Rep. Mike Stewart tells us why he knocked doors for Cheney despite disagreeing with her on pretty much every issue – because we’re in a crisis of democracy, and without a democratic system we won’t make progress on anything. PODCAST
LIVE: REP. MIKE STEWART (Just back from knocking doors in Wyoming for Cheney) https://t.co/D6D2UMNuML
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) August 19, 2022
I know most of y’all won’t read this long post but nerds like me be tryna put y’all up on game for the Free 99 and some of y’all still be yelling “my vote doesn’t matter” but don’t understand that it actually does.
The Alabama abortion ban – and other restrictive laws in recent months – have been 10 years in the making by Republicans. It’s no coincidence that many states with the worst voting, education, healthcare, and incarceration rates are also the states with the most regressive laws, and mostly in the South.
When we say “local elections matter” or “elections have consequences” or “this is voter suppression” or “please go vote” this is the shorthand version of what we mean… Let’s revisit a series of unfortunate events shall we…
2008-2009: America elects the first black president, Barack Obama.
Early 2010: SCOTUS rules in ‘Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC)’ that political spending is a form of free speech protected under the First Amendment. The controversial 5-4 decision effectively opened the door for corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money to support their chosen political candidates.
Hate that your politicians are bought and sold by corporations? Blame this.
Late 2010: Ahead of the midterms, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vows to make President Obama a “one-term president” and Republicans declare a nationwide takeover of state legislatures.
2010 Midterms: Thanks to the Citizens United case, Republicans flood the airwaves with political advertising to influence down-ballot elections. Republicans pick up 675 state legislative seats; swept several governorships, including Tennessee; and Republican control increased from 14 states to 26 state legislatures.
They also take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, winning 58 seats.
2011: Now that Republicans effectively have the states on lock, states begin to enact strict voter ID laws, including Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and… wait for it…… Tennessee.
2012: President Obama is re-elected. All is well with the world because we now have Obamacare and our president is still Black. Meanwhile…
2013: SCOTUS guts the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the ‘Shelby County v. Holder’ case. As in, Shelby County, ALABAMA versus Attorney General Eric Holder. Yeah as in, the same Voting Rights Act championed by civil rights activists like Dr. Martin Luther King and Congressman John Lewis who marched in Selma, ALABAMA.
The ruling basically said, nope racism doesn’t exist anymore so Southern states no longer need permission (i.e. “pre-clearance”) from the federal government to change their voting laws. The decision allowed 846 jurisdictions to close, move or change the availability of local polling places (mostly in predominantly African American counties) without federal oversight. There were also cuts to early voting and purges of voter rolls.
Virtually all restrictions on voting after the ruling were by Republicans.
2014: Here’s where it gets bad. Republicans continue their congressional takeover during the 2014 midterms. Democrats are asleep at the wheel and stayed home on Election Day…. because all is well in the world – my president is Black.
Meanwhile… Republicans gained control of U.S. Senate and picked up more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the year that TENNESSEE RANKED 50th IN VOTER TURNOUT.
Only 28% of eligible voters voted in this election.
Early 2016: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies. Which means a replacement is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate (both are elected by the voters, btw). President Obama names Merrick Garland as his nominee, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocks the nomination, claiming it’s too close to a presidential election so the next president should pick.
Late 2016: Donald Trump is elected president. Now Republicans are in control of the legislative branch and executive branch. Time to take over the judicial branch.
2017: Trump begins stacking the Courts by nominating conservative judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. (Remember, elections have consequences and in 2014, just 36.4% of eligible voters nationwide turned out in 2014 – the lowest since World War II— and Republicans gained control of the Senate, who confirms all federal judges.)
2018: By now, 34 states have some form of voter ID laws. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement. Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh as his replacement. Senate confirms Kavanaugh in October, shortly before the midterms, solidifying the bench as a reliably conservative 5-4 majority.
2019: Republicans control the state legislature in 31 states. Congress is divided – Democrats take back the House, and Republicans still control the Senate, Presidency, and Supreme Court.
What we’re seeing play out today is a deliberate playbook, run by ALEC and their model bills, to challenge everything in the courts. The bills introduced by legislative branches across the country are so egregious and blatantly unconstitutional in an attempt to move the battle to friendly territory – the courts.
Muslim travel ban. The courts.
Separation of migrant families at the border. The courts.
School vouchers. The courts.
Partisan gerrymandering. The courts.
Census citizenship question. The courts.
Voter registration criminalization laws. The courts.
Abortion bans to overturn Roe v. Wade. The courts.
All of this is run by people who are elected by the People.
If they can make it a felony to…. say, have an abortion…. or register voters…. or build a wall to keep immigrants out….. and felons and immigrants can’t vote, then you limit the voting power of minorities.
Thus keeping the white male power structure in control over an increasing Majority-Minority America.
There’s an election happening in your city or state somewhere every year. You must pay attention, keep up with the news and current events, and VOTE in every election, every year.
But y’all don’t hear me tho….
Charlane Oliver is a candidate for state senate in District 19 (Nashville)
WATCH: “If Dems did any of these things, like that TN bill, the right would LOSE ITS COLLECTIVE MIND.”@chrislhayes mentions the @TNGOP child marriage bill😳with ACTUAL/alleged GOP child sex abusers (Hastert, Moore, Gaetz, etc)— rips the “BAD FAITH” framing of Dems as “groomers” pic.twitter.com/6Dm7ssBPG1
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) April 6, 2022
Last week Tennessee Democratic representatives Bo Mitchell & John Ray Clemmons held a press conference calling for Governor Lee to impose a 90-day gas tax moratorium to help Tennesseans with the pain of higher gas prices – which is a global issue Republicans have incorrectly blamed on Biden. (Oil production is UP under Biden, so the idea that he’s choking off supply is ridiculous on its face)
By some calculations the state gas tax moratorium would mean Tennesseans keep hundreds of millions of dollars they would’ve otherwise had to spend at the pump. Since Governor Lee regularly brags about the BILLIONS in surplus funds Tennessee has, partly because we’re #1 in hoarding funds intended for poor folks, it would seem we could’ve handled the moratorium – but Lee has said he has no plans to implement it.
Lee’s exact quote:
“We’ll look at proposals, but what we need to do—and I’ve been working with governors across the country—is to reach out to the federal administration and say ‘Here’s what needs to be done. We need to reinstitute energy policies that take the burden off of Americans for higher energy prices.”
Anyone who follows this administrations knows that’s Lee Speak for saying he won’t do anything.
That decision looks even more heartless now that a similar measure has passed UNANIMOUSLY in Georgia, and their Republican governor is planning to sign it right away, giving them a gas tax break through May, and saving their citizens $300-$400 million by some estimates.
From the Athens Banner-Herald:
The Georgia Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday temporarily suspending the state sales tax on gasoline, but not before a lengthy debate over who is to blame for record-high pump prices.
The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed last week, now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk for his signature.
The governor and lawmakers acted after gas prices surged following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Suspension of the tax will save Georgians 29.1 cents per gallon of gasoline, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, said before Thursday’s vote.“The 29 cents is not going to completely solve the problem,” he said. “But it’s a start and a statement.”
Rep Torrey Harris, the first out LGBT black legislator in Memphis, and one of the youngest, shares his thoughts on likely losing his district to redistricting.
Tennessee Republican congressman Rep. Mark Green (TN-7) is a radical extremist well known for “leading the fight” against Medicaid expansion in Tennessee, keeping 300,000 uninsured while saying programs like Medicaid “Keep people from a saving knowledge of God”.
“Dr.” Mark Green helped block Medicaid expansion in TN while saying government programs “keep people from a saving knowledge of God” – he doesn’t care about stopping the violence. The suffering of others just brings them closer to God in his eyes: pic.twitter.com/wxxzGWbc2q https://t.co/9nos2pusYk
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) April 9, 2021
He’s also a former U.S. Army flight surgeon who was nominated for army secretary by Trump but couldn’t even get a hearing from a Republican-controlled senate, possibly because of his hateful anti-LGBT views and comments about Muslims, but also possibly because of whatever is at the root of why he won’t make his redacted discharge papers un-redacted and public, which he is clearly very sensitive about.
Green also ran cover for the insurrection, minimizing it, parroting the Big Lie, and voting to throw out the results of a free and fair American election, which one would think would cause Green to take a breath before equating the efforts of Democrats to win elections and pass popular progressive agenda to… Vietnam –A war that left 58,000 Americans dead – 1.4 MILLION casualties total. But since he fancies himself quite the military expert, and has a habit of telling anyone who’ll listen about his night with Saddam Hussein – he even wrote a book about it – it should probably come as no surprise that that’s the prism through which he sees most things.
His article for The Daily Signal, a Conservative news site backed by the Koch-tied Heritage Foundation , takes things to a whole other level though. He titles it: “Ready, Aim, Fire: Left Fired Too Soon and Created Its Own Tet Offensive”
In it, Green compares the efforts of Dems to score political wins to pass a transformative, wildly popular (even in West Virginia!) budget that helps a lot of people an “insurgency” that seeks to “spark an uprising” – ironic considering Green’s lies literally did just that.
He then whines about the left “controlling the propagation of information” (on a site from a right wing think tank, which exists in a nearly impenetrable right-wing media ecosystem), and of course can’t help himself from complaining about “censorship” of those who “counter the progressive narrative” – which a recent report shows is the opposite of the truth:
“Similarly, we have seen censorship rise to new levels on social media, as those who counter the progressive elite’s narrative are silenced. The selective canceling of anyone who doesn’t engage in groupthink undermines the core of what makes this nation great.”
As a reminder, Green’s favorite corrupt president wasn’t kicked off Twitter because he’s not progressive. He was kicked off because he incited an insurrection with his lies and is attacking democracy at every turn.
But Green doesn’t stop there. He then openly accuses “the left” of “conventional warfare”:
“Once enough people have been indoctrinated, the third phase starts: direct conventional warfare. The left has moved quickly into this third phase since President Joe Biden’s victory one year ago—but perhaps too quickly.”
Green is clearly too in love with himself to handle criticism, but any reasonable person would understand using violent, charged rhetoric like this is dangerous and can and has gotten people killed. He’s not even being subtle about it. He literally compares Democrats to the North Vietnamese:
“From taxpayer-funded abortions on demand to defunding the police, from their $3.5 trillion social engineering boondoggle to indoctrinating our children with critical race theory, the Democrats—like the North Vietnamese in 1968—tried to move into phase three too soon. They struck before enough people have been indoctrinated.”
Green then closes by calling the political fight in America a literal “war”:
“Regardless, because of the left’s premature and extreme overreach, the American people were awakened and thus able to end their efforts to create their socialist utopia, for now.
But as in Vietnam, we won a great battle through their premature move to phase three of their insurgency. However, the war is not over—and our fight for this great nation must and will continue.”
Rhetoric like this is dangerous and irresponsible. Our elected leaders should be bringing us together, not dividing us further. People died on January 6th, and more may soon die again if he keeps this up.
Then again, Green showed us he doesn’t actually care about human suffering through his opposition to Medicaid expansion, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.
Also, as a reminder, Green’s party lost the White House, the Senate, and the House under Green’s “General” – even Youngkin kept Trump out of Virginia to secure his win – yet “Extreme” Mark Green continues to blindly follow him, and doesn’t seem willing to take any lessons from losing those *battle* in the “war” he thinks he’s fighting, while Tennesseans suffer.
“We’re as divided as we’ve been in my lifetime” is something you hear from people on both sides of the political spectrum these days.
We can’t all agree on much, but one thing there seems to be a consensus on is that the level of vitriol in America is as high as it has been in generations. Nearly a third of us expect another Civil War soon.
The Insurrection on January 6th was very clearly a manifestation of the division. We can’t even have school board meetings anymore without being at each other’s throats.
Most of us want the divisiveness to end. So how do we calm things down?
There’s no easy answer to that. There won’t be a silver bullet (especially as long as Fox News is on the air), but what if part of the answer is showing people the government can work FOR THEM again, rather than just for corporations and the wealthy?
It’s hard to ignore that as the animosity in America is as high as it has been in a century, inequality is also at Gilded Age levels. Inequality is tied to so many issues in our country – a lack of health care, poor education, crime, gun violence, even abortion. It stands to reason that when people have less, they have less to lose, they’re more likely to be angry, and they become more likely to express their anger in ways that are detrimental to society.
So here’s a crazy thought: To make people less angry, make their lives better.
Guarantee them time off when they’re sick or have a child, like the rest of the world does.
Cover child care costs earlier and start teaching their kids with Universal Pre-K earlier to lessen the financial burden on their families.
Create good paying jobs by investing in our clean energy future, and infrastructure.
Invest what it takes to make sure everywhere in America is connected to broadband, so young Americans can stay in rural areas when they graduate high school and start businesses there and revitalize those communities rather than leaving the first chance they get.
Expand Medicare to cover Hearing and Vision so people don’t forego the glasses and hearing aids they need, and expand Medicaid to the states that haven’t like here in Tennessee where we’re #1 in Medical bankruptcies and we lose $1.7 Billion every year we don’t, so folks can see a doctor when they get sick rather than a bankruptcy attorney. (Or even better cover everyone through Medicare for All or something like it)
Invest in HBCU’s, and housing to put a roof over people’s heads, and worker’s rights… and do it all without raising taxes on anyone but those who can afford it – the ones making over $400,000 per year.
These aren’t pipe dreams. These are literally the things in the budget that Biden and the Democrats are fighting to pass while Republicans and a few “moderates” like Manchin & Sinema (who sure look like extremists to me) stand in the way.
These are programs that will have tangible impacts on the lives of Americans.
Many of the angriest among us view government as the problem because they’ve been told it is by a steady drumbeat of conservative talking heads, but the truth is government can be a big part of the solution, and can help make their lives better. Making people’s lives better and addressing the gross inequality we have allowed to overtake our society thanks to a government captured by corporate interests may be the only real path to calming things down in this country… assuming there still is one.
Pass the people’s budget.
Justin Kanew is the Founder of the Tennessee Holler
On Fox Nashville Holler founder Justin Kanew rips GOP operative Tres Wittum for joining 71% of Republicans saying the election was stolen, while the Tennessee Lookout’s Holly Mccall shreds Rick Williams for touting the Arizona Fraudit.
?WATCH: “I weep for our country, and I’m embarrassed for Tres saying that on TV.”@Kanew rips @TresWittum for joining 71% of Republicans saying the election was stolen, @jhollymc shreds @ricknashlimo for touting the Arizona Fraudit. @FOXNashville @HarrietvWallace @Scott_Couch pic.twitter.com/nrH19c8Bxd
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) June 14, 2021