Audit the Fed Bill Passes, May Die in Senate

From The Daily Beast:

“In announcing the results of the successful House vote to finally take a look at the inner workings of the Fed, Rep. Paul Broun, the Republican sponsor of the bill, said that it’s passage had brought “us one step closer towards bringing much-needed transparency to our nation’s monetary policy.”

“Yeah, not so much. Despite such a lopsided vote in the House, the measure will die in the Senate. It wasn’t voted on before the pre-election recess, and Majority Leader Harry Reid will refuse to bring the matter up for a vote before the current congressional term expires in January. Irony alert: Reid himself co-sponsored bills in the ’90s calling for Fed audits.”

“Reid hasn’t explained exactly why he won’t allow a vote on the bill, which has 30 co-sponsors. He’s keeping his reasons secret, which means that the Fed’s secrets are safe for at least a little while longer. And that trust in government will keep shrinking, just like the value of a dollar has over the life of the Federal Reserve.”


If Ron Ramsey was against Pre-K…

Nice job on the pre-K redirect...they will forget all about that Islam social studies stuff!

Nice job on the pre-K redirect…they will forget all about that Islam social studies stuff!

by Eric Holcombe

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey has been in print and on the airwaves recently with his anti-Pre-K message (which is largely true) that we now have paid for multiple studies of our own (because Georgia’s just wouldn’t do) that show pre-K has no lasting academic effect beyond 2nd or 3rd grade and broader implementation of this program is a waste of money. Remember back when Gov. Bredesen said Pre-K would be “voluntary”? Achieve Inc. board member Bill Haslam is still “leaving the door open” for more federal spending on Pre-K and wants to wait on yet another pre-K study by Vanderbilt  – while there didn’t seem to be nearly as much reflection on calling for the shutdown of Tennessee Virtual Academy (TVA) after only two years of operation and “almost” being in the bottom 10% academically (never mind the schools that actually were). This despite that TVA truly is voluntary, as no one forced any of those parents to enroll their children. On the contrary, Achieve Inc. board member Bill Haslam capped their exploding enrollment to prevent too many from having “school choice”.

There is one problem with this anti-Pre-K show. Lt. Governor Ramsey heartily endorsed Pre-K both as Lt. Governor AND as a then candidate for governor. What, you say? Yes, it’s true. Remember that Race To The Top application for over $500 MILLION in taxpayer dollars? All that mass plagiarism on those rubber-stamp letters endorsing the application and its contents? Well, Lt. Governor Ramsey had TWO letters in there. See Appendix A, pages 30 and 34.

He said as Lt. Governor on page 30:

We pledge to exercise the powers of our offices to vigorously support Tennessee’s Race To The Top proposal and commit to support the legislation required to achieve the goals stated therein, and assist in providing positive conditions for reform throughout the state.” (emphasis mine)

He and Achieve Inc. Board member Bill Haslam said as gubernatorial candidates on page 34:

If our state is successful in Race to the Top, it must also deliver on the proposed programs and investments in a manner that effectively spans the transition in January 2011 from the current governor [ed: Achieve Inc. board member] to the next governor [ed: Achieve Inc. board member]”. (emphasis mine)

So what, you say. That doesn’t prove anything about pre-K. Well, except that the Race to the Top application they are endorsing absolutely does on page 15:

In this application, we describe the ways in which we will….leverage other federal funds to create a P-20 statewide longitudinal database that encompasses data from education and social service sectors. We seek to organize our efforts and interventions around this data, enabling it to be used from the Capitol to the classroom. We believe that an expansion from a K-12 data system to a P-20 data system, as well as the creation of an early-warning system, will enable us to reach our graduation rate goal of 90%.”

That “P” means Pre-K. The “20” means year twenty, as in four more years after you have graduated from both high school AND a four-year university. We are going to be mining data from the human capital widgets for over twenty years of their lives via third-party testing contracts and selling it back to the federal government in violation of FERPA (before it was gutted by Obama’s executive order) *ahem*, so our children can “compete in the global marketplace”.

So why would Lt. Governor Ramsey write to Arne Duncan and promise to “vigorously support” this proposed Pre-K database expansion if we aren’t going to be spending more on Pre-K so we can have that “early warning” for the children? Why is he now backing out on his “must also deliver on the proposed programs and investments”? It would seem that Achieve Inc. board member Bill Haslam is keeping up his end of the bargain.

Ron did actually read the 1100-page application for Race to the Top before endorsing it….didn’t he? Surely he post-dated that letter, right? It would seem this might have come up in those recent super-secret Education Summit meetings.

Don’t fall for the anti-Pre-K rhetoric (even though the statements about no lasting improvement are true). The Common Core shackle is firmly around Tennessee’s neck, and so is the required P-20 Statewide Longitudinal Database System. We have already spent $500 MILLION of Uncle Sugar’s money. We will do whatever is necessary to prostitute our state for more.

If Lamar was against Common Core…

Lamar's coal-powered car - photo credit: US News & World Report

Lamar’s coal-powered car – photo credit: US News & World Report

by Eric Holcombe

Lamar has been busy lately (it is campaign season after all) trying to sell us on his convictions about president Obama’s “national board of education”, whatever that means.  He even tagged along recently with a group of Senators writing to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to declare:

“Federal law contains a number of general limitations on the federal government’s involvement in decisions concerning academic standards and curriculum.”

All this protest and new-found conviction has to do with Arne moving to count the NAEP test scores toward a state’s programmatic compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as part of his “Results-Driven Accountability”.  I can think of at least two reasons for the recent change of heart:

1. Tennessee is not scoring well on the NAEP, even after spending $500 MILLION plus of fraudulently obtained Race To The Top federal tax dollars. We are still below average on every metric. This won’t jibe with our current state propaganda of highest, bestest, most improvingest scores ever.

2. If the federal government gets to decide (*wink*wink*) who the testing contractor is, uh, I mean which federal test we use to qualify for federal dollars, then that whole Achieve Inc./PARCC/Bill Gates enterprise may not pay off as planned.

I say if Lamar was really against Common Core and federal government control of education, he shouldn’t have sent that first letter to Arne Duncan heartily endorsing it. Remember, the one in Appendix A (page 32) of the Race To The Top application? The application that explicitly committed the state to the Common Core “state” Standards when they didn’t exist yet? The same application that committed us to the increased data-mining and soon-to-be PARCC assessments? In that letter Lamar said:

In utilizing these federal funds, Tennessee seeks to capitalize on its assets – a rich pool of data, a plan for revamped standards and assessments, increasing collaboration with high-tech firms and facilities, and an expanded charter school system. Tennessee’s RTTT proposal builds upon these assets and will accelerate reforms necessary to support educational achievement and excellence.”

So you see, it is all about the wrong fox getting to guard the henhouse. He sounds like Andrew Johnson, the “military governor” (just try to find that in your Constitution) of Tennessee for “honest” Abe Lincoln. It’s all sour grapes when you sold out your neighbors and now you aren’t getting the payoff you expected.


But see, Lamar isn’t really against Common Core. In this story from last year, you see the same objection to federal testing – well only as long as the federal government is getting to choose the test. How about this whopper:

“Referring to the Democratic education bill, the subject of today’s committee meeting, Senator Alexander said, “If your proposal passed, and the state of Tennessee – which adopted the ‘common core’ standards before the secretary ever included it in Race to the Top or anything else, and even helped write the standards – then wanted to change its standards, it would have to amend its state plan, send it to the secretary, he’d peer-review it, and he could approve it or disapprove it.”

 Uh, Lamar, please actually look at the 1100-page application for Race To The Top you endorsed with your letter to Arne Duncan, like maybe the first 10-12 pages is all it would take.
 “Senator Alexander said “Common core” standards “are the result of a state-led effort, driven by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, and were meant to be a set of standards states could voluntarily adopt to improve their K-12 schools.”
In other words, they are not “state-led” (by actual residents of Tennessee) but driven by the two Washington DC corporations that hold the copyright to them and collected all that money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the first “confidential” draft of the Common Core State Standards did not even exist yet when Lamar wrote his letter endorsing them in the Race To The Top application, I am not sure where he gets the idea that they were ever anything else than a federal bribe in Race To The Top. That is the first time they ever appeared. NO ONE had implemented them prior to that – because they didn’t exist. Just like Lamar’s convictions.

License Plate Readers

The Daily Times has recently run a couple of puff pieces on automated license plate readers, including the lead/main story featured today.  There is a more nefarious side to consider about constant surveillance.  The matter has been discussed several times before here on BC Public Record and throughout the internet.

Setting the record straight on DHS and license plate tracking

90 Day License Plate Storage Bill Signed by TN Governor

California Court Denies Sampling Of License Plate Information
California Superior Court judge refuses access to license plate camera data.

Virginia: Cops Spied On Motorists At Political Rallies
Virginia State Police plate reader cameras record the identity of participants at Republican and Democratic political events.

ACLU Report Exposes Extent Of License Plate Surveillance
Report documents police use of automated license plate recognition technology.

Federal Agencies Trade Motorist Data to Insurance Companies
Department of Homeland Security agrees to track motorists using a database built by the insurance industry.

FBI forces police departments across the US to keep quiet about cellphone spying gear

Law enforcement isn’t suppose to discuss the use of Stingray cellphone spy equipment.

Although the majority of the December 2012 document is redacted, a paragraph from FBI special agent Laura Laughlin to Police of Chief Donald Ramsdell reveals that Tacoma officers were told they couldn’t discuss their use of IMSI-catchers with anyone.

“We have been advised by Harris Corporation of the Tacoma Police Department’s request for acquisition of certain wireless collection equipment/technology manufactured by Harris Corporation,” the FBI letter reads in part. “Consistent with the conditions on the equipment authorization granted to Harris Corporation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), state and local law enforcement agencies must coordinate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to complete this non-disclosure agreement prior to the acquisition and use of the equipment/technology authorized by the FCC authorization.”

The Feds are trying hard to stop information from being released to the public.

As RT reported recently, the US Marshals Service recently intervened in a dispute between the police department in Sarasota, FL and the ACLU by seizing cell phone records collected by an cop-owned StingRay before the civil libertarians could review them.

This is consistent with what we’ve seen around the country with federal agencies trying to meddle with public requests for Stingray information,” ACLU staff attorney Nathan Freed told Wired back in June. “The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public.”


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


Photo credit:

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.




September 2014 Commission Report

Thank you

Troy and I want to thank everyone who supported us and voted for us during the campaign season.  I look forward to serving the people the next four years.  Feel free to email or call me with your concerns about your County government.

No Discussion on Leadership

Elections that send new people to public offices are suppose to bring fresh ideas and new leadership.  That’s not what Blount County got when the Commission chose it Officers.  The old guard stayed firmly in place.  The same Commissioners that have held leadership positions were nominated in a systematic fashion with no discussion as to why the same people should have power.  Even several of the new Commissioners, who rarely, if ever, attended Commission meetings prior to running, seemed to be in complete agreement by their silence.  After the Agenda meeting a constituent remarked to me that the Chairman already had his stuff lined up and was ready to take the seat after the swift election.  Former Commissioner Jim Folts wrote about the same problem 4 years ago (see Sept. 2010).  The people of Blount County deserve open discussion about the leaders on their County Commission, but were once again denied that.

Agenda Committee is optional

Traditionally, the Budget Committee meets the day before the Agenda Committee.  Business approved by the Budget Committee is sent to the Agenda Committee (which consists of all members of the County Commission) for review.  This usually means that budget items are placed in the Agenda packet the day of the meeting, giving Commissioners little, if any, time to read these important fiscal matters.  Usually the rest of the information is in the packet 5 working days prior to the Agenda Committee meeting.

That wasn’t the case this month.  Recommendations from the Mayor were dated Sept. 4th, less than 5 working days prior to the Sept. 9th Agenda Committee meeting.  Commission rule 6A requires information to be in the Commission packet 5 working days prior to the meeting, unless there is a good reason.  The rules don’t say that the 5 day requirement applies to the Agenda meeting, it just says “meeting” singular.

Five (5) working days is a good rule in the best interest of the public because it allows time for the public to review what the Commission is pursing.  When I pointed out that the Mayors recommendations were not in our package 5 working days prior to the meeting, Agenda Chairman Steve Samples said they didn’t have to be, ruling that the 5 day rule didn’t apply to the Agenda meeting.  I challenged the rule of the Chair and only Commissioners Daly and Miller supported my challenge.

Two of the Mayor’s recommendation letters didn’t list the correct names of the Commissions.  I asked that the Mayor resubmit those in October and he agreed.  Alarmingly, Commissioner Tom Stinnett wanted to let the Mayor go down to his office and type new letters and submit them to the Commission during the Agenda meeting.

The Commission meeting on the 18th settled the fact that there are no Commission rules governing how the Board (Commission) meeting must receive it’s business matters or that the Agenda Committee is even a required process to send business to the Board (full Commission).  Notary Public and Deputy Sheriff oaths and bonds were on the Commission agenda, even though neither had gone through the Agenda Committee.  When I raised a point of order asking why these items had not gone through the Agenda Committee, there were periods of time where you could hear a pin drop.

After some discussion, Chairman Jerome Moon declared that both items were in order, despite not being sent to the Board (Commission) by the Agenda Committee.  According to Commission Rule 12, Chairman Moon said, “An Agenda Committee meeting is really optional.”  I am not sure that all the Commissioners grasped the importance of the Chairman’s statement.  Nothing the Board addresses is required to go through the Agenda Committee.  As Chairman Moon said, the meeting is optional.

An agenda committee meeting may be held on the week prior to meetings subject to the discretion of the chairman, the county mayor, and the county clerk. The committee shall be composed of all the members of the Board of County Commissioners. The duties of the agenda committee shall be to discuss items and vote to send or not send items to the agenda of the Board of County Commissioner’s meeting. The committee may also refer the item to other committees.

Campground Regulations

The most debated matter of the meeting was the resolution on campground regulations.  I am not opposed to campgrounds and originally intended to vote for the matter.  However, I discovered one word that is the Achilles heel of the resolution.

5J (page 126)
Lighting and Noise. All campgrounds shall be designed to meet the current outdoor lighting standards found in section 7.15 D. All campgrounds should conduct business in accordance to any existing noise laws within the county.

The resolution states that campgrounds should follow noise regulations, rather than shall follow noise regulations.  Lighting regulations are shall, as are many other statements throughout the resolution.  Is this a simple oversight?  I don’t know, but as written it appears to me make compliance with noise regulations optional.

The Commission was given an opportunity to fix this and address other concerns when Commissioner French moved to send it back to the Planning Commission with suggestions.  The motion was defeated 10 to 10.

Akard – yes   Allen – no   Archer – yes   Bowers – yes   Carter – yes   Carver – no Caskey – yes   Caylor – no   Cole – absent   Crowe – no   Daly – yes   Farmer – no   French – yes   Headrick – no   Lewis – no   Melton – yes   Miller – no   Monroe – yes   Moon – yes   Samples – no   Stinnett – no

The resolution passed 13-7 with 1 absent.

Akard – no   Allen – yes   Archer – no   Bowers – yes   Carter – no   Carver – yes   Caskey – yes   Caylor – yes   Cole – absent   Crowe – yes   Daly – no   Farmer – yes   French – yes   Headrick – yes   Lewis – yes   Melton – yes   Miller – no   Monroe – no   Moon – yes   Samples – no   Stinnett – yes

Hopefully bullhorns and rock concerts won’t become common place at new campgrounds.

Grant Money to Operate a Spy Van

Commissioners Akard, Daly and I had concerns about a grant application to operate a spy van and train 3 people at a national conference.  No one from the Drug Task Force or the Sheriff’s Department was present to address our concerns.  The Commission did not have the grant for review, because it has not been written.  Because the matching funds (local dollars) comes from an Agency fund rather than the General Fund of the County, the Commission will not see this matter again.  With no grant to read and nothing to come back to the Commission, I don’t know how any Commissioner could vote to fund the spy operation.

While the measure passed 14-6, I take heart in the fact that 6 Commissioners voted against the application.  This is the largest number of Commissioners that I’ve ever seen oppose what some view as “free” money.  In a time when the NSA is the only government agency actually listening to the people, ;-) we need to be ever vigilant about government spying.  Commissioner Mike Akard said it best, “Are we to believe that when our government has seized drug money that it doesn’t affect the taxpayers when we spend it frivolously on a spy van?”

Commissioners Andy Allen, Brad Bowers, Shawn Carter, Rick Carver, Mike Caylor, Dodd Crowe, Gary Farmer, Ron French, Jeff Headrick, Mike Lewis, Kenneth Melton, Jerome Moon, Steve Samples and Tom Stinnett voted yes.

Commissioners Mike Akard, Archie Archer, Grady Caskey, Jamie Daly, Karen Miller and Tona Monroe voted no.

Commissioner Tom Cole was absent.

Citizen Comments about Open Discussion on Issues

At the end of the Commission meeting, Blount County citizen and regular attendee of Commission meetings, Barney Lowe commented that he was glad to see open discussion on the issues.

Upcoming Issues
In October the Commission with be tasked with refinancing approximately $20 million in variable rate debt.  This is a serious matter that I will consider diligently.  There will be a public hearing on October 7th regarding cell tower regulations.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING, In accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated Section 13-7-105, the Board of County Commissioners of Blount County, Tennessee, will convene in a called meeting and hold public hearing on October 7, 2014 at 6:15 P.M., at the Blount County Courthouse Commission Meeting Room for the following proposed amendments to the Zoning Resolution of Blount County, Tennessee, being Resolution 00-06-010.

7.4-D-7(a) Tower separation shall be measured from the base of the tower to the lot line of the off-site uses. Separation distance shall be 85 feet plus one foot for every one foot greater than 75 feet in tower height, whichever is greater, in relation to an existing residential use or a platted subdivision lot intended predominantly for residential us

Will the Real Democrat Please Stand Up?

by Eric Holcombe

Many of you have already voted in the US Senate Republican primary contest of Lamar Alexander vs. Joe Carr/Yellow Dog. Since more than half of you voted against Lamar but still lost, you can have another chance. Now you can vote in what I consider Round 2 of the U.S. Senate Democratic Primary – Gordon Ball vs. Lamar Alexander. This is because it is just too hard to tell which candidate belongs to which party.

Gordon has stated in ads that he is against Common Core, for school vouchers, veteran benefits and he apparently owns a Glock:

“I’m from Cocke County, where we actually do own guns. So I’m going to issue a challenge to Mr. Alexander: his piano versus my Glock. Democrats are gun owners too,” Ball told the state Democratic Executive Committee conference in Nashville.”

On the national Democratic party he said:

I think the national Democratic Party has written Tennessee off. That’s not good for the state.” But he shrugged and said, “That’s all right with me. We’ll run without them.”

On illegal aliens:

We don’t agree on every issue, obviously, but they [Tea Party Tennesseans (whatever that means)] see Lamar as being for Common Core [in education] and amnesty [on the immigration issue]. They’re against Common Core and amnesty, and so am I.

His best one-liner: “Lamar voted with Obama 62% of the time, I voted with Obama 0% of the time.”

For the nominal Republican sheep, what’s not to love? Of course, he is still for 2nd Amendment infringements, higher minimum wages and murdering babies (just not with a Glock) – but those are the typical deal-breakers for his party.

Then there is Lamar, who finally has relented to ONE debate – but only after early voting starts next month.

He has voted for:

1. Continuing Resolutions: Over the last four years (12 Continuing Resolutions) Lamar Alexander either for voted for them, or they passed the Senate with unanimous consent. Obama signed all of them:

  • 2009- First Continuing Resolution Passed Senate with unanimous consent (H.R. 2638)
  • 2009- Second Continuing Resolution Passed Senate with unanimous consent (H.J. Res 38)
  • 2010- Voted NO on the 1st Continuing Resolution (H.R. 2918)
  • 2010- Voted YES on the 2nd Continuing Resolution (H.R. 2996)
  • 2011- Voted YES on the 1st Continuing Resolution (H.R. 3081)
  • 2011- Second CR passed Senate with unanimous consent (H.J. Res 101)
  • 2011- Third CR passed Senate with unanimous consent (H.J. Res 105)
  • 2011- Voted YES on the 4th CR (H.R. 3082)
  • 2011- Voted YES on the 5th CR (H.J. Res 44)
  • 2011- Voted YES on the 6th CR (H.J. Res 48)
  • 2011- Seventh CR passed Senate with unanimous consent (H.R. 1363)
  • 2013- Voted YES on the 1st CR (H.J. Res 107)
  • 2013- Voted YES on the 2nd CR (funded Obamacare, H.R. 933)
  1. Budget/Other Spending/Taxes
  • Voted YES on the Internet Sales Tax bill (S 743)
  • Voted NO on Rand Paul’s budget which would balance in five years, eliminate four Cabinet departments, replace the current tax code with a flat tax, and fundamentally reform all major entitlement programs. (S.Amdt. 263 to S.Con.Res. 8)
  • Voted YES on the Fiscal Cliff Tax Hike Bill that raised income taxes, death taxes, capital gains taxes, dividend taxes, and payroll taxes — an increase of more than $600 billion. The deal also failed to cut spending. In fact, CBO estimated that it would cause spending to go up by more than $330 billion over the next decade. (H.R. 8)
  • Voted YES on the Omnibus Spending Bill which was a 1,000-page, trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill that lumped 9 different appropriations bills in a single package. (H.R. 2055)
  • Voted YES on raising the Debt Limit by $2.4 trillion and setup the Super Committee that was supposed to come up with budget cuts that never happened thus leading to the Sequester (S. 365)
  • Voted YES on the Farm Bill that expanded Food Stamps (S 3240)
  • Voted NO on banning earmarks (S.Amdt. 1472 to S.Amdt. 1470 to S. 2038)
  • Voted YES on Cash for Clunkers (H.R. 3435)
  • Voted NO on a Senate Rule that would have prohibited legislation that would raise gas prices
  • Voted NO on defunding the “Bridge to Nowhere” (S.Amdt. 2165 to H.R. 3058)

3. Bailouts

  • Voted YES on the bank bailouts (S. Amdt. 5685 to H.R. 1424)
  • Voted NO on an amendment that would prohibit tax payer funded auto bailouts (S.Amdt. 965 to S.Con.Res. 13)
  • Voted YES to bailout Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (H.R. 3221)

4. Immigration

  • Voted YES for the Immigration/Amnesty bill of 2013 (S 744)
  1. Guns
  2. Green Energy/Coal
  3. Miscellaneous
  4. Nominations
  • Voted YES to proceed on 2013 gun control bill by bring Harry Reid’s bill to the floor (S 649)
  • In 2009, Senator Tom Coburn proposed the National Park Carry Amendment to the credit card bill to restore concealed carry rights in national parks. The amendment needed 60 votes, according to C-SPAN and passed with 67 votes. Lamar Alexander, who allegedly gets an “A” from the NRA, voted against it.

6. Green Energy/Coal

  • Voted NO on ending green energy subsidies (S Amdt 1589 on S1813)
  • Voted NO on a resolution disapproving of Obama’s job killing Utility MACT regulations targeting the coal industry. (S.J. Res 37)

7. Miscellaneous

  • Voted NO on term limits (S.Amdt. 1488 to S.Amdt. 1470 to S. 2038)
  • Voted YES on compulsory unionism by voting to kill the National Right to Work Amendment (S.Amdt. 31 to S. 181)
  • Voted NO to prohibit tax payer funded stem cell research (S. 5)

8.  Nominations

  • Voted to CONFIRM Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court
  • Voted to CONFIRM Chuck Hagel to Secretary of Defense
  • Voted to CONFIRM John Kerry as Secretary of State
  • Voted FOR cloture on Tom Perez’s nomination to be Secretary of Labor. Perez is a left wing radical Obama appointee who fought against voter ID laws and worked for a pro-illegal alien group. Alexander did vote against confirmation, but his vote for cloture paved the way for Perez to be confirmed. This is a common tactic used by Alexander. He will vote for cloture (thus ending debate and bringing the nominee or legislation to the floor for a vote) then he’ll vote no. That way he can say he technically voted no, even though his previous vote allowed the bill to be voted on for passage. This is the same thing he did with the gun bill earlier in 2013.”

I consider that list to fall short as it totally ignored his other unconstitutional votes on extending the “Patriot” Act, the many FISA extensions he voted for (to continue spying on us without warrant or cause) and the votes for NDAA (indefinite detention in foreign occupation prison without trial if the president “thinks you are a terrorist” – but of course they “would never actually do that”). It also did not consider his confirmation votes for known Tax Cheat Tim Geithner for Secretary of Treasury nor RE-confirming Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve OR his lobbying against an audit of the federal reserve banksters:

The audit? It’s a bad idea,” said Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, head of the Republican Conference in the Senate. “It’s a sorry day when the Congress superimposes itself on the Fed, nosing around in monetary policy. It’s bad enough we are nosing around with the car companies.”

It’s almost as if Lamar has never read the U.S. constitution. I can’t seem to find a central bank in there anywhere – let alone one built upon usury and fraudulent “fractional reserve” banking with fiat “federal reserve notes”.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations along with Bill Frist, Fred Thompson, Al Gore, Howard Baker (beginning to see a TN pattern?), Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George Soros. Aren’t some of them supposed to be arch-enemies – you know, from diametrically-opposed “parties”?

So, I am really interested in the upcoming debate between Ball and Lamar – except for some reason neither one wants to debate any independent candidates. It should be a good show – like the Big Two typically deliver.


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.

They call it Socialization – Tanks for Schools Edition

photo: beforeitsnews

photo: beforeitsnews

The NEA proves correct on good  ol’ Resolution B-83  once again:

The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience.”

It’s Not Just the Police – The Feds are Also Militarizing Public Schools with Grenade Launchers, M16s and Tanks

“A federal program that has drawn criticism in recent weeks for supplying surplus military gear to local police has also provided high-powered rifles, armored vehicles and other equipment to police at public schools, some of whom were unprepared for what they were getting.”

What can I say? Homeschoolers simply cannot afford our own MRAPs, grenade launchers, etc. to keep up with the Joneses. And the mean ol’ NEA doesn’t think we should be able to play with the ones the public schools are getting.

I guess we will just have to settle for THP no refusal vampire stops on the local highways and do the best we can to get our kids “socialized”.


Common Core – Made In China


The New York Times recently published a fascinating interview with Yong Zhao, a professor of education at the University of Oregon. Zhao was born in China; unlike many American intellectuals, he does not think U.S. schools should try to emulate China.”

“‘If the United States and the rest of the West are concerned about being overtaken by China, the best solution is to avoid becoming China,’ he said.”

“Chinese schools stamp out individuality and make kids spend all their time preparing for exams that are focused on “narrow intelligence.” This produces fewer creative and entrepreneurial people, which is precisely what the authoritarian national government of China wants, according to Zhao.”

Zhao warned that the kind of standardization offered by Common Core is a danger to a free culture and a free economy.” (emphasis mine)


When will Republicans and Democrats stop forcing us to pay for this?