During WWII, our non-combat population was asked to recycle and purchase war bonds. Food rationing was mandatory. Almost everyone cooperated patriotically -- except draft dodgers, black marketers and businessmen working clandestinely with Axis powers.
Now political wars over taxation and spending create cynical exploitation. Congress barely escaped an economic worsening and right away corporations scurried to swap some investments for others that can't be taxed, using legislation specifically designed as fair relief to family farmers. Where's the patriotism in that? Have we limited its definition to only troop support?
There's a local woman whose father was a tax- deduction addict. He'd pay accountants as much as deductions were worth just to "defeat" the IRS. She looks at most tax-deduction junkies and sees undermining of government, but accepts as fact that those who struggle the most need some tax breaks; it's fair and necessary.
We dislike relentless political wars and can't understand why it continues. One big factor is that when leaders unwisely imagine national advantage overseas through warfare, it creates actual piracy at home. More selfishness, less patriotism; this is our predicament. We can't legislate integrity, only the hope of it.
Republicans severely criticized Ambassador Susan Rice for questionable talking points on Benghazi provided by the CIA. This situation compares in some respects with the address made by Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations for war with Iraq.
The difference was that Powell said afterward that the case he had made was "based on false information and some of it deliberately so." No Republicans blamed Powell for this. CIA director George Tenet informed him that it was verified by Vice President Cheney who was assured by Amid Chalabi, an Iraqi exile whose object was to get this country into war with Iraq so that he could later seize power.
Chalabi was a charlatan and a con who won the confidence of Cheney, who at one time had him on the federal payroll. The information Powell used came from Chalabi's henchman, code named Curveball (al-Janabi), whose phony model of an Iraq mobile biological weapons laboratory was displayed in a computer generated image to the U.N. by Powell.
Another consequence of the war was that Iran and Iraq, once principal enemy nations in the Mideast, now are friendly, with increased Shiite influence in Iraq, and the potential that Iraq may become a client state of Iran.
JOHN BRATTON, Sewanee, Tenn.
Basically, the AR-15 is being called an "assault rifle" by the anti-gun crowd because it looks military, and they will vilify any rifle that looks like it because their campaign to use emotionally charged terms requires it. The history of the term itself actually explains why the AR-15 is not an assault rifle at all.
To be a true assault rifle, a weapon must possess all of the following characteristics: It must be an individual weapon with provision to fire from the shoulder. It must be capable of selective fire (semi- or full auto). It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol, but less than a standard rifle. Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable magazine, and it should at least have a firing range of 300 meters. Unless a rifle possesses all of these attributes, it is not an "assault rifle" no matter what the government or Sen. Feinstein says about it.
It should come as no surprise that a red state with an even redder legislature would jump lock-step behind the NRA and propose arming teachers in schools when the majority of the country is against the idea.
Is that the best idea they can come up with? The answer to gun violence is more guns? Do our elected officials represent their constituents, or lobbyists with their money? Are they just merely cowardly or corrupted?
Ending gun mayhem in America calls for vision and leadership, not locked-and-loaded politicians. Do they really think an armed teacher could have stopped a killer in full body armor with an AR-15 that put 11 bullets in a 6-year-old in a mere second? How much is left of a 6-year-old's body with 11 high-powered bullets in him?
The knowledge that teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School were armed would not have come close to stopping the school's shooter. Arming teachers will not stop the proliferation of military-style munitions and high-powered, semiautomatic assault rifles and pistols that can fire a round every second. Our country's efforts would be better spent in working toward getting them banned. Period.
I support Priscilla Simmons for Chattanooga City Council, District 2. I had the opportunity to work with Priscilla in a client-service role when she was the city's accounting manager for several years. I found Priscilla to be an honest and dedicated employee, professionally and personally. Priscilla was transparent in regard to any issues that arose during the course of an engagement, and displayed knowledge and leadership qualities that are desirable of a council member.
Priscilla acted with great integrity while managing her staff and under pressure to meet deadlines. It was evident in my discussions with Priscilla that she has a through understanding of local government, and with her financial background, she can be an immediate resource for the city.
Priscilla's knowledge and understanding of the city's government structure is an important component to function effectively and efficiently as a council member.
Please vote for Priscilla Simmons for Chattanooga City Council, District 2, on March 5, or during early voting Feb. 13-28.
JEFF POWERS, South Pittsburg, Tenn.
I believe the nation is "fed up" with today's brand of politics. Most politicians care not for their country anymore, but for personal greed.
What story can I tell my constituents so that I can be re-elected and have the "perks" and lifetime salary at the taxpayers' expense.
It takes millions of dollars to just run a campaign, and this is all they seem to worry about, while our nation slips into a third-world hole.
Since it is the duty of the Congress to make and pass the laws, why not make all of the politicians run on an equal basis? If Congress had the backbone to pass a law that each presidential candidate would only raise $2 million from each state, that would give anyone the chance to raise $100 million to run for the presidency. Even the ordinary person could again have a try at public office. At least it would be on an equal basis, and the politicians would not have to pay back the PACs and unions. We would again take back our nation!
VINCE PATTERSON, Signal Mountain
Please return to publishing the obituaries with the format that you used to use: i.e. Chattanooga deaths first, followed by Tennessee state deaths and then Georgia state deaths.
We subscribe to the Times Free Press because it covers our area (Sewanee). We do not have an interest in the death announcements from Georgia nor in most cases, the death announcements of Chattanooga but now they are all intermingled and it makes looking for notices that are of interest to our area a cumbersome and unnecessary task. Thank you for your consideration in this suggestion.
SHIRLEY DAVIS, Sewanee, Tenn.