The Struggle Against the Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust with Justin Jones

Organizer Justin Jones joins to talk with Representative Johnson about his years-long struggle in leading the charge to remove the bust of former KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest from the State Capitol. Jones puts it best in his reason for focusing so heavily on the bust: if we can’t remove such a blatant symbol of racism from our Capitol, how will we ever be able to find the strength to build a true, multi-racial democracy?

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

Want Expertise? Come Holler At Us

“When you see us you shouldn’t just think of Black issues. If you want to think about climate issues, economic issues…come holler at us.”

Odessa Kelly, Executive Director of Stand Up Nashville, with Charlane and Tequila on #PorchPolitics talking about the broad expertise of the Black community.

Charlane and Tequila are Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors of The Equity Alliance.

Porch Politics is recorded LIVE from our porch every other Thursday at 6 pm CT. You can stream it on The Tennessee Holler or wait for it to drop as a podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever else you like to listen.

Student Debt Showdown

With US student debt reaching $1.7 TRILLION, the girls deliver the state of play on student loans: what amount of relief Biden is considering; racial disparities in borrowing; and how privilege takes center stage in the debate whether to cancel it all. #StudentDebtGritty

Run down of the imminent congressional showdown
Biden signals new era with Secretary of Education pick
COVID relief and student debt
Why Biden should forgive student loans

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

How Small Farmers Have Handled the Pandemic

Jess Wilson joins again to talk about local food farming programs during the Covid pandemic as well as issues our farmers continue to face as they try to bring income and work equality to a rural industry.

Jess’ Business:  In Town Organics and Summer Fields

National Young Farmers Coalition

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

 

Bernie Calling Out Mitch’s “Socialism for the Rich”

“THAT, MY FRIENDS, IS WHAT SOCIALISM FOR THE RICH IS ABOUT.”

Bernie roasts McConnell’s “socialism for the rich” claim with giant checks showing what corps got from the GOP tax cut while asking for a vote on $2000 checks for regular people.

 

Who Does “Right to Work” Really Serve? with Mariah Phillips

Mariah Phillips, candidate for State House Rep in District 37, joins Sandy to talk about what it means to be a “Right to Work” state.  They both urge caution as the General Assembly considers chiseling the law into the Tennessee State Constitution. Unions get a bad rap and low wages have bought many jobs to Tennessee but what are the long-term consequences of handing our future to big corporations? Hasn’t the pandemic uncovered many inequalities in worker’s safety and security?

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

Rural Democrats with Anne Ferrell Quillen

Anne Ferrell Quillen is the President of the recently formed and awesome TNDP rural caucus.  Although rural areas are represented by elected officials, they don’t seem to have us in mind when they vote with the GOP supermajority. Expanding Medicaid for rural hospitals, funding for public schools and infrastructure, and developing economic opportunities for our businesses, communities and way of life are all essential issues for rural Tennessee. We do make up 93% of the state. Let’s elect some homegrown candidates to make some change.

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

HOLLER PODCAST: THE DEFICIT MYTH with STEPHANIE KELTON

Justin Kanew and Stephanie Kelton talk deficits, and about how many in politics have fooled us into thinking that spending money on people-centric policies is bad. Stephanie is an American economist, a professor at Stony Brook University, and she also served as an advisor to Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.

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

TN Farm Bureau President: “We’ve Endured About All The Pain We Can Stand”

The Tennessee Farm Bureau lobbies on behalf of the state’s farmers.  TN’s is the largest Farm Bureau in the nation, with more than 677,000 members. Bureau President Jeff Aiken was re-elected this week, and Aiken had some frank words about Trump’s Trade War and the “pain” it’s causing our farmers at their convention at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Cool Springs Tuesday.

Below are some excerpts from Aiken’s speech, courtesy of the Columbia Daily Herald:

“Trade is vitally important to Tennessee farmers. Many of the commodities we produce are heavily dependent on the export market… Most have endured about all of the pain we can stand. The trade war with China has caused soybean exports to decline by 52%, forest products by 43% and cotton by 36%. The Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and the American Farm Bureau Federation remain vigilant in sharing that message.”

To put a few more tragic numbers on it – Trump’s ex-senior Econ advisor Gary Cohn recently pointed out USA AG Exports have dropped from $30 Billion to $9 Billion in the wake of Trump’s Trade War, and Tennessee has been the hardest hit state by far.

And no, China is not paying for the tariffs.

Aiken then went on to talk about the need for MORE immigration/immigration reform, to provide farmers with an informed, motivated labor force:

“Farmers across Tennessee have trouble finding workers who understand agriculture and show persistence on the job. The country needs a comprehensive guest worker to allow migrants to enter legally, but reform has been slow with the fight over illegal immigration in Washington

For those who face the challenge of an available workforce, your patience is probably wearing thin as well. We have not had any meaningful reforms to our guest worker programs for 25 year. There is legislation in the House of Representatives now, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019, which addresses farm labor. AFBF believe the bill has severe shortcomings and must be substantially modified before we can support it. However, at this time, AFBF has not taken a position of opposition because it is most likely the only chance for needed reforms.”

That’s a starkly different message from the one emanating out of the Oval Office, where Trump has been clamping down on immigration and taking drastic measures at the border, including separating families to send a message of deterrence. (likely the work of Stephen Miller, who was recently revealed to have White Supremacist beliefs, causing 27 senators to send a letter calling for his removal.

Aiken then closed with an inspirational story about Jim Thorpe having his shoes stolen and running in the Olympics with someone else’s shoes.

“These are stressful times in agriculture. I love the Farm Bureau because it allows the voice of farmers to be heard… I want to close with a story about Jim Thorpe. He was from Oklahoma and was representing the U.S. in track in the 1912 Olympics. On the morning Jim was to compete, his shoes were stolen. Luckily, Jim found two shoes but they were not the same size. One of the shoes was too big so he had to wear an extra sock to make it fit. Wearing these shoes, Jim won two gold medals that day. Life is not always fair, but we can’t let obstacles keep us from running our race. We can have reasons or we can have results… but we can’t have both.

Again, Tennessee is being hit the hardest by Trump’s trade war by far.

At a House Budget hearing Dept. of Agriculture commissioner Charlie Hatcher was very frank about the pain being caused to Tennessee farmers by Trump’s tariffs, pointing out that 60% of our exports WERE going to China before the Trade War, but China is now importing from other suppliers (including Russia), and that even if the tariffs were to go away today it would take years to recover, despite repeated claims by Trump that the multi-billion farmer bailout is making them whole.

He also said the farmer bailout funds are not making farmers whole, despite what the president has been saying. Farm bankruptcies, and suicides, are both skyrocketing.

Farmers want trade, not aid. Trump needs to stop stealing our farmers’ shoes and end this disastrous Trade War.

TN GOP Rep. Smith Blames Rise in Youth Suicides on “Leftist Indoctrination”, Schools, Climate Science

There’s a lot going on right now, but we wanted to make sure to show you this remarkable post from TN GOP State Rep. Robin Smith (R-Chattanooga) in something called the Patriot Post, which was brought to our attention by former congressional candidate Chris Hale.

In the post Smith lays the rise in youth suicides at the feet of “leftist indoctrination” – apparently meaning schools, climate science, biology, and sex, coupled with her misguided sense of the Democratic platform as a whole.

Keep in mind, Smith was previously the chair of the Tennessee Republican Party, and recently ran for House caucus chair, so she’s not exactly a fringe player.

She starts out with a simple fact:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data this past week that youth suicide rates increased 56% from 2007 to 2017 among 10- to 24-year-olds.”

Smith then notes that the author of the article says “researchers aren’t certain” what exactly the causes are… but who needs research? The causes are clear to Rep. Smith:

“The Wall Street Journal’s analysis of this report includes the statement that researchers aren’t certain of the cause, yet factors such as a “rise in depression, drug use, stress and access to firearms” along with the influence of social media are cited as areas of interest and study.

Access to firearms” is not all that different from 50 years ago, but let’s take an honest look at the cultural forces and influences on our youth and young adults today that may offer some real causation, not just correlation…”

Notice how Smith doesn’t like the “access to firearms part”, so she throws that out – claiming it hasn’t changed in 50 years, when there is absolutely no evidence that’s the case.

Proliferation of firearms in America has continued over the last 50 years, so it would stand to reason that access to firearms for teens would increase along with that. Calling something “an honest look” doesn’t make it so. But we digress.

Smith then talks about the detachment that results from phone and social media addiction before pointing the finger squarely at our schools for teaching about science in the form of climate change, biology, and sex:

“Once our kids are out the door, they’re headed to middle school, high school, or some type of instruction in a two-year college or four-year university. And what do our kids encounter in their day at these “institutions of higher learning”? Of late, the message has been that the Earth will cease to exist in less than 12 years because of climate change. Our kids are told that it’s their right to determine their own gender rather than live within the capacity of their biological being while maximizing their gifts and talents. Too many students hear that life is a wad of cells until a baby is outside the mother’s womb and wanted by both the biological donors — formerly called the mother and father.

Students of all ages hear that part of growing up is being sexually active, having access to abortion as a type of birth control and part of a female’s health care, and that choosing a life of discipline, maturity, and restraint is not possible — much less a characteristic of an individual living at the fullest extent of their “rights.”

Smith’s use of quotations around “institutions of higher learning” are reminiscent of the calls for the abolition of state-sponsored higher learning by Republican senators Kerry Roberts and Mark Pody. When asked, Roberts claimed he was joking – but it has become clearer and clearer that doing away with state-backed higher education is a popular policy position in the TN GOP.

It’s one thing not to believe in Climate science, but linking gender, climate, and not calling parents a mother and father (say what?) to youth suicide is quite the stretch.

Smith then says our schools are “populated with activists”, and points to Democratic policy proposals like health care, education, and higher wages (the horror!) as somehow causes of suicide because they make kids “wards of the state”:

“Our institutions entrusted with the high trust of academic instruction are populated with activists who are invested in more than educational excellence and accomplishment and are now turning to the playbook seen in failing cultures of sameness for the common good and a posture of dependency rather than self-reliance. Don’t believe this? With the demands for “free” college tuition, free health care, a universal wage for those who don’t even work and for the express doctrine of this sameness to guarantee no individual excels above another, the role of government metastasizes to a cancer that consumes its host to pay for those who don’t excel and aren’t driven to self-reliance. Shorter, we’re teaching kids to be wards of the State.”

So helping kids learn, see doctors, and earn more money makes them want to take their own lives. Or something. Hoo-wee.

To clarify: “Free” college tuition means we pay for it with our taxes and our kids go to school, as we already do with lower education.

“Free health care” again would mean we pay taxes, and we get what we pay for – as opposed to now where we pay taxes, and premiums, and deductibles… and many are still going broke and dying for lack of coverage, especially here in Tennessee.

And say what you will about a universal basic income proposal – which has gained little traction in the Democratic Party – but it’s worth noting Smith opposes the Democratic proposal for a “living wage”, which means raising the $7.25 an hour minimum to a number people can actually live on.

Tennessee is #1 in % of minimum wage jobs, so that would actually help a lot of people.

The upshot of all of this is that Robin Smith may disagree with things like climate science, and biology, and making sure everyone can see a doctor when they get sick, and higher education, and paying people for their work – but blaming people who support those things for youth suicides with ZERO evidence? That’s unconscionable and downright shameful.

If Smith was really as pro-life as she claims to be, she should reverse her position on not expanding medicaid, which we know is killing people, or blocking common sense gun safety reform, which is also contributing to the deaths of many.

Teen suicide is a serious issue. It’s not something to baselessly politicize for the sake of scoring cheap political points.

Holler at Rep. Smith HERE if you agree.