April 1st, 2017 by admin

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Russia’s Puppet?

February 6th, 2017 by admin

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Trump Nominates Folks From the Swamp

February 6th, 2017 by admin

15350456_1053079861470881_3683700321946841556_n - CopyPresident-elect Donald Trump does not have the traditional nominees of Washington insiders and donors to build out his Cabinet, but his transition team has spent the past several months quietly building a short list of millionaires and billionaires who could comprise one of the more eclectic controversial presidential Cabinets in history.

Here’s is President-elect Trump’s White House nominees to date:

Trump Chief Strategist

Bannon, 63, is perhaps Trump’s most controversial but unsurprising pick considering his counsel during the campaign. Bannon is a racists who took over the ultraconservative news site Breitbart. He’s a contentious pick for both Republicans and Democrats because of his anti-Semitic history and propagation of white supremacist beliefs. In the Summer of 2016, Bannon boasted to Mother Jones that he had transformed Breitbart into “a platform for the alt-right.” Bannon was also charged with domestic violence after reportedly attacking his now-ex-wife in 1996. He also takes pride in attracting the Christian Right to the alt-right movement.

Secretary of State

Bio: Rex W Tillerson is the Chairman and CEO of US oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil, having taken the company over in 2006. Tillerson, a native of Texas, has been with the company since 1975. The 64-year-old veteran oil executive has no government or diplomatic experience but he does have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Despite his lack of official government experience, Mr. Tillerson does have experience dealing with foreign governments, as Exxon Mobil operates in dozens of countries.

Attorney General

Bio: Jefferson B “Jeff” Sessions III currently serves as U.S. Senator from Alabama. Prior to his career in the U.S. Senate, Sessions was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, having been appointed by then-President Ronald Reagen. Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 1994 before being elected to the United States Senate in 1996. Thirty years ago a Republican Senate rejected his nomination as a federal judge because of allegations of racists history.

Secretary of Defense

Bio: General James Mattis is a 44-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Mattis brings with him a wealth of experience having served as commander of United States Central Command from August of 2010 to March of 2013, replacing General David Petraeus.

Mattis is beloved by the men who served under him, and earned the nickname “Warrior Monk” for a ferocious yet intellectual approach to leadership.

Secretary of Homeland Security

Bio: General Kelly is a distinguished military commander who is a widely respected by both his troops and Washington insiders.

With decades of experience leading U.S. Armed Forces, Kelly is a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The retired general served as commander of United States Southern Command from November of 2012 until January of 2016.

Secretary of Treasury

Bio: Steven “Steve” Mnuchin is a successful banker. Prior to being tapped to lead the U.S. Treasury, Mnuchin was chief executive of Dune Capital Management, a privately owned hedge fund, and was a partner at Goldman-Sachs for 17-years. The 52-year-old former Goldman Sachs trader has spent most of his career on Wall Street. He supported Trump because he strongly supports gutting regulations on Wall Street.

Mnuchin served as the Trump campaign finance chairman.

Secretary of Labor

Bio: Andy Puzder is the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which include the Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s chains.

Prior to his career as CEO, Puzder was a commercial trial lawyer in St. Louis. From 1978 through 1983, he was an associate at the law offices of St. Louis attorney Morris Shenker who he represented in various matters. In 1984 he moved to The Stolar Partnership in St. Louis and worked with Charles A Seigel, another St. Louis area trial attorney. Puzder has served as president and CEO of CKE since September 2000.

Hired an illegal immigrant in his home. Accused of spousal abuse. Does not support a working minimum wage.

Secretary of Commerce

Bio: Wilbur Ross is a successful American investor and business man. Ross is known as a “turnaround artist” who has acquired failing businesses and made them profitable. Known for buying ailing companies in manufacturing and coal to turn around (often through layoffs), Ross is the one of the country’s richest executives. He has been a Trump ally for decades.

Although a registered Democrat, Ross an early supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Secretary of Energy

Bio: Rick Perry is the longest serving Governor in Texas history, having served as the state’s chief executive from 2000-2015.

Prior to serving as Governor, Perry was a member of the Texas House of Representatives, a capacity in which he served until 1991 when he was elected Texas agriculture commissioner. In 1999, Perry became Lt. Governor of Texas under George W. Bush, whom he succeeded when Bush was elected president.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Bio: Dr. Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon and GOP former presidential candidate.

At 33, Carson became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and earned fame for his groundbreaking work separating conjoined twins. In 2000, the Library of Congress selected Dr. Carson as one of its “Living Legends.” The following year, CNN and Time magazine named Dr. Carson as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. He has no government or experience that would justify the position he was nominated for but he is a Trump supporter.

Secretary of Education

Bio: Betsy DeVos is the chairwoman of American Federation for Children which, according to the organization’s website seeks “to improve our nation’s K-12 education by advancing systemic and sustainable public policy that empowers parents, particularly those in low-income families, to choose the education they determine is best for their children.”

She has never held a public office or served in government. DeVos, 58, earned a name for herself in Michigan as an activist against public schooling. Critics contend that Trump picked DeVos because her family members, billionaire heirs to the scandalized Amway corporation, are long-time donors (200 million) to the Republican party. DeVos has also championed a push for voucher programs that funnel tax dollars away from public school into private schools or schools with religious foundations.

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Bio:Congressman Tom Price has represented Georgia’s 6th congressional district since 2005.

Before serving in the House of Representatives, Price was an orthopedic surgeon. Price has been instrumental in crafting legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), and implementing such legislation would likely be amongst his first tasks as Secretary of Health and Human Services. He was chosen solely to dismantle ObamaCare.

Secretary of Transportation
Bio: Before being chosen to serve as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao served as Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush from 2001 through 2009, the first Asian-American woman to serve in a Cabinet position.

Chao has been married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell since 1993.

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Mancini Elected Tennessee Democratic Party Chair

February 6th, 2017 by admin

mary mNashville – Last Saturday, Mary Mancini was re-elected to lead the Tennessee Democratic Party for two more years. Party [leaders] Executive Committee members gave the progressive activist from Nashville a unified show of support in re-electing her new chair of the state party.

Her decisive win marks a departure from close and divisive Democratic chair races in recent years.

In picking Mancini, Democrats have stayed with the former executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, a voting rights advocacy group that has criticized the state’s voter identification law. Mancini is a well-known voice in liberal circles, and at one time was a co-host of Liberadio, a political radio talk show in Nashville.

Mancini presented a two-year plan to executive members prior to Saturday’s election. The plan advocated Democrats recruit strong statewide candidates, effectively use voter data, raise more money, make strong gains in the state House and Senate and ensure that Democrats have a voice in the next round of redistricting in 2020. She said the party must include a strategy that includes all 95 of Tennessee’s counties.

“Republicans want us to think this is a completely red state, but it’s not,” she said. “There are Democrats all over the state. We’re going to find them and we’re going to work with them.”

She has now assumed leadership of a state party that has experienced damaging losses in recent years after controlling the state legislature and governor’s office less than a decade ago. In November, Republicans expanded supermajorities in both the 99-member Tennessee House — from 71 members to 73 — and the 33-member Tennessee Senate, where Republicans now hold a 28-5 majority.

Yarbro, addressing the executive committee Saturday as an ex-officio member, reminded those in attendance that the upcoming 109th General Assembly, which begins session this week, would feature fewer Democrats than at any point in Tennessee history.

FASCISM COMES TO AMERICA

January 27th, 2017 by admin

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Unicoi County Democratic Party Meeting set for March 4th

January 24th, 2017 by Mike K. Hampton

When_Did_the_Republican_and_Democratic_Parties_Trade_Places_757_3613 Erwin – The Unicoi County Democratic Party will meet on Saturday, March 4 at 9 am at Erwin Town Hall on Main Street in Erwin, TN. The agenda will include discussion of upcoming Party Reorganization on March 25th and the 2017 calendar of events for the party. The party will also have lively discussion on the immoral agenda of Donald Trump.

Unicoi County Party Reorganization Set for March 25th

January 24th, 2017 by Mike K. Hampton

aaaaaaaaaaaaErwin – The Unicoi County Democratic Party will hold a Party Reorganization meeting on March 25th at 9 am at Erwin Town Hall on Main Street in Erwin, TN. The purpose of the reorganization is elect new officers and Executive Committee members. Elections will be held for the following offices: Chairman, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. New Executive Committee members will also be elected. The party Bylaws will be open for revision.

For more information on party reorganization, attend the next regular meeting of the Unicoi County Democratic Party on March 4th at 9 am at Erwin Town Hall.

Get involved and make a difference in your life and future. For more information on the Unicoi County Democratic Party visit us on facebook at this link.

Erwin Women to attend Women’s March in Washington D.C.

January 18th, 2017 by admin

15025213_1773912992858868_3559608008422432000_oWashington – While Donald Trump can’t give away tickets to his inauguration, the Women’s March in Washington is drawing growing interest and projected massive crowds. There are sixteen times more buses requested for the March vs the inauguration. Interest in the Trump inauguration is dropping as fast as his poll numbers. His current popularity is at 37% according to recent polls.

Scores of women across Tennessee are planning to join the Women’s March on Washington, which will take place this Saturday, Jan. 21, near the Capitol. The event is expected to draw women and men alike who are concerned that women’s rights could be rolled back by Congress and the new Republican White House.

Organizers in East Tennessee have chartered three buses to take some 150 people to the rally. These buses will be leaving throughout the day on Friday. Other busloads of marchers will depart from Knoxville, Nashville, and Chattanooga.

Erwin – Several Erwin residents will be attending the march; some are loading up their cars with women from across NE TN while others from Erwin are riding on the buses leaving from Kingsport. The Unicoi County Democratic Party is giving financial assistance to help offset cost of local women and students attending the March for Women.

Some of the Erwin marchers are supporters of Hillary Clinton but virtually all are attending because they fear the rhetoric of the campaign threatens to spill over into everyday life and deal a death blow to women’s rights. Several women are concerned with issues such as gender discrimination, reproductive rights, equal pay and the fair treatment of minorities, immigrants, gays and lesbians.

Yesterday, a group of Erwin women and their supporters observed Martin Luther King Day, in Erwin, making signs for their Washington trip. Cars will be leaving Erwin early Friday morning as they make the trip to Washington. We wish these women and their supporters a safe trip.

UPDATE: Record crowds gathered in Washington and across the nation and world to protest on behalf of people. Here are some photos from some UCDP friends who attended.
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Death of our Democracy?

December 24th, 2016 by admin

In this Oct. 18, 2011 photo, traffic passes the New York Times building, Tuesday, in New York.  The New York Times Co. stock rose sharply on Thursday, July 26, 2012 after the media company reported that second-quarter revenue increased more than expected.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

In this Oct. 18, 2011 photo, traffic passes the New York Times building, Tuesday, in New York. The New York Times Co. stock rose sharply on Thursday, July 26, 2012 after the media company reported that second-quarter revenue increased more than expected. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

As the cold winds of fascism sweep across America, fear engulfs Europe while celebrations erupt in Russia. Vladimir Putin has succeeded in dealing a deadly blow to American democracy where Russian leaders Lenin, Stalin and Brezhnev failed. Russia celebrates as their puppet; Donald J. Trump is elected President of the United States.

Trumps successful fascists campaign was aided by Putin, as the ex KGB intelligence officer and head of Russian Foreign Security, hacked the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton supporters, releasing damaging emails that may not have even been true. It was the first time a foreign country meddled in an American election and shockingly the Putin lead attacks of democracy were successful.

Trumps campaign was deemed as fascist early in the Republican Primary by Republican Presidential candidates. Trump’s brand of fascism brandished all the characteristics of fascism, as noted in the New York Times, including creating “a cult of action, a celebration of aggressive masculinity, an intolerance of criticism, a fear of difference and outsiders, a pitch to the frustrations of the lower middle class, an intense nationalism and resentment at national humiliation, and a “popular elitism” that promises every American that they’re part of “the best people of the world.”

Often his rallies were filled with hate; suspicion and violence as the opposition were often beaten by his fascist supporters. His rhetoric and speeches closely reflected the words and speeches of Adolph Hitler. He preached religious intolerance and cast suspicious on immigrants. He proposed bans of Muslims and Mexicans. He was a master at bringing out the worst in the human condition as his supporters wildly and violently embraced his fascist rhetoric.

Since Trump was elected, hate crimes is exploding across America as noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center. On the world stage, the situation is not much better as NATO nations ponder an America that will not defend them against Russian aggression, as signaled by Donald Trump. Concerns also exist over a new arms race with nuclear weapons as an uninformed Trump recently indicated. The world is quickly becoming unraveled as the realization of Trump sets in. Russia and Putin are posed to be the real winners of the election of Trump, while America will be the loser.

In his election, Trump discussed of draining the swamp, in reference to addressing the perceived problems being Washington. Since the election, his betrayal of the American people is becoming clearer as he fills government positions with [creatures from the swamp] billionaires and Wall Street CEOs.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million votes (2,864,978} but Putin’s man [Trump] will be president. It is starting to look like Trump was right; he will make Russia great again and Putin knows it!

Trump Attacks

October 16th, 2016 by admin

As Trump’s campaign implodes, he is increasing his claims that the election is rigged against him. Trump’s words appear to be designed to prepare his supporters for imminent defeat.

Trump continues to erode support for our democratic system by false claims that conspiracy is underway against him. Today, he twitted, “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD,”

As is the norm, his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, spent the day trying to undo Trump claims. Pence said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he and Mr. Trump “will absolutely accept the result of the election.”

His mislead supporters appear to believe Trump’s words, as violence continues to grow at his events. It appears he is attempting to dampen turnout and/or cause his supporters to deny the legitimacy of the results if he loses.

American elections are void of fraud at any level, but some fear that Trump’s false charge of fraud is destabilizing the election by encouraging his supporters to monitor the election in areas where opposition support [large cities] will be large. Will violence occur in these areas as a result of stirring up his wing-nut supporters? Will we experience an Election Day fiasco?

The game Trump is playing is very dangerous and poses a threat to our democracy. This is the type of thing that happens in a banana republic under the directive of a third world dictator. This tactic is reminiscent of the threats to jail Hillary Clinton, something dictators do to political opposition. His behavior [much like a dictator] is designed to create disturbance and if played out in polling places across the country, has the potential to destabilize the election.

His conduct continues to place down ballet Republicans candidates in a difficult position as they balance winning their elections by distancing themselves from Trump without a angering many of their voters who fervently support Trump. Trump is creating the perfect storm from the Republican Party.

Republican governors are being forced by Trump’s stump speech warning of election fraud to ensure elections in their states will be conducted fairly. Many Republicans and Americans are appalled at Trump’s claims of widespread fraud, which goes to the heart of our democracy.

Trump’s loyal supporters decry insurrection and revolution should [when] Trump is defeated. Violence at his rallies increases and he incites violence against the press and those who oppose him.

As Trump’s campaign surrogates [Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani] join him in questioning the fairness of the electoral process by suggesting that Democrats tend to cheat in elections and count votes from dead people.

Civil rights groups have begun to express alarm at remarks from Mr. Trump that they see as rallying his supporters to intimidate minorities at the polls. It is very dangerous when Trump promotes “vigilante” poll watching.

Earlier this week, President Obama, pointed blame directly at the Republican Party for the rise of Trump and the hate he incites. By remaining silent they have created the monster that now roams the countryside terrorizing the Republican Party. Trump is the same monster that threatens to tear the Republican Party apart and it appears that he has no problem tearing the United States apart as he uses hatred to rally his supporters against his opposition.

Sadly, our democracy relies on confidence in election results, a confidence that Trump is eroding

The Master Con Artist

October 4th, 2016 by admin

anopeThe New York Times has discovered that Donald Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for almost two decades.

The 1995 tax records disclosed the excessive tax benefits that Trump gained from the financial ruin he created in the early 1990s through mismanagement of his three Atlantic City casinos, his busted attempt in the airline business and his failed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

Tax experts have concluded that Trump’s 1995 records entitled him use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over two decades.

Trump has refused to disclose his tax records and his taxable income in subsequent years is as yet unknown.

Trump surrogates have attempted to [unsuccessfully] paint Trump as a “genius” because he played the system and skirted his tax responsibilities while rising from the ashes of ruin to a business success.

It is uncertain how undecided voters will view his failure to pay taxes or truth about his dismal business skills. Recently, Trump criticized middle class and poor people who did not pay taxes. He also falsely touts his business successful as a strength in his presidential run for the White House.

Trump refuses to make his tax returns public, because he said… he is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. In the first debate, Hillary Clinton suggested Mr. Trump was refusing to release his tax returns so voters would not know “he’s paid nothing in federal taxes,” and when she also pointed out that Mr. Trump had once revealed to casino regulators that he paid no federal income taxes in the late 1970s – Mr. Trump replied, “That makes me smart.” Does not paying taxes really make a rich person smart of just greedy?

In reflection, the truth about the Trump success or lack thereof is best said during his business slump. “Simply put, the [Trump] organization is in dire financial straits,” the casino regulators concluded.

In 1990 Trump’s boasted of success and flaunted his jetsetter lifestyle, but his business consisted of an array of smoking mirrors and failing enterprises. Many top executives had departed the Trump Organization, and those who remained often whispered and worried about the pending doom.

Trump’s business financial failure was a closely held secret until this past weekend, when The New York Times published portions of Mr. Trump’s 1995 tax records that showed massive business losses of $916 million in 1995.

For a single businessman to declare losses approaching $1 billion is the ultimate in business failure. One thing is clear – Mr. Trump at the helm of his business empire since the 1980s led to its nearly imploding. Trump’s self-proclaimed business acumen proves to be yet another scam by the master snake oil salesman.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, likes to portray himself now as a self-made man who began life with what he has characterized as a meager $1 million advance from his father. That figure is grossly understated as is the support his father provided him over the years.

But even in his darkest moment, Trump continues to lean on his daddy’s wealth, this time to ride out his personal financial failure.

Trump is a master showman and con-artist. He has scammed his way to the nominee of one of America’s two political parties by playing on the fears and hatred of some and now he is just a victory away from the White House.

One question remains… will he be exposed as the con-artist he is or will he con his way into the White House?

Clinton Prepares for Debate

August 30th, 2016 by admin

While Hillary Clinton’s prepares for the first debate by seeking insights about Mr. Trump’s deepest insecurities as they devise strategies, Donald Trump stumps on the left coast visiting Washington for a campaign rally and prepares to travel to Mexico to meet the Mexican President.

The Hillary team is also gathering advice from psychology experts to help create a personality profile of Mr. Trump to gauge how he may respond to attacks and deal with a woman as his sole adversary on the debate stage. Trump’s team is reportedly not planning traditional debate preparation as Trump is expected to trash Clinton.

Team H is undertaking a forensic-style analysis of Mr. Trump’s performances in the Republican primary debates, identifying his strengths and weaknesses as well as trigger points that caused him to lash out in less-than-presidential ways. Sounds like a SWAT analysis.

While Clinton dives into voluminous research with her debate team, Trump is reportedly not performing routing debate preparation. Hillary Clinton has a laser focus on debate preparation. Trump said in an interview last week, “I believe you can prep too much for those things.”

Rarely are debate preparations as revealing about the candidates as a debate itself, but the. Clinton and Trump preparation and lack thereof is striking.

Clinton, a strong debater, wants to crush Trump on live television while Trump, a strong communicator and manipulator viewers to see him as a honest political outsider.

He has been resistant to his advisers’ suggestions that he take part in mock.

Clinton hopes to get under Trump’s thin skin and provoke him to rant and rave.

The Clinton team believes that Donald Trump is most insecure about his net worth, intelligence, his image as a successful businessman, and these are the areas Clinton plans to target. Team H believes if she remains calm, deliberate and relentless in attacking Mr. Trump’s character, volatility and readiness to be commander in chief… Trump will erupt.

How will Hillary – who is deeply rooted in facts – respond to possible Trump false charges? This was a downfall for fellow Republicans in the primary debates. How will Clinton respond to a flood of lies and conspiracy theories?

Who will win [Clinton facts or Trump lies] the debate.

The Reagan Myth is Dead

August 30th, 2016 by admin

Ronald-Reagan-Started-Unnecessary-WarsWith the rise of Donald Trump, have we witnessed the final death blow to modern day conservatism and the end of the Reagan myth?

The outrageous Gore Bush decision (that stole an election) occurred at the height of the conservative movement, but it also signaled its decline and imminent death. The myth of Ronald Reagan has fueled the conservative movement for 28 years. What would be the glue that could hold the conservative lie together after the emergence of Donald Trump?

Many would point out that the conservative movement has been on a slow decline, under the heavy weight of growing trends [demographics] and other factors spurring a renaissance of liberalism. Some would point to the election of President Barack Obama as the birth of the liberal movement and since his election; the movement has bloomed with liberal victories on a host of issues ranging from immigration to same sex marriage. Others would say the emergence of Bernie Sanders reigned in the new era of liberalism.

For many conservatives, 1980 would be called the birth of the modern conservative movement, but for many Americans it was also a beginning of a period of decline, deception, and death.

Ronald Reagan is the proclaimed godfather of the modern conservative movement. Reagan had become a [pagan] idol among conservatives and Republicans. Yet… if you search the facts, you will discover that he was a terrible president. The awful truth about him is not a pretty picture and it is why some people hate the Reagan myth. To understand the lie of the myth, you have to examine the facts about the Reagan presidency.

Contrary to conservative myths about Ronald Reagan as a low tax president, he raised taxes eleven times in eight years. He was loved by big business for single handedly crushing organized labor and starting what is now the long decline of wages for the American middle class. When he came into office in January of 1981, the top tax rate was 70%, when he left office in 1989 the top tax rate was only 28%. Reagan gave large tax breaks to all his rich friends and corporations.

Sadly the burden of these tax breaks fell on the backs of the lower and middle class under the birth of Trickle-down Economics. The decline of the American middle class started early in Reagan’s brutal regime. He enacted a series of crippling tax increases including the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act– the largest tax increase in American history – the Highway Revenue Act of 1982, and the Social Security Amendments of 1983. These tax increases most negatively affected those in need – the middle class and the poor.

Ronald Reagan naively believed tax increases on the poor and middle class was the solution to the nations’ economic woes while massive tax breaks to the rich and corporations would generate more revenue. This failed policy was designed to allow the rich to spend more, invest more, create new jobs [false assumption] and the middle class would benefit from the “Trickle-down Economics” crumbs, but there was never “crumbs” relief for the middle class or poor.

Early in his regime, the economy worsened and unemployment rose. He wildly spent on government and military buildup while bashing large government. Reagan took office with a $994 billion debt and left office in 1989 with a $2.9 trillion debt.

The Republican war on unions and the middle class was born on August 3rd, 1981, when Reagan crushed PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) just two days after they went on strike in an effort to get better pay and safer working conditions. He fired 11,345 workers for not returning to work and signaled management that Union busting will be tolerated. As union contracts expired – a wave of strikes rolled across the nation over the next several years.

During this period unemployment swept across America and unemployment rate reached it peaked at 10.8 percent – the highest since 1930s. The pain of Trickle-down Economics was in full swing.

Reagan’s drastic tax breaks for the rich and business did not work and the U.S government was desperate for revenue. He raided the Social Security Trust Fund help fund operations of the federal government, and he replaced the borrowed money with a worthless IOU. Once again, the created pain fell on the middle and lower classes. He was eventually able to lower unemployment with low paying jobs. The good jobs were being exported.

Contrary to myth, he increased the size of Federal Government. During the Reagan administration, government spending increased 2.5 percent per year.

Reagan also negotiated with Terrorists trading arms for hostages by Iranian proxies in Lebanon. Most of this money was illegally raised with arm sales that funded the Nicaragua Contra rebels – something that the U.S. government had prohibited from doing.

He also funded Terrorism by training Osama Bin Laden by the CIA. Osama went on to lead the terrorist group known as Al Qaeda – the same group that committed countless acts of terror including the 9/11 attack on New York City.

In 1981 Reagan greatly increased funding and training to the Afghanistan mujahedeen to fight our Russian enemies. In addition to arms, sophisticated military equipment and advanced weaponry were also given to them to better fight off our enemies. Our top-secret intelligence officers even played a much bigger role in training and arming these militants.

The tactics used to train these terrorists are used today against America, including car bombing and assassinations; and much of the weapons paid for by Reagan, went to one group, now known as the Taliban. Once again, Reagans assistance to terrorist was used against America.

In the summer of 1981, Reagan reduced the federal funding of Community Mental Health Centers. He eliminated most services for people struggling with mental illness. The lack of funds and support from the government led to the closing of many mental state hospitals. The patients were then released on the streets and homelessness exploded. Repercussions from this decision are still a central reason with the problem of homelessness in America today.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Reagan was the first national politician to proclaim himself as “pro-life” – a person who strongly values life. He was even labeled by conservatives as the “father of pro-life movement” yet he totally ignored the AIDS epidemic as growing numbers were dying.

The HIV/Aids epidemic was born in 1980 and during that time, people were scared as they witnessed more and more people dying. The nation and world desperately needed a strong leader to address this growing danger of the epidemic and instead they had Ronald Reagan and he just kept quiet… he did nothing; he even refused to mention the word “Aids”.

Reagan kept silent on the issue until 1987, but it was already too late to stop the disease and by that time, 36, 058 Americans had already been diagnosed with the disease, and 20,849 had died.

Ronald Reagan served two terms and nearly 25 years later he has been held up high by the modern Republican Party. Ronald Reagan did a lot to hurt the United States and the American people, not just while he was in office, but more damage has been realized since he left office for the many years that have followed.

They myth of Ronald Reagan as a “good leader” is finally dying, as the party of Lincoln… the party of Reagan is now the party of Trump. What is really shocking is today Reagan would be considered to moderate to be nominated by today’s conservative [wing-nut] standards.

Unicoi County Democratic Party Headquarters Opens August 27th

August 11th, 2016 by Mike K. Hampton

a headquartersThe Unicoi County Democratic Party Headquarters will open on August 27th at 5 p.m. at 511 North Mohawk Drive (the same location as 2008 and 2012). We have Hillary Clinton yard signs, bumper stickers and campaign badges. Call 743-7696 to pick up your Hillary campaign items. We will be open 5 p.m. through 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 27th.

The grand opening of our headquarters will kick off with a pool side cookout followed by a wine party and political conversation with like minded Democrats. Tickets for the fundraiser have sold out

Headquarter hours of operation will be announced in the near future.

For more information visit us at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UnicoiCountyDemocraticParty/ or call 743-7696.

UNICOI COUNTY DEMOCRATS: Party questions official’s use of taxpayer money

August 9th, 2016 by admin

record-logo-hdErwin (July 27th)– Local Democrats are questioning State Senator Rusty Crowe for transferring Tennessee taxpayer communication funds to Nashville Senator Steve Dickerson in the run up to the August Primary election, according to a press release from the Unicoi County Democratic Party.

“Our Republican State Senator Crowe has unethically funneled taxpayer money to his pal, Senator Steve Dickerson, to use for his re-election campaign,” said Mike Hampton, chair of the Unicoi County Democratic Party.

State law provides legislators with an annual budget for sending mail and using other methods to communicate with their constituents. While the practice of transferring these funds between members is no longer allowed in the House, Lt. Governor Ramsey has allowed, what the press release referred to as “the unethical practice” continues in the Senate. Many good government groups and several Republican legislators have tried to end the practice all together but have yet to succeed.

“Senator Crowe took taxpayer money meant for use communicating with his constituents here in Unicoi County, and instead he gave it away to Sen. Dickerson in Nashville so he can promote himself to voters in his re-election bid,” Hampton continued. “It looks like Senator Crowe feels protecting his political allies in Nashville is more important than letting his constituents know what he’s been doing to make life better for the folks here at home. This Republican culture of unethical behavior is disturbing; sadly their loyalty lies with Lobbyists and special interest and not with the people of Tennessee.”

Unicoi County Democratic Party Meeting Saturday, August 6th

July 30th, 2016 by Mike K. Hampton

UCDP MThe Unicoi County Democratic Party will meet Saturday, August 6th at 9a.m. at Erwin Town Hall. Hillary Clinton signs will be available at this meeting.

This meeting will involve continued conversation about our county party’s path forward. We will be discussing the latest news on Insure Tennessee, Haslam’s push for privatization of state jobs and the decline of the state focus on middle class families in Tennessee. We will also discuss the state legislation focus on bills designed to cater to special interest and lobbyists.

Additional topics will include the Democratic Convention, building the county party, Hispanic Community outreach, and the August 27th Pool side fundraiser.

Discussions will continue on ongoing area activities of the Tri-Cities Tennessee Young Democrats and College Democrats of America at ETSU.

Discussions will also include a vote to approve expenditures for the Unicoi County Democratic Party General Election and finalize plans to conduct phone banking to Tennessee and North Carolina voters for Democratic Voter turnout.

The public is welcome to attend. Get involved and help our county, state and nation move forward. For more information visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UnicoiCountyDemocraticParty to get information on ongoing activities and events.

Court Strikes Down NC Voter Suppression Law

July 30th, 2016 by admin

jim-crow-songbookYesterday a federal appeals court struck down a voter ID law designed to suppress the votes of minorities in North Carolina.

The court found that state lawmakers intentionally sought to keep African Americans from the ballot box – methodically using voting data to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The law was one of many discriminatory statutes enacted by states after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

The court in this case exposed the charade that such laws are intended to prevent voter fraud – writing that North Carolina’s version “impose[d] cures for problems that did not exist.”

We know that racism is at the root of laws like this. And we know that opponents of equality won’t ever give up.

It is sad and alarming that states controlled by GOP legislations have passed undemocratic voter suppression laws that are designed to prevent Americans from voting. This is attempt to steal elections because the GOP must feel that do not have the policies that people will vote for and support.

We encourage everyone to promote registration and voting in your community.

Democratic Convention Ends in Unity

July 30th, 2016 by admin

DNC_300X250_REV02Philadelphia – Last night the Democratic Convention ended with Hillary Clinton accepting the nomination for President of the United States. The Convention was a big success as Democrats united for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump. There was a stark difference in the Conventions. Shockingly, Republicans embraced Trump’s message of doom and gloom, while Democrats put on a flawless display of Americana reminiscent of 1980 Republican [Ronald Reagan] Convention. It was amazing to watch roles reverse as Democrats portrayed a message of hope and reminded Americans that America has always been great!

The Convention began as Bernie Sander’s supporters were given a lot of attention and time to vent their disappointment. Unlike the stop Trump movement in the GOP Convention where dissent was shutdown, the Democrats took great strides to bring the Sander’s supporters on board. According to polls during the Convention, they were successful by the midpoint of the Convention as 90% of Sander’s supporters were saying they would vote for Hillary Clinton.

President Obama started the attack on Donald Trump portraying him as a dangerous unstable figure and a friend of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Some Democrats suggested Trump has authoritarian beliefs and spoke like a dictator when he said he alone could solve America’s many problems. He speaks as if he is promising to be a one-man ruler.

Hillary Clinton pounded Trump repeatedly for depicting the United States as a nation in decline and declaring, “I alone can fix it.” That sentiment, Clinton said, is inconsistent with democracy. She said that Trump’s proclamation should “set off alarm bells for all of us.”

“Remember,” she said, “our founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power.”

On Thursday night, Khizr Khan, whose son, a Muslim and a United States Army captain, was killed fighting in Iraq, stirred the convention crowd as he denounced Trump’s lack of moral character by attacking unjustly attacking Muslims, calling it an offense against the Constitution. “Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future,” Mr. Khan said. “Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution?” Mr. Khan reached in his pocket and pulled out a copy of the Constitution and offered to let Trump read it.

It is obvious that Democrats and some Republicans intend to keep up their wall-to-wall assault on Mr. Trump’s worldview and fitness for office. During the Convention, Democrats reminded Americans that Trump is “not a normal Republican.”

aaDC Bernie Sanders addresses Tennessee and Minnesota delegations.

UPDATE: What is the Putin/Russia Trump Connection?

July 26th, 2016 by admin

trump cycleUPDATE:The events surrounding Trump and Putin are becoming more and more disturbing. The 2016 Republican Platform is one of the most extreme versions ever adopted by the party. Shockingly, Donald Trump did not object to any of the extreme points but he did have one object that was changed due to his insistence. Wording pledging weapons to Ukraine to defend off Russian aggression was removed.

Another development in the Trump Putin connection involves Trumps support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea; a small nation on Russia’s border. Crimea, now under Russian control [after being invaded by Russia] has invited Trump to Crimea. Are Trump’s business dealings related in this cozy connection between Trump and Putin? Is this cozy connection why Trump recently said he would not necessarily observe obligations with NATO nations to defend them if they were attacked [by Russia].

In conclusion: today (July 29th), Breaking news noted that the Hillary Clinton campaign was hacked by Russian intelligence. This occurred just two days after Donald Trump, the man who calls himself the “law and order candidate,” effectively said at the Wednesday press conference that he “hope[s]” that Russia did, in fact, hack and steal the deleted emails of Hillary Clinton.

WASHINGTON
— Government researchers have concluded that two Russian intelligence agencies hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails. 20,000 emails were released on the eve of the Democratic Convention, some of them embarrassing Democratic leaders and triggered the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairwoman.

This had lead several questions: Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to help his friend Donald Trump and damage the election chances of Hillary Clinton? Is Russia interfering in the American presidential election? Is the Trump campaign involved in the WikiLeaks release of the emails?

The emails exposed the degree to which some DNC leaders favored Hillary Clinton over her primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by the same Russian intelligence agencies which attacked the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year.

Sunday morning, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, suggested the emails were leaked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump”. He also suggested that the Russians might have done this to support Mr. Trump: The Republican nominee indicated in an interview with The New York Times last week that he might not back NATO nations if they came under attack from Russia — unless he was first convinced that the countries had made sufficient contributions to the Atlantic alliance.

The accusation is emerging as a talking point of the Clinton campaign, as the campaign portrays Trump not only as an isolationist, but also as one who would go soft on confronting Russia if she threatens NATO nations or Nations which interest to join NATO.

Trump has recently said he would like to “get along with Russia” if he is elected, and he has repeatedly complimented Putin, saying he is more of a leader than President Obama. Putin has in turn praised Trump.

One can only ask if there are any ties between Mr. Trump, his campaign and Putin and his regime?

Many Democrats feel the email release was designed to embarrass Democrats on the eve of their Convention and further alienating Mr. Sanders’s supporters from Mrs. Clinton.

The timing of the release, between the end of the Republican convention and the beginning of the Democratic one, seems too well planned to be coincidental.

Donald Trump himself could not wait to run to the news after the WiKiLeaks release on Saturday. In a Twitter message he wrote: “Leaked emails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from WikiLeaks, really vicious. RIGGED.”

Russian intelligence agencies went to great lengths to cover their tracks, investigators found, including meticulously deleting logs, and changing the time stamps of the stolen files.

It is interesting to note that this story has another level of intrigue involving Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman. He was one of several American advisers to Viktor F. Yanukovych, the Russian-backed leader of Ukraine until he was forced out of office two years ago. Mr. Yanukovych was a key Putin ally who is now in exile in Russia.

In April, when asked about his relationship with Yanukovych, Manafort said, “he was simply trying to help the Ukrainians build a democracy that could align more closely with the United States and its allies”.

One can only wonder why Putin likes Donald Trump. What does Russia think they can gained from a Trump victory in November? Could it be related to his suggestion not to Defend NATO nations in the face of Russian aggression and invasion?

Clinton and Kaine Ticket Debuts in Miami

July 24th, 2016 by admin

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton and Time Kaine of Virginia made their debut as the Democratic presidential ticket, offering the American people a clear choice between the doom and gloom of Trump with a message of hope and a bright future for America and the American people.

Clinton and Kaine appeared together at a 1 p.m. rally at Florida International University in Miami. The joint appearance was designed to introduce the new VP of Hillary Clinton and energize Democrats as they head to their national convention in Philadelphia.

“Tim Kaine is everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not,” Clinton said in introducing her running mate at the rally. “He is qualified to step into this job and lead on day one.”

Kaine used Spanish to energize the crowd, telling the crowd, “Somos Americanos todos” — “We are all Americans” — an obvious reference to Trump and his attacks on immigrants.

Kaine also discussed Trump’s dismal record as a casino mogul in Atlantic City and the failed Trump University which too middle class people for everything they owned. “He leaves a trail of broken promises and wrecked lives wherever he goes,” Kaine said of the Republican nominee.

It was a good opportunity to showcase liberal background and Kaine’s fluency in Spanish, a language he learned as a missionary in Honduras. After considering several VP candidates, Hillary Clinton went with Kaine, who is seen as a safe selection, even though some in the party’s progressive wing wanted a progressive VP.

Kaine, gave a good introduction of his life which exhibited strong liberal characteristics although many consider him not to be a progressive. He also did a good job of praising Hillary Clinton and pointing to her life of public service. He also contrasted Clinton and Trump. “Do you want a trash-talker president or a bridge-builder president?” Kaine asked the crowd.

Kaine is very popular in Virginia, an important swing state and a state that is trending Democratic in recent elections since 2008. Kaine’s victory ended a decades-long losing streak for Democrats. Kaine will be responsible for ensuring that that does not change in November.

Philadelphia Hosts Democratic Convention

July 24th, 2016 by admin

DNC_300X250_REV02 Philadelphia – Democrats converge on Philadelphia to hold their Convention which begins tomorrow. There will be a stark difference with the doom and gloom message of the GOP as Democrats offer clear plans and solutions to create jobs, strengthen education, rebuild infrastructure and build a stronger America.

Trump’s Convention Message: Doom and Gloom

July 24th, 2016 by admin

dark pathThe irresponsible rhetoric of Donald Trump reined at this week’s Republican Convention in Cleveland. He painted a picture of America in chaos as violence and crime gripped our communities’ streets. Like a scene out of Mad Max, he painted a dark and gloomy picture of America. Only him alone, [He promised] could deliver us from evil and liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threaten our communities. It was a message reminiscence of a third world dictator, not that of a candidate for president of the United States of America.

He offered no plans or solutions to the mountain of problems he claimed gripped the county. In pure Trump style, he attempted to use fear to rally support. He said, “Our Convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life”. The main message of the Contention seemed to be only I [Trump] can save America and the world and he proclaimed, “I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon — and I mean very soon — come to an end. Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored”.

Other than basis doom and gloom, the Convention seems to focus on two issues: Hatred for Hillary Clinton and Making America Great Again. Anger and hostility toward Hillary Clinton was key as Trump’s hot rhetoric played very well with delegates, as mob mentality took hold and delegates shouted “lock her up”, in reference to Hillary Clinton. Republicans seem to forget that in dictatorships, opposition party candidates are sent to prison while in America, we vote against those we don’t support.

The Make America Great/Safe Again slogans imply the country is no longer great or safe and is an attempt to scare Americans into buying into the Trump’s empty [doom and gloom] vision. He relies heavily on the illusion that our streets are in chaos and he is only one who can save us. This illusion of chaos is the foundation of Trump’s campaign. Since he has, nor offers plans or solutions, his only path for victory is lined with fear.

This irresponsible rhetoric of Trump is a real threat to American prosperity and world stability as he threatens to not support NATO [or oppose Russian aggression] alliances and suggests that he would not object to other nations gaining nuclear weapons. He has no understanding of world affairs nor will he listen to those who do know the dangers. His poor business decisions and abuses will decimate the economy.

Trump is attempting to divide America to conquer America. Never before has a president campaigned on pitting one group of Americans against another group. Never before has a presidential candidate said although our constitution protects religion, I disagree with it, an obvious justification for his war on Islam. Does this mean he will not follow the Constitution if he disagrees with it? Will the GOP’s Convention and Trump’s dark message based on lies be embraced by voters?

NRA Rewards Loyal Tennessee Legislators

July 8th, 2016 by admin

1353206437-lgThe National Rifle Association’s [NRA] Political Victory Fund has endorsed 18 incumbent Tennessee House Republicans in their re-election campaigns for their loyal servitude to the NRA.

They are Reps. John Holsclaw of Elizabethton in District 4, Gary Hicks of Rogersville in District 9, Jeremy Faison of Cosby in District 11,

Martin Daniel of Knoxville in District 18, Mike Carter in District 29, Ron Travis in District 31,

Jerry Sexton of Bean Station in District 35, Kelly Keisling of Byrdstown in District 38, Courtney Rogers in District 45,

Judd Matheny of Tullahoma in District 47, Mike Sparks of Smyrna in District 49, Charles Sargent of Franklin in District 61,

Jimmy Eldridge of Jackson in District 73, Jay Reedy of Erin in District 74, Tim Wirgau of Buchanan in District 75,

Curtis Halford of Dyer in District 79, Curry Todd of Collierville in District 95, and Steve McManus of Cordova in District 96.

During the 2016 Legislative Session, the Tennessee Legislature passed multiple pro-gun bills that promote gun sales and rights in Tennessee.

House Bill 1736 and Senate Bill 2376, sponsored by state Representative Andy Holt and state Senator Mike Bell, will permit full-time employees of state public colleges or universities to carry a handgun while on property owned, operated, or used by the employing college or university if the employee has a valid Tennessee handgun carry permit.

Senate Bill 1991 and House Bill 2131, sponsored by state Senator Brian Kelsey and state Representative Courtney Rogers respectively, prohibit public post-secondary institutions from taking any adverse action against an employee or student as a result of such person’s lawful transportation and storage of a firearm or ammunition in the person’s parked motor vehicle.

Senate Bill 1559 and House Bill 1644, sponsored by state Senator Mike Bell and state Representative Tilman Goins respectively, allow the chief administrative officer of a private K-12 school or private institution of higher education to implement a handgun carry policy that either permits or prohibits a person who has a handgun carry permit from carrying on the grounds or buildings of a private K-12 school or private university.

House Bill 2575 and Senate Bill 2566, sponsored by state Representative Gerald McCormick and state Senator Mark Norris respectively, reduce the cost of handgun carry permits from $115 to $100 as well as extend the permit renewal to eight years.

One can only wonder how much money the members of the Tennessee Legislation were paid for their loyalty to the NRA as society watches the death toll rise in regards to gun violence.

Unicoi County Democratic Party Fundraiser

July 6th, 2016 by Mike K. Hampton

Tickets are on sale for August 27th Unicoi County Democratic Party fundraiser. Tickets are $10. Tickets will be available at our August 6th regular meeting at 9 a.m. at Erwin Town Hall or call 423-743-7696.

Those attending the fundraiser should bring a dish or dessert. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be provided. The fundraiser will be a pool side cookout and silent auction followed by political conversation over a glass of wine. There is plenty of shade areas for those who avoid the sun. So bring your favorite bottle of wine for the after meal political conversation with like minded Democrats.

Populist Chaos in UK: Is America Next?

June 24th, 2016 by admin

The stock market in the United Kingdom lost $164 Billion in 600 seconds and this was the first ripple of the shock wave to sweep across world markets. It only took minutes after the British voted to leave the European Union (EU) for reality of the oncoming economic disaster that will cripple England as a result of this vote. It did not matter that false information [lies] fueled the opposition’s case to leave the EU. It did not take long for buyer’s remorse to sit in as the reality of this poor decision became painfully clear.

The decision to leave the EU brings into focus the power and ignorance of a disaffected electorate to force change, at any cost, and with no regard to pending doom resulting from the decision, to simply make a point with a reluctant establishment. One immediate question came to mind as Donald Trump relished potential personal economic gain from this decision as stock markets across the world plunged as millions of American’s 401 savings took a big hit. Will America pay the same economic price of ignorance in November?

As the sad reality of this poor decision takes hold, the English people already regret the pending doom that will be the results of this vote. It was the older English, many of whom were left behind economically, that voted to exit the EU. A similar demographic reflected by Trump supporters in America. It will be the English youth who will pay the high economic price for this bad decision to leave the EU.

All English youth could (and many did) work in the twenty-seven countries tied through agreements of the EU. Now those job opportunities are gone and many who have these job opportunities will lose these jobs. Economic ruin awaits England because of this decision. They will pay a high price for this full hearty vote. Will Americans make the same bad decision in November?

Donald Trump proved that while a global crisis was ongoing he was more interested in his business trip and self interest of selling over night stays at his renovated light house. The English people proved your vote does make a difference and ignorance can destroy your economy and country.

Yesterday England had the 5th largest economy in the world. Today England has the 6th largest economy. By the end of today, the US Stock Market closed -610.

We the people

La comunidad latina

June 16th, 2016 by Mike K. Hampton

o-DREAMER-FILM-facebookEl Partido Demócrata del Condado de Unicoi le invita a involucrarse políticamente en nuestra comunidad. La comunidad latina es una parte vibrante de nuestro condado de Unicoi, y nos gustaría saber de usted y hablar de los temas más importantes a nosotros. Reunámonos para hablar de la educación, la inmigración, la economía, y los servicios médicos en nuestra comunidad. También le suplicamos que se registre y vote. Venga a la próxima reunión en el Ayuntamiento de Erwin.

Para más información, póngase en contacto con Mike K. Hampton a 743-7696. También puede encontrarnos en Facebook en https://www.facebook.com/UnicoiCountyDemocraticParty

o visite nuestro sitio Web en http://unicoi.tndcca.org/ “.

Democratic Unity?

June 3rd, 2016 by admin

la-et-ct-cnn-ratings-20151014-003The friction between the Democratic presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders looks less of the problem for the party than past contested Democratic primaries. With that being said, Hillary Clinton is 71 delegates from reaching the number 2383 – the number needed to secure the nomination.

Next Tuesday, Hillary Clinton will reach the amount she needs to secure the Democratic nomination but will she close the divide herself and Bernie supporters?

Democrats are suggesting that the time has come to bring the two wings of the party together. Many feel that Hillary should select Bernie Sanders as her Vice-Presidential running mate while others believe she will/should offer Sanders platform concessions.

Putting a fractured party back together again is never easy and unifying the party is the first step to victory in November.

Clinton has to address the lack of excitement of her campaign and she needs the energy that Bernie has brought to the campaign. His large rallies filled with young [voters] people have been impressive. This excitement reminds many of the election of President Obama in 2008 that proved critical to Democratic victory.

Hard feelings between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns are minor compared to the division of the Donald Trump and Republicans. Trump continues his attacks on Republicans and Hillary Clinton but many Republicans are turning a blind eye to Trump’s lack of a moral compass and threat to the GOP in their lust/desire for Republican [victory] power.

Supporters of candidates who loose close races tend to stay home. But many feel the hatred that Trump has stirred will motivate many to get out and vote against his vile brand of hate. Unity occurred rather quickly after the Obama and Clinton 2008 race and many Democrats feel this will be the case again. Since many of Bernie supporters are first time voters with no party loyalty it will be essential that Hillary Clinton and Democrats do whatever is necessary to pull the party together.

Many Democrats are urging Clinton to include planks in the Democratic Party platform that incorporate Mr. Sanders’s popular positions while others feel she should select Bernie as her VP.

Clinton has moved to the left throughout the primary as she has responded to Mr. Sanders’s challenges but many liberals/progressives feel/fear that she will move back to the center in preparation for a general election battle and this will complicate the effort to appeal to Bernie’s voters, who are already leery of Clinton.

Clinton endorsed Obama, in 2008, soon after she dropped out of the race and this united Democrats. But, will Clinton be able to mend fences with Sanders and his supporters?

The horrible thoughts/reality of Trump in the White House will do more to unify the Democratic Party than anything Hillary or Bernie could do.

Democratic Race Enters New Stage: Unification

April 24th, 2016 by admin

la-et-ct-cnn-ratings-20151014-003The animosity surrounding the Democratic presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders looks less problematic for the party than past contested Democratic primaries. With that being said, Hillary Clinton posted a double-digit victory over Bernie Sanders in New York on Tuesday.

Next Tuesday, Hillary Clinton could win 90% of the amount she needs to secure the Democratic nomination. She is projected to win big in four of the five primaries to be held: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Democrats are suggesting that the time has come to bring the two wings of the party together.

Putting a fractured party back together again is never as easy as it seems but unifying the party is almost always the first step to victory
Clinton has to address the lackluster feel of her campaign and she could use the raw energy and spirit that Mr. Sanders has brought to this campaign. His large rallies teeming with young first-time voters have been impressive. This excitement mirrors the election of President Obama in 2008 and proved to be a critical part of the Democratic coalition.

Unity is a problem for both parties this election. But, whatever bad feelings may exist between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns, they pale in contrast to the Republicans. Donald Trump has warned/threatened violence in the streets should his opponents or other appointed replacements steal the nomination.

In a CBS News poll this month, 24 percent of Mr. Sanders’s supporters said they would not support Mrs. Clinton should she win the nomination. Among Republicans, 32 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters said they would not support Mr. Cruz in a general election; 27 percent of Mr. Cruz’s backers said they would not vote for Mr. Trump in November.

History has shown that when a candidate loses a highly contested race, backers of that candidate then to stay home. This was not the case with the Obama and Clinton 2008 race and many Democrats feel this will be the case again. But, many of Bernie supporters are first time voters with no party loyalty and they may feel a sense of disappointment. It will be vitally important that Clinton and Democrats do whatever is necessary to bridge the divide between the two sides. Hillary seemed to realize this and make a move toward that end in her victory speech after the New York primary.

Many Democrats are urging Clinton to include planks in the Democratic Party platform that incorporate Mr. Sanders’s popular positions.
She moved to the left throughout the primary as she adjusted to Mr. Sanders’s challenges but many feel she will move back to the center in preparation for a general election battle, this will complicate the effort to appeal to Bernie’s voters, who are already leery of Clinton.
In 2008, Mrs. Clinton endorsed Mr. Obama soon after she dropped out and Democrats united.

The horrible thoughts/reality of Trump or Cruz in the White House will do more to unify the Democratic Party than anything Bernie or Hillary could do.

GOP TO TNGOP = NO TRUMP

April 24th, 2016 by admin

Donald Trump’s campaign has accused the Tennessee Republican Party of “doing the bidding” of the national GOP establishment in a calculated attempt to “steal” pro-Trump delegates and stop them from being a part of Tennessee’s GOP delegation.

It’s part of a national effort by GOP party leaders, the Trump campaign has alleged, to stop the Republican frontrunner from becoming the nominee.

Recently his supporters made threats, passionate protests and accusations of theft with Tennessee delegates. Donald Trump backers protested what they said was an attempt to “steal” rightful delegates from the GOP front-runner in Tennessee.

At issue were the state’s remaining 14 at-large delegates. From the results of the primary, which Trump won by 14 points, he was due to receive 7 delegates from the 14 but only received two delegates.

The Trump campaign says 5 of the appointees slated to vote for Trump have loyalties “to vote for the establishment,” and if a contested convention goes to a third ballot – the round of voting in which Tennessee frees its delegates to vote for whomever they please – Trump could lose the backing of his own.

Acts of “intimidation” from the Trump campaign continue. Mean spirited behavior and violence has plagued Trump events as Trump continues to whip his supporters into orgies of violent pandemonium.

The Tennessee GOP hired extra security for the meeting of the TNGOP Executive Committee because of a number of threats sent by Trump supporters on social media. And Haynes said his cell phone was flooded with calls from angry Trump supporters, to the point that he now has to get a new phone.

Trump campaign continues to suffer delegate struggles – as it struggles to understand and operate within the sometimes arcane rules that govern delegate allocation at the state level. Those struggles have set him back in the delegate fight in a list of states as Ted Cruz continues to out maneuver the Trump campaign.

This battle for delegates has become very important for the remaining campaigns as it’s become increasingly likely that the GOP primary will head to a brokered convention, where delegates will engage in multiple rounds of balloting until a candidate can cobble together a majority.

If Trump is unable to win the nomination outright on the first round of voting, many of his and other candidates’ delegates will be released and can vote for whomever they please. Experts claim Trump will not be the nominee if the vote goes to a second ballet. With that in mind, the GOP establishment is in a mad rush to stop Trump. This is resulting in candidates jockeying to get their loyalists elected at the state level as delegates to the national convention.

In Tennessee, delegates are bound on the first two rounds of voting, and then set free. But Bennett said the Trump campaign is also concerned about ensuring Trump supporters get appointed to a handful of key committees that decide the rules governing how a candidate qualifies for the nomination.

Trump continues to rail against the will of the voters not being considered in the battle for delegates.

But, how can anyone reasonably expect anything less from the party that brought us Republican Voter Suppression?

Let the Sunshine in Tennessee

April 23rd, 2016 by admin

For the second straight year, members of the Tennessee House of Representatives remain under criticism for their use of meetings inside lawmaker offices and conference rooms to discuss upcoming legislation.

These so called meetings are packed with lobbyists and representatives of those who own the Representatives. Government experts and Democrats question the reasons for the meeting and argue the meetings undermine transparency.

Republicans claim the meetings are casual greet and meet with lobbyists and officials.

The meetings make the Sunshine law a joke. Republicans tout Sunshine Week, when media organizations get a brief peek of transparency in government.

Democrats say most of the decisions about bills are now being made in these pre-meetings, rather than in committee meetings. Unlike the secret pre-meetings, Committee meetings are held in meeting rooms easily accessible to the public, the press, live-streamed online and archived for on-demand access.

Some Democrats point out that they have never been invited to these meetings and noted… “It’s outside the public eye, and anything you’re doing behind closed doors outside the public eye, for the most part, is usually not good,” (D) Mitchell said.

The use of pre-meetings came to light last year, after a joint effort by The Tennessean, the Knoxville News Sentinel, The Associated Press, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, and The Commercial Appeal discovered that at least 10 of the 15 committees in the House held pre-meetings.

Experts call these meetings “secretive” because the meetings were not publicly announced and, on some occasions, members of the media were initially prevented from attending.

The Senate does not hold similar secret meetings.

When meetings of state government are held in secret and attended by lobbyists… that cannot be good for the public. But, when your party holds a super majority… do they really care?

GOP Presidential Race Sinks into Gutter

February 29th, 2016 by admin

il_570xN_383378165_4tk4The GOP candidates take a nose dive into the gutter. Trump has hit Cruz and Rubio hard with charges of both being liars. He points out that Rubio sweats because there is something wrong with him. He sweats so much they have to cover the sweat with makeup using a trawl to apply it to his face. He now calls him little Rubio and reminds all that he is a very nasty person. The last few days Rubio has come back strong with comments about Trumps plane as Hair force one and he points out that Trump is not going to make America great again, he is going to make it orange in reference to his spray tan. Cruz claims Trump has ties to New York Crime families and he can’t be trusted to be president.

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday and Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) are increasing the personal attacks against the other’s appearances and personal backgrounds. They are sinking to the lowest levels of profane discourse and personal attacks unprecedented in a presidential campaign. Rumors increase of a brokered convention as Republican Party leaders fear the long term damage of Trump as Trump victories becomes more increasingly likely. Voters are the real losers as the insults fly, while Republican Party leaders can only fear that the gutter tone of the race could have longer-term implications. As the tone becomes more and more personal and sinks even lower in the gutter, Democrats can only wonder, is this Republican implosion — manna from heaven?

Unicoi County Democratic Party Meeting: Saturday, Feb. 27th

February 19th, 2016 by Mike K. Hampton

UCDP MThe Unicoi County Democratic Party will meet Saturday, February 27 at 9a.m. at Erwin Town Hall.

This meeting will involve open conversation about our county party’s path forward. We will be discussing the latest about Insure Tennessee, Haslam plans for privatization of state jobs, building the county party, registering people to vote, and 2016 election year activities.

Discussion will include the 2016 Unicoi County Democratic Party Convention scheduled for March 5th at 11 am at Erwin Town Hall. Announcements on the District Democratic Convention and National Democratic Convention will also be part of the agenda. We will also discuss activities of the Tri-Cities Tennessee Young Democrats and College Democrats of America at ETSU. We will also be discussing funding/donations to these organizations.

We will discuss details of the 2016 Calendar of Events for the Unicoi County Democratic Party and meetings dates for the county party and plans to conduct phone banking for Democratic Voter turnout.

The public is welcome to attend. Get involved and help our county, state and nation move forward. For more information, call 743-7696. You can also

Unicoi County Democratic Party to Host County Delegate Convention March 5th

February 17th, 2016 by admin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mike K. Hampton

Phone Number: 423-743-7696

Email: smalltownmikey@hotmail.com

Unicoi County Democratic Party to Host County Delegate Convention March 5

Erwin, Tenn. (February 14, 2015) – The Unicoi County Democratic Party will host its Democratic Party County Delegate Convention on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Erwin Town Hall to select the delegates from each county to the District Convention. The doors open at 12 pm and the event is open to all registered voters in the county, supporters of the Democratic Party, and those who agree to support the nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2016 Presidential election. The doors will close at 1 pm and he Delegate Convention will begin. The party welcomes all who wish to participate in selecting Tennessee’s delegates to the Democratic Presidential Convention to attend.
tndp logo
Information about becoming a DNC delegate and the rules governing the DNC
Delegate Selection Process may be obtained from tndp.org, or from the Tennessee Democratic Party, 1900 Church St, Ste 203, Nashville, TN 37203, 615-327-9779.

Democratic Primary: Battle between the Left and the Main Stream

February 10th, 2016 by admin

la-et-ct-cnn-ratings-20151014-003The Democratic primary has become a hotly contested race as Bernie Sanders gives Hillary Clinton real competition in a race between the dreamers who wants to move quickly ahead and doers who want to stay the course.

One major divide has emerged between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton between the idealistic voices in the party, with Liberals and Progressives viewing Sanders as a lightening rod for rethinking traditional politics and policies and those Traditionalists who prefer the approach of governing by pursing practical, achievable goals backing Clinton.

Sanders is getting the support from liberal Democrats while centrists Democrats prefer Clinton.

The battle lines over the party are clearly being drawn. Groups like the Nation and MoveOn want to accomplish policy goals that press for broader political reform. They are intentionally not “part of the system that backs Clinton” and often criticize Democrats who are.

“He has summoned the people to a ‘political revolution,’ arguing that the changes our country so desperately needs can only happen when we wrest our democracy from the corrupt grip of Wall Street bankers and billionaires,” the Nation’s editors wrote this week in embracing Sanders. “We believe such a revolution is not only possible but necessary—and that’s why we’re endorsing Bernie Sanders for president.”

Clinton, the magazine declared, would be limited by her traditional goals of “seeking common ground with Republicans and making deals to ‘get things done’ in Washington.”

Both candidates are aware of a divide in the party, and both candidates are taking steps not to alienate the other’s coalition. Sanders increasingly refers to polls that show him leading in potential match-ups against Donald Trump and other Republican candidates, an appeal to the Democrats who care most about keeping the White House.

Polls suggested after the caucus and primary in Iowa and New Hampshire, where Clinton and Sanders had campaigned extensively, the candidates are unlikely to change voter perceptions of Sanders as the activist and Clinton the experienced statesman.

After Sanders fought to a virtual tie in Iowa and won impressively in New Hampshire, last night, this divide could become an interesting test with minority voters.

Clinton has the backing of many influential African-American political leaders, from state representatives and mayors to major figures. This fact mirrors Clinton’s strong support among whites in the political establishment.

Are African-Americans open to rethinking their position in American politics? The status quo has resulted in blacks having disproportionately low levels of wealth and power. Sanders’ proposal for dramatic changes in U.S. economic policy mirrors how the Black Lives Matter movement is seeking to disrupt racial politics and the status quo.

Clinton currently has a huge lead among minority voters overall in the south and in South Carolina, the first primary that will have a large percentage of black voters.

Polls in South Carolina shifted dramatically in 2008, once Obama won Iowa and proved he was viable. Can the same happen with Bernie Sanders? After all, his message mirrors those of Jessie Jackson and President Obama during their runs, gaining huge black support. Or will the Clinton machine roll once it enters into the south?

Regardless, the Democratic Primary has become very exciting as enthusiastic young people flock to Sander’s message as while the party base embraces Clinton.

Romneyism: Decline of the American Middle Class

November 14th, 2015 by admin

At a time when universal deceit overshadows the truth as a radical idea and self-indulgence and greed serve as God to many people, is Romneyism the new political religion of the conservative right? Romneyism is the belief system that was embraced with the rise of Mitt Romney as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party. The main thrust of Romneyism is simply the belief system that value and virtue is void of a moral compass or core values. Any lie will do!

Romneyism gave rise in the election of 2012 where candidate Mitt Romney easily swayed from opinion to opinion, boldly portrayed with six major issue changes where he swayed from one opposed position to another with no remorse or regret. He has been for and against more issues than can be easily explained and the basis of this immoral lack of values appeared wildly popular and effective with the conservative faithful. If Romney felt uneasy by his contradictory views, he showed no evidence of being so. His [flip flop] views were simply explained away as that his views have evolved. Voter’s opinion to this lack of a moral compass was disturbingly seen as unimportant.

It took a secretly filmed video of Romney and a quote for voters’ to get a glimpse of the real Mitt Romney, a glimpse they did not like. The Quote: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it — that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The coldness of his comment speaks volumes about the real disturbing facts in regards to his immoral beliefs [Romneyism]. His swaying on issues did not mean he has no core values at all. He is simply not concerned with the policy issues [values] that are on the table (or should be) in a Presidential campaign with middle class people. Any lie will do!

Mitt Romney’s [Romneyism] values [or lack thereof] are really frightening. A first core value is his understanding of [his God] capitalism and the importance of making a profit; this is his number one value. If doing so means sending American business [jobs] overseas, that is a side benefit. If doing cost jobs, well that’s just too bad for the persons who lost theirs in this process, just as long as he makes a profit in the process. If doing so means killing the American car industry – so be it.

A second core value for Romneyism, as he referenced without regret in the GOP primaries, is that “corporations are people” (to which he added “my friend,” even though most corporations are not very friendly). That position has many scary meanings and far reaching implications for the structure and function of the U.S. economy, which he believes, can be bought and sold with dark [Citizens United] money. When he toured a foreign sweat shop and was impressed with the oppression and fear of the beleaguered workers – this was the real Romney.

A third core value for Romneyism, is that if the profit-makers [job creators] for American capitalism can’t make their profits the traditional ways, then creative ventures like investing in and/or organizing the bankruptcies of other businesses, or replacing public education with a private profit based version, or taking a significant chunk of operating funds out of the health care system to support profit-making by the private insurance industry is simply good business, the benefits for the rich outweigh the benefits of the masses [middle class and poor]. This new form of trickle-down economics explains the decline of the American middle class as corporate America drains the middle class of resources.

Fourth, is his kingly belief that “his kind of people” is the people who should rule, for their own benefit and for the welfare of everyone else [the peasants]. And they [he] are, by nature of their positions [wealth], entitled to a wide variety of benefits that the majorities are not. Yes indeed, he does believe in certain “entitlements.” They are just not the entitlements that benefit the majority of Americans. He supports corporate welfare.

The growing popularity of greed and growing emphasis on self-indulgence is a dangerous phenomenon and important basis for the principles of Romneyism. Societal structure will not survive when its people loose compassion for others. Romneyism feeds off society when its people’s concerns turns from the welfare of all to the welfare of “self”. Many of the progressive causes, which benefit all in society, require a loyalty to [the whole] society and devotion to community by its people.

When the focus of people turn inward, unions die, wages drop, benefits are slashed and Romneyism flourishes. It is much easier to slash education, walk by a homeless person, support cuts in social safety nets when you care about no one but yourself. This behavior is the foundation of the current conservative movement in America. Recently, before Romney officially redrew from the 2016 race, it was shocking to see Mr. Romney talk about running a 2016 race for president based on a focus on the poor and an anti-poverty crusade.

But wait a minute, what about the interview that aired the day after he clinched the Republican nomination, in 2012, when he remarked, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” Or the week after the election, when Mr. Romney blamed the loss on “gifts” Obama promised to minorities if they voted for him. And in early 2016, he briefly flirted with the idea of running on an anti-poverty campaign – blasting President Obama for widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

One must remember, Romney’s embrace of the poor is just the most recent example of the Romney [flip flop] doctrine. The truth does not matter because deception is the seed that sows/reaps the conservative harvest. The Golden Rule of Romneyism – Any lie will do!

Democratic Debate: The Adults Take the Stage

October 15th, 2015 by admin

15.3 million Americans watched the adults take the stage in the first Democratic debate. Unlike the previous two Republican debates, the five Democratic candidates actually discussed issues and policies. There were no cruel personal attacks or attacks against women and immigrants. They did not call each other liars or make fun of each other’s looks. Who won the debate? The American people won because important issues were discussed.

Hillary Clinton showed a powerful performance. Bernie Sanders also scored points and performed well. Clinton landed strong punches on her opponents. She reminded O’Malley of his past support for her while scoffing at Bernie’s call for revolution and assailing him for being soft on guns. The debate may have solidified Clinton as a front runner but Bernie touted raising over 2 million dollars since last night’s debate.

There is glaring differences between the two parties. While the Republicans face growing divisions, Democrats have few divisions. They may have differences on how to achieve their goals, but they agree on many principles: They want to expand the social safety net, raise taxes on the wealthy, reduce mass incarcerations and use common sense to regulate guns. They also want to fight climate change and expand access to higher education.

The high point was when Bernie Sanders noted that the American people were damn tired of hearing about Hillary’s emails. They want the candidates to discuss the important issues that face the middle class.

So who won the debate? Clinton is the clear frontrunner and most polished candidate on stage but Bernie Sanders has popular star power. It is now clear to see why Republicans created the special tribunal (Benghazi Hearings) to attack her and tear down her high ratings: they fear her and have good reason to do so!

VOTER REGISTRATION QUESTIONS/ANSWERS

October 2nd, 2015 by Mike K. Hampton

tndp logoDo I have to put my Social Security number on my voter registration form?

It’s a good idea to do so. Your social security number is necessary to register to vote, but if your county Election Administrator gets an application with that field blank, the Election Commission is instructed to give you a call. However, this could cause your application to slip through the cracks. It will save time and effort to include your social security number on your application.

If I’ve moved here from another state, do I fill out “Address Change” or “New Registration?”

Even if you were previously registered to vote in your home state, you should check the box “New Registration.” You are a new Tennessee voter, and checking “New Registration” indicates that you need to be added to Tennessee’s voter rolls for the first time.

Do I have to put my phone number on my voter registration form?

It is a good idea to do so. It’s not required, but the Election Commission may need to notify you if your registration is incomplete or anything goes wrong in the registration process.

What if I’m going to college here, but I’m from another state?

You can chose to register either in your home state, or at your address here in Tennessee.

What if I’m homeless? What do I put as my address?

If you are without a home address, you can still register to vote. One of the reasons they need your address is to know where to send your voter registration card. Therefore, the easiest way to register is to list the address of a local homeless shelter or church that opens its door to the homeless. Make sure that you frequent the place you list as your address to make sure that you get your Voter Registration card when they send it to you.

What if I have been convicted of a felony and have lost my voting rights?

You can get your voting rights restored. For more detailed information on Voting Rights Restoration, please pick up our info packet on how to restore your rights.

The TeaParty Giveth and Taketh Away

September 25th, 2015 by admin

Speaker John A. Boehner, who rode a conservative wave to one of the highest positions in government, said today that he would resign from Congress at the end of October, undone by the very Republicans Teabaggers who swept him into power.

His rise and fall are noted in the following timeline:

Feb 2012 – He was swept into power on the Tea Party wave of 2010, the new speaker is immediately confronted by his powerful right flank with H.R. 1, the first bill of the new Republican House, which tries and fails to defund Planned Parenthood.

Jul 2012 – Pressed by conservatives, John Boehner dug in against raising the government’s statutory borrowing limit, risking a potentially catastrophic default on the federal debt. The White House blinked and signed the Budget Control Act establishing a “super committee” to slash the federal deficit, with strict spending caps set by law if the committee failed. The committee did fail and the Sequester was born. This is the only real victory can claim against President Obama but time has proven the Sequester is no victory for the country.

Dec 2012 – With all of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts set to expire on Jan. 1, John Boehner faced a major predicament. Most Republicans were elected on a pledge not to raise any taxes. President Obama had vowed to raise taxes on the rich. If they all did nothing, taxes would go up for virtually everyone. Mr. Boehner lost to President Obama and taxes went up on incomes over $400,000.

Oct 2013 – With the federal government set to run out of money, conservatives demanded on defunding the Affordable Care Act. He knew a shutdown would hurt the GOP politically but he could not avoid it. The government shut down on Oct. 1 for 16 days, until Republicans caved in to pressure and negative PR. Once again, President Obama won.

Feb 2015 – Conservatives once again forced the Speaker to stand their ground on continued funding for the Department of Homeland Security, demanding that any funds be tied to stopping Mr. Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Again, Mr. Boehner faced a threat on his speakership. Again, President Obama prevailed.

Sep 2015 – With the end of the fiscal year approaching, conservatives are again demanding that Planned Parenthood be defunded and the Teabaggers are prepared to shut down the government. John Boehner knew that a bill to fund the government beyond Sept. 30 would pass with Democratic votes, but conservatives said such a vote would end his speakership.

Sep 25, 2015 – One day after Pope Francis addressed a joint session of congress, an invitation from the speaker, John Boehner announced his resignation. He said he wanted to resign last year but when Eric Cantor was defeated by the Teabaggers, he said he decided to stay on for one more year.

Minority Speaker, Nancy Pelosi called Boehner’s resignation “a stark indication of the disarray of the House Republicans.”

Teabaggers claimed credit and victory for the Boehner’s resignation.Dont Laugh at ME

Koch Political Industries: The GOP’s Shadow Party

September 19th, 2015 by admin

ImageProxyiiiThe Koch brothers have poured millions of dollars into controlling the turnout in state elections and they have gained control of a political party in the process.

They have also expanded their activities in the area of messaging, polling, medial buying, election law and their political operation exceeds that of the Republican National Committee (RNC) in many important areas.

They also control several for-profit companies and their party infrastructure funds and controls Americans for Prosperity, youth voter outreach groups and a Latino outreach group in several states. This gives Republicans. in Koch controlled states, support of two parties [the RNC and the Koch shadow party]. This unholy alliance has allowed the Koch brothers to buy legislatures in many states including Tennessee. As the acquire state legislatures they impose laws crafted by ALEC.

This is what Democracy faces in America. The sad news is elections are now bought and sold by the Koch bothers [dark money]. They have bought legislatures and congressman but can they buy the presidency?

Unicoi County Democratic Party “Make it Blue” Fundraiser

September 17th, 2015 by Mike K. Hampton

Erwin – The Unicoi County Democratic Party will kick off the 2016 Presidential Campaign with a “Make it Blue” Fundraiser. The event will occur on Saturday, October 17, 2015, 11:00 am at Erwin Town Hall. The luncheon will include a menu of Chicago Dogs, homemade Chili and Apple Cobbler. The event will include a silent auction of homemade cooked cakes and pies and quality items.

The cost of tickets is $10.00 and tickets will be sold at the door. Half of the proceeds will be donated to the Democrat Resource Center in Johnson City, TN. Representatives of the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sander’s Campaigns will provide those in attendance with information on area events for both candidates.

Bernie Sanders Visits Liberty University

September 17th, 2015 by admin

Bernie Sanders, who’s been rallying liberal Democrats on the presidential campaign trail, spoke Monday morning in an unlikely setting: Liberty University, a longtime haven for conservative Republican Evangelicals, and the University created by Jerry Falwell. But things are changing and there are signs of some shifts in how young Evangelicals are viewing important issues. Bernie made genuine attempts to touch the moral conscious of the predominately young crowd.

He was honest and open in his speech. This was a student body that appears to have diversified somewhat in recent years, with some students reportedly supporting causes that aren’t traditionally associated with Republicans.

Sanders’s courting of young and more liberal-minded Evangelicals was an unusual move but Bernie Sanders has drawn large crowd in all regions of the United States. But his presence at Liberty shines a light on an evolving voting bloc that is perhaps more open to his message of income inequality and social justice than in the past. More importantly, Mr. Sanders made an effort to tread in unfamiliar territory, something few politicians rarely do. More importantly, it was even more unusual to hear a liberal challenge the moral consciousness of young Evangelicals.

Listen to the full speech here.

GOP Trumped!

July 17th, 2015 by admin

Donald Trump is taking heat from Republicans officials for his comments—but the controversy has only made him more defiant and pushed him to the top of national field among Republican primary voters, according to new polls released this week. Trump is surging in the polls and this has a lot of Republicans worried.

Trump comes in as the first choice of likely GOP primary voters in the latest national poll, conducted by USA Today and Suffolk University.

Donald Trump – 17%
Jeb Bush 3.0 – 14%
Scott Walker – 8%
Ted Cruz – 6%
Marco Rubio – 5%
Ben Carson – 4%
Rand Paul – 4%
Mike Huckabee – 4%
Chris Christie – 3%

The rest of the large GOP candidate field received less than 2 percent support each.

Trump also leads two other polls including the Fox News poll.

In all scenarios national Democrats can rejoice as a Trump-Clinton general election, with Hillary Clinton coming out far ahead. In a theoretical matchup, the GOP business tycoon trails Clinton by 17 points, 51 percent to 34 percent. She also leads all GOP presidential candidates by large margins.

While GOP party leaders are concerned about the consequences of the large size of the field of contenders and the surging popularity/power of Donald Trump – Republican voters are happy with Donald Trump and the large field of candidates.

The party insiders remember the long 2012 fight and the rotating flavor of the month as a host of all presidential hopefuls held the number 1 seat for at least a month during the battle for the GOP #1 position.

Then there is the matter of the number 1 GOP problem: Donald Trump. His remarks are toxic among Mexican-Americans, highly damaging and inflammatory among other Latinos, and unpopular among other minorities and white moderates. Overt racism or racial intolerance toward members of a group tend to inflame all minority groups; resulting with a profound negative impact.

Is there any good news for Republicans? Many Republican’s pray that Trump’s numbers will collapse and the novelty will wear off, and GOP voters, who hate Hillary Clinton, will come to their senses and vote for a more electable candidate. But, it is the mean spirited words of Trump that has fueled his growing popularity among Republicans. He is saying what they believe and that is scary.

Even more alarming is that Trump is receiving all the attention and sucking all the air out of the GOP room. It does not advance the GOP cause with the general election more than 15 months away. Many in the GOP field may be wiped out before they even get a chance to be heard if Trump does well in early primaries. There is also the hellish GOP possibility that Trump will run as an independent candidate and become the ultimate spoiler. His celebrity status is the asset that has become like oxygen for him while removing oxygen for the remaining GOP field. As Trump gains support and climbs in the polls, other candidates are not being heard and face defeat before the race even begins.

Even if the Trump nonsense ends, how will the Republican nomination race sort out? What damage will Trump reap on the GOP before his nonsense ends? The GOP civil war continues: 60% are conventional mainstream Republicans, while the other 40 percent are of a somewhat more wing-nut fringe. The wing-nut fringe group consists of three subgroups: tea-party activists, secular, and anti-establishment and these groups fuel the Trump bubble and will have an even stronger impact on the selection of the GOP presidential candidate.

Democratic Candidates Meet in Iowa

July 17th, 2015 by admin

IOWA – For the first time this campaign season, the five Democrats vying for president just spoke on the same stage.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia and Lincoln Chafee, a former governor and senator from Rhode Island, spoke at the sold-out Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids.

Over a thousand Iowa Democrats filled the hall; hundreds of Democrats filled the streets of Iowa at mini rallies in support of their candidates. Democrats were anxious to hear what the candidates had to say and all were received warmly. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders received the largest ovations.

Clinton remains far ahead in Iowa Democratic polls, but Sanders is gaining. The most recent poll put Clinton ahead, 52 percent to 33 percent.

After hearing each of the Democratic candidates speaks, there is a clear difference and choice between the Democratic and Republican parties and their beliefs are starkly different.

Unlike the Republican candidates, the five Democratic candidates had clear messages directly focused on middle class Americans. Jobs, education, health care, fair pay, equal pay, criminal justice reform and immigration reform were the top topics to highlight each of the candidates.

Supreme Court Upholds ObamaCare Subsidies

June 25th, 2015 by admin

logoRev1Washington – A few hours ago, the Supreme Court upheld a key provision of Obamacare. In a 6-3 ruling, millions of Americans will continue to receive tax subsidies that basically allows them to afford health care. Opponents attempted to kill ObamaCare by dismantling a key provision that allows consumers to receive subsides. This is a major victory for President Obama and the American people. Americans will continue to be able to purchase affordable health care for themselves and their families.

After 50 votes, two Supreme Court rulings and the 2012 elections, a reasonable person would say it is time to move forward and work for the American people. But, Republican candidates for president are already making false and empty claims to continue the war against ObamaCare. New poll numbers show that the lies are beginning to loose its deceptive power to deceive as a growing majority of Americans support ObamaCare.

It is obvious that ObamaCare is working and lowering health care cost. As the truth continues to be exposed on the facts of ObamaCare, support for the idea will only grow.

Clinton Calls Out GOP on Voter Suppression

June 5th, 2015 by admin

559953_545779358786752_100427983_nTexas – Yesterday, in a major speech on voting rights, Hillary Clinton denounced Republican efforts on voter suppression. She laid out a far-reaching vision for expanding access to the ballot box for all Americans.

Clinton, the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, talked about voter suppression and called out by name several of her potential 2016 rivals for taking actions that restricted voter participation. She discussed Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and Chris Christie and their supporting/imposing restrictive voting policies. She said, “Republicans should stop fearmongering about a phantom epidemic of voter fraud.”

As demographic trends have shifted toward an increase in Democratic voting, Republican voter suppression tactics have increased in an effort to slow it down and/or stop it. Republicans have a long history of voter suppression tactics. As dark money bought elections putting Republicans in charge of state legislations, and in the face of losing five of the last six majorities in presidential elections, Republicans have used these victories to impose a variety of voter suppression laws.

Speaking at Texas Southern University in Houston, Clinton called for every American to be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18. She also backs a nationwide standard of at least 20 days of early voting. She urged Congress to pass legislation strengthening the Voting Rights Act, which was gravely weakened by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling. And she slammed restrictive voter suppression laws imposed by the GOP in North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin, Texas, and Ohio.

Hillary said, “We have a responsibility to say clearly and directly what’s really going on in our country, because what is happening is a sweeping effort to dis-empower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other.”
She continued by saying, “What is happening is a sweeping effort to dis-empower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other.” Hillary Clinton put the GOP on notice that further efforts to make voter suppression will be used to motivate Democrats and increase Democratic turnout.

She is the first presidential candidate to discuss in detail the massive voter suppression/discrimination that has surged in “red” states since the Voting Rights Act was gutted in 2013.

Noting that approximately one third of all Americans aren’t registered to vote, Clinton called for sweeping modernization of the registration process – universal automatic voter registration, in which every citizen is automatically registered when they turn 18. Oregon passed such a law earlier this year, and several other states, including California, are considering doing the same.

Clinton said she believed, “this would have a profound impact on our elections and our democracy.”

She also called for 20 days of nationwide early voting; including evening and weekend voting should be implemented to help those who work or have family commitments.

North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio [all Republican-controlled states] have cut their early voting periods, North Carolina and Ohio have also eliminated same-day voter registration. And a third of all states (most in the south) offer no early voting at all.

Clinton also bashed the Supreme Court for weakening the Voting Rights Act. She said, “We need a Supreme Court that cares more about protecting the right to vote of a person to vote than the right of a corporation to buy an election,”

Voting is the cornerstone of our nation’s democracy and voter suppression laws by Republicans are dismantling our nation’s democracy.

Key Provisions of Patriot Act Expire Today

June 1st, 2015 by admin

Patriot-ACTWASHINGTON — The government’s ability/authority to collect personal phone records in the hunt for terrorists expired at 12:01 a.m. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, blocked an extension of the program during an unusual Sunday session of the Senate.
The Senate had already signaled that it was ready to curtail the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program with new legislation that would shift the storage of telephone records from the government to the phone companies. The House overwhelmingly passed that bill last month. Senators voted, 77 to 17, on Sunday to take up the House bill.

Mr. McConnell, also of Kentucky, relented Sunday, setting up a final round of votes on Tuesday or Wednesday that will most likely send a compromise version of the House bill to President Obama for his signature. Even Mr. Paul, using the procedural weapon of an objection, will not be able to stop it.

“Little by little, we’ve allowed our freedom to slip away,” Mr. Paul said on floor.

The expiration of [un]patriotic authority demonstrates a profound shift in American attitudes since the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when national security ruled both parties. Fourteen years after that attack, Americans have finally awaken to privacy concerns stemming from both the vast expansion of communication collection systems.

Three key provisions of the Patriot Act have expired that will stop collection of newly created logs of Americans’ phone calls in bulk. No longer can the F.B.I. invoke the Patriot Act to obtain, for new investigations purposes, or wiretap orders that continue after a suspect changes phones, wiretap orders for a “lone wolf” terrorism suspect not linked to a group, or court orders to obtain business records relevant to an investigation.

The Justice Department may invoke a grandfather clause for ongoing investigations.

Democrats and the libertarian wing of the Republican Party used the shift in the national mood to end the program supported by Mitch McConnell and other chicken hawks. The moment also put Mitch at odds with Mr. Paul, whom he has endorsed for president.

Rand Paul’s effort clearly angered many of his Republican colleagues, who met without him an hour before the Senate began to vote Sunday night. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona said Mr. Paul was not fit for the White House job he seeks.

The USA Freedom Act will overhaul the Patriot Act and scale back the bulk collection of phone records revealed by Mr. Snowden. Under this bill, sweeps that had operated under the guise of so-called national security letters issued by the F.B.I. would end. All data will be stored by the phone companies and could be retrieved by intelligence agencies only after approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court.

President Obama have made dire warnings in recent days about the perils of letting the law expire and called for immediate approval of a surveillance bill passed by the House.

The Battle Over Insure Tennessee

May 30th, 2015 by admin

The battle over Insure Tennessee wages on and a series of interesting revelations have been uncovered since Governor Haslam unveiled his Insure Tennessee Plan.

In February, records were provided that showed Republicans voting against Haslam’s Insure Tennessee were themselves on the state health plan, which funds 80 percent of employee premiums. These Senators were Health Committee Chairman Rusty, Mike Bell, Sen. Brian Kelsey, Sen. Frank Niceley, and Sen. Kerry Roberts.

In April, the Tennessean continued its investigation of Insure Tennessee and laid out the financial losses to Tennessee because of Republican political games.

If the Tennessee General Assembly had passed the Insure Tennessee plan to extend insurance coverage to the working poor, about $3.1 million would have been spent daily in Tennessee doctor’s offices, pharmacies and hospitals.

Instead, today, thousands of sick Tennesseans do without care or visit emergency rooms at the expense to Tennessee taxpayers. To date, an estimated 800 Tennesseans have died awaiting Health Care Coverage since Tennessee was eligible for ObamaCare coverage.

The Insure Tennessee plan proposed by Haslam, and rejected by a fearful legislature with virtually no debate, would have been one of the best economic stimulus programs for small towns and rural communities in this state.

A University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research study released in January “estimated that the average person who enrolled in Insure Tennessee would “spend” about $5,700 each year on health care and that 200,000 Tennesseans would enroll in the various plans proposed by the governor to help the working poor who make too much for Medicaid insurance and not enough to qualify for the subsidies offered on the federal health insurance exchange”.

The study also projected that expanded insurance coverage would bring about $1.14 billion of spending into the state from the federal funds earmarked for Medicaid expansion when Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

The spending generated from Insure Tennessee would create an economic boom, creating or maintaining about 15,000 jobs, mostly in our rural counties, where the bulk of those eligible live. The $1.14 billion would mostly flow into the paychecks of Tennesseans, adding over $900 million to their income.

Most of that $900 million would be spent in local businesses. And so on … get the picture. Obviously, Republican hatred of President Obama trumped any chances of economic boom for Tennessee. Their fear of being primaried by fellow wing-nuts also trumped economic benefit to Tennessee.

The opposite of an economic boom is what our legislator’s want, a vicious cycle of delaying health care until it becomes a crisis, or an act of charity, and/or paid for by the rest of us. The decision of our legislature has created a living on the edge mentality where financial disaster and ruin, for many, is a simple accident away from destroying a Tennessee family.

It is hard to recall a time when the General Assembly has so ignored the wishes of a business and Tennesseans. A recent Vanderbilt poll showed two out three Tennesseans want/support Insure Tennessee.

Early this month the Tennessee Legislature got excited when the Tennessean exposed the fact that many of the same folks who voted to deny poor Tennesseans health care coverage, are covered by health care, on the backs of Tennessee taxpayers.

Taxpayers have paid almost 6 million for health care for these hypocrites since 2008. Several lawmakers tried to stop the release of how much money the state spends on their individual health premiums. They argued the release of the information would violate privacy laws.
While Republicans have fought to keep expenditures on their health care private, Democrats have been supportive of the release.

“It is the ultimate in hypocrisy,” said state Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus who is enrolled in the health plan. “To refuse to provide for the working poor of Tennessee, while trying to keep the insurance benefits they receive a secret illustrates their [Republicans] contempt for Tennesseans.”

PREMIUM COSTS

Lawmaker – Years on Plan – Lawmakers Contribution – Taxpayer Contribution
Sen. Rusty Crowe – 1992-2015 – $48,162.32 – $202,730.79
Rep. Beth Harwell – 1992-2015 – $49,242.94 – $198,134.99
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey – 1993-2015 – $44,924.74 – $187,796.77

NOTE: Records only go back to 1992. They may have received coverage for a longer period.

As revelations related to Insure Tennessee have been unveiled, activists across the state have taken action to pressure legislatures to support Insure Tennessee. In NETN, activists have purchased ½ page ads in various area newspapers designed to put pressure on Rusty Crowe and Ron Ramsey. This same group of activists engineered a town hall meeting that focused on Medicaid expansion and Insure Tennessee. Over two hundred folks packed Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church in Johnson City in the Town Hall meeting.

The meeting was filled with questions mostly aimed at Rusty Crowe. Why would the legislature vote against a plan that would not cost Tennessee taxpayers a single penny while providing 300,000 Tennesseans with health care? Why don’t working people in Tennessee have health care? Those in attendance hammered Rusty Crowe with those and other questions. Petitions were being signed after the meeting was over.

Tennesseans would prefer their elected representatives act like leaders and support the will of the majority and the best interest for Tennessee. And maybe stand up for what is right; instead of trying to protect their chances in a primary election challenge by a wing-nut. When it comes to the Tennessean legislature doing their job, they prefer to do nothing and blame it on Obama, unless it is one of the wealthy friends or lobbyists who demands special consideration. They will waste a whole week with legislation designed to pander to folks like the NRA.

Bernie Sanders enters Presidential Race.

May 29th, 2015 by admin

BURLINGTON, Vermont. — Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pulled out all the stops Tuesday at his presidential campaign launch in Burlington, as he outlined his role in “a political revolution to transform the country — economically, politically, economically and environmentally.”

An overflow crowd of over 5,000 supporters turned out to hear Bernie Sanders officially kick off his Presidential Campaign on the shores of lake Champaign. Ben and Jerry introduced Bernie Sanders and served their famous ice cream to the crowd. Left leaning Democrats support Bernie’s attempts to challenge the powerful Democratic Favorite, Hillary Clinton.

Bernie’s full speak can be heard here.

Bernie Sanders is serving his second term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2012. His previous 16 years in the House of Representatives makes him the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history.

He was born in 1941 in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Sanders Brooklyn College and the University of Chicago. After graduating in 1964, he moved to Vermont. In 1981, he was elected to the first of four terms as mayor of Burlington. Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York before his 1990 election as Vermont’s at-large member in Congress.

He served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. In 2014 he pushed and passed legislation reforming the VA health care system. Today, Sanders remains on the veterans committee. He is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. He also serves on the Environment and Public Works Committee, where he has focused sharply on global warming and rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. He is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where he has championed efforts to transform our energy system from fossil fuels to renewable power sources like solar and wind. He also sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where he has fought for greater access to affordable health care and improved education programs from pre-K to college.

Freedom Tower Tours Begin Today

May 29th, 2015 by Mike K. Hampton

11193440_10207001524225056_1573255773319261096_nNew York – Today, fourteen years after the tragedy of 9-11, the Observatory tours atop of the Freedom tower begin. Tickets are $32 for adults. The panoramic views of New York City are breath taking. Some views can be seen here.

The Ground Zero memorial is a must see but difficult to view without tearing up. Feelings of visitors are still raw with emotions. The Freedom Tower is beautiful and an appropriate response to the tragedy of 9-11. Word of warning, don’t visit hungry, some food vendors are charging $30 for a hotdog and coke. A camera is a must.

I visited Ground Zero on the one year anniversary of 9-11. Photos of those lost and memorials were still in tack. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen. I visited Ground Zero for a second time this month on May 2-8. The memorial and Freedom Tower are impressive but sad.

Everyone should visit this site when they visit New York, you will never forget it.

The $9.4 Million Bypass/Sky Bridge to Nowhere

May 22nd, 2015 by admin

6990_nERWIN — The Erwin bypass/bridge is complete at an estimated cost of $9.4 million.

The railroad overpass project has been ongoing for two decades and was completed this week. The project connects Tenn. Highway 107 to Main Avenue through the construction of a one-half mile “bridge” that will pass over the CSX railroad tracks that cross Second Street. Years of random complaints about traffic delays due to trains crossings on Second Street are the justification for the $9.4 million.

The overpass allows motorists to bypass the potential train delays and downtown Erwin to get from Main Avenue to Second Street, and vice versa. It does not seem to matter that you can avoid the traffic jams by driving south and/or north in minutes to bypass the train related delays.

Drive the bypass and you will enjoy a breath taking view of the Town of Erwin and the mountains. One obvious observation was startling, the bypass takes you away from downtown, a location where millions have been spent to attract folks downtown.

Of course, local officials were excited about the project being completed. These are the same officials who spent millions of taxpayer dollars on remodeling downtown Erwin in hopes of attracting people to downtown. You can toss fiscal responsibility out the window when it comes to the inconvenience of folks waiting a few minutes for a train to pass. Is the expenditure of $9.4 million justification for the demand for self-satisfaction and self-indulgence? Seems this money would have been more wisely spent for a worthwhile cause like providing the 280,000 Tennesseans with health insurance or providing needy Tennesseans with SNAP food assistance – but no, according to Republicans… that would be wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars.

TNGOP Attack on the Middle Class Continues

April 21st, 2015 by admin

150px-Business_moneyNashville – Yesterday the Republican Legislature continued its attacks on the middle class, voting to dramatically undermine salaried workers on all fronts. After opening the legislative session with a week of laws crafted for the NRA, Republicans have turned their attention to helping their other rich friends.

In a barrage of laws designed to gut middle class family earnings, the TNGOP continue to show their loyalty to their masters [lobbyists and wealthy donors] with legislation crafted to protect the wealthy. Among the laws addressed, three laws were especially ruthless toward working Tennessee families.

First, Republicans voted to eliminate longevity pay designed to reward state workers for years of public service. Second, they voted to gut health insurance benefits for state and local employees. Third, in their continued attacks against public education and teachers, Republicans voted to let charter schools throw their employees off the insurance provided by local school boards and force them to get insurance elsewhere.

Under the anti-public education bill, outside charter organizations, after taking over public schools, will now be in a position to cut costs by simply taking benefits out of their teachers’ pockets.

Individually, these bills are bad for Tennessee workers and their families. Taken together, they are the latest chapter in Republican efforts to undermine the middle class and continue the move toward a society of rich and the poor masses. Is this the Tennessee most people want their children to grow up in?

The only resistance to the Republican super-majority managed to pass these bills is minority status Democrats who overwhelmingly opposed the legislation. Democrats amended the longevity pay bill to delay cuts for a minimum of five years, but the amendment was voted down. They also urged delay of the massive insurance cuts, given their significant impact on retirees and current employees, but Republicans pushed forward despite his objections.

Hillary Clinton Announces 2016 Presidential Bid

April 12th, 2015 by admin

559953_545779358786752_100427983_nEarlier today Hillary Clinton announces that she is in as a 2016 Presidential candidate. The announcement was little surprise to anyone after years of speculation. Hillary is possibly the most qualified person to seek the office as president.

A wave of support has been building for Hillary for several years as anticipation has reached epic heights. As the inevitable has become obvious, the attacks from the right has intensified against her. As the GOP [wing-nuts] Presidential hopefuls have positioned themselves as the most conservative [outrageous], so has the attacks against her exploded in an orgy of conservative lies and misinformation. The Republican fear of Hillary Clinton is real and for good reason, the announcement positions Hillary as the likely 2016 Democratic nominee and next President of the United States. untitled

As Easter approaches… Can Insure Tennessee rise from the legislative grave?

March 29th, 2015 by admin

Senate Health Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, tried to explain why he first said he would vote yes, days later voted no on Insure Tennessee earlier in the session then more recently voted yes:

In an article on Humphrey on the Hill, Crowe said amendments made to the pilot program were key in his decision to change his vote. The amendments include a “lockout provision” for enrollees who fail to pay premiums. An additional provision asks Governor Haslam to wait to put the plan into effect after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on health insurance exchanges is announced.

Some speculation is that Mr. Crowe is merely a puppet of Ron Ramsey, doing his bidding, in initially killing Insure Tennessee. The backwoods boys have repeatedly shown a deep hatred of ObamaCare and vote consistently against the welfare of Tennesseans.

This week, the legislation will go to Senate Finance and on to similar committees in the House. Many see Crowe’s explanation as unbelievable.

Recently a half page article appeared in several area newspapers calling Rusty Crowe and Ron Ramsey out on their failure to move Insure Tennessee forward. Days after the ads are carried in papers, it is reported calls flooded several offices as the ad requested the public to do. Rusty Crowe then votes “yes”, of course, the following ad had nothing to do with his change of heart… SURE

The ad is as follows:

USE OF THIS SPACE IS PAID FOR BY AN INFORMED AND CONCERNED BIPARTISAN GROUP OF CITIZENS FROM CARTER, JOHNSON, SULLIVAN, UNICOI, AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES DISGUSTED BY THE BETRAYAL OF OUR INTERESTS

REPRESENTED BY THE FEB. 4, 2015, VOTE TO KILL GOVERNOR HASLAM’S INSURE TENNESSEE MEDICAID EXPANSION BILL. WE SAY,

NOT IN OUR NAMES.

THE PROBLEM

In crafting the Affordable Care Act, Congress and hospital associations created a provision to deal with uncompensated care. Medicaid expansion to 138% of poverty would cover the low-income uninsured whose basic needs emergency rooms are required to meet. In exchange, hospitals would forgo federal reimbursement for uninsured care. The government would pay 100% Medicaid expansion cost for three years and 90% thereafter. In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ACA as constitutional, but allowed states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion provision. However, in 2014, hospitals would lose federal reimbursement regardless of their state legislature’s choice. Our legisla-ture has rejected Medicaid expansion, leaving our hospitals and 280,000 low income workers stranded, the lifeline dangling just out of reach. Our hospitals lost hundreds of millions of dollars last year and stand to lose billions. Tennessee’s economy lost as well. Some rural hospitals have already closed, and all are at varying degrees of risk. Partici-pating states will receive our lost billions.

HEROES AND A SOLUTION
In 2013, Governor Bill Haslam, his staff, and hospital professionals began crafting Insure Tennessee, an alternative to Medicaid expansion which would 1) satisfy the federal requirements, 2) cover 280,000 uninsured low-income workers, 3) meet our hospitals’ financial needs, and 4) address issues raised by political conservatives. Polling revealed popular, bipartisan approval at 62%. Insure Tennessee gained official federal approval in 2014. Low-income workers could have personal and less costly routine care. Hospi-tals would be relieved of a debilitating financial burden—three goals met with a professionalism to make us proud.

A REPREHENSIBLE RESULT

Insure Tennessee failed in an ad hoc committee, chaired by Sen. Rusty Crowe, after insultingly brief discussion. A mere seven senators, all chosen by Sen. Ramsey for that purpose, killed it. Public comment and full assembly vote were denied. All Tennesseans, Republican and Democrat, lost.

WE DEMAND A DO-OVER

East Tennessee counties sent Ron Ramsey and Rusty Crowe to Nashville to represent our interests. It’s the widely popular Governor, a fellow Republican, whom these two have chosen to insult and hinder. It is the hospitals in their own districts they have chosen to cripple. Mr. Ramsey manipulated this travesty. He reconfigured the standing Health and Welfare Committee temporarily for his purposes. It is widely understood that he removed not only the bill’s sponsor, but three members who are medical profes-sionals, replacing them with six whose “NO” votes were assured. Mr. Ramsey left Mr. Crowe as chairman and a reliable “NO” vote, despite the fact that Mr. Crowe had as-sured hospital leadership in his district of his support. Mr. Crowe and Mr. Ramsey need to hear from us.

OUR MESSAGE TO SEN. CROWE (PHONE: 615-741-2468)

1. The Governor is owed an apology for the rude and cavalier treatment of his accomplishment.

2. You betrayed your district’s medical community, its premier economic mover, and 280,000 working people.

3. Your loyalty belongs to us, not to Mr. Ramsey and out-of-state big money handlers.

4. Stand on your own two legs, re-open hearings with the original Health and Welfare Committee members, and join the Governor in doing the most economically wise and morally decent thing.

OUR MESSAGE TO SEN. RAMSEY (PHONE: 615-741-4524)

1. You are not Governor. We soundly rejected you, remember?

2. Your reputation as a bully follows you. No amount of language, no matter how carefully crafted, disguises what you’ve done. Actions always speak the loudest.

3. You could consider that you’re being used by those powerful out-of-state conglomerates and super PACs who certainly seem to guide your every move. If you can’t detect the boot on your own neck, the rest of us can. It doesn’t build a legacy.

4. If your justification for accepting support from the out-of-state conglomerates and super PACs is that you and they agree ideologically or in principle, does that include the crippling of our state’s hospitals?

5. Neither Democrats, President Barack Obama, Governor Haslam, the out-of-state conglomerates and super PACs, nor the seven “NO”-voters (whether true believers or simply cowards) are responsible for the failure of Insure Tennessee. You are.

6. When hospitals in rural counties fail, as they will, it will have been by your doing. When our local hospitals have to cut staff and services, it will have been by your doing.

When overworked doctors and support staff make mistakes, you’ll have created the conditions for those mistakes.

7. The legislators we elect deserve the right to show us their own brand of leadership, and sense of what’s right, without fear of retaliation.

NASHVILLE IS A HARD CASE, BUT IT’S NOT HOPELESS. IF YOU AGREE, CALL AND SAY SO.

Senator Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) has been instrumental in bringing Insure Tennessee back from the Ramsey dug grave. Yarbro is a prime sponsor of SJR 93, along with Republican Senators Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) and Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville). Ramsey insists the bill (Insure Tennessee) will not survive. As Easter approaches, could Insure Tennessee rise from the legislative grave?

47 Republican “TRAITORS” Senators

March 10th, 2015 by admin

The following is an excerpt for the editorial on the 47 Senators who sent a letter to Iran, undermining US efforts to forge a nuclear treaty with Iran:

“They are an embarrassment to the Senate and to the nation.

How the executive and legislative branches come to terms in the event that Obama presents his version of a done deal to America will be of grave national and international concern. There will be no place for juvenilia, and there should not have been at this expectant juncture.

Rather than offer objections domestically in robust debate, as is their obligation, ringleader Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and his band trespassed on presidential turf by patronizing Iran’s leaders with the suggestion “that you may not fully understand our constitutional system.”

The plain intent was to sabotage Obama by pushing the Iranians into balking at a deal out of fear that a turn of the U.S. political wheel could doom the pact in the not-so-distant future.”

The Most Important Legislation in Tennessee?

March 10th, 2015 by admin

1353206437-lgNashville – Guns! Guns! Guns! — Guns continue to dominate the agenda of the Tennessee Legislation. 27 gun bills top of the legislation agenda. How can so many gun bills be warranted? The TNGOP continues to pander to the NRA lobby who owns them! So many important issues remain unanswered in regards to guns – permit fees, where you can carry them, what kinds you can own, etc. — will dominate discussion at the General Assembly this week. There does not seem to be much room for other real issues that affect hard working Tennesseans. But there are few measures that could get some attention if they come up in committee.

Once again, it’s gun week at the General Assembly. The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to take up 27 bills related to handgun permits, exploding ammunition and a vast array of Tennessee gun laws. The House Civil Justice Subcommittee is set to debate 22 gun bills. Most of the bills ease restrictions on where and when people can have guns.

Several proposals, most related dismantling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” are set for discussion this week. One bill calls on the attorney general to sue the federal government on behalf of those people who face possible fines through the Affordable Care Act for not having insurance. The same committee will hear the bill that would prevent the state from setting up a health exchange under the law.

One bill, from Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, calls for cameras to be worn by police. The bill could face some hurdles — there are no GOP sponsors.

Someone texting while driving faces a maximum fine of $50. Someone caught driving without a seat belt faces a $10 ticket for the first offense and a $20 ticket for each additional offense. The fines for both offenses will jump to $250 if a new bill becomes law.

One bill will ban the use of such cameras used to give traffic tickets.

There are no bills scheduled to discuss job creation, improve education, increase the minimum wage or address the important issues facing hard working Tennessee families. But who needs a job when you can have a gun?

Ted Cruz: Top of the Cuckoo’s Nest

February 16th, 2015 by admin

lead_largeOne flew over the cuckoo’s nest [not the movie] is the best description of the Republican field of 2016 presidential candidates. It is the largest and most divided GOP field in over 40 years and Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) has about the same odds of becoming the Republican presidential nominee as former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Am I kidding? Not at all… After all, the conventional wisdom is that Bush is the Republican establishment standard-bearer, while Cruz, the wing-nut darling, a real conservative’s conservative, would be the hands on favorite in most GOP [wing-nut driven] primaries and he could actually win the nomination.

Remember the Republican Party has at least four wings. Don’t forget… during the last State of the Union, President Obama received five GOP responses. In 2016, one must assume that there will be four wings : establishment, tea party, social conservative and libertarian.

Obviously, the fight for the top spot in the establishment wing is crowded, with Christie, Bush, Rubio, and possibly Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading at the moment. The social-conservative wing, with Rick Santorum, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Texas governor Rick Perry and Ben Carson are running close for control. The libertarian wing consists of Sen. Rand Paul. This leaves the tea party wing which is both relatively large and entirely crazy and several favorites vie for control: Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz.

We can’t forget the 2012 GOP race and the favorite flavor of the month; where every month a different wing-nut ruled the roost until Mitt Romney finally moved into first place. What that means in 2016 — particularly in the early primary process in places such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — is that he Cruz will probably be able to win or run strong, strong enough to keep going even as the establishment and social-conservative candidates thin out. Cruz’s people are going to be for him no matter how much — or little — money he raises.

The trick for Cruz is to stay in the race long enough to be the preeminent figure of the tea party social-conservative wings.

So watch Cruz. The combination of his running room as the race’s one true tea party candidate, his debating and oratorical skills, and his willingness to always, on every issue, stake out the most conservative position make him a real threat.

The 10 candidates with the best chance of being the Republican candidate in 2016 are ranked below. The No. 1 candidate has the best shot as of today.

10. Mitt Romney. He has decided against running for president in 2016 but he could be drafted at the GOP convention in an attempt of the establishment to elect a potential roadblock to Hillary Clinton.

9. Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor is giving every indication he is running but in reality he is simply selling his new book and using a run for president as a way to increase book sales. He is a factor because of his strong following among social conservatives and was on top of the field in Iowa according to one poll.

8. (Tie) Rick Perry. Rick Perry is a favorite of the social conservatives and cannot be counted out as possible threat as a GOP candidate. He has started a PAC and is on the campaign trail.

8. (Tie) Sarah Palin. The wind-nut darling longs to rejoin the limelight and has recently hinted that she is interested in a presidential run. Sarah could be waiting in the wings if the wing-nut favorite, if Ted Cruz stumbles. But Sarah has to look over her shoulder at Michele Bachmann in the battle of queen of the GOP tea party.

7. Donald Trump. The Business magnet and billionaire has the money to run and he shown interest in making a 2016 run. He also will take issue if the leading candidate is not a certified wing-nut and he will see himself as the conservative savior of the party. His money makes him a threat if he wants to be a threat.

6. Chris Christie. Increasingly, it’s looking as if Christie missed his chance for president in 2012. The bridge gate scandal has scared off potential GOP money donors. In a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll, his favorable rating in New Jersey has dropped to 37 percent — after topping out at nearly 70 percent. And if he’s lost his home state appeal, he loses his perceived national appeal.

5. Rand Paul. The senator’s recent vaccine comments have hurt his libertarian appeal. Yes, there is a wing-nut segment of the GOP that likes the idea that he is taking on the “liberal media.” But there’s also a much bigger segment of the party that will looks at his vaccine flap at his death nail.

4. Rubio. Rubio suffered damage to his chances last year when he spoke in support of amnesty for immigrants. Now his path to the nomination is complicated by Bush’s all-but-announced candidacy. But if the GOP Republican candidate is looking for a running mate to court the Hispanic vote, expand the party’s appeal, then Rubio could be the VP candidate in the race.

3. Walker. The Wisconsin governor is clearly in a strong position, thanks to his harsh attack on labor and his recent strong speech at an Iowa confab a few weekends ago. His decisions not to answer questions in London during a trade mission were damaging and not a good sign of his ability to act of the large stage.

2. Bush. The former Florida governor remains the top GOP establishment candidate but that may also lead to his undoing, can he win the series of wing-nut primaries? His recent attempts to appear wing-nut to cater to the conservative base may hurt him with main stream appeal with independent national voters. He got a big break when Mitt Romney opted not to run. Bush is the obvious choice for GOP establishment types [big donors]. Is Bush fatigue an issue?

1.Cruz. See above. His colleagues — Democrats and Republicans — in the Senate, share mutual contempt for him and he embarrasses and angers his party every chance he gets. But he is closer to how the GOP base feels on most issues than any other candidate and this makes him extremely dangerous. In a year of GOP division, beware of the great divider – Ted Cruz.

Insure Tennessee Fails: Rusty Crowe Flip Flops.

February 7th, 2015 by admin

Nashville – Thursday, Tennessee plunged to a new GOP driven low point in our state’s history as healthcare was denied to thousands of Tennesseans.

With a single vote in the Tennessee Senate, seven Republican senators voted to deny healthcare for over a quarter of a million hard working Tennesseans.

The seven Republicans are: Rusty Crowe of Johnson City, Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains, Mike Bell of Riceville, Dr. Joey Hensley of Hohenwald, Brian Kelsey of Germantown and Kerry Roberts of Springfield.

Rusty Crowe of Johnson City said he would vote for the legislation, but he voted against it. He said he changed his mind.

The end of Insure Tennessee (Haslam’s version of Obamacare) is a direct result in the failure of leadership by Republican leaders Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker Beth Harwell. It was their failure to lead, and specifically their failure to stand up to the TNGOP right wing extremists that lead to the defeat of Insure Tennessee. It was also their failure that lead to 7 Republican senators making the wrong decision that will hurt the lives of 250,000 Tennesseans for years to come.

The seven Republican senators showed that they have no compassion or concern for the 800 Tennesseans who have already died waiting for healthcare expansion.

Those same seven Republican senator embarrassed Governor Haslam and proved him wrong when he told President Obama that Republicans could be trusted to care for “the least of these”.

Tennessee’s Republican legislators have shown they are unwilling to put people first, over special interest, and they are not capable of running our state.

Democratic Senator Jeff Yarbro, stood up for Tennesseans by voting for Insure Tennessee and he pointed out that Republicans who deny hardworking Tennesseans the healthcare they need are themselves on government funded healthcare.

Tennesseans will die and hospitals will close as a result of this vote. This is a sadly a low point in our state’s history.

Mancini New Tennessee Democratic Party Chair

January 16th, 2015 by admin

mary mNashville – Mary Mancini was elected to lead Tennessee Democrats after party leaders gave the progressive activist from Nashville a unified show of support in electing her new chair of the state party.

Mancini, collected 61 of 70 votes Saturday from the state party’s Executive Committee. She outlasted three strong candidates for chair.

Mancini immediately hit the ground running after saying. “Together, we must work to elect Democrats. We must rebuild and re-energize the base. We have to strengthen our county parties and we have to lay the groundwork for the next several election cycles”.

In selecting Mancini, Democrats have turned to a progressive voting rights advocate that has criticized the state’s voter identification law. Mancini is a strong leader in liberal circles, a past co-host of Liberadio, a political radio talk show in Nashville.

Mancini distributed a two-year plan to executive members weeks prior to Saturday’s vote as she visited EC members across the state. She reminded Democrats that they must recruit strong statewide candidates, raise more money, effectively use voter data, make strong gains in the state House and Senate and ensure that Democrats have a voice in the next round of redistricting in 2020. She said the party must also execute a strategy that reaches all 95 of Tennessee’s counties.

She reminded Executive Committee members that Republicans want us to think this is a completely red state, but it’s not. “There are Democrats all over the state”, Mancini noted.

Mancini has assumed leadership of a state party that has experienced losses in recent years after controlling the state legislature and governor’s office less than a decade ago. In November, Republicans expanded supermajorities in both the 99-member Tennessee House — from 71 members to 73 — and the 33-member Tennessee Senate, where Republicans now hold a 28-5 majority.

Jeff Yarbro, an ex-officio member, reminded the executive committee Saturday that the upcoming 109th General Assembly, which begins session this week, would feature fewer Democrats than at any point in Tennessee history.

“This is not basketball — this is something where you have to have 17 votes to get things done, and that means that we’re 12 short,” Yarbro said of the Senate. “We’ve got to get those (Democrats) elected.”

Democrats across the state are excited with Mary Mancini leading the party. An energy and excitement exist that has not been felt in years. After the failed experiment with conservative leadership, could it be that the Tennessee Democratic Party is experiencing a new resurgence?

Millions Sign up as Obamacare Enrollment Deadline Approaches

December 27th, 2014 by admin

obamacare_400_360_360Update: The deadline for the enrollment period ends February 15th. Millions continue to sign up for health care.

As of December 19th during Obamacare’s second-ever open enrollment period, at least 6.4 million people have already signed up for 2015 health plans, the Obama administration announced earlier this week. That number includes 1.9 million people who are first-time customers on HealthCare.gov, the federal enrollment portal serving 37 states.

ObamaCare provides quality healthcare for more Americans at more affordable rates. Health care reform under the Affordable Care Act is the most significant overhaul of the health care industry in decades, covering every aspect of healthcare including mental heath, care for seniors, child health, woman’s health and care for our nations poorest. ObamaCare also provides drug coverage, free preventive care, check ups for children and countless other unprecedented reforms to the American health care system.

Over 15 Million people now have Health Insurance because of the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare].For more information and the Facts on Obamacare

Fear not! The 1800’s weren’t all that bad!

November 16th, 2014 by admin

1800saNashville – State Rep. Steve Womick has filed the first abortion-related bill on Thursday, November 13th to take advantage of the passing of Amendment 1. Under the new bill – The woman will be forced to have an ultrasound one to three days before a procedure. She will also be forced to listen to the heartbeat.

Womick says his concern is to “fully inform the mother of what she is doing”. He says his bill will protect the “emotional and mental health of women across the state of Tennessee”. So it takes a Republican man to tell Tennessee women what they are doing? The GOP war on women continues and more bills restricting women’s rights will continue when the Tennessee legislation convenes in January.

It is interesting to note that in 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that abortion was protected in the Tennessee Constitution as part of a woman’s fundamental right to privacy. Welcome to the new Dark Ages in Tennessee.

Canadian Words of Wisdom

November 13th, 2014 by admin

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2015 ObamaCare Open Enrollment begins Nov. 15, 2014

November 10th, 2014 by admin

obamacare_400_360_3602015 open enrollment for Obamacare begins this Saturday, November 15, 2015. For coverage starting in 2015, the Open Enrollment Period is November 15, 2014–February 15, 2015. Visit healthcare.gov and get affordable health insurance for yourself and your family.

Step 1 to stay covered through the Marketplace: Review your current health coverage

If you already have health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, it’s time to review your plan and decide if you want to make changes for 2015. You can choose to stay in your current plan (if it’s still offered) or change to a different plan.

Insurance companies can change a plan’s premiums, cost-sharing, and the benefits and services they cover each year. Every fall, your health insurance company sends you a notice explaining these changes. It’s important to review your plan’s 2015 health coverage to make sure it still meets your needs.

Here are a things to remember as you review your plan:

•You will receive a letter in the mail this month about your health plan policy describing your plan changes.
•Read the letter, and contact your health plan if you have questions.
•Write down important dates and information from the letter, like enrollment deadlines and your 14-digit plan ID.
•HealthCare.gov now has 2015 health insurance plans and prices available for preview, so you can see what other plans are available to you and compare to the coverage your current plan will offer.

Reviewing your current health coverage is just the first step. Learn how to take the rest of the 5 steps to staying covered starting November 15.

During open enrollment in 2014, the 7 million target was exceeded on the last day of open enrollment with over 8 million Americans signing up from health insurance.

Seven million was the original target set by the Congressional Budget Office for enrollment in taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance through new online markets created under President Obama’s signature legislation.

Republicans in congress remain committed to repealing ObamaCare. The congress has voted [unsuccessfully] over fifty=four times to appeal Obamacare. Many newly elected Republicans in the November 2014 Elections promise to continue voting and wasting taxpayer money in futile efforts to appeal Obamacare.

Tennessee Decends into the Dark Ages

October 19th, 2014 by admin

dark pathThe fight for reproduction freedom rages on in several states this election but the Tennessee wing-nut legislation has made this state center stage for the battle.

Tennesseans were asked and voted to amend the state constitution to provide that:

“Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother”.

That’s right folks. Tennessee is trying to amend its constitution to never protect abortion, ever, under any circumstance (rape, incest or death to mother). How did Tennessee descend into such backward thinking logic?

It was not that long ago [2000] that the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in a case that “a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is a vital part of… the Tennessee Constitution’. The case was Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist and the ruling of the court was that the Tennessee constitution affords even more protection than the U.S. Constitution to Tennesseans seeking abortions.

The court also determined that Tennessee could only pass very narrow restrictions on abortion as a result. Republicans in the state legislature immediately reacted by attempting to amend the state constitution. Those proposed amendments failed to pass the state legislature but now they are on the November ballot.

Don’t be deceived that protections exist in the legislation by veiled references to rape, incest and the life of the mother in the language of the proposed amendment. The second sentence is deceptive and craftily written to leave the incorrect impression that exemptions are either in place, or could easily be put in place. The proposed wording in fact allows the state to regulate all those interests out of existence.

Do Tennessee women really need to be protected from their own decision-making by the state legislation? The restrictions and regulations that Amendment 1 would enable Tennessee legislators to pass would be appalling.

Amendment 1 is a misleading piece of legislation and designed to be exactly that in an effort to deceive voters into voting for poorly written legislation. Recent polling conducted by Vanderbilt University in May found that 71 percent of state voters oppose amending the constitution to place abortion rules solely in the hands of the legislature.

It appears that people who support Amendment 1 will have their rigid beliefs and restrictions imposed on everyone else. They want the draconian legislators to decide – the same legislation that has repeatedly proven to be biased on the issue. People should not forget that the last time fundamentalists imposed their rule on everyone else – they called it the dark ages.

DREAMers:

October 18th, 2014 by admin

There are an estimated 11 million dreamers in the United States. After a lifetime of fearing deportation, being banned from working legally and fighting to stay in the country they grew up in, thousands and thousands of young, undocumented immigrants continue to fight for a national Dream Act.
The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) is an American legislative proposal first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001, S. 1291 by Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch.

[This bill would provide conditional permanent residency to certain immigrants of good moral character who graduate from U.S. high schools, arrived in the United States as minors, and lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment. If they were to complete two years in the military or two years at a four-year institution of higher learning, they would obtain temporary residency for a six-year period. Within the six-year period, they may qualify for permanent residency if they have “acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or [have] completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in the United States” or have “served in the armed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, [have] received an honorable discharge”. Military enlistment contracts require an eight-year commitment, with active duty commitments typically between four and six years, but as low as two years. However, the military does not allow undocumented immigrants to enlist, and those that have enlisted have done so under a false identity, or used fraudulent documents. “Any alien whose permanent resident status is terminated… shall return to the immigration status the alien had immediately prior to receiving conditional permanent resident status under this Act.” This bill would have included undocumented aliens as old as 35 years of age. As of November 2013, 15 states have their own versions of the DREAM Act, which deal with tuition prices and financial aid for state universities. These states are Texas, California, Illinois, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, and Oregon. The Maryland DREAM Act was approved by state-wide ballot, winning 59% of the vote on November 6, 2012.]

Supporters argue that the Dream Act would not create an “amnesty program” and would produce a variety of social and economic benefits, while critics contend that it would reward illegal immigration and encourage more of it, inviting fraud and shielding gang members from deportation.

The war has waged on for years over Dreamers and immigration Reform. On June 15, 2012, President Obama signed a memo calling for deferred action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and have pursued education or military service here. Applications under the program which is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) begin on August 15, 2012. Two years ago the Obama Administration gave permits to thousands of young illegal immigrants.

o-DREAMER-FILM-facebookImmigrants who were younger than 31 and were brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthdays were eligible for the permits, which will allow them to stay and work here legally for two years. Although 1.76 million people were eligible for the permits — There was an estimated total of 11 million dreamers.

To receive the deferred action permit, immigrants had to either be currently enrolled in school or have a high school diploma or GED. Honorably discharged veterans were also eligible to apply for the permits. Felons and people with more than three misdemeanors were not eligible for a permit.
Since the permits were granted in 2012, the fight for Immigration Reform, the Dream Act and other variations of immigration have waged on. The Majority of Americans, even a majority of Republicans support Immigration Reform.

But obstructionists [the Republican “Teabagger” controlled congress] led by house speaker John Boehner have refused to bring Immigration Reform to a vote, even though it would easily pass with a majority of congress. Boehner refuses to bring the bill to a vote because a majority of his wing-nut majority will not support the reform — under any condition — and he wants to remain speaker of the house.

The influx of immigrant children from South America briefly heated up the debate over immigration reform. The initial outcry erupted by anti-immigrant forces but recently pro-immigrant forces have took a stand — with counter protests –on behalf of the children caught in the middle of the immigration battle.

It appears obvious that the Republican logic is Morally Bankrupt and Politically Senseless: Use the humanitarian crisis as an excuse to target young undocumented residents, and use them as political scapegoats to rile up conservatives — while fixing absolutely nothing.

The Partisan Divide: A Race for Control

October 18th, 2014 by admin

This is a very important election and a great deal in on the line. Will America move forward or will we continue to decline under austerity and a do nothing strategy by the Republican Party? Control for the Senate is at stake.

These contests might lack the drama of a presidential election — and there are plenty of signs of voter suppression and apathy in this cycle — and several major issues that will erode individual rights are on the ballet.

The core question of this election remains unanswered: Is it a wave? All indications of unexpected close races are Republicans are poised to gain because the set of battleground states just happens to favor them as a result of Gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics? The Washington Post reported that voter suppression laws worked well in Tennessee.

The devil is in the details and the question remains, whether Republicans can win in blue states or presidential battleground states, like Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina. If Republicans fare well, the rights of Americans will continue to erode. Will Republican governors win competitive contests in states like Florida and Michigan? If not, even with a Republican takeover in the Senate, indications for 2016 may be good news for Democrats.

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The GOP’s Obamacare Death Toll

September 5th, 2014 by admin

getcovered_medicare_map_110713In the past, voters never had to worry about their representative causing actual harm, with the exception of supporting bad policy and legislation, which was the extent of harm from even the worst of elected officials. If there is one thing a voter never expects of their representatives is that they would deliberately inflict death of their constituents, but this was before Obamacare and the extraordinary lengths Republicans will go to permit actual death for the people they were elected to serve. Republicans have even spread blatant lies about policies created to protect Americans to instill fear in the public and create fear-mongering lies to prevent people from receiving quality health care at a good price.

It was not that long ago that idiot Sarah Palin warned, “seniors and the disabled will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.” What has been [funny] sad is the cruel truth that in a sense Palin was right; the poor, seniors, and the disabled have faced the Republican controlled [death panels] legislations that decided they are not worthy of healthcare. Republicans rejected a major component of the Affordable Care Act [Medicaid expansion] and this decision resulted in a death sentence to thousands of Americans in many states including Tennessee. In Tennessee, two to three people will die each day that passes since Medicaid expansion was not enacted.

According to a recently published report by a Harvard Medical School team of researchers, Republican governors and legislatures will be responsible for sentencing thousands of their constituents to death every year due to lack of medical care and the GOP’s intense hatred of Obamacare and President Obama.

The report, “Opting Out Of Medicaid Expansion: The Health And Financial Impacts,” has calculated the body count in Republican states rejecting free Medicaid expansion for millions of Americans because they hate the Affordable Care Act more than they care about their residents. According to the Harvard report the projected death toll is shocking. All told, 24 Republican states will kill off up to 17,000 poor Americans every year and these deaths are totally preventable. What is sad is the cost of saving these lives in Republican states is nothing.

Dead [Red] to the Roots

August 23rd, 2014 by admin

art-gop-fascism-posterAt a time when demographics show a trend toward a growing numbers of Democratic majorities in America, in Tennessee, Republicans have concocted a scheme to turn everyone into Republicans. The scheme is not based on logic, facts or sound legislation, but it is important to remember those things don’t matter to Republicans.

The plan focuses on electing more Republicans in county and judicial positions. Is the plan a logical counter response to growing demographic changes and unpopular Republican Ideology or a Supermajority Legislation gone amuck?

Republicans believe deceptive actions to entrench their supermajority status will erode bipartisan efforts in elections at the local level. The recent effort by Ron Ramsey to recall three Tennessee Supreme Court Justices failed miserably with Tennesseans voting overwhelmingly to retain the Judges. Ramsey attempted to use dark money to defeat the Supreme Court Justices.

Thanks to dark money, not the “dead [red] to the roots” program, Republicans have enjoyed great electoral success that built a supermajority Republican Legislature, elect a Republican governor, two Republican U.S. Senators and seven of the state’s nine U.S. House seats.

The GOP, through dark money, has enjoyed huge success in fundraising compared to Democrats.

The TNGOP false claims that Tennesseans want the success we’ve seen at the state level brought to the local level is an illusion. The TNGOP also falsely claim that Tennesseans are tired of Democrats and [liberals] who have mismanaged taxpayer funds and failed to provide the service Tennesseans expect and deserve while they [the TNGOP] dismantle the very services and protections that help Tennessee families. Mismanaged taxpayer funds language is code words for providing funds for public education, food stamps, unemployment compensation and other public assistance that the TNGOP feverishly works to dismantle in Tennessee.

Tennessee Democrats are quick to point out that the majority of Tennesseans are not content with imposing TNGOP Tea Party agenda and ALEC legislation through the state’s backwoods Legislation. Republicans are now intent on pushing their brand of rigidity and extremism, at the expense of the common good of the people, onto local governments and government services.

Republican claims that “dead [red] to the roots” has resulted in growth of the TNGOP is an empty illusion, especially when you look at their efforts to “make it harder for Tennesseans to vote,” such as requiring photo identification to cast a ballot. Preventing every Tennessean the right to vote does not indicate that the “dead [red] to the roots” effort is a successful program that has turned everyone into mindless [zombie] Republicans, it simply points out voter suppression and other tactics to prevent voter’s full access to voting by the TNGOP helps the TNGOP to suppress the Democratic vote.

Any tactic that makes it harder for Tennesseans to exercise their constitutional right to vote is wrong and unpatriotic. It is outrageous to claim such tactics {dark money buying elections and voter suppression] are proof that “dead [red] to the roots” is a successful program or anything other than dirty politics gone astray. Tennessee was recently voted the most politically corrupt state for good reason. Last year Tennessee was voted the worst state legislation.

July 18th, 2014 by admin

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Wing-nut Options: Lawsuit vs Impeachment

July 18th, 2014 by admin

Speaker John Boehner continues to suggest that the House should sue President Obama for delaying implementation of the employer mandate — a provision that of the Affordable Care Act that Republicans in the House don’t want to implement anyway but when it comes to the wing-nut controlled congress… logic is not part of the equation.

It is interesting to note that the House actually passed a bill (that died in the Senate) to stop the implementation of the provision. If President Obama enforces the mandate, the House will pass another bill to stop its implementation.

None of these facts are deterring the lawsuit’s supporters who are more interested in making a broad statement — rein in presidential power — than they are about the employer mandate.

President Obama did not start the trend toward a dominant American presidency but –in the face of a do nothing congress– he certainly has accelerated that trend.

Some believe that the executive branch has assumed so much power, a lawsuit is necessary to re-establish the balance of power between the three branches of government.

During a recent speech in Washington, President Obama mocked Republican leaders who say they’ll go to court if the president acts alone on immigration. It appears the President is sick of the congressional games and the refusal of congress to do something to help solve problems.

There are currently no better lawsuit targets. Obama also arguably exceeded his authority when he established a process for those brought to this country illegally as children to obtain renewable work permits. But the GOP has enough trouble with the Latino vote without suing to put an end to this program.

Many Republicans believe that Obama is exceeding his authority with his climate change regulatory actions. But so far, the courts are generally upholding them. So, while this might be a less politically dicey lawsuit, it has less chance of succeeding. And there are already plenty of private parties mounting such legal challenges.

[Impeachment] While Boehner calls for a lawsuit – Sarah Palin calls for President Barack Obama’s impeachment. She slammed House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to sue the president and is demanding tougher action against the “imperial president.”

She railed, “You don’t bring a lawsuit to a gunfight, and there’s no room for lawyers on our front lines.”

Palin is demanding Obama’s removal from office for what she says are 25 impeachable offenses that include actions taken on Obamacare and immigration.

She called for a great awakening in this country by wing-nuts and proclaimed the message will be sent to the imperial president and his lawlessness will not be accepted by the American people.

Palin, the former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee, accused Obama of deliberately leaving the border open and allowing undocumented immigrants to come in at will, ignoring American laws, and driving the country deeper into debt.

She also noted that Americans are frustrated that Congress because it is not exercising its constitutional power to impeach. “Washington is broken,” Palin squawked. “If people care about the future of this country and defense of our republic, they will join this cause of articles of impeachment against Obama because enough is enough.”

When asked whether he agreed with Palin that Obama should face impeachment, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on the Hill “I disagree.” Some believe his lawsuit is simply a ploy to derail Sarah suicidal path for the GOP. Boehner obviously remembers the damage that rained down on the GOP over the unfounded impeachment of Bill Clinton. While, on the other hand, [wing-nut] Palin has lost all rationale and longs to be in the public eye and at any cost.

Immigration Reform: ls doing nothing an option?

July 6th, 2014 by admin

Conservative Republicans think the [Republican do nothing response] immigration issue has turned to their benefit, removing reasons for any action this year.

A vocal minority of Republicans accuse the Obama administration of creating a crisis with the recent surge of children who have come across the southwestern border from Central America. It’s the latest [excuse] rationale of a determined bloc of House Republicans for killing a Senate-passed immigration overhaul bill which provided a pathway to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants.

The longer-term situation [if unchanged] will only get worse. The ramifications and uncertainty over a broken immigration system will damage American businesses and take a negative toll on the economy. Politically, this will strengthen the Democrats’ hold on the fast-growing Hispanic and Asian-American populations which will soon make up the majority of the US population.

Opponents are Republicans. There are about 250 votes in the House to pass the Senate bill now, but most of those are Democrats, and Speaker Boehner won’t consider a measure opposed by the majority of his [wing-nut] caucus.

For much of the year, Republicans have attempted to escape blame for failure to act on the measure with false claims that it would be impossible because of the Obama administration’s lax border policies. In reality, in fact, the budget for border security has increased more than 50 percent over the past five years, under President Obama and there are almost 4,000 more agents.

These critics rushed to use the recent surge of unaccompanied children, mainly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala as lame excused to not act on immigration. Republicans attributed the influx to President Obama’s decision two years ago to provide work permits to the so-called Dreamers: immigrants who had come as children with their families before 2012 and had been living in the United States for at least five years, were enrolled in school and hadn’t had any criminal violations.

In reality, the surge is the response to growing violence is South America and weakening economies in those countries. Many smugglers falsely tell these children they can get work permits in the United States, but it’s the poor conditions in their countries of origin that provide the incentive for these kids to make the journey and not the two-year-old administrative action.

The main objective of anti-immigration forces is to keep President Obama from taking other executive actions to ease prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases and modestly expanding the Dreamers program.

Right-wing Republicans fail to heed to the warnings of John McCain and the United States Chamber of Commerce that the party will forfeit the 2016 presidential race if it continues to stop immigration reform.

This is what it looks like when an immigration system is broken: Tens of thousands of women and children from Central America flooding the US border.

In Phoenix, a steady stream of buses, each filled to capacity with women and children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. They crossed the border in Texas, but immigration officials sent them to Phoenix because the Texas facilities were overcrowded.

Since Memorial Day weekend, near 1,000 women and children have been flown to Tucson from Texas, then driven by bus to Phoenix and dumped weary and hungry. When they arrive in the US, they are handed a bottle of water, an apple and bag of chips.

These scenes are not only enraging local groups but also causing alarm among Border Patrol officials, who worry that American policy toward these migrants is a direct cause of their increased numbers. White House officials have said that criminal violence and ailing economies in Central America, not American border security, are the primary factors driving the wave.

The unanticipated surge in migrants in recent weeks has created a political, practical and humanitarian crisis for the United States. Conservative critics argue that the administration’s soft enforcement of immigration law has sent encouraging signals to those who come to the US. But the facts do not support that claim with Obama deporting over 2 million immigrants during his administration, the most of any president ever.

Homeland Security officials are scrambling to find new detention facilities and to break up bottlenecks that have slowed deportations. Among border officials, concern is mounting that migrants, including unaccompanied minors, who have been released are spreading the word back to Central America and encouraging more to come.

But his aborted journey helps explain why there has been a rush of migration of unaccompanied minors so severe that the United Nations declared it a humanitarian crisis akin to refugees’ fleeing war.

Since early fall last year, a record (approaching 50,000) unaccompanied children have been detected and detained at the southwest United States border, most traveling from Central America, part of a larger wave that includes some youngsters accompanied by their parents and some traveling alone.

The Obama administration says the primary cause of the influx of children is rising crime and ailing economies in Central America, not policy changes in the United States.

The Obama administration has moved aggressively to deport adults but it has in fact expelled far fewer children than in the past. Largely because of a 2008 federal law aimed at protecting trafficked children, the administration in 2013 deported one-fifth the number of Central American children as were expelled in 2008, according to federal government statistics.

The problem is that the immigration system is broken and if it is not fixed… It’s going to continue to implode.

Snakes in the Backwoods of Tennessee

June 27th, 2014 by admin

aaaaaTennessee – A walk in the woods, much as a walk through Tennessee politics can prove dangerous. We often hear the warning, “Watch out for snakes”, dangerous “poisonous” snakes can be found in many parts of Tennessee, both in the woods and in the political backwoods of Tennessee.

I feel more safe dealing with snakes in the woods: rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins. They are deadly but easy to identify and avoid. The other forms of snakes in the Tennessee backwoods are a more formidable adversary. Hate filled racists are deadly creatures that can be hard to detect, some hide under sheets and others strike with venomous words in Facebook and in other social media. Teabaggers are the most dangerous form of snake located in various parts of Tennessee.

They tend to be of the more average run of mill type folks who are often close minded and filled with hatred. They also hold illogical beliefs, often seen fighting against their own best interest, these “snakes” are the biggest threat against the middle class. Although they are in the middle class, but, more often than not, they are minions of the rich and powerful working for the behest of the wealthy. They were used to crush middle class struggles in Wisconsin and in union battles in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Some of these idiots even fly snake flags in their yards or place snake car tags on their vehicles.

Snakes are even attempting to take over the Republican party in Tennessee and nationally. Currently, efforts are underway by the national GOP to terminate these unwanted pests. The backwoods boys in Tennessee politics love these snakes. They tend to be misinformed and are willing to do the bidding of the wealthy, even when it harms them or their families. Snakes are not wanted by anyone. What type of idiot would choose a snake as their system of unity? A teabagger. Snakes are vile creatures that can be traced all the way back to the garden of Eden in the old testament.

One thing about snakes has not changed, they are deceitful now; as they were back in the old testament. Some things never change. Snake are indeed dangerous creatures that must be handled with care. Be careful, you never know when a snake is around you!

The Snake Strikes Back: Eric Cantor Defeated

June 10th, 2014 by admin

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning primary loss tonight, to David Brat, a tea party-aligned Republican, is sending shockwaves through the political world, stunning everyone but nobody more than House Republicans. The Teabagger takeover of the Republican Party is now complete.

How can Mr. Conservative with a 96% Conservative Voting Rating be not conservative enough? The GOP will now be driven even further to the extreme.

Cantor was the most conservative member of the House leadership. He was also seen as Boehner’s successor. He was an early champion of the tea party, but was deemed a traitor recently as he started siding with Boehner again.

This is a major victory of conservatives [teabaggers]. Have they brought an abrupt end to the storyline that the tea party is in decline? Or have they simply and ignorantly eliminated the House leader who was most likely to side with them on big issues? The big losers are: the Republican Party establishment, Immigration Reform and the Republican Party.

NOTE: Eric Cantor helped form his Gerrymandered District. He wanted the most conservative district possible. How fitting that his conservative district turned against him in this election.

Who’s Laughing Now? Used and Abused. Has the GOP Finally Rid Inself of the Tea Party?

May 31st, 2014 by admin

Dont Laugh at ME

Mitch’s Bizarre Embrace of Kynect [Ky Obamacare]… Tell me another lie Mitch

May 29th, 2014 by admin

The Republican Senate minority leader’s lies about Obamacare have been exposed. His pro-repeal stance has crumbled as his current position has become a contradiction. He also says his home state of Kentucky should be allowed to keep Kynect, the popular state-based Obamacare exchange, even if the federal law Obamacare is eliminated? What?

The Senate GOP leader’s remarks follow a report Friday when McConnell, in a move that raised eyebrows, told home state reporters that the fate of Kynect was “unconnected” to the fate of Obamacare. The popularity of Kynect has made his attacks and lies on Obamacare more difficult. How can Kentuckians love Kynect (Kentucky Obamacare) if it is as bad as Mitch claimed it to be?

It’s unclear how McConnell’s idea might work — or if it can work. Kynect relies upon Obamacare and would not have existed without it. The federal health care law funds the subsidies it hands out to help Kentuckians buy [Obamacare] insurance; it establishes the regulations that protect residents with preexisting conditions; it imposes the individual mandate to entice younger people into the system in order to prevent a cycle of price spikes. If Obamacare is repealed, all these features collapse and Kynect crumbles.

Will McConnell’s remark signal to other Republicans that it’s acceptable to alter the lies about Obamacare, perhaps for the sake of preventing Democratic attacks about the GOP wanting to strip away health coverage for millions of newly insured Americans, a lie is acceptable?

Republicans have also backed themselves into a corner by hammering Obamacare for canceling millions of policies that didn’t comply with the law’s minimum coverage standards. Now that Obamacare itself has covered millions [over 10 million] of Americans since its exchanges went live on Oct. 1, 2013, the GOP cannot call for taking away that coverage without political repercussions.

As McConnell now wavers on Obamacare, he is signaling that the game is over for the wing-nut repeal coalition — but what about the Republican key to midterm election victory [Obamacare bashing]. Just tell another big Republican lie, Mitch: Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi

How do Liberals Escape from Wing-Nut Hell

May 28th, 2014 by admin

gop-vs-americaThere is broad disappointment among [Liberals] progressives at the outcome of several recent antics of the radical right teabagger extreme. From the debt ceiling deal to the near collapse of the government. How do you deal with zealots that are hell bent on blowing up the entire economy if they don’t get their way? So how do [Liberals] progressives escape from this wing-nut hell?

The last several years, European politicians struggled to avoid default that would lead their economies to collapse. Those who tried austerity as a solution, suffered damaging blows to their economies and encountered wrath from it people. Yet, in the United States, radical right extremists Republicans manufactured the same kind of economic crisis and threatened to blow the entire economy to hell if they didn’t get their way. They have sinse engaged in an orgy of austerity that has damaged our economic growth and killed new job creation.

Did their tactics work? Idiots who are reckless have a huge advantage when dealing with rational foes that act responsibly.

President Obama and Democratic leadership did a valiant job avoiding the worst features of the deal, but in the end the negotiation was only about the size of the ransom paid and the damage of its costs to our economy.

Other historical situations involving both Republican and Democratic Presidents ended more rationally when faced with difficult economic solutions. The deficit reduction deal between Ronald Regan and Democrat House Speaker Tip O’Neal in 1984 was 82% new revenue and 18% cuts in expenditures. Clinton’s deals that lead to large surpluses in the 1990’s was 62% new taxes – mainly on the wealthy – and 38% cuts. This deal was 100% cuts. But today’s teabagger extremists don’t deal in rational behavior or use logic.

The general consensus among economists is that the impact of the cuts of the ongoing Sequester is damaging the already-weak economic recovery. The deal included no short-term stimulus and extreme cuts in R&D that is allowing China to gain on the US in areas of new energy technology advantages that will lead to future economic world dominance.

It is interesting to note that Congressional cuts in Embassy protection lead to weak embassy security that allowed extremists attacks on the Embassy resulting in four deaths at Benghazi. A situation that was clearly created by the radical teabagger congress that Republicans hypocrisy attempts to use as political weapon against Hillary Clinton.

There were some bright spots in the outcome of the war of economic attrition but traditional logic does not apply to the teabagger faithful. Clear danger lies ahead for progressives.

Progressives must maintain a determined, relentless campaign to prevent the teabagger controlled Congress from making cuts in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

The Paul Ryan budget shows us exactly where the Republicans want to go. The Republican budget would eliminate Medicare and replace it with a failed system of vouchers for private insurance that raises the out of pocket health care expenses of senior citizens by $6,000 per year. They would raise the retirement age for Social Security, and turn Medicaid into block grants that would eliminate the guarantee of health care for the poor, and nursing home care for seniors and the disabled. And they would do it all to prevent the rich from having to contribute to deficit reduction.

We must continue to refocus the political conversation directly to the issue that the vast majority of Americans really care about: jobs and fair living wages.

Progressives must get out the vote because Elections matter. If given the opportunity, the extremists will destroy Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the EPA. They will increase the war against women’s rights; continue the assault on science, and legitimate hate and intolerance.

The recent battles to close the government and threats to implode the economy must serve as a warning — a wake up call. The [wing-nut] Republicans must be stopped. They will outsource what remains of our manufacturing jobs, repeal Obamacare, eliminate all regulations on Wall Street’s greed, destroy unions and allow the wealthy to plunder what is left of America’s middle class.

If one doubts this, one need look no future back than 2007 when they tried the same failed economic recipe for disaster that cast the nation into near economic ruin and the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression.

WILL DARK MONEY HELP TNGOP TURN THE TN SUPREME COUNT INTO A PARTISAN POLITICAL POSITION?

May 16th, 2014 by admin

150px-Business_moneyNow that Tennessee Republicans have captured the executive and legislative branches of state government, they are going after the top tier of the judicial branch — the state Supreme Court.

Their target is three Democratic state Supreme Court justices that will be on the Aug. 7 ballot to be retained or not by voters. Tennesseans are going to be exposed to an advertising campaign blitz by dark money, this summer, telling them to reject the justices.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, will be playing a key role in the political move, to make the Tennessee Supreme Court a partisan affair, in the retention election.

Business leaders, across the state, are interested in this project, as Tennessee Republicans continue to sell out the welfare of middle class Tennesseans and business leaders will be the beneficiaries of this political sell out. This is an orchestrated plan, by Republicans, not to retain the three Democrat Supreme Court judges.”

The three Democratic justices seeking retention are Cornelia Clark from Middle Tennessee and two East Tennessee justices, Chief Justice Gary Wade of Sevierville and Sharon Lee of Madisonville.

In April, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, told the Kingsport Times-News that he will play an “informative role” in the August retention election for three state Supreme Court judges, all Democrats, who will be seeking new eight-year terms.

There’s been much talk about an anti-Supreme campaign and supporters of the three justices are taking it seriously. Five prominent attorneys — Lew Conner, Frank Drowota, Robert Echols, Hal Hardin and Aubrey Harwell sent a letter to fellow lawyers urging attendance at the May 14 fundraiser, two days ago, for the three Supreme Court justices. In the letter, they pointed to “credible information” indicating more than $1 million in out-of-state “dark money” will be spent attacking the judges.

In 2010, control for the Tennessee Legislation was flipped in a landslide victory by Republicans after 2.5 million dollars of “dark money” flooded the last the last two days, basically allowing the Republicans to buy control of the state government.

In 2010, across the United States, State Legislations were bought and sold to the GOP by a flood of “dark money”. The landmark ruling by the activist conservative Supreme Court of the US opened the door to this wholesale selling of elections across the nation when the ruled in favor of Citizens United against the Federal Election Commission.

Will our democracy drown in a sea of “dark money”?

Patriot or Racist “Welfare Queen” Cowboy

April 24th, 2014 by admin

Rancher, “patriot” and celebrated welfare cowboy right wing-nut loon Cliven Bundy was exposed when he said this on Saturday: “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” describing a “government house” in Las Vegas where he recalled that all the people who sat outside seemed to “have nothing to do. They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”…

Nevada – That stampeding sound you hear is not Bundy’s livestock roaming public lands and feeding on the taxpayer’s dime. It’s his Republican supporters like Rand Paul (KY) backtracking as fast as he can to distance himself from Cliven Bundy, a Nevada cattle rancher, hero in the conservative blogosphere, fixation of Fox News and a racists welfare queen.

Bundy has been stealing from the tax payers for 20 years. Conservatives cried about heavy-handed federal bureaucrats, seizing Bundy’s cattle. They were disappointed the feds backed down after being confronted by wing-nut cowboys on horseback who were armed to the teeth and hiding behind their children. They even had snipers aiming at the federal agents.

Bundy is falsely painted as a man being harassed by the federal government. The wing-nut blogosphere wants sympathy for rancher Bundy. But in reality, he is a common criminal who needs to be in jail for theft.

Bundy is nothing more than a freeloader and it is comical that conservatives would support this welfare queen. He took subsidies from U.S. taxpayers and now refuses to pay the $1.2 million he owes for using tax payer owned land.

What is more amazing is that Fox News commentators have prayed and begged for violence. It is shocking to watch the great deceiver of “lies” conservative Fox news promote violence. Once again the liars of Fox news leads its [sheep] viewers astray.
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Bundy is one of a growing group of anti-government lawbreakers who needs to be arrested, tried and incarcerated for his crimes. He deserves no one’s sympathy. .

A Greed Driven Budget or April Fool’s Joke?

April 1st, 2014 by admin

WASHINGTON — Todays unveiling of Paul Ryan’s newest Republican budget exposed what Republicans will do if they gain complete control of Congress. His greed driven budget will allow the rick to harvest a windfall of tax cuts while the poor and middle class would be burdened with the painful costs. This budget will also allow Democrats to broaden the political difference between the two parties beyond health care, minimum wage and unemployment benefits.

Ryan laid out a budget plan that slashes $5 trillion in spending over the next decade on the backs of the poor and middle class. He falsely claims he would bring federal spending and taxes into balance by 2024, through drastic cuts to Medicaid and food stamps, and the total repeal of the Affordable Care Act just as millions are reaping the benefits of the law.

Domestic programs would be reduced to the lowest levels since modern government accounting while defense spending would increase. Medicare would be converted into a “premium support” system, where people 65 and older could purchase private insurance with small federal subsidies instead of government-paid health care. Subsidies in truth could not pay for health care of these people.

“We need to be a proposition party, not just an opposition party,” said Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin. “We believe we owe it to the [rich] country to offer an alternative to the status quo. It’s just that simple.”

Even with those tough political choices, the budget would balance in 2024 only because Ryan is assuming his cuts would prompt a burst of economic growth to raise tax revenues above what independent economists forecast. Back to trickle-down economics. He also does not adjust the government’s revenue ledger to reflect the cost of repealing the health care law’s tax increases and Medicare cuts, which could add an additional $2 trillion.

The Ryan budget will be formally drafted on Wednesday in the Budget Committee and brought to a House vote on Friday — if Republican leaders can find 217 votes to pass it over the concerns of moderates who say it goes too far and conservatives who say it does not go far enough.

Regardless of the vote, the budget will be front and center in the coming campaigns.

Paul Ryan’s budget is close to the heart of core Republican values and beliefs: Deliver Wealth to the wealthy, Power to the powerful, and suffering to everyone else…

In all, Ryan said, spending would be cut by $5.1 trillion over the next decade. More than $2 trillion of that would come from repealing Mr. Obama’s health care initiative, the Affordable Care Act, a political move that may be much more difficult now that more than 10 million Americans have gotten health insurance through the law, either through private policies purchased on insurance exchanges, through expanded Medicaid or private policies purchased through brokers but subsidized by the law.

Such an [Ann Rand] approach “empowers recipients to get off the aid rolls and back on the payrolls,” Mr. Ryan wrote. More importantly, it stuffs money in the pockets of the rich and powerful.

The toughest cuts would come from domestic programs that have already been reduced steadily to rubble, since 2011, when Republicans took control of the House. Nor did Ryan shy away from hot-button issues.

Education funding would be cut by $145 billion over 10 years. Pell grants for college students would lose $90 billion. University students would start being charged interest on their loans while still in school, reaping $40 billion.

Under the greed driven world of Republicans, Federal subsidies for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting “can no longer be justified,” Ryan said.

Not even big bird and Sesame Street will be spared the pain of Ryan’s cuts. The arts, in addition to public television, will be wiped off the face of the earth.

The Real Facts on Obamacare

January 10th, 2014 by admin

obamacare_400_360_3601.1 million people signed up for health insurance through Obamacare’s federal insurance marketplace in 2013. Nevertheless, that 1.1 million figure is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the Affordable Care Act has already accomplished. The total number of people is at over 10 million and could be 14 million people who are currently getting coverage under the law.

How many people are currently covered through the law? You have the 1.1 million who have gotten care through the federal website. Include the number of enrollees who have gotten coverage through state-run exchanges that and that number tops 2.1 million. Add the 3.9 million people who have gotten health coverage under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. And don’t forget about the young adults under 26 who are still covered by their parents’ health insurance plans thanks to the Affordable Care Act… that estimated figure had reached 7.8 million. Total those numbers and you get a minimum of 9 million Americans covered through Obamacare and a maximum of nearly 14 million.

This explains the eerie silence from the anti-Obamacare wing-nuts. The Affordable Care Act is “no longer just a piece of paper that you can repeal and it goes away… We have to deal with the millions of people that are currently covered under Obamacare.”

Obamacare critics will point out that the context of 50 million uninsured it’s only a start – but it is a start. The Obamacare horror stories [lies] and website disaster’s effects are still being felt and the law’s well-publicized stumbles have certainly taken their toll in polls.

It is also very clear that the GOP seems to be building its 2014 strategy around Obamacare’s [GOP created] flaws. They will continue to demonize the idea that insurance for everyone is a bad idea but risk the chance that growing success of Obamacare will leave them with no recourse but a failed strategy as elections draw near. It is a big gamble and one that seems to have big flaws and miscalculations.

Here’s a fundamental flaw in this GOP calculation: Obamacare’s not the cutting issue they seem to think it is. Health care is not a wedge issue. The right’s problem is that it fixates on approval-disapproval numbers without evaluating what the numbers mean.

Another factor will affect the Affordable Care Act in 2014. The health insurance industry is going to go all-in on the law. Health insurers are fighting for these millions of new customers. The Wall Street Journal suggested that insurers will spend $500 million on local TV ads in 2014.

This ad campaigns is a major shift in strategy for health insurers, most of whom have never really had to market directly to consumers aggressively until now. A full fledge “capitalism based” fight for customers could help the law reach the 7 million mark – bringing the total number of people insured under it to nearly 20 million.

Is the GOP really going to spend the fall and all of 2014 campaigning to take health care away from nearly 20 million people?

Content in Tennessee

December 29th, 2013 by admin

In 2010, the political landscape in Tennessee changed. A large stash of “dark money” sweeps the Tennessee Democratic Party from power, for the first time since Reconstruction. Candidates of the Republican Party were elected in mass, based on empty promises of job creation and a focus on education. It did not seem to matter that many of these candidates were not vetted; more less qualified to hold political office or even hold a regular job in the common job market. The voters did not seem to care they were electing unqualified people to office.

Unfortunately, the lack of qualification of candidates was not the only thing wrong with the “political winds of change” that affected Tennessee and many other southern states that created the perfect political storm. This political change was driven by much darker forces and was not based on the normal issues that affect most elections or spark most political up evil. This change was fueled by racism and hatred of President Obama. And it occurred at a time when control of political power was up for grabs for ten years, not just for an election cycle.

It occurred at a time when the political party who won the state, would control the state for ten years, and be allowed to redistrict the political landscape and reallocate the political power of a state. The masterminds of this political up evil had more important goals in mind than just political victory and they were more than happy to use hatred to achieve their vile agenda. Nor, did it matter that mindless teabaggers would serve as minions to assist the rich in reaching their goal.

We have since seen the devastation of this political change and the damaging impact it has had on the poor and middle class in our state and nation. It did not take long to realize the promises of job creation and focus on education were empty words “lies” by the GOP to simply gain power and control.

And since the election, the GOP has taken undemocratic steps to entrench their political power. Adopting measures to ensure voter suppression on the vary people their vile agenda has harmed the most: the old, young, poor, women, sick and minorities. They have attacked women healthcare, workers’ rights, gay rights, minority rights, civil rights, and dismantled the safety net that has successfully protected the poor, old, sick and middle class since the Great Depression, while continuing to give large tax breaks to the rich and corporations.

It does not seem to matter that they have lost national power as a party, they seem happy with the short term state power and/or regional power they have achieved and they have used this power to undermine national laws and political legislation.

Four years later, the attacks on women’s rights, voter’s rights, workers’ rights immigration, and civil rights has escalated by the GOP. Attacks on the poor and middle class have also escalated as the GOP attempts to dismantle and gut public education and social programs like Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and unemployment compensation.

Not since the Great Depression, has the GOP agenda been so void of a moral compass.Republicans are attempting to dismantle the vary programs designed to help those in need, during tough economic times, like now, when 40 million Americans need government subsidized food assistance to simply live and 1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment compensation, yesterday, because of GOP cuts. In months, another 1.9 million will lose their unemployment compensation. The GOP don’t even seem concerned about the additional loss of 240,000 jobs that will occur from this loss of this money from the economy. Nothing, not even the welfare of the nation, is more important than their vile agenda.

In Tennessee, more than 20% of Tennesseans receive government assistance for food and experienced cuts in SNAP assistance. More than 18,000 Tennesseans lost their unemployment yesterday.

The GOP faithful calls these expenditures on humanity – waste and too expensive to afford, yet, they don’t hesitate giving large tax breaks to the rich and corporations. They spoke not one objection when it came to the costs of twelve years of two “unfunded” wars and giving corporate “welfare” to the greed driven military contractors. They never seem to have a problem with waste when it comes to giving large tax breaks to their rich friends but God forbid – we help the poor or middle class during tough economic times.

Four years later, unemployment in Tennessee is 8.1% while it is 7% nationally. The Tennessee legislature has not passed nor discussed one act of legislation related to job creation. Nothing has been done to strengthen public education, in fact the GOP works feverishly to dismantle it. The Republican “super majority” legislation has been more concerned with catering to their gun lobbyists’ friends and other special interest groups. Our governor is too busy handling his messy shady dealings to something that would actually help middle class folks like extending Medicaid for 170,000 Tennesseans.

Did Tennesseans get what they bargained for when the voted red in 2010? Is there any buyer’s remorse or are folks in Tennessee simply content with the sad state of affairs of our state as a result of that vote?

Unicoi County Democratic Party to Hold January Caucus for County Elections

December 24th, 2013 by Mike K. Hampton

caucus_mainERWIN – The Unicoi County Democratic Party recently notified Sarah Bailey, Unicoi County Election Commission Administrator, that it members had decided to have a caucus for the 2014 county elections.

The Democratic caucus will be held at 11 am on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at Erwin Town Hall.

Anyone who chooses to run for county office as a democrat should attend this caucus. The caucus will remain open for anyone deciding to run as a Democrat after this date.

Notification must be made to the Unicoi County Democratic Party early enough to allow the party to submit a letter stating the person’s intent to run for the specific office. The letter must be signed by two executive committee members of the county party and submitted to the Unicoi County Election Committee by the qualifying deadline of February 20, 2014 at noon.

The Unicoi County Democratic Party notified Sarah Bailey on Thursday, November 21 of the decision to hold a caucus.

The election commission was also notified that District 1 (Carter, Johnson, Unicoi and Washington) counties had decided to hold non-partisan judicial elections because they felt that judicial elections should not be partisan positions.

The Unicoi County Democratic Party also voiced disapproval against the use of taxpayer money; in excess of $20,000, used to hold a primary in a time when the money could be better used to help the host of charities helped by the Unicoi County United Way.

For more information about running as a Democrat in Unicoi County: call 743-7608 or 743-3063.

House Republicans Vote to Slash “SNAP” Food Assistance for Poor

December 21st, 2013 by admin

ebt-cuts-oh-snap-marty-two-bullsWASHINGTON — While most agree that additional food stamp cuts will significantly worsen hunger problems, House Republicans cold heartedly pushed through a bill on Thursday that slashes 40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The vote was 217 to 210, largely along party lines.

House Democrats objected over the cuts and President Obama threatened to veto the legislation if it comes to his desk. Republican House members from Tennessee argue that the program has enough waste to justify large-scale reductions. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, said the larger cuts could be made “without significantly impacting those most in need of food security.” Other Republicans across Tennessee who voted for the cuts attempted to say they supported SNAP but not the waste in the program.

The legislation passed does not address any “GOP claimed” waste in the program. The legislation had more to do with a GOP response to pressure from Tea Party-backed conservatives who see any public assistance to those in need as wasteful spending.

But Democrats, many of whom held up pictures of people they said would lose their benefits, called the cuts draconian and said the legislation would plunge millions into poverty.

The bill, written under the direction of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, would cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. The bill was one of the most heartless bills to come to the floor for a vote in memory.

The future of food stamps — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — remains the big sticking point in House-Senate negotiations to finalize a new farm bill before the end of the year.

In September, the House approved a farm bill that cuts almost $40 billion from food stamps over 10 years — about 5 percent a year. The Senate earlier approved a bill that would cut $4 billion over that time.

The cuts would be in addition to the expiration of some benefits that occurred in November. Those had been part of the 2009 economic stimulus package that ended on November 1.

At $80 billion a year, food stamps remain the single costliest item in the farm bill. The program serves almost 48 million Americans and 1.34 million Tennesseans — about 20 percent of the state population.

Among House members from Tennessee, all but Reps. Jim Cooper of Nashville and Steve Cohen of Memphis — the two Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation — voted for the bill making $40 billion in cuts.

Implementation of this bill will result in denying benefits to 3.8 million low-income Americans in 2014.

“Those who would be thrown off the program include some of the nation’s most destitute adults, as well as many low-income children, seniors and families that work for low wages,” the CBPP said in an analysis of the House bill. “The House SNAP bill is harsh.”

Fortunately, the measure has little chance of passing the Senate.

The SNAP program was created in 1964 in an effort to end hunger in the United States. Conservatives and Republicans have never supported SNAP and see assistance to the poor as wasteful. Now, corporate welfare is another story… it is the kind of assistance [for the rich] that they support. When you confront them about the hypocrisy , they scream “class warfare”, as a smoke screen to their greed.

Sadly, it is class warfare… on the middle class and poor.

Red State Mentality

November 29th, 2013 by admin

art-gop-fascism-posterFrom striping voting rights to slashing food “SNAP” assistance to America’s hungry, the mentality of red state America is becoming increasingly morally corrupt. Void of a moral compass, Republicans and conservatives in red states rush to outdo each other with legislation based on ignorance and mean spirited intent. Their blatant attacks and hatred toward the poor is frightening. The wealthy are more than happy to finance their greed based agenda. The mindless Teabaggers serve as their foot soldiers ready to do the bidding of the rich and powerful.

These same people share something else, a evil hatred for President Obama. The birtherism movement was born in the bowels of the red states. Birtherism is based on ignorance, racism and stupidly. It is one of the first scared beliefs of the Teabagger movement. The belief is fueled by minions of the rich. These people aren’t terribly smart. They work for the rich to undermine the middleclass and they are middleclass. Their red hot rhetoric is a direct threat to democracy and freedom. This disturbing behavior is only matched by extremists in the Taliban.

The American Taliban excels in political theater. Their leaders include Michelle Bachmann, Steve King, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruise. Their ignorance is based on lies and paranoia and fueled by racism and hatred. They hate science and facts. They use creationism to justify their lies, based on the bible, they claim, under their ignorance based interpretation of it. There is a real disconnect between reality and their beliefs. They hate the government but don’t touch their Social Security. They distort history to justify their ignorance based beliefs. They demonize knowledge and intellect. They reject facts.

antiOBAMAThey say they want to take back their county. The question is take it where? To dirt roads and caves? When it comes to their biggest hatred – Obamacare, they have forgot that Obamacare was the central issue in two elections that elected Obama, or that Obamacare was upheld by both houses of congress and the Supreme Court. They address the landslide elections against them with voter suppression laws. If you have policies that the majority of Americans clearly reject, the solution is to reduce the number of those who can vote. Prevent the majority from voting and the minority can dictate their ignorance based beliefs.

From issues that range from abortion to workers rights, voting rights to women rights, minimum wage to immigration, marriage equality to individual freedoms, those in the red states are on the wrong side of history. We can only be thankful that the majority of Americans reject this ignorance and that those in the red states are a growing minority. Americans must remain diligent to prevent the extremists “red state mentality” threat against democracy in America from becoming a twisted reality. Red state wing-nut ignorance is not only laughable, it is dangerous.

Happy Holidays

November 29th, 2013 by Mike K. Hampton

As the holidays approach, many of us have so much to be thankful for. As a nation, we have been blessed with an abundance of food, good health and wealth. Unfortunately, many in our nation are not faring so well.

Over 47 million Americans go hungry daily. Over 101 million Americans currently receive government food assistance. Approximately 40 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Over 44 million Americans do not have health insurance but most of these people will be able to get affordable health care on January 1 under the affordable health care act . Millions of Americans are still unemployed. 633,732 Americans are currently homeless. Over 20 million Americans say they have experienced homelessness once in life.

These are sobering facts, and sadly, some try to ignore or gloss over these facts. Millions of Americans are struggling to survive and these people need help.

Some people say it is the place of the church to help these people; but the church does not have the resources to help everyone. Some people say it is up to charities to help; but charities are struggling to stay open. Food pantries are empty. Some people say those in need are lazy or a victim of their own bad choices. These are a few of the excuses used to justify not giving help. In reality, the only entity that is large enough to provide the level of help needed is the federal government.

This was proven during and after the Great Depression, and when it comes to past, the same will be the result in the current economic conditions. This is probably unwelcome news for those who spend their time assaulting the federal government and protecting the 1%.

It seems some who attack the federal government only do so with their party is not in the majority. It is even more interesting that when they are in control of the government, things seem to collapse; the economy fails, financial institutions collapse, greed and self indulgence runs rampant.

Many people have demonized the act of helping those in need by using the word liberal or calling those in need lazy. Greedy people love the word Liberal. Liberalism is what made this nation great. You have your social security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, disability insurance, Veteran benefits, consumer protection, food protection, food stamps, environmental protection, worker protection, and many other benefits because of the acts of liberalism.

The bankers stuffed their pockets full of taxpayer dollars. Large corporations stuff their pockets full of stolen taxpayer dollars and corporate welfare. Elected officials misuse taxpayer money. Greed permeates our society at every level. The 1% get tax breaks while the middle class is carrying the burden and/or being crushed. Some even suggest that the Bible should be revised to remove the sections that direct people to care for the poor.

How long will we have no compassion or sympathy for those in need? Some people seem to have no problem with fellow Americans having no health insurance coverage. Many have no problems with American families sleeping in tent cities under bridges. Republicans and conservatives have no problem slashing money from the SNAP programs although millions of Americans are hungry and need food assistance.

We have much to be thankful for but how long will it be before we become one of the less fortunate? We are the 99% and many are one pay check away from the streets. If you loose your job, home, health insurance or food, do you want to be told, “I will pay for mine and you pay for yours”?

Bill Haslam’s Crusade Against the Middle Class

November 9th, 2013 by TNDP

tndp logoBrandon Puttbrese was the Communications Director for the TNDP. Our families should be working their way into the middle class, not falling out of it. Tennesseans used to know that if they worked hard and played by the rules, they’d be able to care of their families, send their kids to college, and have a secure retirement, but today, the rules have been rewritten by lobbyists for the wealthy and well connected.
We have to reclaim security for working families and we can do it by restoring Tennessee values. To make progress for all Tennesseans, we must: put an end to the extremism and corruption in the government; invest in our future by rewarding hard work, expanding quality health care to all Tennesseans; and make sure everyone, from CEOs to working families, does their fair share and plays by the rules.

We’re not going to cut our way to prosperity or build a stronger middle class by giving more tax breaks to big corporations and millionaires. To expand the middle class, we must encourage and support our innovators, educators and builders. We need an economy that creates jobs of the future and rewards all hard-working Tennesseans — not one built on inside deals for well-connected CEOs and risky handouts for big special interests that threaten our entire economy and shortchange working and middle class families.

We need to restore security for the middle class and create an economy that rewards hard-working families. Instead, Bill Haslam has rubberstamped an extreme agenda that doesn’t create jobs and pushed top-down economic policies that pad his own pockets, reward his wealthy friends and damage the middle class.
Haslam’s tax plan will rack up $1 billion worth of massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, while he’s made big cuts to children’s services, higher education, health care, public safety and programs that help Tennesseans find work.

Bill Haslam has doubled-down on extreme policies that hurt working and middle class Tennesseans — denying 400,000 citizens fully funded Medicaid coverage, letting big business and lobbyists write their own rules, cutting programs that invest in workers and their families, and eliminating rules and oversight that hold government officials accountable.

Haslam’s anti-public school policies fail our students and threaten our state economy—cutting teacher salaries, over-relying on expensive standardized testing, and diverting funds away from public schools to an out-of-state, for-profit corporation that streams classes on the internet.

Not only did Haslam pass the biggest budget in Tennessee history, Haslam’s corrupt inside dealing outsourced hundreds of Tennessee jobs and directed hundreds of millions worth of state contracts to business partners and wealthy campaign contributors.

Haslam made his fortune at Pilot Oil, where he and his family have made millions from a scheme that preyed on their own customers. Pilot Oil executives have admitted stealing from truck drivers and even targeting honest, hard-working new Americans.

Haslam has rubberstamped an extreme tea party agenda that doesn’t create jobs and, worse yet, harms security working and middle class families; from Haslam’s discriminatory voter ID law and guns in parking lots (even when business owners don’t want them) to defunding Planned Parenthood and eliminating workplace protections for LGBT Tennesseans.
Bill Haslam’s special interest dealing and constant secrecy proves he can’t be trusted. He won’t come clean about his secret relationships with high-powered lobbyists and he’s still hiding his income tax returns because he pays a lower rate than working Tennesseans. If we can’t trust him to be honest about his dealings, how can he be trusted to build a stronger middle class?

WEAKENING MIDDLE CLASS SECURITYRebuilding a fair economy that strengthens the middle class by attracting good American jobs investing in education, and expanding access to affordable health care should be our top priority. But Bill Haslam has a different view. Haslam slashed security for working families, rigged the rules to favor big special interests, and cut programs that strengthen the middle class. Instead of asking everyone to do their fair share, Haslam gave the wealthy and big corporations massive new tax breaks and hopes that job growth will trickle down from the top.

Hurt Working Families to Pad Profits for Corporate Special InterestsIf we’re going to build a fair economy, big corporations and wealthy CEOs have to play by the same rules as working families and the middle class. Bill Haslam and lobbyists have re-written the rules to put profits for special interests ahead of working families.

• Good-paying jobs are key for middle class security, but Haslam has signed multiple laws that drive down the wages of working men and women.

o Haslam eliminated prevailing wage rules on state contracts, which allows wealthy contractors to pad their profits by slashing the wages of workers.

o Haslam repealed local wage ordinances, boosting profits by cutting worker pay back to $7.25 an hour.

• One of Bill Haslam’s signature laws doesn’t put one more Tennessean back on the job, but it does cut payments to workers who get hurt on the job — by a third.

o It’s already difficult to make ends meet when a family member is out of work. Haslam’s new law not only increases bureaucratic red tape and burdens working families, it gives businesses a new financial incentive to fire injured workers.

• In Bill Haslam’s world, special interests don’t have to play by the same rules as the hard-working middle class. Haslam’s cap on damages law shields irresponsible and reckless businesses that injure and kill Tennesseans from being held fully accountable in court.

o By putting a price tag on Tennesseans, the law protects profits for businesses and corporations that harm our families. Haslam signed the measure into law even while his multi-billion dollar company Pilot Flying J faced lawsuits for negligence.

Eliminated Programs that Put Tennesseans Back to Work
With more than a quarter million Tennesseans looking for jobs, we need to build an economy that rewards responsibility and increases opportunity for our families. Bill Haslam’s top-down agenda has boosted profits for his business friends and out-of-state corporations while cutting programs that help hard-working families find jobs. As a result, there are more Tennesseans looking for good jobs today than there was a year ago.

• To date, Bill Haslam has blocked Medicaid expansion, a move that would create 18,000 good-paying jobs and provide a billion dollar boost to Tennessee’s health care economy.

• Instead of bolstering efforts to get Tennesseans back work, Bill Haslam shut down 34 career centers that helped citizens find and apply for jobs. The change in priorities means residents in 34 counties will have to drive elsewhere to get help with creating and posting resumes, skills training and other job-finding services.

• With unemployment rising in the state, the Haslam administration eliminated a rapid-response team that helped workers caught in mass lay-offs prepare for new jobs.

• Haslam fired 71 Economic and Community Development workers who assisted city and county leaders in planning for new growth. The move passed planning expenses onto local taxpayers.

Destabilizing Public Schools, Shortchanging StudentsThere is nothing more important to our economy than educating our children, and that’s not going to happen if we overcrowd our classrooms and divert money away from public schools. Preparing the next generation of leaders and innovators begins at home, but our public schoolteachers play a vital role in equipping our kids with the skills and knowledge they need to compete for the good-paying jobs of tomorrow. Bill Haslam’s top-down privatization agenda threatens our students’ economic future by driving away high-quality teachers and leaving our public schools less secure.

• Bill Haslam’s first education decision put a commissioner with only three years of classroom experience — Kevin Huffman — in charge of a $6 billion education budget.

o This shortsighted experiment has been a costly and abject failure for students. The top-down management style of Haslam’s education commissioner has drawn the ire of school superintendents, educators and parents, crashed morale, and driven away high-quality teachers.

o In September 2013, nearly half of the superintendents in the state signed a letter to Haslam saying educators did not “feel respected or valued” by his administration and that teachers felt “voiceless and powerless.”

• Our kids need great teachers, and we’re not going to recruit and retain those teachers if Haslam’s administration keeps attacking them. In 2011, Haslam signed a law taking away teachers’ right to negotiate together for decent wages and benefits, small class sizes and the kind of things only teachers know about like what works best in the classroom.

o The next year, Haslam proposed increasing classroom sizes — meaning your kids would get less one-on-one time with their teachers.

o While Haslam gave tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, his administration cut teaching salaries and financial incentives for teachers who earn advanced degrees.

o Haslam instituted a flawed teacher evaluation system that scores more than half of educators on the test scores of kids they don’t even teach; Haslam’s new mandates put less focus on student learning and more focus on bureaucratic paperwork.

o Rather than attracting great educators, Haslam’s top-down orders are costing us great teachers. In 2010, the year preceding Bill Haslam and Commissioner Kevin Huffman taking office, 1,524 teachers retired; by 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 2,197 teachers retired — a stunning 44 percent increase. In 2012, one in five teachers who were eligible for retirement did so, approximately double the rate in 2010.

• Even though a standardized test never taught a child anything, Haslam’s administration has doubled down on high-stakes testing — at a cost of nearly $200 million year. Haslam’s top-down education policies are robbing students of critical thinking and forcing schools to “teach to the test.” Too many of our tax dollars are going to investors when they should be spent on students.

• Bill Haslam put corporate profits ahead of our children’s education. Instead of investing in small class sizes or expanding pre-K, Haslam diverted millions of tax dollars from public schools to a for-profit corporation that streams lessons to students over the internet.

o Last year students enrolled in Haslam’s for-profit school showed less growth than students in every other public school in the state.

o Haslam’s for-profit school scheme has failed students two years in a row. News reporters even caught the company deleting the bad test grades of students.

o Haslam’s own education commissioner called the for-profit school’s performance “unacceptable.” But instead of holding the for-profit school accountable for failing students, Haslam signed a new law protecting their multi-million dollar contract.
• When we should be strengthening public schools, Bill Haslam has proposed privatization schemes — like private school vouchers — that divert money away from public schools and have failed to deliver on the results that were promised wherever they were tried.

• Bill Haslam punished students by cutting $3.4 million from Nashville schools because the elected school board refused the application of a well-connected charter school. In retaliation, his administration then supported efforts to strip local school boards of the authority to approve charter school applications.

• On top of diverting money from public schools and undermining the educators who are shaping our students, Haslam’s top-down approach ignores the harsh realities facing Tennessee families:

o We will improve education by improving the lives of children. One out of four children in Tennessee live in poverty and Haslam signed a law to cut benefits for the children of Tennesseans who are out of work.

o More than 40 percent of expecting mothers in Tennessee don’t receive adequate pre-natal care. And while healthy mothers raise healthy children, Haslam has blocked funding to expand Medicaid, which could extend quality health coverage to 191,000 women in Tennessee.

• If Tennessee is going to win the good-paying jobs of the future and strengthen our economy, we must increase graduation rates at our colleges and community colleges. Unfortunately, Haslam’s plans are putting a good education out of reach thousands of Tennesseans.
o Under Bill Haslam, tuition rates have increased on working and middle class families in Tennessee every year, saddling students with more debt that hurts our economy.

o While tuition rates in Tennessee are increasing faster than most of the country, Haslam has slashed funding for higher education.

o Instead of investing in Tennessee colleges or in students by lowering tuition costs, Bill Haslam spent $5 million to advertise for an out-of-state, online college.

Blocking Health Care Security
Instead of working to strengthen Medicaid and improve access to affordable health care for all families, Bill Haslam has cut funding for important health care programs. Access to affordable, quality health care is key to building a stronger middle class, but Bill Haslam has made it harder for Tennessee families to get the care they need.

• Haslam opposed the Affordable Care Act and has blocked federal funds to expand Medicaid, an expansion that could extend quality health coverage to more than 330,000 working Tennesseans and invest billions in Tennessee’s economy.
o If Haslam continues blocking Medicaid expansion, more Tennesseans will die because they lack health coverage. Studies show Medicaid expansion would save lives; health coverage especially helps poor women and children in rural counties, the elderly, and black Tennesseans.

o Bill Haslam’s decision to deny working families Medicaid coverage has already caused hospitals to shut down programs and fire thousands of workers, which has costs our economy millions. Haslam’s continued indifference puts more than 50 hospitals at risk of closing, a shameful scenario that threatens to make health care less accessible to the rural families who need it.

o Haslam’s inaction on Medicaid is punishing the poor. 161,000 Tennesseans in working poor families who would qualify for Medicaid coverage will have nowhere to turn but emergency rooms, which hurts our hospitals and our economy.

• After spending $10 million of taxpayer money to study health exchanges, Bill Haslam evaded his responsibility to Tennesseans when he decided against building a locally operated health insurance marketplace that would help our families get insured.

• Instead of working to solve health care problems facing Tennesseans, Haslam opposed the Affordable Care Act and would:
o allow insurance companies to deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition, putting as many as 2.8 million Tennesseans at risk;

o re-institute lifetime caps on coverage, meaning those with long-term and life threatening illnesses may be cut off from their coverage;

o take away free preventive health care screenings like mammograms for women;

o no longer allow young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26;
o charge women up to 50 percent more for their coverage than men.

• As governor, Haslam cut funding for a program to aid Tennesseans with disabilities.

Slashing the Safety Net for Seniors
Tennesseans who’ve worked their whole lives deserve dignity in their golden years — they’ve earned it, and they deserve it. But to pay for his massive tax giveaways for corporations and the wealthy, Haslam slashed vital programs that Tennessee seniors rely on for a secure retirement.

• Bill Haslam cut millions from in-home care for seniors, forcing elderly Tennesseans out of the home they have lived in for years and into nursing homes.

• Haslam supports repealing the health reform law that has strengthened Medicare and saved Tennessee seniors $109 million on life-saving prescription drugs.

Republicanado

October 22nd, 2013 by admin

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Pelosi Provides Votes to End Republican Teabaggers Government Shutdown

October 16th, 2013 by admin

130910_nancy_pelosi_ap_605WASHINGTON — Today, Senate Democratic and Republican leaders reached a final agreement on a deal to reopen the government and extend its borrowing authority into February, with final passage looking increasingly possible by Wednesday evening.

In the House, Nancy Pelosi provided the votes needed to allow the bill to pass; 185-144. The Senate passed the bill 81-18. It is no surprise that Teabaggers voted against the bill.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader announced the completion of the agreement shortly after noon, and the Senate Republicans who had led the push to shut down the government unless President Obama’s health care law was gutted conceded defeat and promised not to delay a final vote.

Under the agreement, the government would be funded through Jan. 15, and the debt ceiling would be raised until Feb. 7.

One can only hope that this will be a learning experience for lawmakers in the House and Senate who shut down the government in hopes of gutting “Obamacare” the Affordable Care Act.

In the midst of government collapse, the credit rating agency Fitch put the United States on a “negative ratings watch,” warning that Congressional intransigence had put the full faith and credit of the government at serious risk.
As the United States nears default, investors have demanded more compensation for lending to the government, with yields on short-term debt spiking to their highest levels in years.

Fitch warned that Congress has not “raised the federal debt ceiling in a timely manner.” It said that it “continues to believe that the debt ceiling will be raised soon,” but that “political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default.”

The Teabagger Shutdown: Its Effects on America

October 10th, 2013 by admin

1234866_570391279663222_1579568118_nThe government shutdown continues because wing-nut members of Congress refuse to reach an agreement on legislation to authorize funding for a new fiscal year. Republicans appear to be moving away from their original demands to defund Obamacare as the reason for the shutdown. Republicans scramble to find a way out as the effects of the shutdown slowly take hold and move across the nation as the suffering grows.

As the pain index grows, as a result of the Government shutdown, many in the Republican Party take cover and begin to back pedal on the ideal of the shutdown being a good idea as Republican poll numbers plummet nationally. The furry of the American people grows as the ill effects of the shutdown take hold. Every day more and more people are affected by results of the shutdown.

Here are but a few effects of the shutdown:

National Parks

Across the nation, national parks have closed because of the government shutdown. As fall color explodes, it will do so unseen as many national parks closed last week at the height of tourism season across the nation.

Welfare

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding is cut off by the shutdown, but many states have funding available for carryover into the new fiscal year.

Unfortunately, the WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) program is out of funds. In North Carolina, the WIC program closed two days ago leaving over 269,000 people (mostly children) without food.

Veteran’s benefits

ap_transfer_remains_ceremony_ll_120914_wmainAnger swept across the nation, as death benefits were not available for the families of five young Americans killed in Afghanistan this past Sunday. Today, the US Government took emergency action to immediately implement benefits to the families of these fallen Americans.

As with most federal agencies, some services will be temporarily shut down or slowed down: The Veterans Affairs website will be updated only “intermittently,” the VA says, and vocational and educational counseling for vets will be limited.

Veterans cannot receive federal tuition assistance.

States where the military presence is heavy are being hit hard by the impact of the Government shutdown. South Carolina has been hit especially hard.

In Tennessee

Y12 and Oak Ridge National Labs announced that 4,800 workers would be laid off because of the Government shutdown. The affects will be devastating to Tennessee. The furloughs will begin October 17th.

Senior’s benefits

Meals on wheels, a program that gives good assistance to seniors closed last week due to the shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of seniors stopped receiving this daily food assistance.

Small Business Assistance

Loans to small business have stopped because of the Government shutdown affecting their ability to expand and create new jobs.

National Guard Furloughs

Several states have laid-off National Guard members. Kentucky has been hit especially hard.

Government Workers

Across the nation, government workers have been laid off because of the Government shutdown. Virginia has been hit especially hard with hundreds of thousands of workers laid off.

Companies performing work related to Government contracts are also laying off employees as a result of the Government shutdown. Boeing furloughed over 3,000 workers.

FEMA and other Government Agencies have also furloughed workers.

GOP Wing-nuts Shutdown Government

October 5th, 2013 by admin

Image-Federal-government-shutdown-graphic-genericWASHINGTON — House Republicans emerged from a closed-door meeting yesterday bewildered and with no new strategy to end the budget standoff. They had an angry plea to President Obama to negotiate over his health care law.

“This isn’t some damned game,” whined Speaker John A. Boehner. “The American people don’t want their government shut down, and neither do I. All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a discussion, reopen the government and bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare.”

But Republicans forget that Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in both houses, the Supreme Court upheld the law and President Obama was re-elected with Obamacare as a major issue in the election.

Four days into a crisis that was created by the teabaggers in Congress — and 12 days before the nation faces an even more serious deadline to raise the statutory borrowing limit or risk defaulting on its debts — Republican in Congress have no clue what they want to end the Government shutdown. In polls, the American people are clearly blaming Republicans for this politically motivated shutdown. 72% do not feel a Government shutdown is an appropriate tool for working out a budget.

The House Republicans continued on Friday generate a series of minibills to reopen parts of the government, passing measures to finance issues most damaging to their actions of shutting down the government. They also held photo ops to mask their shameful shutdown with various groups negatively affected by the shutdown.
In a rare Saturday session, the House will vote on a bill to assure federal workers that they will receive back pay once the government is reopened.

The White House issued another veto threat. “The administration strongly opposes House passage of piecemeal fiscal year 2014 appropriations legislation that restores only very limited activities,” the veto message said. “Consideration of appropriations bills in this fashion is not a serious or responsible way to run the United States government. Instead of opening up a few government functions, the House of Representatives should reopen all of the government.”

Beyond the minibills, Republican leaders will promote a Twitter hashtag, #LetsTalk, and send rank-and-file members to national monuments and memorials to blame Democrats for the closings.

As the fallout to the shutdown heats up, a growing number of Republicans wonder why they are doing this.

Senate Democrats and President Obama are standing firm against any measure that links further financing of the government to a blow against the Affordable Care Act, and they are opposing Republican efforts to relieve the pressure by reopening politically sensitive or visible government functions.

The mixed messages from Republican leaders may be aiding the Democrats’ cause as it is becoming more difficult for Republicans to explain why they shut down the government. More shockingly, they have no strategy on reopening the government or averting a debt default.

The hard-line stance of Republican House members on the government shutdown is generating increasing anger among senior Republican officials, who say the small bloc of conservative teabaggers is undermining the party and helping President Obama. Polls seem to back up this fear, as Republicans are receiving the blame for the shutdown from the American people.

Republican elders also worry that the tactics of Ted Cruz and his wing-nut allies in the House are reinforcing the party’s image as obstructionist, and benefiting President Obama.

Ramsey’s Dishonest “tweet” on President Obama

September 11th, 2013 by admin

Tennessee Democrats are calling out Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey after the Republican lawmaker sent a tweet accusing President Obama of being an “ally” with Al-Qaeda in Syria.

The tweet in question was sent from Ramsey’s Twitter page this morning, the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The Ramsey tweet reads, “As the President attempts to ally with Al-Qaeda in Syria’s civil war, we must always remember who attacked us on our soil 12 years ago.”

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron quickly responded to the tweet and blasted the lawmaker’s comment.

“I read it and my first reaction was, ‘Is this a joke?'” Herron went on to call the tweet “dishonest, inflammatory, outrageous and unpatriotic.”

The tweet comes a day after the president addressed the nation making his case for a military strike on Syria.

The Press has tried to reach Ramsey and/or his spokesperson for comment, but no has responded to calls from the media.

Some say Ramsey is too smart to make such a stupid political comment while others note he is arrogant enough to say it.

Tennessee Not Prepared for Affordable Care Act Enrollment

August 14th, 2013 by admin

logoRev1Major health care changes are just around the corner but Tennessee is ill prepared for these changes.

Will the 180,000 uninsured Tennesseans be able to tap into new health insurance coverage through a TennCare expansion? Why is there virtually no publicity given to the new online health insurance marketplaces available to state residents in October? These are just a few important questions related to health care changes in Tennessee.

Tennessee Republican leaders have been vocal to criticize Obamacare but they have had nothing to prepare Tennessee consumers of the upcoming changes.

Recently, Gov. Bill Haslam announced a new statewide health initiative but he failed to mention the impact of the federal Affordable Care Act on Tennesseans. He also failed to mention one of the largest health care dilemmas facing our state: whether to expand TennCare under his proposed “Tennessee Plan.”

Negotiations are ongoing with the federal government on Haslam’s proposal that will put $1 billion a year in federal Medicaid money toward getting uninsured adults to buy private insurance on the federal health insurance exchanges. It is unclear when the Governor will act, as a deadline to act, quickly approaches.

It is still unknown whether Tennessee’s online insurance marketplaces will be ready for Tennesseans by October. This is the mechanism that will provide Tennesseans to buy coverage for themselves or their families. This is an important aspect of the Affordable Care Act which requires every person to have health insurance or pay a fine.

Because leaders in Tennessee has left it to the federal government to set up and run the exchanges, rather than doing it themselves, Tennessee will received tens of millions of dollars less in funding for outreach and education about the exchanges. States that have chosen to run their own marketplaces have informational websites up and running while it is virtually impossible to find resources about the Tennessee marketplace.

Haslam said he decided to hand the marketplace over to the federal government based on a desire for an easier transition. Tennessee’s failure to implement the exchange themselves will hurt Tennesseans who will not know that they can benefit from the health care changes.

Across the state, as the Government has does nothing to prepare for the exchange, others including Insurance companies and health care providers are taking action to start enrollment education programs for Tennessee’s uninsured residents by launching informational ads and websites.

According to Walter Davis, director of the Tennessee Healthcare Campaign, volunteers are sharing information across the state daily.

“Everywhere we go there’s a high degree of interest, Tennesseans want to know how it affects them personally. I think as we get closer, we’ll see a spike of interest.”

GOP War on Women = Growing Wave for Hillary

July 2nd, 2013 by admin

As conservative Republicans continue to attack women’s rights, alienating a powerful voting bloc, there has been a growing counteroffensive wave that is giving woman activists on the other side a larger voice and greater visibility since the early struggle for women’s rights and activism.

Wendy Davis, the state Senator from Texas, has exploded onto the national spotlight since filibustering against Texas’ restrictive abortion bill. Her eleven hour filibuster has galvanized the Texas Democratic Party and women groups nationally.

While international organizations are joining forces to end the oppression of women and girls worldwide and enact laws to advance equality, here in the United States, Republicans attacks continue on women through a variety of issues designed to turn back the clock on women’s issues and rights.

The revival of the angry American women may be underway as current legislation threatens the very health of women. Could the growing wave of support for Hillary Clinton make her the lightening rod to galvanize women into action and victory?

Women are showing up to fight and Hillarys’ name is spoken more and more in regards as the frontrunner of the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Escalating attacks on women in Congress and state legislatures may backfire on Republicans as it has jolted many women into action, awakened sleeping liberals and moderates and moved them to protest in the U.S. Senate and House while galvanizing thousands of ordinary women to speak out and take action.

Conservatives have moved to cut off U.S. government aid to Planned Parenthood on grounds that it was funneling taxpayer money to facilitate abortions. An earlier decision by the leading U.S. breast cancer charity, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, to sever ties with Planned Parenthood was abandoned when thousands of people threatened to withhold donations to the foundation.

Not long after that bruising fight, conservatives in Congress tried to roll back access to contraception under employer health plans, they even attempted to garner support from opposition for such a mandate for President Obama’s health care law best known as ObamaCare. A Republican-led House committee even convened a hearing made up of an all-male panel called to testify, but a female Georgetown University law student who wanted to speak for the mandate was banned from testifying. To make things worse, she was called a “slut” and a “prostitute” by a conservative radio.

The Republican ignorance only gets worse as a financial supporter of Rick Santorum, the anti-abortion rights and anti-contraceptives Republican presidential candidate, suggested that “gals” could prevent pregnancies by putting an aspirin “between their knees.” And in Virginia, the Republican governor supported a state bill to require that women seeking abortions undergo invasive vaginal ultrasounds. (He eventually backed down but states like Ohio and Tennessee are considering similar measures.) And recent legislation in several states only gets more [Taliban like] extreme as wing-nut Republicans attempt to outmaneuver each other with backwoods legislation of ignorance.

Amidst this backdrop, a remarkable groundswell is building for Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president of the United States in 2016. Partly a fallout of the Republican “war on women” and partly as result of her soaring stature and unquestionable qualifications— the Clinton wave is fast rising. Many political pundits point to another interesting fact— Hillary Clinton may be the most qualified person to ever run for President.

If you examine the role and impact of women in society, it appears the perfect storm, somewhat attributed to Republican ignorance, may be brewing across America.

The former U.S. secretary of state is the world’s best known woman and ranks at the top of America’s most popular public figures. Her stock has only skyrocketed since she ran for president in 2008.

Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader and the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Hillary supporters a couple of days ago, saying, and “I would love to see Secretary Clinton become the nominee for president in 2016.”

Recently, Hillary stoked the fires of excitement, speaking to a large gathering of women; she called for “an audacious” fight against “extremists” who would take women’s rights away. She had 2,000 women on their feet, in wild enthusiasm for a very long time.

Will Hillary lead the angry women of American into wild enthusiasm in the 2016 election? Will Republicans attempt to paint Hillary as an old woman only fuel the burning wildfire of angry women’s in America? If you are on fire for Hillary, join here now.

The Divided States of America

June 24th, 2013 by admin

In the midst of dramatic demographic and social change, America is quickly becoming divided into two separate nations. One is a progressive nation striving to move forward for change while another is woven of regional rigid politics driven by hatred, racism and conservative “close minded” dogma.

A recent public opinion study from the PEW Research Center found that:
“Americans often say they want their elected representative in Congress to put the country’s need over local concerns. But findings suggest the opposite. Members of Congress who place their district or state over those of the country are rewarded while those who place the welfare of the nation over local issues will be punished.”
The nation has become polarized by rigid ideological rhetoric generated in Republican controlled “red” states. Shifting demographic and cultural changes threaten to make our tribalism permanent.

There is currently an explosion of minority populations and stagnation in white populations. Recent gerrymandering efforts by Republicans will only delay the inevitable; either conservatives change or they will drown in a sea of minority “new majority”. The evidence was clear in the last Presidential election— nationally, Republicans have lost the popular vote in four of the last five Presidential elections.

A 2009 Pew Research Center report found, “While top earners (those earning $100,000 or more) were almost evenly split among Democrats, independents and Republicans, the lowest earners (those making $20,000 or less) were more than twice as likely to be Independents than Republicans, and were nearly three times as likely to be Democrats than Republicans.” This is why a growing number of political observers point to a future of Democratic dominance; especially in light of Republican and conservative refusal to change.

Other studies point to changes in marriage or the decline of marriage. New definitions of family are emerging in America. Other data noted changing birth rates in the different areas of America. But in almost every case, the blue states that went for Barack Obama in 2012 had the higher ages of first marriage, and the red states that went for Mitt Romney had lower ones.

More notable changes are also occurring in America. American’s affiliation with churches has fallen from 68% in 1975 to 48% in 2013. On the moral front – the majority of American’s are becoming more liberal – supporting same sex marriage — while Americans in the red states condemn same sex marriage.

Other notable changes are seen in the growing confidence of the military which has exploded from 58% in 1975 to 76% in 2013. This may explain the shocking point that recent government ease dropping on Americans doesn’t sound as many alarms as it should. Is individual liberty and collective good less important than personal responsibility and social responsibility?

On a growing number of issues, conservative arguments on many issues no longer resonate nationally and that spells bad news for Republicans. The potential voters from Republicans are shrinking while the demographics of potential Democratic voters are exploding.

This may explain Republican’s stand on extreme issues on voter suppression, racism, closed borders, abortion, immigration, the war on women and minority groups – all designed to slow the growth and expansion of liberalism and Democratic control.

How long will these failing efforts by the Republicans delay the death of conservative power and Republican national prominence? Will Republicans change or will they drown in the tidal wave of demographic and social change.

VW Demand in Tennessee: Seat Labor at Table or No Expansion – No New Jobs

June 23rd, 2013 by admin

In March of 2009 Volkswagen (VW) came to Chattanooga, Tennessee. This was welcome news for the Tennessee economy and job creation. Volkswagen has been a good company creating thousands of jobs. The EPA recently honored them for being a leader in Green Power. VW America is the largest automotive maker in the US using solar power and the largest of any industry in Tennessee.

VW has created jobs which has been invaluable to Chattanooga. In March, VW announced they would add 800 to 1000 more jobs by the end of 2013 bringing the employment to 3500. They also want to have labor represented at the table and insist this must happen or they won’t expand their plant in Chattanooga.

A top global official for the VW works council says the group will block the automaker’s expansion in Chattanooga unless a labor panel is implemented. A German newspaper reported that VW Group deputy council chief Stephan Wolf said, “We will only agree to an extension of the site or any other model contract when it is clear how to proceed with the employees’ representatives in the United States.”

The Republicans and Chamber of Commerce have maintained that government should stay out of private business; yet, they are not doing so in this case. Their contempt for the American worker is obvious that their love of big corporations is stronger than their desire to keep government out private business. Both the Chattanooga Chamber and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam have criticized the effort to include labor at the table. Obviously the TNGOP war on labor continues.

It is refreshing to see a company display real corporate leadership and class.

Farm Bill Defeat: Democrats Refuse to Cut Food Stamps

June 23rd, 2013 by admin

Washington – Thursday, the farm bill was defeated in a shocking lack of leadership by the Speaker, John Boehner of Ohio. The defeat highlights the division between the teabagger conservatives in Congress and their leadership.

The vote against the bill was 234 to 195 as conservatives were not pleased with the weak cuts in the bill, while Democrats voted against the bill because of the cruel cuts in the food stamp program. The current bill, as it stands, would cast over 2 million Americans into a food crisis.

The defeat was a major blow to the speaker of the house who has been reduced to weak figure head. His main purpose is protecting his position as speaker. Boehner continues to fail at any attempt to pass major legislation.

The farm bill has traditionally passed easily with bipartisan support. But, since the wing-nut teabaggers come to town, all attempts to pass legislation have come to a complete stop. They have basically shutdown the government.

Conservatives insist of massive cuts to the farm bill that will fall squarely on the backs of the poor by slashing $20.5 billion from the food stamp program.

Conservatives were successful in passing two amendments, one to require food stamp recipients to meet federal welfare work requirements, and another to allow states to drug test food stamp applicants. Obviously, it remains a high priority with conservatives and Republicans to punish and attack poor people.

Several of the Republican members of Congress who voted to cut food stamps receive farm subsidies themselves. It is shocking that conservatives and Republicans insist on making cuts for those who are suffering the most.
Unfortunately, poor people are unable to fill the pockets of the greedy conservatives and Republicans. Teabaggers remain loyal to their wealthy owners.

NSA’s PRISM Into Your Life

June 13th, 2013 by admin

Patriot-ACTEdward Snowden, 29, is the source of leaks over an NSA surveillance program. He’s a defense contractor, a high school dropout, and he worked his way into the most secretive computers in U.S. intelligence – now he is on the run for blowing those secrets wide open. He may never live in the United States as a free man again.

In a recent interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Snowden revealed himself as the source of outing the massive effort by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to track cell phone calls and monitor the e-mail and Internet traffic of virtually every Americans.

Snowden said his conscious was bothering him and he just wanted the public to know what the government was doing.

What’s next for Snowden as a hell storm encircles him? Some are calling him a traitor, others consider him a hero. One thing for sure, his revelations has stirred a firestorm about the secretive PRISM government program.

Another important question relates to trusted companies like facebook who have basically lied to their customers and quickly gave private customer information to the government. How safe is your personal information entrusted to various companies?

“Even if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded,” he said. Snowden told The Guardian he had access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community and undercover assets around the world. These facts have moved some in congress to call for his head, as they claim, this information is an attack on the United States.

Snowden fled to Hong Kong three weeks ago after copying one last set of documents.

133604_600Before his leak of U.S. intelligence, Snowden worked for a major U.S. government contractor, in Hawaii, earning a $200,000 salary and enjoying the beautiful state with his girlfriend.

He told The Guardian, “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

Many disagree and point out that we expect the government to honor our privacy, but we also expect the government to protect us from more terrorist attacks.

President Barack Obama insists his administration is not spying on U.S. citizens; it’s only looking for information on terrorists. Wing-nuts and Obama/Government haters are using the incident to wave the anti-Obama and anti-Government banner. The ACLU is leading the fight in regards to violations of civil liberties.

Snowden is hopeful that Hong Kong’s climate of free speech will protect him, but there’s no guarantee he won’t be sent back to the United States and face a lifetime in an American prison. Have we traded civil liberty for security?

NOTE: Since this story was posted, Snowden has been held up in Russia for months.

The Patriot Act: An Attack on Civil Liberties

June 7th, 2013 by admin

The Patriot Act http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_act is a U.S. law passed in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Its purpose was to strengthen domestic security and broaden the powers of government agencies with regards to identifying and stopping terrorists. In the wake of recent events, a firestorm of concern once again surrounds the Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act remains extremely controversial but those with civil liberty concerns have always been trumpted by its supporters. Supporters claim that it’s been instrumental in investigations and arrests of terrorists, while critics claim the act gives the government way too much power, as it threatens civil liberties and undermines the very democracy it seeks to protect.

The Patriot Act’s full name is Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. It’s divided into 10 different sections, and it covers a lot of ground. A summary follows:

Title I – This section [attacks] pertains to the protection of civil liberties. It authorizes federal money to accomplish much of the act’s provisions and authorizes the Secret Service to create a nationwide electronic crime task force.

Title II – This section expands the authority of law-enforcement agencies to conduct [unconstitutional] surveillance on agents [including American citizens] of foreign powers.” It allows the interception of communications if they’re related to terrorist activities and allows law-enforcement agencies to share information related to terrorist activities [anything deemed as such] with federal authorities. Title II authorizes [secret] roving surveillance by any means available to intercept a person’s communications [Facebook, personal e-mail, Internet, personal records, etc.], Further, it allows the government to order files from your communications services such an Internet service [IP addresses, login times and sites visited]. It also allows delayed notification of search warrants, including searches of your home [while you are not present] and you would not be notified of the search until after it was carried out.

Title III – This section of the Patriot Act is aimed at cutting off the financial support of terrorist groups.

Title IV – This section has provisions that strengthen border security.

Title V – The most important part of Title V is the use of National Security Letters (NSL). An NSL is a demand for the release of information and paperwork related to a person under investigation. The Patriot Act makes NSLs much stronger [and unconstitutional], and allows them to be used against U.S. citizens and contains a gag order preventing the target of the NSL from ever knowing about it or telling anyone else about it. There is no judicial review or need for probable cause when an NSL is requested and issued. This was used in attempts to try to force four librarians to turnover library records of Americans.

Title VI – This section contains provisions for providing financial compensation to victims of terrorism and their families.

Title VII – Authorization and budgeting for increased sharing of information between law-enforcement agencies and jurisdictions are contained in this section.

Title VIII – This portion of the Patriot Act adds several crimes to the list of things considered acts of terrorism.

Title IX – This section creates a method for the sharing of national intelligence information between government agencies.

Title X – The final section of the Patriot Act contains a number of relatively minor, miscellaneous provisions.

The Patriot Act has come under fire for a number of obvious reasons. It was passed too quickly (just over a month after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks), with little Congressional time reading and debating the act. By some accounts, less than 48 hours passed between the presentation of the bill’s final wording and the law passing in both houses of Congress. It doesn’t appear the act was actually read by members of Congress. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was the only senator to vote against the act, while several members of the House of Representatives joined his dissent. Most critics contend that such a crucial and sweeping piece of legislation deserved more thorough deliberation but those claims have fallen on deaf ears.

The Patriot Act reduces and/or destroys many of the civil liberties enjoyed in the United States and guaranteed by the Constitution. The biggest infringements dismantle the right to privacy and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. The act gives expansion of the government’s ability to conduct wiretaps and perform searches without notification. The detainment of material witnesses and terrorist suspects without access to lawyers violates/erodes the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, rights of due process and trial by jury, respectively.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was created in response to ongoing activities by President Bush that threatened civil liberties. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) was created to oversee requests for surveillance warrants against suspected [foreign] intelligence agents. Activities of this court tend to be rubber stamped and are seldom denied. In light of the current data mining of mass information of Americans, the power amassed by the court is chilling. It is also interesting to note that [Americans] are the new target of the data collection activities of the NSA.

Critics correctly charge that the Patriot Act unfairly expands the powers of the executive branch and strips away many crucial checks and balances. The creation of the National Security Agency (NSA) and its overreach is chilling. The use of the FISA system threatens the freedoms of Americans.

The Patriot Act and its use by the NSA pose the largest threat to civil liberties in recent times. The longer this law is permitted to stand, the more a serious threat is posed to our democracy.

Where was the outcry from Republicans when they quickly “rubber stamped” approved the Patriot Act, NSA, FISA and FISC? It is no surprise that it now becomes a problem for Republicans when President Obama uses the power they created.

The Republican Dilemma: Insanity or Victory?

June 1st, 2013 by admin

The Republican Party faces a dilemma, a dilemma if must address or become non relevant as a national party. They have lost the popular vote in five or the last six presidential elections. The dilemma is easy to describe but more difficult to solve: How can it broaden its appeal to undecided voters without alienating its wing-nut conservative base?

The solution seems simple, run candidates that appeal to a broader selection of the voting public. But there is a problem with this solution – the neo-con wing of the party base is controlled by teabaggers who refuse to election middle of the road candidates during the Republican primaries. There is no consensus among party leaders on how to achieve this.

There is serious tension between party leadership and party activists. With the next election three years away, Republican leadership is walking on eggs trying to make policy changes. It is virtually impossible to find viable candidates when your base will only elect the most outrageous candidates. There is no desire among party activists to support broad appealing candidates.

Recently, Republican supports are saying, “We have an example of success, Democrats, sick of losing elections and being tagged as out-of-touch liberals, moved their party toward the center and rallied behind Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton in 1992. We need a Bill Clinton type candidate to rally our supporters around a common goal”

The problem with this approach is simple, it is difficult to achieve when you have folks who want nationally unelectable candidates. These two examples are like oranges and apples: Bill Clinton had to win back voters; Republicans need to get voters to join their new coalition, a coalition controlled by right wing extremists.

When your party’s issues include: restricting voting rights, massive tax breaks for the rich, slashing assistance for the middle class, restricting women’s access to health care, dismantling public education, dismantling Social Security and ending ObamaCare… It is going to be difficult to get voters back. Becoming the party of “no” and “obstruction” does not make things any easier.

So here lies the dilemma: Keep bowing to your party’s shrinking loyal base of conservative activists — including evangelical Christians, anti-tax crusaders, teabaggers, racists, Obama haters, and anti-abortion advocates — or loose these groups and appeal to a larger number of voters.

Republicans will go nowhere if they continue to allow hard-core conservative neo-cons to control the party and its message. But they do not appear willing to go with a more moderate message so national losses will probably continue until they face the facts they need to change.

A long post-mortem, commissioned by the Republican Party after Romney’s loss last fall, said the GOP “is increasingly marginalizing itself, and unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future.”

The Summer of Ignorance

May 31st, 2013 by admin

In wing-nut land, it is starting to look like a summer of ignorance as the witch hunt to get President Obama heats up. Sound familiar? Remember 1998? The same insanity drove the Republicans to get Bill Clinton. It was the first time that the administration in power won seats in the mid-term election. Recently, even Newt Gingrich, the lead wing-nut of the 90’s warned Republicans of over reach in their blood lust for Obama. The extremists with pitch forks are amassing to take arms against the evil Obama.

Currently, the arms of choice – ricin laced letters – are being sent to the enemies of the neo-cons. One must wonder how far these idiots will go to fulfill their illusions of hatred for President Obama and anyone who disagrees with them. Ricin is the poison of choice of wing-nuts because it is a reasonably accessible agent for people who aren’t very sophisticated. Any disturbed individual can manufacture very poor-quality ricin in their home.

It is curious to note that the NRA has targeted President Obama and Major Bloomberg as enemies of freedom and threats to the constitution because they threaten gun sales. It appears that some NRA supporters have taken these words to heart.

NRA driven paranoia seems to be sending some NRA supporters over the edge. In the flurry of recent ricin letters, one interesting fact seems to serve as a link between the letters. Misspelled words, poor grammar and the blood lust for guns are the main characteristics that dominates the letters. Another link appears to be the region from where the letters are generated – the south.

The violent rhetoric of these extremists pose a serious threat to our democracy. In the past, Americans would talk over differences to forge solutions to disagreements. This is no longer the case with conservative extremists; as hatred drives the issues and beliefs of the Obama haters. Smoke screen issues like gun control, abortion and racial hatred stimulate and lubricate the right ring rhetoric machine.

It is interesting to watch the “do nothing” congress salivate over Benghazi, wiretapping of the press to stop national security leaks and IRS political profiling of the teabaggers. Eight months ago congress investigated Benghazi and found nothing, yet, now, they bring the issue back up, in the search of the Holy Grail to get the evil Obama. The wiretapping of the press is another dead issue being used to get Obama. Is anyone really surprised that a FOX commentator would collaborate with folks who have no problem with jeopardizing national security? And it is absolutely hilarious to watch the party who created and defends profiling – scream over teabaggers being profiled.

It is even more laughable to realize that the call for an independent counsel will undoubtedly expose those teabaggers who are illegally seeking 501(c) (4) tax exemption. The purpose of these exemptions is for non-political organizations. Teabaggers across the nation have been caught seeking this illegal tax subsidy provided by 501(c) (4) status while they are obviously political – providing funding and open support for right wing candidates. They are in reality seeking to use a cloak of secrecy to violate the law.

Progressives can only smile while they think – bring on the Independent Counsel.

Tennessee Republicans Continue War on the Poor

May 23rd, 2013 by admin

You don’t have to wait long to observe an act of ignorance from Tennessee Republicans. Tennessee continues to hold the attention of the nation in the art of ignorance and wing-nut legislation. Whether it’s on a state or national stage, leave it to Tennessee Republicans to generate the most outrageous statements or legislation.

Recently, this was once again the case during a bitter debate over the Farm Bill, which also funds food stamps, in the House Agriculture Committee. Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., quoted the Book of Matthew as he noted his opposition to the cuts which would affect the poor.

“[Jesus] says how you treat the least among us, the least of our brothers, that’s how you treat him,” Vargas, noted that Jesus specifically mentions the importance of feeding the hungry.

In a shocking rebuttal – Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, who supports cuts to the program, had his own special Bible verse from the Book of Thessalonians to respond to Vargas: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat,” he said.

Vargas used morality to give an example of how Jesus directs us to respond to the poor, referencing America’s long time devotion to help those in need. Sadly, local “village” idiot, Stephen Fincher, followed with a quote by Paul. Obviously, Stephen Fincher does not realize that the red words are the words of the Lord and what Jesus says always takes precedence over any person’s opinion.

Stephen Fincher suffers from a gross misunderstanding of Christianity. He’s also opposed to giving people money from the government while he has no problem taking it for himself.

Fincher’s $70,000 farm subsidy haul in 2012 dwarfs the average 2012 SNAP benefit in Tennessee of $1,586.40, and it is nearly double of Tennessee’s median household income. After voting to cut SNAP by more than $20 billion, Fincher joined his colleagues to support a proposal to expand crop insurance subsidies by $9 billion over the next 10 years.

Hypocrite Fincher took from the government $70,000 in farm subsidies. Yet he attempts to use the bible to justify not helping the poor with food stamps? This is simply a clear example of GOP brand of hypocrisy. They continue to give excessive tax breaks and subsidies to the rich and themselves but food stamps are too generous a gift to the poor, according to him. Fincher is another Republican dealing Tennesseans a losing hand.

Benghazi: A Political Circus

May 14th, 2013 by admin

WASHINGTON — Nothing better for a do nothing congress than to create a scandal. Politicians love few things better than a diversion, to trip up their opponents, and mask the fact they have done nothing of substance in creating jobs or solving the nation’s problems. Republicans hope that last year’s fatal attack on U.S. diplomats in Libya will do exactly that to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front runner for the 2016 Presidential Election.

History suggests it might be a tough case. It is going to be hard to convince the public that the death of a four diplomats is “Watergate level” conspiracy after thousands were killed and injured in a war in Iraq based on Republican lies. There was no Republican outcry as a long parade of American flag draped caskets flowed into America over twelve years.

The issue is complicated, the next presidential election is more than three years away, and a number of reports and a majority of officials have disputed criticisms of Clinton’s role when she was secretary of state but the facts do not seem any interest to Republicans who are desperate to damage Democrats and Clinton.

Still, Republicans and conservative talk “wing-nuts” hosts are hammering away at Clinton’s and the Obama administration 8 month after this old news story broke and became history. Even though Congress looked at this issue months ago and found nothing. A daylong House Oversight Committee hearing last Wednesday starred three State Department officials invited by Republicans proved nothing but a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

Clinton, seen as the overwhelming early Democratic favorite for president in 2016, leading all Republican hopefuls by large margins, draws strong reviews for her four-year stint as secretary of state. The Republicans rail against Clinton and the Obama Administration’s handling of the tragedy but fail to acknowledge the fact that they have gutted funds to protect US embassies that left Benghazi with weak security.

US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed. President Obama immediately acknowledged the attackers were well-equipped terrorists acting under plans and a major independent inquiry totally cleared Clinton of wrongdoing but Republicans refuse to face the reality that no scandal exists.

The lack of findings has incensed many Republican leaders and conservative news outlets, who falsely portray Benghazi as a simmering scandal about to erupt.

The three officials testifying Wednesday offered no new details or findings. Afterward, Republicans all but acknowledged they’re still seeking a knockout punch.

“This hearing is now over, but this investigation is not,” said Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the hard-charging Republican chairman of the House committee, as his committee found nothing new. He urged mythical “whistle-blowers” and “witnesses who have been afraid to come forward” to step up and “tell us your story, and we will make sure it gets public.”

Republicans hope public anger over the Benghazi attacks and their aftermath will hurt congressional Democrats in next year’s midterm elections and more importantly damage Hillary Clinton in 2016.

By late Wednesday, Democrats were laughing and Americans yawned.

“The unsubstantiated Republican allegations about Benghazi have disintegrated one by one,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the House committee’s top Democrat. “There’s no evidence of a conspiracy to withhold military assets for political reasons, no evidence of a cover-up.”

“The Republicans are pulling out the stops to manufacture a scandal, to redirect attention from their failed policies.

“It may not be a smoking gun or a warm slingshot,” Republican Rep. Doug Collins said in the hearing’s final hour. “But we have four dead Americans,” and his constituents “are looking for the truth.”

There are issues that need addressed related to Benghazi from preventing this from happening again but the mistake of making this issue political has probably resulted in a lost opportunity to address some weaknesses that could have been corrected.

The GOP War on Education: A Case Example

May 10th, 2013 by admin

Michigan – Do you really want to know what Republicans think of public education? You have to look no further than the school district Buena Vista, a small community adjacent to Saginaw, Michigan. This Tuesday, people were shocked when it saw its school district suddenly shut down indefinitely. The closure followed the announcement by the school board on Monday night that it could no longer make payroll and its 27 teachers were laid off and all their benefits were terminated. Many questions remain unanswered while children remain at home and residents remain in shock.

An emergency public meeting was held Tuesday night which drew a crowd of about 100 parents, teachers and students who expressed anger and mistrust toward the school and state officials implementing the surprise shutdown. A list of questions and answers were passed out to those in attendance but officials refused to answer any questions not on the list.

The story for the board is that Buena Vista School District was mistakenly provided more than $500,000 from the state of Michigan to run a juvenile detention education program that is closed, so the state is now withholding all of the district’s funding for the months of April, May and June and part of July in order to recover the expenditures.

Many important questions could not be answered like: “Will high school seniors be able to graduate this year?”, “Why did the board spend the money meant for [juvenile detention program] Wolverine Center when it no longer existed?”, “why are children paying the price for an error by the school board?”…

Parents have demanded to know what the money had been spent on, but after attending the Tuesday emergency meeting, one parent noted. “it is clear that state and local officials have been—and continue to be—working hand in glove.”

A May 1 posting on the Buena Vista school district website states that the district is “taking the first steps toward confirming a financial emergency under Michigan Public Act 436”, which is the Emergency Manager law rammed through state congress after voters defeated an almost identical measure in November 2012. This was not mentioned at the public meeting.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s 2012 budget cut $1 billion from education statewide, while providing $1.8 billion in tax cuts to businesses. It was also recently revealed that a secret panel in the Snyder administration has been working with technology company executives behind the back of the public on a plan to establish so-called “value schools” which would operate on $2,000 less per student than the current state minimum by replacing teachers with long-distance video-conferencing technology.

Buena Vista is an unincorporated community whose population was around 8,000 at the time of the 2010 census. Most of the residents and students are African American. More than a third of its children lived below the official poverty level.

Attacks on public education and teachers have become a target by the GOP. It seems to be open season on public education. Across the nation, in red states, education takes a beating as taxes are funneled to tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. The GOP war on education continues!

“Dumping” the Homeless in America

May 5th, 2013 by admin

“Dumping” the homeless – is this the new American response to homelessness? The growing way we treat and look at those who are homeless in this country is disgraceful. There has been a lot of coverage about the Detroit Police Department “dumpling” the homeless in areas unfamiliar to them, all in an effort to clean up tourist areas.

Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a Department of Justice complaint against the Detroit Police Department. The ACLU has been investigating these reports after receiving complaints by individuals who had experienced this practice.

The officers are approaching, handcuffing and picking up those who they perceive to be homeless, and taking them away in a van or police vehicle. Once in the vehicle, the officers drive to a remote area far away from the familiar surroundings the homeless person is accustomed to. The officers take any money they possess and leave the individual stranded. Without a means to pay for transportation, individuals have no choice but to walk several miles back to their original location, sometimes having to travel at night, during freezing temperatures and through unsafe neighborhoods.

This practice is shocking in how those who are expected to uphold and enforce the law treat those who are most vulnerable in our society.

In 2011, the Tennessee Legislation and Governor took a similar approach to homelessness after being humiliated by Occupy Nashville, when they made it illegal to pitch a tent on publicly owned land. This was simply an attempt to hide the homeless problem in Nashville, at the doors of the state capital. Similar laws are popping up across “red” parts of the country.

When it comes to the homeless, people have the homeless (Not In My Backyard) complex. Countless organizations are increasing as those without homes in our cities, states, and country increase. Some go out of our way during the holiday season to help these organizations so that they will have adequate food, clothing, and monetary resources to provide for those who have fallen on hard times but many of these organizations are falling under increasing difficultly to help those in need.

On the other hand, we do not want these individuals in our backyards/neighborhoods. Just several years ago, the sheriff of Unicoi County had the idea to have inmates have a community garden to help provide food for the area homeless. The response of the citizens of Unicoi County was shameful. There was such uproar over the idea, that every site suggested, drew an increasing outcry from citizens.

They looked at these individuals as being “dirty,” “lazy,” and “dangerous/menaces” to society. Our society increasingly demonizes those in need. We want the homeless to receive help… just somewhere else.

”Dumping the “homeless reveals a disturbing lack of compassion about a growing segment of our society. In 2012, the Housing and Urban Development Department reported that 636,782 individuals were homeless in the United States. These figures show that America has increasing problems with individuals and families becoming homeless.

Is this injustice becoming the “norm” in America in regards to how we address the issue of homelessness?

April 28th, 2013 by admin

Dark Money for a Vile Agenda

April 28th, 2013 by admin

As wing-nut legislation sweeps across the nation, specifically the south, I hear more and more people ask, where did this nutty legislation come from? Folks find it hard to believe that in 2013, such legislation, not seen since 1850 is serious legislation today. Most of this legislation, is not reflective, of the people in the majority of these states, where such outrageous medieval laws are not only being discussed but enacted.

Then why is such an obvious minority view being cast on the people in state after state? One has to travel to the areas held by the Taliban to find similar draconian laws. Most of these laws are crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Cancel (ALEC). ALEC is a group of individuals who craft laws to solely benefit corporations and the wealthy and not the best interest of the middle class or the nation.

To understand the outrageous legislation sweeping the nation, one must look at recent elections and the motivations to steal them. How did Republicans win a 234-201 majority in the House of Representatives despite Democrats receiving more votes in congressional districts and races overall? How can a majority of votes not equal victory? One can point to redistricting as the main reason for disparity.

In the November election, over a million more Americans voted for Democrats seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives than Republicans. But that popular vote advantage did not result in control of the chamber. It is amazing that an overwhelming popular vote advantage did not result in a Democratic majority in congress.

How did Republican dominate redistricting in 2010? The answer is simple. They relied on dark money and millions in corporate donations to achieve Republican-friendly maps across the nation. Those who gave this money, where rewarded in being able to write legislation, which is now sweeping across the nation.

Corporate tobacco giants Reynolds and Altria, each gave more than $1 million to the main Republican redistricting group, as did American Crossroads (Rove’s super PAC); Walmart and the pharmaceutical industry also contributed with big donations. More importantly, other donors, who gave to the nonprofits Republicans created, will never be disclosed – dark money.

In 2012, it appears that dark money did not do much in terms of returns in victories for Republican donor but it paid off quiet handsomely with donations dumped into redistricting in 2010.

Democrats were outspent 3-to-1 and did not prioritize winning state legislatures. They also faced a Republican surge in 2010.

Across the nation, Republican operatives, funded by dark money groups, drew the crucial lines which packed as many Democrats as possible into very small districts. The result: they were able to flip state’s congressional delegations in favor of Republicans by shocking disparity. The combination of party operatives, cash and secrecy also existed in many other states, including Tennessee, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.

As demographics change, lines are shifted to make sure everyone is equally represented and to give communities a voice. Redistricting is supposed to protect the fundamental principle of one-person-one-vote. In order for Republicans to win, they undermined the votes of Democrats, especially African-Americans.

This strategy began in the run-up to the 2010 elections. Republicans poured money into local races. It was an efficient approach. While congressional races routinely cost millions, a few thousand dollars here and there can swing a campaign for a seat in the state legislature.

The Republican effort to influence redistricting overall was spearheaded by a group called the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC). For most of that time, the groups primarily mission was to serve as a vehicle for donors to influence state legislatures, key battlegrounds for regulations that affect corporate America. Its focus changed in 2010 to redistricting.

This effort was primarily financed by Walmart and tobacco companies, the largest funders in 2010 were the Chamber of Commerce and American Justice Partnership, giving a combined $6.5 million. Those two groups raise money from corporations and others but they do not have to disclose their donors.

As the 2010 heated up, the RSLC jumped into local races in many states. They made secret contributions keeping their involvement away from the attention of state voters. They simply funneled money into newly formed local nonprofit groups.

Twenty legislative bodies which were previously split or under Democratic control are now under Republican control due to excessive dark money spending in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and North Carolina, among other states.

Next, Republicans drew new district maps, redistricting by Gerrymandering Democrats out of power. To fund the redistricting work, the Republican State Leadership Committee used its previously dormant nonprofit arm, the State Government Leadership Foundation. Dark money funded this effort and allowed to keep secret the identity of their donors.

Of course the group who performed the redistricting was paid with dark money and the redistricting process was so secretive, it is impossible to know the full extent of its activities.

Through the spring and summer, after the elections, legislators in charge of redistricting traveled the states holding public meetings, soliciting comment and proposed maps from citizens — though the Republicans on the committee would not produce draft maps themselves. This occurred in state after state. Fuzzy maps, no maps and incorrect maps cluttered the political landscape. This procedure was simply a ploy while the real maps were being devised in secret locations behind the scenes.

Specially crafted districts guaranteed big gains for the Republican Party. Now those in those states are paying the price for the elections bought by dark money. The legislation bought by this money are reaping misery on those living in these radical states.

Congress Acts to Ensure Their Smooth Travel

April 27th, 2013 by admin

Washington – Yesterday, the House passed legislation that would let the government redirect millions of dollars to air traffic controllers’ salaries and expenses in a bid to end sequester-related furloughs that have caused flight delays around the country.

President Obama warned congress in February, that the Sequester would result in layoffs and airport delays. The congress did not seem to consider this fact until they realized the delays at the airports would affect them as they prepared to leave Washington for break; they acted quickly to end the threat to their weekend travel plans.

Members approved the Reducing Flight Delays Act 361-41.

The bill was sent directly to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

The vote is a victory for House Republicans, who had been pushing for a restructuring of the $600 million sequester cut to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to avoid air traffic controller layoffs. In contrast, Democrats were looking for a broader solution to the sequester that included new taxes.

Democratic leaders and other rank-and-file Democrats said they oppose the bill because it only deals with the FAA, and not the other social programs that are also seeing cuts because of the sequester.

Democrats correctly pointed out that the bill fails to address sequester-related cuts to Head Start, Meals on Wheels, federal housing aid, unemployment insurance, food inspections at the Food and Drug Administration and other social programs.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) agreed, and called the bill a Republican “hostage-taking.” She unsuccessfully asked the House to take up a bill terminating the entire sequester.

Just before the vote, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hailed the Senate vote as a win for Republicans, and said the administration now seems to see the value of cutting less critical programs (school lunches, meal on wheels, head start programs, random layoff of millions).

But the bill only allows this money to be moved to pay for air traffic controller salaries and expenses in fiscal 2013.

The pain of the sequester will only get worse as congress refuses to do its job. This non-action is very popular with teabaggers and other anti-government groups.

TENNESSEE REACTIONARY AND RADICAL REPUBLICAN LEGISLATION

April 19th, 2013 by TNDP

The following critique of the Tennessee Republican “Radical Agenda” Legislation was written as a response to examples of National Republican wing-nut laws that will be used by Democrats against Republicans. The following is a close critique of the TNGOP wing-nut legislation by TNDP Chair, Roy Herron.

So, what about Tennessee?

If the national media thinks the above controversial bills

could impact races,

what if they look at what has been happening in Tennessee?

And if voters are disturbed over some of these proposals,

what if we communicate clearly

what the Republicans have been doing in Tennessee?

Here is a quick and only very partial list

of some of the Reactionary and Radical Republican legislation

in Tennessee in recent months.

WAR ON WOMEN.

1. FORCING CHILD RAPE VICTIMS TO BEAR RAPISTS’ CHILDREN. SJR 127, which already has been approved by the Republicans and goes before the voters in 2014, would remove any state constitutional protection for any woman, including child rape victims, allowing these Reactionary and Radical Republicans to force all victims to bear the rapists’ children.

2. FORCING WOMEN WHOSE LIVES ARE ENDANGERED TO DIE. SJR 127 also would remove any state constitutional protection for a woman to choose to end a pregnancy. The Republicans voted down an amendment that would have at least let women whose very lives are endangered to save their own lives.

3. FORCING VICTIMS TO WATCH ULTRASOUNDS. The Republicans have legislation, which they say they are going to delay a bit, which would force women to watch ultrasounds and/or to listen to a doctor describe the ultrasound before ending a pregnancy, no matter the circumstances or need.

4. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. Tennessee’s Republican Congressional Delegation, every Republican, voted “no” on the Violence Against Women Act.

5. WHAT ELSE?

WAR ON WORKERS.

1. HURTING INJURED WORKERS. The Republicans are passing legislation that will drastically slash and in many instances end compensation to injured workers. Another example of their “hurting the hurting.”

2. REFUSING MEDICAID FUNDS AND LEAVING 300,000 TENNESSEANS WITHOUT HEALTH CARE. The Republicans have refused to expand Medicaid, refused to accept billions in federal funds, leaving 300,000 workers and members of working families without health insurance and without health care. Make no mistake: it is the working people who are hurt by this. The politicians and the prisoners, the lawmakers and the law-breakers, have government health care. But the Reactionary and Radical Republicans refuse to let working people have what they have. Eight or so other states with Republican governors have opted to take the federal funds, but our Radical Republicans would rather Tennesseans have to pay for those states and other states to care for their citizens at our expense.

3. DENYING A LIVING WAGE. The Republicans are outlawing and preempting cities like Nashville and Memphis from joining many other cities and states that require a minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.

4. WHAT ELSE?

WAR ON CHILDREN.

1. STARVE THE CHILDREN. Legislation that would slash already minimal support ($185 for a mother with two little ones) for impoverished single parent or no-parent families if children do poorly in school continues to move forward. This “Starve the Children” bill has drawn national attention and would be another instance of Tennessee “leading” the country—in the wrong direction. The legislation is the brain child and the only child of a 44-year-old bachelor.

2. STARVE THE SCHOOLS. Legislation to take funds from public schools and give the tax dollars to private schools, including segregation academies and sectarian schools, this week may have been stopped for this year. Why? Because of strong Democratic opposition and because the out-of-state companies and entities pushing this may have over-played their hand for now by getting even greedier than some Republicans could stomach.

3. STEAL FROM THE SCHOOLS. A company with a major investor who stole millions on Wall Street and went to prison now is stealing millions from Tennessee taxpayers, thanks to a Republican law that gives our tax dollars to K-12, Inc., a “virtual school” company that takes our money but fails to educate our children.

4. ATTACKING OUR CHILDREN’S TEACHERS. The Radical Republicans have attacked our children’s teachers in a host of ways, including taking away their rights to representation in seeking better schools and conditions for the children. When they hurt our children’s teachers, they hurt our children.

5. CHARTERS GONE WILD. The Radical Republicans want to over-ride local school boards and have an ideologically-driven, politically-appointed board or band of Republicans order that local governments turn over tax dollars to out-of-state, for-profit companies who come with their hands out to profit from Tennessee’s taxpayers at the expense of our children.

6. WHAT ELSE?

WAR ON DEMOCRACY.

1-5. MAKING IT HARDER TO VOTE. The Republicans already have made it harder for People to vote by:

1. BIG GOVERNMENT IDENTICATION CARDS. New restrictions requiring big government ID cards.

2. LESS EARLY VOTING. Cutting back days to early vote.

3. FEWER VOTING LOCATIONS. Cutting back voting locations.

4. PURGING VOTERS. Purging law-abiding citizens from voting rolls (e.g., Rep. Lincoln Davis and Rep. Butch Borchert’s wife).

5. YOUR VOTES MAY NOT BE COUNTED. Even doing away with paper verification so you don’t know if your vote is counted.

6. APRIL FOOLISH: REPEALING THE 17TH AMENDMENT AND STEAING THE PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO VOTE. On April 1st, the Senate was about to play an April Fool’s Joke and take away Tennesseans’ right to vote for our nominees to run for the U.S. Senate. This was also the 100th anniversary of Tennessee ratifying the 17th Amendment that gave us the right to elect our U.S. Senators.

Democrats believe that the People should pick the Politicians, instead of the Politicians picking each other. But now the Radical Republicans want to steal the People’s right to vote to nominate our United States Senators.

Senate Bill 471/House Bill 415 came flying out of a Senate Committee on a 7-1 vote and is endorsed and supported by the Republican Speaker of the Senate. It was about to fly through the Senate until we Democrats fought back and demanded to be taken out of the bill. We think we will ultimately prevail, but the bill is not yet dead. In the words of Speaker Lois DeBerry, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

7. WHAT ELSE?

CONCLUSION.

The Reactionary and Radical Republicans

want to take us back a couple of centuries,

to the 1800s when the legislature picked our senators

until corruption and the people finally ended the practice

by Constitutional Amendment in 1913.

This is consistent with the legislation they passed

(with every Republican voting for it)

urging Congress to reject the Constitutional understandings

of the Supreme Court during the middle part of the last century

and to adopt those misunderstandings from the twenties—

citing two cases from the twenties, the eighteen-twenties (1820s).

(And no, I am not making this up.)

These Reactionary Republicans want to go back to a time

when African-Americans were property

and Women could not own property,

when Workers had few rights

and Children had none.

Now we know what Reactionary and Radical Republicans mean

when they claim to be for smaller government:

they want to take power away from the People

and let a small number of Republican politicians grab the power.

They want to make the government smaller

by taking the people’s tax dollars

and giving them away to their friends.

These are some of the worst bills and laws of recent months.

But I bet you also have some favorites.

Please share them.

And then let’s use the worst bills to let Tennesseans know what is happening to them.

And to elect Tennessee Democrats who will do right by the People.

Roy B. Herron, Chair

Tennessee Democratic Party

1900 Church Street, Suite 203

Nashville, TN 37203

roy@tndp.org

O 615.327.9779

F 615.891.7453

www.tndp.org

Wing Nut Legislation from Nashville

March 6th, 2013 by Mike K. Hampton

One can only be amazed at the break neck speed with which the wing nut legislation is moving through Nashville. There is no longer need for debate or logic, ignorance based bills are passed in record time, most recently, one bill passed in six minutes, there is no longer need for intelligent discussion.

After two years of working hard for lobbyists, the Tennessee legislator has moved Tennessee into the national lime light of ignorance. The race to the bottom by the backwoods boys of the Tennessee legislator has paid off; Tennessee has become the blunt of jokes on a weekly basis on late night sitcoms. The wealth of ignorance by the legislation has produced a wind fall of material for late night comedians and national news networks.

Legislators like Marsh Blackburn have become regulars on news stations, as she insists the good people of Tennessee love the Sequester, the Sequester what will eventually give Tennesseans 40,000 lay off slips.

After four years of struggle, while unemployment moves upward across the state, the Tennessee House of Representatives capped off four years of foolishness with their signature bill that would let handgun owners with permits carry their weapons in their cars anywhere they go, putting an apparent end to a four-year fight between business owners and gun rights advocates.

Other bills like “don’t say gay” have gained even more national recognition and laughter. The more Tennessee is associated with bigotry, intolerance and ignorance, the more we are dragged down, economically and socially. What employer wants to relocate to a state that guts education and condemns science and technology?

Sadly, the current work of the legislature is focused on gutting workers compensation. Basis protection to workers who become injured at work will likely be dismantled when this legislation is rushed through without discussion or regret.

Other legislation moves toward gutting public education in the state. TNGOP touted K12 “virtual schools”, the savior of education, even as administrators of these schools were instructing teachers to delete and hide the falling grades of the students involved in this “voodoo” education option.

If you don’t like the K12 option, you can always go with the school voucher scam. Lobbyists are lining up to get their hands on tax payer education dollars in Tennessee. They want to pilfer, plunder, and profit from the privatization of public schools and the pickpocketing of public funds.

On another note, in the coming weeks, Gov. Bill Haslam and the state legislature will be making a decision on whether to fully implement the Affordable Care Act by expanding TennCare, our Medicaid program. It’s a decision that will have long-term effects on health care for working families and a huge impact on our state economy.

The legislation from Nashville affects every aspect of your life, from your education to your job, from your standard of living to your wellbeing as a senior citizen. If you don’t pay attention to laws that affect you, you will find yourselves with no “safety net” protection.

House Republicans’ Sequester Would Cut 40,000 Jobs in Tennessee

February 22nd, 2013 by TNDP

SEQUESTER FACTS: House Republicans’ Sequester Will Eliminate Millions of Jobs, Including Nearly 40,000 Jobs in Tennessee

Tea Party House Republicans left the capital last week without any attempt to negotiate a deal on the sequester — a series of deep and indiscriminate cuts that experts estimate will eliminate millions of jobs and could throw the economy back into a recession. Rather than put a stop to the sequester by closing tax breaks for millionaire and corporate special interests, House Republicans — like Rep. Scott DesJarlais, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Rep. Diane Black and Rep. Marsha Blackburn — are allowing it to take place.

The cuts will affect areas across the government from defense to domestic spending, including medical research, Army Corps of Engineers projects, federal law enforcement officers, Head Start and services to pregnant women. Republicans have refused to bring up a compromise plan that achieves the deficit reduction by ending special tax breaks for millionaires and corporations.

In Tennessee, Sequester Will Eliminate Nearly 40,000 Jobs
Here is the plan that House Republicans are green lighting:

Study: Sequester Would Cut 39,120 Jobs in Tennessee. According to a 2012 study by George Mason Professor Stephen Fuller, the automatic spending cuts affecting Department of Defense and non-Department of Defense discretionary spending would lead to significant job losses in every state.

• Sequester Would Cost Tennessee $2 Billion in Total Lost Income.[The Economic Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 on DOD & non-DOD Agencies, Professor Stephen Fuller, 7/17/12]
Study: Sequester Would Slash Critical Maternal and Child Health Services. The American Academy of Pediatrics studied the impacts that sequestration will have on Tennessee and projected that:

• 13,200 mothers and young children would lose access to food assistance and critical health care.
• 4,100 fewer children would receive vaccinations.
• 75,100 fewer women, children and families would receive critical preventive health care.
• $53 million would be cut from the NIH’s research projects based in Tennessee.[American Academy of Pediatrics, 10/1/12]

Study: Sequester Eliminates $46 Million in Education Funding, Affecting Thousands of Tennessee Students. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed how sequestration would impact education in Tennessee and concluded that the state would lose $46,751,000 in federal funding for critical education programs. These cuts include:

• $12 million would be cut from special education funding, affecting 5,660 students.
• $1.2 million would be cut from grants for career and technical education.
• $642,000 would be cut from need-based grants that would help 24,990 low-income Tennessee students pay for college.
[NEA, February 2013]

Nationally, Sequester Will Be Devastating
CBO: Sequester Expected to Eliminate 1.4 Million Jobs Nationally. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that 1.4 million jobs are at stake if sequestration were to go into effect. “According to CBO’s projections, if all of that fiscal tightening occurs, real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) will drop by 0.5 percent in 2013 (as measured by the change from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013)—reflecting a decline in the first half of the year and renewed growth at a modest pace later in the year. That contraction of the economy will cause employment to decline and the unemployment rate to rise to 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.” [Congressional Budget Office, 11/8/12]

CBO: Sequester Expected to Cut Economic Growth in Half. The sequester is also expected to lead to a recession in 2013 by slashing economic growth in half.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, “Fiscal tightening including the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester would cut U.S. growth in half in 2013 if allowed to go into effect, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday in a new budget and economic outlook. … CBO said Tuesday that growth would be about 1.5 percentage points faster in 2013 if not for fiscal tightening including the sequester.” [MarketWatch, 2/5/13]

By The Numbers: Sequestration Will Target Women, Child, Veterans, and the Most Vulnerable
According to an analysis by U.S. Senate’s Appropriations Committee on the impacts of sequestration, as reported by the New York Times:

• 4,000 workers would be furloughed every day at the F.A.A., causing flight backups.
• 70,000 children would lose Head Start.
• 14,000 teachers and other school employees could lose their jobs.
• 125,000 families would be put at sudden risk of homelessness because their rental assistance would end.
• 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and severely emotionally disturbed children would most likely lose their treatments.
• 600,000 women and children would lose nutrition aid from the Women, Infants and Children program.
• 251,000 civilians employed by the Army could be furloughed for up to 22 days.
• $3 billion would be the potential shortfall in the military’s health insurance program; some services could be denied for retirees and dependents of active-duty personnel.
• 7,750 Customs and Border Protections agents could be laid off.

Obama’s Inaugural Speech: A Liberal Agenda

January 28th, 2013 by admin

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.

They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

The Attack on Labor

January 28th, 2013 by admin

The right-wing attack on American labor unions continued this year as Republican controlled Legislatures and Governors, led by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, continue the attack on hard working Americans. It was Round 3 of corporate America’s campaign to destroy the labor movement. Round 1 occurred in the summer of 1978. Round 2 was carried out in the 1980’s and led by Ronald Reagan.

The ultimate aim of the right-wing strategy is to crush worker’s rights, dismantle social “entitlement” programs and destroy the American middle class. Permitting employers to destroy workers’ right to organize, which was established by the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) during the New Deal era, would allow corporations to crush any worker protection and slash pay and benefits, thus greatly increasing business profits.

Under the Wagner Act, employers are required to bargain collectively with unions, which represent a majority of the employees in a designated bargaining unit. The legislation also forbids employers from interfering with the workers’ right to organize and established a variety of unfair labor practices that would subject employers to penalties for their violation.

Employers, through a variety of unfair labor practices have used anti-union lawyers and union-busting tactics to dismantle organized labor. Although it is unlawful to fire union activists or intimidate employees from associating with union organizers, many companies found it is cheaper to ignore labor law than it is to deal with a union.

Employers are using a variety of ways to delay or postpone union elections while crushing union attempts by the workers. These attempts have successfully destroyed powerful organized labor unions, and in turn, the standard of living of the American middle class.

In 1978, under the leadership of Rep. Frank Thompson, chairman of the House Labor-Management Subcommittee, legislation was presented that would have strengthened the procedures of the National Labor Relations Board so employers could not use the law as a shield for unfair labor practices and to delay and prevent union elections.

The bill was overwhelmingly passed in the House of Representatives in October 1977 and was sent to the Senate. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), brought the legislation to the Senate floor in May 1978. Conservative Republicans and a few Southern Democrats waged a filibuster supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and friends of Business.

A majority of Democrats and several moderate Republicans attempted to garner the needed 60 votes to end the filibuster and bring the bill to a vote. Two Liberal Democratic Senators were afraid to vote in favor of the legislation because of anticipated retaliation by the business communities in their states.

After six weeks, the Senate leadership attempted to end the debate. Robert Byrd, the Senate Majority Leader, attempted to deliver the vote of two Senators from the south. Senator Hollings of South Carolina cast the vote that killed the labor law reform and the bill died on the floor of the Senate on June 22, 1978.

This vote killed any hope of reviving a weakened labor movement and prepared the stage for Round 2. Regardless of the false outpouring praise for Ronald Reagan, he led Round 2 of the attack on labor and is the most anti-labor president in American History.

Reagan was the first president to attack labor’s firm legal standing that was gained through Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the mid-1930s as. After failed Republican policies that led to the Great Depression, organized labor flourished under the Roosevelt administration and built the great American middle class.

Reagan’s Republican predecessors were anti-labor but would deal with them as needed. Reagan on the other hand waged continuous war against organized labor. He had no fear of them or respect for them.

Polls at the time showed that nearly half of the Americans people opposed unions and almost half of those who belonged to the unions voted for him in 1980 and again in 1984.

Reagan was the hero of the anti-labor political right and corporate America. Although he had been president of the Screen Actors Guild, his pro-management sentiment crushed the strike-ending agreement in 1959 that greatly weakened the union. The union never recovered its power after his betrayal.

Reagan’s personal war on labor resumed in the summer of 1981, when he fired 13,000 striking air traffic controllers and destroyed their union. This act gave the signal to management that it was open season on organized labor and management followed suit — crushing union after union, during a wave of strikes, throughout his presidency.
Employers had no obligation to their workers, and employers got Reagan’s union busting message loud and clear – if faced with a strike — illegally fire your workers and replace them or better yet, ship the factories and jobs abroad. Reagon is the founding father of outsourcing.

Reagan lethal blow to labor came when he gave dedicated union foes direct control of the federal agencies that were designed originally to protect and further the rights and interests of workers and their unions.

Most devastating and important was Reagan’s appointment of three management representatives to the five-member National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which oversees union representation elections and labor-management bargaining.

One of the three became the new NLRB Chairman, Donald Dotson. He believed that “unionized labor relations have been the major contributors to the decline and failure of once-healthy industries” and have caused “destruction of individual freedom.”

A House subcommittee found, under Dotson, the board abandoned its legal obligation to protect collective bargaining, in what amounted to “a betrayal of American workers.”

Most of the complaints filed against employers under the Reagan era were responded to with employers firing union supporters and permanently replaced striking workers. Employers knew that “new anti-labor” NLRB was taking an average of three years to rule on complaints and in most cases that meant the discharged unionists would be reinstated with back pay. That’s much cheaper than operating under a union.

The NLRB stalled as long as possible before acting on petitions from workers seeking union representation elections and stalled for another year or two after such votes before certifying winning unions as the workers’ bargaining agents giving the companies ample time to deal with any act toward unionization.

On a second front against labor, Reagan’s Labor Department became an anti-labor department, ignoring violations by union-busting consultants who were hired by many employers to crush organized labor.

Union-busting was a major aspect of Reagan’s anti-labor policy. He eased child labor laws, attempted to lower the minimum wage for younger workers, eased anti-sweatshop laws, and cut back on job training programs for the unemployed.

He began the attack on federal employees that would be revisited in history under the Round 3 attack on working Americans by trying to replace thousands of federal employees with temporary workers who would not have civil service or union protections.

The Reagan administration all but dismantled programs that protected worker safety. He closed one-third of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s field offices, trimmed its staff by more than one-fourth and decreased the number of penalties assessed against employers by almost three-fourths.

Rather than enforce the law, under Reagan, the OSHA administration sought “voluntary compliance” from employers on safety matters – and generally didn’t get or expect it. This policy is alive today but has been modified repeatedly by Republicans to make OSHA regulations even weaker.

The attack on labor laws in the Reagan era would rear its ugly head again in Round 3 of the attack on labor. In 2007, the final push to return to a futile society began as corporations tried to return workers to the law of the business jungle that prevailed a half-century before.

Excessive corporate greed virtually destroyed America’s economy and financial markets as Republican “Trickledown economics” culminated in the corporate orgy of unfettered profits and total disregard for the American worker and the welfare of the nation.

In 2008 some of the same corporate and conservative strategists were developing a series of bogus grassroots groups, funded by rich corporate barons, under the banner of the new “Tea Party” rebellion. To just about everyone’s surprise, a loose-knit yet powerful grassroots movement of right-wing populists emerged as a peasant organization of the corporate power elites.

This movement was a racist based response to the election of the first African American president, Barack Obama. But the rich were masterful in manipulating these uninformed minions of the right into becoming the business pawns used to continue the assaults on organized labor.

It became clear as President Obama’s first administration progressed that there was a broad attack on working people, especially those in unions. Ultraconservative members of the House of Representatives, including members of the Tea Party Caucus, relentlessly began introducing legislation that would benefit the rich and powerful and slice up the economic safety net most industrialized nations consider part of basic human rights.

Public attention became focused on the attack on labor when Round 3 went into full swing with the attack on the working people in Wisconsin by its ultraconservative governor. Attention has become more focused on funders on the attack on organized labor, such as the Koch brothers and right-wing institutions but there is a larger process at work.

Over the past 20 years, right-wing corporate conservatives and economic libertarians have spent more than $170 million trying to convince us that labor unions are bad for America, and that government laws and regulations should not protect a worker’s right to organize a union without harassment and termination.

And this is just a drop in the bucket of the $1 billion spent by right-wing funders to shift wealth upwards and stomp on the basic human rights of (98%) most of us.

The most recent example of this movement occurred in Michigan where the Republican Governor made the state an open shop which greatly reduces the rights of people in the work place and places restraints on unions. Referred to as a “Right to Work State”, but in reality it is the furtherest thing from the truth — where in reality, workers have virtually have no rights related to work conditions and other work matters.

The coalition of foundations that fund conservative and right-wing think tanks and other institutions that attack organized labor have exploded in creation. No conservative group is more dangerous than the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Through the corporate-funded ALEC, global corporations and state politicians have voted behind closed doors to rewrite state laws that govern the rights of all Americans. These so-called “model bills” reach into virtually every area of American life and directly benefits huge corporations and the rich.

In ALEC’s own words, corporations have “a VOICE and a VOTE” on specific changes to the laws that are then proposed in state governments. Republican controlled state governments proved to be the breeding ground for the implementation of ALEC created laws. ALEC was exposed after these laws passed in several red states.

Conservative foundations continue to fund groups such as the Teabaggers who are used as pawns beholden to the bidding of the rich and corporations. When resistance broke out in Wisconsin, it was the teabaggers who were shipped in from other states to protect the interest of the rich and corporations and challenge the protest of pro-labor forces.

Anti-labor campaigns by corporate interests are nothing new, and are frequently masked by rhetoric about freedom of choice for employees. The main framing of these anti-labor campaigns are built around the idea of a “Right to Work.” “Right to Work” meaning workers have no rights.

Corporations and the wealthy have portrayed themselves as friends of the working man and woman. Like most “Big Lie” campaigns, the truth emerges when history and outcome are compared to current rhetoric and promises.

The scary fact is that the American Middle Class goes the way of organized labor. As unions have declined, so has the American Middle Class. In reality, the attack on labor is an attack on the middle class. The last line of defense of the middle class and organized labor may have occurred in the Presidential Election of 2012.

The election of Mitt Romney would have all but sealed the fate of the middle class and organized labor in America. Maybe that is why organized labor fought so hard for President Barack Obama.

In the weeks since the election, the fight for the middle class and organized labor seems to have awakened both to the prospect of what could happen if the rich and corporations get their way.

Although, the fight is not over, the re-election of President Barack Obama may give the middle class and organized labor new breath in the battle for the survival of both.

Pelosi Delivers Democrat Votes to Evert Fiscal Cliff

January 2nd, 2013 by admin

130910_nancy_pelosi_ap_605WASHINGTON — House Republicans finally agreed to allow a vote on the Senate approved bill, to avert the Fiscal Cliff, after spending all day doing nothing, as the reality of the Fiscal Cliff loomed. Earlier today, the Republican members of the house seemed prepared to embrace the Fiscal Cliff and not vote on the bill supported by bi-partisan support in the Senate. By early evening, it became apparent that the votes did not exist to vote for an amendment to the Senate bill and the realization of the Fiscal Cliff brought a brief sense of reality to the Republican members.

A strong bi-partisan procedural vote of 408 votes were cast to proceed with the vote for the Senate bill. The vote occured in the late evening hours. The bill passed 257-167. Nancy Pelosi delivered 172 Democratic Yes votes; 16 Democrats voted No. 85 Republicans voted Yes and 151 voted No.

Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 Republican, and the No. 1 nemesis to the Speaker, indicated to his colleagues earlier that he could not support the legislation in its current form. Many other Republicans were voicing their objections to a plan that they saw as raising taxes while doing little to rein in spending. Canter continued to undermine Speaker John Boehner as everyone waited for the up or down vote promised by the Speaker. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi demanded the legislation passed by the Senate be brought to an up or down vote.

Aides said that Speaker John A. Boehner, who had pledged to put any measure the Senate passed on the House floor for a vote, was mainly listening to the complaints of his rank and file “do nothing” teabaggers and had not taken a firm position on the legislation, though he had clear reservations. In the end, the Speaker voted for the bill.

The situation loomed as another failed significant test for Mr. Boehner, who had been unable to pass his own proposal to increase taxes only on $1 million in income and above or control his members. He has said repeatedly that he would allow a vote on the Senate bill, but he has also said he did not want to pass a bill requiring a majority of Democratic votes. In the end, it did take Democrats to pass the bill. Public opposition from Mr. Cantor, once again, undermined the Speaker, who has up to this point [appeared] to side with Mr. Boehner in the fiscal fight, mystically managed to again complicate the Speakers position.

The 112th Congress comes to a close at 11:59 on Thursday.

It appeared that members favored amending the measure and sending it back to the Senate. Attempts included an Amendment to add 300 billion in spending cuts to the Bill. Mr. Boehner was unable to garner enough votes to support an Amendment. Harry Reed promised warned that he would not accept any changes to the bill; which passed 89-8.

Any failure to pass the measure before the 112th Congress ends as of noon Thursday and would have required the process to start over in the new 113th Congress, meaning the Senate would have to vote again with a changed membership due the departure of several veteran lawmakers and the arrival of newcomers from both parties as a result of victories in the November elections.

Failure to act put pressure on the House to approve the legislation since a defeat would essentially leave the House responsible for a steep series of tax increases and spending cuts that some economists warned could/would send the nation back into a recession.

The bill included the following highlights:

—Income tax rates: Extends decade-old tax cuts on incomes up to $400,000 for individuals, $450,000 for couples. Earnings above those amounts would be taxed at a rate of 39.6 percent, up from the current 35 percent. Extends Clinton-era caps on itemized deductions and the phase-out of the personal exemption for individuals making more than $250,000 and couples earning more than $300,000.

—Estate tax: Estates would be taxed at a top rate of 40 percent, with the first $5 million in value exempted for individual estates and $10 million for family estates. In 2012, such estates were subject to a top rate of 35 percent.

—Capital gains, dividends: Taxes on capital gains and dividend income exceeding $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families would increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.

—Alternative minimum tax: Permanently addresses the alternative minimum tax and indexes it for inflation to prevent nearly 30 million middle- and upper-middle income taxpayers from being hit with higher tax bills averaging almost $3,000. The tax was originally designed to ensure that the wealthy did not avoid owing taxes by using loopholes.

—Other tax changes: Extends for five years Obama-sought expansions of the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and an up-to-$2,500 tax credit for college tuition. Also extends for one year accelerated “bonus” depreciation of business investments in new property and equipment, a tax credit for research and development costs and a tax credit for renewable energy such as wind-generated electricity.

—Unemployment benefits: Extends jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for one year.

—Cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors: Blocks a 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors for one year. The cut is the product of an obsolete 1997 budget formula.

—Social Security payroll tax cut: Allows a 2-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax first enacted two years ago to lapse, which restores the payroll tax to 6.2 percent.

—Across-the-board cuts: Delays for two months $109 billion worth of across-the-board spending cuts set to start striking the Pentagon and domestic agencies this week. Cost of $24 billion is divided between spending cuts and new revenues from rule changes on converting traditional individual retirement accounts into Roth IRAs.

—Continue Farm subsidy for grain that will prevent the price of milk doubling.

Fiscal Cliff Averted? Tentative Deal Reached

January 1st, 2013 by admin

WASHINGTON — Tonight, last-minute negotiations between the White House, represented by Vice-President Joe Biden, and the Senate Republican leadership, secured a tentative agreement to avert going over the fiscal cliff. The measure will not pass in time for Congress to meet its Dec. 31 deadline.

The Senate, in a pre-dawn vote just two hours after the deadline passed to avert automatic tax increases, overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday morning at 2:42 a.m. that would allow tax rates to rise only on affluent Americans while temporarily suspending sweeping, across-the-board spending cuts. The vote was 89-8. Congress is expected to vote today.

Under the agreement, tax rates would jump to 39.6 percent from 35 percent for individual incomes over $400,000 and couples over $450,000, while tax deductions and credits would start phasing out on incomes as low as $250,000, a clear win for President Obama, who campaigned on higher taxes for the wealthy.

Just last month and for months, Republicans in Congress said they would never agree to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Mr. Obama won re-election on the promise that he would raise those rates and raise them permanently.

Democrats also secured a full year’s extension of unemployment insurance without strings attached and without offsetting spending cuts, a $30 billion cost.

In an effort to win over other Democrats uneasy with the proposal, Vice President Joe Biden who bargained directly with Republican leaders, traveled to the Capitol tonight for a 90-minute meeting with his former Senate colleagues. As negotiators ended, officials said that the two top Democrats on Capitol Hill — Senator Harry Reid of Nevada and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California — had signed off on the agreement.

Negotiators agreed to put off $110 billion in across-the-board cuts to military and domestic programs for two months while broader deficit reduction talks continue. Those cuts begin to go into force on Wednesday, and that deadline, too, might be missed before Congress approves the legislation.

The nature of the deal ensured that the war between the White House and Congressional Republicans on taxes and spending will continue at least until the spring.

There appears to be something for everyone to hate in this bill but most agreements generally contain sour grapes for both sides.

Firearm Industry Profits Fuel N.R.A. Agenda

December 28th, 2012 by admin

Recently, the National Rifle Association (NRA) held a series of statements in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn. While Americans watched in shock as twenty children and six adults were laid to rest, the N.R.A. was manovering to spin its defense of gun makers. Like most people in the south, I own a guy but I find the rampage of violence and the actions of the N.R.A. mutually offensive.

The N.R.A. likes to make the [false] case that it is a grass roots organization designed to represent gun owners rights but in reality it continues to prove it’s sole function is to protect the profits of gun makers. It has become increasingly apparent that the National Rifle Association is totally incapable and uninterested in offering any substantial reforms to protect society from rampant gun violence.

The N.R.A. continues to aggressively lobby federal and state governments to dilute and/or eliminate sensible regulations on gun ownership designed to protect Americans from growing gun violence. The only one to profit from this irresponsible blessing of violence has been the gun industry who have made $12 billion in profit this year. Despite the recession, gun sales are booming, demand outgrowing supply, resulting in an increase of gun imports into America.

The gun industry is the big supporter of the N.R.A. contributing between $14 million and 39 million to the NRA since 2005, according to the Violence Policy Center. Americans lust for violence also continues to boom. In the face of growing violence, the N.R.A. continues to claim they only defend the Second Amendment while it becomes increasingly clear this is an untrue claim. A growing number of surveys show a majority of American gun owners support sensible restrictions designed to protect the public.

A 2009 poll conducted by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that 69 percent of N.R.A. members would support background checks of prospective buyers yet the N.R.A. continues to fight all sensible legislation to protect Americans. What explains this refusal to support common sense legislation that its members support? The answer is simple – The N.R.A. only has one mission – protect gun sales for the gun industry!

Special Interest oftens veils it vile agenda in the guise of constitutional rights and the N.R.A. has proven it is the master of such deception. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the right to bear arms is not absolute, it is subject to regulations and controls. Many extremists attempt to distort the Second Amendment, which was designed to protect a young nation from aggression, as a unfactual right to amass a personal arsenal.

How long will the American public allow the groundless N.R.A. argument that tough sensible gun regulations violates the Second Amendment at the risk of the threat to public safety? How high will the body count grow before sensible gun legislation is adopted by society? If left to the N.R.A., gun sale profits will always outweigh the need to protect the American people against gun violence!

North East Tennessee Inaugural Celebration

December 27th, 2012 by admin

Next month, President Barack Obama will be sworn in and begin his second term as President of the United States. It is only fitting that his Inaugural occurs on Martin Luther King’s Holiday.

In 2009, seven-hundred and fifty-eight people attended the Celebration of Hope and Change in Johnson City, Tennessee to celebrate the election of President Barack Obama. The event was the largest political party in the history of NorthEast Tennessee and the largest Inaugural Celebration in the State of Tennessee.

On January 21st, NorthEast Tennessee will once again host the largest celebration of the re-election of President Barack Obama. The celebration Democrats Moving Forward will be held at the Holiday Inn on 101 West Spring Street in Johnson City, TN. One-Thousand people will gather to celebrate the Inauguration of Barack Obama.

The event will include dinner, music, entertainment, dancing, a silent auction and memorabilia. Tickets are $25 and are on sale now. Tickets can be ordered by calling 423-282-2081 or email us at: drcdems@gmail.com. Tickets can also be ordered using a credit card at: actblue.com/page/moving-forward. Tickets can also be bought direct at the DRC on 2250 North Roan Street in Johnson City, TN on January 2, 2012.

Renaissance of Liberalism?

December 23rd, 2012 by admin

Poetic, in this greed filled age of conservatism; liberal issues dominated the 2012 election. With stunning results, in an election where pot is legal and gays are free to marry. Who would believe that a African American who campaigned to raise taxes on the rich would win his second election in America by a majority? This feat has not been accomplished by a Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt’s second election in 1936.

In many ways, the recent economic situation in America mirrored the events of the Great Depression. And in this election, only 25 percent of voters identified themselves as “liberal” in national exit polls. 35 percent proclaimed to be conservative while 41 percent called themselves moderates. There was a three percent point increase in those voters who called themselves liberal.

Demography and democracy advanced the progressive political ideas by a majority of voters. Before the election of Barack Obama, liberalism has been silent in America for several decades.

Abraham Lincoln’s push to erase the original southern sin of slavery from the land was a liberal achievement. Teddy Roosevelt’s embrace of the income tax was a liberal moment. Other liberal causes include the Women’s movement in 1920, Social Security entitlements in 1935, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Other events such as the creation of national parks, and laws against child labor, poisoning the environment, and the more recent move to give most Americans access to health care are liberal causes.

This brings us to the fascinating self-portrait of America at the genesis of the beginning of second term of the Obama era. A war is ongoing where the center-left majority wants to restore some equality to the growing imbalance between the very rich and the rest of us. If President Obama can successfully lead this coalition, he will be remembered among the greats.

For this to be successful, this will involve raising taxes on the top 2% and reforming entitlements enough to ensure their continued success and sustainability. Obama will have to make the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” work, address climate change or immigration reform and in the process, he can restore liberalism to greatness.

For at least a generation’s time, liberals in this country have been afraid to call themselves liberal, calling themselves progressives. One can argue why the left was cast into exile but the demonization of liberals by the conservatives’ relentless vile smear campaigns seems to be the most obvious reason.

Liberalism, in the purest form, is about expanding opportunity and human rights, while embracing science and logic. Liberalism created the entitlement programs, after the Great Depression, to protect the poor, old and the majority of Americans from failed Republican policies. Liberalism created the American middle class.

Liberals of the 20th century have had some amazing successes — regulation of monopolistic greed driven trusts, modernization of strong public schools, and ensuring a safe food supply.

The New Deal’s lasting legacy, Social Security, and its counterpart of the 1960s, Medicare, have allowed millions of American to live out their lives in dignity. These programs are now under attack by modern day conservatives driven by a vile agenda of greed, but now these programs are considered sacred by Americans of all political affiliations. Even the mislead teabaggers will fight you over their social security while they chant and rant against socialism.

Conservatism, in its desire to destroy social programs and entitlements have now lost its way. They abandoned fiscal responsibility in exchange for the Bush doctrine. Recently they have resorted to attacking women, rejecting science, demonizing immigration reform, restricting personal freedom, and adopting voter suppression laws in order to steal elections and/or remain relevant.

If you believe in science, technology, climate change, finding a path to citizenship for millions of hard-working immigrants, support strong public education and the right to marry the person you love, there is no place for you in todays Republican Party. Moderate Republicans are not welcome!

The neo-con wing of the Republican Party started a pair of disastrous unfunded wars that all but bankrupted the country in the wild west Bush era. And for leaders, the party put forth crackpots and wing nuts in 2012. The Republican Party is on its way of assuring its place as a regional party unless it adopts reasonable change. Talk of civil war in the Republican Party is discussed by TV political analyst and fills the dreams of modern day progressives and Democrats everywhere.

This election has created some strong possibilities for restoring liberalism in America. Obama has the unique opportunity to shore up a weakened middle class, address climate change and make the promise of health care expansion work. For now, the majority of Americans have Obama’s back. And should he succeed, the Democrats could enjoy a growing majority in the future.

Tennessee’s Backwoods Legislature

December 10th, 2012 by admin

Between the monkey law and gateway sexual activity, backwoods legislation in the Tennessee Legislature has brought shame to Tennessee. Add in an outrageous quote from Sen. Stacey Campfield and a review of the legislation of guns in bars, guns in cars, and guns in schools and you have the winner of the nations worst legislation.

National recognition of ignorance for Tennessee!

Mother Jones magazine, the liberal publication best known lately for unearthing a videotape of Mitt Romney kissing off 47 percent of the nation’s voters, has published a new list of the nation’s worst legislatures and given Tennessee top honors.

Tennessee legislators have set themselves apart by actually passing the abstinence-only bill, the one severely restricting discussion of sexual activity in public schools. The quote from Campfield, in which he traced the origin of AIDS inaccurately to sex between a monkey and an airline pilot, didn’t hurt our entry.

Special honors should have be given to Ron Ramsey and Beth Harwell who led us to this dismal point in legislation. Honorable mention should be given to our governor, Bill Haslam, who allows ignorant legislation to slide into law without actually signing it.

You also have proposed bills that sanction bullying of kids in schools and a legislation focused on serving the special interest groups. The backwoods boys of NETN have managed to disgrace Tennessee with their ignorance and arrogance. Americans are laughing coast to coast at the expense of the Tennessee Legislature and its moran based legislation. Wonder why folks talk about barefoot Tennesseans? Ask our backwoods ignorance based Legislators where their ignorance is celebrated with acts of stupidy every open session!

Is the GOP Losing its Southern Comfort?

November 28th, 2012 by admin

Much can be said about the red states and the GOP strong hold on these states. But are cracks beginning to appear in this strong hold? If you review the data, the blue votes are increasing in the red states.

The cracks became obvious in the 2008 Presidential Election in Florida, Virginia and North Carolina when these states voted Democratic. Florida and Virginia went blue in the 2012 Presidential election, North Carolina went red by a narrow margin. Blue votes have also been increasing in Georgia, Texas and Arizona.

Gerry mandering has allowed the GOP to maintain control of many local governments and legislatures in red states but is this control a paper tiger? Many of the old red firewalls across the south are crumbling.

The increase in the Hispanic vote can be attributed directly as one example to these phenomena. In south Florida, in the 2012 Presidential election, Cuban Americans voted overwhelmingly for President Obama. Experts contend that older Cuban Americans who blamed the Democrats for the Bay of Pigs has died off and the younger Cuban Americans don’t remember the Bay of Pigs event.

In the next two to six years, Georgia, Texas and Georgia will become a blue state. These same phenomena are also occurring in the West where once held red states are now becoming blue. Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado have voted blue the last two Presidential elections.

LBJ (President Johnson) noted that with the passage of civil rights legislation, the south would be lost for generation. After thirty-five years his prediction appears to be coming to past and some of the red control of these states is disappearing.

The biggest reason for the blue voter increase in the south is because of the GOP’s wrong stance on many issues. From attacks on immigrates to voter suppression, the very segments of the population that are increasing are under attack by Republicans. During the recent Presidential election, the Republican Party lost virtually all segments of the population except for angry white males. Almost a month after the election, there is no indication that Republicans have learned anything from their dismal election results.

They appear to be prepared to hang onto their old outdated wrong stands on an array of many issues. These same issues resulted in the re-election of President Barack Obama. There is a good reason why many Democrats are smiling today and Republicans are unhappy. Is the old southern strategy dead? If major changes are not adopted by the Republican Party, the 2014 midterm elections may bring even more gifts to the Democratic Party from sections of the south.

OBAMA’S VICTORY MAP

November 11th, 2012 by admin

GOP Faithful: Dazed and Confused

November 10th, 2012 by admin

What happened? If you are one of the Republicans, roaming the southern fields of ignorance, like sheep, you are probably walking around in a daze. Wondering where things went wrong… Fox told you that the evil Obama was history! Your Baptist church told you to vote for Romney… even though he is one of the high priests of the Mormon cult. Never mind that Mormon’s see Baptists as whores of Satan. Never mind that “value voters” threw their values in the closet to vote for a liar. Exposed was the hypocrisy of so called value voters… they will vote for anything as long as an “R” in front of its name.

But how could everything go so wrong? Conservatives blame it on hurricane Sandy. The perfect “evil” plan to destroy Obama did not materialize but the perfect storm did. The voter suppression tactics failed. The racist attacks on President Obama failed. The river of money from the rich and the corporations failed. The hate filled rallies of the moron teabaggers failed. The perfect lies of Romney failed. A campaign designed in hell… failed!

The Republican faithful were misled by being blinded by “hate filled” enthusiasm. They failed to realize that both sides had enthusiasm but only one side had the game plan driven by facts and data. They also failed to realize voter suppression did not suppress minority voters; it angered them and they voted in large numbers; stood in lines for seven hours to do so. They failed to realize that the majority of Americans are not racists. They failed to realize that Hispanics, African Americans, women, the old, and the young would rise up against them and vote. They failed to realize that the majority did not support the mindless teabaggers and their ignorant beliefs. They also failed to realize that an election cannot be bought by the rich and corporations. They failed to realize that lies did not move people to Romney; it exposed him for having no plan, no substance, no moral compass and that moved people to Obama’s message. They [failed] to read the electorate and that miscalculation cost them the election and possibly cost them their party.

Will the Republican’s remain on the wrong side of the issues? Will a civil war wage within the party and for control of the party? Has the Republican Party been reduced to a regional southern party? All these questions will be answered as the shock of this defeat wears off. But will ignorance continue to control this party and drive its direction? Considering the Congress remains in Republican control and the leaders of this party are the same persons who have waged this hate filled anti-Obama war…don’t be surprised if the Obstructionism continues and the Republican Party continues on its self-destructive path. Let the civil war begin!

Obama Wins Second Term

November 8th, 2012 by Mike K. Hampton

Barack Obama was re-elected president of the United States early this morning, overcoming powerful economic headwinds, a lock-step radical resistance to his agenda by Republicans in Congress and an unprecedented torrent of advertising dollars never seen before in a campaign as a majority voted to give him a second term.

This morning the Republican hangover took hold after a night of the Republican nightmare. After four years of No-Obama hate filled rhetoric, in which the jobless rate never dipped below 7.8 percent, with millions of Americans still unemployed, Republicans still failed to unseat President Obama. The Wednesday morning question had to be… how the hated Obama survive the onslaught of lies, money and GOP demonization? Obama overcome hellish odds and voter suppression attempts in Ohio and Florida to be elected for a second term.

For President Obama, now comes a second chance. The American people agreed to renew his continued Presidency in hopes that the next four years will continue to get better.

In defeating Mitt Romney, the president carried Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, and, a near sweep of the battleground states, and continues to hold a narrow advantage in Florida. The path to victory for Mr. Romney vanished as the night wore along, with Mr. Obama winning at least 303 electoral votes.

A cheer of jubilation sounded in Democratic headquarters and homes nationwide when the networks declared President Obama the winner at 11:20 p.m., although the ballots were still being counted in many states where voters had waited in long line well into the night.

Mr. Obama’s re-election extended his place in history, carrying the tenure of the nation’s first black president into a second term.

The president’s team built a strong campaign organization and used a strong financial advantage to hold off an array of forces that opposed his candidacy. The margin of his victory was smaller than in 2008 but he maintained an advantage in the popular vote early Wednesday and a strategic firewall in several battleground states protected his Electoral College majority.

The hate of the racists and extremists could not overcome President Obama as the majority rejected the vile attack against him and confirmed that his election was no accident, it was the divine will of the majority.

Unicoi County Democratic Headquarters Opens

October 3rd, 2012 by Mike K. Hampton

Erwin – The Unicoi County Democratic Party will be having the Grand Opening of the Democratic Headquarters on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 11 am. The headquarters will also be open on Saturday, October 6th at 11 am. The headquarters will close at 3 pm both days.

Barack Obama political items (yard signs, bumper stickers, buttons, badges, lapel pins and T-shirts) are available. Refreshments will be served on Friday and Saturday. Phone banking will be ongoing at the headquarters. We also have many canvass trip scheduled into the battle ground state of North Carolina.

Through OFA (Organizing for America) we have registered over 300,000 voters who will vote for President Obama. Join OFA Tri-Cities at https://dashboard.barackobama.com/teams/739-tricities . Get involved and help move our county, state and nation forward with President Barack Obama.

For more information call the headquarters at 743-7608. Call to schedule a pickup of your Obama memorbilia. Need a ride to the polls… give us a call. If you have a problem with voter suppression give us a call. We have a large groups of lawyers on stand by to address Republican “Jim Crow” voter suppression tactics.

The Re-election of President Obama

September 8th, 2012 by admin

President Obama’s has always been far more successful a president than his opponents claim. Do voters remember all he has done? The American people heard powerful speeches by former President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and a host of others. Unlike the GOP convention the previous week, the Democratic convention was filled with excitement and motivated delegates. Did Mr. Obama make the case for second term?

Just as he did in 2008, President Obama rose to the occasion.

He could have been more passion, but gone was the maddening coyness of recent years in which he has avoided honestly talking about the mess that President George W. Bush had left him. He went after Romney. “You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally,” he said.

He clearly laid out a vision for governing totally different than that of Romney. Although Romney’s plan was hidden from view at last week’s Republican convention in Tampa, Fla. Obama promised deficit reduction “without sticking it to the middle class”; to enact a reformed tax code that raises rates on income above $250,000 to where it was under Mr. Clinton; to preserve middle-class deductions; to “never turn Medicare into a voucher.”

President Obama slowly shifted from his 2008 appeal of hope and change to talk of tough choices and tough paths. “You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear,” he said. “You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

Mr. Obama entered the convention with an actual solid record at governing — not just the Republican posture of saying “No” to everything. Obama has far better ideas about how to create jobs, make Americans’ tax burdens more equitable and improve ordinary Americans’ economic prospects than the tired, failed trickle-down fantasies served up by Romney and the GOP.

Obama ended the war in Iraq, tried to rescue the Afghan war that Bush bungled, stepped up the offensive on terrorists with increased drone attacks, killed Osama Bin Laden and rallied the world to increase pressure on Iran.

He mocked the extreme message of the Tea Party by offering an alternative vision of government’s obligation to help those most in need, provide everyone with the basic structures of society and the economy and end discrimination. Obama has protected women’s constitutional rights and liberties.

But, after he was elected, Mr. Obama allowed himself to believe that the Republicans would work with him to solve the major problems they created. The president and his inner circle were oblivious to the Republicans’ explicit warning that he would not get the slightest cooperation from a party and a Congressional caucus driven by a racist hatred of Mr. Obama. To his credit, and some say folly, it took nearly three years for Obama to recognize that central fact.

Mr. Obama won passage of his economic recovery bill that not only warded off depression, but actually created jobs, and of a health care reform law that is essential to the long-term economic health of the country. But he made the mistake of leaving the lawmaking up to Congress, where Democratic leaders did not fully step up to the moment and Republicans stood in stonewall opposition.

Obama made a grave error when he ceded the national debate on central issues to those same “do nothing” Republicans, blinded by his belief that the force of the situation could melt their obstructionism. He was wrong, fueled by hatred of Obama, the Republicans became more entrenched and they proved they were prepared to sacrifice the county if it could bring the downfall of President Obama. Mr. Obama allowed his opponents to define the argument, and for the moment, define him.

Wednesday night, President Bill Clinton showed President Obama the antidote. On Wednesday night, Mr. Clinton fought back against the Republicans and shredded them on Medicaid and Medicare, two areas where the Obama campaign has failed to get real traction. He made the argument for health care reform, financial re-regulation and fair taxation, all while firing up the crowd.

As President Clinton noted in his speech, the Romney campaign has routinely launched false attacks with a blatant disregard for the truth, even going so far as to say, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”

On Thursday, Obama met his challenge in Charlotte and made the case for his second term.

Paul Ryan: Void of a Moral Compass

August 12th, 2012 by admin

Mitt Romney’s pick of the tea party hero as his running mate completes his move to the extreme right. He has picked as his running mate Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the architect of the GOP radical budget, which can best be described as the most extreme budget plan passed by a house of Congress.

Has Romney just committed political suicide? Have conservatives pushed Willard so far to the extreme right that he has completely pushed away Independents? A PUSH reminiscent of the commercial in response to Ryan’s plan showing a senior citizen being pushed over the cliff.

His running mate, Paul Ryan, is the radical author of the most extreme right-wing budget ever proposed in Congress. His plan will dismantle Medicare, privatize Social Security, and cut taxes for millionaires while raising taxes on the middle class.
Simply put, the policies Ryan stands for are a politically toxic brew. The question remains, will a majority of Americans be willing to drink this brew? The tea party faithful show they will bath in such a toxic brew but what about moderate Americans?

Paul Ryan isn’t just an extremist— like a serial killer, looks can be deceiving, he’s young, charming and smart. Some describe him as looking like “the boy next door.” Others describe him as Satan’s son. He’s the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Much can be said about Ryan’s policies and philosophies that embellish greed and selfishness. Ryan embraces the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand. He worships Ayn Rand, a libertarian novelist, best known for her philosophy that centers on the belief that selfishness is “virtue.” Ryan like Rand describes altruism as “evil,” and condemns Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor.

Though he “half-heartedly” publicly rejected “her philosophies” in 2012, Ryan professes himself a strong believer and devotee to the hedonism of her centered philosophy. Ryan said, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he told a D.C. gathering.

Ryan believes Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme.” In September of 2011, he agreed with Wacho Rick Perry’s characterization of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme”. He also advocates privatizing the Social Security and investing “gambling” it in stocks and bonds. He also supports removing all regulations, which were implemented to prevent a repeat of the orgy of greed that collapsed the financial and economic institutions; resulting in massive losses in the stock market of 2008.

Conservatives “falsely” claim privatization would outperform the current formula based for social security but the economic crisis of 2008 should serve as a wake-up call for those who seek to hinge Americans’ retirement on the stock market. In fact, a person with a private Social Security account similar to what Ryan proposes would have lost much of their retirement savings in 2008.

Ryan’s plan will raise taxes on the middle class and slashes taxes for millionaires. Ryan’s radical budget — which Romney embraces — replaces the current tax structure with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent — and cuts the top rate from 35 percent. As a result, the national debt would increase and the Federal tax collections would fall. His budget also proposes massive cuts in social programs. 62 percent of the savings from his plan would come from programs that benefit the lower- and middle-classes, who will also experience a large tax increase.

While Ryan would extend the Bush tax cuts for the top 1%, which are due to expire at the end of this year, he would not extend President Obama’s tax cuts for those with the lowest incomes, which will expire at the same time. The wealthy “earning more than $1 million a year, would see a large tax cut. The poor and middle class will see large tax increases.

Ryan also plans to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher system. Ryan’s latest “voodoo” budget transforms the existing version of Medicare, in which the government provides seniors with a guaranteed benefit, into a “premium support” system. All future retirees would receive a small government contribution to purchase insurance from an exchange of private plans. But since the premium support voucher will not keep up with increasing health care costs, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that new beneficiaries will pay large and increasing payments in the near future. Ryan’s plan also rises Medicare’s age of eligibility to 67.

Ryan’s radical budget would result in millions of lost jobs. His extreme budget calls for massive reductions in government spending. He has proposed cutting discretionary programs by approximately $120 billion over the next two years and mandatory programs by $284 billion, which, the Economic Policy Institute estimates, would “suck” demand “life” out of the economy and reduce employment though massive and prolonged layoffs.

At a time when education is essential to attract the jobs of the future, and jobs are becoming more technical in nature, even more education will be required to retain the better paying jobs, but Ryan wants to eliminate Pell Grants for more than 1 million students over the next ten years.

Of course, he supports corporate welfare. Ryan supports $40 billion in subsidies for big oil. In 2011, Ryan joined all House Republicans and 13 Democrats (use of the term loosely) in his vote to keep Big Oil tax loopholes as part of the FY 2011 spending bill. His budget would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks “corporate welfare” worth $40 billion, while cutting “billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil.” There is no place for alternative fuels in the Ryan plan, the tax breaks will continue to go to those who grease his palms and fill his pockets.

Don’t forget the best part of Ryan’s stand on big oil is the fact that he has ownership stakes in companies that benefit from oil subsidies. He “and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan,” the Daily Beast reported in June of 2011. His family companies are currently leasing the land for mining and drilling to energy giants such as ExxonMobil; a beneficiary of his tax breaks “corporate welfare”.

In one of the rare and most interesting clashes of viewpoints between Romney and Ryan are views on Romneycare. Ryan said, “I’m not a fan of [Romney’s health care reform] system,” when he did an interview with CSPAN in 2010. He argued that government is rationing care in the state and claimed that people are “seeing the system bursting by the seams, they’re seeing premium increases, rationing and benefit cuts.” He called the system “a fatal conceit” and “unsustainable.” He also feels Romney care is similar to Obamacare.

So for those who felt Romney would select a safe Vice-Presidential running mate, who would appeal to Independent voters, the jokes on you! His extreme selection of wing nut Paul Ryan may have the mad hatters dancing in the streets; it will surely have a more chilling effect on Independent voters and those who take the time to actually analyze the issues in this Presidential election.

What is worst, a liberal Massachusetts Republican Presidential candidate who lies and tries to act like a neo-conservative or a wing nut Vice-Presidential candidate who tries to act normal?

Why are so many Democrats smiling today?

History Repeats in Tenn – by Catherine Danielson

August 11th, 2012 by admin

In 2012, talk of the election oftens includes “Voter Suppression” laws designed to prevent groups of people from voting. This reminds some of the election of 2000 when an election was stolen but most who remember this, remember Florida and hanging chads. Few associate the election debacle of 2000 with Tennessee but there was one important article written on March 12, 2001 by Catherine Danielson about this election. The administration of this site felt it important to once again post this story in the face of current “Voter Suppression” laws in Tennessee.

BLACK voters were told to get behind the white voters. They were told to remove NAACP stickers from their cars, or leave the polling place without voting. “You know what it is to stand at the back of the bus,” said one election volunteer.

Some Blacks were intimidated by police standing around polling places. Others stood in lines over a mile long to use ancient punch-card machines on the verge of falling apart. Sometimes, they’d stand for five or six hours. Once, they complained. Minutes later, two police cars came screeching up.

It all sounds like a promo for “Mississippi Burning,” or maybe a documentary about egregious civil rights violations in some Deep South backwater fifty years ago.

But it happened in November 2000.

Well, then, it’s got to be about Florida. The massive voter disenfranchisement in Florida has gotten some coverage, especially overseas — the people who weren’t felons illegally scrubbed from voting rolls, the police roadblocks in Black neighborhoods, the Republican operatives illegally filling out absentee ballots.

But no. All these things — and much, much more — happened in Tennessee.

Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard anything about any of it. Every newspaper, every radio station, every television news program has been silent. Even Nashville’s Tennessean, where both Al and Tipper Gore once worked, has zero to say on the subject.

On the other hand, it’s not as if it’s been kept secret. Solid coverage has come from the Black press, newspapers like the Tennessee Tribune, Nashville Pride, and Urban Flavor. And yet there is massive evidence that thousands — perhaps even tens of thousands — of people were disenfranchised, the vast majority of whom were Black. How to explain the mainstream media’s silence?

“People want to sweep this under the rug,” says Rev. Neal Darby, head of the Greater Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce. “They don’t want to think it could have happened here.” Indeed, Nashville was one of the birthplaces of the civil rights movement. It’s one thing to see films of Black students getting iced tea dumped over their heads by a jeering white mob as they try to get served at Woolworth’s in the early 1960s. It’s quite another to picture it in the year 2000.

It isn’t just the outrageous racial incidents, such as the way that Black Nashville college students weren’t permitted to vote even though they were registered, or the way that Tennessee State University, a historically Black college, was the only university in Tennessee that didn’t get a satellite voting place, or election office workers harassing Black citizens who requested voter registration forms, or election commission officers refusing to give registration forms to NAACP representatives and sometimes (as in Chattanooga) actually taking them back. It’s the inexplicable things, such as the way that polling places all over West Tennessee opened one to two hours late, or disappeared and reappeared somewhere else without telling anybody — but, seemingly, only in areas that were Black and/or poor. Or the missing pages from election rosters all over Nashville. Or the county where ballot boxes were opened and ballots handled.

So many vote irregularities were reported that the mind starts to numb after awhile, to get buried under the sheer avalanche and grasp for some sort of meaning and order. So it’s instructive to note that there were three areas of evidence that are more disturbing than any other.

The first was what NAACP officers generally refer to as “the Motor Voter disaster.” This was the first election year in which Tennessee’s Motor Voter bill took effect. Citizens could register to vote at Department of Motor Vehicle offices statewide. The problem is, an unknown number of those applications never went through. There have been nearly 2,000 complaints to date. Allegedly, this occurred because the department failed to deliver completed forms to county election commissions. It’s worth noting that there is no standard of delivery, nor supervision of any kind, when the applications are delivered from the Department of Safety to the counties — and that the DMV blames the voters.

The second was the disenfranchisement of former felons. In the town of Bolivar, former felons illegally lost their voting rights. Clifton Polk, head of the local Black Chamber of Commerce, was so infuriated that he filed an official complaint with the EEOC. Since felons don’t automatically lose their voting rights in Tennessee the same way that they do in Florida, this issue remains a murky mess. However, this was the first year it had happened in the state.

The third — and maybe the strangest — is the way that certain voting precincts all over the state had a small fraction of the voting machines they should have had, causing mile-long lines in predominantly Black, Hispanic and poor districts. According to election commissions, they simply didn’t know there’d be such a large turnout. However, according to Tennessee State Election Commissioner Brook Thompson, each county sends a list of registered voters to the polling places. (The precinct list actually kept by volunteers often didn’t match the voting list. Weird, huh?) Also, as state NAACP president Gloria Jean Sweetlove points out, the election commission knew about the NAACP Voter Empowerment Project, whose goal was to register new Black voters. Also, the commission knew that there’d been a record turnout for early voting. So, once again, this remains a mystery.

Looking at all of this evidence, you have to wonder what would come out if Tennessee had the same kind of investigations that Florida has had, and will continue to have. (Not to mention the fact that similar evidence has come out of twenty-one other states.) The national NAACP — along with the ACLU, People for the American Way, the Advancement Project, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights — has filed suit to eliminate unfair voting practices. They will be sending representatives to Nashville soon in order to hold hearings about voter disenfranchisement there. So Tennessee may well end up being added to the national suit, and that would probably be the best shot at investigation. Certainly, the state attorney general has showed little interest to date. Yet nobody else has either — not the press, not the legislature, not the governor, not the senators. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why that bothered me so much. I tried to put it into words when I talked to Gloria Jean Sweetlove.

“Why is it,” I asked, fumbling towards words to express the inexpressible, “that I don’t see anything about this in the papers, or on TV? Why will nobody will touch this?”

She gave a long, long sigh. “I don’t think you’re old enough to remember. But in the fifties and early sixties,” she said slowly, “nobody would touch it either.”

Tennessee Legislation Passed in 2012: No Jobs!

August 11th, 2012 by admin

Here is a list of some of the legislation that has been approved by the Tennessee Legislature in 2012. The wing-nuts continue to embarrass Tennesseans and have failed to pass one act of legislation producing one job or job bill. Take a look at what backwoods mentality brings in the form of legislation.

WAR AGAINST WOMEN – RESTRICTIONS FOR ABORTION DOCTORS: Requires physicians to have hospital privileges in the home or adjacent county of woman seeking abortion. HB3808.

AMAZON SALES TAX INCREASE: Requires Amazon.com to begin collecting Tennessee sales taxes in 2014. HB2370.

BATH SALTS FELONY: Makes it a felony to sell synthetic drugs known as bath salts. HB2286.

POLITICAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS APPOINTMENTS: Allows governor to appoint heads of boards, including Tennessee Higher Education Commission. HB2387.

CORPORATE WELFARE CASH GRANT GIVEAWAY: Creates more ways for state to give cash grants to companies investing in Tennessee. HB2344.

CHARTER SCHOOLS ANTI-FOREIGNERS: Limits number of foreign workers allowed to be employed at charter schools. SB3345.

STRIP CIVIL SERVICE PROTECTION: Revises state civil service laws to make it easier to hire and fire state employees. SB2246.

DOMESTIC ABUSE: Requires mandatory jail time for repeat domestic abuse convictions. SB2251.

DUI BLOOD TESTS: Allows judges to compel blood tests from people arrested on drunken driving charges. HB2752.

DUI MINORS: Increases penalties for drunken driving when child under 18 is in car. HB2751.

EMBRYO ASSAULT PROTECTION: Includes embryo as victim protection in assaults on pregnant women. SB3412.

FOOD TAX: Reduces the state sales tax on groceries from 5.5 percent to 5.25 percent. HB3761.

GANG BANGER BILL: Increases penalties for violent crimes committed by three or more people. SB2252.

GATEWAY TO SEXUAL ACTIVITY PROHIBITION: Prohibits teachers from promoting or condoning “gateway sexual activity.” Includes kissing? HB3621.

HASLAM BUDGET: Enacts Tennessee’s more than $31 billion annual spending plan. HB3835.

IMMIGRATION DISCRIMINATION CHECK: Requires state agencies to verify immigration status before approving public benefits. SB1325.

BAN STATE INCOME TAX: Proposed constitutional amendment to ban a state income tax in Tennessee. SJR0221.

INHERITANCE TAX BREAK FOR THE RICH: Begins phase-out of Tennessee’s inheritance tax. HB3760.

FACISM LAW FOR OCCUPY NASHVILLE: Bans unauthorized camping on Legislative Plaza. HB2638.

CENSORSHIP OF SAGGY PANTS: Prohibits students from wearing saggy pants or other indecent clothing on school grounds. HB3679.

ANTI-INTELLIGENCE SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: Allows parents to keep their children from joining extracurricular groups at school. HB2548.

DESTRUCTION OF SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Allows school personnel to participate in student-initiated religious activities. HB3266.

SCHOOL SAFETY: Gives teachers more authority to act against students who pose a safety risk. SB3116.

POLITICAL SELECTING OF JUDGES-CONFIRMATION: Proposed constitutional amendment to allow Legislature to reject gubernatorial appointments to Supreme Court. SJR0710.

STUDENT LOANS-DEFAULT: Penalizes teachers and lobbyists for defaulting on student loans. HB0740.

MONKEY LAW: Grants legal protections for teachers who allow students to question theory of evolution. SB0893.

DESTRUCTION OF SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Allows public buildings to display “historically significant documents,” such as Ten Commandments. HB2658.

ANTI-UNITED NATIONS-GOP IGNORANCE BILL: Recognizes the “insidious nature” of the United Nations ‘ Agenda 21 on sustainable development. HJR0587.

WELFARE DISCRIMINATION DRUG TESTING: Creates discrimination of the poor by allowing suspicion-based drug testing for welfare recipients. SB2580.

HOG WILD BILL: Makes it a crime to release wild-appearing swine without proper documentation. SB2879.

Yeah it true. Two years of legislation and not one job bill passed by the Tennessee legislation. In 2010, Tennessee Republicans promised to focus on job creation and education. Since, their capturing of the Tennessee Legislation, not one job creation bill has passed.

Ron Ramsey, Bill Haslam & Beth Harwell have lead Tennessee to the bottom with job loses as reported by Out of the Blue. Only Wisconsin has more job losses last month. More republican lies… in the 2010 election they promised jobs & all we have received is radical extremist legislation and GOP failure! The GOP can’t govern but they can sure lie!

Tennessee’s Failed Legislation for 2012: No Jobs?

August 3rd, 2012 by admin

Much has been said about the Tennessee “wing-nuts” legislative agenda. It has been laughable and a disgrace to the people of the great state of Tennessee. It has also been the nucleus of many jokes across the nation. What happens when backwoods mentality is adapted into law? Here is a list of some of the wing-nut’s legislation that failed in this year’s legislative session:

BAN-DISCRIMINATION LAWS: Repealing a ban on local governments from enacting stricter anti-discrimination standards than the state. SB2762.

MAKE ATTORNEY GENERAL A POLITICAL APPOINTMENT: Proposed amendment to constitution to have governor appoint the attorney general. SJR0693.

REDUCE LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS: Holding legislative sessions only every other year. HB2785.

CUT FOOD TAX TO HELP TENNESSEE FAMILIES: Requiring state to make cuts in sales tax on groceries if state has surplus revenues. SB3666.

REMOVE LIMIT ON CLASS SIZE: Lifting the cap on average class sizes at public schools. SB2210.

RESTRICT COLLEGE RIGHTS TO INACT NONDISCRIMINATION ON RELIGIOUS GROUPS: Banning colleges from enacting nondiscrimination policies on student religious groups. SB3597. (Vetoed by Gov. Bill Haslam)

ALLOW UNLIMITED CONTRIBUTIONS TO STATE LEGISLATORS: Lifting total amount of campaign contributions legislative candidates can accept from political action committees. HB3281.

DON’T SAY GAY: IT’S A BAD WORD: Banning teaching about gay issues to elementary and middle school students. HB0229.

MAKING JUDGES POLITICALLY APPOINTED HACKS: Holding popular elections for Supreme Court justices in August 2014. HB0173.

NO GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS NECESSARY: Exempting handgun carry permit holders from background checks for firearms purchases. SB0306.

EVERYONE NEEDS A GUN IN PARKING LOTS: Guaranteeing employees the right to store firearms in vehicles parked at work. SB3002.

RESTRICT PUBLIC ACCESS TO RECORDS: Blocking public access to names of owners of businesses receiving grants from state. HB2345.

HEALTH CARE COMPACT: Adding Tennessee to an interstate health care compact. HB0369.

HORSE SLAUGHTER: Encouraging horse slaughter facilities to locate in Tennessee. HB3619.

NO JUDICIAL REVIEW: Stripping state courts of the power to block laws enacted by the Legislature. SB2348.

LOBBYIST TO SERVE LAWMAKER’S FREE MEALS: Allowing employers of lobbyists to host receptions for standing legislative committees. HB3025.

ATTACKS ON STATE WORKERS – LAWMAKER-DRUG TESTING: Requiring drug tests for state lawmakers. HB2411.

BAN A LIVING WAGE: Banning cities and counties from establishing a living wage. HB3386.

RESTRICT LOTTERY SCHOLARSHIPS: Making it more difficult to earn lottery scholarships. SB2514.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee. HB0294.

DISCLOSURE OF MODEL LEGISLATION: Requiring bill sponsors to disclose if their measure is based on model legislation. HB2301.

NO MOTORCYCLE HELMETS NEEDED: Allowing adults to ride motorcycles without safety helmets. HB1673.

MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL: Banning mountaintop removal coal mining in Tennessee. SB0577.

NURSES ASSAULT: Increasing penalties for assaults on health care workers. SB2658.

ORAL CHEMOTHERAPY: Requiring insurers to cover oral chemotherapy treatments. HB1087.

FREEZE PER DIEM FOR STATE WORKERS: Freezing the per diem expense allowance for state lawmakers. SB1372.

SELECTING JUDGES-TENNESSEE PLAN: Proposed constitutional amendment to underscore current state system for selecting Supreme Court justices. SJR0183.

STRIPPER TAX: Taxing adult businesses and strippers to pay for reduction in tax on coins and bullion. HB0469.

TEACHER TENURE: Allowing teachers who receive average evaluations to qualify for tenure. HB2447.

TRUCK STOP BAN: Banning truck stops from within a half-mile of Nashville and Memphis. HB3683.

REPEAL VOTER SUPPRESSION LAW: Repealing Tennessee’s voter ID requirements. HB2176.

NO WINE IN SUPERMARKETS: Allowing wine to be sold in supermarkets. HB2874.

The saddest aspect of this legislative year is the fact that not one job bill was proposed by the Republican controlled legislation. The legislators felt it was more important to draft legislation drafted for “GOP” special interest (lobbyists, corporations, and the wealthy).

Harris Trial Ends in Hung Jury

August 3rd, 2012 by admin

ERWIN — Yesterday, the Jury was unable to render a verdict in the first criminal trial against Kent Harris, former sheriff of Unicoi County. More than seven months ago, a Unicoi County grand jury returned 10 true bills charging then-Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris with 10 felonies. Monday morning, his trial on two of those charges began. The trial ended Wednesday and the Jury went into deliberations on Wednesday at 4:40 p.m.

On Oct. 14, a grand jury returned 10 true bills charging Harris with six counts of official misconduct, and one count each of tampering with evidence, criminal simulation, theft over $1,000 and attempted aggravated assault.

The charges stemmed from a pair of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigations — one initiated in 2009 and the other in 2010 — that overlapped and were subsequently combined.

According to the TBI release, the official misconduct charges are the result of several occurrences in June and July of 2010 when Harris allegedly had Unicoi County inmates perform labor on private property owned by him.

According to the TBI, Harris tampered with evidence in September 2008 by altering or destroying evidence that was part of an ongoing investigation at that time. A presentment document filed in Unicoi County Criminal Court said this evidence involved moonshine.

Harris’ charge of attempted aggravated assault was the result of a confrontation with county resident J.D. Hensley following a July 2011 meeting of the Unicoi County Commission’s Finance Committee, according to the presentment. According to the TBI, Harris was charged after attempting to assault Hensley with a deadly weapon, which was identified as Harris’ cane.

The prosecution felt the evidence of the case showed Harris committed the offense of criminal simulation in September 2008 by requesting payment from the county for vehicles valued at $4,500 that were in actuality donated. The theft over $1,000 charge resulted from Harris receiving the $4,500 belonging to the county, according to the presentment.

Harris’ legal counsel tried various motions and maneuvers seeking the dismissal of the charges. On Oct. 24, the County Commission was set to discuss the possible initiation of ouster proceedings against Harris but no action was taken because of mounting political pressure.

In November, Blackwood was appointed to oversee the Criminal Court actions involving Harris. During a Feb. 7 arraignment hearing, Harris pleaded not guilty to all 10 charges against him. Blackwood dismissed the defense’s motions seeking dismissal of the charges, but did grant the request to separate Harris’ charges.

The week after this arraignment hearing, a Unicoi County grand jury returned a true bill charging Harris with an 11th felony, an additional count of official misconduct. According to the presentment document filed in Criminal Court, Harris had a Sheriff’s Department employee use departmental equipment and supplies to prepare a letter soliciting funds to pay his attorneys’ fees during that employee’s working hours. A Dec. 10 trial date was set for this latest charge.

On March 1, Harris submitted his letter of resignation to the county, citing ongoing health problems due to injuries suffered in an August 2010 alleged fall from the roof of the Unicoi County Jail. The Unicoi County Commission unanimously accepted Harris’ resignation at a called meeting held on March 9.

The trial of former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris on two of 10 felony charges began Monday.

The day included selection of a jury and opening statements from the district attorney general and Harris’ legal counsel and testimony from a pair of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents.

At the trial’s center are two vehicles, $4,500 withdrawn from county funds and a pair of bloodhounds.

In his opening statement, District Attorney General Tony Clark said the story of the charges began in 2008 and involved Tom and Lynn Colbaugh, friends of Kent Harris.

“They had been close friends with Mr. Harris for some time, close enough that in 2006 they left their entire estate (estimated at 1.5 million dollars) to Mr. Harris,” Clark told the jurors.

Clark said that in September 2008, Harris approached the Colbaughs to see if they would be interested in donating two vehicles to the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department. They agreed to do so.

The prosecution presented evidence that these vehicles were donated to Kent Harris and a title transfer took place in late September 2008. The prosecution also presented a memorandum signed by Harris that was submitted to the Unicoi County Mayor’s office, requesting $4,500 in county funds to pay for these vehicles.

Mr. Harris asked the Colbaughs to cash the check and give him the cash.

The evidence showed the cars were donated. Why was $4,500 drawn out of a county account to pay for these two vehicles? Why did the sheriff ask the Colbaughs to cash the county check and give him the cash? Why would close friends of Mr. Harris lie about $4,500 after leaving their estate estimated of 1.5 million dollars to him?

The requisition went through the mayor’s office and two checks totaling $4,500 were issued by the Unicoi County Trustee’s office. The prosecution proved that Harris ended up with this money after the checks were cashed.

A state auditor provided testimony that a check for the account the $4,500 was drawn and a withdrawal of that this money was never put back into any account dealing with the sheriff’s department.

Harris’ co-counsel, Stacy Street, said the $4,500 in question was to go to the care of two bloodhounds previously purchased by Tom Colbaugh that were to serve as search and rescue dogs for the sheriff’s department.

The dogs were purchased but they did not receive the training or handling necessary to become effective search and rescue dogs. The dogs eventually became a financial burden for the county.

The jury selection process took up the majority of the trial on Monday and concluded around 1:30 p.m. The jury comprised of six men and six women stated that they at least knew of Harris through his role as sheriff of Unicoi County.

Loyalty to Kent Harris among the jurists was strong. A majority of the jury refused to believe the evidence presented by the state. Some jurors changed their verdicts after mounting pressure for an innocent verdict. In the end, one jurist resisted the pressure and voted guilty which ended the verdict in a hung jury.

The case will be retried on December 10th.

ALEC AND ITS SECRET AGENDA

July 31st, 2012 by admin

Critics of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are increasing in number as more information becomes known about this secretive, corporate-controlled lobby that writes legislation for conservative causes. The veil of secrecy surrounding this dark group of power mongers is slowly beginning to lift.

Recently ALEC held its national convention in Salt Lake City. Supporters of this secret society claim they simply exchange conservative ideas and information between the public sector and the private sector. But in reality they work for the rich and corporations and do their bidding.

They claim they are an organization that promotes the principles on which this country was founded — free enterprise and free markets. The organization is funded by powerful rich corporations and the wealthy that do not have the best interest of the country or the American people at heart. Many feel that supporters of ALEC are simply paid for by special interest and corporate lobbyists.

Members of ALEC hold secret meetings around the country where they develop model legislation on various issues beholden to their corporate sponsors. This extreme radical legislation has been adapted in many states that fell to republican takeover in the 2010 elections. Tennessee is one of several states to adapt the extreme agenda of ALEC.

ALEC simply drafts a model bill on a given topic before the bill is adapted and introduced in a Republican state legislature. They mold their legislation based on politics and contributions rather than on best practices or best solutions to problems. Their agenda has always been very partisan and radical in nature.

The agenda of ALEC includes legislation designed to encourage states to reject the Affordable Care Act and backing of legislation requiring a government-issued photo identification for voting “voter suppression” rights which target African Americans, college students, the elderly and minority voting rights.

In Tennessee, ALEC membership includes 32 current state legislators and two former legislators, all Republicans except for two Democrats who recently withdrew from the organization.

Some supporters and many opposing ALEC feel they have been lobbying social agendas by supporting extreme social issues of the right. Supporters feel ALEC had gotten off track by getting into social issues but this appears to be the main reason the organization was exposed as a rigid secret society designed to craft legislation that favored the whims of the rich and powerful.

Supporters of ALEC claim they are refocusing on its founding principles of free enterprise and less government. Those opposing ALEC point to the legislation on extreme social issues as evidence of a darker agenda of the organization and their supporters. It is becoming more obvious that ALEC’s mission is not in the best interest of a state, the American people or our nation.

The ALEC Exposed website states it best, “Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called “model bills” reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. In ALEC’s own words, corporations have “a VOICE and a VOTE” on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU?”

Blow up Rocky Top? Special Topic at UCDP Meeting

July 14th, 2012 by Mike K. Hampton

Blow up Rocky Top? This will be a special topic at the July 21st Unicoi County Democratic Party Meeting at 11 am at Erwin Town Hall on Main Street in Erwin, TN. Jennie Young, mountain activists, will be addressing this very important subject.

In March of this year, a state House subcommittee failed to pass legislation to stop coal companies from blowing the tops off Tennessee’s mountains.

The political hacks on the misnamed Conservation and Environment Subcommittee could not say no to the rich coal companies and bring themselves to actually vote down the bill itself.

Instead, lawmakers voted 6-4 to send the bill to summer study where Ron Ramsey plans to bury it for good. He knows that this is the same as voting to kill this bill, but Republican lawmakers insisted they want to study this issue. They claim they have not had had the time to think about it during any of the five sessions it’s been debated so far in the legislature.

Sadly, the coal companies are stuffing money in the pockets of these same legislators. Needless to say Ron Ramsey is a few hundred thousand dollars richer from his coal buddies filling his political coffers.

“What would Tennessee be without our mountains?” asked Rep. Mike McDonald, D-Portland, the bill’s sponsor.

He said coal companies have started mountaintop removal mining at eight locations in Tennessee since this bill first was proposed.

“We have delayed and delayed action on this and we’ve lost eight mountains since 2008 by delaying. If we don’t pass this bill this year, we’ll lose more mountains. … Just like it was historic when the Great Smoky Mountains were protected and preserved for future generations, this committee has a historic opportunity today to protect Tennesseans and Tennessee’s mountains. Without our mountains, Tennessee is not Tennessee.”

But Republican Legislators say they need more time to think about whether it’s “OK” to blow up our Tennessee Mountains. Once again, Tennessee Republicans show us that anything is possible and “everything is for sale” when you have no moral compass.

President Obama Accomplishments

July 13th, 2012 by admin

Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama has accomplished much to help Middle Class working families since elected President. More importantly, Barack Obama prevented the complete collapse of American financial and economic institutions shortly after beginning his term.

President Obama was left with the worse financial and economic conditions since the Great Depression. Over 750,000 jobs were being lost each month when Mr. Obama was elected. Over 4 million new jobs have been created since he took office.

Unfortunately, many Americans are still struggling as the recession slowly recovers. Sadly, the obstructionists Republican Congress voted down a bill that would have created over 1 million new jobs.

Also this week, the Congress voted against the Affordable Care Act for the 33rd time. They have failed to vote for one bill to create one new jobs yet they continue to waste time voting against health care for all Americans. Recently the Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act is constitutional; even though Republicans have falsely claimed it was unconstitutional since the day it became law.

President Barack Obama continues to fight for all Americans while the Republican obstructionists fight valiantly for the rich and big corporations.

The following list is a partial list of Obama accomplishments:

05/19/12 Agreement negotiated and completed to allow blind Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng, to study in USA

05/09/12 Barack Obama becomes the first President to publicly support the legalization of same sex marriage

04/04/12 STOCK Act signed into law

02/22/12 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act signed into law

02/09/12 Pakistan Al-Qaeda leader Badar Mansoor killed by U.S. drone attacks

01/30/12 U.S. drone attack in Yemen killed 12-15 militants, including at least four Al-Qaeda leaders

2012 JAN Senior Al-Qaeda figure Aslam Awan killed in U.S. drone strike

12/17/11 War in Iraq ended with last American troops crossing border into Kuwait

12/06/11 US government international campaign initiated to build respect for the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide

09/30/11 Child and Family Services Improvement Act signed into law

09/30/11 Senior Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki killed in Yemen by a CIA-led U.S. drone strike

09/16/11 America Invents Act signed into law

09/11/11 Al-Qaeda’s operations chief for Pakistan Abu Hafs al Shahri reported killed in U.S. Predator strike

09/06/11 U.S./Pakistani joint arrest of suspected Chief Al-Qaeda Younis al-Mauritani in Quetta Al-Qaeda

08/22/11 Al-Qaeda No. 2 Atiyah Abd al-Rahman Killed in Pakistan by CIA predator drone strike

06/07/11 East Africa’s Al-Qaeda senior leader Harun Fazul killed at security checkpoint in Somalia

06/03/11 Al-Qaeda Commander Ilyas Kashmiri Killed in U.S. Predator Strike

2011 JUN 6 senior Al-Qaeda figures killed in U.S. Air Strike

05/02/11 US Forces Kill Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan

02/23/11 Defense of Marriage Act declared unconstitutional and no longer defended in federal courts by the Obama Administration

02/05/11 New START Treaty ratified

01/04/11 Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law

12/22/10 US sponsored measure to include “sexual orientation” in the definition of human rights adopted by the UN General Assembly, 122- 0.

12/22/10 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act signed into law

12/17/10 2010 Tax & Jobs Compromise signed into law

12/13/10 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act signed into law

12/08/10 Claims Resolution Act signed into law

10/14/10 Veterans’ Benefit Act signed into law

09/27/10 Small Business Jobs Act signed into law

08/03/10 Fair Sentencing Act signed into law

07/22/10 Wall Street Reform Act signed into law

06/29/10 U.S. drone attack killed 7 known terrorists, most notable Al-Qaeda operative from Egypt Hawza al Jawfi

06/02/10 Federal benefits extended to same sex partners of workers through memorandum by Obama administration

05/21/10 Al-Qaeda’s number three commander Sheik Saeed al-Masri killed in U.S. drone attack

05/05/10 Caregivers & Veterans Health Services Act signed into law

04/18/10 Joint American and Iraqi operation killed Al-Qaeda leaders Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi

03/30/10 Student Aid Act signed into law

03/23/10 2010 Health Care Reform Act signed into law

03/18/10 Hire Act signed into law

2010 MAR Al-Qaeda operative Hussein al-Yemeni killed by U.S. drone attack in Pakistan

02/24/10 Al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked Fedayeen-i-Islam leader Qari Zafar killed in US airstrike

2010 FEB Militant commander Muhammad Haqqani killed by U.S. drone attacks

01/01/10 Discrimination based on gender identity banned in federal workplaces

2009 $28.6 billion net public benefit in income taxes and social security taxes paid because liquidation of GM and Chrysler avoided

2009 $96 billion in personal income losses avoided by government financing and restructuring of GM and Chrysler to avoid liquidation Labor Workers & Improving the Economy

2009 1.45 million American jobs saved overall by government financing and restructuring of GM and Chrysler to avoid liquidation Jobs Workers & Saving Jobs

2009 115,000 jobs created at General Motors and Chrysler since government financing and restructuring implemented Jobs Workers & Creating Jobs

2009 Liquidation of General Motors and Chrysler avoided through government mandated restructuring plans and conditional investment and loan programs Business & Economy

12/17/09 Al-Qaeda Operational Commander Abdallah Sa’id killed in U.S. drone attack

12/08/09 Al-Qaeda Operational Commander Saleh al-Somali killed in U.S. drone attack

10/30/09 People with HIV/AIDS no longer prohibited from entering the United States
10/28/09 Matthew Shepard Act signed into law

09/14/09 Operation Celestial Balance: Navy Seals Kill Somalian Al-Qaeda leader Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in raid

09/14/09 Somalian Al-Qaeda leader Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan killed by U.S. raid

09/04/09 White House voluntary disclosure of visitor logs Improving Govt Transparency

08/29/09 Co-founder of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan Tohir Yo‘ldosh killed by U.S. drone attacks

08/05/09 U.S. drone attack killed Tehrik e-Taliban Pakistan leader Baitullah Mahsud in Pakistan

06/29/09 First-ever reception at the White House honoring Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bisexual Pride Month hosted by the President and First lady

05/25/09 Sonya Sotomayor nominated and approved as Supreme Court justice

05/22/09 Credit Card Act signed into law

05/22/09 Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform signed into law Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform

05/20/09 Fraud Enforcement Act signed into law

05/20/09 Helping Families Save Their Homes signed into law

04/21/09 Serve America Act signed into law

04/13/09 Restrictions eased on Cuba travel, money transfers, and cellular telephone/satellite service.

04/11/09 Maersk Alabama Capt. Richard Phillips rescued during operation in which U.S. Navy Seal snipers kill three Somali Pirates holding him for ransom aboard lifeboat Somali Civil War

02/17/09 2009 Stimulus Bill signed into law

02/04/09 Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) signed into law

01/29/09 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed into law

Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act

July 3rd, 2012 by admin

After a year of lies and deceptions by those who fought health care at the bequest of the Health Care Industry, the Supreme Court affirms Americans’ right to quality, affordable Health Care by upholding the Affordable Care Act as constitutional.

The law is already helping millions of Americans and will help millions more in the years to come. In Tennessee over 500,000 will receive medical coverage because of this act.

Republicans told the same lies about “socialism” Social Security, the current social program that most in NETN would fight you over if you tried to take it from them.

“Obamacare” is already helping millions of Americans save money and live healthier lives, and will help millions more in the years to come. Americans aren’t losing coverage or going bankrupt just because they get sick, pre-existing conditions are being covered, and millions of Americans will keep saving money on their premiums, preventive care and prescription drugs.

“Obamacare” will save middle-class families up to $2,300 a year on top of its largest health care tax cut in history, worth an average of $4,800 to about 19 million middle-class Americans.

The court’s decision means that free riders (those who can afford insurance but won’t buy it) either have to get insurance or pay a fine –which would apply to about 1 percent of Americans. The individual responsibility requirement is the same policy Romney put in place in Massachusetts.

Why is the Insurance Industry and its Republican friends against the Affordable Care Act?

o Insurance companies can’t drop you because you got sick or
hit an arbitrary cap on coverage. Already 105 million
Americans no longer have lifetime caps on their coverage.

o 86 million Americans now have more access to preventive
care without a co-pay or deductible.

o By August 1, 12.8 million Americans will have received
rebates from their insurance company because it spent too
much of their premium dollars on administrative costs or CEO
bonuses.

o 3.1 million Young adults, up to age 26, have coverage
through their parents’ plans.

o More than 5 million people got discounts on their prescription
drugs in the Medicare “doughnut hole” – each saving an
average of more than $600 last year.

o Starting in 2014, insurance companies won’t be allowed to
deny coverage or charge more based on health conditions,
protecting up to 129 million Americans with preexisting
conditions. Already up to 17 million kids with preexisting
conditions can’t be denied coverage anymore.

o People who couldn’t afford insurance will either be able to
get insurance through Medicaid or get generous tax credits
that finally make coverage affordable. A typical middle-class
family could pay up to 60 percent less for the same
coverage – the largest-ever health care middle-class tax cut.

o The independent Government Accountability Office (GAO)
verifies Obamacare will reduce the deficit by more than $120
billion by 2021.

Health Care is not a privilege, it is a right. Wing nuts and Teabaggers will continue their crusade of ignorance against health care for all and the middle class. But the Supreme Court decision was a major victory for the American people and middle class.

Voter Suppression in Unicoi County?

July 2nd, 2012 by Mike K. Hampton

Since the 2010 elections, voting rights have been under attack in this country as Republican state legislatures pass voter suppression laws designed to prevent Democratic leaning voters from voting.

During the 2011 legislative sessions, twenty-one states across the country passed laws to make it harder for Americans – particularly African-Americans, the elderly, students and people with disabilities – to exercise their fundamental right to cast a vote. Studies show that up to 11 percent of American citizens lack such ID.

The measures passed have resulted in voter rosters being purged at alarming rates, dumping large numbers of voters off the rosters and recently purging voting histories as well.

Voter histories are important because the lack of a voting history leads to voter purges. Tennessee law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-2-106) grants local county election commissions the legal authority to purge voters from the rolls who have not voted in the past two federal elections. In many incidences, voters are unaware of this although law requires notification.

Many election commissioners have routinely “purged” voters’ names from voter registration rosters after those voters failed to participate in at least two federal elections in a four year period. Such purging, when done without bias and legitimately, usually results in reducing the roster size by 1 percent to 3 percent.

In Tennessee there has been a great deal of attention given to the mysterious disappearance of voting histories for 488 registered voters in Shelby County, but an analysis of two recent statewide voter files provided by state election officials paints an even more troubling picture.

In November 2010, there were 602, 647 registered voters in Shelby. Now there are 431,054 registered voters – a drop of 171, 593 voters or a 28.5 percent decrease in eighteen months.

An internal analysis conducted by the Tennessee Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee’s voter protection team has found that more than 11,000 voters across the state in Tennessee, who are still active on the voter file, have had parts of their voting history disappear. Ninety-two people in Unicoi County have had voting history disappear.

Left unaddressed, these mistakes, whether intentional or not, could endanger the right to vote for thousands of law-abiding Tennesseans. Nationally this problem will endanger registered voters rights to cast a vote.

Free and fair elections are the lifeblood of a democracy. Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, all courts, regardless of ideological beliefs, have frowned upon states and municipalities that erect barriers to free and transparent voting procedures. Voting is a fundamental right, not a privilege. Across Tennessee and America, the right to cast a ballot is under attack and this is a clear attack on our Constitution. Maybe instead of sending Americans to monitor other countries elections, we need to put them at work at home.

A Vile Agenda

April 22nd, 2012 by admin

Not so long ago, America was the most technology based nation on the planet. We were the most advanced. We invented virtually everything and these products were high quality. America was on the cutting edge of science. We lead in virtually every category of innovation and technology.

Today, China and India are ever increasingly leading the world in product production. We no longer invent products or have new ideas. Republican controlled states are waging war on science; this is especially true in Tennessee. How can we lead the world’s new economy when we reject science which creates cutting edge technology? How can we create jobs without science or technology? How can we remain the world super power without being the leader in technology and science? How can we have the world’s strongest economy when we scorn public education for all young people and minimize teachers and the profession of education?

What do we owe our sudden embrace of ignorance and scorn of intellectualism? Right wing extremism; both political and religious, is the disease that threatens America’s standing as the world’s leader in innovation, technology and job creation. Fundamentalism is the scourge that threatens American power and world stability.

The conservative “lies” values of greed and gluttony have permeated every aspect of American politics and religion and can be traced as the root cause of the collapse of America’s economy. Trickle down economics did not work, it was not intended to work, it served as the conservative “lie” tool to rape the American tax payer and redirect wealth to the top 1%. Republicans say we can’t fairly tax the job creators… but where are the jobs?

The teabagger movement was the tool of ignorance used to topple common sense government and swing the pendulum of wealth; from a level spread of wealth away from the American middle class to a concentration of wealth to the rich and corporations. The teabagger “puppet” movement was the brainchild of rich conservatives and corporations who dreamed of even more wealth at the expense of America and the American middle class. The movement of disenfranchised Republicans was/is financially backed by the Koch brothers; David and Charles, two the worlds wealthiest men. The movement was born the day after the first African American President; Barack Obama was elected, an election result that incensed conservatives and racists.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the secret organization of corporations who has written much of the legislation that was recently imposed by the newly elected Republican legislatures in several states (Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and fourteen others) across America. Through ALEC, global corporations have been scheming for some time to rewrite laws that threaten the very rights of Americans in order to boost their profits and revenue.

Their minions (Republican state legislators) implement these laws at the bidding of their masters; corporations and the wealthy, who in turn fill their political coffers from the wealth accrued from the very laws designed to destroy the American middle class while exploding corporate profits. Remember Willard Romney’s passionate words, presumptive Republican Presidential candidate, passionately claiming corporations are people and have rights. Yes, the rights he is so passionately embracing is the same corporate rights draining America dry, at the expense of the American middle class. These are the same rights as dictated by ALEC.

If you destroy unions, the “high” American standard of living, the right to litigation for injury from bad drugs or dangerous products, implement voter suppression, destroy environmental protection, dissemble constitutional rights and freedoms, you (the corporation) can do whatever you want with no resistance. You wrote the laws and your minions (Republicans) implemented them and all means to correct the injustice has been dismantled and/or virtually destroyed. A win win for the corporations and wealthy at the expense of everyone else (the 99%).

A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.” The conservatives know this well and have seen this knowledge as a serious threat to their agenda of lust for greed and personal wealth.

They know a well informed public is hard to lie to. Enter Fox news, stage left and “The world is full of Kings and Queens who as they blind your eyes and steal your dreams.” A well informed population is hard to manipulate with propaganda unless you blind them with lies and misconceptions (Fox news). A well informed public would also be hard to convince that economic suicide (trickle down economics) is a viable economic platform.

The conservatives have spent years slowly eroding the foundations of intellectual America. First, they demonized the word “Liberal” the foundation that built the great American middle class. Once scientists and teachers were respected, now they have been demonized. They blame failing schools on Teachers. Intellectuals are Socialists! Educated people are elitists! Global warming is lies from scientists!

They demonized Al Gore, he won but lost to an idiot who has all but destroyed our economy but the rich got what they wanted. Ignorance is bliss. Environmentalists have warned for years that pollution was damaging the planet; they were labeled as “tree hugging hippies.” Notice the pattern, which a form of intellectual thought questions the obvious; it is labeled the enemy and demonized. Creating false enemies gives the adage “kill the messenger” an all new meaning.

How does religion fit into this fundamentalist conservative scam? Fundamentalism cannot be questioned or it is exposed as a false prophet, science questions, therefore, it is demonized and must be dismantled and destroyed, it is the enemy by its vary nature. Anything that fosters intelligence “strong public education” or “science” or “truth” must be destroyed, in the eyes of the conservatives. You cannot be deceived when you think for yourself and use your mind!

The election of 2012 may be the most important election in American History. Many questions will be answered and hopefully some dangerous threats to America’s future will once and for all be destroyed. The vile agenda of ALEC is the biggest threat to America’s middle class and without the middle class, American power will decline.

The drunken orgy of greed drives those who created ALEC and is the seed that virtually destroyed America’s economy when regulations were dismantled and caution was tossed to the winds of desire and speculation. Where were the Teabaggers when Bush was blowing a budget surplus? Their yellow flag befits their cowardly yellow intentions and racists rants. Teabaggers are the “whores” of the rich, simple minded peasants. It takes a moron to do the bidding of the rich, to demand more tax breaks for the rich at the expense of the middle class. It takes an idiot to vote against ones best interest. Is the solution lobotomy for poor Republicans?

Conservatives, Right Wing politics and Fundamentalist religion has worked hard to render the American people more open to manipulation and control. The result is a vile blend of unregulated industry and religious theocracy. This is great news for the rest of the world who waits like vultures to pick America’s economic bones clean as we become dumber and dumber and more technologically unsophisticated.

Are Americans going to be reduced to third world ignorant consumers for the rest of the worlds markets? The American Taliban (Conservatives, Republicans and Fundamentalist) may be happy with the thoughts of life in the 16th Century, dirt roads and living in caves but I’m not interested in such ignorance and BS! I would prefer we move America forward not backward.

GOP Leads America Down a Dark Path

March 18th, 2012 by admin

Have we been in a depression? Many feel it is time to call it what it is: depression. It is not a depression of 1930’s magnitude but it has been a depression, none the less. Unemployment has remained high from America to Europe. Political leaders, institutions and social norms are increasingly discredited. Democratic valves are under attack.

We have not had wide spread soup lines and we don’t have a Hitler but we have dire alarming economic and political signs. High unemployment, despair and the explosion of extremists groups have swept across America. Is America on a dark path unequal to any in her short history? Economic downturns and political strife have ebbed and flowed through her history but she always rebounded. Is there something different about the current situation that is more alarming and troublesome?

Those on the right have used the opportunity to attempt to dismantle social programs designed to assist those less fortunate in our society. They have also used the uncertainty of many to spread hatred and fear. Let’s talk in particular, about what’s happening across America in states recently taking over by Republican rule and the ongoing Republican Presidential Primary circus.

First of all, the economic crisis, created by the failing policies of the Bush Administration and his “rubber stamp” Republican Congress during the 2000-2008 political era that crippled America’s economic stability. Unemployment was skyrocketing while 750,000 jobs were being lost per month. Amid climbing unemployment, collapsing economic institutions, massive plant closings and crushing economic stagnation, enter stage left, Barack Obama, the newly elected President in 2008.

Second, virtually the day after the election, the Teabaggers movement was born. Amidst growing racism, hatred, and vile for America’s first African American President, the attack on democracy was born. As the teabagger movement grew, so did the assault on democracy. From hate filled attacks at town meetings, to racist motivated protests of these new anti government minions of the right. Through false claims of a grass roots movement, the far right fringes of the Republican Party had founded a political movement straight out of the bowls of hell. A movement fueled by racism and hatred, a movement reflective of the true Republican heart or lack thereof.

Specifically, demands for ever-harsher treatment of the poor, with no offsetting effort to foster growth, have done double damage to our economy. They have failed at economic policy, worsening unemployment without restoring confidence; slowly Obama has quailed the immediate threat of financial crisis, as it appears contained. But the right has created immense anger, for political “gains” reasons, as many Americans are furious at what is perceived, fairly or unfairly, as a heavy-handed exercise of Government power.

Nobody familiar with America’s history can look at this resurgence of hostility without feeling a shiver and moment of rear when you reflect back on darker days in America. Yet there may be worse things happening now.

In conclusion, just as a disease progresses, so has the far right hostility and vile ignorance. This has played out during the ongoing Republican Presidential Primary. An event that can best be described as a circus and wingnut convention, the political joke continues. The insanity that was born from the birther movement and vile Teabagger movement, has now affected the base of the Republican Party as the battle of the extremists and wingnuts wage on.

Their assault on democracy continues, as does their assault on the US Government. Fueled by ignorance and fear, those less enlightened on the right, continue their racially motivated hatred of President Barack Obama. As does their hatred of everything “Liberal”, the code word used to attack and demonize any social program that actually helps those in need. From Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, school lunches, women’s rights, minority rights, labor’s rights, student loans, the forty hour work week, overtime pay, public education, assistance to the poor, civil rights, voters rights and any basic human act of decency the right has deemed as socialism, through their fight for fascism and their attempts to dismantle democracy.

And they (the Republicans) need to rethink their failing economic policies and party platform. If they don’t, there will be more backsliding on democracy, racism, voter suppression and use of divisive issues that threaten the very democracy of America — and the breakup of the Republican Party may be the least of their worries. In this election, there are two distinct choices, what side are you on?

FASCISM: TNGOP STYLE

January 10th, 2012 by admin

Tennesseans have reason to be concerned by recent statements by state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey about open government, loss of freedoms and the state’s open meetings law.

Ramsey said in an interview with The Associated Press in December that he thinks elected officials should have more freedom to have some discussions “in secret” outside of official public meetings.

Ramsey said he is in favor of open government and added, “But there’s got to be some kind of little something to allow people to talk without the fear that they’re going to be prosecuted.”

This last statement is void of logic and is a backwoods scare tactic to generate excuses to weaken Tennessee’s Sunshine law. Ramsey and his cronies want secret meetings void of any ethical oversight. One must ask why Tennessee Republicans want secret meetings. What is it they have to hide?

Ramsey’s comments come in the shadows of recent discussion by the Tennessee County Commissioners Association that would allow elected officials to meet privately and hold secret meetings void of any disclosure to the public about the public’s business.

It is expected that Republicans will submit a proposal in the form of a bill for consideration by the state legislature this year. Ramsey plans promise 2012 will get even darker for Tennesseans.

It is obvious that Ramsey’s comments, and the proposal itself, represent a danger to open government, ethics, accountability and the public trust.

The fear of prosecution that Ramsey brings up is not based in fact. It is simply based on lies.

Tennessee’s open meetings law applies specifically to meetings during which public officials deliberate about the people’s business. The Sunshine law was created in 1974, by the Democratic Legislature, to insure officials are, conducting the people’s business, making decisions on how to spend our taxpayer money and directing policy that will govern publicly funding employees and agencies in an open ethical manner.

Governor Bill Haslam said that he opposes the proposed change to the Sunshine law. Without this law, small groups of elected officials can meet privately “in secret” to debate an issue(s), with no regard to public interest and open honest government.

Commissioners in several counties have approved resolutions backing the changes. Similar resolutions have failed in other counties including Unicoi County.

On two recent occasions, Tennessee has been in the national spotlight on MSNBC. Sadly, under the actions of Ron Ramsey, Bill Haslam and the Republican Legislature, Tennessee is now the number 1 state in loss of freedoms in the United States.

The Tennessee GOP has attacked Teachers right to collective bargaining; enacted voter suppression laws that discriminate against senior citizens, college students, minorities and the handicapped, cut out early voting; restricted legal remedy for injury in the work place or because of unsafe products; capped damages for injury or death because of unsafe products, and they are currently gerrymandering voting districts by redistricting that will discriminate against minorities.

The Tennessee Republicans overreach and attack on Tennesseans brings a whole new meaning to living in a “red” state.

Unicoi County Democratic Party Holds Special Election April 22

April 1st, 2017 by admin

When_Did_the_Republican_and_Democratic_Parties_Trade_Places_757_3613Erwin – The Unicoi County Democratic Party will hold a special election on April 22nd at 8:30 a.m. at Erwin Town Hall. A new Vice Chair and Executive Committee members will be elected. Anyone interested in these offices should attend this special meeting. The election will be conducted in accordance with the party Bylaws. View the party Bylaws at this link.

UCDP Elects new Officers and Executive Committee members

March 25th, 2017 by admin

Erwin – Today members of the Unicoi County Democratic Party elected new officers and Executive Committee members:

Chair – Michael Briggs
V Chair – *
Secretary – Sally Dillon
Treasurer – Brunhilde Tober

Executive Committee:
Michaela Platt
Steven Wilcox
Virginia Hampton
John Hashe
Nikki Engle
Mike K Hampton

* A special election to be held in April to elect a new Vice Chair. The newly elected V Chair was unable to serve. Date of the special election is forthcoming.

Unicoi County Democratic Party to Elect New Leaders at Reorganization Convention

February 17th, 2017 by Mike K. Hampton

When_Did_the_Republican_and_Democratic_Parties_Trade_Places_757_3613Erwin, Tenn. — The Unicoi County Democratic Party will hold a Biennial Reorganization Convention to elect new leaders on Saturday, March 25th at 9 a.m. The meeting will take place at Erwin Town Hall.

Local Democrats will elect a new Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and the Executive Committee for Unicoi County for a two-year term. All Democratic residents who are eligible voters of Unicoi County are urged to attend to discuss the party’s agenda and events for 2017-18. During reorganization, attendees will review and adopt the County Party bylaws. We are anxious to build a stronger grassroots organization.

The Reorganization Convention is open to all Unicoi County Democrats. Attendees should arrive early to complete credentialing forms. Doors will open at 8:30 for registration and reorganization committees will meet. and be admitted to the convention prior to 9 a.m. The reorganization will be conducted in accordance with the Unicoi County Democratic Party bylaws. The bylaws can be viewed on this website at under the GOP Dirty Tricks tab at the top right side of the home page.

For more information, contact Michael Briggs at 423-341-1555 or Mike Hampton at 423-743-7608 or visit our facebook page.