Vol. 1 – No. 11 – January 2018


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 January meeting will be held on Thursday, 4 January, at 7:00 PM, at the Rhea County Sheriff’s Training Center, 711 Eagle Ln, Evensville, TN.  Items to be discussed include planning activities for the next Reagan Day Dinner.  We look forward to seeing you there!



[No comments were offered by the Chairman by the release date. – Editor]



The meeting was called to order by Chairman Keith Flatness at 7:00 PM.  Marvin Keener led us in prayer and Joe Gryder led us in the Pledge of Allegience.

Secretary Donna Taylor read the minutes from the September meeting.  Joe Gryder moved to accept the minutes as read.  The motion was seconded by Jim Murphy.  The motion carried.

Sheila Larson gave the Treasurer’s Report.  Joe Gryder moved to accept the report.  Jim Murphy seconded the motion.  The motion carried with the Treasurer’s Report accepted as read.

The PAC report was given by Jim Murphy, noting there was no activity in the month of September.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Bledsoe County is having their Reagan Day Dinner on October, 14.  A table for 6 will cost $225.  Mark Green will be their speaker.  Bitsy Gryder moved that we buy a table for our club, seconded by Joe Gryder.  The motion carried.  Keith, Debby, and Larry Flatness, Tom and Donna Taylor, and Bitsy Gryder will attend.  The meeting will be at the Senior Center, with the meet and greet at 5:30 PM and the dinner at 6:00 PM Central Time.

The Legislative Report was given by Kris Bancroft.  Be sure to read The Rhea County Republican for more details.

OLD BUSINESS:  The Rhea County Reagan Day Dinner details were given by Joe Gryder.  He had called the caterers who were interested in submitting bids and asked for samples of their menus.  Sara Gatlin will have her estimate by the November meeting.  The Color Guards are set and Joe is working on everything else.

OPEN DISCUSSION:  Marsha Blackburn will be running for Bob Corker’s seat in the U.S. Senate.  It was discussed having the candidates running for Governor and Congress to speak at the Reagan Day Dinner, using several speakers with time limits instead of one speaker.  We could submit questions on things we would want answered.  A committee of Kris Bancroft, Gary Drinkard, and Joe Paige was set to investigate this idea.

A motion was made by Laura Travis to hold a Dhili Dinner on November 2nd, with no official business [to be conducted], only fellowship.  The motion was seconded by Joe Gryder and the motion carried.

Chairman Flatness gave his joke of the month and Marvin Keener moved to adjourn at 8:05 PM.

Donna Taylor, Secretary



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 to pyrope84045@mypacks.net  – Editor.



Scott DesJarlais (R-TN, 4th District) offered these comments on 30 November, following the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018, which raises defense spending to levels to restore depleted troop levels which are necessary to protect Americans at home and abroad.

“Our adversaries, such as Russia, Iran, and China, have responded to budget uncertainty and military cuts with technological and geographic advances in Europe and Asia.

“Providing for the common defense is the federal government’s number one responsibility.

“The NDAA makes important changes to Defense Department acquisitions and auditing that would save taxpayers billions of dollars.  I’d like to see the same enthusiasm for eliminating bureaucracy and waste at federal agencies without the same constitutional mandate or dangerous mission.”

Scott DesJarlais (R-TN, 4th District) offered these comments on 20 December, following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  “The U.S. corporate tax rate is among the highest in the world, and this country is one of just a few to tax American companies not once, but twice, driving innovation, investments, and jobs overseas, explaining lackluster wage growth for many years.  Another explanation is the dearth of small businesses, responsible for most job creation, which have been dying in this toxic tax and regulatory environment.  Washington, especially the IRS, has suffocated entrepreneurs, including hardworking families.

“Today’s legislation reverses policies that have enriched special interests and bureaucrats at the expense of Middle Class Tennesseans who pay their salaries.  This is a positive, forward-looking to persisting problems that stimulus and income redistribution never solved.”



I don’t believe in playing down to children, either in life or in motion pictures. I didn’t treat my own youngsters like fragile flowers, and I think no parent should. Children are people, and they should have to reach to learn about things, to understand things, just as adults have to reach if they want to grow in mental stature. Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. -Walt Disney, entrepreneur and animator (5 Dec 1901-1966)



This is a new feature in The Rhea County Republican.  The reader is 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.  By way of examples:  1. If a bill is pending before Congress and voting a particular way would be in our mutual interest, the reader may provide a link to such legislation, explain their position “for” or “against” it, and ask other readers to contact their representatives to urge them to vote in the way that advances conservatism.  2. If a reader has an opinion on a particular condition in their District that they would like to see changed, the reader may offer an explanation of such condition and ask other readers to contact the appropriate government entity to speak up for the aggrieved individual.  Remember folks it’s like Hillary Clinton said – We’re “stronger together.” J Please e-mail your action items to pyrope84045@mypacks.net  – Editor



Excellence is never an accident.  It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.  It is choice, not chance, determines your destiny.  – Aristotle



Did you see the report the DOJ released today [21 December] revealing the impact illegal aliens have on crime in the U.S.?  It says that illegal aliens make up 7% of our population but these illegal aliens are charged with committing 22% of all murders, 18% of all fraud, 33% of all money laundering, 29% of all drug trafficking, and 72% of all drug possession arrests.  If we are serious about reducing crime in the U.S. one way to do it is to round up and deport illegal aliens.  Kenneth Fuller, Rockmart, GA.



29 November –

HR 630 Requiring each Member, officer, and employees of the House of Representatives to complete a program of training in workplace rights and responsibilities each session of each Congress, and for other purposes.  This resolution was passed under suspension of regular rules of order requiring only a voice vote from Members of the House of Representatives.  This resolution was sponsored by Barbara Comstock (R-VA), in response to recent allegations of sexual misconduct made against John Conyers (D-MI), Al Franken (D-MN), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Ruben Kihuen (D-NM), and others.

Word has it that Ron DeSantis (R-FL) will soon be bringing a bill to the floor that will expose those representatives who have used taxpayer dollars to settle sexual predation and harassment charges against Members of the House and Senate.  Thus far, payouts to aggrieved individuals are reported to be in the neighborhood of $17 Million.  – Editor


30 November –

Senators Alexander and Corker voted AGAINST a Motion sponsored by Sherrod Brown (D-OH), to send HR 1 (Tax reform bill) to the Senate Finance Committee for review.  The Motion failed by a vote of 48/52.  Variations on Sherrod Brown’s Motion were offered by Democrat Senators Casey, King, Stabenow, Nelson, Cardin, and Menendez, which also failed along party line votes.

Representative DesJarlais voted to pass HR 4182 EQUALS Act of 2017, which is designed to eliminate the so-called “Deep State” whereby political appointees attain high ranking career service positions within federal government.

Basically, the bill extends the probationary period for appointees to the competitive service and initial appointments as supervisors and managers from one to two years after their completion of required training and licensing.  The bill also extends the probationary period for initial Senior Executive Service career appointments from one year to two years.  In addition, agencies would be required to notify supervisors 30 days before the scheduled completion of a probationary period and certify the successful completion of the probationary period.


1 December –

Representative DesJarlais voted to pass HR 1699 Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act of 2017.  This bill amends the Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. 1601) to allow for the first mortgage on a homeowner’s principal home to not be considered “high cost” if (1) the mortgage annual percentage rate (APR), at the time of consummation of the loan, does not exceed 10 percent of the average prime offer rate (APOR) (2) the transaction does not exceed $75,000 and, (3) the mortgage points and fees paid to the mortgage originator do not exceed 5 percent of the transaction or $3,000. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will have the ability to adjust designated amounts to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This will allow consumers of small-balance residential loans to have increased access to mortgage credit.  The Act passed by a vote of 256/163.


2 December –

Just before 2:00 AM a vote was taken on an amended version of HR 1 Tax Cuts and Jobs ActSenator Alexander voted Yea while Senator Corker cast the only NAY vote among the Republican Senators.

In its current form, HR 1 will reduce corporate and individual income taxes but would add $1.7 trillion to the deficit over ten years.  The increase in the deficit would be offset somewhat by the $338 billion saved by repealing the 0bamacare individual mandate.  More of the deficit increase – possibly all of it – would be offset by increases in revenues and taxes gleaned from corporations that return to the U.S. as more Americans are hired to perform new jobs.

However, since the corporate tax reductions are not scheduled to be implemented until 2019, the delay is likely to show up as an economic recession until then.  This is why we should encourage our representatives to make the corporate tax reductions go into effect immediately.

The Alternative Minimum Tax would be eliminated which prevents companies that are making more than $7.5 million every three years from reducing their tax rate below a certain level.  Also, the bill would eliminate the domestic manufacturing deduction and some other business credits.

The bill would lower taxes for most families; a family of four earning $59,000 (average income for a family of four) would receive a tax cut of $1,182.00.

Senator Corker had wanted to add an increase of $350 billion to the Senate version of the bill but Senator Cruz fought to keep that increase out of HR 1.


5 December –

Representative DesJarlais voted to pass HR 3317 SAFE Act, which increases the penalty for female genital mutilation (FGM) from five years to fifteen years of imprisonment.  The bill also calls on states to ensure they have the proper laws in place for healthcare providers, school officials, and adults to report suspected FGM to local law enforcement.  The bill passed by a voice vote of 490/0.

Representative DesJarlais voted to pass HR 1164 Taylor Force Act which stops all funding provided to the Palestinian Authority, which financially rewards terrorists for murdering Christians and Jews.  During the 0bama era, U.S. payments to the Palestinians averaged $400,000 per year.  In the final week of the 0bama regime, Secretary of State John Kerry authorized an additional payment to the Palestinian Authority of $221 million.


6 December –

Representative DesJarlais voted to pass S 1266 Enhancing Veteran Care Act which authorizes the VA to contract with a non-profit organization which accredits U.S. healthcare organizations/programs to investigate, assess, and report on deficiencies at VA medical centers.  The bill passed by a vote of 430/0 and is being forwarded to President Trump for signature.

Representative DesJarlais voted to pass HR 38 Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.  Louie Gohmert (R-TX) voted AGAINST the Act because it gives state government the authority to refuse Concealed Carry Permits to new applicants without having to explain why their applications were not approved.  The bill passed by a vote of 231/198 and goes to the Senate for discussion and a vote.

It would be a worthy cause to phone our Senators to ask that they extract the authorization for State governments to refuse to issue Concealed Carry Permits to new applicants unless their refusal can be justified.  – Editor


18 December –

Senator Corker sponsored S 371 Department of State Authorities Act, FY 2018 – Improvements Act.  The bill is generally intended to facilitate activities of persons working in the State Department working within the U.N. Human Rights Council (and in other areas of diplomatic endeavors), by disposing of certain procedural impediments but a curious matter is the insertion of language permitting State Department employees to “solicit, accept, use, and dispose of gifts bequests, or devises of money, services, or property, both real and personal, for the purpose of carrying out any duty, power, or authority of the Commission.”  (See Section 10, Paragraph (f)).  The bill was signed by President Trump on the day of passage.


20 December –

Senators Alexander and Corker, and Representative DesJarlais voted to pass HR 1 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  After several month s of political ping pong in which numerous changes were incorporated into the final legislation the bill is now on its way to President Trump for final signature.  Passed on a strictly partisan vote, the bill reduces taxes for 85% of all Americans.  The principal benefactors of this tax overhaul are the Middle Class and Corporate America.  The White House is expected to take up to a week to review the final version of the bill (a link is posted below this paragraph), prior to the President signing it.  However, it now appears that the provisions of the bill will take effect on 1 January 2018.  Some of the key provisions include:  A reduction in corporate taxes, doubling of the child/dependent deductions for households, a limitation set at $10,000 for deductions of state taxes from federal taxes, and the ability to fully expense new equipment purchased by businesses.   http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20171218/CRPT-115HRPT-466.pdf


21 December –

Representative DesJarlais, Senators Alexander and Corker voted to pass HR 1370, the Continuing Resolution that keeps the federal government operational until 19 January 2018.  The bill now goes to the President’s desk for signature.


So, let me see if I’ve got this straight:  Syria’s got a civil war; Iraq’s got a civil war; Lebanon is being slowly digested by Hezbollah; Yemen’s got a civil war; Hamas is doing what Hamas does; the Palestinians are paying people to stab Jews; Libya is butchering Nigerian slaves (read that one again!) Libya is butchering Nigerian slaves; Iran is building nukes to go on their ICBMs and is trying to subvert Bahrain.  BUT, by recognizing a 3,000 year old TRUTH that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, President Trump is going to set the Middle East “aflame?”

(Thanks to Joshua Sharf for sharing this! – Editor)



156 Democrats voted AGAINST Kate’s Law.  They voted to protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes in our country rather than to protect innocent U.S. citizens.



When you see something play out that breaks with convention always ask “WHY?”




The eve of a new year is close at hand.  It is a time for celebration; a time to share with friends and loved ones; a time for making plans for the future, and; a time to reflect on the events of the closing year that have become another chapter in the chronicle of our lives.

With the beginning of a new year our optimism compels us to make plans for the days ahead.  We resolve to do new things and to do some of the usual things a bit differently than before.  This is good because positive change brings improvement and growth.

To understand the concept of positive change, insofar as our country is concerned, we must reflect on our nation’s history.

As we look back, we understand that unity has been the positive driving force throughout our nation’s history; it has enabled the United States of America to become the greatest nation to ever exist on planet Earth!  However, over the past few decades America has become increasingly divided and that division is growing exponentially.

A stark and shocking symptom of this trend is displayed through the increase of civil unrest and the arrival – and growth – of formally organized factions such as ”Antifa,” “Black Lives Matter” and variations on the American Nazi Party.  Be assured there are many other such groups that are keeping a somewhat lower profile!  But, what can we do about all this division?

The answer is simple:  Take time to do the research necessary to understand what, how, and why it is happening.  Become informed with facts.  Dedicate the time to become engaged in the process of making our voices heard to those we know and to those who represent us.  Reach out to those who are interested in starting a dialogue focused on the ways we can reunite our country and not allow this marvelous gift that is “America” ever slip from our hands.

Where does this “reaching out” process begin?

Certainly, the opportunity to strengthen our unity begins with our loved ones; the basis of our unity as a nation is founded in the family.  From there, it goes as far as our courage and commitment will allow – to the street where we live, to our neighborhood or community, our home town, our state, and our nation.

By engaging in conversations we will likely find there are minor points on which we disagree.  We must not allow ourselves to be trapped by focusing only on those minor details to the point where it deters us from our primary goal.  Concentrate instead on those matters on which there is agreement.  And we cannot allow our ego to fool us into thinking we have all the answers.  As the old saying goes, “there is more than one way to skin a cat.”  The truth is, if we are willing to listen, we will certainly come to know that there is more than one way to accomplish any given goal.  Just stay focused on the big picture!

Try to win over those persons who have views contrary to our own.

Never ignore an opportunity to engage in a gentle debate with those whose views are contrary to our own.  Be a good listener.  Don’t be condescending or demeaning toward others.  Ask honest questions.  Give honest answers to the questions we receive.  Make our case as based on fact and rational thinking.

We won’t win everyone over to the point of their embracing the values of conservatism but if each of us can win over just one other person, or even nudge them in the right direction, the ideal that is “America” is moved to the forefront of what we are all about; we will have made a positive impact and that’s our goal.

So, with this in mind, let the coming year be the one in which we decide that we will become ambassadors of conservatism and loyal to those founding principles that have made the United States of America the bastion of freedom that it has been.

Together, we can indeed make America great again!



One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. – Plato   [How very true! – Editor.]



The following is the third 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 III

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.

Rule #3.  It is impossible to spend our way into prosperity.

The sum of all purchases made by any individual can be divided into two categories; “wants” and “needs.”

Certainly, it may be occasionally acceptable to buy things we want as a way to reward ourselves for our hard work, but only when all our needs and obligations have been fully met.  It can rightfully be said that thriftiness and conservative values are synonymous.

There are many arguments to this premise because there appears, on occasion, to be a fine line between “wants” and “needs.”  However, when we take time to apply an appropriate amount of rational thought to any choice we make in life, the answer is revealed to us.

Example:  If we need reliable transportation to get us to and from work, we can either purchase an economical and reliable mid-sized car or we can splurge on a luxury sedan.  The former choice is an investment while the latter is a means to massage our ego.

Similarly, if we’re paying a contractor to use the equipment they own to manufacture components for the products we assemble and market, we might consider investing in similar equipment and produce those components ourselves, provided we can amortize the related expenditures (initial investment, hiring personnel to run the equipment, and provide maintenance for it) over time and if it reduces our total operating costs.  The latter choice gives us more control over our enterprise.

Unfortunately, government does not – and mostly never has – operated under such logic!

We have observed (often in a state of shock and frustration), as our government has launched innumerable boondoggles, all of which to some greater or lesser degree have failed, and all of which led to the founding of some new bureaucracy (imbued with the power to exude regulations, most of which carry the force of law.)

As the curve of failure for these programs and bureaucracies plummets, our government reacts by throwing more money at their failure and hires more bureaucrats (often given higher salaries) to prop up their failures.

Perhaps the most enormous governmental debacle that comes to mind is the “War on Poverty.”  Running a close second is the “War on Drugs.”   Neither program can rationally boast of anything resembling “success.”  How many such programs can you cite?



I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.  – Winston Churchill




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