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THE REAL TAX SCANDAL

This article was originally published by Jeff Deist at The Mises Institute.

The self-styled investigative journalism outlet ProPublica recently published private IRS tax information—presumably embarrassing private tax information—for a host of ultra-wealthy and famous Americans. I say “self-styled” because the organization claims a pretty lofty and self-important mission to use the “moral force” of journalism on behalf of the public interest against abuses of power.

But does this apply to state power, such as when a federal agency employee illegally leaks sensitive material to media? And why is it presumed to be in the public’s interest to have rich billionaires pay more in taxes? Maybe we’d rather have them investing in their companies, or at least buying megayachts and Gulfstream jets, rather than sending more resources to the black hole of DC? Why is the public interest always defined as “things progressives like”?

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.

And as an aside, it’s worthwhile to recall the tremendous whopper of a lie President Franklin Delano Roosevelt told back in 1935—namely that no one other than the program’s administrators would ever know your private Social Security number. Today, of course, Social Security numbers are the absolute linchpin of one’s entire financial identity and known by everyone from the IRS to your local credit union.

Yet the real scandal here is not the IRS leak, which was no doubt internal and designed to gin up public support for Biden’s proposed tax increases while advancing a progressive inequality narrative. Political capture of federal agencies is nothing new or shocking; that’s what presidents do (or have done to them). Nor is it particularly scandalous that the wealthiest people sometimes pay little in federal income tax, at least relative to their income. After all, elites by definition tend to wield power rather than fear it, especially when it comes to state power. And they have lobbyists and accountants to make sure taxes remain something the little people pay.

No, the real scandal is this: federal income taxes are almost entirely about control and not revenue. The byzantine rules and selective enforcement are perfectly designed to keep ordinary people with limited means in mortal fear of the IRS. A tax audit, like cancer, can come out of nowhere and ruin your life. In some cases, it can land you in jail. Tax enforcement is the ultimate check on the public’s behavior; after all, who takes up the cause of a tax cheat? For middle-class Americans, the IRS is an existential threat, but for Jeff Bezos, it is another business expense to be minimized.

And as for revenue, consider that Uncle Sam borrowed nearly half of the dollars spent by Congress in fiscal 2020. With covid shutdowns, federal income taxes amounted to about $3.42 trillion, while spending was $6.55 trillion. If the federal government can finance 50 percent of its annual spending through deficits, why not 80 percent or 100 percent? Why do we need the IRS terror regime at all?

Again, this is about control. Progressives will never give up the income tax for this very reason. Proponents of modern monetary theory, for example, are almost uniformly left progressive in political outlook. These are the people cheering Biden’s >$1 trillion infrastructure spending bill because of their fervent belief that deficits don’t matter.

MMT rests on two central assertions.1 First, sovereign governments with their own currencies can print as much money as needed to fund operations without fear of insolvency or bankruptcy—unless a purely political decision is made to go broke. Government deficits per se do not matter, because the only real constraint in any economy is the amount of real resources available rather than the amount of money. In fact, MMT views government debt as private financial wealth—money inserted into the economy by the central state but not taxed back.

Second, sovereign governments with their own currencies can require tax payments to be made in that currency. Therefore any overheating in the economy in the form of inflation resulting from too much money can be fixed by pulling some money back to the Treasury via tax increases. This is the ostensible reason MMTers are not quite ready to give up on taxes altogether.

Yet I’ve never heard an MMTer express support for even a one-year moratorium on taxes to stimulate a bad economy (after a shock such as a worldwide covid pandemic). Why is this? If inflation really is so low, with the economy struggling in post-covid recovery mode, why pull any money back into federal coffers? Just damn the torpedoes! The bigger the deficit, the more “private wealth” we all have! Perhaps there is a political element to all the MMT jargon, after all, one which relies on taxes both for control over people and to advance an advantageous but hollow trope about taxing the rich.

Federal income taxes have always been a tool for compliance. The IRS has always been a tool for presidents to go after rivals—or for rivals to go after presidents. Why would we expect otherwise?

The post THE REAL TAX SCANDAL first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Cops Attack, Severely Injure Innocent Elderly Woman—Laugh, Fist Bump to Celebrate Her Pain

This article was originally published by Matt Agorist at The Free Thought Project. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is incredibly disturbing. When some humans act as though they have the right to destroy others, we live in a horrific dystopian police state. If you are stuck in the left vs. right paradigm lie still, this article and the videos of police officers brutally abusing an elderly woman because they have a badge and believe they can, will probably offend you. No human has the right to treat another this way badge or not. Wake up. They don’t have more rights than we do and it’s time to recognize that fact. 

Special thanks to Matt Agorist and Brian from High Impact TV for showing us just how vile people become when they are given power and qualified immunity.

On June 26, 2020, Karen Garner, 73, walked from her home to the local Walmart two blocks away to get some supplies. Everything that happened after this trip to Walmart is now the subject of an excessive force lawsuit against the Loveland Police Department because they have no idea how to treat elderly women with dementia. For nearly a year, the cops who savagely attacked the elderly woman thought they got away with it. However, thanks to a lawsuit and the release of body camera and surveillance footage, that is all changing.

On Tuesday, the Loveland [Colorado] city manager announced that Officer Austin Hopp, Officer Daria Jalali, Sgt. Phil Metzler and Community service officer Tyler Blackett have all been suspended and placed on administrative leave.

As TFTP reported earlier this month, body camera video showed the officers attack Garner. However, after the media began picking up on her story, another video was released showing that officers knew about the injuries they caused, neglected to provide aid, and laughed and celebrated their brutality against an elderly woman with dementia.

As 9News reports, the officers’ initial report said Garner, who has dementia, was not injured. Her lawyer, Sarah Schielke, said the officers dislocated Garner’s shoulder, broke a bone in her arm, and sprained her wrist.

Schielke alleges the video shows the three arresting officers watching body camera video of Garner’s arrest, laughing and celebrating the excessive force, and fist-bumping the fact that one of the officers intimidated a citizen who stopped to make a complaint.

Only because the video was released and drew the appropriate criticism did the department react. Now, they have no other option and have since launched a criminal investigation.

“It’s a really important thing for everyone to know that this is now a criminal investigation,” Tom Hacker, a spokesperson for LPD, said. “It’s one that LPD asked for and the DA is taking it on Fort Collins Police, both working on this [investigation] and we hope that this investigation goes as expeditiously as possible and that we learn of the outcome very soon.”

What should have been a situation in which an officer offers an elderly woman a ride home turned into senior citizen abuse at the hands of Loveland’s finest.

As we reported, like those with dementia often do, Garner simply grabbed her items in Walmart that day and walked out. She was quickly confronted by store security who then guided her back into the store for accidentally failing to pay for $13.88 worth of items.

After being escorted back into the building, Garner realized her mistake and tried to pay for the items but the store called the police anyway. By the time police arrived, Garner had left the store and was walking home. She had left the items back at the store and no crime had been committed.

When police arrived, the interaction was captured on body camera footage.

Officer Austin Hopp said, “Alright let’s stop ma’am. I don’t think you want to play it this way. Ma’am, police. Stop,” as he exited his patrol car.

Clearly illustrating her dementia, when Garner tries to respond to the officer, she simply mumbles.

But officer Hopp couldn’t have cared less that this was an elderly woman suffering from dementia, who by this time, had committed no crime. He just knew he had to escalate force.

After just two minutes, this “hero” cop tackles the frail elderly woman with dementia to the ground and puts her in handcuffs.

According to the lawsuit, when a second cop, officer Daria Jalali arrived, she “put her own hands on Ms. Garner to hold her while Officer Hopp continued pushing painfully upward on Ms. Garner’s already-restrained left arm and while also violently touching her all over her body.”

Illustrating how confused and scared Garner was, the entire time, she kept telling the officers, “I’m going home.”

“It makes you very worried about vulnerable people in the community with a police force like that,” civil rights attorney Sarah Schielke, of The Life & Liberty Law Office, who is representing Garner said. “The behavior is indefensible they knew they were being recorded and yet they did it anyway, we have to ask, ‘why?’”

In the video, we can hear the cops talking about Garner bleeding and then plotting all the charges against her. Every single one of the contrived charges had to do with cops escalating force against an innocent woman with dementia.

The cops were so rough with Garner they left her bloody and with broken bones. Despite her clearly visible injuries, according to the lawsuit, police brought her to jail and then denied her care. Instead of tending to her injuries, police left her chained to a cell for hours.

“The officers handcuffed her to a cell at the station for over 2 hours, keeping her isolated and terrified, in extreme pain, and then deposited her at the Larimer County jail where they lied and said she was uninjured, which ensured she continued to not receive medical treatment for another 3 hours,” the law office wrote in a press release.

We now have a video of officers fist-bumping and laughing at the abuse they doled out to a senior citizen with dementia. And these are the folks the thin blue line crowd wants us to blindly worship. Never.

Time to wake up. These people are imposing the will of the ruling class masters on us and we need to start to use our own critical thinking to see through the brainwashing and blind worship of the state and its enforcers and do the moral thing.

The post Cops Attack, Severely Injure Innocent Elderly Woman—Laugh, Fist Bump to Celebrate Her Pain first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Owners of Missouri girls’ home charged with more than 100 felonies including child abuse, statutory rape

The owners of a now-defunct girls’ home in Missouri have been charged by the state’s attorney general with more than 100 felonies collectively — including sexual abuse and statutory rape — after 16 alleged victims came forward with purportedly corroborated claims.

What are the details?

Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) announced the charges against married couple Boyd and Stephanie Householder, who founded Circle of Hope Girls Ranch in 2006 as a Christian reform school for troubled teens.

NBC News reported:

Court records show Boyd Householder, 71, faces 79 felony counts and one misdemeanor, including charges for child molestation, sodomy, sexual contact with a student and neglect of a child. Stephanie Householder, 55, faces 22 felony charges for abuse or neglect of a child, and endangering the welfare of a child. The alleged incidents occurred from 2017 to 2020.

According to KRCG-TV, the allegations outlined in court documents accuse Boyd Householder of “repeated statutory sodomy,” “multiple incidents” where he had sexual intercourse with a victim under the age of 17, slamming victims’ heads into walls, beating girls with his hands or with a belt, and instructing several girls on the best way to kill themselves.

“There are no words I can say today to describe the mix of great sadness, horror, disgust and sympathy that I feel about these reports of cruel and almost unbelievable reports of abuse and neglect,” Schmitt said during a news conference.

He added, “We believe this to be one of the most widespread cases of sexual, physical and mental abuse we’ve had against young girls and women in Missouri’s history.”

Schmitt’s office took on the case in November, after the Cedar County Prosecutor’s Office asked for assistance.

Boyd and Stephanie Householder are being held at the Vernon County Jail.

Girls’ home had been reported at least 19 times

NBC News reported “since the boarding school opened, concerned parents, staff members and others had reported Circle of Hope at least 19 times to three sheriff’s departments, state child welfare and education officials, the highway patrol, and the state attorney general’s office.”

The outlet did not cite the dates of when the prior complaints were filed, but noted that “the wave of state action began after the Householders’ daughter, Amanda, and women who attended Circle of Hope as teenagers started to post videos on TikTok last spring alleging abuse at the ranch. The videos prompted the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office to investigate, the office confirmed.”

“This is a moment that does deserve to be celebrated,” Amanda said of her parents’ arrests in a TikTok video on Wednesday. “I am sad because they are my parents, but something my parents would always tell me is, ‘You made your bed, now you have to lie in it.’ Well, my parents made their bed and now they’re going to have to lie in it. As hard as that is for me, it’s about time.”

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New Exposé Shows UK’s COVID Response was Rife with Corruption and Cronyism

This article was originally published by Brad Polumbo at The Foundation For Economic Freedom. 

The United States government’s COVID-19 policy response has proven rife with waste, fraud, and abuse at every turn. From $10 million for gender programs in Pakistan being tied to a COVID relief bill to the expanded unemployment system’s runaway corruption by fraudsters, American pandemic governance in 2020 has seemed like a never-ending cycle of fiscal irresponsibility.

Yet a new exposé by the New York Times shows that the fraudulent and flawed nature of the US’s COVID response is not an outlier by any stretch.

According to the new investigative reporting, the United Kingdom’s COVID response was riddled with cronyism and corruption. The Times analyzed roughly 1,200 government contracts, worth $22 billion in sum, that were dolled out for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other pandemic-related purchases during the immediate aftermath of the outbreak. At least $11 billion—nearly half—went to suspicious contractors.

Roughly $5 billion went to companies with a clear connection to a politician. Nearly $6 billion went to companies with no prior experience in the goods they were contracted to produce, including jewelers, and fashion designers. And more than $5 billion was given to companies with controversial pasts including alleged tax evasion, allegations of human rights violations, and more.

The below graphic from the Times sums up this suspect spending well.

Image Credit: New York Times

Not all of this was necessarily fraudulent or corrupt—but a lot of it sure must be. And this just represents a small slice of the total waste. Many of the contracts that were doled out actually couldn’t be viewed by the Times because the UK government is eschewing normal transparency requirements.

The details get even worse.

House of Lords member Paul Deighton was put in charge of PPE and “helped the government award billions of dollars in contracts—including hundreds of millions to several companies where he has financial interests or personal connections,” the Times reports. The government also created a “VIP lane” that allowed companies recommended by government officials to get fast-tracked contracts that were 10 times more likely to be approved.

The Times notes that “there is no evidence to suggest that government officials were engaged in illegal conduct… but there is ample evidence of cronyism, waste and poor due diligence.” This corrupt government approach stands in stark contrast to how goods are distributed by the market.

In a free market, millions of customers make buying decisions based on their personal appraisal of costs and benefits. So, the overall market outcome is determined by widely dispersed decision-making. This makes it much harder for any one corporation or special interest group to rig a sweetheart deal.

Government officials, however, are not spending their own money, nor are they spending it on themselves. This means that their decisions regarding who gets what are less driven by economic factors and more driven by political factors. What’s more, large government contracts are often determined by a relatively small number of people relative to the free market.

Together, these conditions make corruption and favoritism, also known as cronyism, inevitable.

“Cronyism is the substitution of political influence for free markets,” Mercatus Center economist David R. Henderson explains. “It comes about when the government has a lot of power over private-sector decisions and when the government officials in power have great discretion over how to use it.”

“The more power the government has over the economy, the more allocation of resources will depend on political connections,” he concludes. “The way to eliminate cronyism is to have free markets and little government control.”

As we can see, the British government’s horrific misuse of taxpayer funds is not a one-off incident caused by particularly bad actors or some especially corrupt group of politicians. Rather, it’s just another example of the endemic favoritism and waste that inevitably corrupts all government spending.

The reality is that big government initiatives will always end up funneling money to the well-off and well-connected. And that’s a lesson worth remembering long after the COVID-19 pandemic fades.

The post New Exposé Shows UK’s COVID Response was Rife with Corruption and Cronyism first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Police Are Complicit in Politicians’ Disregard for the Rule of Law

This article was originally published by Ryan McMaken at The Mises Institute. 

People of a certain age might remember the old John Birch Society slogan “Support your local police!” The idea here is that your local policeman is a liberty-loving buddy of yours who would only ever support just laws and constitutional mandates. Only those bad guys in the FBI or BATF would ever consider violating your rights.

Now, obviously that has always been a rather naïve fantasy, but the notion certainly has a long history of support among American conservatives. The idea that unionized, well-paid government employees sympathize with the common man instead of with the government that signs the cops’ checks apparently has long made sense (for some reason) to conservatives and many others.

David Icke To LEOs & Military: “Look Your Children In The Eye” & Tell Them YOU Enforced Tyranny

But thanks to the ongoing “state of emergency” and the fact that state governors, mayors, and health officials now rule by decree, we’re witnessing more and more how local law enforcement officers have no particular interest in the rule of law, the Bill of Rights, or basic human rights of any sort. Police have been at the forefront of arresting business owners for the “crime” of using their own private property, using city parks, and engaging in other peaceful activities.

As Judge Napolitano has noted, these “stay-at-home orders”—and the penalties that accompany them—aren’t even real laws since they were never passed by a legislature or brought into being by any process other than on the authority of a single person who is usually a state governor or municipal official. By no definition of “rule of law” do these measures meet basic moral requirements for their imposition on peaceful citizens.

But the police are enthusiastically enforcing these edicts nonetheless and using them as an excuse to harass the taxpayers.

Here are just a few examples from around the United States.

Keep in mind that no one is required to go near these places or interact with anyone involved. Those who wish to isolate themselves from these businesses and their clientele may freely do so. Yet these are just a handful of the many cases of police harassment involving citations, arrests, and other forms of coercion and intimidation brought against people who are just trying to live their lives. Nor should we assume that this is “as bad as it gets.” Since there is no longer any due process or public legislative process subject to checks and balances, governors and mayors can unilaterally decide at any time to ramp up social distancing requirements and business closures. If the public appears uncooperative, public officials can simply order police to be making mass arrests. We have no reason to think the police would not comply with this order.

After all, police personnel, who do not have a particularly impressive record when it comes to stopping or investigating real crime, have plenty of resources to crack down on nonviolent “perpetrators.”

The cases of New York and Odessa are instructive. Odessa law enforcement officers apparently have the extra time and resources to assemble a SWAT team in response to protests, but does this mean there is no real crime that needs investigating in Odessa? Of course not. According to the FBI’s 2018 crime survey, Odessa had 1,049 violent crimes in 2018, including 118 rapes and 819 aggravated assaults. If late 2019 and early 2020 were at all similar, then we’re talking about hundreds of violent crimes that Odessa-area police officials are ignoring in order to harass people for entering a tavern.

Indeed, if Odessa law enforcement agencies are anything like countless police agencies in other areas, only about half of the violent crimes are “resolved” at all. That is,

only 45 percent of violent crime lead to arrest and prosecution. That is, less than half of violent crimes result in what is known as a “clearance” of the crime. Property crime clearances are much worse. Only 17 percent of burglaries, arsons, and car thefts are “cleared.”

Among violent crimes, homicides experience the highest clearance rate by far, at 61 percent. Aggravated assault comes in at 53 percent, and rape at 34 percent.

But these are just cases where arrests are made and prosecutions are initiated. A smaller number of cases actually lead to convictions. A crime may be cleared even when the suspect is later exonerated.

New York is not exempt from these trends, yet the New York mayor recently dispatched one thousand cops to break up Jewish funerals and ensure that people don’t have barbecues on warm spring days.

By the way, there were more than forty-six thousand violent crimes in New York in 2018. But don’t fear, the police have extra personnel to come and break up your small backyard gathering.

There’s nothing surprising here, however. Police have long shown a lack of enthusiasm for addressing real crime, knowing that business owners, small-time drug users, and loiterers won’t fight back, and thus make for much better targets.

This is why police are often found to run and hide from truly violent criminals while the victims must fend for themselves, as in the case of the Parkland shooting or the case of the stabbing of Joseph Lozito.

Police are always careful to use the legal defense that they are not obligated to actually protect anyone from anything. The courts agree with this defense, and it is now well established legally that although you have an obligation to pay the police to “protect and serve,” the police have no obligation to actually provide protection.

But police officers and their bosses have convinced themselves that the really important policing right now involves hauling dog groomers off to jail and collecting revenue from parkgoers who are only standing five feet from the next person. But if you have a problem with real crime? You’re likely out of luck.

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Kentucky parents of 7 investigated for abuse after breaking social distancing rules

A family of nine has found themselves under the thumb of child protective services in Kentucky, after what they say started as a social distancing warning from a bank teller developed into an investigation of possible abuse.

After the story was first reported anonymously, the mother involved has since come forward to explain more details to Glenn Beck.

What are the details?

Reason reported the parents’ story last week, protecting their identities and explaining that the alleged social distancing “offense” occurred shortly after the family moved to Kentucky from New York City.

The parents went to the bank in order to open a joint checking account in early March, and brought five of their seven children inside because the kids were too young to stay outside unattended.

According to the account detailed by the Home School Legal Defense Association, who represents the family:

The teller immediately interrogated [the parents] about why they had brought five kids into the bank at one time. She [the teller] told them they could not get within six feet of her and that they needed to take the children out. [The mother] explained that the children were too young to be unsupervised by an adult, and neither she nor [her husband] could take them elsewhere because the couple were opening a joint account, and both had to be present.

While [the father] stayed with the children away from the counter, [the mother] opened the account, feeling self-conscious as the staff whispered to each other and watched her family suspiciously. When [the father] walked to the counter to show his New York ID and to sign, the bank staff asked why [the parents’] identifications were from different states, which the couple explained.

After the couple left, they chatted on the drive home about how ridiculous the experience had been, only to arrive at their house to find a state trooper and a social worker from child protective services who explained that they were there to investigate an anonymous hotline call claiming, according to Reason, “that a mother of five had taken her children out with a man who wasn’t their dad, and they had bruises on their arms that indicated grabbing.”

The mother offered to present her children’s birth certificates to prove that her husband was, indeed, their father, pointed out that the kids were all wearing jackets so it would be impossible for an observer to see their upper arms, and objected to the male social worker searching under her daughters’ clothing. The investigator did make at least one of the boys take off his shirt, and pulled up the girls’ sleeves to take photos.

But, despite being presented with evidence that the father was related to the children and that there were no signs of abuse, the social worker was not satisfied. The mother, Mary Sabbatino, told Glenn Beck, “After all was said and done after the initial call…now he wants an investigation because why am I homeschooling and how can I give adequate attention to that many children.”

Anything else?

HSLDA cited the Sabbatinos’ case as an example of why the organization is pushing for reforms in Child Protective Services, such as ending anonymous reports and banning open-ended investigations.

Vice President of Litigation and Development James Mason wrote of the case that it “appears that whoever made the call knew how to juice up the details with just the right kind of false information to cause an overreaction by CPS.” He added, “I suspect the COVID-19 crisis could lead to more panicked false reports of this kind.”

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Small Idaho county steamrolled by commissioners who ignore public interest and ban video recording of meetings

Many Americans pay far more attention to issues pertaining to federal and state governments than they do issues pertaining to their local governing bodies, but it is often those bodies — the ones closest to home — that have the most profound impact on a citizen’s day-to-day life.

An example of this is playing out in Lincoln County, Idaho, where disgruntled residents have taken issue with county commissioners for allegedly steamrolling the will of the people.

What happened?

In a controversial move Monday, the county commissioners voted to ban video recording of their public meetings. The motion was passed when commissioners Rick Ellis and Roy Hubert voted in favor of the ban and Commission Chairwoman Rebecca Wood cast the only dissenting vote.

The commissioners’ decision to ban the video recordings also went over and against the advice of the county’s legal counsel.

County prosecutor Richard Roats advised the commissioners that banning video without sufficient reason could be considered “arbitrary and capricious” in a court of law.

According to the Twin Falls Times-News, multiple residents in attendance at the meeting spoke out against the ban, and one constituent renewed a call for Ellis and Hubert to resign. A petition to recall the two commissioners has reportedly been circulating for weeks since the two pushed for a bond to build a new courthouse instead of preserving the county’s historic courthouse.

“This is not about one commissioner or another commissioner or even about one issue,” [County Clerk Brenda] Farnworth said before asking the commissioners not to ban video recordings at the meetings. “It’s a bigger issue. It’s about being open and transparent with the public.”

“Why are we debating transparency in government?” she asked.

Resident Jann Thomsen agreed: “Why would you not want transparency in government?” Thomsen asked.

Government “is for the people, by the people,” county resident Steven King told the commissioners. “We are the people. … We need transparency in government…”

Reportedly, just one resident expressed support for the measure.

What’s the background?

The clash over whether to record the meetings or not was sparked one week earlier when County Clerk Brenda Farnworth set up a cellphone to record the County Commission meeting and livestream it onto Facebook. In the video, Ellis can be seen demanding that the video be shut off. When chairwoman Wood refused to have the recording stopped, Ellis walked out.

Ellis and Hubert’s decision to ban video of the meetings is made worse by the fact that the two commissioners are currently under threat of removal. According to a February report from the Times-News, petitioners have been gathering signatures to force a recall vote on the pair suggesting they sabotaged an effort to preserve the county’s historic courthouse.

The two reasons listed in the petition are “willful disregard for the wishes and desires of the public which the Commissioner represents” and “deliberately ignoring the results of two public surveys and the recommendation of an advisory committee regarding the renovation of our Historic Courthouse and becoming ADA compliant.”

Surveys taken before the vote reportedly showed that more than two-thirds of respondents desired to see the courthouse preserved.

Furthermore, in a controversial budget approval in 2017 — before Ellis and Hubert were elected but while Wood sat on the commission — commissioners voted to make the job full-time and give themselves a nearly 66% pay raise from about $19,000 a year to just over $31,000 a year.

Even then, residents were beginning to distrust their governing body and wanted more transparency.

“They’ve added extra days a week, and they say they’re on all of these boards,” one former commissioner said ahead of the budget vote. “Well that’s true, but we’ve always been on extra boards.”

“Elected officials know ahead of time what the compensation is and what the job description entails,” another resident said. “When they put their name on the ballot, that’s a contract.”

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Model who married much-older Hollywood actor as a child speaks out after their divorce: ‘Please don’t ever do this to another minor’

Entertainer Courtney Stodden, 25, says that her ex-husband Doug Hutchison — a 59-year-old actor who married Stodden when she was just 16 — took advantage of her during their marriage.

What are the details?

In a Tuesday Instagram post, Stodden announced that she and Hutchison are officially divorced following a nearly three-year separation.

In the post, Stodden wrote, “It’s March 3rd, 2020 — today I am officially divorced from actor Doug Hutchison. It’s an emotional day for me. God only knows how he’s feeling, but I can tell you that it’s for the better. I look back at this picture and feel absolutely taken advantage of.”

“I’ve been scared to even speak up about feeling groomed or being verbally abused during the almost 10 year marriage because I was a child and he was 50 when we married but I’m a woman now and it’s time for me to put my big girl pants on and speak on this matter,” she continued. “I’ve felt completely trapped, manipulated and at times abandoned by adults … growing up in such an environment — it became a lonely and dark place.”

Stodden revealed that she has a forthcoming book in which she will apparently address more of the trials behind marriage.

“[T]o Doug … I’ll always love you; yet I’ll always be angry,” she admitted. “You’ve left me — a child woman, feeling belittled and confused. These things I shall overcome. I wish you well. But please don’t ever do this to another minor again. It’s not right … even if the parent signs off. Wait a respectable amount of time before marrying. Children aren’t on your level. I’ll always love you regardless. Be better. As shall I.”

Stodden and Hutchison married in 2011 when Stodden was just 16 and he was 51. The two legally separated in 2017.

What else?

According to Fox News, Hutchison’s memoir — “Flushing Hollywood: Fake News, Fake Boobs” — is set for a March 10 release.

Hutchison previously told the outlet that he “shot [his] career in the head for love.”

“And in doing so, I lost my family and friends,” he added. “I was suddenly on the Titanic and everyone was fleeing except for me and Courtney. Now, I have nothing to lose but to tell the truth.”

Hutchison said he hopes that the book “isn’t interpreted as mean-spirited, angry, or bitter.”

“For a long time, I acted out of fear and lies for that same reason — I was afraid to burn bridges. Now, what am I afraid of? There is absolutely nothing to lose by telling the truth,” he said.

TheBlaze spoke to Stodden on Wednesday, who branded Hutchison a “sociopath.”

“He never ran fact-checks by anyone,” the model and artist said of Hutchison’s forthcoming book. “He’s a sociopath. My book will be out soon.”

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