The individual health insurance mandate was constitutional before, you know, it wasn’t.

Just where was Senator Mae Beavers in 1993?

Watch this if only to see Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who conceived the idea of the individual health insurance mandate, tap dance for Andrea Mitchell (at 4:06).

And let us not forget that the health insurance reform is not universal health care nor does it include a public option, it is an expansion of the private health insurance system we have now. Combine this with the mandate thing and Republican opposition seems even more absurd.

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UPDATE: More video of the “breathtaking cynicism” coming from Republicans in Washington:

Sen. Hatch (R-UT) says he once supported an individual mandate without knowing he did — simply as a tactic to stop the Clinton plan.

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Tea Party at Tn Capitol 3Here are some pictures from the Tennessee Tea Party visit to the Capitol this morning. They were taken during the right wing extremist red-meat speeches given by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) and Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), two of the Co-Prime Sponsors of the Tennessee Health Freedom Act.

Did Sen. Beavers really say to the “crowd” that this bill would allow them to choose to keep their private health insurance? Can’t they do that now?

I will try to remember more of what was said but mostly all I heard was “blah blah blah.”

We at Liberadio(!) hope the TNGOP continues to follow the leadership of Lt. Governor Ramsey and Sen. Mae Beavers. Please, oh please, oh please. Because while you’re doing that we’ve be over here explaining that affordable health care coverage for your kids without having to worry about pre-existing conditions is right around the corner.

Tea Party at Tn Capitol 1

Tea Party at Tn Capitol 2

This poor guy was confused. He thought they said “Pirate Party”
Pirate Party

UPDATE: More from Woods – Under Siege at the Legislature: Tea Partiers Howl Over Health Care Reform

UPDATE II: Another eye witness account – this picture and a quote:

I just took this picture this morning with my phone. It was about 10:45 AM and the guy at the podium was speaking to “everyone”- at one point he said, “And it won’t stop with healthcare…next we’ll get immigration, cap and trade, education!”

Tea Party in Nashville

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Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey as John CalhounSo yesterday we posted about a bill sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and supported by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Running for Governoe) – esp. in front of the news cameras -that will do absolutely nothing to protect Tennesseans and their families from losing everything they’ve worked for – home, savings, college funds, access to the American Dream – if they lose their health insurance or get hit with “you have a pre-existing condition so we’re won’t cover your ***insert horrible and life-threatening illness here*** treatment” response from their insurance company.

Last night Newschannel 5’s Scott Arnold reported that the bill wasn’t even Sen. Beavers’ idea but the brainchild of a Washington D.C.-based group (founded in 1973 by anti-good government conservative corporatist Paul Weyrich) who have spent a ton on political contributions and whose sole mission is to set the stage for a showdown between the states and the federal government.

Oh, the places we won’t go with the weird and self-serving priorities of the TNGOP!

In addition, according to a report in the New York Times, “five of the 24 members of its ‘free enterprise board’ are executives of drug companies and its health care ‘task force’ is overseen in part by a four-member panel composed of government-relations officials for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association of insurers, the medical company Johnson & Johnson and the drug makers Bayer and Hoffmann-La Roche.”

Beavers fiddles, while Tennesseans lose everything.

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Senator Andy BerkeIn these times of economic distress when people are losing their houses, savings, and any hope of access to the American Dream because of health care insecurity, which is more important, fighting for nullification – a battle already fought and lost in 1833 – or fighting for affordable health care for all?

The latter, of course and our intrepid Capitol Hill correspondent Dean (Hey Dean! You’re now our intrepid Capitol Hill correspondent!) posted a synopsis of Senator Andy Berke (D-Chattanooga) taking a stand today for what really matters most to Tennesseans:

In other HC news, the Tennessee Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to require the state attorney general to mount a legal challenge to any federal law to require participation in a health care system.

The “Tennessee Health Freedom Act” sponsored by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) passed without debate on a 26-1 vote, with five abstentions.

Beavers, showing her ignorance, said her proposal seeks to check congressional power. Otherwise the federal government “could mandate that each of us buy a Chevrolet every year so we could help pay of the loans that were made to the industry,” she foolishly said.

Only Democratic Sen. Andy Berke of Chattanooga had a clue. He said the bill “doesn’t do anything to help the citizens of Tennessee who either need insurance or need a break in what they’re paying for health care.”

Berke also questioned the constitutionality of the bill.

“This is telling the federal government that we’re not going to obey the laws that you pass,” Berke said. “My education tells me there is the supremacy clause in the Constitution which says that we can’t do that.”

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The Tennessee State Senate State and Local Government Committee meets tomorrow, Tuesday, March 3, at 8:30 am, in Legislative Plaza, Room 12, to discuss eight Voter ID bills that will in effect place a poll tax on voting in Tennessee.

Excuse me, sir, did you show your ID before you got that purple finger?

Excuse me, sir, did you show your photo ID before you got that purple finger?

These eight bills were all introduced by Republicans – the Party of preventing the vote – in an effort to fulfill Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey’s post-election day promise to give “new life” to certain issues including “‘pro-business issues’, 2nd Amendment issues, abortion issues, and illegal immigration issues… voter ID specifically and SJR 127.”

SB0150 and SB1681 by Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), as well as SB0587 by Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and SB0191 by Dewayne Bunch (R-Cleveland) would make showing”qualified photographic identification” at the polls before voting mandatory. SB0173 and SB0886 by Senator Ketron, and SB0194 by Senator Bunch “requires citizenship status to be proven prior to registration to vote and requires certain procedures to ensure identity and citizenship status prior to voting.”

While on the surface these bills may seem like a good idea, they are really a solution in search of a problem and will actually do more to disenfranchise voters than maintain the integrity of our elections.

The Brennan Center of Justice has studied the issue of voter fraud extensively and have concluded that someone is more likely to be hit by lightning than commit voter fraud. They also analyzed the more than 250 claims of fraud in the Supreme Court’s photo ID case and found that there was “not one proven case of a fraudulent vote that the challenged law could prevent.”

In 2007, the Election Assistance Commission, the federal panel responsible for conducting election research, altered their findings so they could report that “the pervasiveness of fraud was open to debate.”

From October 2002 to September 2005, the Justice Department indicted only 40 voters for registration fraud or illegal voting, 21 of whom were noncitizens and during the same time period, only 95 defendants were charged with federal election-fraud-related crimes in the whole country.

Remember the U.S. Attorney General scandal? All because the justice department tried to force State AG’s into ferreting out non-existent cases of voter fraud.

And take Texas’ Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott who “declared war on what he claimed was rampant vote fraud in Texas” and “set up a special vote fraud unit and got a $1.4 million grant from the feds for the work.” That was in 2006. In 2008, the Dallas Morning News reported on the results of his efforts – 26 cases, all involving Democrats, and almost all involving minorities.

Even the federal court of appeals judge who wrote the majority decision upholding an Indiana voter identification law enacted in 2005 said, “As far as anyone knows…no one in Indiana, and not many people elsewhere, are known to have been prosecuted for impersonating a registered voter.”

Between 13 and 22 million people in the United States do not have a photo id. A disproportionately large number of them are elderly and in poverty. These bills have the potential of disenfranchising thousands of people in this state alone.

It’s already happened to the poor, the elderly, and the poor, elderly nuns in other states.

Members of the Senate State and Local Government Committee:

Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro, the fightin’ 13th), Chair, Lowe Finney (D-Jackson), Vice Chair, Joe Haynes (D-Goodlettsville), Secretary, Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville), Mike Faulk (R-Church Hill), Thelma Harper (D-Nashville), Mark Norris (R-Collierville), Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), Ken Yager (R-Harriman)

Please call and email to tell them to just say no to these bills.

UPDATE: Goldni asks a great question over at a Kleinheider joint. Will the act of obtaining a photo create even more barriers:

Here’s an honest question–I would guess that most people do not register to vote at a central office, at an election commission or DMV. In election years, voter registration is often done by campaign volunteers, who distribute the forms and then mail them to the election commission. It’s convenient for voters to be able to register on the spot. Does this mean that voter registration will now have to be done in only a few locations so that pictures can be made?

That’s where I’m worried about the suppression, not so much the monetary cost. It makes it more difficult to register to vote, if there are only a few places to do so.

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