Saturday, December 16, 2023

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was pure Culture War Propaganda

by Rod Williams, Dec. 16, 2023- Last month the Metro Council passed a resolution recognizing November 20th as Transgender Day of Remembrance. The resolution not only passed with all in favor except for one member not voting, 39 of the 40 members co-sponsored the resolution. 

Among the "whereas's" justifying the resolution are these:

 WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council recognizes that transgender members of our society are disproportionately affected by hate crimes and violence, and experience myriad challenges in their daily lives, including discrimination, disproportionately high levels of unemployment, and limited access to health care; and

WHEREAS, in 2019 the American Medical Association declared violence against the transgender community to be an epidemic; and

WHEREAS, the Human Rights Campaign reports that in 2023, there have been at least 25 transgender or gender nonconforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means in the United States; and

WHEREAS, at least 74% of known victims of anti-transgender violence in 2017-2018 were misgendered in initial police or media reports surrounding their deaths; and

National Review, Jan. 2024, p6

What about that violence against transgender people being "an epidemic" and trans people being "disproportionately affected by hate crimes and violence?"  National Review reports that 1.6 million people identify as trans. With 26 trans people killed last year, that is a rate of .9 per 100,000. That is unfortunate but hardly an epidemic.  I don't know how many homeless people met a violent death last year, but the rate was probably greater than .9 per 100,000.  The rate of left-handed people who met a violent death last year may have been greater than .9 per 100,000.

Also, not all of those trans people who met a violent death, were necessarily innocent victims. As an example, don't forget the Covenant School shooter was a trans person who met a violent death. Several may have been the aggressor not the victim in violent encounters. 

As to trans people being "misgendered," that is non-sense. Gender is determined by biological sex. Gender is what you are, not what you think you are. If gender and sex or not the same and if gender is all in your head and you are the gender you choose to be, after you are deceased you have no thought in your head. After you are dead the police cannot ask you your gender.  Police may have a hard time determining if someone is a cross-dressing male or a male-to-female trans. And what about the "gender fluid," the police may not know what gender the person was feeling like on that particular day. Transgender may be descriptive but is not a sex. Maybe the police report has a box for "sex," not a box for "gender."  To misgender would be to call a person with a penis a female. 

RS2023-99, was pure propaganda. Here is how the Council voted: 

The resolution was approved by the Rules, Confirmations, and Public Elections Committee. Council Member Hill moved to adopt the resolution and that all members voting in the affirmative be listed as a cosponsor, which motion was seconded and approved by the following vote: Yes (39): Suara, Porterfield, Evans-Segall, Allen, Hill, Kimbrough, Toombs, Gamble, Cortese, Parker, Capp, Benedict, Harrell, Hancock, Webb, Evans, Bradford, Huffman, Gregg, Welsch, Vo, Cash, Kupin, Horton, Taylor, Weiner, Druffel, Gadd, Preptit, Johnston, Nash, Benton, Ellis, Sepulveda, Rutherford, Styles, Lee, Ewing, and Spain; No (0); Abstain (0).

You will note that the only member not to be recorded as voting for and sponsoring the resolution is Jeff Eslick. I commend him.   It should be noted, however, that not voting is not the same as abstaining. Abstaining is a conscious decision not to vote on an item and being recorded as doing so.  Simply not voting may mean the council member was distracted, not present for the meeting or that part of the meeting, had gone to the bathroom, or was sitting on his hands.

I am disappointed in people that I think of as conservatives for voting for this piece of propaganda, people like Cortney Johnson and Thom Druffel, and I am not too surprised but disappointed in Sherri Weiner and a couple of others. It is time the few conservatives on the Council started voting like conservatives. 

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Tennessee should pass a property tax cap

 From The Beacon Center Pork Report, Dec. 16, 2023- Tennessee gets a lot of things right, but when it comes to property taxes, the state has few friends to bond with. Tennessee is one of only four states that does not have some form of property tax cap to protect taxpayers, along with Hawaii, New Hampshire, and Vermont. We have all felt the pressures of inflation, but residents across Tennessee face the burden of huge increases in their property tax bill because there is no limit on how high local governments can go when it comes to raising property taxes. Just this year Rutherford County saw property tax rates go up 16 percent, Greene County saw a 30 percent increase, and Lincoln County a 37 percent increase. In Red Bank, just outside of Chattanooga, residents were dealt a whopping 52 percent tax hike.

These are just a few examples of property tax increases taking place this year. All across the state, local governments, both rural and urban, are passing massive property tax hikes instead of getting their financial health in order. Even small increases tied with sky-high assessments leave residents with less of their hard-earned dollars. Since Tennesseans are not afforded the same protections offered in 46 other states, these tax hikes are likely to continue, year after year. No one likes the tax man, but in almost every other state, residents know what to reasonably expect when the bill comes. But in Tennessee, this bill knows no limit.

SOLUTION: Despite fiscal conservatism and low taxes at the state level, Tennessee residents have felt few of these benefits when local governments pass massive tax increases. Policymakers should afford Tennesseans the same protections offered to residents in 46 other states by passing some form of property tax cap.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Beacon Center releases 2023 Pork Report

by Rod Williams, Dec. 13, 2023- Today, the Beacon Center released its annual Pork Report, showcasing the most offensive examples of wasteful spending across the state of Tennessee. Examples in this year’s report range from the city of Knoxville’s expensive attempt to skirt open records laws to the state’s $200 million handout to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

Other 2023 Pork Report entries included:

  • The nearly $5 million taxpayer subsidy given by the state of Tennessee, the city of Franklin, and Williamson County to benefit the California burger chain In-N-Out’s move to Tennessee.
  • The large property tax increases in counties such as Rutherford, Greene, and Lincoln instead of getting their fiscal house in order.
  • Memphis giving out over $1 million to yet another failing TV show on the verge of cancelation.

From Jackson buying an abandoned strip mall to the city of Bristol (Tennessee) paying $5 million to move a summer league baseball team’s stadium a few miles away, there is plenty of waste featured in this report. 

To view the report, follow this link

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Megan Barry's Announcement of her Candidacy Challenging Mark Green is not being Greeted with Enthusiasm.

by Rod Williams, Dec. 13, 2023- I would have thought the Nashville Scene would have had a fawning, upbeat piece about Megan Barry's announcement that she was challenging Mark Green for his seventh congressional district seat. I expected The Scene to be a cheerleader. Instead, its reporting is kind of down in the mouth and less than exciting. In fact, it is very critical of Barry. Betsy Smith who wrote the Scene article about Barry's announcement (Is a Megan Barry Candidacy Really a Good Idea?)  is realistic about Barry's chances and not shy about reviving the story of her criminal and embarrassing conduct that caused her to resign as mayor of Nashville. I am not going to speculate about the reason for the tone, maybe it is just an honest expression of how the people at the Scene feel.  Maybe they feel Barry betrayed them by putting her affair ahead of the city and the progressive cause. Here are some excerpts from the story: 

As far as I can tell, Nashville Democrats are excited. Former Democratic Party chair Mary Mancini tweeted that she’s “thrilled.” Other people I love and respect seem to share this opinion.

Am I on drugs? Did I slip into an alternate universe? Megan Barry pleaded guilty to a felony — stealing taxpayer money. Yes, she completed the terms of her deal and the felony has been expunged. That’s great for her, but we still know it.

You will notice that she says Mary Mancini, the former Tennessee Democratic Party chair is "thrilled."  The Scene piece does not report it, but the current Davidson County Democrat Party chair seems less than thrilled. Not by what he has said, but he sent out a fundraiser letter that did not even mention Barry's announcement and instead linked to a Axios Nashville article that had a less than glowing article about Barry's announcement. Here are excerpts from the Axios piece with the downer tone elements of the article highlighted. 

Former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry launched an underdog bid for Congress on Wednesday against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Green in Tennessee's 7th district.

Why it matters: In Barry, Democrats have a skilled politician with excellent name recognition to rally behind, although she also has baggage related to her shocking 2018 resignation.

In addition to a large portion of Davidson County, the district stretches from the Kentucky border down to Alabama.

Between the lines: Barry will look to revive her political career, which was knocked off course when she resigned from office following the revelation of an affair with the head of her security detail.

 Back to the Scene piece, Betsy Phillips says Barry betrayed women:

 Megan Barry, Girl Boss, is a great unofficial slogan until you stop to think of the ways she screwed women over in order to carry on the activities that led to her stealing taxpayer money. The women on her security detail who couldn’t get overtime or the opportunity to travel with her because she was giving all that time and resources to her lover? The wife of her lover? To hell with them, I guess?

That is strong criticism. I found this interesting:

A couple of folks have asked me how I think Mark Green will respond to this. I hope for Barry's sake he just ignores her. Because if he gives an intern 20 minutes and asks them to report back on everything they find after Googling “Megan Barry gossip,” he’s going to have a treasure trove of negatives and no reason to be polite or discreet about them. 

A couple of folks have asked me how I think Mark Green will respond to this. I hope for Barry's sake he just ignores her. Because if he gives an intern 20 minutes and asks them to report back on everything they find after Googling “Megan Barry gossip,” he’s going to have a treasure trove of negatives and no reason to be polite or discreet about them. 

I have not googled "Megan Barry gossip," but what we know is bad enough but apparently there is a lot more that is "gossip" and worse than what we know.

With friends like The Scene and the Nashville Democrat Party and Axios Nashville, Megan Barry is going nowhere.  

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Monday, December 11, 2023

What Would a Second Trump Term Look Like?

by Rod Williams, Dec. 11, 2024- If you have not drank the Trump Kool-Aid and are not concerned about the dangers of a Trump second term, you are not paying attention.  A Trump second term will be much different than Trump's first term. I was relatively pleased with the Trump policies of his first term and certainly pleased with his Supreme Court picks.  I did not vote for Trump in 2016 but did in 2020. While I disliked the chaos, and mean tweets, and hateful rhetoric, Trump governed pretty much like a Republican. It was not until his attempted coup that I really soured on Trump.

In Trump's first term, there was no deep field of experienced Trump supporters from which to choose for key positions in the admirations. He had to rely on traditional Republicans for White House staff and cabinet level positions.  These were people who believed in the rule of law.  He was surrounded by people like Jeff Sessions and William Barr, who would tell the president, "We can't do that." "It's not legal."  Also, there were advisors who would explain to the president that it would actually be dangerous to pull troops out of South Korea and Germany. Trump had people around him who would provide wise counsel and people who would moderate his worst impulses.

In his second term, Trump will surround himself with nothing but loyalist and yes men. Trump respects nothing but loyalty.  He has even turned against his picks for the Supreme Court because they ruled against him in one of his challenges to the 2020 election. He has also turned against The Federalist Society. 

We cannot expect a Mike Pense who will stand up to the president and refuse to help him overturn the results of an election, in a second Trump term.  We can expect people like Roger Stone and Steve Bannon to fill critical positions.  When running for president in 2016, Trump told people he would be their voice; now he says he will be their retribution.  

I urge you to watch the above video. Bill Krystal interviews Jonathan Karl, the author of Tired of Winning. Krystal was the founder and of the political conservative magazine The Weekly Standard and is now editor-at-large of the conservative on-line publication The Bulwark. Over the years he has worked for several conservative think tanks. 

Jonathan Karl has known Donald Trump since his days as a New York Post reporter in the 1990s, and he covered every day of Trump’s administration as ABC News’s chief White House correspondent. Karl makes the case that from his exile in Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump has become more extreme, vengeful, and divorced from reality than he was on January 6, 2021.

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