“I CRY OVER THIS” — “Frustrated” & “Helpless” TN Leg Assistants Discuss TN’s UNEMPLOYMENT NIGHTMARES Crisis

As we and many others have reported, thousands of Tennesseans have been unable to access unemployment even since the beginning of the pandemic. The stories have been nothing short of heartbreaking.

The Holler has obtained emails from assistants at the Tennessee legislature where they discuss the “helpless” and “frustrated” feelings of not being able to help their constituents.

The emails are below. We’ve removed their names and identifying phrases to protect their anonymity.

This is an awful situation, and did not have to happen. Tennessee and Governor Lee have had plenty of time to fix this. The time for excuses has long since passed.

From:
Sent:
To: Staff
Subject: unemployment

Hey guys, I’ve hesitated to send out an email regarding unemployment issues, but I’ve talked to several assistants who are more than frustrated as I am, that more isn’t being done.  Some of our constituents have been told there is a glitch in the system, but that was two months ago.  Is there still a glitch in the system?  If so, why?  I know I, as has everyone here, spoken to so many broken people, from some losing their businesses, to going to a food bank for food for the first time in their lives, and they want answers, too.

Is anyone getting their claims done in a timely manner?  If so, I would love to know your secret.  We have addressed these concerns to some in the Administration, and we’ve been placated for a time being or not answered at all.  Are any of you experiencing the same thing?

I understand they hired more people, but just to answer phones and tell folks they just have to wait, which is no help at all.  If any of you have any suggestions or ideas to share on how to get a better response or any response at all from the department, I would love to know them.  In my 35 years up here, I haven’t seen it so bad that we can’t even get an acknowledgement of our requests and a sincere pledge to fix what is wrong.

Since we can’t mingle as we used to and see one another, this is the only way I know to get a feeling of how everyone is doing with this.  Thanks for listening even if you don’t have an answer.

 

From: 
Date: 
To: 
Subject: RE: unemployment

I have no secret or tips to give.  My cases are just like yours.  All over the place with no rhyme nor reason as to why one is being paid before another. I know some cases are more difficult, but I haven’t seen that as a factor as some hard cases are getting paid, and some standard cases are not.

I did let the Gov’s office know that we do not consistently get a confirmation email, so when the person calls back to say they haven’t heard anything, I have no choice but to file a new ticket as I do not have an email to respond to or a number to call or anything.

I’m feeling pretty useless, too.

 

From:
Sent:
To:
Subject: Re: unemployment

I also have so secrets, but I can build off of what — said:

Putting in multiple tickets: “Please remember that submitting multiple tickets for a constituent doesn’t speed up the process, but instead slows it down for the others who are waiting for a call. I see that there have been three different tickets opened up for him and that two of those came after he had been in contact with the department.”

Anytime I have a question about multiple tickets I email __ with an update, even though I get a response days later. When submitting tickets you can see a green confirmation email then it has been submitted. The only issues I have seen is if you don’t have SSN then it doesn’t submit properly, so I change it to 1234, or 4321.

I also use consistent messaging for every unemployment issue that helps:

We have submitted a request in to have someone contact you. Granted they are receiving 100’s of requests a day, so it could take a while. On average, all of the claims are being responded to in 10 – 14 business days. If you have not received any communication in 10 days, please call the office at 615-741-1000 and we will see if we know more information.

Someone from the unemployment office will be contacting you, so please answer unknown numbers. You will also receive an email from legislative request that will recap your claim. Responding to that email will allow the unemployment office and myself see, so if you see anything you would like to add or change.

Just a reminder, it is not worth your time to be placed on hold and calling the unemployment office, the quickest response is by having me put in a ticket for you. Lastly, submitting multiple tickets (especially with multiple people) will delay your response, so please be patient. I promise, someone is working on it.

I use consistent messaging so that they stop reaching out to different offices to try and get different responses.

 

From:
Sent:
To:
Subject: RE: unemployment

Hello all, this is just a little to add to some of what everyone else is dealing with:

When I do get a call, I ask if that person has contacted another legislator and advise them creating multiple tickets will not help- I inquire if they have continued to recertify weekly and I advise them to keep their cell phone with them at all times and answer any unknown numbers. I also ask if they have submitted all their wage information and make sure they follow up and be sure the department has all the documents they need to process the claim.  It appears that many cases that were submitted in mid -April for some reason seemed to have more issues than some of the others and  I also seem to have more issues with small business operators for some reasons- such as more calls related to hair dressers and the like and I’m not sure why.

As for the ones who are concerned about losing their homes, utilities getting cut off, etc- I remind them that many lenders made pledges during this crisis that they would not foreclose and many would not charge late charges. I have found that the companies will not offer this service but if the constituent reaches out and asks for more assistance, usually they will receive that. I have offered to contact lenders or landlords on their behalf, contacted utility companies for them, I have loaned one family money because they did not even have enough money for gas or groceries and they had small children- we have offered to pick up food boxes for families, and at one point I even reached out to the department and offered to take an hour or two out of my day to pitch and help them submit claims if needed.  I have not heard back from our liaison of the department at all.

I think we all understand we have more claims than ever and the Department is very busy.  At this point though, it is extremely frustrating when, like some of you, I have families who filed in March and to date still have not received anything. I have some whose legislative tickets went in four to six weeks ago and that constituent still hasn’t received a phone call. Sometimes we get a confirmation email and sometimes we don’t.  It is very embarrassing to not be able to answer any of their questions and not to be able to give them a date when someone might call them back.  Also, I have real concerns since this is an election year that our members are going to get out on the campaign trail and they may lose because the constituents feel like we have not been able to represent them very well, despite our diligence and multiple attempts to do so.

If anyone needs any resources that are helpful, let me know and I’m happy to try to share some if I have them.

 

From:
Sent:
To:
Subject: RE: unemployment

My apologies-  I meant to send this from my email, not Rep. ____. To add a little more to some of the notes though…

We are also dealing with many cases that might receive one-two weeks of unemployment and then for some reason we are finding cases closed before resolution.

We also are having more problems with self-employed claims.

Also, we have a great deal of constituents who may have made an initial mistake in entering their claim during the “glitch in the system” era, who may just have a simple question but they are unable to reach anyone to help them navigate through the process.

Thanks to everyone for the input. It is very much appreciated.

Everyone hang in there. Hopefully we will all get through this together.  Hugs to all.

 

From:
Sent:
To:
Subject: Re: unemployment

​For some of my constituents that are down to their last dime, I suggest they call a local church (food pantry) or the Am. Red Cross.

I had one constituent sing her song sad song: “Well, it’s not that.”  Okay, another suggestion, “Well, it’s not that.”  After about 3 more suggestions, I suggested that it might be time for her to find a job at the grocery until her permanent job returns.  “Well, I can’t do that.”  As suspected, she wanted me to do all the work for her and she wanted me to give her a hand-out.  After the grocery suggestion, the daily (sometimes multiples in a day) ceased.

My heart breaks for a lot of these constituents and I have only had one like this but sometimes it just takes one.

I look forward to seeing you all soon!

 

From:
Sent:
To:
Subject: RE: unemployment

OMG.  NONE of the “sad songs” I’ve heard have been anything less than heartbreaking. I cry over this sometimes.  Wow. Just wow.

 

From:
Sent:
To:
Subject: RE: unemployment

I agree. Sometimes I don’t want to answer the phone because I know it’s one more single mother being evicted or a single father going to the food bank for the first time in his life or a man selling all his tools of his trade to make ends meet.  And I’ve had a few who’ve had their electricity cut off.  I’ve referred them to everyone I know and even sent a Kroger gift card to one gentleman.  I can’t do that for everyone of course, and I know some others who’ve done the same thing up here.  And then I feel guilty and blessed because I have a job during this horrible time, as well.  I’ve only had one constituent out of a hundred or more who has lied to me that I know of, even so, I still trust as I know all of you do.

 

From:
Sent:
To:
Subject: Re: unemployment

​I’ve received several emails this morning stating that constituents received a call that rang once, hung up, and then had a generic “Hello, I attempted to call you and no one answered. Our specialist team will reach out and try to call you again very soon” email sent to them. This concerns me greatly because this counts as one of the agent’s 3 attempts to reach our constituents. Something must be done about this “one ring/hangup” approach because I’m hearing the same story too often for it to be a coincidence.

Is anyone else having this problem – or are my constituent cases the only ones who are being treated this way?

Thank you!

 

From:
Sent:
To:
Subject: RE: unemployment

I’ve had several tell me their phone never rang and there was no evidence of a call on their call history.

 

From:
Sent:
To:
Subject: Re: unemployment

​YES! That as well. I don’t understand why this is happening.

 

From: 

Subject: RE: unemployment

Date: 

To: 

I’ve had several say the same. I tell them that if they send you an email to respond back to the email with a good time to reach them. I don’t know if that works but I email zendesk back with the time that the constituent has given me is a good time. That way we are on the same page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOV. LEE’S WILDLY HYPOCRITICAL “RACE, JUSTICE, EQUALITY” EMAIL TO STATE EMPLOYEES

A state employee has forwarded us an email that apparently just went out to all state employees from Governor lee that touches on “race, justice, and equality”.

We’ve included it below in its entirety.

In it, Lee claims he’s “engaging with minority leaders”, yet he has blockaded a public plaza and turned his troopers the protestors who have been sleeping outside the capitol for 10 days straight. Dozens of peaceful protestors have been arrested, and JUST TODAY his sent his troopers after them for no reason yet again.

He also claims to care about “serving” the minority community… yet he won’t support removing the KKK GRAND WIZARD BUST from the capitol, and just chickened out of ending KKK GRAND WIZARD DAY, which he promised to do.

Not only that, but his party just KILLED AN AMENDMENT that would’ve given ALL state employees the same raise he himself is scheduled to get in this next budget – instead choosing to send hundreds of millions of dollars to the “RAINY DAY FUND” which already has over $1 BILLION in it.

These are the facts.

Below is the email in its entirety, and below that is a note from the state employee who sent it, which we ask you to read as well.

Here’s the key section from Lee’s email:

“Our goal is not only to create a safe work environment but also an environment where employees thrive. Events over the last few weeks have spurred many conversations in our country around race, justice and equality. I am using this time to further engage with minority leaders and faith leaders to evaluate just how we are serving every Tennessean and how we can improve.

I have asked Commissioner Williams and the Tennessee Department of Human Resources to build a framework for strengthening efforts around the minority experience in our workplace. This is an opportunity to ensure working with the State of Tennessee is an edifying and equitable experience for every single employee who has chosen the calling of public service.

Despite the uncertainty of the times, I know that our state’s workforce is highly equipped for this season. Maria and I are thankful to serve with you and I hope to be able to resume department visits, soon.”

And here are the thoughts of the state employee:

“These are the thoughts I cannot let go of today since reading that email. Who are these minority leaders he’s expecting to engage with, if not the folks that have been waiting peacefully outside the Capitol for weeks?

How can working at the State ever be an “edifying and equitable experience” if being a Tennessean isn’t one?

As a State employee one of my objective duties set by the Governor’s office is to improve safety. We learn about and apply new, proven safety tactics as soon as we hear about them so we can save more lives.

Why isn’t the Governor also guided by this principle when people are outside his office chanting “I can’t breathe”?

I don’t want HR to make an “effort around the minority experience”. I want systemic changes that can start with decisions from the Governor that will save lives.

Well said. To let Lee know how you feel, Holler at him HERE.

P.S.

Lee is handpicking who he meets with. He has been running and hiding from black voters…

…and ignoring black legislators pleading for inclusion.

 

THE GROUP BEHIND THE ANTI-MUSLIM AD ANSWERS QUESTIONS

Yesterday  the Tennessean made national news when it ran an extremely Islamophobic ad warning that Islam was going to Nuke Nashville, which the Tennessean has now called “utterly indefensible” by their own admission.

It actually ran twice. They say they’re investigating how it happened, but Channel 5’s Phil Williams fairly wonders why an investigation would be necessary into how an ad got into their own newspaper

They now say they’ll be donating the revenue to AMAC, but much of the community is deeply offended, and many say they’ll be canceling their subscriptions.

We won’t encourage you to do that, because it hurts the reporters at the Tennessean who are themselves also upset about this, but we do understand the sentiment.

We reached out to the Tennessean for answers, but have not heard back.

We did however hear back from the Seventh Day Adventists who placed the ad – an End Times prophecy group who insist they’re simply warning people of what will be happening July 18th.

Here’s our exchange with Jeff Pippinger, the apparent spokesman of the group, which calls itself “Future For America”. He says the ad placement was strictly transactional, and it doesn’t seem like the Tennessean asked many questions – although he told another publication a printer they planned to use to do a mailer wouldn’t send out the flyers… which is even more embarrassing for the Tennessean and their obviously flawed process.

—-

HOLLER: We were wondering how much you paid for your full page ad about July 18th in today’s paper, and if there was any hesitation in running it on The Tennessean’s part? Would you consider yourselves anti-Islam in general?

Thank you for anything you can tell us.

PIPPINGER: The Tennessean has backed out of the contract to run the ad, so am unsure what the ultimate cost will be. They were to run it more than twice. I think they should refund the entire amount. They broke the contract, not us.
I have no idea of the editorial process that takes place at their organization. We consider ourselves to be Christian and the Bible teaches that Islam protects Christians in the final crisis. Those responding to the ad and the warning on the website, that are doing so simply from thier own political or religious bias’s are reading too much into our motivations. We are simply sharing what we understand the Bible to be identifying. Soon enough it will be evident whether we have read it correctly or not.

HOLLER: Thank you. And when you sent in the ad, did they question you about the content at all? Or was it a strictly transactional process? Also – did you attempt to place the ad in any other newspapers that would or would not run it?

Do you understand the concerns people have about how it could serve to enflame anti-Muslim attitudes and lead to violence?

PIPPINGER: It was strictly transactional. Did not try any other papers, may have had they turned us down, but they didn’t.

The concerns you mention are based upon the misguided premise of “political correctness”, and your question implies that you yourself accept that flawed social concept. Whether you do or don’t it appears that by asking the question you are either blind to the fact that you are speaking out of both sides of your mouth, or that you are being purposefully deceptive.
We identify July 18. Twenty-six days to see if this is a foolish prediction or not. In the mean time you raise the issue of violence and enflaming anti-Muslim attitudes.
So which is it my friend. Am I some religious whack job that is lost in my own little world of paranoid delusion? If this the case than how can your question possess any logical weight? Who would believe the claims of a religious nut job? Yet you present your question as if you are speaking to a child. “Do I understand the concerns…?”
Yes I understand that when a person bases their world view upon political correctness, then the work of the “PC Police” is to place the subject of Islam above a citizen of the USA right to excercise free speech, especially in the realm of religious conviction.
The only way any of these circumstances would be connected to a backlash against Muslims is if what we have warned about actually happens. At that point it will not be me that has caused the backlash, but Islam.
You can’t have it both ways, simply because you echo political correctness. I am either a deluded fool, which by definition precludes my warning from being a point of reference for anything, or I am not. July 18 will clear all of this up, but I reject your inference that I should surrender my right to express my religious convictions because the PC Police have defined me according to their misguided world view.
The Tennessean had a choice here. Someone needs to be held accountable, and they need to make sure this never happens again.

TODAY’S HOLLER: TN GOP DISHONOR’S GAY BLACK TEEN’S MEMORY

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TODAY’S HOLLER:

TN GOP DISHONORS BLACK TEEN’S MEMORY: Talk about hypocrisy… TN Republicans have ignored the sins of confederate generals & KKK GRAND WIZARDS CHILD SEX ABUSERS, protecting their legacy with statues and holidays — yet they tried to to define a gay black 17 year-old girl who was shot to death -Ashanti Posey – by one unproven accusation, and refused to back a resolution honoring her on the house floor. Non-Facebook Link


Rep. Mike Stewart called it “the most astonishing vote I’ve ever seen”.

Rep. London Lamar: “That was one of the most immoral votes I’ve seen in my short time as a legislator.” ‬

‬Senator Jeff Yarbro called it “INDECENT” on Channel 5.

Rep. Gloria Johnson: “If you think that they did this for any other reason [other than] because she is black and gay, you’re sadly mistaken. They are bigots.”

“THIS IS MY DAUGHTER! THIS IS A HUMAN BEING! NOT A DRUG DEALER!” Ashanti Posey’s mother Amber Posey showed up at the Capitol to show William Lamberth & the GOP the humanity behind the 17 year old girl they slandered and refused to honor. Non-Facebook Link

BLACK CAUCUS ASKS FOR “INCLUSION” (and gets called racist for it: “HOW MANY PEOPLE OF COLOR HAD INPUT THAT LANDED IN THE BUDGET?” – Rep. Parkinson & the black caucus ask for “INCLUSION” in TN’s budget, telling the 99% white TN GOP it “hurts” to be consistently ignored. Non-Facebook Link

Rep. Matthew Hill got triggered. Rep. Jeremy Faison called it racist to even ask, saying there’s “Nothing remotely racist” about the GOP caucus– so HERE’S A THREAD WE MADE OF THE GOP CAUCUS BEING SUPER RACIST, which comes from a list in a TENNESSEAN ARTICLE.

Faison is either blind, or a liar.

Worth remembering: WILLIAM LAMBERTH failed to mention he gets💰from private prisons that oppose marijuana reform. 🤔‬ We see you, William. ‬


Here’s how they voted… “Present Not Voting” was as good as a “No”.

ALSO:

-Unlike Reps Hill & White who say they’d change their vote today, Rep. Brandon Ogles of FRANKLIN stands by his vote to help block the resolution honoring the death of 17yo Ashanti Posey… but is vague about why, other than following “his leader”. Such leadership! Non-Facebook Link

‪-IMAGES from the balcony, where protestors were arrested after Republicans rejected the resolution to honor Ashanti Posey. ‬

-Speaking of racism and statues, in NEW MEXICO a video shows Trump supporter Steven Baca shooting an anti-racist protester, Scott Williams, over one.

-Intentionally antagonistic Tennessee Republicans are being very clear that they have no use for free speech or the concerns of black people. ‬Believe them. ‬(Also: We’d bet many of these troopers have smoked weed. #AshantiPosey ‬)

-Some good news – Ohio police have issued a warrant for a Trump supporter who sucker-punched a protestor in Bethel, OHIO… Our CLIP of the incident was seen over 1 million times. Hopefully it helped.

-The State & The Feds dismiss the $25 Million medical fraud case against TN GOP Senator Steve Dickerson for an UNDISCLOSED SETTLEMENT”? 🤔🤔- must be nice to benefit from the inequality in our justice system.‬ (His company was accused of DEFRAUDING HEALTH PROGRAMS for $25M using “liquid gold” urine tests.)

We talked to the TEENS FOR EQUALITY, the impressive young girls who organized the biggest march in Nashville so far. Non-Facebook Link

-‪“GOVERNOR LEE, tear down this bust.” ‬Tennessee REPUBLICAN Jason Emert calls on Lee to do the right thing to help our state heal. ‬

WATCH: “LET US IN!” After 3 days of peaceful protest, the People are kept out of the People’s Plaza (and legislature) at the Nashville Capitol by Speaker Sexton & Governor Lee, who are attempting to make this a felony. Non-Facebook Link

“You took off your sheets and put on suits but we know who you are.” –  Justin Jones — 21 were arrested.

-His first time back at the Capitol, activist Justin Jones rides up in the elevator with the TN GOP’s admitted child sex abuser Rep. David Byrd… and serenades him. 🐔 🎶 ‬Non-Facebook Link

-A black security guard was killed during protests in Oakland and many said he was killed by “looters” — but the suspect is a vet with ties to the Alt-right “Boogaloo“ folks, who actually killed 2 cops. Related: Still 0 “ANTIFA”-connected arrests.

-HOUSTON. ANOTHER black man found hanging. ‬That’s 5 across the country in recent days. ‬

Good point.

-We also spoke with the lawyer for Sterling Higgins, who died in custody in UNION CITY 15 months ago. “Imagine if there was a #GeorgeFloyd grand jury and the prosecutor decided NOT TO SHOW THE VIDEO.” 🤔‬ — we’ve now seen video of Sterling being held by the neck for over 6 minutes. No charges were filed. PODCAST ON ITUNES.

WATCH: TN SENATE REPUBLICANS KILL 4 AMENDMENTS TO HELP REGULAR FOLKS 🤬

-coverage for new moms
-Support for people with disabilities to live on their own
-$150M for schools about to lay off people
-cost of living adjustment EQUAL TO Gov. Bill Lee’s for EVERY state employee

Non-Facebook Link

-ICYMI — THE SUPREME COURT has ruled sexual orientation is protected under the Civil Rights Act. 🏳️‍🌈 ‬(unfortunately many in Tennessee seem prepared to ignore it)

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REP. STEVE COHEN HAS ONE:

INTERVIEW: TN REP. ANTONIO PARKINSON (D-MEMPHIS)

Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) joins us to talk about the protests and more.

 

Mitchell’s Bill To Kill Lee’s Vouchers Dies

WATCH: “Delete the voucher program… it’s ILLEGAL… we’re wasting the courts’ time with something we know is wrong.”

Bo Mitchell’s bill to kill Gov. Lee’s “UNCONSTITUTIONAL” private school vouchers fails for lack of a second.
(Thanks to: Byrd, Moody, Dunn, White, Deberry, Cochran)

TODAY’S HOLLER: Burchett’s Anti-Science Fearmongering, Lee’s Unemployment Nightmares

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We hope you’re all having a good Memorial Day Weekend.
Today we remember the brave Americans we’ve lost to our wars,
and pray for those we’ve lost and continue to lose to the war on science.

TODAY’S HOLLER:

REP. TIM BURCHETT’S ANTI-SCIENCE CONTACT TRACING FEARMONGERING:  This weekend actual sitting TN GOP Congressman Tim Burchett in Knoxville argued against contact tracing health experts say could save lives… because of empty fearmongering tinfoil hat nonsense👇🏽

TN Has just 25% of the recommended CONTACT TRACERS. ‬That’s 1500 jobs not filled. ‬
‪1500 people not saving lives. As Gov. Bill Lee sleeps at the wheel and Rep. Burchett fearmongers, more people are out of work… and more will get sick and die. ‬

PSA: If you think laws that force girls/women to carry a rapist’s baby to term are good, but programs that could help save lives during a deadly pandemic are “government overreach”, it might be time to re-think some things.

GOV. LEE’S TN UNEMPLOYMENT NIGHTMARES CONTINUE: “I have a premature baby at home and I can’t even afford preemies right now.” ‬– One of many emotional stories at the TN House Democratic Caucus UNEMPLOYMENT NIGHTMARES Town hall.‬ ‪Thousands of struggling Tennesseans have been waiting for benefits since MARCH. Non-Facebook Link

ALSO:

-‪Trump Education Secretary BETSY DEVOS is blatant about using the virus to advance her public school-harming private school agenda by steering money to them. ‬And Gov. Lee is doing it with her.

Even Lamar thinks it’s wrong.

-Thousands dead.‬ Millions unemployed. ‬Billions lost. ‬Still, Gov. Lee will NOT give up his “UNCONSTITUTIONAL” private school vouchers. ‬

-This is a woman flipping off Trump’s motorcade as he heads to play golf in Virginia… the last woman that did this quickly became an elected official.

-‪Speaking of which, here’s our CARTOON OF THE DAY 😢‬

-‪100,000 dead & an economic depression because of a failure to act… but sure fly those banners buddy. ‬(They’re being MADE IN CHINA by the way)

-Meanwhile, this is what’s going on in the Ozarks. Unreal. Also, pretty grross even without a Pandemic. Non-Facebook Link

STUDY: 24 states still have “uncontrolled virus spread” ‬ — Yes, Tennessee is 1 of them.

-One big difference between Biden and Trump: Biden apologizes.

-WATCH Fox’s Steve Doocy say “the government won’t let” Fox hosts be together in studio… then immediately walk it back and encourages people to work from home if they can.🧐‬–WATCH 😷 WHAT 😷 THEY 😷 DO, NOT 😷 WHAT 😷 THEY 😷 SAY‬. Non-Facebook Link

A NIKE warehouse in MEMPHIS turned away health department inspectors after a worker died… now 20+ workers have tested positive. Nike has some explaining to do.

-‪Republicans are now LITERALLY SUING to stop people from voting safely 🚨🇺🇸‬ 🗳

-‪Colorado’s Secretary of State calling Trump on his vote-suppressing lies👇🏽🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥‬

Voter fraud is not a thing. Voter suppression is.
Trump votes by mail. Your elected officials vote by mail. The military. The elderly.
Vile Truth: Republicans are using the virus and putting you at risk as an excuse to cling to power.

The Tennessean’s David Plazas: “VOTE BY MAIL IS SAFER AND MORE RELIABLE THAN EVER” and dispenses of the notion that voter fraud is real (10 cases in TN in FIFTEEN YEARS… mostly perpetrated by ELECTION OFFICIALS). ‬Again: GOP Voter suppression is very real though.‬

FOX’S CHRIS WALLACE: “You told us 60,000 would die. We’re almost over 100,000. What happened?”
DR. BIRX: *Rambles for 2 minutes without saying anything* Non-Facebook Link

TN GOP REP. BRUCE GRIFFEY doesn’t like loud chanting at the TN Capitol to have the STATUE OF THE FIRST KKK GRAND WIZARD REMOVED… and thinks protestors should be subject to arrest. 🤔‬ So much for “constitutionalists”.

-Trump retweeted horrific tweets calling a former first lady a “skank” and mocking Stacy Abrams’ weight. Some are angry we’re amplifying these, but we feel it’s important to remind any fence-sitters what a terrible human being this man is.

A New Biden ad eviscerates Trump for being too “weak”, “scared”, “indecisive”, and concerned with his own re-election to lead during the pandemic. Non-Facebook link

-‪PANDEMIC LESSON: We’re only as healthy as the sickest among us. ‬There are no MORAL reasons to care for uninsured folks suffering only from this particular virus, only POLITICAL ones… ‬Health care should be a RIGHT, not a PRIVILEGE. #ExpandMedicaidTN #MedicareForAll ‬

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GOP’ers Haile & Leatherwood Seek to CHANGE RULES For “Personal Friend” Deberry

After voting with Republicans on a series of key issues including the Heartbeat Bill, LGBT rights, and School Vouchers, the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee recently voted to remove Rep. John Deberry (D- Memphis) from the ballot as a Democrat.

It was a controversial decision, but one celebrated by many Democrats who felt that despite his lengthy service, if Deberry was going to consistently side with Republicans he was no longer worthy of having the “D” by his name on the ballot.

This was not the first time this had happened – Republicans had stripped the “R” from one of their own a few years back, and recently at the last minute to ensure Glen Casada didn’t have a primary in Williamson County, claiming her Republican “Bona Fides” weren’t strong enough,

(NOTE: They never even talked to her. We did. She is plenty conservative and had voted for many Republicans.)

Because of the timing of the decision, Deberry would not have time to file to run as an independent.

Now, Senator Ferrell Haile and Rep. Tom Leatherwood, both Republicans, have a bill that seeks to change that.

The bill would extend the deadline to file as an independent for Republicans and Democrats alike if the parties decide to strip the letter from an incumbent.

We caught up with Senator Haile yesterday. He made it clear the bill would be retroactive – meaning it WOULD enable Deberry to run as an independent in the upcoming election – and was forthcoming about the fact that that was exactly the bill’s intent: To help his “personal friend” Rep. Deberry.

This is how our conversation went:

HOLLER: We heard a rumor you have a bill to extend the deadline to allow Rep. Deberry to run as an independent. Is there any truth to that?

SENATOR HAILE: “Well it’s not just Rep. Deberry. This would apply both to Democrat & Republican parties. That if they disallow someone who’s an incumbent after the filing deadline, this would allow the individual to file as an independent to run.”

HOLLER: And is it retroactive? Would it apply to Rep. Deberry?

SENATOR HAILE: “It would. 2020 going forward.”

HOLLER: Is it only for incumbents?

SENATOR HAILE: “That’s the way it’s written right now. If they don’t want him to run as their party, fine… but give that person a chance to get on the ballot.”

HOLLER: Recently in Williamson County a Republican filed to run against Ex-Speaker Casada and was kicked off the ballot because of her “Republican Bona Fides”, so this has happened before…

SENATOR HAILE: “If I’m not mistaken the timing on that was before the filing deadline.”

HOLLER: It was like the day before.

SENATOR HAILE: “Right, so she could’ve gone out and gotten 25 signatures.”

HOLLER: I guess what I’m saying is this seems to be mainly relevant to this Deberry situation.

SENATOR HAILE: “John Deberry is a personal friend of mine. And I just don’t like to see personal friends treated wrongly. And there’s an opportunity to give him an opportunity to be on the ballot. If he gets defeated, fine… but lets give the man an opportunity.”

HOLLER: So it’s fair to say this is about the Deberry situation then?

SENATOR HAILE: It’s about this, and going forward.

Tom Leatherwood (R-Arlington) out of Shelby County will be carrying it in the house.

You can Holler at either Haile and Leatherwood at those links.

COMMENTARY: “DOLLAR GENERAL FIRED ME FOR ORGANIZING ESSENTIAL CO-WORKERS”

The following is commentary from Daniel Stone, who was recently terminated by Dollar General. 

My name is Daniel Stone. On April 27th I was terminated from my role at Dollar General Corporate for organizing essential coworkers.

This termination came after months of efforts to organize & connect with my fellow coworkers in stores, distribution centers and elsewhere.

As the pandemic began to assert itself across all corners of the economy, I focused intently on how my company would act on behalf of my coworkers. Ultimately, as my emails asking about hazard pay, PPE and more for these coworkers were met with generic corporate responses, myself & others began to act.

We have created a movement of Dollar General workers & that will not end with my termination.

The company tried to silence one voice, but in reality, the voices only get louder.

My actions began in March when I sent emails to Kathy Reardon, the Chief People Officer, asking about the CEO’s COVID-19 video that was emailed to all of us. In those emails, I asked about Paid Sick Leave & more for our fellow associates. Her response was ultimately unhelpful to the plights of the workers, but she did mention her gratitude for Employees like me.

I totally feel that gratitude now.

I continued my efforts, emailing Kathy, but she stopped responding. It became clear to me that the Chief People Officer’s concerns did not include the People in office, store and elsewhere.

I shifted my efforts to Human Resources shortly after that, since I figured that maybe I had a better shot of convincing HR to hear my coworkers grievances and perhaps they could then enact change. That was not the case.

In Mid-March, when Corporate dished out bonuses for white-collar workers, including me, and they were in the thousands while our fellow associates in stores were given bonuses of $300, $200 & $100 (before tax!) it became even clearer — This company will do whatever they need to to protect their rich investors while quite literally sending people to contract this virus, all for breadcrumbs.

One of my emails was to Nichole Wheeler, HR Manager, in which I asked her if Corporate Employees could work in stores on weekends. As I had gone in stores to get groceries for my own household, I had spoken to coworkers about the concerns they shared and decided to ask HR about this possibility.

HR shot that idea down and this was a turning point for me.

Dollar General was comfortable sending workers across the chain in for work everyday during a pandemic, with degrading wages & little to no protection against the virus, but we as corporate workers were not allowed to show solidarity with our coworkers?

It’s shameful.

After other correspondences with Nichole it became evident that the company was not interested in engaging with me & my coworkers. Stories of workers being unable to feed their children, pregnant women scared to work during this virus, hours being cut despite a temporary, laughable, one-dollar raise for Part-Time workers and so many more.

These stories are what led me to engage in protected concerted activity with my coworkers & the support of UFCW 655 in Missouri.

Workers are tired of asking companies for their empathy, now, we demand fairness.

On ~4/13/20, Corporate Employees who were still working in the building, few of which were in mine, could have access to 5 wired masks a week. On ~4/20/20, multiple workers had confirmed that Dollar General was sending them literal t-shirt cutouts as masks.

Across Georgia, Arkansas, Pennsylvania & elsewhere my coworkers were being subjected to this virus, with low pay as it is, and now they’ve been sent T-Shirts to protect themselves and their families? This was insulting, not to mention completely ineffective.

A company making billions in profits, that could afford to pay their executive team nearly $24 million dollar in total compensation in 2019 couldn’t even give workers on the ground the basic respect of a mask.

Eventually, my efforts came to a head on 4/27/20 when I was terminated for what the company cited was bad blood towards the company as well as negative emails.

I’m still not sure how asking about hazard pay, PPE & whether or not corporate workers, who are coworkers with people in stores, can go in in our free time to help, is negative  – but that’s for their conscience to debate, not mine.

Myself & others inside that building know the treatment that our fellow associates are experiencing and for that we organized. At the time of writing this, across all platforms, we have recruited 300+ DG employees to join this movement. From March to my termination in April we reached out to numerous people with the same message of organizing to force Dollar General to recognize our plights.

When one of us is unable to feed our child, we speak up.

When one of us is seeing their hourly wage go from $7.25 to $8.25 but their hours go from 30 to 12, we speak up.

I am hurt to be away from my team at Dollar General, and hope they’re doing well, but myself & others could not sit by while fellow associates are being abused and their bodies being crushed to dust for the good of a company that would replace them tomorrow if they could save a penny.

Workers are tired of asking companies for their empathy. Now, we demand fairness.

In closing, I want to request that if you have spare funds during this pandemic that you give something to a Workers Rights advocacy group, a Union, anything that you feel can advance the cause of Workers Rights. In this country, corporations rely on campaign financing as well as a general Anti-Worker sentiment that we have to change.

Additionally, I want to give a quick shoutout to a few people who have taught me how to organize, how to know what my/others rights are as a worker, and who gave me personally the courage to keep going:

Billy Myers — Organizing Director, UFCW 655

Ashley Bachelder — Interim Co-Director, Workers Dignity/Dignidad Obrera

Vonda McDaniel — President, CLC Nashville Lori — DG Associate/Coworker

Judd Legum — Popular Info

All Coworkers and Associates of Dollar General who continue fighting for the respect, protection & wages they deserve.

Please contact me at DanielStoneBusiness@gmail.com or DM me on Twitter for any questions.

Thank you for reading.

 

TODAY’S HOLLER: “OBAMAGATE” EXPOSED, Memphis Election Commission Shenanigans

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TODAY’S HOLLER:

“OBAMAGATE” EXPOSED: At his press conference yesterday a REPORTER asked Trump: “You appeared to accuse Obama of a crime yesterday. What did he do?”

TRUMP’s response: “You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody.”

TRANSLATION: “OBAMAGATE”, currently trending because of right wing desperation, is bullshit. 💩

They want us to believe Obama is going to prison, but it’s Trump’s capos who are in prison, convicted, or having their charges dropped because of pure corruption. Non-Facebook Link

MEMPHIS ELECTION COMMISSION QUESTIONS: The MEMPHIS Election Commission needs to be watched. Election administrator Linda Phillips has conflicts of interest with their voter registration software company, including her sons working there. This is in addition to their lawyer sharing office space with the lobbyist for the touch screen voting machine company they just awarded another contract to, even though touch screens take 3x longer, and they recently *miscounted* black votes. Voter suppression in minority-heavy areas continues.

OBAMA RIPS TRUMP’S RESPONSE: OBAMA calls Trump’s Pandemic Response “a CHAOTIC DISASTER”, adding “when that mindset of what’s in it for me and to heck with everybody else is operationalized inside our government.” Boy is he right. And boy do we miss him. Non-Facebook Link

ALSO:

A CONTACT TRACING SHORTAGE is being reported in TN, where we have just 25% of the recommended amount of contact tracers – 1,500 people short for the critical disease mitigation effort. Rep. Mike Stewart is right… with so many unemployed, this is a win-win way to put folks to work.

-A BULLSEYE 🎯 target was placed at NASHVILLE NAACP President Keith Caldwell’s house. He says the responding officer “shrugged” & said the target was “pretty cool.” Unacceptable… Racists sure are feeling emboldened lately.

-An unreleased White House report has VIRUS RATES SPIKING IN THE HEARTLAND — “10 top areas recorded surges of 72.4% or greater over 7-day period… They include Des Moines, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas and Central City, Kentucky… and NASHVILLE, TN.

-Yesterday TRUMP had the nerve to say “We have met the moment, and we have prevailed.”Most cases in the world. Most deaths in the world. 80,000+ dead Americans and their loved ones would likely disagree. 🇺🇸

-SEARING new Biden ad🔥:  “We have an economic crisis because we have a public health crisis… and we have a public health crisis because Trump refused to act…Trump didn’t build a great economy. His failure to lead destroyed one.” 🔥🎯Non-Facebook Link

-And here’s another ad where Biden sets the record straight. 🔥🔥Obama-Biden built a response pandemic apparatus. Trump tore it apart. HE WILL NOT REWRITE HISTORY. Non-Facebook Link

-‪WASH POST EDITORIAL BOARD: “WHISTLEBLOWER paints shocking picture of White House Bungling COVID Response”‬

BROOKINGS: “As states reopen, COVID-19 is spreading into even more Trump counties”‬

-This is Katie Miller, Pence’s press secretary, who just tested positive for COVID-19, at the healthcare facility where Pence just *heroically* delivered masks. ‬The ONLY ONE not wearing a mask.‬ 😷🤔‬

-We took the liberty of fixing this for Trump:

-UC BERKELEY STUDY: a simple solution to help us emerge from this nightmarish lockdown? ALWAYS social distance in public and, most importantly, wear a mask… ‪There is no excuse not to mask up at this point. It’s not brave, it’s selfish. 😷 ‬

-It didn’t have to be this way.

-4 Americans Died At BENGHAZI — Hillary faced hours upon hours of interrogation. ‬80,000 Americans are dead. Worst outbreak on 🌍 — yet Trump won’t let the task force answer questions? ‬ ‪What is he hiding? 🤔😷 🇺🇸 ‬ SHARE THIS

-RESIGN, BARR: “Nearly 2000 former Justice Department officials have signed onto a letter calling for Attorney General William Barr to resign over his improper intervention in the criminal case of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.” ‬

CARTOON OF THE DAY: Obama’s Crime, revealed!‬ #Obamagate

-Tennessee says absentee ballots are now available “for those eligible”, but this isn’t good enough. We should all be “eligible” to not have to risk our lives to vote. Holler at Hargett615-741-2819 ☎️ ‬

‪-California will send ALL voters mail-in ballots for the November election. THIS is what states that actually want people to vote and believe in democracy do during a deadly pandemic. ‬We’re at the bottom in voter turnout by design. Voter suppression is real. ‬ 🇺🇸🗳‬
-Suddenly Marsha and the Republicans pretend to care about the debt again, right as folks need help and they know a Dem may be in charge soon?‬ ‪REMINDER: Blackburn voted to blow a $2 TRILLION HOLE in the deficit to hand a tax cut to corporations and the wealthy even before the virus. Spare us. 🙄‬

-Chris Hayes said it best…

-HOLLER GRAPHIC OF THE DAY: ‪Tennessee is #1 in MEDICAL BANKRUPTCIES… ‪#1 in RURAL HOSPITAL CLOSURES per capita… ‪We lose $1 BILLION EVERY YEAR we don’t EXPAND MEDICAID… ‪Not expanding Medicaid is POLICY MURDER.

-Senator Lamar Alexander called the DOJ’s anti-Obamacare lawsuit that would rip coverage from millions “REALLY FLIMSY” 👀🔥

-The President of the United States shared a video which concluded there had been a “silent coup” attempted against him. ‬This guy is reckless and dangerous in so many different ways. ‬

-‪Cool news—TODAY at 11AM CST we’ll have Congressman Steve Cohen LIVE!‬ Join on Twitter & Facebook. (Follow/Like our page to get reminded when we go live)

Don’t forget to FOLLER the new MEMPHIS HOLLER and the KNOXVILLE HOLLER if you’re in those areas! And please consider CHIPPING IN MONTHLY to help us keep GROWING THROUGHOUT THE STATE…  make it $10 and we’ll send you a holler hat!

We hope you all had a beautiful Mother’s Day.

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