Monthly Archives: July, 2014

Who the hell is “Strong & Free Tennessee”?

A most curious PAC has emerged at the last minute to push what many suspect are RINO candidates for the Republican State Executive Committee.  This from our friends at The Jackson Press:

“Strong and Free Tennessee” Mailers

Suspected illegal mailers hit Tennessee: An unregistered Political Action Committee is spending big bucks to influence who is elected to the Republican State Executive Committee or SEC.

Identical mailers have appeared in mailboxes across the state, encouraging Republicans to vote for a committeeman/committeewoman slate.  Some are incumbent members of the executive committee, others are challengers.  The questions are important:

1.  Who are the financial and political backers behind Strong & Free?  They are legally obligated to reveal basic information when they spend that kind of money on political campaigns.

2.  Is Gov. Haslam and/or the leaders of the Senate and House are attempting to secretly stack the executive committee by backing these candidates?

At least one executive committee member has called on legal authorities, and the committee, to investigate.  The executive committee has the power to decide whether to accept  other committee members.

Haslam 2 Huffman 2 Cagle 2 Pearson

Cagle photo

Executive Summary:

Governor goes on a secret closed-door education tour.  Invites only hand-picked participants for an “open dialogue” (snicker) about how to ram through the governor’s Common Core agenda — an agenda that stands to make some people very rich off our education tax dollars.  The meetings are set up by an organization whose lobbyist is the same lobbyist for the very company who will get rich from what the governor is trying to force onto the public schools.

Amidst all the well-deserved controversy surround Gov. Haslam’s secret education meetings (which excludes just about anyone who might disagree with the administration) is a major factoid gone almost completely unnoticed by the MSM.

While it has been reported in a couple of outlets that the governor’s office asked and relied on the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) to  set up the secret meetings, the media missed an important connection:

TOSS is represented by lobbyist Chuck Cagle, who just happens to be the highly-paid lobbyist for — wait for it — Pearson!

Yep.  It seems the Cagle Cash Cow education scam (here, here and here) that shook up the legislature last session, is still going strong.   Pearson stands to make millions if Haslam can shove Common Core down everyone’s throat.  Pearson will make many millions from selling new textbooks that are “Common Core aligned” (and which are frequently selected by many of the school superintendents Cagle just happens to represent).  And let’s not forget the obnoxious PARCC testing program which the legislature delayed (over Haslam’s and Huffman”s objections) last session.  Pearson  is expected to rake in even more millionsm from testing if Haslam succeeds in making the legislature his Common Core bitch for the coming session.

corruptionCorrupt or not, the fact is Haslam, Cagle, Huffman, Woodson and the rest of Apple Dumpling Gang is playing grab-ass with our kids’ education dollars.

This all sure smells like corruption.  Oh sure, not the crass corruption like making cash payments to John Ford, but the quiet, underhanded, Chicago-styles crony capitalism like that practiced by Kevin Huffman’s political hero, B. H. Obama.

And Haslam can’t afford to give teachers the lousy 3% raise he promised last year?

How about a “manual rebate” for educators and taxpayers, governor?  Or is that only reserved for cronies, sycophants and favored business associates?

It’s a damn good thing for Bill that he doesn’t have an opponent.  And its a damn good thing for Bill the news media act like lazy hacks when it comes to asking and demanding answers to hard questions.

As for the gang at RTP, we’re voting for Coonripppy Brown.  He at least has the appearance of having something resembling ethics.

Calling Dr. Liberal

Dr. Bryan Terry

Dr. Bryan Terry

When you are a Republican candidate in a primary in Tennessee, you need to flash your conservative credentials to get elected.  One of the best ways to show your conservative stripes is to fill out and return the Eagle Forum candidate questionnaire.

Every election the Eagle Forum conducts a survey of candidates on every issue imaginable.  It then rates the candidates.  Generally speaking, the higher the score you receive on the Eagle Forum questionnaire, the more conservative you are.

This year, most GOP candidates scored in the 90’s and more than few scored a perfect 100%.  Practically no one scored below the 80’s.

Except one:  Dr.  Bryan Terry in the 48th District (Rutherford Co.)

Dr. Terry racked up a miserable 57%.  The lowest conservative ranking of any Republican in the state (with the possible exception of “Republican” Gov. Bill Haslam).  The rumor around the ‘Boro is that Doc Terry was one of those recruited by Mark Cate to try in take seats away from conservatives.  And this is who they came up with?

In fact, one of the Democrats running in the Democratic primary against Ophelia Ford in Memphis got a higher score (60%) than Dr. Terry!

Just how liberal do you have to be to score lower than a Democrat running in a Memphis primary?  Sheesh.

Tell us, Dr. Terry, when you and Kevin Huffman get together, do the two of you argue about who is the bigger supporter of Barack Obama and Common Core?

 

 

Family feud: Haslam vs. Wamp and the “Son of Ingram”

The capacity for revenge by Bill Haslam’s — and his paid-under-the-table advisor/lobbyist Tom Ingram — is apparently limitless.feud 2

Old resentments die hard.  When Zach Wamp ran against Haslam in 2010, it got a little rough.  Wamp succumbed to playing the “class resentment” card and ridiculed Haslam for having more money than brains.  Haslam questioned Wamp’s sanity.  Wamp acted as though Jesus had sent him a personal telegram telling him to run for governor.  Haslam spent millions on vacuous TV ads about pie that numbed the senses and insulted the intellect.  The latter proved to be more popular with an electorate that apparently received its political news from episodes of  the Jersey Shore.

What Wamp did get right was questioning Haslam’s conservative credentials.  Those credentials have apparently being locked away in Haslam’s blind trust along with his secret income taxes.  It looks as though they will be buried deeper than Jimmy Hoffa during a second Haslam term.  More on that in future postings.

In the end Haslam’s millions overwhelmed Wamp’s fervor and the rest is almost history.  But not quite.

ingramThe mastermind behind Haslam is Tom Ingram.  And when the Son of Wamp (Weston) decided to try again for Congress, Bill and Tom countered with the Son of Ingram.  They are applying the political equivalent of Tennessee’s founding father, John Sevier, who offered the justification for  massacring pregnant Cherokee women and children:  “Nits make lice.”  Ya gotta crush those Wamps early, because they might grow up and challenge a Haslam for future office, ya know.

Having Haslam make a bunch of direct contributions to Chuck Fleischmann would be too obvious, so he sent Tom to the rescue.  Having Tom on the Fleischmann vendor list might also seem a mite blatant, so Tom sent his son, Conner Ingram, to be his eyes and ears the Fleischmann campaign.

conner-carlyn1 2The Federal Election Commission reports lists Connor as a consultant and has been paid over $6,000 since March.  His LinkedIn page says he is an intern for Fleischmann.  Not bad — most “interns” receive no pay at all.

No one here at RTP has seen Conner since he was knee-high to Bob Corker and we wish him well in his new profession of politics.  But going to work as a spokesman for Congressman Chuckles is only the thinnest of fig leaves for Daddy Tom.  Or Bill Haslam.

 

 

 

Yep, it’s true: Sargent’s campaign freaks out.

The RTP team has been hard at work overnight trying to track down the wild stories coming out of the House race between Charles Sargent and Steve Gawrys.  We even have a new one to add to the toxic brew that has become the Sargent re-election operation.

Prime suspect in political campaign bribery case.

Prime suspect in political campaign bribery case.

First, there was the rumor that after a scuffle between Sargent himself and a female supporter of his opponent, the Sargent campaign filed a complaint with the District Attorney’s office.  As it turns out, the complaint was not filed over that reported fracas, but a complaint was filed over the July 22nd “Slushie-Gate” incident involving Sargent’s daughter.

Unbelievably, after Gawrys offered a couple of cold drinks to a couple of young Sargent volunteers on a blazing hot day, the Sargent camp filed a formal complaint that Gawrys was “trying to induce voters.”

With Slushies?

The complaint was filed with Kim Helper of the 21st Judicial District of the state District  Attorney General’s office (and no, we are not making this up).  Within an hour of Gawrys’ response to the complaint the DA’s office dropped the complaint.  Smart DA.

One shudders to think what the Sargent campaign would do if someone offered his campaign workers a — gasp! — Snicker’s bar.

RTP is still trying to rack down the alleged video of one of these incidents.  We’ll let you know if we find it.

But Wait!  There’s More!

Within the last hour comes word that the wife of a lobbyist whose husband’s employer has funneled thousands of dollars into Sargent’s campaign, was apparently seen taking photos of Gawrys supporters license plate in order to “track them down.”  The fact that this lobbyist’s wife is none other than Sargent’s campaign manager, Mary Kate Brown, makes this whole fiasco even funnier.

We have also been told that Sargent himself has been seen taking similar photos, but we have no independent knowledge of that.  We  repeat that particular rumor primarily to see if it will induce the Sargent campaign to do something even more nuts.  The smart money in the office pool here at RTP says they will.

Stay tuned.

 

** BREAKING **

Are the wheels coming off the Sargent Campaign?

Candidate reportedly gets into public fight?  Police complaint filed?  Caught on video?

RTP had no sooner posted the blog about the strange and angry actions by some in the Sargent political and personal families, when we were tipped of about an incident that allegedly occurred yesterday afternoon.  And this one involves Sargent himself.

REP. CHARLES SARGENT

REP. CHARLES SARGENT

Reports, rumors and tips to the RTP Tip Line  (our favorite kind) are swirling around the Franklin community about a screaming (and perhaps physical) fight the erupted at the West Main early voting poll in Franklin between  Rep. Charles Sargent and a female supporter of his opponent, Steve Gawrys.  Supposedly the police were called and a complaint was filed.

There is also reported to be a video of the incident and that has prompted at least one major TV news department to be hot on the heels of the story.

Hell, none of this may be true.  But one can only imagine the negatives impact on the Sargent campaign if it is.

RTP will bring you updates just as soon as somebody comes up with some new information.

Slushie-Gate?

image

 

 Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more weird in the Sargent-Gawrys race, comes lurid tales of Bribery! Intimidation!  Forces of Darkness!

The following comes to RTP from reliable (meaning we believe them…) sources about three recent events.

The first incident happen a few days ago when temperatures on the parking lot at the Franklin early voting location on West Main soared into the high 90’s.  On the day in question, mild-mannered newcomer and drive-in(s) owner Steve Gawrys was campaigning when he saw a couple of young ladies who were supporting his opponent struggling to put up a canopy tent to try and beat the heat.  Gawrys, ever on the lookout for a chance to corrupt our nation’s youth and exert undue political influence, took pity on the girls and walked over to help them get their tent up.  The fiend!  After his obviously cynical and cruel attempt at being a Good Samaritan, he walked back over to his spot and politicked a little more.

After a while, with no relief from the heat in sight, Gawrys decided to make a Slushie run to his drive-in and bring back cold drinks for his volunteers.  He even threw in a couple of extras for other volunteers back at the polls.  When he arrived back at the parking lot, Gawrys saw the Sargent volunteers were still there and walked a couple of Slushies over to them.  Are there no limits to his perfidy?!

Shortly after, a lady who was reportedly Charles Sargent’s daughter, took the Slushies from the girls and returned them to Gawrys, saying that he was not going to be allowed to try and bribe Sargent’s volunteers.

So that is what this country has come to.  Attempts to bribe legislators and their supporters with sugary drinks.  What’s next — diabetes?  Someone should lock this Gawrys fellow up and through away the key.  Or at least make him eat at McDonalds.

[Editors note:  We were also told that Sargent’s daughter threatened to file a complaint about the “improper” gifts of Slushies to the authorities.  RTP is still trying to get independent confirmation about this last bit, but until we do, we thought we would throw it up on the Internet anyway just to watch some people foam at the mouth]

Folks, we are not making this stuff up.  Couldn’t if we tried.  Here’s another one.

A couple of days ago, Rep. Sargent’s wife accosted a local politico and proceeded to lay a full-blown rant on him.  Among the charges she hurled at her target was that he was “working for the dark side,” and that “he didn’t know who he was messing with.”  Well, holy crap on a cracker, Batman!  We now have Beezlebub himself engaged in the primary.  Who knew?

But why are the Sargent people so angry?  Seriously, it’s just a political campaign — right?

The last contretemps (that’s French.  Look it up, all you low-information voters) came from Sargent’s campaign manager, Mary Kate Brown, who vented her spleen at one of Garwys’ major donors, accusing him and others of a variety of misdeeds including “attacking my family.”  Apparently Mary Kate is still trying to use her family as political human shields against facts about her and her husband’s cozy financial relationship with Rep. Sargent.  In case you missed RTP’s previous posts on the subject, here it is in the Reader’s Digest condensed format:

Josh Brown is a lobbyist for Pfizer.   As such he has directed thousands of dollars in political contributions to Sargent’s re-election campaign.  Several thousand dollars of that money ended up in the pocket of his wife,Mary Kate Brown, who is being paid to be Sargent’s campaign manager.  It’s all true and public information.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s the reason for all the anger.

 

 

 

Governor embargos TCAP scores indefinitely. Sources say scores are “terrible.”

secretsIn his first official act as governor, Bill Haslam issued an executive order (similar to those Obama likes so much) that hid his taxes from public view — he first governor in modern times to do so.

Then it was revealed Haslam had secretly been paying his lobbyist/political consultant, Tom Ingram, thousands of dollars under the table.  He said the payments came from his “personal” funds, although he has kept secret any records that would back up his claim.

After he was rebuked by the legislature over Common Core testing this past spring, Haslam quietly withdrew the state from the PARCC testing consortium, without informing the legislature until after the fact.

Last month, Haslam secretly made a business trip to Asia, instructing his office to refuse to answer questions as to the governor’s destination or purpose.  It turned out he was not “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” like former So Carolina governor Mark Sanford did, which undoubtedly came as a relief to his wife, Chrissy.

Then earlier this week, RTP and others revealed that Haslam has embarked on a series of secret meetings around the state, meeting with hand-picked educators, most of whom are supporters of his Common Core agenda.  The governor went so far as to specifically exclude county school board members, — the very people elected as education representatives.

Now comes the word that the state’s TCAP scores have been secretly embargoed by the governor.  Administrators and teachers were allowed to look at their own individual units of responsibility, but were not given other districts’ scores for comparison and have been instructed not to discuss the scores with the media.  Cynics predict the governor will release the scores the day schools start, hoping the negative publicity will be muted.

Keep in mind these were the same TCAP scores that were mismanaged by Commissioner Kevin “IVFO” Huffman and which were delayed in apparent violation of the statutory requirements for time and content, not to mention suspicions that the scores were manipulated because of the bad results.

In an example provided to RTP, the test results have reportedly resulted in upwards of 80% of 6th grade ELA (English and Language Arts) teachers being rated in the RED category, which means “highly insufficient” ratings.  By any measure, that would be a disaster.

Remember now, this is the same gang of miscreants who claimed earlier this year that the NAEP test scores which showed 3rd-8th graders receiving better scores than Tennessee high school students was “because they [high schoolers] had not had the advantage of as much Common Core instruction” as that received by 3rd and 8th grade students.  Lucky high schoolers.

This leads to the question as to whether “Republican” Gov. Bill Haslam has a freakin’ clue as to the turmoil and damage he is creating in our public schools.  Does he know?  Does he care?

Even if we knew we couldn’t tell you.

It’s a secret.

obama secrets

 

………… **UPDATE** to the **UPDATE** ………… Email from the Director of Bradley County Schools

RTP has been given the exact language of the email Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel had sent to his school board members AFTER the governor and Kevin Huffman had held their secret meeting:

“Today, Bradley County Schools had the privilege to host a meeting for Governor Haslam. The Governor, along with Commissioner Huffman, met with teachers and school leaders from five systems, Bradley , Cleveland City, Hamilton, Meigs, and Rhea. Amber Caldwell and Nat Akiona represented our system well. This was one of 12 meetings the Governor has scheduled around the state to have dialog with teachers and school leaders.

We were not able to inform you of this event as we had been instructed by the Governor’s office that this was a private meeting with the arrangements being set by the Governor’s office. We were not allowed to inform board members or media in advance of the event.

Sammie for Mr. McDaniel”

Mr. McDaniel must be a mighty brave (or stupid) man to side with the governor’s office instead of immediately informing the people who hired him to his job.  This is NOT going to look good on his next performance review.

**UPDATE ** Haslam/Huffman secret meeting hits the news

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

 

Bradley County school board members excluded from Haslam education meeting