Crews dismantle Sheriff Joe’s ‘Tent City’

(Associated Press) Crews have started to dismantle some of the tents in a controversial outdoor jail complex in Phoenix that helped make former Sheriff Joe Arpaio a national law enforcement figure.

One of the five jail yards within “Tent City” has already been completely dismantled, and workers on Wednesday were in the process of tearing down a second yard.

Sheriff Paul Penzone, who ousted Arpaio last year and announced plans seven weeks ago to tear down the complex, said the closure of the tents is about improving the county’s jails.


Where licentiousness begins, liberty ends

The term “public policy” is a household term in America. Blacks Law Dictionary defines “public policy” as “community common sense and common conscience, extended and applied throughout the state to matters of public morals, health, safety, welfare, and the like…”

I really doubt that one person in a million knows that the term “public policy” is synonymous with government purpose. All federal judges know that “public policy” is a cover term for government policy. This is why the judges and the courts consistently rule in favor of “public policy” (government), especially when it comes to defining down morality (baby murder, gay marriage, transgender “rights,” etc.).

In his “On the Right to Rebel Against Governors,” Samuel West wrote in 1776:

It is our duty to endeavor always to promote the general good; to do to all as we would be willing to be done by were we in their circumstances; to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God. These are some of the laws of nature which every man in the world is bound to observe, and which whoever violates exposes himself to the resentment of mankind, the lashes of his own conscience, and the judgment of Heaven. This plainly shows that the highest state of liberty subjects us to the law of nature and the government of God. The most perfect freedom consists in obeying the dictates of right reason, and submitting to natural law. When a man goes beyond or contrary to the law of nature and reason, he becomes the slave of base passions and vile lusts; he introduces confusion and disorder into society, and brings misery and destruction upon himself. This, therefore, cannot be called a state of freedom, but a state of the vilest slavery and the most dreadful bondage. The servants of sin and corruption are subjected to the worst kind of tyranny in the universe. Hence we conclude that where licentiousness begins, liberty ends.

When politicians and bureaucrats talk about democracy and public policy, they speak with a forked tongue. They want you to believe that these terms refer to personal liberty. They don’t. They refer to the end of personal liberty.

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Dem rally speaker: Trump budget meant for ‘ethnic cleansing’

(American Mirror) A Philadelphia bishop is accusing the President Trump of attempting to implement “ethnic cleansing” through proposed budget cuts designed to shrink the federal government.

“This budget, if I can be honest with you, is an attempt to implement ethnic cleansing in this nation from people of color, but also poor white folk from whom services being but will be impacted the most,” Bishop Dwayne Royster said at a Wednesday social justice rally broadcast by ABC News.

“President Trump and his surrogates have used dog whistle language to speak about race in negative ways and create fear in the hearts of Americans,” he continued.


Montana-cowboy Democrat looks for anti-Trump election win

(Agence France-Presse) Can a guitar-strumming cowboy poet strike the first blow at the polls against President Donald Trump? Democrat Rob Quist reckons he can do just that, in Thursday’s closely-watched special congressional election in Montana.

Quist croons at campaign rallies and writes poems for supporters. And as a first-time candidate for public office, the 69-year-old is running an unexpectedly tight race against a Republican businessman in Big Sky country.

The lead once enjoyed by Republican contender Greg Gianforte “has diminished in polling so much that it’s miniscule,” Jeremy Johnson, an associate professor of political science at Carroll College in the state capital Helena, told AFP.

“It’s close to a toss-up.”


Republican candidate ‘body-slams’ reporter in Montana

(London Guardian) The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting, “Get the hell out of here.”

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire running for the seat vacated by Ryan Zinke, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “I think he wailed on me once or twice … He got on me and I think he hit me … This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”


Sessions surrenders on sanctuary cities

(NEW YORK TIMES) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday clarified President Trump’s executive order on so-called sanctuary cities, narrowly defining such jurisdictions — and the money they could expect to receive from the federal government — in a way that appeared to fall far short of Mr. Trump’s previous threats to starve all federal funding from localities that limit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

Later on Monday, the Justice Department asked a federal court in California to reconsider a ruling that blocked the order last month.

In a two-page memorandum, Mr. Sessions announced that the Trump administration would withhold certain types of federal aid from jurisdictions that “willfully refuse to comply” with a single federal immigration law. That statute requires cities, counties and states to allow local agencies and officials to exchange information about people’s immigration status with federal immigration authorities.


CBO’s ’23 million uninsured under GOP’ not what it seems


Democrats and much of the mainstream news media Wednesday poured cold water on the the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act, citing a report from the Congressional Budget Office that the legislation to begin dismantling Obamacare would result in 23 million uninsured in the next 10 years.

“The CBO was wrong when they analyzed Obamacare’s effect on cost and coverage, and they are wrong again,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price countered in a statement.

“In reality, Americans are paying more for fewer health-care choices because of Obamacare, and that’s why the Trump administration is committed to reforming health care.”

House Republicans passed the bill three weeks ago without waiting for the CBO to release a score for the legislation. It replaced an earlier version of the AHCA that the CBO had said would result in 24 million being without insurance.

But the figures of those left without insurance, at least as widely reported, is misleading. It includes nine million already without coverage under Obamacare. The remaining 14 million are made up of those who could potentially lose coverage under the new bill, plus those who take advantage of the AHCA eliminating the mandate to purchase coverage. For the latter group, being allowed to remain uninsured is a positive option. The requirement to be covered under Obamacare or pay a penalty has been an unpopular feature of the present health law.

The criticism by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., was typical:

“This devastating report confirms what we suspected: TrumpCare 2.0 is even worse than TrumpCare 1.0. No wonder House Republicans rushed to pass it before this report came out.

“This report confirms that once again, the House has championed a bill that would strip health care from more than 20 million Americans. In addition, millions more would buy policies that they think provide coverage but in reality are worth little more than the paper they are printed on.”

Maybe waiting for Washington to fix health care isn’t the best idea. Click here to take charge of your own health care.

Nonsense, said Rep. Tom MacArthur, co-author of the amendment that allowed the bill to pass. The moderate Republican came under fire from like-minded GOP members for working with the House Freedom Caucus to pass the overhaul.

“I’ll put my knowledge of the insurance market against CBO’s knowledge of the insurance market,” MacArthur said, noting he spent 30 years in the industry.

“I respect the CBO’s role but just because a group of auditors down the block has created a model that has a lot of ‘ifs,’ ‘ands’ and ‘maybes’ looking out 10 years doesn’t make that the gospel. That is somebody’s opinion at CBO. I have a different opinion,” he said.

He noted the CBO originally projected 22 million people enrolled in Obamacare exchanges by 2016, when in reality there were only 10 million. “They were off by 120 percent. That’s a staggering error,” MacArthur said.

Republicans counter critics by noting AHCA will reduce premiums by giving states and consumers more choices they can afford. States will be allowed to seek exemption from current rules that force prices upward. Insurance companies would not be required to provide policies with a minimum package of benefits. While subsidies will be eliminated, tax credits will be given to lower the out-of-pocket cost of insurance to consumers, including those who might otherwise choose to go without coverage, further stabilizing the market. The goal of the Republican plan is to broaden coverage by reducing costs and offering choices. Additionally, the AHCA is projected to result in a $119 billion reduction in the federal deficit.

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While the CBO “nonpartisan” score is treated like trump cards in debates over legislation, there is a long history of projections later being destroyed by reality.

In 2013, when Obama sought to reverse the George W. Bush tax cuts for the highest-income earners, CBO estimated the federal government would raise $650 billion over the next 10 years. Later, new projections had to be issued which forecast a decline in revenues of $4.2 trillion, due to CBO not taking into account what the higher tax rate would do to economic growth.

The CBO’s rosy score for Obamacare in 2010 went out the window in 2014 when CBO revised its forecast to account for 2.3 million fewer full-time jobs and a hit to the economy of $1.8 trillion over a decade –– projections that likely would have prevented Obamacare from ever passing Congress had they been known in 2010.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a longtime critic, notes that the CBO does not score legislation dynamically. It ignores growth that results from tax cuts and the reduced growth that results from tax increases in its projections –– a practice that fails to model reality and which “creates an inherent legislative bias toward more taxes and budget gimmicks.”

For example, Wednesday’s CBO projection did not model for states choosing to waive costly insurance regulations –– a feature certain to lower premiums beyond that claimed in the report.

“The central flaw at the CBO is the agency does not utilize any kind of dynamic scoring,” said Gingrich in a March opinion piece. “It wrongly presumes that a change of fiscal policy will have no impact on labor, markets or other economic factors.”

Gingrich has proposed outsourcing the projections to three to five professional firms who understand the interaction between legislation and the marketplace, and letting them compete. Each year, the worst performer –– including the CBO –– would lose its contract.

“The credit-rating agencies that service financial markets could offer a useful model for obtaining better policy scores,” Gingrich argues. “We should consider replacing the CBO with a competitive system of multiple scoring agencies whose success depends on accuracy over time.”

The CBO was created in 1974 in the closing months of President Richard Nixon’s time in office to provide what the agency describes as “objective, impartial information about budgetary and economic issues.” Prior to the CBO law, executive-branch agencies provided cost estimates which often merely reflected the preferences of the administration. The CBO was as much a reaction to Nixon as it was an attempt at fiduciary responsibility, and served to shift power from the executive branch to Congress.

The present director of the CBO is Keith Hall, a former George W. Bush appointee to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He began his four-year term as the ninth director of the CBO on April 1, 2015.