Tag Archives: Tennessee

State lawmaker planned to profit from tax hike, prosecutors say

Demorat Joe Armstrong

Demorat Joe Armstrong

From Fox News: As Tennessee lawmakers raised cigarette taxes to 62 cents per pack in 2007, one veteran representative wanted even more, saying it “should have been a dollar.”

Prosecutors say that was part of Rep. Joe Armstrong’s elaborate scheme not to raise revenue or curb smoking rates but to line his own pockets. He’s accused of failing to pay taxes on money he made — more than $300,000 — by buying tax stamps at the old rate and selling them at the higher one.

Armstrong’s attorneys said at his federal trial Tuesday that he isn’t corrupt, but simply a victim of his accountant’s poor advice.

The indictment against Armstrong alleges he devised a scheme beginning in 2006 to profit from the cigarette tax hike planned by then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, a fellow Democrat. Armstrong was by Bredesen’s side when he toured east Tennessee to promote the 42-cent increase as a way to raise education funding and said at the time it should have been as much as $1 per pack.

According to the charges, the longtime legislator from Knoxville borrowed $250,000 to buy tax stamps through a wholesaler at the old 20-cent rate and then sold them at a profit after lawmakers more than tripled the tax in 2007.

His attorney, Gregory Isaacs, argued in court that there was nothing illegal about Armstrong making money off the purchase of the cheaper tax stamps. In fact, Isaacs said, he had every intention of paying taxes on the profits. Isaacs blamed Armstrong’s accountant for failing to turn over money he gave him to the Internal Revenue Service.

“Joe did what a lot of Tennesseans did,” Isaacs told the jury. “They’re going to try to get him convicted for listening to his longtime accountant.”

Prosecutors argue that political considerations drove Armstrong, who was then the chairman of the House Health Committee, to conceal his role and withhold the taxes. “He couldn’t be seen to be getting money from Big Tobacco,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Dale said. “Show Mr. Armstrong that he’s not above the law,” Dale urged the jury.

Isaacs responded that the government’s case hinges on the testimony of Charles Stivers, the accountant who filed the lawmaker’s tax returns. Isaacs said Armstrong had paid Stivers the money to cover the taxes, but that the accountant had pocketed that amount instead of paying the IRS.

According to Stivers’ plea agreement, the return on the purchase of $250,000 worth of tax stamps was $750,000, and he agreed to a 15 percent cut for funneling the proceeds through his bank. That 15 percent cut would have covered Armstrong’s tax burden, Isaacs said.

The longtime legislator wasn’t alone in taking advantage of the lag between when the tax hike passed and when it took effect. State officials saw a $9 million surge in tax stamp sales during that four-month period.

Earlier Tuesday, prosecutors succeeded in excluding the lone African-American potential juror from the trial over what they called “race-neutral reasons.” District Judge Thomas W. Phillips agreed with prosecutor Charles Atchley’s argument that the 68-year-old retired caregiver had been “disengaged” during jury selection and that she would have had difficulty following a complex tax case. “I have to have good jurors on this case,” Atchley told the judge. Isaacs had argued that his client, who is black, deserved to be tried by a jury of his peers and there was no legitimate reason to exclude the juror.

Armstrong became Knox County’s youngest commissioner in 1982, and was first elected to the state House in 1988. A former president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, he is tied with two other lawmakers as the longest-serving members in the lower chamber of the Tennessee General Assembly.

Prosecutors said they expect to wrap up their portion of the trial by Thursday, which is also when Tennessee holds its primary election. Armstrong faces no Democratic opponent, but his political future hinges on the outcome of the trial.


When are you moving back to England, Piers Morgan?

Piers Morgan in Burger King Flame Fragrance Advert

CNN’s insufferable British prig Piers Morgan is infamous for his threat to deport himself from the United States if we don’t enact gun-control laws: “If America won’t change its crazy gun laws … I may deport myself.”

Morgan also proclaimed that our Constitution and Bible need to be amended.

Morgan was one of four candidates for NewsMax’s “Worst Media Bias of 2012.” In September 2012, Morgan fawned over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who had called for Israel to be wiped off the map. Morgan asked Ahmadinejad, “How many times in your life have you been properly in love?” Ahmadinejad responded, “I’m in love with all humanity. I love all human beings.” To which Morgan gushed: “That might be the best answer I’ve ever heard to that question.”

On Wednesday, Morgan had a fiery debate with Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield (R), in which Morgan was bullying and kept interrupting Campfield when the senator was trying to answer Morgan’s questions.

At one point, Campfield said, “Now that gun control has failed, Piers, I’m wondering when are you going to move back to England. Because everyone in Tennessee is dying to know.” (1:20 mark)

Well said, Sen. Campfield!

The Internet is all abuzz with headlines calling Campfield a “moron” and an “idiot.” Perhaps you might send him a “thumbs up.” He has a blog “Camp4u” where you can leave him a comment.

I like what he wrote on April 23, 2013:

Thought of the day.

How come no one ever says its liberals who are bitterly clinging to their gun control and secular humanism?

H/t Doug Giles and Newsbusters.


Chuck Norris – You Can Get Up Now.


DEC 20TH 2012

Doomsday Calendar, My Arse. Chuck Norris Looked at it…it Stopped.


AUG 5TH 2012

You’ll never win the gold medal in fencing if you bring a knife to a Chuck Norris fight.


DEC 13TH 2012
In space, no one can hear you scream, unless Chuck Norris makes you scream.


OCT 14TH 2012
One small step for man, one giant push from Chuck Norris


FEB 18TH 2013
No meteors hit us this year – but Chuck Norris hit a few of them.

~Steve~                        H/T       Seth

Sunday Morning Funnies



A Florida senior citizen drove his brand new Corvette convertible out of the dealership. Taking off down the road, he pushed it to 80 mph, enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left.

Amazing,” he thought as he flew down I-95, pushing the pedal even more.

Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw a Florida State Trooper, blue lights flashing and siren blaring. He floored it to 100 mph, then 110, then 120. Suddenly he thought, “What am I doing? I’m too old for this!” and pulled over to await the trooper’s arrival.

Pulling in behind him, the trooper got out of his vehicle and walked up to the Corvette. He looked at his watch, then said, “Sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is Friday. If you can give me a new reason for speeding – a reason I’ve never before heard – I’ll let you go..”

The old gentleman paused then said, “Three years ago, my wife ran off with a Florida State Trooper. I thought you were bringing her back.”

Have a good day, Sir,” replied the trooper.


The owner of a golf course in Georgia was confused about paying an invoice, so he decided to ask his secretary for some mathematical help.

He called her into his office and said, “Y’all graduated from theUniversity of Georgia and I need some help. If I wuz to give yew $20,000, minus 14%, how much would you take off?”

The secretary thought a moment, and then replied, “Everthang but my earrings.”


A senior citizen in Louisiana was overheard saying, “When the end of the world comes, I hope to be in Louisiana .”

When asked why, he replied, “I’d rather be in Louisiana ‘cause everythang happens in Louisiana 20 years later than in the rest of the world.”


The young man from Mississippi came running into the store and said to his buddy, “Bubba, somebody just stole your pickup truck from the parking lot!”

Bubba replied, “Did y’all see who it was?”

The young man answered, “I couldn’t tell, but I got the license number.”

North Carolina

A man in North Carolina had a flat tire, pulled off on the side of the road, and proceeded to put a bouquet of flowers in front of the car and one behind it. Then he got back in the car to wait.

A passerby studied the scene as he drove by, and was so curious he turned around and went back. He asked the fellow what the problem was.

The man replied, “I got a flat tahr.”

The passerby asked, “But what’s with the flowers?”

The man responded, “When you break down they tell you to put flares in the front and flares in the back. I never did understand it neither.”


A Tennessee State trooper pulled over a pickup on I-65. The trooper asked, “Got any ID?”

The driver replied, “Bout whut?”


The Sheriff pulled up next to the guy unloading garbage out of his pick-up into the ditch. The Sheriff asked, “Why are you dumping garbage in the ditch? Don’t you see that sign right over your head.”

Yep,” he replied. “That’s why I’m dumpin’ it here, ‘cause it says: ‘Fine For Dumping Garbage.’”

Y’all kin say whut y’all want ‘about the South, but y’all never heard o’ nobody retirin’ an’ movin’ North.

~Steve~                          H/T  Wild Bill Alaska


Right to bear arms: The American Rebellion of 1946

Never one to let a crisis go to waste, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre, Obama has made known his intention to move quickly on gun control. The 113th Congress convenes today, and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) will propose legislation to ban “assault weapons” including handguns.

Have you ever heard of the 1946 Battle of Athens, Tennessee — an armed rebellion by WWII veterans against corrupt local and county government?

Me, neither.

One would think the Battle of Athens would be taught in America’s public schools, if only because it is so interesting.

The Battle of Athens is also a reminder to us today of the importance of the Constitution’s Second Amendment’s promise to the American people of our right to bear arms, as our last resort against tyranny.

Here’s Wikipedia’s account of the Battle of Athens:

The Battle of Athens (sometimes called the McMinn County War) was a rebellion led by citizens in Athens and Etowah, Tennessee, United States, against the local government in August 1946. The citizens, including some World War II veterans, accused the local officials of political corruption and voter intimidation. The event is sometimes cited by firearms ownership advocates as an example of the value of the Second Amendment in combating tyranny

Citizens of McMinn County had long been concerned about political corruption and possible election fraud. The U.S. Department of Justice had investigated allegations of electoral fraud in 1940, 1942, and 1944, but had not taken action. The wealthy Cantrell family essentially ruled the county. Paul Cantrell was elected sheriff in the 1936, 1938, and 1940 elections, and was elected to the state senate in 1942 and 1944, while his former deputy, Pat Mansfield, was elected sheriff. A state law enacted in 1941 had reduced local political opposition by reducing the number of voting precincts from 23 to 12 and reducing the number of justices of the peace from fourteen to seven (including four “Cantrell men”). The sheriff and his deputies worked under a fee system whereby they received money for every person they booked, incarcerated, and released; the more arrests, the more money they made. Buses passing through the county were often pulled over and the passengers were randomly ticketed for drunkenness, whether guilty or not.

In the August 1946 election, Paul Cantrell was once again a candidate for sheriff, while Pat Mansfield sought the state senate seat. After World War II ended, some 3,000 military veterans (constituting about 10 percent of the county population) had returned to McMinn County. Some of the returning veterans resolved to challenge Cantrell’s political control by fielding their own nonpartisan candidates and working for a fraud-free election. They called themselves the GI Non-Partisan League. Veteran Bill White described the veterans’ motivation:

There were several beer joints and honky-tonks around Athens; we were pretty wild; we started having trouble with the law enforcement at that time because they started making a habit of picking up GIs and fining them heavily for most anything—they were kind of making a racket out of it. After long hard years of service—most of us were hard-core veterans of World War II—we were used to drinking our liquor and our beer without being molested. When these things happened, the GIs got madder—the more GIs they arrested, the more they beat up, the madder we got …

Combat veteran Knox Henry stood as candidate for sheriff in opposition to Cantrell. In advertisements and speeches, the GI candidates promised an honest ballot count and reform of county government. At a rally, a GI speaker said,

The principles that we fought for in this past war do not exist in McMinn County. We fought for democracy because we believe in democracy but not the form we live under in this county.

Polls for the county election opened August 1, 1946. About 200 armed deputies turned out to patrol the precincts—the normal complement of 15 deputies significantly augmented by reinforcements from other counties. A number of conflicts arose before the polls closed, the most serious of which was when deputy CM Wise shot and wounded a black man who was trying to vote.

As the polls closed, deputies seized ballot boxes and took them to the jail. Opposition veterans responded by arming themselves and marching there. Some of them had raided the National Guard Armory, obtaining arms and ammunition.Estimates of the number of veterans besieging the jail vary from several hundred to as high as 2,000.

When the men reached the jail, it was barricaded and manned by 55 deputies. The veterans demanded the ballot boxes but were refused. They then opened fire on the jail, initiating a battle that lasted several hours by some accounts, considerably less by others. In the end, the door of the jail was dynamited and breached. The barricaded deputies—some with injuries—surrendered, and the ballot boxes were recovered.

During the fight at the jail, rioting had broken out in Athens, mainly targeting police cars. This continued even after the ballot boxes were recovered, but subsided by morning.

The recovered ballots certified the election of the five GI Non-Partisan League candidates. Among the reforms instituted was a change in the method of payment and a $5,000 salary cap for officials. In the initial momentum of victory, gambling houses in collusion with the Cantrell regime were raided and their operations demolished. Deputies of the prior administration resigned and were replaced.

The 1992 made-for-television movie An American Story (produced by the Hallmark Hall of Fame) was based upon the McMinn County War but set in a Texas town in 1945. It was nominated for two 1993 prime time Emmy Awards and one American Society of Cinematographers award.

H/t Ruth King of the blog Ruthfully Yours and my ol’ friend Sol.

An American Story is not available on Netflix, but is for sale on Amazon.


Shame on these sperm-donors

These three men in Tennessee fathered 78 children with 46 women, and the sperm-donors don’t pay child support for any one of them. 

Terry Tyrone Turnage of Memphis, TN, has 23 children with 17 different women.

Richard M. Colbert, also from Memphis, has 25 children by 18 different women.

Desmond Hatchett, 33, of Knoxville, has 30 children by 11 different women. He is currently in jail for aggravated assault.

Read more about them in the UK’s Daily Mail. Click here.

This is just in one state — Tennessee. Imagine how many of these irresponsible sperm-donors there are in all 57 50 states of the U.S.A.

Those of us who are among the 49% of Americans who still pay the income tax are suckers. There’s no other word for us.


Tennessee Water and UN Agenda 21

Why is Memphis area airport owner, Woody Degan, running for state senate in his district?  

H/T  Roger Fredinburg & Kelleigh Nelson