SENATOR NICELEY’S ANTI-SEMITISM SHINES THROUGH AGAIN

Last week Republican state senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) made national news for his absurd comments invoking Hitler as an inspiration to homeless people. Nobody knew what the hell he was trying to say, and he didn’t seem to either when we asked him.

The comments landed him in all kinds of national publications, and even made him the butt of some John Oliver jokes. This was just months after he made similar waves for saying the Civil War is not over, and the south is winning.

In case anyone is ready to chalk those up to being gaffes of an out-of-touch old southern Republican who just doesn’t know better, Niceley is back in the headlines today to make sure you know that nope, he’s a genuine anti-Semite.

His latest comments concern the removal of Trump backed TN-5 hopeful Morgan Ortagus, who was just one of a handful of candidates removed from the primary ballot in a hotly contested race for Jim Cooper’s open seat in congress.

As you may remember, Ortagus recently moved to Nashville specifically to run for congress, and already has some serious money behind her despite the fact that she couldn’t answer some very basic questions about Tennessee, or her district. Niceley carried legislation that would’ve removed Ortagus and others from the ballot through a 3-year residency requirement, but that isn’t how she ended up getting kicked off. It was actually her Republican bona fides that did her in, since she didn’t vote in 3 of the last 4 Republican primaries, which is a requirement for them to be on the ballot. (Robby Starbuck and Baxter Lee were also just removed)

When asked about the removal of Ortagus and the possibility that it might upset Trump (the defeated insurrection-inciting con man ex-president who Niceley also unwaveringly supports), Niceley had these blatantly anti-semitic comments to say to NBC:

“I don’t think Trump cares one way or the other. I think Jared Kushner — he’s Jewish, she’s Jewish — I think Jared will be upset. Ivanka will be upset. I don’t think Trump cares.”

Implying Jews only care about other Jews because they’re Jewish feeds a very damaging stereotype. Coupled with Niceley’s previous comments about Hitler, and the picture starts to become very clear about what Niceley actually thinks about Jews in general, and it isn’t a pretty one.

Ortagus said this in response:

“Antisemitism is the oldest and one of the most vile forms of hatred on this earth, and Senator should be ashamed of his repeated antisemitic rhetoric. I am incredibly proud to call myself a part of the Jewish people, and I have always called out antisemitism when I see it in all of its forms. I will condemn anyone who traffics in this hate-mongering. Senator Niceley’s repulsive words could not be more clear in disparaging the Jewish people. This racism cannot stand.”

Ward Baker, a campaign strategist for Ortagus who has also been inv0lved with the campaigns of Marsha Blackburn and many other prominent Republicans, had this to say:

Anti-semitism indeed.

The question now becomes – will the Republican party condemn Niceley’s comments? Will the TN Senate GOP caucus? Will majority leader Jack Johnson? Lt. Gov. Mcnally? Governor Lee?

Or will they be complicit in their silence? Time will tell.

VICIOUSLY BIGOTED BUTT OFFICIALLY IN FOR MAURY MAYOR

As the Maury County Holler reported this week, rumor at Mulefest on Saturday was Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles would NOT be running for both re-election and the open TN-5 congressional seat, but would instead be relinquishing his hold on the mayor’s office to focus on the crowded circus of a TN-5 primary.

Word was the Maury GOP would then throw their weight behind former TN House GOP Rep Sheila Butt for mayor.

Well, the Maury Holler appears to have been correct. Butt has just posted a picture of herself dropping off her petition to run for Maury mayor.

This is noteworthy because even in a party that has come to stand for anti-LGBT hate, anti-Muslim hate, and, yes, racism, Sheila stands out from the crowd.

Butt’s anti-LGBT hate is blatant and right out in the open. Would you like some examples, with receipts? That’s what we’re here for. Let’s begin…

She has said homosexuality is a “slippery slope” to pedophilia and a “godless” “horrific” “immoral” culture:

She told Maury County residents to steer clear of downtown Columbia because of a PRIDE block party:

She even put her name on whatever the hell this is:

BUTTT it isn’t just about her hatred for our LGBTQ brothers & sisters.

She is also deeply anti-Muslim, and once even called for Christian and WHITE organizations to form in opposition to CAIR.

She’s also as anti-reproductive freedom as they come, advocating for the ban of all abortions without exceptions for rape, and even going as far as to say most instances of rape are “not verifiable” – a comment for which she was admonished by one of her Democratic House colleagues:

And if all that wasn’t enough, Butt once openly disparaged the idea of interracial marriage in her book, saying women who date outside of their race are often less desirable to those of their own races afterwards:

And these are just a few of her greatest hits. There is undoubtedly plenty more.

In today’s GOP, does harboring racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-woman views count as baggage? Or is that, in fact, her qualifying resume?

Judging by the word that the party is already in the tank for her, we probably have her answer.

How can LGBT people, Muslims, People of Color, women – or anyone really – feel safe in the community knowing Butt is their mayor? Is being this hateful what Maury County is looking for in a mayor? We hope it isn’t. We fear it is.

Ogles was hateful. Butt may somehow be worse. We have to be better than this.

And we truly hope other members of the media, particularly in Maury County, will remind people what Butt is really all about.

VIDEO: REP. FAISON TRIES TO FIGHT (AND PANTS) A REF

By now you’ve probably seen the video we unearthed of REP. FAISON TRYING TO FIGHT AND PANTS A REF at a high school basketball game in East Tennessee. After we saw Faison take to social media to apologize for the incident, we figured he was likely trying to get out in front of video that existed, so we did some digging, and sure enough we found it, for your viewing pleasure.

Again: HE TRIED TO PULL THE REF’S PANTS OFF, in a gym full of kids! He’s lucky he didn’t succeed, or he might be in one of those prisons he likes to vote to send money to while underfunding our schools.

As it stands the TSSAA is declining to punish or suspend him, deferring instead to the school (LAKEWAY CHRISTIAN), who has not answered our questions about his ability to attend future games. Apparently pantsing refs is ok in Tennessee now? Or maybe just when you’re a state rep?

Faison‬⁩ is the ⁦‪Tennessee House Republicans‬⁩ caucus CHAIR, 3rd ranking Republican in the Tennessee House, which is why this absurd story then proceeded to make national headlines, which we would like to think we had a hand in. Our video has been watched 250,000 times on Twitter.

On that note, here’s a A TWEET THAT DIDN’T AGE WELL – Faison tweeted this on January 6th 2021 — then one year later made national news for trying to fight and pants a ref👖 🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

Obviously this behavior is juvenile and unacceptable, but as Holler founder KANEW points out, “It’s not just (pantsing & threatening a ref) that makes Rep. Faison a bully – it’s the legislation he supports, and how he treats the most vulnerable people in Tennessee.”

Kanew saw firsthand that Faison is a bully when he got in his face and called him a “Hateful shit” during session last year after Kanew asked him why he was voting to cut unemployment benefits (while giving himself a raise) despite his own Cocke county having the highest unemployment in the state.

On a lighter note, a real Globetrotters player even took the time to give Faison good advice for next time he tries to pants a ref in front of children… listen up, Jeremy! 👇🏽🏀

We’ll make sure to ask Jeremy about this in person when the legislature starts back up next week. Please consider chipping in monthly if you’re not yet doing so, even if it’s just a few bucks – the monthly support truly keeps us going. 

The Holler

OP-ED: “To Stop The Violence, Make People In The Community Feel Valued”

TN Congressional Candidate Nathaniel Doss on How to Help Stop the Violence in Tennessee

Recently the community was challenged to tell our elected officials what assistance we would like from them. This is an intricate question that requires us to also pull back the layers to a historically uncomfortable position. None of the violence we are seeing is new. None of the outrage from the community is new. Most recently we saw a heinous crime committed against seven women at a celebration for our community. This act of violence left me shaken to my core not only because of the personal attachment to one of the victims but because, as a man, I was taught my main responsibility was to protect the matriarch of the family.

I felt that I had personally failed those women; like WE failed them.

Changing a culture is never easy, especially one living with generational PTSD. We have suffered from eras of trauma. Due to the constant trauma that we have begun associating with the “Black experience” we have become desensitized to the social negative reinforcements that control society. These constructs are the checks put in place to discourage crime. When an individual feels as if they have nothing to lose, there are really no limits to their depravity.

When a group of people recognizes that imprisonment is routine and commonplace, it becomes an expected outcome. When, as a people, we have seen horrors firsthand and not just heard about them in stories, those horrors are as easily dealt as they are received.

We must make our people understand that they have value to our community.

We must get our young people to understand that not only is their life important but who they will be in our community in the future is important as well.

We must cultivate and grow empathy again despite the horrors we have seen.

That lack of empathy was what made shooting into a crowd of women and children at a peaceful event, a reasonable action for a traumatized mind. Empathy and love must be taught as early and with as much emphasis as potty training, colors, and shapes.

Conversely, we speak of culture change, and it is admittedly a dire need; however how can we begin to change a culture of a group of people with unmet basic needs? How shall you preach to a man that is hungry? How can you hope to correct a child who does not have a safe place to rest?

Until those basic needs are met, we cannot hope to make any change. We MUST address the needs first.

We have to tap those resources that are available to meet those needs and we must start early. Exposure to a different possible outcome is key. What if instead of watching numerous relatives and friends be incarcerated, it was more common to see numerous friends and family graduate? We must normalize success and growth. We must celebrate and incentivize it, if necessary.

Actions that will begin the change are true community policing, access to nutrition, and home ownership for people employed in our community. We have community policing some may say, and we do to an extent. Let’s intensify our efforts at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and Chattanooga State Community College so we can recruit members of the community. In Chattanooga we had an era that was successful with this, no matter the reason it ceased. It needs to be reinstated with a deliberate and focused effort.

As someone stated at the meeting Dr. Mackey organized, we also need social workers to work directly with our Chattanooga Police department. That means increasing their budget to employ said social workers that would work shoulder to shoulder with our police department protecting our city 24 hours a day. Allowing our police to focus their efforts more on the ilk that plagues our community.

I read today, “Teach a man to fish after you give him a fish. Learning anything on a hungry stomach is less likely to be retained.” I couldn’t agree more, we have children going to school hungry and coming home to hunger. In many areas of Chattanooga where minorities reside there is a lack of suitable access to nutrition. A hungry child will not concentrate in school or behave in the community. Their main concern is rectifying that hunger if only for today. I believe we must partner with businesses, and social development departments at all three municipalities: City, County, and State, in order to ensure that we do not have a health crisis and that grocery stores are accessible in every community.

As I have been walking around this summer introducing myself and listening to the community, I listened as many were fearful of their community losing its identity. Many spoke of not wanting the perceived crime that comes with “affordable housing’’ i.e. apartment complexes. I sympathize with their fears and understand because I live within their community and have seen violence on my own street. We need to partner with developers, the city, the county, and community associations so we can best add homeownership to our underserved communities without changing the dynamics of that community.

We must educate our neighbors; affordable housing no longer looks like their homes. It will not have the same spacing in between homes and may not remotely resemble their homes in appearance. What it will do is bring hard working people that want to break generational cycles; people that want to add value to a community because they have a direct interest in doing so.

We must make home ownership accessible and a reality for those that may not have seen this as a possibility. This may mean creative lending and alternative credit scoring. There may be fear of perceived risk, but the payout is more than worth it. What better way to ensure a thriving community and thus a swift investment return? Ownership in any form creates pride and stewardship.

You take care of what is yours; that goes for houses, communities, and people no matter your socio-economic class.

We must challenge ourselves to partner with unions, business partners, our educational institutions to provide and help prepare workers for more careers and not just dead-end employment. Meaningful employment, safety, ready access to nutrition, flourishing schools, and homeownership will be impactful when adding Pride, thus changing the culture. Our community has worked hard to improve the starting pay with City employment and attract employers such as Volkswagen, Amazon, and many others.

Productivity is directly affected by stable homes and the provision of basic needs. It’s all a cycle of growth. We all have an impact to make, some know right away and others as they grow into their calling. The Black community has managed to struggle through all these years, but it is like a doctor concentrating on the symptoms and not the cause. It is past time to cure the disease that is eating away at our community. 

Nate Doss is running for congress as a Democrat in Tennessee’s 3rd District. LEARN MORE.

SETTING A BAD EXAMPLE: GOV. LEE’S FAILURE TO LEAD COMES AT GREAT COST

SETTING A BAD EXAMPLE:

GOV. LEE’S FAILURE TO LEAD COMES AT GREAT COST

At Governor Lee’s press conferences, in the presence of statewide media and TV cameras, he presents himself as someone who personally believes masks work. It’s not that he shares the opinion of anti-mask extremists who think masks are tyranny, he assures us – it’s just that he believes people in Tennessee should have the final say over whether or not their kids wear masks to school.

Clearly he has done the polling and decided that middle ground is the safest place for him to live.

Not firmly on either side. One foot in each camp. Tell the pro-mask parents they’re right about the efficacy of masks, while telling the anti-mask parents they’re right about “freedom” and all that.

His opt out executive order was the legislative manifestation of this wishy-washiness – not a “mask mandate ban” by name, but one in spirit. It allowed the anti-maskers to feel like they had won, while allowing Lee to pretend he hadn’t actually banned mask mandates – even though he had (as a judge in Memphis seems to have figured out).

But underneath it all, Lee’s attempt to present himself as a personal believer in masks doesn’t pass the smell test. He may have spent state money on a “mask up” ad campaign… his Health Department may have “recommended” them… but if Lee really thinks they work, why isn’t he wearing one?

Why with cases skyrocketing and hospitalizations at all time highs was he just recently pictured with kids, inside a school, maskless? And why did he POST IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA, as if to say it was the right way to behave? Why even bother pretending to think masks are the right thing to do if he’s not going to lead by example?

The truth is, Lee is either an anti-masker at heart, or a coward.

If he truly believes wearing masks are the right thing to do, he should be doing it. But doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do is not in Lee’s DNA.

Leadership is simply not in his bag of tricks.

Lee has shown us time and again he will always say the most politically convenient thing in the moment. He will always follow the way he thinks the polling goes.

But leaders aren’t supposed to follow the way the wind is blowing. Leaders are supposed to lead.

And because our state doesn’t have a leader, but instead has a man in charge who is first and foremost worried about pandering to extremists, 27 school districts are closed, at least 8 teachers are dead, our hospitals are pleading for help, and we have the worst outbreak in the country (one of the worst in the world)

We are paying a heavy price for Lee’s failure to lead.

Setting a bad example comes at great cost.

Justin Kanew is the founder of the Tennessee Holler

INTERVIEW: COMEDIAN WALTER MASTERSON (Master of Trolling Right-Wing Extremists)

Comedian Walter Masterson joins us to talk about trolling Rep. Greene & Rep. Gaetz in California, and a local school board in NY where anti-CRT parents had no idea he was making fun of them. (PODCAST)

CLIP:

 

The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion

We need more diversity and inclusion in our national and state discussions. Tullahoma City Alderman Rupa Blackwell joins the show to discuss how she is helping to elevate these issues in her rural community.

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

 

Elect Black Women

“Good leadership tends to be people who have lived the hurt and the pain of terrible legislation.” Ruby Powell-Dennis of Elect Black Women PAC on #ACaseOfTheMundays talking about why it’s crucial to elect Black women for competent leadership.

Support Elect Black Women PAC

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

 

Hagerty Staffer: Trump Voters “Ignorant Sheep”

The Days of Gatekeepers Are Over

“I think the day of the gatekeepers of old is really waning. People are tired of that. They want something new, they don’t want these lifelong politicians.”
 
Kendra Cotton from The New Georgia Project on how to organize the South.

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