All Star Panelist Roger Simon Weighs in on Liz Cheney and the Defense of Her Father’s Legacy

All Star Panelist Roger Simon Weighs in on Liz Cheney and the Defense of Her Father’s Legacy

 

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist and senior editor-at-large at The Epoch Times, Roger Simon, in-studio to weigh in on Liz Cheney’s anti-Republican actions siding with Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats Wednesday.

(Jim Jordan clip plays)

Leahy: That’s Jim Jordan and Jim is at the center of this kind of controversy. I mean, it’s all to be expected. The regime of Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, wants to do an investigation or cover-up, shall we say, with what happened on January six.

Lots of questions here. Tucker Carlson last night talked about it. Roger, what’s your take on this? Queen Nancy, the Despot, who is the speaker of the House, basically elected Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana as members of this, the word really is going to be a Kafkaesque propaganda event.

Simon: Straight out of an Alice in Wonderland kind of thing with Liz Cheney as the titular Republican.

Leahy: Liz Cheney. I saw a clip of her talking on Tucker Carlson’s show last night. I couldn’t believe that this was a Republican.

She said, well, I’m totally supportive of Speaker Pelosi. The minority leader is just totally wrong at the head of her party, by the way.

And, you know, these guys are, well, you can’t have somebody who’s a potential witness be on and so I agree with the Speaker. What is going on with Liz Cheney?

Simon: All right. I see Liz Cheney in a slightly different manner than everybody else. Let’s say, a different angle. And it’s purely psychological.

And what we are looking at with Liz Cheney is what old Sigmund Freud used to call a very severe Electra complex.

Leahy: Okay, now elaborate for those who are psychiatrists.

Simon: Right. An Electra complex is sort of the polar opposite of the Oedipus complex. And it’s a young woman who is not so young anymore. Let’s say a middle-aged woman who has a thing for her Dad.

Leahy: She’s trying to Curry favor with her dad. That’s a polite way to put it.

Simon: It’s kind of a love affair with the father anyway, and not consummated, of course, I’m talking about psychologically. And as we know, I interviewed both. I interviewed Dick Cheney.

Leahy: Oh. When did you interview Dick Cheney?

Simon: I interviewed Dick Cheney just after, I guess, after Obama first came in.

Leahy: Where was this interview?

Simon: It was at the Reagan Library.

Leahy: In-person?

Simon: Yes. It was a very fancy interview physically because you set up a camera above the Air Force One that they have in the regular library.

So you’re looking down at Air Force. And I’m sort of at that point in awe of Dick Cheney because I agreed, sadly and incorrectly, with some of his policies.

Simon: He’s a bright man, though. There’s no question about it. And in with Dick walked Liz because they were always inseparable.

And, in fact, I hadn’t known that Liz would come there. But I became friendly and talked with her and all. And it was very clear that she was the sidekick to her father and his policy.

And, of course, his most famous policy was the Iraq War. Which many of us favored in those days. I don’t know where you were on it.

I was for it. And I was wrong. And Dick Cheney in a more important manner. But now roll forward many years.

Leahy: Let me just go back to that interview. What was it like interviewing Dick Cheney?

Simon: It was not a good interview on my end. Dick Cheney was fine. My interview didn’t probe very much because I wanted to interview the vice president and that’s a very big deal.

Leahy: It is a big deal. And perceptions of Dick Cheney – of Cheney dramatically…

Simon: Absolutely.

Leahy: Since he left office, his star has not declined quite as much as George W. Bush’s because he himself has been silent about a lot of things.

Simon: True.

Leahy: George W. Bush has just jabbered on like an idiot on immigration.

Simon: Well, it was always said that Dick Cheney was the brains of that administration. And it’s probably true.

Leahy: You look at George W. Bush talking today and you say, how did we elect that guy president? Not the brightest bulb.

Simon: Not the brightest bulb. But Cheney was a smart guy. He just made a very bad decision, which happens. And in any case, it was something that everybody learned.

We all thought maybe that if you win a war in Iraq, they’ll turn it to Denmark. But somehow it didn’t.

Leahy: Gee. Now that’s a funny line, because Iraqis, Danish people, they’re a little different. Culture, a little different.

Simon: To say the least. Anyways, what Liz Cheney is trying to do at all costs is to preserve the reputation of her dad. And that’s what we’re watching, and it’s destroying everything. I mean, she’s nuts. (Chuckles)

Leahy: She really is. And it’s a sad thing to watch. And thankfully, she’s gonna be gone. And once she loses her position in Congress, no one’s gonna pay attention to her.

Leahy: I got one person who might pay attention to her. You ready?

Simon: Go for it.

Leahy: Jeff Bezos, because, you know, he gave $100 million to Van Jones to do civility. Van Jones. Mr. I-love-Critical-Race-Theory Van Jones. That guy.

Simon: Jeff Bezos can afford to do anything he wants, but I don’t think Liz Cheney is good enough on TV and radio to preserve, frankly.

Leahy: (Laughter) So now let me explore your theory a little bit more. She’s there. How is she preserving her father’s legacy by siding with Nancy Pelosi and against the leader of the Republicans in the House? Explain that?

Simon: Okay, here it is. Donald Trump trashed her father and trashed the Iraq war all the time. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.

The Republican Party is now Trump. Let’s be real. And she hates him. He trashed her father. I’m talking really primitive stuff.

Leahy: That’s an explanation that makes sense. I think from what I’ve read, that her father does despise Donald Trump.

Simon: Oh yeah.

Leahy: But in a defensive way. If we were having a private conversation with Dick Cheney right now, and if he was being honest, he would say that. I’m sure he would say that.

Simon: Oh, I’m sure he would. And now he doesn’t have to say it publicly because he’s got his daughter doing it for him.

Leahy: And it’s not serving her well.

Simon: It’s serving  Nancy Pelosi.

Leahy: And it’s not serving her father.

Simon: Not really.

Leahy: But he’s like 80 or something like that?

Simon: When I interviewed him, the most interesting part of the interview was when he was showing all his heart maintenance things. He’s had several operations, and he opened them up for us on camera.

Leahy: No kidding.

Simon: Yeah, it was interesting. That part was actually medically interesting. He was treated with the most modern equipment.

Leahy: So he’s not in sufficient robust health to go out and be very active. He’s in maintenance mode.

Simon: This is some time ago, that interview. I mean, he’s done very well physically, actually.

Leahy: Considering everything. But still, he’s a behind-the-scenes guy right now, but he clearly hates Donald Trump. And his daughter hates Donald Trump. And she cares nothing about anything but that.

Simon: Yeah, because he’s trashed her father.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Dick Cheney” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Weighs in on Trump’s Big Reception at Last Weeks CPAC

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Weighs in on Trump’s Big Reception at Last Weeks CPAC

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to review Trump’s reception at last week’s CPAC.

Leahy: In studio with us, our very good friend, mayor of Maury County, that bastion of freedom and turbocharged engine of economic growth, Andy Ogles.

Andy, over the weekend, while you were relaxing on Dauphin Island with your family – Did you get back during the weekend?

Ogles: Oh, yeah, we did.

Leahy: You got back during the weekend. So you were able to probably watch the goings-on at the 2021 CPAC conference. The Conservative Political Action Conference. That got started, I guess, way back in 1973, right?

Ogles: Oh, wow.

Leahy: A long time ago. And it was really where Ronald Reagan first rose to prominence a long time ago. So that’s a long time ago.

It’s almost 50 years now. I just have to bring this to you. We’re going to get to what former President Donald Trump said there and what his reception was.

Governor Lee was invited to go down there and he was on a panel. And I got to tell you the name of this panel. Wait for it … He was on a panel with another governor, Governor Stitt of Oklahoma.

And the moderator was Matt Schlapp, who is the president of the group that sponsors the Conservative Political Action Conference.

It was “A conversation on leadership, justice, and jobs in the age of wokeism.” (Ogles chuckles) Now, Governor Lee was there, and our headline tells it all.

It was like a 22-minute advertisement if you will. Schlapp was basically shilling for Governor Bill Lee and Governor Stitt of Oklahoma. Our headline:

No Questions for Governor Lee at CPAC About His Woke Cabinet Members Penny Schwinn and Juan Williams. We’ve reported on this extensively, but it was really of the 22-minute interview mostly about Governor Lee’s criminal justice reform program.

Which, I think criminal justice reform is fine. But they didn’t ask him any questions about his own woke administration. I felt, generally speaking, that CPAC is gone. Well, it’s not quite the pure conservative experience that it was back in the era of Ronald Reagan and leading up to Donald Trump. That’s just my view.

Ogles: Yes. I think when you look at an event like that, it’s not really a journalistic event. There’s no investigative reporting, per se.

And I think for someone like Matt Schlapp, he reads the press releases, and probably from their perspective, the governor is – or appears to be – conservative.

But my guess is, they didn’t scratch the surface to see that Penny Schwinn and the others and its plural in his administration have gone full awoke and really nothing’s been done about it.

Leahy: So I’m going to try to get on Matt Schlapp in here because I’m going to ask him these hard questions. And I think he knows. (Laughter)

I think he knows that Governor Bill Lee is no conservative. He’s more of an establishment Republican guy. He was a deputy policy advisor in the George W. Bush administration.

My view, not yours, but my view. I think history is showing that George W. Bush was not a very good president, frankly. And he’s not a very good post-president.

But that’s just my view. But the world in 2021 is about where this country is today, and if we can make America great again.

We did a great job I think for the four years that Donald Trump was the president of the United States. Now, with the legal but not legitimate occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, who is flouting and violating our immigration laws, looks pretty troublesome.

Former President Trump went down to CPAC, and it was a barn burner. He was very well received.

Ogles: He was kind of the crescendo, the highlight, the grand finale of CPAC. He spoke on Sunday. And, of course, they had a straw poll. Now, keep in mind, CPAC attendees are going to lean conservative.

Leahy: Oh, yeah.

Ogles: Trump just dominated that poll. And with Ron DeSantis coming in a distant –

Leahy: Very distant –

Ogles: Very distant second.

Leahy: I think it was Trump at 70 percent. They do the presidential strap polls and they’re more kind of fun than anything else, I think.

They’re not typical scientific polls or the electorate. But among enthused conservatives who attended CPAC, it was a runaway. We want Donald Trump for 2024 – 70 percent, and DeSantis got 20 percent, and nobody else even got one percent.

Ogles: It was crazy. I was surprised that Kristi Noem – I’m a fan of Governor Noem’s – she didn’t even register on the radar. And it’s not a scientific poll.

But that being said, when you look historically, Reagan got traction there and Rand Paul when he launched his presidential bid, Ted Cruz.

They really kind of spoke to the base to get some of that traction and some of that initial momentum. So it has validity, at least in the beginnings of a campaign. But that being said, it was Trump’s moment for sure.

Leahy: Trump’s had a lot of moments of late. Except, Andy, you can’t find any of these recent moments on YouTube. Did you see this?

Ogles: Oh yeah. They took down his speech, which was Orwellian.

Leahy: It is Orwellian. This claim that they are fair arbiters of public discourse, what a joke that is. They can’t take a punch, shall we say.

And they won’t allow anybody to take a punch at them, even though it’s well deserved because there are a bunch of Big Tech bullies.

Ogles: And I think there’s a growing appetite in Congress to do something about big tech and maybe to treat them more like a utility. And, of course, that’s not going to happen the next year or so.

But after the 2022 midterms and Republicans sweep both Houses of Congress, if I’m Big Tech, I would expect to be broken up in some way or capacity. Because I think that’s coming and it’s coming hard and fast.

Leahy: Well, that is interesting to see how this will all play out. I’m hearing increasingly that the general populace is very very tired of all the overreaches of the Biden maladministration.

That’s what I’m hearing. And I think on our side, I’m hearing and seeing resilience and enthusiasm for taking back the House of Representatives and maybe even the Senate. Even though now that is still 16 months away. It’s a long time.

Ogles: But, I mean, everybody’s getting geared up. I think more people are paying attention. Anecdotally you look at Moms for Liberty Group out of Williamson County.

Those types of liberty groups are popping up all over the country. And it’s individuals. You’re going to expect someone like myself or you to be engaged in politics and maybe be seen at some of these conservative events.

But when you have soccer moms who are busy and they’ve got agendas and kids and all the stuff that goes with that and suddenly they’re going to political rallies.

If you’re not a conservative, if you didn’t lead through COVID, you’ve got problems.

Leahy: From our story about former President Trump’s appearance: Sunday night at CPAC in Dallas, former President Trump took the stage to a standing ovation and a rowdy crowd while headlining the large gathering of CPAC Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on Sunday.

In a speech that lasted 90 minutes, the former commander-in-chief highlighted a variety of key areas that Republicans across the country are focused on including the 2022 midterms, the Biden administration’s policies, and his lawsuit.

He has a lawsuit against Big Tech platforms. With the help of everyone here today, we will defeat the radical left, the socialist Marxists, and the critical race theorists.

We will secure our borders. We will stop left-wing canceled culture, we will restore free speech and free elections, and We Will Make…here’s the punchline…

America Great Again, Trump said of the prospects of 2022. What do you think? You look at this phrase, We Will Make America Great Again.

In 2020 he said Keep America Great, now it’s regressing back to the Orwellian Democrat dystopia. Will we make it great again, Andy?

Ogles: I think he’s handing out endorsements for the upcoming elections in 2022. And if you look here in Tennessee, it’s now July. Today’s date is the 13th and early voting in Tennessee starts in 12 months.

And so the election, whether it be governor or Congress or whatever, is a mere 12 months away. And I think that’s the case across the country.

And I think President Biden is the gift that keeps on giving. Every time he does something stupid, which is about every five minutes, it’s just a win for the Republicans.

It’s a win for Trump. This idea that they’re going to go door to door on vaccinations – I don’t think that works out well in rural Tennessee.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineered Tax Services CEO Julio Gonzalez Discusses His Company’s Mission and Trumped-Up Charges in New York

Engineered Tax Services CEO Julio Gonzalez Discusses His Company’s Mission and Trumped-Up Charges in New York

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Julio Gonzalez, CEO and founder of Engineered Tax Services to the newsmakers line to discuss his company’s assistance to small businesses and the tax charges facing the Trump organization in New York.

Leahy: We are joined on a newsmaker line by a very interesting guy, Julio Gonzalez, who is the founder of Engineered Tax Services and also is an expert on all of these efforts by New York attorney general and Manhattan district attorney to kind of cook up a case against Donald Trump and his affiliates. Good morning, Julio. Thanks for joining us.

Gonzalez: Good morning! Thanks for having me.

Leahy: So, a national tax reform expert. About your bio, very interesting. You founded the Gonzalez Family Office. Typically, a family office manages wealth created by a family.

Did you create the wealth, or was it your dad or somebody else in your family that created that wealth?

Gonzalez: Yeah. I created the wealth. The first generation. My family escaped Cuba in ’58 and came here and gave me the opportunity to prosper in this great country.

Leahy: Wow! And how did you create that wealth?

Gonzalez: Today I have the largest tax credit firm in the country. We work with about 12,000 accounting firms, CPA firms, to make sure that their small business owners, their clients, get all the tax credits that all the big corporations and the Big Tech companies enjoy every day.

Leahy: So your clients are thousands of CPA firms, and you tell them how their clients can understand how to create and work the tax system properly.

Gonzalez: That’s what we try to do. Absolutely. We want to preserve all their clients’ wealth so they can continue to prosper and grow jobs and grow the economy.

Leahy: Well, what a great idea. How did you come up with this idea?

Gonzalez: I was doing that in the ’80s and ’90s for the big accounting world, and we were working with public companies.

And I realized that if you’re a smaller CPA, smaller accounting firm, you’re just not going to have those resources and that technical knowledge to help your small business clients.

So that’s what we did to try to start in 2001 being a resource to the accounting community to make sure that when their clients are investing in their businesses, that they get rewards.

Leahy: Man, I love your services. You have an office here in Nashville as well?

Gonzalez: We do. I was just in your town last week.

Leahy: Why didn’t you give me a call? We could have gone to lunch!

Gonzalez: (Chuckles) I had so much fun meeting with all the great people there in Nashville.

Leahy: That’s great. That’s fantastic. Did you get a CPA? Did you go to the University of Florida? Where did you go to college?

Gonzalez: Actually, I went to the University of Colorado, and got my degrees in accounting. And we now have over 800 employees nationwide that are working with our accounting firms and their small businesses.

Leahy: Where are you based?

Gonzalez: We’re based in Palm Beach, Florida.

Leahy: Oh, Yeah. I got to go visit you.

Gonzalez: Come visit. We’ll bring you over to Mara Lago.

Leahy: I will! It sounds like a lot of fun. I look at these trumped-up, excuse the pun there, trumped-up charges against the CFO of the Trump Organization brought by the attorney general of New York and the district attorney there.

And I’m saying this seems like a mundane tax matter. They’re saying, well, they should have declared fringe benefits income. Doesn’t it usually work where they send a letter off to the accountant and the accountant says, “oh, well, maybe we should, maybe we shouldn’t. Here’s our case.” Is that how it usually works?

Gonzalez: That’s exactly right. How it always works is that the New York State Tax Department would review these returns.

They’re constantly on audit with the Trump Organization. And if they had any issue and they felt it was criminal, they would bring in the attorney general, and the attorney general would review it.

But this is not the case, right? It didn’t go from the department of tax over to the attorney general. The attorney general went and got these tax returns and then brought together a grand jury of nine people that know nothing about tax.

And they basically said, based on the facts of the attorney general, we have a crime. This never happens in my world.

Leahy: In my world as my friend Glenn Reynolds, the professor of constitutional law at the University of Tennessee, and also Instapundit.

Instapundit.com. He calls it basically a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich if the information was brought by the district attorney.

That’s the case here. Do we live in a nation of laws, or do we live in a nation of left-wing ideologues who want to go after people they oppose politically?

Gonzalez: If you’re waking up in New York this week, it’s certainly the latter. I can’t imagine being a business owner or a CPA firm or an accounting firm in New York and think that everything I do now, even if it’s in sync with the law, could be scrutinized by the attorney general and could be put in front of a grand jury.

And we have the ham sandwich that’s convicted. I don’t know how you even do business there anymore.

Leahy: Let me tell you something. We’ve got here in Tennessee, we’ve got a company, The Star News Network, that I’m the CEO of.

We have news sites in eight states. Tennessee, The Tennessee Star and in Florida, The Florida Capital Star, and six other states. Now we were looking at maybe doing something in New York.

I’m never going into New York. I’m originally from Upstate New York. Why would I go up and open a business in New York when I know the left-wing ideologue attorney general is immediately going to open an investigation of me or anybody else who’s a conservative there?

Gonzalez: Exactly right. I’m sure when you grew up there, it was wonderful to be in New York. But look, I mean, now they have the highest tax rates.

They’re taxing everything. They’re coming up with new tax laws. And now the attorney general basically oversees the tax community.

And we see with this Trump Organization what I think is a prelude to something much bigger and that they’re going to do this to all the big corporations there.

And it’s not a good precedent. And I think that ultimately, it’s going to be very problematic.

And I got to think that there’s a lot of companies like yours that are like, “we want to be in New York. We’re looking at this. We’re looking at the high tax rates but we can’t.”

And by the way, and your state has been the big benefactor of what’s going on in New York because a lot of great companies have moved to Nashville and move down here to South Florida because they just can’t take the politics in New York anymore.

Leahy: Julio Gonzalez, the head of Engineered Tax Services, thanks for joining. On the web at juliogonzalez.com.  Thanks so much for joining us. Come back again, if you would please.

Gonzalez: My pleasure. Thank you.

Listen to the full first hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Julio Gonzalez” by Engineered Tax Services, Inc. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tennessee State Senator Mike Bell Talks Section 230 Reform and the Momentum Created by Trump Lawsuit

Tennessee State Senator Mike Bell Talks Section 230 Reform and the Momentum Created by Trump Lawsuit

 

Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee state Senator (R) Mike Bell to the newsmakers line to discuss much-needed Section 230 reform and the momentum created by Trump’s lawsuit against Big Tech.

Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by State Senator Mike Bell. Good morning, Senator Bell.

Bell: Good morning, Michael. How are you today?

Leahy: I’m great and it’s great to have you on here and talk a little bit about this big tech lawsuit that former President Donald Trump filed on Wednesday.

By the way, our own Laura Baigert was there at Bedminster Golf Club. The Trump National Golf Club there and was present. We had a photographer there.

We did a big story on it and put it out through our Star News Wire Service. It was picked up by a number of outlets around the country.

And Laura got to ask the former president a question, which was there in the press conference. So we are looking upfront and personal at this particular lawsuit. What is your reaction to the lawsuit, Mike?

Bell: Michael, I think it’s probably overdue. This is something that we’ve been talking about in the legislature. Of course, I had an amendment to a bill this last session that was attempting to address this problem, representing Johnny Garrett had it in the House.

And, Michael, we’ve been talking even to the attorney’s general’s office. You may have read yesterday they joined a lawsuit with 37 other states against Google because of the monopoly that they have.

And it’s not just Facebook. It’s not just Twitter, it’s Google. There’s probably a couple of other platforms that would be included that has become a monopoly. And they’ve become an entity that’s controlling speech.

And I don’t think it’s good. We look back in our history when the federal government eventually broke up the old Bell telephone company for somewhat the same reasons because they become a monopoly and control communications. Well, Facebook and Twitter are becoming that now.

As much as it is a free market, small-government conservative, I try to stay away from government regulating business. But when a business does become a monopoly at that point, the government sometimes has to step in.

Leahy: Well yes. Also, the other argument to make here is that the critics of this lawsuit say, well, it’s a privately held company.

It’s not a government entity. Well, my view is exactly the opposite that the protections granted to Google, Facebook, and Twitter under Section 230 of the 1996 Communication Act from liability for false claims, that that protection makes them a government agent.

And that protection has also provided them with the ability to be, in essence, monopolies or oligopolies. So that’s my view. Do you share that?

Bell: I do, Michael. In fact, if the federal government would remove that protection then maybe we would see the market correct itself.

But with that protection still there, as you’ve stated, that’s created a monopoly that’s protected by the government and enforced by the government. And Michael I told, I guess it’s Julie. I can’t remember, too.

Leahy: Our booking producer.

Bell: Yeah. I talked to her yesterday and told her I’ve been dealing with a constituent now for about a week and a half who was permanently blocked from Facebook.

And she is a huge Trump supporter. In fact, she is one of the few people I guess nationwide you look at has actually been brought up on a stage with President Trump at a rally.

He just picked her out of a crowd, and she was brought up on stage with him at a rally early on back in the 2016 campaign. And she just loves President Trump and puts things on social media all the time promoting President Trump.

And she’s been suspended for a period of time, like three days or four days, two or three times, and always being given an explanation by Facebook about why she was suspended.

In other words, she was suspended for putting a certain post up there. But she was permanently banned from Facebook for about a week and a half to go and can’t even get an explanation from Facebook about why she was permanently banned.

A media outlet and that’s what they become, a social media like Facebook can just ban people for any reason and not even give them an explanation.

And it’s become, I guess I’m trying to say, Mike, it’s become an avenue for people to communicate with that’s used by, goodness, I think I read somewhere around 75 percent of Americans have a Facebook account.

Then you’re essentially blocking somebody from being able to communicate. And again, as you said, the protections afforded Facebook and other social media giants through Section 230 just give them way too much power without any consequence.

And so I’m hoping this lawsuit that President Trump is leading will help change that for citizens so they can have some recourse when dealing with these social media giants.

Leahy: Yeah, a very good point. Now, you mentioned that there was a couple of things to talk about at the state level. First, the attorneys general, Herb Slattery, has joined the lawsuit of, I think, 35 other states against Google.

Are you familiar with the lawsuit and what the argument is? Let me just read from our story at The Tennessee Star. Attorney General Herbert Slavery announced on Wednesday that Tennessee will band together with 36 other states in the lawsuit in an attempt to combat what they see as anti-competitive trade practices.

Let me read this quote from Attorney General Slattery and get your reaction. Google’s “play was the long game enticing manufacturers and operators to adopt Android by promising to remain open. Now that the digital doorway is closed, if you want in, you’ve got to do it Google’s way. You essentially have to use its App Store, use its payment processing system, and pay its unreasonable commissions for digital purchases. All of this harms consumers, limits competition, and reduces innovation. Tennessee and 36 other states are no longer on the sidelines.”

What’s your reaction to that lawsuit?

Bell: First, I’m glad General Slattery has chosen to join these other states in the lawsuit. I think he’s exactly right. It has become a monopoly.

You do have to use their platform and their apps in order to access these different means of being able to communicate. I guess, anything from play games to use a map on where to drive to your next appointment.

And Google has grown so much that they control that whole area of the market. Again, from a top-list free-market person, you don’t want the government to step in in these situations.

You hope the market will correct itself. But this has grown to such a point, to use that analogy that I mentioned a few minutes ago, it’s gotten where the Bell company was.

The old phone company got to several decades ago when the federal government had to come in and break them up when they controlled the marketplace of communication.

Google is becoming that and has become that as well as these other social media giants. And I think again, it’s something that we have to be careful about as small government Conservatives to step in.

But it has grown to such a point that I think we got to step in and correct this. Government has to correct it at this point.

Leahy: You talked a little bit about a long bill that you proposed that would limit Big Tech here in Tennessee. Tell us what the status of that bill was and what’s going to happen in the next session of the Tennessee General Assembly when it convenes in January of 2022.

Bell: I think the lawsuit that President Trump is leading and this lawsuit that General Slattery has joined is just going to create more momentum for that.

When we filed the amendment, of course, not to get too much in the weeds, we had Representative Garrett and I had a caption bill that we filed this big amendment that was almost identical to the Florida bill.

You’ve read about the bill that Governor DeSantis had in Florida, and our bill was almost identical to the Florida bill. We filed it, but we filed it kind of late in the session.

And a big bill like that is sometimes hard to get people to be able to wrap their minds around it and to understand it and its impact on it without having a lot of time to look at it.

We had to lay it aside. It’s essentially sitting procedurally on the desk, ready for us to pick it back up and run with it next year.

But I think everything that President Trump is doing with our attorneys general joining the lawsuit will add more momentum for us getting that bill passed.

And what the bill was going to do is it was just going to allow give citizens’ recourse if they felt like they were blocked or wronged by one of these social media giants.

But as you started out talking about this morning, what needs to happen is Section 230 reformed at the federal level and that will open the door because we are at the state level kind of hamstrung in that these giants are, of course, not just multi-state or nationwide, but they’re multinational.

And even if we pass the bill to give set up some type of civil recourse here in the state of Tennessee, it’s going to be kind of tough to enforce on an international, multinational company like Google or Facebook.

But we’re going to try and hopefully, everything that’s happening now will just give us more momentum.

Leahy: Can you hang with us through the break? Because I have some more questions for you, State Senator.

Bell: Sure.

Listen to the full first hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star News Network’s Senior Reporter Laura Baigert Describes Her 30 Minute Private Interview With Former President Donald Trump

Star News Network’s Senior Reporter Laura Baigert Describes Her 30 Minute Private Interview With Former President Donald Trump

 

Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed The Star News Network’s Senior Reporter Laura Baigert to the newsmakers line to discuss her one on one private 30-minute interview with former President Donald Trump.

Leahy: We are joined now on the newsmaker line by Laura Baigert, the senior reporter for The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network and the only journalist in America who got an exclusive interview with the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, at the Ohio rally. Good morning, Laura.

Baigert: Good morning, Michael. How are you?

Leahy: Did you ever think you’d hear Laura Baigert, the only journalist in America who got an exclusive interview with the 45th President of the United States?

Baigert: No, (Laughter) but I am sure glad to hear it.

Leahy: (Laughs) We put out your exclusive story we published yesterday about three in the morning. We all stayed up late to make sure we got it out there. Your exclusive interview with the President.

Early this morning, we published a pictorial of beautiful photographs of the event. My favorite picture is one of you standing just behind the main stage area right next to the Secret Service guys and one of those black SUVs.

And you’ve got your notepad with you and you’re just standing watching what’s going on, waiting for the end of the rally for your exclusive interview with the former President. You were in the limo with him.

The driver, you, and the President. And you had, like, half an hour for an exclusive interview. Tell us how it happened.

Baigert: Well, that goes back to a couple of weeks ago when we broke the news about Georgia’s Fulton County an election official admitting that they lost and could not locate chain of custody documents for absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes during the November election.

And President Trump was made aware of that story. He’s been quoting stories that we’ve had for some time now about the chain of custody documents out of Georgia that have not been produced since December.

And now we’re going on almost eight months after the election, and we still can’t get these documents. And President Trump has been quoting that for some time. But when he saw that this election official admitted that they couldn’t produce the documents, that really caught his attention.

And he sent out an email to all his followers, crediting my reporting and The Georgia Star News and thanking us for that report. And that led to a conversation with Liz Harrington who is his new spokesperson. And we asked for an interview and they granted it.

Leahy: So tell us what it was like waiting for the interview. As we were going up there, we thought it was maybe a 50/50 chance it will actually happen. Just describe the moments as you are waiting to get the interview and the details of what happened.

Baigert: That evolved over many hours. We didn’t know exactly what time. And it wasn’t until maybe four o’clock in the afternoon that we found out we were scheduled for 6:30, which was very exciting because we knew he was scheduled to come on stage at seven o’clock.

So we said, wow, normally when we talked about this initially, we found out that usually the interviews are scheduled for five minutes at a time, and they gave us 10 minutes. So we already knew we had way more time than normal.

And then when we heard we were scheduled for 6:30, that was really exciting. And they were going to pick us up on a golf cart to take us off of the actual field where the event was going to happen to the site where President Trump would be.

We had to be ready at 5:15 so that we could be staged. This is also encouraging, because if you start running late, then you know that your chances get lower and lower for having that interview. That picture that you see there was after the scheduled interview time.

We were staged and in a golf cart waiting for the motorcade to drive up. And they were running so late. President Trump actually approached me and asked if I would be willing to wait until after the rally and drive with him to the airport, which would have given me a lot more time for the interview.

So that was a stunner moment right there. Well, of course, Mr. President. Anything you say and for 30 minutes, he said that will be a lot better. It was an amazing moment right there that he was just so gracious. That’s the word that keeps coming to mind. And the other thing and this was something that he arranged. It wasn’t staff or security or whatever.

And in fact, it threw kind of a monkey wrench into the wheel for all the people have to arrange all these things because they thought they were just going to drive me in the motorcade and the SUV over with the President from the ground a few moments away. And he corrected them and told them, no, this is the ride to the airport because that’s not nearly long.

Leahy: (Laughs) When we come back, Laura, we’re going to talk about your ride from the rally in the limo with the President and what he said to you.

(Commercial break)

Leahy: Set the stage for us. Where were you when the President came after the rally and you got it into the limo? What happened?

Baigert: President Trump asked me to walk around the other side of the SUV. When I got in there, he immediately handed me a Diet Coke. And then he offered me a drink, which was very gracious.

This is a man who has a lot on his mind and just delivered an amazing speech for just about an hour and a half. I mean, it was just fantastic. Not only the topics he covered but the inspirational send-off was just great.

So we get in and he checks in with his security guy who was there and asks a couple of questions about how do you think it went? And the size of the crowd. And just overall, very positive about the sense of how the event went.

Both from how he delivered the remarks and how they were received and all that. Then he asked me, what can I do for you? And this was the moment to ask what’s on everybody’s mind. Mr. President, what the people want to know, what they can do for you?

And it’s obvious through the rally that everybody wants him back sooner than later. It was a very nice conversation, just like you see him everywhere else. I think gracious comes to mind. And the other thing is consistency.

He’s the same all the time. What you see is what you get, which just portrays that he’s a very honest, trusting, and truthful person because it was the same all the way through. We discussed how the rally went, what’s going on in the various media outlets, the fake news, as he referred to them numerous times during the rally as he always does.

How the ratings have gone. He asked a lot of questions. So it was interesting. I’m not sure who was being interviewed. He was very interested in how The Georgia Star News is reporting.

He talked a lot about the election results and how all these states are working on it. And it’s not just about any one aspect, as he just issued another statement the other day talking about all the different things in discussing Bill Bar.

All the different things that went wrong in the election in all these different states. As you see, anytime he’s talking, he has this amazing ability to just rattle off all these statistics and facts and observations and people, places, and things.

His mind is constantly working. And you didn’t get the sense he was tired. It was so hot that day. He stood there for an hour and a half, delivering those remarks with such energy.

There was no change in getting there and sinking into the seat. And, boy, I would have been exhausted. Nothing like that.

Leahy: If it had been me and I’d get an hour and a half speech in the hot sun, I would have slumped into the seat and just said, get give me my Diet Coke and let me go to sleep. But there you were. You had one driver in the limo.

Baigert: Driver and the security. And it was so obvious, too, that they had such a good relationship. There was a good rapport where President Trump just kept checking in and talking about different things about the drive over and playing golf and very casual things. He treats everybody is the same.

Leahy: He seems like a normal person in terms of the interaction with you. Regular interaction.

Baigert: Yes. Absolutely. And here’s another thing. As you know, where the fairgrounds were, railroad tracks, bumpy ground on the grass. Gravel areas with little potholes, and then these country roads getting to the regional airport that he flew out of.

And so you’re turning a lot of corners, going over bumps, all of this. Not a thing about geez guys, could we avoid plotholes? Not a thing. It was just amazing how just like a regular person he acted and how you are the only person in the room and the most important thing that’s going on at that moment.

Leahy: You got the sense he’s a pretty positive guy.

Baigert: Absolutely. Absolutely. And even he asked opinions about various political figures that people want certain endorsements and things like that in their races. And he starts off presuming good until they do something different and prove themselves otherwise. And then he’s going to hit them after that.

Leahy: You had a very good interview with him. And the highlight, of course, was the big problem we have to fix is getting to the bottom of the 2020 election because if we can’t have confidence in elections, we don’t have a country anymore.

I think that was the main point, but it sounds like he was interviewing you to get your views on things as much as you were interviewing him.

Baigert: Right. It’s like if you had sat down with a friend and just kind of talked about the state of things the way they are today. I think it sort of makes sense. We have so many things on our minds right now. CRT, China, the virus, BLM, defund the police, and all of that doesn’t matter because we can’t really fix it until we have somebody right that will address it running the country. So it makes sense that the election is the most important thing.

Leahy: He was actually quite animated, shall we say, in his comments on certain individuals? We don’t necessarily have to name them, but they are out there in general. He gave direct assessments of certain individuals. Is that right?

Baigert: Oh, yes. Yes, he did. And it’s very interesting because it’s hard for people who aren’t subscribing to understand that. People just know what he means and understand just instinctually, what the message is that he’s portraying.

And they agree and know exactly what he’s talking about and why he’s saying what he’s saying. And he just gives a fair assessment of people. And, in fact, the person that he endorsed and kind of the purpose of his rally there was for Max Miller, who is seeking to replace Anthony Gonzalez.

And he gave a really great inside story about how Anthony Gonzalez wanted to fly on Air Force One every time he went back to Ohio. And then he turns around and votes to impeach President Trump for something that obviously wasn’t even true.

We can never even imagine all of the things that happen behind the scenes that maybe look like Trump is attacking people. And we have no idea that there’s stuff like that going on where people are taking advantage or have betrayed or presented themselves much differently than they really are.

Leahy: The big question for you. Do you think you’ll have another opportunity to interview the President?

Baigert: He sort of alluded to that at the end because he gave me a pen and said that there’s a story behind that and we’ll have to save that for the next time. It would be hard to top this moment. It’s one of those things where you wish you could just have a movie of it. I’m still pinching myself for such an amazing opportunity.

Leahy: Well, you know what’s interesting, Laura? It seems to me that your reporting has been so outstanding and so fact-based that the left has been unable to refute your reporting on the irregularities in the Georgia election.

I think the President respects that. And my view is that I think you’ve entered the next level of reporting here. I think this is not the one great moment for you. This is the beginning of many great reporting moments, Laura.

Baigert: Well, I sure hope so. We did have a unique opportunity with this Fulton County story. And as you said, we got attacked from the other side trying to refute what actually the Georgia Fulton County elections official admitted to us. It wasn’t our wording.

Leahy: It was theirs, and they couldn’t bring the reporting down. Laura Baigert, great job. Congratulations on that great journalistic get. That great interview with the former President. Thanks for joining us, Laura.

Baigert: Thank you.

Listen to the second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.