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A View From Lick Skillet: Board right to worry about state voucher plan

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By Gerald Largen

Gentle reader: There are several items we wished to mention to you this week. The first, is one that we are sure you have at the top of your mind, but just in case all the talk and speculation has pushed it back, it is to remember that Donald John Trump did not win the election by the vote of the people; he lost it by millions of votes. He remembers, and is troubled by, that fact every waking hour of every day, but many people do not remember, and because of the unreasoning support of his thirty-some percent of the populace, a large number of otherwise sensible folks credit him with being a vote garnering magnet. He wasn’t. He isn’t. He won’t be. But he and his people will swear up and down that he’s everybody’s hero, an unbeatable statesman, a veritable reincarnation of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan rolled into one. But in truth, if it weren’t for the NixonMitchell “Southern Strategy” that guaranteed the electoral college vote base, he would today be living, defeated, in Trump Tower in Manhattan, or Trump Tower in Moscow, mulling over some “deal” to cheat somebody.

The only way he can win re-election is by a re-play of 2016, with the Democrats nominating a candidate as cordially hated as Hillary Clinton, and Putin putting into practice the methodology he learned last time. Surely the Democrats will not be so stupid, nor will Putin be so lucky.

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Another thing to bear in mind, is Mr. Mueller’s statement, which unfortunately he wrote in language that was calculated to be somewhat obtuse, in other words, lawyerly: towit, ‘if we could have found him not guilty of a crime, we would have said so, but we didn’t’, or words to that effect.

That, gentle reader, is an accusation as plain as the nose on your face that Mueller and his staff found him guilty of crime, but because they were working as a part of the Department of Justice, Mueller felt they were bound by that Department’s Rules and Regulations, one of which now is that a sitting president cannot be indicted for a crime while so sitting. Despite the linguistic circumlocution, Mueller’s accusation is as strong as was the famous “J’accuse” of Emile Zola in the infamous Dreyfus affair in Nineteenth Century France.

Should he be reminded of his guilt at every opportunity? That is not a question for us to answer. It is one for our brethren in the Press, however.

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As we are writing this column, the Mexico tariff scenario is still in motion, and we, like you, await the final outcome, which we fear will be unpleasant for far too many folks.

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The Tennessee news is filled with reports of Speaker Casada and his shenanigans, particularly the expenditures of Tennesseans’ tax money for hitherto unnecessary expenses for himself and his cronies. The reports form the third leg of a tripod that we have observed commonly to occur.

The second leg of the tripod is the report of the outrageous expenditures of National Rifle Association’s money by Wayne LaPierre, long-time head of that organization. It seems that Wayne has decided that the best use of the dues the members regularly pay into the organization are for the purchase of things to make Wayne look good —like two and three thousand dollar suits, with shoes and accessories to match and high-style haircuts and styling; or things to make Wayne feel good — like high-priced restaurants and places of entertainment and enjoyment, and trips in privately chartered jet aeroplanes.

We are sure that all those fellows who paid their annual dues to promote and protect our Second Amendment are plum tickled to death to learn that those dues have in fact gone to promote and protect the lifestyle of the rich and famous for their very own Wayne LaPierre. Oh Joy!

And the first leg of the tripod of public figures taking advantage of their position to make somebody else, like tax-payers, or dues-payers, pick up the tab for their private enjoyments, is a report on none other than our own Donald John.

It appears that when he scheduled his trip to France to commemorate the D-day invasion in Normandy, he arranged it so that he could fly across to Ireland, where he just happens to own a golf club that he needed to inspect, or otherwise look after, which he did.

We wonder if we had to pay for lodging his Secret Service and other staff that accompanied him. It is our understanding that is the practice every time he goes down to Mar A Lago — he makes money on the trip by charging for lodging his staff and Secret Service protection there.

Aren’t we Americans just the luckiest people you can name, to have a triumvirate of such public spirited servants as Casada, LaPierre, and Trump to look after our interests?

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Did you see Damon Lawrence’s front-page article in Monday’s paper titled “How will school vouchers impact Roane County?” It seems that at their work session last month, the Roane County School Board discussed possible impact of a new law creating a voucher plan for students in Davidson and Shelby Counties only, but with future plans to expand the scheme to more counties, and probably statewide.

Chairwoman Nadine Jackson asked, “How is this going to affect us?”

Interim Director of Schools Gary Aytes answered, “Right now it will not affect us.” But he subsequently opined, “I think the idea behind vouchers is eventually make it statewide where every child would be eligible for a voucher.” He continued, “If that ever hits us, we are in trouble, big trouble.” Whereupon Chairwoman Jackson observed that she thinks that it will happen.

While there apparently was no further discussion of this potentially disastrous future the county is facing, one can only assume that this possibility, or probability, (since this is a Republican measure, strongly backed by our Republican Governor, Bill Lee, the odds would seem to favour the plan’s enactment within two or three years) is now factored into the Board’s planning for any new school or schools. Obviously it would reflect poorly upon the judgement of the Board were it to proceed with a plan to build a big new school, thereby amassing a huge debt, only to find that a large portion of the student body anticipated to utilize the new school had in fact utilized their voucher to go elsewhere. We are pleased to see that Chairwoman Jackson is aware of this danger and is prepared to give it the consideration it will require.

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The opinions expressed in this column do not reflect the views of this newspaper.