Chattanooga Tea Party

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What’s Progressive About Progressivism?

by Brendan Jennings

You might note, if you have not been to these pages in a while, that we have updated our “About” page recently. For example, we added a Values Statement or list of values we seek to promote, which were adapted from the original Mission Statement Mark West developed in the opening months of our first year of operation.

Beneath that Values Statement is a new, brief Mission Statement – basically a 15-second elevator speech – that reads: The Chattanooga Tea Party is the preeminent conservative grassroots organization in the Chattanooga area. We will promote traditional, Constitutional American values – representing the true, historical counterculture – through education and civic engagement.

I ask you to ponder that segment in italics above for a moment. America is a unique nation in world history. It is the first nation to be founded on a series of key principles, as originally outlined in the Declaration of Independence and subsequently clarified in the U.S. Constitution. Our founding ideals are revolutionary in world history. The Founding Fathers sought to put the ways of the Old World behind us for a New World based on individual freedom, opportunity and the idea that all men are created equal. And these ideals built the strongest, most dynamic nation the world has ever seen, responsible largely for the modern age the world finds itself in. This brings me to a quote I am particularly fond of, by Robert Heinlein:

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded – here and there, now and then – are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of society, the people slip back into abject poverty. This is known as bad luck.”

Certainly, our nation’s founding principles built upon ideas developed during the European Enlightenment, with an emphasis on the inherent rights of each individual (with the obvious glaring exception of slavery, whose original sin was largely atoned for by the loss of more than 600,000 lives in the Civil War). We are the first nation in world history that exclaims that our “inalienable” individual rights are not granted by government, but by God, and therefore cannot justly be taken away by government without due process. Likewise, our founders stated that governments exist to protect the rights of the people, and that they derive their powers from the consent of the governed. And …

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

That was a bold, radical statement in the history of the world at that time. Indeed, it was countercultural. Our founders knew their history and didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past. And that countercultural founding led to the development of the largest economy, the most powerful military and most influential nation in the history of the world.

Our form of government diffuses power throughout four levels of government: city, county, state and federal. It further balances powers between three branches of government on each level – legislative, executive and judicial. It was deliberately designed to apportion government powers out to many people, making government more directly accountable to the people throughout the country. Our government was designed to be unwieldy to make it more difficult for power to devolve into fewer hands, leading to tyranny. That was countercultural.

Which brings us to Progressivism. Progressivism is different today than it was at the turn of the 20th Century, when Theodore Roosevelt busted monopolies and standards were instituted for safer working conditions in factories and farms, among other reform efforts that were broadly supported. Wikipedia partly defines it “as a philosophy based on the idea of progress, which asserts that advancements in science, technology, economic development and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition.”

Except today, Progressives aren’t so much interested in reform as they are in acquiring more power, and putting those powers into fewer, less accountable hands. As an example, let’s compare the priorities of the current U.S. House of Representatives leadership to those of the previous congress. Two years ago, the top priority of the House in the 115th Congress, as expressed in HR1 (House Resolution One) was tax reform for individuals and businesses, which was passed in December of 2017. In other words, the top priority of the Republican-led House was to change tax rates to allow individuals and businesses to keep more of what they earned. Largely as a result, our economy is now booming and consistently growing by more than 3 percent.

By comparison, HR1 in today’s Democrat-led House aims to federalize elections at all levels, usurping the constitutional authority of states to oversee their own elections, virtually removing state ID requirements and making it more difficult for states to keep voter rolls current. Who knew voting was that difficult? In simple terms, a naked power grab designed to further centralize governmental powers – at all levels – in Washington, D.C. while making it less accountable at the state and local level.

So, looking at the great sweep of history, so-called “Progressives” are leading the charge to put more power into fewer hands, thereby leading our nation to regress back to the tyranny of a virtual monarchy operating out of a slice of land off the former swamps of the Potomac River. That’s not progress, by any stretch of the imagination. And you thought “The Hunger Games” was fiction?

Citizens need to stop asking government to “do something!” without considering exactly what or how something is to be done. Whenever politicians seek to do something, it invariably takes money and other property and, as a result, powers from the people to determine what’s best for themselves. We need to do a better job of understanding what we’re giving up in the process or at some point there will be nothing more to give up. The Left has gotten very good at destroying the Middle Class in socialist countries. Just ask the people in Venezuela, which was the richest country in South America until Hugo Chavez and his socialist thugs came along. Now, its people are fighting to overthrow their tyrants while dumpster diving for sustenance.

As the song says, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Mar. 14) – With early voting just a month away for the Hamilton County Republican Primary, the Chattanooga Tea Party will be hosting a Forum to hear from the two candidates for Sheriff, Internal Affairs Sergeant Chris Harvey and incumbent Sheriff Jim Hammond.  The Forum will be held Thursday, March 20 at 6:30pm and will include both moderated questions as well as questions from the audience.

Sheriff Jim Hammond is seeking reelection while Chris Harvey, an 18 year veteran of the sheriff’s department, is seeking the position currently held by Hammond.

The meeting will take place at The Century Club Banquet Hall, 3221 Harrison Pike (off Access Road, just south of the Highway 153-Amnicola Highway intersection, next to The Lighting Gallery).

As a reminder, please be sure to bring a non-perishable canned good item as the Chattanooga Tea Party is committed to supporting our local Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

Media are invited to cover this and all Chattanooga Tea Party monthly membership meetings.

Please RSVP at Chattanooga Tea Party’s Facebook page (link at Donations will be accepted at the event to help defray costs.

The Chattanooga Tea Party is a non-partisan grassroots organization seeking to educate and inform its members and the public at large of the fundamental issues and struggles our country is facing. We are committed to energizing voters to become engaged in the process of solving the nation’s problems.

STOP Common Core Legislation: Your Urgent Help is Needed

This week is a critical week for the future of Tennessee and our children.  Our good friend Karen Bracken has been a key leader in Tennessee in fighting against Common Core and below are a few excerpts from her recent newsletter.  The entire newsletter can be found here:

If you cannot travel to Nashville any of the next three days, will you please make the suggested phone calls?

Folks this is where the rubber meets the road.  At this point the ONLY thing that will stop Common Core is YOU!  If you cannot support these efforts be sure to make phone calls to Speaker Beth Harwell, Rep. Mark White and Rep. Harry Brooks.  We need to take down their phone lines so be sure to share this information. If you cannot call during the day…….You can call at night and leave a message.  Message:  Repeal Common Core schedule HB2332 NOW.  You can call during the day:  Same message.CALL CALL CALL
Speaker Harwell – 615-741-0709
Rep. Mark White – 615-741-4415
Rep. Harry Brooks – 615-741-6879
Tuesday, March 11 – 12pm Flood the halls of the Capitol.  Attend House Education Sub Committee meeting (RM 30 @3pm CST).  Be sure they know you are there to stop Common Core.  No big signs allowed BUT you can have a sheet of paper with HB2332 REPEAL COMMON CORE written in BOLD letters to hold as you walk and sit in the hearing room.  Or because Huffman thinks the parents that don’t like CC are “faux” parents you could write “Mr. Huffman……I am NOT a #fauxparent!!
Wednesday, March 12 – Rally at 1:30pm outside on Legislative Plaza.  We will have children present so make sure your signs are appropriate.  We need one unified message REPEAL COMMON CORE or I AM NOT A #FAUXPARENT (see article below)
Thursday – March 13 – 9am in the House Chamber (this is the building behind Legislative Plaza) Support Rep. Rick Womick as he speaks on the House floor.  They need to see hundreds of Tennessee citizens in the gallery.

Where are You… on Chattanooga’s Domestic Partner Ordinance?

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Currently in Chattanooga, there is a “domestic partner” ordinance being debated which intends to grant city employees benefits for their same-sex and domestic partners. And, according to one city councilman, many have voiced their support for the ordinance by contacting city council members and attending city council meetings. However, few pastors, church members, and concerned citizens are speaking out against this ordinance or speaking up for our rights as Christians and Americans. Where are you?

David Fowler said it well when he stated in an article posted on his blog on October 18, 2013: “The Church is prepared for some things. It quickly has meals and clothes ready when natural disasters strike. Hospital visitation teams and prayer chains are on-call when sickness or death occurs. And an individual church can quickly open its doors to those who want to pray when catastrophes like 9-11 happens. That is all good and should be done. But what about being ready to speak to elected officials when bad public policy is proposed that would deface and mar the very meaning of the institution God established to reflect his Triune nature and the relationship of Jesus to his Church? When it comes to state or local issues, the answer is zip. Nada. Nothing.”

Martin Luther King said, “If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

I am appalled and frustrated with the churches in this city. I have spoke to many of my Christian friends about marriage and other hot topic issues, and they all agree with me. But when I ask them to put their agreeing words to action, they all tell me they are too busy, if they say anything at all.

Men of uncompromising faith and character stood their ground in 1775 against tyranny and they are the reason we have the freedoms we do today. I am offended when men who claim to be Christians do not stand up for their faith, country, or families. Today, you don’t have to stand your ground with a gun pointed at you like our founding fathers did, at least not yet. And still, you are afraid to stand your ground against the abuses that are being inflicted on our faith, country, and families.

Again, I ask, where are you?


Christine Connley
Chattanooga Tea Party member


PS.  To express your opposition to this proposed ordinance in Chattanooga, please go here to sign a petition:



Last Tuesday President Obama and his entourage jetted in to Chattanooga for a two hour visit to the Amazon Fulfillment Center.   (By the way, travel costs for Air Force One alone ran nearly a half million dollars for Obama’s stump speech to promote more of his old failing policies.)

Members of the Chattanooga Tea Party were joined by tea party supporters from around Tennessee and Georgia in our Rally to Protest Obama’s Policies.

Despite the last minute change in the location of the Rally, ultimately the shift was a Providential occurrence, giving us a front row seat for the arrival and departure of Air Force One.  Additionally, President Obama’s motorcade left the airport directly in front of our Rally and those attending came within a few feet of the Presidential limo as “O” whizzed by.

We had some great speakers and a very enthusiastic crowd with a lot of powerful signs.  You can click here to see the photos:

Also, our good friends Mike and Pat Mallard from Tin Ship Productions were there to capture the Rally on video.  You can view it here:

Rally to Protest President Obama’s Policies

Here’s a video of the motorcade as President Obama passed within just a few feet of the Protest Rally:  Presidential Motorcade Video

Finally, here’s a video of Air Force One departing (the best part of the day for some):  Air Force One Video

For those of you who participated in the Rally, thanks for coming out and exercising your unalienable rights enumerated in the First Amendment.  And for those who missed it, I hope you enjoy this electronic recap of it.

By the way, please be sure to join us for our next monthly meeting August 15 (which is always the 3rd Thursday of the month).  Congressman Chuck Fleischmann will be our guest speaker.

Liberty once lost is lost forever!

Why is Scottie Mayfield running?

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by Brendan Jennings

As a longtime active member of the Chattanooga Tea Party, I think it is strange that one of the Republican candidates getting a lot of publicity (not to mention donations) for his run for the 3rd Congressonal District can’t cite two or three things he would like to do if he were elected You have to wonder why someone like that is bothering to run at all!

We all understand how statements can get misquoted in the rush for the deadline. But for Scottie Mayfield to state that he’ll deign to let people know what his views are on key policy issues after he’s elected is presumptuous and disrespectful of the voters he seeks to serve.

Mayfield is challenging Chuck Fleishmann, a one-term congressman who has established a voting record on the important issues that have come before the U.S. House throughout his term. He will stand or fall on his voting record, his defense of his choices and his advocacy of specific policies. He’s been visible within the district, answering questions and stating his views. And Mayfield has said he can’t think of any votes Chuck has taken with which he disagrees.

Likewise, Weston Wamp, another 3rd District candidate, has staked out detailed policy positions publicly in presentations to interested citizens as well as through his website. He has shown the desire and knowledge of the issues to engage people to discuss them in detail. Ron Bhalla and Jean Howard-Hill have also staked out public positions on key issues. Mayfield’s policy positions are outlined on his website, but like the candidate don’t get more detailed than one-sentence bullet points.

The Chattanooga Tea Party has reached out to Mr. Mayfield and his staff to solicit his views on issues and coordinate planning for a debate we are organizing before the August primary. To date, Mr. Mayfield has refused to commit to any date for debating other 3rd District candidates, which of course is his prerogative. It just seems that when our country is facing economic devastation from its $16 trillion debt habit, it will take leaders with a clear vision focused on solving problems and reforming the federal bureaucracy to turn things around. (I, for one, am still looking for one in the 3rd District.)

To this point, Mr. Mayfield’s lack of responsiveness to very basic queries and unwillingness to mix up with other candidates in debate do not bode well for a man who seeks to represent the views and interests of the people of the 3rd District. He’s lived and worked here all of his life and he has to go around the district on a “listening” tour? One is forced to wonder how serious a man he really is.

Do you agree or disagree? Add your comments below ….



Why No Tax Day Tea Party Rally?

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Well, here we are, April 13, 2012 and we have no Tax Day Tea Party event scheduled for this weekend. You may be wondering about that. Are rumors of the Tea Party’s demise true?

Not hardly. In this, the fourth year of the Chattanooga Tea Party’s existence, we decided that what is most important in this election year is to work inside the system as much as possible to change things. And our efforts and personal involvement are influencing local political decisions and campaigns to a degree we wouldn’t have thought possible three years ago. More about that in a moment.

In the past three years, we spent a lot of volunteer hours planning for and producing Tax Day Tea Party events. The first year’s event in 2009 drew 2,500 at Ross’s Landing. That’s when a lot of concerned citizens who had never previously participated in a political event realized they weren’t alone and that, together, our united voices just might carry significant weight.

In 2010, we saw a similar turnout for our event in Coolidge Park while the media seemed to focus on the first stirrings of what’s become the Occupy movement, an organization with strong ties – and funding – from Democrat and far left lobbying groups. Nevertheless, the rally served to help members coalesce around candidates and issues in the critical off-year election. We also hosted two well attended congressional debates that highlighted the different policy views and depth of knowledge of each of the candidates.

Last year, we had a terrific event laid out, featuring national columnist Star Parker and conservative guru Richard Viguerie – and bad weather spoiled our plans. While many of us had already been involved in political campaigns and citizen activism by then, it may have reinforced the growing realization that rallies are nice, but it’s our members’ frequent contact with politicians, letters to the editor, monthly meetings and citizen education that is beginning to make an impact locally.

You need to look back no further than this past year for proof. Our members have been involved in the recall of Mayor Littlefield, the education of elected officials and fellow citizens about the constitutionally subversive influences of Agenda 21, and, perhaps most significantly, putting together the hugely successful Liberty Forum featuring presidential candidate Rick Santorum and local elected officials and candidates. Many of us have gotten to know many of our local, state and federal elected representatives, and many of them take the time to follow up directly with our concerns on key issues.

In the meantime, we continue seeing new faces at our monthly meetings (which meet the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Century Club Banquet Hall, 3221 Harrison Pike off Access Road, just south of the Highway 153-Amnicola Highway intersection, next to The Lighting Gallery). This year alone, we have hosted Savas Kyriakidis, who provided a report from his recently-completed tour of duty in Afghanistan, authors Ken Freeman and Don Casey who talked about growing resistance to Agenda 21, and Dr. Bill Warner on Political Islam. Coming up, we’ll have candidates Mike Carter and Charles Joynes next week, and David Crockett in May.

The bottom line is that you, our members, are making a difference by becoming active, informed and involved citizens. While rallies are nice events that can get media attention and energize people within our group, it’s the daily attention to detail and commitment many of you make to attend city council, county commission and school board meetings that really make a difference in how we are perceived as a group and as individuals.

So, on this 4th Anniversary of our first Tax Day Tea Party rally, we want to thank those of you who participate as watchdogs of government officials at all levels. Let’s continue to work toward victory in November!

Karen Chastain

Larry Grohn, Secretary

Robert Hays, Treasurer

Brendan Jennings

Gregg Juster, Vice President

Nancy Patty

James West

Mark West, President

Ultimate Constitutional Interpretation Depends on We, the People

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We were taught in civics class – back when such studies were standard high school fare – that America was a constitutional republic. We watch every four years when a president takes the oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Occasionally we see reports of a U.S. District, Appeals or Supreme court opinion striking down one appropriately legislated state or federal law as “unconstitutional” for one reason or another.

You would think, based on its clear importance, most Americans would be knowledgeable about the Constitution of the United States.

How wrong you would be!

In 1997, a national poll conducted by the National Constitution Center found that:

  • 91% of Americans believe that the U.S. Constitution is important to them; and
  • 84% believe that to work as intended, our system of government depends on active and informed citizens, BUT;
  • More than half of Americans don’t know the number of Senators;
  • About 1 out of 3 don’t know the number of branches of the Federal Government;
  • 20% believe that only lawyers can understand the Constitution;
  • Almost one-quarter cannot name a single right guaranteed to us by the First Amendment.

Public knowledge of the Constitution hasn’t improved much since then. In March, Newsweek published the results of a survey it commissioned showing 38 percent of Americans would flunk a standard U.S. citizenship test. When media pundits and cultural elitists pontificate about the ignorance of the American people, there is a grim grain of truth when it comes to citizen’s knowledge of the Constitution.

So, when the federal government proceeds to abuse our Constitutionally-protected rights, will most Americans know it? The inescapable answer is: No. If the Supreme Court decides to rationalize away our 2nd Amendment rights to keep and bear arms – a situation that’s potentially just one presidential appointment away! – will the people just meekly accept the twisted rationale? Well, you can’t fight bad logic with uninformed statements.

Does this lack of knowledge seem prudent to you? I think it’s fair to say that most Chattanooga Tea Party members believe a lack of Constitutional knowledge not only unwise, but dangerous. After all, who keeps government honest, if not the people? Certainly not the media.

In business, when a contract is established between two parties, what’s the risk to the party that fails to inform himself about the terms of the contract? It could be catastrophic, right? If I’m a renter who does not adhere to the terms of my rental agreement, I might face anything from not getting back my security deposit to being evicted. If I’m a businessman who does not hold up my end of a business agreement, I might be sued in court and lose more than just my investment. Why should the contract that establishes our federal government be any different?

The Constitution is a contract established for “We, the People” by the states which limits the powers of the central government to those specifically enumerated. If the states don’t stand up for their rights under the 10th Amendment, can we expect a functionally illiterate public to make a stand?

That’s why the first step to recovery from leviathan government is to read and understand the Constitution. Reading the Constitution doesn’t require much time; at 4,543 words, it takes most people about a half hour. That’s a lot fewer words than the Obamacare law. Understanding the Constitution takes more time and study, but it’s worth it. And there are plenty of good resources available to help readers understand the Constitution as it was written by the framers.

One such resource is a very readable book, “The 5,000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World,” by W. Cleon Skousen. It reviews the history of mankind and compares the progress made to the founding of the Jamestown colony – finding that colonists were hardly more advanced in their tools than ancient civilizations – with the progress we made through the free enterprise system in the 200 years since the founding of the republic. It also features the 28 Principles of Freedom that our founders believed must be understood by the people to help safeguard our liberties.

A more recent source of information is Glenn Beck’s new “The Original Argument,” which condenses and updates some of the key arguments made by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay in “The Federalist Papers.”

Another fine book – more of an encyclopedia, really – is “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution,” which offers an in-depth explanation of the document, clause by clause and amendment by amendment.

One of many good online resources is the website for the National Center for Constitutional Studies, which published “The 5000 Year Leap,” at It offers several “Making of America” live and recorded seminars.

Another excellent resource is The Federalist Society, which is was founded in 1982 as a conservative and libertarian answer to efforts by leftist-leaning law schools to stimulate and influence legal and judicial activism in America. As the website explains, “It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.”

The government defers to the U.S. Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution. Part of the Tea Party’s job is to help educate citizens on a traditional, originalist understanding of the Constitution so that significant departure from that understanding, in terms of policy and programs, can more readily and vigorously be opposed. Just as nobody can defend your interests as well as you, it’s also true that nobody can defend individual liberties as well as individual Americans. That is part of our heritage of self reliance. If we can return to that more practical and responsible approach to self government, we’ll have achieved a major cultural reversal that will help secure liberty for future generations.

An Open Letter to 3rd District Candidates

3rd Congressional Candidates:

Thank you for your attendance yesterday at the LiberTea Debate and your willingness to present yourselves to our membership and the public at large at Woodland Park Baptist Church. I truly believe that not only was the public served by our partnering together, but many hundreds of voters have now met you and understand your positions, values and persona a little bit better. While we are still a few months away from the finish line in this race, I trust that you will continue to see the Chattanooga Tea Party as a group that is not only engaged in our electoral system but it is also one that seeks to influence and impact our district in a way that will promote liberty and restore those values upon which our nation was founded.

As promised, I am attaching the list of the Debate Questions that were asked or compiled for yesterday’s Debate. There are a few that were not asked due to time but we look forward to your thoughtful responses to each question. And as agreed, please return your responses back to me by no later than March 15th so that we may post them on our website for the benefit of our membership and the public at large.

As a reminder, the CTP holds its monthly meetings the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7:30PM at Creekside Retirement on Shallowford Road and you are always welcome. While our agenda is typically full, you are most welcome to attend and stay afterwards to chat with our members.

Thank you again and we trust that you will remain healthy and strengthened in your political campaign as you seek to win the hearts of the people. Perhaps there has never been a time when our District and Nation are in greater need of godly leaders who are…

Promoting Liberty & Restoring Values…

Mark West

PS. (Candidates attending were: Tommy Crangle, Sheriff Tim Gobble, Chuck Fleischmann, Van Irion, Art Rhodes & Robin Smith)