Saturday, June 22, 2024

Report from the Nashville GOP Summer Picnic

By Rod Williams, June 22, 2024- Today was a great day for the Nashville Republican Party Picnic and a great location. It was hot, with temperatures in the mid-90's, but under the canopy of tall oak trees at the Dragon Park, and a nice gentle breeze, it was not unpleasant. The playground was great for those with children. 

There were various tables and canopies throughout the site with various candidates talking with people attending the event and there were organizations explaining who they are and what they do and handing our freebie merchandise. I got a new tee-shirt to add to my stockpile of political tee shirts. This one was from Americans for Prosperity with the message "Bidenomics is Bad Economics." 

left to right: Peter Voysey and Bob Schwartz chat with
Scot Golden, Chair of the Tennessee Republican Party
The event lasted from 10AM to 2PM.  I arrived about 11:30AM. With some people arriving early and leaving before the end and some arriving later and staying till the end, it is hard to say how many people attended. Also, with the event so spread out, it is hard to estimate the size of the crowd. There were 222 people who voted in the straw poll for the 5th Congressional District. However, some who do not live in the 5th may have not voted in that poll and some may not have taken part in the voting at all. I am going to guess that maybe there were 300 to 350 people in attendance. 

Courtney Johnston 
We enjoyed a meal of pulled pork barbecue and green beans and mac and cheese. There was also a Good Humor Ice Cream Truck with an assortment of decadent selections. I have been trying to watch what I eat, but I indulged.

Me (Rod Williams) with Jennifer Hensley
Webb, Council Member district 10 and 
candidate for TN House District 50
 There were speeches by various candidates. Marsha Blackburn, Andy Ogles, Josh Rose, and Courtney Johnston all spoke and that may have been more that I missed.

I really enjoyed seeing people that I had not seen in a while, and I met some interesting new people. I had lots of good conversation. Some people know I am a never-Trumper but I encountered no hostility and had pleasant conversation with a lot of people. I have discovered that most people are much more polite, reasonable and tolerant in person than on social media. Also, there are about four others who attend Republican functions who I know are also never-Trumpers and we share a camaraderie and joke that we are a secret club within the cult.  

In the poll, there was a question asking who Trump should select for his VP nominee. There was a list of about 20 names. I voted for Tucker Carlson. Not that I want Tucker Carlson to be Vice President, but Tucker would be compatible with Trump; they are both conspiracist, Putin-friendly, truth-challenged, and share personality traits. 

The top three vote-getters in the poll for Trump's VP were Tim Scott with 32 votes, Marsha Blackburn with 30 votes, and in third place was Sarah Huckabee Sanders, but I did not get her vote totals. 
Lydia Hubbell and the Good Humor man.

Marsha Blackburn
In the poll for the Fifth Congressional District nominee, Andy Ogles got 174 votes and Courtney Johnston got 48 votes. This is disappointing. With all of the scandals surrounding Andy Ogles, I expected his popularity to fade, but among those who attended the Republican Party picnic, he is still popular. His team was mingling through the crowd and the tee shirts there wore touted that Ogles had Trump's endorsement. The Republican Party is definitely the party of Trump these days and Trump's endorsement trumps integrity, ability or any other consideration. Hopefully, most voters who vote in the primary will not be as devoted to Trump as those attend the picnic.

The poll asked who the next Republican nominee for governor should be. Mark Green got 86 votes, John Rose 45, and Knox County mayor Glenn Jacobs got 44 votes.

From a list of about 20 options people were asked to vote for what they see as the single most important issue facing the country. Number one, two, and three were the economy, immigration, and election integrity. That election integrity is seen as a major issue tells you what a hold the lie of the stolen election has on the minds of Republicans. 



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Friday, June 21, 2024

I'm going to the Picnic.

click for tickets
by Rod Williams, June 21, 2024- Tomorrow I am going to the Nashville Republican Party picnic. I barely feel like a Republican anymore, but I am going to go. While I don't feel much like a Republican anymore, I could never be a Democrat, unless the Democrat Party changes considerably, which I doubt will happen. 

However, when it comes to national defense and the international order, both parties have changed and my position is closer to that of the Dems than the Repubs, and that is an important issue to me. 

For all of my life, the Republican Party was for standing up to tyrants, promoting strong alliances, and defending democracy around the world. Now, not so much. While foreign policy was mostly bipartisan, those for appeasement at any price and all-we-are-saying-is-give-peace-a-chance were Democrats. Now, it the Democrat Party that is for supporting democracy and for American leadership in the world while the Republican Party that has turned isolationist.

Not all Republicans of course, but the isolationist and appeasers are now the Republicans. I am really as surprised that Democrats could become the party of a robust foreign policy as I am that Republican could become the party of isolationism and appeasement. Times change and people switch sides. Anyway, that is probably the number one thing pushing me away from the Republican camp. When Congressman Mark Green voted against aid to Ukraine, that pushed me further toward leaving the Party. He was a person I admired; not so much anymore.

If on other issues, Republicans were much stronger than Dems, then my identity as a Republican would not be so weakened. Even on defense, neither party is addressing our dwindling weak navy. On this crucial issue, neither party is advocating what needs to be done. 

On other issues, neither party is showing leadership. Republicans are no better than Dems on addressing entitlements, or the national debt. Republicans are much worse than Dems when it comes to free trade and tariffs. Trump has advocated an across-the-board policy of increased tariffs. These would be paid for by Americans. A tariff is a sales tax paid for by the consumer. Not only would this be inflationary and a regressive tax on American consumers, but we could expect retaliatory tariffs. This is a recipe for a worldwide depression. Dems are the party of sanity on this issue.  

I am not so sure I even trust Republicans more than Democrats when it comes to immigration. Congress was on the verge of passing a bi-partisan bill to address illegal immigration until Trump told them not to do so. He wanted the issue more than he wanted a solution to the issue.

I am in closer agreement with Republicans than Democrats on the social issues. I am pro-life. I oppose DEI indoctrination and ESG investing and cancel culture and wokeness and the silliness of the use of language to promote transgenderism and all things woke. However, even here, I find that often Repubs are using these issues to gin up anger than really address an issue. After all, how big of a problem is drag queen public library story hour? How often has it really happened? And, when it comes to telling a bar that they must make sure there is a restroom for men-only and one for women-only, I tend to think that is none of the government's business. 

I see no circumstance under which I could vote for Donald Trump. I think Trump is an idiot, uninformed, and a liar, and a dictator wannabe. His policies of weaking our alliances, betraying Ukraine, appeasement, opposition to free trade, and proposing massive tariffs would be an absolute disaster. Also, he is not a very nice person. 

So, after all I have said, why am I going to the Nashville GOP picnic? Despite my view that the Party has lost its way, did an about face on long held positions, fails to address crucial issues, and has basically become a Trump cult, I know a lot of Republicans and while I sometimes get confronted and challenged for my anti-Trump views, most Republicans are still cordial and friendly. Even some of the leaders of the Trump movement are friendly to me and are nice people. We were friends before Trump and worked on the same causes and campaigns. I don't feel personally ostracized. And despite thinking they are wrong; I still like these people. 

Also, I would like to see Courtney Johnston defeat Andy Ogles and I want to see them each speak, and I want to see the interaction of those two candidates and camps. Also, despite no longer caring for Marsha Blackburn, I want to see what she has to say. 

While I am almost out the door, I am hanging around hoping Trumpism does not extend beyond Trump. I still think the Party will return to its conservative roots, sanity and normalcy and will abandon Trump populism after Trump leaves the stage. While I won't vote for Tump, at this point I am still a Republican. In November, I will vote for a Republican for President, but it won't be Trump. I may vote for Liz Cheney, or maybe Chris Christie, or maybe Rod Williams.

So, while just barely still a Republican, I still am one. So, I am going to go to the picnic. For $15 you can get good barbeque and the fixings and good ice cream. There is that. What a bargain!

If you go, say hi. I will be the one not wearing a red MAGA cap. 

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Thursday, June 20, 2024

First Tuesday Welcomes Congressman Andy Ogles


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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Metro balances the books

by MEGAN PODSIEDLIK, Reposted from The Pamphleteer, June 19, 2024- Despite a dense docket, it was smooth sailing through the final reading of Metro Council’s substitute budget during last night’s meeting. Mayor O’Connell enveloped Budget and Finance Committee Chair Delishia Porterfield in a hug following the body’s unanimous approval of the ordinance. “I would like to thank the mayor for giving us a really great foundation to start off with,” said Porterfield, in front of a backdrop of protest signs reading IT’S GENOCIDE. “My focus for this year's budget was to utilize an equity lens to [prioritize] the residents of Nashville, particularly our youth and our city employees who are vital to making our city thrive.”

Though there was a little pushback after Porterfield originally unveiled the council’s budget, it seems she avoided any courthouse scruples by making a few notable changes at the eleventh hour. For one, Councilmember Sandra Sepulveda got the $300,000 she needed to fund her “Build It Right” legislation’s construction safety oversight board. 

Speaking of Build It Right: the bill got significant support during last night’s meeting, and Sepulveda was able to pass a substitute version of her bill on second reading. After being deferred to address a few community and administrative concerns, the District 30 council member didn’t just manage to appease her colleagues by adding a contractor position to the board, but she also cut a few of the DEI requirements: specifically, the requirement to adhere to Metro’s Equal Business Opportunity Program.

While “Build It Right” got a boost, Metro Arts got a buzzcut: Porterfield ended up shaving a bit off the top of the $400,000 set aside for Metro Arts to conduct an equity study. Now, there will only be “up to $250,000” available in this year’s budget for the study.

At the end of the day, Porterfield was able to find the extra money needed for her additional spending without raising taxes or firing anyone; instead, she turned to administrative savings and Metro reserve funds.  “...I do have to be very clear that because of a mid-year supplemental, we were able to reduce those admin accounts,” she told her colleagues. “However, in our next budget, we do have to refill those accounts [and] we will not be able to tap them so low...”

Ginny Welsch
Still trying to defund
the police.
For the most part, the council seemed to be on the same page— aside from the budget, the COLA pay plan adjustments and the tax levy passed without a fuss. Even the creation of twenty-three new Metro jobs got the green light from council members by voice vote. However, there was one council member who was thoroughly iced out of the discussion: District 16’s Ginny Welsch.

Welsch proposed six of the seven amendments filed to make more changes to the budget on third reading: all defunding the police and allocating their budget dollars elsewhere. Five of those proposals never made it through committee because the “no pass for fascism” council member couldn’t find anyone to second her amendments. As Vice Mayor Angie Henderson opened up the machines to take the final vote on the budget proposal, Welsch was flustered and confused having not presented the one amendment that made it through committee. Unfortunately, she missed her window during the proceedings and resigned to the fate of her failed amendments. 

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TN Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti says Federal Judge Blocking Biden Administration’s Attempt to Replace Title IX Language, a Big Win for the Constitution.

Nashville TN, June 17, 2024- Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti today released a statement regarding a federal fudge blocking the Biden administration’s attempt to replace Title IX language with a social change agenda. 

This is a big win for the Constitution and the people of Tennessee. We fought hard to protect our constitutional separation of powers, which ensures that the people through their elected representatives are the only authority that can make new laws. If the rule we stopped had been allowed to go into effect on August 1 as scheduled, Tennessee schools and universities would have to let boys into girls’ locker rooms and other private spaces. If the rule went into effect, our schools would have to punish teachers and students who declined to use someone’s preferred pronouns. These are profound changes to the law that the American people never agreed to. This rule was a huge overreach by federal bureaucrats, and the Court was right to stop it.

To read a copy of the opinion, click here.

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Sunday, June 16, 2024

GOP Nashville Summer Picnic, June 22 at the Dragon Park


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Audit finds array of problems at Metro Arts: improperly used temporary employees; did not correctly document their scope of work; paid them exorbitant salaries.

by Nate Rau, Axios, June 16, 2024 - An audit of the embattled Metro Arts Commission, released Wednesday, found a cavalcade of financial, human resources and contracting problems. According to the audit, Metro Arts lacks "comprehensive policies and procedures for critical areas such as grant management and financial transactions." (link)

Go deeper: Read the full audit

Read the Nashville Banner's timeline of issues at Metro Arts

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    Courtney Johnston for District 5: Can She Unseat Andy Ogles?

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Courtney Johnston is the only Republican other than Andy Ogles campaigning in the primary for Tennessee's 5th District Seat in the U.S. Congress. Find out what she's advocating for on this edition of Inside Politics.

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    Actor Morgan Freeman derides Black History Month: 'My history is American history'

    Actor Morgan Freeman derides Black History Month: 'My history is American history' The Academy-Award winner said, 'this whole idea makes my teeth itch. It’s not right'

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    You Paid Hundreds of Millions for Solar Power to Wreck the Environment

    Taxpayer dollars continue to go to an unreliable source of energy that often has negative environmental

     By ANDREW FOLLETT, National Review, June 12, 2024 - The 2,300-acre Aratina Solar Project west of Barstow is intended to generate 530 megawatts of electricity. But it has infuriated residents with construction dust and a likely threat to centuries-old trees and endangered desert tortoises that are the official state reptile of California and Nevada, the usual environmental safeguards so prevalent in California notwithstanding. ... “Let’s destroy the environment to save the environment. That seems to be the mentality,” local teacher Deric English told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s hard to comprehend.” 

    ... According to the National Park Service, Joshua trees are a key part of the desert ecosystem, “providing habitat for numerous birds, mammals, insects, and lizards,” and are on average 150 years old, although many are much older than that.

    ... Many older solar panels take up to a decade to accomplish a net reduction in emissions, while even more modern ones placed in the — increasingly limited — climatically ideal environments for solar power typically take many years. So any net benefit from this project will take, at best, years to manifest.

    ... The majority of America’s recent CO2 emissions reductions come from the “decreased use of coal and the increased use of natural gas for electricity generation,” not the growth of solar power, according to the EIA. ... Solar power also creates about 300 times more toxic waste per unit of electricity generated than nuclear-power plants do, ...  (link)

    Rod's Comment: I accept the reality of global warming and consider myself an environmentalist. Unfortunately, the liberal activist environmentalist community hinder addressing the problem of climate change. Promotions of solar energy joins the promotion of ethanol as solutions that are not really solutions and actually are bad for the environment. Activist liberal environmentalist opposition to refining cleaner oil in favor of continuing to refine dirty oil, opposition to fracking which results in an increased natural gas supply which replaces much dirtier coal, support for the ineffective Paris Accords, and, most egregious, the opposition to nuclear energy are all environmentalist positions that perpetuate climate change and environmental degradation. Unfortunately, there are too few rational environmentalists at the table.

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