Thursday, December 14, 2017

Vice President Pence Gives $4K to Black's Gubernatorial Bid

Memphis Daily News: The Black campaign received a letter of praise from Pence – and a $4,000 check from his political action committee. (link)

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Diane Black surges in Tennessee gubernatorial race, poll finds

The TennesseanDiane Black surges in Tennessee gubernatorial race, poll finds

.... 59 percent of respondents recognized Black’s name, a 10 percent jump from a survey released in May. ... With 41 percent, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat, came in second in terms of name recognition. .... House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville and Knoxville entrepreneur Randy Boyd, who had name recognition of 40 percent and 33 percent, respectively. ... Twenty-eight percent of respondents recognized former Republican state Sen. Mae Beavers’ name ... Just 14 percent of respondents recognized Lee’s name, while 10 percent knew Fitzhugh in the latest poll.

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Humor Break:



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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thoughts on Roy Moore's loss in Alabama

I was conflicted over Roy Moor's candidacy. The rational part of myself said a win for Roy Moore would be an albatross around the neck of the Republican Party and lead to future losses in 2020 and beyond. He would be a distraction.  He would be a fund raising gold mine for Democrats. He would be the poster boy for why people should not vote Republican.  Republicans are holding on to a small sliver of the electorate but demographics are not in our favor.  Republicans must make inroads in to millennials and Hispanics and African-Americans. Roy Moore would alienate those people. Also, Republicans are losing white college-educated women. Roy Moore's victory would likely cause further loss of this group.

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Roy Moore
I also reasoned that we should do the right thing and not elect a person with credible collaborated charges of hitting on 14 year-old girls when he was a 32 year-old man.  I know Democrats a few years ago elected as president a man who had collaborated credible charges of rape alleged against him.  In addition to the charges of rape, Bill Clinton settled several law suites alleging sexual harassment. Still, I reasoned, we should do the right thing.  Just because Democrats put party above principle is no reason for Republicans to do the same thing. We are better people than Democrats.

On the other hand, while I concluded I thought it best if Roy Moore lose the election, I could not help but be pleased when it looked like he was ahead in the polls. There is something satisfying about poking self-righteous pompous liberals in the eye. Also, tribalism is a hard thing to overcome. I want to cheer for my team.  With Republicans only having a two seat majority, shrinking that margin to one seat could endanger the Republican agenda. Some of my feelings of only moderate revulsion at Moore's creepy behavior toward young girls is that my mother married when she was only 15 and my grandmother married when she was 13.  While a thirty year-old man cruising teen girls in the mall is creepy, it is not quite pedophilia. And, it was only allegations and it was forty years ago and the timing of the revelation was suspect.  Maybe he had an attraction to young girls a long time ago but is now cured of that.  Maybe he changed.  Many good men may have feet of Clay. The allegations against Moore are not nearly as serious as the numerous allegations against Bill Clinton, I would say to myself,  and maybe Democrats are right and scoring for our team is preferable to standing for morality and losing an election.  It was not always easy to maintain my preference that Roy Moore lose the election.

One thing that made me come down on the side of wanting Moore to lose is that Moore represents the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party.  He has twice defied the Supreme Court. The first time was in 2003 when he defied a federal court order requiring him to remove a large granite Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building. This is a monument that he himself had caused to be placed there. The second time was when he issued an order to lower courts in Alabama that they were not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. This was after the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in Obergefell v. Hodges, that the Constitution guaranteed a right to same-sex marriage.  I am sympathetic with Roy Moore in both of these cases, but one cannot just disobey a federal court order.  We are a nation of laws.  Every State Supreme Court judge cannot decide the law for his state.  There are means to legally resist and attempt to overturn a Supreme Court ruling; simply defying it is not one of them.

Another black mark against Roy Moore is that he seems ignorant of basic constitutional provisions. He has said he thinks Muslims should be prohibited from serving in the U. S.Congress.  I don't know if he is aware that the constitution prohibits a religious test for public office. He also seems really uninformed about current events. I saw him being interviewed on TV and he did not even know the meaning of the term "DACA" or "dreamers."  Anyone who is that uninformed to not know these common terms is not informed enough to serve n the U. S. Senate.

Judge Roy Moore joins the ranks of those embarrassing Republican candidates like Todd Akin, Sharron Angle, and Christine O’Donnell who were nominated but lost the general election.  While I am pleased the lunatic fringe looses general elections, if Republicans did not nominate nut-jobs and seriously flawed candidates then we could win some of the seats the nut-jobs are losing. We as Republicans need to nominate people with integrity, and who are well grounded in core believes, and in touch with reality.  There are too many Republicans caught up in conspiracy stuff like the birther movement or Agenda 21 or a belief that there is a conspiracy to impose Sharia law on America or other nutty things.  These are not the people who should be selecting our nominees.

Often Republican primary voters undervalue nominating people who can get things done in favor of someone who can push their emotional buttons.  I am pro-life and pro-Second Amendment but to have a single issue focus on these issues and vote for the one who exhibits the most pro-life or pro-Second Amendment passion, at the expense of someone who would be a good manager and govern a state and improve education and solve problems is not wise. Nominating someone who can push the right emotional buttons over someone who would make a good legislator, who understands the issues, and is wise and informed is short-sighted. 

Unfortunately, primaries are decided by only a handful of Republicans. The Republicans who only vote in general elections must start voting in primaries.in order to ensure the party nominates people who are not an embarrassment and who hand the election to the Democrats. If more Republicans would have voted in the Alabama primary, Roy Moore would not have been the nominee and Republicans would have kept that safe seat. 





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Nashville's fees to Wall Street among highest in the nation

In an article by Mike Reicher appearing in The Tennessean it is reported that Nashville's pension fund pays some of the highest Wall Street investment fees of any city in America. The hidden cost associated with the pension fund was revealed for the first time as a result of a request for information from the Tennessean. Below are excepts from the article:

New city data shows that Nashville paid $39 million in investment fees in fiscal 2017 — more than 40 percent above the previous year’s reported fees — while the fund’s assets increased by 10 percent. As a share of its total assets, Nashville’s fees are among the highest in the nation, experts say.

The city pays nearly as much in investment fees as the state pension fund, which has more than 10 times the assets of Nashville and better investment returns during the past decade. 

While other local governments have taken steps to control Wall Street fees, Nashville officials show no indication they’re concerned.

Metro paid fees equal to about 1.3 percent of its assets in fiscal 2017. Pew surveyed the largest state pensions and found the average external management fee was 0.34 percent. The Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, the pool for local and state employees, spent $41 million on external management fees, or 0.08 percent of its assets. 

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Republican Women Annual Christmas Luncheon and Toy Drive for the Children of Tennessee Soldiers

Wednesday, December 13th 
Richland Country Club
One Club Drive (just off Granny White Pike)
10:30 a.m. -  Registration and Coffee
11:30 a.m. -  Program/Lunch


It's toy time for the Children of Tennessee Soldiers! Please join the Nashville Republican Women for their Annual Christmas Luncheon and Toy Drive, December 13th. Don't forget to bring an unwrapped toy! 
Our special guests will be Chrissy Haslam, the First Lady of Tennessee, and Maj. Gen. "Max" Haston, the Adjutant General of the Tennessee National Guard. 

Cost is $25 per person. Reservations are requested by Friday, Dec. 8th.  For reservations and additional information, visit: www.nashvillerepublicanwomen.org

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Insufferable Become Sufferable: The Evolution of A Never-Trumper

Gene Wisdom
by Gene Wisdom - There are few things that does the soul good like admitting you’re wrong. Having officially entered the ranks of the elderly in turning 60, I have certainly had my share of those occasions. But fortunately, just as “love means never having to say you’re sorry” (OK, that’s a lie, right, men?), being a conservative means rarely having to admit to error. Well, now it’s my turn.

When Trump entered the Presidential race (which I’m convinced he decided to do when President Obama ridiculed his “birther” position, shortly after Obama was elected, at a White House correspondents’ dinner) I was like most, I think, surprised at that move. Throughout the nomination process I remained a devoted Ted Cruz supporter. I still think he would have made a better President. Whether he would have beat Hillary, who knows?

As you might guess from my support of Cruz, I am a lifelong Reagan Republican. The postwar (WWII, I suppose I now should add for clarification) conservative intellectual movement consisted of three legs of a stool: traditionalism, represented by Russell Kirk and Robert Nisbet; libertarianism, best represented, at least early on by Murray Rothbard, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman; and the anti-Communists which included James Burnham, Whittaker Chambers. As the differences sharpened between these three groups, there was an effort to bring these strains of thought together, to fuse them. Hence, “fusionism”, propounded by Frank Meyers. The best-known examples of individuals who combined all three influences together were William F. Buckley, Jr., who was arguably the founder of the movement, and Ronald Reagan. I have spent my life reading, studying, and advancing the ideas of conservatism. I know what it is and I are one.

Donald Trump, I am convinced, is not. There is nothing in his biography that gives any hint that he has said or done anything to advance conservative principles. As is well-known, he contributed to Planned Parenthood and a list of Democratic (i.e., not conservative) candidates. His history as a successful businessman was often advanced as suggestive of someone who would make sound decisions but it says nothing of what he even believes. It certainly doesn’t make one a conservative unless one wants to put George Soros, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos on the Right side of the divide. Further, his record of ruthlessness and bankruptcies in business says nothing about principles except a readiness to sacrifice all, including his creditors, in pursuit of the dollar. Between God (or other principles) and mammon, his choices in favor of the latter have been clear.

Even while “God’s spokesmen” lined up to support and endorse him. Shamefully so, in my opinion.

Trump’s behavior on the campaign trail gave me no further reason for confidence. There is no doubt that he lacked polish; he also doesn’t have the judgement, character, or temperament to occupy the Oval Office. And there is much reason to have such doubts to this day. He plays fast and loose with the truth. His virtually daily outbursts on Twitter display the maturity of a stunted 12-year old. A pathological narcissist and adolescent.

We conservatives became well-known—and mocked by the media and Hollywood elites--in the 90’s for insisting that character still matters. Congress not only impeached Bill Clinton but we cast aside our own for sexual misconduct: Bob Packwood, Bob Bauman, Mark Foley, and Larry Craig. And it still matters as Republicans wrestle with the proper response to the candidacy of a very popular Senatorial candidate, Roy Moore, accused of sexually assaulting a minor.

But in Trump’s case, at what point do his negatives cancel out accomplishments of his Presidency? Do they require that the positive entries in the ledger never be considered or even entered? We know that the media rarely give even a passing glance at them. For myself, I have remained a continual critic of Trump while acknowledging those “few” things he got right.

It is time for me to take a second look. And there is much there for conservatives to celebrate. My friends, who often accused me, rather ridiculously I might add, of being a Hillary supporter during the campaign, often reminded me of Trump’s commitment to appoint solid conservatives to the Supreme Court and other federal courts. And then came Neil Gorsuch. A knock out of the park. Trump came through. Though Reagan’s legacy also included Antonin Scalia and Ed Meese, who arguably began the originalist debate and revolution, his appointments also included Anthony Kennedy whose proximity to the Right side is belied by his reputation as a “swing” voter on the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch’s legacy, I will be presumptuous to predict, will equal the intellectual heft, if not the wit, of Antonin Scalia, and the fidelity to text and history of Scalia and Clarence Thomas. And Trump’s appointments to the appeals courts will only deepen that legacy as we see with the appointments of Kyle Duncan and Davis Stras.

We soon saw President Trump’s much-maligned and miss-distorted travel ban. He campaigned on tightening immigration, both from south of the border and of Muslims. He sought to clamp down on immigration from nations that did not adequately vet those leaving. Those nations included Venezuela and North Korea. The Supreme Court recently validated this executive prerogative in a 7-2 decision.

On the national defense side, the pluses start with the appointment of General “Mad Dog” Mattis as Secretary of Defense. Need I say more? OK, I will. Among the military accomplishments was the elevation of Cyber Command to a “Unified Combatant Command”, raising their profile and priority. For a glance at how far that capability has come I suggest that you read Fred Kaplan’s Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War. There was also the reversal, by President Trump, of President Obama’s decision to allow transgender individuals to serve in the military.

Diplomacy is again being used to advance U.S. interests. As a recent example, North Korea has again finally been re-designated as a “state sponsor of terrorism”. Long overdue. Just this week, Trump declared that the U.S. embassy will be moved to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, by which policy will reflect reality. Again, long overdue. The Trump State Department is also cutting funds to some United Nations organizations, such as the UN Population Fund.

The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions (a particular favorite, being formerly a strong conservative Senator from my home state of Alabama) is a particular bright spot for conservatives. While there is a significant negative in Sessions’ commitment to civil asset forfeiture, he has sought to restore the rule of law in cracking down on sanctuary cities. Toward restoring the integrity of the election process, he demonstrated commitment to election integrity with the DOJ’s recent stand with Texas on its voter ID law. Justice also recently ended the Obama-era Operation Chokepoint initiative which sought to block some businesses, including firearms dealers and payday lenders, from having access to bank loans.

The Obama Administration’s collaboration with the far Left in the “sue and settle” strategy was ended. With “sue and settle” an environmental group, for example, would sue the Environmental Protection Agency and then reach a settlement by which a consent decree would be entered effectively extending regulations without benefit of legislation or even the formal regulation process. Regulation by litigation. Over.  For more on “sue and settle” read the Heritage Foundation study at http://www.heritage.org/crime-and-justice/report/regulation-through-sham-litigation-the-sue-and-settle-phenomenon.

President Trump promised to trim down the Leviathan of regulation, saying he would do away with two regulations for every new one implemented. In this case, he has over-accomplished. In a presentation I heard from a representative from Freedom Works this past weekend (which was the inspiration behind this essay) I learned that the ratio is actually SIXTEEN to one.

A list of Trump accomplishments would be incomplete without mentioning the absolute paroxysms of hate and rage his election and presence in the White House has elicited. Oh, the joy this gives me. Beginning with the feminist protests and their pussy hats immediately after the inauguration to snowflake college students who simultaneously require safe spaces on the hearing of Trump’s name while also violently protesting conservative speakers, much of the “resistance” has more ideological affinity—and sympathy--for Venezuela’s government and Jane Fonda than protecting American interests. CNN programming is a continual drumbeat of anti-Trump “news”. Positives? If mentioned at all, they are covered as negatives.

Am I now a Trump supporter? Don’t rush out and get me a MAGA hat. Trump is still Trump. But Trump’s accomplishments? Many would make Reagan proud.

Gene Wisdom, a retired naval officer, is a lifelong conservative Republican.  He is a native Alabamian, and he and his wife have recently moved from Nashville, where they lived for ten years, to Knoxville. While in Nashville Gene was moderator of the Conservative Fusion Book Club. 

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Sheila Butt retiring from House

Nashville Post - State Rep. Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) has announced she will not run for re-election. Butt (pictured) told the Columbia Daily Herald that she will work full-time for Christian women's organization Sisters, Servants and Soldiers after her term is up next year. (link)

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Eric Church to headline private fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee

Eric Church to headline private fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee
 The invitation said tickets for the concert and barbecue cost $1,000 and that an additional option for a private reception with Church sold out.

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