published Friday, July 26th, 2013

Drew's Views: Thoughts on Sen. Alexander, Bradley County and the Obama visit

HEADLINE: Tea Party wants to challenge U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander

THE RECAP: More than 200 critics of Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., rallied last weekend in Smyrna outside an Alexander event to denounce his voting record as insufficiently conservative. Tea party groups plan to begin to audition potential primary opponents in regional forums in late August and into September.

DREW'S VIEW: After months of Tennessee conservatives demanding an alternative to Liberal Lamar in the 2014 Republican primary for U.S. Senate, a number of qualified candidates are emerging. The latest, and perhaps most promising, is Kevin Kookogey. The Franklin, Tenn., entertainment lawyer and artist manager received a rock star's reception from many conservatives following his powerful and articulate testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee after his organization, Linchpins of Liberty, was targeted by the IRS.

Of course, if more than one legitimate candidate run against Sen. Alexander in the GOP primary, the challengers will split the anti-Alexander vote, likely paving the way for Liberal Lamar's re-election.

Wisely, grass-roots leaders from the conservative and tea party communities have a series of forums in the works to address that issue. These forums will serve as informal conventions to determine which of the potential challengers would be best suited to defeat Alexander head-to-head in the primary. The most viable candidate will go on to oppose Alexander and, if all goes according to plan, the others will bow out gracefully and offer their support to the chosen challenger.

Liberal Lamar, because of his failure to uphold conservative, limited-government principles in the U.S. Senate, was already vulnerable. This ingenious plan to select the best candidate to run against him may well mean that Alexander's days in office are, mercifully, coming to an end.


HEADLINE: Judge declines to issue summonses against Cleveland, Tenn., officials in sign flap

THE RECAP: Bradley County General Sessions Judge Sheridan Randolph refused to issue criminal summonses for City Manager Janice Casteel and Councilman George Poe on charges of vandalism, criminal trespass and official oppression after Casteel and Poe were involved in tearing down signs at a Cleveland business that protested Gov. Bill Haslam's support of the Common Core education curriculum.

Dan Rawls, the business owner who put up the signs, was told by Randolph that the court refused to handle the complaint because the signs were of a political nature.

DREW'S VIEW: How do sane people put up with the lunacy that comes with living in Cleveland and Bradley County? Sure, it's pretty and the people are the nicest folks you'd ever want to meet, but I've never seen a place where the power structure is more bass-ackwards, even to the point where the judges are dingbats.

First, the Cleveland City Manager and a City Councilman tear down signs from a man's business because the signs were, as Poe put it, "embarrassing." Specifically, the signs were critical of Gov. Haslam and, since the governor was in town to give away $570,000 in state taxpayers' money, Casteel and Poe felt the pork barrel spending make the governor beyond reproach.

Then, when the business owner asked a Bradley County General Sessions judge to issue criminal summonses for Casteel and Poe for trespassing on his property, ripping down his signs and using their public positions to silence his freedom of speech, the judge ignored the request because the signs were "political." Apparently, according to Judge Sheridan Randolph, political speech doesn't actually count as "speech" under the First Amendment (even though that's exactly the type of speech the First Amendment was written to protect).

So here we have a politician and a bureaucrat who got away with targeting a business owner because he put up signs that embarrassed them because a judge either doesn't understand the Constitution, or is unwilling to uphold it.

Of course, Judge Randolph is the same judge who the TBI and the FBI investigated after he inappropriately held a man suspected of burglarizing his law office for more than 72 hours without bond, without an attorney and without access to a telephone, in 2011. Apparently Randolph doesn't believe in the Sixth Amendment any more than he believes in the First.

As if that weren't bad enough, Poe and five of the six other members of the Cleveland City Council approved a hefty 18.51-cent property tax increase on Monday. Apparently, rather than spending tax dollars responsibly, it was easier for city lawmakers to treat Cleveland residents like ATMs and take more of their money.


HEADLINE: Obama to visit Chattanooga Tuesday

THE RECAP: President Barack Obama will bring his campaign tour to promote middle class jobs to Chattanooga on Tuesday with a visit to the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga.

DREW'S VIEW: So let me get this straight -- Obama wants to come to Chattanooga to share his wisdom about job creation when, as president, he's overseen the slowest economic recovery in the history of the United States? And he wants to hold the event at an Amazon facility that was only built because state and local officials irresponsibly bribed the company with more than $112 million in tax incentives and taxpayer-funded handouts in order to entice them to come to Southeast Tennessee? What a joke.

If Obama actually wants to "jump-start private sector job growth and make America more competitive," as some White House lackey told the Times Free Press, he would do so through lowering America's stifling corporate tax rate, slash onerous regulatory burdens and reduce the federal deficit by cutting government waste. Instead, his plan will include more spending, more debt and more government -- more of everything the private sector needs a lot less of.

"Drew's Views" is a weekly roundup of Free Press opinions about topics that appeared recently in the Times Free Press. Follow Drew Johnson on Twitter: @Drews_Views.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
joneses said...

And how much will this cost us taxpayers?

July 26, 2013 at 6:54 a.m.
MyGen said...

Got it. This side of the paper doesn't like Lamar Alexander, likes gay marriage and wants drugs legalized.

July 26, 2013 at 7:40 a.m.
soakya said...

where exactly does one settle a 'political' issue if not in the legal system?

July 26, 2013 at 9:37 a.m.
LibDem said...

"Liberal Lamar". At least Conservatives are able to deal with this with maturity.

The President's Visit. It's fun to blame the President for everything but common sense tells us no president can do it alone.

July 26, 2013 at 10:13 a.m.
TheCommander said...

Keep it up Drew! I used to buy the propaganda that companies like to come to Tennessee because of low regulation, and a business friendly environment. The lights finally came on and I now realize Tennessee is for sale to any company that just makes the slightest suggestion that they will create jobs. PILOT programs and now tax increment financing will destroy us. Did you know Andy Berke sponsored the legislation that unleashed TIF on Tennessee? Drew, please do an expose on Industrial Developments boards (IDB)in Tennessee and their work with the Chamber of Commerce. Look into the amount of real estate that is taken off the tax rolls because it is not owned by these corporations but by the local IDB. Then look into the amount of bond debt generated by IDBs. With all this work in job creation do you realize that unemployment just went up in almost all Tennessee counties, remained the same in just a few and went down for NONE?! At the same time, look at all the local "givernments" in our area that are implementing new property tax increases.

July 26, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

The Cleveland political circle-jerk continues with Judge "Hot Pockets" Randolph and Councilman Georgie Porgie Poe.

I'm reminded of a quote by Groucho Marx. "“He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

July 26, 2013 at 10:31 a.m.
soakya said...

This is what you got TN and Hamilton County for nearly 1.2 billion dollars in more debt. You understand more debt eventually means more taxes as the commander as already pointed out we are now seeing.

In Hamilton county in 2006-07 we see a sharp incline in population which continues to climb until 2012. In the same time period we see a rise in the number of unemployed and a decline in the actual number of employees. Since 2007 the number of unemployed has increased by 5,550 and the number employed has fallen by 5,440. Per Capita income grew at a faster pace from 2001-2007. Per capita income grew by 26% or $7,971 dollars during 2001-07 compared to 4% or $1,829 dollars from 2007-2011. From 2007-12 the employed to civilian labor force ratio rate fell by 3.32 %. Today, more than 2 years after Volkswagen opened their doors Hamilton County has fewer workers and more unemployed and slower growth in per capita income.

Tennessee looks almost identical to Hamilton County. In 2007 TN had 9,400 more people working than in 2012. A massive 101,100 Tennessean’s joined the unemployment line since 2007 and we have added $1,061,526,000 in net bonded debt. Since 2007 the employed to civilian labor force ratio has declined by 3.1%. Per capita income also grew at a faster pace from 2001-07, $6904 dollars or 26% compared to $4487 dollars or 13% from 2007-12.

And of course more good news this morning all across TN and GA. Way to go Chamber and our spineless local and state leaders.

July 26, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
TheCommander said...

Good data soakya.

Perfect example of the propaganda in the TFP today; Here is Fleischmann:"...celebrating the businesses that have come to Tennessee thanks to our low regulation, low taxes and right-to-work policies."

Chuck, didn't mention the hundreds of millions of $ in federal, state and local incentives we are playing "Hunger Games" with against other towns and states. Guess what Chuck: They will strike back at us. Then what? We have to pony up with more incentives to play defense. Where does it end?

See the brainwashing everyone? I know conservatives and especially the Tea party supported this guy, but please admit those who voted for him made a mistake and keep turning over.

July 26, 2013 at 1:16 p.m.
gjuster said...

Commander - The Tea Party DID NOT support Fleischmann, nor do we support government corporate handouts

July 26, 2013 at 2:37 p.m.
soakya said...

If these companies are coming here because of low regulations, low taxes and right to work polices why are we giving them taxpayer money. Nonsense taxpayer money is driving their decisions to locate here.

July 26, 2013 at 2:44 p.m.
TheCommander said...

gjuster, Very sorry - I stand corrected. I assumed he was a Tea Party favorite becasue I know he is supported individually by people I know who are Tea Party affiliated. That is certainly no reason to think he is endorsed however; my mistake!

Concerning corporate welfare: I firmly beleive the Tea Party is the only party against this. But there is very little evidence of it. You will have your chance to prove it as the Chamber and local political leaders call for a 2nd round of incentives for VW (comng real soon). I want to see and participate with your grassroots efforts. I want to see the kind of tanglible activism to this issue that I saw when Mark West (along with our local RINOs) put up against unionization efforts at VW. When we all SEE it and not just read a statement against it, then all will know for sure that the Tea Party against corporate welfare.

July 26, 2013 at 3:43 p.m.
VisaDiva said...

If a President of the United States chooses to come to Chattanooga, how is this more expensive than any other travel he does? Even if you don't like the person, respect the office. He did not create the recession, but he has tried to deal with it in the best way possible. What would you do, placed in that position, with an opposition Congress blocking your every move? Amazon is here, however it came about, and is providing jobs for people who were unemployed before its arrival. How is that a bad thing? I'm curious to know how you determined what his plan is? Has he told you? Your solutions might work, but if they are viable why hasn't Congress already enacted them? Presidents don't pass legislation, our elected officals do. Have you written to them to express your views? I understand they like to hear from constituents, since so few people actually share their opinions with those who can effect change. Has anyone else who derides him? Change comes from legislators who have ideas and backbone. If the President wants to "jump-start private sector job growth and make America more competitive" how is that objectionable? This is the policy he espouses, but only lawmakers can make it happen.

July 26, 2013 at 4:41 p.m.
rick1 said...


After Obama’s inauguration in 2009, Democrats controlled the House and Senate for two years. During this time Obama, Pelosi, and Reid pushed through Obama’s economic policies that included record spending with the stimulus, which was a failure, increased taxes, and ObamaCare, which Obama is now delaying the business mandate because of the damage it would do to our already fragile economy. ObamaCare is also causing employers to cut workers to less than 30 hours and according to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics in June 2013, the number of persons employed part time increased by 322,000.

Obama's policies are causing damage, which will takes years for the economy to fully recover if it ever fully recovers at all.

July 26, 2013 at 9:30 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

I see in Cleveland that the same police officer is being investigated for the third time since 2005 for sexual assault with an TBI investigation pending. Naturally DA Steve Bebb, no stranger to his own brand of criminal shenanigans, will review the TBI findings.

Between Judge Sheridan, police officer Wooten, DA Bebb, City Manager Casteel, and City Councilman George Poe, please pass the peanuts and Crackerjacks as I'm waiting who else pops out of the clown car at the Cleveland Circus.

July 26, 2013 at 10:10 p.m.
Ozzy87 said...

Ahhh, the old mantra of the conservatives is at it again : "Repeat a lie long enough and everyone ( including ourselves) will believe it." The Democrats didn't have a fillibuster-proof Senate for " two years", try living in the real world where they had total control for about 14 weeks.

July 27, 2013 at 1:53 a.m.
rick1 said...

Ahh, the old mantra of the liberal's is at it again. They use the same old talking point that the Democrats didn't have a filibuster proof Senate for two years but they fail to mention only one Republican: Joseph Cao voted for ObamaCare, and only three Republicans: Collins, Spector, and Snowe who voted for the stimulus.

July 27, 2013 at 7:08 a.m.
soakya said...

Mr. Fleishmann says economic growth is working so well here in TN he and other RINOS are bragging about it. Well here are the results from fiscal year 2012 to the current June 2013 numbers.

In Hamilton county the labor force grew by 1250, 2260 joined the unemployment lines and there is 1030 less actual employees.

In Bradley county the labor force grew by 750, 550 joined the unemployment lines, and here's the good news 190 of that 750 did actually find a job.

It's not working.

July 27, 2013 at 9:08 a.m.
charivara said...

rick1: Of course you can only point to 4 Republican votes. What does that prove except that’s what you get when the Republicans have made it their policy to see a black Democratic President fail rather than seeing America succeed and solve the problems Republicans have largely created? Point to one thing that Republicans have supported in the last 5 years that would improve the economic, social or political lives of ordinary Americans. They have spent more time embarrassing the President and this country that they have trying to promote the general welfare. (As the Constitution they claim to hold so dear states.) In any other country that would be called treasonous. And it should be here, too.

soakya:Looks to me that you are implying that our economic woes today are President Obama's sole responsibility. Why else talk only about post 2007 conditions? All of your numbers mean little more other than there was an economic catastrophe. We all know that. How did it happen? Are you saying that if it hadn't been for that black Democrat in the White House this would never have come to pass? Republican obstruction to any attempts to ameliorate the situation has nothing to do with the numbers you quote?

July 27, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.
soakya said...

charivara: Didn't imply any such thing, you inferred that. I think I was quite clear in saying in previous posts all this data is after the mega deals in the state of TN given out by RINO's and the Chamber of Commerce, hence the post 2007 stats. My comments and stats are directed at the RINO's and the Chamber. However, don't mistake my lack of criticism of Washington as approval of what their doing either. I just believe we should focus local first.

As I said before the numbers show the economic policies Fleishmann and the rest of the RINO's are patting their self on the back for are not working.

By looking at your 2 responses above you seem quite determined to bring race into the argument. If you want to bring race into it you can argue with yourself on that. The next time you respond to my post by race baiting I will not respond.

July 27, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.
charivara said...

Unfortunately, race is very much part of the argument, if that doesn’t apply to you, then I apologize. I still contend your data reflects the effects of the economic times we live in, not the deals themselves. You are basically Monday morning quarterbacking here. Neither the corporations nor the governments they deal with can with certainty predict what the future will bring. Neither would have entered into the deal if they didn’t think it benefited them. Would you have voted for Fleischmann knowing what you know about him now? And Fleischmann is no RINO. He is a real Republican. And so is the Chamber of Commerce. That’s the problem.

July 27, 2013 at 1:14 p.m.
rick1 said...

charivara, I pointed to four Republicans, one who voted for Obama Care and the other three who voted for the stimulus to show Obama was able to push his agenda through during his first two years in office when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.

The stimulus was over $800 billion in spending, which did not help the economy as we were promised it would.

With ObamaCare we are finding what Obama told us is a lie. HHS now says with ObamaCare you might not be able to keeop your doctor. We were told premiums would go down and we find the will increase substantially and Obama has now delayed the employer mandate of ObamaCare for one year. This bill is a serious drain on our economy and workers are suffering as their hours are being cut to less than 30 hours.

People knew this law was going to be bad from the start including politicians from both sides as many democrats who voted for it in 2010 are now trying to separate themselves from this disaster. Of course if you voted against the bill or make it know that you do not agree with ObamaCare or other policies of Obama it is because he is black. The fact is Obama’s policies have been a failure and the democrats can not take responsibility for anything so let’s blame the republicans.

I notice you did not mention anything about the tyrant Harry Reid who refuses to bring House Bills on jobs to the Senate floor for a vote. Or how Harry Reid has abused the use of procedures like filling the amendment tree, in which the majority leader “uses his privilege of being recognized first to offer amendment after amendment to block all other amendments to a bill.

I’m not going to defend the RINO’s and yes in Bush second term spending was out of control and Bush should have used his veto pen. But what I find interesting our current President was a U.S. Senator during Bush second term and he voted for all of those huge budget bills as well.

In fact you want to blame Bush and the republicans for the recession but you refuse to accept the fact that Obama’s economic policies are the same as Bushes

Both increased Government spending with Obama increasing it even more.

Both bailed out politically connected companies.

Both supported the feds easy money policy . Both created new healthcare entitlements.

Both have created new regulations on the financial sector.

These are facts and it has nothing to do with Obama being black so please stop playing the race card.

July 27, 2013 at 2:19 p.m.
gjuster said...

When you have nothing else - fall back to the race card - it's pathetic. Am I not allowed to dislike Obama's policies - or do I have to agree with him because he's black.

July 28, 2013 at 4:55 p.m.
charivara said...

“People knew this was going to be a bad law.” is about the most revealing statement you’ve made. How do they know that? It is a law that has its genesis in a paper by the ultra conservative Heritage Foundation and is modeled on the successful Massachusetts health care law signed by a Republican governor. Now that a Democratic President has proposed a similar measure, Republicans claim the sky is going to fall. Strange they didn’t see it when their side proposed it and enacted it. I’m not sure where you are getting your information about the law. Wether you keep your doctor or not is no different under Obamacare than it has been before. It all depends on the insurance carrier. If your employer changed insurance carriers the doctor you had been seeing might not be in the new carrier’s network and you’d have to change doctors. Nothing new here. According to the Washington Post, Obamacare insurance premium rates in California, which has a huge number of uninsured, will be much lower than even the Congressional Budget Office had predicted. In New York insurance rates under Obamacare will be 50% lower than they are now. The present insurance system is solely designed to profit those who own and manage insurance companies. It has failed miserably in ensuring access to quality healthcare for Americans. No system is perfect, certainly not from the beginning. How could Obamacare be worse than what we have now? A person truly concerned about the situation would give it a try and modify it when experience dictates that changes are required. Republican baseless fear mongering is not a productive solution to the problem. On the jobs bill: According to The website Minority Leader McConnell made it clear that he demanded a vote on the bill in order to embarrass the Democrats. That describes the sum total of Republican commitment in legislating in the national interest. If anyone is a tyrant in the Senate it is Make-Obama-A-One-Term-President McConnell. Many economist believed that the stimulus bill was not as effective as it could have been because it was too small. It’s also interesting that more than half the Republicans who voted against the stimulus bill took credit for it when it supported projects in their districts. According to Newsweek, many who said it would not create jobs requested money from the stimulus fund on the grounds it would create jobs. I’m thinking hypocrite. Yes, Obama increased spending because we were in economic difficulties and many of our fellow citizens needed help in a crisis not of their making. Contrast that with Bush’s increased spending for a war that was unnecessary. Neither political party is blameless but the most guilty of creating and continuing the mess we are currently in are the Republicans. By a mile. Maybe ten. They promised us jobs and all we've gotten from them is attacks on womens reproductive rights, voter suppression laws, and assaults on the poor and vulnerable.

July 28, 2013 at 7:06 p.m.
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