FOR TICKETS: CALL H. BROCK HARRIS (423) 285-5514 (8am – 5pm)



Keith Flatness, Chairman                                      Bitsy Gryder, Vice Chairman

Donna Taylor, Secretary                                         Larry Pendergrass, Treasurer

Linda Pendergrass, Vice Treasurer                      Marv Keener, Chaplain

Gary Drinkard, Parliamentarian                            Jim Murphy, PAC Chair



The February meeting will be held on Thursday, 1 February, at 7:00 PM, at the Rhea County Sheriff’s Training Center, 711 Eagle Ln, Evensville, TN.  We look forward to seeing you there!



A Chili Supper Social was held in November instead of our regular meeting.

The December meeting was called to order by Chairman Keith Flatness at 7:00 PM.

Marvin Keener led us in prayer with Joe Gryder leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Secretary Donna Taylor read the minutes of the October meeting.  Tom Taylor moved to accept and Linda Pendergrass seconded the motion.  The motion carried.

Sheila Larson resigned as Treasurer.  Marvin Keener motioned to accept her resignation, second by Tom Taylor.  The motion carried.

Larry Pendergrass resigned as Vice Treasurer.  Laura Travis motioned to accept his resignation, second by Joe Gryder.  The motion carried.

Marvin Keener nominated Larry Pendergrass as Treasurer, second by Joe Gryder. The motion carried.

Joe Gryder nominated Linda Pendergrass as Vice Treasurer, second by Tom Taylor.  The motion carried.

Larry then gave the Treasurer’s Report.  Bitsy Gryder moved to accept the Report, second by Debbie Byrd.  The motion carried.

The PAC Report was given by Jim Murphy, showing no activity [during the previous two months] and the balance remaining [unchanged].

During announcements President Keith reported our attendance at the Bledsoe [County] Reagan Day Dinner was six and all enjoyed the evening.  It was also announced that Debbie Byrd had been selected the East Tennessee Tax Assessor of the year for 2017 at their annual meeting held at the Peabody Hotel, in Memphis.

The Legislative Report was given by Kris Bancroft.  He provided updates on:  a bill about carrying guns from one state to another; that the locks at the Chickamauga Dam are to be upgraded and all dams on the Tennessee River are compromised, and; he provided an update on HR-1, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

George Thacker, Rhea County Executive explained about the zoning bill being discussed by the County Commission.

Old Business

Joe Gryder reported on the upcoming Reagan Day Dinner, to be held at the Rhea County High School, on March 3rd.  Brock Harris is handling the ticket sales this year and tickets will cost $50 each or a table of six for $275.  Cumberland Café will be serving the meal.  Posters should be ready soon.  No speaker has committed yet.

New Business

Marvin Keener moved to donate $500 to the Rhea County Sheriff’s Christmas Fund in appreciation for the use of their building by the Rhea County Republicans.  Second was made by Joe Gryder.  The motion carried.

As Membership Chairman, Marvin Keener needs a group to work on [bringing in] new members.  Larry Pendergrass suggested that each member bring someone to our next meeting on January 4, 2018.

To end the meeting, President Keith had his usual good joke.  Tom Taylor moved to adjourn, with Larry Pendergrass second, at 8:15 PM.



This section is provided for our readers to make announcements about activities in their area or offer commentary on current events.  Readers are encouraged to do so.  Please e-mail your announcements or comments to  – Editor.


Norman Bobo, a reader from Franklin, TN shares this comment:

The government is now referring to our Social Security checks as a “Federal Benefit Payment.” This isn’t a benefit. It is our money paid out of our earned income! Not only did we all contribute to Social Security but our employers did too. It totaled 15% of our income before taxes.

If you averaged $30K per year over your working life, that’s close to $180,000 invested in Social Security.

If you calculate the future value of your monthly investment in social security ($375/month, including both you and your employers contributions) at a meager 1% interest rate compounded monthly, after 40 years of working you’d have more than $1.3+ million dollars saved!

This is your personal investment. Upon retirement, if you took out only 3% per year, you’d receive $39,318 per year, or $3,277 per month.

That’s almost three times more than today’s average Social Security benefit of $1,230 per month, according to the Social Security Administration. (Google it – it’s a fact).

And your retirement fund would last more than 33 years (until you’re 98 if you retire at age 65)! I can only imagine how much better most average-income people could live in retirement if our government had just invested our money in low-risk interest-earning accounts.

Instead, the folks in Washington pulled off a bigger “Ponzi scheme” than Bernie Madoff ever did. They took our money and used it elsewhere. They forgot (oh yes, they knew) that it was OUR money they were taking. They didn’t have a referendum to ask us if we wanted to lend the money to them. And they didn’t pay interest on the debt they assumed. And recently they’ve told us that the money won’t support us for very much longer.

But is it our fault they misused our investments? And now, to add insult to injury, they’re calling it a “benefit”, as if we never worked to earn every penny of it.

Just because they borrowed the money doesn’t mean that our investments were a charity!

Let’s take a stand. We have earned our right to Social Security and Medicare. Demand that our legislators bring some sense into our government.

Find a way to keep Social Security and Medicare going for the sake of that 92% of our retirees who need it.

Then call it what it is: Our Earned Retirement Income.



Imagine if a Democrat president turned around the economy in 9 months, created 1.5 million new jobs, oversaw 15+ record highs in the stock market, signed 50+ bills into law and, confirmed a record number of new justices.  The media would say those accomplishments are historic.  – Charlie Kirk, Wheeling, IL.



The Book of the Month for February 2018 is “Back to the Ethic: Reclaiming Western Values,” by Diane Weber Bederman, Mantua Publishing Company – Canada.

Following is one of several stellar reviews:

A new book “Back to the Ethic: Reclaiming Western Values,” by Diane Weber Bederman, a chaplain and journalist, addresses these urgent concerns: what can we do to recover our cultural self-confidence? How can we restore the vigor and greatness of Western civilization? How do we revive the unique values of our culture and push back against the barbarians at (and within) the gate?

Back to the Ethic is both a personal memoir and a broader cultural prescription . . . [which] stresses our need to return to the Judeo-Christian ethical [that lie] at the root of Western civilization’s success. Bederman begins “our belief systems are under attack.” Those belief systems, she writes, derive from our “foundational story,” the Bible. “The Hebrew Bible, filled with these teachings, the Gospels, and the New Testament make up the backbone of the Judeo-Christian ethic as practiced today in the Western world.” Ethical monotheism, set on a Biblical foundation of justice, “colors every aspect of Western culture, including the basic principles of our social, political, and judicial systems.” Its emphasis on individualism has “freed us from the belief that we had no control over our destiny, that we were mere pieces in the games of capricious gods.” And yet, because it also teaches that we are also our brother’s keeper, the Bible has paradoxically led to a compassionate culture that rose above the narrow tribal loyalties of the past. . . But we are losing our connection to those ethical rules, and unfortunately, Bederman says, now “the ideologies of secularism, agnosticism, atheism, and political correctness have been elevated to the status of Champions of Objective Truth that will somehow protect us from intolerance, war, and all the other human evils that these interest groups wrongly blame on every religion.”

The stories in the Bible “teach us the prerequisites for the establishment of democracy” and “how to become moral and ethical human beings,” She emphasized: “Maintaining Western culture requires that we continue to teach the ethics and values of the Bible. We must teach this ethic as a firewall, a bulwark against cultures and religions that are stuck in the past, that fear change and free will, or that promote extreme submission.” In Back to the Ethic, Diane Weber Bederman has written: “[W]e need a shared morality that protects and promotes freedom, free will, individuality, and care for the community,” she asserts. “If not the ethics and values of the God of the Bible, what shared morality will it be?”
Taken from a review by Mark Tapson, Editor of and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

You may order Ms. Bederman’s book at the following link:


Scott DesJarlais offered the following comment on President Trump’s rollback of the previous administration’s proclivity for overregulation:  “After the Obama Administration’s record-setting regulatory regime, we needed a chief executive to rein in federal agencies and restore land rights to Tennesseans, who earn a living with their hands and feed America. Our rural Fourth District strongly supports the President’s efforts, in tandem with Congress, to lift the burden of bureaucracy and high taxation from farmers’ backs. Many family farms are small businesses that will benefit from tax cuts, dependable domestic energy and infrastructure improvements, including rural Internet. My constituents deserve the same chance to succeed as any American, as well as safety and security. As the President said, farmers settled America, expanded our frontiers, and as members of the military, have historically protected this country from harm. Today was an important reminder of their hard work and service.”


A history lesson:  Here’s what happened quietly on January 1st, 2015:  Medicare tax went from 1.45% to 2.35%; the top income tax bracket went from 35% to 39.6%; the top income payroll tax went from 37.4% to 52.2%; capital gains tax went from 15% to 28%; dividend tax went from 15% to 39.6%; estate tax went from 0% to 55%.  Remember these facts:  These taxes were passed solely with Democrat votes.  Not a single Republican voted for these new taxes.  These taxes were all passed in the Affordable Care Act – 0bamacare.  Remember that infamous quote?  “We’ve got to pass it [0bamacare] so we can find out what’s in it” – Nancy Pelosi


Readers are invited to call to the attention of others topics of interest e.g. pending legislation, local events, and other matters where contacting our elected representatives might help sway decisions they make.  Remember folks it’s like Hillary Clinton said – We’re “stronger together.” J Please e-mail your action items to  – Editor



Legislation Recently Introduced

17 January –

HR 146 Eastern Band Cherokee Historic Lands Requisition Act was introduced by Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN).

HR 443 James K Polk Presidential Home Study Act was introduced by Scott DesJarlais (R-TN).

HR 4710 Disclosing Foreign Influence Act was introduced by Mike Johnson (R-LA).  President Trump’s campaign chair was criminally indicted by the special counsel last week for failing to register as a foreign agent. In the United States, a foreign agent is any American who lobbies or advocates on behalf of another country’s government. But due to several loopholes in the 1938 law requiring registration of such foreign agents, almost nobody has ever gotten punished for breaking it. Three different bills, authored by both Republicans and Democrats, aim to revamp the law for the 21st century.


18 January –

HR 4607 Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act was introduced by Barry Loudermilk (R-GA).  To amend the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 to ensure that Federal financial regulators perform a comprehensive review of regulations to identify outdated or otherwise unnecessary regulatory requirements imposed on covered persons, and for other purposes.


19 January –

HR 705 Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, of high misdemeanors was introduced by Al Green (D-TX).  This was the 2nd vote on impeachment since President Trump took office.  A vote was subsequently held to table the resolution.  The resolution failed by a vote of 66 – 355.  The bill is dead.


Legislation Recently Passed

18 January –

Senators Alexander and Corker voted to pass S 139 FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017.  The bill would extend so-called “section 702” government surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The bill was originally introduced and passed in the Senate in 2017 as the Rapid DNA Act, a gill to expand the use of DNA in law enforcement.  In August 2017, its identical companion bill HR 510, was enacted in its place.  On 11 January 2018, the House replaced the text of this bill, which had become moot by the enactment of an identical bill.  [The titles of bills can be very misleading.  It pays to always read the bills! – Editor]

19 January –

Scott DesJarlais voted to pass HR 4712 Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was introduced by Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), prohibits healthcare providers from failing to exercise the proper degree of care for a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion. The bill passed by a vote of 241 – 183 and goes next to the Senate for consideration.

22 January –

HR 195 Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act of 2018 was passed in the House and defeated in the Senate.  On 22 January, the Senate voted to pass a Continuing Resolution to fund the government into the first week of February.  This came as the result of Republicans promising to reconsider DACA at that time.



The mid-term elections are historically a time when, on the national scene, the party holding the White House loses power in the House and Senate.  If there happens to be a major swing in national elections, the President’s party loses ground in state and local elections, too. Conservatives must not let this happen; there is too much at stake for us to not become fully engaged in the electoral process!  With November quickly approaching, now is the time when we must become active to prevent the liberals from gaining any ground whatsoever.

So, what does being active mean?

It starts with our gaining an understanding of the conservative vision – to know it backwards and forwards – and finding that one candidate who best embodies our ideals.  Next, it means we have to work to get them through the primary and onto the ballot.

If we are fortunate enough to be able to help fund the campaign of our candidate, that’s an important first step, but we know from recent history that money isn’t everything; Hillary Clinton, who outspent Donald Trump seven times over proved that to us.

The real value lies in knowing why we support our candidate and to become conversant in that knowledge – conversant enough to discuss the issues with others, and being “conversant” means we have to engage in discussions with other voters.

There are two aspects to possessing the meaningful – and essential – knowledge:  One is knowing the major issues and why we think our candidate is best suited to serve.  The second body of knowledge we must possess is knowing why the other candidate is not the right choice of our country, our state, or our municipality.

Some essential knowledge is understanding the platforms and track records of both candidates – simply because a candidate has an “R” or a “D” behind their name simply won’t cut it.

Where do we gain this knowledge?  There are several ways but talking with those managing the candidate’s campaign is probably the best place to start.  We are wise to contact all the Campaign Managers to get all the data they have.  If a candidate is an incumbent we can also scrutinize their voting record to verify what the Campaign Managers might provide to us.  Trust but verify!

Once we possess the knowledge we need to make an informed choice about a candidate, we can attend any rallies they might hold and, if we become sure that we have decided to back the best possible candidate, we volunteer our time to campaign for them.

But what if my candidate doesn’t win the primary?

Hopefully, you will find the Republican candidate who does win the primary is truly deserving of your support.  This is where knowing why the other party’s candidate is not the right choice becomes important to us.

Moreover we find that the worst conservative candidate is better than the best liberal candidate.  Why?  Well, the conservatives caucus together to support conservative measures and to pass the conservative agenda, and the stronger that conservative caucus happens to be, the more likely it is that conservative measures will be passed.  Likewise, the liberal candidates – even though they may seem moderate – will invariably be co-opted and then caucus with those liberal politicians whose agenda is something we could never support.

Whatever we do, we must not make the mistake Republicans made when Mitt Romney ran against Barack 0bama!  Many conservatives stayed home because – for one reason or another – they had their sticking points as to why they could not support Mr. Romney.

Some conservatives couldn’t support Romney because they claimed he was a RINO, others said he had no compassion for the working class, while others unfortunately said they weren’t “gonna vote for no Mormon.”  In all, more than enough conservative voters stayed home on Election Day that, had they shown up to vote, Mitt Romney would have won a decisive victory.  Ask yourselves:  How did that work out?

Unfortunately, we will never fully know the answer to that question but it’s safe to say that had conservatives actually supported the most conservative candidate in the 2012 election there would have been no doubling of our national debt, there would have been no IRS scandals, the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice would not have become weaponized and used against conservative groups, there would have been no “Iran Deal” that funneled hundreds of billions of dollars to a country that celebrates “Death to America Day,” and Iran would have no funds to provide to numerous terrorist groups – we would not have had a President who gave aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States.

Now, please envision what is possible if conservatives gain strength in the mid-term elections.  Our conservative representatives might actually be able to pass better bills for all Americans, without having to fret over a razor thin majority where some of the RINOs hold conservatives hostage in order to weaken bills – or fill them with pork!

Could there be a pathway to securing our borders once and for all?  Could it be possible that US citizens would no longer have to worry about politically charged FISA warrants being issued against them?  Might it be possible that the IRS and FBI will no longer be able to persecute conservatives by forcing them to defend themselves against one false allegation after another – allegations that are simply designed to break their will and their bank account and drive them out of business?  Might taxpaying citizens find themselves relieved of having to shell out $140 billion per year to feed, house, clothe and incarcerate illegal aliens and send their children to schools and universities?  Might our government decide it’s wiser to spend our revenues to improve our own country rather than sending trillions of dollars to countries that really don’t like us?  Might we find ourselves waking up one morning to learn our government is taking measures to cut spending and decrease the size of government so they can pay off our national debt?  The list of possibilities is nearly endless.

Yes!  It can happen, but it won’t happen unless we become engaged and work to make it happen!  I hope you’ll join me because, as Hillary Clinton reminded us:  We are “Stronger Together.”


The following is the fourth part of a seven part adaptation of an essay I wrote in 2008 summarizing some lessons I’ve learned at the “College of Hard Knocks.”  It has been adapted to illustrate the serial errors made by our government and by the progressive movement, and is intended to illustrate just how dire our country’s economic situation has become as a result of government’s gross mismanagement over the past century. – Editor.

The Seven Pillars of Sound Economics – Part 4

In Part 1 we learned that we cannot do business with people who have no “money.”  That is, we cannot do business with people who have nothing of intrinsic value (material or perceived value – including labor) to exchange for items of equal value.

In Part 2 we learned there’s no such thing as “free” where exchanges from one individual to another is concerned – every dollar one person receives from the government represents a dollar confiscated from another individual or entity.

In Part 3 we learned that it is impossible to spend our way into prosperity.  When our government tries to solve a problem without a viable plan, no matter how well the attendant legislation is funded, bad ideas simply never work – the “War on Poverty” and the “War on Drugs” were cited as examples from the past.  More recent examples would include “nation building” and “alternative energy” programs.

Rule #4.  Never Throw Good Money After Bad.

[In breaking with my self-imposed protocol to refrain from using the personal pronoun, to help make my point it is necessary to share this anecdote. – Editor]

It would be a rare thing indeed to find any individual who has not thrown some good money after bad; we are occasionally sentimental and sometimes overly optimistic.

Some years ago I owned a 1948 Oldsmobile club coupe.  I absolutely loved that old car!  That straight eight engine was powerful enough to pass anything . . . except a gas station.

But it was a lemon!  The poorly designed transmission was a forerunner of the famous Hydromatic; the bands were prone to slip – so much so that on cold mornings the engine had to idle for about ten minutes before the transmission heated up enough to pull out of the driveway.  And the transmission gaskets seeped fluid – a pint every few days.  One of the piston rings was broken and allowed enough oil through to where it fouled the sparkplug, but a quart of oil every other week was enough to keep oil on the dip stick.  There was probably a leak in the head gasket that caused a slow loss of antifreeze but a dose of black pepper in the radiator slowed it down some.  The whitewall tires looked great but they were slick.  Keeping that car on the road demanded most of the money I earned from working in a drive-in restaurant and mowing yards, but I didn’t mind so much because I had one cool ride!

The truth be told, I was a slave to my ’48 Olds, and it was a sad day when I finally put it up for sale.  In looking back I tried to add up all the expenses I had incurred to keep the only status symbol I’d ever owned on the road.  In doing so, I came to realize I had thrown a lot of good money after bad.  That experience has, perhaps, made me more acutely aware of such folly when I see our government making similar mistakes.

Anyone willing to do a bit of research can find hundreds of government programs and grants that have cost us hundreds of billions of dollars but what immediately comes to mind are the alternative energy programs and most especially Solyndra.  This but one of thousands of examples of our government throwing good money after bad and it cost the taxpayers $2.2 billion!

History:  The photovoltaic cell was patented in 1913.  A lot of really smart people have invested millions of dollars and a lot of their time in trying to improve the solar cell to the point where it might be a viable energy source to heat our homes and produce electricity for industrial uses.  Thus far, their efforts have failed.

Mightn’t it be time for the government to stop such subsidies?  This link provides some shocking details:

If the “green energy” program were the only government boondoggle one might be able to excuse such a faux pas, but sadly it is not!  The following links are but a few that show us examples of our government throwing good money after bad:


Will our government ever rein itself in?  Certainly not, at least not until enough voters take the time to demand that our representatives quit wasting our money.  Will you be a force for change?  Will you step up to demand your government stops wasting your money?


“Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured but does not require everyone to prove they are a citizen. . . Now consider those who are unable to prove they are citizens will receive [free healthcare] paid by those who are forced to buy insurance because they are citizens.”  – Ben Stein




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 Bob Corker

Dirksen Senate Office Building


Washington, DC 20510

Phone:  (202) 224-3344

Fax:  (202) 228-0566



U.S Representative Dr. Scott DesJarlais

2301 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC 20515

Phone:  (202) 225-6831

Fax:  (202) 226-5172



Governor Bill Haslam

Tennessee State Capitol

Nashville, Tennessee 37243

Phone:  (615) 741-2001

Fax:  (615) 532-9711



Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House

Link above provides all methods of contact.


Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader


State Representative Ron Travis

301 Sixth Avenue North

Suite G-3

War Memorial Building

Nashville, Tennessee 37243

Phone:  (615) 741-1450


State Senator Ken Yager

301 Sixth Avenue North

Suite G-19

War Memorial Building

Nashville, Tennessee 37243

Phone:  (615) 741-1449

Fax:  (615) 253-0237