Wednesday, May 13, 2015

John Amenas Fite Memoir Now Available!

Late in his long and colorful life (1832-1925), Col. John Amenas Fite dictated a memoir detailing his "rattling" childhood in the antebellum South in and around Alexandria, Tennessee, his early career as a lawyer in nearby Carthage, and especially his military service in the Seventh Tennessee of the C.S.A., attached to Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

Col. Fite had no ordinary Civil War experience: He was seriously wounded three times. He was captured in Pickett's Charge up Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. And he spent the remainder of the war in the infamous Johnson's Island military prison, losing nearly a hundred pounds before gaining his freedom in the last exchange of the war before Lincoln stopped the program. And even after all that, he came back and served as a circuit court judge and in the Tennessee Legislature.

My maternal grandfather John Walton Fite was said to be Col Fite's favorite nephew. Of course, my grandfather got his given name from Col. Fite, and I got mine from my grandfather. So when I found a typewritten copy of Col. Fite's memoir as a kid, I was fascinated with it, and over the years I've cherished it as a great treasure of my family's past. Some years ago I discovered e-publishing and realized it would be a fitting project to publish Col. Fite's manuscript as a book. It's taken me a while, but I have finally completed the task.

Thus Memories of Col. John Amenas Fite is now available as a book on Amazon. Subtitled by Col. Fite "The short and uninteresting history of a small and unimportant man," at about a hundred pages, you will wish it were longer. It is anything but uninteresting. It is full of good humor. But more than that, he relates the many characters and situations which his extraordinary place in history afforded him, sometimes with hilarity, sometimes with reverance, and at times, disgust. Even prejudiced for the author as I am, I guarantee this is a work that is well worth reading even for the unrelated, and especially if you love history. For a direct link to the book on Amazon, click here. (Here's a tip: While waiting for delivery, watch the movie "Gettysburg" to set the mood.)

And just to whet your appetite, here's a short passage relating one of his encounters with Stonewall Jackson in 1862, when Col. Fite was returning to the front after recovering from a wound:

We remained at Knoxville a few days, then got on the train to go back to the army. Among the passengers on the train was General Stonewall Jackson. We were doing a good deal of smoking along the road, and every time we’d get ready to go to smoking, the General would insist on furnishing the tobacco. When we got to Farmville, a little town in Virginia where they make the red clay pipes, a fellow came along by the window with a basket full of pipes. I saw one in his basket that was evidently made for a sign and would hold a teacup full of tobacco. I fastened a stem in it, and the next time we went to smoke, I hauled it out. Jackson got out his tobacco as usual, and when he saw my pipe, he exclaimed, “Good God, where did you get that thing? Fill it up and we will pass it around.” I filled it up, and we all took a few whiffs at it...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dem Voters, don't dispair: Hillary's not your girl in 2016.

I feel kind of sorry for Democrat voters looking forward to the 2016 election.

It's not that they're going to lose. There's so much corruption in the voting process now that the only way they could lose is if there's an overwhelming backlash vote as happened in the Reagan revolution. And that's not likely given the stupor in which so many Americans seem to live these days.

I feel sorry for Democrats because at least so far, Hillary Clinton is their only choice. How pathetic. It's like finally being free of the old battleaxe but the only girl who'll go out with you is your bitter ex-wife.

But I have a theory. Just a theory, not a prediction. The more I think about it, however, the more I think it may be spot on.

There is no love lost between the Clintons and the Obamas. The Clintons feel they got snaked in 2008. Keeping his friends close and his enemies closer, Obama sent Hillary off to be Secretary of State, one long excursion flying here and there and doing nothing productive, losing Asia, leaving eastern Europe to the Russian wolf, and making a complete and deadly mess out of the Middle East, culminating in the blood sacrifice of our ambassador to Libya. Obama could not care less about all that; the worse the news is for America, the better as far as he is concerned (see "Obama's Legacy: The Perfect Dystopian Storm"). And it kept Hillary out of his hair in domestic politics.

Now Hillary has launched a laughable effort to win the presidency in 2016. Fearing the wrath of the scorched earth Obama and the scorched earth Clintons, no viable alternative is coming forward to challenge her. Obama has damned her with faint praise. She is a laughing stock. Everyone on the left is just going through the motions for her.

Here's my theory: Barack Obama is simply waiting for Hillary to collapse under her own weight. Then there will be a "spontaneous" groundswell of support for his own candidate. His candidate has no qualifications, of course, but has an unbeatable combination of qualities: She's female. And she's black. And her name is Michelle Obama.

Mind you, it's just a theory that came to me last weekend when I was reading about Hillary's campaign and thinking, this can't be serious. But I searched it, and came up with this: "MSNBC Guest: Michelle Obama Should Challenge Hillary."

Sorry, fellow lovers of America. If my theory is right, it's fixing to get a lot worse. Had any good dates with ex-spouses lately?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Karl Dean's Big Gun Show

I think it's hilarious that the one really big show booked by Mr. Progressive Nashville Mayor Karl Dean's boondoggle convention center is the N.R.A. convention.

You can't pay me to go downtown with the mess they've made out of parking and traffic, but I encourage all Second Amendment fans to get out to the show and claim your righteous place in the "it" city's image.

And speaking of Dean's boondoggles,  I sincerely do hope the baseball stadium is an actual success. It would be a shame if Nashville lost the minor league franchise and had to use such a nice facility for, say, roller derby.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Obama's Legacy: The Perfect Dystopian Storm

Here's the good news: I pledge that this is the last essay I post lambasting Barack Obama and his marauding hordes. The bad news is, if you are looking for something to perk up your day, reading this is not the thing for that.

Many of you men will know that you can reach a point with an unreasonable woman where no amount of logic, cajoling, begging, or compromise will bring her back to reason. The best intentions will backfire on you. There will be no peace. Your mere existence is sin enough. At this point, she will even defy Solomon's wisdom, allowing her own baby to be cut in half out of irrational spite. Your best strategy: disappear.

I have resisted the notion, holding out hope, trying to think positive, but I firmly believe now that this is where we are with Obama. He has taken his perfidy beyond the benefit of the doubt, ensured his success through legal and political maneuvers that would make Machiavelli proud and unconstitutional fiat that would make Washington weep, and no one will stop him until the destruction is complete.

Senseless as it seems, it makes sense that Obama is the way he is. His father squandered the chance to rise out of the darkness of tribal Africa. He abandoned his children. He personalized and railed against the boogeyman of colonialism, drinking and womanizing to oblivion, even as he had every opportunity and advantage for success. Finally he killed himself in the last of his multiple car wrecks. Obama's mother, a child of American privilege, was another bad apple, hopping from one screwy choice of a man to another, even having young Barack educated in a Muslim school for several early years halfway around the world before dumping him for good on her parents in Hawaii and running off again.

Some people are made better by a difficult childhood. The upshot of the physical or emotional or sexual abuse is to grow into responsible adults who will never allow such horror into their lives again. Overcoming such adversity is inspirational. It is like hearing about a miracle. It gives perspective to those of us who have had it easy. For proof one need only to consider the myriad Holocaust survivors and war weary soldiers who have come back from the brink of the abyss to create wonderful families and to be a boon to their communities.

But for some others, not so much. The repeated cycle of abuse in adults who were abused as children is well known. Or even more perversely, consider the clergy who were molested as children and grew into pedophile priests and pastors. Here, we really have the nut of the problem. Such victims learn so well to hide their shame and rage that they do not just seem to be good citizens and neighbors, they are even admired as pillars of the community. When their depravity is revealed, it is hard to believe.

Barack Obama grew up torn between opposing racial identities, religions, and cultures. He was loved and nurtured by neither parent. He did, however, learn to survive, to put on a false front to win friends and influence people to get ahead. I am no psychiatrist, but having puzzled over him for about seven years now, and knowing what I know from my 56 and a half year study of human nature, I think he is a classic narcissist, a passive-aggressive who has years of resentment and bitterness percolating within him. It is no wonder that he was susceptible to the Bolshevik and race baiting ideologies of the mentors who adopted this orphan of the human race along the way. They molded him into the perfect Manchurian candidate, a glad-handing politician who hates the very thing that empowers him to rise to the top, the freedom of America.

Yes, I think Rudy Giuliani had it exactly right. But it is also true that we cannot know what really is in another person's heart, so I can only say that I think Obama doesn't love America, and that I think he actually hates America. What I can say with certainty based on his actions, however, is that he behaves antagonistically toward America. The end result is the same. And he is taking us all down with him like that woman in Fort Lauderdale last year who was trying drive herself and all her children into the ocean.

Do I think the problem is that Obama is a Marxist? Or a closet Muslim? No. Not at core. I think that at core he is figuratively stuck in adolescence, when it would be normal to rebel, to chafe, to make irritating and sometimes destructive choices for the simple need to work out the conflicting currents between childhood and maturity.

I noticed this first back in 2008 after what I considered the only true federalist candidate, Fred Thompson, was drummed out of the presidential race in the primaries and I was shopping around for a candidate I could believe in. My sister, bless her heart, sent me The Audacity of Hope. I read about a quarter of it before putting it down as so much campaign tripe. But Obama was attractive as an outsider who did seem to be running against the machine. He was relatively young and seemed positive and intelligent and earnest.

That is, until it came out that Obama was refusing to wear the American flag lapel pin. Whoa, I thought, this is someone who has unresolved issues. There is nothing partisan about patriotism, or shouldn't be. If you're running for office, wearing a flag pin should be a no-brainer. I don't think it's there any more, but the The Tennessean even posted a "Tennessee Voices" essay that I wrote at the time mentioning this on their website. To me it was the adult equivalent of the kid who has to wear a uniform to school but leaves his shirttail out as a meaningless but provocative act of juvenile defiance.

So here we are, six years of the Obama presidency behind us, and that antagonistic, defiant, self-absorbed essence of the man is the guiding principle of his presidency. Even in his annoying choice of calling the Islamic State ISIL instead of ISIS, you can see the same antagonism. The second S in ISIS stands for Syria, but the L in ISIL stands for the Levant, another name for Palestine. While he purports to condemn the Islamic State, he indirectly empowers them by giving them the goal of overtaking the Levant, which would mean the destruction of Israel. Which, not coincidentally I think, Obama's nuclear "deal" with Iran will certainly make more likely. And just look how petulant Obama acts about Netanyahu having his say in front of Congress. He acts like someone snaked his date to the prom.

But I don't need to catalog the evidence. If you value personal freedom, if you believe in free enterprise, if you push yourself to do your best and you count on America not to be perfect, but to lead the way in the world for freedom, justice, human rights, and the best that human nature can produce through democracy, then it must be apparent to you by now that the Obama administration is about anything but those things.

Reflecting on the last six years, just consider the diminishment of the rights to defend oneself, to privacy, to private property, to free speech, to the free practice of religion. Notice the rise of corporatism, the demonization of personal financial success, the inexorable drive to push through more taxes and regulation, and the deterioration of the very most important thing the central government provides to ensure our freedoms, the military. Obama has led the charge in all of this. For anything that is anathema to the principles of the Founding Fathers, to the Constitution, to national sovereignty and individual liberty, Obama is your man.

The leftists within and our enemies in the world at large have had a field day chipping away at American security and exceptionalism not just under his watch, but with his zealous collaboration. And as for our voting rights, the ultimate tool for combating such tyranny? Elections cannot even be guaranteed by positively identifying citizens with as much proof as it takes to drive a car legally.

Given the pending takeover of the internet through "net neutrality," my choice to go silent may be a moot/mute point. Not that I pretend to be a strong voice anyway. My blog gets a couple hundred visitors a month, and maybe I've made people think about things a little differently here and there. But at least in the America where rights were given by God and the pursuit of happiness was guaranteed, my small voice among millions of others meant something. And backed up by an opposition party, that could effect change for the better.

But now the corruption of our democracy is as complete as it was for ancient Greece under Alcibiades. Our nation is no longer sovereign, the borders being all but open, the electoral process corrupt, the treasury empty, and the three branches of self-government neutered beyond efficacy. The people are asleep, or better put, bribed and drugged into acceptance or indifference. It is all about group-think now, and God help anyone who bucks the onslaught. Except, in the age of Obama, God is dead. Better not mention anything about that. We are living in an age now of "faith neutrality."

By my estimation, we have reached the dystopian tipping point, the logical end result of the rage against everything that Obama as President entails, which includes co-opting and neutralizing all opposition. John Roberts, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner are the poster children for this. Picture them as the Lollipop Guild in our "Wizard of Oz." So I am not going to try to reason against the madness further. Opposing the irrational rage can only backfire on me and joining it can only destroy me as an individual. The baby will be cut in half.

So what is next? Well, let's see. Obama and his wrecking crew have taken over our healthcare system, a fifth of the economy. They've taken over the student loan mess, giving them control over the rising generation's financial security. They've got every loser in the country on food stamps and disability and getting the earned income tax credit, and they're recruiting millions more from across the border whom they'll give all that, plus the vote, ensuring their political domination.

I'd say watch out for your 401K. They've been talking about it around the edges for years. In response to a manufactured crisis they could nationalize individual savings just as Mexico did in the 1970s and wipe out the American middle class in one fell swoop, achieving that income redistribution they love so much. Houses will go unpainted, foreclosures will spike, and private businesses not too big to fail will fail left and right. If you've always thought Detroit would be a good place to live, no need to move.

If Obama's dystopia is the best of all possible worlds, count me out. If a bona fide resistance movement comes along, count me in. Maybe Texas or some other states will have the cojones finally to say, "Enough!" to the federal juggernaut and push back. I hope Tennessee goes with Texas. I'd hate to have to move.

But meanwhile pardon me while I tend to my own garden. Simply arguing against this sociopath will get us nowhere.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Low gas prices are NOT a bad thing.

One of the silliest notions I've heard expressed in the public discourse lately is that the low gas prices we're currently enjoying are somehow a bad thing. It's about like saying that Islam is a peace-loving religion. I think it's fair to say most Muslims want peace just as much as anybody else, but the notion of Islam as a peace-loving religion is belied by the fact of the Islamic State, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the teachings of the Koran which very explicitly call for the physical extermination of all other religions.

Sure, if you're in the fracking business, low gas prices are a bad thing. Low gas prices make fracking economically unfeasible. But for 99.9% of people out there and every business that moves goods to market by anything other than horse-drawn cart, savings at the gas pump are as good as lowered taxes for putting money in everyone's back pocket to spend, translating directly into a better economy.

I'm already seeing it in my own business, which has gotten a shot in the arm this year from that very thing. Government statistics can't be much believed these days. Just take what Gallup said recently about the fraudulent unemployment statistic. But if there is any truth to recent pronouncements about lower jobless claims and a rebounding economy, it has everything to do with lower gas prices.

If I knew anybody in the fracking business, I'd give them a hug and thank them. And a job if I had one to offer. I hope they all invested wisely so they don't lose their shirts. And if they've still got something left over I've got a nice steady business-not quite with the upside-potential of fracking but profitable nevertheless if you keep pouring in sweat equity-that they might want to invest in.

Gas prices are down primarily because Saudi Arabia lowered the price of their oil to squelch the effect of fracking. Fracking snuck up on them and the Obama administration to make the oil business competitive. If I know the Obamanomicists, they'll be working like mad now that fracking is down to come with regulations to keep it down. Then oil prices will go back up and all the leftists and Putin and Iran and the Venezuelan mafia and the new Saudi king will be happy, but we will all be paying through the nose again.

Meanwhile, enjoy low gas prices while they're here. There's nothing bad about that.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Marsha Blackburn, moderate Muslims, and other short subjects.

  • That's my little dog Spooker on our working-day walk on the greenway near Ashland City. He's a squirrel dog and there are a gazillion squirrels on that walk. Sometimes even with his fifteen foot leash he almost catches one. But most of the time he just pulls me along on the leash seeing one squirrel after another and thinks, "Somebody ought to do something about those dang things." These short subjects are my squirrels.

  • It's not worth wasting too many words on my disappointment in the spinelessness of Marsha Blackburn and the other supposed conservatives in Congress who were AWOL when they had a chance to ditch the incompetent John Boehner. I have seen her in person and was impressed. Now I know she's part of the problem. If the likes of her had been on the road to Damascus, there'd be a lot fewer Christians around today.

  • There's nothing wrong with peace-loving, moderate Muslims that wasn't wrong with your average Aryan citizen in 1930's Germany.

  • The real reason Barack Obama didn't go to the Paris march? He was afraid Bibi Netanyahu would beat him up. And he certainly knew Francois Hollande wouldn't have his back.

  • Speaking of the Paris march, the political leaders like Hollande and Angela Merckel who were there, were there in body only. And that, at a safe remove from the crowds for staged photo opportunities only. Those two in particular were aghast at the outpouring of anger by French citizens at the Euro-zone Muslim problem they helped create and wanted to get ahead of the outrage by voting "present" -- not unlike their buddy Obama, who has been doing that passive-aggressive community organizer thing his whole life.

  • I haven't seen "American Sniper" yet, but seeing it is irrelevant to the current discussion. Clint Eastwood strikes the chord of the American soul, from "High Plains Drifter" to the empty chair. Though it may or may not be a great movie, the point is that Americans turned out in record numbers to see it. That's what chafes its detractors.

  • Thank goodness one of Karl Dean & Co.'s brainstorms has been scrapped. The Amp was a bonehead idea if there ever was one, supported by bogus consultant studies and whatnot as is the norm in corporatist/progressive schemes. As is also the norm, though it seems defeated for now, watch for a second coming, "re-branded." And let's hope we can keep those people's sticky fingers off the fairgrounds.

  • Speaking of the MTA, could someone please get the buses to stop parking for smoke breaks in front of the Shoney's on White Bridge Road? I contacted MTA about it after getting trapped behind one of those mostly empty most of the time behemoths for the umpteenth time. They said their safety director approved it and they've been parking there for fifteen years. But my office has been close by for fifteen years and I can tell you, traffic is fifteen times worse than fifteen years ago. The buses' parking there is a hazard and counterproductive to all the work and tax money that have been put into improving the Charlotte/I-40/White Bridge Road interchanges.

  • There's no use arguing against homosexual marriage on religious terms. Not everyone has faith, on either side of the issue, so such arguments fall on a lot of deaf ears. Better to consider that there is a natural order to things and any time you try to live against that natural order, you are spinning your wheels. Spinning wheels have a place in society and their right to spin all day long if they want should be protected, but to call it what it isn't is folly.

  • I was really disappointed to see so many otherwise sharp thinkers including Pope Francis and Pat Buchanan dismiss the priority of freedom of speech in a free society in order to condemn the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. Nobody needs to point out how gross their "art" is. But if you believe in freedom, you have to defend their right to say and do virtually anything that does not directly injure others or harm children, or none of us have any true freedom at all.

  • The problem with Bill Haslam is the same problem I see with Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and other such second-generation legacy cases. Their fathers came up to success by their own bootstraps and no matter how the sons try, they cannot make their own way because all along the way, the skids were greased for them. They feel guilty about that, so they try to compensate with this mistaken notion of "socially liberal, fiscally conservative." You can't be both. Let's hope better heads prevail in the Tennessee legislature and kill Haslam's current brainstorm for Medicaid expansion.

  • The NFL's deflated balls controversy has brought out the 13 year old boy in all us men. God bless us one and all.

  • There are too many squirrels out there. Somebody ought to do something about those dang things.