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Commie Core repeal and replace – more GOP smoke and mirrors

by Eric Holcombe

http://rockytoppolitics.com/2015/04/28/part-three-barbarians-at-the-gate/
wolf_in_sheeps_clothing12This is the only realistic positive spin on the rebranded TN Commie Core that I have seen. Unfortunately, it also is one of the first pieces from RTP that makes them look like controlled opposition. Lipsticking the pig is not a victory no matter how you slice it. Republicans getting more say in the crooked “Tennessee Standards” review committee that shouldn’t even exist isn’t much of a win. Kind of like how we can no longer elect the judicial branch because they are better at picking them than us. Because they took the federal Race To The Top bribe and then Haslam took the NCLB waiver (which requires adherence to Commie Core), we are still shackled to following the fed direction on standards copywritten by two Washington DC corporations and Pearson “aligned” testing (and therefore “aligned” curriculum). They will not do anything to jeopardize the flow of their federal sugar daddy dollars.

There were real, actual, stick-a-fork-in-the-pig bills available for “conservative Republicans” to pass this session regarding Commie Core  – and they wimped out. Lots of conflicts with those bills, like Achieve Inc. board member Haslam couldn’t be a member of Achieve Inc. and (continue to) get paid by Bill Gates. Education Commissioner and illegal, no-bid-contract PARCC liaison, Candice McQueen would have to sever that relationship. The Commie Core whores at TNSCORE would be out of business, etc. Any future actions by state level actors of this sort would be prohibited. That means B. Fielding Rolston and the state board signing promissory notes to implement Commie Core before they can even read it (again).

I still am not convinced the state legislators who really understand the state’s rights issue here is much more than a handful. Anybody that has the mindset they will just do a better job of handpicking the oligarchs than Haslam doesn’t get the fundamentals of self-governance and liberty, or true diversity of thought across the state’s communities. They still believe we all are to be whitewashed widgets, they just want to choose the bucket of whitewash. The state has already shown it cannot be trusted. Rather than going to prison for accepting federal bribes in exchange for testing & curriculum contracts, personal data sales to foreign companies and standards adoption, they are put in charge of making the new standards. What could possibly go wrong?

But it isn’t just education, though that is a major financial chunk of business – about 45% of all state spending last I checked. You could look at the failure to repeal the Hall Income Tax (again) – even with the Republican “super” majority.

Or the failure to reinstate true 2nd Amendment rights according to the US Constitution (which appears to apply some of the time when they want it to: for overriding state laws). What did the “super” majority do with Constitutional Carry?

Or maybe “school choice” vouchers? Another failure. I only see Teach For America still in business under the Commie Core formed ISD – and the other public school choice parents had, Tennessee Virtual Academy, being closed. However Shelby and Davidson counties remain open at more than twice the cost with the same poor academics.

In case you have forgotten, this was all stuff that was promised when Republicans were in the minority. And just like Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, they haven’t delivered a bit of it. Like Newt, I suspect they would use the excuse he did: “we only said we’d bring it to a vote – not that we would actually vote for it”.

They are still clinging to the same political club that just made Pigeon Forge liquor referendum king Ryan Haynes (not a Representative of Sevier County) their chairman. This is like some kind of battered wife syndrome. If there really are 50+ “conservatives” in TN legislature why are you still with this club?

You don’t need them.

Mayor Ed Mitchell flexing his muscles by vetoing EPA Stormwater Repeal Resolution

flexingmuscles

See page 522 for the resolution that Ed Mitchell vetoed.

Statement on Mayor’s veto of Resolution No. 15-04-007, “A Resolution Asking Federal Legislators To Stop The Expansion of EPA Regulations over water and to Repeal Stormwater Regulations.”

Unfortunately Mayor Ed Mitchell has taken the Washington DC approach to government, deciding that decisions should be made behind closed doors for the benefit of a few at the expense of all. We just learned that the Sheriff stands to gain from the sale of property that will have a road run through it. Who benefits from the Mayor’s veto? It’s certainly not the taxpaying property owners of Blount County who have repeatedly voiced legitimate property rights concerns for many years about EPA mandated regulations.

This resolution expressed what the citizens have expressed to the Commission for years. Apparently their grievances have fallen upon deaf ears with Mayor Mitchell. He should be focusing on how to solve the $16 million budget deficit instead of silencing the concerns of the people through their elected representatives.”
Tona Monroe
Blount County Commissioner – District 7 Seat B

It’s a ‘fine’ day and night in Blount County and throughout Tennessee

Well the Tennessee General Assembly just voted to raise the seatbelt fine from $10 to $25.  This is a great way for Republicans to enrich public treasuries without ‘raising taxes’.  It’s no surprise that Blount County’s 3 nanny $tati$t $upported the tax… err fine.  Good Ole’ Big Government Bob Ramsey, Art Swann and Doug Overbey.

Here in Blount County the Commi$$ion just took an unconstitutional grant for nighttime $eatbelt demo.  Buckle up, or you will find out what a ‘fine’ place Blount County is to live, especially since the federal government and the Tenne$$ee General A$$embly made $ure that you’ll be adding more to the public trea$ury if you don’t.

Most federal grants are unconstitutional

Tonight the Blount County Commission is being asked to vote on six federal grants, one for equipment for a school and five traffic grants.  All six grants are unconstitutional; therefore, I will be voting no on all six even though the equipment is for a school in my district.

The first thing that I did when taking office was raise my right hand and affirm that I would obey the federal and state constitutions.  Thus even though we might need equipment for schools, I am constrained by my oath of office and must vote no.  I would support a constitutionally authorized source of funding for food equipment for schools but not a funding source that violates my oath of office and the supreme law of the land.

Conservatives like to talk about the federal government having no role in education and some will even campaign on abolishing the federal Department of Education but that quickly becomes empty campaign rhetoric after the election.  Having read the constitution many times, finding nothing in it to authorize these grants and having made a solemn affirmation to uphold the constitution, I will be voting no.

Additionally, there has been some talk about the DUI road blocks being unconstitutional.  They are but that misses the greater point for the county funding body.  The funding for all 5 five traffic grants is unconstitutional.  There is no authority in the federal constitution for the feds to tax us (gas tax) and use the money to fund a police state.  Thus, voting no on one or two and voting yes on the rest is inconsistent with the supreme law of the land, the constitution.

In case anyone has any doubt, I will leave you with a letter that President James Madison wrote when he vetoed a public works bill (think roads and water ways, what we are dealing with tonight).  He said he was constrained by the constitution to veto the legislation because there is no authority for it in the constitution.  He should know, since he was the primary author of the constitution.

Let freedom ring!
Tona

March 3, 1817

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

Having considered the bill this day presented to me entitled “An act to set apart and pledge certain funds for internal improvements,” and which sets apart and pledges funds “for constructing roads and canals, and improving the navigation of water courses, in order to facilitate, promote, and give security to internal commerce among the several States, and to render more easy and less expensive the means and provisions for the common defense,” I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling the bill with the Constitution of the United States to return it with that objection to the House of Representatives, in which it originated.

The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers, or that it falls by any just interpretation with the power to make laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution those or other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States.

“The power to regulate commerce among the several States” can not include a power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses in order to facilitate, promote, and secure such commerce without a latitude of construction departing from the ordinary import of the terms strengthened by the known inconveniences which doubtless led to the grant of this remedial power to Congress.

To refer the power in question to the clause “to provide for common defense and general welfare” would be contrary to the established and consistent rules of interpretation, as rendering the special and careful enumeration of powers which follow the clause nugatory and improper. Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them, the terms “common defense and general welfare” embracing every object and act within the purview of a legislative trust. It would have the effect of subjecting both the Constitution and laws of the several States in all cases not specifically exempted to be superseded by laws of Congress, it being expressly declared “that the Constitution of the United States and laws made in pursuance thereof shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges of every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” Such a view of the Constitution, finally, would have the effect of excluding the judicial authority of the United States from its participation in guarding the boundary between the legislative powers of the General and the State Governments, inasmuch as questions relating to the general welfare, being questions of policy and expediency, are unsusceptible of judicial cognizance and decision.

A restriction of the power “to provide for the common defense and general welfare” to cases which are to be provided for by the expenditure of money would still leave within the legislative power of Congress all the great and most important measures of Government, money being the ordinary and necessary means of carrying them into execution.

If a general power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses, with the train of powers incident thereto, be not possessed by Congress, the assent of the States in the mode provided in the bill can not confer the power. The only cases in which the consent and cession of particular States can extend the power of Congress are those specified and provided for in the Constitution.

I am not unaware of the great importance of roads and canals and the improved navigation of water courses, and that a power in the National Legislature to provide for them might be exercised with signal advantage to the general prosperity. But seeing that such a power is not expressly given by the Constitution, and believing that it can not be deduced from any part of it without an inadmissible latitude of construction and reliance on insufficient precedents; believing also that the permanent success of the Constitution depends on a definite partition of powers between the General and the State Governments, and that no adequate landmarks would be left by the constructive extension of the powers of Congress as proposed in the bill, I have no option but to withhold my signature from it, and to cherishing the hope that its beneficial objects may be attained by a resort for the necessary powers to the same wisdom and virtue in the nation which established the Constitution in its actual form and providently marked out in the instrument itself a safe and practicable mode of improving it as experience might suggest.

President James Madison

Source: http://www.constitution.org/jm/18170303_veto.htm

 

Traffic grants are federally funded not state funded

At the Agenda Committee meeting, I asked the Director of Budgets and Finance if the traffic grants before the commission are federally funded or state funded.  He said he would find out.

Jarrod Millsaps of the the Sheriff’s Office responded saying that the grants administered through the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) are state funded.  (see page 503)  However, a quick internet search revealed that state is not the funding source.  The State DOT website says that programs administered through the GHSO are 100% federally funded.

http://www.blounttn.org/comm/cc150416.pdf

http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/ghso/

Tennessee Highway Patrol quota system

http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/article/124967/4-more-troopers-come-forward-about-dui-quota-system

http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/article/125069/thp-colonel-responds-to-troopers-claims-of-dui-quota

http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/article/125172/tennessee-department-of-safety-homeland-security-bill-gibbons-says-thp-has-no-dui-quotas

Apparently, it’s a top 15 priority

by Eric Holcombe

The Tennessee legislature currently has a 15-bill limit on House members. This means as a Representative, you likely have less than 15 bills of your own that you can advance because you also may be carrying companion bills for a Senator in the House – which may not be on you or your constituents’ radar at all, but all bills have to progress through both chambers. My Representative is now Jerry Sexton. He is a “freshman”, having just been elected, so this is his first House session. I was interested to see what bills Jerry would sponsor, hoping that maybe I could get a feel for his convictions and what he thought was important to change. However, I also realize the stranglehold the GOP (or whichever political club is in majority at the moment) has on the “freshmen” Tennesseans elect to represent them – as if somehow they are not equally as important as “ranking members” – even though obviously the actual voters wanted a change and booted the incumbent (Dennis “ghost-vote” Roach in this case).  So I took a look at Jerry’s bills.

See HB0616 for example. Gee, it seems kinda odd that for some reason it is a real high priority for Grainger County residents to prohibit their own county and local governments from being able to decide if they want un-manned vehicles driving around on their roads. I have been asking my neighbors how they feel about “vehicles equipped with autonomous technology” and if they are the ones pushing Jerry to prohibit ourselves from accidently deciding we might possibly one day find a reason they are not a good thing. The typical response is “HUH?”

Why would a representative go to the state to pass a bill into law that further removes liberties from his own constituents (and those all across the state)?

Of course, I know this isn’t Jerry’s bill. It’s Sen. Brian Kelsey’s bill (You remember Brian. He’s the attorney that introduced the constitutional amendment to remove your constitutional right to vote for the state supreme court judges- and keep attorneys selecting them for you – just like they have done illegally for the last 40 years.).

Senator Jim Tracy has amended this bill to camouflage its original language that explicitly stated it was prohibiting county and local governments from being able to regulate the use of unmanned vehicles on their own roads. Now it says “political subdivisions”. And the new, johnny-on-the-spot general assembly website even substitutes the language on the bills themselves – so you can no longer see what it was prior to amending. Convenient, yes?

So, Sen. Kelsey, just whose corporate welfare bill is this? Nissan’s? What happened to all that 10th Amendment talk? You want to claim the US Constitution when the federal government oversteps its bounds (unless they offer a lot of Common Core money), but then are plenty happy to steal the authority from county and local governments or the voters. Sen. Tracy wants to claim “it should be a local issue” when it comes to maintaining unconstitutional traffic revenue cameras – but apparently you local yokels are too incompetent to think about unmanned vehicles on the county and local streets you pay to maintain.

NMA E-Newsletter #321: Radar Fails Under Scientific Scrutiny … Again

NMA E-Newsletter #321: Radar Fails Under Scientific Scrutiny … Again

Most longtime NMA members understand the weaknesses of using radar to measure vehicle speeds. However, less experienced drivers and even the courts regard radar as foolproof. Nothing could be further from the truth, and we have fresh evidence that further erodes radar’s patina of infallibility.

A member of the NMA Board recently attended a meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and was kind enough to forward us this description of one of the research presentations titled “Testing of Police Radar”. The research was conducted by two professional engineers, one of whom previously worked for one of the radar manufacturers.

The gist of the presentation is that, despite 30 years of technological innovations, radar still suffers from the same reliability and performance issues that have made it unacceptable as evidence in a court of law. The researchers state that radar cannot meet the requirements of the Daubert test, which is a set of standards trial judges use to determine whether or not expert testimony is based on valid scientific reasoning and methodology:

The reality of police radar is that it fails when subjected to the Daubert test. In this regard, police radar operation should be repeatable—this research demonstrates that it is not a repeatable technique and is, in fact, subject to operator interpretation when multiple targets are present.

The researchers tested several radar unit brands and units. With only one target, the units were pretty consistent in their speed measurements. However with multiple targets, there was no guarantee as to which vehicle’s speed was displayed. They observe that “the radar units can well read different speeds … the decision to issue a citation is highly dependent upon the operator, relative to the instrument.” This refers to one of radar’s biggest downfalls: it can’t distinguish one vehicle from another.

The researchers further explain that radar can pick out either the strongest signal or the fastest signal, depending on road conditions and the mix of vehicles on the road. It cannot, however, pick out the speed of the nearest vehicle. They point out that radar “gun sights” intended to aid target acquisition are useless. They also note that one radar manufacturer allows the officer to black out the displayed speed of the police vehicle in moving mode to conceal from the motorist that the officer was exceeding the speed limit.

Even though the researchers come from a technical/scientific background, they have the presence of mind to point out that radar speed enforcement encourages policing for profit. The NMA has been making this argument for years, but we have seen few other observers make the same connection between shoddy speed enforcement and revenue generation. The researchers further warn that using unreliable radar readings as an excuse to conduct a traffic stop and execute a questionable vehicle search raises Fourth Amendment questions:

But some jurisdictions use strict traffic enforcement as the basis of presumptive traffic stops—they will issue a warning for the traffic violation and instead are looking for a reason to search a vehicle for contraband.

Can anyone say civil forfeiture?

Overall, the study further supports the conclusion that radar speed measurement is unreliable, easily misused and often abused for revenue purposes. In the NMA’s “Fight That Ticket!” e-book, we show you how to use the many kinds of radar error to undermine the officer’s scripted testimony. When you prove to the court that what the officer has testified to is physically impossible or technically violates proper radar procedures, the prosecution’s case will be seriously compromised.

Supporting members can download “Fight That Ticket!” at no charge from the members’ area at www.motorists.org. Non-members can download it here for only $9.95.

Traffic court is a dysfunctional money making scam

“Ferguson does not even rank among the top 20 municipalities in St. Louis County in the percentage of its budget drawn from court fines and fees.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/08/us/ferguson-became-symbol-but-bias-knows-no-border.html

It’s not just Ferguson, Missouri that is the problem.  Frequently traffic courts are dysfunctional scams designed to enhance public treasuries while shirking due process and failing to teach people how to improve driving habits in ways that actually improve public safety.

 

HasbamaCare – It’s Uncontrifuted!

photo credit: midsouthsentinel.com

photo credit: midsouthsentinel.com

by: Eric Holcombe

Video is linked below to the lecture Doug Overbey gave to the Senate Health & Welfare Committee as he played the Establishment “administration” role of selling Insure TN as anything-but-ObamaCare.

Doug Overbey insults the Health & Welfare Committee – and then goes down in flames. Of course, this is the final vote after a good amount of behind the scenes vote counting in the House so it was all over but the crying. Give Doug a listen as he:
1) Questions the Senators’ motivation for serving in their office – that somehow listening to their constituents is not representing them or making their communities better. He sets this up with the straw man that he knows that is why the majority of them would say they initially sought public office.
2) States that the current system is “broken” and the Senators are “doing nothing” by not voting for HasbamaCare. By the way, “NO” is the default vote. Our representatives should only ever vote “YES” if they are sure the legislation is: constitutional, actually desired by their constituents (not just the ones that own the liquor stores in Pigeon Forge), there is a sound funding mechanism, etc.
3) Whines that he has served on Health & Welfare committees for 14 years in the House and Senate (but of course is somehow not responsible for the current “broken” system and “doing nothing” for 14 years as he calls it) but now is having to present the Establishment’s bill to make the sale.
4) Reminds them that Gov. Haslam has his finger on the pulse of Tennesseans and points to his re-election as evidence of same. Live by the vote-for-me-instead-of-Obama sword, die by the vote-for-me-instead-of-Obama sword.
5) Tells the Senators they are supposed to ignore you and instead vote on whether HasbamaCare is good “policy” (after he just said Gov. Haslam is so “in touch” with all the constituents).
6) Creates new word: “uncontrifuted”.
Senator Overbey has consistently demonstrated that he believes the legislators are above the people rather than public servants. I remind you of his “we have the legislative authority” statement lobbying for the continued unconstitutional (and therefore illegal) selection of judges back when the Republicans wouldn’t simply “do nothing” and let the illegal Tennessee Plan sunset when they first won majority. This attitude of we-know-better-than-the-peasants, so let’s force “policy” isn’t representing the constituents. It’s tyranny – and that’s “uncontrifuted”….

 

The 3 most common reasons to spend your money in a rush

At the beginning of each Commission meeting an emergency evacuation notice is required to be read.  It isn’t read by a person and for quite some time I’ve wondered where the voice in the sky is coming from.  Someone recently told me that it’s an audio recording.  It saves time and eliminates the need to make sure that you have the notice handy to read.  It’s easy for the Chairmen to simply push a button and play the notice.

The Commission could save a lot of time if the three most common reasons to rush something through were recorded and played as an audio at the start of each Agenda item instead of having to recognize Commissioners and listen to them give the reasons over and over and over.  There are 3 common reasons employed by Commissioners that work every time.

The three most common reasons to rush passage of Agenda items are:

1) The County is up against a deadline and chaos will ensue if the Commission doesn’t hurry and pass the item.

This reason was given twice at the October Commission meeting.  When I inquired into the age of the equipment that the Commission was being asked to approve, Commission Andy Allen stated that the software reference in the resolution may be about to expire.  He gave no date or supporting information.  That worked because it passed 15-4.

The reason was used again to approve $60,000 for a software that will be used for open enrollment for employee benefits.  The new software Kronos was suppose to fill this need and was used to rush it through (another example of the Commission allegedly having to rush something through) even though the project is behind schedule.  Instead of informing the Commission on the delay, the Commission was asked to approve $60,000 as a one year “stop gap” measure for open enrollment since Kronos will be used next year.

The new HR Director told me that the former HR Director handled this, which means that it was done prior to September when the new HR Director took over.  One would logically ask how the previous HR Director knew in advance that there was a need to seek software from our benefits advisor.  Someone knew that Kronos was not going be implemented in time and sought this software, but never mind that important detail.  The Commission just needed to pass it or chaos would ensue.  This worked because it passed 16-3.

Bottom line: Office holders and Department heads leave the Commission in the dark and the Commission rubber stamps what they want.

2) This isn’t property tax or local tax money

This reason was given by Commission Steve Samples to pass the technology request from Circuit Court Clerk Tom Hatcher because the money came from Court costs.  This works every time because it passed 15-4.

Bottom line: Your money is spent without due diligence.

3) The federal or State government says we have to do this

This reason was employed twice at the October Commission meeting.  Commissioner Andy Allen muddied the water when he told Commissioners that the FCC won’t allow us to turn down tower applications.  No federal law was given and no examples were given as to what circumstances the County allegedly has to approve towers.  He said that an attorney told this to the BZA.  When I asked if there was an attorney opinion, Chairman Moon cut me off and no information was obtained.  This worked because the Commission passed the resolution 11-8.

This reason was also given as an excuse to not have any oversight on reconstruction work on the Childrens Home.  I asked for the federal law that said that the Drug Fund couldn’t be used for renovations.  Guidelines were provided rather than the actual federal law.  That worked because my amendment to require approval for spending over $1,000 failed 10-9 (11 votes are required).

Bottom line: It’s easier to blame something on federal or State governments than it is to actually do your own research.

Solution: In the interest of time, it would be simpler for the Commission to record these 3 reasons and play them at the start of each Agenda item because they always work and the Commission could adjourn quicker.  Due diligence takes a back seat to these 3 reasons.  On the flip side, perhaps I should start using them since they work every time.  😉

“That is an out-and-out falsehood,”

Don't believe the Fred Thompson lies -Vote NO on 2!

Don’t believe the Fred Thompson lies -Vote NO on 2!

Those are the words of Wally Kirby, executive director for the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference referring to the outright lies told by the attorneys paying political hack Fred Thompson to lie to you on the radio about “preserving your right to vote” for judges. TNReport covered a strong-arm attempt by Gov. Haslam via Bill Gibbons to leverage an endorsement on 2 from the actually elected district attorneys. They couldn’t muster a 2/3 majority without Gibbons “reminding” them of how invested the Governor is in this amendment and holding an additional vote.

So there are 10 (or more) district attorneys that still have a shred of a conscience left and know that the executive branch is acting illegally by “selecting” judges and our entire current state supreme court has been “selected” by Bredesen and Haslam.

“Quite frankly, there was strong opposition from a few,” Wally Kirby, executive director for the DA’s organization, told TNReport. “Some of them feel like all of the judges should be properly, popularly elected — like they are.[emphasis mine]

Kirby wouldn’t provide names of those who voted against the measure, but he related that some felt Amendment 2 is confusing, and that the campaign in favor of it has been misleading. The “Yes on 2″ commercial suggesting that the amendment protects the people’s right to vote for judges is “very deceiving,” he said.

That is an out-and-out falsehood,” said Kirby. “It does not give you the opportunity to vote for a judge. It gives you the opportunity to vote in a retention election eight years from now.”[emphasis mine]

If I had been violating the state Constitution like Governors Bredesen and Haslam have been, the illegally “selected” judges have been….I guess I would want the buy-in of the remaining state level DA’s too. Who is left to indict you?

Vote NO on 2 – Why can’t we just obey the law instead?

by Eric Holcombe

Following is a letter to the editor I composed in opposition to the avalanche of attorney editorials the Kingsport Times News has produced in support of continuing to let trial lawyers give a list of attorneys to the governor to select our judges from – rather than letting the people elect them according to our supreme law. It didn’t even garner a phone call to verify the authorship. I wonder why?

 

Article 6 Section 3 of the Tennessee State Constitution states: “The judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state.” These judges have not been elected in Tennessee since 1972, when the so-called “Tennessee Plan” was put into practice by the state legislature allowing the Judicial branch of government to be “selected” by the Executive branch rather than elected by the voters as required by our Constitution. This practice is unconstitutional and therefore illegal. The proposed constitutional Amendment #2 would create a similar selection process including the legislative branch with the executive branch in the process for selecting judges – eliminating the voter’s currently violated constitutional right to elect the judicial branch. Various legislator/attorneys argue that they have the “legislative authority” to determine whom the qualified voters of the state are and it is not the registered voters of the state, but the legislators themselves (and this is agreed to by the illegally-selected judges and their appointed attorney general). The legislator/attorneys’ proposed amendment also states that the planned judicial “retention elections” are open to the “qualified voters of the state”. I presume that if they continue to hold their current definition of whom is qualified (only themselves), that the voters are then completely removed from the process. The other argument made by proponents is that contested elections of judges would require campaigns and the judicial candidates would be “corrupted” by them. Therefore, we should give up the right to vote to people who also campaigned in elections (but somehow are immune to corruption) to select judges for us. It doesn’t take an attorney to see the loss of checks and balances and the ease of corrupting one executive or a few legislators rather than millions of voters that Amendment 2 would bring.

Stop and seize- Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes

Policing-for-Profit

Photo credit: Forbes.com

by Eric Holcombe

A must read/watch from The Washington Post found:

  • “There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments through the Equitable Sharing Program, totaling more than $2.5 billion. State and local authorities kept more than $1.7 billion of that while Justice, Homeland Security and other federal agencies received $800 million. Half of the seizures were below $8,800.
  • Only a sixth of the seizures were legally challenged, in part because of the costs of legal action against the government. But in 41 percent of cases — 4,455 — where there was a challenge, the government agreed to return money. The appeals process took more than a year in 40 percent of those cases and often required owners of the cash to sign agreements not to sue police over the seizures.
  • Hundreds of state and local departments and drug task forces appear to rely on seized cash, despite a federal ban on the money to pay salaries or otherwise support budgets. The Post found that 298 departments and 210 task forces have seized the equivalent of 20 percent or more of their annual budgets since 2008.
  • Agencies with police known to be participating in the Black Asphalt intelligence network have seen a 32 percent jump in seizures beginning in 2005, three times the rate of other police departments. Desert Snow-trained officers reported more than $427 million in cash seizures during highway stops in just one five-year period, according to company officials. More than 25,000 police have belonged to Black Asphalt, company officials said.”

“Federal support helped drive the surge. In Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin alone, police spent a total of at least $1 million during the last decade in Justice and Homeland Security grants for Desert Snow training. The DEA, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and others spent an additional $2.5 million in contracts on Desert Snow training for police, records show. The DEA also paid more than $2 million for training from the 4:20 Group. Individual local and state police forces across the country paid millions more for the training using seized cash, one of the uses permitted by Equitable Sharing rules.” [emphasis mine]

Take notice of the lack of cooperation and unwillingness to answer for their actions by the “law enforcement” involved in these accounts. What do they have to hide? You are a suspect if you have air fresheners hanging on the mirror, fast food trash in the floorboard or sweat too much. These cowards are on their own video tape. Maybe they will go hide in their MRAP.

WTVF did an extensive investigation into the “drug interdiction taskforce” revenue agents robbing travelers along I-40 in Tennessee (but only the west-bound side mind you, the east-bound side has the drugs and they aren’t interested in seizing that – in the “war” on drugs). If you haven’t seen their Policing For Profit series, you need to. They have a summary site here with links to their ongoing coverage.

Last year the state legislature passed what was called a “major reform” in the illegal fleecing of innocent citizens by the revenue agents with guns, dogs, tasers, MRAPs, spy vans, body armor, tanks, etc:

For the first time, those drivers will be allowed to make their case to a judge at the same time the officer asks for the seizure to be approved.

The House sponsor, Rep. Barrett Rich, R-Somerville, said lawmakers were appalled that those protections were not already in the law.

“When we were watching the ‘Policing for Profit’ videos, the one thing that stuck out in everyone’s mind is that they go to a hearing, but only one side is heard,” Rich said.

“This re-establishes the trust between us and the people of the state of Tennessee,” said Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport.”
Wow, so you get to actually talk to a judge when they are stealing your money? Is this the same judge they call for their “no refusal” vampire checkpoint blood draw warrants?

Let’s see, our state Constitution states in Article 6 Section 14 that: “No fine shall be laid on any citizen of this state that shall exceed fifty dollars, unless it shall be assessed by a jury of his peers, who shall assess the fine at the time they find the fact, if they think the fine should bemore than fifty dollars.

Of course the illegally “selected” judges in this state will claim that stealing thousands of dollars from you is not a “fine” so the requirement of a jury trial to extract this money from you (with no criminal charges filed by the way) is “legal”. Plus, you got to talk to them.

ANOTHER REASON TO VOTE “NO” ON 2.

 

 

Morristown has another illegal speed camera

1984-was-not-supposed-to-be-an-instruction-manual-by Eric Holcombe

When this story about Bluff City’s illegal speed cameras came out in 2011, I noted that Morristown’s speed cameras on 25E at the time were also illegal because they were placed within 1 mile of a speed limit change of 10mph or more (this was before the past 3 years of a 35mph construction zone was added). Now I have noticed a second illegal speed camera in Morristown.

It is located on Morris Blvd. at Cumberland Ave.

When traveling east on W. Morris Blvd., the speed limit now changes from 40mph to 30 mph and is posted at approx. 201 W. Morris Blvd (in front of Regions Bank/Burger King beside the farmer’s market). A few feet away in the grass in front of Regions Bank is the requisite revenue camera warning sign for the cameras which are at the next intersection with Cumberland Avenue. This speed limit drop is barely one tenth of a mile from the cameras, 90% less than that required by state law.

See for yourself.

I am certain that this 30mph zone is a recent development, but I don’t know when it was added. It has been since the revenue cameras were installed and I believe in the last couple of years. I can remember driving through after the cameras were added on Morris Blvd (there are many of them) and thinking that you could drive 40mph all the way through them. Google street view’s next earliest view is from February 2008 and the 30mph sign is not there, but neither are the revenue cameras.

I guess the revenue cameras made Morris Blvd. more dangerous and required lowering the speed limit within 0.1 mile of where they are located.

All revenue obtained from “speeding tickets” issued by this camera’s operators after the 30mph speed trap was added is theft by the City and their vigilante traffic contractor and should be returned. Of course the “selected” judicial class has been unwilling to find guilt on part of the revenue agents – even when they send you false court dates and kangaroo court findings of “guilt” on Sundays when the court is “closed”.

Another reason to vote No on 2.