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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 09:59 PM
Original message
"The Battle of Ellis' Farm" -- a humorous postscript to my visit by the TN Bureau of Investigation
There have been literally tons of coverage on the visit to my farm yesterday by two officers of the TN Bureau of Investigation to investigate a "terrorist threat against a government official". For those who missed that OP, here's the link:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I have really appreciated every bit of coverage and the reactions of citizens, here at DU and across Tennessee, to yesterday. However, no one has quite captured the absurdity with such good humor and sarcasm as this Memphis Flyer writer. (I hope someone will go to the link below and capture the "face-off" photograph that accompanied the article and post it below. It is well worth it.)

http://www.memphisflyer.com/JacksonBaker/archives/2009/...

Thanks again for so many K&Rs to yesterday's OP.
If we never stop fighting, we will not lose.

Bernie "Fly by night" Ellis
------

Truth-Stranger-Than-Fiction Department: Citizen Activist Routs State Power in Battle of Ellis Farm
Posted by Jackson Baker on Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 6:01 PM


As if some evil kaleidoscopic genie were at work scrambling political stereotypes, a disturbing development occurred in Tennessee government this week that reversed the rhetorical clichs of three weeks ago, when legislative defenders of the Second Amendment seemed ready to storm the citadels of power over Governor Phil Bredesens veto of the guns-in-bars bill.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett, until recently a resident of Bartlett and a former state representative for that community, asked agents of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate what he considered a terrorist threat against well, it isnt exactly clear whether Hargett felt himself threatened or was acting on behalf of Mark Goins, the new Republican-appointed state Election Commissioner.

In any case, the tables were turned, with the citadels of power suddenly arrayed, in the most concrete manner imaginable, against a citizen who apparently had done nothing more than make a literary allusion to something called the Battle of Athens. This was a McMinn County event of 1946 in which some World War II veterans took up arms against a corrupt local government and forced the honest counting of ballots in an election that was about to be stolen.

What happened was that activist Bernie Ellis, founder of the group Gathering to Save Our Democracy had written an extensive comment on the blog of Knoxville News-Sentinel Capitol Hill reporter Tom Humphrey. The comment concerned Humphreys coverage of legislative maneuvering that would ultimately fail (by a single vote) to postpone the implementation of the previously enacted Voter Confidence Act. That act mandates optical-scan voting in Tennessee elections next year in the interests of accuracy. Commissioner Goins had resisted the change-over, long sought by individuals and groups concerned about past irregularities in reporting vote counts.

This was the concluding paragraph of Elliss comment: Thanks for continuing to cover this story. If your readers will email me (tracevu@bellsouth.net ), I will send them several handouts that document the misinformation campaign that is attempting to keep our elections unsafe and tamper-prone. We need to nip this nonsense in the bud, or we need another Battle of Athens (TN) sooner rather than later.

The next thing Ellis knew, he was visited at his Middle Tennessee farm by two agents of the TBI, who said they were there to investigate an emailed terrorist threat made by Ellis against unnamed state officials. (A TBI spokesperson would later confirm the request for an investigation was made by Secretary of State Hargett.)

Ellis apparently had little difficulty convincing the TBI agents that (a) he had made no threat against anyone; and that (b) he had sent no email to Hargetts office or any other organ of state government. The agents pronounced themselves satisfied and left the Ellis farm, but not without taking with them a written message for the complaining state official from Ellis.

The message read: "Mr. Ellis would like whoever issued the complaint against him to grow a pair of balls, 'man up' and call him at any time to discuss any concerns they may have with him or with anything Mr. Ellis has ever said."

Thereupon the Battle of Ellis Farm ended without the firing of a single shot a victory over state power, it would seem, in defense of the First Amendment which, in this case, had been exercised, in the most innocuous possible way, to refer to a long-ago circumstance involving the Second Amendment.

You just cant make up stuff this good.

Hat tip to LeftWing Cracker, Liberadio, Jeff Woods of Nashville Scene, Tom Humphrey of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, and God knows how many others.
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. That's a great photo with the article
K&R and now going back to read the rest of your OP. :patriot:
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I hope someone will capture it and post it on this thread.
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. this should work
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
24. Is that Martin Prince on the left?
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
2. LOL! That is truly inspiring and wonderful!
"Grow a pair of balls, 'man up'" - :rofl:


:thumbsup:

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appal_jack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:14 PM
Response to Original message
5. Right on Bernie!
I've been following your activism here at DU (on causes I fully support, especially election integrity and compassionate use/decrim.) for quite a while now. Glad to have you as a neighbor! (I'm in western NC) Keep up the good work. Glad that your exercise of the 1st Amendment obviated the need for shooting wars - that's the way it's supposed to go when people are civilized!!

-app
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Yes, if a real shooting war happens, I am SOL.
As a convicted felon (for my medical marijuana activism -- www.saveberniesfarm.com ) -- I can never own, use or even touch a gun again unless I receive a full Presidential pardon. (Stay tuned ....)

Of course, my backwoods neighbors tell me that I'm the only convicted felon they know who doesn't have a gun.

From this point on, I'd prefer to be an instrument of peace rather than an instrument of justice.

However, if push comes to shove, they didn't call me "Big Man" in the federal Bureau of Prisons halfway house for nothing.

According to some of my homies there, this is one "... old man who knows wat's zup."
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monmouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 06:32 AM
Response to Reply #8
19. Wow Bernie. I have a new hero who is over 25 years of age. As a
woman of a "certain age", and perhaps I speak for the others of same age, you neglected to tell us you were "hawt." Great OP and so glad it worked out the way it did. They did a wonderful write-up as well they should.
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. When you're "hawt", you're "hawt". When you're not, you're not.
That's why I don't ever broach that subject. It is also why the only picture of myself that I like is the one posted on the front page of my web-site ( www.saveberniesfarm.com ), the one taken in the New Mexico mountains when I was bearded, fit and about 20 years younger. (That picture was taken almost seven years ago now, before my "troubles" accelerated my aging process.)

But hey, thanks for the kind words anyway.

I'll get you an hour to stop all that ....
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DKRC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:16 PM
Response to Original message
6. Here's your pic


:yourock:
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Ghost in the Machine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
7. Heh! Here's *my* version of your pic....



Hang in there, my friend....


Peace,

Doug




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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Oh man, Ghost, you made my evening.
Edited on Wed Jun-24-09 10:48 PM by Fly by night
Could you send me a copy of that photoshopped photo as an attachment to this email address: bernieellis@bellsouth.net .

We are having a "PARTY LIKE IT'S 1783" gathering this Saturday to celebrate that the Voter Confidence Act is intact and on-track for 2010. I'd like to blow that photo up and put it over the dinner table.

Just one more thing to be thankful for -- a little laughter in the eternal vigilance foxhole.
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Ghost in the Machine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Glad you got a laugh out of it, my friend...
check your inbox at the above email you provided...


Peace,

Doug

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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 04:35 AM
Response to Reply #13
18. Much appreciated. Nice gift to wake up to at 4:20 this morning.
It's cool enough in my hollow to smell the sage this morning also. I'm glad there's nothing else to smell on the wind around here these days. Otherwise, surprise visits by the TBI (no matter how nice they are) wouldn't turn out quite as well. Just one more thing my Goddess is doing for me that I wouldn't do for myself, if given the choice.

If we never stop fighting (for things that are right, just, proper and humane), we should not lose.

Until then, let's PARTY like it's 1783.
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SeattleGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:41 PM
Response to Original message
10. That is a great follow up story!
Keep givin' 'em hell, Bernie! :applause: :applause: :applause:

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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:44 PM
Response to Original message
11. Bernie, this is fantastic. Thanks so much for the follow-up!
:applause:
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Glad it turned out this way. (Really).
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Suich Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-24-09 11:04 PM
Response to Original message
14. To quote Linda Ellerbee: "and so it goes," Bernie!
:woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #14
23. Or, as my siblings would say, "No matter where you go, Bernie, there you are."
Edited on Thu Jun-25-09 03:15 PM by Fly by night
Or, as I like to say, "If God, the feds (and now the Secretary of State) are watching, well then, let's give 'em a good show."
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Senator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 04:11 AM
Response to Original message
15. Good Fun.
Advance from victory to victory.

--
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 04:15 AM
Response to Original message
16. Nominated.
Very good.
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 04:19 AM
Response to Original message
17. K&R
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
21. ttt
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
22. Another good story: What Kind of Buffoons Are Running the Secretary of State's Office Now?
Edited on Thu Jun-25-09 11:00 AM by Fly by night
http://blogs.nashvillescene.com/pitw/2009/06/what_kind_...

Here's my favorite paragraph:

"Here's the moral of this little tale of jackassery: Don't mess with aging hippies. They're meaner than you think. Hargett sees them as a bunch of pansies. But the pansies kicked his ass on this legislation, so he was embarrassed and decided it was time for payback. Sending a couple of TBI agents to Ellis' house would screw with his mind. Right? Unfortunately for Hargett, Ellis, who's a really nice guy, has more than a few friends in the media. As soon as the TBI left his farm, he sat down at his computer and sent an email to these friends. When the first blog post hit the web, it must have been an oh-shit moment for the new secretary of state."
------

Ah yes, the hits just keep on coming. If it isn't clear to DUers by now, I may be peace-loving but I'm no pacifist. (If you don't believe it, hide and watch.)
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 05:03 PM
Response to Original message
25. Man I hadn't connected you DU name to Your IRL name!
Way to stand Bernie!

May Mother Earth continue to hold you to her breast. May Father Sky watch over you always.

-Hoot
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southerncrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 11:22 PM
Response to Original message
26. Now that TN has turned Red, we can probably expect things to get
goofier & goofier. :crazy:
Those young Repukes that are now storming the Capitol in Nashville are a pathetic bunch of wusses raised to think power is to be exploited. Way to show them how "wet behind the ears" they really are!
I fear the feud won't be over this easy, though. Expect retaliation.

Glad to hear the TBI were reasonable guys ~ that is comforting.

Proud to be your neighbor, Bernie.
I wish I were 1/2 as brave as you; you're truly are a hero! :patriot:
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 05:40 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. I don't think TN is as red as our voting machines paint us out to be. As far as retaliation...
Edited on Fri Jun-26-09 05:43 AM by Fly by night
... hide and watch. I am meeting with an attorney today about filing several charges against Mr. "Where oh where have my little balls gone" Hargett in response to his abuse of power.

The blogosphere is chewing him a new orifice right now and we are working for more national exposure of the Battle of Ellis' Farm. So stay tuned.
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Melissa G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Glad you called your attorney, Fly.
This is not an abuse of power that should be allowed to stand unchallenged.
:yourock:
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southerncrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. Excellent move...abuse of power must be "nipped in the bud" as
Barney Fife would say. How ironic....Harget is our own "Barney". LOL

As far as TN being Red, I think you are correct about much of it being attributed to voting machines. (For that matter, we can include most of the country.) I just see a complete shift since my childhood in the '60's.... & I grew up in East TN.

Your efforts on this could well have a significant impact on the next election if it gets enough press.
Have you any connections with folks in Athens. It's smack dab in the middle of Repuke territory & I'm sure the people there would not be amused to find that their ancestors would be judged as terrorists! I know many there read the Knoxville paper, but if you were to write a letter to the editor of The Post-Athenian, it might shake some things up over there. Just a thought. I'm sure your attorney will have their own ideas on such.

If TN legislature continues to be a national laughing stock, maybe the people of this state will wake up & see that these red pinheads are a bunch of pathetic, self-serving dumbasses!
We really need a blue state legislature again.

Stand strong, Fly!

PS I agree that Roy Herron would be a good choice for our next gov.
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