Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Americans for Prosperity Action (AFP Action) endorsed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles

MAY. 26, 2022 PRESS RELEASE, Nashville, Tenn. — Americans for Prosperity Action (AFP Action) endorsed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.

Ogles was endorsed because of his track record supporting local, state, and federal policies that promote economic freedom and create opportunities that improve the lives of Tennesseans. 

AFP Action will leverage a wide range of tactics, including the country’s largest grassroots outreach, a full-time dedicated staff, and trained volunteers to educate and mobilize voters to support Ogles’ campaign.

Ogles served as state director of Americans for Prosperity’s Tennessee chapter from 2013 to 2017. 

“Andy Ogles is the kind of champion Tennesseans need in Congress – a tireless advocate for economic freedom and stopping government overreach,” said AFP Action Senior Advisor Tori Venable. “Inflation is crushing the American dream. Andy understands everyone is paying more and getting less because of Washington’s reckless spending. We can count on Ogles to uphold Tennessee’s values and stop the D.C. spending spree.

“As AFP state director, Andy worked to repeal the Hall tax and stop the gas tax hike,” she said. “As mayor, he supported balanced budgets and prevented the economic lockdowns that destroyed livelihoods for so many Tennesseans. In Congress, Andy will stand up to the big-government bureaucrats who are undermining America’s future.” 

AFP Action is a 527 political action committee focused on electing candidates who will drive policy change and facilitate the building of broad policy coalitions that remove barriers to opportunity and help people improve their lives. The organization has a strong, permanent grassroots presence, including highly motivated activists who volunteer during the election season by making telephone calls and knocking on doors in support of policy champions.

During the 2020 election cycle, AFP Action supported candidates nationwide with more than 8.5 million telephone calls, 1.5 million door knocks, and more than 49 million pieces of mail. AFP Action has unmatched direct voter outreach capability that is supported by a world-class data operation.

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Harwell gets endorsement of pro-life Susan B. Anthony List

Press release, NASHVILLE, TN – Today, pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony’s List (SBA) announced its endorsement of Congressional District 5 candidate and former Speaker of the Tennessee House, Beth Harwell.

Hon. Marilyn Musgrave, SBA List’s vice president of government affairs, said, “Beth Harwell is a faithful champion of the unborn who proves that pro-life is truly pro-woman. Beth’s dynamic efforts as House speaker led to a pro-life constitutional amendment, strongly approved by voters, paving the way for swift enactment of life-saving laws. She did not rest, but immediately put her support behind health and safety requirements to hold the profit-driven abortion industry accountable, as well as legislation to protect women’s right to see an ultrasound and hear their baby’s heartbeat. Finally, under her leadership Tennessee successfully defunded abortion businesses of taxpayer dollars[KM1] . In Congress she will stand up to pro-abortion Democrats for Tennessee’s pro-life values, and we couldn’t be prouder to support her.”  

Per SBA’s press release, “SBA List is a network of 900,000 pro-life Americans nationwide, dedicated to ending abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders.”

“Thank you Susan B. Anthony’s list for putting your faith in me to stand up for the lives of unborn Americans and expectant mothers in Congress. In this day and age, we should be celebrating the arrival of a new life and uplifting pregnant women with the resources they need to make sure their child is cared for. I look forward to fighting for the right to life on the floor of the U.S. House,” said Beth Harwell.

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Why should one get a free ride just because they are old?

by Rod Williams, May 31, 2022- The meme to the left has been appearing on my Facebook page again and again, obviously without the editing in red. It gets lots of likes, shares, and some confirming messages. I know most of my friends are of the conservative persuasion, so if this is showing up on my Facebook page it must be prevalent across the internet.

This is just wrong. Why should one not have to pay property tax just because they are 65 years old?  Many elderly people, me included, have more disposable income than they ever had.  If one was even moderately prudent, unless they had some unforeseen tragedy befall them, they should have had a paid-for house by retirement age and a paid-for car. If they were wise, by retirement age they should be debt-free.  I know not all people are fiscally responsible and some people have tragedies befall them that cause them to be financially insecure. Some people are simply low-income. There is help for people like that. Why should one get a free ride just because they are old? 

If all people over the age of 65 get excused from paying property taxes, then the burden is shifted to younger people.  I am of the view that property taxes are too high, but that is a separate argument from who should pay the taxes. Today's young people are finding it harder than ever to even purchase a house. They are likely to be the first generation in America's history to be worst off than the previous generation. Misguided fiscal and monetary policy and local zoning and land-use policies, as well as market forces, have pushed homeownership beyond the reach of many young couples. We do not need to compound the problem by shifting the tax burden to younger people. 

The greatest source of wealth accumulation in this country for most people is their home. We should make it easier for people to become homeowners, not more difficult.

If any age segment of the population needs a tax break it is younger people. We have reached the point where the American people are not replacing themselves. This has serious implications for the social security safety net as well as the ability to service other national debt. Probably the same people who "like" this meme are the same ones who "like" the meme that says social security is not an entitlement, which makes no sense since they claim it is something to which they are entitled. Social Security of course is not a funded retirement plan but a transfer payment. Today's wage earners, younger people, are paying for old people's social security. If we do not have population growth rates that replace ourselves, social security is in real trouble. We need to make it possible for young people to afford to have children.

I bet many of the elderly who are "linking" this meme are the same ones outraged about the proposal to forgive student loans. I share that outrage. Student loan forgiveness is lower-income people who did not go to college subsidizing wealthier people who did.  I share the view that there is too much welfare but then I do not turn around and ask to be excused from paying taxes simply because I am of a certain age. 

In Nashville, if you are over the age of 65 and make less than $45,090 you are probably eligible for a tax freeze. If you make less than $31,600 you are probably eligible for tax relief. If you don't qualify for this government assistance, you may qualify for a reverse mortgage. Reverse mortgages are not for everyone, but it is a way for many people who can not afford their home to stay in their home. 

Below is more information on the Tax Freeze and Tax Relief for Seniors programs. 

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First Tuesday Presents Senator RICK SCOTT IS ALMOST SOLD OUT ! RSVP TODAY !

1st Tuesday is proud to welcome Sen Rick Scott to Nashville. Rick Scott was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Rick Scott served two terms as the 45th Governor of Florida.

Join us for Lunch and learn about the Senators American Rescue Plan!


Jun 17, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM. LUDLOW & PRIME, 330 Franklin Rd Suite 226B, Brentwood, TN 37027, USA


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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Explaining the Gun Debate

by Rod Williams, May 29, 2022- The tragedy of another mass shooting has renewed and reinvigorated the gun debate and Kevin D.Williamson writing in National Review discusses some of the issues around that debate. In this post are paraphrasings and quotes from the article and my thoughts. If you are an NR subscriber or can find it elsewhere or access it through your library, I suggest reading the complete article.  

A lot of things people think about guns are simply not true or if true need context.  I know there are those who have their mind made up and are not going to budge from the position they have taken. On the one hand, there are those who think Americans should not have the right to bear arms and that all firearms should be confiscated. I assume readers of this blog know the rebuttal to that simplistic unrealistic point of view. On the other hand, there are those who think any restriction on the type of weapon, magazine capacity, reduction in the age of majority, or registration of arms, or licensing of arms dealers is a step toward confiscation and the end of America as a free country. 

My view is that somewhere between these two extremes there is room for reasonable efforts to reduce gun violence. I also admit that the issue is complicated. I don't have the answers but see a problem that needs to be addressed. I see no point, however, in window dressing and symbolic measures and meaningless legislation that will have no impact. That being said, there probably are incremental steps that could make an incremental difference. We should however not be satisfied with the status quo.  Also, we should not be afraid to engage with people whose views differ from ours. A good place to start any debate is with facts and good data. This article by Williamson contributes to a clearer understanding of the issues. Below are some highlights from the article. 

Q: They didn’t have to worry about this kind of thing 100 years ago, did they?

"Of course they did," he says. "We are coming up on the 100th anniversary of the worst school massacre in American history, which happened in Bath, Mich., in 1927, and saw the deaths of 44 victims plus the perpetrator."  

Williamson could have done a better job. He only gives this one example. I would like more data. How big of a problem was this a hundred years ago compared to now? How often did it occur? I know that in my youth schools had Rifle clubs. I never worried about a school shooting. Columbine was the first school mass shooting of which I was aware. I think this is a recent problem and want data to see if that is correct.

Q: So how important is access to guns?

He says that by most meaningful measures it is not very important. "So, guns don’t seem to be the important variable. ... Americans buy more guns today than they did in 1990 ... but violent crime has decreased radically since those years, ... homicides falling almost by half between 1991 and 2020 ... There isn’t much reason to believe that the increase in gun ownership led to less crime, but it is a matter of historical fact that it was not accompanied by more crime."

Q: But isn’t our country awash in guns?

No, he says. A relatively small number of households have more guns but more households do not have guns. "The number of Americans living in households in which there is a gun present has actually declined quite a bit over the past several decades." "In 1973, only a minority of Americans (49.5 percent) lived in a household with no firearm, but by 2014 almost two-thirds of Americans (64.3 percent) did. So the typical American is less likely to reside in a household with a firearm in it today than 50 years ago." Some people live in a household with 50 arms but he says the lone psychopath in a house with 50 guns is probably no more of a threat than a lone psychopath with one rifle.

I don't doubt the data. However, in my own case, I only became a gun owner fairly recently. When the Antifa/BLM riots and random attacks on white people began occurring, I felt it wise to be armed. I know there was a shortage of good handguns during this period. Gun shops sold out. His data is from 2014. I think updated data would show more people have guns. Maybe not as many as in 1973, but more than in 2014.

Q: So gun owners are basically a bunch of insecure white guys with basements full of AR-15s? 

No, he says.  He says a lot of the increase in American domestic gun ownership was the result of women’s acquisition of firearms. He gives data.

Q: But isn’t the United States an outlier compared to other countries?

He says "Certainly, though not in the way you may have been told." He then mentions the genocide in Rwanda. That is not relevant, in my view. We are an outlier by an enormous amount compared to other developed countries. To me that is relevant; not what happened in Rwanda.  He does however provide a useful comparison to Switzerland. 

Switzerland has more guns per capita than any country other than the United States and Yemen. Its murder rate is about one-ninth the U.S. rate. Switzerland has about 8.6 million people to Cook County’s 5.1 million, but Switzerland saw only 47 homicides in 2021 (14 by shooting) while Cook County saw more than 1,000. 

He then points out that while Americans shoot each other to death at a much higher rate than do citizens of most other countries, "they also stab each other to death, beat each other to death, burn each other to death, etc., much more frequently than do citizens of other countries. In fact, the number of murders committed by Americans armed with nothing more than their bare hands each year exceeds the number of murders committed by Americans with so-called assault rifles. The United States has unusually high rates of criminal violence across the board rather than just an unusually high rate of gun-related violence."

That is disturbing. I think he hits the nail on the head when he says. " The problem with America isn’t that it is full of guns — the problem with America is that it is full of Americans." 

Q: What is the point of allowing civilians to have military weapons?

He says, "we don't." To call semiautomatic 5.56mm rifles “weapons of war” is dishonest" and he explains the difference between a military weapon and a civilian weapon.

Q: But isn’t it easy to modify these rifles to make them fully automatic?

No, not really, he says and explains that while it can be done, it is difficult to do. 

Q: But aren’t these new rifles 200 times more lethal than the old Revolutionary War muskets that were being used when the Second Amendment was written?

No, that figure was simply fabricated and continues to be spread. He goes on to say that it is absolutely true that a modern semiautomatic rifle is a more effective weapon than a muzzle-loading musket.

Q: Isn’t the Second Amendment and all that militia stuff just outmoded in the 21st century?

This is his answer and is similar to something that I have said. "In my view, that is really the most honest line of argument from the gun-control lobby. But that isn’t an argument for ignoring the Second Amendment — the law doesn’t stop being the law because of the private subjective judgment of political activists. It is an argument for repealing the Second Amendment. We have a process for amending the Constitution, and the Second Amendment could be repealed if enough Americans believed that to be the wise thing to do. I wouldn’t support that myself, but it is the proper course of action for those who want to eliminate the Second Amendment protections of Americans’ right to keep and bear arms."

Q: Isn’t there anything else that we could do short of a likely doomed effort to pass a constitutional amendment?

He says, yes there is, and lists these two possible actions.

Stronger enforcement of “straw buyer” laws, which are laws against buying a firearm on behalf of someone who is legally prohibited from purchasing one himself. He Explains that when violators are caught they are seldom prosecuted and explains why. He says we need to aggressively enforce these laws.

Improve the federal NICS background-check system. This system used to screen gun buyers is poorly administered and often people who would fail a background check get a gun anyway because the data is faulty or the background check is not conducted within the prescribed three-day period. Also, when the mistake is discovered, no effort is made to correct the mistake and repossess the illegally purchased weapon. Also, people who knowing attempt to purchase a weapon, knowing they are ineligible are almost never prosecuted. The law doesn't work and it should and could be improved and enforced.

I think this is a good start. I think there is more that could be done or at least considered and debated and will address some of it in future posts. For more of what I have posted on the topic of guns, see the following.

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Bellevue Breakfast Club guest speaker is Kurt Winstead, June 4th, 2022

From Lonnie Spivak:

Greeting Breakfast Club Members,


 Can you believe we are only three months away from the August primaries? If you’re lucky enough to live in the 5th Congressional district, you have been witness to some of the craziest politics in recent memory, and even though we are down to nine qualified candidates, we are privileged to have some of the best candidates this district has ever seen—this month’s speaker is no exception. 

I hope you’ll join us on Saturday, June 4th, as we welcome Brigadier General Kurt Winstead, Ret. We will meet at CORNER PUB IN THE WOODS, located at: 8058 Highway 100, Nashville, TN 37221. Doors will open around 8:30 am, and we will begin around 8:45 am.



Kurt Winstead
After serving in the Tennessee Army National Guard for three decades, including deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Kurt retired with the rank of Brigadier General. He understands firsthand the fragile nature of freedom and that we must protect America from the ongoing threats from Russia and Communist China. He understands that these threats are not just abroad, but also on American soil at our Southern Border and Kurt will do everything in his power to stop the flood of illegal immigrants crossing our borders. He knows the liberal left led by Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, and their do-nothing attitude about illegal immigration must end; now. He also understands the economic engine that drives our economy is failing as inflation and gas prices are stalling productivity. Kurt will always put the best interests of our country first and will lead the fight against the radical left who want nothing but to kick the can down the road. We know General Winstead has led the fight before and is not afraid to do it again.

 Kurt is pro-life, believes that every life is precious, and will fight to protect the unborn when elected to Congress. He is an avid hunter, gun owner and lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. Kurt understands that law abiding citizens are not the problem and that there is no need for more gun laws or restrictions. General Winstead fought to protect the 2nd amendment while serving in the military and he will defend it when elected to Congress. Kurt supported and voted for President Trump and will do everything he can to defeat Joe Biden and the Democrats in the next election.

General Winstead believes that America is the greatest country ever created, that freedom is precious, and that every generation has a mission to successfully complete for those that follow.

Kurt was raised in Tennessee in a home of educators and farmers who knew the importance of hard work, integrity and keeping your word. He served for more than thirty years in the Tennessee Army National Guard, including serving as Director of the Joint Staff, Tennessee’s Staff Judge Advocate, and Brigade Command Judge Advocate during Operation Iraqi Freedom III - all of this service to his country while also building a successful law practice in Nashville.

 Kurt is a graduate of Centre College where he was captain of the football team, and received his law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law in Virginia. He also holds a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Kurt and his wife Beth attend St. Matthew Church in Franklin. They are the proud parents of two adult daughters raised and educated in Williamson County.

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Why are there so few "In God we Trust" license plates in Davidson County?

by Rod Williams, May 29, 2022- It is not because we are a bunch of heathens, although we very well may be.  I was going to go with the God option but it requires going to the clerk's office in person or renewing by mail, and to me, it was not worth the extra effort, so I went with the easier no God option. (There is probably a sermon in that statement somewhere.)

When you visit the Davidson County Clerks office website, you get the following message.

Adding 'In God we Trust' to your new blue plate when your old green mountain plate didn’t include it, requires a plate class change.  There is no additional fee, however, this change requires a signature by the registered owner of the vehicle.  You may sign when renewing in person or include a note with your signature when renewing by mail.  Unfortunately, this change cannot be made when renewing online.

"Only 13.3% of Nashvillians getting new plates have opted for the trusting God plates making Music City a real outlier in the Volunteer State.  A majority of drivers in 86 of the state's 95 counties are choosing the "In God We Trust" plates as of May 16, according to numbers from the state Department of Revenue." Compared to the 13.3% of Nashvillians who went with the God plate, in Fentress County, 98.1% of the people did so. (1)

Apparently, not all counties offer online tag renewals which makes renewing tags easier but if it is like it is in Nashville that also means a person cannot choose the God option and also renew online.  The DMV website says, "For a list of counties that offer online registration renewals, please see the complete list provided on the TN DOR website." When you click on the link then you do not see such a list. You have to put in the County where your car is registered and the license plate number to see the next page and determine if online registration is available. Many counties do not offer kiosk renewals, so I am assuming the smaller counties do not have the online option either. 

I don't doubt that more rural counties have more religious people than more urban counties, but there is an additional reason why there are so few "In God we Trust," license plates in Nashville.  In addition to the online renewal option not offering the "In God we Trust," option, this report says the Davidson County Clerk's office had no sign posted announcing the option and did not tell those people renewing in person there was even an option. Many people did not know there was a choice. If people didn't ask for it, the default plate was the one without "In God we Trust."  I bet in Fentress County, people were made aware of the option. 

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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Gun mass shooting scoreboard: US 101- UK 1; US 101 - Canada 4; US 101- France 8



Former Senator Bill Frist Tweets: "Firearms became the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers in 2020, surpassing car accidents for the first time in 60 years. We can find ways to preserve the intent of the Second Amendment while also safeguarding the lives of our children."

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Hagerty and Blackburn are among the eleven pro-Putin Republicans opposed to arming Ukraine.

by Rod Williams, May 25, 2022 - It has been three months since the Russian unprovoked attack on its neighbor Ukraine.  Against all odds, Russia has failed to take the country.  When the attack occurred, most thought Russia would overwhelm Ukrain within days. It didn't happen. Ukraine successfully stalled the Russian advance and where Russia did take territory it has been recaptured and the Russians forced to withdraw, everywhere except in the eastern Donbas region of the country where Russia is still in control.

Former KGB director Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly wants to rebuild the Russian empire. He has said the collapse of the Soviet empire “was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”  

He has said, "As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory." He has taken the position that Russia has an obligation and a right to defend Russian-speaking people anywhere and claims his aggression is on behalf of Russians in other lands. He will fight on behalf of Russians in other countries even if has to kill or make refugees out of most of them in the process. 

He also justifies his aggression based on fear of being encircled by enemies. Of course, NATO and the European Union are no threat to Russia. NATO is a defensive alliance and has no aim to forcibly annex any nation. Both the claim of aiding mistreated Russians in foreign lands and the fear of being encircled by enemies is a rationalization for Putin's aggression. 

Since 2008, Russia has illegally occupied 20 percent of Georgian territory and has essentially made Georgia a client state. In February and March 2014, Russia invaded and subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. Unless Russian aggression is stopped in Ukraine, the Baltic countries of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia are likely to be the next targets of Russian aggression based on the same logic of aiding Russians in foreign lands and resisting encirclement.

Russia's war on Ukraine has been especially brutal. Russia has not just waged war on Ukraine's military but has targeted civilians, bombing apartment buildings, hospitals, and indiscriminately leveling cities. Russian forces have rounded up and murdered civilians and deported many to areas deep within Russia.

In light of Ukraine's brave resistance and the witness of the horrors of Russian war crimes, most of the civilized world has come to the aid of Ukraine, cutting off Russian access to commerce, boycotting Russia, and giving Ukraine the means to defend itself. The US has stepped up to the plate. While I wish we could have established a no-fly zone, the US is wise to do all it can without directly engaging Russia. A no-fly zone would have no doubt led to open Russian hostility with the US. Russia is a nuclear-armed nation and may very well launch nuclear weapons if war developed with the US or a NATO country. Putin has threatened such. We are wise to avoid direct engagement with Russia but are correct to do all we can short of military engagement. We are doing the morally correct and strategically wise thing by giving Ukraine the means to defend itself. 

Recently, Congress passed a 40 billion dollar aid packet to Ukraine. The bill supplies Ukraine with military, humanitarian, and medical resources. In the Senate, the vote was 81-11, with all votes against coming from Republicans.  The bill had previously passed in the House.

The action of the eleven Republicans disgusts me. Throughout the Cold War, it was Republicans who were steadfast in providing funding for nations resisting Russian aggression and making sure our military was adequately funded to protect our nation. It was Republicans who could be counted on to help weak nations in their fight to remain free. While the Cold War generally had bi-partisan support there was always a segment of Democrats in Congress who voted against funding the Cold War and who were isolationist and some were advocates of unilateral disarmament. 

Now, Democrats are doing the right thing, all of them, and 11 of 50 Republican senators are against giving Ukraine the means to defend itself. We are witnessing David standing up to Goliath and all David asks for is a slingshot and eleven Republican senators say, "no."

Here is the list of Republicans voting against arming Ukraine:

  • Rand Paul, R-Ky
  • Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
  • John Boozman, R-Ark.
  • Mike Braun, R-Ind.
  • Mike Crapo, R-Idaho
  • Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn
  • Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
  • Mike Lee, R-Utah, 
  • Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.
  • Roger Marshall, R-Kan.
  • Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala. 

If Tennesee had party registration, in protest of the pro-Putin vote of our two Senators I would have to change my registration from Republican to independent. If Hagerty or Blackburn ever pursue a run for the Republican nomination for President, I will vote for someone else. In the next primary, if either is challenged by a sane credible Republican, I will contribute to that candidate's campaign. 

For someone in my income bracket, I contribute a considerable amount to Republican candidates. I am for now abstaining from any contribution to the campaigns of Hagerty or Blackburn or the National Republican Party or The National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC), are any PAC that may funnel money to either of our Senators or any of the other nine Senators on this list.  I have just made a contribution to the campaign of Evan McMullin of Utah, an independent challenging Mike Lee. 

I doubt I will vote for either Blackburn or Hagerty when they next run for election. One does not have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Abstaining is an honorable option. I have been a lifelong Republican and an active Republican. I am still a Republican but not a pro-Putin, appeasement Republican. 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The U.S. is an outlier when it comes to gun deaths. Why? What can be done.

by Rod Williams, May 25, 2022 - Following the tragedy of the Uvalde school shooting we are hearing renewed calls for gun control. Not much will change. We could make small changes that might withstand constitutional muster but small changes will change little.  Not much will change because we have the right to bear arms. 

Unlike most of the world where rights are viewed as concessions granted by government, we believe we are endowed with rights.  It is not easy to take away a right. Rights cannot be taken based on the mood of the voters at a particular point in time. Rights are not subject to simple majority rule. 

Why do those who want to ban guns never propose repealing the Second Amendment? Why do those who want to impose gun control not come out and clearly say it is time to repeal the Second Amendment?

What they want to do is ignore the Second Amendment; not repeal it. If that can happen then none of our liberties are secure. If we can take away the right to bear arms by ignoring the Second Amendment, we can take away freedom of the press little by little, not by repealing the First Amendment but by ignoring it and rationalizing that it is antiquated and that "hate speech" must be prohibited. After all, when the First Amendment was written there were no blogs or Facebook or TV, or radio.  The logic that new forms of communication make the First Amendment obsolete and thus the First Amendment can be ignored is as logical as saying because we have automatic weapons instead of flintlock rifles the Second Amendment can be ignored.  

If the Second Amendment can be ignored due to public opinion and public opinion turns against the right to bear arms, then all of our liberties can depend on the public opinion of the moment.

The problem of gun violence in America is serious. We are an outlier. Why? What can be done? I wish I knew.

Also see: Pass and Enforce Red Flag Laws. Now by David French.

For more of my postings on the issue of gun violence see the following:

Also see: The Constitutionality of Gun Control by David Horwitz.

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Judge Rachel Bell rented office space in a building that her parents own, and directed grant money for the rent payments to be made to a company that she owns.

Judge Rachel Bell
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — An exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation is raising questions about how a Davidson County judge spent taxpayer money from a $200,000 federal grant. .... Her grant application promised a "restorative justice" program that would initially focus on young people charged with non-violent crimes in North Nashville's 37208 zip code. ... Dennis Dycus, who retired from the State Comptroller's Office where he spent 39 years auditing local governments and nonprofits for fraud, told NewsChannel 5 Investigates, "It's unusual, and as an auditor, I look for unusual things."

"You can't pay yourself, and that appears to be what is happening here," Dycus said. (link)

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The Uvalde school shooting won’t change a thing

 The Uvalde school shooting won’t change a thing

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Morgan Ortagus endorses Kurt Winstead

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] – Once endorsed by former President Donald Trump for Tennessee District 5’s spot in the U.S. House, one former candidate is serving as a national security advisor for another campaign after Republican Party officials found her to be ineligible to run for office.

Republican Congressional candidate Kurt Winstead’s team announced on Monday that Morgan Ortagus was now serving as the co-chair of a newly formed National Security Advisory Committee for his campaign. (read more)

Rod's comment: What is up with this? If Ortegas were to endorse anyone, I would have expected it to be Andy Ogles. I perceive him to be the most Trumpish candidate left in the race. Winstead seems to lack firm conservative credentials. During the senate contest between Bob Corker and Harold Ford, Jr some years ago, Winstead contributed to the Harold Ford campaign. Plus, at times Winstead has seemed soft on abortion. Something is going on that I don't yet see. Stay tuned.

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Recent primaries are a mixed bag. They do not show repudiation of Trump but reveals his star is fading.

by Rod Williams, May 25, 2022- The recent primaries are an indication that Trump's star is fading. Not as fast as I would like, but it is fading. I wish it would have revealed a clear repudiation of Trumpism and it did not, but any fading is good. Does anyone think Trump will be more popular two years from now than he is today?  I don't see how that can happen. 

In recent primaries, some Trump candidates won, such as J. D. Vance of Ohio, and some lost.  Dr. Mehmet Oz is too close to call and the vote is subject to a recount. Even if Oz does win, it is an indication that only half of the Republicans in Pennsylvania will take their marching orders from Trump.  In some of the races, such as that of Sara Huckabee in Arkansas, Trump picked winners who would have won with or without his endorsement. A win by Huckabee indicates her strength; not the impact of a Trump endorsement. While a lot of Trump-endorsed candidates won their primary some were running unopposed or against weak challengers.

One of the losers who got a Trump endorsement was incumbent nut-job scandal-plagued Congressman Madison Cawthorn.  Despite Trump's endorsement and plea to give him a second chance, he lost his primary and will not return to Congress.  North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis took the lead in calling for Cawthorn's defeat. He said Cawthorn was ill-suited to serve in Congress. Tillis endorsed state Sen. Chuck Edwards. Tillis won; Trump lost. In Nebraska, Charles Herbster Trump's choice for governor lost after allegations surfaced that he had sexually harassed several women. There are limits to how much a Trump endorsement can do. 

On the other hand, the biggest nut-job in the U. S. Congress easily won her primary. Tump-endorsed candidate Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene easily defeated five other Republicans on Tuesday. She is a Q-anon supporter.  She was a regular contributor to a conspiracy website. She has supported almost every right-wing conspiracy theory circulating. She touts the Pizzagate theory, the Clinton kill-list, mass shootings as a false flag theory, and 9-11 as an inside job theory.  She has advocated executing Democrat politicians.  She has equated the Democrat Party with Nazies. She continues to claim Trump won the election in a landslide and that the election was stolen.  Her Covid-19 theory is that Dr. Fauci is criminally liable for helping create the virus as a bio-weapon. She believes California's wildfires are the result of some kind of “space laser” that set things on fire and the Rothschild banking firm was behind it.  You can't get nuttier than that but unfortunately, she is representative of much of the Trumpinista wing of the Republican Party these days.  I was hoping for a clear repudiation of extremism and just plain nuttiness. But it didn't happen.

Some Republican governors are standing up to Trump and winning. The most obvious example is Georgia where former senator David Perdue was recruited by Trump to challenge Gov. Brian Kemp and lost. He didn't lose by just a little, he suffered a humiliating defeat.

I think one can conclude that ‘Stop the Steal’ is not the basis of a guaranteed win.  Candidates who made the narrative of a 2020 stolen election the centerpiece of their campaigns did not do well.  The best example is the Georgia secretary of state race where Brad Raffensperger, who Trump had targeted for defeat over his refusal to find Trump votes in Georgia and who said the 2020 election was a fair election, won over Trump-endorsed candidate Jody Hice. There was almost no other issue in that race except Trump targeted Raffensperger for defeat because he defended the integrity of the Georgia 2020 election. 

On the other hand, in Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano won the Republican nominee for governor. He is a leading proponent of the stolen election narrative and was in Washington for the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, 2021. He made the stolen election narrative a centerpiece of his campaign.

The best one can say about the recent primaries for that those of us who want to see the Republican Party return to pre-Trump sanity, is that the results were mixed. We did not get the clear signal of Trump's repudiation for which we hoped, but neither is Trump shown to be invincible and there is good reason to believe his star is fading. That is a positive takeaway. 


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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Heritage Foundation Is Wrong on Ukraine

 Its emerging populism undermines American interests and its own achievements.

by David French, The Dispatch, May 17 - I want to start today with the good news. On Monday the Senate voted on an overwhelming bipartisan basis, 81-11, to advance a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine. The vote came days after the House passed the package by a similar bipartisan majority, 368-57. The United States is still pouring resources into the fight against Russia, and it’s still largely united behind the Ukrainian people.

But there’s bad news. Resistance against Ukraine aid is growing on the right, and the center of right-wing resistance is no longer Tucker Carlson but one of the most powerful think tanks in Washington, the Heritage Foundation. 

Heritage’s opposition would be troubling enough on the merits, but compounding the problem, Heritage (a think tank, remember) has abandoned careful analysis in support of cheap, easily rebutted MAGA talking points. It’s sad to see.

Rod's Comment: I agree. I have been a supporter of The Heritage Foundation for decades. At one time they were a scholarly rational think tank advancing conservative principles and engaging in thoughtful policy analysis. They were comparable to American Enterprise Institute, Cato, The Hoover Institute, or the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  Now, however, they have joined the ranks of the Trumpanista populist where emoting is more important than thinking. Worse still is they have become Putin apologists and advocates of Russian appeasement. I am not sure if I am currently a member or not. Most years I renew my membership automatically without giving it any thought. They have been one of the organizations that I always support. Not anymore. They no longer represent me or the views I support.  It is sad to see Fox News, The American Conservative Union, and organizations like Heritage and other formerly conservative organizations abandon principles and become comfortable with authoritarianism and foreign policy appeasement. Unless Heritage does a course correction, they have seen their last dime from me. 

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Ben Shapiro REACTS To The "2000 Mules" Documentary

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Monday, May 23, 2022

Fact Checking Dinesh D’Souza’s ‘2,000 Mules’

by Khaya Himmelman, The Dispatch, May 21, 2022- On May 7, 2,000 Mules, a documentary film from right-wing provocateur Dinesh D'Souza, debuted in more than  270 theaters across the country. The movie, which grossed more than $1 million on the streaming service Rumble in under 12 hours, purports to have used cell phone geolocation data and video surveillance of mail-in ballot drop boxes to argue that President Joe Biden lost the 2020 election. ...

 ... The basic premise of the 90-minute film is that 2,000 “mules” or “paid professional operatives” delivered “fraudulent and illegal votes” to mail-in drop boxes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia. The film supposedly uncovers an “elaborate network” of “mules” in key states that would have changed the outcome of the 2020 election. 

... The movie, however, is riddled with errors and previously debunked claims of voter fraud, and it’s based on a faulty premise. ... deceptively edited video ... D'Souza spends a considerable amount of time arguing that Trump was winning key states and that Biden pulling ahead overnight on election night was suspicious. But the numbers have an explanation. ... Cell phone data, says Jones, “cannot show that a person dropped ballots in the box, only that they passed in its vicinity. It would be really difficult to use it to distinguish between someone who walked by on the sidewalk and someone who stopped and dropped in a ballot or two.” (To read the article which totally debunks this elaborate stolen election conspiracy theory documentary, follow this link.)

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HUD may be about to commit a serious policy mistake, again

From Ed Pinto of AEI Housing Center - Earlier this week, Inside Mortgage Finance reported that “[o]fficials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development are having daily discussions about whether to reduce the mortgage insurance premium that applies to FHA loans.”

As our research shows, such a premium cut would stimulate more demand against today’s record-low supply and would thus get easily capitalized into higher home prices. Therefore such a step would do little to nothing for housing affordability.

HUD needs to look no further than FHA's last MIP premium cut in Jan. 2015, which was quickly capitalized into higher home prices for FHA and non-FHA borrowers alike. We described this in greater detail in the op-ed HUD should put entry-level homebuyers first, not special interest groups for American Banker.

To read the op-ed, click here

Rod's Comment: When you are in a deep hole, you should stop digging. There are market forces that have caused the mushrooming of housing prices putting homeownership out of reach of many Americans and then there is government policy that contributed to the crisis. One such policy was the Federal Reserve purchasing too many Mortgage Backed Securities. The goal behind MBSs is to allow banks to sell off mortgages so they’d have more money available to lend to consumers. When that happens, then the market determines their value, and money spend purchasing MBS's is money not invested elsewhere. The market evaluates their value compared to comparable investments. The market evaluates the risk. When the Federal Reserve purchases them, then money for mortgage lending is created out of thin air. Excess money available for mortgage lending leads to higher prices for real estate. The old adage of too much money chasing too few goods applies. Home prices increase.  Now, HUD is going to make the problem even worse. In the short run, lowering the cost of a home mortgage will help some consumers, but cheaper mortgages drive up housing prices. 

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Realizing the Dream: What Does the Success Sequence Have to Do with the Economic Welfare of Black and Hispanic Young Adults?

By Rod Williams, May 23, 2022 -
Critical Race Theory and its derivative variations of "equity" doctrine teaches that American society is hopelessly racist and that the only way a minority can get their "fair share" is if government or corporate boards or society mandates a representative fair share. This doctrine excuses failure and discourages responsible behavior and striving for excellence. According to this doctrine, if a person fails, it is the fault of a racist society and the person who fails is simply a victim.  Too often, "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," is derided as a racist response to the problem of poverty. Advocates of "equity." do not think there should be any more White homeowners than Black homeowners regardless of income or credit scores and there should be no greater proportion of Black people in prison than White people regardless of who commits the crime. 

While a few individual minority members may have their lives improved by affirmative actions, it is not going to do much to lift many people out of poverty. There will still, for most people, be consequences for actions. We know what lifts people out of poverty: earning at least a high school degree, working full-time, and marrying before childbearing. I would add learning delayed gratification, but if you earn a high school degree, work full-time and marry before childbearing, you probably learned that along the way.

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is hosting an event called "Realizing the Dream: What Does the Success Sequence Have to Do with the Economic Welfare of Black and Hispanic Young Adults?" This may be of interest to social workers, policymakers, educators, and citizens concerned with countering the current doctrine that excuses poverty and failure. This event is live in Washington D. C. but one may watch the event live on this link. After the event concludes, a full video will be posted within 24 hours. Below is more information about the event:

The success sequence—earning at least a high school degree, working full-time, and marrying before childbearing—is a proven path to the American dream. Ninety-seven percent of young adults who follow the sequence avoid poverty by their 30s, and a vast majority enter the middle class and beyond. But some have argued that the success sequence is less effective for African Americans, Hispanics, and young adults from low-income families. Is that true?

A new AEI and Institute for Family Studies report, “The Power of the Success Sequence for Disadvantaged Young Adults,” takes up this question. AEI’s W. Bradford Wilcox and Wendy Wang of the Institute for Family Studies will discuss the paper and spotlight a new video series, “Straight Talk About the Success Sequence.” A panel discussion will follow with Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, Ian Rowe, Isabel Sawhill, and Delano Squires.

To watch the event live or to view a video of the event within 24 hours after the event, follow this link

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John Ryder, RIP

John Ryder
by Rod Williams, May 23, 2022- Longtime Republican strategist, attorney, and civic leader John Ryder is dead at the age of 72.  He passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.

I did not personally know John Ryder but I had met him and heard him speak several times, once I think was at a meeting of the Federalist Society and over the years twice, maybe three times, at First Tuesday events. He was impressive. He knew stats and numbers and facts and could spout them without notes. He could explain strategy and make it understandable and he was a wealth of knowledge on election laws. Many credit him as one of the leaders in turning the Tennessee Republican Party from a minority party into the supermajority party in the state.

He was former general counsel for the Republican National Committee, helped shape redistricting efforts across the state and the U.S., was a former chairman of the  Tennessee Valley Authority board, and was active in Memphis and Shelby County governments serving as assistant county attorney for Shelby County,  litigation counsel for the Shelby County Election Commission, and headed the Memphis and Shelby County Film Commission. He also taught election law at Vanderbilt University.

Those who know him well say Ryder was never bombastic and was always calm and well-mannered, something we see too little of in today's extreme partisan environment. One can not get more partisan than John Ryder and yet he had Democrats as friends and was respected by those who were his political opponents.

Former Senator Lamar Alexander said of Ryder, "He had good manners, and good taste so as society grew increasingly uncivil and coarse, John continued to have his pleasant disposition. He didn't raise his voice. He showed respect for his opponents, and he enjoyed fine wine and the opera." "With deft legal skills and an easy manner, John Ryder helped build the Tennessee Republican Party over nearly a half century. He effectively served the Republican National Committee as its counsel and the people of this region as a TVA board member. I admired John and counted him as a friend."

Scott Golden, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party issued the following statement:

We have sadly just learned of the passing of our friend and a true champion for all Tennessee Republicans, Mr. John Ryder of Memphis. There are very few in our state that haven’t had the impact of the life of Mr. Ryder. 

While working as an attorney at the firm of Harris Shelton, he volunteered and consulted in a variety of different capacities in both government and politics. Most recently, he just finished as President’s Trump appointee to the Tennessee Valley Authority. 

For 16 years he served our state on the board of the Republican National Committee, completing his final tenure as the RNC’s General Counsel. 

He’s been the Shelby County attorney and led multiple Republican redistricting efforts for the last 30 years. 

Mr. Ryder has been a confidant of almost every elected Republican in Tennessee for the last half century through his tireless and selfless giving, support, and expertise. With his in-depth knowledge of both legal, bylaw, and rules, Mr. Ryder has crafted the process by which the Republican Party selects our Presidential nominees during his many appearances at the RNC Conventions over the years. His unmatched legacy and resume will never be forgotten by those who knew him and I am fortunate to have called him a friend and mentor as have many Chairmen of the Tennessee Republican Party. 

Our deepest sympathies are with his wife, Lain, and his family during this time. Thank you for sharing John with the entire State of Tennessee and our Republican family and know that he will be truly missed by many.

For more see this, this, and this.

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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Are the Good Times really over for good? Homeowners need nearly 40% or more income to buy in Nashville, than last year.

By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square,  May 14, 2022  – Demand for homes in certain areas of the country has caused supply to dwindle, prices to skyrocket and buyers needing nearly 50% more income than they would have last year to even enter top markets, according to a report by the real estate brokerage firm, Redfin.

“Housing is significantly less affordable than it was a year ago because the surge in housing costs has far outpaced the increase in wages, meaning many Americans are now priced out of homeownership,” Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr said.

Because more people are working remotely and can live anywhere to work, many are flocking to cities in the Sun Belt, with the most popular destinations being Tampa, Phoenix and Las Vegas. They are also the most expensive, with potential homeowners needing more than 40% more in income than they did last year to buy.

Buyers are flocking to the Sun Belt “partly because they’re relatively affordable compared to pricey coastal job centers, but the resulting rise in home prices may make them less popular in the future,” the analysis found.

Tampa has quickly become the least affordable market, with homebuyers needing 47.8% more income than they did a year ago, more than in any other metro area in the U.S., the report found.

Home buyers in Tampa would need to earn $67,353 annually to afford a monthly mortgage payment of $1,684. Last year, they needed to earn $45,562. Most workers don’t make a $21,791 increase in their salary in one year, let alone in a decade. That means many who might have been able to afford to buy last year have been priced out. But those who can are buying with the median sale price hovering at $363,750.

Phoenix home buyers need to earn $87,026, an increase of 45.7% from the previous year, to afford a monthly mortgage payment of $2,176 in the area. The median sale price is $470,000.

Las Vegas buyers need to earn $79,620, up 45.6% from a year ago, to afford a monthly payment of $1,990. The median sale price is $430,000.

Homeowners need nearly 40% or more income to buy in Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida, in Austin, Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas, in Anaheim and San Diego, California, and in the metro areas of Nashville, Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Redfin analyzed median home sale prices between March 2021 and March 2022. It focuses on affordability based on buyers taking out loans, not paying cash. It defines a monthly mortgage payment to be one that is no more than 30% of a homebuyer’s income.

Nationwide, Americans are migrating despite high costs, or because of them. A seller leaving New York with a median home sale price of $677,654, for example, is more likely to afford purchasing a home in Las Vegas or in Tampa even if the homes are overvalued there because they are far less expensive than in New York. Likewise, the cost of living is less, and Nevada and Florida levy no state income tax.

A record 32.3% of Redfin.com users nationwide looked to relocate to a different metro area in the first quarter of this year, a separate Redfin analysis found. That’s up from 31.5% a year earlier, and up 26% from 2019.

“Skyrocketing home prices and rising mortgage rates have made relocating to a more affordable area the only viable option for some prospective homebuyers,” the report notes.

Nationwide, homebuyers need to earn $76,414 annually to afford a monthly mortgage payment of $1,910, an increase of 34.2% from the previous year. The national median home sale is $412,687, a 17.3% increase from last year.

While housing costs skyrocket, wages are increasing but not at near the same pace. The average hourly wages in the U.S. grew by 5.6% last year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Over the last decade, median home prices increased by roughly 30% while household incomes increased by 11% over the same time period, a Bankrate analysis found.

From 2019 to 2021, “the average house-price-to-income ratio increased from 4.7 to 5.4 — a 14.9% increase and more than double the recommended ratio of 2.6. In other words, homes cost 5.4X what the average person earns in one year,” an analysis by Clever Real Estate found. It also notes that since 1965, after accounting for inflation, home prices increased by 118% while household incomes increased by only 15%.

As home prices outpace wages, inventory continues to decline. An analysis by the National Associations of Realtors and Realtor.com points out that a household earning $75,000 to $100,000 can afford to buy 51% of the active housing inventory today compared to being able to purchase 58% of the homes for sale in 2019.

One possible course correction could come from the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, and thereby mortgage rates. Marr notes, “The good news is that there’s a positive side to rising mortgage rates, too: They will likely slow price growth and curb competition for homes, providing a reprieve for some prospective buyers.”

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Tennessee Supreme Court rules in favor of education savings account program

By Jon Styf | The Center Square, May 18, 2022 - Tennessee's Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that an education savings account program passed by the General Assembly in 2019 was constitutional.

The program, which would have started in Nashville and Shelby County, had been challenged based upon the state's Home Rule Amendment. The court did state, however, that the two areas do have standing to challenge the program.

The case will return to the trial court for a ruling on its legality outside of the Home Rule Amendment.

"Every child deserves a high-quality education & today's Tennessee Supreme Court opinion on ESAs puts parents in Memphis & Nashville one step closer to finding the best educational fit for their children," Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee tweeted in response to the opinion.

The program was aimed at allowing low-income students in low-performing schools in Davidson and Shelby counties to use vouchers to attend a school of their choice. Those students were set to receive approximately $7,000 to choose their school even though, at that point, schools in Shelby County spent $13,000 per student each year and Nashville schools spent $16,000 per student.

The new Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement passed the Legislature at the end of this year's session and later signed into law by Lee will replace the previous school funding formula, the Basic Education Program.

The Senate Democratic Caucus blasted the decision in a statement. 

"Private school vouchers, paid for with public school tax dollars, do not work and this scheme has failed students every place it has been tried," the statement said. "In this decision, the Supreme Court erased constitutional protections for local control and years of precedent.

"Not only does this decision usher in a terrible education policy, but it invites more political meddling that surely results in local governments losing freedom and independence from state interference."

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said in a statement while there were still more court proceedings ahead, the court's decision was a "major step forward."

"The Education Savings Account program has always been about helping Tennessee students — giving eligible families a choice in education, an opportunity they currently do not have," Slatery said. "It challenged the status quo — a move that is always met with resistance. We applaud the Court’s decision that this pilot program is indeed constitutional."

The nonprofit Beacon Center of Tennessee also hailed the decision, which joined the lawsuit along with the Institute for Justice to represent parents. 

"We are so pleased that the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed today what we have always known: The ESA law is not a violation of the Tennessee Constitution’s Home Rule Amendment," said Beacon Center President and CEO Justin Owen. "We are fully confident after this decision that families in Nashville and Memphis will finally get the choice opportunities that they deserve."

The lawsuit from the governments of the two counties alleged that the two areas were targeted without their consent, which the lawsuit claimed violated the state's Home Rule Amendment.

A Court of Appeals previously ruled against the ESA program before the state appealed that ruling to the Tennessee Supreme Cour 

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Titans CEO says Nashville would owe nearly $2B toward Nissan Stadium renovations under current lease

By Jon Styf | The Center Square, May 19, 2022 — Tennessee Titans Chief Executive Officer Burke Nihill estimated that Nashville would owe $1.839 billion under the terms of the team's current lease if Nissan Stadium in Nashville was renovated instead of having a new stadium built.

The estimate is based upon maintenance and a lease stipulation saying the city must pay for capital projects to keep the stadium in "first-class condition to keep pace with comparable facilities."

The Titans, state and Nashville are preparing to fund a new estimated $2.2 billion stadium next to the current stadium with plans to build a mixed-use development on 130 acres next to the new stadium.

Nihill also confirmed that Titans ownership was preparing to be able to pay $700 million in private investment toward a new stadium between ownership, an NFL loan and other private investments. That would leave an estimated $1.5 billion of a new stadium to be paid with public funds, including a $500 million appropriation from the state and $1 billion in sales taxes from the city and state.

Nihill said that he prepared the Nashville-paid renovation estimate "in as objective a way as possible" figuring in $945 million for near-term stadium renovations and $894 million for maintenance and upgrades between 2026 and 2039 if the Titans were to use their option to renew the Nissan Stadium lease. A new lease would leave the Titans in charge of paying for stadium maintenance after the initial costs.

"What we have been trying to do is take the taxpayers in Nashville out of that risk position," Nihill said at Thursday morning's Metro Nashville Sports Authority Finance Committee meeting.

"This is something that our ownership and our leadership just doesn't accept. And so, we're kind of like ducks swimming out of water like crazy trying to find an elegant solution to find a result where there's a long-term lease where, whatever the risk is, it's on the Titans and not the taxpayers."

Nashville councilmember at-large Bob Mendes, however, believes that Nashville should do its own analysis of city obligations for renovations under the current stadium lease before making a funding decision. A 2017 city-funded analysis estimated that Nissan Stadium required $293.2 million in capital improvements over 20 years.

"Listen, we can all love the Titans & still understand they are a counterparty in a 10 figure negotiation," Mendes tweeted. "If Metro doesn't have its own analysis of the lease obligation, then the only salient point is that Metro doesn't have its own analysis. There's really no excuse for that.

"A core concept in a negotiation is to know your walk away point. If Metro has no independent thoughts about the lease obligations, then it doesn't know when it should walk away. It's hard to have confidence in a negotiator who relies on the other side for the walk away point."

TJ Ducklo, the Chief Communications Officer and advisor to Nashville Mayor John Cooper, said in a statement that the mayor's priority is to remove the tax burden on Nashville residents under the current stadium lease and that the terms of the lease would require the Metro government to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate the existing stadium and maintain it over the remainder of the lease.

"We have no plans to commission another study to tell us what we already know: Renovating the stadium would cost Nashvillians hundreds of millions of dollars," Ducklo said. 

Nihill said that the 2017 assessment was a different scope than what the team believes is required of Nashville under the Titans' current lease. Nihill said the city must keep the stadium comparable to other NFL stadiums built between 1989 and 2009, including Miami's renovated Hard Rock Stadium, FedEx Field in Maryland, Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

Nihill said the last three will likely be renovated or replaced before 2039. He said that 30 stadiums in the U.S. fit the comparable facility definition.

Economist J.C. Bradbury of Kennesaw State University in Georgia believes the city could challenge the first-class stipulation.

"The notion that first class is some objective standard that Nissan can't come close to meeting with more modest changes is an important aspect here," Bradbury tweeted. "Municipal leaders could clearly push back on this and win in court."

Nihill said Thursday that the team estimated a new stadium would cost between $1.9 billion and $2.2 billion, though Cooper's capital estimate for the facility was recently $2.2 billion.

Taxes that will contribute to the estimated final $1 billion in stadium funding including state and city sales taxes from spending within the stadium and 50% of the state and city sales taxes for spending in the new development district the Titans plan to build around the stadium.

The funding will also include a new 1% hotel tax on all Davidson County hotels and motels.

Bradbury has explained that sending funds that Nashville and Tennessee normally would take in to pay for city and state funded work and giving $1.5 billion in public funds for a new Titans stadium is the same as committing general fund dollars, because those same taxes are the current source of plenty of general fund dollars.

"It's a misnomer to say that it's not raising taxes on locals because what you're doing is transferring commerce that was already taking place in Nashville that was generating sales tax revenue for the city and state and then diverting that to the Titans," Bradbury said. "So that's revenue that was previously going to funding other priorities for government that now has to be made up through other means."

Nihill confirmed that Titans ownership, the Adams family, is currently collecting assets in order to pay for the team portion of funding for a new stadium.

"The Adams family is quite literally just putting all of the Adams' assets in the mix," Nihill said. "Things that the family has owned for 50-60 years. They're being sold, they're being liquidated to be able to help pay for this contribution." 

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Monday, May 16, 2022

New Titans stadium estimated to cost $2B, will not burden Metro’s General Fund,

Mayor Cooper: Nashville’s football stadium will not be taxpayer burden under new plan Opinion

Rather than pouring over a billion dollars into an aging stadium, we began working with the Titans and the state on the idea of building a new enclosed stadium for Nashville.

John Cooper, Guest Columnist, The Tennessean, May 12,2022- We are working on plans for a new stadium because doing nothing is not an option, and renovating the current stadium would be financially irresponsible. Tourists and spending around the stadium will pay for this project, not Nashville families.

Doing nothing Is not an option  ... Right now, under the original lease, Nashville taxpayers are on the hook for tens of millions of dollars per year for stadium maintenance and improvements. Those are general fund dollars that we need for other essential priorities... The lease obligates Nashville to provide a “first-class” stadium until 2038, an obligation that now means either renovating the current stadium or building a new stadium. ... – unlike our current arrangement – will not burden Metro’s General Fund. (link)

Rod's Comment: Based on what I know about this proposal at this time, given the current funding package, I am in favor of building the new stadium. 

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As the author of A Disgruntled Republican I often post items that I think may be of interest to the conservative, Republican, libertarian, or the greater community. Posting of a press release or an announcement of an event does not necessarily indicate an endorsement. Rod

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Yes, the Biden administration did fund crack pipes

 The latest media ‘fact check’ turns out to be false

by: Grace Curley, Spectator, May 16, 2022- Nina Jankowicz, who has her own lengthy rap sheet as a serial spreader of fake news, is heading up the Department of Homeland Security’s new “Disinformation Governance Board.” If the director of the Ministry of Truth really wants to tackle lies, I have the perfect place for her to start: the White House Briefing Room.

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki was caught flat-out lying on Thursday .... In February of this year, Washington Free Beacon reporter Patrick Hauf wrote a piece headlined, “Biden Admin To Fund Crack Pipe Distribution To Advance ‘Racial Equity.’” ... HHS put out a statement totally denying the report: ... It turns out that these safe-smoking kits do include crack pipes after all.(read it all at this link)

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Bastiat Society to host a Nashville in-person event with Daniel J. Smith. Are Markets Moral?

AIER’s Bastiat Society program in Nashville will host an in-person event with Daniel J. Smith

About this event

AIER’s Bastiat Society program in Nashville will host an in-person event with Daniel J. Smith, Director of the Political Economy Research Institute and Professor of Economics in the Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University.

Even the harshest critics of market societies begrudgingly recognize the efficiency of markets in generating unprecedented material abundance. Rather, modern critics argue that markets lead to unjust distributions of wealth by encouraging immoral behavior. In this talk, Smith argues that markets aren’t just more efficient; they are also moral and moralizing. The least-off in society are the primary beneficiaries of market institutions. By encouraging the adoption of commercial virtues, markets also foster morality and tolerance.

Daniel J. Smith is the Director of the Political Economy Research Institute and Professor of Economics in the Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University. He serves as the North American Co-editor of The Review of Austrian Economics and is the President of the Society for Development of Austrian Economics. His academic research and policy work uses Austrian and public choice economics to analyze private and public governance institutions. While his primary research areas are on monetary institutions and public pensions, he has also done fieldwork following natural disasters and even examined the governance institutions of brawling soccer hooligans, cyclists in the Tour de France, and the patricians of historic Venice. Other academic and policy research he has undertaken examines the effects of occupational licensing, payday lending regulation, and the morality of markets.

He is the co-author of Money and the Rule of Law: Generality and Predictability in Monetary Institutions (Cambridge University Press), written with Peter J. Boettke and Alexander W. Salter, and The Political Economy of Public Pensions (Cambridge University Press), written with Eileen Norcross. His research is published in academic journals, such as Public Choice, Economics of Governance, Constitutional Political Economy, and The Review of Austrian Economics, and in chapters in books published by Oxford University Press, Routledge, and Wiley-Blackwell. Smith has published numerous op-eds in national and regional outlets, including in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Investor's Business Daily, and CNBC.com. Daniel received his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University and a B.B.A. in economics and finance from Northwood University.

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