RHEA COUNTY REPUBLICAN
ADVANCING THE CONSERVATIVE CAUSE
Vol. 3 – No. 6 August 2019
MONTHLY MEETING OF THE RHEA COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY
The regular meeting of the Rhea County Republican Party will be held on August 1st, at 7:00PM. A meeting of the Executive Committee will begin at 6:30PM. Everyone is invited to attend the Executive Committee meeting. The meetings will be held at the Sheriff’s Training Center, 711 Eagle Drive, Evensville, TN. We look forward to seeing you there! (Bring a friend!)
RHEA COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Bitsy Gryder – Chairman Gary Drinkard – Vice Chairman
Laura Travis – Secretary Larry Pendergrass – Treasurer
Linda Pendergrass – Vice Treasurer
MINUTES FROM THE JULY MEETING
The minutes from the July meeting were not provided. – Editor
Stop a moment and allow your mind to wander a bit and think of one thing you thought you’d never see become a reality in our culture or in politics during your lifetime. Chances are, the older you are, the more things that will come to mind.
For those who were born around the turn of the millennium, perhaps you never thought you’d see a city government issue an official declaration that all gender-specific references would be removed from its municipal code yet, the city of Berkeley, California has done just that. I’m certain you will feel validated when you learn that, from now on, the words “manhole cover” have been replaced by its newspeak term “maintenance hole covers.” You will be comforted to learn the terms “firemen” and “firewomen” have been replaced with the term “firefighters,” and so on. And finally, the term “pregnant woman” has been officially changed to read “pregnant person.” This shift in nomenclature has been adopted all for the sake of recognizing non-binary gender inclusivity. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/berkeley-california-to-ban-gendered-language-like-manhole-manpower-and-firemen/
Also for the Millennials, did you ever think you’d see a group of illegal aliens get away with tearing down and desecrating an American Flag flying at a public building, replacing it with the flag of Mexico, and then tearing down a flag honoring POWs and MIAs to replace it with the desecrated American Flag, all without even so much as anyone being charged with the offense of destroying public property? Did you ever think you would hear a sitting Member of Congress make hate-filled, anti-Semitic remarks and then not be censured by her fellow representatives? Did you ever think you’d see a same-sex wedding portrayed in a cartoon on PBS? Certainly, those of us who grew up before you never thought we’d see anything like that but, trust me, the older a person is, the more there is in the way of things we thought we’d never see.
I was born in the 1940’s, and I can tell you I never thought I’d see an America citizen (Jane Fonda) travel to North Vietnam – right in the midst of the Vietnam war – to participate in a film showing her sitting behind the trigger of an anti-aircraft gun – a gun used to kill American aviators – and then never be charged with treason. But, there’s so much more!
I never thought I’d see a sitting US President send billions of taxpayers’ dollars to arm the so-called “anti-Assad rebels,” a group who were known to be, at the time, comprised of at least fourteen terrorist groups (who later morphed into ISIS), and not be charged with treason or espionage. I never thought I’d see that same sitting US President follow that act by sending billions more of taxpayers’ dollars to a country (Iran), whose government celebrates “Death to America Day,” without so much as a whimper from the Republicans. But, I can explain for you how it happened. It’s best described as a shift in the Overton Window.
The short version of this story is that Joseph P. Overton devised a way to describe how an idea or policy moves from being “unthinkable” and then progressively on to being “radical,” “acceptable,” “sensible,” “popular,” and finally to being [official] “policy.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window
Regardless of your age, I am certain you can cite many examples of how you’ve seen the Overton Window in progress during your lifetime. For myself, I can tell you I never thought I would see the day when self-avowed Socialists would not only admit to being such, but would also be among the leading contenders in the polls of presidential candidates, yet we have Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and others in the field for the 2020 presidential election who tout the reasons why the United States should become a socialist country.
To be sure, the phenomenon of the shift in the Overton Window of America’s trend toward socialism did not happen overnight. In fact, what we see happening today started more than a hundred years ago. (See “A Brief History of Socialism in America,” The Rhea County Republican, April 2019 http://www.rheagop.org/rhea-county-republican-april-2019/?fbclid=IwAR3lZ6DD98NIbuI2h7TRRgq1-QmzdhUJgLr-LiSglUBWpOTEtzARHDb27HA but, there’s a pattern to it all and the pattern is this:
When Democrats are in power – either in the White House or in Congress – the movement of the Overton Window toward socialism – and many other forms of cultural decay – occur at a faster rate of speed and, over the past century, each time the Democrats have assumed power, that shift toward socialism has gained speed exponentially. It is only when the Democrats are not in power that our country’s advancement is checked, and this is why I offer the following for your consideration:
In watching the first two Democrat debates, we saw every candidate raise their hand to tell the audience they would, without reservation, provide free healthcare for illegal aliens. They were all on board with the notion that tuition into colleges and universities should be paid for by tax dollars, and they all advocated for higher taxes – not only for “the wealthy” but for the middle class as well! None of them have disavowed their support for schemes like “The Green New Deal,” and some want to take it even further!
Meanwhile, not one of the Democrats have disavowed the tactics of their unofficial “SS Troops,” – Antifa – and all have said our rights under the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendments must be “re-examined.”
Along with their socialist platform, the Democrats are working (somewhat) behind the scenes to garner more voters. In many liberal states, there are bills being passed that allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses, which in turn is the path toward obtaining a voter’s registration card, and in at least one state, there is a push to allow illegal aliens to run for political office! https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/sen-wiener-announces-bill-to-allow-illegal-immigrants-run-for-official-democratic-party-seats/
Every Constitutional Conservative must work like we’ve never worked before to stop the creep of socialism (and other anti-American philosophies) in our country because one thing has become very clear: Given the devolution of the Democrat Party, those of us who cherish our freedoms and our values must do everything we can to ensure that no Democrat is ever again elected to the presidency and we must do everything within our power to ensure Constitutional Conservatives are elected to every last political office in the United States. We must send the liberals, socialists, communists, and every other anti-American group packing. That’s the bottom line friends, electing another Democrat to the White House and failing to vote them out of every other office they hold will most definitely hasten the end of what is the greatest country to ever exist on planet Earth!
Over the past three-and-one-half years, you, the reader, have been kind enough to share your copies of The Rhea County Republican with your friends; this has prompted many others to subscribe. Thanks to your support, this newsletter is now read by more than 400 subscribers – conservative-minded folks all across the United States and in five foreign countries! I am truly humbled by your loyalty, and your desire to join me in Advancing the Conservative Cause.
I hope you will always know, among its other purposes, this newsletter is YOUR forum for sharing your opinions, thoughts, observations, ideas, and news, not only from the national and international fronts but also from your own home town. From emails I receive, I can assure you that conservatives everywhere are truly interested to read what’s on your mind and what’s going on in your neighborhood.
A news report from Sweden tells of their government’s approval of a program that makes available to its citizens a microchip (about the size of a grain of rice), that is installed under the skin in the palm of the hand. The microchip contains all the medical, personal, legal, and financial data of the individual and is updated during each use. According to the report, so far, approximately four thousand Swedes have had the chip embedded into their palm, thus trending Sweden toward being a cashless society.
There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind. – Hannah Senesh, poet, playwright, and paratrooper (17 Jul 1921-1944)
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Do you think Congress should pass legislation making English the Official Language of the United States and, if so, would you be willing to contact your elected representatives urging that they pass such a bill? Please share your comments with others by emailing them to email@example.com Thank you!
COMMENTS FROM OUR REPRESENTATIVES
[Representatives from all states are invited to share their comments with our readers. Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you! – Editor]
Scott DesJarlais (R-TN, 4th District) offered the following comments on the National Defense Authorization bill.
Democrat infighting nearly prevented passage of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the House of Representatives today.
The annual defense policy bill, which for 58 years has passed with bipartisan support, instead passed on a party-line vote, surviving only because of concessions to far-left socialists, insisting on the elimination of programs critical to defending the United States from Russia, China, Iran and other adversaries, said Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D.
A member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), Rep. DesJarlais is a strong supporter of improved border security and nuclear technology. He voted against the bill, which would undermine both, he said. “The Senate, as the House usually does, passed this year’s defense authorization by a wide bipartisan margin. In past years, when Republicans held the majority, we’ve offered Democrats abundant opportunities to voice concerns and add amendments. However, with Nancy Pelosi in charge, our colleagues across the aisle have behaved differently, shutting us out of the process.
“As a result, Congress’ first responsibility, protecting national security, has become another partisan exercise, a product of bitter animosity towards the President, which reverses the progress we’ve made to rebuild the military after years of neglect.”
Rep. DesJarlais (TN-04) is a member of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, as well as the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities. In an address to Congress this week, he pointed out provisions in this year’s NDAA that would prevent the deployment of low-yield nuclear weapons to counter Russian technology; force the U.S. to abide by outdated nuclear treaties our adversaries ignore; prohibit military support at the southern border; and release terrorists from Guantanamo Bay military prison.
The Congressman offered amendments to fix such problems in the legislation. “Amazingly, Democrat leaders rejected these measures, because they would likely pass with bipartisan support, displaying the kind of cynical partisanship that has prevented good legislation from passing the House this term,” said Rep. DesJarlais, who joined HASC Ranking Member Mac Thornberry and every Republican House member in voting no.
“I’m disappointed we lost an opportunity to work together, and I could not support this NDAA.”
“The Senate, as the House usually does, passed this year’s defense authorization by a wide bipartisan margin. In past years, when Republicans held the majority, we’ve offered Democrats abundant opportunities to voice concerns and add amendments. However, with Nancy Pelosi in charge, our colleagues across the aisle have behaved differently, shutting us out of the process.
“As a result, Congress’ first responsibility, protecting national security, has become another partisan exercise, a product of bitter animosity towards the President, which reverses the progress we’ve made to rebuild the military after years of neglect.
“Amazingly, Democrat leaders rejected these measures, because they would likely pass with bipartisan support, displaying the kind of cynical partisanship that has prevented good legislation from passing the House this term.
“I’m disappointed we lost an opportunity to work together, and I could not support this NDAA.”
[Brendan Thomas, Communications Director for Scott DesJarlais, further noted that one of the amendments to this crucial legislation included a ban on military parades, such as the one at which President Trump spoke on Independence Day. – Editor]
Mark Green, US Congressman (R-TN, 7th District) shared the following comment:
“As an emergency room physician and Army doctor, I know that when the system is overwhelmed that you go into triage mode. Well, our immigration system is overwhelmed. And DHS is working fast to triage it. They’ve installed four new facilities, and the number of children held is down to 300-350. But nothing will be permanent until Congress fixes the asylum laws, stopping the flow of migrants.”
Bruce Griffey, Tennessee State Representative from Paris, TN issued the following statement:
“For several months, I have been receiving complaints from judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys regarding the amount of time it takes to get blood results back from the TBI and the negative impact it is having on stalled cases backed up in the criminal justice system. As a result, I, along with House Majority Leader William Lamberth, met with the TBI at their Nashville Headquarters on Friday to better understand what is causing the backlog and what, if anything, the legislature can do to assist in resolving the problem. Unfortunately, the TBI has not seen the funding it needs to complete the demands placed on them. I’m advocating for additional funding for the TBI for additional forensic scientists for blood alcohol and drug testing.”
COMMENTS FROM OUR READERS
[Readers from all countries and states are invited to share their comments, ideas, and opinions. Please email your comments to email@example.com – Editor]
Victor Whaley – a reader from Pasadena, California offers the following: On average, fifty million gallons of fuel is sold every day in California. There is a state tax of seventy-five cents on each gallon. This adds up to $37.5 million per day in revenues collected by our state government. The question that goes unanswered from our government is WHY do we have even one pothole? I’ve driven on better roads in third world countries than what we have here in California.
Brian Troyer – a reader from Apple Creek, OH offers the following analysis of Andrew Sullivan’s claim that the Democrat candidates would continue to deport illegal aliens who have committed serious crimes.
“One thing Andrew Sullivan gets wrong is his implicit concession that the Democrats would at least deport illegal aliens who are violent criminals. As a practical matter and as a matter of official “sanctuary” policy, that is not true. Democrats protect even violent criminals from deportation and do all within their power to allow those deported to return.
“This is how President Trump’s campaign began — with a loud cry of “Enough!” at the murder of Kate Steinle by a repeatedly deported illegal alien. Officials in criminal sanctuary jurisdictions are forbidden to assist in detaining illegals for ICE. For any reason. Forbidden from cooperating in any way. In fact, leading Democrats want to abolish ICE altogether.
“And now every one of their two dozen candidates openly supports granting citizenship (and free health care) to anyone who sets foot in the United States. Did you catch that in their debates?
“It’s been said before by me and many others: 2020 is the Flight 93 Election 2.0. This is for the entire future. All the marbles. THE tipping point. It will not be enough to battle to a draw. If Republicans do not take a decisive majority in Congress, along with President Trump’s reelection, the flood will continue. Millions more will continue to pour into the country. They will be poorly educated, speak no English, and be mostly illiterate even in their native languages. The courts will take their side. Once here, they will never be removed. They will tip apportionment further to the Left. They will vote massively and illegally for Democrats, who give them benefits.
“Republicans must make this THE issue again and win a decisive electoral victory that allows them to change the asylum law, repeal the 1965 INA, build the wall, and undo as much damage as they can. We cannot be the welfare office for the world. They need to fix their own countries.”
Jim Clarkson, a reader from Columbia, SC and owner of Resource Supply Management wrote the following article; it reveals a lot about why our energy bills are so high.
The Politics of the Nation’s Next Nuclear Plant
Georgia Power, a subsidiary of the mighty Southern Company, is pressing ahead with the construction of a two unit, 2240-Megawatt nuclear plant called Plant Vogtle. With billions in federal loan guarantees, a cap on liability, production tax credits and pre-collection of profits, this makes Georgia Power the utility industry’s biggest welfare queen.
All these financial goodies didn’t come from performance in the marketplace but from well-planned lobbying at the state and federal levels. Let’s trace the actions and rationalizations that went in to developing this project to its current stage.
The last phase of nuclear plant construction back in the 1980s demonstrated gross incompetence and mismanagement by the utility. Changing regulations got the blame. The lesson that should have been learned was to place more risk on the utility, but the reverse has occurred. The risk has been shifted more firmly to ratepayers and taxpayers.
The Southern Company strategy is to produce surplus power and sell to other regions of the country. Southern uses its unregulated generating subsidiary, Southern Power, to build low-risk natural gas plants but uses its regulated utility companies to build high-risk plants. The South, with its tradition of re-electing politicians long after they have become too rotten to be trusted, is an excellent place to invest large amounts of capital under regulation with virtually guaranteed returns.
Georgia Power went through the motions of evaluating alternative sources of generation and, by assuming high natural gas prices and high carbon emission penalties, found the high-capital-cost nuclear option best. The conclusion that high capital costs are a good tradeoff for low operating costs is always suspicious when made under regulation where returns are earned on invested capital, but operating costs are passed through with no mark-up.
Georgia Power received regulatory approval to build the nuclear plant that included being allowed to collect financing costs of construction costs as the project progresses. In the regulatory world, financing costs include not just interest on loans but also a return on equity for the portion of stockholder money used plus the income tax liability on profits. Regulated utilities usually have a capital structure of about 50% debt and 50% equity. Financing costs are then a blend of these two “costs.” For example, if debt is 4% and equity is 12%, then the financing cost is 8%.
After getting approval from state utility regulators, Georgia Power sought state legislation to make the financing scheme law. The proposal had widespread popular opposition, and Georgia Power expended a lot of its accumulated political capital. The year 2009 was an off year for elections in the General Assembly so the Company and the politicians it owned correctly assumed the public would forget the issue by the next election. The pre-collection of construction financing is now estimated to total nearly $4 billion, plus local tax gross ups. Of that, about $2 billion in profits will be collected before the nuclear units are active. Widely touted in lobbying before the regulatory and legislative bodies was the purported savings to ratepayers of $300 million in financing savings. This figure assumes no discount rate and ignores taxes. Consumers faced with paying credit card bills are supposed to be neutral about paying now or paying over the sixty-year life of the nuclear plant scheduled to be fully operating in 2022 or later.
The cost estimate used in seeking approval for the project was $14.5 billion. Not long after all the approvals were made, Stan Wise, a Georgia Public Service Commissioner, spoke before a meeting of southeastern regulators in Charleston, SC, declaring he did not expect the approved estimate to be the final number. This echoes the problems of the last round of nuclear plant construction thirty years ago. The total cost has been increased piece-meal with final figure likely to be over $27 billion!
During that last round of nuclear construction, Georgia Power continued to announce new higher cost estimates but always said that by only considering the incremental additional costs and ignoring the sunk costs, the project was worthwhile. While that line of reasoning is true, the notorious history of gaming the regulatory system by Georgia Power and the Georgia Commission makes it plausible that the initial estimate was deliberately low-balled to get approval; and the true additional cost is being slowly revealed after considerable cost has already been sunk.
Georgia Power has asserted, and has regulatory and legislative support for, the right to collect any sunk cost, with profit, if the project is ever canceled for any reason. The regulatory strategists in Georgia Power have learned the lessons of the last round of nuclear plant building very well indeed.
Cost overruns in projects out in the non-regulated sector of the economy are disasters for the management of the competitive companies. In the regulated world cost overruns lead to champagne corks popping on Wall Street and utility executives being hailed within the industry as visionary leaders. The more a project under regulation costs the greater the profit for the utility.
Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle was initially touted to be the first example in the country’s “Nuclear Renaissance.” The technology may indeed employ new simpler, safer, and more efficient designs than the last round of nuclear plants as claimed. However, there is nothing new about the crony politics, inflated claims, spin and financial shenanigans surrounding the project.
According to the publication “The Elephant’s Child,” there are currently more than 14,000 abandoned wind turbines in the United States – all of which were paid for by taxpayer dollars. According to the Golden State Audubon Society (in California, the state where 80% of these turbines are located), during their operation, the turbines killed 75-110 Golden Eagles, 380 Burrowing Owls, 300 Red-Tailed Hawks and 333 American Kestrels during every year of their operation.
ON THE HOME FRONT
Have you ever wanted to get involved in the political process but were unsure how to go about it? Norman Bobo, a reader from Nashville, has some help for you.
The Foundation for Applied Conservative Leadership, via the Leadership Institute, is offering courses that will make your efforts more effective.
Sat, August 24, 9 AM to 5:30 PM. FACL Campaign Management School.
Topics: Real nature of politics, Lincoln 4-step, campaign plans, timeline budgeting, campaign communications (Leesburg grid, framing issues, targeting), basic fundraising, (calling, mail, email, events), and how to set up (and tear down) your campaign.
Location: Music City Baptist Church, 7104 Lebanon Rd., Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
Cost: $50 Lunch included. (Early bird by August 10, 2019: $40) / Students: $30 (Early bird by August 10, 2019: $25)
Sept 27-28 & Oct 25-26. 4-day Leadership Institute Campaign Academy – only $150 early bird!
Day 1: Fri, Sept. 27, 12:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Campaign Strategy. Dinner included.
Day 2: Sat, Sept. 28, 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Messaging. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 3: Fri, Oct 25, 12:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Voter Contact. Dinner included.
Day 4: Sat, Oct. 26, 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Fundraising. Breakfast and lunch included.
Topics: Too many topics to list! One day of campaign training is better than no training, but is one day really enough? This is the complete, detailed LI campaigning school – not an overview. You normally have to travel out of state one Saturday per month across four months to access all of this great information. This school is only two weekends and it’s in TN! And only $150 for early bird! You do not want to miss this!!
Location: Peytonsville Church of Christ, 4739 Peytonsville Rd Franklin, TN 37064
Cost: Early bird date is 9/14/19. All 4 days: $300. Early bird: $150! ($37.50/day, no coupon code needed, just book early). Two-day weekend: $180. Early bird: $90 ($45/day, select a weekend and use coupon code: Weekend). One day: $100. Early bird: $50 (coupon code: JustOne). College, high school and middle school students are FREE if they attend all sessions. Students must call Dena at (703) 647-3559 to arrange.
Discounted Hotel: LaQuinta Inn & Suites. 4207 Franklin Common Court, Franklin, TN. $89 + tax. Limited rooms. Book early. Call (615) 791-7700, ext. 5 and mention “Leadership Institute”.
NOTE: All courses have required minimum enrollments and may be subject to cancellation if not achieved. All courses have maximum attendance capacity. Seats are available on a first-come basis. FACL, LI and hotel cancellation policies apply.
Rhea County Commissioners Retreat on Tax Increases
Citizens of Rhea County have known for years that our County Commission has never saw an opportunity to spend money that it didn’t like; fiscal responsibility is the farthest thing on their minds. To make matters worse, not one Commissioner has ever advanced the idea that they should work on paying off the debt. Sooner or later, all the debt the Rhea County Commissioners have run up through the years, debt acquired by one borrowing scheme after another, will have to be paid off, and the decades of kicking the can down the road will come to an end and then the State Comptroller’s Office will pay a visit.
At the moment, It’s impossible to get an accurate figure on just how much debt our County Commissioners have put the Citizens of Rhea County on the hook for but it seems they will own up to there being a current debt of ~$130 million. Given the population of Rhea County being somewhere around 35,000, this means the debt load is currently around $3,714.28 cents for every man, woman, and child in the county! Can the Citizens of Rhea County afford to shell out this amount to pay off the county’s debt? Foolish question!
The County Commissioners know this, too. Recently, they announced their intention to increase property taxes, but a sufficient number Citizens from Rhea County voiced their disapproval so the property tax proposal was tabled.
It didn’t take long, however, for the Rhea County Commission to come up with another scheme to hike taxes, this time it was a wheel tax that would have increased license tag fees by $25.00, making those little stickers people put on top of the other little stickers from years before cost a little over $50.00 each! They tried to sell the idea to Rhea County Citizens that this scheme would be more “fair.”
Again, the Citizens of Rhea County made their voices heard loud and clear, so the County Commissioners beat a hasty retreat on that idea. Even those Commissioners who came up with this new scheme voted against it.
Congratulations to the Citizens of Rhea County! You understand what Ronald Reagan said years ago that we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. Maybe, someday, the County Commissioners will devise a fiscally responsible plan to halt boondoggle spending and use that money to pay off the county’s debt. (Is anyone holding their breath on that idea? Nah, I didn’t think so.)
Governor Bill Lee Signs ESA Bill
There were some terse remarks from some representatives, members of the teacher’s unions, and various citizens with special interests when the Education Savings Account (ESA) bill was being debated in Nashville, but in the end, the bill was signed into law. So, what does the ESA bill do for Tennessee citizens with children in public schools and why is it so essential to every citizen that parents with school aged should have access to ESAs?
Initially, the ESA bill will enable as many as 15,000 families in low-performing school districts to receive as much as $7,300 per year in an education savings accounts that can be used for private school tuition, tutoring, and other educational services. With school choice, parents will no longer be forced to subsidize failing schools – schools that have been failing for years – to provide our children with an acceptable education.
Right away, the “naysayers” preached that only larger cities have private schools but they failed to acknowledge new trends in education where children may learn online – either via the internet or at private school satellite facilities – receiving instruction from faculties who are simultaneously teaching children in onsite classrooms. The students attending satellite facilities receive detailed instructions or assistance from onsite proctors or, if at home, from their parents.
To understand more fully why the ESA bill was an essential piece of legislation, one needs to understand just how badly our perpetually failing public schools were failing. To begin this quest, we should first take a look at the global picture, then focus in on the state level, and finally in the county or city schools. For the purposes of this article, I am using Tennessee’s public schools as examples but those of you in other states can easily find similar data for your own city, county, state, and country.
According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), US public schools don’t fare too well when compared with those of other countries. In the Program for Individual Student Assessment (PISA), an achievement-measuring methodology in which the United States played a major role in developing, public school students in the US ranked 30th in mathematics, 24th in reading, and 25th in science. These results raise serious questions about the global competitiveness of US public school systems, as well as our competitiveness as a nation in the decades to come. https://www.businessinsider.com/pisa-worldwide-ranking-of-math-science-reading-skills-2016-12
Among the states, Tennessee schools rank 25th. https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-best-schools/5335/. Searching further, we find that Tennessee has one of the highest dropout rates in the country. Perhaps some of these students realize that going to a school that doesn’t prepare them for a productive future is a waste of time. https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/education/2017/01/24/tennessee-eighth-least-educated-state-in-america-no-43/96992168/
According to information derived from the Tennessee Department of Education, Rhea County schools rank 41st in the State. This puts Rhea County in the middle of the pack. https://www.schooldigger.com/go/TN/districtrank.aspx. But this is nothing to brag about on examining the actual academic performance levels of children attending Rhea County’s schools.
In 2018 the Dayton City (Elementary) School students’ proficiency scores in mathematics were 36.7%, in English Language “Arts” (that’s reading and writing to you and me), they scored 35.1%, and in science, students scored 63.8% (a decrease of 1.5% from the previous year). https://reportcard.tnk12.gov/districts/721/schools/5/page/SchoolOverall
Rhea Middle School (Junior High) scores were similarly dismal. Students scored 46.6% in mathematics, 41.5% in English Language Arts, and 58.3% in science.
The achievement scores earned by Rhea County High School were downright shocking; 27.6% in mathematics (an increase of 5.3% from the previous year!), 31.7% in English Language Arts, and 48.6% in science.
THESE ARE FAILING GRADES! But this does NOT mean our kids are dumb. It only means the education system they’re trapped in is doing them – and the taxpayers – a horrendous disservice!
This is why ESAs and other mechanisms that give parents a choice is so vitally important. Thanks Governor Lee, and all the Tennessee Representatives who made this happen.
BOOK OF THE MONTH
During that part of my career when I was spending lots of time in airports or on planes, I used to carry with me what I called “airplane books.” This month’s selection (only 184 pages), is one of those: Winning with Deception and Bluff, by Sydney C. Schweitzer. This book is not so much a tutorial in avarice as it is a defense mechanism that can be used against people who bombard us with cleverly formulated (and thus misleading) statistics, questions intended to trap us into making statements that defeat or compromise our tenets, and those individuals we would rather not deal with who are long on personal aggrandizement and short on ethics.
The purpose of the legislative report is to inform the reader about legislation that is currently under consideration which may have significant impact on our lives. Readers are encouraged to analyze each bill’s content and become cognizant of what our representatives are proposing and (hopefully) become engaged in the process by offering their opinions – in support of or against – such legislation. “They” won’t know what you think unless you tell them! – Editor
S 727 Global Fragility Act of 2019. (Coons, D-DE, 22 pages). Co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Graham, Merkley, Rubio, and Young.
The President, in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of other relevant Federal agencies, shall establish a comprehensive, integrated, ten-year strategy, to be referred to as the Global Fragility Strategy, to contribute to the stabilization of conflict-affected areas, address global fragility, and strengthen the capacity of the United States to be an effective leader of international efforts to prevent extremism and violent conflict.
The President, in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and the Secretary of Defense, and in consultation with the appropriate congressional committees, shall select certain countries [as yet to be determined!] to receive funding that would allegedly persuade them to be peaceful and compassionate toward their neighbors and their own citizens.
There is no set amount to determine how many taxpayer dollars are to be spent on this initiative, which leaves the amounts to be determined by the House of Representatives. Although there is mentioned that G7+ countries would also contribute to the funding of this initiative, there are no percentages identified. It is, therefore, likely that the United States would, as usual, provide the majority of funding.
In reading the text of the bill, one finds there are so many ways a President can use such funds to attempt to buy off foreign leaders that the bill becomes, at best, a spending boondoggle and, at worst, compels a foreign country to act as a proxy for the United States to punish the President’s enemies.
S 1309 Combatting Global Corruption Act of 2019. (Cardin, D-MD, 12 pages) The intent of this bill is to identify and combat corruption in countries, to establish a tiered system of countries with respect to levels of corruption by their governments and their efforts to combat such corruption, and to assess United States assistance to designated countries in order to advance anti-corruption efforts in those countries and better serve United States taxpayers.
It assigns six committees to identify and classify various stages of “corruption.” Past that, the government of the United States would not be empowered take anything resembling meaningful action to end such corruption since, to do so, would usurp the sovereignty of the government of an identified country.
Ultimately, this bill is nothing more than an attempt to waste more taxpayer dollars on subjective determinations and would not have any meaningful impact on the ways foreign governments operate.
HR 3401 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act of 2019. (Lowey, D-NY, 10 pages). The Democrats have experienced an epiphany – they have finally realized that “crisis at our southern border” that President Trump warned them about and urged them to appropriate funding to resolve is, in fact, a reality. To address the crisis, Representative Lowey has crafted a bill to provide $4.5 Billion for fiscal year 2019, with the hint of a promise to provide more funding in fiscal year 2020. HR 3401 was passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the President.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are getting every last bit of mileage out of the deplorable conditions at our southern border by blaming President Trump for everything that has gone wrong there! Make no mistake, the conditions at the southern border are sad to see, but those conditions were allowed to exacerbate because the Democrats refused to do what is necessary to improve them. For instance, the separation of children from the adults who brought them into the United States was a program started by none other than Barack Hussein 0bama! (0bama took this action because so many of the children were being abused – sexually and otherwise – by the adults.)
Predictably, the Democrats have refused to make any effort to modify our immigration laws that currently require illegal aliens with children in tow (many of whom are in no way related), and this $4.5 Billion bill does NOTHING to improve border security. But, there’s more:
Included in the bill are some items that should enrage any fiscally responsible taxpayer. These nuggets include: $65 million for “Executive Office Immigration Review,” $45 million to hire 30 additional “Immigration Judge Teams” ($10 million of which is to be used for the lease of courtrooms and equipment), and another $10 million of which shall only be used for the “Legal Orientation Program.” (NO, I’m not joking!) It only gets worse: $155 million shall be used for “Federal Prisoner Detention.” Since the US Customs and Border Protection have been stretched beyond their limit, they have requested help from the military and National Guard; $144 million will be directed to the military to keep their budgets from being sapped.
Speaking of US Customs and Border Protection, this bill provides $1.015 Billion to help them deal with that “non-crisis” but, before one starts thinking that the Democrats have shown some compassion toward the US Customs and Border Protection, it is worthy to note that $708 Million is earmarked for the care and feeding of the migrants who are currently in custody. (The way things are trending, it looks as though all those who have shown up at our borders will be receiving life-time healthcare and tuition to Ivy League universities.) The funding appropriated in HR 3401 goes on in a manner similar to that provided above.
Wouldn’t it have cost us a lot less if Congress had modified the immigration laws and funded President Trump’s border wall? Of course it would!
S 1790 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. (Inhofe, R-OK, 1728 pages). An original bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2020 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes passed by a vote of 86/8.
This was a vote to pass S 1790 in the Senate. The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations. This is an authorization bill, which directs how federal funds should or should not be used. (It does not set overall spending limits, however, which are the subject of appropriations bills.) Authorizations are typically made for single fiscal years (October 1 through September 30 of the next year) but are often renewed in subsequent law.
HR 3351 Financial Services and General Appropriations Act of 2020. (Quigley, D-IL, 178 pages) This was a vote to pass HR 3351 in the House. The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations. This is an appropriations bill, which sets overall spending limits by agency or program, typically for a single fiscal year (October 1 through September 30 of the next year). The bill was passed along a party line vote of 224/191 because it provided no meaningful funding for border security.
S 1895 Lower Healthcare Cost Act. (Alexander, R-TN, 196 pages) This bill is well-written and comprehensive in nature in that it identifies and addresses the numerous ways in which healthcare providers, the pharmaceutical industry (including pharmacies), medical transportation providers, and hospitals and clinics use misleading tactics and practices to raise the costs of their products and services. The consumer (patient) is not provided information that would allow them to make an informed decision. When the consumers’ (patients’) insurance provider denies payment for these services, the consumer (patient) is deemed responsible to cover such costs. Senator Alexander’s bill requires healthcare providers, the pharmaceutical industry (including pharmacies), medical transportation providers, and hospitals and clinics to explain to the consumer (patient) their alternatives and to offer lower-cost alternatives to products and services when such lower-cost products and services are available.
HR 3206 Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019. (Kinzinger, R-IL, 9 pages). This bill serves to further tighten sanctions on Russia by preventing them from laying pipelines that provide petroleum products to Europe. It authorizes the President to impose the sanctions on each foreign person that the President determines knowingly, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act, sells, leases, or provides pipe-laying vessels for the construction of any Russian-origin energy export pipeline that makes landfall in Germany or Turkey.
S 998 Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act of 2019 (Hawley, R-MO, 2 pages).
A bill to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to expand support for police officer family services, stress reduction, and suicide prevention, and for other purposes. This bill allocates $7.5 million to fund evidence-based programs to reduce stress, prevent suicide, and promote mental health and provide specialized training for identifying, reporting, and responding to officer mental health crises and suicide. This bill was passed in the Senate and has been forwarded to the House of Representatives for consideration.
HR 582 Raise the Wage Act of 2019 (Scott, D-VA, 18 pages). This bill incrementally raises the federal minimum wage from its current level of $4.25 per hour to $15.00 per hour by imposing annual increases in accordance with the following schedule: At the end of year 1 after being enacted into law – $6.40 per hour; at the end of the 2nd year – $8.55 per hour; at the end of the 3rd year – $10.70 per hour; at the end of the 4th year – $12.85 per hour, and; at the end of the 5th year – $15.00 per hour. This bill was passed in the House of Representatives and has been forwarded to the Senate for consideration.
[If this bill is signed into law, the reader is strongly encouraged to invest heavily in robotics companies. – Editor]
S 1601 Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats Act of 2019 (Wicker, R-MS, 6 pages). This bill would require automakers to install devices in new cars to alert drivers when children are present in the rear seats of vehicles.
[I find it totally mind-numbing to think people should depend on anyone or anything to remind them that they are transporting a child in their vehicle; the absence of personal responsibility is a strong indicator of where our country is heading. – Editor]
S 384 A Bill to Require the Secretary of Commerce, Acting Through the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to Help Facilitate the Adoption of Composite Technology in Infrastructure in the United States, and For Other Purposes. (Capito, R-WV, 4 pages). This is a requisite for S 1427 Global Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing Act of 2019, (Coons, D-DE, 10 pages), a bill to amend the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act to improve the Network for Manufacturing Innovation Program, and for other purposes.
S 149 Stop Senior Scams Act (Casey, D-PA, 7 pages), a bill to a Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Council. The Council would be comprised of individual whose products and services are most often identified as fronts utilized by those who attempt to cheat Senior Citizens out of their money and property.
H Res 489 Condemning President Trump’s Racist Comments Directed at Four Members of Congress. (Malinowski, D-NJ), marked the first time a US President was condemned by a chamber of Congress. Following are President Trump’s comments:
“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
S 1245 All of the Above Federal Building Energy Conservation Act of 2019 (Hoeven, R-ND, 15 pages). This bill would require a 20% energy reduction in all federal facilities by the year 2027 through the use of improved insulation and replacing current equipment with more energy-efficient products and by negotiating better contracts with energy suppliers.
HR 748 Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019 (Courtney, D-CT, 6 pages), amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on high-cost, employer-sponsored healthcare coverage. This bill was passed in the House of Representatives and has been forwarded to the Senate for consideration.
HR 3239 Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act (Ruiz, D-CA, 22 pages). This bill would require US Customs and Border Protection to perform an initial health screening on detainees.
[Perhaps Mr. Ruiz didn’t know that this has been the custom since the immigrant processing center was founded on Ellis Island. However, one wonders whether Mr. Ruiz will try to obfuscate the data derived by such screenings should it reveal all the rumors we’ve heard about immigrants being infected with tuberculosis, polio, venereal diseases (including HIV-AIDS), body parasites, and more! – Editor]
HR 2203 Homeland Security Improvement Act (Escobar, D-TX, 58 pages) is a bill allegedly designed to increase transparency, accountability, and community engagement within the Department of Homeland Security, provide independent oversight of border security activities, improve training for agents and officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and for other purposes. In actuality, this bill is designed to pit DHS against CBP and ICE, under the ruse created by a mechanism that allows illegal aliens to file formal complaints and criminal charges against CBP and ICE.
HR 3375 Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (Pallone, D-NJ, 21 pages) amends the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify the prohibitions on making robocalls. This bill would, in some cases, produce criminal referrals on those entities who bombard US citizens with scam and nuisance calls.
Russ Bischoff, a reader from Roxbury, NJ has provided this month’s Lagniappe.
When a foreign government like Communist China owns, subsidizes and controls an industry it’s a real problem – Especially, when our own elected officials and US capitalists enable it to happen.
Bringing manufacturing back home to the USA is going to end up being not only a key to restoring our economy, but to maintaining our national security as well.
Here’s an important question that we should be asking ourselves – How many components, computer chips and other parts are made in countries like Communist China and other countries, where we do not have complete control, that are then used in the weapon systems, communications systems, power grids and other equipment that we rely upon for our National Defense and our military operations? – And where has all our scrap steel and steel production been going?
Under the Free Traders (a.k.a. “Free Traitors”), way of thinking we might as well just outsource all of our military needs to Communist China, India and Mexico just like we did everything else.
What – Why not – I’m sure they could do it much cheaper?
What – Why not – That wouldn’t be in the best interest of our country and the American People? Hmmm?
While our traitorous politicians have been bickering for years like idiotic fools, Communist China has been crushing the USA in an economic war that our so-called leaders didn’t even know or care that we were in.
No matter how the globalist-free-marketers and “Free Traitors” try to spin it – Our huge trade deficits and indebtedness to foreign countries like Communist China are obviously not in the best interest of our country or the American people.
It’s Not Rocket Science – Since the “Free Traitors” have had their way of it, our largest export has been American jobs and money.
Bringing manufacturing back home to the USA is going to end up being not only a key to restoring our economy, but to maintaining our national security as well.
The people with all of the excuses as to why we can’t, shouldn’t or aren’t willing to manufacture products here in the US are the same people who have provided us with the very same shortsighted thinking that’s gotten us into this mess in the first place.
If more people would have listened to Ross Perot back in 1992, America wouldn’t be in this mess – Turns out he was right.
NAFTA was bad enough, but our huge trade deficit and indebtedness to Communist China is like NAFTA on steroids.
Over the past several decades, all that our traitorous politicians from both parties have been doing is selling out the American People, by stalling, spending, removing protections and allowing illegal aliens to continue to pour in and American jobs and industries to pour out, and all while collecting their American tax-payer funded paychecks, benefits and whatever else they get on the side from their various lobbyist friends.
Let’s face it, if it were up to the corrupt manipulative media, both parties and their globalist masters, Hillary “Madame Secretary” Clinton would’ve long since have been anointed queen by now.
Many people forget that it was Bill Clinton that granted Communist China the designation of “Most Favored Trade Status” and opened up the floodgates – And Bill and Hillary were actively involved in it during their visit there.
The globalist establishment obviously had a vested interest in wanting Hillary to win, especially Communist China.
One thing that became even more clearly evident during and after this entire presidential election process, is that both parties, the corrupt manipulative media and their globalist masters just consider the American people to be collateral damage in their game of globalization and cheap wages.
And let’s not underestimate China’s involvement in that whole North Korean nuclear missile situation – It was very likely to have been Communist China that was pulling North Korea’s strings in order to create a “Boogie-Man” that they could use for leverage in trying to get president Trump and the American people to back off on trade reform.
Obama backed off trade reform with China as soon as China’s puppet North Korea started to rattle their nuclear sword – Then instead, he gave us KORUS, “Carbon Taxes” and was going to sell us out even more with the TPP.
Wanting trade and immigration policies that will put the best interests of our own US CITIZENS first and foremost, especially our veterans is not racist, fascist or socialist – It’s common sense, if you’re American of any race, creed or gender.
NEWS FLASH: Our leaders are elected by the citizens of the United States of America to represent the interests of those citizens and the country itself – They are not supposed to be representing Wall Street, lobbyist, international corporations, the global marketplace (WTO, NAFTA, TPP, KORUS, NWO), foreign citizens, foreign interests or illegal aliens – And it’s about time that all of our so called leaders started honoring that fact.
Establishment puppet politicians, corrupt manipulative media pundits and their masters can put their BS in a box, gift wrap it and even put a bow on top, but fortunately most Americans can still smell what’s inside.
Anyone with even half a brain isn’t buying the old “Trade War” BS anymore – It’s Not Rocket Science – Since the “Free Traitors” have had their way of it, our largest export has been American jobs and money.
What about the tariffs and VAT that other countries use on our products? – Not to mention the foreign industries that are subsidized by their governments, including Communist China.
China protects its own industries and its own citizen’s jobs and it’s high time that we start doing the same in the USA.
Time to level the playing field using common sense instead of political BS, tokenism and rhetoric.
We need tariffs that are proportionate to the inequities in wages, regulations, subsides, taxes and tariffs in the country where the goods were actually produced and or where we’re importing them from – Including country of origin, even when imported from another 3rd party country – We could then use the money raised by these tariffs to help companies build state of the art manufacturing plants here in the USA, which would create more jobs here at home for US citizens, which would then in turn increase our income tax revenue.
Let’s face it – If it wasn’t for Trump, our bought and paid for globalist-puppet-politicians and corrupt-manipulative-media would still be talking about peripheral social issues rather than the core economic issues facing the American people, the real American economy and the future of our country.
For decades it was nothing but gay marriage and abortion – Now it’s nothing but Russians and false racism accusations 24/7/365.
It’s called polarize and distract – But, thankfully most Americans aren’t buying it anymore.
For the first time in 30 years, we finally have a president that’s actually doing something about our traitorous trade and immigration policies – And the corrupt manipulative media, establishment puppet politicians and their globalist masters are blatantly fighting President Trump and the American People tooth and nail every step of the way.
CONTACT YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES
|President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington D.C. 20500
Phone: (202) 456-1414
Fax: (202) 456-2461
|U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander
455 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Room 40 – Suite 2
Washington D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 244-4944
Fax: (202) 228-3398
|U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn
B40B Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3344
Fax: (202) 228-0566
To contact visit website:
|U.S Representative Dr. Scott DesJarlais
2301 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6831
Fax: (202) 226-5172
|Governor Bill Lee
Tennessee State Capitol
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
Phone: (615) 741-2001
Fax: (615) 532-9711
|Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
Link above provides all methods of contact.
Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader
|State Representative Ron Travis
301 Sixth Avenue North
War Memorial Building
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
Phone: (615) 741-1450
|State Senator Ken Yager
301 Sixth Avenue North
War Memorial Building
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
Phone: (615) 741-1449
Fax: (615) 253-0237