Mayor Briley and Rep. John Ray Clemmons Clash Over Vouchers

At Last Night’s #StateOfBlackNashville Mayoral Forum, John Ray Clemmons for Mayor & Mayor David Briley clashed over Briley’s public silence when Gov. Bill Lee‘s school vouchers were being passed.

Briley says he was lobbying Republicans behind the scenes to kill the bill.

Cracker Barrel Gets It Right, Tells Hatemonger Fritts To Get Lost

In a story that has now made national news – picked up by Time, USA Today, Huffington Post and more – Cracker Barrel has made it clear that All Scripture Baptist Church, run by Pastor/Detective Grayson Fritts, would not be welcome at their establishment.

Fritts has called for the executions of LGBT people, and was forced into retirement from the Knox County Sheriff’s Department as a result.

The Cracker Barrel situation started with a Facebook post by All Scripture Baptist saying they would be heading to Cleveland, TN June 29th. The sharp eye of Blake Kitterman, a local resident, alerted us to the fact that the address on the post was in fact that of the Cracker Barrel in Cleveland.

We reached out to the Cracker Barrel to see if they knew anything about the event, and they told us they had heard of the post but were “blindsided” by it.

“All we do is feed people, we don’t do events,” the manager said. He clearly understood the seriousness of the situation, and gave us the number for Cracker Barrel’s national press relations.

Within hours, Cracker Barrel had issued an official statement saying they had no affiliation with Fritts and his church, and they would not be welcome to have an event at the restaurant.


Cracker Barrel’s support for the LGBT community was immediately clear, which showed how far they have come since the early 1990’s, when their policies were discriminatory.

Many in the LGBT community were appreciative of their quick action, saying they’d be making sure to eat there and would visit the Cracker Barrel booth at the Pride event Nashville this weekend.

All Scripture’s response was to accuse Cracker Barrel of a “double standard”, as U.S. News tells us:

In response to Cracker Barrel’s statement, All Scripture Baptist Church said they were only going to Cracker Barrel for “meeting and eating” and called the restaurant chain hypocrites.

“If the ‘LGBT’ community hosted an event there and Christians complained they wouldn’t ban the ‘LGBT’ group, they would tell us they don’t ‘discriminate’ against anyone,” the church said in an emailed statement. “But hey, it’s their business. They can have a double standard if they want to.”

Having one standard for people who don’t call for the execution of an entire community of Americans, and one standard for those who DO, is a pretty decent way to operate.

Bravo, Cracker Barrel. Bravo.

FLASHBACK: Speaker Candidate Rep. Jay Reedy Fails Basic Civics

Rep. Jay Reedy (R-Erin) has thrown his hat in the ring to replace Glen Casada as the next speaker, so let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to remember a few of his greatest hits.

First, there’s the time Reedy used the derogatory term “wetback” multiple times in a committee meeting about a sanctuary cities bill.

Then there’s the time Reedy posted incredulously (and Islamophobically) about “Muslim Day On The Hill”:

And then there’s this – an ad from Reedy’s challenger in 2016, Andy Porch, in which Reedy fails to answer 2 basic civil questions: What is America’s economic system? (capitalism!) and how many Supreme Court Justices are there? (9!)

Watch the VIDEO:

Needless to say, Reedy isn’t ready.

Sheriff Spangler Addresses Detective Fritts’ Comments

“Those violent, hate-filled comments are not reflective of our people.”

On Monday, Sheriff Spangler of addressed the sermons of Detective Fritts calling for LGBT people to be executed.

Fritts was relieved of duty, not fired. He still gets monthly retirement pay.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Maraniss Talks Trump and What Makes an American with the Holler

David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling writer

The New York Times best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss says the Trump era holds many similarities with Senator Joe McCarthy’s 1950s Red-baiting period.

Maraniss, recently in Nashville on tour for his latest book, A Good American Family, discussed the comparison over coffee with The Tennessee Holler.

“There are obvious parallels (between Trump and McCarthy,)” said Maraniss, noting he started the book prior to Donald Trump’s 2016 election as president. “There’s the same use of fear as a political weapon and the demonization of outsiders as a tool.”

A Good American Family is a biography of sorts, with the focal point being the work of House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in Detroit in 1952. One of the men called to testify on charges of being a Communist: Elliott Maraniss, David’s father.

Maraniss, only two years old at the time of the hearings, had no memory of the hearings but knew the experience shadowed the family’s history. The day Elliott Maraniss was issued a subpoena, he was fired from his job at the now-defunct Detroit Times. Thus began a  five-year odyssey for the family, as Elliott moved about the Midwest, losing one job after another as part of a blacklist, before settling at the Capital Times in Madison, Wisc.

For Maraniss, the conundrum at the heart of the book is what it means to be American. How was his father, despite commanding an all-black company for the U.S. Army in World War II, considered ‘Un-American’? Or his uncle, Robert Adair Cummins, who fought against fascists in the Spanish Revolution, and also a HUAC target?

Both were active in the Michigan Communist Party of the 1930s and ’40s, but America was founded on the basis of free speech, a point Elliot made in the three-page statement he prepared for his HUAC testimony, a statement he wasn’t allowed to give and that Maraniss only found in the National Archives in 2015.

While McCarthy exploited Cold War-era fears about the USSR and the rise of Communism, Trump uses an older tactic to manipulate fear for his own gain.

“Race is at the center of American politics and always has been,” he says. “It’s always been easily manipulated and Trump very easily exploits that.”

“The concept of America and who is American . . . Who decides that? Native Americans weren’t American enough, blacks weren’t American enough,” said Maraniss.

(Meanwhile, Congressman George Stephens Wood, the chairman of HUAC — someone who, presumably, WAS American enough — was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his home state of Georgia and had been present at the lynching of Jewish businessman Leo Frank in 1915.)

As president, Trump is far worse than McCarthy, says Maraniss.

“There’s a huge difference between then and now: Trump has a lot more platforms and as president, a greater ability to disrupt the government.”

A Good American Family is Maraniss’ 12th book. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for his coverage of President Bill Clinton and again in 2007 as part of the Washington Post team that covered the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. He has also been a Pulitzer Prize finalist another three times, a writer and editor with the Post for more than 40 years, and a visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University.

Support local bookstores by purchasing A Good American Family at Parnassus Books in Green Hills or Landmark Booksellers in Franklin.

VIDEO: “My Uncle Is A Terrorist” – Detective Fritts’ Niece

Cherish Hope Newman, niece of Knox County Sheriff’s Detective/Pastor Grayson Fritts – who has called for the mass execution of LGBT people – speaks out.

She says that side of her family is “mostly full of racist bigots”, she won’t stand by silently as her uncle tries to turn Christianity into ISIS, and that God is a “merciful and loving God” who does not “hate” anyone.

Comment on her YouTube video HERE.

First spotted on WVLT.

 

VIDEO: Detective/Pastor Fritts Doubles Down On Hate Speech

“I am not an anomaly… If they hate you it means you’re doing the right thing.”

On Wednesday, in his first appearance since becoming national news, Knox Detective/Pastor Fritts said he’s “not calling anyone to violence” – while reiterating his monstrous attacks on LGBT people and calling out fellow preachers as “weak” and “spineless” for not backing him up.

KANEW: “What Republicans Really Mean By Socialism”

This op-ed by Holler co-founder Justin Kanew first appeared in the Tennessean.

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WHAT REPUBLICANS MEAN BY “SOCIALISM”

The Tennessean recently published an op-ed from mega-rich Republican donor Lee Beaman saying we should be “concerned” a recent Gallup poll shows 4 in 10 Americans now “consider socialism a good thing”.

Setting aside the goings-on in Beaman’s personal life that may or may not have made publishing his musings on socialism – or anything, for that matter – the morally decent thing to do, Beaman’s article provides an opportunity to define what he and other Republicans mean when they attack everything they don’t like as “socialism”.

“Socialism is not merely free healthcare and education,” Beaman richsplains, it “causes hunger and economic instability.”

But here’s the problem – when Americans “consider socialism to be a good thing,” they’re not talking about “government-owned and operated businesses” – Venzuela-style SOCIALISM, as Beaman implies.

They’re talking about “democratic socialism” (or “democratic capitalism” as Pete Buttigieg calls it), adding elements that work in other democracies to balance the runaway greed and corporate takeover of our government – as evidenced by the outsized influence Beaman himself has over our TN legislature – to meet public needs, rather than profits for a few.

The decision is not between “CAPITALISM” and “SOCIALISM”, as they’d have you believe. There’s a spectrum. Having free public libraries is a “socialist” idea, but it doesn’t make us a socialist country. Nor does having public roads, or public schools, or a fire department, or a military, etc.

It’s about balance. The middle class is disappearing. Tennessee leads the nation in medical bankruptcies, rural hospital closures, opioid abuse, % of minimum wage jobs, and we rank near the bottom in health care access, infant mortality, mental health facilities, life expectancy, obesity, per pupil spending, poverty…. the list goes on.

This is the real state of the state – the utopia the “Greed Over People” GOP supermajority has led us to. Republicans brag about our fiscal stability ranking, but they never mention these.

Medicaid expansion would help 300,000 Tennesseans get health insurance. They call it “socialism”, yet don’t attribute the same tag to the $16 Billion farmer bailout to ease the pain Trump’s Tariffs have caused – bailout money that comes from FDR’s New Deal, which provided support for the unemployed, youth, the elderly, and included new constraints on the banking industry and efforts to re-inflate the economy after prices had fallen.

Think these same Republicans would’ve called the New Deal “Socialism”? Of course they would have.

Beaman describes “socialism” as standing in opposition to “freedom”, but what he really means is the freedom to maximize profits no matter the cost:

Regulations to protect our children from dangerous chemicals? “SOCIALISM!”

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect us from predatory lenders? “SOCIALISM!”

Medicaid expansion/Universal Care to protect our vulnerable & control costs? “SOCIALISM!”

Minimum wage increase to help those who work to support their families? “SOCIALISM!”

Paid family leave to help new parents? “SOCIALISM!”

Unions to help workers protect themselves? “SOCIALISM!”

The list goes on. It has lost its meaning.

But these ideas are not “socialism” or “communism” (Beaman conflates the two, either out of ignorance or intentionally). These are programs that work in other democracies, and they’re the path to a better America – an America that works for more than just those at the top.

We’ve entered a second Gilded Age – to Beaman’s benefit – but America wasn’t founded on unbridled greed and concentrated power and wealth, it was founded IN OPPOSITION TO THOSE THINGS.

So when Americans “consider socialism a good thing”, it’s not because they’re un-American or against freedom or hard work, it’s because we now have a rigged system where the government responds to the needs of big donors rather than those of the people.

That’s the real “insult to those who’ve given their lives to protect our freedoms”.

America has evolved over the years, and she will continue to. By pushing back against that evolution, Beaman isn’t “standing beside her and guiding her”, he’s trying to control her and maintain power over her.

VIDEO: PART 2 – Knox County Detective Wants LGBT People Executed

Knox Sheriff’s Detective/Pastor Fritts – who wants to execute LGBT people – says getting drunk & “committing” sodomy can be forgiven… Three’s Company & Bing Crosby were trying to desensitize us to sodomy… and we should tip LGBT people REALLY well.

Watch PART 1 HERE.

PART 2:

Knox County Sheriff’s Detective Wants LGBT People Executed

Knox County Sheriffs Detective Grayson Fritts – also a pastor at All Scripture Baptist Church – calls for the government to arrest and execute LGBTQ People.

He’s now on paid sick leave until July 19, and no longer on active duty.

Here’s the original Knox News ARTICLE.

Watch some of his monstrous speech below… and if you think he should be fired altogether, email the Knox County D.A. HERE: DAG@knoxcounty.org