamous Supreme Court Citizens United decision. Clinton has used it to help wretched people abandoned by the rest of the planet. Trump has used it to build failed hotels, fraudulent-colleges and bankrupt casinos.

Clinton is being pilloried for stupidly and arrogantly using a non-government email system as secretary of state — just like past secretaries of state and other officials have, as well as endless members of Congress and the Bush administration. The FBI concluded after a long investigation that Clinton did not commit any crime. There was no criminal intent. None. But Trump has exaggerated and outright lied about the issue, convincing those who despise her of his own erroneous “reality.”

These are people who agree with or overlook the indisputable fact that Trump has repeatedly made outlandish racist threats and remarks that have caused his own party leaders to strike out at him. They have, unthinkably, endorsed his Democratic opponent. Trump lashed out against a California judge born in Indiana over his Latino heritage. He struck out against the father of a Muslim American killed while fighting for his country. He struck out against a South American Miss Universe winner — whom he had called a fat pig — after the woman publicly admonished Trump for his callous cruelty, spreading fiendish lies about her.

Military officials, defense officials, justice officials, past presidents and presidential candidates — all Republicans — and every single hard-line, reputable conservative newspaper in the country have all adamantly insisted that Trump is not only unqualified to be president, he is a threat to national and international security, economic stability and the very rule of law.

How can anyone be so deaf to something so clear and consistent?

Because they are being played.

Trump has used the media to persuade people that they can’t trust the media. That the indisputable documentations about his lies, are just lies. He’s used the media to persuade people that the media is to blame for women lining up to tell the same story about being sexually assault by Trump — just like he detailed those crimes himself in the infamous Billy Bush video. Just like he admitted to on past radio shows when he got some kind of thrill and celebrity charge out of being a TV sexual bad boy.

Trump’s blinded fans keep calling it “man talk.” They say the growing list of accusers are liars. Bitches. Sluts.

Why do email phishing scams, car-lot schemes, furniture sales ploys, time-share wrangling and a long list of other grifts still exist? Because they still work. Because there are still suckers out there these con men can count on to believe that they really might get a cut of Mr. Baradhuh Hamilton’s fortune in a Swiss bank that he will share if they just provide their own banking information. There are still people who believe that if they don’t sign for a car on the first lot they visit, they’re going to miss out on the best and only deal of their entire lives. There are still people who think that there is a media conspiracy to persuade America that every single, reputable conservative think-tank, columnist, editor, military official, and past sexual assault victim is lying because they don’t want someone else to get to that Swiss bank account.

Trump is a swindler, and he’s the worst kind. And when he can’t deport all the Mexicans and Muslims? And when he can’t kill trade agreements because those industries and companies that truly own Congress won’t let him? And when he can’t deliver cheap and “wonderful” health care because the health-care and drug industry would never stand for it? And when the terrorists strike here in America again because that’s what terrorists do? Trump will say it’s the fault of the media. The Congress. The rigged system.

His believers won’t get what they want, they’ll only be stuck with him.  But not you. You will either say, “I told you so,” or you will realize you’d been played. Or we can all avoid this by voting for Hillary Clinton.

Don’t be played by Trump.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter or Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@aurorasentinel.com.

Take a slow, deep breath, folks. Nothing’s really changed in the last few days, or the last several months for that matter.

While Trump and his supporters want to make it that the absurd concussion grenade FBI Director James Comey tossed into the election Friday is a game changer, it’s just not.

Donald Trump is the same bombastic, prevaricating, bloviating, conspiracy-spinning, sexual predator and demagogue that he always was. No matter what’s happened during the last few days, Trump has yet to earn the serious endorsement of a single reputable newspaper. Even those conservative newspapers that have never, ever endorsed a Democrat, the message has been relenting and consistent. These newspapers don’t just suggest a better and higher road with Hillary Clinton, they have one by one agreed that Trump is a dangerous, inept, foul, con man who will inflict untold damage on the nation and its citizens.

That is not hyperbole, and it’s not unwarranted. Trump has been gleefully doubling down on his hateful, delusional rhetoric since Comey announced Friday the FBI wanted to see emails on the computer of the disgraced and perverted spouse of a Clinton aide. Comey’s rolling, surreal disaster in how he’s handled the entire Clinton email issue is a problem unto itself, wrongly inflicted on the waning days of this campaign.

But the immediate problem is Trump, not Comey. Trump has repeatedly insisted in the last few days that Colorado’s election system is “rigged” and unreliable. That if is shows any result other than his victory, it’s been corrupted.

His bizarre and repugnant blathering and behavior have washed over the country so long and with such numbing vitriol that dangerous and despicable stunts like that no longer garner the shock and disgust they should.

This inept fool is saying that in a state where a staunch Republican in charge of all elections and an army of equally staunch Republican county election clerks, they are so inept or corrupt that they would encourage or allow Democrats to cheat their way to victory, especially in the presidential race. It’s a lie.

Trump’s spurious and unbridled inanity knows no bounds. He has been that way from the beginning, and he will finish Election Day the same pathetic liar and cheat he began this race, whether he wins the White House or not.

Nothing has changed. And the problem of Donald Trump didn’t spontaneously inflict the United States a few months ago. Responsibility for the monstrosity of Trump lies squarely with the Republican Party. It was GOP rank and file during the first Bush administration that let this ugliness through the door with “leaders” like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh. By flirting with this fringe group and using them for new votes and cash, Republicans at first emboldened them. Then they began to embrace them, elevating previously unthinkable extremists to high-profile spots. Extremists like Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton — and Donald Trump — are now the face of the Republican Party.

The new Republicans began their dogged stalking of Hillary Clinton as soon as she became first lady, and they’ve only ramped up their obsessive hyperbole since.

The unbridled exaggerations and outright fabrications about Clinton are without precedence. And as her second run for the White House became imminent four years ago, their witch hunt has reached fever pitch, playing the tell-a big-loud-lie game started by Limbaugh and Gingrich decades ago.

Naively trying to find ways to scuttle their stalking attacks, Clinton has made dumb mistakes, mistakes that have purposely been blown so far out of proportion that to anyone honest and informed, they appear comical. Even dependable conservative media have highlighted that fact.

But in their zeal to stop Hillary Clinton at all costs and appease their festering tea party, the GOP has come undone.

Now, the inmates have taken ruthless control of the GOP asylum, and the rank-and-file and even party leaders are petrified of what Trump’s minions will do. Rather than boldly and courageously denounce Trump for what he is, a fraud, they contrive ways to distance themselves just enough to keep from infuriating his fans — but not draw invective from mainstream Americans for their stunts.

It’s scandalous, given what’s at stake. These same Republicans fear a Trump victory even more than do Democrats, knowing that they dare not “stand up” to a President Trump. If they do, he has made it clear he and his fans will destroy them.

If Trump wins, and when his fraudulence is outed, Democrats will make hay in Congress in two years to punish Trump’s supporters and to try and save the country. All is lost for the GOP with a Trump victory. But worse, all would be lost for all of us.

It’s been that way since Trump road the golden escalator down to announce his run for president, promising to “make America great again” by wrapping the worst of humanity in an American flag.

So here we are, days from an election, fighting the same fights. Never have so many people that so Americans trust from all sides of the political spectrum gone out of their way to warn against Donald Trump. Trump’s allies fighting back include the likes of dubious extremists like Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin, Roger Ailes, Andrew Breitbart and the infamous racist David Duke.

Take a deep breath, America. If you can’t see clear of the smokescreen, then look to those you admire and trust. The chances are almost certain that they’re voting for Clinton, even if they don’t agree with her political platform. And most likely, these people will  beseech you to vote for Clinton, too.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@aurorasentinel.com

Thanks to Donald Trump and a boatload of downstream political dudes, we now know it really does suck to be an American woman.

Not so long ago, a more polite yet misogynistic society referred to Trump’s penchant for accosting women as the boorish behavior of a “masher.” It was something Doris Day might breathlessly have said in a powder-blue suit while starring with Rock Hudson. Often forgotten and forgiven, it’s just as a guy thing.

Now we can be frank and honest. Trump’s behavior constitutes sexual assault. His victims aren’t coming forward with stories of buyer’s remorse the morning after. They’re women who consistently back up what he bragged about on that now notorious bus-tape with TV personality Billy Bush. He has molested strange women by forcing unwanted kisses and gropes, often just moments after meeting them.

And no matter how repulsive you think Trump’s pursed lips unexpectedly attaching themselves to yours would be while he holds you still for the attack, you can pretty much rest assured that his buds, the rest of the country and even some of your friends just shrug it off, and would expect you to as well.

Locker room banter. Guy talk. Boys will be boys. At least he thinks you’re attractive.

I’ve been just as guilty as Billy Bush at times, laughing off the awkward gaucheries of pals who tell waitresses such winning flirtations such as, “and I’ll take a side of you with that.”

Women hate that. I hate that. But rather than say, “That was rude, dude,” I’ve looked the other way at that and much worse.

I know how awful this is mostly because of my wife. She’s drop-dead gorgeous. I don’t mean stunningly beautiful like every guy should think his wife is eye candy. I mean almost everyone who meets her makes those comments.

I’ve never lied about the fact that it got my attention the moment we met 20-some years ago. But I can honestly say her wit, intelligence, talent, charm, integrity, compassion, hedonism and mutual love of steep and deep Colorado snow make me love her. I thank my lucky stars every day that I won the girlfriend jack pot — except for when she disagrees with me. Which is every day.

And while I appreciate just looking at her all time, so do a lot of men.

She gets marriage proposals while picking apples in grocery stores. Funny? More than once these guys then follow her to her car in the parking lot. It’s a better day when the guys just follow her around the store and then lose interest after a while.

She can’t really go for walks by herself in our totally walkable neighborhood. On several occasions, cars drive by her once, then twice, then slow up and pace her, guys asking for “directions” or just wanting her to get in their car.

Sober men insist she yield her time or at least her phone number. Inebriated men badger her for a “date.” Behind every eye roll women offer against harassment is a worry about how far this guy is going to take it.

And she’s like millions and millions of other American women. She’s expected to just laugh it off, look the other way or spend her time explaining why it’s not going to happen. And when she does? She’s “a bitch.”

And we all just shrug it off because that’s the way things are. Or were.

It’s been this way so long, even though women have seriously pushed back against it for years now, that it seemed it could be no other way.

And it won’t change, unless men make it stop. Instead of being Billy Bush — who not only acquiesced Trump’s molester talk, he went much further by becoming complicit, asking a woman whether she had a hug for Trump — we need to push back against the pack mentality.

Men must tell each other they’re being rude, thoughtless or repulsive. I don’t mean that we can’t have friendly, flirtatious banter among peers and friends who have trust and understanding. But your co-worker isn’t your friend and doesn’t want to know that you think her shoes make her look hot. Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly doesn’t want to hear former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tell her she’s “fascinated” with sex because she asks questions about the effect of Trump’s accusers on his campaign. Women in Aurora don’t want to hear Congressman Mike Coffman say he doesn’t know if allegations against Trump constitute sexual assault. They do. Women want men to stand up to each other because nothing else will make it stop.

If Trump were to mash his mouth against my daughter’s or my wife’s? If he were to run his hands over them like he brags about? I’d call the cops because I know they wouldn’t. They know what happens to too many women who out “mashers.”

And the next time I hear a guy tell a strange woman how she should take a load off her pretty feet and sit on his lap, I’ll tell them they sound as creepy as Trump, making American women grate again.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@AuroraSentinel.com

Clearly this difficult election has been made so hard for Republicans and all of us ornery reporters because we’re just not speaking the same language any more.

“Privacy” means one thing to may Republicans and something completely different to the media world.

Republicans in Aurora and Colorado and, hey, all across the country have been vocal about telling the likes of reporters here at the Aurora Sentinel and other places to quit trying to vote-shame them about whether they will or they won’t be voting for Donald Trump.

Congressman Mike Coffman and other Colorado big-office Republicans are being pummeled by stories about how they let a man who is arguably the worst presidential candidate in the history of presidential candidates to become the face of the GOP. They are tired beyond tears of us asking whether they’ll vote for Trump, and when they decided they wouldn’t, and how painfully they lament they ever heard of the guy. The problem for them is, such contrition would be good for the sole purpose of assuaging angry reasonable people, but such bad-mouthing of the man assured to Make America Great Again enrages the fiery Trump crowd.

When Aurora Sentinel reporters pressed down-ballot folks for who they’re supporting at the top of the ticket, there was chagrin, tap dancing and outright indignation.

At the top of the resentment this week was Republican Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, who sniffed at our question of will-you-or-won’t-you and declined to answer.

“The secret ballot is as much a cornerstone of American democracy as is freedom of the press, and last time I checked, officials and office holders of both parties still enjoy the right of a secret ballot,” Hogan told Reporter Brandon Johansson. He went on to say he didn’t think it was newsworthy to ask elected officials who they were voting for so close to the election. “That just doesn’t feel like reporting news to me. It feels like making news. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but it doesn’t feel right,” he said.

That was how Hogan felt until Thursday morning, when the campaign to re-elect Congressman Mike Coffman issued a release saying that Hogan and other Republican mayors in the metro area were only too happy to tell residents they were voting for Coffman, and they should, too.

“Mike has been a strong advocate for Aurora. He has made protecting Buckley AFB, and completing the V.A. Hospital critical priorities during his service in Congress. Mike deserves another term,” Hogan said, according to the release.

Apparently not all ballot secrets are worth keeping.

Hogan isn’t alone among local Republicans only too happy to share their ballot secret about their choice for Congress, but solemnly sworn to not tell a soul about their choice for president.

“All three Arapahoe County commissioners, commissioners Nancy Sharpe, Rod Bockenfeld and Nancy Doty, chimed in to support Mike,” Coffman’s campaign said in the release.

That bell rang flat, however, for Doty. Running now for a state Senate seat in southeast Aurora, Doty maintains that she can’t tell the Sentinel or anyone who she’s voting for president, because of the sacred secret ballot thing.

Of course, I could have this thing all wrong. Being truly secret, it could be that these local Republicans are more like New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who may vote for one candidate while supporting another while circling in regard to an endorsement. It could well be these Republicans talk nice about Coffman in public, but then plan to vote for his Democrat challenger, state Sen. Morgan Carroll, when they get the lead out on the actual ballot. It would be their little secret.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and FaceBook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@aurorasentinel.com

Hey, Morgan Carroll and Mike Coffman. Stop already with the lame-brain negative ads against each other.

Sheesh.

Let me set this straight, and then let’s move on: Morgan Carroll, a Democrat state senator running against incumbent Congressman Republican Mike Coffman, is not a sleazy lawyer who used her position as state Senate president to get her or anyone else rich. Did not happen.

And Mike Coffman has never snuggled up to Donald Trump and is nothing like him. He probably despises the guy. Who in their right mind doesn’t?

Now stop beating each other over the head with these ridiculous TV ad claims and tell voters something that really might move the needle in one direction or the other in the race for Aurora’s 6th Congressional District seat.

Still not convinced?

Let me tell you about Mike Coffman. I’ve been writing about him so long that we were both young, handsome guys when I first wrote about his leave of absence from his state House seat to fight in the first Iraq War. It was before there was electricity. Now, we’re just old handsome guys.

Mike has always been a smart, savvy and passionate politician. And while he regularly defines himself as a military veteran, he is a career politician. He’s been elected to five very different government positions a whole bunch of times.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

As a legislator, state treasurer and secretary of state, Mike was obsessive about his work. Right or wrong — in my opinion or that of others — he’s always diligent. I’m as appreciative of his long public elected service as I am his exemplary military service. Having watched Mike all these years, I have no doubt his opinion of Donald Trump is only slightly better than my own. I’m not saying that Mike doesn’t deserve knuckle raps for standing silent on the obvious Trump disaster until it was too late to prevent it. In fact, I have said that. But Mike is a politician, and he has the self-preservation instincts and success record over these many decades to prove it — just like every politician I’ve ever met.

I can guarantee you, that if the roles were reversed and the Democratic presidential nominee was an outright lying, mentally unstable, dog-whistling-for-a-national-racist meltdown, fascist, Democrats would be handling this the same way.

They’re all political animals, and so is Morgan. She’s a lawyer, and a really good one. She’s incredibly smart and perceptive, listening to people describe problems and being able to quickly start offering solutions. It’s the lawyer thing. Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer. And Barack Obama. And his wife. And Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. There’s nothing wrong with being a lawyer. For years and years she’s represented people who were victims and being taken advantage of. She’s the voice for people who don’t have a way to make their own voice heard. Some of that work has been for injured clients, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re in big-box store and suddenly get clobbered by a crate stored wrong, and the store owner says “toughies,” who are you gonna call? A plumber? Dial-a-prayer?

I’ve watched Morgan take in troubled people to her own home and her own life so they could get back on their feet and move on. She brushes aside political consequences for things like that, and does what she thinks is just right: help people. I’ve seen her work tirelessly to pass bills that have huge impacts in people’s lives, even though that bill may result in someone getting just a couple hundred dollars a year. Just a few weeks ago, she was pressing for ways to help disabled Colorado residents, probably our state’s most vulnerable neighbors, dig through the nightmare of legislation and regulations that prevent them from helping themselves.

She’s the patron saint of people in trouble.

Both of these candidates are smart, caring people. They’re politicians, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Mike has spent the last few years focusing on Aurora’s vast immigrant population, and his critics say he did it all for show to try and keep his job in an increasingly liberal district. Maybe, but he really has spent a lot of time at a long list of events with immigrants and minorities, listening to them. Observing them. Nothing but good can come from that. Too many of his conservative peers make judgments without knowing who America’s immigrants really are. Knowledge changes everything.

And Morgan has spent her life being a voice for people under duress. It means she knows what happens when legislation goes bad, because she hears from constituents as a lawmaker, and from her clients as a lawyer when innocent people get strangled by red tape.

What does separate these candidates is their stance on critical issues, and, in full disclosure, that’s where Mike and I often disagree.

If you think climate change isn’t nearly as bad or imminently dangerous as scientists make out, and messing with the economy is a bigger worry, Mike’s your guy. If you think scientists don’t make this crap up and transitioning from a petroleum world ain’t nothing compared to mass starvation from devastating droughts, vote for Morgan.

If you think that we realistically must and morally should assimilate the millions of illegal Americans living in this country, except the felons, Morgan is your pick. If you think we can cherry-pick those immigrants, and wait-and-see what to do with the millions who don’t really fall into the “yes” or “no” baskets, Mike is with you.

If you’re outraged because a woman’s reproductive rights, abortion rights, are being chiseled away by pro-life lawmakers who do things like vote for defunding Planned Parenthood and backing weak-acid legislation, Morgan is at the front of the battle to make it stop. Mike? He’s voted to defund Planned Parenthood with his pack.

Fix Obamacare and drive down prices with a public option? Morgan. Scrap Obamacare and try something else? Mike.

With these two candidates, issues are the issue, not their personal shortcomings, which seems to be what they’re fighting over. Do your research on the issues and pick the one that you want to vote in Congress like you would.

But if you just want a brilliant, handsome older guy who’s never been wrong and is funnier than a pig on a frozen pond, write me in.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@AuroraSentinel.com

The moment of truth, and I do mean truth, for Colorado Republican elected officials is now as they must either unequivocally denounce the catastrophic candidacy of Donald Trump or suffer the inevitable consequences.

In the minds of rational, thinking Americans, conservative and liberal, Democrat and Republican and none of the above, Trump is an unparalleled political abomination in the history of the United States.

As his critics from the left, center and the right have pointed out, and as anybody in their right mind can plainly see, Trump is uninformed, unintelligent, unprincipled, unpredictable, unrepentant and unable to exert even a modicum of self control over his anger or his ego.

A trove of sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, marketers and more have already spent countless words trying to explain how and why Trump enjoys the voter support he does, even though it now seems to be dissolving fast.

The explanation of Trump no longer matters. What matters is that there are throngs of his post-factual-politics fans that are either distracted, ill-informed or full-throttle racists and fascists like Trump himself.

In a few months, a few years or a few decades, we will all be judged by how we reacted to Trump. We’ll be judged in the very same way generations have been judged by how they dealt with George Wallace, David Duke, Joseph McCarthy, Adolph Hitler and Manuel Noriega. We will all soon have to own up to how we handled the Trump nomination.

But Republicans must own up right now, for the good of the country, and if for no other reason, the good of their own careers.

This has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with Hillary Clinton. It wouldn’t matter if Donald Trump were running against Nancy Pelosi, Jane Fonda or Mother Teresa, Trump is uniquely unqualified to be president.

I’m not discounting Hillary Clinton’s considerable problems with her own candidacy, but to say that they are so egregious as to make Trump a realistic choice is as ridiculous as saying that a spoiled 6-year-old boy can pilot a 747 because he bought one and can, sort of, ride a bike.

No. I and a growing list of other journalists, from the left and the right, as well as more Republicans and other conservatives each day understand the menace, and the need for honesty and accuracy.

Now it’s time for Republicans in Aurora and across the state to do the same.

Last week, Congressman Mike Coffman tapped a political white cane around the tea party’s third rail of Trump for President. In a paid political ad, Coffman said he “didn’t think very much” of Trump.

The move smacks of the same half-hearted political opportunism that allowed Sen. Joseph McCartney to extort the U.S. Senate for America’s dark and unnerving “Un-American Activities” charade in the 1950s. If Coffman is as courageous a politician as he makes himself out to be, he must “stand up” to Trump now, not after he’s president. If he believes it, he must tell Trump that America has no place for such blatant racism and fascist leadership. Dozens of prominent Republicans across the country have summoned the courage to risk alienating the spiteful tea party base by calling Trump out for the imminent danger he is.

Because if Coffman, Sen. Cory Gardner, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, congressmen Ken Buck, Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn and GOP state lawmakers and county officials from all over the state don’t publicly, staunchly and undeniably make clear that they abhor the candidacy of Donald Trump and refuse to support or vote for him, then they leave the public with two options. Either GOP elected officials have such poor judgment that they cannot themselves be trusted to represent their more rational constituents, or they are so cowardly that they will not risk their own political jobs by angering the tea party inmates that are now running this surreal GOP asylum. It is this very same cowardice and poor judgment that allowed for segregation and Jim Crow laws in the South, the Holocaust, apartheid and a long list of odious regimes in places like Russia, China and all over the Middle East.

Warnings like mine aren’t hyperbole or hysteria; they are real alarm bells signaling serious danger to democracy and humanity. Never before have respected members of a political party, including 50 GOP security experts and a growing list of elected officials, called out their own party’s presidential nominee for his utter ineptitude and the imminent danger he represents.

Colorado Republicans must join those ranks. We all must join those ranks.

Because even if Trump is obliterated in the election, his candidacy will live on like a festering cancer in America. And once that cancer’s finally gone, we will all have to answer to what we did to either stop it, or feed it.

If you’re confused about what side of the argument you want to be on now, consider what side of history you want to be on years from now. You know the answer. And we must all summon the courage to act on it.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@aurorasentinel.com.

Editors and reporters must offer readers the facts about Donald Trump no matter how hard he and his increasingly angry mob of fans push back.

As an industry we must tell the public not just why Trump should never be U.S. president, but why he shouldn’t be president because of what he did today, and every day.

There has not been one single day, not one press conference, not one rally where Trump hasn’t blustered through a litany of things ranging from inept to frightening and dangerous.

If this is just my opinion, it’s also the expressed opinion of Republicans, his allies, pundits and experts from the left and the right, and a growing number of conservatives who once thought they could quietly tolerate his candidacy.

The media is under extreme pressure from both Trump’s knowing and naive followers to treat the New York hotel magnate and his campaign just like any other. Daily, we are bombarded by fanatical and unreasonable critics saying our overly moderated yet pointed and regular coverage of the outlandish, menacing and treacherous things Trump says only proves to them how unfair the media is to him.

I learned journalism from masters. They were serious thinkers who not only studied our ethical, legal and integral role in democracy, but who practiced what they loudly and regularly preached. Former Rocky Mountain News copy desk chief Greg Pearson — as dean and creator of Metro State University of Denver’s unique journalism school — howled this mantra almost every day I saw him for years: “Accuracy. Accuracy. Accuracy,” he bellowed at every tiny mistake he uncovered.

Every day, I, and most journalists, ask the same questions every time we file a story, a brief, a headline, a photo or a caption: Is it accurate? Is it fair? Is it written for the reader and not the source? Above all, is this the real story?

Most of us learn enough about journalism to understand the rudimentary rule of the profession: he said, she said. Supposedly, objective and fair reporters let each side tell their own story, stand back, and then the reader decides who’s right.

But allowing Donald Trump to make comments without context and background make the story inaccurate.

“(Russian President Vladimir Putin is) not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want,” Trump said Sunday during an interview George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”

It’s not Trump’s opinion. It’s erroneous. Putin’s grab of the Crimea is already a historical scandal and acknowledged threat to world peace. Likewise, it’s not an opinion that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya — it’s false. It’s untrue that Obama is a Muslim. It’s untrue that “global warming” is a hoax. The China trade deficit this year isn’t $505 billion, it’s closer to $340 billion. Ten percent of American bridges are deficient, but 61 percent are not on the verge of collapse. He said ISIS built a hotel in Syria. No. They commandeered one. He said that in the event Iran goes to war with Israel, the United States must side with Iran because of the Iran Anti-Nuclear Agreement. Absolutely not.

Despite what his followers say, these aren’t opinions that the media should obligingly permit Trump to espouse in the same vein that “Obama is the worst president ever,” or “Ted Cruz is the biggest liar ever.” He is a walking, talking fountain of misinformation and disinformation, and if the media — especially the wildly tilted Fox News brand — doesn’t point that out, his naive fan club simply takes his froth at face value. Despite what he says, there aren’t two sets of facts — and he’s regularly on the wrong side of them.

And when the media does point out his inaccuracies, which are usually so glaring to have captured media attention, his fans rabidly accuse the press of bias, and in some sort of conditioned response, rattle off their complaints about Hillary Clinton.

First, the media rightfully treats the accuracy and problems of each candidate separately. But more important, the contest, in the eyes of Trump supporters, is one of weighing who is the most egregious candidate based on the level of shrillness created by critics.

I’ll bite. Hillary has plenty of faults, but as a person, as a politician, as a candidate, her missteps and shortcomings pale compare the off-the-charts horror that Trump parades every single day. And the media has erred in not making that clear, despite what his unaware or complicit fan club says.

It’s like the media reporting on the sinking of the Titanic with Trump at the helm and his supporters pointing out that the dinner served on Hillary’s ship was cold.

Clinton’s shortcomings are real, but they’re irrelevant to Trump’s. For voters, weighing one brand against the other is expected, but when Trump says 81 percent of murdered white people are killed by blacks, and he cites the crime statistics bureau of San Francisco, which doesn’t exist, the press has a duty to point out that 85 percent of murdered whites were killed by other white people.

Trump is a geyser of mistakes, hyperbole, bloopers, gaffes, howlers and outright lies, and the media is irresponsible in not being more forthright about immediately debunking what he says, essentially as he says it.

Trump is not just another flavor of political candidate, he is an unparalleled threat to America and the world that cannot be exaggerated. So the least the media can do is stick to the canons of our profession and ensure readers are offered the facts.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@aurorasentinel.com.

Pardon me while I preen over the fate and karma of yet another righteous righty from Colorado Springs.

The infamous and very former El Paso County Sheriff “Happy Pants” Terry Maketa was back at the county jail Wednesday. But this time he had his shirt on and was smiling for his mug shot instead of his bae after being indicted by a grand jury for a list of charges as big as Pike’s Peak.

Maketa — well-known for his fiery consternations against the evils of gun control, liberals, gun grabbers, liberals, anti-constitutionalists, gun-grabbing state lawmakers, lying, thieving liberals and gun control — is accused of extortion, false imprisonment, kidnapping and official misconduct. Of course he’s better known for getting caught with his pants down with subordinate employees and sending some snazzy shirtless pics to one of his boos.

MAKETA BOCC

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa ducks under a microphone cord as he avoids reporter's questions on his way to speak to the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at Centennial Hall in Colorado Springs, Colo. A campaign is underway to recall Maketa, who has been accused of having sexual affairs with subordinates and committing other improprieties. Volunteers said they had about 1,700 signatures on a petition within hours of starting the effort Monday. Maketa is term-limited and will leave office in January unless he is recalled in November. He has apologized for what he called inappropriate behavior but has said he won't resign. (AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Michael Ciaglo) MAGS OUT

Maketa_Sheriff_Clips_1365016316723_396051_ver1.0_640_480

Magazine salesmen and embattled Sheriff Terry Maketa at a press conference last year, photo via 7 News

Black Forest Fire

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa speaks to the press Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at the Sheriff's Office in Colorado Springs, Colo., about the details of the Black Forest Fire action report on the eve of the anniversary of the fire. Maketa wouldn't talk about the recent allegations of sexual improprieties in his office. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

RECALL RALLY

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa speaks to supporters of the recall election to oust Senate President John Morse at a rally outside the Pioneer Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo. Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. Relatives of three people killed in the mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown campaigned Wednesday for one of two Colorado state senators facing recall elections for their votes on gun control, while sheriffs who oppose the new gun laws rallied those hoping to kick both Democrats out of office. Colorado was the only state outside the East Coast to tighten its gun laws after last year's mass shootings, and the recalls are seen as a gauge of support for gun control in this battleground state. Gun-rights activists set up the state's first legislative recall elections after Morse and Giron's votes on gun control measures, including expanded background checks and a new limit on ammunition magazines. (AP Photo, The Gazette, Michael Ciaglo)

John Cooke, Terry Maketa

Weld County, Colo., Sheriff John Cooke, left, with El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, center right, and other sheriffs standing behind him, speaks during a news conference at which he announced that 54 Colorado sheriffs are filing a federal civil lawsuit against two gun control bills passed by the Colorado Legislature, in Denver, Friday, May 17 2013. Among other claims, the group of sheriffs and others joining the suit argue that the laws violate the 2nd and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

1400861826000-maketa-selfie-300x225

Sheriff Terry Maketa in a bathroom selfie, a photograph obtained by the Colorado Springs Gazette

Terry Maketa

This is a Thursday, May 26, 2016, booking photograph of Terry Maketa, the former sheriff of El Paso County, Colo., who resigned in 2014. Maketa was indicted on charges on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, including extortion, false imprisonment, second-degree kidnapping and official misconduct. Maketa was indicted along with a former undersheriff and a department commander. (El Paso County, Colo., Sheriffs Department via AP)

Aside from this, sort of, what’s up with the water in Colorado Springs that these righty-flighty types keep cropping up and crapping out? The likes of Maketa, Douglas Bruce, Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, Ted Haggard and Congressman Doug “Tar Baby” Lamborn seem too much to be a coincidence. As to Maketa’s 11-page grand jury indictment, it didn’t specifically refer to the fiasco reporters at the Colorado Springs Gazette exposed after Sheriff Schnookums reached out for benefits from friends at work.

Previous investigations revealed that Maketa had affairs with three deputies, mishandled internal affairs, removed oversight from his budget and “offered an endorsement to a sheriff candidate in exchange for personal favors,” according to a story by the Associated Press.

After the truth and consequences came out, he refused to quit for months, and the county has so far since paid a few hundred thousand dollars to settle lawsuits against Bae & Co. His response when the sordid truth came out the inevitable became obvious?

“I have performed and risen to the level and beyond what the community has expected,” Maketa said, according to the Gazette. Actually, his indictment and processing at jail this week is what a lot of people were expecting.

But this was hardly Maketa’s first clown rodeo. Before he was the face in the bathroom selfie, the Sheriff of Nuttingham was the face of an effort by a posse of rural sheriffs to sue Colorado. The slingers of the law wanted to rake state Democrat legislators for enacting two gun laws, which did little more than grab a few headlines and never anybody’s gun.

His grace had long been railing against the liberal toads who dared to dabble in gun legislation soon after the Aurora theater shooting and Sandy Hook School Massacre.

Among the rabble on his website while he wore a shiny star:

“We also need to be focusing on our children and the influences they are exposed to and who and what is shaping their conceptual and analytical skills. (Whatever the hell that means — DP) They should be exposed to positive role models that increase their respect and appreciation for human life. They should not be consumed with influences or activities that devalue a human life….Instead of the Federal Government, mainly Congress, continuing to engage in activities of which they have no authority and erodes our constitutional rights, we should focus on criminals and those who are most likely to commit acts of violence and not target the law abiding patriots of our nation.”

Perhaps he and fellow English-As-A-Second-Language Expert Sarah Palin could be a plausible alternative to Donald Trump for prez and vice.

I guess, however, that Maketa and I would now agree that people like him do set a poor example for children and give all of us in the media a healthy sense of job security. If the press didn’t tell you what was going on in Colorado Springs, who would?

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@aurorasentinel.com.

No, Jon Keyser. You won’t be winning Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s seat in November. You’ve just lost the primary election by losing your dignity, integrity and above all, respect for voters.

In what looked like a pathetic stunt straight out of Donald Trump’s playbook, Keyser — hand-picked and hand-groomed by big-player state Republicans to take on the politically vulnerable Bennet this fall — trashed his already tattered political career Thursday.

Keyser, acting the insolent spoiled brat, refused to answer questions from reporters about why there are at least 10 forged signatures on petitions that got him a place on the GOP primary ballot.

All he would say, repeatedly, is, “I’m on the ballot.”

The weird and sordid affair started earlier this week when Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger broadcast a story about some of the signatures on Keyser’s petitions being forged. Zelinger did a provocative and pretty damned effective camera-in-the-face of people whose names were forged onto those ballots.

And when he asked Keyser to comment? Crickets. For days, Kesyer and his campaign wouldn’t answer questions about what’s up with that.

Instead, his campaign has said outright that the media is in cahoots with the Democrats trying to unfairly smear Keyser to aid Bennet.

In a year where the campaign bull-crap factor is 9.5 in this race and practically across the board, Campaign Keyser just laid a perfect 10.

It doesn’t matter if Bennet’s grandmother hand-delivered the forged signature fraud story wrapped in $50 bills to every newspaper and media station in the state, the signatures are forged. Someone committed fraud. Someone has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Keyser, you could fully expect that if you were a Democrat, or if the allegations were against Bennet, the Colorado media would be barking just the same, and we would be adamant that someone start talking.

For godsake, if you fold like a whiny teenager from this, what would you have done when Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Sen. Ted Cruz got in your face or tripped you on the Senate floor? Cry? Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance like some kind of secret spell?

It appears, on the surface, that the lame company Camp Keyser hired to collect the signatures, bypassing having to politic his way onto the primary ballot, is to blame here. And Keyser could easily have turned this into a non-story by saying he wants to work with Democrats and Republicans to clean this signature industry mess up, since he could well have been and may be a victim.

But that’s not the story any more. The story now is that this political plebe thinks that he doesn’t have to answer to the public when questions arise about who he is and how his campaign works.

And so you forfeit, Keyser. The only good that comes from this is that you have served as a fine example to others of how Colorado politics are not Washington politics, and how this kind of thing will not fly. Here, words matter. Fraud matters. And your childish and arrogant behavior matters.

Yes, you may be on the ballot now, but you’ll be off the ballot soon, either when the courts rectify this fraud, or voters do in June.

If you want to take a maneuver from a more respectable play book than Trump’s, look to the U.S. Air Force, which you are member of and which you boast about at every single chance you get. Just how do you think your peers and superiors in the Air Force would react to your behavior if you were accused of something by your critics or opponents? How would “none of your goddam business” fly with the Air Force? Right. You forgot to “Aim High,” Keyser, and now it’s too late.

Reach @EditorDavePerry on Facebook and Twitter, or email him at dperry@aurorasentinel.com.