VIDEO: Rep. Jim Cooper Fires Up The Crowd At The CLC Lunch

This week Rep. Jim Cooper visited the Central Labor Council lunch in Nashville and spoke to a rapt audience about the need for unity and togetherness in the coming election, when the labor movement would be a key part of a “winning strategy” in the hopes of preserving key programs like Medicare and social security.

Cooper spoke about rampant inequality the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Gilded Age, acknowledged that the system isn’t fair, but reminded everyone that “the rich people are out there voting”.

Watch the HIGHLIGHTS:

LAMAR ALEXANDER: “I Believe Climate Change Is Real, Caused By Humans”

With so much going on right now, we almost missed Lamar Alexander saying something few Republicans will these days: That climate change is real, and caused by humans.

This is not something you hear Republicans say every day.

Donald Trump hasn’t admitted it. Most Republicans have spent their time recently mocking and misrepresenting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which attempts to address the realities of Climate Change in ambitious ways, but without offering ideas of their own.

Meanwhile President Trump has appointed a former coal lobbyist as the head of the EPA.

As a reminder, much of the dark money that funds these climate change denial efforts can be traced back to the Koch Brothers, who have a strong presence here in Tennessee.

In a Politico article today Alexander seems to be attempting to address that:

“I believe climate change is real. I believe humans are a major cause of it, and I think a new ‘Manhattan Project for Clean Energy’ is something that most Republicans could support, and I would hope most Democrats could too.”

The article also points out that more and more Americans see climate change as a major issue:

“Polls back up the importance of the issue for 2020. Likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, home of the nation’s first presidential caucus, now rank climate change as the second-most important topic facing the nation.”

Just last week high school kids across the globe walked out in an attempt to highlight the problem – a problem even Exxon’s own scientists have been warning them about for decades.

It remains to be seen how far Alexander is willing to go, and since his time is almost at an end it seems unlikely he’ll be able to see anything through, but it’s nice to see the ice around climate change denial begin to thaw even a little. Especially since the warnings lately have been extremely dire.

If you agree, holler at Lamar HERE.

RESPONSE: Mark Green & Co. Are the Real “Radicals”

Justin Kanew ran for Congress against Rep. Mark Green in the 7th District in 2018. He wrote this in response to Green’s op-ed in the Tennessean this week, where Green asked: “Are the Democrats Ok With The Party’s Leftward March?”

First of all – Hi, Mark! Been a while. I haven’t seen you since you were refusing to debate me in our congressional race.

Since then we saw each other in Franklin, where you accused me of falsely accusing you of leading the fight against Medicaid expansion (despite your own endorsement saying you did),  while also saying it was wrong of me to point out that you did it while declaring government programs like Medicaid “keep people from a saving knowledge of who God is”.

These “Radical” statements are all on video… the tape doesn’t lie…


What makes it even more unconscionable is that you yourself were on a state health care plan. But I digress.

I’m writing here to answer the question you just posed in the Tennessean, where you asked: “Are the Democrats Ok With The Party’s Leftward March?”

You must’ve sat down to write that after your grandstanding at the Michael Cohen hearing, where you oddly didn’t seem to care at all about the multiple crimes the president may have committed – which most Americans believe he has.

Sorry, there I go digressing again.

Ok, let’s get down to it. I’m here to address your question. In short, the answer is a resounding YES.

YES, I’m ok with Democrats attempting to address the very serious problems of Gilded Age levels of inequality and climate change, which your party continues to claim is a hoax on behalf of the billionaires who finance your campaigns despite the fact that their own science has been telling them climate change is real for decades.

(Say hi to the Kochs for me, by the way. Maybe you’ll see them at your next ALEC meeting.)

You and I both just ran for congress in TN-7. If you were looking out the window as you went from photo op to photo op you may have noticed the harsh truth that not every county in Tennessee is Williamson County.

Rural Tennessee is hurting. But instead of doing everything within your power to help keep uninsured Tennesseans and rural hospitals afloat through medicaid expansion, or extending a helping hand to regular folks through a living wage, real tax relief, standing with unions, etc. – you mock every effort to help everyday Tennesseans as “socialism”.

Let’s be clear: “Socialism” is literally “a government takeover of the means of production”.

Nobody is advocating for that.

What I and almost every progressive I know actually want is to level the playing field and stop the over-concentration of wealth and power you and your pals facilitate at every turn.

You mock the Green New Deal, but I’ll take an over-ambitious plan to deal with the harsh realities we face over a corrupt deal with the Big Everything devil any day of the week. (Reminder: One of us refused PAC money of any kind during our race, and it wasn’t you.)

One can only imagine what you would have said about FDR’s New Deal, which most of your constituents have greatly benefitted from for generations, which helped bring us OUT of the Great Depression – a depression outrageous levels of inequality and policies like the ones you support helped get us into.

A refresher: The New Deal included the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA)…

…It provided support for farmers, the unemployed, youth and the elderly…

…It included new constraints and safeguards on the banking industry… and efforts to re-inflate the economy after prices had fallen sharply…

You would’ve HATED it.

As for the specifics of the Green New Deal you mock, let’s talk about what you actually said:

“The visionaries behind this massive bill are hoping to eliminate air travel, gut and rebuild every building in America, eliminate 99% of cars, eliminate nuclear energy and ban affordable energies like natural gas.”

This is obviously a childish over-exaggeration and mischaracterizes it completely. Hard not to wonder if you’ve even actually read it.

The Green New Deal isn’t a bill. It’s a non-binding resolution. A set of goals. A starting point, and a good one.

It’s a broad outline of how to achieve objectively positive, popular outcomes like universal health care, truly full employment, and 100% renewable energy- lifting up people who need lifting up in very real ways.

And you’re against all of it.

Nobody is eliminating planes. Nobody is eliminating cars.

The fact that you have to resort to these untruths about what the Green New Deal actually is just goes to show how little the truth actually means to you.

On Universal Health Care, which every single industrialized nation has except for us, you seem to have no use for it whatsoever. There are a number of different ideas about how to get to Universal Health Care – where people would be able to see a doctor when they get sick rather than a bankruptcy attorney – and you support none of them.

Instead you talk about Health Savings Accounts, which sound nice but do nothing to cover more vulnerable Tennesseans, and you support Block Grants, which do nothing to help rural hospitals (and also happen to be illegal and are opposed by Children’s hospitals).

Meanwhile Tennessee loses nearly $4 Million every DAY by not expanding Medicaid, which was in large part your handiwork, keeping hundreds of thousands uninsured and letting rural hospitals close.

Governor Haslam calls it one of his biggest regrets.

Meanwhile, you mock others who try to actually address the problem.

This is what you – a doctor – had to say about Bernie’s “Medicare For All” plan, which is just one of a number of ideas about how to get to universal coverage:

“Cautious estimates of the cost of Sanders’ plan start at $32.6 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. Even if we implement the most aggressive tax plan to seize and redistribute wealth from the top 1 percent we only raise $720 billion over 10 years, or 2 percent of what Medicare for All costs. And, keep in mind our revenue over that same period will only be approximately $40 trillion – unless, of course, this bill is passed and we tailspin towards a second Great Depression.”

Newsflash Doc, much of this country is already hurting. I know you spent much of our race in hiding, but if you had come to Columbia when Remote Area Medical was in town you would’ve seen hundreds of people lined up in a parking lot at 5AM just to see a doctor- because they literally couldn’t afford to get care any other way.

Remote Area Medical visited Knoxville recently too:

Over half this country can’t withstand a $400 emergency without going broke.

This is not how it should be in the richest country in the world. I challenge you to go to one of these RAM sites and tell these families you’re the one who “led the fight” to keep them from having health coverage.

As for the cost of Medicare For All – you convenienently left out that it would mean NO MORE PREMIUMS OR DEDUCTIBLES, and that what we have now is ALREADY too expensive.

We spend 18% of our GDP on Health Care while the next highest country spends 12%, and that $32.6 Trillion number you cited is actually LESS than the estimates of what our current system costs, according to a conservative think tank’s estimate.

Another gross mischaracterization.

Not to mention the savings that would come from suffering Tennesseans being able to see a doctor before their ailments get worse and more expensive.

I happen to believe we need something like our education system, where everyone has access to a baseline of Medicare or something like it (a la public schools), and then those who can afford it can buy private insurance for themselves (a la private schools).

But we need to cover everyone. It’s time.

Which brings us to your first point, which I’m saving for last because I find it the most gruesome. This is what you said about the Democratic position on “late-term abortion”:

“Let’s begin with infanticide. Are Democrats truly accepting killing babies outside the womb now? A Democrat head of a state, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, last month casually defended it.

He explained to radio listeners that an infant already delivered “would be kept comfortable” while a mother and doctor discussed letting the child die. When pressed for clarification, he explained that the scenario he envisioned involved a baby with deformities.

Assuming he meant Down syndrome or something similar – this is an outrageous claim. If you go and ask people with Down syndrome – they think they’re life is worth living.”

I’ll start with a concession: Northam’s words were clumsy.

No, Democrats should not be for “killing babies outside the womb”, as you put it. And they are not. No Democrat I know is for infanticide.

But nonviable births are not “infanticide”.

Do you know a mother who has gone through something like that, Mark? I do. A good friend of mine.

I challenge you to call her a murderer to her face, if that’s what you believe. She’s in Lawrenceburg. She lives with the pain of losing a child every single day. You’ve met her.

You say “assuming he meant Down syndrome or something similar” – that’s one HELL of an assumption, doc. For a doctor, no less.

You know damn well that’s not what a nonviable birth is.

So yes, Democrats are AGAINST “killing babies outside the womb” and “late term abortions”.

We’re also AGAINST forcing women who have been raped to carry their rapist’s baby to term… and FOR expanding medicaid… and FOR common sense gun safety legislation… and FOR making birth control available… and FOR subsidizing day care for low income women… and FOR raising the wage to a living one… and FOR real tax reform that will put more money in the pockets of your constituents rather than corporations and the wealthy.

These are all “pro-life” positions. You’re against ALL of them.

And every last one of them has the support of a vast majority of Americans.

Who’s the “Radical” again?

You mock these ideas as “socialism”, which either means you failed civics, or you’re not quite as committed to the truth as you say you’d like Michael Cohen to be.

You also mock the idea of giving jobs to those willing to work to rebuild our country, which is another popular idea (as is The Green New Deal by the way!) and you do it in the name of *fiscal responsibility*  while the president you refuse to criticize has exploded the deficit to hand tax cuts to people who need it the least – like him, and you.

So in summation: If a “leftward march” means supporting health care for the people of our district, dealing with inequality in a real way to help real Tennesseans, and addressing the issue of climate change head-on for the sake of our children rather than burying our heads in the sand at the behest of the Koch brothers… then count me all the way in.

It’s not a “leftward” march. It’s a forward march.

I’ll take progress over greed any day of the week.

As this country gets younger and more inclusive, this is what the people want. Just because you call it “socialism” doesn’t make it so.

In the meantime, enjoy the $8 Billion farmer bailout that you for some reason don’t count as “socialism”, and the constitution-shredding *national emergency* you support. I’m sure the Fort Campbell School and other Clarksville-area projects it would take $132 Million from will be just fine.

So if by “Radical” you mean we support drastic measures to address the significant challenges we face, then yes we’re the radicals. But if by “Radical” you mean extremely out of step with the majority of this country – and yes, Tennessee – on most of these issues, then it’s you who is the “Radical”, sir.

Wanting to help people isn’t “Radical”, Mark. “Radical” is blocking medicaid expansion while saying government programs give suffering Tennesseans the opportunity to know God.

And history will not remember the Radical things you’re doing here kindly.

(P. S. – I enjoy that you cited Obama as a centrist at the end of your op-ed. Nice to see you’ve dropped your birtherism act. You, sir, are no John Mccain  – no wonder he helped block your Army Secretary bid. Not even getting to a senate hearing with a Republican-controlled congress? Talk about “Radical”.)

SORRY, FORT CAMPBELL KIDS: Rep. Green Supports Taking Wall $$ From Fort Middle School

We’ve all heard by now that President Trump has declared a “National Emergency” at the border as an end-run around congress to get money for his Wall.

As we mentioned this weekend, Senator Lamar Alexander spoke out against the move calling it “Unconstitutional”, while the rest of the Republican Tennessee delegation has been supportive despite fancying themselves *strict constitutionalists* in favor of *limited government*.

That group includes Rep. Mark Green of TN-7, an army veteran who lives just outside of Clarksville in Ashland City.

What we’re now learning is that included in the list of 400+ projects the president would be steering funds away from to build the wall is “the operation of a middle school at Fort Campbell”, which would likely be unwelcome news to our brave men and women up in Clarksville, where half the base is located.

The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle has already made note of this, asking Green for his position on it just yesterday. Green had this to say:

“I support it because I believe it’s a crisis. My biggest concern is the narcotics. I think it’s the right thing to do. I think it’s certainly within his legal rights. I think very clearly people want the legislative branch doing legislative stuff, and the executive branch doing executive branch stuff. But the legislative branch has given authority to the executive branch in those certain circumstances where emergencies require action that Congress can’t be quick enough to respond to.”

Reading betweens the line of this “stuff”, Green has tried to make the case that this emergency declaration by Trump is not unprecedented since there have been 58 emergency declarations by presidents in the past – but not one of those has involved a president going around congress to get money for a campaign promise.

As for why the “emergency” is suddenly an emergency now when it didn’t seem to be for the first 2 years of the Trump presidency, there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer.

Green added:

“This is all within the power that’s been granted to the president.”

That will be for the courts to decide. Lawsuits have been filed, and they will likely cite the president saying “I didn’t have to do this” in the very press conference where he made the announcement as evidence for why this emergency is not actually an emergency at all.

More from Green:

“He made a promise to the American people. I think he’s just doing what he thinks he was elected to do.”

Green on the other hand was elected to look out for the interests of Clarksville, a military-heavy district, and it will be up to the residents and the soldiers there to decide how they feel about his decision to prioritize a wall on the Southern border over a school in their own backyard.

Incredibly, when asked about this, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina actually said the kids will be better off not getting the money:

“I would say it’s better for the middle school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border. We’ll get them the school they need. Right now we’ve got a national emergency on our hands.”

It seems Rep. Mark Green agrees. We wonder if the parents up in the Clarksville area do too.

It’s funny how the people who are the loudest about their undying support for The Constitution seem to forget what it says when it gets in the way of the things they want.

Holler at Rep. Green HERE if you’re in Clarksville and have any thoughts.

In the meantime, enjoy a fun cartoon from Modman, showing that there really is nothing this president does that Mark Green won’t support:

 

Reps Green/Roe/Rose/Fleischmann Support “NATIONAL EMERGENCY”, Lamar Calls It “UNCONSTITUTIONAL”

In a rambling press conference yesterday President Trump declared that he would be signing the bipartisan border security compromise, but that he would also be declaring a “National Emergency” to be able to steer funds away from other departments towards the Wall he wants so badly.

The Wall Mexico was supposed to pay for.

In his speech he openly admitted he “doesn’t need to do it”, which begs the question of what he thinks an “emergency” is, exactly.

Lawsuits have already started over this executive overreach, and it seems likely they will all site that sentence as exhibit A that the president doesn’t even believe his own tale on this topic.

The reactions from the Tennessee delegation were mostly to be expected. Rep. Mark Green was quick to declare his support.

Green cited the National Emergencies declared by previous presidents as evidence that this was not actually the departure from constitutional norms critics were making it out to be. What Green either didn’t realize, or failed to mention, was that none of the previous emergencies involved a president trying to make an end run around congress to raid the treasury to deliver on a campaign promise.

Green isn’t the only Tennessee Republican who has touted his undying “support for the constitution” and “limited government”, who seems to have conveniently abandoned those ideals in this moment. Reps Phil Roe and Chuck Fleischmann also rushed to support the move, as did Rep. John Rose.

Senator Lamar Alexander was the only Tennessee Republican who seemed to have a problem with it, calling it “Unnecessary”, “Unwise”, and “Unconstitutional.”

It seems safe to assume Lamar realizes a Democratic President would surely turn around and use the power for actual emergencies like gun violence, health care, and climate change, and Senator Alexander clearly doesn’t want that to happen.

Democratic Rep. Cohen was on the other side of the fence, questioning the hypocrisy of Mitch McConnell and the Republicans who spent all 8 Obama years bemoaning executive overreach.


Checks and balances exist for a reason. The hypocrisy on display here is truly remarkable. If you agree this declaration is nothing short of an abuse of power, holler at your reps.

SPIN MARSHA SPIN: “Border Deal A Win For Trump, Dreamers Should Blame Dems”

Republicans and Democrats in congress struck a border security deal this week which gave President Trump far less than he wanted for his wall.

The deal pledges $1.375 billion for border enhancements like steel-slatted barriers and other “existing technologies”, and $1.7 billion for additional security measures and humanitarian aid. The proposed new “barriers” would account for just 55 miles, which is a far cry from the more than 200 miles the White House sought.

Of the deal, Trump said:

“I can’t say I’m thrilled.”

From the Democrats perspective, they averted a shutdown, agreed to additional border funding which they all support anyway, and didn’t have to go along with an end to end wall which they collectively oppose, and which even some Republicans have said would be a waste of money.

Needless to say, the far right, led by Awful Ann Coulter, isn’t happy about the deal, and has been vocal about calling Trump out for backing down on the shutdown in the first place.


Meanwhile here in Tennessee, ever the good soldier, Marsha Blackburn is putting on a brave face and telling Fox News this is actually a victory for Republicans and encouraging them to thank President in particular, who she rarely has a harsh word for.

In the interview with Fox News Marsha even goes so far as to blame Democrats for the fact that the fate of the Dreamers is still in limbo, even though Trump is the one who threw their status into jeopardy, and the Republicans are obviously the ones still holding them hostage.

Here’s what Marsha told Fox New yesterday, when asked about the deal:

“I’ve got to tell ya, I think it is a loss for the Democrats. Because the president and Republicans had offered to solve the issue around the Dreamers. And I hope that everyone listening to you who has a Dreamer in their family or a Dreamer that is close to them realizes through their obstinance of not coming to the table, Nancy Pelosi not making good on her word to negotiate, that is not a part of what is taking place at this point in time.”

So does that mean we can count Marsha as a vote for a clean Dream Act?

Democrats would pass a clean Dream Act tomorrow. Republicans would not. Marsha blaming Democrats for the situation the Dreamers are in is the hostage-taker blaming the negotiator for not meeting all of their ransom demands.

The onslaught of insults to the intelligence of her viewing audience is endless. Holler at Marsha HERE to let her know you see right through her.

“More War!” – All 7 TN GOP Congressmen Vote to Keep Fueling Humanitarian Nightmare in Yemen

In another bipartisan rebuke of Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East, the House passed a bill yesterday to halt U.S. involvement in Yemen’s civil war, where the United States has been lending our support to a Saudi Arabian war effort that has created the worst humanitarian crisis in recent memory.

All 7 Republican Congressmen from Tennessee: Mark Green, Tim Burchett, Phil Roe, John Rose, Scott Desjarlais, David Kustoff, and Charles Fleischmann voted against the bill.

Both Democratic congressmen – Jim Cooper and Steve Cohen – voted for it.

18 Republicans voted with the Democrats to stop American assistance in the Yemeni war.

According to a Worldwide Threat Assessment report, Of the nearly 29 million people in the country, about 22 million — nearly 76 percent of the population — need some form of humanitarian assistance. Among them, 16 million don’t have reliable access to drinking water or food, and more than 1 million Yemenis now suffer from cholera.

Dave Harden, a former US official leading humanitarian development response to Yemen, told Vox:

“The only losers are the people — their grave suffering presents generational risk to Yemen’s future.”

Democratic Rep. Jim Mcgovern had this to say about the vote:

“Nearly all of the bombs that have fallen say the same thing, `Made in the United States of America’. They fall on weddings. They fall on hospitals and on homes. They fall on funerals, refugee camps and school buses. It is an aerial bombing campaign that hammers civilians every single day.”

Last year, a bomb that originated in the U.S. landed on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 children.

The vote is yet another bipartisan rebuke of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy. The resolution would force the administration to withdraw troops from involvement in Yemen, in a rebuke of Trump’s alliance with the Saudi-led coalition.

Previously the Senate had passed a similar bill, but it was stopped in the house of representatives which was then controlled by the Republicans. If the senate were to take up this bill, it would land on the President’s desk.

This new resolution was introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-California), who said in a statement:

“Today is historic. This is the culmination of several years of legislative efforts to end our involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen. I’m encouraged by the direction people are pushing our party to take on foreign policy, promoting restraint and human rights and with the sense they want Congress to play a much larger role.”

Meanwhile the Saudi government still refuses to acknowledge its role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi despite all the evidence, and President Trump has still stopped short of blaming or taking action against Saudi Arabia for it.

In related news, there are many questions about the president and his family’s financial ties to Saudi Arabia, and what role that may be playing in these foreign policy discussions.

As the President himself once said:

“Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.

Holler at Mark Green, Tim Burchett, Phil Roe, John Rose, Scott Desjarlais, David Kustoff, and Charles Fleischmann and let them know if you feel their vote to perpetuate this war flies in the face of human decency.

President Rewards Campaign Donor By Pressuring TVA

Yesterday, in a tweet, President Trump publicly pressured the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep a coal-fired power plant open even though the TVA has concluded the plant is unreliable, no longer needed, and too expensive to repair and operate.

The TVA board is slated to vote on the future of Paradise Unit 3 in just a few days, which is why the pressure is coming now.

Paradise Unit 3 just so happens to get the bulk of its coal from a subsidiary of Murray Energy, a mining company whose CEO Robert Murray, is a major Trump supporter who has asked the president to take other actions to help the ailing coal industry, particularly in regions where he sells coal. (Imagine that!)

This kind of pay-to-play has proven to be par for the course in this administration, but it doesn’t make it any less noteworthy. Murray gave $300,000 to Trump’s inauguration, and Trump is on track to meet most of his demands.

The list of Trump donors who have issued demands is as long as the day.

Rachel Maddow had a segment on it last night, calling it “simple corruption”:

Trump isn’t alone. Kentucky’s Governor is pressuring the TVA also – calling it a “national defense issue”, as is Mitch McConnell.

This is all just more of our politicians, who get large amounts of their campaign funding from the Koch brothers networks and others in the oil and gas industry, doing all they can to prop up the coal industry despite its obvious decline, more economically sound alternatives are on the rise.

From the Courier-Journal:

At a pro-coal rally over the weekend, the governor joined representatives of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul and other Kentucky officials to pressure the TVA board, which meets this week, to keep burning Kentucky-mined coal at the Paradise plant.

“We sit on hundreds of years of supply of the most reliable, most stable, most affordable source of electricity production that the world has ever known,” Bevin said. “There is no capacity now if we shut this facility and others like it to provide what America needs.”

The new environmental assessment by TVA, however, found that energy demand in the utility’s Southeast region was “flat to declining.” The study concluded that “the retirement of a unit with high maintenance and other costs would facilitate TVA’s statutory mission to provide reliable power at the lowest system cost.”

CDC REPORT: Tennessee Among Worst in Gun Deaths

The CDC just released their report about gun-related deaths in 2017 and Tennessee is near the bottom, coming in 40th in the country with 18 gun-related deaths per every 100,000 people.

The bottom 5 states were Missouri, Lousiana, Montana, Alabama, and Alaska.

The top 5 were Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut.

This backs up the idea that states with tighter gun laws do have fewer gun deaths, with some outliers.

In related news, this week The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston released a study of over 600 young adults in Texas and found that access to guns, not mental illness, was a better predictor of whether or not they had threatened someone with a gun. 

Their results were published in the journal Preventive Medicine. Dr. Yu Lu, a postdoctoral research fellow at UTMB and lead author of the study, said:

“Counter to public beliefs, the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence… Much of the limited research on gun violence and mental illness has focused on violence among individuals with severe mental illnesses or rates of mental illness among individuals arrested for violent crimes. What we found is that the link between mental illness and gun violence is not there.

What researchers found instead was that individuals who had gun access were approximately 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun. Individuals with high hostility were about 3.5 times more likely to threaten someone.

Each year, an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 Americans are injured by firearms and 30,000 to 40,000 die from firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Very little government-backed scientific research is done on the topic of guns. This stems in large part from a little-known amendment called The Dickey Amendment, named for Rep. Jay Dickey, R-Arkansas, who got the bill passed on behalf of the NRA in 1996.

From Newsweek:

“The Dickey Amendment is a classic piece of NRA-backed legislation passed in 1996. Three years earlier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a study that came to an obvious conclusion: Guns in the home were associated with an increased risk of homicide and suicide in the home. The NRA didn’t like that conclusion, and when Republicans took control of the House in the 1994 midterms, the gun lobby persuaded Congress to pass the amendment, which states “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control,” which effectively meant any research that could conceivably lead to gun control measures could threaten CDC funding.

Since then, the so-called Dickey amendment has brought federal funding of firearms research to a halt.

But here’s the twist: Before he died last year, Dickey had a change of heart. In 2012, he co-authored a Washington Post editorial with Mark Rosenberg, the head of the CDC when the Dickey amendment was passed, calling for MORE scientific research to prevent firearm injuries and deaths.

From their piece:

“We were on opposite sides of the heated battle 16 years ago, but we are in strong agreement now that scientific research should be conducted into preventing firearm injuries and that ways to prevent firearm deaths can be found without encroaching on the rights of legitimate gun owners.”

Better late then never, we guess.

As a reminder, both Ronald Reagan and Justice Scalia supported gun safety legislation, as did the NRA itself. Common sense gun laws and the 2nd Amendment are not incompatible.

Democrats like Lucy McBath are working hard to get the Dickey Amendment overturned. If you agree that should happen, holler at your state and local reps and tell them to repeal the Dickey Amendment.

Nobody should be afraid of the truth.

SOTU REACTIONS: TN Republicans Big Fans, TN Dems Not So Much

Last night President Trump delivered the 2019 State of the Union address to rousing applause and enthusiasm from the much whiter, male-er Republican side of the room, while the response from the Democrats was a bit on the tamer side.

No surprises there.

As for the Tennessee delegation, the split was about as one would expect. Republicans were effusive with their praise…

Rep. John Rose touted Trump’s leadership:

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann talked about Trump’s “bold agenda”:

Rep. Mark Green meanwhile made a point to rip the “shocking childishness” of the response of Democrats, (apparently forgetting how the previous president was treated – do the words “You LIE!” ring a bell?)

Meanwhile on the other side of the aisle, Rep. Steve Cohen was less impressed, not even bothering to show up for the address in person and calling the president a “disgrace”.

Only Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper offered a reaction with any kind of balance, crediting the president with an “effective” speech while also making sure to point out that it was a departure for him.

Bottom Line: No real surprises from any of Tennessee’s elected officials, but Rep. Mark Green appears to be suffering from memory loss.