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*You can scroll beyond the COTU Twtter feed to read more in depth articles and see a decade + of COTU archived posts in the right side column

Monday, December 31, 2012

Pickens County School District Receives Complaint About Prayer In Schools & Board Meetings

The Pickens County School Board has received a complaint from the Freedom from Religion Foundation concerning prayers at trustee meetings which the foundation said in a letter is “a serious constitutional violation.”

On the face, it appears that the Wisconsin based Freedom From Religion Foundation is simply trying to use the matter as a publicity stunt much in the same manner as Westboro Baptist protests military funerals.

School trustees received legal advice in a closed meeting on December 17, 2012 after the district received the complaint in November.

As of yet, the board has taken no action on the matter, but School Trustees will be briefed in January on what further action may need to be taken, if any.

A student is invited each month to the School Board meetings after being selected by a school’s principal or another faculty member.

An attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation,
“We hope that The School District Of Pickens County will follow court precedence indicating that school boards and school activities cannot institute prayer. The appropriate action would be to drop prayer from any order of business relating to school functions. We are also familiar with the matter that prayer is part of various sporting events around the county. It is beyond the scope of a public school board to allow prayer at any school function. The Supreme Court has consistently struck down school-sponsored prayers.  
Prayer at public school board meetings and other school functions is unnecessary, inappropriate, and divisive. It’s not a matter of majority rules. The Bill of Rights protects minority views as well.
The attorney also stated in a release that "a local resident" complained to the organization about the prayers, but refused to identify the person by name.

The release by the FFRF says prayers have included references to the “holy spirit” and often end with “in Jesus’ name we pray” or other references to Jesus.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation hints at legal action if the School District fails to take action on the matters before them by the end of January 2013.
“If they decide to continue with prayers then we’d have to examine whether there’s legal action or anything else that would need to be taken.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation website can be found at: FFRF.ORG 

There is no mention of the matter on the site which is rather comprehensive other than a link to a Greenville News article stating most of the information above.


Conservatives Of the Upstate

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Do I Look Fat With This iPad?

God has given us a true gift by making South Carolina's Upstate our home …

I personally thank God every day that I do NOT live in New York City!

The New York Times is reporting that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released crime data for the city as 2012 draws to a close, noting that a slight increase in the overall major crime index for the city can be entirely accounted for by an increase in iPhone and iPad thefts.

Information contained in Bloomberg's report … "As of Monday, the Police Department recorded 3,484 more major crimes in 2012 than for the same period last year. "

“If you just took away the jump in Apple thefts, we’d be down for the year,” said Marc La Vorgna, the Mayor’s press secretary.

So, this means …

• Apple is responsible for crime in New York City.

• Foods with trans-fat and drinks larger than 16 ounces (both banned in New York City) are causing obesity.

• Cigarettes and not the decisions of the people that smoke them are causing deaths.

Lest we forget, Bloomberg is also on record saying, "The need for guns of any type in modern society is questionable."

Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns initiative focuses on state and federal gun laws, his new Independence USA SuperPAC [Political Action Committee] goal is electing or defeating those who make the gun laws. He injected nearly $9 million of his personal funds into the in SuperPAC in 2012. 

Bloomberg is a people don't kill people kind of guy.

Apparently, it's Apple's fault for making phones that people can actually use that is causing crime.

Wonder what Bloomberg would think about Apple pulling all product sales and all four Apple Stores which account for nearly $1 Billion (that's with a "B") in retail sales each year for the city!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 Pickens County Delegation Meeting Scheduled

The Pickens County Legislative Delegation will hold its annual public meeting at the Central Town Hall Court Room at 1067 West Main St in Central on January 3, 2013.

Reports from organizations and boards will be heard starting at 5:30PM.

The floor will be opened for public comments at 6PM.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend the meeting. Citizens will have an opportunity to ask questions and make comments to members of the Pickens County Legislative Delegation

The delegation will comment on various issues that may be introduced in the upcoming session of the General Assembly, which convenes on Tuesday, January 8, 2013.

The Pickens County Legislative Delegation consists of two Senators: Senator Thomas Alexander and Senator Larry Martin, and four Representatives Joshua Putnam, Davey Hiott, Phillip Owens, and B. R. Skelton.

For further information, please contact the Delegation Office at (864)850-7070.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Pickens County Council To Elect 2013 Chairperson

The Pickens County Council will elect a new chairperson on Monday January 7, 2013 at 6:30PM.

The meeting is to be held in Council Chambers at the auditorium in the County Administration building located at 222 McDaniel Ave, Pickens SC 29671.

Easley Council woman Jennifer Willis served as the 2012 Chair.


Conservatives Of The The Upstate

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Op Ed: Connect-T-Cut

by Philip Smith "Rus"/webmaster, Conservatives Of The Upstate

Yesterday, tragic news gripped the country as 20 year old, Adam Lanza entered a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school and gunned down 20 children and 6 adults and then apparently shot himself.

Whenever I hear the state name "Connecticut", I think of when I was the age most of the children that were murdered yesterday. When my older brother and I would play Monopoly© - he always called the last light blue property "Connect-T-Cut". If he got all the properties in any group, he'd say every time that the property "wins the game".

"You know Rus, Connect-T-Cut wins the game."

Many parents see me walking home from school with my son every day. I volunteer a good bit at the school too. I am very blessed to know so many children by first and last name ... I'm thinking of all the kids I know and that I high five and point to and smile at everyday at the school.

They call me "Mr. Rus", "Cameron's Dad", "Mr. Smith" ... I can imagine there's someone like me in Newtown, Connecticut that just lost 20 friends who never judged them, who loved them without really knowing them, and was friends of their parents.

I take comfort in knowing the innocence of a young soul is an immediate and rejoiced line break at the gates of heaven and that a possessed/disturbed soul takes the hell express.

The scariest part of the shooting to me is that there are some very unstable people walking among us. Some people seem to be filled with hatred, but go freely about quoting the Bible or pretending to be a friend to some of us, yet they are on a hair trigger all the time.

Law enforcement & townspeople seem rather unconcerned about the unstable among us. I honestly think governments and law enforcement (not by force or punishment) could stem a lot of this by taking the threat of an unstable person more seriously and by building better relationships with everyone they touch and know.

As with any case, there were signs this was going to happen. Rarely does someone snap the 1st time or the 10th time ~ violently, like this.

Some of us assign this to God's will or God's judgement on a non-believing nation, it is my belief that God had no part of this incident.

1 Peter 5:8
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

God's will is comfort in times like this.

Some of us don't know what to think about the lives of these children being cut short by such an event and are afraid this is a sign of the end.

John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

A convicted heart can understand most anything. As a Christian, I choose to focus on understanding what is revealed to me and seek knowledge about things that will advance my understanding of my friend's and family's tomorrow. We aren't necessarily meant to understand everything here on this earth, rather we are asked to focus our understanding on the relationship with our Father in heaven.

John 3:8
"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

James 1:5
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

I feel comfort in knowing that MY faith is solid and intact - it is the one thing I truly CAN take with me.

Comfort to me is knowing that this could have happened 10/20/30 years ago to me ~ even in a much better world.

While I certainly believe God had no part in taking these children away from us, I know for certain it is only by his grace that I remain here today and will exist tomorrow.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Conservatives Of The Upstate
A little history …
A common myth is that The Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving. Texans claim the first Thanksgiving in America actually took place in San Elizario, a community near El Paso, in 1598 ~ 23 years before the Pilgrims'. They staged a reenactment of the event that culminated in the Thanksgiving celebration: the arrival of Spanish explorer Juan de Onate on the banks of the Rio Grande. De Onate is said to have held a big Thanksgiving festival after leading hundreds of settlers on a grueling 350-mile long trek across the Mexican desert.
* Information gathered from

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Principles Of Liberty ...

"If the principles of liberty are not firmly fixed and established in the present constitution, in vain may we hope for retrieving them hereafter "
~ attributed to the signature of An Old Whig, Antifederalist No. 49 = most likely Patrick Henry who felt the constitution didn't go far enough to define rights and gave too much power to the Federal government.

Henry is most famous for his line, "Give me liberty, or give me death!"

To read more on Anti-Federalism:

Monday, November 19, 2012

An Op Ed: Is The Pickens Doodle Bike Trail Moral?

Is the Pickens Doodle Bike Trail Moral?

So much has changed in our society in the past 45 years. The most apparent change has been in morals. The result of this downfall of morals has led us down the path of communism. Our country was based on Christian morals. That's no longer the morals we follow.

We used to believe the Ten Commandments were our moral compass. Proof that we now ignore many of the Ten Commandments is how the collectivist moral code has taken over in the project which seeks a public bike path on the former Pickens Doodle railroad tracks. This project is in direct violation of two commandments…namely

“Thou shalt not steal”


"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors' property.”

Now, the new “greater good” morals of communism have taken over. Our local governments have now endorsed the taking of private/personal property without owners' consent while proclaiming they are doing “good.”

A small percentage of people who “covet” someone else's private property have used government to do their act of immorality.

It is very depressing to see how eagerly the people of Pickens County jump on the bandwagon of wanting to steal another's personal property rights just for their own personal enjoyment. Our local governments are making it “legal” to covet and steal our neighbors property.

As Christians, we need to stand up for the property rights of the landowners along this proposed bike path and tell our local government officials we do not support breaking the Ten Commandments so a small group of our population can ride their bikes. Please call your Pickens City Councilmen or Easley City Councilmen and tell them it is time we start respecting the Ten Commandments.

Johnnelle Raines
Pickens County Resident

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's Not JUST That ...

Recently appearing on The Pickens County Courier website …
"Of course, I could also comment on the factions at war over the old, abandoned Doodle Line. Pickens and Easley would like to combine their efforts and turn the old rail line into a safe, aesthetically pleasing and pedestrian-friendly path where families can ride bicycles, run or walk and not only enjoy the out-of-doors but also reap some of the health benefits associated with physical activity. 
As there is any time a current of change surges through the county, certain groups are appalled by the notion that taxpayer dollars would be used to groom Pickens and Easley into anything remotely resembling Greenville. Put in a pedestrian-friendly trail and what’s next?" 
~ Nicole Daughhetee
The opposition isn't just tax dollars, but a whole host of other issues …

Property rights … nearly all of the property owners along the trail DON'T want it!

Property rights … the property owners were not notified (personally or by a means in which ANY of them saw word of it) or given the chance to have input BEFORE starting the initiative.

Property rights … the matter is a land grab through use of eminent domain

Deceit … The YMCA deceptively conducted a bias survey of "members" asking if they would "like" a walking trail in Pickens and Easley.

Deceit … Usage and economic impact figures are being inflated on use of other trails to entice city and county politicians

Legal concerns … Rails to trails litigation has not been favorable in most every case amongst the hundreds filed against governments around the country.

Legal concerns … Property owners liability and insurance WILL skyrocket and potentially expose the cities and county to subrogation

Taxation … the "rails to trails" would effectively remove some land from tax rolls and create tax breaks for a privileged few while potentially raising taxes on dozens that will not be able to afford it ~ causing them to lose their property to delinquent tax auctions.

And yes … tax dollars … what more economic activity could such a trail produce? Pickens and Easley seem to be booming without it! What more exercise or pedestrian friendly area do you need than our sidewalks and parks? Can we afford this when we need roads paved in Pickens County?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Don't let them eat cake!

"Don't let them eat cake!"
Nearly a week after issues arose over whether utility crews from Alabama could assist with providing aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy because they weren't unionized, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now banning food donations to the homeless and to shelters citing that the fat content cannot be "analyzed". 

Read the full story here:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Polls are open from 7AM to 7PM EST time.

In order to vote, all you have to have is some form of I.D. - not necessarily your voter I.D. card.

Problems, Concerns, Questions:

Registration & Elections Commission,
Pickens County Administration Facility
222 McDaniel Ave B-9
Pickens, SC 29671

864-898-5948 / 864-898-5949

Need to know where to vote, go here:

You can view the results, updated every 15 minutes, for Pickens County, including Senate & Sheriff races here:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Obama Signs Executive Order Creating "a partnership with local law enforcement agencies"

President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Friday October 23, 2012 that expands the Department of Homeland Security into "a partnership with local law enforcement".

The executive order creates a "White House Homeland Security Partnership Council" and Steering Committee, aimed at fostering local partnerships between federal and private institutions “to address homeland security challenges.”

The Pickens County Sheriff's Race is far more important that you can imagine.

Could such a "tie with the Federal government" lead to control of local law enforcement agencies?

For more on the story, see:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An Op Ed: About That Hack

About That Hack
by Philip Smith
webmaster, Conservatives Of The Upstate

As many of you are aware, the Governor of South Carolina, along with South Carolina Law Enforcement [SLED], has announced that over the last month a "cyber attack" was made by "a foreign source" on the State's income tax database. The security breach has resulted in more than three and a half million Social Security and portions of credit and debit card numbers being exposed to potential identity theft.

First, know that a lot of media is hyping this up to scare you.

The Governor's Office seems to be hyping this up for reasons of ignorance of the issue.

I won't accuse Governor Haley of manufacturing a re-election crisis to show the public that she can handle it. Nor will I accuse her of potentially favoring a business in the remedy of the situation that may have helped her in election bid.

I'm a supporter of our Governor and I voted for her, but something about only getting service from one (and only one) particular source of identity protection is fishy to me. There are hundreds of companies who may be more efficient, cheaper, or more comprehensive in their protection.

I have a source that is a good friend and is VERY close to the situation. They tell me that the situation may be getting blown out of proportion. 

Here's why …

Apparently, those affected by the breach will receive a mailed letter by tomorrow (Wednesday October 31, 2012) if their information was compromised.

I'm told, by a trusted source, that if you do not get refunds and or did not pay your taxes by credit card - most likely you were not affected.

The breaches include information dating back to 1998. To note about stolen numbers - all credit card numbers expire after 4 years and the average lifespan of a checking account is 5 years - so older info is less risky … still an issue, but less of one.

In April of 2011, more than 25 million credit card numbers were stolen from Sony in connection to their Playstation Online Gaming network. Sony offered a similar 1 year of credit/identity protection free of charge to customers that wanted to take advantage of it. A similar situation has occurred at CitiBank and Bank Of America.

Not a single case of theft has been reported in the media in connection with these breaches ~ which each was on a scale of nearly 900% larger!

What needs to happen?

I think an investigation of the practices of these "Credit/Identity Protection" companies needs to take place at the Federal level in this country. It is my supposition that the results of the investigation may be similar to computer viruses being created by the virus protection software companies from a few years back.

A lot of concern has arisen from the fact that the governor has authorized the use of a certain credit and identity protection service free of charge for one year. What about after the year? I believe, if you can determine that your information was not compromised in another database, you have the law and reason on your side.

Something else to take into account. In order to use the information, "the hackers" will have to have more than just the numbers they got. They'll need security codes, addresses, phone numbers, maiden names, and possibly more.

I fielded concerns on facebook about "the hackers" being able to use the information to fill in other important data.

This is a concern, but I would reiterate the results of the Sony breach.

I'd also say that, in some cases, not all … a hacker does such a thing as a test for larger scale breaches - maybe as a test run. A hacker also usually does hacks for fun (to them) or personal satisfaction.

Here's a private message I received from a facebook friend:
"Stunt or not, I take my credit info very seriously and the fact that the information stored on state computers is not encrypted concerns me.

If the state is offering to pay for one year of monitoring out of taxpayer funds, that also concerns me. Even at $7-10 per acct, even if only a small number take advantage, is still a huge expense. It would have cost less to encrypt the data.
Still, I'll take them up on their offer. The activation code is "scdor123" and it's a generic code.

I'm most concerned about protecting my child. Seems savvy hackers are targeting teens because they can get away with the id theft for a few years before they ever apply for credit and by that time it's already too late."
What can you do?

If you receive the letter, OR as a general precaution …

• You can go this week to the bank and get a new account number and a new debit card - usually free of charge.

Yes this will be an inconvenience. But, IF anything results from this data breach, imagine the inconvenience of fixing the problem. This is a simple step you can take. Remember to adjust your accounts if you pay bills online. If you can't do this, get help from a savvy younger adult that you trust.

• You can add extra safeguards to your accounts …

Example: With my AT&T account I'm able to add a "parental passcode" that is not my social security number.

• DO NOT BE TAKEN IN BY FREE CREDIT REPORT WEBSITES. You are entitled to a free credit report from each reporting agency every three years.

To obtain yours … visit this government sponsored website ... 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Place Where He Said The Thing About ...

Many of you have asked where Obama said this or that …

Here's a video for you to share that gives exact speeches where Obama said things such as …

[Speaking of G.W. Bush] "It's unpatriotic to have so much debt!"

 [On the campaign trail] "I will reduce our budget deficit in 1/2 in my first term."

 Link to Youtube video:

Misconceptions ...

By Philip Smith

#1 ... The stock market is doing better than it was 4 years ago.

Actually, it's stagnant. The Dow Jones replaced a number of stocks in its average and they are outperforming the previous stocks tracked within the average.

Example: if Apple Computer had joined the Dow Jones as proposed ... The Dow would be at 19,000+

Apple (and a few other tech stocks) that have risen several 100 points each are artificially pumping up the NASDAQ average.

#2 ... Unemployment has reduced in the last few months.

Actually the people that have been unemployed so long are no longer being counted.

Some part time wage earners are also counted in new estimates and were not before.

Facts are facts. The number of people on government assistance has doubled in the last 4 years. This alone is an artificial stimulus ... People on government assistance get upwards of $500 a month for just groceries! That's what my family spends in two months <-- and we eat VERY well and pretty much whatever we want!

#3 ... Home building is up.

Actually, natural disasters and property destruction are up. People are taking advantage of low interest rates right NOW to rebuild.

Low interest rates are killing people (Seniors) that depend on investment income.

#4 ... Car sales are up.

Actually car sales ARE up. Many people are being forced into downsizing to more fuel efficient cars. While this is mostly a good thing ... car sales will plummet after a "renewed American fleet". Truck manufacturing facilities are laying off workers.

#5 … Renewable energy is the key to solving our problems.

I've researched this ad naseum just to see if I could personally benefit from solar or or wind and the available technology just isn't there. If you buy solar/wind/renewable tech right now you are merely supporting an industry or a cause - not really saving money or making an investment that will provide a return.

Solyndra (solar panels) got $525 million from the federal govt and is bankrupt and liquidated.

A123 (electric car batteries) just filed for bankruptcy last week. They got $235 million.

Many many companies are dropping usage of solar and wind because it just isn't as efficient as planned (or portrayed) and doesn't generate profit (Seimens announcement).

The investments in failed renewables in this country by this current President amount to more than $1.4 BILLION.

Don't you think every state in the union would have been better off with a check for $20 Million instead?

#6 … We need to tax the top 3% more.

If we taxed them 100% of their income we'd STILL have a budget deficit.

That's a fact! 

It may seem like a lot of money but the number 1 TRILLION is an unimaginable number.

At one number per second (and that gets difficult after 100,000) it would take you roughly 31709 years to count to 1 trillion!

Let that soak in.

Research any or all of this. Be informed. Don't just vote over one issue. Don't just vote selfishly over one or two issues that ultimately don't move this country forward.

Please don't be complacent this election.

EVERY OFFICE - even the Sheriff has importance to these issues mentioned above.

Philip Smith

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Skelton No Show Provides Opportunity For Harris At Candidate Forum

With nearly 75 in attendance, State House District 3 Candidate, Ed Harris answered questions at a forum Thursday night while his opponent was represented by a photo in a chair.

Current District 3 State Representative B.R. Skelton, who is seeking re-election in House District 3, had told organizers just prior to the event he would not show. Harris won the Republican Primary held in June, but was challenged by Skelton before the SC State GOP Executive Committee. Harris' win was overturned due to a question about his filing of a statement of economic interests - both paper and electronic as required by new law designed by incumbents. Harris qualified as a petition candidate by a healthy margin above the required threshold to appear on the ballot by name.

Ed Harris will appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot along with Skelton's.

Harris, a conservative Republican, says he is running to give the people a clear choice.

Many of the questions at the forum that were directed at Harris involved education.

Harris stated that he is against unfunded mandates from Washington and supports good pay for teachers. Harris cited that Pickens County has a good school and that decisions on education should remain local.

Harris is selling pictures of the forum including the photo of Skelton in a chair to fundraise in the last few weeks before the election.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reminder: Pickens County Senate Debate October 23, 2012

Tuesday October 23, 2012 @ 6:30PM

Larry Martin currently represents Pickens County in the South Carolina Senate.

Rex Rice, a former SC House Representative, was a Republican candidate for the Senate seat who was knocked off the primary ballot in June, giving Martin the win by default.

Rice will be on the ballot listed as a petition candidate.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Want To Give Input On Proposed Textbooks?

Want To Give Input On Proposed Textbooks?

The public is invited to review textbooks and instructional materials that have been proposed for use in South Carolina’s public schools.

The instructional materials are on display at 25 colleges and universities throughout the state.  The materials will be on display from Monday October 15 through Friday November 23, 2012, with instructions for submitting comments available at each site.  State Board of Education members will review citizens’ comments before a final decision is made on adopting the materials.

For more information on where to view the materials, click here to head to the SC Department of Educations website.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Conservatives Of The Upstate Is Watching Out For You ...

After much research and consternation, I have finally located all the parties involved in the "Rails to Trail" of the Pickens Railroad (commonly called the Doodle Railroad).

It is obvious from reading the forms submitted to the STB (Surface Transportation Board) that the City governments of Pickens and Easley do not care about the property owners along the railroad. In fact, the home and property owners are never mentioned in the pleadings.

Studies made by the filing agencies only reference concern for the people by saying "the railroad is located in a low-density, sparsely populated, area".

Along with The Conservatives of the Upstate, the people along the railroad have …

• Met with & gotten signatures from 115 folks against the bicycle trail.

• It should be noted that another 25 couldn't make it to our signature meeting, but are against it.

• 93 out of 95 selected at random at the Pickens Flea Market, disapproved of the trail when asked face to face whether they approved or disapproved of the matter.
Internet surveys are biased. Many people vote more than once. There often is no tracking of residency or location.

• One survey, designed by proponents, simply asked …

"Would you like to have a nice bicycle trail in Pickens County?"

The survey didn't ask … "Would you like to have a bicycle trail running on an old railway inches from your backyard or house or through the middle of your property?"

A few other facts ...

• Since the Swamp Rabbit Trail has been installed, obesity levels in Greenville have climbed from 52% to 59%.

• The officers/executives/board members of Upstate Forever got the trail moved and rerouted around their residences.

• The STB report identifies an "element occurrence" of the black-spored quillwort, with no mention of concern for the adjacent property owners.

The filing with the STB includes many errors …

• Such as non-existent "existing right of ways".

• There are no right of ways for many of the properties that can be found!

• The filing states that none of the properties are important farmlands.

• The filing says, "The Doodle Line is a good candidate for a rails to trails conversion because Pickens County is a tourist destination."

Will the homeowners just have to bear the bikers talking and yelling as they pass?

How does economic activity come from bikers who notoriously don't buy anything?

There may be an endangered plant, but the people don't count?

The claim has been made …

"The towns are rural and sparsely populated." 

This just simply isn't true, just ask the 115 property owners that have come out against the trail.

Watch out property owners!

This is Agenda 21 at its best.

Don't back your neighbors and the next time it will be your property.

Junius Smith
President, Conservatives of The Upstate

Controversy Brews Over Obama Campaign Use Of American Flag

A controversy has been stirring over the last three weeks after offered a limited edition lithograph with depiction of the American Flag with the blue square and white stars removed ~ replacing them with Obama's campaign "Horizon 'O'". U.S. Flag Code - Title 4
"The American Flag should not bear any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature."
Chapter 1, Section 3 prohibits
"the use of the flag for advertising purposes." 
Of course there's always the "fair use clause" for satire or unique (but unaltered) use in events or promotion of events.

Use by the President of The United States should technically be strict.

Obama not only endorses his official campaign website but personally approved this artwork for sale.

Then, there was also this recent incident at a Democratic Headquarters office …

Monday, October 1, 2012


Reminder ... The Pickens County Election Office at The Pickens County Administration building in Pickens, SC will be open Saturday, October 6, 2012 (8AM to Noon) for the Voter Registration Deadline

Easley School Board Candidate Debate

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pickens County Elections Commission Releases November Ballot

The following Candidates are going to be on the Novermber 06, 2012 Ballot.

Please be advised that you will only be eligible to vote for the individuals who are located within your voting district.

State Senate District 2

Larry A Martin, Republican

Rex Rice, Petition

State House of Representatives District 3

B. R. Skelton, Republican

Ed Harris, Petition

State House of Representatives District 4

David Davey Hiott, Republican

State House of Representatives District 5

Phil Owens, Republican

State House of Representatives District 10

Joshua Putnam, Republican


Rick Clark, Republican

Tim Morgan, Petition

Stan Whitten, Petition

County Council District 3

Randy Crenshaw, Republican

Kevin Link, Petition

County Council District 4

G. Neil Smith, Republican

County Council District 5

Jennifer H. Willis, Republican

Chris Bowers, Petition

County Council District 6

Tom Ponder, Republican


Brent Suddeth, Republican

Clerk of Court

Pat Welborn, Republican


Kandy C. Kelley, Republican


Dale M. Looper, Republican

School Board District 1

Herbert P. Cooper Jr, Nonpartisan

School Board District 3

Alex Saitta, Nonpartisan

School Board District 5

Judy Edwards, Nonpartisan

Valerie Ramsey, Nonpartisan

David Whittemore, Nonpartisan

Georges Creek Watershed District Commission

R Stewart Bauknight, Nonpartisan

John H Cutchin, Nonpartisan

Cynthia Wise, Nonpartisan

Brushy Creek Watershed District Commission

Adelaide M Gantt, Nonpartisan

Eric McConnell, Nonpartisan

Three & Twenty Watershed District Commission

J Mark Bishop, Nonpartisan

W H McAbee III, Nonpartisan

Phil Tripp, Nonpartisan

Leonard Allen Williams, Nonpartisan

Not making one "easy in poverty" ...

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth, I traveled much and I observed in different countries that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course, became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."
~ Benjamin Franklin
....November 29, 1766

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dear Confused ...

Here's a comment received on ...
"I feel that the trail is just what we need. Support for the trail will grow. Maybe after the trail is made you will see as well. If not, I'm sorry you feel you are being under-minded."
COTU reply ...
I believe you're confused ...

I think all of us would "like" a nice trail.

We'd like one without using taxpayer money, without eroding private property rights, and one that will be a consensus among ALL county residents as a wise decision .

The issue is also priorities.

With Pickens getting 4+ new restaurants and a Walmart + all the economic activity it will bring ... We can't say that a trail will bring much, if any, economic activity.

Easley is even more bustling with economic activity at the current time.

We NEED roads paved, electrical lines buried, police protection, and most importantly ~ government who will put as little burden as possible on its citizens.

Last time I checked, I could walk out of my front door and have the whole earth as "my trail", we had great YMCA branches ~ 3 in Pickens County. We have two very walkable universities, we have accessible school and municipal rec facilities, we have gyms scattered throughout, and we have our body as our temple.

It is responsible to maintain your health.

It is a sacred contract between you and God ... not you and government.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Why are we trying to build bike trails?

Please let me answer the writer at The Pickens County Courier about the people who oppose the "Doodle Railroad Trail" and why.

Reference: Doodle Trail talks spark local debate/Pickens County Courier

The Conservatives of the Upstate did two surveys.

The first was a random sampling of walkers through the Pickens Jockey Lot. When we approached a walker, we had no idea where they lived. We only asked them if they were from Pickens County. Many were from Pickens AND Easley, but a consensus opinion was 93 out of 95 against the bike trail. These aren't "about 93" or "approximately 93". If we want to estimate, it's "nearly 98%" (97.8% to be exact).

In a second survey, (3) of our members conducted a survey of the property owners along the proposed trail. We visited 54 houses. 30 answered the door. 29 of the 30 were against the trail, and cited a loss of privacy and safety as two of their greatest concerns. (96.6%)

The residents along the trail asked the Conservatives of the Upstate for help as they were dumbfounded that their elected representatives seemed against them.
Many of our members are from the cities of Pickens and Easley. It is true that I personally am from the county, but I ask you to remember that at the August meeting of the County Council, the YMCA presented a survey that was totally biased having only polled some of the Y members. They had at least two people from Greenville County and one from out of state to testify. 
The Conservatives of the Upstate presented factual information about the "Swamp Rabbit Trail" in Greenville: areas of the trail are unsafe, it is dangerous, and the cost for upkeep/policing are astronomical millions!

In King County, Washington a man sued for $3.5 million and won the case saying he "hit a dip in the trail".

The people supporting The Swamp Rabbit Trail i.e., Mayor Knox White and officials from Upstate Forever had protested it going into their neighborhoods (Gower Estates and Parkins Mill Road) and got it moved. Cars, mopeds, and motorcycles have been seen on the trail.

Walkers have made numerous claims the Bikers are not courteous and vice versa.

Greenville has a multi-million budget for next year alone.

Travelers Rest has had to add two policemen at great cost.

Upstate Forever, a mostly Greenville Organization, and a professor at Furman University had a meeting on economic impact of the trail, but didn't invite us to the meeting. We saw it in the paper as it was taking place.

When grant money from the Federal government is used, all citizens have the right to protest. I remind you that the feds are over $16 trillion in debt, the state is underfunded on pensions by $23 billion, the county owes $400 million for school buildings, and the cities owe $10's of millions .

Why are we trying to build bike trails?

Junius Smith 
President / Chairman of the Board, Conservatives of the Upstate 

That Time Is Now!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pickens GOP Endorses Harris ...

Press Release September 20, 2012 ...

Pickens County Republican Party

On Tuesday September 18, 2012 at a regular meeting of the Pickens County Republican Party held at The Rosewood Center in Liberty, SC, a motion was made to officially endorse Mr. Ed Harris for S.C. House District 3.

The motion overwhelmingly passed 29 to 1.

Mr. Harris won the Republican Primary on June 12, 2012 but was subsequently sued by the loser, Representative B.R Skelton, to overturn the will of the voters. Mr. Skelton took a page out of the Democrat playbook- if you can’t win at the ballot box- then go to court. Skelton even used a Democrat lawyer who is also a member of the S.C. House.

Mr. Harris, along with Pickens County Republican Party chairman, Phillip Bowers, both testified that Harris properly filed and a South Carolina circuit judge ruled that Bowers and Harris acted in good faith.

Nevertheless, Harris was removed from the ballot by the state Republican Party Chairman.

Harris was able to get over 1700 signatures, nearly twice the amount required, and will be on the general election ballot in November. The Pickens County Republican Party believes that, since Mr. Harris was legitimately selected as the GOP nominee, he should receive the full support of the party.

~ Pickens County Republican Party

* Conservatives Of The Upstate was honored to assist Harris with obtaining a large number of his petition signatures.

Taxpayers don't have a right to be in opposition to big spending?

In a recent Pickens County Courier article, the following was stated …
"There has been a lot of vocal opposition to the rail-to-trail project by local groups like the Conservatives of the Upstate, but Brackett says that she has received positive feedback from the people and businesses in Pickens. 
Simons, like Brackett in Pickens, has had a positive response in Easley. 
Both city administrators pointed out that several people who have vocally opposed the project don’t even live in Easley or Pickens, where the proposed Doodle Line trail will connect."
So, if we get the point here … you have to LIVE somewhere to be opposed gross misuse of taxpayer money and severe abuse of private property property rights?

To clarify, the majority of Conservatives Of The Upstate members are in Pickens and Easley AND we ARE ALL taxpayers that are a part of the county!

Furthermore, at the last two County Council meetings, vocal opposition has been made from landowners along the trail … you can't get any closer than that!

Conservatives Of The Upstate is for wise, CONSERVATIVE use of taxpayer funds and expressly for private property rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

To read the full article:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Virginia Legislature looks to put penalties on state & local governments that usurp private property rights


A constitutional amendment to further strengthen Virginia’s private property rights …

The House Judiciary committee in the Virginia State Legislature approved HR 1433, the “Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2011" in January of this year ...

According to a press release from one of the measure’s co-sponsors, Rep. Bob Goodlatte:
…prevent [state and local] governments from taking property from one private entity and giving it to another private entity. When abuses occur, this legislation will prohibit localities and states from receiving federal economic assistance on all economic development projects, not just those upon which abuses occur, for two years for each violation.
While this legislation cracks down hard on private-private transfers, it would not prohibit the use of eminent domain for traditional, purely public purposes.

Other State legislatures, and even the Federal House Of Representatives are considering such bills. 

They're Only Your Rights When "WE" Say Their Your Rights

In a public meeting for River Falls Fire Dept, Greenville County Councilman Joe Dill said.

 "Yes, we are working on extending the Swamp Rabbit Trail north through Marietta SC."

When asked about private property rights, Councilman Dill said,

"They have the right to sell their land if they want to."

When asked, "What if they don't want to sell."

Dill had no answer.


Tonight on WYFF, the NBC News affiliate for the SC Upstate, residents near Pelham Rd in Greenville are opposing the building of a CVS.

The same opposed a new Walmart.

The interesting part is ... a number of the people in the audience and speaking out against the issue are the same bike trail / "green use" crowd.

Interesting that they are claiming property rights when it comes to commercial development, but if it's "green" they could care less about property rights.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Fully Stand Behind Something That's Dangerous?

The following is a video of a Greenville County Council Meeting …

This SAME person Gary B. was at the Pickens County Council meeting in August speaking positively about the proposed Doodle Trail, yet he's seen here as a supporter/rider of The Swamp Rabbit Trail, but speaking about how dangerous it is?


Have you ever heard the term "railroaded"?

It means to rush through a situation rapidly so as not to reveal the true meaning of something. When the folks along the Doodle Railroad were asked to sign a right of way along their property, they did so to allow supplies to reach the mills that provided jobs for the local economy. They gave the right of way willingly so they could help the community. There was no talk of what would happen to the right of way if the railroad ever went out of business. Most of these property owners were not educated in the law and I am sure the railroad people of the time never planned to usurp all the land owner's privacy by "railroading" the current owners.

There's a story in the Bible that reminds me of what is going on …
Naboth had a vineyard that he had received as an inheritance. King Ahab coveted it and offered to buy it from Naboth, but he refused. It made Ahab very sad, and upon seeing him in his grief, his wife Jezebel decided to get it for Ahab. So she spread rumors about Naboth, and the angry people stoned him to death  ...
… kind of like some of the supporters of the Doodle did to our President. All the players are here: The City of Easley and Pickens, Upstate Forever, the land owners, and those profane supporters that have made their voices heard. These owners never knew what hit them as the bullies didn't include them in any of the surveys done by the YMCA and others. Yet, the Conservatives of the Upstate interviewed 95 Pickens citizens at the Pickens Flea Market(93 of 95 against), 30 home owners ( 29 of 30 against) along the trail, and 52 owners that signed a petition against the trail.
So far, all the owners have been ignored by all their levels of government even though mountains of negative evidence and high cost on the Swamp Rabbit trail has been supplied to them. One supporter of the trail even made a facebook comment that he walked along the trail, and spied into the owners yards with binoculars, and urinated in their yards. Speaks volumes about the type of people that might walk or ride along the trail, doesn't it?.

Things didn't work too good for Jezebel and Ahab in the end either.

Junius Smith
President & Chairman of the Board COTU

Friday, September 14, 2012

Some Facts About COTU ...


Conservatives of the Upstate: 

1. Our original name was Conservatives of Pickens County and was changed to allow members from other counties.

2. We have had 4 presidents: Jim McDonald, Junius Smith, David Merck, and Johnnelle Raines. Junius Smith now serves as Acting President

3. We meet at the Blue Ridge Bible Church @769 Belle Shoals Road every second Thursday of the month.

4. We have had numerous successful projects:
A. We challenged the legality of the huge school construction, better known as the Greenville Plan. This required two trips to Columbia where we had a long session with the Governor and another with a large law firm in Columbia. Taking part in these trips were FM Caddell, Melvin Watson, Junius Smith, Carol Smith, and Jim McDonald. The Governor agreed with us but Senator Larry Martin refused to get us an audience with the Attorney General as recommended by the Governor. Later our information was used to get 7 school districts a free pass from paying for their new schools. Now we are paying for those schools through our sales tax.

B. We challenged the over collection of revenue by the County and won their consent to stop the practice.

C. We worked individually for various candidates and were successful in getting the school board reduced to 6 elected members in conjunction with the Pickens County Tax Payers. On the day the Governor was to sign we organized a telephone barrage to the Governor and he signed the bill.

D. We worked individually to get three conservatives on the school board and were successful in helping Jimmy Gillespie and Ben Trotter get elected. This was the first time in a long time that conservatives at least had a tie in votes concerning school district taxation and spending.

E. We helped candidates get on the County Council and we helped some get off. We worked individually with candidates for Congress.

F. We held work shops on Agenda 21, and identified an Organization in Greenville, Upstate Forever, that was trying to push the Comprehensive Plan on us.

G. We helped Saluda River Roots when nobody else would. and brought it to the forefront of the County Council.

H. We held debates for Congress and County Council and allowed questions from the audience without being screened by the officers.

I . We helped candidates that were illegally thrown off the ballot in Pickens County to get back on by getting signatures at the Pickens County Flee Market. Rex Rice told me that it was the best event in their behalf.

J. We have filled the County Council chambers for special meetings numerous times.

K. We have helped the folks in Pickens and Oconee Counties to protect their property. Johnnelle Raines and I passed out flyers and interviewed folks about the bike trail between Pickens and Easley. Kathy Nix, Mrs. Wise, and Johnnelle Raines went door to door to survey the property owners. 

L. Kathy Murphy Nix and David Merck organized the Tea Party meetings downtown Pickens.

M. We were the first among the Conservatives in the upstate region of South Carolina to have a website on the internet.

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