A group of 9/11 family members lobbying for the bill blasted Corker and Graham in no uncertain terms.“After a visit to the halls of Congress by an army of Saudi lobbyists led by the Saudi Foreign Minister, JASTA supporters Senator Bob Corker and Senator Lindsey Graham called today for the JASTA veto override vote to be delayed for two months,” the families said. “All it took — apparently — was a visit by the Saudi foreign minister to get these senators to forsake the families and seek a two-month delay in a vote to override the president’s imminent veto.”
Multiple sources say McCord was “architect” of the House Transportation Committee skullduggery.
Rocky Top has been inundated with numerous legislative sources that say the recently “retired” Clerk of the House Joe McCord was the person behind the surprise moves by Rep. John Mark Windle to block the gas tax alternative by Rep. David Hawk.
Seems the Guv was highly pissed that the committee was going to consider Hawk’s version first, which would have put the governor’s proposal in jeopardy.
Enter Joe McCord, a legitimate expert in the arcane world of legislative legerdemain. He reportedly concocted the maneuver to have the committee adjourn before gas tax opponentscould shove it up the governor’s keister.
Which lead us to a couple of pertinent questions:
- What is Joe doing for a living these days? Is he a lobbyist? Is he registered to lobby on the gas tax? Anybody checked the record?
- How is Joe’s photography hobby coming along? Taken any “inappropriate” photos lately, Joe?
- Now that he has more free time, is Joe flipping off random 3-year-olds on the street?
If she so desired, Speaker Harwell could ban McCord from the LP — assuming, of course, she is not a co-conspirator to McCord’s machinations.
Warning to Beth: the more McCord hangs around, the more likely it is he will become the subject/target of an ethics investigation. And the Speaker, of all people, should know how ugly things can get when old bodies are dug up and paraded around.
“Fake research” from the Haslam Business School generates “Fake News” for the Governor.
Please tell us the crew at RTP weren’t the only ones who noticed this.
When the Boyd Research Center at UTK released their “study” that, unsurprisingly, said the governor’s proposed gas tax is just the bees knees, no one in the MSM took the time to note two very relevant things:
- The Boyd Research Center was named after the governor’s recent ECD director, Randy Boyd (who is seeking to follow Bill Haslam into the governor’s office). Boyd gave a piss load of money to have his name put on the center’s door and,
- The Boyd Research Center is housed inside the building that has the governor’s family name emblazoned above its door: “The Haslam School of Business.”
Oh yeah, yeah, we know – Randy Boyd probably did not have any input into the “research” produced by the research center that bears his name. And technically, the Haslam Business School was named after the governor’s father. Picky, picky. But does anyone in the MSM see the inherent problem with churning out “Boyd Research” from the “Haslam Business School” to defend a tax increase proposed by Bill Haslam? Or that the people behind the study were some of the same business school professors and the very same Haslam familywho tried 17 years ago to justify a state income tax? Really?
Whassamatter? University of Memphis doesn’t have a business school? ETSU not have a business school? Does MTSU not have a School of Business? Of course they do. They just don’t have one whose research center and brand new business building was funded by the governor and his close cronies.
But surely the MSM, who almost completely ignore this conve-e-e-nient connection would report on something like – oh, say — the governor lying about his gas tax?
Last week, Bill Haslam publicly stated there were “no alternative plans” proposed to his Haslam School of Business-endorsed gas tax plan.
“There have not been any other alternatives proposed. No one else has laid out a plan and said ‘This is how we’re going to pay for it.’”
Well, golly gee whillikers, governor: that’s a lie. And a bald-face lie to boot.
You didn’t even try to “nuance” your statement. You could have said there were no alternatives you liked. But you just laid it out there with the apparent hope that the public is too damned stupid to know B.S. when they hear it. And the MSM dutifully reported it as a stand-alone statement. Just like they did a week ago when the Governor spit out this beauty:
After 6+ years of being the governor, you would think he would be getting better at the job.
You would be wrong.
If it weren’t for “fake news’ generated by a phony study, the governor’s office would have anything worthwhile to talk about.
— Gov. Bill Haslam, 2-11-2017
And there you have it.
After 6+ years of “conservative” leadership, Gov. Bill Haslam let down his guard in Smithville Saturday night. What he said may as well have come straight from the mouth of Nancy Pelosi or Bernie Sanders.
The new online publication, The Tennessee Star, has wracked up several exclusive stories in its mere two weeks of existence. They were the first to report on the growing opposition at the highest levels of the legislature to the governor’s proposed gas tax. When House Majority Leader Glen Casada went on record in a video interview with the Tennessee Star (finally, a video of Glen that doesn’t include a hot blonde) supporting Rep. David Hawk’s counter-proposal for funding roads, Haslam went ballistic. First he called and asked to be on the Nashville-based and conservative Ralph Bristol radio show (something he largely avoided for the last few years), then he took to the road to try and salvage his latest legislative disaster. That took him to Smithville, where he rambled around about the gas tax. Finally, in frustration, he blurted out the statement above. You can see the video here.
If you are a Republican legislator, you have to ask yourself: “Why in God’s name should I support a governor who has such a warped, non-conservative view of government?”
If you are a Democrat legislator, you have to ask yourself: “Wait, what? Did Haslam just switch parties? First he proposed expanding Obamacare in Tennessee. Then he openly voted against Trump, and now this? [Random] non-Deity be praised! More taxes for everyone!”
Welcome to official lame duck status, Governor. Came a little early, didn’t it?
Will Black have to resign her seat in Congress? And if so, when?
Cong. Diane Black’s plane ride to Nashville from DC a couple of days ago was a rough one, with turbulence, barf bags, the whole bit. This comes from our sources on the plane (yes, RTP is everywhere) who said it was one of the worst flights she has ever been on. But it may have been something of an omen for the turbulence that Black found on the ground when she finally landed. The political ground may be shifting beneath her and other ambitious politicos looking to move up.
It was quite the scene yesterday down in the Capitol Grill at the Hermitage Hotel. There, huddling their heads around a lunch table, were Cong. Black, newly-minted consultant Ward Baker, State Sen. Jack Johnson and a staff aide (and yes, once again, RTP is everywhere).
Rumors have been circulating around DC and the Volunteer state for some time that (a) Black was going to become the chairman of the House Budget Committee and that (b) she was also going to run for governor. But events have a way of overtaking ambitions and that may be what is happening to Diane’s well-laid plans. For instance, late last night Cong. Tom Price was confirmed as the new HHS Secretary, opening the way for Black to be named House Budget Chair, something that could take place as early as today.
Some have questioned whether Black would have sought the Budget chairmanship if she were going to run for governor. Traditionally, congressional chairmanships are not sought by or offered to members who are about to exit the Congress. The rational offered by Black allies was that she could do both. They say the business of the Budget committee is usually over by May of each year and that after Black wrangles the Trump budget into existence, she could take a victory lap, get some grip-and-grin photos with the Donald then high-tail it back to Tennessee to run for governor. Easy-peezy.
But there are some emerging factors to complicate such a strategy. One is Speaker Beth Harwell. Harwell has barnstormed the phones the last few weeks, making it abundantly clear she is running for governor. Her interest in the race puts pressure on Black to make a decision earlier than Black may like on when to kick off her own governor’s race. Black would like to take her time in doing so. Harwell would like to force her into an early decision that could conflict with her duties as Budget chair. Harwell’s entry would also upset a key strategic advantage Black had been counting on — being the only woman in the race. Don’t think that is an important advantage? Just ask Marsha Blackburn if it made a difference in her first race for Congress (remember the “Marsha’s Our Man” bumper stickers?). One woman in the race is unique, interesting and provides a valuable contrast to the rest of the field. Two women in the race might just devolve into a catfight (meow).
Okay, gratuitous misogyny aside, there is another more compelling argument as to why Black may be considering a more immediate move on her race. According to RTP sources in Washington (yes, Rocky Top is everywhere), the White House is now privately telling congressional leadership that it is unlikely to send a budget to Capitol Hill until sometime in May. That would make it the latest budget proposal in memory and would mean that as Budget chair, Black would be completely absorbed in her congressional duties in Washington throughout most of the summer. Which, of course would leave Harwell, Randy Boyd, Mark Green and others a clearer playing field to gather supporters, endorsements, contributors, etc. Black’s people counter that Black would be getting all sorts of free media and would be the center of attention while the budget process was engaged. Really? Have you checked your Twitter feeds lately? Ain’t nobody getting any media attention as long as Donald Trump is President.
And then there is the whole “checkbook campaign” strategy. Everyone has assumed the large bank account of the Black’s would make her the biggest self-funder in the race. With Randy Boyd in the mix, Black may not even be the wealthiest candidate, much less write the biggest check. Boyd’s people are throwing around figures like $15-$20 million for a campaign budget.
All the maneuvering comes down to this: Black has an uncomfortable decision to make about leaving her seat in Congress. And her GOP gubernatorial primary opponents are enjoying her discomfort.
Keep those barf bags handy….
What the Heck!?
Why did the Saudis hire a disgraced Tennessee State Senator?
What is Bob Corker’s role in siding with the Saudis — and against 9/11 victims and families?
Denizens, lounge lizards and hangers-on at Legislative Plaza surely remember former state senator Paul Stanley, whose political career was demolished by his affair with a hot 22-year “legislative intern” (sound familiar?). The scandal had everything: power politics, blackmail, sex, you name it. When Stanley got caught, Speaker Ron Ramsey immediately stepped in and lanced the boil, telling Stanley to leave immediately. Contrast that with the drama created by Speaker Beth Harwell, who let her own intern/sex scandal play out in full, agonizing public view.
Stanley then retired from the public scene. But yesterday, he re-emerged when The Daily Caller ran a story that apparently named him as one of three operatives who were hired by an international PR firm on a project paid for by the Saudi government. RTP has yet to confirm this is the same Paul Stanley, but the age (54-55) and the hometown (Collierville) are the same as the former politician. If there is a case of mistaken identity, RTP will correct the record. But we are pretty sure it’s the same guy. If so, he is now a registered foreign agent for the Saudis in a highly questionable lobbying effort. Among other things, the lobbyists have been accused of misleading veterans to convince them to come to DC in exchange for expensive hotel rooms and dinners. The Daily Caller story told of one of the veterans who grew suspicious and blew the whistle,
It seems the Saudis are scared to death of a new law allowing them to be sued out the ying-yang by families and others who were harmed by the 9-11 attacks. The bill was vetoed last fall by President Obama, but Congress over-rode his veto. Interestingly, Sen. Bob Corker joined with Sen. Lindsey Graham in an attempt to water down the JASTA legislation, making it harder for 9-11 victims and their families to sue the Saudis and to delay the eventual veto of the bill by at least two months:
But Corker and Graham were humiliated when their attempts were rejected by the Senate, who then slam-dunked Obama’s veto. Corker then “bravely” voted for the override (which passed 97-1). But now, Graham and John McCain are back again trying to gut the the law, presumably with Corker’s continued support.
So what are Sen. Corker’s ties to the Saudis? Why was he so vehement in trying to limit 9-11 victims from compensation? And what the hell is Paul Stanley of Collierville, TN doing in the middle of all this?
We’ve got a feeling this story is just getting started.
Does Bob Corker have a problem with Jesus?
Regular readers of Rocky Top are well aware that we have a wee bit of a problem with the junior senator from Tennessee. His financial dealings are suspect, his conduct in office has been the focus of at least two ethics complaints and maybe a couple of other ongoing investigations. His relationship with Wells Fargo is the stuff of legend, and we don’t mean that in a good way.
So with all his detractors and facing re-election in 2018, one would think Corker would not want to attract any more enemies.
But Jesus? Why would RTP say a thing like that? Is Sen. Corker going to Hell or something?
We will humbly leave final judgement of Sen. Corker to an authority much higher than a ragtag group of political miscreants like the crew here at Rocky Top. But here is why we say ‘Ol Bob has a bit of a moral credibility problem (above and beyond his rather obvious personal financial credibility problem).
A bit of history: Back in 2010, as a part of the noxious Dodd-Frank bill, a modest provision was inserted into the massive legislation. The Cardin-Lugar amendment addressed a very big problem. When large U.S. companies (such as major oil and mining companies) cut deals around the world, more often than not they have to deal with some unsavory characters. Dictators, tyrants, despots and strongmen rule over some of the most abundant and lucrative natural resources. Once the deals are cut, they then re-route billions of dollars to their personal use and that of their cronies. The people of their country suffer greatly for this governmental theft. These countries are typically racked with poverty, disease, war, human trafficking and slavery.
The Cardin-Lugar amendment sought transparency on such dealings, requiring such deals be reported to the U.S, government so that we would have a road map of where to look when trying to address these problems. Cardin-Lugar provides evidence that companies play it by the book, and that such exchanges of vast amounts of money need to and will see the light of day.
But in addition to rampant greed and theft, even more ominous is a common denominator that unites many of these rogue countries: They like to kill Christians.
From Nigeria to Kenya and many others in between, the dictators gleefully harass, torment, torture and kill Christians. It’s a fact:
Nigeria tops list for Christians killed for their faith
When Rep. Chris Smith (R) first floated the concept behind the Cardin-Lugar Amendment, he was thinking specifically of persecuted Christians in third world countries. The Obama administration largely turned a blind eye to their plight. And now, just as President Trump seeks to shine a light on persecution of Christians, the U.S. Senate is considering turning out that light and making it harder to detect. All because the big oil folks don’t like the hassle of some extra paperwork.
But now the oil companies want to change all that and go back to the bad old days of See No Evil, Hear No Evil, etc. They want Congress to remove the rule through something called the CRA (Congressional Review Act) which would cancel this law as well of a raft of other regulations. RTP agrees that many regulations need to be expunged, but Cardin-Lugar is not one of them.
That’s where Bob Corker comes in. From his position as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Corker has made a big show of appearing to fight human trafficking. Even introducing a bill to fight trafficking, called the “End Modern Slavery Act” just a year or so ago and which went nowhere.
But when the vote comes up as early as this week to get rid of the Cardin-Lugar transparency provisions, Corker has a big decision to make. And his decision as Chairman will likely sway some of his committee members to do the right – or wrong – thing.
If he votes for any CRA legislation which includes revoking Cardin-Lugar, Corker is voting to aid those who target and kill Christians. It’s as simple as that. Any Sunday School student at First Pres in Chattanooga could recognize this. Can Sen. Corker?
Bob, the world is a dangerous place. It is going to take more than taking selfies of yourself with an “X” painted on your hand” and introducing half-hearted legislation to solve this problem. Don’t compound the problem by getting rid of one of the few tools we have to counter Christian persecution.
RTP will be watching how you vote. But more important, so will your colleagues, the voters and your pastor.
Maybe if Jesus was on the board of Wells Fargo, you would pay more attention.