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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summary Of Pickens United Meeting ...



I attended the first of 4 “Pickens United"  meetings organized by Rep. Neal Collins in Easley on Monday August 29th from noon till 1:30pm. 

How many of you were even aware this meeting was scheduled? Not anyone I talked to at the YMCA today was aware there was one scheduled which had representatives of city, county and state government present. 

It is sad that only a handful of citizens were in the audience. What was even more sad is the citizens couldn't ask questions or make comments. 

I videoed the event because I knew there wouldn't be very many of us taxpayers there due to the lack of advertisement of the meeting and the fact it was held during a weekday and most citizens are at work during that time frame. You can view the video by looking below on www.conservativesoftheupstate.com if you want to hear what was said by the elected leaders who are making decisions about YOUR TAX DOLLARS.

In summary, I have to say the overall meeting could be called a love fest of progressives. They are definitely UNITED...united on the fact that government is woefully underfunded and if they just had more of YOUR MONEY they could solve all the problems in our city, county, and state.

So get ready for a tax increase citizens...it's coming... a possible gas tax increase...a possible property tax increase...maybe another sales tax increase...who knows...but according to one of the elected officials now that we have all these new people in elected positions...the “sky's the limit.”

The only way YOU the taxpayer can stop an inevitable increase in the amount of taxes you already pay is to GET INVOLVED! 

Come to the next Conservatives of the Upstate Meeting held on the second Thursdays of each month. Go to www.conservativesoftheupstate.com for more information. 

If you don't stand up and voice that YOU ARE TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY...and tell these elected officials they need to live within their means just like you, then you will find yourself struggling to make ends meet and pay your property tax and the government will seize it. 

Next scheduled meeting of the “Pickens United “ elected officials to give you updates on their agenda of what I call “ tax 'em some more” will be October 31stin Clemson...Halloween, very appropriate...SCARY STUFF. Maybe you should attend dressed as a farmer with a pitchfork.

by Johnnelle Raines

Google ChromeOS insecure and Google doesn't care ...



The School District Of Pickens County has a "laptop per child" program, matching each student up with a Chromebook, installed with ChromeOS, requiring a Google login ...Interesting news considering word that school networks are under hacker attack in SC recently.From Slashdot:Attackers can add an arbitrary page to the end of a Google login flow that can steal users' credentials, or alternatively, send users an arbitrary file any time a login form is submitted, due to a bug in the login process. A researcher in the UK identified the vulnerability recently and notified Google of it, but Google officials said they don't consider it a security issue. The bug results from the fact that the Google login page will take a specific, weak GET parameter. Using this bug, an attacker could add an extra step to the end of the login flow that could steal a user's credentials. For example, the page could mimic an incorrect password dialog and ask the user to re-enter the password. [Aidan Woods, the researcher who discovered the bug,] said an attacker also could send an arbitrary file to the target's browser any time the login form is submitted. In an email interview, Woods said exploiting the bug is a simple matter. "Attacker would not need to intercept traffic to exploit -- they only need to get the user to click a link that they have crafted to exploit the bug in the continue parameter," Woods said. Google told Woods they don't consider this a security issue.Also in the News:All 70 million Dropbox accounts exposed to hack:http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/dropbox-hack-exposed-details-almost-70m-accounts-n640731?cid=sm_fb
This is the way students and teachers save data to the cloud.

Video of "Pickens United" meeting ...


Easley Representative Neal Collins organized a meeting called "Pickens United" with the stated purpose of better communication with local and state government. The ground rules are "no questions and no complaints".

A commonly considered maxim of communication is questioning; as is listening.

The meeting was held in the morning on a weekday, a time when most would be unable to attend.

It is unclear what the mission of this group is, but after watching the two videos below, you get the idea that the topic is "funding above everything else". You also get the idea that spending cuts and efficiency are not part of the "communication".

It's very interesting that greater than 90% of those in attendance have never attended or only attended when campaigning any of the Conservatives Of The Upstate meetings, Taxpayers Association meetings, or Republican monthly meetings. In fact, the leader, Neal Collins has missed required Legislative Delegation meetings without reasonable explanation.

The next meeting of Pickens United is on October 31, 2016. Appropriate! Politicians wear many masks. Maybe they will come dressed as themselves - masks on.

* videos courtesy of Johnnelle Raines

SC 1st Grade Social Studies Standards Beg Some Questions ...


South Carolina Standards for Social Studies Grade 1:


Highlights:

• the characteristics that contribute to personal identity

You need to be taught this BUT ... It shouldn't be a focused concept ... You ARE you and no one else. This gives the appearance of teaching about "identifying with bathrooms"

• elements of community life, including the structure of schools; typical jobs; the interdependence of family, school, and the community; and the common methods of transportation and communication.

The structure of schools? Beyond you go to Kindergarten- you graduate 12 years later, you go to college?

• Summary of the concept of authority and give examples of people in authority, including school officials, public safety officers, and government officials

Government officials have authority beyond being an elder to some? What authority does Senator Graham have over me?

• Identify ways that government affects the daily lives of individuals and [promotes] personal freedom and opportunity for all. 

Government - in this day - is promoting personal freedom and opportunity for all?

Well, government needs to talk to my wallet. My wallet shelled out money for a CWP and money for a healthcare plan that was worse than having nothing at all.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The income vs the outcome ...

Anyone telling you differently is about to raise your taxes ...


Proud Of This?

Yesterday on Facebook, Easley Representative, Neal Collins got some congratulations from the law firm that employs him ...



That says a lot. I wonder how hard Collins will work to strengthen DUI laws in South Carolina. He doesn't seem to have any bias. /sarcasm

Friday, August 26, 2016

Unapologetically Indulgent ...

SC Policy Council Reports:

The MUSC Board spent over $850,000 of taxpayer money on luxurious dining, lodging, and "Board Booze"? 



Saturday, August 20, 2016

"They won't notice" says head of SCDOT

From SC Policy Council ...

SCDOT Chairman Mike Wooten thinks you won’t notice an 11.9% gas tax hike? 


Of course, he also hopes you won’t notice all the $$ that goes into HIS pocket from the contracts his engineering firm has with SCDOT, as The Nerve reported: 



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summary Of The August 2016 Pickens County Council Meeting...


I want to first thank those members from Conservatives of the Upstate for attending. We had by far the largest contingent at the meeting. Missing were some of the people I see on the internet lambasting Trump and in general being nasty about our thoughts, yet they do not have the courage to show their faces at an important meeting where millions of our tax dollars were on the line. Here are some of the high points of the meeting.

1. Junius Smith, President of the Conservatives of the Upstate presented definitions and examples of over-collection: Over-collection from resetting millage after reassessment, economy better than expected, collectability % set wrong, conservative appraisals of the value of a mill, errors on accounts, and budgeted amounts like for gasoline and heating oil vastly underestimated. While none of these items are against the law, it is against the law (12-43-285) to keep the money. Smith pointed out that the County Treasurer is required by law to post all overages in a separate account and the money is to be refunded to the Tax Payers by the end of the year or a credit given on their tax bills. It is estimated that at least 45 million has been over-collected over the years. Smith suggested that the County Council put this item on the November ballot to see if the people desire to spend what is left of the money on a new jail.

2. It was noted that the appointment of Gerald Wilson to County Administrator was highly thought of by the Conservatives of the Upstate. We think he will do a really good job and he is a local man.

3. Other items were the appropriation of $1,550,000 in general obligation bonds to replace the same amount that just expired. The County may be limited to 8% general obligation bonds by the constitution and the school board is already at that point so it is our belief that this is illegal.(Articles 10 and 15) .

4. The County Council approved the building of a new jail without the consent of the people. The 23 million dollars is there by over-collecting and belongs to the people. They should at least have a voice in what is done as far as the Jail is concerned. This should come up on referendum.  

5. The council also wants to spend 6.75 million on a building for Tri County Tech which in our opinion is illegal.(Article 11 Section 3)

Junius Smith

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August 2016 COTU Meeting ...

The Conservatives of the Upstate will meet tomorrow night at the 

Blue Ridge Bible Church at 6:30 PM at

769 Belle Shoals Road
Pickens SC 29671

The most talked about election of the School Board of Pickens County will be discussed. We will offer congratulations to Johnnelle Raines for her out of court settlement with the City of Easley. It was another great victory for free speech. We will also discuss where we are with the money we have given for a case against the School Board in order to keep our two Northern schools from being permanently shut down and school choice in this county being taken away from the people because of it. There is also an over-population of of classes.

See you there.

Junius Smith
President

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

God uses rough edges in leaders ...

To start with, Donald Trump has a temperament that is a lot more like mine than yours. I do not suffer fools gladly. Some folks say it is PTSD, but I think I would have been this way even without going to war at a young age. In fact going to war at a young age, voluntarily, is another instance of me being passionate. 

I understand that a lot of good, decent, people, would find it easier to relate to a political figure who is polished in his speech, and who carefully parses the nuances of his positions. 

Donald Trump is indeed a bull in a china shop. Now, if I saw America as a placid shop full of fine china, I might not want a bull there. What I see instead, is an America much more like a burning barn with all the patriots trapped inside. I am doggone glad to find a raging bull strong enough to knock down some locked doors and let us all escape to freedom. 

Just remember that you absolutely do not look for the same qualities in a youth pastor that you will want in a deputy sheriff. Cheerleaders are just as important to a football team as the quarterback; but again, you look for very different qualities in each. 

This country is in trouble - serious trouble. The America we knew and loved will cease to exist if the next four vacancies on the US Supreme Court are not filled by Donald John Trump. Period. 

Without the second amendment, the first lies naked and unprotected. At that point you can shutter your 501 (c)(3) that does not serve the goals of the Clinton Foundation, or the [divergent attention cause of the week loosely or directly funded by George Soros]

You do get to vote on whether Donald trump makes those appointments, or not. Vote wisely. The surest way to insure the right result, in fact the only Godly result, is to vote FOR Donald Trump. 

You prayed for someone to save this nation from ruin. No doubt, you may have hoped God would raise up a champion that was smooth, polished, respectable, diplomatic, and even sweet talking. No doubt you probably had in mind someone like Franklin Graham, not Donald Trump. 

Your prayer was answered, but not with the answer you had hoped for. That has happened to me plenty of times in life. Now, you are worried Donald Trump has too many flaws and rough edges for God to use him. 

Go back to Scripture, and take a closer look at the character of the men God has used greatly, at times to save nations or his chosen people. 

God used Jonah, though he was disobedient and ran away the first time. God used Noah, even though he was a drunk. God used Moses, who murdered an Egyptian. God used King David, even though he had another man killed so he could take the man's wife. My personal favorite is how God called Gideon to lead an army even though Gideon was a coward hiding beside a wine press. God even raised Lazerus from the dead. 

I concede Donald trump has those rough edges; but he is not a drunk, murderer, coward, and he certainly ain't dead.

Understand, we are down to only two choices now, Trump, or the Democrat. So, not only do I want you to vote right, as a Republican elected official, you have the power to influence many others as well. Start by reminding them, if they are wavering about supporting our nominee, of God's words in Romans 8:28.

~ Dean Allen

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Teachers & Admin Trying To Take Over Politics ...

Eight years ago, I ran for the School Board of Pickens County. I really thought I had a great chance to win the election. I was well qualified: Former General Manager and Vice President of two very successful Textile Companies, President of Quality Systems Technologies that developed a quality training system that twenty five companies embraced, writer of two books on education (one about the local education process and what was needed to improve it), was a long time resident of Pickens County and had attended nearly every School Board meeting for years.

I had three sons that had attended the local public schools as well as other private Christian schools, so I was familiar with education of both types. However, I was a Conservative, having studied under Hugh Macaulay at Clemson and attended Freedom School in Colorado sponsored by Milliken and Company. The administration and teachers of Pickens County didn’t want anyone that would not vote for increased spending on buildings, salaries, and benefits.

The local Superintendent of Schools and my opponent communicated just what all they would do for the teachers. Teachers were given a day off to come and vote for my opponent. Signs with my opponent’s name were placed all over the district ~ advertising a program for the schools.

Although there was no mention of building new schools during the election, as soon as my opponent was elected, the school district sold $336,165,000 worth of revenue bonds (not general obligation bonds with the full faith and power of the Pickens School Board). This was done against the SC Constitution ~ to ONLY borrow 8% (or less) of the appraised value of all property in Pickens County in general obligation bonds. Never-the-less, a scheme was concocted to call it a "lease purchasing agreement" and a dummy corporation was created to promulgate the atrocity against the people of Pickens County. Since that time, teachers and administrators have realized that if they have the votes of the School Board, they can get raises, build buildings, etc. at will. So the education community has formed a political party of sorts to take over the Board. It is made up of teachers and administrators and their extended families. Also included are “friends of the educational community” usually with children in the schools ~ propagandized by such political maneuvers as closing your alma mater, removing prayer, and calling tax raises "just a night at McDonald's". Not a bit of this is legal and this system is wrecking the retirement plan for the state which is over $20 billion dollars underfunded this day.

What laws do they break?


Article 11 Section 3; SC Constitution 


SECTION 3. System of free public schools and other public institutions of learning.

The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools open to all children in the State and shall establish, organize and support such other public institutions of learning, as may be desirable.

Article 10 Section 5; SC Constitution 

SECTION 5. No tax without consent; taxes to be levied in pursuance of law.

No tax, subsidy or charge shall be established, fixed, laid or levied, under any pretext whatsoever, without the consent of the people or their representatives lawfully assembled. Any tax which shall be levied shall distinctly state the public purpose to which the proceeds of the tax shall be applied.

Title 8-13-700 (Ethics, Government Accountability,and Campaign Reform)

Link to SC Constitution:


If the educational people that are running for the School Board are elected, the public can expect more of the same. 

Alex Saitta is your only choice!

He consistently votes for keeping our schools open, for not removing teaching positions, and conservative spending.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The questions that need to be asked about the upcoming School Board elections ...

I am sure Shannon Haskett is a great guy, a loving husband and father, and a great PTA representative and advocate for Ambler Elementary… I have no doubt.

But is that enough qualifications?

This November we have three positions on the school board open…Judy Edwards, Alex Saitta and Herbert Cooper.

If you are taxed enough already like I am…we don’t want to put anymore automatic rubber stamps to everything Danny Merck and the School District Of Pickens County “wants.” 

We need people who love children of course…we need people who want to increase success for children graduating ready to become productive and responsible citizens of course.

We also need people on the school board who are fiscally conservative and who will tell the truth to WE THE PEOPLE and not try to devise schemes to overrule the will of the people. 

We need a representative who will look at NEEDS vs WANTS objectively.

This coming election in November, we have to ask ourselves some important questions…

Why would Shannon Haskett want to actively support a 1¢ sales tax increase instead of supporting alternatives which won’t hit taxpayers in the pocketbook again? 

Is he going to be another rubber stamp to all the fiscally irresponsible spending that goes on in our School District? 

Is he going to be as financially knowledgeable as Alex? 

Will he inform us conservatives about the schemes the other progressive school board members cook up? 

Will Shannon really be the taxpayer’s advocate? 

My sources tell me he is the choice of the tax ‘em some more progressive group Concerned Citizens of Pickens County and that they want him on the board so he will be a rubber stamp similar to Herbert Cooper, Brian Swords, and Judy Edwards ... and sadly Phillip Bowers now.

We already have elected a progressive county council who most definitely will be seeking to raise taxes in the near future…please don’t elect school board members who rush to add more tax burdens to the people of Pickens County …

It is a fact that Shannon Haskett was EAGER to burden us with a penny sales tax increase that was not needed…but was just the easiest route to solve fiscal incompetence by our school board. 

Why would we want to give them more funds to squander? 

Vote Alex Saitta; the only candidate who will keep us informed with truth and has not only the common sense needed, but the fiscal conservative financial intelligence to steer the board in the “right” direction not the “left” direction.

Johnnelle Raines
Pickens, SC

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ending Fed Ed ...

THIS is a real issue in our local school districts... It’s not financing or classroom size or STEM or even how the confiscated funds are collected. Change the narrative and you change the results. 

We have to END THE FED ED so that states can introduce more competition! 

"Government schools are regulated by boards of education and state departments of education. Government schools may not set their own standards for curriculum and teacher performance, nor embrace a different kind of curriculum, such as the Montessori approach. They may not choose to be accredited by some independent enterprise maintaining different standards. School boards face no competition in standard setting for government schools. School boards have a monopoly on the service of assuring the quality of K–12 government schooling....Schooling could be regulated by market forces even if governments continued to pay for it through a voucher system or some other mechanism for letting parents, rather than school boards, decide which schools receive their children’s schooling dollars. In such a system parents unsatisfied with one school could put their children in another, better regulated school. Schools could choose to adhere to different quality standards set by different schooling companies or associations, such as today’s charter school enterprises KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program), Uncommon Schools, and Green Dot schools, or the Montessori or other approaches. Parents’ choices and those of schooling enterprises learning from the successes of one another would shape the evolving quality standards schools would have to meet to stay in business."   

https://fee.org/articles/government-regulators-are-monopolies/

Monday, August 1, 2016

There are only two choices ...

There may indeed be five names on the ballot - perhaps more in some states. I believe you will agree with me that only TWO have any chance of being elected. 

Therefore, when you vote, you are exercising your ability to choose between those two. If a citizen votes for a minor party candidfate, the real world effect of that "vote" is that it helped one of the two major party candidates, while diminishing the chances of the other major candidate. 

With that understanding, what you really have is one way to vote for Trump, by voting Republican; and four different ways to help Hillary's campaign - by doing anything other than vote Republican. Allow me to give you a quick example of that principle operating in a recent election. 

In the year 2000, the major party candidates were Albert Preston Gore, Jr., and George W. Bush. In the state of Florida, Ralph Nader was also on the ballot as the candidate of the Green Party. There were only 537 popular votes separating Bush from Gore, with each major candidate having 2.912 million votes each. Ralph nader also received 97,488 popular votes as the Green Party candidate. In that election, taking those 97,000 votes from Democrat Gore, caused Republican Bush to win the state of Florida, and thereby, the national election. 

If Nader had not been on the Florida ballot, most of his 97,488 votes would have gone to the Democrats, and Al Gore would have become president of the United States. Therefore, in that election every vote for Ralph Nader was, in its effect on the election, a vote for George W. Bush. 

In this 2016 election, every vote that would otherwise go to Trump, is going to help Hillary Clinton win the election. As a leader in this state, you have an obligation to decide which major candidate you want to win on November 8th. Refusing to choose between the two who can win is a cop-out. If you choose that route, I will be very disappointed, with either your judgment, your understanding, or both. Josiah, I do NOT question your integrety, only your understanding, and possibly, your judgment.

Allow me to point out one additional fact. Prior to the death of Justice Scalia, most decisions on the social issues important to you were decided 5/4 in favor of the conservative position. Now there is a 4/4 split and the next president will fill that vacancy. 

Justice Ginsburg is 83, has several heart stints, and is in very poor health. Two other Justices are almost as old and decrepit. The next president will definitely make two appointments to the US Supreme Court, and may in fact make four appointments IN THE FIRST TERM. 

Do you really want Hillary Clinton appointing four justices? People make the weak, and untrue, arguument, well they don't trust Donald Trump. Allow me to explain that to you in a different way. 

Suppose Trump and Clinton each have a pistol pointed at your heart from two feet away. You MUST allow one of them to pull his or her trigger. You know for a fact that Hillary's gun is loaded. You do not know if Trump's gun is loaded or not? What's the only logical choice? Oh, in this example, if you vote for a minor party candidate, Hillary gets to pull the trigger for any of them because only Hillary and Trump actually have guns (the ability to win the election). 

Written by Dean Allen
Greenville SC GOP