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No. 310: On Some of The Three-Letter Agencies

⁂ Nashville's Alt-Daily ⁂ FBI · CIA · IRS · TN AG · Johnny Paycheck · Me and The IRS · Much More!

Good morning, everyone.

The following was written in February of 2020—before COVID, before the 2020 election, before January 6th, and before the Trump raid—by the now-deceased Angelo Codevilla in an article titled 'Abolish FISA, Reform FBI, & Break Up CIA.'

Pretenses of superior knowledge have always tempted the Administrative State’s officials to manipulate or override voters. Hence, as Justice Robert H. Jackson (who served as chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials) warned, they often turn their powers against whomever they dislike politically, socially, or personally and try to minimize the public’s access to the bases upon which they act.
But only the Intelligence agencies have the power to do that while claiming that scrutiny of their pretenses endangers national security. They have succeeded in restricting information about their misdeeds by “classifying” them under the Espionage Act of 1921. Thus covered, they misrepresent their opinions as knowledge and their preferences as logic. Thus acting as irresponsible arbiters of truth at the highest levels of American public life, they are the foremost jaws of the ruling class vise that is squeezing self-rule out of America.
As Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) truly told President Trump, “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” As we shall see, Intelligence officials have proved Schumer correct.

The essay goes on. It's long, but if you're interested in these things, it is well worth your time. Sometimes, you remember reading something so vividly that the piece is inextricably attached to a place. A few of those for me have been:

  • Joseph Conrad's Typhoon on a flight to San Francisco
  • Aeschylus' Prometheus Unbound on another flight piloted by my dad between Nashville and Atlanta
  • Reading Macbeth in Mr. Moxley's class in 10th grade
  • And this essay from Angelo Codevilla in the plaza of L&L Market one lazy Saturday not long after it was published

May sound silly. May sound dramatic. But it doesn't make it any less true. Codevilla is clarifying in his assessment of intelligence agencies' role in any serious government and the importance of ensuring they are fully subordinated to the powers of the Chief Executive. His insights were never more relevant as it's been revealed that Biden—or whoever reads his news for him—only discovered about the Mar-a-Lago raid after reading about it in the news.


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Also, be sure to check out our podcast. Available wherever you get your podcasts.

Thanks for reading.



A panel of Tennessee Supreme Court Judges is expected to make their decision regarding the next State Attorney General by the end of this week.


After serving an eight-year term, current Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III is stepping down from the position. As Slatery joked that no, AG does not stand for “Almost Governor,” a panel of five Supreme Court Judges conducted the interviews of six applicants in the Tennessee Supreme Courthouse Monday. Here’s a quick view of the field.


Donald Q. Cochran, Jr. regarding the power of guidance issued by Federal Government agencies:

“I’m well aware that they have an important role to play. It’s certainly not a role that our founders would have ever seen 200-plus years ago… that we would have these massive agencies unelected by anybody that have such power, but they do in the modern administrative state… they just do. But, guidance documents have been used by some administrations as if they are law. As if, when an agency comes out with guidance, which has not only not been passed by Congress, the elected representatives of the people Federally, but hasn’t even gone through notice and comment rulemaking.”


Jerome Cochran touches on his unique background as a lawyer and a State Representative (R) who was brought up by his mother, an immigrant from Vietnam:

“I think that I have a unique background and perspective that would be beneficial. I’m not going to say that I'm better than any of these candidates, but I’m a different candidate than them.”


David Michael Dunavant on the state’s reaction to Federal encroachment:

“Many times our state has suffered because we have delayed action. We have been passive. We have been uncertain in some way in waiting to see how things shake out. Now, I don’t think we ought to attend every fight we’ve been invited to, but I think if we’re going to be in a fight that we ought to be leading and we ought to be out front and should consider, specifically, the timing of a decision. Anything regarding the Federal government's infringement or encroachment that creates burdens to our state or local governments where the exclusive province is to the state or local government, we ought to be pushing back.”


R. Culver Schmid on the public trust in our American system of government:

“People are losing faith in the system… that it’s not fair, it’s not equal opportunity. It is my hope to help restore that faith. I’m an institutionalist. I think our institutions work. You’ve got to make them function where people believe in them. I’m hopeful, with humility, that I could help make that a better situation so that people have faith in their government. Particularly in the rule of law, which is the basic foundational principle that has to exist if our democracy is to survive.”


Jonathan Thomas Skrmetti on cyber law and the pace of technological advancement:

“Technology has moved incredibly fast and the law tends to move slow. It always takes a while for the law to catch up to where the technology is. We’ve seen technology companies accumulate tremendous amounts of power not just over money, but over the culture. The industry has been very consolidated and there’s just not a lot of understanding or oversight of what’s going on there so I think it's really important that government officials, particularly the state AG offices and some of the consumer protection arms of the Federal  government, get up to speed on some of this stuff and pay attention. There’s some low hanging fruit that’s been discovered, some of which has been resolved and some that hasn’t, in the ways that companies are taking advantage of either a lack of understanding technology or lack of transparency of how it works in ways that are extremely detrimental.”


William Edwin "Bill" Young walks through how to work with the elected officials in the Tennessee government, then mentions that the public-facing tension between parties isn’t the same behind closed doors:

“I get along with the leadership on both sides and I think our leadership in the legislature on both sides is sensible and will listen to those conversations. I think if you let it get out into the public, they’re (the politicians) going to get their fur up a little bit and you need to avoid that.”


Expect to see the selection of the new Tennessee Attorney General by the end of the week.

The full interviews conducted by the Tennessee Supreme Court are available online.




  • The 39-story Tower ‘Prime’, Rises Above Grade Near Amazon In Nashville (Now Next)
  • AJ Capital finds human remains at Chestnut Hill development site (Post)
  • Ritz-Carlton eyed for fourth-quarter construction start (NBJ)
  • Building housing trade show exhibit maker changes hands (Post)
  • Fairgrounds-area property slated to be sold (Post)
  • Belmont Boulevard Mexican restaurant to close (Post)
  • Pie Town site eyed for mixed-use building (Post)


The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) is an independent labor union representing 150,000 employees of 31 departments and agencies of the United States government including the IRS, FDA, US Customs and Border Protection, and more.


A letter included with his tax return and sent to the IRS on April 15th, 2015:

Dear Sir or Madam,
I have sent in our federal income tax and our gift tax returns for 2013. As in prior years, it is important for you to know that I have absolutely no idea whether our tax returns and our tax payments are accurate. I say that despite the fact that I am a college graduate and I try hard to make sure our tax returns are accurate.
The tax code is so complex and the forms are so complicated, that I know that I cannot have any confidence that I know what is being requested and therefore I cannot and do not know, and I suspect a great many Americans cannot know, whether or not their tax returns are accurate. As in past years, I have spent more money than I wanted to spend to hire an accounting firm to prepare our tax returns and I believe they are well qualified.
This note is to alert you folks that I know that I do not know whether or not my tax returns are accurate, which is a sad commentary on governance in our nation’s capital.
If you have questions, let me know and I will ask our accountants to be in touch with you to try to provide any additional information you may think you need.
I do hope that at some point in my lifetime, and I am now in my 80s, so there are not many years left, the U.S. government will simplify the U.S. tax code so that those citizens who sincerely want to pay what they should, are able to do it right, and know that they have done it right.
I should add that my wife of 59 years, also a college graduate, has signed our joint return, but she also knows that she does not have any idea whether or not our tax payments are accurate.


  • 💾 President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a landmark bill to provide $52.7 billion in subsidies for U.S. semiconductor production and research and to boost efforts to make the United States more competitive with China's science and technology efforts.
  • 🇬🇧 The UK is planning for several days over the winter when cold weather may combine with gas shortages, leading to organized blackouts for industry and even households.
  • ️ The Senate voted 86-11 to pass a bipartisan bill to enact the largest expansion of veteran healthcare benefits in decades, a week after it fell victim to a technical snafu and a political spat over a separate spending bill.
  • 🚨 Federal agents searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on Monday in part because they believed additional classified information remained at the private club after the National Archives retrieved more than a dozen boxes of White House documents from the resort earlier this year.
  • 🗺 The Biden administration said it would wind down use of a controversial immigration policy known as Remain in Mexico after a federal court removed a final procedural hurdle preventing it from doing so on Monday.
  • 📉 U.S. labor productivity declined for the second consecutive quarter as overall economic output contracted and employers spent more on labor as they added workers.
  • 📉 Inflation surged 8.5 percent in July, down slightly from the four-decade high reached in June, the Labor Department announced Wednesday.


View our full event calendar here.

🍺 The Pamphleteer hosts Bar Hours on the third Thursday of every month (the next meeting is August 18th) at Lucky's 3 Star Bar from 6-8 PM. The first ten guests get drinks on the company tab.

🎪 Check out our favorite driving distance festivals this summer.

👨🏻‍🌾 The Pamphleteer farmer's market guide.

⚔️ Knights in Armor at the Frist starting July 1st: European arms and armor from the renowned collection of the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy.

🍅 Tomato Fest, all day on the 12th and 13th in Five Points

🎼 Listen to The Pamphleteer's Picks, our playlist of bands playing in Nashville each week.


🎙 Rebecca Carlson @ Rudy's Jazz Room, 6p, $12, Info

🎻 Bluegrass Night @ The American Legion Post 82, 7p, Free, Info

🍗 The Goddamn Gallows, Rebelmatic, Black Venus @ The Exit/In, 8p, Info
+ Earplug advisory

🍸 Electric relaxation @ Bar Sovereign, 9p, Free, Info


🐂 Professional Bull Riding @ Bridgestone, (8/19-21), $20+ Info

🐖 Roger Waters @ Bridgestone, (8/27), $39, Info

🎹 Stereolab @ Marathon Music Works, (9/6), $35, Info
+ Motorik post-rock synth avant-pop surrealist prismcore

🎸 My Morning Jacket @ Ascend Amphitheater, (9/23), $22.88, Info

⚔️ HELMET @ Marathon Music Works, (9/24), $35, Info
+ 90's alternative metal band from NY, a Pamphleteer favorite

👾 Flamingosis @ Basement East (9/29), $20, Info

🎻 Gustav Holst's The Planets @ Schermerhorn (9/29-10/2), Info
+  Early 1900's orchestral suite, each movement is named after a planet

🕺 Remi Wolf @ Brooklyn Bowl (10/6), $30, Info
+ Young talented funk/pop/hip-hop singer, one of the few

🎸 Smashing Pumpkins @ Bridgestone Arena, (10/10), $133+, Info
+ 90's alt-rock from Chicago

🎸 The Doobie Brothers @ Bridgestone Arena, (10/12), $43+, Info

🎺 Too Many Zooz @ Basement East, (10/31), $20, Info

🌶 The Gypsy Kings @ The Ryman (11/1), $39.50, Info
+ The roving band of flamenco guitarists



Small Farmer, Big Beef
Beating the USDA at its own game


Traversing the Food Pyramid
USDA Guidelines Over 100 Years
Nashville’s Best Margaritas
Your guide to finding the best version of this “pairs well with the beach” cocktail in our landlocked state
The Lingering Effects of School Closures and Lockdowns
Death and Despair statistics challenge the efficacy of COVID Lockdowns
The Revolution Must Go On
A Nashville columnist beseeches NYT liberals to move to the Volunteer State to change it
Around the Web

❍ Country Party Reprise The eternal struggle between court and country in American politics.

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Today's newsletter is brought to you by Megan Podsiedlik (Nashville), Edward Landstreet (Local Noise), and Davis Hunt (everything else).