Thursday, December 27, 2012

'There Is No American Left'

We are privatizing our public institutions into morally corrupt profit engines, while ramping up to imprison dissent, and any semblance of a liberal alternative is no more than a hopeless vision---the rich and powerful and political bosses are putting their foot down---on the necks of Americans who used to have a fair chance at dignity and a living wage.  While the Democrats are less extreme than the Republicans in this bull rush to the Far Right, they are equally guilty for their enabling lack of resistance.

Here's what we are talking about in this story from an Australian magazine:

   'There Is No American Left'

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Politicians Fight Hard for New Law to Take Away Your Civil Rights

Speak No Evil....or Else     The National Defense Authorization Act
gives the government the leeway to imprison any of us for any amount of time in a secret military facility without any civil rights, including a trial or the light of day.  Sen. John McCain, heading a committee, just removed an amendment which would have blunted some of the government's authority to detain American citizens, which harks back to the days of World War II when the U.S. imprisoned 110,000 Japanese without due process.  This is the story of the next chapter in America's destruction of democracy and acceptance of fascism. Under the Department of Homeland Security, military police will be sent by  Corporate-Government Powers to control the angry masses of citizens who have been shoved out of a rigged system.   Click to Read about this from Chris Hedges.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Wal-Mart Way: Bribing Their Way Around the World

'Save Money Live Bitter' twists the company's slogan
at a check-out counter in Bartlett, Tennessee. 
--Photo by Citizens Media Resource
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it illegal for U.S. corporations to bribe foreign officials to get the favors, the special treatment, the suppression of competition---whatever it wants---to give it a strategical edge.  Has that stopped Wal-Mart?

Wal-Mart's alleged bribes of officials in Brazil, China, Mexico and India have begun getting attention in the press.  This NYT investigative story exposes the anatomy of corruption as Wal-Mart was doing whatever it took to get its way at the expense of ancient pyramids and modern-day residents in a Mexican tourist town.  Click to read.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Geeking Out:" National Economic Council Report Lays Out How President's Tax-Cut Plan Would Affect Tennesseans

To go directly to the report:

This report, the President's Plan to Extend the Middle-Class Tax Cuts Impact on Tennessee, from the National Economic Council, lays out what the President is proposing and gives scenarios for Tennessee families.

On another note, as much as I hate the dramatically termed "fiscal cliff," my accuracy button also is pushed when I hear it said that President Obama's proposal cuts taxes for 98 per cent, period. Even the President refers to it as the "middle-class tax cuts," since the majority of working Americans would be the most affected. For example, per the attached report, a working family of four in Tennessee making a median income of $63,700 would pay $2,200 more in taxes from a combination of the 10% bracket being eliminated and loss of the expanded child credit and marriage penalty relief.
While it is the case that those who have the least money are most likely to spend it out of necessity, thus most stimulating our consumer-driven economy, the truth is that the President's proposal is an "everybody" tax cut down to the first dollar of income---even for the wealthiest Americans---which makes it apply to 100% of taxpayers, not 98%. This is not to mention other changes which lie outside the income bracket portion and which variously could affect all income levels.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

This Is the Mother of All Screw Jobs, and Americans Don't Even Know About It

Here's a story that will make your blood boil...two of them, actually, must-reads to get a handle on this colossal rip-off and what it means.  The first story will warm you up, and the second story below explains how 'free trade' means freedom for the transnational corporations to monopolize, pollute, ignore rules, etc. at the expense of the people of all these countries, who are being cut down to a powerless slave class...Is the Obama administration about to sell us down the river?

Why So Secretive? The Trans-Pacific
Partnership as Global Coup 

By Andrew Gavin Marshall,

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the most secretive and “least transparent” trade negotiations in history.  Click to read more at

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: What "Free Trade" Actually Means

By Andrew Gavin Marshall,

To discuss “free trade agreements” or the “free market,” we must first identify the theoretical versus the functional definitions of these terms – because theoretical definitions look at what those terms should mean, whereas functional definitions look at what the terms mean actually.

The theoretical definition of a “free market” is one in which every individual actor in the realm of exchange exists in a state of equality of opportunity; where all compete with one another to produce the best products at the cheapest prices for consumers, thus the most innovative and efficient producers succeed while others fail, unregulated - and unhelped - by the state. Within “free markets,” what we call “free trade agreements” are meant to reduce barriers such as tariffs, subsidies and regulations so that market "competitors" can freely move products and goods across borders and compete in an ever-expanding global “free market."

The functional, or technical, definition of a “free market” is one in which the state regulates the market – the realm of economic exchange and activity – for the benefit of large transnational corporations and banks.

Click to Continue reading at

Friday, November 23, 2012

Employees Have Had Enough of the Wal-Mart Way

"Save Money; Live Bitter" photographed recently at an area Wal-Mart

Workers who are unable to earn a living wage at Scrooge-Mart, the nation's largest employer, walked out on Black Friday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Play Nice on Election Day:" The Tennessean

Tennessean ran my op-ed about being a Democrat on Election Day in Williamson County.  Click to read.

Below is the uncut version.  See if you can guess who is the "famous country music singer" or the "widely known basketball coach," whom I allowed to remain nameless.

Spirit of Democracy Requires Election Day Etiquette

Let's play nice on election day.  We can be cordial even if we disagree.

For instance, don't flip off anyone who holds a sign you don't like.  Don't roll your window down and cuss someone who is not feelin' it for your candidate. 

In years past, some of my friends and family members have stood outside the 100-foot boundary at polling locations in Williamson County.  We smile, greet people, thank everyone for voting regardless of perceived party affiliation and encourage the support of our candidates.  We approach it like a tail-gating atmosphere, and we enjoy meeting new people and seeing neighbors and friends. 

When people make nasty remarks, we do not reply in kind.  We must all get along---we live and work together.  We have more in common than differences. 

Nonetheless, it is hard not to be stunned when things like these are said and done:

"You should be ashamed of yourselves," one man said to Obama supporters on election day 2008.  While we were trying to figure out what we were supposed to be ashamed of, his wife said, "You are not an American," to my wife, who was born in Alabama.

Flailing her arms and poncho, another woman started yelling at us as soon as she got out of her car and hit the sidewalk, angrily clip-clopping her boots toward us.

"Obama's going to run this country into the ground," she finished as she turned to walk inside.

I bit my tongue to keep from saying, "It's too late; Bush already did."

A little girl, whose mother had brought her to learn about voting, was frightened by the woman's outburst.  I had taken her picture as she held an Obama sign.  The mother said, "Please do not use her picture anywhere that the public can see her."

A widely known basketball coach, who shall remain nameless, stalled in his tracks, a sneer-smile crossing his lips, when I asked him to vote for my candidates.  To his credit, he did not say anything nasty.

A famous country singer, who shall remain nameless, got carried away with the moment and about fell off her stilettos while walking one way and leering back at us over her shoulder.  To her credit, she did not launch a diatribe.

Poll workers on the inside must put duty over party.  A poll worker during the 2008 primary put his arm around my wife and said, "I'm going to help you vote," when he acted as if the voting machine would only display Republican candidates.

Even Ashley Judd has felt this in Williamson County.  "You just voted for the wrong one," a poll worker once told her.  "Unacceptable," Judd recently told a gathering of Tennessee Democrats.  "That is inappropriate."

A school crossing guard got fired in 2008 after a Republican voter complained to the Franklin police that she was talking to a woman with an Obama sign.  She was later reinstated after someone came to his senses.

The press does not report on these uncomfortable things, the sign-stealing and this underbelly of politics at the person-to-person level.  If you want a he-said, she-said to this story, a counterpart that says there are over-the-top Democrats who try to intimidate Republicans in Williamson County, it simply does not exist. 

Williamson County is the sixth largest Democratic voting bloc in the state.  Still, there are those in Williamson County who would like to deny the existence of Democrats there, just as they are in denial about there being  hungry children in Williamson County or that Obama was born in Hawaii or that Democrats are entitled to breathe the same air. I think those do not represent the GOP mainstream in Williamson County and Middle Tennessee, although they have grabbed the microphone locally and nationally. 

Elections heighten emotions.  There's a lot at stake.  For me it's a matter of whose side are you on:  People and democracy or the big-money players who are taking over our government? 

That's what pushed our Founders over the edge: the teaming up of a giant transnational corporation (British East India Company) and the government (King George III), who handed the faltering monopoly a bailout which involved taxing American colonists. 

Does any of this sound familiar?

Thomas Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave at our dying democracy.  If you would not cuss out or flip off Thomas Jefferson, don't flip off my friends and family for exercising the rights which protect you as well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

'I Don't Want Everybody to Vote!'

This is where it came out in the open, the Republican agenda for holding down the vote.

"I don't want everybody to vote," the late Paul Weyrich tells an evangelical summit in this 1980 video. 

Weyrich is considered the Mac Daddy of the Religious Right, having founded the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and other Radical Right groups.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Spirit of Democracy Requires Election-Day Etiquette

Let's play nice on election day.  We can be cordial even if we disagree.

For instance, don't flip off anyone who holds a sign you don't like.  Don't roll your window down and cuss someone who is not feelin' it for your candidate. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pants on Fire

One of the overarching questions of this campaign is how our nation's national political press, not exactly known for in-depth explorations of actual national issues, and certainly not known for their skills at reporting the actual facts of those issues, as opposed to which politicians are making which claims on which days about those issues, would react to it. This may be the first modern campaign to be premised quite so explicitly on truthiness, the Colbertian notion that what sounds true is an absolutely more valid political sentiment than what actually is true; that, in turn, would seem to render the entire point of the national press obsolete.
Why bother reporting at all, if each person can simply make up their own reality at will, assert it to be true, believe it to be true, and act upon it as if it were true? If the entire premise of informed democracy be separated from reality and rendered into a contest of pure propaganda, it seems a thin democracy indeed; if the point of the press is not to prevent such an outcome, but assist it, then they are not much more than an outlet for free-of-charge campaign advertisement.
The superlative example (at least so far: God help us, I am certain there will be more) would be the entire premise of the Republican National Convention: We built that. That this soundbite is manufactured from a doctored quote is not in dispute. The same doctored quote—a ragged, James O'Keefe style editing of a presidential speech crafted explicitly to mislead listeners into thinking something was said that was not actually said—was played multiple times during the convention itself. It was known to be false; the origins of the edits were known as well; the media had already pointed out, albeit to little effect, that the quote was doctored; it was made the central talking point of a national political convention anyway, and with staff assertions that the campaign was not going to be "dictated to" by fact-checkers, ergo, by the actual facts.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

GOP's Grand Strategy Summed Up in Short Order

This 4-minute video nicely lays out the GOP Playbook for stealing the presidential election and ravaging democracy.  Watch it, get mad, pass it on.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Treason in High Places Has Mugged Democracy

If it walks like a traitor, quacks like a traitor, lines its pockets like a traitor....

Benedict Arnold has nothing on these saboteurs and criminals aptly described by OpEd News.

Friday, June 8, 2012

'Become a Citizen Now' Workshop in Nashville

While too many Americans do not vote or educate themselves on the issues, these aspiring citizens in the Nashville area are seeking to get involved in democracy and help shape America's future.  The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition has been putting on 'Become a Citizen Now' workshops as part of a national campaign.  The non-profit's web site:

Watch the video:

YouTube Link:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Yes, there are hungry and homeless people in Tennessee's wealthiest county

GraceWorks Director Pulls No Punches, Will Speak in Franklin Thursday June 7

Tina Edwards

Just because Williamson County is the wealthiest county in Tennessee does not mean it is without poverty or families who have to scramble for their next meal.  Perhaps no one is more aware of those needs than GraceWorks Ministries Executive Director Tina Edwards, who will be the guest speaker at the Williamson County Democratic Party's monthly Potluck Dinner Thursday June 7 at WCDP headquarters in downtown Franklin.  

The Potluck is open to the public and will begin at 6:30 at WCDP headquarters, 112 East Fowlkes Street, off Columbia Avenue and five blocks south of Five Points.  Guests are invited to bring a dish, but it is not necessary.  Children are welcome.

GraceWorks is a Christian non-profit 501(c)(3) which helps supply the residents of Williamson County with basic needs of life.  GraceWorks operates a food pantry, a thrift store and served more than 5,000 families in 2011.  Of its annual budget of about $2,000,000, approximately 89% goes directly to client services, according to GraceWorks officials.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The True Job Creators Are Consumers Who Drive Demand Side

A Millionaire Capitalist Skewers 'The Super-Rich are the Job Creators' Fairy Tale

This 5-minute Ted Talk sets it all straight, and not from the mouth of some Commie, pinko, hippie type!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Activists Ashley Judd, Vilma Cueva Put National Political Spotlight on Williamson County, TN

"It is my desire that this will be an inspiration for our Latina women in Tennessee, in the whole country and the world.  Yes, we count!" ---Vilma Cueva

Photo: Vilma Cueva and Chip Forrester, chairman of Tennessee Democratic Party, after she was chosen to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention beginning Sept. 3 in Charlotte, NC

"Para leer en espanol"

Williamson County is in the spotlight this presidential election year as social justice activist Ashley Judd of Franklin and Hispanic activist Vilma Cueva of Spring Hill have been selected to represent Tennessee at the Democratic National Convention. 

While Ashley, more widely known as an actor than activist, will be a delegate for the first time, she has been a long-time worker for human rights.  Ashley recently has been speaking out for American women, who are under siege from extremist Republicans who seem to long for the days before women could vote or own property.

Vilma has worked as an activist for Hispanic families.  She has registered numerous Latino Americans to vote, and she conducts workshops on citizenship.  Vilma is involved in issues that affect women, children's health, poverty and educational opportunities and fair treatment for disabled persons. 

The Democratic National Convention begins Sept. 3 in Charlotte, NC.

Vilma's rallying cry to Latinos in Tennessee is this:  "If you are a resident, become a citizen. If you are a citizen, register to vote.  If you are registered to vote, vote Democratic."

Attorney Gerard Stranch of Franklin and Franklin's Elisa Parker, who is vice chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, are other Williamson Countians who will be convention delegates.

"For me this is historic," said Cueva, the day after she was chosen and after she wrapped up a Sunday afternoon workshop she conducted on citizenship at a local church. "This is huge as a woman and a Hispanic. I am vibrating from the experience. I am doing this for thousands of women in Tennessee.

"Hispanic women need to understand there is a purpose for being in this country besides our regular duties at home," Cueva said. "We need to wake up and be involved and take action.

"We have a great value as mothers. We count," said Cueva. "We are raising the next generation of Americans. In our hands is the future of our children and our world. Hispanic mothers need to be active in their community and vote and participate in politics so people can respect you for who you are and what you do.

"For the entire Hispanic community, this message needs to be heard loud and clear: We need to participate in democracy and vote and get involved. The Democratic Party is willing to embrace us so that we can participate in politics and shape the future of this country."

Cueva, who was born in Peru, has been an American citizen 14 years.  She moved in 2003 to Spring Hill, where she lives with her husband Victor and two American-born sons.  Cueva is a member of the Thompson Station Baptist Church, and she works as a bilingual specialist for an insurance company. 

Right:  Ashley Judd with "Irene," whom Ashley met while on a humanitarian mission in Rwanda.

Delegada Latina del Condado Williamson para la Convencion Democrata Nacional 2012

"Si eres un residente, inscribete para ser ciudadano...

 "Si eres un ciudadano, inscribete para votar...

 "Si estas registrado para votar, vota como Democrata! 

"Nosotros si contamos!"

---Vilma Cueva  (en la fota con Chip Forrester, chairman del Partido Democratico de Tennessee)

"Es mi deseo que esto sea una inspiracion para nuestras mujeres Latinas en TN, en todo el Pais y ." –Vilma Cueva

"To read in English"

La activista Hispano-americana Vilma V. Cueva y la activista de justicia social Ashley Judd de Williamson County fueron elegidas por el Partido Democratico de TN para servir como delegadas a la Convencion Nacional del Partido Democratico en Septiembre 3, 2012, en Charlotte, N.C.

Cueva, de Spring Hill, esta activa en muchos temas que afectan a los Hispanos Americanos, incluyendo Ciudadania, inscripcion de votantes, pobreza, comunidad, salud y logros en la educacion. Mientras que Judd, de Franklin, is ampliamente conocida como actriz del cine y la television, ella es una activista trotadora global de los derechos humanos, alivio de la pobreza, salud publica, justicia social, y otros asuntos. Judd tambien ha apoyado a los Democratas de Williamson County, por ejemplo haciendo campana a favor de la candidate para Senadora Estatal Mary Parker in 2006 y presto su voz para hacer las llamadas tipo robot para los votantes.

El Fiscal Gerard Stranch de Franklin tambien fue elegido el Sabado 31, por el Comite Ejecutivo del Partido Democratico de TN como uno de los 18 delegados en-grande. Asi como lo fueron Cueva and Judd---y ellos se uniran a la Vice-presidenta del Partido Democratico de TN Elisa Parker de Franklin como delegados por Obama A la Convencion National.

“Para mi esto es historico,” dijo Cueva. “Esto es grandioso como Mujer y como Hispana. Yo estoy emocionada por esta experiencia. Yo hago esto a nombre de las miles de mujeres immigrants en Tennessee.

"Las mujeres Hispanas necesitan entender que el proposito de estar en este pais, ademas de nuestras tareas cotidianas en la casa," Cueva dijo. "Nosotras necesitamos despertar y estar involucradas, participar, tomar accion.

"Nosotras tenemos un gran valor como Madres. Nosotras si contamos," dijo Cueva. "Nosotras estamos criando la proxima generacion de los Americanos.

En nuestras manos esta el futuro de nuestros hijos y de nuestro alrededor. Las Madres Hispanas necesitan estar activas en su Comunidad, deben votar, deben participar en la politica para que la gente nos pueda respetar por quien eres y por lo que haces.

"Para toda la Comunidad Hispana; este mensaje necesita ser escuchado con claridad y firmeza. Nosotros necesitamos participar en Democracia, votar y estar involucrados en el proceso politico de este pais. El Partido Democratico esta abierto a nuestra participacion en la politica para darle forma al futuro de este Pais.”

Cueva, quien nacio en Peru, America del Sur se hizo Ciudadana Americana hace 14 anos. Ella se mudo a Spring Hill en el 2003, donde vive con su esposo y sus dos hijos Americanos nacidos en este pais. Cueva es miembro de la Iglesia Thompson Station Baptist Church, y ella trabaja como bilingue en una compania de seguros de carro.

Para mas informacion llamar al 615-947-2528.

Santorum's Campaign Abortion Must Run the Gauntlet He Prescribes for Others

Click link to see:

Actors Spoof Santorum Abortion

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Big Brother Spies Want More Info, Fewer Rights for U.S. Citizens

Cyber Spying Bill Would Gather '#TMI,'

Internet Rights and Civil Liberties Group Says

In case there is any confusion about this, don't "friend" Big Brother.  Don't "like" him, either.

Politicians and corporate interests are making another run at control of the Internet, this time with a bill that allows the government to spy on you through your Facebook pages, Google searches, cell phone records  and more.

In a déjà vu moment---one of many we can expect to see---an Internet control bill is working its way through Congress, and Internet rights activists are gearing up for a fight much as they did a few months ago to thwart other Internet-choking bills.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which would allow private companies and the government to share information about U.S. citizens with few limits, has drawn the ire of Internet and civil liberties groups who have launched a campaign called "Stop Cyber Spying."  The bill (HR 3523) could be voted on by the full House this week. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Insurance Weasels Slipping Some Fine Print into TN Laws, Your Insurance Policies


NOTE: Charles Sargent,  a State Farm insurance agent and Republican from Williamson County, is sponsoring a self-serving bill that would let insurance companies slip and slide some fine print under the door of our coverage.

I wonder if Sargent knows what is in this bill.  Last year, he argued me up and down on one bill he sponsored and got passed that was very friendly to insurance agents---in part it stated if nefarious agents get sued by a member of the public who has been fleeced by said insurance agent, and if said agent has a track record of complaints and investigations by the state, the damaged consumer is not allowed to find out.  Sargent insisted that such a provision was not in the bill he sponsored.  Even after I cut and pasted that provision to him.

Not only are our legislators bogus and corrupt, they are not particularly bright; have you noticed?  

I digress.  Mary Mancini of Tennessee Citizen Action keeps us informed on the toxic bills that these legislators keep bubbling up from the sludge pool of ALEC or whatever corporate special interest or nut-job group that pushes their buttons---and campaign accounts.

From TNCA, here is the info on Sargent's latest self-serving bill:

Just as we’re beginning to pass effective public policy on the federal level that protects consumers, we’re heading in the opposite direction in Tennessee.
Not surprising, really, as we’ve already discussed at length the many ways in the which the Tennessee General Assembly is crafting and passing public policy that caters to large corporations and their twenty-first century robbers baron CEOs instead of writing rules that boost the well-being and productivity of hardworking middle and working class families.


The bill we are going to focus on today is what is called a "caption bill." The best explanation of a “caption bill” was written in 2009 by Tom Humphrey of the Knoxville News Sentinel. Read it here. Mr. Humphrey writes, "Late in most every session of the Tennessee General Assembly, fresh new ideas are brought onto the legislative scene through caption bills, a part of the lawmaking art that may be seen as institutionalized sneakiness [emphasis ours]." FYI, April 16 is late in the session. Read more...


This Thursday, the full Tennessee House of Representatives is set to vote on House Bill 2454 (HB2454) / Senate Bill 2271 (SB2271).

The caption of HB2454/SB2271 reads:

"Insurance Companies, Agents, Brokers, Policies - As introduced, creates requirements for issuance of certificates of insurance; clarifies the effect of such certificates; and authorizes oversight by the commissioner of commerce and insurance regarding regulation and assessing fines in relation thereto -- Amends TCA Title 56."

Title 56 of the Tennessee Code is titled "Insurance" and has 32 chapters and countless parts in each chapter that cover everything from the set up of the Department of Commerce and Insurance to the regulation of all types of insurance and insurance companies. Go take a look at everything Title 56 does here.

So now with a bit of background, there are two things you need to know:

  1. The original bill has been replaced in its entirety with an amendment that creates an unfair financial advantage for large insurance companies over consumers and small businesses, and
  2. The sponsors of the bill, Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Rep. Charles Sargent (R-Franklin), are both insurance agents.

HB2454 / SB2271 - THE DETAILS

SPONSORS: Rep. Charles Sargenat (R-Franklin), Sen Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville)

SUMMARY: With it’s shiny new amendment, HB2454 now reads that if an insurance company changes your policy and notifies you in the fine print of a flyer they send to you with your bill, the change to your policy will take effect and bind you to that change by the simple act of you paying your bill. In other words, HB2454 says that your written and cashed check or automatic bill payment is enough to allow them to completely change your policy.

And this isn’t a bill that would just hurt consumers. It would harm any entity that buys insurance -- including small businesses.

So let’s say we have a devastating flood or hail storm. Let’s just say. The fine print in the flyer could change your policy to exclude coverage of flood or hail damage and your automatic bill payment just accepted that change for you.

And do you think your insurance company would be OK with you lowering the cost of your premiums just because you send them a check made out for a smaller amount then what you actually owe and then they deposit your check?

The U.S. insurance industry has trillions of dollars in assets, enjoys average profits of over $30 billion a year, and pays its CEOs more than any other industry. This is just another example of how they still engage in dirty tricks and unethical behavior at the consumer’s expense to boost their bottom line even further.


HB2454 / SB2271 is NOT the beginning of our state legislature chipping away at consumer rights and giving an unfair advantage to large corporations. Two bills passed LAST YEAR gave insurance companies the breathing room they needed to take advantage small businesses and families.

FIRST, the 1977 Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, which created the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs, was gutted in 2011 by a new law that took away our right to hold an insurance company accountable for unfair and deceptive business practices. The 1977 Tennessee Consumer Protection Act gave you or me or the proprietor of a small business the ability to hold insurance companies accountable for "Engaging in any other act or practice which is deceptive to the consumer or to any other person..." And if a jury found that the company have violated the Consumer Protection Act, they could help hold them accountable by hitting them where it hurts - the pocketbook. But a piece of new law, Section 15 of the new Civil Injustice Act of 2011, gutted this provision and made it so that only the attorney general of the state can bring a suit against an insurance company. Now given the reality of the attorney generals limited time and resources, it is unlikely they will be able to take the time to bring most of the claims.

For a big picture look at what they're trying to do, check out this law making it’s way through the legislature right now that would change the Tennessee Constitution to give the governor the sole authority to appoint the attorney general. Yikes, they’re covering all their bases to prevent accountability and transparency from making it to home plate!

SECOND, to be sure insurers have all the power and families and small businesses who need to buy insurance have none, HB 1189 was passed to remove insurance fraud completely from under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.

When this bill became law last year, it removed any legal recourse to sue an insurance company who refused to pay a claim. An example would be if your insurance company finds a fraudulent reason to refuse to pay your flood insurance even though you followed the rules and had paid for your bill on time for decades.

LAST, even though our law still forbids “deceptive and unfair acts” by insurance companies, the only person who can enforce the law now is the insurance commissioner since hardworking Tennesseans have no right to hold insurance companies accountable through legal action.

The current commissioner of insurance is a former insurance company lawyer.


It's worth noting that two recent high visibility lawsuits by businesses against insurers included consumer protection act claims: Gaylord's suit against their insurer for not paying fully for the Opry Mills flood damage and Gibson's case against its insurer for the same issue. Those claims were filed under the old law. Those claims could not be brought under the new law.

To be complete, there are still some small ways to hold insurers accountable that have not yet been whacked. But the ones with real teeth - the ones that provide a deterrent against abusive business practices by giant insurance corporations - are now gone, gone, gone.

Tennessee families are working harder, getting paid less, and falling behind our parents' generation. Now more than ever, hardworking Tennesseans need the protection from abusive business practices.


As we mentioned above, this Thursday the full Tennessee House of Representatives is set to vote on HB2454 (SB2271). Find your representative by going here and typing in your address and zip code or by calling 615-741-1100.

Urge your representatives to protect consumers and prevent the further erosion of consumer rights in Tennessee and vote NO on HB2454.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

TN Legislators Denying Citizens the Right to Vote

From Tennessee Citizen Action:

Earlier this afternoon, after failing in the Tennessee Senate several weeks ago, the bill to repeal the photo ID to vote law died in the Tennessee House. Following the committee meeting, we released the following statement:
“We’re extremely disappointed that instead of protecting the fundamental right to vote guaranteed us - not once, but twice - by the Tennessee Constitution, Republicans are taking it away,” said Mary Mancini, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, “The idea of ‘voter fraud’ is a fraud and they have repeatedly refused to present evidence to the contrary. Here's what's really going on: Republican politicians all over the country are unnecessarily rewriting our election laws to keep students, people of color, the working poor, and seniors from voting against them. And they're manufacturing a problem to explain it away.
“The right to vote is a fundamental American right. GOP-led barriers to voting are unnecessary and extraordinarily harmful to our democratic process. We've never solved anything in this country with less democracy, and we still can’t.”

The people of Tennessee could use your help this year.

The right to vote and choose our leaders is at the heart of what it means to be an American, but conservatives are working to rewrite our laws so it's harder for students, people of color, the working poor, and seniors to vote. Won't you volunteer to make sure that any Tennessean who wants to can exercise this fundamental freedom come November?

We will be working all across the state to:
  • Register voters
  • Educate Tennesseans about the new photo ID to vote law
  • Help people to get their photo ID
Please signup below and indicate how you would like to help.

Questions? Call 615-736-6040 or email
50 Vantage Way Ste 250 | Nashville, TN 37228 US
50 Vantage Way Ste 250 | Nashville, TN 37228 US

Monday, April 9, 2012

TN Legislators Rig the Game for Big Money to Pay No Taxes, Not Get Sued

Tennessee Citizen Action Reports

No Access to a Jury for You!

What do you do if you're part of the majority in the state legislature and a bill you passed might run afoul of the state constitution? You scramble to change the Constitution, of course!

Last year, Governor Haslam's "Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011" passed the state legislature and was signed into law. Among other things, this new law established limitations on damages in civil liability cases - also known as $750,000 cap on damages. HJR0698 by Rep. Vance Dennis (R-Savannah), would amend Article XI of the Tennessee Constitution to "permit the general assembly by statute to establish limitations on damages in civil liability actions and other causes of action."

So the caps on damages bill passed last year might be unconstitutional and rather than protect our 7th Amendment right to a civil jury trial and/or encourage businesses that innovate and take care of of their workers, they'd rather amend the Constitution to fit their agenda of helping corporations avoid accountability for egregious acts. HJR0698 will be heard in the House Finance Subcommittee on Wednesday, April 11 at 11:00 am. Watch here.


Gubernatorial Power Grab

What do you do if you want your governor to have more power than any governor has had in the past? You change the Constitution!

HJR0804 by Rep. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol)

Currently, the state's attorney general is selected by the Supreme Court of Tennessee. But why allow 5 learned people to discuss the merits of a candidate when a partisan Governor can do so instead? HJR0804 proposes an amendment to Article VI, Section 5 to allow the governor to appoint - with legislative confirmation - the attorney general. HJR0804 will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, April 11. See also SJR0693 by Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) to be heard on Senate Finance Ways & Means committee on Tuesday, April 10 at 8:30 am. Watch here.


A Rigged Economy

What do you do if the state's economy is working fine for the top 1%, aka your CEO campaign contributors, and you want to keep it that way? You change the Constitution!

The richest 400 families own more than 150 million Americans (half the country). The $100 million earned in one year by the CEO of Bank of America could have provided median incomes to 2000 families.
If our nation's economic growth had been shared fairly for the past 30 years, wages would be 60% higher than they are now. Corporate taxes are at an historic low in terms of the economy and share of federal revenues. And yet, instead of crafting public policy that makes everyone pay their fair share, SJR0221 by Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Collierville) would enshrine into the Constitution a prohibition on a payroll tax - even on those Tennesseans making millions a year. Basically, we'd be stuck with a Constitution that would prohibit the 1% from paying their fair share. Add this to the secret financial negotiations they want to be able to have with corporations thinking about relocating here and the push to fully repeal the estate tax and we have a system developing that caters to large corporations and their 21st century robbers baron CEOs instead of writing rules that boost the well-being and productivity of hardworking middle and working class families. SJR0221 was passed this year by a simple majority.
Next year it will have to pass by a 2/3 majority. Then, it will go on the ballot to be voted on by the people in the next gubernatorial election.