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Dems to Casada: Where Did All The Money Go?

From the Democratic Caucus:

Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart today asked “where did all the money go?”  Stewart demanded a full accounting into the financial dealings of outgoing Speaker Glen Casada’s Republican leadership team.

Chairman Stewart:

“All of these reports of no-show jobs, five figure raises for former interns and multi-million dollar expenditure increases need to be fully examined before we go into special session and vote on a new Speaker.  The Republicans cannot be permitted to use the Special Session to sweep these issues under the rug and hide the truth from the citizens who were forced to foot the bill for all this nonsense.”

Representative Gloria Johnson added:

“The reports we have read about misspent money are deeply offensive to the citizens of my district; these taxpayers are entitled to know what happened to every cent of their hard-earned tax dollars.”

Stewart called on a three-pronged approach to determine how funds were misspent, misallocated and/or misused during the Speaker’s administration:

  • A full financial audit by the comptroller’s office into spending on purchases, salaries and allocations made by the Speaker’s office since Casada’s election.
  • The appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the no-show jobs held by employees of the Speaker’s office.
  • An open records release of all financial records, receipts, timesheets and other documents for full public review.

Chairman Stewart urged that all requests need to be completed before the called special session August 23rd, saying:

“Otherwise, we risk the possibility that the Republicans will just put one of Casada’s cronies in as Speaker in an effort to sweep evidence of financial malfeasance under the rug.  If that happens, the taxpayers will never really know the full cost of the Casada Gravy Train and those that got the money will never be held accountable.”

Speaking of no-show jobs, the Holler has been told Michael Lotfi, who was on the receiving end of one of Casada’s no-show jobs and was attacked child sex abuse survivors while on the payroll, is still handling social media for Tennessee House Republicans.

“EXPEL CASADA” PROTEST IN FRANKLIN

Williamson County residents gathered on the Public Square in Franklin on Friday to call for Speaker Casada to resign from the legislature completely, immediately.

 

Rep. Stewart & The Democrats Call on Casada to Resign Immediately

Video of today’s press conference where Rep. Mike Stewart, and Reps Jason Hodges & Darren Jernigan, along with TNDP chair Mary Mancini, gathered to call for Glen Casada to immediately resign.

Channel 5 On Casada-Jones “Special Prosecutor” Craig Northcott Defying SCOTUS

Channel 5’s Report on Coffee County D.A. Craig Northcott defying the Supreme Court by refusing to recognize Marriage Equality.
 
Northcott is now overseeing the Speaker Glen Casada-Justin Jones Case. CAIR & Tennessee Equality Project have both called on him to resign. He previously made deeply Islamophobic comments on Facebook.
 
We initially broke this story… holler at Northcott HERE: 931-723-5057

Casada-Jones “Special Prosecutor” Northcott Won’t Recognize Same-Sex Marriage, Defying Supreme Court

We previously revealed that Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott, special prosecutor on the Glen Casada-Justin Jones case, made deeply Islamophobic Facebook comments, and continues to hold those views.

The Holler has now unearthed video in which Northcott says that despite a 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, he refuses to recognize it as the law of the land, won’t prosecute same-sex domestic assaults as “domestic” cases, and even encourages county clerks not to process same-sex marriages – saying he would use his “prosecutorial discretion” to make sure they aren’t charged.

VIDEO:

One of the most explosive scandals in the scandal-tornado surrounding Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada – who has said he will be resigning his speakership possibly as soon as next week – has been the possibility that his office falsified the date on an email to frame civil rights activist Justin Jones, to show that Jones violated a no-contact order and have him thrown in jail.

Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk recused himself from that case, saying that because he was the recipient of the email in question he couldn’t be impartial.

The Casada-Jones case then went to the Tennessee Attorneys General Conference, which sent it to a “special prosecutor” – Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott.

Recently The Holler revealed deeply Islamophobic Facebook comments by Northcott in which he referred to the Islamic faith as “evil” and equated it with the KKK and the Aryan Nation, while also saying there are “no constitutional rights”, only rights bestowed upon us by the “One True God”.

Our report prompted formal complaints from Muslim rights groups CAIR and AMAC calling for Northcott’s resignation.

As it turns out, Muslims may not be the only community who have reason for concern with Northcott.

We’ve just discovered the above video from March of 2018, at the Chafer Theological Seminary Pastor’s Conference, in which Northcott gives an hour-long speech about “The Local Church’s Role in Government”.

After his speech, Northcott is asked what a Christian county clerk who is against gay marriage should do when a same-sex couple shows up for a marriage license.

The questioner asks:

“Let’s say the federal government does something ridiculous like legalize gay marriage, and you’re a Christian county clerk working in a marriage license office… (joking) this is all hypothetical… and you refuse to follow the federal law, and the matter gets Brought to the district attorney. Whoever that might be. How as Christians do you think we should deal with all those situations?”

Northcott begins his answer by questioning the authority of the Supreme Court:

“5 people in black dresses rule us.”

He says that with the Obergefell V. Hodges ruling, in which the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples, and required all 50 states to perform and recognize the marriages on the same terms and conditions as the marriages of opposite-sex couples, the Supreme Court was “legislating policy”:

“If you ever read their opinion, they don’t base it on the constitution, they don’t base it upon law, they don’t base it on anything… They start in the very first paragraph by saying ‘we think it is a better policy for homosexual marriage to be legitimized, therefore we’re gonna rule this way.”

Actually, Obergefell V. Hodges was based on both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In fact, the very first paragraph does talk about the constitution- in fact, the very first two words  of Justice Kennedy’s opinion are “The Constitution”.

Northcott then goes on to address the *hypothetical* situation about the Christian clerk faced with a decision about whether or not to issue a same sex marriage license. He makes it clear he doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage as a prosecutor, and advises the clerk not to “succumb” either. :

“As to the clerk, it just boils down to are you gonna do what God says? Or are you gonna do what man says? And the clerk will probably lose their job either immediately or through election if they take a stand on God’s Truth. We are not saved from the consequences of standing on the truth… that would be my advice to the clerk: Don’t succumb.

As to what a District Attorney like him would then do to the clerk, he points to “prosecutorial discretion” and the “unfettered” authority D.A.’s have as a way for him to avoid punishing Christian clerks:

“D.A.’s have what’s called prosecutorial discretion. Y’all need to know who your D.A. is – y’all give us a LOT of authority whether you know it or not… we can choose to prosecute anything, and we can choose not to prosecute anything, up to and including murder. It’s our choice, unfettered, so to deal with that you elect a good Christian man as D.A. and they’ll make sure that they at least don’t get prosecuted criminally.”

Northcott explains that the Supreme Court decision affected his profession in ways many people don’t realize, particularly concerning “domestic assault” charges, which carry heavier punishments than “simple assault” charges. Because treating assault charges between same-sex couples as “domestic assaults” would be to recognize same-sex marriage, Northcott says he does not, and accuses the Supreme Court of “social engineering”:

“So the social engineers on the Supreme Court decided that we now have homosexual marriage. I disagree with them. What do I do with domestic assaults?… The reason that there’s extra punishment on domestic assaults is to recognize and protect the sanctity of marriage. And I said there’s no marriage to protect. So I don’t prosecute them as domestics.”

He implies this isn’t the only way this view affects his work, saying “that is one of many decisions like that that you face (as a D.A.)”, and adds “you need someone who will do an evaluation on those terms in making those decisions” – which appears to mean voters should elect Christians who will similarly disobey Supreme Court rulings when they believe the rulings go against “God’s Truth”.

Northcott then finishes his answer by returning to the hypothetical clerk, saying not only would he not prosecute her, he’d embrace her:

“If your specific situation came to me I’d pat her on the back, give her a hug, and say ‘go at it.'”

The rest of Northcott’s speech about the role of the church in government makes it clear he doesn’t believe the “lie” about separation of church and state, and quite the contrary believes “government was created by God” and therefore church and state are inextricable:

He says only faithful Christians should hold public office as “ministers of God”, and that the role of the churches is to prepare those “faithful men” to hold those positions:

He also goes on to talk about the “Religious Test” which remains in the Tennessee constitution to this day, and in his eyes means that only Christians should serve in office in the state:

“The founders of the state of Tennessee recognized that only Christians could adequately understand and implement the purpose of all government offices. It’s still in our constitution.”

Article 9, section 2 of the Tennessee constitution does in fact say:

“No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.”

But while “No person who denies the being of God” seems to rule out only atheists, Northcott insists the clause refers to “the God of the Gospel… the only One True God”… and hopes “one of those crazy groups that hates religion” doesn’t figure it out and sue to have the clause removed.

Northcott adds:

“If there are no faithful Christians, there’s no one out there to elect and to hold these offices.”

He also tacks on a few words for the media, who he says are in the “back pockets” of “unfaithful men”:

When you get a faithful man into office and he takes principled stands, guess who’s gonna be upset? All those unfaithful men. Well guess who they’ve got in their back pocket? The media. All the most vocal enemies of Christ are in their back pocket. So what happens? The faithful man gets attacked from all sides. Everything is misconstrued, give you half the information… I don’t know if you realize this, but the media twists things and have an agenda they want to promote.”

He says if Christians step out of government, other “enemies” will fill in:

“Atheists, humanists, Muslims… If we step out, we turn it over to the Enemy.”

And adds at the end that churches should essentially tell their congregations who to vote for:

“Knowing who your political leaders are is a form of worship. If you are going to elect ministers of God, I think it’s up to the church to make sure those in their congregation are informed on that decision.”

The LGBT community doesn’t appear to be the only victims of Northcott’s “prosecutorial discretion”. In 2016 there was an incident in Coffee County in which police responded to a domestic dispute during which a woman named Cindy Lowe had been badly bruised and beaten, but Northcott appears to have used his “prosecutorial discretion” to drop the charges against Joseph Floied, seemingly because Floied is related to Adam Floied, assistant chief of the Manchester Police Department.

Here are some graphic pictures from the incident, posted by Lowe on Facebook:

And this is a Facebook post from Lowe after our previous article about Northcott’s Islamophobia:

It’s worth pointing out that in 2000, the Supreme Court of Tennessee had this to say about the role of “public prosecutors” and “prosecutorial discretion” in our judicial system, saying that it should be used “without discrimination or bias”:

Tenn. R. Sup.Ct. 8, EC 7-13.

In short, public prosecutors hold a unique office in our criminal justice system.   Contrary to the State’s contention on appeal, prosecutors are expected to be impartial in the sense that they must seek the truth and not merely obtain convictions. They are also to be impartial in the sense that charging decisions should be based upon the evidence, without discrimination or bias for or against any groups or individuals.  Yet, at the same time, they are expected to prosecute criminal offenses with zeal and vigor within the bounds of the law and professional conduct. See Berger, 295 U.S. at 88, 55 S.Ct. at 633.

As for the issue of same-sex marriage domestic violence, an American Bar report on the domestic violence “epidemic” in America tells us domestic violence is in fact a major issue in the LGBT community:

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people experience domestic and intimate partner violence and sexual violence at rates similar to or higher than heterosexual and/or cisgender people… studies confirm that significant numbers of transgender people are subjected to intimate partner violence… Unfortunately, in a number of jurisdictions people who are abused by a partner of the same legal sex are unable to access vital legal protections.”

Northcott was recently selected by the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference to be a member of the group’s legislative committee, which advises the Tennessee General Assembly regarding laws and issues concerning criminal justice and public safety. This is the second year Northcott has been asked to serve on the committee.

If you agree LGBT people should be afforded the same protections as everyone else in America, and that District Attorneys should not be disregarding Supreme Court rulings and taking the laws of the land entirely into their own hands while hiding behind “prosecutorial discretion”, Holler at District Attorney Northcutt HERE: 931-723-5057

And if you have concern about Northcott’s ability to handle his duties regarding the Jones-Casada case, or any other case, Holler at the Tennessee Attorneys General Conference to express them HERE: grjones@tndagc.org

Lastly, and importantly, if you’re in Coffee County, and you believe Northcott may have mishandled your case, email us at TheTNHoller@gmail.com – we have some people you should talk to.

 

John Oliver Gloriously Roasts Casada & Cothren

Beyond our wildest dreams we never would have imagined the great John Oliver shining his light on the ugliness that is Casadagate, but that glorious day has arrived.

If you’ve ever wanted to hear John Oliver say the words “Cade Cothren’s Rapidly-Expelled Ejaculate”, now is your chance.

We wish he would have mentioned his support for Rep. Byrd, and possibly framing Justin Jones, but hey- we’ll take what we can get.

Domestic Violence Advocate Pleads “No Contest” To Assault of Woman, Casada & Legislators Were Warned

Danny Claud Hensley, a former Dixie Youth umpire and crossing guard at Lewis County Elementary School, entered no contest pleas to two counts of assault on May 22, 2019 in Hickman County Circuit Court, according to the Lewis County Herald.

Hensley recently testified at the state legislature to help pass the Leigh Ann Act – HB1340 by Rep. Clay Doggett (R-Lawrenceburg), SB1163 by Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) – which creates a Class A misdemeanor for violating a no contact order issued to a domestic violence victim.

The bill is named for his daughter Leigh Ann Hensley, who was shot to death by a man in a domestic dispute. Hensley gave emotional testimony at the Judiciary committee, and held a picture of Leigh Ann as he spoke, saying:

“I had never taken domestic violence serious until it hit us.”

The indictment against Hensley states Grand Jurors for Lewis County presented that Hensley “unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly, did cause physical contact with Coleen Kimbro, which a reasonable person would regard as extremely offensive or provocative”  (Victim’s name used with permission).

Hensley was sentenced to six months probation, and a no contact order was put in place regarding the victim and her parents.

Kimbro tells the Holler many of the legislators responsible for bringing Hensley in to testify, and for getting his bill passed, were made aware of the situation, including Speaker Glen Casada:

“Speaker of The House Glen Casada was informed about Danny Hensley being brought up on 5 counts of charges. Rep. Bruce Griffey, Senator Joey Hensley, Rep. Clay Doggett, Rep. David Byrd, Mark Hall and Chief of Police Sam Livingston all knew about Hensley being indicted and charged with 5 counts of assault, as well as the felony forgery charges, and still sponsored and endorsed not only the bill but Hensley as well. The Chief of Police, was his former employer and is his friend and Pastor.

Can You Say Good Ole Boy?”

Kimbro says that victims “truly are seeking justice”, and that healing only begins once justice has been given to victims and their families:
“Victims are not out to destroy other people and their reputations, victims simply want to move forward and not have to live in fear.”
Her Victim Impact statement states:
“Danny Hensley was sworn to protect and serve and instead he preyed on the most vulnerable. He knew I was already a victim of rape and domestic assault and used his position as a sitting board member at the Shelter and as an officer at the Hohenwald Police Department to abuse and assault me. Danny Hensley used his positions to threaten me with his friends in power. He kept me in fear and made me feel as though there was no way a victim could ever trust an officer or ever expect any justice. In Danny Hensley’s own words, ‘no woman should live in fear’, and yet I lived in fear daily because of Danny Hensley, who portrayed himself to be a protector of women while he was abusing me.
I pray that Danny Hensley is never put in a position where he is able to harm another individual again, because the emotional damage they suffer is lifelong compared to the short sentence he will serve.”
Kimbro went on to tell The Holler:
“Victims see men in power portraying themselves as heroes while the men torment and prey on the most vulnerable and make them feel even more vulnerable and abused. Sadly, I begged for help before the bill was passed and no one cared. Now that the bill has passed they have given a predator immortality, and only victimized his victim more by refusing to act when I begged for help.”
Tennessee ranks #5 in the nation for women murdered through domestic violence. Columbia is the city where it happens most. Hensley told the Judiciary committee he had been to 154 different churches talking about the issue of domestic violence.

Hensley also entered conditional pleas of guilty to 4 counts of forgery, for which he was sentenced to pay court costs and serve two years supervised probation. Four charges of misdemeanor theft were dismissed as part of the plea negotiations.  

In April of 2018 he was released from umpire duties for Lewis County Dixie Youth Baseball and Softball by the board of directors via an official letter claiming Mr. Hensley had kept two different Lewis County Dixie Youth paychecks that belonged to at least two different umpires, forged the umpires signatures of endorsement on the back of the checks, and cashed them.

THE 9 REPUBLICANS WHO MAY REPLACE CASADA

With Speaker Glen Casada finally agreeing to exit the speakership stage left (do us all a favor and keep going off the stage entirely, Glen!)…

…House Republicans are starting to jockey for position to be his replacement.

Rep. Hawk, who is not running, says it has already gotten ugly.


The Tennessean has a list of 9 people who may throw their hats in the ring, so we figured we’d give  our own Holler-iffic take on who these people are and why you should or should not be rooting for them to become the 3rd most powerful person in Tennessee.

“BORING” BILL DUNN

Speaker Pro Tem Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) will preside over the House until a new speaker is chosen, and would like to fill the position permanently.

“I think I can bring a level of boredom to the position,” Dunn told the Tennessean.

He also said he’s “far right but fair” in a TV interview this week.

Dunn played a key part in passing Governor Lee’s public school-harming vouchers bill, but while some seem to be swayed by political favors – which the FBI may be looking into – even Dunn’s opponents seem to agree he’s a true believer on that front.

Of the 9 speaker candidates, Dunn was the only one who didn’t vote in favor of the “Heartbeat Bill”, which would outlaw abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected and force a woman/girl to carry her rapist’s child to term.

Dunn also switched and became a supporter of London Lamar’s bill to give pregnant Hope Scholarship recipients longer leave before going back to school after giving birth.

Also – very importantly – Dunn has already said he believes the women who have been fighting to get Rep. Byrd – who has apologized on tape to 1 of 3 women who say he molested them in high school – removed from office, and says there should be an investigation into the matter.

It’s a shame that it took Casada’s downfall for Dunn to step up and say that, but better late than never. All candidates for speaker should be willing to say and do at least that much.

WILLIAM “COMPUTER GLITCH” LAMBERTH

Casada’s Right Hand Man, Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) has been a Casada loyalist throughout the Casada saga, even jumping into the middle of the situation surrounding the date discrepancy and possible framing of civil rights activist Justin Jones.

Lamberth was quick to adopt Casada’s “computer glitch” excuse, and had no hesitation about defending the now-shamed speaker.


Lamberth has been a defender of private prisons (without ever acknowledging that they donate to his campaigns), opposes de-criminalizing medical marijuana, and has been a loyal vote for all of Casada’s priorities throughout the session, including the “Heartbeat Bill”, Lee’s vouchers, the anti-LGBT slate of hate, the voter registration criminalization bill and more.

ROBIN “THE VIDEOTAPER” SMITH

Often found videotaping those who videotape her, the freshman Smith (R-Hixson) is well connected, having previously been chair of the Tennessee Republican Party.

Smith is a staunch Casada loyalist through and through. When the House Caucus voted overwhelmingly that it had “no confidence” in Speaker Casada after his complicity with racism, sexism, drug use at the office, lying, possible fraud, misuse of taxpayer funds, etc… there were still 25 votes in favor of Casada.

1 was Casada himself. We currently know who 4 of the others are, and that group includes Smith.

Smith has been a Casada apologist right up until the end, even trying to lay down a smoke screen to help him blame it on the a-a-a-alcohol. It takes some nerve to offer up ethics bills when you won’t even vote against a guy who has no ethics whatsoever.

She even tried to steer the conversation to Democrats, telling a Chattanooga paper “My hope was we would have censured him and that we would have challenged our other partisans in the [Democratic] caucus to censure members that also engage in unbecoming behavior.”

Smith has been loyal on all the key votes, engaged in anti-Muslim saber-rattling, and Obama-bashing.

A warning about Smith From Vanity Fair, back when Smith ran for Congress (and lost):

Smith was the head of the Tennessee Republican Party during the ’08 presidential campaign and approved the distribution of some of the most underhanded and insidious anti-Obama propaganda to appear during the election. You may recall, for example, the video that the Tennessee G.O.P. released hammering Michelle Obama for her comment about being “proud of her country for the “first time” in “her adult lifetime.” (The ad prompted Barack to tell critics to “lay off” his wife.) You may also remember the Tennessee G.O.P. press release titled “Anti-Semites for Obama” that pointedly referred to the candidate as “Barack Hussein Obama.” Both smears drew national condemnation, even from Republican Party leaders. But one gets the feeling that if the Party gave into its true impulses and elected Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh its leader tomorrow, there’s a good chance Robin Smith would be at the top of their list for chief strategist… How did Smith respond when, following her announcement, a reporter brought up the heat she took for the smear tactics? She called the question “unprofessional” and railed against the “liberal media.” Were she to be elected, Smith would likely be among the most conservative members in Congress. Her Facebook and Twitter pages overflow with right-wing rhetoric. In one Facebook status update, for instance, she tells “Judeo-Christians” to “wake up” and oppose President Obama’s attempts to reach out to the Muslim world.

MATTHEW “ETHICS COMMITTEE” HILL

Speaking of Ethics, Matthew Hill is the chair of the ethics committee, which means he played a big part in trying to orchestrate the rigging of an *advisory opinion* that would have attempted to help clear Speaker Casada.

That effort was stopped in its tracks, and prompted Rep. Mike Carter, a judge, to call it the “most egregious act I have been made aware of” and call for Casada’s resignation from the House entirely.

Needless to say, it takes a special kind of person to help rig an ethics committee opinion from the chair position.

Hill is another House Republican who has defended Casada up until the end. Hill claims he voted against Casada when it came time for the “no-confidence” vote, but since the vote was silent and we’ll never know, color us skeptical.

Rep. Jeremy Faison put it best when he said there were 45 votes against Casada, but suddenly after the fact there were 68.


While we’re on the subject of ethics, Hill was also recently seen on the House floor claiming the Tennessee State Employees Association supported Lee’s school vouchers, when they did not.

He has yet to apologize for offering that false information.

If that’s not enough, Hill has the support of Rep. Micah “Heartbeat Bill” Van Huss, which should send a chill down everyone’s spine and be enough to make you very afraid of Hill all by itself.


Funny how moral these reps who defended Casada to the end all suddenly became once they realized they were on the wrong side of history.

“JUDGE” MIKE CARTER

Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) is a judge who held off on speaking out against Casada until he had all the facts…


…then pulled no punches once he realized Casada was trying to rig the ethics committee to try to get away with everything. Carter then went hard at Casada, saying his concern was “it shows a heart for misrepresentation” and calling it the “most egregious act” yet.

Once Carter turned, he opened the door for others to speak out and likely played a big part in why the “no-confidence” vote went the way it did.

Carter was a loyal vote on vouchers, the heartbeat bill, the slate of hate, gun permit-weakening, the voter registration criminalization bill, etc.

From the Tennessean, regarding his bid for Speaker:

Carter vowed to keep all committee chairs in their position, form a political action committee, review all policies, procedures and rules and never intimidate members.

JERRY “WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES” SEXTON

Pretty much all you need to know about Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) – a former Baptist preacher – is summed up in this clip right here, where he defends Rep. David Byrd’s presence as chair of an education subcommittee by saying “we all make mistakes”:

It’s worth noting though that Sexton didn’t extend such leeway to Casada, leading the effort to call on the GOP caucus to meet and vote on their support of him, and introducing the resolution stating the caucus no longer had confidence in him.

Erik Schelzig reported that Sexton argued for the state muzzleloader to be the Knight Muzzleloader because:

“I’m from Bean Station, and Bean Station was settled by the first white settlers in Tennessee, and had the first white baby born in the state of Tennessee. They were also makers of firearms and muzzleloaders. And this company is owned by descendants of the Bean family.”

SCHELZIG: First of all, having the first white baby born in the state, unless we’re a pile of open racists, isn’t an accomplishment. Second, unless we’re kicking French people out of whiteness, it’s not true. Martin Chartier lived here in Nashville up on the burial mound that used to exist just south of Jefferson Street in what would later be called “the old Shawnee trading post” in 1690. His son, Peter, was born here that year.”

Nothing good going on there. Sexton also made a stand against the 2017 Improve Act which provided funds for road improvements – obviously a socialist plot!

Sexton has been a loyal vote on vouchers, the heartbeat bill, the slate of hate, gun permit-weakening, the voter registration criminalization bill, etc.

RYAN “LET’S ARM TEACHERS” WILLIAMS

 Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) carried the bill that would’ve armed Tennessee’s teachers, before eventually withdrawing it.

You can watch some of the discussion here:

From the Tennessean:

The former House Republican Caucus chairman said Wednesday he and his wife were praying about his options and a potential bid for speaker.

“Now more than ever we as a caucus need to unify around someone,” said Williams, R-Cookeville.

Williams has been a loyal vote on vouchers, the heartbeat bill, the slate of hate, gun permit-weakening, the voter registration criminalization bill, etc.

CAMERON “EVERYTHING IS SOCIALISM” SEXTON

In fairness that nickname above could apply to pretty much every TN GOP house member. We gave it to Sexton because of this diatribe about medicaid expansion being socialism posted on the TN GOP twitter account recently.

Sexton once unbelievably said “no one has died because they didn’t have access to health care” on the house floor — a claim disputed by medical experts.

Sexton doesn’t seem to realize Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid 4 times, and like the rest of his caucus refuses to acknowledge that accepting the billions we’re rejecting each year would obviously help health care access and struggling rural hospitals in Tennessee.

That’s not socialism, it’s math.

From the Tennessean:

As the House Republican Caucus chairman, Sexton, R-Crossville, has avoided wading too deep into the Casada controversy, instead seeing his role as a referee for the GOP lawmakers to discuss the matter… Sexton confirmed Tuesday that several members of the caucus have encouraged him to considering running for speaker… “I’m mulling it,” he said. “But out of respect for the office, there’s been no (resignation) date given, it’s a little early to start trying to run for office or leadership position that’s no available yet.”

While Sexton has been a loyal vote on most things, it’s worth noting that he’s the only one in this group to vote against Bill Lee’s public school-harming vouchers.

CURTIS “NOT GLORIA” JOHNSON

We gave Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) that nickname because we don’t know much about him, and haven’t really heard from him this session. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe what this legislature needs right now is someone who is low profile and stays out of the limelight.

WORTH NOTING: Curtis Johnson was the FIRST of this group to call for Speaker Casada’s resignation.

Johnson was up against Casada in the caucus speaker’s race this past fall.

From the Tennessean:

At the November caucus vote where Casada was nominated, Johnson told his colleagues he would not be a speaker who would bring division and scandal.

“If you’re looking for a speaker who’s going to use this position as a stepping stone to the next position, I’m not the one,” Johnson said at the time.

Maybe they should’ve listened to him.

Our Conversation With Casada-Jones Special Prosecutor Craig Northcott About His Comments About Muslims

Yesterday we posted an article about a Facebook conversation between the Special Prosecutor now in charge of the Speaker Casada-Justin Jones investigation, Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott, and Daniel Berry, chair of the Coffee County Young Republicans. The conversation was about Muslims, and Islam.

Northcott repeatedly used the word “evil” when referring to Muslims and their belief system.

It has also come to our attention that Northcott believes protesting NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem was “an attack on Christianity”.

Justin Jones, the subject of the investigation Northcott is now in charge of, is not a Muslim, but he is a civil rights activist who fights for the rights of minorities. Northcott’s Islamophobia and attitude towards players protesting for civil rights has led many to wonder if Northcott is the right person to be in charge of the investigation, and if all citizens in Coffee County can expect to be treated fairly by him.

The American Muslim Advisory Council does not think so.

We spoke with Northcott yesterday morning, before our article posted. Below is our conversation in its entirety. 

HOLLER: We’re going to be running a story about a conversation you had on Facebook with Daniel Berry about your views about Islam and Muslims, and we just wanted to give you a chance to explain where you’re coming from with that?

NORTHCOTT: I’m coming from that as a Christian there’s only one true God, and that is the God of the Bible.

HOLLER: And if there are Muslims in your community, do you think they should be concerned about their ability to get fair treatment from you?

NORTHCOTT: I don’t see any reason why they would be. The laws protect everyone equally. I judge each situation based upon the facts and circumstances of each situation and everyone gets equal treatment.

HOLLER: But you’re calling them “evil” in these messages.

NORTHCOTT: I don’t have it in front of me. Their ideology is evil. If they hold to that ideology that is taught in their holy scriptures, I think I made it clear the ideology is the problem, and you assess each individual as you find them. But the ideology is evil.

HOLLER: But your words were actually that it wasn’t just violent extremists that are evil, what you said was “They’re evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system. They’re no less evil because they don’t act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system” – So it sounds like what you’re saying is they’re evil if they don’t disavow Islam.

NORTHCOTT: Listen, I don’t know how else to say it. You’re going to say what you want to say. I’m a Christian. I believe in Christian values, and there’s only one true God. And any belief system that purports hate – killing anyone who does not comply with that belief system – is evil. I don’t know how else to say it… If you promote that you kill anyone who doesn’t believe what you believe that is evil. If that is what you truly believe you believe in an evil system. And that’s what the Muslim, Islam ideology is, and that is evil. If you don’t profess that, great. If you disavow that, great. But that is what is taught in Islam.

HOLLER: The discrepancy seems to be that – what Daniel was saying is that there are people who are violent and that are Muslims, and that that is evil, but that there are also peaceful Muslims who don’t ascribe to that, but you seemed to keep saying that if you believe in Islam, if you’re a Muslim, that because there are sects of Islam that believe in violence that that makes them a party to it.

NORTHCOTT: Let me say this again – let’s take it out of the context of Islam. Let’s put it in the context of white supremacy. If you believe in white supremacy, and you promote and avow that that is your belief system, that you hate someone who is not white, that is evil. You are tying yourself to an evil system. The ideology is evil. Whether you act on that or not, you still believe in an evil system.

HOLLER: But the equivalency that you’re making at the root of that is that believing in Islam, being Muslim, and being a white supremacist, are on the same level.

NORTHCOTT: I did not equate them. I said let’s take it out of that context. I in no way equated them.

HOLLER: But the point is that you are equating them, because you’re saying…

NORTCOTT: I am not equating them! Let me be very clear. I am not equating them. So don’t put those words in my mouth. I am not equating them.

HOLLER: Sir, your words were…

NORTHCOTT: Listen, if you’re going to try to misconstrue stuff I’m just going to stop talking to you.

HOLLER: I’m not misconstruing anything, I’m replying to your words. Your words were “It is no different than being part of the KKK, aryan nation…”

NORTHCOTT: I did not say that!

HOLLER: You wrote it.

NORTHCOTT: No.

HOLLER: You did.

NORTHCOTT: You can misconstrue it all you want. If you want to report fairly, report fairly. If you don’t, I’m not going to talk to you anymore. That’s just the bottom line.

HOLLER: I’m reading the words that you wrote.

NORTHCOTT: I don’t even have it in front of me! There’s a whole context. There’s a whole string of stuff. And I am telling you what I am expressing. If you don’t want to accept that that’s fine, and I will just stop talking to you.

HOLLER: I very much want to get to the bottom of it. I’m trying to give you a chance to explain it.

NORTHCOTT: I just did.

HOLLER: Ok. If you’re someone who’s Muslim looking at these words here – they are painting all of Islam with that brush.

NORTHCOTT: All of Islam is to be painted with that brush. Each individual is to be treated separately. I say that clearly in there. I don’t know how else to say it.

HOLLER: I think Muslims would take exception to the first part.

NORTHCOTT: I can’t help that.

HOLLER: Do you believe this makes it difficult for you to do your job?

NORTHCOTT: No. It in no way affects how I judge each situation. Why would it?

HOLLER: Because if you start out with the premise that people who believe in a certain religion are evil and have an evil ideology, it seems like that would make it difficult to judge fairly.

NORTHCOTT: Why?

HOLLER: Because it seems like you would not be giving them the benefit of any doubt.

NORTHCOTT: Why?

HOLLER: Because you started out with the premise that they’re evil.

NORTHCOTT: I started out with the premise that the KKK is evil, can I not be fair to them either? There’s a lot of evil in this world. I start out with the premise that if you shoot someone in the head you’ve done an evil thing, can I not be fair to them?

HOLLER: Again, you just went from – we were talking about Muslims – to the KKK. You just made that jump yourself, you’re doing it yourself. I didn’t make you do that.

NORTHCOTT: You pick what you think’s evil. I’m trying to pick something that is clearly evil. You pick what you think is evil. What’s evil?

HOLLER: I agree that the Klan is evil.

NORTHCOTT: Ok! That’s why I picked it.

HOLLER: But I don’t agree that all of Islam is evil. Do you see what I’m saying?

NORTHCOTT: The ideology is evil. If you believe every bit of Islam, you are assigning yourself to an evil ideology. It’s just a fact. If you are believing in an ideology that promotes killing someone who doesn’t believe what you believe, that is evil. Do you agree with that?

HOLLER: Yes.

NORTHCOTT: Ok, there you go.

HOLLER: But what I think a lot of people would have a problem with is… there are things in the Bible that are violent also, are there not?

NORTHCOTT: There’s plenty of stuff in Bible that’s violent. But it doesn’t promote hate. It doesn’t say “kill those who don’t believe you, kill those who reject Christ” – it does not promote that in any way.

HOLLER: I understand, but I think the issue is that if you are saying that Muslims in general believe…

NORTHCOTT: I did not say that.

HOLLER: You said they believe in an evil ideology.

NORTHCOTT: Yes. That ideology is evil because it promotes hate. What does this have to do with anything of Justin Jones, is he a Muslim?

HOLLER: No, he’s not a Muslim.

NORTHCOTT: Well then what does this have to do with what you’re calling me about?

HOLLER: Because he fights for the rights of minorities, and he’s a civil rights activist, and I think it’s worth people understanding that the man who is now in charge of this investigation harbors these beliefs.

NORTHCOTT: Don’t misconstrue what I have to say.

HOLLER: I’m not misconstruing anything. These are your words. This is why I’m calling you.

NORTHCOTT: Let me be very clear – this is the last thing I’m going to say on this. There is a difference between ideology and the individual. I will judge each individual, and each circumstances as I find them. They’re two separate things.

HOLLER: Ok, and to clarify – the point you made about that “there are no constitutional rights, there are God-given rights protected by the constitution, and if you don’t believe in the one true God there’s nothing to protect. No one other than God has given us any rights” – is that something you want to elaborate on a little bit?

NORTHCOTT: You go to our founding documents and it makes it very clear that what is being protected by our Constitution is what God has provided to us – the right to life, the right to liberty, the right to the pursuit of happiness – and those are delineated in our founding documents. And they are specific in our founding documents that they come from our creator. And our Government is established to protect those rights for everyone.

HOLLER: To see the sentence “there are no constitutional rights” I think is shocking to some people who may not have the same outlook on that as you.

NORTHCOTT: Rights are not established by government, the rights are protected by government. That is the distinction I was making. Rights are created by God. They are God-given rights. And they are protected by the constitution.

Special Prosecutor On Casada/Jones Case Says “Islam Is Evil”, And “No Constitutional Rights” Only Rights From The “One True God”

In recent Facebook comments, Coffee County D.A. Craig Northcott, the man now overseeing the Glen Casada-Justin Jones case, expressed intensely Islamophobic views, and also added that “there are no constitutional rights” only “God-given rights protected by the constitution”, adding: “If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect” because “no one other than God has given us any rights.”

In February, civil rights activist Justin Jones was charged with assault and banned from the capitol for throwing a cup of iced tea into the elevator in which Speaker Casada was riding. Casada had been dodging a meeting with Jones to discuss the removal of the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard from the state capitol.

In the wake of the incident, Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk issued a “no-contact order” to Jones, which prohibited him from contacting Casada. Days later, Jones received a revocation of his bond because of an email he had supposedly sent to Speaker Casada AFTER the no-contact order, on March 1, according to an email printout sent by Casada’s office to the D.A.

But Jones had done no such thing. We now know the email in question was actually sent BEFORE the no-contact order.

Was it a “computer glitch”? An I.T. issue, as the legislature’s I.T. department has said?

Or was it Speaker Casada’s office – who has been exposed as using deeply racist language in text messages – doctoring evidence to have Jones thrown in jail?

These are questions that need answering. It will not, however, be District Attorney Funk who answers them.

Funk has recused himself from handling the case, according to a spokesman with his office, because his office was the recipient of the email whose date of receipt has come into question, and therefore Funk believes his office’s role as a potential witness puts him in conflict.

Instead, Funk referred the case to the District Attorneys General Conference, an umbrella group that oversees all the judicial districts in the state of Tennessee, which has since assigned the case to the Coffee County District Attorney’s office.

Why Coffee County? According to someone at the District Attorneys General Conference office, that process involves ruling out districts that are too close or too far away, checking availability, and then choosing from the districts that remain.

Coffee County’s District Attorney is Craig Northcott.

Craig Northcott has made it very clear in a Facebook conversation with the chair of the Coffee County Young Republicans that he believes the ideology of Muslims to be “evil”.

Extended excerpts from the conversation between District Attorney Craig Northcott and Daniel Berry, chair of the Young Republicans, follow below, but here are a few direct quotes from Northcott:

“Their (Muslims) belief system is evil, violent, and against God’s Truth.”

“They are evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system… They are no less evil because they don’t act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system.”

“It is no different than being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc. if you support those viewpoints, you are rightly and readily condemned in our society. However, it is now politically incorrect to take a stand against Islam that has the same core of hate.”

“standing firm in God’s Truth which directly opposed to Islam will always be at the center of my position.”

“to deny their religion teaches hate is a denial of the truth”

“There are no constitutional rights. There are God given rights protected by the constitution. If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect. No one other than God has given us any rights.”

To be clear, Justin Jones is not a Muslim. He is a Christian who attends Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Still, Northcott’s Islamophobic beliefs would seem to be a problem not only for his involvement in the Justin Jones case – since Jones is a civil rights advocate who fights for the rights of people of color, and minorities in general – but also for his ability to perform his duties as District Attorney in general.

What follows are excerpts from Northcott’s conversation on Facebook with Berry.

The original post is Berry’s, asking if it’s ever “acceptable” to stereotype an entire group:

After a lengthy back and forth between Berry and other Facebook users about whether or not stereotyping Muslims is OK – during which Berry takes the position that it is not – someone then chimes in with an image from www.TheReligionOfPeace.com which makes the claim that “nearly 35,000 deadly terror attacks have been carried out by Islamic Terrorists since 9/11”:

Berry responds that even if that were true, that would mean in infinitesimally small % of Muslims had committed those atrocities: “So let’s damn 1.8 Billion people because of the actions of (a few). That seems pretty logical to me.”

That’s when District Attorney Northcott jumps in.

Right off the bat Northcott says “Their belief system is evil, violent, and against God’s Truth… they are taught to commit many atrocities in the name of their ‘God’ including pedophilia, beating of their wives, female genital mutilation, and ‘honor’ killings… they are evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system.”

As for who the “They” are, Northcott indicates he doesn’t just mean those who kill, but Muslims in general: “They are no less evil because they don’t act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system. Romans 1:32 comes to mind in which we are taught that you are just as guilty before God if you give approval to those who engage in evil acts. It is no different than being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc. if you support those viewpoints, you are rightly and readily condemned in our society. However, it is now politically incorrect to take a stand against Islam that has the same core of hate. I do not hate the individual but I will not be cowered into pretending that their belief system is legitimate or one of peace.”

Northcott goes on to point to “what is happening in Europe” as evidence.

Berry responds by pointing out that not all Muslims are the same, just as not all Christians are the same, and that the barbaric “customs” Northcott mentioned are only carried out by a few and not part of the religion millions upon millions of Muslims follow. He also addresses many other “misconceptions” in Northcott’s post.

Berry concedes there are dangerous sects of Islam, but that the vast majority are peaceful people. He then suggests they continue the conversation in person, and says anti-Islam ideas Northcott is describing will not be the position of the Young Republicans of Coffee County, because he and other members believe that “close-minded mentality” and “negativity” is why people won’t join.

Northcott does not agree: “Just because some claim to not hold to some of it doesn’t change the fact that it is the core of Islam. Just because some actual or professed Christians disavow God’s Truth on marriage doesn’t make it any less part of Christianity. Falling for political correctness or an individual’s take on Islam is dangerous.”

Berry then tries to impart to Northcott that at the very least vilifying Muslims shouldn’t be at the forefront of what Republicans do, because it doesn’t help the people of Coffee County and takes away from “actual issues” – but Northcott doesn’t go with him on with that.

Northcott: “If the Republican Party doesn’t stand for anything, it has no reason to exist. The whole purpose is so citizens can know what the core values of a candidate are if they run as a Republican. If that makes me closed minded, so be it. Frankly, I find that our community and country are crying out for people with principles and the courage to stand up for them.”

Berry then says he trusts Northcott and law enforcement to protect from Islamic extremism or hate crimes, to which Northcott responds he “will work for our community, but standing firm in God’s Truth which directly opposed to Islam will always be at the center of my position.”

Islamophobia isn’t just something he dabbles in, it’s “the center.”

Berry then goes on to explain that he’s not defending those who are violent or extreme, and again reiterates that not all Muslims are. He says he believes there are many misconceptions he’s trying to counter, and that he doesn’t believe “the best way to go about moving people away from Islam (if that is the goal) is to go around and label everyone as a terrorist threat. That pushes people away and isolates them further which in turn has the opposite of the intended effect.”

Northcott answers by telling Berry he finds it “extremely offensive that you chose Easter weekend to be an apologist for Islam,” and says the focus should be on Christ instead and the “historical facts” of Christ’s return, and that whoever believes them “is saved and will spend all eternity in Heaven with God.”

Berry asks D.A. Northcott “not to label him as an apologist simply because you disagree with or don’t understand my stance, to which Northcott decides to summarize it all and then he’s “moving on”.

To summarize, Northcott turns to bullet points.

#1 is that Berry saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God is “blasphemy”.

#2 is that he’s troubled Berry hasn’t cited any scripture, only the Koran.

But #3 is the kicker…

3) There are no constitutional rights. There are God given rights protected by the constitution. If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect. No one other than God has given us any rights.

Quite a statement from a District Attorney.

In bullet point #4 Northcott says if being D.A. means he has to stay silent on this, he doesn’t want his job: “I will not be silenced by implications that I am not and can not do my job correctly if I don’t agree with you. If I have to remain silent and not give a defense of the Gospel, I don’t want my job.”

He then says he’s “clearly” not required to stay silent because he has freedom of speech.

In #5 Northcott says “to deny their religion teaches hate is a denial of the truth” – then goes on to tell Berry where to find *better* info about Islam.

Did #3 concern you? It concerned Berry too.

Berry says, “I would argue #3 disqualified you from being D.A.”

Berry says Northcott represents “EVERY SINGLE PERSON” as an elected official regardless of their beliefs, “Not just Christians,” and says #3 concerns him greatly because he swore an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Northcott then elaborates on #3, adding that “Rights come from God”, and therefore “if there is no God there is nothing to protect”.

Berry says one of those rights is the freedom of religion and asks if Northcott defends that right regardless of which religion it is. Northcott responds by citing the Declaration of Independence and says the Founding Fathers asserted our “self-evident” rights come from God, and among them is the freedom of religion – even if it means not worshipping Him: “So, yes, freedom of religion comes from God even when that freedom results in rejecting him.”

Northcott says he does defend the right to freedom of religion, as long as nobody gets hurt, but again reminds Berry he thinks Islam = Hate: “No one including myself or the government can stop the mental attitude of hate.”

He then goes on to say Berry saying bullet point #3 disqualified him from office was said “without factual basis” and therefore “ends up just harming your (Berry’s) credibility.

Berry seems relieved Northcott does defend Freedom of Religion, and suggests Northcott’s bullet point #3 where he says “there are no Constitutional rights” was “easily misinterpreted” by anyone reading it.

Berry apologizes to Northcott, and elaborates on his views.

Northcott accepts his apology, and offers to come by and teach on the subject of the role of Christians in government (which does not seem to subscribe to the separation of church and state).

In summation, the man now in charge of Justin Jones case thinks Islam is”evil” and on par with the KKK, and that there’s no such thing as constitutional rights, only rights the one true God gave us that the constitution upholds. 

Northcott has also “liked” the page of Act! For Coffee County, the Coffee County chapter of Act for America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as a hate group.

When contacted for comment by the Holler, Northcott responded:

“The laws protect everyone equally. I judge every situation based up on the facts and circumstances… you assess each individual as you find them, but the ideology is evil.”

While Berry told us:

“I was a little alarmed in the statement he made regarding that ‘all rights come from the one true God.’ Coming from a prosecutor, that’s a little alarming. I believe religion is separate from the law. When you become an elected official it’s ok to hang onto those beliefs but you have to separate those on some level.”

As for Northcott’s beliefs about Muslims, Berry says:

“I think he’s absolutely wrong in his beliefs. I understand his fear, but when I read those comments as a non-Muslim, they’re extremely offensive to me. If I were a Muslim, especially coming from a public official, I’d find that to be extremely offensive and not becoming of somebody in that position.”

Does Berry believe Justin Jones should be concerned about Northcott’s ability to oversee a case like this?

“I would be extremely concerned if I was an activist (like Jones) fighting for those rights and that was the person on my case, having read those comment. I would question his ability to be fair.”

If after reading all of this you agree that Justin Jones – and people of color, and Muslims in general – may have a hard time getting justice from a man who holds these beliefs, feel free to holler at District Attorney Northcott HERE.