Archive for the ‘2012’ Category

UCDP Elects new Officers and Executive Committee members

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

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.

Russia’s Puppet?

Monday, February 6th, 2017

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Mancini Elected Tennessee Democratic Party Chair

Monday, February 6th, 2017

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.

Early Voting Begins Wednesday, October 19th

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

12931245_1593623430963751_8337854735101877452_nEarly voting in Tennessee begins October 19, 2016 and ends Thursday, November 3, 2016. In Erwin, you can vote at the Election Commission downtown Erwin, TN.

The Unicoi County Democratic Party urges you to vote for Hillary Clinton. She is the only qualified candidate for president. She has spent her life of service working for the poor and middle class. Hillary Clinton will make an excellent president. Go to Hillary Clinton’s website to learn more about her life of service and policies to more America forward.13631554_10202035292160011_573393441831653436_n

Democratic Primary: Battle between the Left and the Main Stream

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

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.

GOP Trumped!

Friday, July 17th, 2015

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.

DREAMers:

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

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.

Red State Mentality

Friday, November 29th, 2013

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.

Pelosi Delivers Democrat Votes to Evert Fiscal Cliff

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

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.

Second Hung Jury ~ No Justice in Erwin

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Erwin – Former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris’ retrial on a theft-related charge ended in the same result as the first trial.

A jury once again failed to reach a verdict in Harris’ trial on the charge of theft over $1,000. The jury deliberated for approximately four hours Friday before returning to the courtroom to announce it had deadlocked on a verdict. The jury’s foreman told the Judge that the split in the vote could not be resolved with further deliberation.

After court recessed following the announcement of the result, Harris stood up from the defense table and expressed his appreciation for the family members and supporters who had attended the trial.

This is the second trail that a jury, in the face of a mountain of evidence, failed to agree on a verdict. Can an honest jury be seated in Erwin?