Sunday, July 24, 2016

Trumps acceptance speech at the RNC shows he is not a conservative.

This is what I posted o Facebook immediately after Trump's speech on Thursday night:

I was ready to be persuaded to get on board for Trump tonight, but I was not persuaded. I think the Obama-Hillary foreign policy has been a disaster and liked that criticism, but much of the other left me unconvinced or even displeased. Much of it was out of the liberal play book.
I don't want the government in charge of insuring equal pay for equal work. I don't want universal government child care. While I am an enthusiastic supporter of parental choice in education, I don't want the Federal government mandating it. I want a smaller Federal role in education not a larger roll. Education is primarily a state and local issue.
While we have seen police assassinations in the last month, it is not a national crisis. Crime has been constantly declining for about 20 years. We do not have out of control crime in this country. We have seen a recent uptick but crime is primarily a local and state issue, not a federal issue. I am not persuaded we need a massive public works program to build airports, roads, bridges, and railroads. We had a massive failure of public works projects when Obama took office. I don't know that a Republican administration can do public works better than Dems. How are we going to cut the $20+ trillion national debt and have a massive project to rebuild American infrastructure?
I agree we need to punish and deport illegal immigrant criminals. Illegal immigrants committing crime should not be released but I think the problem of criminality among illegals was exaggerated. We need to secure our borders and get control of immigration but I am not convinced that building a massive wall the length of the Southern border is the best approach.
On trade, Republicans have been stronger advocates of reducing trade barriers than Dems. Advancing freer trade is one thing Dems got right. I am not convinced that we have gotten the short end of the stick in trade deals.
How does a free country prohibit American companies from relocating to foreign countries? I favor tax reform so American is more attractive to companies, but Trump said he would stop companies from relocating.
And I do not want the Federal government to assume student debt. Maybe we need student loan reform, so risk is evaluated before loans are made but I did not like his pandering to those with high student loans. Easy student loans is one thing that has made college more expensive.
While I cheered a few times, the overall tone of the speech left me cold. I would prefer Trump appointing Supreme Court judges rather than Hllary and think she is a despicable person, but Trump only looks good when compared to Hillary. I cannot get enthused.
As I reflect on what I wrote Thursday night, I double down.  What amazes me is that people who have been conservative all of their life, the grassroots activist of the party, can cheer such liberal rubbish. The build-the-wall and the tough-on-crime might be though of as conservative positions but but even those are populist-tinged pandering positions, not primary to a conservative ideology.

Trump made a strong case, with which I think few Republicans would disagree, that Hillary Clinton is dishonest and botched handling foreign affairs leaving the world worse than she found it. Other than those positions, he threw a bone to conservative by saying he would repeal and replace Obamacare and that he would appoint conservative judges but most of the speech called for more and more government interference in our lives, consolidation of power in Washington, and an imperial presidency. He did not advocate smaller government.  If you missed the speech, I encourage you to watch it in the video below and this ask yourself, "Does this guy sound like a Republican?'

Prior to Trump taking the stage he was introduced by his daughter Ivanka.  Her speech would have been more fitting introducing a Democrat candidate.

Here is what Ivanka had to say about what her father would do:
He will work for equal pay for equal work ...As president, my father will change the labor laws, ...
The equal pay for equal work argument is mostly bunk anyway.  When other variables are held constant, the difference is pay is negligible. She repeats the same old liberal argument that women only make x% of what men make ignoring career choices and other factors.  Even if the pay gap was real, do conservatives want federal bureaucrats dictating pay rates for individual employees? Do we want a massive bureaucracy that looks over an employer's shoulder to make sure he is paying his employees fairly?  Do we want that additional bureaucratic drag on the economy? This is anathema to what we believe.  This is not free enterprise and smaller, less intrusive government.
He will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all. 
I am not believing I am hearing this at a Republican convention. Are Republican ready to embrace a large new entitlement and government expansion? 

Here is Trump's speech:

The speech is long.  To better reflect on what Trump actually said, I would suggest reading the speech at this link.

Here are highlights that should cause any American pause and some that would have gotten boos if a Democrat would have said them.
I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.
"I alone can fix it." That sounds like the strong man on a white horse. His arrogance  and egotism should cause us concern.
when I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order our country
Despite exaggeration and distorting the extend of crime and police assassinations, crime is a state and local issue primarily.  Most laws that criminals violate are state laws. The federal government could beef up the FBI to investigate organized crime and increase prosecution of federal crimes, but other than that there is not much the Federal government can do.  Congress can appropriated money to provide grants to local police forces, but that is something that when done under Clinton, Republicans opposed.  We do not want a national police force.  Do we really want a leader strong enough to "restore law and order?" I don't. I don't want one person to have that much power.
I’m going to make our country rich again. I am going to turn our bad trade agreements into great ...
Too much of the "I."  The strong man stuff scares me. A little of "I will propose ...," or "with the help of Congress ..." would be reassuring. We have seen President Obama abuse the office of the president numerous times, from over twenty changes to Obamacare, to changing immigration policy, to making recess appointments when Congress was actually not in session.  I want someone who will be respectful of the constitutional limits on the presidency and the separations of powers.  I want less imperial presidency, not more.
 it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA, one of the worst economic deals ever made by our country.
Yes, it was Clinton who signed it but the NAFTA negotiations were going on before he ever took office. Clinton had to defy the more liberal elements of his own party to get NAFTA though. Most Republicans supported it and it has been a benefit to the U. S., Canada, and Mexico.
I am not going to let companies move to other countries, firing their employees along the way, without consequences.
In a free country, how do you stop a company from relocating? We can change tax policy so they do not want to leave, but are we to build walls to keep people in as well as walls to keep them out? Think about that statement. Is that not scary talk?
She has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
 The "she" is Hillary Clinton.  While there was some Repubican opposition to TPP also, it had more Republican support than Democrat support.  In the House, 190 Republicans supported fast track authority to advance TPP and only 28 Democrats (link). This trade deal was one of the rare cases in which Obama got more Republican support than Democrat support.
Our roads and bridges are falling apart, our airports are in Third World condition, .... We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow.
He says he is going to do this with all of the wealth created by the better trade deals he will negotiate and the wealth created by cutting taxes.  I agree corporate taxes need to be cut. I believe cutting taxes and reducing regulatory reform will revitalized the American economy, but fear his trade policy may impoverish us. In any event, it is way to early to talk about massive new federal public works programs. First, we must bring down the $19 trillion dollar debt.

The Trump speech at the convention was what settled the issue for me. I cannot vote for Donald Trump.  Other statements of his had scared me. Statements he had made indicated he would betray or dismantle NATO and words of praise for Russia's Putin, and he had said time and time again things he would do as president apparently thinking he will have the powers of an emperor. I had also been put off by his remarks demeaning John McCain for being captured, making fun of a disabled person  and disparaging things he had said about certain women.

I was hoping I would be reassured that while he shoots off his mouth without thinking sometimes, he is a sane, reasonable person and basically a good person and a person of conservative views. I was hoping he would reassure me.  I was not reassured.  I now do not even believe he is a real Republican. It strikes me as a liberal statist populist nationalist running as a Republican. I do not think Trump is a conservative; if he is, then I am not that kind of a conservative.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

We need a "None of the above" option.

Now that it is clear that Trump is the Republican nominee and Hillary will be the Democratic nominee, I wish more than ever that we had a "none of the above option." If we had such an option I believe none-of-the-above would win this election.  The way I envision it is that if none-of-the-above won, the parties would have one month to put forth a new nominee and one month after that we would have a new election.

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Not voting or voting for a third party is not a vote for Hillary.

When I tell my Republican friends or mention on Facebook that I may not cast a vote for president or may cast a protest vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the immediate response is "not voting or voting for a third party is a vote for Hillary Clinton."  That is not true.  Obviously it is not factually true. Not voting is not voting and a vote cast of Gary Johnson is a vote cast for Gary Johnson, but I know what they mean. They mean that by not voting, I am denying a vote to Donald Trump, but that assumes I would be voting for Trump if I were voting.  Saying a vote for a third party is a vote for Hillary, also essentially is making the same assumption. That is most likely a good assumption because if I had a gun put to my head and were forced to vote and forced to vote for one of those two bad choices, then as of today, I would reluctantly, while holding my nose, vote for Trump.

The not-voting-for-Trump-is-a-vote-for-Hillary argument assumes that my vote is important. It assumes that my vote affects the outcome.  It does not. I am not surprised that low-information voters don't understand this but even informed people will make this argument. For it to matter whether I vote for Trump versus not voting or casting a third party or write-in vote, assumes that whoever gets the most votes for president gets elected president.  That is not the way it works.  Our process of electing the President reflects the nature of our form of government. We are a democratic republic not a popular democracy. We do not have national elections for President; we have 50 state elections for president.

I am virtually certain that Trump will overwhelmingly carry Tennessee. In the Republican primary, he carried every county except one.  Something terribly dramatic would have to happen for Tennessee to vote for the Democrat nominee. Polls are pretty reliable and we can know Trump is going to carry Tennessee before the votes are ever cast.  Since I am certain Trump will carry Tennessee and since Tennessee's system of assigning electoral votes is "winner take all," I can safely vote third party, cast a write-in for Marco Rubio, myself, or whomever or just vote down ticket and skip voting for President. The national popular vote is irrelevant.  If Trump carries Tennessee, he gets all of Tennessee's 11 electoral votes. My not voting or voting for someone other than Trump does not change that outcome.

Having the luxury of not voting for Trump without it helping Hillary would not apply if I lived in some other states. If I lived in a swing state then the effect of not voting for Trump would be to help Hillary get elected.  Each state's law determines how that state's electors are selected, and which candidate they vote for. Most states are like Tennessee and "winner take all," but some are not. Some states require that all but two of their electors vote the way each separate congressional district votes. If your state had that district system and you live in a swing district then your vote would matter. If you live in a state that assigns votes by district and your district might vote for Hillary, then the effect of not voting for Trump is to help Hillary's election. Several states have adopted a system that requires the state's electoral votes to be cast for the person who gets the most popular votes nationwide regardless of who carries their state. In that case, your not voting for Trump has the effect of helping Hillary's election.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Nashville fire EMS chief under fire over politically incorrect Facebook post

The Tennessean - Tim Lankford, a nearly 30-year veteran with department, was placed on desk duty last month after department officials learned about several posts on his Facebook page perceived as racial, stereotypical and or threatening toward some members of the public, according to a two-page letter signed by Nashville Fire Department Deputy Director Steve Holt. (link)

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Join me in supporting Brian Kelsey for Congress

Brian Kelsey
In the U. S. 8th Congressional District of Tennessee I am supporting Brian Kelsey for Congress.  He is running for the seat being vacated by Representative Stephen Fincher who in February announced he would not be seeking re-election for a fourth term. Fincher who won the seat in 2010 did not give a  specific reason for not seeking reelections simply saying, "I never intended to become a career politician. .... I will be returning to Frog Jump and my family and business, but intend to stay involved to the extent I can." 

While I hate that that decision opens the seat up for possibly being retaken by a Democrat, it is refreshing that someone leaves the private sector to serve in Congress for a few years and then returns to the private sector. I think that is the way the founding father intended things to work.

I have not studied all of the candidates seeking this office but I am familiar with Brian Kelsey's record representing the Tennessee 31st Senatorial district. He has been a solid common sense conservative.  Last year while attending the American for Prosperity event in Cleveland, I traveled on the bus with Brian and also spend some time one evening talking politics and issues with him and a few other people. He is smart, thoughtful, well-grounded  and just a likeable nice guy.  

With 2016 shaping up to perhaps not being a good year for Republicans, there is some doubt that Republicans can hold all of the gains they made in 2010.  Someone who has already held public office and already has name recognition will more likely have a chance at holding that Congressional seat than a challenger who has never held public office. For a list off all of the candidates running for that seat in both parties and to learn more about the candidates and the district visit Ballopedia at this link

In addition to liking Brain Kelsey and thinking he has the best chance at keeping the seat in Republican hands, these are other reasons for supporting Brian Kelsey taken from his website:
Please join me in making a contribution to the Brian Kelsey campaign at this link.

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(udate) What happend at the July 19th Council meeting: Bill to take property rights and stop affordable housing development in Antioch deferred, Fontanel zoning vote delayed, ...

BILL NO. L2016-219 that would strip property rights from a property owner in Antioch in

proposed The Ridge at Antioch
order to stop the development of an affordable housing development which was back on the agenda July 19th, was deferred until the meeting of  November 1st. To see my previous commentary on this issue follow this link

Today I spoke to Council member Karen Johnson about this issue. She explained to me that the Planned Unit Development on the property was approved in 1985.  Inactive PUDs can go away if after a certain period of time no action is taken to develop the property. The lifting of the PUD is not automatic however and is subject to a review process. The PUD on this property was undergoing such a review and most likely would have been lifted.  Without anyone informing the Council member, the developer had an action placed on the Consent agenda of the Planning Commission which further vested the property owner in the property rights associated with the PUD.  

Council member Johnson says she does not oppose development of affordable housing but does not want several affordable housing developments clustered in close proximity.  While the mere act of having a pending bill to downzone the property and lift the PUD may not stop the owner from exercising his current property rights, legal action has been taken to challenge the process of the Planning Commission. Until that legal challenge is resolved the project is on hold, Council member Johnson told me.   Johnson also said that discussions with THDA had resulted in the tax credits remaining available. She says Bill 219 would not have been necessary if the developer would have worked with her.

While I understand the frustration of Council member Johnson, I remain steadfast in my condemnation of this proposed lifting of the PUD and down zoning.  Bill 219 would lift the PUD which permits the development of the proposed 96-unit apartment complex but would also downzone the property from R-10 to RS-10. R-10 permits duplexes and RS-10 is single family only. In my view, property rights are as important as any rights we have and an owner's property should never be downzoned without their consent. A downzoning is a taking of property rights. Property should only be taken for a public purpose and the owner should be compensated.

If something inappropriate happened at the Planning Commission then the legal challenge is the appropriate way to deal with that.  This is complex and I myself do not understand all of the nuances of the issues surrounding the vesting of  PUD development rights and do not have a clear understanding of what happened at the Planning Commission that may have vested the owners PUD development rights which apparently were set to expire.  It does seem logical that at some point an inactive PUD should expire.  For those wanting more knowledge about the vesting of property rights, I suggest reading this article in the Tennessee Bar Journal Stick to the Plan, about the Vested Property Rights ACT of 2014.  If Council member Johnson, the property owner, or any other person knowledgeable with this issue would like to offer insight, I would welcome posted an essay. 

BILL NO. BL2016-266  which would amend the Mansion at Fontanel Specific Plan District to let Fontanel Properties add 136 rooms to the six-room Inn at Fontanel bed and breakfast-style luxury boutique hotel.  This proposal has has created considerable community opposition. At the July 19th meeting the bill was on third reading and deferred one meeting.  Here is The Tennessean's report: Fontanel zoning vote delayed.

To access a copy of the agenda and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link. As of the last time I looked on the day prior to the meeting the agenda analysis was not available, but it now is and you can get it at this link.

Here is the video of the meeting:
With the Republican National Convention going on this week and some work obligations and other interference,  I have not yet watched the video.  There is not much else of interest on the agenda and I simply may skip watching this meeting.  If I do update however, it will be "update 2."

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District 61 Challenger is Intentionally Deceiving Voters, Sargent Says

Press release - With the support and endorsement of organizations as varied as the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Rifle Association, Tennessee Right to Life, the Tennessee Men’s Health Network, the state and local Firefighters associations – and perfect voting scorecards from policy groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Family Action Council of Tennessee and the American Conservative Union – Rep. Charles Sargent’s conservative credentials should be clear.

But District 61 challenger Steve Gawrys has taken a novel approach: lying to the voters in an attempt to gain their support.

“This man refuses to debate, won’t tell anyone what he stands for, is largely funded by a fringe group and has spent months openly lying about my legislative record,” said Charles Sargent, the Republican state representative from Williamson County who serves as chair of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee. “This is the disheartening side of modern politics, when people are willing to take whatever means to pursue their objective. Fortunately, the citizens of Williamson County are smarter than that.”

The examples are many: Gawrys says Sargent supports Planned Parenthood, yet Rep. Sargent has the endorsement of Tennessee Right to Life, and was a key leader in a move that resulted in Planned Parenthood losing the vast majority of their state funding.

Gawrys says Sargent supports ObamaCare, because as House Finance chair he sponsored legislation forced under the mandate of the federal government that would have had a major impact on the state budget; a week later the mandate was deemed legally unenforceable, and the bill was pulled. Sargent was a prime sponsor of the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, written to combat the strong-arm tactics of the federal government and maintain state control, which was passed into law later in that session.

Gawrys says Sargent voted for driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, when the bill actually strengthened penalties for illegal drivers. That bill passed 96-3 in the House.

Gawrys says Sargent is soft on guns, but Sargent has a perfect A rating from and the formal endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

Gawrys says Sargent tried to block the repeal of the Hall income tax, despite Sargent being chief sponsor of the bill that passed this year in a historic tax-cutting session. By 2022, Tennesseans will be paying $2 billion less in taxes, as Sargent also led the successful efforts to eliminate the death tax, to repeal the gift tax, and to cut sales tax on food.

“Legislative records are available online, including video from each and every committee hearing and floor session. It’s astounding that he thinks he can get away with just lying about all of these important issues,” Sargent said. “You have to question the motivations of a person like Steve Gawrys who is willing to say or do anything to try to get elected to public office. That’s a dangerous thing.”

Early voting in the Republican Primary is ongoing through July 30. Election Day is Thursday, August. 4.

For more on Rep. Charles Sargent, including endorsements, policy positions and voting history, please visit

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Congressman Trey Growdy Endorces Diane Black

Press release, July 19, 2016, GALLATIN, TN – Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC-04), known for his tough oversight work to hold Obama Administration officials accountable, traveled to Gallatin, Tennessee today to endorse Congressman Diane Black for reelection. 

Gowdy spoke to a crowd of over 125 people at the Epic Event Centre, including Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown, State Senator Ferrell Haile, and State Representative William Lamberth, to urge support for Congressman Black’s campaign. Gowdy hailed Black’s work as a “respected” conservative and a “leader” on the House Ways and Means Committee. 

“I can’t imagine serving without her . . . I do not want to imagine serving without her. I not only want her to win on August 4th, I want her to win in such a way that it sends a message that we like how she votes, we like how she acts, and we like how she represents the people of Tennessee,” said Congressman Trey Gowdy in his remarks.

“Today’s event highlighted the vast differences between Diane Black’s campaign and that of our opponent,” said Diane Black campaign spokesman Jonathan Frank. “While Joe Carr’s campaign coffers are running dry and he now relies on a dark money group to do his bidding, the momentum for our campaign is growing by the day. This endorsement from Trey Gowdy, a conservative powerhouse in his own right, follows endorsements from the NRA, NFIB, National Right to Life, and many other organizations that Tennesseans know and trust. With election day just over two weeks away, it is increasingly clear that Joe Carr is headed for his fourth failed campaign in a row.” 

Early voting runs now through July 30th and Election Day is Thursday, August 4th. 

To view a Dropbox folder of more pictures from today’s event, click HERE

 For the record, I am supporting Diane Black. Rod Williams

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Liberty on the Rocks - Thursday, July 21

LOR Thursday, July 21, 2016 5:30 PM at Smokin Thighs 611 Wedgewood Ave, Nashville, TN.  This is always a fun event. Join me. If this is your first time to attend,  the first two-for-one beer is on me.

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