Saturday, January 16, 2021

Please, No Capitol protest says local pro-Trump leader

by Rod Williams - Rick Williams, a friend of mine and well-know conservative political leader and the organizer of many Trump rallies in the middle Tennessee area, is urging his followers to abstain from any protest for the next seven days.  Without mentioning the capitol protest by name, it is assumed than any pro-Trump protest on inauguration day would take place at the capitol building.  The legislative plaza in front of the Tennessee capitol has been the scene of several pro-Trump rallies since the election. Nationwide, numerous protest are reportedly planned at state capitol buildings. I am pleased to see responsible statement from Rick.  Below is a Facebook posting from Rick Williams.

The Metro Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol have  urged "Nashvillians to enjoy the upcoming weekend and inauguration week as normal, while being mindful of the POTENTIAL for demonstrations in the area of the State Capitol Sunday thru inauguration day." Here is a message from Chief Drake and Col Matt Perry.

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Metro Budget 101 Series

Metro Nashville press release - Councilmembers Kyonztè Toombs (Chair) and Delishia Porterfield (Vice-Chair) of the Metro Budget and Finance Committee, will be hosting a virtual Metro Budget 101 Series over the next few months. The sessions, beginning at 6 p.m., will provide transparency and education for the general public concerning Metro Nashville Davidson County's revenues, finances, and the budget process. Questions from the public may be submitted to by 5 p.m. on the day before the session. All questions must be on-topic. 

How the City Gets Money 
  • November 19, 2020 - Property Taxes: Assessor of Property Vivian Wilhoite, Trustee Erica Gilmore (Join November 19 meeting) 
  • December 3, 2020 - Sales Taxes: What about Downtown Revenue? Councilmember At-Large Bob Mendes (Join December 3 meeting) 
  • December 17, 2020 - City/State Revenue: Finance Director Kevin Crumbo and State Rep. Harold Love (Join December 17 meeting) 
How the City Spends Money 
  • January 7, 2021 - Metro Nashville Public Schools (Join January 7 meeting) School Board Member Freda Player-Peters Chief Operating and Financial Officer Chris Henson 
  • January 14, 2021 - Metro Public Works and Metro Parks Departments (Join January 14 meeting) Public Works Interim Director Shanna Whitelaw Metro Parks Director Monique Odom 
  • January 21, 2021 - Nashville General Hospital (Join January 21 meeting) 
  • January 28, 2021 - Public Safety (Metro Nashville Police Department, Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office) (Join January 28 meeting) Community Panel Discussions 
  • February 4, 2021 - Community Panel Discussion (Join February 4 meeting) 
  • February 11, 2021 - Expert Panel Discussion (Join February 11 meeting) 
  • February 18, 2021 - How the Budget Process works (Join February 18 meeting) 
  • February 25, 2021 - Participatory Budget (Join February 25 meeting) Councilmember At-Large Zulfat Suara
This series of sessions will provide helpful information, and I hope you will participate as we work through this upcoming 2021 budget year. The schedule will be updated as speakers are confirmed. Members of the public may watch the following meetings live online at, and Metro Nashville and Davidson County residents can view Metro Nashville Network on Comcast channel 3, AT&T U-verse channel 99, Google Fiber channel 3, and streaming on the Metro Nashville Network Roku channel.

Rod's Comment: This should be informative for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of metro's finances.  It appears to me the groundwork is being laid for another tax hike on top of last year's massive tax hike.  For anyone who wants to be able to talk intelligently about the budget, I would recommend these sessions. 

The above press release had dead-end links for joining the specific meeting.  I would assume the links will be activated closer to the dates of the meeting.  To view the press release with the links for joining the individual sessions, follow this link

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Lawmakers reelect Tennessee secretary of state Tre Hargett despite objection from some Democrats


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My advice to the new Mayor Cooper appointed Affordable Housing Task Force

by Rod Williams - Mayor Cooper has appointed a new affordable housing task force to make recommendation to the mayor for the 2022 fiscal year budget.  I don't think one would be stepping out on a limb to bet that they will recommend a considerable increase in spending on affordable housing.  Unfortunately, it appears to me, the ground work is being laid for an additional tax increase on top of this year's 32% tax hike. 

From years of working in the affordable housing field, I know some of the people on the task force such as Kay Bowers, Eddie Latimer and Lethia Mann.  They are good people and have valuable insight into the difficulties faced in developing affordable housing.  Most of the task force I do not know but know of them. 

I would like to take this opportunity to offer some advice to the task force.

Realize that as a Metropolitan area is more than Davidson County. The metro area is a 13-county area. To find affordable housing one may need to go to Burns or Watertown or Bethpage.  And, that is OK. This is normal.  Nashville is a hot market with more people moving here by the day.  When the city offers incentives to entice businesses to move here or if businesses move here without incentives because we are a desirable place to be, that drives up prices.  That especially drives up prices when the businesses we entice to move hear provide good paying jobs.  People who make more money are going to pay more for housing and lower valued housing will be replaced by more expensive housing. The areas closer to the city center are going to be more valuable, so people who cannot afford the higher prices may need to move further out. Actually some people prefer the suburbs and do not mind the commute. Look at affordability of greater Nashville, not just Davidson County.

Realize that the greatest cause of the loss of affordable housing is simply supply and demand. While the city could set aside money to build some affordable housing, it will be a drop in the bucket as far as making any significant difference. What is happening in Nashville is a natural process.  When there is more demand for something the price goes up.

Acknowledge that single-family-only zoning restricts supply and drives up prices while also contributing to urban sprawl. At one time Nashville's zoning code allowed duplexes in every residential neighborhood.  At some point a new classification was created that allowed neighborhoods to be zoned to prohibit duplexes.  Almost every months, big swaths of  the county are zoned to prohibit duplexes.  Decreasing housing density decreases supply and causes increased housing prices.  New rezoning to single-family-only should end. 

Stand up to those who stop the development of affordable housing.  There is a lot of pious hypocrisy on the part of councilmembers who claim to favor affordable housing but don't want it in their district and also on the part of affordable housing advocates who won 't advocate.  Look no further than the long drawn out fight to stop an affordable housing apartment development called The Ridge at Antioch.  The property was already zoned to allow this development, but the Council person from the district and an adjoining district tried to down zone the property. Down zoning is a taking of property. Property rights are more than holding title. If the government takes away the right to develop the property that you already possess, that is a taking of your property. Eventually, the attempt was unsuccessful. The builder could not develop the property with this hanging over his head however, so for two years the project was delayed. I don't think the property was ever developed. The Council members fighting to stop this development argued they did not oppose housing development on the property but argued their part of town already had too much affordable housing. Also, neighbors filed a law suit to stop the development but were unsuccessful. This was not "the projects," it was a "tax credit" development. It was an apartment complex that no one would have known was subsidized housing. This "not in my back yard" attitude and willingness to trample property rights is one of the reasons for a shortage of affordable housing. 

Recognize that raising property taxes makes housing less affordable.  This is a simple fact.  

Look at how our sidewalk policy inhibits development of affordable housing.  If one builds a home or substantially improves a home in Davidson County one has to build a sidewalk in front of the house, even if there are no other sidewalks on the street,  or pay a fee into the sidewalk fund.  Sidewalks are extremely expensive to build in Davidson County and this policy can add thousands of dollars to the cost of a property.

We should allow mobile homes and modular homes.  It is almost impossible to build a mobile home park in Davidson County and mobile homes can greatly increase the supply of affordable housing. 

Be aware that beautifying low income neighborhoods destroys affordable housing.  The city  drives up housing prices by policies that beautify low income neighborhoods. I wish everyone could live on a beautiful street with a park-like setting, but neighborhoods with low income housing are going to look different than neighborhoods with expensive housing. Rules that restrict the type of commercial services that can be on a thoroughfare such as restricting the number of used car lots and used tire stores and requiring nice screening and disallowing payday lenders, changes the character of a neighborhood. It makes the thoroughfare more attractive to higher income people and the affordable housing gets replaced by more expensive housing.  The city has a plan to change the character of Dickerson Pike.  When that happens the mobile home parks and cheap rental housing will disappear.  Thousands of units of affordable housing will disappear. 

Below is the press release announcing the creation of the housing task force. 

Mayor John Cooper Launches Affordable Housing Task Force

Group Will Focus on Policy, Access, Financing, Land Use

Metro press release, 1/12/2021 - Mayor John Cooper today announced he’ll engage 21 housing experts in his mission to create better and more affordable housing for Nashville.

The group will meet on Thursday, January 21. Their recommendations will inform the 2022 fiscal year budget plan that Mayor John Cooper will make later this year to Metro Council.

“Nashville’s housing needs are urgent,” Mayor John Cooper said. “By working together and listening to one another, we can find solutions that work best for Nashville’s neighborhoods.”

The Task Ahead

Mayor John Cooper’s team, as well as the Metro Planning Department, the Metro Development and Housing Authority (MDHA) and other city agencies will support the task force as they focus on:


  • How can Nashville preserve and create affordable housing that benefits all residents at different income levels?
  • How can the city tie affordable housing to other community investments, such as transportation, libraries and schools?
  • How can nonprofit organizations better align their efforts and develop stronger relationships with for-profit builders?


  • How can Metro make it easier for Nashvillians who need affordable housing to get it?


  • What tools are missing from Nashville’s affordable housing “tool box?”
  • What requests should Nashville make to state and federal partners? What has worked in other cities?

Land Use

  • What policies can help residents remain in their neighborhoods, even as those neighborhoods change?

“With their extensive experience and deep expertise, this group will identify creative, cost-effective financing options and policies to help Nashville meet its growing housing needs,” Mayor John Cooper said.

Doing the Work, Transparently and Inclusively

The task force will meet virtually at 5 p.m. on January 21. Recordings of all task force meetings will be posted to

Mayor John Cooper has asked the group to make recommendations on how to track the creation of affordable housing units, in keeping with his commitment to transparency.

“This task force represents an important step toward meeting Nashville’s pressing housing needs,” Metro Council Member Burkley Allen said. Allen and Metro Council Member Zulfat Suara will serve on the task force.

“I look forward to working with my colleague, Council Member Suara, and with the other members of this task force to make recommendations to Mayor Cooper and the Metro Council,” Allen said.

As they hear from counterparts in peer cities, task force members will also work with residents who have lived experiences to share about what it’s like to need, seek and find affordable housing in Nashville.

“Nashvillians need help,” Kay Bowers, an MDHA board member, said. Bowers will serve on the task force.

“I’m pleased to be part of a diverse group with the skills, knowledge, and, most of all, commitment to find real solutions to our urgent housing affordability problems,” Bowers said. “I could not be more pleased that Mayor Cooper has recognized that now is the time for Nashville to act.”  

Meet Mayor John Cooper’s Affordable Housing Task Force

Mick Nelson, founder and CEO of Nelson Community Partners, and Edward Henley, III, principal and project executive at Pillars Development, LLC, will co-chair the task force.

“Nashville’s housing needs are critical. Mayor Cooper has assembled a group with the experience and the expertise to identify meaningful solutions to those challenges,” Henley said. “I am eager to get to work and excited by the impact we will make.”

Edward Henley, III
  • Founding Principal, Pillars Development
  • Board Chair, Rebuilding Together
  • Task Force Co-Chair

Mr. Henley is the Founding Principal of Pillars Development, a Nashville- based real estate planning, development, and management firm. His passion is development that brings housing and commercial uses to fruition that better serve communities. His areas of focus currently are in furthering civic and cultural projects, increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in real estate development, and creating resources of information, networking and capital for new and nontraditional investors and developers.

Mick Nelson
  • Founder and CEO, Nelson Community Partners
  • Task Force Co-Chair

Dr. Nelson is founder of Nelson Community Partners, a firm that develops, preserves, and manages affordable housing throughout the southeast. He earned his doctorate from Vanderbilt University, where he focused on affordable housing policy, real estate analysis, and urban development patterns. Mick has been an integral member of the Nashville housing community for more than 15 years, assisting in establishing the Barnes Fund and working at the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency in research, strategy, and asset management. 

Edubina Arce

Agent, Realty of America

Ms. Arce has a long history of an involvement in real estate and civic engagement with the Latinx community. A trained attorney with a Master in Conflict Management, Ms. Arce has worked as a realtor for the past 18 years. From 2010 to 2016, she served as the Bilingual Mediation Program Director for the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center, where among other responsibilities she managed the group´s relationship with Catholic Charities and the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. She holds degrees from the Catholic University of Bogotá, Colombia, Externado University in Bogotá, and Lipscomb University. 

Burkley Allen

At-Large Member and Former Affordable Housing Committee Chair, Metro Council

Ms. Allen is a senior mechanical engineer at IC Thomasson Associates, where she assists with the design of LEED-certified buildings and infrastructure planning. A nine-year veteran of Metro government, Ms. Allen has sponsored legislation to improve stormwater regulations in neighborhoods, protect sidewalk and bikeway access in construction zones, and provide solutions to our housing affordability challenges.

Emel Alexander

Director of Community Development, MDHA

Mr. Alexander is the Director of Community Development at the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. In this role, Mr. Alexander is responsible for overseeing HUD federal funding appropriated to alleviate homelessness, revitalize neighborhoods and develop high-quality, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families living in Nashville-Davidson County. Mr. Alexander oversees the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, HOME Investment Partnerships program, Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). Additionally, Mr. Alexander oversees CDBG Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding and HUD funding allocated through the CARES Act legislation to respond to the COVID-dway19 pandemic. Before joining MDHA, Mr. Alexander was the President and CEO of an awarded housing and community development agency in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he led the production of new affordable housing, community development programming, and vital public and private partnerships. Mr. Alexander has 20 years of additional professional experience working within government and nonprofit sectors.

Dwayne Barrett

Managing Member, Reno & Cavanaugh, PLLC

Mr. Barrett is the Managing Member of Reno & Cavanaugh. In his role as Managing Member, Dwayne leads the firm's management committee in strategic planning, firm administration, and practice development. Dwayne has a broad range of transactional experience on issues relating to affordable housing and federal and state tax issues, including: low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) developments, TN community investment tax credits (CITC), tax-exempt bond financing, tax increment financing, Affordable Housing Program (AHP) Funds, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, HOME funds, and mixed-finance transactions. His experience also includes drafting state legislation, structuring numerous joint ventures, and appeals of property tax matters.

Kay Bowers
  • Former Director at New Level CDC
  • Board Member, MDHA

Ms. Bowers has more than 25 years of executive experience with affordable housing organizations. She previously served as the executive director of New Level Community Development Corp., an affordable housing organization affiliated with Mount Zion Baptist Church that builds, sells, and rents affordable homes, as well as providing comprehensive housing services.  

Greg Claxton

Metro Planning Department

Mr. Claxton joined the Planning Department in 2012 as a Community Planner working on NashvilleNext. In 2016, he began leading the department’s Capital Planning and Grants team, focusing on aligning Nashville’s capital improvements and implementation efforts with the General Plan. In addition to serving as a Commission member, Claxton will help support the task force’s data needs.

Dr. Paulette Coleman
  • Board Member, MDHA
  • Member, NOAH

Dr. Coleman is one of Nashville’s leading social justice activists, a certified mediator, and an experienced urban planner. From 2014 to 2019, she chaired the Affordable Housing Task Force of Nashville Organized for Action and Hope, a multi-racial, interdenominational, and faith-based coalition that works for solutions to Nashville’s growing affordable housing crisis.

Marshall Crawford

President and CEO, The Housing Fund

Mr. Crawford is an experienced nonprofit executive and shares THF’s commitment to help individuals and communities create and maintain affordable and healthy places to live and work. As the President and CEO, his responsibilities include organization leadership and management, strategic planning, resource development, management of loan portfolio and lending operations and community external relations. Prior to The Housing Fund, Crawford served as the president of the housing and multifamily development division of  Community Ventures Corp. in Lexington, Kentucky.

John Deane


Mr. Deane is a healthcare-entrepreneur-turned-resort/marina owner. In 1998, he established Southwind Health Partners, a health consulting firm, out of his home in Nashville. Over the course of the following 20 years, it grew into one of the country’s foremost health consulting companies. Today, John divides his time between managing Wildwood Resort & Marina in Granville, Tenn., and being active in a number of civic and social justice organizations, including Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH).  

Gina Emmanuel
  • Principal, Centric Architecture
  • Chair, Housing Trust Fund Commission

Ms. Emmanuel is a principal at Centric Architecture, one of the oldest architecture firms in Middle Tennessee. She serves on the NAIOP and Catholic Charities boards and chairs the Housing Trust Fund Commission. An (almost) lifelong Nashvillian (she moved here at an early age from South Africa), Ms. Emmanuel is involved in affordable housing design and advocacy, as well as neighborhood investment.

Jeremy Heidt

Director of Industry and Governmental Affairs, THDA

Mr. Heidt serves as the primary point of contact between the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and the Tennessee Legislature, the state’s nine U.S. representatives, and Tennessee’s two U.S. Senators. He also works with public housing entities, private developers and financing entities involved in Housing Tax Credit developments. In 2020, he worked with the state legislature to raise the THDA’s debt limit to $4 billion.

Angela Hubbard

Director of Economic and Community Development, Greater Nashville Regional Council

Ms. Hubbard joined the Greater Nashville Regional Council in 2018 and oversees the economic development sector of northern Middle Tennessee. Hubbard has more than 20 years’ experience working with state and local government, previously working at MDHA, serving as the director of community development, and working for the State of Tennessee as a Legislative Performance Auditor. She serves as the lead coordinator for the 13-county Greater National region as it develops a  regional housing assessment.

Kia Jarmon

Founder and CEO, MEPR Agency

Ms. Jarmon is the Agency Director for MEPR Agency, a communications and community engagement firm that specializes in guiding high-capacity leaders, organizations, and systems through the process of designing more resilient programs, processes, and policies. Ms. Jarmon serves on the Metropolitan Beer Permit board, Neighbor to Neighbor board, is a Pathways to Inclusion fellow with the Urban Land Institute Nashville and is co-chair for Give Black, Give Back with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. She is also a consultant with the Center for Nonprofit Management.

Eddie Latimer

CEO, Affordable Housing Resources

A 30-year veteran of the nonprofit housing development industry, Mr. Latimer oversees the development of AHR’s single-family homeownership programs, construction, lending, education and foreclosure. He represents AHR and the need for affordable housing to political organizations and to trade and government affiliates at the local, state and national levels.

Lethia Mann

Vice President and Community Development Manager for Middle and East Tennessee and North Carolina, Regions Bank

Ms. Mann brings more than 18 years of banking, community development, and nonprofit management experience to the task force. Prior to joining Regions, Mann was Vice President and Community Development Manager with First Tennessee Bank. She also served as Vice President with the Nashville Minority Loan Fund for 12 years. A native of Nashville, Mann earned a bachelor of arts degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University. She is a graduate of Whites Creek High School. She is actively engaged in the community, currently serving as board chair of Residential Resources, Inc., and as a board member with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville. Mann is also a commissioner for Metropolitan Nashville and part of the Davidson County Human Relations Commission, as well as an advisory board member of Dismas, Inc., and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Hunter Nelson

Partner, Elmington Capital Group

Mr. Nelson leads the affordable housing portfolio at Elmington Capital, which focuses on creating affordable and workforce housing opportunities to provide much-needed housing in emerging urban neighborhoods. With an expertise in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) development, Hunter oversees Elmington’s 4% bond financed and 9% competitive tax credit development portfolio, as well as day-to-day operations, including sourcing new construction and rehabilitation deals, project management, financial analysis, government relations, syndication, and due diligence activities. 

Kelsey Oesmann

Design Initiatives Manager, Urban Housing Solutions

Ms. Oesmann is a licensed architect and the Design Initiatives Manager for Urban Housing Solutions, a leading nonprofit provider of affordable housing. She is the author of the Civic Design Center’s Affordable Housing 101 Toolkit and creator of The Game of Rent.

Zulfat Suara

At-Large Member and Affordable Housing Committee Chair, Metro Council

Ms. Suara has been active in community service and leadership since the late 1990s, even as she continued to work full-time as a certified public accountant. The accounting firm founded by Ms. Suara has worked with county governments in Hardeman, Haywood, Lake, and McNairy counties. She is currently the Executive Director of Grants and Contracts at Meharry Medical College.

Emily Thaden
  • Director of National Policy + Sector Strategy, Grounded Solutions Network
  • Vice Chair for Housing, MDHA

Dr. Thaden is a national affordable housing expert who works in communities across the United States to advance equitable land use and permanently affordable housing solutions. Locally, she has been deeply involved in setting up the Community Land Trust and serving on the MDHA board. She is also the Chair of the Board of Directors for Shelterforce Media and serves on the Public Policy Taskforce for Habitat for Humanity International’s Cost of Home campaign. She advocates on the federal level for affordable housing programs and financing.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

DON’T GIVE UP …by refusing to move on

Ralph Bristol
by Ralph Bristol, 1/11/21 - In response to my latest column about 1/6/21, another date that will live in infamy and produce criminal charges against hundreds of former American patriots for attacking and defiling the Capitol and the Constitution, Facebook friend Dennis Painter wrote, “Ralph-in my humble opinion, just because crooked politicians certify the electoral college votes, doesn't mean that We The People have to just accept it and move on. I wasn't raised that way. I was taught to fight for what I believe in and I believe in this country…” 

His was one of several comments along the same vein. 


If you are the patriot you sincerely believe you are and I believe you want to be, you do have to “accept it and move on” after you have exhausted every constitutional appeal of the outcome you don’t like, regardless of how strongly you might believe the outcome was rigged. You can’t preach the rule of law, as conservatives do and should, unless you are willing to accept the rule of law when it produces outcomes with which you disagree. 

I lost count at 60 the number of recounts and court challenges President Trump initiated and lost. His attorneys made their best arguments and presented their best evidence of alleged voting improprieties in multiple lower courts and when all of the lower courts found the evidence lacking, he exhausted every appeal of their decisions, with three appeals making it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected every appeal. Then, some members of the House and Senate objected to the vote of several states and their objections were voted down by huge majorities in the House and Senate. At that point, you do in fact have to “accept it and move on.” 

This is the same answer I have consistently given to Black Lives Matters when multi-layered investigations by constitutionally authorized officers of the court exonerate a white cop who kills a black man or teen while attempting to make an arrest. That same system finds some of the cops guilty of abusing their power, and we have to accept that too. This doesn’t mean that we have to trust any politician, bureaucrat, or judge. It does mean we have to accept the final decisions made by our multi-layered system of determining the actual truth, with all of its redundancies and appeals, even as we never quit working to improve the efficiency of the system to deliver the objective truth. 

…than the inefficiencies of our multi-layered system of determining the objective truth is the growing reluctance of the population, from childhood through adulthood, to accept outcomes that displease them, and the growing tendency of the population to reject those outcomes with violent temper tantrums that produce mass murderers and turn “peaceful protests” into violent and destructive riots.

Yes, if you are a Patriot, you do have to accept the outcome of the 2020 election and move on. If you really believe in this country, as you say you do, you can’t believe that accepting defeat in this election is the same as accepting defeat in the never-ending battle to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. The battle to defend the Constitution is not over. 

Neither President Trump nor President-elect Biden are the right leaders to protect it, so I’m looking past both of them. More recently, I have begun to suspect that we will also have to look outside their respective political parties to find a leader who fully understands the purpose and promise of the Constitution. Until you are willing to move on from a battle lost, you can’t contribute your best to future battles. Ask any coach of any sport. 

The hard truth for many to accept, maybe including you, is that they were backing a losing hand from the beginning. Anyone who believed President Trump was a defender of the Constitution and an enemy of socialism was mistaken or misled or both. Trump embraced government redistribution of wealth as much or more than nearly any president before him, and he used his executive and political power as a whip to keep other political and business leaders in line with his every unpredictable whim, arguably denigrating the Constitutional limits on executive power in the process. 

Trump lost to Trump and the spoils went to Democrats with one of the most ambitious socialist agendas in history. So, the America I love is still down, but not even close to being out. Most of our constitutional rights and our opportunities for independence remain in place. The next four years are bound to be a further setback. They will also be a time for America to search for an honorable defender of the Constitution and a true opponent of socialism to lead the opposition to Democrats in the next election by convincing the population how and why they can and should seek independence for themselves. I hope that person shows up in the Republican Party, since it already has the nationwide infrastructure to spread a message, but the GOP has been somewhat of a disappointment as of late, so voters may have to look elsewhere. I’ll spend some of my time in the next four years helping patriots find the right message for the right leader, regardless of his or her party affiliation. 

The really hard truth I have to accept is this. It’s harder to convince people they should want independence than it is to teach them how to achieve it. 

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want independence. From childhood through adulthood, I’ve never been happy bending to the will of others, from my parents to my bosses, for even part of the day. So, I learned from trial and error, as I have learned all valuable lessons in life, how to achieve maximum independence. It takes a lot of different sacrifices over many years, but it’s worth it when you get there. I’m as close to “there” as anyone on earth, and I think I’ll spend the next year or more telling others why they should want to be here too. With luck, I might even help future leaders find the right message. 

Moving on can be very invigorating. I urge you to try it. 

Ralph Bristol is a former popular local conservative radio talk show host with Super Talk 99.7 (WTN 99.7) where he worked for 11 years. He is now semi-retired.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

How Rudy Giuliani, Lin Wood, and Sydney Powell caused untold damage to the political landscape of the United States.

Daniel Turklay 
by Daniel Turklay - Rudy Giuliani, Lin Wood, and Sydney Powell, collectively and individually, have done untold damage to the political landscape of the United States. They have preyed upon well-meaning, right-wing leaning individuals in this country and provided them hope of a different outcome to this election than what was ever possible especially after the Electoral College itself voted on 12/14. These misunderstandings are almost certainly going to carry over into the next election and the damage to our collective civics knowledge base may very well be impossible to reverse at this point. 

Powell, for example, promised us a 'Kraken' that she, for completely unexplained and legally unjustifiable reasons, intentionally concealed the contents of until 'releasing' said Kraken in a completely incompetent and mostly incoherent court filing. Anybody still grounded in legal and factual reality knew that, given the extremely tight timelines involved in challenging the results of an American election, any delay, especially an intentional delay, meant that the credibility of what was going to eventually be presented was severely compromised. The kraken was barely a whimper and I, unfortunately, was not surprised. 

Wood and Giuliani have continually thrust endless conspiracy theories and just flat-out Constitutional untruths into a vulnerable group of conservatives desperate to believe those particular lies. No, Mike Pence never had the unilateral authority to overthrow the election. No, he was not the 'head MF'er-in-charge' that could just decide to not count the votes of a slate of electors. Thank God all of that wasn't true seeing as it will decidedly NOT be Mike Pence counting the next set of Electoral Votes. Of course, that only matters assuming that the Electoral College ever gets the opportunity to participate in another election. 

The people fooled by these three clowns had the best of intentions and just wanted to believe and hang onto any shred of hope that this country was not being turned over to extreme leftists. Yes, their foundation in American civics should have been stronger so that they would not have been capable of falling for some of these lies, but shame on these three who, in my opinion, exploited their unearned positions of trust to incompetently and maliciously mislead those who looked up to them. I have spoken to many of these patriots and it's unbelievably frustrating to try to communicate with people that want the same things as you and to tell them that we're simply not going to get it in the way that they think they can. Shame on those three for causing that. 

To be clear, there were absolutely shenanigans in this election to a degree that this country has likely never seen before. Mail-in ballots were objectively stupid except that to describe them as 'stupid' would be to imply that we didn't already know exactly what the problems with them would be before it happened. The mail-in ballots were malicious, not stupid. The election probably was stolen or, more accurately, there was likely so much cheating that we'll never actually know what the true result would have been. Perhaps Biden would have won without the shenanigans. We'll never know.....BUT..... 

By and large, almost exclusively, the proper method for addressing these irregularities were proper challenges brought in the courts to challenge the results and get the remedies. The lawsuits were filed in the states and the ones that were actually heard on the merits were thrown out for a lack of evidence. Just because something happened doesn't mean it can be proven and, due to both incompetence on behalf of the above-named trio and what was likely just a dearth of actual evidence, the case simply could not be proven to the extent required to overturn the results of the individual state elections. 

It is going to be up to the state legislatures to change their state statutes to set certain regulations in stone and to fix the holes in methods and security of their elections. It will be up to those same legislatures to give those regulations teeth as to ensure that only legally and properly cast votes are counted. I have no idea if they will take those actions, but if they do not, the next election will be as sloppy and illegitimate as this one...and we'll be stuck with the results. As has been true since AT LEAST December 14th when the Electoral College met, this election is and has been over. Biden may or may not have won fairly, but he won nonetheless. The only remedies at this point are impeachment (obv not gonna happen) or repudiation at the ballot box in '22 and '24 (likely to happen). The only other option begins with the words 'When in the Course of Human Events....", but that option is binary and there are unambiguous winners and losers and the cost of losing is.....harsh. Until some group is ready to pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, we all have to operate under the Constitution that we have and, under that Constitution, Joseph Biden will be sworn in on January 20th. 

God Bless America. May we survive this and not repeat the same mistakes going forward.

Daniel Turlay is a criminal defense trial attorney practicing in Nashville. 

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