Archive for December, 2011

Tennessee Republicans Voted 100% to Raise Taxes for Tennessee Families

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Monday,every Tennessee Republican in Congress turned their backs on working families in Tennessee and voted against extending a payroll tax cut for the middle class.

Earlier the Senate passed a bill that would extend the payroll tax cut for two months with the support of even many staunch Republicans including Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Republicans (Teabaggers) in the U.S. House buried the Senate bill, saying they prefer a year-long extension instead. They were willing to raise taxes on the middle class to take a cheap punch at President Obama.

Your following Tennessee Repubican Congressmen voted 100% to add an additional $1,000 tax burden to your family, let your Tennessee Republicans know how much you appreciate their betrayal.

Congressman: PHIL ROE, (202) 225-6356
Congressman: JOHN DUNCAN, JR., (202) 225-5435
Congressman: CHUCK FLEISCHMANN, (202) 225-3271
Congressman: SCOTT DESJARLAIS, (202) 225-6831
Congresswoman: DIANE BLACK, (202) 225-4231
Congresswoman: MARSHA BLACKBURN, (202) 225-2811
Congressman: STEPHEN FINCHER, (202) 225-4714

After a week of blistering attacks from President Obama, Senate Republicans, The conservative Washington Post, Senate and Congressional Democrats, the leadership has agreed to fast track a vote. The leadership caved moments ago and have agreed to back the two month extension that will prevent tax increases for 160 million middle class Americans. A vote is expected friday.

Teabaggers are outraged about the change of heart of the leadership. They claim they were thrown under a Kentucky bus because Mitchell (minority leader of the Senate) sided with the democrats.

It is amazing the “low” level Republicans will stoop to undermine President Obama. They have proven repeatedly this year that they will even sink the nation if it achieves their goal of defeating President Obama.

It is no suprise our economy struggles while our do nothing congress plays games with the lives of the middle class. It is becoming more apparent that the 2012 elections will be an election of two clear choices: President Obama or the do nothing Republican Party!

It is ashame the Republicans won’t fight for the middle class like they will for their rich friends. It takes money to buy favor. It is also ashame the GOP is willing to sink the nation if it sinks President Obama!

GOP Wing-Nuts Attack Obama Family Christmas Card

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

GOP bimbo, Sarah Palin and GOP high priest, Rush Limbaugh, attacked the Obama family Christmas card calling it “unChristmas’. Ms Palin pointed out the failure of the card to include the Christian symbol of the Christmas tree. Sadly, someone failed to tell Ms. Palin that the Christmas tree is a pagan symbol and not a Christian symbol.

It is amazing how ignorant GOP operatives Sarah and Rush are in regards to the facts. Both failed to point out that neither the Bush nor Reagain Christmas cards included a Christmas tree. But facts dont matter when GOP minions take low blows at President Obama, simple lies will do.

Unicoi County Commission Votes to not Support Changes to Sunshine Law

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

The Unicoi County Commission voted to not support changes to the Sunshine Law. The vote occurred Monday, December 19, during a special called meeting.

One Commissioner, Doug Bowman, voted to support changes to the Sunshine Law that would permit the County government to conduct secret meetings.

Bowman claimed that secret meetings would only be held in situations where acquisitions of property by the County would be conducted.

However, the proposed changes to the Sunshine Law would abolish the the quorum rule, which would allow for any number of commissioners, up to a quorum, to meet behind closed doors without public notice.

It is not clear how Bowman could not possibly know the actual intent of the rule change, considering the coordinated effort of the Tennessee GOP to abolish open meetings. Was this a simple oversight, Mr. Bowman simply being misinformed or was it something more sinister to mislead people to support efforts to overturn the 37 year old Sunshine Law?

Several Letters to the Editor of the Erwin Record, and a Guest Editorial by Mark Steven, the last Editor of the Erwin Record, voicing opposition to changes to the Sunshine Law, provided verbal fireworks highlighting the outrage against secret meetings the last several weeks, preceding the Monday vote.

It is sad to note that GOP overreach continues in the state of Tennessee and the plans to kill open government will continue.

Unicoi County Commissioners to Vote to Terminate Sunshine Law

Friday, December 16th, 2011

The Unicoi County commissioners will be voting Monday, December 19th on weakening or terminating the Sunshine law.

The Tennessee Sunshine law was enacted in 1974 by a Democratic controlled Legislation. The purpose of the law was created to ensure public disclosure of governmental agencies and activities. Sunshine laws protect the interest of the people. They also ensure open government for the people.

For 37 years, Tennessee county governments have operated under the law with no problems. Now, some county officials insist the law presents them problems conducting the business of the people. These claims are false and misleading.

The only thing that has changed in 37 years is the fact that Republicans have gained control of the state legislature and those making these false claims are in office. One must wonder why the GOP and these county officials want to conduct secret meetings.

Democracy works when the people know the workings of the government. Secret meetings kept the peoples of Russia, China, Cuba, Nazi-Germany, Iran and Iraq in darkness. Secret meetings in Unicoi County will not be good for the people of Unicoi County.

Hopefully, the majority of Unicoi County commissioners rejected any attempt to weaken or strike the Sunshine law. Since these proposals are clearly planned attempts by Republicans to continue to weaken open government, people should remain alert to future attempts to weaken laws designed to protect the working middle class. Any government that operates in secrecy is no longer a democracy.

If you concerned about attempts to weaken open government, go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/do-not-change-the-tennessee-sunshine-law/ and sign the petition to protect the Tennessee Sunshine law.

GOP Seeks Secret Meetings

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Keeping all local meetings open and requiring local government to post public notices of meetings is the last line of defense the public has to ensure the business of the people is done in the open.

I find it alarming when public officials want to conduct the business of the people in secret. What is it these officials want to hide? Locally, we already know they spend liberally – purchasing new buildings and properties with no regard to the tax implications on the people of Unicoi County. We already know their lack of planning and poor finance skills would receive a grade of”F” in any local college business class.

Current attempts on the state and local level to weaken sunshine laws should serve as a warning to citizens that close door meetings will reap a cycle of corruption and wrong doing.

I question why the Unicoi County Commission feels it necessary to consider to conduct secret business. There is never any good or ethical reason to conduct meetings behind closed doors. Every citizen has reason to be concerned that local government would even consider such a measure and question the reason(s) any politician would support it.

Occupy Nashville Continues Occupation of State Capital

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Nashville, Tenn. – Week after week its endured and the Occupy Nashville movement continues to move forward. Nashville protesters have avoided the raids and shutdowns experienced by other Occupy movements in other US cities.

Occupy Nashville just hosted a state wide assembly of other Occupy movements. Occupiers from Johnson City, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis visited Nashville to learn a variety of tactics like getting supply lines going.

Occupy movements are using Twitter and other online tools to communicate and send out calls for supplies and other needs. The occupy movement is beginning to communicate and exchange information.

They also appear to be preparing for the long haul. They are looking forward to welcoming the Legislation back to Legislative Plaza in January.

Recently, the Nashville movement has welcomed the homeless creating a tent city on the grounds of the State Capital. 60 tents make up the current tent city. All must follow strict rules to help protect the Occupy movement.

While occupiers in other cities have been evicted, Nashville’s – a core group of 90 and a looser support network of hundreds of part-time occupiers make up the Nashville movement. They have survived two attempted evictions on Oct. 28-29. Fifty-five people were arrested but charges were eventually dropped.

A preliminary injunction has allowed the camp to remain for now, but a status conference will be held with a federal judge on Feb. 3. Protesters say that problems still exist with city inspectors warning of food preparation safety standards. The state was caught, in emails, attempting to block the occupier’s efforts to secure port-a-potties. The emails were obtained under Tennessee’s open records law.

Despite the range of political beliefs represented in the camp – and Nashville’s reputation as a liberal city in the state — the protesters have narrowed their “goals” down to three. They are: ending corporate personhood, getting money out of politics and supporting Occupy Wall Street.

The Gingrinch Solution: Legalize Child Labor

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Its official, Washington insider and Lobbyists, Newt Gingrich is surging and leading, as GOP presidential candidate, amongst the GOP base. The new Republican presidential frontrunner, Newt Gingrich, claims America is ignoring an untapped labor resource: child labor. He tried to clarify his comment calling child labor laws “stupid” in a recent interview with The Washington Post, while refusing to back away from his statement and idea.

Newt said he was not advocating restructuring child labor laws or suggesting children drop out of school to become janitors. “I’m talking about working children (age 9-14) about 20 hours a week and being empowered to succeed.” “The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in their schools, they’d begin the process of rising.” Foolproof, Newt!

Gingrich, however, repeated the idea yesterday in his meeting with the “Donald”, saying that replacing unionized janitors with students would be “dramatically less expensive.” Is anyone surprised that the leading Republican presidential candidate would create new ideas to exploit child labor while striking a blow against good paying jobs for Americans? Amazing how Republicans just keep protecting the rich and corporations while they dismantle the working middle class.

Federal guidelines state that minors aged 14 and 15 generally may not work more than 18 hours a week when school is in session, and no more than 3 hours per day when school is in session. Some states have stricter limits.

“It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid,” said the former House speaker Friday at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. “Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.” He also said, “Poor kids have idea how to work, stay on the job all day and make an honest living. They are use to making money illegal ways.”

Newt’s gross generalization of the poor and struggling middle class shows how out of touch Mr. Gingrich is with reality. He makes $60,000 for an hour speech while the poor single mother’s of these poor kids’ works three jobs for minimum wage and a wage of 20,000 a year. This is the typical attitude of the out of touch 1% who has no clue of the struggle of the working middle class and poor.

It is troubling that Republican presidential candidates continue to support wing-nut ideas. But if it wins favor with their rich friends, what a great strategy, destroy the “high wages” standard of living of the middle class while paying poor kids to perform “low wage” child labor. What better way to continue the attack on organized labor while addressing the issue of what to do with those poor kids. We could always use poor kids as replacement workers for Republican union busting efforts. Really?