The 10th Anniversary of the Capture of Saddam Hussein
Click to hear interview: 12-13-13 DKS-NWS
Kentucky Representative Jonathan Shell and Tennessee State Senator Mark Green joined Matt Walsh today to discuss their stops around Central Kentucky, Obamacare, and Dr. Green’s military involvement on the day of Saddam Hussein’s capture.
Click here to listen to the segment:
BELL BUCKLE, Tenn. – Any explosion can potentially cause damage, destruction and injury. We found one explosive on the market with so little regulation even a kid can buy it with no ID and no questions asked. These exploding targets are sold under lots of brand names, but Tannerite is the most popular. It’s sold as an exploding target for rifle practice. You can buy a canister, mix the ingredients, shake it up, shoot and it explodes. Tonight we take a look at why you should be concerned. The clips are all over YouTube.
People using explosives to create dramatic mushroom clouds, even blow up vehicles. The most popular brand of exploding target is Tannerite. The product consists of 2 stable powders. When combined they produce an explosive. It takes a high velocity weapon like a rifle to cause detonation. Here you’re seeing what happens when a commercially manufactured binary explosive like Tannerite is used.
We’re also showing you what happens when you use a homemade version of the same type of product. Domestic terrorist attacks like the Boston bombing explain why this is a growing concern for the ATF. We spoke by Skype to Tannerite spokesperson Dena Woerner, who downplays Tannerite’s dangers. Since the ingredients in Tannerite are not explosive until they’re combined, the product is not regulated by the ATF.
State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) is a physician and healthcare administrator. Before private practice he was a decorated combat medic in the Army. His concern is that exploding targets can be purchased without age restrictions. Exploding targets give you big bang for your buck, but like any product, when misused or altered, the results can be dangerous and unpredictable.
It’s advice not everyone is taking. While exploding targets can legally be sold without a license, some cities around the country have passed laws regulating its use. We also found that some retailers have their own policy of not selling the product to anyone under age 18.
A little-known change to Tennessee law could limit options for the United Auto Workers labor union, which is working to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.
The law, signed by Gov. Bill Haslam in June 2011, specifies secret ballot elections are the preferred way to designate support for a union, rather than the so-called “card check” method that requires organizers to simply get a signature on a piece of paper, according to State Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville.
Under such circumstance, no alternative means of designation shall be used in Tennessee as convincing evidence of employee majority support, the law says.
Green, the vice chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, is calling for VW to follow the rule to allow workers a secret ballot election that he says would offer the same privacy for each worker as a political election.
Card checks, he said, leave workers open to intimidation, while secret ballot elections grant workers a moment behind the curtain to vote their conscience.
“You’ve got seven guys standing around you who work with you every day and they’re saying, ‘hey, sign this card,’” Green said. “We don’t elect the governor that way, we don’t elect our representatives that way, the ballot is secret. That’s democracy.”
But state legislators will have a hard time proving that Tennessee’s law carries more weight than the federal National Labor Relations Board, which oversees union activity in the U.S., said Gary Casteel, regional director for the United Auto Workers.
“I mean, you could have something in the state charter taking voting rights away from women, but you can’t do it because the federal law supersedes it,” Casteel said. “The NLRB, that’s the law of the land as far as labor law.”
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper wrote an opinion in 2011 that the state statute does not conflict with federal law
and is constitutional, but took the position that the law only applies to situations in which a secret ballot election has already been selected, possibly rendering the text meaningless.
But it may not come to a battle between state lawmakers and the federal agency, if a report from Germany turns out to be accurate. According to Reuters, a “source with knowledge of the thinking of the company’s top executive board” said that the company will insist on a formal vote by the plant’s workers, rather than a card check.
That would make business interests happy because many believe that a secret ballot decreases the chances of the union being certified at the Chattanooga plant. Green himself says he personally knows four manufacturers that have decided to hold off on expanding in the Volunteer State until the union issue is put to rest at Volkswagen. Though he declined to name them, citing their fear of retaliation from the UAW, Green said one of the four is a billion-dollar company that “makes things that Tennesseans love.”
Casteel pushed back against charges that the UAW fears the secret ballot election, or that workers are being intimidated during the card check process, calling those assertions “laughable.”
“We never said we wouldn’t run an election,” he said. “We’re not scared to do it.”
He reversed the charges of intimidation, saying that, in fact, secret ballot election would give so-called “outside interests” a 40-day window to put up billboards and TV ads in an attempt to sway workers. Cards, he said, carry a self-explanatory message on them and are less disruptive.
“Most all of those cards are employee-to-employee generated,” Casteel said. “We’ve got only four organizers assigned to that project, and there are never more than a couple there at a time. We’ve not done one house call.”
Text of 2011 state law:
All employees and employers in this state, when seeking to designate an exclusive bargaining representative through an election permitted by state or federal law, have the right to make such designation by secret ballot, when secret ballot is permitted by such law; under such circumstance, no alternative means of designation shall be used in this state as convincing evidence of employee majority support.
Contact staff writer Ellis Smith, esmith@times freepress.com, or 423-757-6315
State Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, only wanted to become a doctor when a sudden esophagus rupture nearly killed his father. The heroics of saving everyday people inspired him to pursue the stethoscoped career.
Decades later, he would be the surgeon responsible for monitoring Saddam Hussein after U.S. troops captured the ex-dictator on Dec. 13, 2003.
On Monday, the medic and senator spoke to Pachyderm Club members about his experiences behind both a scalpel and the barrel of a gun, including that fateful run-in with Iraq’s infamous dictator.
“Saddam was everything I thought he would be,” Green told the Republican crowd. “His megalomania was proven to me that night.”
Green noted how Hussein was dumbfounded at first — his hiding spot ambushed with three gun barrels pointed at his face — but the international figure gradually reasserted himself as a pompous, confident cult of personality after his capture. Green relied on a translator to address the Arabic-speaking prisoner of war, but Hussein’s body language spoke for itself.
“He had become very defiant, spitting on people and yelling at guys,” Green said. “But when I met with him, he sat up tall and stuck his chin out.”
Hussein even performed his Islamic prayer facing opposite from Mecca — a gesture tantamount to comparing oneself to God — to feed his own ego.
Green attended to Hussein with basic medical supervision such as taking his temperature and blood pressure, but soon couldn’t help but pick the ex-dictator’s brain about his life.
“I just start asking questions,” Green said. “Why did you go to war with Kuwait? Why did you go to war in Iraq?”
Hussein gave a variety of answers ranging from oil resource availability to border disputes, but one topic never came into discussion: his two sons.
“We killed Uday and Kusai,” Green said. “But he never asked about them. It’s a shame. Saddam Hussein sacrificed even his children for his own power.”
Green finished his discussion by rounding out talking points from the recent government shutdown to education analysis, but the anecdotes of treating such an iconic figure nearly 10 years ago resonated with his audience.
“This guy is really wonderful,” said former Hamilton County Commissioner Harold Coker. “He’s a great storyteller, and he’s got incredible credentials in terms of what he can do.”
Even as a former medical staff member of the Black Hawk Down unit, the health care company owner now in Green just wants to help people, even if that means telling a story or two along the way.
“Right now, I’m just focused on serving the people who sent me to Nashville,” he said.”
Contact staff writer Jeff LaFave at email@example.com or 423-757-6592.