Archive for January, 2012


Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Tennesseans have reason to be concerned by recent statements by state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey about open government, loss of freedoms and the state’s open meetings law.

Ramsey said in an interview with The Associated Press in December that he thinks elected officials should have more freedom to have some discussions “in secret” outside of official public meetings.

Ramsey said he is in favor of open government and added, “But there’s got to be some kind of little something to allow people to talk without the fear that they’re going to be prosecuted.”

This last statement is void of logic and is a backwoods scare tactic to generate excuses to weaken Tennessee’s Sunshine law. Ramsey and his cronies want secret meetings void of any ethical oversight. One must ask why Tennessee Republicans want secret meetings. What is it they have to hide?

Ramsey’s comments come in the shadows of recent discussion by the Tennessee County Commissioners Association that would allow elected officials to meet privately and hold secret meetings void of any disclosure to the public about the public’s business.

It is expected that Republicans will submit a proposal in the form of a bill for consideration by the state legislature this year. Ramsey plans promise 2012 will get even darker for Tennesseans.

It is obvious that Ramsey’s comments, and the proposal itself, represent a danger to open government, ethics, accountability and the public trust.

The fear of prosecution that Ramsey brings up is not based in fact. It is simply based on lies.

Tennessee’s open meetings law applies specifically to meetings during which public officials deliberate about the people’s business. The Sunshine law was created in 1974, by the Democratic Legislature, to insure officials are, conducting the people’s business, making decisions on how to spend our taxpayer money and directing policy that will govern publicly funding employees and agencies in an open ethical manner.

Governor Bill Haslam said that he opposes the proposed change to the Sunshine law. Without this law, small groups of elected officials can meet privately “in secret” to debate an issue(s), with no regard to public interest and open honest government.

Commissioners in several counties have approved resolutions backing the changes. Similar resolutions have failed in other counties including Unicoi County.

On two recent occasions, Tennessee has been in the national spotlight on MSNBC. Sadly, under the actions of Ron Ramsey, Bill Haslam and the Republican Legislature, Tennessee is now the number 1 state in loss of freedoms in the United States.

The Tennessee GOP has attacked Teachers right to collective bargaining; enacted voter suppression laws that discriminate against senior citizens, college students, minorities and the handicapped, cut out early voting; restricted legal remedy for injury in the work place or because of unsafe products; capped damages for injury or death because of unsafe products, and they are currently gerrymandering voting districts by redistricting that will discriminate against minorities.

The Tennessee Republicans overreach and attack on Tennesseans brings a whole new meaning to living in a “red” state.

Left Behind

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Today, more than ever before, more and more Americans wonder if they have or will be left behind. They wonder about the American Dream and ask, “Is the American Dream still attainable?” Is the American Dream dead? Will I or my children and grandchildren be left behind? This sentiment has never been felt by so many Americans. There within lies the problem for Mitt (Willard) Romney, self proclaimed front runner of the GOP, in his run for the presidency.

Mitt Romney is the poster boy for the 1%. His political, and especially, economic beliefs, reflect this perception. There lays, not only the problem for Mitt Romney, but also for the Republican Party and its lust for power and control. This fear and/or worry are the nucleus “engine” of the Occupy Wall Street Protest. Recent polls show 75% of Americans share the sentiment of a deep betrayal and/or the excesses of the top 1%.

The economic collapse which occurred at the end of the Bush Presidency magnified the growing disparity between the top 1% and the 99%. The Bush response to the collapsing economy gave credence to the fears of the majority (99%) of Americans who felt they were left out.

People now remember the government backing the failing banks, pumping massive infusions of tax payer money into them, through no strings loans. The attempts to save the banks, those who were guilty, those who already had made a killing off the economic rape and plunder of the economy, and were responsible for the economic collapse, which caused so much suffering for the 99%, is perceived an outrage and injustice. No relieve was offered to those suffering from the folly of the greed.

Mitt Romney said, President Obama was wrong to loan money to the big three auto makers, and save over a million jobs for middle class people. Obama was right, the loan saved the auto industry, and the money was quickly repaid to the government and over a million jobs was saved. Mitt Romney also said, we are making a mistake, trying to save peoples homes from foreclosure, let the market correct things, let millions of Americans become homeless.

It is this cold indifference shared by Romney and the Republican Party that presents a problem for both. They are simply on the wrong side of an unpopular issue. Protecting their rich fiends may fill their political coffers but it does little to arouse public sympathy or support.

Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are the warriors for the 1%. The policies of the GOP and rhetoric of Mitt Romney goes directly against the welfare of the American people and the working middle class. The GOP lust for power reminds one of an old Rush lyric. “The world is full of kings and queens who blind your eyes and steal your dreams.” What remains to be seen; Will Americans be fooled again?