American’s for Prosperity-Tennessee Grant Henry Calls on Conservatives to Come Out and Voluneteer at Grassrootsnashville.com

American’s for Prosperity-Tennessee Grant Henry Calls on Conservatives to Come Out and Voluneteer at Grassrootsnashville.com

 

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 Grassroots Director of American’s for Prosperity-Tennessee Grant Henry to the newsmakers line to outline their efforts urge people to volunteer to get out the word for the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act referendum on the July 27 ballot.

Leahy: Joined now on our newsmaker line by our good friend, the grassroots director for Americans for Prosperity of Tennessee, Grant Henry. Good morning, Grant. Good morning, sir.

Henry: Thank you for the opportunity again to be on.

Leahy: Well, great. And thanks for coming in studio last week while I was goofing off down on the beaches of Florida.

Henry: (Chuckles) You don’t tell people how nice that studio is down there, too. It was a fantastic opportunity. I had an incredible time. And if you ever want me to come back, you don’t have to twist my arm. I promise.

Leahy: We’re going to have you in studio. So you liked the palacious studio here?

Henry: Yeah, it was great. It was an awesome time. Really, really nice place. But you’re a radio guy, aren’t you?

Henry: I was back in the day. In a former life. That’s correct. Yes.

Leahy: In a former life. Did you have your own program up there in Knoxville?

Henry: Yeah. I actually was entitled Real News back in the day. It was a playoff Trump’s fake news type thing. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: We try to cover news in a real way here. So you were the groundbreaker. We’re just following your lead, Grant.

Henry: Oh, sure. Yes, sir. (Laughter)

Leahy: Grant, now tell me it like we want to talk about the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. It looks like it’ll be a referendum on the ballot of July 27 of this year. Now, the lefties are trying to do everything possible to stop it.

Jim Roberts, the lawyer who put this together, will be with us at 7:15. He’ll give us an update on the legal side of things. I think it’s looking good for the home team there, by the way. So I think that it will be on the ballot.

But tell us what it is that you plan to do at  Americans for Prosperity to gather support for those who want to turn back or roll back the property taxes that Mayor Cooper put in here and want to vote in favor of that roll back on this July 27 referendum in Davidson County? What are you doing at American’s for Prosperity?

Henry: Michael, again, thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about this and specifically talk about what the ground game and the opportunities are. Let me start by saying Grassrootsnashville.com is going to be the best way to sign up for some of these opportunities and see what’s coming forward.

Obviously, Americans for Prosperity are known as the ground game type people. We’re going to be making phone calls for the next couple of months here, doing several different phone banks, reach out, get in touch with me, go to that website, sign up for an opportunity to do that.

We’re also going to be doorknocking, which is a major, major way to meet people where they’re at, create an organic community buzz and a groundswell that is irrefutable. We’ll be starting doorknocking next weekend and going pretty much every weekend for June and July other than that July fourth weekend.

And right now since the last time, we did this when we gathered those 27,000 signatures, meeting people where they’re at at the doors is the best way, not just to get the word out about this referendum, but I’m telling people also, it’s the best way to send a signal across the bow to Metro government that, listen, Conservatives are here.

We are a loud major voice in the area. They’re structural, systemic change that needs to happen right now. We will not be refused. To make your voice heard come in these doors, tell these people to their face as well.

Leahy: The website is grassrootsnashville.com and that sends you to an AFP-related site. You can sign up there. There’s an action center. And if you want to help out financially, there’s a donate button. I am a big fan of Get out the Vote door to door Canvasing.

As you may recall, back into 2013, I set up a little conservative political action committee called Beat Lamar. And you may recall, we had a very aggressive door-to-door campaign and ended up endorsing a candidate to challenge Lamar Alexander named Joe Carr.

And in the primary of August of 2014, largely because of that very aggressive door-to-door campaign, Joe Carr became very close to defeating Lamar Alexander 49 to 40. And it turned out in Middle Tennessee, where the grassroots activists were most engaged, we had probably about 90 kids at any time over a three-month period knocking on doors.

It’s very effective. I am excited to see what’s going to happen because, with COVID-19, grassroots door-to-door campaigning stopped. This looks like this may be the first major effort in the country where conservatives are back doing door-to-door canvassing.

Henry: And the door-to-door canvassing is part of it. We will also be doing mailers. We’re doing massive media breaks and a social media campaign as well. Another thing I’d like to give people a heads up on or at least get their help on is look, if you have a story to tell, okay, anecdotes pull heartstrings.

We understand that. We understand that. If you have a story to tell as to how this referendum will affect you, how it will make your life better, I will give you room to breathe maybe you came in as some of my favorite people around here now call themselves California refugees.

If you fled another state because of terrible spending and you don’t want to repeat the same mistakes here, tell me these stories. I’ll give up my number on air. If people want it, it’s 615-330-4569. That’s 615-330-4569.

Give me a personal phone call. I will put those stories on camera. We will spread it around or at grassrootsnashville.com. And I’m telling you, our city, Nashville, will continue to dig itself into a deeper hole and raise taxes unless voters can decide whether some guard rails are needed to curb Nashville’s spending addiction that puts us in the current crisis we are at right now.

We at American Prosperity look forward to getting out in this community and letting people know that they can play a role in getting Nashville’s priorities in order and help them help our city prosper for years to come.

And Michael, let me tell you, some of these situations are just inherent to Nashville alone. Nashville has nearly twice as many employees per 1,000 residents as the more populous cities of Louisville, Indianapolis, and Jacksonville.

That’s according to an analysis from The Beacon Center done just a few years ago. Some of these situations where there is a spending problem being that we’re 3.6 billion dollars. Billion with a b. 3.6 billion dollars in debt. Some of those situations are inherent to just to Nashville. We got a very interesting situation going on here.

Leahy: If you do not want to California Nashville, you should go to grassrootsnashville.com. It is June the 11th and this is like six weeks before the referendum, but there will be early voting as well, won’t there?

Henry: That’s right. Early voting starts on July seventh, and early voting will go to July 22. Election Day itself will be on July 27. And again, as I said before, we’ll be knocking every Friday and Saturday.

Other than that July fourth weekend. We’ll be setting up call banks all over town. And one more thing here, too. Well, I am not an out-of-the-box thinking kind of guy, okay? I think very analytically.

If it’s done well, one way, I’ll do it that way again, if you are an out-of-the-box thinking kind of person, give me a call also. Reach out and sign up on Grassrootsnashville.com I’m open to any and all types of changes here.

Whoever is running this other campaign here, Michael. And I’m not pretending to speculate that I know all the players on the other side. I do know they’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars already. Already! We’re just now starting the TV ads.

Leahy: And the TV ads are so misrepresentative of what this referendum would do if it passed. If you want to lie, just join the campaign against this referendum. That’s what they’re doing, in my view.

Henry: Yes. And all we’re asking for, really, is to hold Mayor Cooper accountable for what he said during his own campaign. Let me read you a quote real quick, what Mayor Cooper said while he was campaigning.

A properly managed city should be able to thrive on a four-point five percent revenue increase. Metro needs a return to fiscal stewardship.’ I don’t feel good about asking taxpayers to pay more in taxes when we are not properly managing the money we already have.

That was Mayor Cooper while he was running for this position. And since 2015, The Beacon Center has identified more than $300 million in Metro Nashville waste, fraud, and abuse in their yearly pork reports.

Again, it’s a spending problem with Nashville. We’re reaching out and saying, Listen, Mayor Cooper, Metro Council, Cooper ran on a ticket of being fiscally responsible. Now is the time to finally have your voice heard. Come out, knock on doors with us. And it’s a blast out there, too.

Leahy: Grant Henry, with Americans for Prosperity Tenant for Tennessee. Thanks so much. One thing I think we conclude about this is, apparently Mayor Cooper does not feel good about what he’s done as Mayor based on that statement? David Grant Henry, thanks so much for joining us this morning. Come back again if you would, please.

Henry: Thank you, sir.

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.
Photo “Petitioning” by Costa Constantinides. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star News Digital Media’s CTO Christina Botteri Discusses ‘Morality Bureau’ Facebook as Publisher Versus Platform

Star News Digital Media’s CTO Christina Botteri Discusses ‘Morality Bureau’ Facebook as Publisher Versus Platform

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday 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. – guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed Star News Media’s CTO Christina Botteri in studio to discuss Big Tech censorship and the concept of publisher versus platform.

Cunningham: Christina Botteri is across the table. Cristina, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

Botteri: Great to be here.

Cunningham: Chief Technology Officer of Star Media and Grant Henry with Americans for Prosperity. Grant, thank you so much for joining us, too. Two days in a row here. Thank you.

Henry: I’m available for three if you need it.

Cunningham: I’m actually a little bit more alert this morning than it was yesterday, so I don’t know, maybe I’m acclimating a little bit. I was a little foggy yesterday. We were talking about Facebook and Project Veritas and their disclosures from a Facebook insider that Facebook has been censoring the people who have vaccine hesitancy.

That sounds like a disease itself. And it’s extraordinary the hubris that the corporate leaders have to come out and tell Americans, we’re not going to allow you to say that. That is not allowed speech on the Facebook platform.

That’s scary as the devil. And if they’re censoring something like that, you know, they’re censoring other stuff. What other speech on Facebook is censored? And I get messages every day about people that got a 30-day suspension for this or a seven-day suspension for that.

This literally is like some morality bureau where they are sitting up there and punching the button and the floor falls out from under you and your chair goes down in a hole. (Botteri laughs)

And nobody knows where you’re gone and you’re never to be heard from again. It’s almost like that, you know? And the arrogance of these people that believe that they can censor our speech. And obviously, there are lots of people concerned about this.

And Marsha Blackburn, in particular in Congress, is saying we need to revise Section 230. Grant, you were talking about Section 230. What does that involve? Where would that get us if Facebook became not a publisher? That’s what you were talking about, right?

Henry: Yeah.

Cunningham: They would not be a publisher, they would be?

Henry: A platform, basically. This all started, obviously, in the tech bubble wave, and we’re in the 90s into the 2000s. And the idea was if we have a website that has a message board or a forum, if you will, you can’t hold the website accountable for any random individual that would jump on there and just post whatever they want to.

Especially if there’s no process by which you vet this information before it gets on there. It’s logical. And to not stifle the growth of the Internet itself, the great frontier of information you have to give them some elite as some allowance, is that you wouldn’t give a normal publisher.

And to be fair, Facebook has always said that we’re not going to be in the game of dictating what is and is not true. We’re just going to let you get out there and have an interaction. But I will say, Ben, whether it’s from Twitter, say, censoring the information of the Hunter Biden story during the election.

Or whether it’s from Facebook censoring this vaccine information right now and whether it’s from Google shutting down stories about this Wuhan Lab leak, it seems to be fairly ubiquitous that we have a problem with access to information.

If I could be so bold as to play Devil’s advocate for a minute here, there are several libertarian-leaning Conservatives that will make the argument, or should I say just conservatism in general that will make the argument of, hey, this is a free company.

They can do what they want. A private company, let them do what they want with their own product. If Facebook wants to create a terrible product and drive its revenue into the ground, then, by all means, let them do it.

Something else to come up and take its place. And I don’t know, I’ll throw it out there to the audience to see. I have my own personal opinions on this, but it is something that Conservatives are left in a little bit of a conundrum to figure out how to deal with. Part of our world uses the free market. The other part says this is a major, obvious, objective problem we have here.

Cunnigham: Christina, what’s your take on that?

Botteri: (Chuckles) Well, you are wrong. People who think, oh, we’ll just wait until something better comes along. And the problem with that is that, as you mentioned, in the early days of the whole tech boom in 1999, I’m old enough to remember 1998, let me tell you something. (Laughter)

Cunningham: Cry me a river.

Botteri: At that time, the Internet was this grand frontier. That’s a wonderful way to put it. And special deals, carve-outs were provided for these new companies, these new endeavors that were going to connect people across the globe.

So Section 230 was sort of one of those special deals. And so companies like Facebook and Google and others, Twitter, and MySpace at the time got these special exemptions. And they grew and they prospered for the most part. (Laughter) They did. They grew.

They prospered. And because they knew what they were doing, and they improved as the technology improved. I’m thinking of Facebook in particular, Twitter, especially, they were able to effectively create a monopoly of instant communications and a freely available communications monopoly on the basis that they were going to be a platform.

And so when they start picking the winners and losers, they very quickly do not become a platform. They are a publisher. I think it’d be really tough for anybody and I’ll go nose to nose with anybody on that one.

Cunningham: And Facebook owns Facebook, of course, huge. They own Instagram. They own WhatsApp. And those are probably three of the biggest social media platforms around. And Microsoft owns LinkedIn. I can tell you that from first-hand knowledge because the Nashville Tea Party was thrown off of LinkedIn with 40,000 followers three weeks before the 2020 election.

And we asked, why did you throw us off? And they said, well, you were trying to influence the election. Us and like 100 million other people were trying to influence the election. It was just an absurd, absurd thing. They obviously didn’t like our politics and that I think they are beginning to respond.

The creation of this board where they decided about whether that they should keep Trump off is at least a PR attempt to create transparency. But they’re going to have to create a whole lot more transparency about how they handle these complaints.

Henry: Well, this is always what happens, right? The law always takes a prolonged period of time to catch up with technology. You certainly understand that. And I think that’s where we are.

But I will say ever the optimists, at least this morning, let me tell a quick story about what happened in the Tennessee legislature just this past session. Representative Mike Sparks, actually carried a bit that was fairly similar to what DeSantis just signed in Florida, and his ability to crack down on Facebook and social media’s quite obvious bias that’s going on right now.

Now, I don’t believe it made out of sub-committee. I’m almost certain it didn’t make it out of committee, but Representative of Michael Curcio made a fairly interesting argument in subcommittee, something to the effect of…

Cunningham: For or against?

Henry: Against.

Cunnigham: Good. Thank you for that.

Henry: Yeah, he made your arguments against why this shouldn’t pass. And his argument went something like this. He said, hey, I was just hanging out with my nieces over the past weekend, and I asked them something about Facebook.

And they almost give me this stunned, stoned perplex look on their face like they didn’t know what it was. They just don’t know what Facebook is. They’re not on there anymore. They don’t use Facebook.

So Curcio’s point was given another five years, and this entire argument itself will be moved. It will be obsolete because the product itself will no longer be used by the upcoming generation.

There are such a plethora of things to choose from nowadays, whether it’s Snapchat or Twitch, or TikTok. I can’t even remember all of them. And here’s the point that I’m making. Conservatives, here’s the optimism thing.

Conservatives, we believe in free-market choice, and we are doing that. If we can’t get the legal side, we are making the act of choice. Look what we did with Parler. We pushed that to the moon and back.

We pushed it so far that they shut it down and you can’t download the app anymore. Conservatives, we do believe what we say. We believe to some extent. And I think we actually go out there and use the alternative forms of media if we’re being censored on the other one.

Now, I think there is some conjunction use between making the legal aspect there. I mean, understandable fair, and free and at the same time, forcing free-market decisions to hold Facebook accountable at the same time.

Botteri: I’m sorry, but the thing of it is that when you have behavior that is unacceptable where a platform is, behaving like a publisher, you need to enforce the law.

Cunningham: Yes. I don’t think there’s any question. Something’s gotta change. Somebody has got to feel some pressure for free speech. And hopefully, that will evolve into something that’s useful to everybody.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newly Elected Davidson County GOP Chair Jim Garrett on Top Priorities and Hope for Conservatives of Middle Tennessee

Newly Elected Davidson County GOP Chair Jim Garrett on Top Priorities and Hope for Conservatives of Middle Tennessee

 

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. –  official guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed newly elected GOP chair for Davidson County Jim Garrett to the newsmakers line to discuss his priorities moving forward and his optimism for conservatives.

Cunningham: We’ve got a great guest now, and it’s a guy that has a big challenge. Jim Garrett is the newly re-elected chair of the Davidson County Republican Party. Jim, good morning.

Garrett: Good morning, Ben. Good morning, Grant. How are you all?

Cunningham: We’re doing great. Thanks so much for getting up early with us. We really appreciate it.

Garrett: Since I’ve retired a couple of years ago, I have generally taken the sixth and the seven off of my clock. (Cunnigham chuckles) Well, we are doubly impressed that you’re with us.

Thanks so much and congratulations on the re-election. I think the term is the reorganization was this weekend and you were elected chair of the Davidson County Republican Party. And congratulations on that.

Garrett: Thank you very much. Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Cunningham: I know you are a dedicated conservative. And being a dedicated conservative in Davidson County is not an easy job because Davidson County is one of the blue counties that conservative Republicans in Tennessee, you have to deal with and along with Shelby County and a few others. But Davidson and Shelby are the two biggies.

What is it like being the chair of the Republican Party in a blue County? What are the challenges you guys are facing?

Garrett: The challenges we face are those very similar to what the Republicans across the country they’re facing. We’ve got a very energized opposition. The Democrat Party is very energized here in Davidson County.

They are somewhat organized and they’re in charge. So they killed us with COVID. Our reorganization normally would have happened in the first quarter of an odd number of years. We do it every two years.

But because of what John Cooper and his Health Department were doing, we had to postpone and postpone and postpone and finally got it done in May much later than we would have normally done it.

Cunningham: I hadn’t even thought about that. All the code restrictions affected, obviously, your ability to come together, didn’t it?

Garrett: We couldn’t have more than eight people for most of our meetings. So we’ve been doing Zoom meetings the last several months we have been in person, but we did spend all 2020 year in Zoom meetings meeting every month for our executive committee. And the restrictions, yes, they hurt us quite a bit.

Henry: Hey, Jim. Grant Henry here. I have a question based on reports I’ve been reading in reports and you get this general sense and an almost palpable feeling that there’s a conservative resurgence happening here in Middle Tennessee.

Tomi Lahren moved to town. Candace Owens lives here now. Ben Shapiro up and moved the entire Daily Wire crew and 85 employees to Nashville. You get this feeling almost that for some of the under 40 conservatives it’s the place to be in this happening city?

Do you think that’s going to have an impact at all on how the GOP operates in Davidson County? Or is that just a little bit too naive of me?

Garrett: It is not naive at all. On my end of the telephone, I get three or four calls a day from people wanting to get involved. Our website gopnashville.org has got buttons on there for volunteering and contributing.

But the volunteer button three or four times a day. I’ll get an email from the website saying that this person or that person wants to do it. And it’s just fun to watch. Of the 14 members that we elected to the office of the executive committee this time, five of us there are 15.

But five of us are returning people who’ve been around for a while. 10 of them, though, are people relatively new to Davidson County. They’ve got a great experience where they did live in the Republican Party.

They work with state legislators, state offices. They were chairman of their parties out in California, up in New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, Georgia. And they bring with them a vast experience. And energy that I haven’t seen before here in Davidson County. I’m excited. I’m not excited a bit awed of where I think we can go and what we can do.

Cunningham: Jim, the people talk all the time about the Metro Council and the fact that basically is, except for Steve Glover and a few others, it is pretty much a bastion of the far left. How do we crack that nut, so to speak?

Garrett: We have a chance right now. We’re going through that here in the state with the 2020 census and the redistricting. We’re looking at redistricting. I set out the beginning of this year with four objectives basically based on each quarter.

My first quarter was the reorganization. We got that done late, but we got it. The second quarter is working with the General Assembly on redistricting for our state House seats here in Davidson County and our state senate seats here in Davidson County.

But then recruiting candidates in the third quarter for 2022 and in training those candidates in the fourth quarter for 2022. But that brings us to 2023. And again, we’ll go through a redistricting for 2023 and the council race.

We are going to be working to try to get lines drawn that would give us a chance in certain areas. We have good Republican people here. Trump got 100,000 votes or something like that in Davidson County.

So we’ve got a body of people. They’re also silent. They’re also quiet. They’ve been beaten down, but I think if we can energize them, the council race will change. I don’t expect this to get a majority of 21 people out of that 40.

I don’t expect that at all, but I would like to see us get 10 to 15 solid Republicans in there. And if we do that, we can certainly change what this Metro Council does what direction they go.

Henry: Jim, you may have just answered this question with that statement you just made, but if someone were to call in, if they’re listening right now, if they’re thinking, Hey, I just moved to Davidson County and I want to get involved in local GOP group.

What’s your top priority issue? What’s the thing you need them to work on the most? What do you need the most help with right now? Is it those council races?

Garrett: No. Council races are 2023. It’s 2022 that we are focused on right now, and we need candidates for state House. We need some representation in the state house here, and we’ve got 10 state House seats and none of them are a Republican right now, and we’ve got to change that. So our next main focus will be candidates for the 2022 race.

Henry: Jim, do you see any one seat more vulnerable than the others say within Davidson County at the state house level?

Garrett: There are some seats that are not vulnerable at all, and we probably won’t touch them. But there are other seats that are. You’ve got five who have decided not to run again. That seat is going to be uncontested.

I think Bo Mitchell in House seat 50 is at risk. The people out there don’t like Bo. Bo is the only legislator that I’ve been down to the capital that has actually got up and walked out of his office. He insulted me at a time.

And I just got up and walked out of the meeting with him. That man is an evil man, in my opinion, but I think he’s vulnerable out there. There’s probably a couple of others.

Cunningham: Obviously, Mayor Cooper has been a disappointment. A lot of conservatives had faith in him that he would be a fiscal conservative, but that faith has been completely blown away.

Garrett: Oh, absolutely. I was at a friend’s house when we had to get together and Cooper was there talking about how conservative he was and it was a bi-partisan race and that he’s basically a conservative.

And then the first thing he does out of the pot is to raise our taxes 34 or 37 percent depending on where you live. I think Cooper right now with this referendum that’s going on, is scared to death that it will pass and we will get that voter list and get the voter numbers turned down because he’s vulnerable for a recall. And I do believe he is vulnerable for a recall.

Cunningham: Well, Jim, we are up against the break. Give us that website one more time if you would before we leave.

Garrett: Gopnashville.org.

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.
Photo “Davidson County Republican Party” by Davidson County Republican Party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Cunningham on Marxism: ‘One of the Most Treacherous and Murderous Ideologies Ever to Come Along’

Ben Cunningham on Marxism: ‘One of the Most Treacherous and Murderous Ideologies Ever to Come Along’

 

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. – guest host Ben Cunningham contemplates the results of the Marxist ideology and the effect upon young generations who don’t understand the consequences in the pursuit of their natural need of purpose.

Cunningham: I’m with the Nashville Tea Party. You can find us at nashvilleteaparty.com. And at Facebook. We hope we are still on Facebook. They take us off from time to time when we do naughty things. They did throw us off LinkedIn completely. We’ve just got back on LinkedIn, so hopefully, we’ll stay in their good graces for a little bit.

Henry: Who did you have to pay to get back on that one?

Cunningham: Yeah, (Chuckles) we may have to at some point. Free speech may have a monetary price. Grant, Henry, in this morning, we are co-hosting and trying to fill the big shoes of Michael Patrick Leahy, who’s away on vacation. But my goodness, the threats to the American experiment and what we think of are all these foundational documents, foundational ideals are. I know we say this a lot. This time in this place, we have more threats to the American experiment than we’ve had in a long time.

Henry: It’s paradigm-shifting time.

Cunningham: It is.

Henry: It really is.

Cunnigham: We have this critical mass of people in academia who believe in some form of Marxism, and that’s what we were talking about earlier. And it’s just depressing and pathetic that this great country where people can come and be anything they want to be.

And you pull a ship up to any port across the world and say, we’re going to take you to America. You fill up that ship in 10 minutes. And it is a beacon of hope. And yet we’ve got this toxic, toxic Marxism and all its varieties.

Henry: My wife’s family rather fled communism from Armenia.

Cunningham: Oh, really?

Henry: So they will tell you endless stories about not just what it’s like to flee. That not just what it’s like to live under that, but the selective history that we choose to remember here in America. It baffles them and blows their mind that we just can’t remember anything past about 40 or 15 years ago.

Cunningham: And in so many ways they don’t teach that in the schools. And that’s what’s depressing. And then we have this Critical Race Theory coming along now is in fact just very thinly veiled Marxism trying to divide us up into virtuous victims and evil oppressors.

Deroy Murdock, one of the great Black conservatives wrote a great article in The Daily Signal. And I just want to quote this because it just encapsulates it so beautifully. Critical Race Theory may be the Democrat left’s filthiest ugliest big lie.

It defines America as inherently and irredeemably bigoted denounces all whites as racial oppressors and diminishes all Blacks as racially oppressed victims. Lies, lies, lies. The third lie is the worst.

Black Lives Matter, the diversity, police, and other systemic racism mongers relentlessly claim that white privilege and white supremacy blockade Black success. Blacks think, yes, we can.

The Democrat left replies, no, you can’t. And that really is the essence of Critical Race Theory again dividing us up instead of what Marx said, the proletariat and the bourgeois. This divides up by race and says, if you’re white you’re an evil oppressor.

And if you’re Black, you are a victim. And it just is absolutely antithetical to everything, and it will ruin this country if we allow it to. And you were talking earlier about all of these utopian visions couched in good intentions and that so many young people love that they love being identified, and it gives their lives some meaningful purpose.

Henry: Purpose.

Cunningham: Marxism is an awful way of governing, but it’s a hell of a way of selling an ideology. I mean, Marx, he personally was just a wreck of a human being. He didn’t even attend his own wife’s funeral.

And he was just an awful person. He basically was a kept person. He had other people that supplied his income. Probably the reason he came up with this idea that the state can provide for you.

And it’s just awful every time it’s been tried. And one of the great quotes, I just wanted to get this in real quick. One of the great quotes that always impresses me is from Pol Pot. Pol Pot was one of the Marxist dictators in Cambodia. One of the many Marxist dictators.

He actually traveled. Not us dung he thought owned the moon. And he traveled to China before he came into power with the Khmer Rouge. And they were just in power for four years and killed 2 million people.

A quarter of the population of Cambodia destroyed them. And some journalists found him out in his jungle hideaway after he had been run out of town, basically. And they asked him, they said, your government has killed a bunch of people.

What do you have to say to this? Pol Pot still said this. He said he was asked by journalists to comment on reports of mass killings during his period of power. Pol Pot replied, “Our policy was to provide an affluent life for the people.”

Henry: Wow.

Cunningham: His motivation in terms of his good intentions after he killed 2 million people. And it’s just mind-boggling. And it is so instructive with all this utopian thinking by these young folks.

They never think about what the results are. They think about the moment and identifying with something that’s noble and worthy. It is one of the most treacherous and murderous ideologies ever to come along.

Henry: The ideology to itself become so pervasive as you’re seeing now, whether it be through Critical Race Theory infecting all the way through primary education, or whether it be something at the university level or even with our careers right now.

I think if you’re still asking yourself, what is the allure? How are so many people drawn to this? Look at what Victor Frankel said. So we’re talking about motivating human beings. Adler said You motivate a human being through their desire for power. Maybe.

Jung said you motivate a human being through their desire for pleasure. Well, that’s just Hedonism. And we’ve tried that before. Victor Frankel was a philosopher who was a member as a Jewish individual in the Holocaust.

He didn’t have an opportunity to do either power or pleasure, clearly. So he distilled his worldview down to you really motivate a human being through their desire for purpose.

That’s why they feel like they have a purpose in this fight. But I’m telling you one more time then and right now, I truly believe conservatism has that real motivating purpose behind it. That’s what we need to get back to.

Cunningham: Absolutely. And we need to be unapologetic and courageous in stating it.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americans for Prosperity’s Grassroots Engagement Director Grant Henry Explains the ‘Tennessee Truth in Taxation’ Bill

Americans for Prosperity’s Grassroots Engagement Director Grant Henry Explains the ‘Tennessee Truth in Taxation’ Bill

 

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 Grant Henry of Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee to discuss the Truth in Taxation bill and the transparency it would provide Tennesseans from the reckless spending of cities, counties, and municipalities across Tennessee.

Leahy: We are joined now by Grant Henry. He is the Grassroots Engagement Director for Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee. Good morning, Grant.

Henry: Good morning, sir. It’s a pleasure to be on the program.

Leahy: Interesting bill here. Truth in taxation, which sounds like a common-sense bill to me. It’s a response to the failure of the courts to allow the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act to go through last year. That issue is in the news again this year. But your truth in taxation sounded like a common-sense transparency solution for that. It got caught up in some skullduggery up on Capitol Hill. (Henry chuckles) Tell us about that.

Henry: That is one word for it. That’s correct. And as you said, it was our response to the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. The first one of that being shut down by Judge Lyle, which is an entirely separate conversation there. But after that shutdown, we took this idea, which we currently have a little bit of. We have a form of truth in taxation in Tennessee already.

Most people know this through the certified tax rate. And the obvious idea behind the certified tax rate, which has been law for quite some time is you don’t pay more in the property tax amount that you should pay and couldn’t increase simply because your property value increased. This is currently what Mayor Cooper is trying to do to pass it off as if he is lowering the property tax rate.

The law itself is requiring that to happen. Nevertheless, back on the point, this bill here, truth in taxation would have done something very simple and it would simply propose that when a city or a county has reckless spending and debt problem like Nashville, it will be required to mail in a detailed notice to all citizens of the property tax increase.

People will know exactly how much their individual taxes might go up, what their current tax rate is, when the vote will be held, and they’ll have an opportunity to be heard by these officials before they cast their vote. And you understand the scenario here obviously. It’s that officials can choose to listen to their constituents’ concerns during these public hearings, or they can choose to ignore those concerns.

They’re hoping to go after accountability, reliability, and competitiveness. Now, this was brought up two different times in the same subcommittee. And I don’t know how much you want to get into this right now, but the process of a voice vote in the Tennessee House is one that can seem sometimes be quite problematic when you have the number of votes necessary but the subcommittee chairman hears more no votes than yes votes.

Leahy: He’s got the illusionary ear that he’s sort of a Van Gogh. He hears the no votes but not the yes votes.

Henry: (Chuckles) That’s right. And just to give people some understanding as to what happens here, in the Tennessee House, when the votes go in the subcommittee, and I’ll do a little bit of a mock role play here for you. If I’m the committee chair and I say ayes, the ayes yell, nays, the nays yell. And then I just sort of hear who has more ayes or nays.

So occasionally when the nays are more vocal, that is, you can hear them audibly louder than the yes votes then I will gavel down and say, well the nays move on. On this day, in particular, about two weeks ago, this truth in taxation bill, we, meaning Americans for Prosperity, had ensured that we had five yes votes. And there were eight people on the committee that day. So obviously we had the five yes votes. Four recorded yes votes and our bill sponsor being the fifth yes vote. There were only three individuals that were against this bill. Nevertheless, the nays were still heard audibly than the yes votes.

Leahy: So let’s be very specific about which committee, which subcommittee, and which subcommittee chairman had the hearing problem here.

Henry: This was the property and planning subcommittee. The individuals who voted no on this were the committee chairman, Dale Carr. Representative Dave Wright and Jason Hodges. They were the ones that initially voted no on this bill. And again, if anyone out there appreciates this idea, simple truth in tax station accountability, government transparency bill, one that would allow you to have your voice heard before exorbitant property tax increases are placed on the people. And if I could real quick please give me the luxury to just say Truthintaxationtn.com.

This website is now solely devoted to thanking those individuals that voted yes on this piece of legislation. And the individuals that voted yes, obviously, our bill sponsors, Representative Ready. He voted yes. Representative Moody, Representative Sexton, and Representative Tom Leatherwood.

Leahy: And you’re talking Jerry Sexton?

Henry: Jerry Sexton. That’s right.

Leahy: Not Speaker Cam Sexton.

Henry: No. Representative Jerry Sexton that’s right.

Leahy: Now, did you have a chance to talk to subcommittee chairman, state Representative Dale Carr before this, and did you have an indication that he was opposed to this bill?

Henry: We did. And complete transparency on our end, yes we knew that Dave Wright was against this bill, and we knew that Dale Carr opposed this bill. I suppose Dale Carr had his reasons why, and I’m not exactly sure what the reasons were.

Leahy: So let me just stop for a moment. We’re going to invite State Representative Dale Carr to come in and explain his opposition to this bill, not only his opposition to the bill but shall we say the skullduggery practice in shutting it down. I mean, it seems a little bit unfair in the process. But I’m trying to understand, why would anybody oppose this bill? Do you have any idea?

Henry: Well, I’m trying to sort of steelman the argument here, if I could. And I think people understand what that means. I’m trying to be as fair as possible to Dale Carr’s argument. I think his understanding was that he just doesn’t like the idea of sort of a statewide imposition on East Tennessee. He doesn’t like the idea of some type of mandate that his local governments would have to follow. To be fair to our side of the legislation, we understood that going into it. This bill would only apply to areas that have a debt ratio above 10 percent.

Leahy: Now, let’s just stop there for a moment, because when you described the bill initially, you said this was designed for local governments, county governments, municipal governments that are reckless in their spending. Now you’ve just added a definition of reckless spending, and it looks like what that definition is that these are bills where the standard is local governments that have a spending problem that is a debt to asset ratio where the debt is more than 10 percent of the assets. Is that right?

Henry: That’s correct. Exactly. (Inaudible talk)

Leahy: And by the way, where is Nashville on that list?

Henry: The exact calculation I’m not exactly sure. Don’t quote me. I want to say around 13 to 14 percent. Someone’s going to have to look up those numbers.

Leahy: So Representative Carr is from East Tennessee. Is that correct?

Henry: The Sevier County area. Yes.

Leahy: But in that county in his area, are there any counties that would fit into this category of reckless spenders?

Henry: Well, you have Alcoa City that’s out there. But it’s obviously not in Sevier County. And again, on the date that these votes go down trying to be fair to Representative Carr here, it could have happened that he heard more no votes audibly. I need to go watch this video recording back. It’s all placed on these hard drives out there. You can literally go to the state website and watch this hearing for yourself. He could have heard more no votes than yes votes.

But at the same time, it seems somewhat coincidental that he was against this bill and also heard no more. East Tennessee doesn’t have these kinds of problems. But I can tell you, after working on the Nashville Taxpayer  Protection Act over this past summer how terrible and disheartening some of these personal stories were some of the people that I worked with to gather just 27,000 signatures indicated to me that they have small businesses and they are going to have to figure out whether to shut their small business down, paying for certain types of medicine, or pay for some property tax increases.

And this is not just a sense of fear-mongering. I heard this on multiple different occasions from everybody all the way from the Belle Meade areas all the way to the Antioch areas. We have these stories out there by people that are least able to afford the property taxes are the ones that it hits the worst. And it’s time to have these people’s voices heard.

Leahy: Now, speaking of the voices being heard, sometimes the Tennessee General Assembly is still in session, and sometimes bills that you think are dead come back. Is there a chance for the Tennessee truth in taxation bill for 2021 to come back to this session?

Henry: No. We tried that actually last week to bring it back one time through a procedural motion that would allow someone in the non-prevailing party meaning someone who is not recorded as yes to cite a motion to bring the bill back. And we needed six votes that day. We, unfortunately, could not get to six yes votes.

So this year it will not be coming back. But part of the reason why I like to stress it so much and part of the reason why I appreciate you indulging me this morning with this is that we will obviously be bringing this back next year. And I think it plays a little bit into currently what Mary Cooper is talking about as Nashville is sort of trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes by saying you’ve got to lower the property tax rate.

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.
Image “Grant Henry” by Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee.