Archive for July, 2016

Unicoi County Democratic Party Meeting Saturday, August 6th

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

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

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

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

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

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?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

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

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

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

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

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

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

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

Friday, July 8th, 2016

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

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

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.