WATCH Holler co-founders Holly McCall & Justin Kanew – and Howard Garrett – speak out against a Franklin ordinance that seeks to regulate citizens’ First Amendment right to peaceable assembly.
Below is our interview with Tammy Hatcher, who runs Maury County’s Confederate Christmas Ball, which Natalie Allison of The Tennessean tweeted about earlier today:
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) December 6, 2019
It turns out it is in fact a real thing, taking place tomorrow night in Columbia.
“Step back in time and fill your dance card as you swirl the floor to authentic Reels, Promenades and Waltzes popular during the 1860s. On site dance instruction provided by dance master Mark Orman, period music provided by the 52 Tennessee Band. Light refreshments will be served.
Period dress is a must for participants and optional for spectators. Tickets go on sale October 1st. 2019.
Advanced tickets 30.00 and 35.00 at the door. Spectator tickets (non period dress) 25.00. For tickets and costume rental contact Tammy Hatcher at 931-698-3876 mailing address 4595 Old Sowell Mill Pike Columbia Tennessee 38401.”
We went ahead and called Tammy Hatcher. Here’s what she had to say.
HOLLER: How long has the Confederate Ball been running?
TAMMY: This is our 23rd year.
HOLLER: And how many people generally attend?
TAMMY: Anywhere from 150… I have had 200.
HOLLER: And what kind of events happen there? What is the program?
TAMMY: It’s basically a historic dance. We have a band that plays period music of the time and we dance. We just dance and have a good time. We do serve finger foods. That’s basically what we do.
HOLLER: What’s your background? Are you born and raised in Tennessee?
TAMMY: I am, yes. Born and raised in Columbia. I’ve always been into history.
HOLLER: And how do people dress at the Ball?
TAMMY: They dress in 1860’s period clothes. Spectators are welcome also. They cannot dance. We reserve the dance for period costumed participants.
HOLLER: Is there an acknowledgment of the racial aspect of it?
TAMMY: No. I have black folks that come. It’s not racially divided in any way. And no – we don’t do speeches, we don’t talk about anything, we dance. That’s all we do.
Tammy then asked about the Tennessee Holler.
TAMMY: Do y’all take… I don’t know how to say this without sounding ugly – there are a lot of people who don’t like people that do what we do. Are y’all on board with that train?
HOLLER: What train is that?
TAMMY: The one that’s trying to cover up our history, tear down our monuments… a lot of people like to advocate for certain kinds of things, and I don’t have any tolerance for those kinds of people. I don’t oppose to anybody knowing what we do. We’ve done it for years. We get together, we dance, and we have a good time. It’s not political. It’s not racial. It’s not anybody trying to segregate or… you know, be ugly to any one group of people.
HOLLER: Seems like what they would say probably is if it’s a celebration of the Confederacy that tends to rub people the wrong way.
TAMMY: It is a celebration of our history. We dance, and we have a good time. That is all we do. It is a Christmas celebration. We just picked the year 1860… but just because I have the word “confederate” in it, I don’t want anybody trying to stir up shit. Because the word “confederate” should not offend anybody. And it does offend a lot of people. But it shouldn’t. It’s ridiculous.
HOLLER: But sometimes the person who gets offended can’t control what offends them, right?
TAMMY: Well that’s true. And that’s what’s wrong with our society today. People can’t seem to control themselves. Just because they’re offended they think everybody else should be offended, and everything should be changed because they’re offended. People need to get over being offended. My goodness. I’ve lived 60 years and I can’t tell you the things that offend me and have offended me during my life – but I don’t try to change people because I’m offended… anybody that wants to come, we are a family-friendly event. We have young people come. Up from children to 15-16 year-old teenagers. No alcohol. Very hospitable. Nothing for anybody to be offended by in my opinion.
Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron and his family have been buried by scandal after scandal lately.
Watch him lash out (BELOW) at County Commissioner Robert Stevens who made a motion to ask Ketron to step aside.
Stevens has suggested starting an ouster suit. 10 citizens are needed. Rutherford county citizens should contact their county commissioners and support a leave of absence for the mayor. Contact info here.
State Senator Raumesh Akbari talks about why Governor Lee’s public school-harming vouchers shouldn’t be rushed, and why Tennessee needs to expand Medicaid.
Listen to the PODCAST HERE.
CLIP: State Sen. Akbari on $1 BILLION In Unspent Aid: “FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD”
It’s old news by now that Congressman Scott Desjarlais, who proclaims himself to be “a consistent supporter of pro-life values”, paid for 2 abortions and cheated on his wife with three coworkers, two patients and a drug rep- yet still keeps getting re-elected.
Would you believe us if we told you it appears Desjarlais is the moderate in his Republican Primary this time around?
Franklin County resident Doug Meyer has filed to run against Desjarlais in 2020 in the Republican primary, and spends much of his time making outlandish, violent, racist posts on Facebook. Allow us to show you a few lowlights…
Most of his vitriol is directed at Muslims. For instance, he’d like to shut down mosques:
Shares extremely unfunny posts about abused Muslim women:
Which he says is ok, because it’s important to “ridicule” “sandbox turds” so they get angry and expose themselves:
He believes Islam is a “parasite”:
And seems to be spoiling for a fight with Muslims:
He also thinks teachers are “Islam’s secret agents”:
And speaking of teachers, Doug and his wife homeschooled their kids because of the “mind-numbing bullshit” in our schools:
And he wanted to keep his kids away from the “moral destruction” that takes place there:
Something tells us he won’t be getting that TEA endorsement.
But Muslims and school aren’t his only targets. He wants to hang some or all members of congress… which would likely not make him the best co-worker were he to win:
He also has no love for “fake Republicans”:
He’s not a huge fan of Mitt Romney:
He also celebrates the death of indigenous people:
Thinks those shot in Gaza should be thankful they were only hobbled:
And then there’s whatever this is:
So it should be no wonder that he considers himself a “Proud Boy”, a far-right neo-fascist organization that admits only men as members and promotes political violence:
He truly seems to want war, apparently on behalf of Christianity – basically a new Christian Crusade:
And encourages Trump to cause that “Civil War”:
But while Doug seems to be cheerleading a Civil War outbreak, Doug generally believes we’re already at war:
He’s also a fervent supporter of D.A. Craig Northcott, the Islamophobic homophobic D.A. we exposed, who is STILL currently serving as the special prosecutor on the Glen Casada-Justin Jones case.
As Meyer expressed his support for Northcott, he also expressed his readinesss for violence. Another man on Facebook said a movement to “drive out” the “abomination” that is Islam needs to happen, “blood will have to be shed” and “laws will have to be broken”…
To which Meyer responds “you are precisely the sort of brave soul I would be proud to team with to do this thing”:
Doug’s vitriol for Islam is constant. He calls it a “death cult” on his official policy page (where he also says corruption should be punishable by death), and believes Trump is a genius for pulling out of Syria to allow Islam to implode on itself:
He regularly uses “DEUS VULT”, the rallying cry of the Christian Crusades, which killed between 1 and 9 millions people according to historians.
He’s also not a big fan of the idea of red flag laws:
Doug is really running. He has filed his paperwork to run as a Republican, and loaned his campaign over $3000:
The Tennessee delegation to congress is already full of questionable characters who encourage violence. Just this week Rep. Mark Green supported the idea of “Declaring War on Democrats”.
But Doug Meyer appears to be a horse of a different color.
The question is this: Is the Tennessee Republican Party ok with him running on their ticket?
And if you have anything to say to Doug Meyer, or Facebook for that matter, here’s his page.
And here’s his website.
His “Why I’m Running” Page says:
“Congress is broken. On the one side, The Democrats have become so aggressively and shamelessly anti-American that one can’t often tell them apart from Revolutionary Communists, and, increasingly, even terrorists. Worse yet, The Republicans are timid, directionless, weak and irresolute, and, therefore, in no moral position to counter The Left’s destructive foolishness. Career politicians on both sides have betrayed The Public Trust, and Institutionalized Corruption has destroyed Congress’ capacity for effective functional administration and oversight of Our Government. With scant few determined patriots in a position to protect her, Our Great Nation is being very intentionally and systematically injected with the poisonous doctrines and subversive agendas of weaponized political movements such as Liberalism, Globalism, Communism, and Islamic Jihad. But I believe that Our Republic is worth saving, that she is worth fighting for. Our hallowed dead demand that we stand in this the time of her greatest peril, and take Our Country back. It is time for a political revolution.
What Our American Founders fought and died to establish and protect, I will NEVER surrender.
I will not be bullied, I cannot be bought, and I fear none but God.
Please Pray for and Stand With Me.
God Save The Republic.”
Yesterday a total of THREE election security bills introduced by Democrats were blocked by our own Marsha Blackburn, including one that would require campaigns to report foreign interference in our elections to the FBI.
It’s not the first time she has done this. Apparently Marsha is the Republican go-to when it comes to blocking bills to enable more foreign interference in our elections, which should not be a partisan issue.
From THE HILL:
Election security has become a point of contention during the Trump era. House Democrats have passed several election-related bills, including a sweeping ethics and election reform measure, but they’ve hit a wall in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tried to pass legislation that would require campaign officials to report contacts with foreign nationals who are trying to make donations or coordinate with the campaign to the Federal Election Commission, which would notify the FBI.
“The alarm bells are going off and what are we doing? We’re running out of time to do something about it,” Warner said from the Senate floor.
Obviously Democrats are in the middle of an impeachment inquiry focused on Trump asking Ukraine to investigate former Biden and his son and holding up aid to pressure them, which Trump’s own people have admitted he did.
Intelligence agencies have also said the Russians are still doing it, and will do it again.
Marsha clearly doesn’t care as long as it helps her team, no matter what it does to the very fabric of our Democracy.
It’s worth remembering that we just recently learned that the NRA was a key point of focus for the Russians, and that multiple people associated with the NRA were actually Russian agents using the group to gain access to conservative power players… and that the point of entry for them was actually right here in Tennessee, through associates of Blackburn.
When we say “Moscow Marsha”, we’re not just being cute.
Marsha’s quote about blocking efforts to protect our elections is especially delicious.
“You know, it’s not a good sign if you’re doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
As a reminder, the house voted over 50 times to repeal Obamacare while Marsha was there.
If you think Marsha is damaging our country with her behavior, HOLLER at her HERE.
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.
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.
The ICE-MAN COMETH:
The Disturbing History of Bradley Epley, an ICE Agent Involved in the Shooting of Jose Fernando Andrade-Sanchez, an Undocumented Man in Tennessee
By Alexandria Huff
This Post was first seen in Die Barliner – The Bard College Student Blog
As activists around the United States mobilize against the unacceptable conditions inside of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities, the agency continues its operations on the ground in American cities. On September 5th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers shot Jose Fernando Andrade-Sanchez in his car as he attempted to leave the Food Lion parking lot in Antioch, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville.
The shooting, which occurred in broad daylight at a heavily trafficked intersection, left the 39-year-old Mexican man alive but with bullet wounds in his stomach and his elbow that required surgery at a Nashville area hospital. At the end of the day on September 6th, local students were so disoriented that their teachers rode home with them on the school bus. “There was such a concern and fear in the community because children didn’t know what they were coming back to [after the shooting]. And it’s all because of this one ICE agent who has no accountability to anybody,” Brenda Perez of The MIX, said in an interview with Democracy Now.
Bradley Thomas Epley, a 49-year-old former Border Patrol officer, was one of the two Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents present in the Food Lion parking lot on September 5th. Though ICE spokesperson Brian Cox told reporters that Andrade-Sanchez drove towards the officer as he fled the scene, video footage shows an agent drawing his gun and following the vehicle, and firing two shots through the windshield.
A closer look at Bradley Epley’s history as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent reveals allegations of illegal activity, violence and at least two cases of mistaken identity. Epley was named in two federal lawsuits alleging illegal search and seizure in 2010. Both lawsuits were settled out of court.
In 2017, Epley arrested Faustino Rodriguez Hernandez in a Nashville courthouse on federal immigration charges. Hernandez had appeared in court that day to settle a traffic violation. In July of 2019, Epley was in the news again when he and another ICE official attempted a warrantless arrest of a Hendersonville man and were blocked by a human chain of the man’s neighbors. Many Americans, including some politicians (after being pressured by directly affected communities), are seeking to abolish ICE. The cruelty and incompetence of the agency is illustrated by taking a closer look at the public record of an agent like Bradley Epley.
VIDEO: “Human Chain In Hermitage”
Watch neighbors form a HUMAN CHAIN in Hermitage yesterday to protect a father and son from ICE and allow them to get from the van they were trapped in for hours into their house.
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) July 23, 2019
The first federal lawsuit in which Bradley Epley appears was brought by David Tapia-Tovar and Ana Maria Vazquez. Epley was named as one of several ICE officers who forced their way into Tapia-Tovar’s home, grabbed him by the arm and forced him into his living room as other officers then searched the house without a warrant. A complaint filed on Tapia-Tovar and Vazquez’s behalf in Nashville district court reveals that not only did the ICE officers force their way into Tapia-Tovar’s home without a warrant, but that Tapia-Tovar was not the intended target of the search:
53. As he sat handcuffed on the couch, David asked the first ICE agent why he and the others had entered their home.
54. In reply, one ICE agent held a file folder a few feet in front of David’s face. Attached to the front of the folder was a large photograph of a man of Latino appearance.
55. The man in the photograph bore no resemblance to David. His skin was darker, his nose was wider, and his eyes were set differently.
56. No reasonable person could mistake the man in the photograph for David.
57. Printed on the cover of the ICE folder was the name “David Tovar-Najera.”
58. David and Anna had never known or even heard of a person named David Tovar-Najera before this encounter. [*1]
Tapia-Tovar, an undocumented immigrant, was removed from his home and taken to the ICE office where deportation proceedings were initiated. His complaint alleges that Epley lied to the immigration court about how ICE agents were able to enter Tapia-Tovar’s home. Epley also stated that “[Tapia-Tovar] had entered the United States at an unknown time of day and at an unknown location,” which is the “policy and practice of the Nashville ICE Office…when completing ICE database processing of suspected aliens ICE agents encounter,” the complaint states. The lawsuit calls Epley’s statement “[another] utter and transparent fabrication.” The lawsuit, which was filed by Ozment Law, was settled out of court.
The second lawsuit Epley appeared in that year was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of fifteen plaintiffs, including American citizens, who lived at the Claremont Apartments in South Nashville. They were illegally detained by Epley and other officers when they raided the complex without a warranton October 20, 2010, leading to the arrest of twenty people. Lindsay Kee of the ACLU of Tennessee described the scene:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents began hitting objects against the bedroom windows, trying to break in. Without a search warrant and without consent, the ICE agents eventually knocked in the front door and shattered a window, shouting racial slurs and storming into the bedrooms, holding guns to some people’s heads. When asked if they had a warrant, one agent reportedly said, “We don’t need a warrant, we’re ICE,” and, gesturing to his genitals, “the warrant is coming out of my balls.” [*2]
The lawsuit alleged that Epley and the other ICE officers at the Clairmont Apartments physically and verbally abused the plaintiffs, including pointing guns at the heads of two men, Jesus Villalobos and Javier Deras. The city and federal government settled the lawsuit for $310,000.
Whether Epley or the other agents cited in these lawsuits were punished by Immigration and Customs Enforcement is unknown.
In June 2017, in the months following Donald Trump’s inauguration, Bradley Epley arrested 33-year-old Faustino Rodriguez Hernandez in a Nashville courthouse. Hernandez is an Hounduran man who was in the court of General Sessions Judge Lynda Jones for a traffic violation; he had been caught driving without a license. The ICE officials on site took him into custody on an ICE warrant, which was not signed by a judge and doesn’t allow court officers to detain an individual on ICE’s behalf. Assistant Public Defender Mary Kathryn Harcombe told The Tennessean that court employees typically don’t understand the distinction between an ICE warrant and a standard warrant and might have illegally detained Hernandez, who was handed over to Epley while Judge Jones was out of the room. In an admission to The Tennessean via email, Judge Lynda Jones said that Epley nearly arrested the wrong man earlier that day: “The agent [Epley] informed my court officer that the true warranted individual was the ‘spittin image’ of the gentleman who was almost wrongfully arrested. My court officer stated that the ICE agent then said, ‘TRUST ME.’”
On the morning of July 22, 2019, Epley and another officer arrived in the Nashville suburb of Hermitage in a white pickup truck, and pulled into the driveway of an unnamed family home, blocking a van that the man and his son were sitting in. The man and his son locked themselves in their car to avoid the ICE agents, initiating a four-hour-long standoff. The Nashville Scene reports that more than a dozen of the man’s neighbors, as well as local immigrant rights activists, gathered in the front yard with snacks, water, cool towels to fight against the heat and gas to keep the van running. Like the warrant Epley brought to the Nashville courthouse, the warrant on July 22 had not been signed by a judge and did not allow officers to forcibly enter the man’s car or home. The MIX reports that at one point the father and son were told by an ICE agent, “We’ll just call the cops and they’ll arrest you, and then when they’re done with you in the jail, then we’ll get you.” Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officers were on the scene during the standoff.
Eventually the man’s neighbors made a human chain so he and his son could safely exit the car and re-enter their home. By 10 AM, Epley, his fellow officer, and the MNPD left the scene. The attempted arrest was conducted as a part of President Trump’s Operation Border Resolve, which targeted 2,000 families and resulted in 35 arrests. Local resident Angela Glass told the Scene, “These people, they’ve been living there for 14 years,” Glass says. “They don’t bother anybody. Our kids play with their kids. It’s just one big community. And we don’t want to see anything happen to them. They’re good people. They’ve been here 14 years, leave them alone.”
On 17 September, 2019, less than a month after being shot by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Jose Fernando Andrade-Sanchez was arrested outside Ozment Law, an immigration law office in Nashville, Tennessee. Ozment Law, which in twenty years has never had an enforcement operation conducted on its property, said in a statement:
“Immigration agents’ decision to make a violent, aggressive arrest on a law firm’s private property sends a chilling message that even those with valid claims to adjusting their status and continuing their lives in this country are at risk.”
Andrade-Sanchez, who has previously been deported, has been charged with illegal reentry into the United States.
The record of Bradley Epley illustrates how Immigration and Customs Enforcement, aided by the Metro Nashville Police Department and Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall, has terrorized the Middle Tennessee community for over a decade, traumatizing individuals and families. Increased scrutiny of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Trump administration has caused some Americans to boycott companies like Amazon that provide ICE with facial recognition technology, to call for the immediate abolition of the agency, and to demand that 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates make the abolition of ICE a part of their 2020 platform.
A week after the shooting of Jose Fernando Andrade-Sanchez, theNashville Scene published a two-piece cover package on the deportation pipeline. As the MIX’s Brenda Perez pointed out on Facebook, “I’m glad the Nashville Scene is covering this, I will be more enthused when they center and interview undocumented people on issues that affect us. We have been here and our daily lives are the front lines.”
Bradley Epley is still employed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee.