Rep. Mark Meadows announces retirement, 18 seek his seat

Santa Claus was especially good to Western North Carolina Democrats this year, delivering from his sack one big item on their wish list, and stuffing their stocking  with another gift that wasn’t expected, but was met with great appreciation.

Trump overplays his hand with military

Under this commander-in-chief, war criminals are framed as heroes for political gains with his base while veterans who served with honor for decades are vilified. Of all of President Trump’s outrageous, disruptive behavior, it’s his un-military like actions toward our soldiers in uniform that roil me the most.

The facts are known, the outcome is not

People can disagree on whether or not Donald Trump should be removed from office. That is our right. But there can be no disagreement about the facts. 

Trump would be, technically, the third president to be impeached, following Andrew Johnson — among other things for his removal of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton —  and Bill Clinton (for having sexual relations with that woman and then lying about it under oath). Obviously Nixon was on his way but chose to flee the scene rather than undergo trial. Of those impeached, none have been removed from office. 

Here’s the truth about immigration

By Paul Strop • Guest Columnist

I read with interest a recent letter expressing concerns about immigration, truly one of the main problems of this nation and the whole world. I wish to express an alternate view citing, if possible, where I obtained my information. 

The writer seems to believe the Donald Trump propaganda that undocumented immigrants (the writer uses the term “illegal immigrants”) are a financial burden to this country. However, studies from 2005 have documented the “illegal immigrants” pay about $7 billion per year into Social Security (N.Y. Times, April 2005). They will never collect a dime, but the writer will benefit from those dollars.

The Naturalist's Corner: Could the environment be, once again, a game changer?

I ran into a fellow at Ingles just the other day. Regrettably, I don’t remember his name, but I run into him occasionally around town and have for years. And I definitely should remember his name because he is a loyal follower of the “Naturalist’s Corner” and he is crazy bout his birds. Every time I see him he has some encouraging words regarding a recent column and/or a recent bird-related anecdote to share.

Trump’s personality issues deserve diagnosis

By Norman Hoffman • Guest Columnist

Most psychiatric conditions require the clinician to interact directly with the individual to determine a diagnosis. For example, most of us have experienced some level of depression, but few of us have reached the threshold for a diagnosis of major depressive episode, which requires additional criteria, such as loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, slowed concentration, feelings of guilt, and/or thoughts of death.

However, there are a few conditions that can be determined from observable behavior. One of these is narcissistic personality disorder. Of the nine criteria, five are required to indicate a diagnosis, and most can be determined from observing behaviors. Here are the nine criteria:

Believing just does not make it true

I recently saw people interviewed at the CPAC meeting stating how pleased they were with Trump’s accomplishments. That got me to thinking that maybe Trump’s most impressive accomplishment is gaslighting people into thinking that his pronouncements of achievements are real. Let’s take a look at the actual accomplishments.

Constituents of color: Meadows defense of Trump angers many

Michael Cohen’s recent testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee took an unexpected dive deep into America’s racial divide, and Western North Carolina’s Congressman Mark Meadows jumped right in to it. 

That led to relentless lampooning of the four-term Republican, culminating in his buffoonish portrayal on a recent episode of Saturday Night Live, but Meadows’ constituents of color aren’t laughing. 

Hysteria yes; a national emergency, no

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-eight dead. Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia. Thirty-three dead. Stoneman Douglass High School, Parkland, Florida. Seventeen dead. Harvest Music Festival, Las Vegas, Nevada. Fifty-nine dead.

Halfway home: pink hat marchers soldier on

A little over two years ago, I woke up in Alexandria, Virginia, less than 24 hours after the inauguration of the nation’s 45th president. 

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