Saturday, October 07, 2017

Fairgrounds backers slam proposal for Nashville Major League Soccer stadium.

Last night supporters of the Metro Fairgrounds turned out in numbers for a public comments session of the Metro Fair Board and voiced their adamant opposition to Mayor Barry's proposed $250 million dollar soccer stadium on the site of the fairgrounds. There was special opposition stated to the give away of ten acres of property to a private developer for a mixed use and affordable housing development. 

A few years ago former Mayor Karl Dean tried to abolish the fairground and have the property redeveloped.  Citizens rallied and stopped the proposal and got the Metro Charter amended to protect the fairgrounds. Now it appears Mayor Barry is trying to accomplish what Mayor Dean could not but by doing it incrementally. The fairground site is already too small for a really quality state fair. That was the conclusion of a costly consultants report a few years ago.  If the city gives away the site little at a time, the fairgrounds will be much to small to serve as a fairground. Then, the state fair will relocate to another county and that will make it even more difficult to preserve the fairgrounds without a fair.

It is my view that the sophisticates who embrace Nashville's "it city" status are embarrassed by things like auto racing, flea markets and fairs. While now, city leaders and everyone voice support for the music industry there was a time when sophisticates were embarrassed by "hillbilly" music.  It was only with reluctance that the snobbish class embraced the moniker "music city" when they realized it was the economic engine that drove tourism which drove the economy. So while the sophisticates, many of them transplants to our city, have accepted country music they would still like to rid Nashville of its southern, rural, and "redneck," image. Fairs, flea markets, and auto racing simply do not fit the image of what they want Nashville to be.

To read The Tennessean's report on the meeting see, Fairgrounds backers slam proposal for Nashville Major League Soccer stadium.

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What happened at the Oct 3rd, 2017 Council meeting: Home sharing ban fails, Columbus dishonored, ..

This is a long meeting. The most controversial bill is a bill to ban certain classes of short-term rental properties and it is deferred to January 2018/ To view the council agenda, the council staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda follow this link.

Boards and Commissions elections and confirmations
Two mayoral appointments to boards and commission are confirmed without dessent as is the norm.

Eight positions were  filled by Council elections. Two, were to seats on the Health and Educational Facilities Board. This board "is authorized to issue revenue bonds and loan the proceeds to finance the acquisition, construction, development, rehabilitation, and improvement of health, educational, and multifamily housing facilities. The types of eligible projects and borrowers are determined by State statute and include hospitals, universities, non-profit schools, and multifamily housing developers." Seats on boards that can issue bonds and control big chucks of money are highly prized. The candidates are Isaac Addae, Stephan Frohsin, Sarah Hannah, Saletta Holloway, Sean McGuire, Chris Moth, and Blake Wilson. Most people could care less who who serves on these boards and commissions but it is important to the political class. Council members are sometimes heavily lobbied to vote for one candidate or another to fill these positions. Serving on these boards is a valuable service to the city and enhances the prestige of those who serve. While I have heard of some of these people, I really do not know who they are and have no preference. The Council elects Issac Addae and Chris Moth.

Approved by acclamation Council members Mendez  and Cooper are selected to serve on the Audit Committee, Councilman Hager to serve on the Traffic and Parking Commission and Councilman Bedne to serve on the Planning Commission.

Public Hearing
Public Hearings on zoning matters starts at timestamp 24:20 in the video. I do not try to form an opinion on each zoning bill and watch the video at double speed. I may have missed something, so it if you care about zoning issue, you may want to watch the video yourself.  Most of the time the only people who care about zoning issues are those with a stake in getting the rezoning approved and any nearby neighbors who may be opposed. Below are the bills on public hearing that generated significant opposition or for some other reason I find of interest.

BILL BL2017-819 is an approved bill to chance the zoning from ORI to SP to allow a hotel to be build on the southwest corner of Poston Avenue and 29th Avenue North. This is property near Centennial Park. Several people speak against the bill. The major concerns are changing the character of the neighborhood, and traffic. At the request of the sponsor the bill is approved on second reading and third reading is deferred to the fist meeting in November. It passed on a roll call vote of 37 to 3. This hearing starts at about timestamp 24:25 in the video and ends at timestamp 59:43.

BILL BL2017-852 in Councilman Mary Carolyn Roberts district expands an Urban Zoning Overlay District by 1591 acres.  This is a huge expansion. This was previously on the agenda but deferred to this meeting. I thought it might generate controversy because it impacts such a large area but no one speaks on either side and it is approved.

BILL BL2017-885 is a bill approved with conditions, disapproved without by the Planning Commission. It would change from RS10 to SP the zoning on 52 acres in Councilman VanReece's district to allow up to 321 multi-family residential units and a mixed use development. Several people speak against it. It is approved on a voice vote.

BILL BL2017-891 is a bill approved with conditions, disapproved without by the Planning Commission. It would change from RS5 to SP zoning on properties located in Councilman Scott Davis' district to permit up to 158 multi-family residential units. It is approved on a voice vote.
Consideration of resolutions starts at timestamp 1:48:57 in the video. Most are routine and are lumped together and pass by a single vote on the "consent" agenda. A few are deferred one meeting. Below are the ones of interest:
RESOLUTION RS2017-902 authorizes the sale of up to $300 million of water and sewer revenue bonds.  It passes on consent. 
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RESOLUTION RS2017-907 requests the Second Monday in October be recognized as Indigenous People's Day. This is the same day as Columbus Day. If I served in the Council, I would not oppose a resolution calling for a day to honor American Indians on some other day of the year, but I find it offensive to declare it on Columbus day. I would have opposed this resolution.  When reading the agenda, it did not register with me that this day was Columbus day. To me, this resolution smacks of anti-Catholic, anti-Italian and anti-Western civilization bias. I see this as part of the liberal agenda that also advocates tearing down monuments and dishonoring American heritage. The vote on the resolution is YES: 26, NO: 5, ABSTAIN: 7 and  NOT VOTING: 2. To see who voted which way, follow this link. To see the discussion go to timestamp 2:04:05 in the video. No one speaks against the resolution. I wish one of those who voted against it would have spoke against it.
Bills on First Reading are all lumped together and pass by a single vote as is the norm, except for one bill which is substituted. First Reading simply gets bills introduced. They are not reviewed by committee until after First Reading.  

Bills on Second Reading. Below are the ones of interest:
BILL BL2017-870   declares a piece of school property as surplus. The value of this property is $3.4 million. Councilman Grover moves to amend this bill so that the proceeds from the sale be used to pay down metro schools debt. This certainly seems reasonable. Councilman Rosenberg argues against this. Councilman Mendez who is often perceived as a Council liberal but who is often fiscally responsible supports Councilman Grover's amendment.  The vote is 19 to 19 and the Vice Mayor has to break the tie and votes "no," so the amendment fails.This is very disappointing. Our council continues to pile up debt and has no interest in being responsible. The bill passes.
BILL BL2017-905 and BILL BL2017-906 would establish a a merit-based grant program for non-profits. Currently Metro gives lots of money to worthy non-profits but it seems there is no logic to who gets the money and who does not. Some agencies that get metro funds have had council members as their board members. This would establish a criteria for which organizations get grants. Bill 905 passes and since 906 does almost the same thing it is withdrawn. This is a positive development.

BILL BL2017-907  would exempt from the minimum distance requirements for off-sale beer permits those establishments that had on on-sale beer permit following approval of a council resolution. This seems reasonable. It passes.
Bills on Third Reading. Below are the ones of interest.
BILL NO. BL2017-608 is the bill that would phase out Short Term Rentals for all but  owner-occupied properties. This bill also does a lot else. Please see the staff analysis for details. For an explanation of the amendments watch the video.  A committee of the Council has been meeting on this issue for months and this bill was first introduced in February of this year. Several council members argue that an ad hoc committee of the Coucil has been meeting on this for months seeking a comprehensive solution to a perceived problem and that, that committee should be allowed to finish their work before this issue is addressed by the Council. Currently no "type 2" permits, which are permits for non-owner-occupied short-term rentals, are being issues, so deferring the bill will not hurt anything. There is concern that if the Council does something too radical, their action could be nullified by the State legislature. Concern is also expressed that if Type 2 short-term rentals are banned that the city will still be faced with an issue of those who rent their property short-term without having a permit. Enforcement of any ban is an issue. I oppose any ban on short-term rental. Many people have followed the rules and spend a lot of money to make their property available for shot-term rental. It is not fair to pull the rug out from under them. My view is that owners of property should have the same right to rent short-term as they do long-term. On the short street on which I live, there are several short-term rental properties and I have never had a problem with any on them. The short-term rental properties are good neighbors. There is a lot of repetitive arguments made on the bill and parliamentary maneuvering and in the end the bill is deferred until the first meeting in January. To view the lengthy discussion see timestamp 2:27:36 to 3:59:07.

BILL BL2017-719  in Councilman Scott Davis district is a rezoning bill disapproved by the Planning Commission. I have no opinion on the merits of the bill but it is of interest because it is a disapproved bill and takes 27 votes to pass. It fails by a vote of 13 to 20.

SUBSTITUTE BILL BL2017-801 would require a report from the Department of Public Works regarding obstructions or excavations which close or occupy any portion of the public right of way for a period in excess of six (6) months. This substitute makes the bill less strong or imposes less red tape than did the version before substituted. Not a bad bill as it now stands. It passes.

BILL BL2017-867 would strengthen the hand of the government in punishing those with overgrown lots  and BILL BL2017-868  would strengthen the hand of government in punishing those who repeatedly violate property standards laws. Both pass.

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Friday, October 06, 2017

Mark Green, MD, Announces Run for U.S. Congress

Tennesseans are hungry for results, not the D.C. status quo

Press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 5, 2017) – Today, Mark Green, MD, formally announces his candidacy to represent the 7th District of Tennessee in the U.S. Congress.

“Stunningly, Tennesseans have witnessed no results from Congress on the 278th day of 2017 after years of promises to repeal Obamacare, lower taxes, secure our borders and end illegal immigration, and restore our military to confront the challenges of this century like Iran,” stated Green, a decorated U.S. Army veteran and businessman.  “When Republicans hold the majorities in Congress, it’s time to lead, not have more committee hearings and protect special interests.  The time for appeasement is over.”

Elected to the State Senate in 2012, Mark Green was nominated earlier this year by President Donald Trump to serve our nation as Secretary of the Army, before withdrawing due to obstruction from Senate Democrats. Green will appear on the August 2, 2018 GOP primary ballot to serve as the Republican nominee for the 7th congressional district.

“Tennesseans living in the 7th district have grown to expect the effective, conservative representation of Congressman Marsha Blackburn. As a proven conservative fighter, I am ready to earn the trust of the voters and take my values and leadership to the United States Congress,” noted Green. First elected in 2002, Congressman Marsha Blackburn announced her campaign for United States Senate earlier today. 

A resident of the 7th congressional district since 2002 when the army moved Mark and his wife Camilla to Clarksville with their two children, Alexa and Mitchell, Green recently sold his Clarksville-based healthcare company founded in 2007 that has grown to $200 million in annual revenues. In the State Senate, he has served as lead sponsor of the Hall Income Tax elimination bill, sponsored the Teachers’ Bill of Rights and numerous veteran and small business support bills, and worked against the expansion of Obamacare by passing a health savings account pilot program. A graduate of West Point, Green has served our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan and is the recipient of a Bronze Star and Air Medal with V device for valor under enemy fire. 

For a detailed biography of Senator Mark Green, visit

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Democratic Nashville businessman Bill Freeman won't seek Corker seat

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Nashville MLS stadium plan raises questions over 10-acre private development

by Joey Garrison, USA Today Network - Tennessee - ......

Inclusion of development caught some council members off guard

Council members John Cooper, Jeremy Elrod and Davette Blalock each pressed the administration for more information about the development — and justification for it — during the mayor’s kick-off presentation of the project Monday. 

Its inclusion comes as Barry has received pushback over a similar concept: a proposal to contract a private development team to redevelop the Metro-owned Greer Stadium property into a mix of creative space, housing, retail and green space called Cloud Hill.

“I was surprised,” Elrod said. “I thought this was a soccer stadium deal — and then we’ve got a whole housing/private development component to a fairgrounds revitalization that I didn’t think would be coming.

“It’s to help them make this endeavor more profitable for them, and that’s giving me heartburn,” he added. “I thought we were building an MLS stadium out of wanting to a get a team here and not necessarily to help the team owners make more money.” 
Under Barry’s stadium financing plan, Metro would issue up to $225 million in revenue bonds for the stadium and an additional $25 million in general obligation bonds for upgrades to the fairgrounds infrastructure, including streetscape work and new buildings to replace dilapidated structures that would be torn down. (link)

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State Sen. Mark Green to run for congressional seat U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn is vacating

by Joel Ebert and Jordan Buie, The Tennessean - Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green will run for Congress, reversing a previous decision not to seek higher office this year in light of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn's own run for the U.S. Senate.  

"As a proven conservative fighter, I am ready to earn the trust of the voters and take my values and leadership to the United States Congress," Green said in a statement.

Green said he was surprised by the lack of results in a GOP-led Congress, especially given the party's promises of repealing the Affordable Care Act, lower taxes and addressing immigration.

"When Republicans hold majorities in Congress, it's time to lead, not have more committee hearings and protect special interests. The time for appeasement is over."

Green's entry came moments after Blackburn announced her Senate run Thursday. Both decisions came after Gov. Bill Haslam released a statement saying he will not run for Senate in 2018. (read more)

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US Rep Marsha Blackburn launches Senate bid

by Joel Ebert, USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee - U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is entering the 2018 U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker, ending a week's worth of speculation and immediately catapulting her to front-runner status as others consider launching their own bids.

 In an online video released Thursday, Blackburn touted her conservative credentials while in Congress and the Tennessee legislature and her support for President Donald Trump and his policies. 

Calling the U.S. Senate dysfunctional and "enough to drive you nuts," the Brentwood, Tenn. Republican says that ineffectiveness is why she's decided to enter the race. (read more)

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US Rep Marsha Blackburn: Why I'm running.

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Thursday, October 05, 2017

Gov. Haslam Not Running For Corker's Senate Seat

Channel Five reports, Gov. Haslam Not Running For Corker's Senate Seat.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

What is in the proposed tax reform

Lower Rates for Individuals and Families 
The framework shrinks the current seven tax brackets into three – 12%, 25% and 35% – with the potential for an additional top rate for the highest-income taxpayers to ensure that the wealthy do not contribute a lower share of taxes paid than they do today.

Doubles the Standard Deduction and Enhances the Child Tax Credit
The f ramework roughly doubles the standard deduction so that typical middle-class families will keep more of their paycheck. It also significantly increases the Child Tax Credit.

Eliminates Loopholes for the Wealthy, Protects Bed rock Provisions for Middle Class 
To provide simplicity and fairness the framework eliminates many itemized deductions that are primarily used by the wealthy, but retains tax incentives for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions, as well as tax incentives for work, higher education, and retirement security.

Repeals the Death Tax and Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
The framework repeals the unfair Death Tax and substantially simplifies the tax code by repealing the existing individual AMT, which requires taxpayers to do their taxes twice.

Creates a New Lower Tax Rate and Structure for Small Businesses
The framework limits the maximum tax rate for small and family-owned businesses to 25% - significantly lower than the top rate that these businesses pay today.

To Create Jobs and Promote Competitiveness, Lowers the Corporate Tax Rate
So that America can compete on level playing field, the framework reduces the corporate tax rate to 20% – below the 22.5% average of the industrialized world.

To Boost the Economy, Allows “Expensing” of Capital Investments
The framework allows, for at least five years, businesses to immediately write off (or “expense”) the cost of new investments, giving a much-needed lift to the economy.

Moves to an American Model for Competitiveness
The framework ends the perverse incentive to offshore jobs and keep foreign profits overseas. It levels the playing field for American companies and workers.

Brings Profits Back Home 
The framework brings home profits by imposing a one-time, low tax rate on wealth that has already accumulated overseas so there is no tax incentive to keeping the money offshore.

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Monday, October 02, 2017


From  Friends of the Fairgrounds:


We all love our Fairgrounds and know at one time it was the premier place to go for events and things to do:  The Cascades, Fair Park, batting cages, miniature golf and State Fair to name a few.  And we all have voiced our concerns over the years in wanting it to keep it and making it great again. YOU voted in 2011 and sent a strong voice to the Mayor and Council.

As you have heard in the news recently, there are several planned renovations and new venues possible for the property to improve it. BUT, we need your voice to be heard again and here is why below.​

There will be a public meeting on Thursday, October 5th at 6:00 pm at the Fairgrounds in the Creative Arts Building that will be VERY important to attend with your RED SHIRTS.  The proposed 'Fair Park' and MLS Stadium - using approximately 45 acres of the fairgrounds to provide seven (7) soccer fields, as well as a professional soccer stadium which will use 10 acres - will change the course of the fairgrounds and may possibly violate the Metro Charter and impede the existing uses of the facility and ultimately result in the demise of the existing uses: Flea Market, race track and State Fair.

Attending this meeting is imperative to listen to the proposal and voice your concerns about the park & stadium.  All activities that happen on the fairgrounds is to generate revenue to have a State Fair each year.  Taking away land will impact this and it could move away from the facility, causing more issues and possibly lose the property completely based on the Private Acts of 1923.
PLEASE ATTEND THIS MEETING AND WEAR RED and SPREAD THE WORD by sharing this email! Come early to get a seat to show your RED and support - Thank you for your continued support!

Thank you! / Friends of the

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Ten books every conservative should read

Gene Wisdom
by Gene Wisdom - As a conservative reader and student of this outlook called conservatism I have developed a passion for helping others to “turn that light on”, to make that discovery of a set of ideas that would bring them perfect understanding, intellectual nirvana, of our political world.  No, no, not a grasp of political strategy and the correct stance between RINO’s and Tea Partiers, and how insiders operate.  Not even a policy guide presenting a checklist of the issues important for conservative voters. 

No, I’ve long believed that as conservatives we need, we require, a better understanding of the grounds beneath our positions.  Because I believe that conservatives are rooted both in the truth and in the knowledge that there is truth, we should hunger for it to feed our minds, to secure us to the ground and thereby protect ourselves from liberal flights of fancy.

So my friend Rod Williams tasked me to do what I’ve been tumbling around in my head for several years: present a list of the top ten books for conservatives.  I’ve got to admit, I had to kind of round out the group as the first three or so were automatic, works that I have been repeatedly sharing on Facebook and with friends, urging “Conservatives, you must read this!” 

Number one, then, is the one I have probably most worn a groove in my Facebook timeline with, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, by George H. Nash.  It is no exaggeration to declare that it is the place to start for anyone who wants to understand conservatism and who seeks to grasp the roots and foundations of modern conservative thought.  Nash explores the three-legged stool of conservatism: libertarianism, traditionalism, and anti-Communism.  And no, these legs aren’t simply marijuana legalization, the Christian right, and kill-a-commie-for-mommy.  He examines the postwar thinkers behind each of those elements and those, like William F. Buckley, who sought to bring their often disparate ideas together into a movement. 

Another standout is the second one on my list, James Burnham’s Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism.  While I believe that conservatives must be grounded in conservatism as a set of ideas and must understand their philosophical history and roots, I am convinced that we should no less seek to understand our opponent in the realm of ideas, modern liberalism.  Burnham investigates key areas such as the liberal’s view of human nature, the liberal order of values, their attachment to universalism and internationalism, their devotion to equality, and their sense of guilt.  If we do not understand the bases of their beliefs we WILL NOT understand where they seek to go.  To take us. 

A particular longstanding favorite is Men and Marriage, by George Gilder, described back in the day as Ronald Reagan’s “intellectual guru” for his landmark book, Wealth and Poverty.  For me, a key insight is Gilder’s exploration of the fact that marriage civilizes men.  He argues that single men are the bane of civilization for the destructive—and self-destructive—influences and impulses they wield in society. 

A companion that must be mentioned with Gilder’s work is Charles Murray’s blockbuster Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980.  This book is often credited as being the inspiration behind the “Clinton welfare reform” (actually the Republican welfare reform that Clinton vetoed several times before finally signing it) and its premise is that welfare policy has been a miserable failure, that the War on Poverty became instead a war on families.  He builds on Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s insight from two decades earlier, that the War on Poverty contributed to the dissolution of black families in the United States and was beginning to have the same impact on white families while expanding its destruction to blacks.  By the way, Murray carries forward and expands his contributions in his recent Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010. 

Because it embodies so many of the truths of conservatism our American Constitution is rightfully honored by people of various stripes on the Right and it embodies both the love of liberty and the rich history and tradition of our British forbears.  In order to understand its principles and protections we properly look to the period of its writing to understand the Framers.  In my opinion, one of the best sources on the struggle to ratify the Constitution, a controversy which should shape how we view its provisions, is Library of America’s two-volume, The Debate on the Constitution, a collection of both Federalist and anti-Federalist arguments, for and against the Constitution, including several of Publius’s writings in The Federalist Papers.  Here I’ll throw in what I believe is another indispensable read and a reference.  In my opinion, many conservatives and liberals err in understanding what our Founders were seeking to hammer out, misunderstanding that could be allayed by simply reading James Madison’s Notes on the Convention.  James Madison was present every day of the Federal Convention and took copious notes of the proposals, debates, and votes.  A reference that belongs on the shelves of every student of the Constitution is Liberty Fund’s The Founders Constitution, a 5-volume oversize collection of writings that both informed the Founders and contemporary understandings, and does so, clause by clause for the Constitution and the first twelve amendments. 

Rounding out the gotta have’s is a primer, and so a placeholder for an explication of its principles, Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt, that timeless work on free-market economics.  We all laugh about how little liberals understand about the basics of economics.  But how much do we know?  One of the three legs of the conservative stool, as Nash detailed, is libertarianism.  And there is nothing in libertarianism that is built on so rigorous and studied a system as the principles of the Austrian school economics, developed by Carl Menger, Eugen Bohm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, and Friedrich Hayek.  Modern libertarianism has degenerated, due to some unfortunate influences from the 60’s, into a hippie “if it feels good, do it and keep the government’s hands off me” and has largely left behind these pillars.  I doubt if more than a handful of my libertarian friends has read one of those classics, even Hazlitt’s introduction. 

And, speaking of Hayek and being forgotten by modern libertarians.  Another work that merits top-shelf consideration for any conservative is Hayek’s The Mirage of Social Justice, which is the second volume of his 3-volume Law, Legislation, and Liberty.  The centrality of that concept in the lexicon of modern liberalism (and thereby into modern political policy discussions) merits the place of this work for modern conservatives.  Hayek lays bare the utter meaninglessness of the concept and crumbles one of modern liberalism’s fundamentals.  Not a small contribution from someone who in another essay explained “Why I Am Not a Conservative” and contributed so many other major works to our understanding, including The Road to Serfdom, The Constitution of Liberty, and The Counter-Revolution of Science. 

The attack of the cultural Left on morality and Western civilization has required the shoring up of our philosophical foundations.  This became clear to me as I began to explore natural law (Thomas Jefferson’s “laws of nature and of nature’s God”) as the underpinning, the philosophical roots, of conservatism, of society.  For myself, that study began with the reading of Heinrich Rommen’s The Natural Law, which provided a basic understanding of both the concept and its philosophical history.  This opened the door to such modern natural law scholars as Robert George (whom the New York Times called America’s “most influential conservative Christian thinker”), J. Budziszewski, and Hadley Arkes.  Start with Rommen, though. 

The next book is really more of a genre than a single work.  And I almost left it out of this listing.  One of the three legs of the conservative stool identified by George Nash is anti-Communism.  As an element of the movement it was the unifier that often bridged the warring divide between libertarians and traditionalists.  There is a long list of go-to books for understanding the subversive influence of Communism in America.  The first two I would suggest are legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s Masters of Deceit and You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists) by the Founder of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, Frederick Schwarz.  One corrective to the historical smears that make up liberal revisionism is Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case by Allen Weinstein.  In this blockbuster, Weinstein set out to prove Alger Hiss was not a Soviet spy and wound up making the definitive case for Hiss’s guilt. Another is Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies, by M. Stanton Evans, an icon of the conservative movement.  There are easily a dozen other books that recommend themselves in this area. 

The reason I almost left these in history’s dustbin is that modern conservatives have seemingly forgotten that there is true evil in the modern world.  The evil of Communism is one of the “gifts of the Left” and is part of the poisoned progeny of Jean Jacques Rousseau.  It is therefore the ideological cousin of modern liberalism and that kinship explains why Burnham in Suicide of the West found that, for modern liberalism, there are no enemies to the Left.  While Communists were often contemptuous of their cousins as “useful idiots”, liberals seem to have a warm spot in their hearts for their murderous kin.  I also fear that modern libertarianism shares some traits with liberalism, viz, a belief that human nature is good, an attachment to rationalism over traditionalism, and the hyper-rationalists’ over-confidence in the ability to remake society on these bases. 

As starting points for a couple of social conservative issues (issues because the Left’s agenda has forced them on us and not even through democratic means), the best place to start, to learn the best grounding for the pro-life/anti-abortion position is Francis Beckwith’s Politically Correct Death: Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights.  Though the title is rather emotionally-charged this book lays out in very clear and logical terms the scientific/medical arguments against abortion.  A close second in this category is The Moral Question of Abortion by Stephen Schwarz. 

The other issue of the day for social conservatives is of course the attack on the institution of marriage posed by the push to legitimize same-sex marriage.  While there are other works on this subject, the author to look for is Ryan Anderson, who has become the go-to expert in presenting these arguments for preserving this core institution of Western civilization.  Anderson was a force of one around the country and often cited, including by Justice Alito in his dissent in the recent Obergefell v. Hodges U.S. Supreme Court decision, by proponents of preserving this institution.  Anderson’s first book on this issue, as one of three co-authors, was What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, which began as an article for The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, a Federalist Society online publication.  His second is a compelling critique of that decision, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, which explores the ramifications for our First Amendment liberties. 

OK, like the dessert list, I couldn’t limit myself.  There are probably a few more than ten above but I believe they make a good starting point for anyone seeking to better understand the political thought of the Right.  As I suggested earlier, there are different elements of conservatism and in fact it can be broken down further than the three listed in Nash’s history.  And neoconservatism and the New Right were barely making their appearance when his book first appeared and so he added them in a later edition.  

Gene Wisdom is an Alabama native but has lived in the Nashville area since 2007. He, his wife Vicki, and their dog Savannah live near Nolensville.  Gene is a conservative activist and leads the Conservative Fusion Book Club.

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Sunday, October 01, 2017

Unemployment rates have decreased in all 95 TN counties

Unemployment rates have decreased in all 95 TN counties

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When we have socialized medicine, you can thank Rand Paul

Image result for Rand Paul
Senator Rand Paul
The Graham-Cassidy health-care bill is the last chance to replace Obamacare this year and probably the last chance ever. Several things make that so.  Graham-Cassidy can be passed under budget reconciliation and it will take only 50 votes to pass but after September 30th that option will no longer be available until this time next year.  There are a couple other reasons why the time is now or never to replace Obamacare. One, if not replaced now it will become more entrenched. People do not like change, even change for the better. Also, it has become an accepted value among most people that those with preexisting conditions should not be denied coverage. The longer Obmacare is around the more people are going to be hesitant to support anything that may even possibly appear to threaten that precept.

The other reason is that Republicans will probably be weaker in the future.  If Republicans do not replace Obamacare, then many Republicans are going to be disgusted at Republicans for not doing what they promised they would do and may just sit out the next couple elections or they may vote but not otherwise engage in working in a candidate's campaign or contributing money.  On the other hand, Democrats are going to be motivated and energized to defeat Republicans and protect Obamacare.

But Obamacare is imploding, some will say, and after it implodes we can then repeal it.  I wouldn't bet on it. Certainly, Obamacare has problems. Premiums are skyrocketing and many places in the county only have one company to choose from when shopping for health insurance.  Many people have insurance but not healthcare.  Deductibles are so high that many people cannot afford to use their insurance.

Dissatisfaction with Obamacare will grow over time, but I don't think that will necessarily bode well for those of us who want to see market-oriented reform. While there are Republican proposals that could improve healthcare, Republicans have not articulated them very well and Republicans have not even advocated what it would take to have a real market for health insurance.  To have a real market in health insurance, the premium deduction needs to shift from the employer to the individual. Most people are content with employer-provided insurance, so instead of real reform, Republicans offer tweaking the pre-Obamacare status quo rather than a real alternative. When Obamacare continues to fail, instead of market-oriented reform, I think we will see a move toward a complete government take over. Socialized medicine, single-payer, or "medicare for all" is in our future unless we steer policy in a different direction.

While Graham-Cassidy is not perfect and keeps in place many of the Obamacare taxes it is an improvement.  While I never did fully understand "skinny repeal," I can understand Graham-Cassidy. It is Federalism.  It would replace the top-down, one-sized-fits-all Washington approach to an approach that allows states to experiment and innovate. Sure, it would still be a government program but it would send the money back to the states and allow states to seek waivers to experiment to design their own programs, while ensuring that preexisting conditions continue to be covered. 

It would do away with the individual and employer mandates. It would end the medical-devises tax and it would also slow the rate of growth of Medicare. It would allow states to opt out of Obamacare’s “essential health benefits.” If a state wanted to allow insurance companies to offer policies that did not include prenatal care and child birth coverage, states could do so. Some women who plan on having no more children or who can't have children or some men may not want to pay for a policy that includes prenatal care. Some teetotalers may not want to pay extra for a policy that offers alcohol treatment benefits.

The Republicans look like they are one vote short of having enough votes to pass Graham-Cassidy. One "no" vote is liberal Susan Collins and another is Rand Paul.  I really didn't expect to get Collins' vote, but am disappointing in Paul.  If Graham-Cassidy passes, in some liberal states, state action may impose an individual mandate and an employer mandate and add to the federal subsidy for premium support. California might even want to mandate that polices cover gender reassignment treatment. Some states will have a health care system more liberal than Obamacare while other states may experiment with more market-oriented reforms. In any event the push for change will be at the state level.  If Graham-Cassidy does not pass, the forces favoring "medicare for all" will focus on a national policy change. The public pressure will be for more government; not less.

I know Rand Paul is a principled person, but I don't think a principled person has to reject the good because it is not the perfect.  I think a principled person can ask the question, does this move in the direction I want to go or further away from where I want to go.  A principle person can vote for the imperfect because it is better than what we have now. If Graham-Cassidy does not pass, I think we have socialized medicine, single-payer, in our future. In the future, when Medicare-for-all has become the law of the land, those who favor it can thank Rand Paul.

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