Archive for the ‘N.R.A.’ Category

NRA Rewards Loyal Tennessee Legislators

Friday, July 8th, 2016

1353206437-lgThe National Rifle Association’s [NRA] Political Victory Fund has endorsed 18 incumbent Tennessee House Republicans in their re-election campaigns for their loyal servitude to the NRA.

They are Reps. John Holsclaw of Elizabethton in District 4, Gary Hicks of Rogersville in District 9, Jeremy Faison of Cosby in District 11,

Martin Daniel of Knoxville in District 18, Mike Carter in District 29, Ron Travis in District 31,

Jerry Sexton of Bean Station in District 35, Kelly Keisling of Byrdstown in District 38, Courtney Rogers in District 45,

Judd Matheny of Tullahoma in District 47, Mike Sparks of Smyrna in District 49, Charles Sargent of Franklin in District 61,

Jimmy Eldridge of Jackson in District 73, Jay Reedy of Erin in District 74, Tim Wirgau of Buchanan in District 75,

Curtis Halford of Dyer in District 79, Curry Todd of Collierville in District 95, and Steve McManus of Cordova in District 96.

During the 2016 Legislative Session, the Tennessee Legislature passed multiple pro-gun bills that promote gun sales and rights in Tennessee.

House Bill 1736 and Senate Bill 2376, sponsored by state Representative Andy Holt and state Senator Mike Bell, will permit full-time employees of state public colleges or universities to carry a handgun while on property owned, operated, or used by the employing college or university if the employee has a valid Tennessee handgun carry permit.

Senate Bill 1991 and House Bill 2131, sponsored by state Senator Brian Kelsey and state Representative Courtney Rogers respectively, prohibit public post-secondary institutions from taking any adverse action against an employee or student as a result of such person’s lawful transportation and storage of a firearm or ammunition in the person’s parked motor vehicle.

Senate Bill 1559 and House Bill 1644, sponsored by state Senator Mike Bell and state Representative Tilman Goins respectively, allow the chief administrative officer of a private K-12 school or private institution of higher education to implement a handgun carry policy that either permits or prohibits a person who has a handgun carry permit from carrying on the grounds or buildings of a private K-12 school or private university.

House Bill 2575 and Senate Bill 2566, sponsored by state Representative Gerald McCormick and state Senator Mark Norris respectively, reduce the cost of handgun carry permits from $115 to $100 as well as extend the permit renewal to eight years.

One can only wonder how much money the members of the Tennessee Legislation were paid for their loyalty to the NRA as society watches the death toll rise in regards to gun violence.

The Battle Over Insure Tennessee

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

The battle over Insure Tennessee wages on and a series of interesting revelations have been uncovered since Governor Haslam unveiled his Insure Tennessee Plan.

In February, records were provided that showed Republicans voting against Haslam’s Insure Tennessee were themselves on the state health plan, which funds 80 percent of employee premiums. These Senators were Health Committee Chairman Rusty, Mike Bell, Sen. Brian Kelsey, Sen. Frank Niceley, and Sen. Kerry Roberts.

In April, the Tennessean continued its investigation of Insure Tennessee and laid out the financial losses to Tennessee because of Republican political games.

If the Tennessee General Assembly had passed the Insure Tennessee plan to extend insurance coverage to the working poor, about $3.1 million would have been spent daily in Tennessee doctor’s offices, pharmacies and hospitals.

Instead, today, thousands of sick Tennesseans do without care or visit emergency rooms at the expense to Tennessee taxpayers. To date, an estimated 800 Tennesseans have died awaiting Health Care Coverage since Tennessee was eligible for ObamaCare coverage.

The Insure Tennessee plan proposed by Haslam, and rejected by a fearful legislature with virtually no debate, would have been one of the best economic stimulus programs for small towns and rural communities in this state.

A University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research study released in January “estimated that the average person who enrolled in Insure Tennessee would “spend” about $5,700 each year on health care and that 200,000 Tennesseans would enroll in the various plans proposed by the governor to help the working poor who make too much for Medicaid insurance and not enough to qualify for the subsidies offered on the federal health insurance exchange”.

The study also projected that expanded insurance coverage would bring about $1.14 billion of spending into the state from the federal funds earmarked for Medicaid expansion when Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

The spending generated from Insure Tennessee would create an economic boom, creating or maintaining about 15,000 jobs, mostly in our rural counties, where the bulk of those eligible live. The $1.14 billion would mostly flow into the paychecks of Tennesseans, adding over $900 million to their income.

Most of that $900 million would be spent in local businesses. And so on … get the picture. Obviously, Republican hatred of President Obama trumped any chances of economic boom for Tennessee. Their fear of being primaried by fellow wing-nuts also trumped economic benefit to Tennessee.

The opposite of an economic boom is what our legislator’s want, a vicious cycle of delaying health care until it becomes a crisis, or an act of charity, and/or paid for by the rest of us. The decision of our legislature has created a living on the edge mentality where financial disaster and ruin, for many, is a simple accident away from destroying a Tennessee family.

It is hard to recall a time when the General Assembly has so ignored the wishes of a business and Tennesseans. A recent Vanderbilt poll showed two out three Tennesseans want/support Insure Tennessee.

Early this month the Tennessee Legislature got excited when the Tennessean exposed the fact that many of the same folks who voted to deny poor Tennesseans health care coverage, are covered by health care, on the backs of Tennessee taxpayers.

Taxpayers have paid almost 6 million for health care for these hypocrites since 2008. Several lawmakers tried to stop the release of how much money the state spends on their individual health premiums. They argued the release of the information would violate privacy laws.
While Republicans have fought to keep expenditures on their health care private, Democrats have been supportive of the release.

“It is the ultimate in hypocrisy,” said state Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus who is enrolled in the health plan. “To refuse to provide for the working poor of Tennessee, while trying to keep the insurance benefits they receive a secret illustrates their [Republicans] contempt for Tennesseans.”

PREMIUM COSTS

Lawmaker – Years on Plan – Lawmakers Contribution – Taxpayer Contribution
Sen. Rusty Crowe – 1992-2015 – $48,162.32 – $202,730.79
Rep. Beth Harwell – 1992-2015 – $49,242.94 – $198,134.99
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey – 1993-2015 – $44,924.74 – $187,796.77

NOTE: Records only go back to 1992. They may have received coverage for a longer period.

As revelations related to Insure Tennessee have been unveiled, activists across the state have taken action to pressure legislatures to support Insure Tennessee. In NETN, activists have purchased ½ page ads in various area newspapers designed to put pressure on Rusty Crowe and Ron Ramsey. This same group of activists engineered a town hall meeting that focused on Medicaid expansion and Insure Tennessee. Over two hundred folks packed Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church in Johnson City in the Town Hall meeting.

The meeting was filled with questions mostly aimed at Rusty Crowe. Why would the legislature vote against a plan that would not cost Tennessee taxpayers a single penny while providing 300,000 Tennesseans with health care? Why don’t working people in Tennessee have health care? Those in attendance hammered Rusty Crowe with those and other questions. Petitions were being signed after the meeting was over.

Tennesseans would prefer their elected representatives act like leaders and support the will of the majority and the best interest for Tennessee. And maybe stand up for what is right; instead of trying to protect their chances in a primary election challenge by a wing-nut. When it comes to the Tennessean legislature doing their job, they prefer to do nothing and blame it on Obama, unless it is one of the wealthy friends or lobbyists who demands special consideration. They will waste a whole week with legislation designed to pander to folks like the NRA.

TNGOP Attack on the Middle Class Continues

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

150px-Business_moneyNashville – Yesterday the Republican Legislature continued its attacks on the middle class, voting to dramatically undermine salaried workers on all fronts. After opening the legislative session with a week of laws crafted for the NRA, Republicans have turned their attention to helping their other rich friends.

In a barrage of laws designed to gut middle class family earnings, the TNGOP continue to show their loyalty to their masters [lobbyists and wealthy donors] with legislation crafted to protect the wealthy. Among the laws addressed, three laws were especially ruthless toward working Tennessee families.

First, Republicans voted to eliminate longevity pay designed to reward state workers for years of public service. Second, they voted to gut health insurance benefits for state and local employees. Third, in their continued attacks against public education and teachers, Republicans voted to let charter schools throw their employees off the insurance provided by local school boards and force them to get insurance elsewhere.

Under the anti-public education bill, outside charter organizations, after taking over public schools, will now be in a position to cut costs by simply taking benefits out of their teachers’ pockets.

Individually, these bills are bad for Tennessee workers and their families. Taken together, they are the latest chapter in Republican efforts to undermine the middle class and continue the move toward a society of rich and the poor masses. Is this the Tennessee most people want their children to grow up in?

The only resistance to the Republican super-majority managed to pass these bills is minority status Democrats who overwhelmingly opposed the legislation. Democrats amended the longevity pay bill to delay cuts for a minimum of five years, but the amendment was voted down. They also urged delay of the massive insurance cuts, given their significant impact on retirees and current employees, but Republicans pushed forward despite his objections.

The Most Important Legislation in Tennessee?

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

1353206437-lgNashville – Guns! Guns! Guns! — Guns continue to dominate the agenda of the Tennessee Legislation. 27 gun bills top of the legislation agenda. How can so many gun bills be warranted? The TNGOP continues to pander to the NRA lobby who owns them! So many important issues remain unanswered in regards to guns – permit fees, where you can carry them, what kinds you can own, etc. — will dominate discussion at the General Assembly this week. There does not seem to be much room for other real issues that affect hard working Tennesseans. But there are few measures that could get some attention if they come up in committee.

Once again, it’s gun week at the General Assembly. The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to take up 27 bills related to handgun permits, exploding ammunition and a vast array of Tennessee gun laws. The House Civil Justice Subcommittee is set to debate 22 gun bills. Most of the bills ease restrictions on where and when people can have guns.

Several proposals, most related dismantling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” are set for discussion this week. One bill calls on the attorney general to sue the federal government on behalf of those people who face possible fines through the Affordable Care Act for not having insurance. The same committee will hear the bill that would prevent the state from setting up a health exchange under the law.

One bill, from Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, calls for cameras to be worn by police. The bill could face some hurdles — there are no GOP sponsors.

Someone texting while driving faces a maximum fine of $50. Someone caught driving without a seat belt faces a $10 ticket for the first offense and a $20 ticket for each additional offense. The fines for both offenses will jump to $250 if a new bill becomes law.

One bill will ban the use of such cameras used to give traffic tickets.

There are no bills scheduled to discuss job creation, improve education, increase the minimum wage or address the important issues facing hard working Tennessee families. But who needs a job when you can have a gun?

The Summer of Ignorance

Friday, May 31st, 2013

In wing-nut land, it is starting to look like a summer of ignorance as the witch hunt to get President Obama heats up. Sound familiar? Remember 1998? The same insanity drove the Republicans to get Bill Clinton. It was the first time that the administration in power won seats in the mid-term election. Recently, even Newt Gingrich, the lead wing-nut of the 90’s warned Republicans of over reach in their blood lust for Obama. The extremists with pitch forks are amassing to take arms against the evil Obama.

Currently, the arms of choice – ricin laced letters – are being sent to the enemies of the neo-cons. One must wonder how far these idiots will go to fulfill their illusions of hatred for President Obama and anyone who disagrees with them. Ricin is the poison of choice of wing-nuts because it is a reasonably accessible agent for people who aren’t very sophisticated. Any disturbed individual can manufacture very poor-quality ricin in their home.

It is curious to note that the NRA has targeted President Obama and Major Bloomberg as enemies of freedom and threats to the constitution because they threaten gun sales. It appears that some NRA supporters have taken these words to heart.

NRA driven paranoia seems to be sending some NRA supporters over the edge. In the flurry of recent ricin letters, one interesting fact seems to serve as a link between the letters. Misspelled words, poor grammar and the blood lust for guns are the main characteristics that dominates the letters. Another link appears to be the region from where the letters are generated – the south.

The violent rhetoric of these extremists pose a serious threat to our democracy. In the past, Americans would talk over differences to forge solutions to disagreements. This is no longer the case with conservative extremists; as hatred drives the issues and beliefs of the Obama haters. Smoke screen issues like gun control, abortion and racial hatred stimulate and lubricate the right ring rhetoric machine.

It is interesting to watch the “do nothing” congress salivate over Benghazi, wiretapping of the press to stop national security leaks and IRS political profiling of the teabaggers. Eight months ago congress investigated Benghazi and found nothing, yet, now, they bring the issue back up, in the search of the Holy Grail to get the evil Obama. The wiretapping of the press is another dead issue being used to get Obama. Is anyone really surprised that a FOX commentator would collaborate with folks who have no problem with jeopardizing national security? And it is absolutely hilarious to watch the party who created and defends profiling – scream over teabaggers being profiled.

It is even more laughable to realize that the call for an independent counsel will undoubtedly expose those teabaggers who are illegally seeking 501(c) (4) tax exemption. The purpose of these exemptions is for non-political organizations. Teabaggers across the nation have been caught seeking this illegal tax subsidy provided by 501(c) (4) status while they are obviously political – providing funding and open support for right wing candidates. They are in reality seeking to use a cloak of secrecy to violate the law.

Progressives can only smile while they think – bring on the Independent Counsel.

VOTE of SHAME: SENATE BOWS to NRA

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Washington — In a 54-46 vote, in favor of tougher gun laws, a minority of the Senate defeated a compromise to expand background checks on firearms sales.

The following Democrats broke with their party and voted against the amendment: Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. The majority of Republicans voted against the amendment.

The package of gun laws was pushed by President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre in December.

Fierce opposition and lies by the powerful National Rifle Association led a backlash by conservative Republicans from gun “ignorant” states doomed the key proposals in the gun package.

After the votes, Obama angrily criticized the NRA and senators who voted against the expanded background checks for rejecting a compromise he said was supported by a strong majority of Americans.

“Instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” Obama told White House reporters.

Noting polls that showed 90% support for such a measure, Obama called it a “pretty shameful day for Washington” and wondered of Congress: “Who are we here to represent?” It was obvious that 46 Senators serve the NRA!

Rubio shamefully tried to deflect from the disgraceful vote by saying, “We have a violence problem”. No… we have a gun problem and the vote today showed who is beholden to the NRC and not the American people.

The Manchin-Toomey plan would have expanded background checks to include private sales at gun shows and all Internet sales, while continuing to exempt most sales between family members and friends.

Due to procedural steps agreed to by both sides, all the amendments considered Wednesday required 60 votes to pass in the 100-member chamber, meaning Democrats and their independent allies who hold 55 seats needed support from some GOP senators to push through the Manchin-Toomey proposal.

However, the NRA promised political retribution against supporters of tougher gun laws, and it called the expanded background checks a first step toward a national gun registry and government confiscation of firearms which is an obvious lie.

Will those who voted against the bill have to answer to voters during their next election?

Wing Nut Legislation from Nashville

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

One can only be amazed at the break neck speed with which the wing nut legislation is moving through Nashville. There is no longer need for debate or logic, ignorance based bills are passed in record time, most recently, one bill passed in six minutes, there is no longer need for intelligent discussion.

After two years of working hard for lobbyists, the Tennessee legislator has moved Tennessee into the national lime light of ignorance. The race to the bottom by the backwoods boys of the Tennessee legislator has paid off; Tennessee has become the blunt of jokes on a weekly basis on late night sitcoms. The wealth of ignorance by the legislation has produced a wind fall of material for late night comedians and national news networks.

Legislators like Marsh Blackburn have become regulars on news stations, as she insists the good people of Tennessee love the Sequester, the Sequester what will eventually give Tennesseans 40,000 lay off slips.

After four years of struggle, while unemployment moves upward across the state, the Tennessee House of Representatives capped off four years of foolishness with their signature bill that would let handgun owners with permits carry their weapons in their cars anywhere they go, putting an apparent end to a four-year fight between business owners and gun rights advocates.

Other bills like “don’t say gay” have gained even more national recognition and laughter. The more Tennessee is associated with bigotry, intolerance and ignorance, the more we are dragged down, economically and socially. What employer wants to relocate to a state that guts education and condemns science and technology?

Sadly, the current work of the legislature is focused on gutting workers compensation. Basis protection to workers who become injured at work will likely be dismantled when this legislation is rushed through without discussion or regret.

Other legislation moves toward gutting public education in the state. TNGOP touted K12 “virtual schools”, the savior of education, even as administrators of these schools were instructing teachers to delete and hide the falling grades of the students involved in this “voodoo” education option.

If you don’t like the K12 option, you can always go with the school voucher scam. Lobbyists are lining up to get their hands on tax payer education dollars in Tennessee. They want to pilfer, plunder, and profit from the privatization of public schools and the pickpocketing of public funds.

On another note, in the coming weeks, Gov. Bill Haslam and the state legislature will be making a decision on whether to fully implement the Affordable Care Act by expanding TennCare, our Medicaid program. It’s a decision that will have long-term effects on health care for working families and a huge impact on our state economy.

The legislation from Nashville affects every aspect of your life, from your education to your job, from your standard of living to your wellbeing as a senior citizen. If you don’t pay attention to laws that affect you, you will find yourselves with no “safety net” protection.

Firearm Industry Profits Fuel N.R.A. Agenda

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Recently, the National Rifle Association (NRA) held a series of statements in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn. While Americans watched in shock as twenty children and six adults were laid to rest, the N.R.A. was manovering to spin its defense of gun makers. Like most people in the south, I own a guy but I find the rampage of violence and the actions of the N.R.A. mutually offensive.

The N.R.A. likes to make the [false] case that it is a grass roots organization designed to represent gun owners rights but in reality it continues to prove it’s sole function is to protect the profits of gun makers. It has become increasingly apparent that the National Rifle Association is totally incapable and uninterested in offering any substantial reforms to protect society from rampant gun violence.

The N.R.A. continues to aggressively lobby federal and state governments to dilute and/or eliminate sensible regulations on gun ownership designed to protect Americans from growing gun violence. The only one to profit from this irresponsible blessing of violence has been the gun industry who have made $12 billion in profit this year. Despite the recession, gun sales are booming, demand outgrowing supply, resulting in an increase of gun imports into America.

The gun industry is the big supporter of the N.R.A. contributing between $14 million and 39 million to the NRA since 2005, according to the Violence Policy Center. Americans lust for violence also continues to boom. In the face of growing violence, the N.R.A. continues to claim they only defend the Second Amendment while it becomes increasingly clear this is an untrue claim. A growing number of surveys show a majority of American gun owners support sensible restrictions designed to protect the public.

A 2009 poll conducted by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that 69 percent of N.R.A. members would support background checks of prospective buyers yet the N.R.A. continues to fight all sensible legislation to protect Americans. What explains this refusal to support common sense legislation that its members support? The answer is simple – The N.R.A. only has one mission – protect gun sales for the gun industry!

Special Interest oftens veils it vile agenda in the guise of constitutional rights and the N.R.A. has proven it is the master of such deception. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the right to bear arms is not absolute, it is subject to regulations and controls. Many extremists attempt to distort the Second Amendment, which was designed to protect a young nation from aggression, as a unfactual right to amass a personal arsenal.

How long will the American public allow the groundless N.R.A. argument that tough sensible gun regulations violates the Second Amendment at the risk of the threat to public safety? How high will the body count grow before sensible gun legislation is adopted by society? If left to the N.R.A., gun sale profits will always outweigh the need to protect the American people against gun violence!