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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

Friday, December 21, 2018

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year From COTU

Merry Christmas COTU members and the Happiest of New Years ever to you! May God Bless YOU and YOURs this coming year and May God Bless America once again.

The next Conservatives of the Upstate Meeting will be Tuesday Jan 15th at 7pm at Pizza Inn in Pickens. This will be a planning meeting to discuss what action items we want to pursue in the next 3 months. Meeting will be for an hour... you can eat or not that’s entirely up to you. 

I hope you will consider attending and help us with input as to what Conservative issues are important to you. 

Please rsvp to : 

So we will know how many to expect. 

Once Again Merry Christmas and Happy New Year...hoping to see you on January 15th!

The Leadership Team of COTU

Monday, December 3, 2018

Progressive buzzwords ...

Affirmative action


Inclusion/ Inclusivity 

Social justice

My truth

Hate speech

Undocumented immigrant


Climate change


Reproductive rights

Marriage equality

Paying your fair share

Know how to spot a progressive, they will always use one of these buzzwords.

The classic example:

Saturday, December 1, 2018

2019 Legislative Delegation Meeting ...

The date, time, and location has been set for the 2019 Annual Pickens County Legislative Delegation Public Meeting.

DATE: Monday, January 7, 2019

TIME:  5:30 P.M.

WHERE: Pickens County Performing Arts Center (Previously known as the Liberty Civic Center)

314 W. Main Street

Liberty, SC 29657

 If you would like to be put on the agenda to speak, please use the contact info below. 

Please limit your comments to 3 minutes.

Thank you.

 Barbara Marcy

Office Secretary

Pickens County Legislative Delegation

West End Hall, Room 205

201 S. Fifth Street

Easley, SC 29640

(864) 850-7070

December COTU Meeting a success ...

Conservatives of the Upstate’s November meeting held at SilverBay Seafood was VERY informative. Special thank you to Seth Powell for speaking to us on where we need to focus our energy on cleaning up the corruption and criminal activity going on! 

Your action item is to call Allan Wilson ASAP @ 803-734-3970 to tell him to do his job and open up investigations into Brian White’s pay to play scheme.  

See comment section on sending email as well. 

It is IMPERATIVE WE THE PEOPLE demand accountability from our elected employees! What kind of boss allows corruption? DO YOUR JOB AS THE BOSS... if they ignore us ... “ we double down!”

Here's a link you can use to easily send emails to him and McMaster, as well

COTU will not meet in the month of December but will resume monthly meetings in January! Don’t forget about the legislative delegation meeting in January.

A quote about immigration...

“We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, and lawfully to become immigrants in this country.”

- Barack Obama (2005)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

COTU Meeting...

Our next Conservatives of the Upstate meeting is tonight ... Thursday Nov. 29 at Silver Bay Restaurant in Easley. The speaker will speak at can come early and eat...or stay late and eat...or not eat at all. We will have guest speaker Seth Powell who is very knowledgeable about political issues going on in South Carolina. He is instrumental in the Freedom Action Network

When you arrive just tell the hostess you are here to hear the speaker for the COTU meeting.

Hope to see you there! 

Fallout From Germany’s Migrant Influx ...

Concerning the German Sister City idea::

Monday, November 12, 2018

School District Of Pickens County: Your home internet vs fundraising?

So now network security is a fundraiser?

Is it me or does this sound like your name will be sold as on a “who doesn’t have this device” list - making you a hacking target?

The following email was sent out to parents this weekend from various schools  in the district:

Many of you are already receiving weekly emails from Securly about your child’s Internet activity at school and, if your child has a Tech It Home device, while away from school. Securly is now offering a Plug n’ Play hub they are providing to our parents as a fundraiser for our school. The Plug n’ Play hub has been tested by several of our parents and our district’s IT department. It allows parents to monitor all devices that are connected to your home network. The hub is NOT needed for SDPC-issued devices, but is useful for any other devices used on your home network. The hub is $5.99/month and our school receives $2 a month as a fundraiser.
 Follow this link for more information:

Monday, November 5, 2018


Hi Members!Please make sure you VOTE! It is imperative to keep MAGA, that we all vote.To see your sample ballot go in the form and then it will take you to where you can download your sample ballotPlease make sure you understand that YOU CAN WRITE IN ...especially on candidate races where there is NO DEMOCRAT running against the RINO on the ballot

COTU cannot endorse a candidate but we can say stop feeding the RINOS.

Our next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday Nov. 29 at Silver Bay Restaurant in Easley. The speaker will speak at can come early and eat...or stay late and eat...or not eat at all. We will have guest speaker Seth Powell who is very knowledgeable about political issues going on in South Carolina. 

He is instrumental in the Freedom Action Network

If you are on Facebook, check them out here. 

They are very active in sniffing out corruption in our state. So it should be an interesting event...please bring a friend!

Let's all pray that God's will be done in these midterm elections that will MAGA.

We will not have a meeting in December and we won't be contacting you again till January. 

Have a wonderful Christmas and may God Bless each of you!

Monday, October 29, 2018

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." 

- James Madison

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Where Does the Buck Stop in YOUR Child's Education?

Who is ultimately responsible for quality education for your child? Who is the boss of Education in the United States?

Is it the United Nations? Is it the G20 Education Ministers which met Sept 5 of this year? Is it President Trump? Is it our elected legislators? Is it the US Dept of Education? Is it Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos? Is it the SC Dept of Education? Is it State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman? Is it the SC State Board of Education? Is it the SC Education Oversight Committee? Is it the National Education Association of teachers? Is it your Local School Board? Is it your County Superintendent of Education? Is it AdvancED? Is it the Chamber of Commerce? Is it Private/Public Partnerships? Is it your child's teacher? Great question. Do you know the answer?

Too many chefs in the kitchen spoils the soup...don't you think?

Actually where does the “buck stop” when it comes to accountability of education?

On September 5 , 2018, Thirty delegation members, including Betsy DeVos, met in Mendoza Argentina as part of G-20 Meeting of Education Ministers... the countries being represented may be viewed here:

The G-20 Ministers ultimately called for globalization of education, social and emotional learning, inclusiveness, more data collection on children from cradle to grave...lifelong learning. “They” are directing your child's education and setting policies that trickle down to YOUR child.

Their declaration actually states their policies are “in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda,” 

It states, “G-20 nations will work to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.’” 

Do you remember Trump's campaign promises to end Common Core and return education to local control? Has he been ignoring his pledge or has he just got the wrong advisers?

Where is Trump's “AMERICA FIRST” when it comes to public Education policies? He can't claim this mantra while at the same time allowing the United Nations to have any say so in public education policies!

These mandates that are coming from the United Nations undermines not only parents and states, but the fundamental sovereignty of the United States. 

Are you on board with GLOBALIZATION of your child's education and people from socialist countries deciding the direction of your child's education? What if you have an issue with what's taking place? WHO DO YOU CALL

The “buck stops” with YOU the parent. 

YOU need to take control back. YOU should start by contacting President Trump and letting him know that the United Nations should have NO say so in your child's education plan. Tell him to END COMMON CORE like he promised and end the US Dept of Education so local control can be returned to parents where it belongs.

by Johnnelle Raines

Pickens SC

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Technology in education: Undermining every known bit and byte of reason ...

This school year, my daughter's private school, decided to utilize a new laptop program centered around ChromeBook laptops made by Dell. Most public schools in South Carolina have embraced this program over the last few years. The main sales pitch is that deployment doesn't require the use of "IT professionals" and that a tech savvy teacher with little networking knowledge can manage the tech fleet easily - all while staying in close contact with the students for homework help, reminders, and parent information.
"Charles Schwab (a Chrome Enterprise customer) rolled out more than 1,000 Chromebooks in less than 2 months using Chrome Enterprise Management. Everything worked right out of the box without the need to bring in IT to install any software or manually customize settings on each device."
- from Google Partner Agosto, Debunking the 5 Most Common Chromebook Myths
The internet, as searched by Google, maker of the Chromebook and ChromeOS underpinnings, is littered with shill articles as the top results praising the Chromebook's merits. Of course it does! And, when schools and school districts are searching for less expensive, easier to manage solutions for tech in their schools - what search engine do they use? I'd venture to say, "Google".

Not using a knowledgeable and talented IT professional to fix and maintain your network and security of information is tantamount to saying a trained school resource officer is unneeded to protect the physical security of the children. Think about that each time you see a school resource officer.

If you're familiar with ChromeBook hardware, these are very plasticy, flimsy terminals that run Google's operating system called ChromeOS. ChromeOS is based off of the Chrome browser - a competitor to Microsoft's Internet Explorer/Edge browser, Apple's Safari, and Mozilla's Firefox.

As part of having a Chromebook as a student, you’re forced into using Gmail for an email account. While admittedly Gmail is one of the most popular email platforms available, there’s this:

Google says it continues to allow third party apps to scan data from gmail accounts. 

While Google has admitted to stopping the practice themselves (they used to “garner search results for a better personalized experience) they still allow unproven as trustworthy third parties to scan email.

As a 25 year networking and IT professional, I have never recommended anything outside of Apple hardware for security reasons. Apple's Safari browser for computers and phones is very secure as well. But, different needs call for different uses of hardware. I also understand usage preferences. If one of my customers needed to use Windows, I recommended the FireFox web browser. For continuity, I recommend Firefox usage on Apple products as well. However, in nearly every case that a Chrome browser was installed on any of the various hardware I've serviced in the last 10 years since the Chrome browser first came into being - there have been major security concerns with malware, adware, and spyware. It seemed none were caught by common use viral protection.

Then, there's an issue of privacy ...
A Missouri couple asserted that the Springfield Public School System is accessing their personal accounts and storing their private information on the system's Google Drive without their permission - including voice assistant commands from all household members
Also, from, Why the NSA loves Google's ChromeBook
"Furthermore, the Chromebook is everything a government watchman could want—even without Google Apps data and Gmail, it could give those with network monitoring capabilities a way to pinpoint the location of a credential-holder.

Chromebook plus a government-forged Google certificate equals a man-in-the-middle attack against the SSL security of Google's services—and a way for the government to read all of your e-mails and documents as they pass back and forth through an Internet choke point to and from your browser.

None of this is necessarily Google's fault. But it's a weakness of the browser as platform—by pushing nearly all the computing resources for applications, besides presentation, back up into the cloud, the Chromebook model creates a one-stop shop for attackers or observers to inject themselves into your computing world. ... Chromebook is unique in its tethering to a single set of cloud services over web protocols. When used with the best practices for web security, the Chromebook is secure against most direct attacks on the local hardware and the Chrome browser, but its dependence on a web-based backend where US courts have already ruled there's less of an expectation of privacy is something no amount of end-point security is going to fix."
Google can make all the positive claims it wants about security of Chrome, ChromeOS, and ChromeBook hardware, but be careful about their argument that privacy and security are not intertwined. Security goes hand in hand with privacy. Google is first and foremost a marketing company. Google collects data. Google sells data. They market their services as free. Remember the saying about free lunch? (if not, Google it ...) Google sells to the highest bidder, the lowest bidder, and even shares some data freely - personal data - with marketing partners and "researchers" to learn how to market to you even more. Our children aren't just being sold out to the lowest bidder for theirs AND OUR adult information - but being sold out to almost anyone that asks - above board or unscrupulous.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, said in 2010 that Google’s job was to “get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”  (That’s a very creepy thing to say.)

Google is by any stretch of the term, “unreachable”. Try as hard as you can to communicate a problem to them. They consider themselves above the law and not subject to court orders, court outcomes of libel and content removal. Recently, Google even failed to show up to a requested government hearing on internet bias towards conservatives.

The ChromeBook, ChromeOS, and Android OS and hardware is in and of itself - one giant data collection experiment - perpetrated by by the biggest behemoth in advertising history. It's also one giant social engineering experiment with one goal; push progressive ideology and politics.

Dennis Prager claims in an ongoing legal battle with Google owned YOUtube, which has a near monopoly on video sharing services:
"The plaintiff, Prager University, said YouTube’s “animus” toward its “political identity and viewpoint” led it to curb access to videos, including through its “Restricted Mode” setting, on such topics as abortion, gun rights, Islam and terrorism, despite its stated promise of neutrality"

- Reuters
Recently, a video leaked showing Google employees upset over the 2016 Presidential Election results. The video also indicated that employees felt they may not have manipulated results and algorithms enough to push for Clinton's victory over Trump.
"In the hour-long video, execs including co-founder Sergey Brin, as well as Google CEO Sundar Pichai, chief financial officer Ruth Porat and top lawyer Kent Walker, respond to the election with somber tones and calls for employees not to let the results divide them.
"Myself as an immigrant and a refugee, I certainly find the selection deeply offensive and I know many of you do too," Brin, Alphabet's president, says near the outset of the meeting. "I think it's a very stressful time and conflicts with many of our values." ... Later in the video, CFO Porat admits to being a Hillary Clinton supporter."
- CNBC, Leaked video shows Google's leaders responding in dismay at an all-hands meeting after the 2016 presidential election.
Finally, we come to how I believe ChromeBooks undermine parental authority and control. Over the past few weeks, I have been observing my daugther's Chromebook network activity - logged - as it runs through my router. We found her in her bedroom late, on a school night, chatting with a friend through the school advocated chat program that I am unable to block or manage in any way whatsoever. It further concerns me that while the school may have filters and firewalls galore to block unwanted content - such as porn, R-rated content, etc - I cannot reasonably or easily have all those restrictions for her. While I'm working on blocking certain content from her specific IP address and to and from (and through) my home router, it isn't reasonable to think the average parent is going to take these steps or have the know how to do it.

A little backstory, we do not afford our 6th grade daughter a cellphone or chat access on any device in our home - including games. A joint parenting concern is that her age and maturity are not appropriate at this time to utilize chat responsibly, but more importantly; safely. Furthermore, as a parent, I consider the use of technology as entertainment a privilege outside of school work, a job, or family use. In the modern day, that means that punishment for chores that aren't done or inappropriate actions or behaviors, is loss of technology access. I cannot take away my daughter's Chromebook. I cannot manage it's network access, I cannot limit email or chat access. I have to make her dock it (while she is not at school) in the living room and use it in the living room.

As of yesterday, I have a new concern. (A concern I had not considered.) My daughter knows I have a few passions; tech, music, and writing. She called me over to show me how she goes to Youtube, copies the URL for a music video, then goes to a website where the audio from the video is converted into a downloadable MP3 to store in a music player on her ChromeBook. So, now I had to be the buzzkill and explain that I download music from iTunes and pay for it and that I'd be happy to get her gift cards to pay for music if she wants. I had to explain to her that artists deserve compensation for their work - giving the example of "if you created something to sell, would you want someone getting it for free?" Sigh. The young me loved her even more for showing me that. It reminded me of myself, standing next to the radio with my finger on the tape record button - those were the days. The adult me reads stories about how people are selectively made examples of by Youtube and the recording industry - with bankrupting fines and embarrassment. I have personally seen clients get fined thousands for using unlicensed software.
"Streaming and ripping site like YouTube-MP3 are the latest targets for record labels which are keen to do everything possible to crack down on copyright infringement and piracy." 
~ Beta News
What is the solution?

Keep these devices at schools where they can be manged by networking professionals. Let the parents provide AND MANAGE  their own technology in their homes. It is an unreasonable argument in this day and age to say you can't afford basic technology - nor is it any business of the school to determine what a family can afford. I consider it socialism to determine that all kids must be equal - so says your school. There is public library access. Internet access has become as much of a utility necessity as phone access - in many circumstances - internet access has replaced phone access. But again, its not the school's business what you make a priority. Your child, or you as a parent have the right to desire and acquire what is best for your child.

But in the end, are these laptops really even helping at all?
Research by scientists at Michigan State University suggests that laptops do not enhance classroom learning, and in fact students would be better off leaving their laptops in the dorm during class. Although computer use during class may create the illusion of enhanced engagement with course content, it more often reflects engagement with social media, YouTube videos, instant messaging, and other nonacademic content. This self-inflicted distraction comes at a cost, as students are spending up to one-third of valuable (and costly) class time zoned out, and the longer they are online the more their grades tend to suffer.
This entire article was written by someone with a 25 year networking background? At the end of the day, I see education costs going up. The new cost of education is telling our children that cyber security and personal privacy don't matter.

Rusty Smith
COTU, webmaster

Who’s the crazy guy?

While caution is at the forefront any time there is warning of disaster ... the recent Florence coverage was surreal to see as reported by the media - everything from reporters down on their knees claiming to be knee deep in water as visible grass is in the background and dogs walk through the street to pretending to be wind blown and hanging on for life while bystanders look on and walk casually in the background. The cartoon below is more factual than funny.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Education on who the real terrorists are ...

How does Hezbollah make it to the United States?

By unvetted programs like sister city exchanges.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ok, if we live in a democracy, then ...

I believe we live in a republic, with founding documents stating so. However, if we go with the notion we live in a democracy, a claim of “anonymity” is a divergent principle to the core belief. Democracy demands figure heads, movement leaders, & people by name to stand behind.

At many points over the past few years ... Junius Smith, Carol Smith, Johnnelle Raines, Alex Saitta, Rusty Smith and many, many others have stood up by name to redress a lack of a God fearing school board prayer policy, eminent domain, taxation, and right to life issues.

Anonymity is cowardice. There is power in claiming your words and ONLY those that come forward should be heard or respected in matters serious to all citizens that do not affect national security.

Philip (Rusty) Smith
Webmaster, COTU

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sister City Still Being Pursued ...

Dear Editor, 

I sent the following email to all of our Pickens County councilmen,  administrator, and attorney :

It is imperative all of our county council members watch the below video. 

Your number one priority is the safety of PC citizens. Germany does not need another avenue of “exchanges” in our country. They are being infiltrated by Islam. 

And how some of you can bury your head in the sand and deny that our safety can be sacrificed for “economic development” is quite telling. The love of money is the root of all evil. 


written by 
Johnnelle Raines
Leadership Team Member
Conservatives of the Upstate

Friday, August 24, 2018

Worth it?

The stats on recent "school related topics" on COTU ...

School related posts continue to perform well on Recently, COTU has posted a series of articles on "tech" used in schools and the alarming amount of data gathered by that technology - that is in turn sold. The tech used in schools is not protective of your privacy and is an easier backdoor into your home network from hackers. Google and its products; the Chrome Web Browser, the Android operating system, and the Chromebook laptop are the main source of these concerns. 

Recent media reports and network security firms have exposed Google in the area of privacy and user agreements with such eye opening headlines as this:

Google Collects Location Data; Like It Or Not (Even If You Turn Off Location Tracking)


Google Collects Data On Idle Android Devices

The irony is, the biggest referral comes from Google searches. The 60 mile radius of Pickens County, SC is the largest area from which readers are viewing. 

The partner social media page Concerned Voters Of Pickens County: The Whole Truth is the largest targeted audience. 

Thank you readers! Stay focused and informed.

Is this the “diversity” the School District was wanting?

Almost every old farmstead in my vicinity is no longer just a home for a single farm family. They are often now surrounded by trailers and lean-tos, in turn sub-rented out to dozens of others—violations of zoning laws and building codes of the sort that would earn me a stiff fine, but which are of little interest to local authorities. Of three neighboring farmsteads down the road, one is now a storage area for dozens of used porta potties and wrecked cars. Another is an illegal dumping ground. The third has been raided on various occasions by authorities in order to stop drug dealing, gang activity, and prostitution.”

Read more:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Are Chromebooks & Android devices the best tech for our kids?

The Chrome browser is the predominant internet search tool used by the School District Of Pickens County. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Reminder: Special Guest for Tuesday August 21, 2018 COTU Meeting...

Lynne Taylor, known as the “Common Core Diva”,  will be Conservatives of the Upstate's guest speaker on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at the Easley Captain Kemberly Hampton Memorial Library located at 304 Biltmore Rd, Easley, SC 29640 from 7PM till 8:30PM in the large conference room on the right as you enter the building. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

When are we going to stop the sellout of our children?

The School District Of Pickens County is heavily invested in Chromebooks and Android devices. What admin and the school board have failed to realize is that the lowest cost isn’t always the best price. Know that the sole purpose of the ChromeOS, Chromebooks, and the Android operating system is to gather data AND SELL IT to not just the highest bidder - but ANY bidder. Your children are being tracked in every way imaginable and spied on - be mindful.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Special Guest For August 2018 COTU Meeting

Lynne M. Taylor a nation-wide frequent education reform expert guest on radio and multimedia shows will be speaking!
She is known as the “Common Core Diva” and will be Conservatives of the Upstate's guest speaker on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at the Easley Captain Kemberly Hampton Memorial Library located at 304 Biltmore Rd, Easley, SC 29640 from 7pm till 8:30pm in the large conference room on the right as you enter the building. 
Her topic will be, “"Education's Future: Theirs or Yours?"
This topic is non-partisan and the fact remains the misuse and overreaches in public education are every American's issue. We have this education disaster thanks to both the Republicans and the Democrat parties. Lynne will be gearing her information to this end. 
The future direction and reform of American public education is up for grabs. Is there a best solution to our concerns? Find out by attending this FREE event open to the public. You won't regret it.

Children are our future.

Please text your RSVP to 704-860-0648 so we will know how many to expect and prepare for.

For more information on the event go

Short Bio of Lynne Taylor: 

From 2002 to current: She has been featured speaker at small meetings and large conferences in several States.
Since 2009 to current, Lynne has served as a frequent guest on nationwide radio and multimedia shows based out of a dozen States. Listener reach has been nation-wide as well as internationally.
Lynne has been awarded the 2011 Distinguished Educator from the National Society of High School Scholars, as well as the 2016 L&B Network's Torchbearer Award for educational advocacy.

Lynne has appeared several times before the NC General Assembly in efforts to preserve freedom in education.
Lynne has written researched articles for "Prevent Common Core" ( and the Patriot Institute (
As well as a full-time education researcher, writer, and, blogger.(

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

If you think “fake news” isn’t real ...

This is an actual headline from Reuters - the news source where most news sources get their stories and use as an “official news source” (the other being “The Associated Press”).

The problem with this headline is that liberals will just read it and regurgitate it. The truth is ... everyone Trump endorsed in recent races won ... some won big.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Parents Discover Google Drive/Chromebooks Are Storing Personal Data

A Missouri couple asserts that the Springfield Public School System is accessing their personal accounts and storing their private information on the system's Google Drive without their permission - including voice assistant commands from all household members.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Local School Boards Need To Step Up

The voters in SC have entrusted their school board elected members with our country's most precious assets...children and their futures.

If more board members did their homework and learned the many well-documented facts concerning all the problems associated with the US Dept of Education mandates, they would be speaking out to the State Board of Education and taking a stand against further implementation of these faulty standards and mandates imposed on children. They should be lobbying for cutting the federal monies associated with these overreaching mandates. This is what true leaders do. 

Every Student Succeeds Act mandates, and the loosening of the protections for students in FERPA, by our USDE need to end in order for true local control to take place and a restoration of parents' rights to direct their child's education.

School board members are in a unique position to speak out against these issues. They should be the ones attempting to stop Federal overreach into the states' rights to oversee education. They should be the parents' advocates to ensure quality educational standards are in place and not child abusive ones. They should be fighting data mining and strengthening of FERPAThey should be mailing the state boards of education and state legislators with their objections. I have heard many state board and legislators say:

"We have not heard any complaints about ESSA or FERPA or US Dept of Ed mandates from local district school boards, we just hear from grassroots activists.”

There are too many nationally renowned organizations for me to name who are opposed to the direction public school education has taken and agree the US Dept of Education needs to be dismantled and shut down. 

Present legislation H.R 899 actually seeks to accomplish ending the US Dept of Ed. 
School board members should be pushing for H.R. 899 passage.
How many of your local school board members have spoken out about this issue? 
If they haven't then YOU need to fire them the next election cycle.
Local School Board Members have the power to make a huge difference and take a stand for our local schools!
REAL leaders would. 
REAL leaders who have concern for local control of education would. 
REAL leaders who love children and have their best interest at heart would.
REAL leaders who believe parents have the right to direct their child's education would.
Please contact your elected School Board members and ask them to step up to the plate and speak out.
Encourage them to join our efforts at

Written by 
Johnnelle Raines
Pickens SC

Sunday, July 15, 2018

But, but ... we didn’t sign the Paris Agreement...

Fact: Last year the United States had the largest decline in CO2 emissions *in the entire world* for the 9th time this century. 

Note: In 2010, most “air quality sensors” in Pickens County were moved - some more than a few miles - because it was noted by Upstate Forever - that “readings were abnormally low with the [then] current placement”.

Monday, June 18, 2018

No June or July COTU Meeting

There will be no June or July Conservatives Of The Upstate Meeting. Have a good summer. Please remember to vote for and encourage conservatives in the runoffs and candidacy in upcoming votes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

About the SC Secretary Of State vote ...


As someone once said, the definition of insanity is repeating the same activity over and over again expecting a different result. 

For years now, we have sent the same politicians to Columbia over and over again expecting a different result. We must stop the insanity.

The 16 year incumbent - is now asking for 4 more years. During his time in office he has failed hundreds of times to do his job and affix the State Seal to laws. He has been the subject of multiple ethics issues such as campaigning in office. And recently, we were made aware of an employee who was forced resign after being assaulted by a longtime Hammond staffer. It's time for this insanity to end! 

In six days we have a chance to try something different. 

Please help share our message to stop the insanity by inviting all of your family and friends to vote Joshua Putnam for Secretary of State on Tuesday, June 12th in the Republican Primary. Together we can stop the insanity and bring real, lasting change to Columbia. 

Thank you for your support. 

Joshua Putnam
Candidate for SC Secretary Of State

Thursday, May 31, 2018

On Pickens county council discussing closing of the Liberty library.

Dear Editor,
I read the story in the Pickens County Courier how the county council is discussing closing the Liberty library. This new county council inherited nearly $25 million in cash from the old council. Plus the county’s annual tax revenue is at a record. Reading the article, I wondered how can they be short of funds?

Looking deeper I pulled out the most recent financial audit of the county government. The libraries are funded by the 6.3 mills in property taxes we all pay. (See your tax bill, the line labeled Library.) Tax collections for the library budget are $3.1 million. The state pitches in $235,000 and library fees bring in $100,000. Total revenue for the library budget was $3.4 million (shattering the record).
Personnel costs are about $2.4 million, running the library buildings cost about $350,000 and other costs like supplies and contractual services add up to $350,000. Total expenses were $3.1 million.
The bottom line is the libraries were about $300,000 in the black last year, and the library account ended the year with a very healthy cash balance of $2 million. By the way, actual expenses came in about $400,000 less than budgeted expenditures. Another positive sign.

Again, I ask, what is the problem?

When I questioned the council leadership (both Roy Costner and Chris Bowers) on Facebook about this, posting the financial statements, and neither demonstrated a knowledge or understanding of these financial figures.

If there is indeed a financial problem with the library budget, it supports the point I made a few weeks ago. Why did the council vote to give the city of Easley $760,000 to help fund new parking lots and things like new landscaping for their Market Square?

In the past year or so we saw the shuttering of the Liberty Fire Department, the defunding of the Liberty Animal Shelter and now this discussion of closing the Liberty library. Our county leaders simply do not see what is coming down the pike -- growth the next 10 to 15 years for our county and Liberty in particular.

Greenville first sprawled east toward Greer, then south to Simpsonville and north to Travelers Rest. Greenville is now sprawling west into Easley, and that wave of growth is moving down Highway 93 toward Liberty as people are fleeing the crowds and higher priced real estate of Greenville, Powdersville and Easley.

Looking in the other direction, same thing. Clemson University continues to expand, now at 25,000 students on the way to 30,000 plus. Clemson sprawl is also barreling down Highway 93 toward Liberty. The residents in Liberty are wise to push back against this, and hopefully the council will reconsider.

The bototm line is, we tend to elect people who promise us the most, so the financial "skill" of most elected leaders is limited to creating lists of new things to spend money on. When they are faced with even the simplest financial challenges, they really don’t know what to do, and often the result is not good.

Alex Saitta

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Polling location changes ...

From the Pickens County Board Of Voter Registration....

Polling Place Changes:

The 124 East Pickens Voting Precinct has been permanently moved due to planned extensive renovations from The Mill Church (158 Woodrow St, Pickens, SC 29671) to the Conference Room inside the City of Pickens Maintenance Building (133 Railroad St, Pickens, SC 29671) for all future elections. 

The 119 Pumpkintown Voting Precinct has been temporarily moved due to renovations from the Oolenoy Baptist Church Fellowship Building  (200 Miracle Hill Rd, Pickens SC 29671) to the Ooolenoy Community Center  (5301 Dacusville Hwy, Pickens SC 29671) for the June 12, 2018 Primaries and any subsequent runoff election.  The precinct will return to the Oolenoy Baptist Church for the November 2018 General Election.

All voters in the affected precincts will be mailed new Voter Registration cards notifying them of the move beginning next week.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Let's Just NOT Talk About Sister City

I just watched the last Pickens County Council Meeting Video of May 14th here is the link on Facebook as they had not posted it on their main web page at the time I wrote this letter to the editor: Chairman Roy Costner discusses Sister City at approximately the 1:09:38 mark in the video.
Chairman Costner recommended they “NOT talk about Sister City" anymore and should pull it out of the budget and not fund this idea.
Watching the video made it clear to me the Chairman is advocating to still pursue a connection with Karlsrhue through other means.
Costner seems to think there are only “7 people “ who object to the Sister City program initiative and that those 7 are just throwing stones and being judgmental. He furthermore states that the majority of the Karlsrhue citizens attend church more than Pickens County citizens do and we shouldn't be worried about the unvetted Syrian Muslim refugee problem they have or the fact the majority of their citizens are liberal minded. My research shows that Germany is far from being church going...
I don't know about you, but I know liberals who go to church every Sunday...just because you go to church on Sunday doesn't mean you are a Conservative and have Conservative family values. Is it just that Costner doesn't understand the threat of liberalism ideology on our county ...or is it he's fine with our students "exchanging ideas" with liberals and being in an unsafe environment with Islamic refugees when they travel to Karlsrhue for cultural exchange? I am not sure which. But please know that the idea of student exchanges is NOT DEAD with this council. They just aren't going to "talk about it" with the public any more according to the video.
The number one job of government is to protect its citizenry and keep them safe. Sending students over to Germany right now is NOT being safety minded...
Stay vigilant my friends as they will be meeting behind closed doors calling it economic development and “not talking” about Sister City and hoping you forget what they are up to. In other words... they are taking Sister City out of budget and not fund it and not talk about it...however they will continue to pursue the idea of it in other ways. 
Reminds me of a previous council who ignored the will of the people on building new schools and made it happen via the “Greenville Plan”. 

Written by 
Johnnelle Raines 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Figuring out fake news ...

Why do democrats now want to combat “fake news”?

After reading a thread from Easley Rep. Neal Collins - who has many admitted democrats posting in the forum - he has people convinced in the false premises of ...

1) This country is a representative democracy

(It is a strict constitutional republic, and many founding documents state such.)

so therefore ...

2) The legislature should appoint more positions rather than the people voting for them

(The constitution of the State of South Carolina has to be changed in order to change an office from elected to appointed. Changing our constitution should be the furthest action from any legislator’s mind.)

so therefore ...

3) Many of our education problems could be solved if lobbying were more prominent rather than campaigning and debating.

(An appointed superintendent will always go with the process rather than the solution.)

The solution is, we need a superintendent who will respond and be accountable to the people - remove CBE, remove ESSA, reduce credit hours and allow anything above 16 hours to apply to tech/trade school credit, do not accept federal funding, combine school districts into county wide districts (creating slimmer, more efficient admin), pay teachers at a state level (pay grade should be merit and tenure - district level pay creates a false notion of competition), bring back stricter discipline policies (not corporal punishment just stricter)

An appointed superintendent will do none of that or try none of that.

Don’t we want less government, more say so, fair ethical participation?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

May 2018 COTU meeting agenda …

Conservatives of the Upstate
Agenda for May 8, 2018 Meeting

to be held at Silver Bay Restaurant6:30pm

1. Call to Order and Welcome
2. Prayer
3. Pledge
4. Pass around contact information notebook
5. Treasury Report
6. Minutes from April meeting

7. Report on Azalea Festival Booth success 
8. Report on FOIA request on Sister City
9. Report on needing people to step up and help candidates in the June Rep. primary
10.  Introduction of Speakers for tonight Alan Quinn and Philip Healy 15 minutes each
11.  Questions for Speaker
12.  Prayer and Adjourn

Next membership meeting with speaker will be in June to be announced 

For updates please monitor www.conservativesoftheupstate web site as well as Concerned Voters of Pickens County the Whole Truth Facebook page***

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

May 2018 County Council Meeting ...

Please attend and speak up about the significant tax increase being voted on.

Elected judges needed in SC ...

Some of you may not know, but I live in Chattanooga Tennessee and I own a home in Liberty. 

My father (founder of COTU) and my brother both own farms in Six Mile respectively. I have many friends in Pickens County that I advocate for by voice and writing almost daily. I was campaign manager on some very successful County and Federal campaigns in SC.

Having dealt with and been cheated by a horrible judicial system in SC, I made it a mission to seek a solution. That solution is electing judges at all positions. 

Some say this politicizes a position that should be unbiased. To that I say, would you rather not know how they might rule before you place them in a position of power? Would you rather the judiciary be appointed by a corrupt legislature that will rubber stamp any illegal tax or property grab or unconstitutional spending?

At least if you elect a judge, you have recourse for their bad decisions. 

Yes, I feel they should not be partisan, but I do feel you should know with what they identify with - conservative or progressive principals. If we knew before hand, we could hold them accountable. When they ok a surplus to go to pet projects or a fifth top coat on a Charleston road - we can “remind” voters on Election Day.

Yesterday, I helped a personally vetted circuit court judge be elected by holding signs for 3 hours during lunch. He was elected.

Let’s do this in SC! 

Written by
Philip Smith