Watch Trump supporters march at the Capitol, where they were met by counter-protestors and had a heated exchange.
Holler co-founder Justin Kanew chatted with Comedian JOHN HENSON – former host of TALK SOUP and WIPEOUT! and current host of THE HALLOWEEN BAKING CHAMPIONSHIP on the Food Network. John is also a politically savvy tweeter who regularly engages with those who disagree with him. He sat down with us to diagnose the political infection our country is currently suffering from.
“Everybody becomes a firefighter when your house is burning down.”
Follow Him: @John_Henson
“Everybody becomes a firefighter when your house is burning down… When you view someone as infallible, you‘ve lost the narrative.”
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) October 18, 2019
NEW PODCAST EPISODE: “Voices From The NASHVILLE Kurds Protest”
Kurds lost 11,000 lives in the fight against ISIS. Over 1500 people turned out to protest Trump’s betrayal of them in downtown Nashville on Friday.
Nashville has the largest population of Kurdish-Americans in the country. Listen to what they had to say:
“They’re killing all of my people right now.”
Watch our VIDEO here.
This op-ed by Holler co-founder Justin Kanew was originally seen in the Tennessean last week
Medicaid expansion would have been cost-free to Tennessee, yet former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan was blocked by his own party.
Gov. Bill Lee’s possibly illegal Medicaid block grant proposal would put billions of dollars Tennessee’s most vulnerable citizens depend on in his hands and the hands of the Tennessee Republican supermajority with few strings attached. The plan gives them the incentive to spend as few of those dollars as possible by finding “savings” the state would then keep a portion of.
Beware of ‘savings’
If “savings” sounds like “cuts” to you, you’d be correct. That’s why the block grant pushers have been unwilling to promise no cuts, and why comments about the proposal have been almost entirely negative. The American Pediatric Association, the American Lung Association, doctors, patients, mothers, lawyers, state legislators, members of Congress — in short, nearly everyone who has spoken at this week’s public hearings has been staunchly against what they see as a bad deal for Tennessee. It’s a deal that will hurt the people who need our help the most — seniors, children, the disabled and the poor.
The specifics of a block grant are vague and complicated, but the bottom line is that Lee and the state’s Republicans are asking us to trust that they’ll do a better job of stretching those Medicaid dollars without the federal rules and oversight that are designed to protect those at risk.
But Lee and the GOP have already shown us they are undeserving of our trust. Medicaid expansion would have been cost-free to Tennessee, yet former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan was blocked by his own party, and in the aftermath 12 hospitals have closed, 300,000 people have gone unnecessarily uninsured, and we’ve lost $7 billion of our own federal tax dollars. Yet we have still not been given a good reason other than that it was President Barack Obama’s idea.
Now Tennessee leads the country in medical bankruptcies, rural hospital closures per capita, opioid deaths and infant mortality rates and is bringing up the rear in health care access. We have a four-alarm health care fire in Tennessee, and now we’re supposed to trust the party that refused buckets of water and let it burn to do the right thing with even less oversight and more “flexibility?”
Governor was a no-show
Lee has intentionally ducked this week’s public hearings while calling the very qualified professionals and parents speaking out against his block grant “misinformed.” But they’re not. They know the truth about what’s happening here in Tennessee and the irresponsible tragedy of not expanding Medicaid, and they simply don’t trust Lee to put Tennessee’s children, elderly, poor and most vulnerable ahead of money and politics this time around either.
“I had hoped Governor Lee’s religious faith would’ve given him more of a heart for the poor, especially as we anticipate the Day of Prayer he has called,” Rep. Jim Cooper said at the public hearing in Nashville this week. Amen, Jim. On that Day of Prayer, Lee might want to say one for his own soul, and the soul of his party.
“Faith without works is dead.” — James 2:17
Justin Kanew is a co-founder of the Tennessee Holler.
Trump has left our Kurdish allies to die, even after they lost 11,000 in our fight against ISIS. The Protest of Trump’s betrayal of our Kurdish allies in Nashville was massive.
Congressman Jim Cooper was also there.
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) October 12, 2019
It’s no secret most Republicans legislators feel it’s their duty right now not to do what they think is right, but to stand by Trump at all costs – regardless of what he’s doing to societal/constitutional norms, the law, our global reputation and our allies.
Most have stayed silent as he pressured a foreign government to interfere in our elections by digging up dirt on his opponent, which they all refuse to defend and instead are awkwardly dancing around.
They’ve stayed silent as he has lied about it repeatedly.
They’ve stayed silent as he stopped witnesses from testifying… and distanced himself from his own ambassadors who were texting abut the quid pro quo… and pretended not to know the men who were executing the plan, who were just ARRESTED – who have been seen in pictures with him, and who have been palling around with his lawyer for many months, looking for Biden dirt in Ukraine.
The only issue on which Republicans have even shown the slightest bit of willingness to part with Trump is the issue of Syria, where Trump has just recently abandoned our Kurdish allies who have helped us against ISIS seemingly on a whim, without telling the very generals in charge of the situation over there.
The damage and destruction has already begun.
It’s worth noting that Turkish officials are some of Trump’s best customers at his hotel in DC, and he himself has business in Turkey. Yet again we have a president putting his own interests ahead of the country.
Rep. Mark Green is among the Republicans who have made it a point to excuse and support everything this president does, and now Green has even gone ahead and told us as much – telling NPR that he “fully supports” Trump’s actions in Syria even when he disagrees with it.
Here’s the quote: “I don’t agree with what he’s doing… I wish it wasn’t happening… but I still FULLY SUPPORT IT.”
Fuller transcript of this answer, in which Republican Rep. Green says he disagrees with Trump’s decision on Syria, but then again compares his support for Trump with his marriage pic.twitter.com/ewWA55peXl
— Tim Mak (@timkmak) October 9, 2019
This is leadership? Green is a military man, and apparently he thinks he was elected to blindly obey this president. But congress is supposed to exist as a separate branch, there to check the bad behavior of a president gone wild.
If our founders wanted a king, the American Revolution never would’ve happened.
Meanwhile we have Evangelical leaders calling for “obedience” to Trump. The Bible is very clear about false Gods.
The question becomes: At what point does a political party become a cult? Feels like we’re already there.
The constitution anticipates out-of-control presidents, which is why the powers of impeachment exist. But what happens when an entire political party becomes just as corrupt and complicit? There are many conservatives speaking out right now – George Will, conservative lawyers, military people – some of which even worked for Trump.
But in the end it will be up to senators like Lamar Alexander to put country before party and actually do something about it, or else pretty soon what we have won’t resemble anything like the country our founders intended.
Holler at Lamar and let him know it’s time to put country first: (202) 224-4944
On Thursday, Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Dr. Manny Sethi released a list of 174 “grassroots” activists supporting his campaign. Spoiler alert: We’re betting his opponent, former Trump ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty, didn’t lose any sleep last night.
For instance, the most prominent official on Sethi’s list is State Rep. Bruce Griffey (District 75, Paris) and his wife, Rebecca. The Griffeys recently made statewide news for breaking state Republican Party bylaws in an attempt to intimidate a chancery court judge and ensure Rebecca Griffey’s appointment to the bench. The judge submitted her resignation to Governor Bill Lee after nine days, citing intimidation by the Griffeys.
Elected officials also include State Rep. Kelly Keisling (District 38, Byrdstown.) In 2012, Keisling used his official state email address to share the rumor with constituents that then-President Barack Obama was planning to stage a fake assassination attempt in order to stop the 2012 election.
In a press release, Forrest Barnwell-Hagemeyer, Sethi’s campaign manager, said, “It’s clear that Dr. Manny is the choice of Tennessee conservatives.”
In addition to the Griffeys and Keisling, those conservatives include:
- State Rep. Dan Howell, (D22-Cleveland,) whose legislative accomplishments have included voting for Governor Lee’s education voucher scheme, voting to authorize adoption agencies to deny adoption to parents who don’t comply with the agency’s religious beliefs, and voting to allow Gov. Lee to submit a waiver of Medicaid in favor of block grants to “cover” healthcare.
- Former (Nashville) Metro Council Member Duane Dominy, currently a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging Metro violated its own laws in the pending deal to place a Major League Soccer stadium at Fairgrounds Nashville.
- Former Metro Council Member and current TNGOP Executive Committee Member Robert Duvall, who supported the legalization of gun carry in Metro Parks during his time on the council.
- Dr. Ming Wang of Nashville, lasik eye surgeon.
- Rick Williams, Nashville, former 5th Congressional District chair of 2016 Trump for President campaign.
- Helen “Tootie” Haskins, longtime Tennessee legislative aide.
- Fred Decosimo, Chattanooga, board member of the Beacon Center of Tennessee and treasurer of Lee’s gubernatorial campaign.
- Marshall County Trustee Scottie Poarch, who in 2017 was nominated by Congressman Scott DesJarlais as the 4th Congressional District’s Statesman of the Year.
- Dr. Omar Hamada, former chair of the Williamson County Republican Party.
- Cyndi Miller, state GOP Executive Committee member (D23-Williamson County), who has advocated for the sale of the public Williamson County Medical Center.
For a full list of Sethi’s grassroots cast of characters, go to the Tennessee Journal.
We wanted to share this TWITTER THREAD by @Susan_Hennessey with you that sheds some light on the basic points about Trump’s hypocritical, baseless, destructive, impeachable mission to pressure foreign governments to go after his political opponent.
Hunter Biden profiting off of the Biden name is not something anyone should be happy about, but it’s also not illegal, and it doesn’t excuse Trump manipulating the entire apparatus of the American government to do his political bidding, Also, the Trump family is the last family in the world that should be attacking him for it considering how the Trump kids have been doing the same and worse – and Trump has been profiteering off the Oval Office since the beginning.
Meanwhile another whistleblower tells us Trump is meddling with the IRS to keep us from seeing his taxes. What a mess.
Here’s SUSAN’S THREAD on why Biden actually followed the rules and norms that Trump has not.
All presidents and vice presidents and cabinet members have family and friends whose jobs might be impacted by policy. That’s why we ask them to observe transparent ethics processes and norms. That is what Biden did. That is what Trump doesn’t do.
To begin with, we ask that presidents and vice presidents divest from personal business holdings. That is what Biden did. That is what Trump didn’t do.
Then we ask that presidents and vice presidents disclose tax returns and financial records to ensure transparency. That is what Biden did. That is what Trump refuses to do.
Then we ask presidents and vice presidents to observe the laws and norms against nepotism in government, by not hiring their family members. Biden observed those norms and laws. Trump refuses to do so.
Even when presidents & VPs divest from personal conflicts, disclose finances & avoid nepotism, sometimes questions still arise. Some things they can’t recuse from & will impact their own financial interests or family/friends. Things like tax cuts, foreign policy, military action.
And so we expect them to observe the norms of process in order to bolster legitimacy. By working through places like State Department, relying on interagency recommendations. It creates reassurance that decisions are being made in the national interest and not personal interest.
What Trump has done is refused to divest from his business, refused to disclose tax returns and financial documents, handed his children government jobs, and then circumvented regular process in the face of opposition from the executive branch and Congress.
Because Biden observed all ethics rules and norms, and was acting on behalf of the US with international support—a position reached through robust and transparent process—we can have confidence in his actions, even in situations in which someone identifies a possible conflict.
This is why past presidents and vice presidents have voluntarily observed these rules (at least most of them and usually). Because they know they may need it to preserve political legitimacy. But Trump doesn’t care about legitimacy. He is openly unethical and self-interested.
Here is a piece I wrote on exactly this problem in January 2017 and why ethics rules are essential to national security.
And here is a book I wrote with Benjamin Wittes which has a whole entire chapter devoted to the subject, chock-full of fun historical examples!
Finally! The Williamson County Republican Party, party of deposed-House Speaker Glen Casada and Senator Marsha Blackburn , weighed in on climate change yesterday, and on the hottest October day on record to boot.
Before we get too hopeful for rationality, let’s review what the local GOP said. An email sent to subscribers began with a request for right-wingers to step up and run for Williamson County School Board — a non-partisan race — in 2020.
According to the Grand Ole Party, it’s necessary for good conservatives to come to the aid of their party and their county because all those poor underpaid public school teachers are bent on indoctrinating children with wild theories about climate change and oh, showing respect for people who aren’t white.
“The sad reality is that like Climate Change activist Greta Thunberg, students all over the country have become products of indoctrination and fear in the public school system from a very young age,” said the post. (Psst: Which country? Greta is from Sweden.)
The post added “certain staff and educators” are forcing white privilege training on teachers in the county school system.
These claims aren’t new. Earlier this year, the Williamson GOP made news when they went bonkers about a training on inclusion in schools.
Nor is this the party’s first time at interjecting partisan politics into the local school elections. In 2014, GOP donor Kent Davis advised Republican candidates for the — again, for the cheap seats: non-partisan — school board on strategies for ousting then Director of Schools Mike Looney, a frequent target of the right. In an email outlining his strategy, Davis included Casada and Susan Curlee, who was elected to the board that year. (Curlee has since moved to Lawrence County, where she chairs the Lawrence County Republican Party.)
In 2015, the Williamson board made the Atlantic Monthly in a story citing then-board member Dr. Beth Burgos, also on the 2014 Davis email cited above, and her campaign to remove alleged “Islamic indoctrination” from the schools.
So, the fear of indoctrination and a bent for injecting partisan politics into what is — and should be — non-partisan races isn’t surprising.
But, Greta is still right.
This week throughout Tennessee public hearings for comments about Governor Bill Lee’s possibly illegal block grant proposal are being held. A Block Grant would hand a giant lump sum of medicaid dollars to a group of people who have already shown they don’t actually care about the suffering of poor Tennesseans, having rejected billions of Medicaid expansion dollars for no non-political reason.
It has cost us BILLIONS. We’re #1 in Rural hospital closures, medical bankruptcies, at the bottom in opioid deaths, infant mortality, the list goes on. Medicaid expansion would help all of those things. A block grant will only exacerbate them.
The hearing in Nashville was emotional, but Lee and the TN GOP wouldn’t know because they weren’t there, and they didn’t have anyone there to record it or take note of the comments.
We were there though. Below are a few clips.
Rep. Jim Cooper: “I had hoped Gov. Lee’s religious faith would’ve given him more of a heart for the poor, especially as we anticipate the Day of Prayer he has called.”
Cooper exposes Lee’s (illegal?) Block Grant as a bad deal for Tennessee & our most vulnerable:
“These aren’t just numbers. There are real people suffering… This is a faithful state- we should be helping the poor, not hurting them.”
Holler co-Founder Kanew speaks up:
“If it wasn’t for my family there are times I wouldn’t have anything to eat. It’s so humiliating.”
DEVASTATING testimony from a woman who lost Medicaid to a paperwork snafu. Governor Lee’s proposal will lead to more of these stories, not less: