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.

In Emotional Meeting, Franklin Aldermen Approve Slavery-Acknowledging Civil War Markers

Confederate statues around the country have been a contentious topic for some time, reaching a boiling point in 2017 when white supremacist-led rally resulted of the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer.

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OPINION: “That is not infanticide. I know. I went through it.”

This week, before the racist images on his yearbook page came out, Virginia’s Governor Northam’s comments about a proposed late-term abortion bill caused a stir. 

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REMINDER: Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill Hypocrite Hensley Had Affair with Cousin/Nurse/Patient, Divorced FOUR times

As we mentioned yesterday, Tennessee Republicans have unleashed a slew of discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation that seeks to allow state-sanctioned discrimination by businesses, and make it so that adoption agencies can refuse to allow LGBT parents to adopt.

State Senator Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, sponsor of one of the anti-LGBT adoption  bills (SB 0848), had this to say in justification of his bill, which is being carried by Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, in the House:

“We were concerned that adoption agencies, such as religious adoption agencies, would be required to allow adoption when they had religious beliefs that contradicted certain lifestyles. That they would be forced to allow adoptions to people they felt were not appropriate parents.”

“Certain lifestyles”… “Appropriate parents”…

Seems worth noting the hypocrisy of Senator Hensley, who has been married and divorced four times and who slept with his 2nd cousin who happened to be a nurse who worked for him (on a lapsed license) while also inappropriately prescribing her pain pills, while they were both married, being the one to drop a bill judging the “appropriateness” of others.

Read all about it in this Nashville Scene article.

The woman testified under oath about their affair, also detailing how she spent two nights with him in Nashville on the taxpayers’ dime.

We’re pretty sure The Bible Joey is using to justify this discrimination has a thing or two to say about his actions also.

It’s also worth noting that this is not the first time Hensley has gone all-out to persecute the LGBT community. He has been doing this for years.

From the Scene:

Hensley gained national notoriety in 2012 as a sponsor of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would have banned public school teachers from even mentioning that homosexuality exists. During one hearing that year, Hensley commented, “I don’t think Modern Family is appropriate for children to watch” — because it features a married gay couple raising children. This session, Hensley is sponsoring a bill from the Tennessee Family Action Council that would make children created using donor sperm illegitimate — an attempt to make it harder for gay and lesbian parents to establish paternity.

Modern Family, senator? Seriously?

If you’re as appalled by Hensley’s Horrendous Hypocrisy as we are, holler at him HERE.

Republicans Introduce Bill to Undercut Nashville’s Community Oversight Board

In November, Davidson County residents overwhelmingly voted to create a community oversight board to look at alleged police misconduct. Speaker of the TN House Glen Casada immediately threatened to render the board virtually powerless, and now Chairman of the House Judiciary committee Rep. Michael Curcio and the Republicans have introduced a bill to do just that.

The Bill – HB 658 – would not allow the community oversight board to issue subpoenas for documents or compel witness testimonies. Without that power, the board will have little authority to “oversee” much of anything.

Michael Curcio and the Republicans are claiming these are “balanced guidelines” for the board, but Community Oversight Now, the group who successfully pushed for the board, disagrees – and is now reaching out to athletes and encouraging them not to come to Tennessee, launching a new campaign called “Don’t Play Where You’re Not Welcome.”

Community Oversight Now’s statement:

“We are calling on Tennessee lawmakers to vote NO on HB 658. We are calling on the Governor, Lt. Governor, Senator leadership, and people of good will to reject this discriminatory legislation. Additionally, we are exploring all legal options to prevent state preemption.”

Mayoral candidate John Ray Clemmons, currently a state rep, also spoke out unequivocally on twitter about the move, saying:

Clemmons also added:

Funny how the “small government” guys always seem to want government to step in and get a lot bigger when something happens they don’t like. Casada, Curcio, and the Republicans claim they want to protect both police and citizens with this bill, but what they should really be concerned about protecting is the truth and justice. If you take care of those, the rest will take care of itself.

This bill is not a step in that direction. If anything, it’s an impediment.

Holler at Speaker Casada and Rep. Curcio and let them know if you agree with Community Oversight Now that the people of Nashville have spoken, and these non-Nashville representatives need to stay out of the way.

Meet Rep. Hodges: “TN Needs Medicaid Expansion, Medical Marijuana, Decent Pay“

This week The Holler had a chance to catch up with Jason Hodges, the Freshman TN State Representative out of Clarksville. Hodges is a veteran, a young husband and a dad who just recently beat out Tommy Vallejos for the seat Joe Pitts left behind to go run the city as mayor.

We asked Jason what he’s focused on as the legislative session gets going, and he rattled off some priorities:

“First of all, I think we really need to get some big ticket items like Medicaid Expansion and Medical Marijuana done. They’d lower the cost of health care, which is something both parties agree needs to happen.”

With yet another rural hospital announcing they’ll be closing their doors in Clay County this month, Medicaid expansion is at the top of the list for Democrats, and Hodges really hopes their Republican counterparts will finally see how much damage is being done.

“We’ve lost $6 Billion and counting because they don’t like Obama. I promise you, if Trump wanted to give us $6 Billion to take care of our people, or fix up our roads, we’d take it. People should come before politics. If you want to bring costs down, start there. We can do that tomorrow. “

With regard to Medical Marijuana, Hodges says it comes up in Clarksville often, where constituents would prefer to be treating their various ailments and mental health issues with MM rather than opioids and other more addictive medications.

“In many circumstances Medical Marijuana would further reduce cost when it comes to prescriptions. It can be a substitute for high-priced opiates and help reduce addiction. It’s just a cheaper, safer alternative, and we need to get it done. Every year that goes by where we don’t decriminalize it and make it available, more  Tennesseans suffer needlessly.”

Although Democrats are a super-minority in the legislature, as a group they support Medical Marijuana, and it seems more and more Republicans are starting to come their way. Hodges also points out the economic impact it would have, especially in rural Tennessee:

“I’d like to see us tie it to Tennessee farms. Let’s make it so that any marijuana sold in Tennessee has to be produced in Tennessee. It’ll help our rural economies, and give those communities and our farmers an alternative product to produce – while helping with the opioid crisis and the cost of medicine. It’s a win all around. We trust our doctors to prescribe opiates, which is what heroin comes from, but we don’t trust them to prescribe marijuana? Makes no sense.”

Hodges was also eager to talk about the voting rights bill he’s carrying, which would make it so that any state application you fill out would mean you’re automatically registered to vote.

“SNAP, the DMV… any state application you fill out you need the exact same paperwork as you do to get registered to vote. We should be making it easier on folks, not harder. Anyone who disagrees with that would appear not to be a huge fan of democracy.”

The subject then turned to economic incentives for companies coming to Tennessee, in light of Electrolux announcing they’d be closing their plant in Memphis and moving those jobs to Springfield. Hodges had this to say:

“Look, If we’re gonna subsidize a company to come to Tennessee we should make sure they’re paying a living wage. If they don’t, they should be fined, and the subsidy should be paid back. We can’t subsidize companies who don’t pay people enough to live just so those people then have to be subsidized by the government. That’s corporate welfare. If you want to come to Tennessee, great- you need to treat our people right.”

Seems pretty reasonable. Is he against incentives in general? A passionate Hodges insisted he wasn’t.

“No, I’m not against incentives as a concept. But if the taxpayers are on the hook let’s make sure what we’re getting is worthwhile. There are situations from a competitive standpoint where we have to subsidize to get a company to come here, but at the same time how are we going to pay a company who won’t pay a living wage – then turn around and blame people for mooching off the government? It kills me.”

Pretty sensible ideas. As Hodges gets more and more comfortable in his new role, we look forward to seeing what he can get done up there. Holler at him HERE.

Admitted Sex Offender Rep. Byrd In Settlement Talks

(Note: Not About His Sex Crimes, Unfortunately)

In case you haven’t heard yet, Republican State Representative David Byrd – who covers Hardin, Lewis, Wayne, and some of Lawrence counties – has admitted on tape to sexual misconduct with high school girls he coached. Read more

REP. WINDLE: “Medicaid Expansion Would Ease Rural Hospitals’ Burden”

This week we learned Clay County would lose yet another rural hospital, putting Tennessee into the double digits and cementing our place as the per capita leader in rural hospital closures.

Last night WSMV ran a piece on the situation, visiting with citizens, EMT’s and local officials to hear about the strain this would now put on the community. Read more

LAMBERTH: “Private Prisons Good, No De-Criminalizing Marijuana”

In an interview with The Tennessean’s “Grand Divisions” podcast about Criminal Justice reform, Tennessee Republican House Majority Leader William Lamberth was asked about the possibility of decriminalizing marijuana here in Tennessee, and gave some head-scratching answers.

First he was asked about Private Prisons, and whether or not they’re a good thing for Tennessee. He made it very clear he believes they are, and that the widely-discussed issues lie with state lawmakers and the policies they set.

“Private prisons are not the problem. The problem needs to be solved in the legislature.”

What conveniently didn’t come up is Lamberth’s $2500 contribution from Core Civic this past cycle.

The Tennessean then went on to ask Lamberth whether or not he supported decriminalizing marijuana, which overwhelmingly affects the African-American community, after waxing poetic about “personal accountability” the House Majority Leader dropped this gem:

“Legalizing certain drugs is a really dangerous road to go down. If you just start legalizing behavior, we have states that have legalized prostitution, certain drugs… you can’t legalize your way out of a criminal issues.”

“You can’t legalize your way out of criminal issues.” There’s one to chew on.

As a reminder, drinking alcohol was once illegal in Tennessee. (Also, the sale of it still is in 10 counties)- But Lamberth gets donations from the Malt Beverage Association, so they’re probably safe.

Holler at Lamberth HERE.

TN ED REPORT: Education Subcommittee A-OK With Sex Offender Chair

Rep. David Byrd, who you’ll recall admitted on tape to sexually molesting girls he coached in Wayne County and was asked to step down by his own party before running again, getting re-elected, and getting promoted by Speaker Casada to the most unthinkably insulting post of all, just chaired his first subcommittee meeting.

Thankfully, all 6 members of the committee meeting spoke out in defiance of Byrd, and he is now stepping down.

Just kidding! Nobody said anything. Instead they went around making jokes about “interesting facts”, and acted like having a pedophile in charge was just another day at the office.

Go here to read Andy Spears’ post over at the TN Education Report.

This issue isn’t going away any time soon, and neither are we. Feel free to reach out to Speaker Casada and Byrd and let them know how you feel about this insult to women and survivors and frankly everyone in our state.