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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Hornet's Nest At The UN ...

First:  I unequivocally Stand with Israel.  Not the 1967 borders - but the current State of Israel and its claims to Jerusalem as well as the holy sites.

Second:  I am not a fan of globalist institutions such as the United Nations. (As a side note - the UN actually established the pathway for a Jewish State with Resolution 181 taking effect in May 1948).  

I wish Governor Nikki Haley (future UN Ambassador under President-elect Trump) well in her new future role.  I fear, however, that the Obama Administration has created a hornets nest for her and Trump with regard to the US' (historical) support for Israel.  I hope the US Congress will use the powers of the purse to effect change with regard to the UN.

Keep in mind that the US has a veto vote at the UN Security Council.  That vote should be used for maximum leverage, IMHO.

With regards to other globalist institutions, part of my (actually one of my biggest) objections to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was over the creation of a "TPP Commission" - a council of all of the TPP member countries with extraordinary power to amend the TPP trade pact and where each country has an equal vote - not a weighted vote.  The USA would be outnumbered by the other signatory countrys on issues like say immigration or allowance of other nations, who weren't a part of the original negotiations, to enter into TPP as "Member Nations".

President-elect Trump has the right idea:  let's put America and American interests first in our foreign policy and trade - while continuing to stand with the only democracy in the Middle East - Israel.

Jeff Duncan 
3rd U.S. Congressional District SC

Friday, December 23, 2016

The cycle wants to repeat ...

I want to quote Senator Rex Rice when he sent me his campaign promises,

"Pickens County deserves a leader who listens.  I will be a Senator who will sit on the front porch and listen to you.  Your Senator should be going to Columbia to represent your thoughts and beliefs, and that is exactly what I will do."  

We settled the 7th member on the School Board years ago.  It was necessary because the highly populated areas like Easley were running roughshod over the rest of us because they had multiple seats on the board.  

We (over 100 of us)  called the Governor (Sanford) and he refused to sign.  We also showed up in mass at the delegation meeting that January.  

We should not have to fight the Progressives like Collins every year over the same thing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rep. Neal Collins tries a 3rd time for 7th seat on Pickens School Board...

Collins words:

"Today, I'm highlighting H3346, co-sponsored by Reps. Clary and Hiott. It's the 7th seat bill. Despite the recent elections resulting in half the board being new, even board numbers is still not a good model. 

Similar to the bill that passed the House two years ago, this local legislation would expand the Pickens County School Board to an uneven 7 members. The state delegation would recommend a gubernatorial appointment to serve from appointment until the 2022 election. At that point, there would be 7 equal districts drawn into the 2021 redistricting. It also eliminates plurality voting starting with the 2018 elections."

Why not legislation for 5 seats if a tie is a problem, giving the district more $$$ savings.

All bills filed must state how it will be paid for. This is the angle we can use to continue to fight it. Former Senator Larry Martin and Rodney Allen at the Pickens County Election commission .. says the costs would be upward of $46,000 for redistricting/ $6000 annual costs.  I'd rather have something tangible.

When this came up before, COTU organized a call in to then Governor Sanford and we prevailed. If this gets through, it will mean that the Clemson and Easley area will control the Board forever because of population.  We will know what  good it did to elect Rex Rice. His leadership should nullify this in the Senate.  We should contact every conservative Senator and express our objection.  This is a change made by LOCAL election and each Senator will vote for this if they don't know what is about to happen.

Final electoral voting ...

Trump lost 2, Clinton lost 5 ... 

Trump nets 3 more electoral votes than from election night.

Round and round it goes ...


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Property taxes paid ...

I just got through paying my property taxes and spoke with County Auditor of Pickens County. I asked him what percent of my taxes I just paid went to the School District of Pickens County. His reply was 70 %.I think I pay enough taxes to the schools.. It is a proven fact that throwing more money at education has not increased academic performance. Concerned Citizens of Pickens County and the majority of the school board has this ideology, the benefits for the common good greatly outweighs the negative implications of a tax increase......That's Marxism people! I think that same ideology could be said about people who owned slaves! And that's what we are becoming...slaves to paying more taxes every year...local, state, and federal!

The budget problems of the schools is  with management of our taxes! The SDPC needs to find areas of waste. Maybe they need a time management study to find out which "administrative" jobs are not needed so more money can actually make it into the classroom! But no... I bet you they are going to be spending more money on a nice cozy Administration building for the pencil pushers...

One can always come up with "wants" to spend taxpayer money. It is always EASIER to tax the taxpayer more than to seriously look at the budget and find ways to be more efficient and frugal with other people's money.

I recently read an article by Walter Williams,a famous syndicated columnist in which he stated..."Whether a student is black, white, orange or polka-dot and whether he's poor or rich, there are some minimum requirements that must be met in order for him to do well in school. Someone must make the student do his homework. Someone must see to it that he gets eight to nine hours of sleep and ensure he gets to school on time and respects and obeys teachers."

Here's my question...Which one of those basic requirements can be accomplished by raising our property taxes? To quote Walter Williams, "If those basic requirements aren't met, whatever else that is done in the name of education is for naught."

• Johnnelle Raines
   Pickens, SC 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trump pick questioned because of Russian ties?

In a sense, this should be considered a fake news story ...

ALL energy companies have to negotiate with Russia - they produce a lot of energy.

Consider this ... 

Duke Energy negotiated used nuclear missile cores with Russia. True statement.

The US Solar industry has to negotiate materials.

I question the pick because of the greed of the industry but not because of a perceived enemy - but China and Saudi Arabia are far far more dangerous and I'm positive Tiilerson has experience with them as well.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Maybe Trump is the one that should ask for the recounts?


Just sharing so you know this isn't a fake news story.

Costs at any cost?

Posted by US District 3 Congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina (representing Pickens County in Washington):

After reviewing a report that my office received, we found that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has moved $166,590,000 away from health programs in order to fund the flooding of illegal migrant children that have been coming across our unsecured southern border. The $166 million is in addition to the $1.3 billion that Congress had already appropriated for the migrant child issue.

The Obama Administration have transferred $14 million away from the CDC which includes funding for key programs like HIV/AIDS, Environmental Health, and birth defect studies.

HHS also moved $71 million away from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which depletes money from programs like the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Mental Health, Diabetes, and Neurological disorders, just to name a few.

I wanted to post this information for a few reasons:

1) Every year I have dozens of people travel up to Washington to meet with me to encourage Congress to allocate more money for medical research. You have the right to know that millions of that money has been diverted to non-citizens.

2) Over 50,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the southern border over the past year. Parents from Central and South America are sending their children here because they know how lax America's view of immigration enforcement is. This mentality needs to change immediately, both for the safety of these children and to preserve the sovereign integrity of the United States. We cannot incentivize people to come into this country illegally.

3) Our immigration enforcement and border security has a long way to go to get to where we need to be. I have long referred to our southern border as the soft underbelly of America. However, with President Elect Trump's selection of Gen. Kelly as DHS Secretary and Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, I am hopeful that we will finally start to move in a better direction.

How much did refugee resettlement cost SC in fiscal year 2016?

 * thank you Johnelle Raines for this info

Did the AHA really insure 20 million as claimed by the Obama Administration?

Thank goodness a repeal is in sight. 

A good read on the pitfalls of the promises made about Affordable Healthcare Act ...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The majority ...

I still can't believe that this is being debated...

No one "won" the popular vote.

Majority=50% + 1

Hillary Clinton (48%) did not get that.
Donald Trump (47%) did not get that.
Gary Johnson (3%) did not get that.
Jill Stein (2%) will not get that.

The only person who won a majority of anything was Donald Trump and that was a majority of states, and a majority of electors.

Love Trump or hate him... At least he was able to get a majority of something. This isn't a post in support of either or any candidate. But don't claim you support democracy if you think that Hillary Clinton should get to be president because she got the "most votes."

Written by Graham Duncan 

Stick people ...


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Property Tax / Auctions / Conflict Of Interest ...

Pickens County Government and Property Taxes” 

Pickens County Property Taxes and Sales

1. Are people losing their properties due to property tax increase in Pickens County?

2. Are Pickens County Officials/Employees bidding/buying these properties at the Delinquent Tax Auction?


Pickens County is not responsible for loss of property due to tax increases, nor do county officials or employees buy delinquent properties at auction.


While other taxing jurisdictions, such as the school board and municipalities, have increased taxes, no property taxes have increased in Pickens County in over a decade. During that period, Pickens County has only increased fire fees in the Pickens and Pumpkintown Rural Fire Districts (the 2015 and 2016 total tax and fire fee amounts are attached to this document for further reference). 

Pickens County has over 68,000 taxed parcels throughout the entire county. Of those parcels, there was a combined total of 356 delinquent parcels in 2014. In the 2015 tax sale that followed, only 65 parcels were ultimately deeded away from the defaulting taxpayers. Mathematically, this is less than one tenth of one percent of the total number of parcels in Pickens County. Only three of these parcels were residential properties. Of the three residential properties, one residence burned down in 2014, the second was abandoned, and the last residence was not paid for by the estate after the owner passed away. Essentially, no one in Pickens County lost their home due to taxes.

Each year, a tax sale is held to auction off delinquent parcels to the highest bidder. While there is no law stating county employees are prohibited from bidding or buying delinquent properties, it is Pickens County Government’s policy that no employee shall be included in the bidding and sale of delinquent properties. In the interest of transparency, Pickens County Delinquent Tax Office records bidder/buyer information of each parcel sold at auction. Copies of bidder information are available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. 

Summary of December 2016 Pickens County Council Meeting ...

Our contention is that the County Council is over collecting money and by 12-43-285 they are not entitled to keep the money and it should be credited to the taxpayers or paid back to them the year following.

Last night, I read them an email from Senator Martin that told me that this over collection should be fixed. I have appeared before the school board, the county council, and even the Pickens County Delegation every year to make my complaint. I have discussed this problem with every political subdivision -namely the Pickens County Sheriff, SLED, the Solicitor, the Governor of this State (Sanford), and the Attorney General. They all passed the buck back to me by advising me to sue with my money.

I contend that the Pickens County School Board and the County Council are violating the State Constitution laws 11-3 and 10-5. 

11-3 makes the State responsible for funding all of education, kindergarten through grade 12.

Article 10-5 requires the taxing authority to tell the people exactly what the money is to be spent on. 

Outgoing Easley Concilwoman, Jennifer Willis claimed that if they didn't spend the money like they told the people, that money was earned by the County Council and they could spend it on anything they pleased. They do this by putting it in the General Account slush fund; maybe a CAFR fund. 

The funds requested by Tri County Tech are supposed to be furnished by the State under Article 11 section 3 and the 8% allowance rule for borrowing against all of the appraised value of county property. The school board has already borrowed all that money.

Now that we have all that out of the way, it is very simple. If a mill is supposed to bring in $460,000 as determined by the Auditor for this years budget and it actually brings in $475,000 you have over collected $15,000 per mill. Say the budget is for 68 mills: then 68 mills x $15,000 = $1,020,000. Then if you say that you only have 98% collectability on a budget of $32,300,000 and you actually collect at least 100% then $32,300,000 x(100%-98%) = $646,000. So just these two items have yielded $1,666,000 and there are at least three more ways to add to this total - especially during reassessment. These figures are very close to ones that exist for certain County Council budget years and over the years have netted the County Council near $45 million dollars and the School Board $100 million dollars.

As you can see, this type of "penciling in" has been pushed upon the folks of Pickens County over the years. I have given my best to keep you informed. There is absolutely no regard for the Constitution at the County Level. The State should have been sued for failure to fund our schools and there are a half dozen ways that the State has underfunded our county. If we don't wake up, some well meaning council members are going to spend us into poverty.

Junius Smith
President. COTU

Deal ...


Monday, December 5, 2016

December 2016 COTU Meeting ...

Conservatives Of The Upstate will hold its December 2016 meeting at 6:30PM Thursday December 8.

Blue Ridge Bible Church
769 Belle Shoals Rd
Pickens SC 29671