Saturday, July 20, 2024

The Bread-and-Circus Stage of American Decline

by By Nick Catoggio, The Dispatch, Published July 19, 2024 - ..... 

A few hours before Trump’s speech, CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked Sen. Marco Rubio what he expected from that evening’s address.

Rubio pointed to the assassination attempt as evidence of the gravity of this moment. “At least in my view of it, it sort of reminds us that at the end … we’re not in the entertainment business, right?” he said.

Define “we,” Marco.

Of the eight people who immediately preceded Trump onstage on Thursday evening, fully half were entertainers. Tucker Carlson is a storyteller; Hulk Hogan is a pro wrestler; Dana White runs UFC; Kid Rock is Kid Rock. The person who spoke before Carlson was Alina Habba, who nowadays merely moonlights as an attorney while working her full-time job as a right-wing media “personality.”

The Republican Party is in the entertainment business. It didn’t used to be, but there are a lot of things it didn’t used to be that it is now.

There’s an obvious method to the madness of having figures like Hogan and White soak up primetime television minutes that would have otherwise gone to elder statesmen in a party whose base hates many of its own leaders. Working-class voters (and not just white ones) are Trump’s bread and butter; watching Hulk Hogan hulk out over “Trumpamania” surely stands a better chance of moving votes than watching Mitch McConnell burble insincere platitudes about a nominee he hates.

That may be especially true among the lowest of low-information voters inclined to give Robert F. Kennedy Jr. a look, as my colleague John McCormack speculated yesterday. The mix of cranks like Tucker and tough-guy showmen who cater to America’s “bro” demographic was aimed directly at the Joe Rogan fan base, which is sizable.

But understanding the convention line-up purely in strategic terms is reductive, I think.

It’s possible that the likes of Hogan and White were invited for no better reason than that Trump famously enjoys wrestling and ultimate fighting—and he has for decades. The American right is a monarchy now, and kings have always had jesters. It’s the job of a royal court to present silly amusements for His Majesty’s entertainment.

The likelier truth, though, is that a guy who figured out that you could become president by becoming a television game-show host first is following his instincts by treating politics as entertainment.

Consider the most notable line from Trump’s speech, which wasn’t about his near-assassination, Joe Biden, or the 2020 election. It was this: .... 

Pitted against a beauty-pageant promoter, Joe Biden’s party doesn’t stand a chance. (continue reading)

Rod's Comment: I agree. And Nick did not even mention the porn star entertainer


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Trump Hasn’t Changed, but the GOP Has

By Molly Ball, Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2024, MILWAUKEE—Donald Trump took the stage a
humbled man, the bandage on his right ear testament to his recent brush with death. It had taught him, he said, that “the discord and division in our society must be healed, we must heal it quickly.” He told the story of the attack in vivid detail: the blood pouring everywhere, the crowd that stayed in place as the bullets flew, the feeling that God was present as he rose and raised his fist.

The packed arena of Republican delegates hung on his every word, creating an intimate silence. And then, as if to reassure them that they hadn’t in fact lost the politician they all loved so much, he broke the spell and reverted to form, complaining about his persecution at the hands of the justice system and rambling for another hour about the usual witch hunts and fake statistics.

It was a fitting conclusion to the jubilant Republican convention that ended Thursday in Milwaukee: a statement that the Trump of 2024 isn’t some wimpy, watered-down version—it is Trump, but more so. The political gamble of his third presidential campaign is that this, not some moderating concession to propriety, is what will win the election. And so far, it looks like a good bet. (read it all)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

J. D. Vance Pick Represents Another Nail in Coffin of Reagan Republicanism

 J. D. Vance Pick Represents Another Nail in Coffin of Reagan Republicanism

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Backlash after Metro CM Ginny Welsch implies Trump asked for assassination attempt


Rod's Comment: CM Ginny Welsch's action blocking a resolution denouncing the assassination attempt of President Trump, denouncing political violence, and honoring the innocent murdered bystander Cory Compenhavor  and those wounded in the assassination attempt is creating a backlash and calls for her to resign. The backlash is well deserved. She should resign. This story has been picked up and is being reported on by news outlets around the nation and is being shared on social media and getting lots of views on YouTube. 

To read the text of the resolution blocked by Ginny Welsch, follow this link

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Friday, July 19, 2024

Senator Marsha Blackburn, Senator Bill Hagerty, and Congressman Mark Green may be Trump 2nd term Cabinet picks.

by Rod Williams, July 19, 2024- While anything could happen between now and the election, I think it is safe to say the odds greatly favor a Donald Trump second term. Speculation is circulating as to who will make up Trump's cabinet in the second Trump term in office. Among those rumored to be considered for a cabinet slots are Senator Marsha Blackburn, Senator Bill Hagerty, and Congressman Mark Green. 

In picking people from among member of Congress for positions in the new Trump administration, Trump will want to pick those from states with Republican governors so the created vacancy will be filled by a Republican. Should any of the three potential cabinet picks mentioned about be selected for a cabinet or other position in the administration, Governor Bill Lee would select the person to fill the remainer of that person's term. 

Punchbowl News says Marsha Blackburn is being considered for Commerce secretary, Bill Hagerty for Treasury secretary, and Mark Green for Homeland Security. According to Newsweek, Ramaswamy could be in line for secretary of commerce, so Marsha Blackburn may have competition from another serious contender for that seat. Washington Examiner mentions Senator Hagerty as a potential pick for a top national security role.

All of this is speculation at this point, but it seems Mark Green has some serious competition for Secretary of Homeland Security seat. Punchbowl says former Trump ICE official Tom Homan is largely seen as the frontrunner for that seat right now. USA Today says Vivek Ramaswamy wants the position. Axios says that Peter Navorro, a Trump loyalist and an influential senior advisor to Trump, sees Ken Cuccinelli returning as head of Homeland Security. All of these people are being mentioned for, or jockeying for, or being considered for a position that Project 2025 says is on the chopping block for elimination. 


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Q&A with Courtney Johnston

The Pamphleteer, June 18, 2024 - If elected, what will your number one legislative priority be and why?

We need to secure the border. The Biden Administration has left the border wide-open and weak Republicans like Andy Ogles aren't doing anything about it. It is imperative that we end this threat to national security. Without a border, we are not a country - plain and simple.

Are you willing to support former President Donald Trump during his campaign to retake the White House? If elected, which of his policy platforms are you looking forward to supporting him on?

I support President Trump, because our country cannot afford four more years of President Biden destroying our economy and putting the safety of Americans at risk daily. I look forward to working with President Trump to fight inflation, secure the border, and protect Americans at home and abroad.

(continue reading

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Mayor Freddie O’Connell celebrates unanimous council support for putting transportation referendum on November ballot

Press release, July 18, 2024-
Metro Council unanimously passed on third reading the ballot language for Mayor Freddie O’Connell’s transportation improvement program, Choose How You Move: An All-Access Pass to Sidewalks, Signals, Service, and Safety. 

This is the fourth piece of critical legislation to pass unanimously this year; previous unanimous votes include the mayor's capital spending plan, the FY2025 operating budget, and the East Bank developer agreement with The Fallon Co. 

Investing in the city’s transportation system is uniquely popular among Nashvillians. The latest polling from Vanderbilt shows 84 percent of Nashvillians support holding a transportation referendum, and 90 percent of people surveyed by Imagine Nashville agree that investing in city-wide public transportation is an important priority. 

“Council’s strong support for our transportation referendum puts Nashville on the doorstep of a great opportunity,” Mayor Freddie O’Connell said. “Choose How You Move builds on more than 66,000 ideas submitted by Nashvillians over more than a decade, includes improvements in each Council district for all roadway users, and has the potential to unlock as much as $1.4 billion in state and federal funding throughout the life of the program so more of Nashville’s tax dollars return home to our city. Sidewalks, signals, service, and safety are the things Nashville residents are asking for. They're the things we know we need, and the vote in November represents our best chance yet to change our transportation future.” 

Feedback from Nashvillians helped shape more than 70 transportation plans, and Mayor O’Connell and his team used that input to craft a transportation improvement program that lays the groundwork for a more connected city for all Nashvillians. 

The following is a snapshot of what’s included in Choose How You Move: 
  •  86 miles of sidewalk improvements. When combined with annual capital spending, this will complete the entire WalkNBike Nashville priority sidewalk network. 
  • 54 miles of upgraded corridors to provide faster, safer, and more reliable transit options 
  • A transit system that runs 24/7/365 because Nashvillians don’t just work from 9-to-5. That doubles the frequent service and adds nearly double the number of crosstown routes. Plus, there will be new express routes to get Nashvillians to popular locations more quickly. 
  • 12 community transit centers will connect to each other, so riders don’t have to go downtown just to get to some other part of the city. 
  • 17 new park and ride facilities. 
  • 35 miles of upgraded and new bicycle facilities 
  • And the thing that might help Nashvillians the most: upgrades to traffic signals at almost 600 intersections – two of every three signalized intersections in Nashville – to make sure we all hit more green lights. This will help people moving around the city whether they’re walking, rolling, biking, taking transit, or driving. 
Choose How You Move invests in all corners of the county (residents are encouraged to use the interactive maps on transit.nashville.gov to see what is coming to their neighborhood), and it allows the city to lower the cost of living for residents who are burdened by the implicit tax of having to own and maintain a car (AAA estimates that is $1,000 per month on average for residents). “Since taking office, our team has used two goals to guide not only our work on transit but on all opportunities. Those goals are improving quality of life and lowering cost of living for more Nashvillians,” Mayor O’Connell added. 

Kraft CPAs, an independent certified public accounting firm, examined the Choose How You Move Transportation Improvement Program’s Plan of Finance and determined that the financing plan for the Program is feasible. 

Below is the ballot language approved by Metro Council: 
Passage of this measure adopted by Ordinance BL2024-427, allows the Metropolitan Government to complete the entire priority sidewalk network when combined with annual capital spending, provide significantly expanded 24-hour public transportation service 365 days a year including frequent service on major routes, add more neighborhood transit centers, improve safety for all roadway users, and upgrade and modernize nearly two-thirds of the city's signalized intersections. This program's capital cost is estimated to have a current cost of $3,096,000,000. Once construction is complete, the estimated value of recurring annual operating and maintenance costs is approximately $111,000,000. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (WeGo), Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure, Metro Planning Department, and Mayor's Office, in partnership with other Metro departments, will undertake implementation of the program. This program will be funded by federal grants, revenues from transportation system fares, debt, and a sales tax surcharge of 0.5%. The tax surcharge will end once all debt issued for the transit improvement program has been paid and the Metropolitan Council determines by resolution that the revenues from the tax surcharges are no longer needed for operation of the program. 

FOR or AGAINST

The Election Commission will now hold a final vote to approve the program’s placement on the November ballot. 

Mayor O’Connell will join members of the Metro Council and Choose How You Move supporters for a ceremonial signing of the Choose How You Move Transportation Improvement Program (BL2024-427) at the Nashville Public Library Bordeaux Branch (4000 Clarksville Pike) following the ribbon cutting for WeGo’s 300th Bus Shelter installation at 3939 Clarksville Pike on Friday, July 19 at 10 a.m.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

This ain't your daddy's family values Republican Party.

 by Rod Williams, July 17, 2024 - I watched Amber Rose speak at the first night of the Republican convention. You can see her speech below, if you missed it.

         

I had never heard of her. She is a rap music video star, a former stripper and a model, formerly married to Kanye West. She is the mother of two, one by West and another child by another man born out of wedlock. She is a 40-year old popular influencer with something like 27 million followers on Tic Tok, or maybe it is some other platform. I did not dig deep enough to confirm. 

You can find a lot of videos of her online. Below is one of them. Be advised that this is not-safe-for- work and carries my parental notification. Don't watch if you have delicate sensibilities. Also note that this is not the most risqué or provocative. You can find some soft porn, if you look. She has an Only Fans page, and I don't know what it shows. 

Here is more about Amer Rose excerpted from Wikipedia
Amber Rose Levonchuck (born October 21, 1983)[1] is an American model, rapper, and television personality. She gained attention after she starred in the music video for Young Jeezy's 2008 single "Put On", which featured Kanye West. She began a romantic relationship with West, leading her to model for the Louis Vuitton brand; she then signed a modeling contract with Ford Models. She earned wider recognition as a video vixen[2] in more hip hop videos.[3] After splitting from West in 2010, she dated and in 2013 married rapper Wiz Khalifa, but filed for divorce in 2014. Simon & Schuster then published her book How to Be a Bad Bitch. In 2015 she founded the Los Angeles chapter of the SlutWalk protest march, an annual feminist demonstration founded in Toronto. The next year she hosted her own talk show, The Amber Rose Show, for VH1, and began hosting the syndicated radio call-in program Loveline. ... regard to her sexual orientation, Rose stated, "I'm extremely open with my sexuality. I can be in love with a woman, I can be in love with a man. ... she once dated a trans man. 
I wonder what Bobbie Patray thinks about this. 

Trump is creating a big-tent Republican party big enough for Moral Majority types and trashy degenerates. 

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

CM Courtney Johnson on CM Ginny Welsch Blocking Resolution Condemning Murder of an Innocent man, Political Violence and Assassination attempt of Trump.

Courtney Johnson
"Tonight, two members of Nashville's Metro Council blocked my resolution honoring the victims of Saturday's assassination attempt. This was a vile action by extremists on the council that regrettably has become all too common," Johnston told The Tennessean in a statement. "Every Tennessean, and certainly every Nashvillian, should be ashamed that these two council

members could not denounce the murder of an innocent man, and the attempted assassination of former President Trump. In the United States, we settle our political differences with ballots, not bullets." (link)

Ginny Welsch
 

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Text of the Resolution Blocked by Ginny Welsch, Condemning Assassination attempt on Trump, Political Violence, and Honoring Victims of the Attack

 


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

CM Ginny Welsch blocks vote condemning political violence and assassination attempt on Donald Trump

Ginny Welsch
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF), July 17, 2024- ... A resolution was filed late by Councilwoman Courtney Johnston to condemn the political violence that happened to former President Trump over the weekend — but two councilmembers, Terry Vo and Ginny Welsh, voted not to suspend the rules so it can't be considered until a later meeting. (link)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Local leaders financially backing Johnston against Ogles in House race

Courtney Johnston
 by NICOLLE S. PRAINO, Nashville Post, JUL 17, 2024 - ...  Johnston is out-raising Ogles by almost
triple in contributions: $721,000 to $263,000. Tennessee Republican heavyweights such as Bill Haslam, Bob Corker and Bill Frist have thrown their financial support behind Johnston. ... local leaders from Nashville and Williamson County financially supporting Johnston’s campaign — from Mike Cortese and Kevin Crumbo to Ken Moore and Rogers Anderson. Plus, at least 18 CEOs — like Matthew Scoggins, Jr. of Farm Bureau, Hal Lawton of Tractor Supply, Phil Mazucca of Williamson Health, Chip Crunk of RJ Young, Tim Downey of Southern Land Company, Richard Isaacson of ServPro, Mark Fioravanti of Ryman Hospitality Properties and Colin Reed of Ryman Hospitality — are backing Johnston. She also had no political action committee donations while Ogles had $43,000 from PACs.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

J. D. Vance was right about Donald J. Trump

 "Mr. Trump is unfit for our nation’s highest office."


"My god what an idiot."





Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Donald J. Trump on the Constitution

 


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

JD Vance has pledged he would do what Mike Pence wouldn’t - overturn an election and illegally seize power.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

US Rep. Andy Ogles omitted line of credit, undervalued property in disclosures

 Tennessee US Rep. Andy Ogles omitted line of credit, undervalued property in disclosures

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

The Big Project 2025 Liberal Freak-out.

The Liberal Freak-our over Project 2025
by Rod Williams, July 5, 2024 - I think many are resigned to the likelihood of a second Trump term as president. President Biden's diminished cognitive capacity was on display at the recent presential debate and subsequent Biden appearances at press conferences and one-on-one interviews, while better than the debate, have not reassured many people that he is up for the job of four more years of arguably the hardest job in the world. On top of that, the recent assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump and his spontaneous response of the clinched fist pump and a call to "fight, fight, fight," as he was led from the stage with blood streaming down his face, has energized his supporter and probably won him new admirers. While anything could happen between now and November, I expect Trump to be the next president.

I will not vote for Trump and think he is unfit for the office. After his attempted coup of January 6th and the plotting prior to that day to illegally remain in office and his claims of a stolen elections since, in my view, disqualifies him. I see no circumstances in which I could be persuaded to vote for Donald Trump. I am a never-Trumper. I agree that Trump is a danger to our democracy. 

Having said the above however, I think some on the left are grasping at straws to spread fear of Trump and maybe they are losing touch with reality. I think that is a hazard of watching too much MSNBC. Trump has done enough and said enough that one does not have to dig deep to conclude that Trump is a threat to democracy. The thing that Trump critics have seized on to demonize Trump and spread fear of his second term is something called "Project 2025."

I was reading Trump's Truth Social post on July 5th and came across a post in which Trump distanced himself from Agenda 2025. In that post Trump said he did not know anything about it. I found that preposterous and I posted that Even in the Small Things, Trump cannot be Bothered with Facts. I had no idea that Project 2025 was going to create such a firestorm. Liberal Trump critics have seized on Project 2025 is the same apocalyptic tone and panic as did conservative a decade ago over something called Agenda 21. 

Since that tweet by Trump distancing himself from Project 2025, it has received a lot of scrutiny. The people at MSNBC and CNN have their hair on fire. Libs are freaking out. Pod casters and U-Tube posters are devoting whole episodes to it as are major TV news show, and print media are devoting pages to it. By now, anyone who stays informed has heard of it. You can do a web search for Project 2025 and find pages of stories. It you want to visit the official Project 2025 website, follow the link. You can read the full 922 pages at this link

Project 2025 is an initiative directed by the Heritage Foundation with the participation of up to 100 other conservative think tanks and organizations, with the aim of promoting a conservative agenda when Trump is reelected. The Heritage Foundation describes it as "our 180-day Transition Playbook and includes a comprehensive, concrete transition plan for each federal agency." The plan had input from more than 400 scholars and policy experts from across the conservative movement and around the country. In addition to the transition plan, the project is creating a data base of potential employees, sort of like a LinkedIn site for conservatives interested in working in the new administration.

The plan has four main policy aims: restore the family as the centerpiece of American life; dismantle the administrative state; defend the nation's sovereignty and borders; and secure God-given individual rights to live freely. I guess if you are liberal, those are things to freak-out over. I support all of those policy aims. 

Regarding dismantling the administrative state, Project 2025 aims to consolidate executive power under the president in conformity with Article II of the U.S. Constitution. Many agencies of government act as if they are independent agencies when in fact they are not. The Federal Reserve is an independent agency; the Justice Department is not. For those who think the DOJ should be independent they should work to amend the Constitution to make the office of Attorney General an elected position. 

Over time many agencies of government have become powerful bureaucracies that operate as if they were autonomous. Project 25 proposes weakening their autonomy and placing them under the authority of the president. In my view this is proper.  Project 25 proposes reclassifying tens of thousands of federal civil service workers as political appointees in order to insure they pursue the policies of the administration instead of doing their own thing or resisting a change in policy.

In my view, any new administration should not have their legitimate policy proposals frustrated by a recalcitrant bureaucrat. I myself usually avoid the term "deep state'' as I think it sounds too tin-foil-hatty, but I certainly recognize that there is an entrenched, vast, unaccountable, bureaucracy. That needs to change. Elections should have consequences. 

In addition to dismantling the "deep state," the plan calls for some specific changes to the structure of government such as dismantling the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Education. I don't know why this is causing such a freak-out. The Department of Homeland Security did not exist prior to 2003. If DHS is abolished, the individual agencies that make up DHS would still exist. They existed prior to 2003.

The Department of Education was created in 1980. Prior to that it was part of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. In 1980 that department was split into two departments, one being the Department of Education and the other being the Department of Health and Human Services. If they are recombined, is that really such a big deal?

We currently have a cabinet composed of 15 members. Whether some compartments are combined, and we have a cabinet of 12 or expanded and we have a cabinet of 17, does not seem like anything to freak out about. Shrinking the number of cabinets of government is my preference. I want a smaller and less intrusive bureaucracy and when new agencies are created the bureaucracy grows and its mission creeps. I question if Transportation needs to be a standalone department are if we could not function with transportation being rolled into a new Department of Commerce and Transportation. That is not a proposal of Project 2025, but if it was, it would not be anything to lose sleep over.

Much of the plan denounces "wokeness," and supports policies to counteract it. I do not think the Pride flag should be flown at US embassies around the world and support efforts do dial back the promotion of woke social policies, so I not only don't freak-out about these proposals but favor them. The plan calls for changing some of the terminology used by the government. Some terms would be disfavored or banned such as "sexual orientation", "gender equality", and "reproductive rights". Again, I approve. Some things said about the Project are simply not so. It does not call for a national ban on all abortions, as has been reported. 

It is worth keeping in mind that the proposals of Project 2025 is not the same thing as the Republican Party Platform. And even if it was, a party platform is not binding. Project 2025 is a list of suggestions by an influential third party. It has no official standing. Trump has already said he disagrees with some of it. Some of it would take congressional action. If attempted to be implemented, some of it would face court challenges. Some of it will not see the light of day. It calls for abolishing the Federal Reserve. I don't think that will happen, and do not think it should.

I am less fearful of Trump implementing Project 2025 and more fearful of Trump just flying by the seat of his pants and doing things not well thought out that he things seem like a good idea at the time. I don't see Trump as having a core set of principles or being very disciplined, or very well-informed. I think he is a loose cannon. Giving him some informed guidance, may not be a bad thing.

Project 2025 may be a good thing. I have not read it all and I may see things with which I have strong disagreement. One example is that I do not want to deport all illegal immigrants. I think we need some form of amnesty for those who have been here for decades and stayed out of trouble and contributed to our economy and have become part of our communities. Even if I disagree with some of the Project 2025 proposals, I do not see it as this sinister plot to freak out over. 

I am still reading Project 2025 and reading what others are saying about it. If I freak-out I will let you know. 








Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, July 15, 2024

Even in the Small Things, Trump cannot be Bothered with Facts.

 by Rod Williams, June 5, 2024 - Look at what Donald Trump posted today on his Truth Social: 

The first thing I thought when reading this, is I don't believe him. I know what Project 2025 is; how does not Donald Trump know? Project 2025 is a list of policy proposals from the Heritage Foundation to move America in a populist and conservative direction. Project 2025 is also called the Presidential Transition Project. 

Heritage used to be a mainstream conservative think-tank with scholars developing conservative policy proposals and provided the intellectual arguments and factual data to support those policy proposals. With the rise of Trump, they are less the wonkish, thoughtful, analytical conservative organization they once were. They have become Trumpian populist. Also, until a few years ago, they were exclusively an educational organization that did policy and did not do politics.  Now they do both and have a political wing called Heritage Action with active chapters across the country promoting Trumpian policies. While Heritage has moved in a more populist direction, it is not the equivalent of Steve Bannon's War Room or some of the nuttier Trumpian organizations and personalities. The organization still produces some meaningful policy proposals and contributes to the debate of ideas, but their populism and activism overshadows their more thoughtful analysis. Also, sometimes it seems as if the activist wing and the policy analysis wing are from two organizations and don't even talk to each other.

That Trump does not know of Project 2025 is hard to believe. Several publications have reported on the project. Heritage has several former Trump cabinet members on its board. Heritage was a major force is staffing Trump's 2016 administration. The New York Times reports that following the 2016 Trump victory, Ed Corrigan, the then vice president for policy promotion at the Heritage Foundation, was summoned to Trump Tower to join the senior leadership team of the Trump transition. Corrigan oversaw the staffing of 10 different domestic agencies. The influence of Heritage in this role has been reported in publications across the political spectrum. 

Project 2025 is now in the process of preparing the next Trump administration with conservative policy recommendations and with vetted and trained personnel to implement those policies. While Project 2025 is a project of Heritage, other conservative organizations are on the board of the project. Among these other organizations are American Enterprize Institute and American Legislative Exchange Council. These are organizations that may provide staffers who can provide sensible advice to the new president and implement his policies in a normal, rational, orderly, and legally permissible manner.  

It is inconceivable that Trump's team is not working with Project 2025. It is possible that Trumps knows what is going on and knows a group of people are working on policy proposals and staffing for his next administration and maybe he knows it "as those guys at Heritage," but simply does not know it as "Project 2025."  If so, then in less time than it took Trump to tweet the above, he could have selected "Project 2025," hit "search" and he would have known. 

Even in little things like the above Trump acts first and things later or thinks never. Staffers who served Trump, after leaving his employee have said that Trump seldom read policy and briefing papers. They say he would not even prepare before meeting world leaders. They found it frustrating. 

My impressions of Trump are that he lies a lot, is emotional, hold a grudge, expects absolute loyalty from those subordinate to him, does not understand the constitution or have a devotion to it, does not have a grasp of issues, is ignorant of history and economics and basic civics, not very smart, has authoritarian tendencies, and is crude, rude, insensitive, and has no shame. I do not think he is bigot or a racist or antisemite as the left sometimes says of him. 

Another impression is that he is arrogant, self-assured to a fault, is impulsive, and one of those people whose mind is made up and not to be confused with facts. He operates on gut instinct rather than data. I have known people like that. I think that is dangerous in a president. 


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sunday, July 14, 2024

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

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

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

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

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

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

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







Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Saturday, July 13, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

Below is the letter:


For four more pages of signatures, follow this link.



Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Robby Starbuck turns focus to John Deere policies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Thursday, July 11, 2024

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(read it all)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tennessee Right to Life State House and Senate Endorcements

 



Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Columbia, expensed more on lodging and and meals than 94% of his House colleagues in 2023,

 U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Columbia, expensed more on lodging and and meals than 94% of his House colleagues in 2023,

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Ogles spends $335K on tax-funded mailers, far outpacing Tennessee colleagues

 

Ogles spends $335K on tax-funded mailers, far outpacing Tennessee colleagues

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

The Nashville Public Library Promotes Transgenderism among Children. Your Tax Dollars at Work.

by Rod Williams, June 29, 2024- I had occasion to go to the main Public Library downtown today and found the lobby had been devoted to celebrating Pride month. Many of the displays were aimed toward promoting transgenderism of among children. Below are pictures. 

Recently, I posted an essay critical of Tennessee Stands and and Gary Humble for equating Pride celebrations to Domestic Terrorism. I stand by that essay. I condemn spreading intolerance and hate. I kind of take a live and let live approach. Liberty means tolerating a lot of actions and opinions with which you may disagree. 

However, I object to using public funds to spread propaganda promoting transgenderism among young people.  If I private bookstore wanted to have these displays then I would think government ought to stay out of it and the private bookstore has the right to do what they want. If a private bookstore wants to have drag queen story hour, then I support their right to do so; if a public library wants to have a drag queen story hour, I object. 

When the government does something, they are doing it with my tax dollars and in my name. I object. 

































About this book, from Amazon.
















From Amazon


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

The national debt is ballooning. The next president probably won’t stop it.

By Jacob Bogage, The Washington Post, June 24, 2024 - As the national debt soars toward a new and worrisome record, neither President Biden nor former president Donald Trump is likely to bring the tide of red ink under control, experts say.

Trump is pledging to extend the enormous package of tax cuts adopted on his watch and has discussed further reducing taxes for corporations. Biden, meanwhile, also wants to extend the Trump tax cuts for families earning less than $400,000 a year, while calling for nearly $1 trillion in fresh spending over the next decade on social programs — though Biden vows to cover those costs by raising taxes on the rich.

Neither candidate has made debt reduction a priority while in the White House, according to research released Monday by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The debt grew by $8.4 trillion during Trump’s first term, while Biden so far has added $4.3 trillion, ... Last week, the CBO projected annual budget deficits of nearly $2 trillion for the foreseeable future. That mismatch between spending and revenue will drive borrowing ever higher, with the debt growing to more than $50 trillion by 2034 — or more than 122 percent of the nation’s overall economy — the CBO said. (read it all)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, July 08, 2024

Courtney Johnston builds fundraising war chest

Courtney Johnston
Axios Nashville, July 8, 2024- Metro Councilmember Courtney Johnston raked in $715,000 in the last three months to fuel her Republican primary challenge of U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles, her campaign tells Axios.

Why it matters: The race is a political rarity for a Republican primary: an incumbent backed by former President Trump facing a legitimate, well-financed challenger.

The big picture: Johnston's fundraising haul this quarter shows there's an appetite to get rid of Ogles, the freshman House member who's been embroiled in controversy.

By the numbers: Johnston now has over $500,000 cash on hand to bankroll her campaign for the stretch run. In addition to her own fundraising efforts, an outside group called Conservatives With Character has been airing anti-Ogles television ads for about the last two weeks.

Ogles, meanwhile, is playing catch-up on the fundraising front. For much of his tenure, he disclosed a $300,000 personal loan to his campaign. Earlier this year, he amended 11 disclosures to remove the loan after becoming the subject of an ethics complaint.

After those changes, he reported just over $95,000 cash on hand. The Tennessean reported last week that Ogles' re-election effort relies on the Americans for Prosperity political group for financial support.

State of play: Trump expressed his support for Ogles last year, but that was before Johnston entered the race.

Johnston has earned the admiration of Nashville's business community during her five years on the Metro Council. Some of the city's most prominent business leaders back her campaign.

Between the lines: The race is also colored by the fact that this is just the second election in the newly drawn District 5, which represents a large portion of Nashville where Johnston lives.

Nashville, previously a single House district and Democratic stronghold, is now divided into three House districts where Republicans have large advantages.

As a result, none of Nashville's three representatives live in the city.

Reality check: Ogles still enjoys support from Republican leaders.

In addition to Trump, eight Republican state lawmakers endorsed Ogles' campaign. Johnston touted Ogles' work to address "border security, government accountability and inflation" to the conservative Tennessee Star outlet.

Election Day for the Republican primary is Aug. 1. Early voting begins July 12.

Share this story

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories