Category Archives: politics

My Mayor’s Email, and My Response

You can read my response in the conclusion of this post.
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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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Obama, Clinton, and the Congressional Shooting 

In light of the attempted massacre that took place this morning in Alexandria, Virginia, at a GOP baseball practice, now would be a good time for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to come out and speak to the nation, especially to those who are still angry with the results of the last election. I would suggest they say the following:

We in the Democrat party have desired greater gun control in our nation. However, what happened today should not be linked to a lack of gun control, only pure hate. Hate has no respect for the rule of law, or the lives of fellow Americans. If we want our nation to survive as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world, we’ve got to come together as a nation, a nation of people who respect authority, and pray for our leaders, not want to harm them.

At this moment in time we call for all Americans, both on the left and on the right, to come together as fellow citizens for the good of our country. There are many ways in which we can work together for the common good. There are many ways we can overlook our differences and come together as civilized beings in a civilized nation.

We pray for those who were wounded today. We suffer with them during their grief, and we as a nation we will offer all that we can to help them to recover. But if we are going to recover as a nation, we need to be praying for each other; we need to love each other; we need to respect each other; and, we need to respect the rule of law. 

Whether you voted for our President, or not, he is still our duly-elected President. We do not have to support everything he promotes, but he is our President, duly-elected, by a system that was developed by our founding fathers and has served us well for over 200 years. We need to work within the system, not try to destroy it. We need to come together and find ways to improve it, but not replace it. As a unified people, people who respect the law, we can work through our issues in peaceful ways; we do not have to resort to violence.

God be with those who are wounded today, and God bless this great nation, the United States of America!”

If Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would only say something like this, we might see a change in what is going on in America right now. But if they don’t come out and say something like this, and continue to allow this type of violence to go unanswered, they will only be hastening our society’s eventual demise.

Today we pray for our Congessmen and their aids.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

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Unliked, But Respected

A Bad Law

Not long ago a tragedy occured in my town of Chattanooga, a tragedy that was felt across the nation, even around the world. Back in November of last year (2016) a school bus transporting children from Woodmore Elementery School crashed, ultimately being nearly cut in half by a tree, resulting in many injuries and 6 deaths.

Almost immediately people familiar with the story, and especially the affected families and friends within the Woodmore community, began calling out for seat belts on school buses. Actually, it was at Erlanger Hospital, where many of the wounded children were taken, that I heard grieving parents scream in anger, “That bus driver was wearing a seat belt, and he’s still alive! Why did he get to wear a seat belt and my baby didn’t?!!” When I heard those words I knew what was coming.

It wasn’t long before Tennessee State House Representative JoAnne Favors (D) of the 29th District put forth a bill that would require all school buses in the state to have seatbelts. The argument was that if the children from Woodmore had been wearing seatbelts, many would not have been hurt, and some may not have died. “How many more children have to die,” they would ask, “until we make seatbelts manditory?”

The problem, however, was that the only ones arguing for requiring seatbelts on all school buses were those who never drove a school bus or had to deal with all that takes place on one. When bus drivers were given the opportunity over social media to express their opinion, the overwhelming consensus was that seatbelts on a school bus was a bad, bad idea.

I  Had to Act

The bill calling for requiring seatbelts on buses began to work its way through committee after committee, and it began to appear there was no stopping it. As a school bus drive I desperately wanted to state my case in front of one of these committees in Nashville, but how could I? Every time they had a meeting where the public could voice their opinions, we bus drivers were actually on the job. About the only thing I could do was resort to social media.

Early on, way back in December of 2016, I posted to Facebook a short video giving reasons why the seatbelt bill would be a bad law. That video got a little response, but nothing came of it.

Then, on April 28, on WRCB (Channel 3) I saw David Karnes interview Rep. JoAnne Favors and the attorney for the Woodmore families, C. Mark Warren. What they said ticked me off so much I had to do something right then, so I went directly to Facebook Live and recorded the following rant 😉

Click on the screen shot from my phone to watch the video.

The above Facebook Live video was quickly shared among the bus-driving community, and several suggested that I do more, even take off work and go to Nashville. The overwhelming proof that bus drivers do not want belts, and why, became evident in the thousands of views and hundreds of comments which continue to accumulate.

Taking It to the News Media

It is now the evening of May 5th, and David Karnes has yet to return my requests to counter Rep. Favors’ claims on his April 28th television program. Needless to say, especially with the urging of others, I made calls to other news stations in our area, expressing my belief that bus drivers were not getting a fair deal – we were not being able to share our side of this issue… and WE were the ones who were going to have to deal with the results of its implimentation!

At first I called the news room of WDEF (Channel 12). The gentleman I spoke with there assured me that nothing would come of Favor’s bill, so there was no need for me to share my thoughts. Well, then… la ti da.

Then, undeterred, I called WTVC (Channel 9). The lady I spoke with, unlike the gentleman at Channel 12, thought what I was saying sounded worth investigating. She told me that what I was saying was definitely interesting, and with the programming director listening in she informed me that a reporter would get back with me on Monday. She asked, “Would you have any problem talking on camera?”

“Heck, no!” I replied. “I’d be happy to talk on camera!” I mean, what kind of question was that? I then referred her to my Facebook page.

Monday came around, but no one called; I figured nothing would come of my call. Then on Tuesday morning, the very day on which another vote was to take place in another committee in Nashville, a reporter called me and set up an interview.

From around 10:30 to 11:30a.m. I sat in front of a TV camera and camera man, a reporter, and a program director. For a whole hour I was given the chance to respond to some very pointed questions and give my thoughts on the whole seatbelt issue.

The rest of the morning and afternoon, even until the evening, I felt sick. What worried me was the fact that I was a employee of the company that had been sued over the deaths and injuries resulting from the Woodmore crash. Going back to November of last year we had been instructed to avoid interviews with the media. But this was different, for I was acting as nothing more than a bus driver in Tennessee who was concerned about a possible bad law. I didn’t know how the news media would edit my interview, and all I could think of was how much trouble I could be in on Wednesday.

However, I wasn’t fired! The following video will show that the resulting editing was not only fair, but quite favorable to my position.

The Point of This Post

Wednesday morning I went in to work, not knowing what to expect. What I got were “high fives” and multiple joking requests for my autograph. After a few humorous requests I held up the sign-in sheet where all drivers are to sign their names each morning and said, “Now that I’m famous, all of these sign-in sheets will be worth money, so don’t throw them away.” Ha!

Then, as I was standing there, an older woman, a driver of a special needs school bus (a small bus), walked up to me and began to talk.

“Mr. Baker, I need to tell you something.”

“OK,” I said. Now, keep in mind I had never, not once, spoken with this woman ever before.

“This is me…” she pointed to herself, “…so this is me talking…”

“OK,” was my response, again.

“You know,” she began, “I have never really cared very much for you…”

What was I supposed to say? How was I supposed to respond? Like I said, I had never even spoken with this lady, so what had I done to offend her? Anyway, she continued…

“But I want you to know that I respect what you did…what you said on TV. What you did was courageous, and what you said on our behalf as drivers is very much appreciated.”

Well, now! I got smacked in the face and complimented all at the same time!

Then, in regard to my concern that the management of the company could fire me for being interviewed on television, she matter-of-factly assured me, “And if those people in the office have a problem with what you’ve done, then I will go down there with you and tell them to their face they can kiss your a**, and my a**, too!”

With raised eyebrows and a nod of my head all I could say in response was, “”Well, uh, thanks…I appreciate it.”

When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. – Proverbs 16:7

All I could think about was how that when we stand up for what is right, even those who hate us may find some reason to respect us. That was the only way I could explain why this older woman who “never really cared much” for me would put her own “a**” on the line.

The Aftermath

Believe it or not, JoAnne Favors pulled the bill! CLICK HERE for the story.

Did my actions have anything to do with it? Honestly, I’d like to think so.

This afternoon, the lady who I mentioned earlier stopped by my car window as I was leaving work. She asked, “So, are you proud of yourself?”

“Well, to be honest,” I began, “I’d like to think I had a part in what happened.”

“I’m sure you did,” she said.

So, yeah, it feels good to have accomplished something…maybe. But it feels better to be respected, 

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Filed under community, current events, Life Lessons, politics, self-worth

My Healthcare Reform Suggestions

Enough with all the bickering and fighting, not to mention the constant maligning of each other in the media, let’s pass some real healthcare reform that is fair, realistic, and responsible.

In other words, submit the following 10 points to Congress, get it approved, have the President sign it, then let’s get on with life.

Baker Healthcare Reform Plan

1. Allow insurance companies to sell across state lines.

2. Create a high-risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, etc., and develop ways in which those with chronic illnesses can receive care without affecting premium costs for healthy citizens.

3. Encourage tax-free accounts such as Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) in which people can put money to be used for medical expenses, further encouraging better pricing options.

4. Encourage doctors, hospitals, and all medical facilities to list actual prices and offer discounts for cash payments (including payments made from FSA’s and HSA’s).

5. Re-educate the public on what insurance is and is not. Create courses in high school and college which will teach young adults how to manage their healthcare costs.

6. Encourage lower medicine costs by reducing regulations which cost manufactures millions and delay drugs being introduced to the market.

7. Develop a strict, but less-burdensome vetting process which will allow foreign prescription drugs to be sold in the United States, thereby providing more options to the consumer.

8. Re-evaluate laws which govern how legal firms bring class action law suits against prescription drug companies.

9. Encourage self-insurance options for the wealthy.

10. Allow insurance companies to create a wider variety of affinity group options.

Honestly, much more could be said about each of the above points, but these alone would have fixed a lot of problems with the previous healthcare system, all without having the government come along and take over everything.

With some common sense everything could be OK.

 

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