Sunday, July 14, 2024

Sick Leftist Claim the Attack on Donald Trump was Staged. TN State Rep. Antonio Parkinson Spreads the Speculation of a Staged Event.

 by Rod Williams, July 14, 2024 - As I immediately expected following the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump many on the right are floating unfounded conspiracy theories that the 'deep state," was responsible for the attack. Not all nutty unfounded conspiracy theories are coming from Trumpinistas, however. Social media is saturated with leftist conspiracy theories that the whole event was a staged false flag. One person speculating that the event was staged is Tennessee State Representative Antonio Parkinson. 

For more on the leftist conspiracy theory of a staged attack see link, link and link

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The Swirl of Conspiracy Theories and Suspicions about the Assassination Attempt on Trump have already Started.

by Rod Williams, July 14, 2024- Thankfully President Trump survived the assassination attempt on his life yesterday. Like so many have already said, political violence should have no place in America. My thoughts and prayers are with President Trump and the family of the rally participant who was killed and those wounded.

We don't yet know much about the shooter except his name and that he was a registered Republican. Already people are jumping to conclusions and peddling conspiracy theories. This is not surprising. I was a high school student when John Kennedy was assassinated and remember the theories about it. Many people refused to believe Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman and not part of a wider conspiracy. There were a lot of different explanations of who was behind the assassination. Some said it was the Communist, some said the anti-communist, others said the mafia, some accused the CIA, and some accused LBJ. There are many who still do not accept the official version.

The climate in which we live today is much different than when JFK was assassinated, and information can travel faster. With the rise of social media, there are no gatekeepers to filter out the weird stuff and many will believe what they read on Facebook or hear on some podcast and will place as much trust in some uncredentialed blogger or Facebook stranger as they do in a major legitimate news source. Also, partisan divisions are deeper. We live in an era in which many people think of those of the other party not as just mistaken or people with a different point of view but as the enemy and evil people. Many are prepared to believe the worst.

With 68% of Republicans and 35% of the American people still believing the 2020 election was stolen, despite lack of evidence, a large segment of the American people are ready to believe lies. They are predisposed to believe the worst about this assassination attempt on the life of the former president. It doesn't matter what the evidence shows, they are ready to believe the "deep-state," or "the globalist," or the establishment tried to take him out. The argument will be that they tried to discredit him, tried to smear him, tried to bankrupt him, and tried to jail him and when all of that failed, they decided to kill him.

Certainly, there should be a full investigation of the attempted murder and a review to determine if there was a security failure. We should try to determine if the shooter had accomplices and what were his motives. We should follow the facts where they lead. I hope people can get a grip and look at what the facts show and not be ready to believe wild unsubstantiated rumors and conspiracy theories. I don't expect what I hope.

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The National Taxpayers Union releases its congressional ratings scorecard for the first session of the 118th Congress

From The National Taxpayers Union, July 14, 2024- Every year National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates U.S. Representatives and Senators on their actual votes—every vote that affects taxes, spending, and debt. Unlike most organizations that publish ratings, we refuse to play the “rating game” of focusing on only a handful of congressional votes on selected issues. The NTU voting study is the fairest and most accurate guide available on congressional spending.

NTU has no partisan ax to grind. All members of Congress are treated the same regardless of political affiliation. Our only constituency is the overburdened American taxpayer. Grades are given impartially, based on the Taxpayer Score. (read more)

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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Sen. Bill Hagerty, Sen. Marsha Blacburn, Rep. Andy Ogles and Colleagues Question DOJ’s Lack of Prosecutions of Aliens Registering to Vote

by Rod Williams, July 13, 2024 - Yesterday, Senator Bill Hagerty and Senator Marsha Blackburn, Representative Andy Ogles and other of their colleagues wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland inquiring as to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) efforts to prevent aliens from registering to vote in American elections. This follows several recent reports of non-citizens registering to vote amid a record number of illegal border crossings.

I totally reject the unproven, but widely accepted MAGA claim of the stolen election. I accept that some politicians and media personalities will use election integrity issues as a tool to prop up the stolen election claim and undermine faith in the legitimacy of our elections. I am cynical enough to take the alarm about the integrity of our elections including claims of illegal immigrants voting in our elections with a grain of salt. 

On the other hand, we should always be diligent to ensure that our elections are fair and only people who are eligible to vote, vote and that the people voting are who they say they are.  Those who vote illegally should be prosecuted. With upward to 16 million undocumented aliens living in America, many of them having lived here for years, I would be surprised if there are not some illegal aliens who vote in our elections. 

I don't know if the letter signed by Hagerty, Blacburn, and Ogles is a legitimate inquiry as to the Justice Department's response to reports of illegal aliens registering to vote in our elections or if it is politically motivated sensationalism. The conservative media and the talk show host will report it as them "demanding answers."  I don't know if the Justice Department is lax in protecting us from illegal aliens registering to vote or not. I could be persuaded they are because they could be motivated by a desire to not give ammunition to the stolen election thesis. I can believe that no one is actually acting in good faith and believe that almost everyone is motivated by something other than the truth. I don't like being so cynical, but in today's environment, I think cynicism is justified. It does appear to me that the information requested is a legitimate request. I think however, releasing the letter to the public on the day it was written is cynical publicity-seeking. 

Below is the letter:

For four more pages of signatures, follow this link.

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Robby Starbuck turns focus to John Deere policies

 By Jon Styf, The Center Square, July 13 - Two weeks after shining a light on Tractor Supply Co.’s corporate policies and sponsorships related to diversity, equity and inclusion, Robby Starbuck has taken aim at John Deere.

Starbuck, a 2022 Republican write-in candidate in Tennessee's 5th Congressional District, posted his first set of issues with John Deere’s policies on Tuesday. His sunlight on Tractor Supply Co. drew response from the company changing policies.

Starbuck says John Deere, headquarters in Moline, Ill., is funding "pride events," meaning those promoting homosexual activity; using preferred pronouns; and implementing diversity, equity and inclusion policies across the board in the company, including in its Latin America and India branches.

“What’s unknown is whether CEO John May is knowingly forcing these policies or if it’s gotten out of control and he’s out of the loop on how bad it is,” Starbuck wrote. “His response to this story will be very revealing as to the culpability in the implementation of woke policies.”

The Center Square was unsuccessful obtaining comment for this story from John Deere before publication.

Starbuck said Bill Gates is listed as John Deere’s largest shareholder, the company has implemented
“Genderbread man” training and that it is using the “United for Equity” program while promoting what he called “bigotry against Christians.”

The accusations come as John Deere announced large layoffs despite reported net income of nearly $2.4 billion for the second quarter of 2024, which ended April 28.

Starbuck said his post was just the beginning on the subject, which will continue with company donations, hiring practices, causes it supported, and what its executives have said in interviews.

“John Deere seems to have forgotten who their customers are,” Starbuck wrote. “Having a farm myself, I’m disgusted that a once great American brand is now taking this turn to seemingly embrace leftist policies that are diametrically opposed to the values of most farmers.”

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Thursday, July 11, 2024

House Republican primary races in which Gov. Bill Lee has endorsed pro-voucher candidates

By Marta W. Aldrich, Chalkbeat, July 11, 2024 - At the Halfway Market in Franklin, Tennessee, where locals come for a good hamburger and friendly conversation, Republican Brian Beathard works the crowd as a candidate for a high-profile legislative seat ahead of a pivotal session on the future of the state’s education system.

By most standards, Beathard should be a shoo-in to replace departing state Rep. Sam Whitson, a four-term Republican lawmaker who’s retiring this year.

Beathard (pronounced BETH-ard) has served on the Williamson County Commission since 2010 and, as its current chairman, has a record of advocating for government efficiency, competence, and conservatism in a predominantly Republican community.

He’s been endorsed by top local leaders, including Whitson, three mayors, and a retired sheriff.

And he’s the only one of three Republican candidates for the District 65 seat who has continuously lived and worked for more than 25 years in the affluent suburban county south of Nashville.

But when Republican Gov. Bill Lee handed out endorsements in key statehouse primary races last month, Beathard got bypassed because of his stance on a single issue: private school vouchers.

Lee is betting big on a policy in which he’s had major victories during his nearly six years in office, but has still fallen short of his ultimate goal: taxpayer funding for private school tuition for any Tennessee student who wants it — including those from middle-class and wealthy families — all under the banner of “school choice.”

The governor’s universal voucher proposal stalled in the legislature this spring, even with a GOP supermajority. Now, in anticipation of a do-over, Lee is taking the unusual step of using his bully pulpit to endorse certain Republican candidates over others.

A proponent of local control, Beathard — like Whitson — opposes the governor’s plan, especially for Williamson County, home to two of the state’s top-performing public school districts.


Here are contested House Republican primary races in which Gov. Bill Lee has endorsed pro-voucher candidates:

District 20: Candidate Jason Emert, former chair of the Young Republican National Federation, over Blount County commissioners Nick Bright, a cattle farmer, and Tim Stinnett, a retired Maryville teacher

District 33: Incumbent Rep. John Ragan, a retired Air Force officer, over former Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough

District 64: Incumbent Rep. Scott Cepicky, a lead sponsor of this year’s House voucher bill, over Maury County Commissioner Ray Jeter

District 65: Candidate Lee Reeves, a real estate attorney and investor, over Williamson County Commissioner Brian Beathard and Michelle Foreman, a former GOP state executive committee member

District 68: Candidate Aron Maberry, a Clarksville pastor and school board member, over retired Army pilot Greg Gilman, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Smith, and former county Republican Party co-chair Carol Duffin

District 73: Incumbent Rep. Chris Todd, of Humboldt, over former longtime Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris, of Jackson

District 97: Incumbent Rep. John Gillespie, of Memphis, over Christina Oppenhuizen, a small-business owner

(read it all)

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Tennessee Right to Life State House and Senate Endorcements


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Update: Some Political Trends are Headed in the Right Directions as Wokeness is in Decline.

by Rod Williams, June 12, 2024- It is hard to find political developments to be encouraged about these days. The Republican Party has become a Trump cult and abandoned principled conservatism. Republicans and Democrats do not only disagree; they hate each other. They think the other side is not only wrong, but evil. Political divisions mean Republicans and Democrats cannot be friends or often even worship in church together. 

We are losing control of the seas, and it is doubtful we could counter an aggressive China. As we head for a financial cliff, no one it seems is concerned about the national debt or entitlement reform. Republicans oppose aid to Ukraine and would let Russia just take it and Democrats hand out aid too slowly and with too many restrictions to let Ukraine win. Regardless of who wins the 2024 election, we will likely experience violence and chaos. I could go on, but most news is bad news and I see little to be encouraged about.

Despite the above tone of gloom and doom and list of reasons to despair however, there are a few developments that are encouraging. With so many bad political developments, some trends in the right direction have gone almost unnoticed and uncommented upon, yet to me these developments seem significant. It appears that political wokeness is in retreat. The pendulum is swinging away from recent extremes. Below are some examples.

Defund the police is out. 
Following the George Floyd murder and the subsequent BLM and Antifa riots that swept the county, "defund the police" became a rallying cry across the nation. Liberals wanted to eliminate or drastically reduce police departments and divert resources from police to social workers. This insanity has come to an end. No where did a city actually dissolve their police departments, but in some places, budgets were reduced and underfunded police departments did not get the funding they need to do their job. 

This effort to defund the police was primarily a utopian vision of White liberals. They saw the police as propping up a racist society. Disparity in who had unpleasant encounters with the police, to their minds, did not indicate a dysfunctional Black culture but indicated systemic racism.  As it turns out, most Black residents of crime infested communities wanted a greater police presence in the communities not a lesser police presence. 

Now, almost no one is calling for defunding the police and cities which cut police budgets have, for the most part, restored them. For a report on how the defund the police movement played out in Minneapolis, follow this link. Do a search engine search and the similar stories are common. It seems that now the only people wanting to "defund the police" are Republicans wanting to cut the FBI and Homeland Secuity. 

Colleges are dropping DEI. 
In recent years to promote "diversity, equity, and inclusion" universities compelled student applicants to include a statement on their applications as to what they would do to promote DEI. Compelled speech is contrary to living in a democratic society and is a hallmark of totalitarian and authoritarian societies. We long ago accepted that people cannot be forced to pledge allegiance to the flag, but somehow forcing students to pledge fidelity to DEI seemed acceptable. Not only did students have to say they supported and would promote DEI, but potential professors also had to do the same. This had the effect of eliminating conservative viewpoints from the university.

Quietly, colleges are dropping DEI. One example of where this requirement is being dropped is MIT which you can read about at this link. Some of this cutting of DEI programs and illuminating of DEI gatekeeper questions on applications is the result of red state legislation, but it is often also happening elsewhere. In many places it is the Board of Governors banning the practice. Many large ivy league private universities are dropping the policy. As an example, Harvard’s Largest Faculty Division Will No Longer Require Diversity Statements. 

In addition to requiring students and potential staff to say they support DEI and would promote it; many colleges had created DEI promotion positions on their campuses to monitor DEI efforts and hear complaints of inadequate vigor in carrying out DEI mandates. Quietly, colleges are ending these stand-alone offices. Whether it is bowing to political pressure or responding to donor pressure are simply recognizing that compelled speech is incompatible with the ideas of higher education, this is a welcome trend.

ESG is losing ground as investors push back.
A development of the last few years is the push to make Environmental, Social and Governance a factor for investment decisions. Some state and city pension plans required companies to have a good ESG score to be eligible for investment of public funds. The ESG metric scores a company on a variety of factors such as having policies to fight climate change, promoting sustainable policies, paying for abortions for their female employees and various other liberal objectives. Liberal investor activist have successfully exerted pressure on companies to make ESG a factor in their operations because often few investors take an interest in company's policies and few attend annual stockholders' meetings. This is changing. 

According to Forbes, interest in ESG peaked in 2023 and its sharp decline seemed to have begun. Firms have a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholders’ wealth and ESG makes other objectives a priority. Attorney Generals of several U.S. states have sued financial companies that employ ESG. Also, stockholders are pushing back. According to the Wall Street Journal, shareholders have voted on 70 measures opposing traditional ESG initiatives at S&P 500 companies through the end of May this year, up from 30 two years ago and seven in 2020.

Reclaiming the language.
For years now, liberals have perverted the language and instead of saying the word "mom," they say things like "child-bearing people." They come up with such silliness as using the plural pronoun "they" as a single pronoun for a person who does not think of himself or herself as a "he" or "she." The list goes on and on. It is most pronounced in promoting a trans agenda that denies there is such a thing as men and women, but it is also prevalent in other contexts. This is now waning, and it is being made the subject of ridicule. 

The Atlantic is one of the journals to which I subscribe. It is liberal but it is not Mother Jones or The New Republic. Much of the content is not political at all and contains some excellent writing but I think anyone would say the publication is liberal. In a recent issue it had an article The Moral Case Against Euphemism. The subtitle of the article is "Banning words won't make the world more just." 

In the article they report that Sierra Club’s Equity Language Guide discourages using the words stand, Americans, blind, and crazy. "The first two fail at inclusion, because not everyone can stand and not everyone living in this country is a citizen. The third and fourth, even as figures of speech (“Legislators are blind to climate change”), are insulting to the disabled. The guide also rejects the disabled in favor of people living with disabilities, for the same reason that enslaved person has generally replaced slave : to affirm, by the tenets of what’s called “people-first language,” that “everyone is first and foremost a person, not their disability or other identity.”"

The article goes on for multiple pages reporting on how the language police get sillier and sillier. As an example, one should not use "marginalized" as an adjective. It is acceptable to say, "historically marginalized" but not "marginalized people." That The Atlantic points out what has happened and disapproves is encouraging. 

I have also seen others quietly return to normal. I get the communications from the Tennessee Democratic Party and for a long time, the letter writer of a communication always ended their letter with the writers preferred pronoun following the writer's name. Suddenly, a few months ago, they just stopped the practice.  While most comics are liberals, I have recently seen some slip into their humor jabs at political correctness language and related silliness.

Given the discouraging trends we are seeing in politics and society, these trends may not amount to much, but they are something. I welcome steps in the right direction no matter how small. 

Update, 7/11/2024Brentwood's Tractor Supply ends DEI initiatives, pride funding

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