Saturday, September 03, 2016

Rep. Black: Hillary Clinton is Either Lying or Even More Incompetent Than We Thought

Gallatin, TN– Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) released the following statement on the FBI’s newly unveiled summary of its July 2, 2016 interview with Presidential candidate and former

“As the steady drip, drip, drip from Hillary Clinton’s secret server scandal continues, it has become clearer than ever that she lacks the character and judgement to be President of the United States,” said Congressman Diane Black. “Secretary Clinton’s statement to the FBI that she did not know how classified emails were marked is particularly outrageous. The American people will have to decide if this is yet another Clinton lie or if she truly was that uninformed and ill-equipped to perform her duties as Secretary of State. Either outcome should be totally unacceptable to voters and disqualifying to her candidacy as President of the United States.”

Congressman Black added, “While unsurprising from anyone with the last name ‘Clinton’, we
deserve better than this type of behavior from someone who has served as the nation’s top diplomat. This is precisely why I joined a letter to FBI Director Comey demanding more information on the decision not to recommend an indictment and why I support Speaker Paul Ryan’s calls to revoke Secretary Clinton’s security clearance. While we await further answers and accountability, the American people fortunately have the ultimate tool at their disposal to stop Hillary Clinton’s corruption and incompetence this November: the ballot box. I will continue to do my part in this endeavor by working to elect trusted, conservative candidates across the ballot.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

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TNGOP Statement On Hillary Clinton’s FBI Interview Records

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Sept. 2, 2016--Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes released the following statement on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s release of its summary of the interview with Hillary Clinton as a part of their criminal investigation into her secret email server:
"This kind of behavior would be unacceptable for a third-rate IT staffer, let alone the U.S.
Secretary of State. It is absolutely baffling that Hillary Clinton, with her sights set on the presidency, would engage in these activities that prove either extreme incompetence or criminal negligence. After these revelations, can anyone realistically say they still believe Clinton is honest and trustworthy?"

Hillary Signed She Received Briefing on Classified Info, But Told FBI She Hadn't (Weekly Standard, 9/2/16): Either Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI or she lied on a State Department form as she began her tenure as Secretary of State. This conclusion appears inescapable after Friday's FBI document release related to the Clinton email investigation.
Clinton emails wiped clean after NYT story (The Hill, 9/2/16): A number of Hillary Clinton’s private emails were erased weeks after The New York Times published a story reporting on her use of a private email server while secretary of State, according to notes from the FBI’s investigation released on Friday.
Clinton's State Dept. warned against private email use (The Hill, 9/2/16): Under Hillary Clinton, the State Department told all agency employees not to use their personal email addresses for work — a guidance that Clinton herself did not follow.The revelation came from the FBI's detailed release Friday of notes from its investigation into the former secretary of State's use of a private email server. "State employees were cautioned about security and record retention concerns regarding the use of personal e-mail," the notes
FBI report: Clinton possibly used 13 mobile devices to send emails through private server (The Hill, 9/2/16): The report indicates the FBI investigation found 13 total mobile devices associated with her two known phone numbers which were potentially used to send emails using her email addresses. That may contradict what Clinton initially told the public last year. She said in March of 2015, in defense of using a personal email address and server, "I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two."

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Skyrocketing Premiums Further Proof Affordable Care Act is Unaffordable

Phil Roe
by Rep. Phil Roe - Last week, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance approved double-digit premium increases for Tennesseans who purchase their insurance through the exchanges created by Obamacare. These premium increases ranged from 44 percent to 62 percent, and Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak told The Tennessean these premium increases were necessary, in part, because the exchange market in Tennessee is “very near collapsing.”

While the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must still approve these specific rates, hefty increases are all but guaranteed. The numbers don’t lie: Obamacare is an abysmal failure and Tennesseans are suffering because of the president’s flawed health care law.

Unfortunately, skyrocketing premiums are one of the many predictions I made about the president’s health care law when it was passed. Ironically, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made health care even less affordable, leaving people across the country with higher insurance bills and fewer choices. According to Charles Gaba’s estimate, up to 2.1 million people will be forced to change their insurance provider because of insurers pulling out of the state exchanges. In Tennessee, 57 of the 95 counties in our state will have only one insurer offering policies in the individual market. How can you shop for a plan that works for you and your family when you have only one choice of insurer?

In Tennessee, Blue Cross Blue Shield - which provides coverage to roughly 83 percent of Tennesseans in the individual market – requested an increase of more than 36 percent on average in 2016. This year’s rate increase request was 62 percent on average. Cigna originally requested a 23 percent average increase for this year, but revised their request to 46 percent. Humana also raised their average increase request from 29 to more than 44 percent while UnitedHealthcare has dropped out of the exchange altogether. This is extremely concerning.

Some have said Tennessee’s troubles are because the state refused to expand Medicaid, but we’ve seen firsthand what can happen when you drop millions of patients into Medicaid. TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, is one of the oldest Medicaid managed care programs in the country. TennCare insures more than one million Tennesseans. As you may know, over 20 years ago, Tennessee dramatically expanded enrollment in TennCare, and it nearly crippled our state budget. Nearly 300,000 people had to be cut from the program ten years ago to keep it financially viable. Now, TennCare is one of the most restrictive health care plans in the United States. It limits what doctors patients can see, what medications they can be prescribed and what brands they can purchase.

Dropping more patients into a failing system is not health care reform, and I wholeheartedly believe the only way to truly reform health care in this country is to get rid of Obamacare and start over. This is why I wrote the American Health Care Reform Act, the Republican Study Committee’s endorsed conservative alternative to Obamacare. My bill has no mandates, no tax increases and will truly make health care affordable for all Americans. But that’s not the only plan Republicans have put forth to repeal and replace the ACA.

My Republican colleagues and I, particularly my fellow physicians in Congress, knew there were problems with the American health care system before Obamacare. House Republicans have introduced more than 400 individual bills to improve health care, including more than one comprehensive health care plan that would repeal and replace the president’s health care law. In fact - earlier this year as part of House Republicans’ ongoing effort to present bold solutions for some of the most pressing issues our country is facing to the American people – the Health Care Task Force rolled out a better way to reform health care. This plan has at least 48 ideas for comprehensive health care reform and repeals more than $1 trillion in tax increases that were included in the ACA. You can read that plan at

Two things are clear: Obamacare continues to crumble and Republicans have real, substantive proposals that will work for patients. There is a better way. We must repeal and replace the president’s health care law, and what happened last week in Tennessee is further proof.

Phil Roe represents the First Congressional District of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is physician and co-chair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus and a member of the Health Caucus. Prior to serving in Congress, he served as the Mayor of Johnson City, Tennessee.

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Thursday, September 01, 2016

Sheriff Hall: Nashville pot decriminalization bill is 'step in right direction’

by Joey Garrison, The Tennessean, August 31, 2016 -  Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall

says he supports an effort to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Nashville, calling it a “step in the right direction” to reduce incarceration rates of young people who he says don’t benefit from being in jail for the offense. 

He told The Tennessean this week that he supports “the spirit” of an ordinance under consideration in the Metro Council that would lessen the penalty for people who knowingly possess a half-ounce of marijuana or less to a $50 civil penalty or 10 hours of community service. 

“Some estimates are that 20 percent of people who are going to jails and prisons in this country are for very small amounts of marijuana or other drugs, obviously,” he said. “I haven’t discussed it with the sponsors or anything, but I just believe it’s the right direction.” Hall, whose office oversees Nashville’s jails, said he doesn’t believe arresting people for possession of small amounts of marijuana has proven beneficial. The proposal would let violators avoid a criminal record.(link)

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

On being reported to Adult Protective Services

I have been reported to Adult Protective Services. I was reported by the same social worker who wanted me to leave the hospital with Louella under the care of hospice. The same social worker who said, I ought to “let her go.”

I have hesitated to write this post. For one thing I have been so angry that I could not write about it without using profanity and I try not to use profanity, especially in my blog. I have felt indignant and and outraged. I have just now calmed down enough to where I can write and report about what happened.

The other reason I have hesitated is because some people close to me advised me against writing about it saying some people would believe the charge simply because it was made and it would harm my reputation. After considering that I thought, “What the heck.” I don’t have a career to worry about. I am not climbing the latter of success; I am coasting toward retirement. I don’t hold public office and have no plans to seek public office. I blog but don’t get paid for it, so I won’t lose any money. I don’t believe people who know me personally would believe it anyway and for those who want to believe the worst, let them. I have nothing to lose and I don’t care. As Kris Kristofferson said, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I am free to speak my mind.

The only people I would rather not know about this revelation are Louella’s children but I don’t really care that much about that either. In any event, they have most likely already been notified. Her children have not even contacted her or inquired about their mother in over five years, ever since I caught them “gifting” themselves her wealth and robbing her blind and I had to sue them. If they want to cause me some grief; bring it on. Not caring enough to call or send a Mother’s Day card or birthday card or Christmas greeting in five years, I don’t think they want custody of their mother and I don’t think they are in any position to cause me grief. If Louella had of been under her children’s care for the last five years, she would have been abandoned in a nursing home and be dead by now.

I decided to write this post; one to vent, two in hopes that it will help someone else avoid what has happened to me, and three to make the point that being accused of something does not mean you are guilty of it.

It is hard not to personalize my ordeal and blame the social worker who caused it. When I have not been referring to the social worker who caused me this grief with impolite profanities and vulgar pejoratives, I have been referring to her as “Nurse Ratched.” She is not really a nurse however; she is a social worker working in the Behavioral Health unit of St. Thomas Hospital. When I don’t think of her as “Nurse Ratched,” I think of her as the “Gestapo Social Worker.” No doubt that is unfair. She is just a cog in the wheel of a dysfunctional health care system. She is just one of those people who justify the evil they do as, “just doing my job.” I don’t know, but I would bet, that if she does not turn in a certain number of people a week, she will be considered to be under performing. It must have just been my unlucky week.

The last six weeks has felt like I have been a character in a Kafka novel. In addition to the difficulty of getting Louella the health care she needed and being forced to take her to the emergency room when that was not what she really needed, and being told by the Gestapo Social Worker that I should just “let her go,” and being turned into Adult Protective Services, there have been various other minor bureaucratic annoyances that tend to add up.

While Louella was in the hospital, every Tuesday morning there was a meeting with me and her health care team which included the doctor, the head nurse, the Gestapo Social Worker, recreation director and another person or two. We would set around the table and they would talk about our objectives and Louella’s treatment plan. During one of these meetings, they say that I said something to the effect that when Louella was raging and not sleeping that I did whatever I had to do to calm her down. I don’t even recall saying that. They took it to mean I gave her excess doses of medicine or that I gave her medicine that was not prescribed. I have never given Louella medicine for which she did not have a prescription and I have never given her more than the prescribed dosage.

During Louella’s first full week in the hospital, following the first Tuesday morning health team meeting, the Gestapo Social Worker came to Louella’s room to talk to me. We must have talked for over an hour. I did not know it was a fishing expedition. I did not know it was an interrogation. I thought it was just a friendly chat and she was a sympathetic person and she was trying to help figure out Louella’s needs.

After I learned I was being reported to Adult Protective Services, I reflected back on my conversation with Nurse Ratched and I should have picked up that she was probing. I have been told by knowledgeable people that in situations like this that the social worker probably has notified Louella’s children that I have been reported to APS. During our long “conversation,” she asked me the names of Louella’s children, their ages, where they worked and where they lived. It did not dawn on me she was compiling data with a purpose in mind. I was naïve and blindsided.

During the full second week of Louella’s hospital stay, Sue, Louella’s care giver for over the last five and half years, returned from a vacation on a Tuesday. The Gestapo Social Worker and another person pulled Sue aside and started questioning her. At first Sue did not think much about it and then Sue became uncomfortable and realized she was being grilled. Sue was upset and said it seemed they were trying to get her to say that I was somehow abusive to Louella. When Sue realized what was going on, she terminated the meeting.

On the Thursday of Louella’s second full week in the hospital, the Gestapo Social Worker took me to a private office to go over several things related to Louella’s discharge. The first item of discussion was the arrangement that had been made for Louella to get under the care of a Psychiatrist when she left the hospital. The second was arrangements for home health care to serve Louella. The third item was the suggestion that I put Louella under the care of hospice and “let her go.” That is when it got tense and I told that that was not going to happened. I said, “Under hospice she could die from something as simple as a urinary tract infection. I am not going to let that happen.” She said, “Well you know she is dying, don't you?”

After that tense moment, she said, “The next thing is awkward to talk about, but I have referred Louella’s case to APS.” I did not know what APS was and asked what that was and she told me it was Adult Protective Services. I asked why, and she explained the suspicion that I was over sedating Louella and she said she had to report me to APS out of concern for Louella’s safety. Nurse Ratched apparently did not see the irony of point three being that it was time to “let her go,” and her trying to persuade me to do just let Louella die, and point four being that I had to be turned into Adult Protective Services because I may be endangering Louella’s safety.

APS has paid a surprise visit to my home. I let the young lady in and answered all her questions. She was respectful and pleasant. If however there is a follow up, I am not talking to anyone without my lawyer present. I have talked to my lawyer and he is standing by.

If you are ever in a group meeting of the kind I described or have a one-on-one conversation with a social worker, think about every single word you say before you say it. They can wait while you gather your thoughts. Think about how what you say could be misinterpreted and used against you. Choose your words carefully. If you must meet one-on-one with a social worker, keep in mind that it is not just a friendly chat to figure out how to best care for your loved one. The social worker is out to gather evidence to turn you in, in order to justify her job. The social worker is not your friend. The social worker is the enemy interrogator.

I have always had Louella’s best interest at heart. I would never do anything to harm her. If not for the care Sue and I have given her, she would have died on several occasions. I know her mind is mostly gone, but she is still “Louella,” an individual deserving of dignity and respect. She gets the best care possible and she is loved. It is the healthcare system that has failed Louella; not me.

I know that when one hears someone has been turned into Adult Protective Services or Child Protective Services or a woman has gotten an order of protection against her husband that many people assume the person reported must have something wrong. Many people think the person would not be accused if they had not. Often they have done nothing wrong. Being investigated or even being charged does not mean one is guilty of anything. Anyone can be investigated for or charged with anything.

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The Tennessean's Frank Daniels hits the nail on the head with, "it pays to be poor."

In Tennessee, of the 268,867 people who enrolled in plans for 2016, 85 percent received a tax credit. Per HHS data, the average monthly premium for people receiving tax credits increased $2, from $102 to $104 per month, in 2016.
So, in a perverse way, it pays to be poor, at least to access health insurance.
If you are one of the 15 percent who do not qualify for a tax credit, TDCI said the average “silver level” premium for a 35-year-old living in the greater Nashville area will be $518.34 per month; the average premium for a 45-year-old will be $612.50. (link)
Tennessean's Frank Daniels  acknowledges a modern truth with his recognition, "that it pays to be poor."  We have already seen the truth of this with low income people who are better off trapped in poverty than losing public housing, food stamps, medicaid, AFDC, and myriad other entitlements; now we will see this for those who get subsidized healthcare who have incomes above the medicaid level. It is bad social policy to incentivize people to be poor but that is what the Affordable Care Act does.

If you subsidize something you get more of it. When we subsidize poverty we should expect more poverty. A side effect of  Obamacare is less upward mobility and more people trapped in poverty. There is also an incentive for employers to not grow their company beyond 50 employees and to keep the number of hours some employees can work below 30 hours a week. The law also provides a motivation for a couple with children to avoid marriage and unstable families is known to be a contributor to poverty.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

RIP Betty Nixon

Betty Nixon
I served in the Metro Council with Betty Nixon in the decade of the eighties.  While she was a progressive Democrat and I a Republican, I had a great deal of respect for Betty Nixon. The Metro Council is a non-partisan body and most issues are  non-ideological so political ideology is only rarely a factor in determining who one aligns with.  Betty had been a leader of a neighborhood organization before serving in the Council and so had I, so we had that in common. We had both fought against the building of I-440.

I think Betty Nixon was one of the better Council member with whom I served.  She was smart, understood the complex issues, did her homework, had integrity, and she loved this city.  Betty Nixon was a good person and good public servant. RIP

To read the Tennessean article regarding Betty Nixon's passing, follow this link.

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