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CO Gov Jared Polis Signs Police Reform Bill

Thank you Governor Jared Polis for signing the much needed police reform bill SB20-217 into law.

[I]t includes sweeping changes sought for years by many lawmakers of color. It bans the fleeing felon rule, bans carotid and choke holds, gets rid of qualified immunity [in state lawsuits] for officers who acted unlawfully, requires law enforcement agencies put new use-of-force rules in effect by Sept. 1, requires all officers that interact with the public wear body or dash cameras by 2023, requires body camera video to be released within 45 days in excessive force cases, includes ... a duty for officers to intervene if another is using excessive force, and more.

This is a very sweeping bill that covers a lot of territory. It is available here.

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Trump's Non-Reform "First Step Act"

"First Step" Act, my foot. If this bill passes, it will be the last time federal criminal justice reform is given a thought by Trump. There will be no sentencing reform and no "second step." From the Atlantic:

“The bill is a tempting half-measure, but lawmakers should resist the lure,” Holder wrote in a Monday op-ed for The Washington Post, warning that passing a narrow bill now would “derail momentum” for the broader set of changes Democrats and a coalition of Republicans have sought for years.

More than 100 civil rights organizations have written a letter opposing the bill. The federal prison workers union opposes the bill.

Here is the letter by Senator Durbin, Senator Harris, Senator Booker, Representative Jackson Lee, and Representative Lewis explaining why they oppose the bill. [More...]

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The Tax Bill's Effect on Medicare and Medicaid

The AARP says the Tax Bill jeopardizes Medicare and Medicaid.

In addition to spending cuts, there are these problems:

  • The cuts for individuals are temporary
  • The cuts for corporations are permanent
  • By changing the way the inflation index works, people may reach higher income brackets sooner than before, and the the increase in the standard deduction will slow over time, according to the Tax Policy Center.
  • The bill "limits the state and local tax deduction -- which could hurt those in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California."

Also, the AARP says, because there's no longer a penalty for not getting health insurance, more people will be uninsured which will raise insurance premiums for the rest of us.

As to future cuts: bq. "The large increase in the deficit will inevitably lead to calls for greater spending cuts, which are likely to include dramatic cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other important programs serving older Americans," it said. [More...]

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Senate to Pass Tax Bill Today

The Republican tax bill will pass today, even without John McCain. Trump and the wealthy individuals and corporations that benefit from the bill will celebrate. Most Americans, when they realize not only aren't they benefiting, but the cuts will be paid for by future cost-cutting to social programs like Medicare, Medicaid, etc. will cry in their coffee.

What goes up, must come down. Trump will leave office with thud. All charlatans ultimately get exposed. Trump is no wizard and there is no Oz.

The NY Times has this calculator for you to use to determine whether your taxes will go up or down.

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Reuters: Repubs.May Cut Up to $28 Billion in Medicare If Tax Bill Passes

Republicans voters are so clueless and gullible. They actually believe tax cuts for the wealthy will trickle down to them, that Medicare is an entitlement program. They also don't care that their leaders talk out of both sides of their mouths.

Paul Ryan has been determined to cut Medicare for years. It's his pet issue. He's now salivating at the prospect of achieving his dream.

Reuters reports that on Wednesday Paul Ryan said he has started convincing Trump changes to Medicare are needed. Trump said early in 2018, they will tackle "welfare reform". Trump supporters thinks that means food stamps and are all for it.


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Senate Passes Tax Bill

Every Democrat voted against the Senate Tax Bill. Every Republican except Bob Corker voted for it.

There were last minute changes. Here's the bill with the changes.

The Senate version still has to be reconciled with the House version. According to the New York Times, here's what they have to resolve.

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Tax Bill Will Change Your Life, For Worse

The New York Times:

The tax cut package, for instance, could trigger rules mandating cuts to Medicare, the government health care program for seniors, the Congressional Budget Office warned. Some 13 million people could lose health care via the elimination of a key plank of Obamacare. Insurance premiums are also expected to rise by 10 percent.

“This tax bill is a grand deception,” said Arnold Hiatt, the former chief executive of Stride Rite, which makes children’s shoes. “It hurts the most vulnerable, and hurts health care and education, which are essential for a healthy economy.”

It is likely to pass the Senate, even John McCain now will vote in favor of it. The Joint Committee on Taxation says the bill "will add $1 trillion to deficit over a decade, even with economic growth."

Donald Trump Sells Another False Bill of Goods.

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House Republicans Pass Budget Bill With Tax Cuts

The Washington Post reports Republicans passed a budget bill with Donald Trump's planned tax cuts:

No Democrats voted for the budget Thursday, nor did 20 Republicans, indicating ongoing qualms about the tax push within the party.

Donald Trump cares about one thing: businesses making money. If people pay less taxes, he thinks they will spend more money, which is good for business owners. It's a bad bill and I doubt it will make it through the Senate in its present form.

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Insurers Balk at Republican Health Care Plan

Does anyone not hate the proposed Republican health care bill? Major insurance companies joined the opposition to the bill today.

The two major trade groups for insurers, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans, announced their opposition on Wednesday to the Graham-Cassidy bill. They joined other groups fighting the bill, such as the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, AARP and the lobbying arm of the American Cancer Society.

“The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions,’’ said Scott P. Serota, the president and chief executive of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “The legislation reduces funding for many states significantly and would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans.”


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Senate's Midnight Vote on Health Care: Another Republican Fail

Update: 1:35 a.m.: Republicans fail to repeal Obamacare and pass its "Skinny Repeal" bill. Sens. McCain, Murkowski and Collins voted against the Republican bill, making the final tally 49 (yes) to 51 (no).

I rarely quote a Donald Trump tweet but I can't resist this one from a few days ago:

So great that John McCain is coming back to vote. Brave - American hero! Thank you John.
Thank you John, indeed. [More...]

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John McCain's Speech to the Senate

Sen. John McCain gave a speech to the Senate today. The transcript is here. There are two highlights:

We are an important check on the powers of the Executive. Our consent is necessary for the President to appoint jurists and powerful government officials and in many respects to conduct foreign policy. Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the President’s subordinates. We are his equal!


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Senate Republicans Introduce New Health Care Bill

Here is the new version of the Senate Republicans Health care bill. The Atlantic has some details.

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