Welcome

 
Democracy for East Tennessee is a non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to the preservation of government of, by and for the people — not corporations.

Planning meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM in Room 100 at the First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge, 1051 Oak Ridge Turnpike, intersection with Lafayette Drive. All are welcome.

DFET has standing committees acting on the following issues: environmental sustainability, peaceful solutions, corporatism, and voting/election reform. Current campaigns are informing people of the benefits of health-insurance reform, addressing global climate change, and undoing the recent Supreme Court decision expanding corporation's power to buy influence in our state and federal governments. Visit our campaigns page here to find out more.

DFET's primary interest is in supporting effective and democratic government. It is a non partisan, not-for-profit organization.

Please contact us to find out more about Democracy for East Tennessee or visit the DFET Facebook page to engage with these critical issues.

DFET Hosts Veterans/Armistice Day Observance Nov. 11, 2015


A Veterans/Armistice Day observance was held on Wednesday, November 11, at 11 a.m. in Meeting Rooms A/B in the Oak Ridge Civic Center. Veterans and members of the public attended the program, which featured music, reflections, and poetry to celebrate peace and honor those who have served our country in the military. If you were born after 1960, there is a good chance you don't know that November 11is Armistice Day, as well as Veterans Day. Armistice Day celebrates the coming of peace at the end of World War I, once optimistically referred to as "The War To End All War." It became an official U.S. holiday in 1926 and is still celebrated in Europe at the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to commemorate the signing of the armistice at that moment in 1918. Veterans Day was established as a US holiday by President Eisenhower in 1954 to honor all those who had served in the US Armed Forces. Ever since, Armistice Day has been overshadowed in the US.

Accompanied by Charlotte Bowers on piano, Jim Nelson led the attendees in singing "Eternal Father Strong to Save", "Let There Be Peace" and other songs. Poems written by soldiers from World War I to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were read, including "Lest We Forget," "Not lost, not forever," "High Flight," and "In Flanders Field," which inspired the tradition of wearing a red poppy on Armistice Day.

The invocation by Rev. Don Morris, Kern United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge, captured the spirit of the event:

"How do we pray, O Lord, when at the same moment in which we honor those fallen in battle, we object to war as a solution to human conflict? How do we celebrate the victory of our cause without endorsing the violence by which it was achieved? How do we pray for peace while preparing for war? If ambivalence invalidates prayer, then we come before you today with less than pure hearts; if it authenticates prayer, then we come before you as honest supplicants. If we gather in gratitude, we also gather in grief; if we gather in hope, we also gather in apprehension; if we gather in pride, we also gather in humility.

May those of us who have only read about war and never seen it, be careful of our florid commemorations. As we solemnly recount the wars since "the war to end all wars", may we do so with chastened but undiminished hope for the survival of humanity. And insofar as it is still possible for us to enter into the prophet's vision of a day "when justice shall roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" may we do so in sober awareness of the sacrifice and suffering entailed by our dreams. Amen."

The City of Oak Ridge expressed interest in co-sponoring this event next year.

DFET Sponsors Voter Education Event: Oct. 9, 2014




DFET Meet The Candidate Event (Oct. 2014)
An estimated 200 people accepted the invitation from DFET to meet candidates for election on November 4. Local school board and city council candidates were present to answer question and listen to voters. DFET holds candidate receptions as a public service. These receptions have become known for their collegial atmosphere and frank discussions of the issues.

Visit the DFET Facebook page to see more pictures from this event.

Click on the links below to see the responses of some candidates to questions posed by DFET.

Answers from City Council Candidates
Answers from School Board Candidates
DFET suggests that individuals review these answers when those elected take stands and vote on the issues.

Wake up America, Stop the Corporate Takeover

 


Transnational corporations, in order to maximize investor profits and wealth are capturing our government. We can only restore government of, for and by the people with a popular and sustained political effort.
A recent Gallup Poll showed that 90% of Americans agree that corporations have too much political power. Only a small fraction of these are aware that corporatism is a serious threat to democracy.
Big auto and oil corporations have long focused government actions toward a continued dependence on oil and gasoline. Many of us are confident that the war in Iraq was motivated to continue oil profits. Corporate government ignored the earlier warnings of an impending crisis and stopped President Carter's efforts to prevent it. When Exxon Mobile's CEO was asked to provide American citizens some relief on gas prices, he stated that his goal is to maximize profits for his stockholders.
Corporate funds and investor wealth were highly visible in the 2004 election, providing President Bush with the largest ever election campaign fund. Subsequent to the election the corporate lobbies of the federal government have dominated new law-making in favor of higher profits instead of providing for the people's interests.
Presidential efforts to reward contributing corporations were apparent in both the proposal to privatize Social Security and the Medicare Drug Program. Big finance, using legally accepted unreadable small print to sell high rate credit cards to inexperienced youngsters, got tighter rules on bankruptcy for credit card debt. Class action lawsuits, misidentified as frivolous lawsuits, were shifted to more corporation friendly federal courts.
Our supreme court has found that corporations have constitutionally protected human rights; like free speech, privacy, and equal protection under the law. These corporations have limited liability and are not subject to prison or the death penalty. The court-awarded corporate privacy right requires OSHA and the EPA to provide a warning before they can enter and inspect corporate property for compliance with work safety and environmental laws. Corporate fines for lawbreaking are so small that they are considered just a minor cost of business.
Our federal judges have recently shown their corporate favoritism. Last year the Supreme Court found that the Constitution permits local governments to take private property from individual homeowners and transfer it to corporations for shopping centers.
Corporate government has weakened the financial condition of the US government, as evidenced by the trade deficits and recent government deficits, while corporate profits are the highest and stock prices rise. Rapid deterioration of the dollar is considered more and more probable, decreasing pensions and savings. Strong corporations competing with a financially weak government and uninformed citizenry make a corporate takeover easier.
The WTO, GATT, NAFTA, and CAFTA and FTAA all give corporations control of trade and eliminate all other authority or law that might impede trade. These agreements permit corporations to bypass laws, developed in the US over many years, laws that protect workers and the environment. Free trade of WTO is not free, and fair trade, which attempts to correct the problems, is very difficult to enforce.
Government's lack of enforcement of immigration laws provides corporations with cheaper labor so they don't have to pay a living wage to American workers. Although the hiring of these illegal immigrants is also illegal, our government has also not enforced these laws. If illegal jobs had not been available, the purely financial motivation for illegal immigration would have been eliminated.
The most fundamental element of democracy, our votes, has been clouded with doubt after being tampered with by computers and voting machines under corporate control. Though efforts are being made to assure fairness and accuracy in voting, corporate controlled government prevents opportunity to bring the solutions up for vote.
What can we do about it? Educate ourselves! Teach others! Let our voice be heard on Internet surveys and petitions, and on the editorial pages of our local papers. Vote and work in elections. Join an organization that promotes democracy over corporatism. Educate the members of our own political party about the consequences of corporate rule.
Ultimately, we will need federal courts to reverse several erroneous and dangerous rulings, or we might have to amend the constitution to deny personal rights to corporations and limit wealth's influence in elections.

This opinion was forwarded by F. Tim Holt, a retired design and development engineer.

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