Tag Archives: Tennessee

First Republican Woman To Float 2016 Presidential Bid: Tennessee Congresswoman Blackburn

PORTSMOUTH, N.H., April 11, 2014– According to her staff, United States Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) will consider running for president in 2016. An aide informed RealClearPolitics that if Blackburn “sees an opportunity” she would seize it. Blackburn represents Tennessee’s 7th federal congressional district.

“If there’s a door to kick down, she’s willing to kick it down,” the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said. “These are the kinds of events you go to — test the waters, and see what the reaction is.”

Blackburn is scheduled to be one of the speakers at a New Hampshire Republican rally this coming weekend. She will join United States Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), United States Senator Ted Cruz (R- Texas) and former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.)

The RealClearPolitics article goes on to cite Blackburn as a “staunch fiscal conservative”. However, a quick Google search dispels  all myths that, as of late, the Congresswoman is a staunch fiscal conservative.

According to her FreedomWorks “conservative on fiscal issues” score, Blackburn has not scored above 80% in three years. Her current score is a 71%, which is two points lower than last year.

At 77%, Club for Growth, the number one fiscally conservative PAC in the nation, gave Blackburn a not so conservative rating in 2013. She sits in 83rd place with regards to upholding the PAC’s credentials of supporting “constitutionally limited government” and “sound economic policy”.

The Heritage Foundation, Washington’s conservative think-tank juggernaut, rates Blackburn on par with other conservative organizations. The think-tank has currently issued her a weak 77%.

Even the National Journal, a moderately conservative publication, rated Blackburn as being “more liberal” than 1/5 of Congress (2013) when it came to sound fiscal policy. This score should be considered generous when considering the source.

To Blackburn’s credit, the Congresswoman once boasted incredibly strong scores during her first years in Congress. In fact, she was rated as having a 100% fiscally conservative score by multiple groups during her first term. However, that was years ago, and voting records don’t lie. As Blackburn’s time in Congress has progressed, her votes have become more and more progressive as well.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & Twitter: @MichaelLotfi

Republicans kill pro-Second Amendment bill in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, March 18, 2014- Senate Republicans in Tennessee voted to kill a pro-Second Amendment bill that would have protected Tennessee citizens from unconstitutional federal gun laws on Tuesday.

SB1607, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R), would have made it illegal for state employees and agencies to “cooperate to impose, collect, enforce, or effectuate any fine, penalty, or other federal enactment or federal enforcement action in this state (Tennessee).”

The legislation continued:

(a) Any federal enactment or federal enforcement action relating to firearms,
firearm accessories or ammunition, is void in this state.
(b) Any federal enactment or federal enforcement action impacting or infringing
upon the rights of individuals or entities relative to firearms, firearm accessories or
ammunition, is void in this state.

Those found in violation of the law would have been subject to possible charges of a Class A misdemeanor leading up to possible Class C felony for subsequent offenses.

The final vote was 3-4 (one abstention). Republican senators Campfield, Green and Bell voted in favor of the bill. Joining Senator Finney (D), Republican senators Kelsey, Overby, and Stevens voted to kill the bill. Senator Ford (D) abstained.

Those Republicans voting against the bill attempted to cite that federal law was supreme over state law, which would make Beavers’ bill in violation of Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution. This clause is often cited as the “Supremacy Clause”.

However, these Republicans are misinterpreting the clause. The clause reads: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land… [emphasis added].” This means that only laws, which are passed in pursuance to the federal Constitution, can be considered supreme over state laws. 

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government delegated the power to pass any sort of restriction, mandate or law with regards to arms. In fact, one only need to read the Second Amendment to note that the federal Constitution itself explicitly prohibits it.

Therefore, no federal law with regards to arms can be considered supreme. These laws have not been made in pursuance to the federal Constitution due to the fact that the Constitution explicitly prohibits such laws.

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Tennessee legislators vote to nullify some federal roadside checkpoints

NASHVILLE, March 11, 2014– A bill which would nullify federal “voluntary” checkpoints in the Volunteer State State moved another step towards law today. Sen. Mike Bell filed Senate Bill 1485 in January (SB1485). It passed on Jan 27 unanimously by a 37-0 vote. And today, the House concurred by a vote of 91-0.

It reads, in part:

No state, county, municipal or metropolitan form of government law enforcement officer shall participate in, lend assistance to, or be present in any official capacity at any voluntary motor vehicle checkpoint or stop conducted by a private company or research group to collect a human sample from consenting motorists stopped at the checkpoint for research or statistical purposes.

The bill stipulates that the law will apply “whether the checkpoint is funded by federal grant or contract with a federal agency and regardless of whether the motorists consenting to a giving a human sample are compensated or not.”

Practically speaking, the bill would block roadblocks set up as part of a multimillion dollar federal study run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation based in Maryland operates the checkpoints, run by uniformed officers. Officers offer motorists cash for DNA samples, generally $10 for a cheek-swab and $50 for blood. Officers reportedly up the ante for motorists who refuse, offering $100. Furthermore, officers have been reported to force motorists perform checkpoint activities even after total refusal.

The federal government lacks constitutional authority to fund or run such a study, and there is no legal or constitutional requirement for state or local law enforcement to help the federal government carry it out. This bill would nullify the effort in Tennessee.

The bill now moves to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s desk for a signature.

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Fully restrained inmate pepper-sprayed by sheriff & left to suffer


NASHVILLE, January 30, 2014–  A video below shows a completely restrained inmate getting pepper spayed in the face by Rutherford County Deputy Sheriff Vanderveer. Vanderveer claims that the inmate was being combative in a report. However, the video evidence does not warrant those claims.

Although the events leading up to the sheriff’s assault on the inmate are  not immediately clear, the inmate in no way seems combative during the duration of the video.

According to the video provided by the Rutherford County Tennessee Beacon, The inmate was sprayed in the face and left in the room to choke on the fumes without the ability to use his hands or feet for at least fifteen minutes.

Vanderveer received a warning from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s office where the event took place.

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Tennessee conservatives say GOP Governor doesn’t support 2nd Amendment rights

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) pictured with President Obama
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) pictured with President Obama

NASHVILLE, January 29, 2014– The Tennessee Firearms Association today expressed disappointment in what they call “Governor Bill Haslam’s (R) continuing anti-Second Amendment rhetoric” regarding an upcoming guns-in-parks bill pending in the Tennessee legislature.

“The fact that Governor Haslam is aligning himself with liberal Democrats such as Nashville Mayor Karl Dean on this issue is troubling” said Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris. “But this should come as no surprise given Governor Haslam’s record of being against the rights of law abiding gun owners and more consistently siding with Mayor Bloomberg’s fights oppressing basic human rights.”

In 2009, Haslam supported a ban on handguns in city parks while serving as Mayor of Knoxville. He was also a member of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun coalition, curiously misnamed Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Haslam only withdrew from public support of Mayor Bloomberg’s attack on the 2nd Amendment just prior to announcing his run for the office of governor in Tennessee, which was about the same time that he suddenly became an NRA member.

When he ran for Governor, Haslam promised the Tennessee Firearms Association’s members in an open, video taped meeting that he was very supportive of the Second Amendment.  He further announced at that video taped meeting that he would even sign a “constitutional carry” law into effect if he became governor.  Looking back, however, Haslam has not asked that a constitutional carry bill be passed nor has he generally been viewed as being even remotely supportive of Second Amendment initiatives.

Senate Bill 1496, (SB1496) which comes up for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, would restore Second Amendment protections to permit holders in all city and county parks, including all local greenways, in Tennessee. The result would be that handgun permit holders would be able to carry without fear of criminal prosecution in all federal, state and local parks in Tennessee.

However, Haslam has made recent comments concerning the bill showing his opposition to removing the local government infringements of the Second Amendment in city and county parks for individuals who can legally carry firearms.

(Tennessee Firearms Press Release)

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LOTFI: Tennessean newspaper columnists grossly misinterpret Constitution


NASHVILLE, January 27, 2014—Recently, Tennessean columnists Gail Kerr and Phil Kramer both penned separate columns full of insults and name-calling, which equate to little less than political hit pieces against state Senator Beavers (R) in which the two grossly misinterpret critical facts surrounding the Health Care Freedom and Noncompliance Act (SB1888).

The two poorly attempt to repudiate the legislation, and in doing so, prove critical deficiency of a working knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court case law.

Kramer states in his column that the bill cannot fly because the federal government can commandeer state governments to carry out federal law. “I was taught this in public school. It is called The Supremacy Clause, which is part of Article VI of the Constitution. Basically, if a federal and state law contradicts, then the federal law is supreme,” wrote Kramer.

Kerr echoes Kramer’s interpretation of the Supremacy Clause: “It’s not just a bad bill, it’s almost certainly illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is constitutional. State laws cannot trump federal laws.”

First, the Supreme Court did not rule the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) constitutional. Clearly, the two have never read National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, which is the actual case, not what they have read in the headlines. The Court redefined the health care law to be interpreted as such, which was more suitable to the possibility of constitutionality. Therefore, as drafted by lobbyists and passed by Congress, the health care law is not found to be constitutional, as proven by the need to redefine the law by the Court, to the dissent of multiple Justices.

Second, a government run school taught that big government was supreme?  Shocking.

This supposed Supremacy Clause of the Constitution reads, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land…” (emphasis added).

Note these words in particular: “…shall be made in Pursuance thereof—this Constitution.” The federal Constitution delegates less than two dozen powers to the national government. Health care is not one of them. Health care is, in fact, a power of police, which are powers delegated to the state and local governments.

With regards to police powers, Justice Day wrote in Supreme Court opinion:

In interpreting the Constitution it must never be forgotten that the nation is made up of states, to which are entrusted the powers of local government. And to them and to the people the powers not expressly delegated to the national government are reserved. The power of the states to regulate their purely internal affairs by such laws as seem wise to the local authority is inherent, and has never been surrendered to the general government” (emphasis added). (Hammer v. Dagenhart; 247 U.S. 251 1918)

Is health care a power expressly delegated to the national government? No.

Set aside the two columnists’ misinterpretations of the Supremacy Clause. Why? It doesn’t even matter. SB1888 in no way conflicts with the federal health care law. The law has nothing to do with federal vs. state supremacy. As Kramer himself points out, it is a matter of commandeering.

SB1888 is an anti-commandeering, noncompliance bill. What is anti-commandeering? It is a 100% legal doctrine handed down by the Supreme Court in four separate rulings over the past 172 years, which states that the federal government cannot force state and local governments to enforce federal regulations.

What does case law tell us of commandeering? Most famously, in Printz v. United States, the Court found that state legislatures are not subject to federal direction, and that Congress could not force states to carry out their duties.

According to Justice Scalia, “Most conclusively in these cases, the Court’s jurisprudence makes clear that the Federal Government may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program.”  Justice Thomas expounds, “Although I join the Court’s opinion in full, I write separately to emphasize that the Tenth Amendment affirms the undeniable notion that under our Constitution, the federal government is one of enumerated, hence limited, powers.”

The well-established anti-commandeering doctrine forms the legal basis of SB188, which reads:

“No state entity shall establish or administer, or assist in establishing or administering, any specific regulatory scheme to operate the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or any subsequent federal amendment to such act, in this state.”

The legislation, as written, has nothing to do with federal supremacy. It is a bill, which simply states that Tennessee–including its employees–will not be commandeered, nor coerced into implementing or operating the regulations stemming from Obamacare.

Furthermore, the bill will not cause those Tennesseans who have signed up for Obamacare to lose their coverage, as Kerr claims.

The two columnists both claim that SB1888 would be illegal. Both are hereby challenged to cite Supreme Court case law to prove their fanciful theories correct.

(Opinion) Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook and on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi

BREAKING: Tennessee files historic legislation; Takes aim at state’s NSA facility

NASHVILLE, January 22, 2014–  As eight states have introduced legislation to keep the NSA out of their borders, Tennessee’s newly introduced legislation packs the strongest punch yet.

The bill is known as the “Tennessee Fourth Amendment Protection Act”. State Senator Stacey Campfield (R) and State Representative Andy Holt (R) are the Senate and House sponsors. The bill was drafted and lobbied for by the Tenth Amendment Center, a national think-tank, which seeks to impede unconstitutional federal laws, regulations and entities on the state level.

“We have an out of control federal agency spying on pretty much everybody in the world. I don’t think the state of Tennessee should be helping the NSA violate the Constitution and the basic privacy rights of its citizens – and we don’t have to,” Campfield said. “This bill may not stop the NSA, but it will darn sure stop Tennessee from participating in unjustified and illegal activities.”

Campfield’s comments hold strong warrant. The NSA has been operating directly underneath the nose of many Tennesseans without them ever knowing. A long-standing secretive NSA computing facility calls Oak Ridge, Tennessee home. According to NSA researcher James Bamford, the NSA runs most data it gathers “from code breaking to word captures,” through computers at it’s facility in Oak Ridge.

The Tennessee Fourth Amendment Protection Act (Senate Bill 1849) will impede the NSA by “refusing material support, participation, or assistance, to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize the collection of  electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person, place and thing to be searched and seized.

From a practical standpoint, the legislation covers four major areas.

• Prohibits state and local agencies from providing any material support to the NSA within their jurisdiction. Includes barring government-owned utilities from providing water and electricity.

• Makes information gathered without a warrant by the NSA and shared with law enforcement inadmissible in state court.

• Blocks public universities from serving as NSA research facilities or recruiting grounds.

• Disincentivizes corporations attempting to fill needs not met in the absence of state cooperation.

Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey provided the following statement:

“When Sen. Ward in Arizona announced a few weeks back that she planned to introduce the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, it was a novelty. People had this attitude like, ‘Oh, that’s cute. But it will never amount to anything.’ Today Tennessee makes the eighth state considering action to refuse cooperation with the NSA, including two states with physical facilities within their borders. And mark my words – more are coming. Big ones,” said Maharrey.

“James Madison said several states refusing to cooperate with officers of the union would create obstructions the federal government would not be willing to encounter. As more states get involved in this campaign, it it will create obstructions. This is not symbolic. We intend to make the NSA stop violating the Constitution.”

The Multiprogram Research Facility (MRF) sits discreetly on the East Campus of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Inside this top secret facility, NSA researchers work to build High Productivity Computers. The goal: make machines fast enough to crack encryption.

Numerous sources report the MRF will work in tandem with the data storage center in Bluffdale, Utah. The super-fast computers in Oak Ridge could conceivably break the encryption on reams of data stored in Utah, making its contents accessible to the NSA. This includes data of Americans vacuumed up by the spy agency.

A partnership between the University of Tennessee and Battelle runs the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. UT-Battelle’s contract ends in 2015, but the DOE has already declared its intent and started the process to extend it. That process will take some time and the proposed legislation could stop it.

Many co-sponsors of the Act have come forward to show their support for the legislation including State Rep. Courtney Rodgers (R), Rep. Tilman Goins (R), Rep. Sheila Butt (R), Rep. Terri Weaver (R), Rep. Jeremy Fasion (R) and Senator Mae Beavers (R). No Democrats have signed on as sponsors yet.

State Rep. Joe Carr (R) signed on as a co-sponsor to the Act this morning. Carr is Tea Party candidate currently running a campaign to unseat US Senator Lamar Alexander (R).

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi

Will New Bill Nullify Federal Gun Laws In Tennessee? Legislators Make The Move

TNCAPNASHVILLE, Janurary 16, 2014– An expansion of the 2009 Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act was introduced yesterday by Senator Mae Beavers (SB1607). The bill is designed to protect citizens of Tennessee against federal violations of the 2nd Amendment and 10th Amendment restrictions on Congress.

“Any elected official in Tennessee who works against this bill is frankly siding with President Obama on gun control” Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris notes. “If you don’t vote to protect your own citizens and state from Obama’s liberal gun-grabbing agenda, then you are effectively supporting his gun control scheme and the intentional destruction of the Bill of Rights”.

The 2014 Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act legislation declares that the States expressly prohibits the federal government from having any regulatory authority over firearms in Tennessee based on the 2nd and 10th Amendments in the Bill of Rights.   As a result no federal firearms laws in Tennessee are valid.  The first provision of the bill will mandate criminal penalties for any federal or state official attempting to enforce unconstitutional federal firearms laws within the borders of Tennessee. The second provision empowers citizens to pursue claims by defining federal firearms laws as intentional civil rights violations.

The Tennessee Firearms Association worked closely with Senator Beavers, Tenth Amendment Center specialists and constitutional law experts in crafting this legislation. A House sponsor will be announced in coming days.

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Breaking: TN Legislators Push New Bill To Nullify Obamacare

TN legislators meet to introduce legislation that will nullify Obamacare.
TN legislators meet to introduce legislation that will nullify Obamacare. Photo Credit: Tenth Amendment Center

NASHVILLE, Janurary 15, 2014– Tennessee state lawmakers are pushing a  new piece of legislation, which if passed, will gut the implementation of Obamacare in the state.

Sen. Mae Beavers (R – Mt. Juliet) and Rep.Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) announced Monday that they will sponsor bills to resist implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Tennessee. Based on similar legislation already introduced in Georgia (HB707) and model legislation drafted by the Tenth Amendment CenterSB1680 and its House companion bill would prohibit any cooperation by the state or its agencies in implementing or administering the federal health care program.

From the bill:

“No powers, assets, employees, agents or contractors of the state, including any institution under control of the University of Tennessee or the Tennessee board of regents, or any political subdivision, municipality or other local government entity shall be used to assist in implementing the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or any subsequent federal amendment to such act…”

Tenth Amendment Center national communication director Mike Maharrey says.

“The federal government has no constitutional authority to create or run a national health care system. On top of that, why would you want them to? Why would you want a monopoly on healthcare, any more than you would want a monopoly on grocery sales? Especially a monopoly run by an entity as incompetent as the federal government,” he said. “We know the feds counted on the states to do the heavy lifting. We know the number of states refusing to create exchanges created problems. If enough states simply say, ‘No,’ this monstrosity will collapse under its own weight.”

South Carolina legislators spoke Monday at a rally in support of their own Obamacare nullification legislation. The crowd swelled to more than 400 in the cold rain. Senators Tom Davis and Lee Bright spoke alongside Matt Kibbe (President of DC think-tank, Freedom Works) and Rep. Bill Chumley.

The Tennessee bill will effectively nullify Obamacare.

“This action, especially in conjunction with similar steps being taken in other states, has the effect of nullifying ObamaCare,” he said. “If the feds cannot even build an appropriate website or keep their promises to consumers, they will be extremely hard-pressed to implement the other provisions for this program within our boundaries,” said Pody.

Georgia, South Carolina and now Tennessee are among the many states taking new measures to block the federal healthcare law.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi

Two States Move To Nullify Hemp: One Moves For Marijuana

Tennessee and South Carolina are both moving this legislative season to nullify the federal ban on hemp.

Last month South Carolina introduced SB0839, which would effectively nullify the federal ban on hemp. The bill would “provide that it is lawful to grow industrial hemp in this state; to clarify that industrial hemp is excluded from the definition of marijuana; to prohibit growing industrial hemp and marijuana on the same property or otherwise growing marijuana in close proximity to industrial hemp to disguise the marijuana growth; and to define necessary terms.”

South Carolina’s proposed law simply ignores the federal ban on industrial hemp, which falls under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970.

The Tennessee state legislature began talks last Summer about introducing a hemp nullification bill. That bill has now been filed in the general assembly. State Rep. Jeremy Fasion has filed the House bill, and Senator Frank Niceley is expected to file the Senate bill.

Alaska looks to become the third state to legalize marijuana. The state’s plan will closely mirror that of Colorado’s. A recent state ballot initiative received more than 45k signatures. The petition only needed 30k verified signatures to land a spot on the state ballot for this year.

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“He Has No Drugs & Knows His Rights” Cop From Viral DUI Video Wins Controversial Award

LOS ANGELES, December 23, 2013– Over the Summer BenSwann.com reported on a viral video from a DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County, TN. The video featured Chris Kalbaugh, a Rutherford County citizen, filming his encounter with police at the checkpoint. His encounter has been viewed more than 4.3 million times on Youtbube alone. Controversy swirled as viewers felt the cop was violating Kalbaugh’s constitutional rights. Deputy Ross, from the video, has just won the “Deputy of the Year” award from the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO). The department is responsible for funding DUI checkpoints.

Ross has worked for the Sheriff’s department twice. He resigned after lying to police about having insurance after being in a car accident. A few years later, under a new sheriff, Ross was reinstated.

Gordon Duff, senior editor of VeteransToday.com, one of the country’s largest military veterans newsletters, referred to Ross as “America’s dirtiest cop“.

According to a press release from the Rutherford County Sheriff”s Office, Ross conducts Advanced Roadside Impaired Driver Enforcement training for the GHSO.

“He is Deputy of the Year because he’s passionate about teaching, driving many miles and doing it without big pay,” Burnett said.

Sheriff Lt. Joe Gray, who nominated Deputy Ross, said he is a key player in the Traffic Unit who shares his skills with deputies and other law enforcement officers in Tennessee and the U.S.

He has taught numerous classes for the Sheriff’s Office and for the Governor’s Highway Safety Office in the field of DUI detection, standardized field sobriety testing and drug impairment detection.

“Deputy Ross is this department’s only DRE (drug recognition expert) and as such has performed numerous drug evaluations for this department and for surrounding agencies,” Lt. Gray said. “His knowledge and skills in this area also landed him an invitation to teach at the Tennessee Prosecutor’s Conference, whose members are the district attorney generals and their assistants from the various judicial districts across the state.”

He is also a frequent guest instructor at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy where he teaches Standardized Field Sobriety Testing to new law enforcement officers from across the state.

Many are upset over Ross winning the award. Axl David, Murfreesboro, TN City Council candidate, says that Ross’ nomination is a slap in the face to anyone that has taken an oath to uphold the US Constitution. “I think I speak for many Tennesseans in sending my condolences to the many good law enforcement officers who were passed over for this award. There are many professionals who treat citizens with respect, dignity and honor the Constitution that were simply passed over,” says David.

During the time of the filmed incident, David was the communications director for the Libertarian Party of Tennessee.

Kalbaugh did not wish to comment.

Exclusive: Public Officials Admit They Have Been Scamming Citizens At Red Light Cameras (VIDEO)


Citizens in counties around the country have taken their cases to court when it comes to red light cameras. More often than not, the cameras are found to be unconstitutional. When a driver currently gets a ticket from a red light camera in the city of Murfreesboro, TN, the tickets warn that if payment is not received then the driver registered to that vehicle will lose their license, be reported to the credit bureau, which will negatively impact their credit, and have points issued against their insurance.

However, according to the most recent city council hearing, none of that is true. Tennessee state law, as well as city ordinances, prohibit such action being taken against motorists. The tickets that motorists receive in the mail are essentially making false threats in an attempt to bully them into paying fines that they actually do not have to pay.

According to a group called Citizens Against Photo Enforcement (CAPE) it’s time for the cameras to go, and this new evidence proves the point. A CAPE co-founder provided us with the following statement:

“Despite the fact that the city council decided to continue the automated camera system for one more year, we consider yesterday’s council meeting a tremendous success. One year ago when we originally discussed organizing opposition to the cameras, it was almost certain they were going to double the amount of cameras in our city as well as possibly add speed enforcement cameras. In this current decision, they have decided to only maintain the existing camera infrastructure and not expand the system. There was also healthy questioning to Police Chief Chrisman about the effectiveness of the system that was not present in the past. Most important, the council acknowledged publicly that despite the tickets directly threatening the loss of one’s license and reflecting negatively on one’s credit report, they cannot take any substantial action against those who choose not to pay and simply ignore the ticket. This is because under Tennessee State Law, automated traffic cameras which issue tickets cannot issue moving violations. Because of this, they cannot reflect this on your driving history nor report this charge to a credit agency. In the words of Murfreesboro City Councilman Eddie Smotherman whom was the only one who voted no to continue the contract, paying a ticket in the current system is little more than a complimentary payment.”

The group plans to continue their fight to stop the red light cameras, and say that the new evidence from the council hearing has state-wide implications.

Follow Michael Lotfi On Twitter: @MichaelLotfi 

Mayor Steals $60k In Christmas Toy Money Intended For Children


Yesterday, Billy E. Wilson, the mayor of Greenbrier, TN, was arrested after an extensive investigation, which proved he had been stealing money from the local “Toys For Tots” charity. Every year individuals flood the streets and grocery stores in the small Tennessee town asking for donations, which are supposed to be used to purchase Christmas toys for young children who cannot afford them.

Greenbrier residents say they have been suspecting Mayor Wilson of misconduct for years. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), Mayor Wilson has been placing the donated money in to his personal account since 2005.

Mayor Wilson has been booked into the local county jail on $5k bond with one count of official misconduct and one count of theft over $60k.

Tennessee was recently ranked as the “most corrupt” state in the country. A title, which Mayor Wilson, has helped to secure. The TBI is currently continuing their investigation.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi

Exclusive: Libertarians Win Historical Lawsuit Against Election Committee

Jim Tomasik: Libertarian Candidate for Tennessee State House & Libertarian Party Of Tennessee Chairman

Last year Jim Tomasik was elected as the Tennessee Libertarian Party chairman. Tomasik promised to bring change to the libertarian party of Tennessee (LPTN), make the party a viable force within the state and work tirelessly. Last year at the LPTN state convention one voter asked Tomasik, “Are you willing to put your name on a lawsuit in order to win libertarians the right to be on the ballot?” Tomasik answered, “Of course.”

A report compiled by the LPTN, the Constitution Party and the Green Party of Tennessee shows that the state has some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the country.

Tomasik found himself in an opportune moment to prove himself to those who voted him in. State Representative Lois DeBerry passed away last July from pancreatic cancer. Tomasik was encouraged by supporters to run for the seat. Currently, no republican is seeking the nomination for the 91st State House district. Ramesh Akbari (D) won the democratic nominee weeks ago.

Tomasik decided to throw his hat in. Originally, Tomasik says he was listed as a Libertarian. However, Mark Goins, the republican appointed election coordinator, demanded Tomasik’s party affiliation be changed to “independent”. After Tomasik’s party affiliation was changed, he sued.

Federal Judge William J. Haynes, Jr., chief judge of the Middle Tennessee district delivered his ruling on the case last night. The case, Tomasik et al v. Goins et al, was a major victory for minor parties in the state of Tennessee seeking ballot access.

Judge Haynes ruled that Tomasik not being granted ballot access as a Libertarian was detrimental to his and his voters’ 1st Amendment rights.

Tomasik will be the first candidate listed as a libertarian in the state’s history. As of now, the race is between Tomasik (L) and Akbari (D). Early voting begins today and will last for approximately 2 weeks. The special election will be held on November 21st.

Tomasik spoke with us in an exclusive interview:

Yesterday’s decision in 6th Circuit Federal Court is a milestone for the 1st Amendment in Tennessee. I’m very honored to be the first Libertarian Candidate vying for a Tennessee legislative seat in history to have proper party recognition. Judge Haynes has ordered Mark Goins, State of Tennessee coordinator of Elections, and the Shelby County Election Commission to correct their deceptive attempt to keep vital information from voters in House District 91 by ordering them to change my ballot designation back to libertarian instead of independent. The current election laws were ruled unconstitutional due to the absurd 40k signature requirement, which even the majority party would not have been able to attain within the given time frame.

The LPTN and other minor parties are working with a few state legislators to make Tennessee’s election laws less exclusive.

The LPTN does not yet have a copy of the ruling. However, a link will be provided once it is delivered. To learn more about Tomasik and receive updates about this story visit his official website.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi

ACLU Tells Schools To Stop Praying, Or They May Sue

Tennessee is perhaps best know for country music. “Music City”, as it is known, plays home to the mountain distilled whiskey Jack Daniels (Ole Lady 7 as I like to call it), the Great Smoky Mountains, crazy night life, hot chicken and the buckle of the bible belt. Okay, perhaps not the buckle, but definitely one of the first couple holes.

As reported by the Tennessean,

The ACLU has sent a letter to 135 Tennessee school executives telling them to stop praying at football games. The ACLU of Tennessee reminded school executives that the Supreme Court has ruled multiple times against public prayer.

“Our experience is that many public school administrators and educators struggle with how the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom apply to prayer during their school-sponsored events,” said Hedy Weinberg, the ACLU’s executive director. “Our goal is to make sure that school systems statewide understand these First Amendment guarantees and commit to protecting religious freedom for all students, including athletes, and for their families who attend the games.”

The ACLU was promoted to compose the letter after an East Tennessee football coach publicly endorsed the idea of prayer before football games. However, Weinber hasn’t actually ever received a complaint about prayer before football games.

Weinberg says that the ACLU is prepared to go to court to support families who are “victimized”.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi

Gun Rights Group Executive Calls For End To Common Core Due To Anti-Second Amendment Concerns


Nashville, TN–

The Tennessee Firearms Association, Inc. has called for Tennessee legislators to stop or at a minimum delay implementation of the Common Core standards in Tennessee due to concerns about the teaching materials and testing concerning the Constitution, specifically as regards the Second Amendment.

“We are already seeing textbooks and teaching assignments that are a part of Common Core intentionally or recklessly misrepresenting the Second Amendment in schools across the country,” noted John Harris, Executive Director of the TFA, “and we want to insure that the liberal anti-gun agenda is not allowed to invade Tennessee schools.”

Harris cites examples of Common Core textbooks and teaching assignments that have misrepresented the Second Amendment right to bear arms as limited to a “member of a militia of citizen soldiers.” “That is NOT what the Second Amendment says, nor is it what our Founders intended,” Harris pointed out in releasing a letter to legislators calling for them to support stopping or at a minimum delaying implementation of Common Core in Tennessee schools. Other Common Core lessons have instructed sixth graders to eliminate provisions of the Bill of Rights and have taught that police have the right to confiscate guns in violation of the Constitution.

It is now beyond dispute that Common Core supporters are advancing propaganda as historical fact and doing so in instances where the United States and Tennessee Supreme Courts have made clear that the facts and law are simply not what Common Core claims. For example, one AP History book written in furtherance of Common Core makes false representations concerning the 2nd Amendment that are directly in conflict with both US and Tennessee Supreme Court decisions.  Those misrepresentations falsely claim that the 2nd Amendment is a collective right, if at all, and not a pre-existing individual right that those constitutions recognize and protect.  It omits the Constitutionally enumerated right to “keep” arms and it disregards the state constitutional provision guaranteeing the right of citizens to “wear” arms (See, Art I, Sec. 26, Tenn. Const.)

“We are certain to see more examples of attacks on fundamental constitutional principles as the liberal agenda that is at the core of Common Core is revealed in more assignments and testing materials,” Harris stated. “If it makes sense for Republicans to oppose the immediate implementation of ObamaCare in Washington with promises of repealing it, it makes sense for conservatives in Tennessee to stop or delay implementation of ObamaCore in our schools until we are sure it is right for us.”

Tennessee adopted the common core standards in 2010, which are expected to become fully implemented during the 2014-2015 school year.

Harris' Email To TN State Legislators
Harris’ Email To TN State Legislators

Well funded forces oppose Harris and others who are against common core. In fact, those forces are lobbying the Tennessee legislature just as hard, but with an added cash bonus. A couple months ago we reported on how the founders of the Ayers Foundation are lobbying legislators in Tennessee to push through common core. The foundation has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Obama administration to advance common core in Tennessee. The founders have also donated tens of thousands of dollars to Tennessee GOP legislators for their re-election campaigns.

You can read that story HERE.

Exclusive: Common Core Paying Off Republican Politicians?

Tennessee recently made national headlines for a single city spending $5.2 million to align with the standards of Common Core.

“The new Common Core standards being implemented in states around the country are bringing unforeseen expenses to local districts, like a Tennessee city that had to borrow $5.2 million to buy iPads and laptops for kids as young as kindergarten,” reports Fox News.

The Murfreesboro, TN city council just recently approved the bond issuance last Thursday with a unanimous vote.

So, who exactly is pushing Common Core in the state of Tennessee? Perhaps one of the largest groups lobbying for Common Core in the state is the Ayers Foundation. Jim and Janet Ayers, founders of the organization, are extremely active in Tennessee politics. The Ayers Foundation is in many ways a political think tank. In 2012 the foundation was given a $1.2 million grant to push Common Core standards into the state of Tennessee. If Common Core is successfully implemented in Tennessee, the Ayers foundation is sure to prosper even more.

Emails were recently discovered that show Janet Ayers lobbying the Tennessee state legislature to accept and institute Common Core in the state of Tennessee (pictured below).

Ayers Email










The above addressees are an entire list of the Tennessee state legislature.  Mrs. Ayers urges the entire legislature to side with the few unpopular, establishment GOP politicians in the state of Tennessee who are pushing Common Core. You will notice in the addressee list state senator Jim Tracy (R). Tracy is running for US Congress in Tennessee’s 4th congressional district where he lives. This is the same district that is home to the above referenced city of Murfreesboro, TN, which just spent $5.2 million of money that they did not have to push common core standards.

As it turns out, Jim and Janet Ayers are some of senator Tracy’s largest donors. They both donated the maximum legal amount to Tracy’s campaign just 2 months before this email went out.

Senator Tracy's FEC Filings Showing Donations From Ayers Family.
Senator Tracy’s FEC Filings Showing Donations From Ayers Family

There seems to be a clear lobbying effort in the state of Tennessee from those who seek to benefit from federal dollars, which would funnel in behind a full implementation of Common Core standards being implemented in the sate.

Tracy has attended a meeting in the past, which was geared towards “stopping Common Core” in the state of Tennessee. The meeting was also attended by the very legislators now pushing the standards. Chairman Gresham (who supports Common Core as noted in Ayers’ email above) was also at the meeting, but is pushing hard for the state to implement Common Core regardless of citizens lobbying against it.

The recent lobbying effort and $10,400 donation have raised many eyebrows in a state that is consistently fighting to maintain its conservative identity.

Tennessee Moves to Legalize Hemp

NASHVILLE:  The hemp root seems to be growing deeper into the South. State senator Frank Niceley (R) is currently in the process of drafting legislation that will allow TN to follow in the footsteps of KY by bringing hemp to Tennessee. Kentucky was the first state to re-legalize industrial hemp. Niceley will wait until KY moves forward to see how successful they are in the endeavor before introducing his bill in the next legislative season. Niceley says, “The first flag of the Revolution made by Betsy Ross was woven from the strongest fabric availible, hemp.”

State Senator Frank Niceley (R), A Farmer From Strawberry Plains, TN.
Picture: State Senator Frank Niceley (R), A  Businessman & Farmer From Strawberry Plains, TN.

State representative Andy Holt (R) is assisting Niceley in the journey to legalize hemp. Representative Holt tells us:

“Let me start off by saying that I am the farthest thing from a weed-smoking hippie. I am simply an advocate for strong & sound agricultural policy, and this is one issue that should be addressed so that Tennessee Farmers can begin participating in a new and potentially thriving market. There are innumerable products that can be derived from hemp and I am an advocate for bio-based product development where a balance of symbiotic benefit can be achieved by those in production agriculture and those buyers of products that can be effectively and economically produced with the use of industrial hemp fiber. It’s a win, win. We diversify the agricultural opportunities of the Southeastern United States and supply a locally derived product, or product substitute, to individual or industrial consumers.”

Niceley has a rich history of introducing bills that nullify federal laws, which he views unconstitutional. He introduced a bill to nullify the United Nations within the state of Tennessee. He has also introduced legislation to nullify the 17th amendment and restore the constitutional election process of US senators in Tennessee. He is a bit of a hero to local Tenth Amendment advocates.

If successful, Tennessee will still endure backlash from the feds. Hemp has been illegal to cultivate in America since the late 1930s. In Kentucky, US senators Rand Paul (R) and Mitch McConnel (R) have promised support from D.C.. However, Tennessee may not be so lucky in getting support from their two US Senators as they are consistently at odds with their constituents. In fact, US senator Bob Corker (R-TN) came out strongly against Niceley’s attempt to effectively nullify the 17th amendment in Tennessee because it would have meant a more difficult re-election process for the embattled senator. Many noted this was the first time Corker had ever gone out of his way to be involved in state politics, which drives home the issues of the 17th amendment for Niceley.

Supporters of Niceley and Holt have set up an “Industrial Hemp for TN” Facebook page for Tennesseans to stay interacted with the legislators’ progress. Niceley and Holt are expected to have an influx of grassroots support for their legislation.


Police Shove Man to Ground, Arrest Another for Filming it

Last Friday at 2:00 AM in downtown Nashville, TN 3 men were arrested by police during an incident. It all began when Matthew Paige of the Blackfoot Gypsies left the Broadway bar Layla’s after playing a show. Paige accidentally bumped his amp into Metro officer Jeffrey C. Cason’s police cruiser. Officer Cason had just tried to issue Paige’s girlfriend a citation for double parking near the designated space for musicians to load their equipment on Broadway. The space was being illegally occupied by a taxi.

Paige Being Arrested
Paige Being Arrested

As officer Cason was issuing the citation he claims that Paige then struck his cruiser twice with his amp. Multiple eyewitnesses deny this actually happened. Paige says that he bumped his amp into the police cruiser as he was hauling his stuff to his girlfriend’s vehicle. The officer then accused him of vandalism and asked for his identification. Paige asked why the officer needed his ID. “Shit started getting crazy after that,” says Paige.

Two fellow musicians began to film and take pictures of the event. One musician, Galen Mitchell, was shoved to the ground by another officer. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. After catching this on film, Jefferey Marcom, the second musician, yelled, “this is going on the news!” The police immediately went after Marcom and his camera. They shove him to the ground and arrest him. You can clearly see in the video that Marcom has committed no crime and poses not threat to the officers. Yet, police booked him into jail for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. After unjustly arresting Marcom, they searched him and found drugs. They then charged him for possession. In an affidavit officer Cason says, “we had to physically push Marcom back for our safety.” However, it is clear in the video that the police are the aggressors, not Marcom. You can also hear a woman in the background saying “he’s not resisting”.


Paige set up a Facebook page for Marcom titled, “Free Jefferey Marcom“. The page reads, “Help us raise bail money for Jeffrey Marcom. He is a man that was wrongfully incarcerated for video taping an instance of police brutality.” A benefit show was held last night to help with the costs as well. According to the Facebook page they have raised $1,869 between the show and their online fundraising efforts. According to the local news station, the police involved are under review.

Paige tells us that nothing much has happened since the incident and they are just awaiting their court dates. He adds that they hope to get the word out about the incident.

Journalist Fired for Negative Obama Editorial

President Obama visited Tennessee last week where he was greeted by a mass of protesters. In fact, the entire state seemed to react. Vulnerable republican legislators who are under fire for their more moderate, liberal positions distanced themselves from the President, and then came a surprise from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which is a local newspaper. An article  headlined “Take Your Jobs Plan and Shove it, Mr. President” ran front and center. The article was written by editorial manager, Drew Johnson. Being a medium sized newspaper it is not often that their articles make headlines across the country. However, Johnson changed that. Media from around the country picked up Johnson’s editorial and it became the most read article ever published by the paper. Presbo

Johnson says the next day his boss told him that the headline had offended some people, and in the future to run changes by another editor just to have an extra set of eyes on it. Johnson apologized and agreed to the new policy. The paper fired Johnson the next day for “violating the normal editing process”. However, the new policy was in place only after the paper published the article. Furthermore, most people read it online and Johnson says they could have changed the title at any point. He says, “They fired me for a policy that never existed until after I wrote the piece.” Johnson  also says, “If it had said President Bush instead of President Obama I’d still have my job today.”

Johnson tweeted, “I just became the first person in the history of newspapers to be fired for writing a paper’s most-read article.” Johnson also says through Twitter that his wife was fired months ago for exposing the truth in articles concerning a local power company. The Obama editorial remains online, but with a new title.

Nashville Tea Party founder, Ben Cunningham, set up a donation page yesterday for Johnson stating,

“My Friend, Drew Johnson, did not deserve to be fired and certainly not within two weeks of his wedding and shortly before his birthday. In fact, He deserves a bonus and I hope you will join with me and see that he gets rewarded for asserting the most precious right we all have and that is free speech.”

So far, almost $1,500 has been raised.

We spoke with Johnson briefly yesterday and he did not wish to further comment publicly on the event, as he was celebrating his birthday.