Apr 29 2011

It’s All About the Money

Posted by Steve Ross in State Politics

Tiger Dud

Sometimes I wonder what drives people. Other times I wonder how they have any wheels at all. But most times, that driving force is very apparent through the actions of a person or group, and more often than not, their true motivation shines through.

This morning the Tennessee Democratic Party is hosting a Unity Breakfast in Nashville. Typical fundraising affair, big name speaker, in this case, Vice-President Gore, nice restaurant. I wouldn’t say it’s no big deal, but I also wouldn’t say its something that, if I were the TNGOP, I would attack. Doing so might inadvertently advertise the event.

But that’s exactly what the TNGOP did in this radio ad. I’m sure they used Charlie Sheen’s voice with permission, and I’d be interested to know how much that cost them, or will cost them after Mr. Sheen files suit.

Anyway, my point is, the TNGOP attacking a fundraiser is just endemic of their whole worldview. I’m sure in some room somebody has this complex calculation involving dry beans, Pi, and a few other constants that tells them what they believe is the total amount of campaign dollars in the universe. Subtract the salaries and budgets of all the other organizations out there and it shows just how much campaign cash Tennessee has. Armed with this knowledge, the TNGOP certainly calculated that at $250 a head the TNDP would most certainly gain a competitive advantage, particularly considering the big name Oscar winner on the bill. Considering the dire nature of their flat earth funding philosophy, and the huge potential for these mythically limited funds to move in the wrong direction, the TNGOP had to strike back with a washed up hack.

Because it really is all about the money and nothing else and there’s plenty of evidence to prove it. From the lavish $25,000 a head “shakedown at the Governor’s mansion, to the bill promoting the massive influx of corporate campaign donations, that’s the real focus of the TNGOP, getting the money so no one else can.

Way to go guys, and thanks for the cross promotion. In the mean time, I’ve forwarded the audio of your radio ad to Sheen’s Business Agent.

Happy litigation!

Mar 28 2011

United Coal, The Quiet Company

Posted by Steve Ross in State Politics

via Tennessee Tourism

There’s a lot of things about East Tennessee that I don’t know, but I’m learning. Living on the exact opposite end of the state presents some challenges to that learning, but I’ve made a couple of trips over there, and have a couple more planned in the relatively near future.

In researching last night’s post I came across a lot of information that I honestly knew nothing about. For instance, I knew there were some strip mining sites in Tennessee, but I didn’t know there were only four active ones. That’s a lot better than I initially thought. Hopefully it will stay that way.

Another thing I didn’t know is that one of the largest European conglomerates in the world has its US headquarters in Bristol, TN. In fact, they just moved there about 18 months ago from the VA side of the state line. Now United Coal doesn’t sound European at all, but it’s owned by a company called Metinvest Group a Ukrainian based holding company that’s into all kinds of stuff worldwide.

In fact, the guy who really owns Metinvest, Renat Akhmetov, is reportedly the wealthiest guy in the Ukraine. Not too shabby for someone that didn’t get started until after the Soviet Union fell in 1991.

At the rate this guy is going he may surpass Bill Gates and Warren Buffett pretty soon. Think about it, 20 years, $31b, that’s $1.5b/year. Straight out of a former Communist country. Man, I wonder what it takes to get something started like that.

According to the report [“Overview of the Most Dangerous Organized Crime Structures in Ukraine”] Renat Akhmetov, born in 1966 in Donetsk, is listed as the leader of the “Renat’s” organized crime group. According to the document, “the group dealt with money laundering, financial fraud, and controlled a large number of both real and fictitious companies.” The group is listed as one whose activities “have been stopped,” and says further that their criminal natures “have not been confirmed.” (Source)

Wow, I hope they’re not all up in things like that here.

Since 2009, people with an interest in coal contributed more than $300,000 to people running for office in Tennessee. We found that more than $195,000 went to the powerful leader of the state senate, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey or his political action committee. (Source)

Oh wow. Then there’s this…

Point A: United Coal Headquarters

Point B: Ron Ramsey Auctions

Distance: 1.4 mi

Point C: Ron Ramsey Home

Distance between B and C: .9 mi

View Larger Map

Probably just a coincidence…right?

Feb 06 2009

Chip In – Final Stretch

Posted by Steve Ross in TNDP

It’s the last day of our “Chip In” fundraiser, and we’ve met one of the goals we set, but we still have another to knock down.

Early this morning we passed $3000. As it stands right now we’re just 23 donors away from our second goal of 100 supporters. I know we can get this done by the end of the day.

Yesterday was a busy day. The TNDP unveiled a new home page. It’s still a work in progress, but if this is the direction they’re going in, it’s a step in the right direction. Also, TNDP Chair Chip Forrester gave a video message via YouTube. The message follows:

Also, you can follow the TNDP on twitter or Facebook.

All of these developments are positive for the party. The more means of communication we have at our disposal, the more effectively we can get our message out.

We’ve met our financial goal, but we want more of you to get involved in the process. Click on the Act Blue icon to the right and give to the TNDP!

Feb 05 2009

It’s About the Effort

Posted by Steve Ross in TNDP

The past few days have been really exciting. About 20 Tennessee bloggers got together, led by Knoxville blogger R. Neal to work for a common goal: to Chip inraise funds for the TNDP and elections coming in 2010. Our expectations were low. We wanted to make a statement, but not overpromise and underdeliver.

Tuesday, when the conversation first started, $1000 seemed like a doable goal. Over the course of the past 28 hours we’ve expanded our goal twice and supporters of the TNDP have responded, giving over $2700. Honestly, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the response.

Truth be told, we don’t have any illusions about this effort. The TNDP raised and spent $1.9m dollars in the last cycle, and still lost. While our current effort may only account for .2% of that fundraising cycle total, it’s something. It’s a step in the right direction. I believe we’ve all learned something about not only the process, but about the power of people, with similar goals, banding together to achieve a common goal. It doesn’t matter that the dollar amount is called “insignificant” by the nay-sayers. The important thing to take from the exercise is that you can make a difference if you’re willing to try.

As Braisted notes in the linked post, there are a lot of nay-sayers out there. Let them talk. While they’re talking, we’re doing something, no matter how small, to strengthen the Democratic Party in Tennessee.

Help us reach our new goal of $3000 and 100 supporters by giving what you can today.

Feb 05 2009

Chip In Day 2

Posted by Steve Ross in TNDP

As of 8am this morning we’ve raised $2554 with 63 donors. That’s pretty awesome for whipping something up in 24 hours, huh?

Last night we raised our goal to raise $3000 and have 100 donors. We’re closing in on this new goal. Help us reach it so we can help turn Tennessee Blue!

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