Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Attorney Jim Roberts on Metro Legals Attempt at Adverse Outside Council and Ominous Group Harassment of Petition Signers

Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Attorney Jim Roberts on Metro Legals Attempt at Adverse Outside Council and Ominous Group Harassment of Petition Signers

 

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 Nashville attorney Jim Roberts to the newsmakers line who revealed Metro legal foiled plans to hire independent counsel with adverse interest to the Election Commission and exposes an anonymous group harassing Davidson County petition signers.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by our good friend Jim Roberts. Jim, you’re going to give us an update on where the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act stands. Good morning, Jim.

Roberts: Well, good morning, sir. How are you doing today?

Leahy: We’re doing great.

Roberts: Let me tell you where we are. A lot has happened since we last spoke. We’ve had two Davidson County Election Commission meetings. They have hired an independent counsel. The chairman of the Election Commission admitted in a public meeting that the law firm recommended by Metro had an interest adverse to the Commission.

And I was happy to see that they terminated that relationship. The law firm that they hired before was clearly in Metro’s pocket. It was good to see them gone. There’s going to be another meeting tomorrow. The Election Commission is meeting on Saturday to review this independent legal opinion. And I’m pretty sure they’re going to vote then to put this on the ballot and just end all of this nonsense.

Leahy: So to bring our listeners up to speed on this, just summarize what you’ve done with the petition and what the purpose of the petition is, and what has to happen to get it on the ballot?

Roberts: So right now, we’ve got enough signatures filed with Jeff Roberts who is the administrative relations. And he has admitted that we’ve turned in more than sufficient signatures. And I think they’re going to vote to put it on the ballot. It does several different things as we’ve talked about over the weeks.

It rolls back that very massive 34 to 37 property tax. But it does a lot of other good things. It protects our parks. It ends permanent lifetime benefits for elective officials. It makes certain that we get our city back because we give cities away to sports teams and they leave us. I mean, there’s a lot of good government elements to this.

Leahy: Let’s talk about tomorrow. The Davidson County Election Commission will review the independent assessment of a law firm as to whether or not the 14,000 signatures you gathered and submitted are sufficient beyond, I think you argue that 12,000 were needed. They’re going to see if they agree or disagree with that characterization, and then they’ll vote on whether or not to put it on the ballot. Do I have that right?

Roberts: That’s my understanding. I’m not on the Commission, but that is the way I understand that their agenda is set up. They didn’t hire just a law firm. I think it’s important for your listeners to know. They hired probably the best well-known, internationally known constitutional professor at Vanderbilt Law School who I was honored to be in his class from 25 years ago. He is internationally known scholar on these type of issues, and he’s going to give them a fair and less Metro-biased opinion. And I think that’s what Metro is scared about.

Carmichael: Jim, let’s assume that the recommendation is to put it on the ballot, and the Election Commission votes to put it on the ballot. Metro is unlikely to sue, just as they did last time. And what is it about what you have done this time? What have you done to change it so that it comports with the ruling from the judge from the last time?

Roberts: What we did is we took the court’s ruling we know disagreed with part of it and we just accepted it. And we said we’re going to modify this petition to do exactly what the judge said. And we did that. And so I think the Election Commission is going to look at that and say, hey, we did exactly what we were told we needed to do, even though some of those rules were made up or not evident before, we did it.

And so I don’t think the Election Commission is going to have a problem with us. This is going to be very different. Last time, of course, we actually sued to get the Election Commission to put it on the ballot. This time, it’s going to be Metro suing the Election Commission to try to stop the election.

Leahy: Do you think they’re going to do that?

Roberts: I know they are. They’re already beginning dirty tricks in this town already. Yesterday and the day before, people in Davidson County started receiving letters from a fictitious group, a group that does not exist, made up telling people that they have they shouldn’t sign the petition. They’re trying to get them to withdraw their signatures. They’re sending people out to people’s houses. They’re texting them, which is illegal. They’re calling them with robocalls, which is also illegal.

Leahy: What’s the fictitious group and who’s funding them?

Roberts: Of course, we don’t know. They call themselves The Citizens for Responsible Government. And that was an entity that existed about 10 years ago, but it’s been defunct for over a decade. It was dissolved by the Secretary of State’s office. So they’re using a phony organization and a phony name, and it’s all just a complete fraud. I presume the mayor’s office is behind it. But this is sort of dishonest tactics. I mean, just total scare tactics.

I mean, they’re going to people’s houses. They’re calling people. I had a young lady who called me yesterday whose name, you may not realize that when you sign up to register to vote, a lot of people give them their phone number. This woman had not done that. And so somebody got a hold of the list of people who signed, ran it through a database, got her phone number, and called her up and harassed her.

Leahy: They’re harassing the citizens who signed the petition.

Roberts: That’s right.

Leahy: This sounds like voter suppression to me. (Chuckles)

Roberts: Absolutely no difference. This is just intimidation down the line. We think they may have gotten an advanced copy of the database from the Election Commission. I’ve talked to the Election Commission and they claim that they gave out a printed copy of the list last Tuesday. But letters were arriving Wednesday and Thursday, which that’s a pretty fast turnaround. So we think they got an electronic copy so they could run labels and print envelopes ahead of time.

Leahy: I suppose The Tennessee Star ought to do a public information request to see what was given out by the Election Commission.

Roberts: Well, I hope they will. I’ve already asked. I wrote a letter to the administrative elections yesterday asking for the identity of the group that got this advanced list and he was refused so far to give it to me. But there are some dirty politics going on here. You just have to understand how absolutely crooked and dishonest the other side is on this. The letters they’re sending out are incredibly deceptive from a phony group. That’s what we should expect.

Carmichael: Can you get us a copy of the letter?

Roberts: I’m working on it right now. I’ve had people send me pictures from their phone and I’m trying to get a hard copy in my hand so that I can post it. It really is dishonest. It just accuses people of not knowing what they were doing. A very condescending and arrogant type letter. But honestly, the real sad part here is the fact that it’s a made-up group. No one is going forward and saying hey, I’m against this, and here’s what I’m standing up for.

The text messages people are getting direct people to a website that was created five days ago six days ago and whose ownership is hidden. We don’t hide anything. You go to 4goodgovernment.com That website domain is owned by me. You can look me up. You can find me that way. It’s a long way to do it. Just looking at on the internet, I’m pretty available. But this is a hidden group, probably using outside money trying to roll this back. This is just corrupt to the core.

Leahy: Jim, what about the litigation? What will the courts rule on this when the Metro illegal opposes it?

Roberts: Well, that’s a good question. I’m not sure Metros got the well, I shouldn’t say that they’ve got a real problem here because they don’t have the Election Commission being their lackey this time. I think the Election Commission realizes that we did exactly what we were supposed to do. And so Metro is going to have to sue.

And I think they’re going to try to argue that people didn’t know what they were doing and that people signed something and just didn’t know what they were doing. They were stupid. And that sort of arrogance that you get out of government that we’re smarter than everybody and everyone else is stupid. So people must not have known what they were doing when they signed a petition.

Carmichael: So, Jim, are there things that are supposed to happen next week before next Friday when we have you on again?

Leahy: Yes. We do have a hearing set next week, we may ask the court to bump it a little bit, because we don’t know what the Election Commission is going to do tomorrow. We sue to force the Election Commission to verify the signatures and put it on the ballot. And they may do that on Saturday, so it may make this unnecessary. So we are sort of dealing with that at the moment. It’s a moving target. I mean, it’s a battlefield.

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.
Background Photo “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

National Security Expert Bill Gertz Weighs in on Leaving Afghanistan, Department of Defense, and the Woke Military

National Security Expert Bill Gertz Weighs in on Leaving Afghanistan, Department of Defense, and the Woke Military

 

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 author and The Washington Times correspondent on national security Bill Gertz to the newsmakers line to discuss Biden’s recent decision to leave Afghanistan, the U.S military, and the continued threat of China.

Leahy: We are joined on a newsmaker line, our good friend, Bill Gertz the well-known Washington columnist, an expert on National security, and an expert on China. Good morning, Bill.

Gertz: Hi. Good to be on the show.

Leahy: Well, we’re three to four months into the Biden administration. How is the Biden administration doing in terms of foreign policy?

Gertz: Well, it’s still a work in progress. They’re kind of getting their people in positions. They’ve got Tony Blinken the Secretary of State is kind of leading the foreign policy effort there Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon. I think it’s they’re battling now. The agenda is not so much between Democrats and Republicans, but between Liberal Democrats and radical Democrats in terms of policy fights.

The bright spot is that the China threat, which, again, is my big issue with things that I’ve written books about and in The Washington Times about is that the Trump administration pretty well boxed in the new Biden administration on a lot of China issues. So they’re really doing pretty much a lot of the things that the Trump administration was doing. Take Taiwan, for example.

Right now, we’ve got a real threat. The Chinese are stepping up tensions with Taiwan. They appear to be testing the Biden administration. And then on the other side of the world, the Russians are also testing the Biden administration by saber-rattling against Ukraine. So it’s going to be an interesting few weeks going forward to see how those two hot spots play out.

Leahy: The big news foreign policy-wise yesterday was President Biden’s announcement that the United States will be withdrawing entirely from Afghanistan. We’ve been there almost 20 years now, I guess 18 years. It’s not seemed to of made much progress. But is this a wise move? Will it create a power void in that area?

Gertz: Well, I think this is going to pit the political leadership and the Biden administration against the military. The military’s view is that we’re not done. We can’t leave now because the threat posed by the Taliban remains. I think it’s the right choice. I mean, if you’re not winning, you’re losing and they’ve been losing there. We don’t have a department of nation-building in the U.S government.

And the military, their job is to fight and win wars. You’ve got a low-level insurgency now. The Taliban controls quite a bit of territory in Afghanistan. So timing the departure to September 11th, though it may not be a good idea because it’s going to give the enemy a chance to just delay things and really step up its activities.

It’s not looking good for Afghanistan I can tell you that. The government there, I think it’s got problems with corruption and problems with governance. Afghanistan is not really a nation. It’s a bunch of tribes that are often fighting. And now you’ve got the Taliban to deal with. It’s a terrorist organization.

Leahy: What about the symbolism of selecting September 11th as a day to leave? That struck me as an odd choice by the Biden administration.

Gertz: Yes. I don’t know where that came from, but again, certainly, 9/11 was one of the reasons we went in there because Al Qaeda had managed to operate from redoubts within Afghanistan. There are still terrorist groups there. ISIS is there and Al Qaeda’s there. But according to the latest intelligence assessment that was just released this week by the office of the Director of National Intelligence, the terrorist threat is there, but it’s been degraded significantly by years of U.S military activities. A lot of our special operations people have been doing excellent work and really making the terrorist threat diminished.

Leahy: Is the Biden administration’s decision to leave Afghanistan, is that any different than what President Trump would have done had he been reelected?

Gert: Yeah. President Trump had tried to do that and kind of ran into opposition from the military leadership. The military’s view on it is basically no military leader wants to be the last one to say, hey, we didn’t win. And we’ve spent a lot of treasure and lives trying to solve this problem of Afghanistan. I think pretty much Trump definitely was trying to get out and the military push back. I think it was General Mattis when he was the Secretary of Defense. He quit in protest over the decision to pull out of Syria, where we have special ops people working there.

Leahy: In retrospect, was that war ever winnable?

Gertz: Well, I guess it was if there was a way to establish a stable Afghan government. And again, we spent trillions of dollars trying to do that. And yet it’s just a really difficult problem. Nation-building is not easy to do.

Leahy: Absolutely. Let me ask you this question about the difference between state and defense now. So we had Mike Pompeo, very powerful. I thought he was very much aligned with President Trump’s policies. And now we have this fellow who’s last name is Blinken. Tony Blinken. So he doesn’t seem to be a very powerful figure. He seems to be kind of a return to, I don’t know Jimmy Carter type foreign policy. Am I giving the guy a short trip there? Is there more to him than that?

Gertz: I don’t really know him, but I do know his background. He’s basically a Senate staffer, so he doesn’t bring a lot of vision and a lot of individual thought and strategy to the position. As you mentioned, I think Mike Pompeo is one of the best Secretaries of State that the U.S has had, especially when it comes to China.

He did groundbreaking work in really reorienting the entire U.S government position on dealing with the threat from China. Tony Blinken has inherited that and hasn’t really moved to change it. Again he’s adopting a lot of the Liberal left policies and climate change and personnel diversity. I don’t know how that’s going to affect American foreign policy.

It’s kind of one of those political issues, but so far, he has done pretty well on the China threat. And one thing I would give him credit for was he did not back down from the legal designation by the State Department of genocide by China of the ethnic Uhygers in the Western part of China. And I think I’d give him credit for that.

Leahy: I’m trying to figure out what on earth is going on at the top levels of the Department of Defense. The way it’s operating seems to me to be so woke, so progressive, so interested in equity and diversity and so disinterested in winning wars. This is just my view. What’s the story with Lloyd Austin, the new Secretary of Defense?

Gertz: Yeah, he’s basically following the Biden plan which is the new issue that the Pentagon is doing. They did what they call a stand down on extremism in the military. This is really a red herring issue. There’s not a lot of extremists. There may be a very small percentage of people, but it’s not a big problem and yet they’ve tried to make it a huge problem.

And they forced every military and defense component in the Defense Department to do a so-called stand down on extremism which is ill-defined. They haven’t defined it. And it looks to a lot of critics, I included, that this is some kind of a political purge to try and politicize the military, which has traditionally been a very conservative institution.

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

 

 

 

 

 

State Rep. Chris Todd from Jackson Weighs in on Court Packing, National Issues, and Etiquette as a Member of the Tennessee House

State Rep. Chris Todd from Jackson Weighs in on Court Packing, National Issues, and Etiquette as a Member of the Tennessee House

 

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 Tennessee State Representative (R), Chris Todd of Jackson, to the studio to discuss court-packing, keepnine.org, and attention to national issues that affect constituents.

Leahy: In studio with us, our good friend, State Representative Chris Todd. Chris, you’re ready for the big question?

Todd: I guess so. Been waiting on it. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: Here it comes. The big questions. The progressive Democrats in the House in the United States Senate are going crazy. They want to pack the court. They want to add four left-wing lunatic justices to the Supreme Court and make it 13 instead of nine. And my question to you is, do you think in this current session of the Tennessee General Assembly, there would be a possibility that the General Assembly in the House and the state Senate would pass a resolution strongly opposing any efforts to pack the United States Supreme Court?

Todd: I believe it’s a significant possibility. Yes.

Leahy: Terrific. That’s very good news. I think Tennessee could lead the way on this. I don’t know if other states have looked at this in terms of opposing this resolution. Have you heard of this group called Keep Nine?

Todd: No.

Leahy: There’s a group called Keep Nine and they actually have another element to this. They are asking state legislatures to pass resolutions to support a constitutional amendment that would limit the number of justices to nine.

Todd: I think that’s a good idea as well. It’ll be a challenge to get that through. But just because of all the concerns of an Article Five that we talked about a while ago.

Leahy: Well, this wouldn’t be necessarily Article Five the resolution to ask Congress to pass that amendment and then to go to the states for ratification.

Todd: But I think the chances of Congress doing that are almost as slim as them putting limits on themselves right now.

Leahy: Now, you raise an interesting point. Let me just throw this out there. This is real time now. You just proposed a bill that would support an Article Five Amendment for the specific purpose of just looking at term limits. Would such a bill that specifically looked at an amendment to limit the Supreme Court to nine justices? Would that be a possibility?

Todd: I would say it’s a possibility. And I don’t know how strong that group is and how well funded they are, but it takes a significant effort to get the public informed and it costs money to get the public informed. You would need lobbyists in order to go to each one of these legislatures and work that kind of a bill to find a sponsor and then to get the support for it just like we’ve done with term limits. I had quite a few folks helping me on this from U.S. term limits specifically and then some local groups. So I think it’s very possible and that’s just going to take an effort. And if the people really want it, they need to put their money where their mouth is and support these groups.

Leahy: I’ll send you the link. There is a group called the Keep Nine Amendment and they are basically the local representative, actually here from Tennessee, former Attorney General Paul Summer. And he is working with this group. And they are submitting a series of resolutions that would establish an amendment to the Constitution to keep nine in the Supreme Court.

Todd: I think that’s very worthwhile.

Leahy: Keepnine.org. There’s a guy in Washington, D.C., Roman Bueller has been putting this together. You talk about lobbyists. He calls me like every two weeks. He says, Mike, Mike, are you ready to help us? I said, as you said, I think it’s a great idea. I just don’t have the time for it. I think maybe now I’m going to have the time to help. What do you think?

Todd: It’s all a matter of priorities. When we see the threat to our way of life, to the point that it motivates us, that’s when it will happen.

Leahy: Exactly. It’s keepnine org. Take a look at it. Because you just you don’t have enough to do, right?

Todd: Oh, no. I’m looking for something.

Leahy: You’re looking for some other challenges right now?

Todd: Absolutely.

Leahy: When you go back and you talk to your fellow members of the Tennessee General Assembly most of the time, the conversation is about the bills, right?

Todd: Probably so.

Leahy: You are all narrowly focused on getting your bills. But when something like this happens, when there’s a national effort by the Progressives to pack the Supreme Court you kind of have a reaction to that, don’t you?

Todd: It gets bumped up in priority, just like with our citizens. When something reaches that level that says, okay, this is contradictory to what we’ve always done. This is a threat to what I do day in and day out, the way I raise my kids, the way my family operates, the way our country operates. Then I’m going to be motivated to do something either, to donate money, to make phone calls, to write emails, whatever it might be.

Leahy: You talk about getting things done, right. And you have to understand the committee process. We’ve talked about that quite a bit. You also have to have relationships with people, right?

Todd: Critical.

Leahy: Very, very important. And are there different styles that people decide to follow when they go to the state General Assembly?

Todd: Oh, absolutely. I think most people come with their own style, just from their nature at that stage of their life. Will it change? I think somewhat. You probably change a little bit from the people that you’re around, but your basics are still the same. Your tendencies are still the same. If you’re an honest person, you’re going to stay honest. If you’re not, you’re probably going to get worse.

Leahy: I was under the impression that every single member of the Tennessee House of Representatives and the Tennessee state Senate honest as the day is long. (Chuckles) 

Todd: That is a primary assumption that you should make.

Leahy: That’s my assumption.

Todd: Let them prove you different.

Leahy: But occasionally human nature being what it is people reveal themselves as perhaps not totally being people of their word.

Todd: Sometimes. That doesn’t happen all that often. But most of the time, the differences are about how you accomplish something. I find that we have the same goal. Let’s say that is to make sure that our children are brought up in a great education and are provided a good education so that they can enter the workforce and be successful.

How to get there is where we might differ on. Does that mean how we choose textbooks? Does that mean how we fund the schools? Does that mean all of these things? Do we bus them? You get all the fine details of how do we get to that end goal? But most of the time we have the same goal in mind, but it’s the method of getting there that is where we differ.

Leahy: So we’ve got about three more weeks left I think the Tennessee General Assembly.

Todd: Probably.

Leahy: So then the legislative side of this job ends. What happens to a state legislature later after you’re in session? Is your job over? Or do you still have lots of stuff to do, but different kinds of stuff?

Todd: It’s just lots of stuff to do, but different kinds of stuff. Last year was quite different with COVID. Most everything was canceled. Meetings were canceled, events were canceled, but I think this year will be back to fairly 80 percent normal, which is many days of the week you’re required to be somewhere with at least a jacket on and make an appearance, make a speech or meet with a group and hear their concerns about legislation for next year or just dealing with phone calls and emails from constituents that have an unemployment issue or they can’t get broadband even though the company ran it in front of their house and had the grant to do so. A state grant that didn’t hook them up. There are just all kinds of things that we deal with. I have a person in my office that’s full-time to answer those questions.

Leahy: Back in Jackson?

Todd: Here in Nashville. A legislative assistant, but I still field a lot of that, and we bounce things off of each other about what the right path is.

Leahy: So do you have, like, just one staff member?

Todd: Yes.

Leahy: Just one. in Congress. They have what, 25 staff members?

Todd: Nobody knows.

Leahy: They have quite a few up there.

Todd: And here, back in the district.

Leahy: But it’s pretty much you.

Todd: Pretty much.

Leahy: When you say that you’ve got to go, like, you have to go and make it, you don’t really have to go to thee events.

Todd: Correct.

Leahy: People will introduce you and say, Hey, come on in.

Todd: It’s expected and it’s good manners. It’s expected.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tennessee State Rep. Chris Todd Talks About the Probability of His Bill Passing Calling for Term Limits in the U.S. Congress

Tennessee State Rep. Chris Todd Talks About the Probability of His Bill Passing Calling for Term Limits in the U.S. Congress

 

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 Tennessee State Representative (R), Chris Todd of Jackson, to the studio to talk about a bill he is currently sponsoring that would instill term limits to the U.S. Congress via the Constitution’s Article Five Convention.

Leahy: We’re talking in studio with our good friend, State Representative Chris Todd. Chris, we’re talking about where we’ve taken a bill to the point where you’re on the floor of the House, and the bill that you use sponsored is about to be voted on. Obviously, an important day for you. What happens when you had one bill just recently.

Todd: This Monday night, a number one on the docket. And a couple of weeks ago, I actually rolled this bill for two weeks. I was the first on the docket.

Leahy: When you say rolled this bill, tell us what you mean.

Todd: I requested to re-calendar it a couple of weeks later.

Leahy: There you go.

Todd: So I felt like I might not have the votes on the floor. And so I wanted to work at some more. And I had several folks helping me because this was the one that called for term limits on Congress. It had actually requested Congress to set a time in a place for an Article Five Convention of the states to discuss amendments to the U.S. Constitution involving term limits only.

Leahy: Specifically limited to term limits.

Todd: Yes.

Leahy: Now, of course, everybody, a lot of people support term limits, but not everybody is a big fan of the Article Five Convention, correct. It’s in the Constitution. It’s never been used, but it’s right there in the Constitution.

Todd: Yes. James Madison wrote it in knowing that there would be a day when Congress would not respond to the people and the state should have a mechanism for amending the Constitution. So that’s all this did. It was a resolution so it wasn’t passing a law or anything.

Leahy: So you’re number one up.

Todd: Monday night.

Leahy: So everybody’s sitting in their seat?

Todd: Well partially. There’s a lot of milling around it.

Leahy: They’re on the floor either milling around?

Todd: Yes, like the ones that like myself that have a bill up we’re still going around and getting support. We’re talking to folks about. Hey, are you still good with me? Do you know of anything I need to do or whatever? You’re still working the bills as much as you can.

Leahy: There are 99 members of the House of Representatives. You need 50 votes to get it passed in the House.

Todd: Yes. So I spent 30 minutes in the well. That’s at the podium.

Leahy: When you say in the well, describe the Chamber because there’s, like every 99 seats out in the Chamber. But where is the well and what are you supposed to do there?

Todd: So it’s a big room. You have a gallery on each side, which is a balcony area where visitors and staff can sit and watch and observe. The Speaker is at the head of the room up on a podium. And the well, the podium where the members would speak is down on the floor in front of that. So you’re called upon, there’s a motion made a second to hear your bill, and then you’re able to describe it. And you have the certain legal language you have to say to start with to get it in the proper form. And then you can talk about your bill and actually tell what it does, and then you renew your motion and you wait for questions.

Leahy: Ah ha!

Todd: Sometimes there are questions and sometimes there are not.

Leahy: So tell us about this. So you go and you talk about your bill, what happened?

Todd: So when the Speaker then says, are there any discussions on the bill and he will call on individual members to stand and speak and they address the chair. Mr. Speaker, I’d like to know about this particular bill. I’ve got a comment or a question about the bill. And then when they’re finished, he will call on me again as the sponsor of the bill to respond to that.

You don’t have to respond. You can just say I renew my motion or you can have an explanation of why that comment is accurate or inaccurate. And then it goes to someone else. As long as people stand up and want to speak or comment or question your bill that goes on up to a certain point.

Leahy: I hear you had a couple of lively questions.

Todd: I had several lively questions and several just lively comments.

Leahy: And even from friends.

Todd: Oh, it was absolutely there were friends.

Leahy: That disagree with you on this bill.

Todd: Staunch conservatives that are a couple of those and Democrats as well that spoke against it that gave their opinion about it. And then I would try to refute their comments and show how, in the historical record, they were inaccurate. I pulled up quotes of my founders and all kinds of things that I had at my disposal there.

Leahy: So they don’t say like you are an absolute idiot for proposing this bill. They say, my good friend, there is an error on this.

Todd: Exactly.

Leahy: And then when you respond, you don’t say you are absolutely a crazy person, right?

Todd: No.

Leahy: You say my good friend.

Todd: Yes.

Leahy: Even though you may be, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but if it were me, I would say my good friend. But I might be thinking something different.

Todd: It’s difficult. You have to have a lot of control because sometimes things get a little heated, but we still have to practice decorum. We still have to practice respect. And that is critical to things on the House floor. And so I spent 30 minutes doing that back and forth, back and forth. And then one member who was actually on the other side of the aisle stood up and called for the previous questions.

Leahy: That means they’re going to vote on it.

Todd: That is a motion that can be voted on to stop debate and vote on it.

Leahy: Stop debate.

Todd: If there’s no objection to previous question, then we go to vote on it.

Leahy: So what happened?

Todd: No one opposed it because everybody was tired of listening to this.

Leahy: Okay. So then what happens?

Todd: They call for a vote.

Leahy: Who calls for a vote?

Todd: The Speaker calls for the vote.

Leahy: Cameron Sexton. So he calls for the vote. What happens then?

Todd: Then the board starts lighting up. There’s a board on each side of the room of the chamber.

Leahy: So do you go back to your seat and press a button?

Todd: I walk back to my seat. Now, usually, our clerk will place your vote for you. If you’re presenting a bill, he knows you’re for the bill so that before you even get back to your seat. Because none of the seats are quite a ways off if you are sitting in the back of the room.

Leahy: Are there, red buttons or green buttons? What buttons do you Press?

Todd: So the green button would be an aye. A red button would be a no. A blue button is present, not voting. It’s like a roll call vote. And it says I’m here but I’m not voting on this. It’s kind of a no with a hug is what some people would call it.

Leahy: So how long does this roll call take place?

Todd: Literally seconds.

Leahy: Second?

Todd: Maybe 10 or 15 seconds.

Leahy: Okay, so there you are and you’re thinking, is this thing gonna pass? Did you kind of know what the final vote would be?

Todd: I knew what our prediction was.

Leahy: What was your prediction?

Todd: We had commitments in the mid 50?

Leahy: And what was the final vote?

Todd: And we had five members that were supportive. We felt like we’re supported that were out that were absent. So it ended up 53 to 34.

Leahy: So it passed?

Todd: Yes, it passed.

Leahy: Now what happens?

Todd: Then the Senate has to pass the same thing.

Leahy: Did you messenger it to the Senate?

Todd: Well, that particular one I think it will go to them as a message and then they can accept that and go through their process. They’ve already had something running on that. But I’m not sure exactly how far it’s gone.

Leahy: So the odds that this becomes a law?

Todd: It’s a resolution that would be sent to Congress.

Leahy: All they have to do is they have to sign it.

Todd: Yes.

Leahy: What are the odds that Senate?

Todd: I think it’s decent. It depends on what the committee gets to.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journalist and Author Andy Ngo Discusses Being Canceled by Culture Summit and the Slow Creep of Critical Race Theory in Evangelical Christianity

Journalist and Author Andy Ngo Discusses Being Canceled by Culture Summit and the Slow Creep of Critical Race Theory in Evangelical Christianity

 

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. –  host Leahy welcomed journalist and author Andy Ngo to explain why he was canceled from the upcoming Q Ideas – Culture Summit Christian conference in Nashville and how critical race theory is seeping into evangelical Christianity.

Leahy: We’re joined by our good friend Andy No, author of Unmasked. Welcome to the Airwaves in Nashville Andy.

Ngo: Thank you for having me on.

Leahy: Andy, you are welcome to talk and discuss your work here. You have brave journalistic work investigating Antifa, the left-wing group that engages in violence. You yourself were injured very seriously when you were covering some of their violent activity in Portland. We are delighted to have you on The Tennessee Star Report.

We believe in freedom of speech here. And what you have to say is very important. I was trying to unravel this crazy story from last week where a Christian conference here in Nashville canceled your appearance after a former speaker had said, well, I don’t like Andy. What happened there?

Ngo: Yeah. So I was really looking forward to speaking to this conference because even though I myself am not religious, I do find that Christian institutions and the church act as probably the most important bulwark against critical race theory and this neo-racism that you are seeing on the far left.

And so I was invited to speak about Antifa. The conference is meant to be about discussing different ideas and inviting people who may not be part of the evangelical community or church, but nonetheless have important things to say. I was supposed to be speaking with the conference founder, Gabe Lyons, and everything was set to go and was finalized.

And then last week I got just a very short email, letting me know that they were no longer moving forward with having me there. And I didn’t quite understand why until I saw the reporting that came out to the Religion News Service that a former speaker who is also a BLM activist and friends with the founder had reached out to Mr. Lyons to tell him to disinvite me.

Leahy: So this guy Jason “Propaganda” Petty just asserted that Andy Ngo is a bad guy, and that’s it no evidence, nothing other than that. That’s all we see here. Well, first, you’re a good guy. A. And B, you tell the truth. Why would a purportedly Christian conference and why would Gabe Lyons, whom I don’t know why would he bend to these false accusations against you and disinvite you?

Ngo: Well, your listeners are probably aware that many evangelical churches and even institutions like the Southern Baptist Convention have been slowly allowing critical race theory to creep insensibly under the guise of what looks like very noble racial justice. But the ideas, the theory behind critical race theories are not about equality or protecting equal rights and human rights.

It’s about giving in to grievance and hatred really. And I do think that this is (Inaudible talk) to Christian theology, and it’s unfortunate that many important Christian institutions in the West have been allowing us to come in. That’s the bigger picture and the bigger takeaway that I have for this. I wish the conference well.

It’s moving forward very soon anyway, I won’t be a part of it. But it’s unfortunate that the audience wasn’t able to hear what I have to say, given that we’re now in the past four days experiencing another round of extreme political street violence by BLM and Antifa in many American cities.

Leahy: Yes. Now, this event is called the Culture Summit. It’s the 15th annual conference for a group called Q Ideas. It’s scheduled for April 22 in Nashville which is next week. Were you going to appear in person or by a Zoom call? How are you going to appear?

Ngo: I was invited for a virtual discussion.

Leahy: Okay, so it’s a virtual discussion. I’ve never heard of these guys. How did you get to get to know them?

Ngo: So they actually reach out to me. But if you Google them, they’ve been doing these yearly annual conferences all around the country. They usually host it. They’ve even done it in Portland, Oregon, of all places. At one point some of the past speakers have included, like now the former mayor of Portland. So they do include people on the left, center, and right. And they try to analyze the discussions through a Christian worldview. That’s been my understanding.

Leahy: Let me read to you a couple of comments from our story at The Tennessee Star about this group’s decision to cancel your appearance for no good reason other than one guy is a BLM activist who doesn’t like you for unspecified reasons. Here’s one comment, I’m going to read these three comments. This is what our readers had to say about that decision. ‘Stupidity also affects some Christians. And last time I checked, you can’t legislate stupid.’

That’s one comment. Okay. Another reader says “a healthy culture needs to hear a variety of ideas, but I will choose what variety of ideas you can hear. Does anyone see any hypocrisy in that statement? What is fascism?” That’s a second comment. Here’s a third. “Nothing more than leftist cancel culture masquerading as Christian. Funny thing, the record company of the quote Christian rapper mentioned here who got Ngo canceled is in Portland, Oregon. So who really is the con artist? Hint, it’s not Andy Ngo.” What do you make of our readers when they say that about this cancellation?

Ngo: It sounds like you have some good readers on your site. I appreciate that support. You know, I dug into the background of this BLM activist/rapper who used his personal connections to get me removed from the conference. I actually found out that he hosts a podcast with an Antifa activist that’s based in Portland named Robert Evans.

He’s very extreme and radical. And their podcast is extremely anti-police. And they are pushing the Antifa lie that policing today is the same as essentially slave patrols in the past where law enforcement historically in the South were used to return slaves to the masters. Therefore, the institutions today need to be destroyed.

That’s what their podcast is about. I mean, this particular activist/rapper has his own personal grievance against me. I had never heard of them. And I would have appreciated an opportunity to explain my side of things to the organizers. But again, it’s not really about me. This is just one speaking opportunity. I think it’s emblematic of a larger trend we’re seeing in the evangelical Christian churches in America.

Leahy: Are you still based in Portland, or where are you based now, Andy?

Ngo: So last year, I had to leave Portland because it was extremely unsafe for me with all these frequent death threats coming in, violence in the city, and the shrinking police department because of the defunding of the Portland police after George Floyd’s death. And we’re seeing now weekly riots continue as they have for months on end.

They are escalating into really bad attacks. Just over the weekend Antifa gathered outside the local ICE facility and barricaded the front to lock the officers inside and then started it on fire. And then on Monday night, they set fire at a Portland police station. And then last night, they set the police union hall on fire.

So we’re having riot after riot. It’s not just Portland. We’re having riots in Seattle, and, of course, near Minneapolis because of the shooting death that happened a few days ago. It’s like I wrote in Unmasked and even my writings before then have always been a warning to the public and to politicians that this is what’s coming.

And these are the lessons we can learn from mistakes not just from 2020 but even going back to 2016. How do these far-left extremist groups in a way where they can systematically chip away at the rule of law and get the police department defunded and ruin morale, and then carry out acts of violence with impunity?

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 “Andy Ngo” by Andy Ngo.