Saturday, December 03, 2016

Tennessee's 2018 governor's race is right around the corner. Who will seek the office?

In case you missed it and care about the upcoming governor's, The Tennessee ran a good piece on the topic recently.  It listed all of the potential Republicans and Democrats who may be seeking the office of which they were aware.  The article gave a short bio on each and for the leading contenders told their political strengths and weaknesses and the status of their campaign funds on hand and potential for funding a campaign.

The Republicans profiled were Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Beth Harwell, Alberto Conzales, Bill Lee, Bill Nagerty, Mark Green, Stephen Fincher, Randy Boyd, Tre Hargett, Andy Ogles, and Joe Carr.  Democrats profiled were Bill Freeman and  Karl Dean. They left out Mary Mancini, chairman of the Tennessee Democrat Party.  I hope Mancini seeks the office.  

To read the article follow this link.

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Bob Corker would make a great Secretary of State

Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are  the leading contenders for Trump's pick for Secretary of State, but each have their distractors.  A name that keeps popping up as also under consideration is that of Tennessee's Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

When he is mentioned, movement conservatives go ballistic. Richard Viguerie's Conservative HQ posted an article, Mr. Trump: Don’t Make Traitor Bob Corker Secretary Of State. Bombastic radio talk show host Mark Levin's Conservative Review posted a piece called, 4 reasons Bob Corker would be the absolute WORST pick for Secretary of State. Red State writes, Donald Trump, If You Care About America Don’t Give This Clown A Job.   The large and loud conservative echo chamber has repeated these post and variations on the theme.

The primary criticism of Corker in all this is his role in the Iran deal. The narrative is that Corker helped Obama push the deal through the Senate.  I followed the issue at the time and watched a lot of Congressional hearings on CSPAN and have researched it since and that is just not the way I see it.  Corker's effort to stop the deal failed, but he made a valiant effort to stop it. I fear there are many on the right who value impotent symbolic grandstanding rather than efforts at real governance. While Corker's effort failed he did at least provide an opportunity for Congress to kill the deal if opponents would have had sufficient votes.

Here is what happened.  Starting in March 2013 the Obama administration started secret negotiations with Iran to curtail Iran's nuclear ambition and to reward Iran by the lifting of sanctions and freeing of frozen assets. Negotiating in secret is not unusual.  As negotiations progressed and allies at the top level of government had to be informed, Congress became aware. At the same time that the Obama administration was engaged in negotiating lifting of sanctions, Congress had been deliberating on newer tougher sanctions. Congress made noise but had no means to stop the negotiations.

By the spring of 2015, Iran and the Obama administration were about to sign off on the details of the deal. It paved the way for Iran to become a nuclear power with little meaningful oversight to prevent that from happening and released $150 billion in frozen assets which Iran, one of the worlds leading state sponsors of terrorism, could be free to use however it wanted. What Obama accomplished was kicking the can down the road so he would not have to deal with the challenge.  In the process he made Iran a bigger future threat.

Congress huffed and puffed about the deal but had no meaningful way to stop it.  The critics of Corker's role in the deal say the deal should have been presented as either a treaty or a piece of legislation lifting the sanctions. That would have been nice if that would have happened but there was no way to compel that to happen and Obama was prepared to go it alone.

For one thing, administrations have been negotiating deals with foreign countries since the founding of the Republic and not every deal is treated as a treaty. We routinely enter into Status of Forces Agreements with foreign governments and those are not treaties. There are lots of agreements that do not get presented to Congress to be considered a treaty.  Perhaps Congress could have went to the Supreme Court in an attempt to compel the President to submit the deal to Congress as a treaty but it is doubtful the Court would have taken the case or ruled against the President if they had.

If the Iran sanctions would have been imposed by Congress then they could have only been lifted by Congress, but such was not the case.  Some of the sanctions were agreements entered into with allies and some were the result of UN resolutions. Only the Security Council could terminate the Security Council's sanctions on Iran, not the U. S. Congress.  Congress had no voice in those.  Some of the sanctions were by executive order and congress cannot stop the President from canceling an executive order. Some of the sanctions were a result of congressional actions but those gave the president waiver authority to suspend the sanctions.

The Obama administration said Congress would have a role in the agreement but only after the deal was done and Congress would be asked to lift sanctions. By that time, it would be too late to exert much influence. The UN sanctions would be lifted, the executive orders cancelled, existing sanctions waived,  and the pressure for Congress to rubber stamp the lifting of sanctions would have been great.

To stop the administration from going it alone, Senator Corker took what in my view was almost heroic actions. He urged President Obama not to seek a United Nations endorsement of the emerging nuclear agreement with Iran without first giving Congress a chance to vote on it. “There are now reports that your administration is contemplating taking an agreement, or aspects of it, to the United Nations Security Council for a vote,” Senator Bob Corker wrote in a letter to Obama. “Enabling the United Nations to consider an agreement or portions of it” without allowing Congress to vote on the agreement would be “a direct affront to the American people and seeks to undermine Congress’s appropriate role,” wrote Corker. (link)

This was followed by weeks of a tense standoff and maneuvering with Bob Corker leading the effort trying to find a way to stop the administration from going it alone.  If only Republicans would have been demanding a role for Congress, any bill passed would have been vetoed and Congress could not have overridden the veto.  Corker worked to come up with a bill that could win bi-partisan support.  It had to strike the balance that would keep the most hawkish of Republicans on board and enough Democrats to be veto-proof. The final bill, The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, assured Congress had a role in the process.  It gave Congress a 60-day window to debate the Iran agreement before voting on it.  It allowed lawmakers to reject the lifting of legislative sanctions or not. In committee the vote for the bill was 19 to 0 and the Senate vote on the bill was 98-1 and the House vote was 400 to 20. If corker is a traitor or an Obama enabler for pushing the bill, then are there not 97 other senators and 400 congressmen who voted for it not also guilty? Corker is not alone in this.  (link)

When the bill approving the Iran deal came before the Congress, Bob Corker was a leader in urging its rejection. He denounced the deal in Congress, appeared on Sunday talk shows opposing the deal and wrote editorials in opposition.  He said the deal would not prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. "Rather than end Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, over time this deal industrializes the program of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism," he said. "For a deal that must be built on verification and not trust, the inspections process is deeply flawed." He also questioned the wisdom of the rebalancing that would rely on Iran to help the US achieve its goals in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.  To read Senators Corkers criticism of the deal see the editorial that appeared in the Washington Post.

In the end, the bill to disapprove the Iran nuclear deal failed.  After a procedural vote to end debate , which required 60 votes Democrats successfully filibustered the measure and prevented the resolution of disapproval from coming to a vote.

While Senator Corker's effort to stop the Iran deal failed, he worked hard to give Congress a voice in the matter and succeeded at that but was not successful in killing the deal.  I don't think anyone else could have done a better job.

I am pleased to see the article below appear in the pages of National Review:
by Lester Munson & Jamil Jaffer 
In a recent editorial on possible nominations for secretary of state, National Review’s editors repeated the notion that by voting in favor of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA), Congress somehow “facilitated” the deal’s path through Congress. That notion is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of our Constitution and the relative powers of Congress and the president in foreign policy. And it’s important for conservatives to get this right. 
Many people think that Congress ought to have “forced” the president to submit the Iran deal as a treaty. In fact, Congress had no way to do that, because the president was misusing waiver authorities granted in prior sanctions and therefore didn’t need Congress to implement the deal at all.
I have watched a lot of CSPAN and have seen Senator Corker in action in committee and have read things he has written and seen him on the Sunday talk shows.  He is always prepared, has his facts in order, makes reasonable arguments, and is sensible and mannerly.   He may not be the maddest and the loudest guy in the room, but I usually think he is the smartest and the wisest.  I know it has become fashionable for movement conservatives to denounce Bob Corker but I am departing from the pack.  I like Bob Corker.  I think he would make a great Secretary of State.  

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Caffeinated conservatives guest speaker is Jeff Hartline, Saturday, December 17 from 12 noon to 2

From: Kevin Laura Baigert <

Date: Sun, Dec 11, 2016 at 7:03 PM
Subject: CAFFEINATED CONSERVATIVES - Sat., December 17, noon to 2

Hi All,

Heard you had a good meeting and some newcomers to the last meeting.  Sorry we missed it.  But, we're back for the next meeting with guest speaker, Jeff Hartline.

For those of you who don't know Jeff, he is involved in so many things it's hard to imagine how he gets it all done.  On top of a "day job," Jeff is the Field Director for Tennessee Firearms Association.  Jeff also spends a lot of time and is very influential at Legislative Plaza and writes an online newspaper called Tennessee Leaders (  Jeff is a lover of liberty and history and is very well read on those (and probably other) subjects.

It should be an exciting discussion! 

We're also going to have a special presentation.  Hope to see you there. 

Saturday, December 17 from 12 noon to 2

Uncommon Grounds
1053 Donelson Ave
Old Hickory 37138

Kevin and Laura Baigert

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Friday, December 02, 2016

Rand Paul wants Bob Corker for Secretary of State

Rand Paul finally reveals who he wants as secretary of state

The Blaze, by Brandon Morse - Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has been on the warpath when it comes to President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state picks. He’s not been one to hold back commentary about former ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, calling him a “menace,” and vowing that if Trump decided to go with Bolton, the Senator would gather the necessary votes to stop it. Paul was also just as adamant about Trump’s other rumored pick, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

But now, according to Politico, another pick has surfaced that could have bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats, and even the approval of the picky Kentucky senator.

This is none other than Tennessee Senator Bob Corker.

“I think he would be a great pick,” Paul said of Corker. (read more)

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Senate wants Corker as Secretary of State

Could promise of easy confirmation sway Trump's decision? 
Nashville Post,  authors Cari Wade Gervin - President-elect Donald Trump may not have decided who he's nominating for secretary of state, but the body that confirms that nomination seems to have an overwhelming favorite pick: U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. (link)

But there's one choice that could put an end to Trump's made-for-TV drama and ultimately breeze through the Senate: Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker ...

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Tennessean editorial: Public should see hosptial books.

Editorial: The public deserves to know why the hospital needs another $10 million bailout in less than a year. 

by David Plazas, The Tennessean - Nashville General Hospital at Meharry is bleeding money, the Metro Hospital Authority might demand another bailout and taxpayers deserve to know why.

The authority, which is the hospital’s board of directors, will meet next month to consider asking Metro Nashville Government for a second $10 million “emergency” infusion in less than a year.

When the hospital received $10 million in emergency funds in February, CEO Dr. Joseph Webb called it a “one-time request.” These words have come to betray him.

 .... The Joint Commission report was never fully released to the Council or to the public because of a loophole in the public records law, so they had a limited scope of the problems. ....Emergency requests should not become the norm, but transparency should be. (read the full editorial)

My Comment: I am pleased to see this editorial and agree, however I think it should go one step further and conclude Metro government needs to get out of the hospital business.  If the citizens of Nashville feel a need to subsidize indigent care, could the money not be better spend by reimbursing local hospitals? In today's health care climate, I have never seen a compelling reason for Nashville being in the hospital business.

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Should Bob Corker be picked for Secretary of State?

While Rudy Giuliani  and Mitt Romney are the leading contenders for Secretary of State and each have their critics, another name that keeps popping up is that of Tennessee's own Senator Bob Corker.  Corker is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  I have watched a lot of CPAN and seen Bob Corker in action and have always been impressed by his command of the facts, probing questions, logic and demeanor. I have a lot of respect for Senator Corker.

I have not studied Senator Corker's roll in the Iran deal to know if for a fact Senator Corker helped make the deal possible. I know enough about the Iran deal to know I think it is a disaster.  Below is an evaluation of Senator Corker from Conservative Review that says Corker would be a terrible pick for Secretary of State. I am withholding judgement and am trying to determine if in fact Bob Corker facilitated the Iran nuclear deal.

4 reasons Bob Corker would be the absolute WORST pick for Secretary of State
Conservative Review - Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn. (F, 45%) has been floated as a serious contender to become President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state and will meet with Trump this week. But his resume in Congress is spattered with red flag.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Bob Erhlich is guest of First Tuesday, December 6th.

 From Tim Skow :

1ST TUESDAY Members & friends… 


Thankfully, MUCH good news resulted from Election Night! The news was also good for TN State Republicans and 2 local incumbents. BUT sadly, we made no local strides. Clearly, we must figure out ’’WINNING in BLUE Territory’’

On Tuesday, DEC 6th we will hear from an EXPERT!! You may know Maryland is as BLUE as BOB ERHLICH from Baltimore County, was elected to Congress 4 times and then elected Gov. of Maryland! NOW…we need to know what that man knows!

Gov. Bob Erhlich
Nashville is BLUE. Yet, Republican

On December 6th…1ST TUESDAY welcomes a man Democrats fear…Maryland’s own, Gov. BOB ERHLICH! As usual, doors open at 11:00 at Waller Law [511 Union St] and is $20 for Members and $25 for Guests. Secure seating at and click on ‘’JOIN US’’.

I need to put the lunch order into Copper Kettle today. We have room... and we have time.. BUT... need to hear from you ASAP.  
Tim Skow
Host of 1ST TUESDAY  

Note from Rod Williams: This is being posted late, so if you are interested in attending and have not registered, please register on line ASAP. 

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Private sector can solve short-term rental issue

The recent ruling striking down the constitutionality of Metro Nashville's ordinance means a strategy shift is in order. 

The Tennessean, by Justin Owen and David Krauss - It was 12:39 on a Saturday morning. A bachelorette party was still going strong, just back from a fun night on Broadway.

Back at their short-term rental in East Nashville, the party didn’t seem to be winding down anytime soon. But then one of the partygoers’ cell phone rang. It was the rental host, telling her that he had received a text alert that the party had become too loud. The text didn’t come from a neighbor, or even worse the police, but from NoiseAware, a service that provides short-term rental hosts with a “smoke detector for excessive noise.”

 .... some on the Metro Council want to double down, imposing even more stringent regulations, such as limiting the number of unrelated persons who can stay in someone’s home. ...Rather than enact even more impossible to enforce regulations, the city should instead boost penalties for the violations that actually harm neighbors’ quiet enjoyment of their property, and allow private sector solutions like NoiseAware to help short-term rental owners become more responsible hosts. (Read more)

My Comment: Justin Own is president and CEO the Beacon Center of Tennessee. The Beacon Center successfully got portions of Nashville's Short Term Rental Properties regulations overturned as unconstitutional. 

I agree with the view expressed in this article. Government can usually do more good by doing fewer things and doing them well and then getting out of the way.  A lot of issues resolve themselves if government does not try to micro manage.

I have a close relative who has a rental property and they converted it to a short-term rental. Given the cash flow, one would think they were making a killing.  However, the expense was high, paying all utilities and cable and taxes. Also it was like running a business. It was a lot of work. They had to get up in the night to let people in who had lost the code or could not work the entry lock. They had to rush over and clean the house and wash the linen as soon as someone moved out to prepare it for the next guest. After operating the house as a Short Term Rental for a few months they converted it back into a regular rental property.  Not everyone who got in the short term rental business will stay in it.

Another factor to consider is that there are thousands of hotel and motel units under construction or on the drawing board fot the Nashville area.  I could not find a specific count but have seen it reported in the past and it is an enormous number of units that are going to be coming on line.  As more units come on line, fewer units of housing will be converted to STRP and some that are now short term rental may convert back to long term rental properties. 

I live in the Woodland in Waverly neighborhood and one door down from me is a short term rental and diagonally across the street is one.  I have heard people laughing and having a good time.  I could hear them, but it was not offensive.  There are some people who are just not happy if other people are having fun.

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