TODAY’S HOLLER: “SELF-GOVERNANCE IS AT STAKE”

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“SELF-GOVERNANCE IS AT STAKE”

The special committee about the January 6th insurrection is happening now, and it is extremely powerful. Anyone trying to downplay what happened that day is complicit. The cover-up is part of the insurrection.

Some highlights:

REP. SCHIFF: “When you were racially attacked, you asked if this is America. Is it?” OFFICER DUNN: “If you look at our history… I guess it is. But that’s not the side we represent. We represent decency.”

SGT. GONELL: “My time, compared to Iraq, totally different… This is our own citizens, people who we’ve sworn an oath to protect, yet they are attacking us with the same flag they claim to represent.” #jan6thcommittee

OFFICER FANONE: They tortured me. They beat me… and they continued to do so until I yelled out that i had kids… it’s believed I was unconscious for 4 minutes…The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful! —- Nothing has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day and betray their oath of office.” #January6thCommittee ” #January6thCommission

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Rep. Kinzinger, a Republican, crying: “You guys won. You held. Democracies are not defined by our bad days, but how we come back from bad days. How we take responsibility for it… many in my party have treated this as just another partisan fight- SELF-GOVERNANCE IS AT STAKE.”

It’s clear why Republicans tried to stop this committee from happening. These recounts of what happened that day by these officers are incredibly powerful. Eternal shame on Trump and everyone who helped enable this. What you’re doing is the opposite of patriotism.

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TODAY’S HOLLER:
MOUNT JULIET GRIFTER *PASTOR* LOCKE: “Don’t believe this Delta Variant nonsense” – says if anyone shows up to church wearing a mask he’ll kick them out. Cases are spiking in Tennessee, almost all hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated. ? (He recently had a church member, a musician who believed his garbage, die of COVID)

BALLAD SCREW-UP: In JOHNSON CITY, “Ballad Health sent letters to ~100 patients stating they may have been exposed the hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or HIV… occurred during a “medication incident’ involving “a single nurse.”?  IN OUR INBOX: One person’s 72yo father with cancer went in for a transfusion after a car accident and got this letter. ?

“COLORED PEOPLE”?: Discussing CRT, Williamson County Moms for Liberty Chair Robin Steenman refers to non-white kids as “colored kids” on Marsha Blackburn’s show, with zero pushback from Marsha. She called teachers “brainwashing assholes”, equated diversity efforts with the Holocaust.

PSAKI NAME-CHECKS VALENTINE: “We don’t want that to be the breaking point for anyone.” —- PSAKI references Tennessee conservative radio host PHIL VALENTINE, who had an epiphany about the vaccine once he was in the hospital “fighting for his life” (after mocking the vaccine with a parody song) ?

TUCKER CONFRONTED IN MONTANA: “You are the worst human being known to mankind… What you have done to ??… to people’s families…” – Local Montana fly-fishing guide Dan Bailey confronts Tucker Carlson. #Hero

FLYNN’S THREAT:  “Maybe I’ll find somebody in Washington D.C…” – Trump’s now-pardoned former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn *jokes* about assassination at the “Church of Glad Tidings” in Yuba City, CA as he gets a semi-automatic rifle. ?

MASKLESS MARSHA: Marsha Spotted maskless at the airport, where federal law requires them in the terminal… ?

BLEDSOE’S ANTI-VACCINE SHERIFF: Bledsoe & Marion County jails have not yet offered vaccinations for inmates. Bledsoe Sheriff Jimmy Morris: “To my knowledge, people has died everywhere from this vaccine” —— Wouldn’t say where he got the info behind that (false) claim. ? (He was arrested for a bar fight in 2012)

KIRK LOVES SINEMA: Trump sycophant Charlie Kirk calls Senator Kyrsten Sinema “more of a Republican than McCain” and praises her for preserving the filibuster, an anti-civil rights relic…. How proud you must be, Senator. What a ringing endorsement. #EndTheFilibuster

WILD, TRAGIC STORY: 60yo BETHPAGE, TN man wouldn’t give up the handle @Tennessee…gets harassed & “swatted” (fake SWAT team emergency reported to his house) —he dies of a heart attack when they show up with guns… Another TN man got 5 years for his role.

SHAMELESS MCCONNELL: Despite right-wing misinfo obviously causing ??’s vaccine hesitancy, McConnell blames BIDEN for the vaccination rate, saying “they inherited a good trajectory from Republican leadership.” One of the most shameless things you’ll ever see. ?

CARTOON OF THE DAY ?

GRAHAM’S GRANDSON HOSPITALIZED: Rev. Billy Graham’s grandson, evangelical Pastor Jonathan Lotz, has been hospitalized with COVID-19. ?

NASHVILLE: “A petition to have Metro Nashville Public School students mask up for the upcoming 2021-22 school year has just crossed 1000 signatures.” ?

?LISTEN: “What a fraud… Trump got a shot in the White House during a pandemic and didn’t tell anyone. That’s not the President’s job. You’re a coward.” – ?Rep. Cohen on the Daily Memphian Podcast says if upcoming elections are about Trump Dems will win.

STUDY: “States cutting unemployment benefits didn’t get people back to work” – Seems Governor Lee & the TN GOP slashed $500 MILLION out of our economy for no reason. (bc they think unemployed Tennesseans are lazy)?

WATCH: “JUST GET THE STUPID SHOT.” – Florida mom who was against getting vaccinated and didn’t take COVID seriously thanks to the right-wing misinformation engine changes her tune after nearly dying. ?

FLASHBACK: “Remove the bust of the KKK Grand Wizard from our capitol!” Ashley King regularly protested the statue by being loud, and making those who kept it there uncomfortable. It’s gone. We want to make sure we salute Ashley for his efforts… join us LIVE TODAY AT NOON CST WITH ASHLEY ON THE HOLLER.

???

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HEALTH DEPT’S FISCUS FIRED FOR DOING HER JOB

Today, Dr. Michelle D Fiscus, who serves as the Medical Director of Tennessee’s Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Immunization program, has been fired from her role by Governor Lee’s administration.

This comes in the wake of public pressure from elected Republicans, who have threatened to dissolve the department because of what they perceive to be a push to encourage young Tennesseans to get vaccinated, which might be reasonably considered to be part of her job.

Last month in a government ops committee meeting things got heated when Republicans learned the Tennessee Department of Health had been allowing young Tennesseans over 14 to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they so chose even without their parents signing off on it.

The Health Department did this because the law allows them to, and because the data shows the vaccine is protecting people – almost every single Tennessean to die of the disease in recent months has been unvaccinated – but that didn’t stop Rep. Scott Cepicky and others from attacking the department and threatening dissolution.

The number of younger Tennesseans to get the vaccine without parental approval was exactly eight, three of which were TN Dept of Health commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey’s own children.

The Fiscus firing is pretty clearly Governor Lee’s way of sacrificing her to the extreme right in an effort to alleviate some of the pressure.

In essence, Dr. Fiscus is being fired for doing her job as she tries to get Tennesseans vaccinated.

We are currently towards the very bottom in terms of vaccine intake, in no small part because of a lack of leadership at the top, not only from Rep. Cepicky, but also from TN House GOP caucus chair Jeremy Faison, who has actively been trying to dissuade Tennesseans from getting the vaccine.

Tennessee Republicans have also gotten plenty of help from Fox News and other conservative sites, who have been repeatedly and constantly disparaging the vaccine even though they themselves have been vaccinated, including Fox chief Rupert Murdoch.

The cynicism is breathtaking.

STATEMENT FROM DR. FISCUS:

July 12, 2021

Today I became the 25th of 64 state and territorial immunization program directors to leave their position during this pandemic. That’s nearly 40% of us. And along with our resignations or retirements or, as in my case, push from office, goes the institutional knowledge and leadership of our respective COVID-19 vaccine responses.  I will not sit quietly by while our public health infrastructure is eroded in the midst of a pandemic.

We are a group of dedicated public health professionals who have worked endless hours to make COVID-19 vaccines, the ONE tool we have to effectively end the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic, available to every person in our jurisdictions.  Along the way we have been disparaged, demeaned, accused, and sometimes vilified by a public who chooses not to believe in science, and elected and appointed officials who have put their own self-interest above the people they were chosen to represent and protect.

On May 6, 2021, in advance of the approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15 year olds and in response to multiple questions I had received regarding the rules around vaccinating minors, I reached out to Tennessee Department of Health’s general counsel to request a statement regarding Tennessee’s Mature Minor Doctrine that resulted from a Tennessee Supreme Court Ruling in Cardwell v Bechtol in 1987. In response, I received a document attached to an email stating, “Sure—Attached is the new summary of the doctrine that has just recently been posted to the website and is blessed by the Governor’s office on the subject. This is forward facing so feel free to distribute to anyone.” On May 10, 2021, I copied and pasted the language provided to me into a memo that was distributed only to providers who were administering COVID-19 vaccines. A recipient of that memo was upset that, according to Tennessee Supreme Court case law, minors ages 14-17 years are able to receive medical care in Tennessee without parental consent and posted the memo to social media. Within days, legislators were contacting TDH asking questions about the memo with some interpreting it as an attempt to undermine parental authority. Let me be clear: this was an informational memo containing language approved by the TDH Office of General Counsel which was sent to medical providers by the medical director of the state’s immunization program regarding the guardrails set 34 years ago by the Tennessee Supreme Court around providing care to minors.

What has occurred in the time between the release of this memo and today, when I was terminated from my position as medical director of the vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization program at the Tennessee Department of Health, can only be described as bizarre. On May 19th TDH was asked to appear before the Government Operations Committee due to the concern that the memo was “a bit of a prodding or encouraging to vaccinate children without parental consent”.  This was followed by a series of requests from members of the Committee for data around the impact of COVID-19 on children and a request to appear before the Committee again on June 16. It was at that June 16th meeting that the Department was accused of “targeting” youth through Facebook messaging and its actions were described as “reprehensible” by one Committee member. That member went on to call for the “dissolving and reconstitution” of the Department of Health in the midst of a pandemic where one out of every 542 Tennesseans has died from COVID-19 on their watch and less than 38% of Tennesseans have been vaccinated. It is the mission of the Tennessee Department of Health to “protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of the people of Tennessee” and protecting them against the deadliest infectious disease event in more than 100 years IS our job. It’s the most important job we’ve had in recent history. Specifically, it was MY job to provide evidence-basededucation and vaccine access so that Tennesseans could protect themselves against COVID-19. I have now been terminated for doing exactly that. Each of us should be waking up every morning with one question on our minds: “What can I do to protect the people of Tennessee against COVID-19?”. Instead, our leaders are putting barriers in place to ensure the people of Tennessee remain at-risk, even with the delta variant bearing down upon us.

What’s more is that the leadership of the Tennessee Department of Health has reacted to the sabre rattling from the Government Operations Committee by halting ALL vaccination outreach for children.  Not just COVID-19 vaccine outreach for teens, but ALL communications around vaccines of any kind. No back-to-school messaging to the more than 30,000 parents who did not get their children measles vaccines last year due to the pandemic.  No messaging around human papilloma virus vaccine to the residents of the state with one of the highest HPV cancer rates in the country. No observation of National Immunization Awareness Month in August. No reminders to the parents of teens who are late in receiving their second COVID-19 vaccine. THIS is a failure of public health to protect the people of Tennessee and THAT is what is “reprehensible”. When the people elected and appointed to lead this state put their political gains ahead of the public good, they have betrayed the people who have trusted them with their lives.

I was told that I should have been more “politically aware” and that I “poked the bear” when I sent a memo to medical providers clarifying a 34 year old Tennessee Supreme Court ruling. I am not a political operative, I am a physician who was, until today, charged with protecting the people of Tennessee, including its children, against preventable diseases like COVID-19. I have been terminated for doing my job because some of our politicians have bought into the anti-vaccine misinformation campaign rather than taking the time to speak with the medical experts. They believe what they choose to believe rather than what is factual and evidence-based. And it is the people of Tennessee who will suffer the consequences of the actions of the very people they put into power. The public health professionals at the Tennessee Department of Health have worked themselves to exhaustion to protect Tennesseans from this virus. They are heroes. They have prevented suffering and saved countless lives. They are to be honored and commended, not cursed and vilified. And the “leaders” of this state who have put their heads in the sand and denied the existence of COVID-19 or who thought they knew better than the scientists who have spent their lives working to prevent disease… who have ignored the dead and dying surrounding them—even when their own colleagues have fought for their lives—they are what is “reprehensible”. I am ashamed of them. I am afraid for my state. I am angry for the amazing people of the Tennessee Department of Health who have been mistreated by an uneducated public and leaders who have only their own interests in mind. And I am deeply saddened for the people of Tennessee, who will continue to become sick and die from this vaccine-preventable disease because they choose to listen to the nonsense spread by ignorant people. At this point, you are going to get vaccinated or you are going to get sick. Yes, not getting the vaccine is a personal choice.  It’s true that you are likely to survive COVID-19.  It’s the 1 out of every 542 people surrounding you that will suffer the consequences of an unfortunate decision to remain vulnerable to this horrible disease.

May God bless the people of Tennessee.

Michelle D. Fiscus, MD FAAP

Tennessee Is Going Backwards

“This session should’ve been a wake-up call for moderates, independents, sensible Republicans…TENNESSEE IS GOING BACKWARDS.”

Sen. Yarbro on the extremism of Gov. Bill Lee and the Republican Party supermajority, focusing on imaginary issues rather than helping folks who need it.

 

Rep Jeremy Faison Calls Kanew a “Hateful Shit”

TN House GOP caucus chair Jeremy Faison came out to call Kanew a “HATEFUL SHIT” after he asked why Faison was trying to CUT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN HALF despite representing COCKE COUNTY, which has the highest unemployment % in the state.

All class, this Tennessee GOP!

 

OP-ED: DESECRATING THE BIBLE

Written Testimony on HJR150 by Steven Puckett.

My name is Steven Puckett. I am a citizen of Hendersonville, TN. I speak for myself and myself alone. First off, I want to say that I think the sponsor is well-intentioned in bringing this legislation. With that said, I am testifying in opposition to HJR150 on three grounds.  

The first is that this resolution desecrates the Holy Bible. The second is that this resolution calls into question the truth of the Christian faith. The third is that this resolution steals from the Holy Bible the witness power of being mistaken for the state book. 

For many Christians in Tennessee, this resolution desecrates the Holy Bible by reducing it in status from a sacred venerated object to just another political prop. Further, this resolution suggests that the Christian faith will not last the test of time as it seeks to memorialize an aspect of the Christian faith in government. In the eyes of Christians that believe that Christianity is the “one true faith”, this bill calls into question the “truth” of the Christian faith by suggesting a need to memorialize aspects of the faith as the “one true faith” needs no such memorialization for posterity. 

Furthermore, this resolution steals from the Holy Bible the powerful witness opportunity that comes from people mistaking the Holy Bible for the state book as it allows Christians the opportunity to explain that the Holy Bible is much more special than just some ole state book. The very fact it gets mistaken for the state book, when it is not, gives the ultimate testament to the truth of the Holy Bible. Without the fact that the Holy Bible is not the state book, the powerful witness opportunity is lost. 

Also, I understand that many mistake the removal of past societal idols as the removal of God from our society, but yet the reality is that God is actively creating opportunities for people to “to be still and listen”. In a world where nearly everyone speaks for God, God is clearly sending a message for us to be silent and listen throughout the elements in our society whether it be by replacing prayer over the loudspeaker with the moment of silence, required Bible study with silent reading, or conservative majority courts handing down liberal rulings on social issues. It is time for us to stop speaking for God and listen for God to speak to us. If do not, then we risk repeating the same folly that leads to people walking away from God forever during my dad’s school years, because they saw God and Christ as nothing more than agencies of the government. 

Finally, understand that we have a whole generation that is watching us and asking “Is there anything left that is sacred? Is there anything that is beyond being tainted by the dirty hands of politics?” I ask that you answer this generation by demonstrating that there is so by voting down this resolution in a decisive fashion.

“Do You Have Any Idea How Racist You Seem?”

Rep Hensley voted against the slavery abolition resolution and expanding black history, and is fighting to keep the KKK GRAND WIZARD BUST. Begs the question: Is he in the Klan?

 

The Struggle Against the Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust with Justin Jones

Organizer Justin Jones joins to talk with Representative Johnson about his years-long struggle in leading the charge to remove the bust of former KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest from the State Capitol. Jones puts it best in his reason for focusing so heavily on the bust: if we can’t remove such a blatant symbol of racism from our Capitol, how will we ever be able to find the strength to build a true, multi-racial democracy?

FULL PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you like to listen.

Rep. Rudd’s Ridiculous Restroom Sign Bill

Rep Tim Rudd swears his bathroom sign bill isn’t anti-trans, but it obviously is. Even GOP Rep Pat Marsh finds Rudd’s obsession with this issue unnecessary and absurd.

(This is our masterpiece, y’all. Pls enjoy.)

 

Tennessee Bar Association RIPS Rep. Rudd and the GOP

Rep. Tim Rudd and the Republicans are trying to remove a respected judge who ruled in a way they didn’t like – to let us all vote safely in a pandemic. Because, you know, Republicans don’t like when people vote. Yesterday the Democrats gave a press conference, and the Tennessee Bar Association has now issued a statement shredding the resolution and accurately pointing out how it threatened the separation of powers this country was founded on. Read their statement below.

By Barry Kolar on Mar 2, 2021. Originally posted on the Tennessee Bar Association’s Law Blog

NASHVILLE, March 2, 2021 — Since 1881, the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) has represented the entire spectrum of the Tennessee legal community, from plaintiff and defense attorneys to judges, government and legal services attorneys, corporate counsel, and many attorneys residing outside the State who retain an interest in the Tennessee legal profession.The TBA is a strong advocate for the profession and the development and maintenance of our justice system. This statement is not intended to be political or partisan, but instead one of extreme concern and caution related to the fundamental importance of the separation of powers and maintaining an independent judiciary in the State of Tennessee. We believe House Resolution 23 (HR 23) will have a chilling effect on the administration of justice in our State, and threatens the bedrock principle of separation of powers, which lies at the core of Tennessee’s system of government.

Article VI, Section 6 of the Tennessee Constitution provides a process for removing judges and attorneys for the state from office for cause. HR 23 appears to be the first time the legislature has used Article VI, Section 6 of the Tennessee Constitution to begin the removal process of a judge from office for cause based on rulings in a judicial proceeding. After a thorough review of HR 23 and the underlying case, the TBA has significant concerns about the resolution’s impact on the constitutional separation of powers in our three branches of government. As stated in the Preamble to Rule 10 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, “[a]n independent, fair and impartial judiciary is indispensable to our system of justice.” Judges should decide matters based on a thorough analysis and interpretation of the law without concern for the decision’s potential political implications.

Article VI, Section 6 is not a tool used as a matter of course, and we respectfully believe that the legislature should not use it in this circumstance. The TBA is concerned that HR 23, if successful, will create a precedent that any time a judge rules against the state, or on a statute, or renders a politically unpopular decision, that decision could potentially trigger legislative removal proceedings against that judge. This also results in the potential for removing a judge any time a ruling is overturned on appeal, when in fact the act of the appeal is a clear measure that the legal process is working appropriately.

Tennessee law provides for multiple avenues to hold judges accountable should that prove necessary. One such avenue, the Board of Judicial Conduct, was created by the legislature itself. The board provides an orderly and efficient method for inquiring into, among other things, the fitness of judges, a judge’s manner of performance of duty, and the judge’s commission of any act that reflects unfavorably upon the judiciary or that may adversely affect the administration of justice. The board is comprised of 16 members, eight of which are appointed by the speakers of the Senate and House, respectively.

Further, the judicial system has in place an appeals process. The state utilized the appeals process in the matters outlined in HR 23. Ultimately, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned Chancellor Lyle’s temporary injunction, although one justice did agree with her.

The people act as another vehicle for judicial accountability. Article VI, Section 4 of the Tennessee Constitution provides that “…the Judges of the Circuit and Chancery Courts, and of other Inferior Courts, shall be elected by the qualified voters of the district or circuit to which they are to be assigned.” Chancellor Lyle, like many other judges across this state, is an elected judge. She will stand for reelection and face a decision on her continued tenure by the voters in her district. The voters in her district should exercise their judgment about whether or not she should remain in office. Reasonable minds can and will continue to disagree with judicial decisions even in cases like this one of first impression. The remedies related to those disagreements lie in the appellate process and at the voting booth.

Processes currently exist as a check on all judges, and those processes work. We strongly encourage members of the General Assembly and the citizens of this state to utilize the appeals process, make complaints to the Board of Judicial Conduct when necessary, and exercise their right to vote. We also urge the General Assembly to reconsider HR 23 and its impact on an impartial, independent judiciary.