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”
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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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Tennessee GOP Leaders: Fringey McFringersons

Ron Ramsey ReadsWhen Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey answered Mac Davis’ question yesterday and crossed over into the birther world you could tell he was trying hard to pacify Davis, a well-respected lawyer, a leader in the Tennessee Republican Party, and a guy who truly believes (despite evidence to the contrary) that there is a “great preponderance of the evidence” that President Obama is not a citizen.

So at what point should Lt. Governor Ramsey stand up to the “Old Guard” and risk pissing them off? Probably about the time they start ’roundin’ the bend into fringe town.

Southern Beale writes today what Mr. Ramsey should have said:

Maclin Davis, you scare the crap out of me. You’re one of the leading attorneys in this city, a leading figure with the state Republican Party, and you’ve embraced a fringe idea like birtherism to the point where you are calling for state legislators to enact actual legislation? And lawsuits?

More from Politico and Salon.

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Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey Sinks to a New Low

Ron RamseyUsing the abortion issue as a political football is about as offensive and distasteful as Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey can get in his bid for the Governor’s office.

Until he starts being a more responsible legislator and targeting what really works – reducing the number of unintended pregnancies by advocating for age-appropriate reproductive health education in public schools, affordable contraception for all, or some other useful public policy – he needs to just stop.

And where is he on Tennessee’s abysmal infant mortality rate?

Aunt B. has more.

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Summary: Featuring guests Ben Tribbett, Executive Director of Accountability Now! PAC, Dr. Reginald Coopwood, CEO of the Nashville Hospital Authority, and Karl Frisch of Media Matters for America.

Part 1 Mary prepares to unleash (ha!) the congressman Barney Frank on Halloween households all across America and if you think that’s scary, what until you hear what Republican State Senator Ron Ramsey wants to do to fair elections in Tennessee. Plus, Mary and Freddie try to understand just what, exactly, Ben Trippett and Accountability Now PAC have uncovered about Coop. [22.62MB download mp3]

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Part 2 Reginald Coopwood, M.D., CEO of the Nashville Hospital Authority tells us about their health facilities, the best-kept secret in Nashville, and Karl Frisch does his best Elbert Ventura impression in the next generation of the Media Matters for America Smackdown. Plus, President Obama’s foreign policy has all but isolated Iran from the world community. So why is the right-wing still calling him a surrender monkey? [22.62MB download mp3]

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Guber Candidate Ron Ramsey takes aim at fair elections.

Guber Candidate Ron Ramsey takes aim at fair elections.

Last week, Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey appeared with Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett and at an event in Kingsport and told business leaders that not only wouldn’t they follow the law and implement the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act (TVCA), but delaying it would be a legislative priority during the next session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

Clearly, GOP leadership does not want the voters in Tennessee to have confidence in their elections.

They also clearly want to suppress voter turnout.

I wrote earlier of all the ways in which the Tennessee GOP can suppress the vote (voter roll purging, creating partisan election administrations, baseless accusations of voter fraud, etc.) and why they feel it necessary to do so (“…our leverage in elections…goes up as the voting populace goes down…,” Moral Majority founder Paul Weyrich).

Keeping the 100% unverifiable touch-screen electronic voting machines in Tennessee is simply another tool in their arsenal of voter suppression tactics.

Using electronic voting machines as a tool of voter suppression can be accomplished in two ways:

1) It takes much longer to vote on a touch-screen electronic voting machine than on paper ballot, thereby creating long lines that discourage participation. Only one voter can vote on a machines at one time, but 10, 20, 30, etc. voters can all vote on paper ballots at the same time.

2) The allocation of voting machines, which is controlled by county election commissions (all 95 county election commissions are now controlled by a Republican majority), can be manipulated so that voting precincts in certain areas are allocated too few voting machines, thereby creating long lines which, you got it, discourages voter participation.

Don’t let Tre Hargett and Ron Ramsey tell you that “it’s about the money.” The state has over 35 million dollars in reserve from the federal government that can only be spent on the purchase of new voting equipment.

And don’t let them tell you that there are no machines available to purchase that could count the paper ballots required by the new law. 49 states and two Tennessee counties have already used these types of machines in election after election without incident.

Delaying the TVCA and keeping the touch-screen electronic voting machines we use now is undoubtedly another voter suppression tactic to add to their arsenal

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Below is a list of voter suppression tactics used by those in power to suppress voter turnout. There are two reasons why it is important to pay attention to voter suppression tactics now even though we do not have a statewide election until next year:

1) Some of these tactics are being used in Tennessee right now in anticipation of the statewide election next November.

2) Traditionally, Democrats do better when turnout is high. Republicans know it. Huckabee even called it “the Lord’s work.”

Frankly, the reality is that the Tennessee GOP is systematically looking for ways to prevent certain voters from casting a ballot next year. They started during last session with a plan to delay auditable and recountable paper ballots (Tennessee Voter Confidence Act or TVCA) and introduce photo ID laws. And last week Secretary of State Tre Hargett and GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey tipped their hand for what’s next, in addition to continuing to push for the delay of the TVCA, on their voter suppression agenda.

Voter Suppression Tactics

Want more? Google “voter suppression,” “caging,” and “voter roll purging.” It’s ugly out there and it’s about to get ugly in Tennessee.

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Kudos to Senator Diane Black (R-Gallatin) for agreeing to appear on CNN this afternoon. Opposite kudos for the weasel words that managed to escape from her gob.

In two minutes she managed to completely absolve herself of any responsibility for the actions of her staffer (who sent out a patently racist email), the weak punishment she handed out, and the email itself.

The email “does absolutely not reflect my opinions or my beliefs,” she said. Human resources told her that a “reprimand” was the action that was necessary when “email policy” is broken by a staffer,” she said. The email itself was “inappropriate,” she said (about a gazillion times).

Let’s hope the email doesn’t reflect her beliefs, but if she understood why people are so upset then she might consult, but wouldn’t necessarily rely on, the “policy” of the human resources department to inform her actions. And “inappropriate?” “Inappropriate” is what my two tween nieces shouldn’t watch on TV, like “Desperate Housewives” or **insert name of MTV reality show here**. “Inappropriate” is not proper or suitable. “Inappropriate” is Sen. Diane Black not knowing the difference between “inappropriate” and “demeaning racist behavior.”

And “inappropriate” is Sen. Black not “getting” why her staffer should be fired.

Kris Murphy, Communications Director for Tennessee Citizen Action, clues her in, “Senator Black has African-American constituents who help pay her salary. Will those constituents still feel comfortable calling the Senator’s office now that they know who might be on the other end of the phone?”

Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee, Speaker of the Tennessee State Senate, and gubernatorial fund raiser candidate Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) says a “strong letter of reprimand” was the proper action to take. When the House session ends we should ask Speaker Kent Williams what he would have done if this had happened in the House.

In the meantime, let’s recap today’s events on the hill: 1) Senate Republicans dishonor two of the state’s Nobel Prize winners, 2) Lt. Governor Ramsey crashes a pre-k press conference (h/t A Kleinheider Joint), 3) and Senator Black goes on CNN and makes it all about her.

No wonder God almost sent us a tornado.

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