Get Out to Vote! We need you....Eric Keller
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Vote.  You must vote.

Trump sides with Putin against all of us - refusing to support his intelligence services and the Americans they serve.  What he said and did in that news conference today, as well as the many tweets leading up to it, is treason.  Pure and simple.  Taking the side of an adversary over that of his nation, Trump throws all of us under the bus.

Vote.  You must vote.  From county to the Congress- we must send a message to Washington this will not be allowed.  Not on our watch.  

The Republican Party is useless.  Unable to stop these treasonous acts due to fear of the fanatical Trumpists as well as fear of their donor class stopping the cash flow, Congressional Republicans are useless.  They enable this "president".  Shame on them.

The only language a politician understands, even more than money, is the vote.  Stop them.  Stop this degradation and show them what Americans really believe in.

Vote.  You must vote.  Need a reason...

With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. But I really do want to see the server.
— President Trump answering a question at the Trump-Putin Press Conference; Washington Post Transcrpts of the July, 7th 2018 Trump-Putin concluding press conference

Vote.  Your country needs you. 

Eric KellerComment
The Boogiemen of Trade and Immigration by Bill Culbert
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 Political leaders sometimes use popular and nationalistic sentiment to consolidate power. There will almost always be a call to patriotism and the demonization of some common “enemy” as the vehicle to exploit voters unschooled in human nature and history. We are seeing this in our current trade and immigration policies. 

 Populism’s simplistic solutions to complex problems are almost always unworkable and carry major unintended consequences. Nationalism is atavistic and leads to isolation and ultimate decay. 

 The greatest resource of any rich nation is its labor market. According to The Economist, if the world had free labor migration i.e. anyone could move anywhere for a job, it would add $73 trillion dollars to the world’s economy. This would not have to entail citizenship. In other words, it is the world’s greatest economic gift that has only to be embraced. 

 With a decreasing birth rate, the U.S. will lose much of its labor force and will be unable to fund the social support system for our aging population. Accepting more immigrants is the only reasonable solution to this dilemma that affects all rich nations. It is incomprehensible that we would turn away and torture young families that are eager to serve our nation and perform jobs few Americans will do. 

 A simple state allotment of immigrants with access to common services and a minimal short-term stipend would help revitalized many of our urban centers. Twice as many immigrants start U.S. businesses as reflected by their population. Immigrants started 40% of our Fortune 500 companies.

 Families that are fleeing terrible situations in their home countries are often the best ambassadors for the U.S. around the world. They commonly have a greater appreciation for our freedom than those born to it and they have lower crime rates. They often help support the extended families they leave behind and promote economic and social stability in those countries as a cheap alternative to U.S. militarization.

 American businesses have enjoyed a 22% increase in profit margins above a 50-year trend since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001. Our access to their labor market is largely responsible, allowing American companies to provide greater added value using the low-cost Chinese products with more skilled, higher-wage American workers. For example, sixteen times as many U.S. companies will be hurt financially from higher priced steel and aluminum than those helped by import tariffs on these products. 

 Because most publicly-traded companies choose to share their wealth more with shareholders than with their workers, the working-class enmity against immigrants and foreign labor is misplaced.  For example, with all the gains in productivity between 1970 and 2015, the percentage of GDP in advanced economies that goes to labor has decreased from 55% to 51%. Even in the last five years of rapid economic recovery, real wages are almost flat. 

 Even though China had trade revenues in the U.S. of $506 billion in 2017, this was almost exclusively the result of direct product sales. The U.S., on the other hand, made much of its $450-500 billion from this relationship through China-based U.S. subsidiaries, so there is still parity in commerce.  The premise for a trade war is tenuous at best. It will result in job losses for both nations and with the current trade structure, China can inflict serious financial pain on the U.S companies that operate there. 

Eric KellerComment
VOTE NOW OR WATCH OUR DEMOCRACY DIE...by Eric Keller
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Indeed.  Fascism is defined as "an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization" (Bing, 2018).  We are seeing it now.  Trump is slowly strangling American democracy in an attempt to consolidate his power.  The new Party of Trump, previously known as the Republican Party, allows him to do this.  Attacking any opposition with a constant flurry of known lies and administrative actions, Trump has already significantly damaged our American Way of Life.  His investigative bodies, lead by his appointees, are consistently attacked as biased and untrustworthy by Trump because they keep uncovering Russia's tilting the election to him.  The free press, a hallmark in any democracy, is degraded by Trump and his followers with attacks that claim they "make up facts".  Meanwhile, even when caught on tape, Trump makes up facts and lies about his past words or deeds.  Meanwhile, Franklin Graham, Liberty University, and other conservative religious organizations are ignoring these elements and cheer him on in the name of God.

Trumpism is America's current fascism.  Make no mistake about this.  He is rewarding devoted followers with high positions of authority so they are beholden to him.  Trump is working to neuter the courts as he already neutered the current House and Senate.  Using fiats and executive orders, he is dismantling the administrative checks to his power.  Finally, he discredits any and all opposition to him in a degrading fashion.

Scapegoating brown and black immigrants, migrants, and refugees, Trump tries to create an atmosphere of fear.  Still claiming, as he did at the Republican Convention in 2016, that he "alone can fix it", Trump continues to preach hate and fear.  All of this is right out of the Dictator's handbook.  This is real.  Trump is dangerous.  What should we do?

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ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES AND TAKE ACTION.  VOTE.

VOTE.  NOW.  Your vote stands as the one weapon we can use to stop this madness.  By outvoting Trump's followers- from the county to the state - we make our stand.  If John Ragan is voted out of the Tennessee State House- then Tennessee is less likely to support Trump's madness.  If Regina Copeland, Rex Lynch, and Russell Barker lose to Ebony Capshaw, Alden Souza, and Mark Lucas; then Trumpism loses.  

VOTE.  EARLY VOTING HAS BEGUN.  STOP TRUMP NOW.  MAKE A STAND. 

Eric KellerComment
Trumpism Betrayal by Eric Keller
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Look at them.  The crowd that is cheering behind Trump during his recent visit to Nashville.  Soon they will be chanting "animals" while Trump talks of migrants and gangs.  He fires them up with shouted slogans of hate- of immigrants and migrants "infesting" our land.  Soon after this rally, Trump's policy of taking children from parents, whose only crime is crossing a border illegally, will be exposed.  But do not forget.  He does these things because he is emboldened by the very cheers he hears from his rallies.  

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The world has been down this road before.  Frantically cheering a leader preaching hate and division...looking at a whole class of people as "animals" who "infest" a nation.  Trump is not new in singing this tune.

Must we learn this all over again.  This is wrong.  Trump's attack on human decency is wrong and not worth a first round draft pick for the Supreme Court.  As Hitler's devoted followers learned- this gospel of hate does not make one secure.  It makes them accountable.

Eric KellerComment
Never Forget How Hard It Was...by Eric Keller
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It really was close- our declaration to the world that we are now an independent nation.  We lost many of the big battles and several of our major ports were occupied by English troops.  Colonial legislators were neglectful of sending supplies to their troops while raw militias tended to run away from the disciplined fire of professional soldiers.  Regardless, there were those who pledged to give all that they had...wealth...power...their lives...so this neophyte nation would see birth.  They succeeded.

We are their descendants.  We are a people who came here from all the shores of the world or watched others come to this shore.  We are a people whose strength comes from "E Pluribus Unum" or "Out of Many One".  Speaking all languages, wearing all skins, and having common ambitions, we are a people who believe those words written long ago - the ones that talk of equality and the pursuit of happiness.

This American Life is threatened by an autocratic, bombastic, self-centered president enabled by a weak political party.  Alienating our allies, threatening an entire people who come to our border by using false narratives, enabling corruption at a massive scale and presiding over increasing economic, political, and social inequality; this president is a very strong danger to our way of life.

This must stop.  We must do the same as those who came before us.  We must continue the fight for the helpless, the weak, the poor, and the alien.  We must reverse this crippling inequality of opportunity.  We must create the political conditions that allow all of us to have the security of health insurance, a secure retirement, a better life for our children, and an equal opportunity for all to succeed.

Vote.  We must, at the very least, vote.  This is what Trumpism fears the most- a people aroused who votes.  We have, on 2 August, the Anderson County General Election/State primaries with early voting beginning on 13 July.  Voting in this election and in the General Election on 6 November honors those who created this nation and those who live in it today.

Vote.  Stand proud before the American flag and vote.  Vote as if your life and the lives of those around you depend on it.  Help create a better government that truly represents us all.

Eric KellerComment
Anderson County Party of Trump by Eric Keller
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Where is the Republican Party?  I am talking about the party that advocated global trade, commerce, and a strong defense against global threats.  Once, this party believed in the rule of law, international order, and conservative values.  Whereas the Democrats certainly disagreed with many of their policies, reasonable compromise would occur and all levels of government would move forward.

That is gone in Anderson County.  Instead we have an adherence to Trump, a fervent  loyalty to a person rather than to an ideal.  Screaming "MAGA" while wearing the Trump red caps, Trumpists are now zigging and zagging with their beliefs and values.  Conservative morality is replaced with a tolerance of corruption and petty governmental looting by Trump's cabinet.  Global commerce is replaced by "begger thy neighbor" trade policies with tariffs that hurt Anderson County manufacturers.  The concern that Republicans had over the government deficit is replaced by a Trumpist belief that increased debts are now good.  There is no Republican Party in Anderson County- it is now replaced with the party of Trump.  The Republican Party is broken.

Here is one glaring example.  The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis is a government agency tasked with tracking America's economic indicators.  In Anderson County, one of the biggest sectors is manufacturing of fabricated metal products which is the largest contributor to personal income in Anderson County.  This industry brings a total personal income to the county of over 500 million dollars a year (in 2016 dollars; BEA CA5 Personal Income by Major Component and Earnings by NAICS Industry).

Trump enacted a steel and aluminum tariff (tax) of 25% and 10% respectively on those materials imported from Canada, Mexico, and the E.U.  This is a tax on the raw materials which Anderson County manufactures need.   

Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) President and CEO Ed Youdell said, “One likely result of this action is to add headwinds to the market for American-made fabricated metal product producers. Just when this market had some sustained momentum, the specter of retaliatory duties and tariffs now hangs over this important manufacturing sector.

“The association is concerned that jobs and job creation are at risk; those countries affected by this announcement will likely choose to circumvent the tariffs by producing and exporting low-cost fabricated metal parts rather than exporting steel and aluminum.”

The Party of Trump is not the Republican Party as most would know it.  The Republican Party- from Anderson County to the White House- is broken.  It needs to go. 

Eric KellerComment