Category Archives: America

My Mayor’s Email, and My Response

You can read my response in the conclusion of this post.

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How Polluted Is Your City?

As much as I hate to admit it, everything that Mark West says in this article about Chattanooga (my home town) is true. For example, he points out that Chattanooga was once considered the most polluted city in America – I remember those days when one couldn’t even see Lookout Mountain because of the brown smog that hung low over the city.

But it’s another kind of pollution that Mark describes in “Chattanooga: A Polluted City,” and that pollution is proving far more difficult to eradicate.

I love my city, and I’m happy to live here. I mean, seriously, Chattanooga is regularly listed as one of those beautiful places everyone one – especially the nature-loving folk – should visit at least once. In addition to the natural beauty, there’s the history, the southern culture, and the courteous people. Yet, a serious problem wafts through the streets, and it’s going to take a lot more than nice words and eco-friendly investments to solve.

Click on the above links and read my friend’s assessment of the situation. If you have any other suggestions, I’m sure he’ll be glad to hear. Just let him know I sent you 😉

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Don’t Threaten the Bad Guys, You Bad Guy!

As I sit here at my computer, my blood is boiling and I’m darn near writer’s block. There’s just so much, and I don’t know where to begin.

Why not talk about one of the most insane news stories of the day? Why not do a little political ranting? 

Mean ol’ President!

The media has been having a collective hissy fit because President Trump said something insensitive about the sweet little boys who like to draw cute little designs on their faces. You may know them as the nice young men from El Salvador, MS-13. But all the media seems to see is another opportunity to twist anything Trump says into a far-fetched negative.

Believe it or not, our President, the man chiefly responsible for keeping the American public safe, decided to use some strong words when discussing his plans for a gang who’s motto is “mata, viola, controla” or,  kill, rape, control. He called them…(take a deep breath)…“Animals!”

But what does the mainstream media do? They bring out law enforcement commanders who condemn the President for suggesting we shouldn’t go easy on MS-13, even suggesting that we “throw them” into the back of the paddy wagons. Oh the horror!

What was he supposed to say to a bunch of slashers who specialize in child prostitution and use knives and machetes instead of guns, because blades hurt and make the kill more up-close and personal?

“Dear MS-13, unfortunately we are not huge fans of the way you shave people too close around the neck with your huge, sharp, blades – and let me just say, they are wonderful blades, just wonderful. So, would you pretty please stop doing bad things? The last thing we want to do is politely and gently place you in the back of a well-padded government vehicle.”

We have millions of people entering our country illegally. They care little about our laws, beginning with the very first one they break, and yet the left wants to welcome them. Then, when we get a president who actually takes serious his pledge to return illegals across the border, the left accuses the same president of strengthening MS-13. 

“I think it’s emboldening them, because this gives them the opportunity to tell immigrants, ‘What are you gonna do? Are you going to report us? They’re deporting other innocent people … (so) they’re going to associate you with us by you coming forward,'” said Walter Barrientos, Long Island coordinator with Make the Road, an immigrant advocacy group. (source: CNN)

Let’s be honest, people. If Donald Trump blows his nose, the media in America will find something to complain about. This whole story about what he said about MS-13 is a perfect example.

He uses a few tough words about some murdering monsters, then the left defends the monsters. When the President tries to stop illegal immigration, the left accuses the President of helping the monsters by scaring the lawbreakers. Should the President apologize, he’d be considered week and pandering. Should he take action, he’d be a bully.

Trump can do nothing right in the eyes of the left.

Instead of agreeing we have a problem worth attacking with every resource available, all the left-wing media sees is another offended group they can use to bring accusations against a President that wasn’t supposed to defeat their chosen Clintonian goddess.

I’m done ranting. 

 

 

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The Affordable Care Act – What’s Good for the Goose Is Good for the Congress

My two cents on the healthcare debate…

Should the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) be repealed and replaced? Well, that’s the big question in the news, and it’s been the Republicans’ big promise for the last six or seven years.

Back before it was passed it was promised by the Democrats to be the best thing since sliced bread. President Obama promised, “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” He also promised that the average family’s insurance premiums would decrease by more than a thousand dollars a year.

Obviously, both promises were lies. He knew it…we knew it…everybody knew it. But it still passed.

Year after year the Republicans voted on bills to repeal Obamacare and sent the bills to the President’s desk. Needless to say, he never signed them. He probably never even looked at them. Meanwhile, health insurance premiums went through the roof.

Sure, there were more people covered under Obamacare, but many of them were people who didn’t even want insurance to begin with. On top of that, many that already had insurance had to drop their plans and became the uninsured because of premium and deductible costs.

I personally saw my health insurance cost increase from around $350 a month to nearly $1,300, and that’s with my wife on her own plan! My costs are the norm, not the exception.

Now, after the Republicans have full control of the House, the Senate, and the White House, none of them can come to an agreement. Oh, when they knew Obama would veto anything they sent to his desk it was easy. But now, when they have a President who will sign one, no bill is moving forward, not even for a vote.

Meanwhile, knowing the problems with the Affordable Care Act, Democrats are wanting it to continue with little change. At the same time, believe it or not, Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) is trying to have it both ways. He literally said that President Trump came to Washington with the promise to fix Obamacare, and if he doesn’t then he (Trump) will have to answer for it! What? Talk about not being able to win for losing!

So, regardless of who’s in power and who’s doing what, nothing is getting done. The Democrats loathe President Trump and will oppose him on everything he does, even if he wanted to make Hillary Clinton a saint. The Republican elite can’t stand President Trump either, and so they are also intent on gumming up the works on any legislation he tries to push through. Therefore, no matter what, Obamacare – a true disaster – will continue to be the law of the land.

Except for members of Congress!!

Yes, no matter what law is being forced upon us down here the valley, those on Capital Hill have their own “Cadillac plan” that no one else in the normal world can afford or even have access to. How convenient is that? We get stuck with high premiums, high deductibles, limited providers, dwindling insurers, and a promise that they will keep debating it – even though there’s not even been a vote on when to even do that.

So, here’s what I propose. If the congressional Democrats and Republicans think the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is either peaches and cream, or something that can be drug through endless debate while we must endure it, then why not drop your government plan and enroll in the marketplace?

Seriously, if Washington is going to continue to drag this out and milk it for every vote they can get…if it’s something not so bad…if it’s no big deal to let us keep paying for it and dealing with it…go online like we have to and pick out your own plan.

Dear President Trump, please sign an executive order cancelling all special congressional healthcare plans and make both the Senate and the Congress have to abide under the same laws they’ve written for us, We the People.

If Congress can take their sweet time working on it, why not make them live with it?

That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.

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Remembering Our Brush With Terror in Chattanooga

Two years ago, today, a man drove around in his convertible Mustang and shot up my town. His goal was to kill as many servicemen as possible, so first he drove by the recruiting office on Lee Highway and unleashed a hail of bullets into the glass-fronted building. The “No Weapons” sticker applied to both serviceman and citizen alike, so no one was able to stop him before he drove off.

Photo credit: The Telegraph, UK

I stood here and wept as I took this picture. Note the green marks where spent shell casings lay.

The next place he went to was the Marine Corp/Navy Reserve training facility on Amnicola Highway, right between the community college so many of us have attended and the riverfront bike trails and pavilions so many of us have enjoyed. There the Muslim terrorists – for that is what he was, and that is what he intended on being – once again began firing on unarmed Marines and sailors with his high-powered semi-automatic rifle. At least one Marine had unofficially brought his personal sidearm with him that day and tried to stop the terrorist, but to no avail. Before long four Marines lay dead.

(Left to Right) Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, and Lance Clp. Squire K. Wells

A Navy sailor would later succumb to his wounds.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith

 

The local police in Chattanooga sped to the location where the terrorist was committing murder and engaged him with their own weapons.

Bullets from the conflict left holes in buildings as far away as the Coca-Cola offices across the highway and not even in view of the firefight. But before long, the self-proclaimed jihadist lay dead, too.

But Chattanooga survived.

Within the hour my city was the focus of world-wide attention. Terrorism had come to the South, and it was worth noting. But what was also worth noting was the righteous indignation of our citizens, and the flickering flames that dared the enemy of freedom to fan us into a raging fire. We were shocked by what happened, but we were far from terrorized; we Tennesseans aren’t the type to retreat from a fight.

It wasn’t long before the first American flags started appearing at the two places where gunfire was exchanged.

In no time there were hundreds, and then there were thousands. Flags and mementos too numerable to count turned into defiant monuments to those who died protecting our freedom.

Tents were erected to shelter the thousands upon thousands of flags, letters, and memorabilia from the weather.

It wasn’t long before black, white, and every other color and faith united arm-in-arm as family, as Chattanoogans… as Americans.

In short, terror didn’t have it’s desired effect; it had the opposite.

……………………..

Skip forward two years and a few months after a presidential election. What happened to the unity?

Unfortunately, we are now divided more than ever. What the terrorist couldn’t do with his guns, politicians and the media, with weapons of jealousy, anger, lies, and hate, are succeeding. Unconquerable from without, we are being destroyed from within.

Chattanooga, are we still strong? Then let us come together once again as Americans, or else the “fallen five” will have fallen in vain.

#Noogastrong, #Chattanoogastrong

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I Know I’m Gonna Get Hate Mail, But…

I Have to Say Something

As of this writing (it could change tomorrow), a local group from the Tennessee chapter of the NAACP was, but now is not, but might (they haven’t yet made up their mind) come to Chattanooga to push for the removal of a statue of Confederate Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart from outside the front of the Hamilton County courthouse. Speaking of statues like this, including the one of Gen. Robert E Lee recently removed from downtown New Orleans, a representative of the group said, “it’s time for these to come down.”

Is it really?

Before you pass judgment, why not read a little about General Stewart? Maybe you’ll better understand why this particular monument (cast at Tiffany’s in NY, by the way) should stay. CLICK HERE  

Speaking to one of our local news outlets (see source), another representative of the group said back in June: “We find it offensive to be reminded constantly of the atrocities that they [Confederate statues] represent.”

Really? Is that what they represent?

Look, I don’t want to be insensitive to my fellow Americans who suffered for generations under slavery – that is the last thing I want to do. However, if I allowed myself to constantly be reminded of evil every time I saw something that was connected in some way to that particular evil, I would have to call for the destruction of every high school I attended, every place my ex-girlfriends and I parked, and especially the places where bad things happened to people I love – including a few formerly-abusive, legalistic churches.

The reason so many of the statues of Southern generals were erected had little to do with the Confederacy and much to do with what was common on both sides of the Civil War – VALOR.

The Civil War (War Between the States) of the 1860’s was full of unbelievable tragedy. Literally, brothers, friends, cousins, uncles, fathers, and sons stood toe-to-toe across grassy fields and stared down the barrels of each others’ muskets. Thousands upon thousands of young and old men fought to the death in hand-to-hand combat, the surviving often left to suffer lifetimes of pain due to the horrible wounds for which modern medicine was not present to treat.

The reasons why men fought this war were not as simple as just a desire to end slavery. Actually, the Civil War was also about states’ rights (for the South), the struggle to preserve the Union (the North), and defending the honor of one’s own home. That was a time in our nation’s history of which context is very difficult to comprehend, even though volume upon volume of history books attempt to explain it. We weren’t there; we weren’t brought up the way they were; we don’t think the way they did; we don’t even write simple love letters with anywhere near the same literacy as the common soldier of that day, so we must be careful when we judge the characters being memorialized in bronze, including those who erected them.

Here’s My Point

I’ve said all this not to cause an argument, stir up hard feelings, or create debate. I’ve said all this in order to segue into a very important, yet rarely discussed event that happened 50 years after the battle of Gettysburg.

In early July, 1913, surviving veterans of the battle of Gettysburg, both Union and Confederate, came together once again. The big difference was that this time they were not enemies, but fellow Americans.

As you might imagine, some of the organizers of this historic event were a little nervous, but none of their fears were realized. There were no skirmishes, no clashes, no hateful banners, no protests, and no modern media looking to stir something up. No, what they had was quite the opposite of what the modern mind might expect – there was peace and reconciliation.

You see, these old men who 50 years earlier were attempting to slaughter each other understood the battle was over, the causes were settled, and that each, a fellow countryman, a fellow American, did what they did because they had little choice to do otherwise. They met as brothers, as new friends, as ones who respected the sacrifices each had made for the sake of duty and honor.

It’s not difficult to look up this on Wikipedia or other websites, should you desire, so the stuff I just told you is easily confirmed. But one story that totally amazes me, especially in the comparative light of our modern culture with all it’s protests and internal conflict, is the story of what happened at the conclusion of the 50th Reunion, the last event being the reenactment of Picket’s Charge (an event which originally resulted in 1,500 Union and 6,000 Confederate casualties – click HERE for history of the battle).

The following is from the caption accompanying the picture below:

“The climactic moment of the 50th Reunion was a reenactment of Pickett’s Charge.  Thousands of spectators gathered to watch as the Union veterans took their positions on Cemetery Ridge, and waited as their old adversaries emerged from the woods of Seminary Ridge and started toward them again.   They converged as they had 50 years earlier at the stone wall but this time the Confederates were met with embraces of brotherly fellowship.”

50th6.jpg (87075 bytes)

What we have these days are people who are unwilling to forgive. What we have these days are people who can’t embrace. What we have these days are people who want to keep fighting old wars. What we have today are people who can’t appreciate honor, dignity, and valor.

What we have today is a country full of people who never literally stepped onto a battlefield to defend anything going around destroying everything when the blood has already been shed.

What we have today are people who can’t do what those who were actually there did: embrace in brotherly fellowship.

What we have today is an America divided, even though the very ones who once went to war to divide us were embraced by the very ones they tried to kill. I’m I the only one who sees the irony in this?

The monuments of Confederates here in the South are not monuments celebrating division or slavery; they are monuments commemorating honor, duty, courage, and sacrifice. The monuments of Confederates here in the South don’t celebrate old ways or injustices; they celebrate universal characteristics that turn ordinary men into leaders, the kind others would trust with their lives.

I believe the men who embraced at that stone wall in Gettysburg would have had no problem seeing monuments made of each other. After all, they were brothers.

Unfortunately, the time has come when we’ve forgotten that.

You know, it was reported in an earlier-linked news story that a representative from the NAACP said, “If you take [monuments] down, the history will not be erased. The history, that’s written in the pages and annals of libraries and tombs all across the nation.” Should you read the story linked to the picture of the monument you’ll come to learn that that’s not always so. If it had not been for the monument the history might have been lost forever.

So, I know I’m going to get hate mail, but I want the monument to stay.

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Believe it or not…

Believe it or not, there are still some Americans who love their country. 

Happy birthday, America!

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