Posts

OP-ED: “TN Republicans Ducking Debates Shows They Know Their Ideas Aren’t Popular”

This op-ed by Holler editor Justin Kanew was originally printed in the Tennessean

In recent weeks we’ve seen Republicans debate Democratic challengers all over the country, in both red and blue states.

Even GOP incumbents like Gov. Abbott in Texas and Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin stood on stages next to Beto O’Rourke and Mandela Barnes respectively and let the citizens hear from the candidates side by side. An essential moment in any thriving democracy.

Yet here in Tennessee, it’s crickets from Republicans. Whether it’s incumbents like Governor Lee or incumbent Republican members of Congress (i.e., Mark Green, Tim Burchett, etc.) or candidates for an open congressional seat like Andy Ogles.

Tennessee Republicans are ducking their opponents, hiding from debate requests, and counting on Tennesseans to elect them purely because of the “R” next to their name.

Here are a few ideas about why they won’t debate

What are they so afraid of? Clearly they don’t actually think their ideas are very popular, and don’t have a whole lot of confidence in themselves to convey those ideas. One can only conclude they believe they have more to lose than to gain by actually letting the voters hear what they have to say.

They must know their draconian positions on things like their “no exceptions” abortion ban even forcing raped teenage girls to carry to term – would not sound good out loud next to a Democrat fighting for women to have control over their own bodies.

Or maybe they don’t want to have to yet again declare that even after the Jan. 6th hearings proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the election was not stolen from Trump — with his own team telling us he knew he lost all along and had planned to say the election was stolen as far back as July 2020 — that they won’t accept that President Biden was “legitimately elected” (Governor Lee recently dodged the question from The Tennessean yet again).

It would be embarrassing to concede on a debate stage that they’ve been running cover for an insurrection by minimizing the tragic events of that day ever since, casting doubt on an electoral process so many Americans gave their lives to preserve. That anti-American, fascist position, where you don’t accept the results of elections unless you get the one you want, would not look good next to a Democrat who respects our democracy regardless of the outcome.

Not all Tennesseans are feeling the prosperity that is touted

Then there are other pesky facts they may not want Tennesseans to hear – like the fact that we’ve lost $22.5 billion not expanding Medicaid while we lead the nation in medical bankruptcies. Or that we’re at the bottom in per pupil spending, poverty, infant and maternal mortality, and violent crime.

Democratic candidates for the fifth, sixth, and seventh congressional districts Clay Faircloth (sixth), Heidi Campbell (fifth), Odessa Kelly (seventh) and Randall Copper (seventh) respond to questions during a primary candidate forum hosted by The Tennessean at George Shinn Events Center on Lipscomb University's Campus Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

Those facts hurt the narrative Republicans here want us to believe, which is that everyone in Tennessee is thriving — when it’s really just those at the top who fund their campaigns who are doing well, while many (especially rural) parts of our state struggle to stay afloat.

They also wouldn’t want you to hear that it’s the Democratically-run cities that prop up the statistics about Tennessee’s economy they love to tout, or that we get 40% of our state budget from the federal government they love to vilify while simultaneously taking money from.

It would be one thing if they were actually working to fix these problems, but they’re doing the opposite. Lee and Green and Burchett and Sen. Marsha Blackburn love to bemoan inflation, and gas prices, and health care costs, yet on a national level our Republicans oppose every effort to address these issues, from a cap on price-gouging at the pump, to a cap on insulin prices, to a bipartisan infrastructure bill (they shamelessly go around taking credit for anyway), to taxing the super-rich.

All citizens lose when candidates don’t debate

The truth is, Tennessee Republicans believe you don’t care. They think all that matters to you is that they have an “R” next to their name, which means they can continue to oppose any effort to actually address our problems and improve our lives without ever being held accountable.

Justin Kanew

So they’ll rob you of the chance to hear from them on a debate stage or go years without having an in-person town hall (like Marsha Blackburn), and we’ll continue along this tragic trajectory.

Until that changes — until we start voting for the person, and the ideas, rather than the letter next to their names — our state will continue to be at the bottom in virtually every important category.

Not every county is Williamson County, governor. Every candidate should debate, regardless of party. When Tennessee Republicans refuse to debate, it’s Tennesseans who lose.

Justin Kanew runs The Tennessee Holler. He ran for U.S. Congress as a Democrat in the old District 7 (Rep. Mark Green’s seat) in 2018.

HOLLERIN’ COMMON SENSE GOES VIRAL

HOLLERIN’ COMMON SENSE GOES VIRAL

The Wilco board speech by the Holler’s Justin Kanew continues to circulate.   It has now been featured in NewsweekPeople Magazine, Today.comGood Morning AmericaABC News, and TONIGHT Kanew is on NBC Nightly News and Primetime with Chris Cuomo talking about the message he gave to the Williamson County School Board.

Even the great Leslie Jones posted about it!

His message was simple: Wear a mask. Take care of each other. It’s a simple thing to do. And if we’re wrong, sorry you had to wear a mask. But if you’re wrong, your kid may end up in the hospital, and you or someone you know may die.

This should be an easy decision. And judging by the reaction to Kanew’s speech at the school board, it’s an attitude shared by many throughout the nation. Turns out  a little common sense goes a long way where there’s little of it.

We’ll keep spreading this common sense, and we’re able to do what we do because of your support, so thank you for those who are chipping in monthly, and if you’re not yet please consider doing so – the monthly support truly keeps us going. No monthly amount is too small.

THE HOLLER

Interested in sponsoring? Message us or email: TheTNHoller@gmail.com

TODAY’S HOLLER:

CRITICAL CARE DOC JASON MARTIN: “Our Governor completely abdicated his responsibility throughout this pandemic… no statewide response… arrogant… kids can get sick despite what he told Fox”
He isn’t just talk—He’s about to step up and run for gov against Lee 

STATE REP. ANTONIO PARKINSON: “Republicans on the campaign trail talk about local control, but in reality they’re for state control when it comes to something that runs counter to the national Republican agenda and the defunct Trump playbook.”

 “START TO UNIONIZE” – According to Danielle Marie Goodrich of TN Stands Tri Cities, Suddenly right-wing anti-mask/vaccine folks are pro-union as employers require vaccines to keep folks safe! (Where were they when Gov. Lee was Union-busting & GM cut off UAW health care?)

WATCH: “THAT WAS IN NO WAY A THREAT.”  – Rod Lunn, the man (with 0 kids) who threatened a dad at the WILCO board meeting, attempts to defend his actions says the dad almost hit a kid and claims he’s received “powder” in the mail (SPOILER: IT WAS A THREAT)

Reminder: Rod Lunn once fancied himself a musician and was plaintiff on multiple TN Stands lawsuits claiming mask mandates harm him because he has asthma… but at a rally in Franklin he bragged about never wearing a mask and didn’t mention asthma once.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY DEPUTY INSURRECTIONIST: sheriff’s deputy Ronald Colton McAbee arrested Aug. 17 after the FBI received a tip he was the man in officer-worn body camera footage who attempted to fight a Metro officer and drag another into the mob storming the Capitol.”

DC BOMB THREAT: “On his now-removed Facebook page, he frequently made pro-Trump posts and posted videos from former Trump’s Million MAGA March on November 14.”

TENNESSEE PASTORS TO GOV. LEE: “STOP THIS FOOLISHNESS… DO BETTER, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY.” They call on school districts to “love thy neighbor” and defy Lee’s unchristian opt-out order that endangers children— pleading with them to institute mask mandates anyway.

US ED DEPT QUESTIONS THE LEGALITY of Lee’s mask mandate opt-out order (seems they realize it’s really just a cowardly mask mandate ban also)

GOV. LEE’S COVID TASK FORCE MEMBER “FED UP”: “We just had a 31yo teacher in the Memphis area die of COVID after catching it in class… the whole idea of mask mandates taking away our freedom is ASININE to me.” – Dr. Cross, member of Governor Lee’s COVID task force team (that hasn’t met in over a year), is “FED UP”

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL IN HOT WATER: As first reported by Memphis Holler— an assistant principal in Germantown is now “under investigation” for equating vaccines with yellow stars Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust:

TEXAS UPHOLDS BAN BAN: The Texas Supreme Court just temporarily banned Governor Abbott’s mask mandate ban (while he’s in quarantine with COVID)

“TAKE MY CHILDREN”: “Governor Lee, I freely offer you my children to use for the solidifying of your political legacy and furthering your future aspirations.” — humor writer Joe Thomas highlights the absurdity of Lee’s disregard for our children

ANTI-VACCINE SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN DIES OF COVID: Republican County party leader Pressley Stutts, who once joked about making fake vaccine cards… dies of COVID.

INBOX: NO SCHOOL AT FAIRVIEW MIDDLE TODAY “BECAUSE OF FACULTY/STAFF ILLNESS”   (And so it begins…)

CHATTANOOGA STUDENTS WALK OUT: “Tyner Academy is supposed to be an educational facility—instead it looks like a crack house on broad street.” – Jaylan Sims…. GOP budgets starve schools while the state sits on BILLIONS —> Seniors WALK OUT demanding better building conditions

MEMPHIS MASK MANDATE: With hospitals reaching their breaking points and a health care collapse “imminent” — “Shelby county to institute county-wide mask mandate”  

FEDERAL LAWSUIT: 14 TEXAS kids with disabilities are SUING Governor Abbott over his mask mandate ban, saying “the order discriminates against students with disabilities and their rights to public education programs.”

FLASHBACK – GOV. LEE BACK IN JULY 2020: “If hindsight were 20/20 and we had a mask mandate in March we probably wouldn’t have had to close anything down… it’s not a political statement…” – in JOHNSON CITY he  touted mask mandates—now he issues orders undercutting school boards.

NOOGA’S HEARTLESS BOARD MEMBER: CHATTANOOGA DAD: “What should parents of cancer patients do (without a mask mandate)?” — SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER RHONDA THURMAN: “I don’t know… I can’t take care of 40,000 kids.” — NOOGA DAD: “Isn’t that your job??” Chattanooga’s heartless board member RHONDA THURMAN tells the dad it’s his problem — and compares cancer to acne/hives??

BOWLING FOR VACCINE SKEPTICS: Meanwhile Tennessee Republican state Senator Janice Bowling (Tullahoma) just hosted a summit of anti-vaccine *doctors* at the state legislature building, and they slinked into an office when Natalie Allison showed up.

TEXAS LOOPHOLE: “The Paris Schools Board held an emergency meeting and decided to require masks as part of the dress code — which they say falls within their authority”

SENATOR YARBRO:  “Gov. Lee made a BIG MESS… it’s MADNESS… schools all across the state are trying to open, facing a COVID spike, Lee lobs in this bomb for political reasons.”

FUNK WON’T PROSECUTE: NASHVILLE D.A. GLENN FUNK: “I will not prosecute school officials or teachers for keeping children safe.” Teachers/schools that disobey Lee’s anti-mask mandate opt out order and continue to require masks will not be prosecuted.

LAWMAKER CLASH: After Nashville & Memphis say they won’t comply with Gov. Lee’s order to allow parents to not comply with their mask order, Lt. Gov. Mcnally says they “will not allow lawful orders to be defied” — But was it “lawful”? Some legal minds seem to think not.

BIDEN TO ANTI-MASK GOVERNORS: “If you’re not going to fight COVID-19, at least get out of the way.” – He threatens legal action against governors who ban mask mandates (which Lee essentially just did with his opt-out order)

MEMPHIS TEACHER PASSES FROM COVID: 2nd grade teacher Ashley Leatherwood has died from COVID – her family says she caught it in the classroom. 

 Please consider CHIPPING IN MONTHLY to help us grow… make it $10 and we’ll send you a holler hat! (note your address on PayPal and
which color you want when you chip in) 

Now on CASH APP: $TNHoller

Kanew & Mccall Rip “THE BIG LIE” on Fox Nashville

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.

Lee Gives Non-Answer on LGBTQ Curriculum Opt-Out Bill

HOLLER to Governor Bill Lee: “You said you’ll support the LGBT curriculum opt-out bill…would you support a bill that requires teachers to warn parents if they plan to mention black people? Jews? Do you see the moral issue there?”

 

Rep Jeremy Faison Calls Kanew a “Hateful Shit”

TN House GOP caucus chair Jeremy Faison came out to call Kanew a “HATEFUL SHIT” after he asked why Faison was trying to CUT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN HALF despite representing COCKE COUNTY, which has the highest unemployment % in the state.

All class, this Tennessee GOP!

 

TNGOP Doesn’t Care About Athletes’ First Amendment Rights

“Put the word out… ATHLETES — if you’re gonna go play in Tennessee, don’t bring your first amendment rights.” Kanew on #HollerHour talking about how the sports world should react to the TNGOP telling TN schools to “PROHIBIT” peacefully kneeling during the anthem.

 

Wallen & Combs Should Call for The TN Capitol’s KKK Statue To Be Removed

OPINION: Country Stars Wallen & Combs Should Call for The TN Capitol’s KKK Statue To Be Removed

By

Justin Kanew

By now most of you have seen the recent video of Morgan Wallen using the “N word” in Nashville, which shook the country music world.

His label dropped him. Radio stations stopped playing his songs. The fallout was significant. 

This opinion piece by Charlane Oliver of the Equity Alliance tackles the racial significance of the incident as it pertains to country music. It’s a worthwhile read.

Now this week we heard from another country star, Luke Combs, who says “there’s no excuse” for his use of Confederate flag imagery in his performances, and acknowledges the hurt and pain it caused.

Both artists are apologetic, and seek forgiveness. But apologies are easy. There’s another step they could take that would help bring about some actual progress – not only in country music, but in Nashville specifically, Tennessee in general, and America as a whole.

They could speak out about the KKK Grand Wizard statue that still sits prominently in our capitol.

Yes, you heard that right – Tennessee still holds a statue of the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest, in a place of prominence in the state capitol building. Forrest was a Confederate General who led the Fort Pillow Massacre, during which many black Union soldiers were slaughtered even after surrender, then went on to become the KKK’s first Grand Wizard.

Defenders of the Forrest bust claim he was eventually reformed. That he changed his tune in his later years. Regardless of the veracity of that claim, they can’t erase the harm he caused, and what he represents to the many black Tennesseans who have been calling for the statue’s removal.

Legislators like Rep. Mike Sparks, who refuses to even admit the Civil War was fought over slavery, say they’re against “whitewashing history” – ignoring the fact that it’s the statues themselves that whitewash history, treating Confederate generals who rose up against our country as heroes.

There’s a reason KKK members posed proudly with the statue when it was erected.

The fight to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue has been going on for years. There have been countless protests. Pastors, students, activists, and legislators have all made their voices heard… but still it remains.

Last year a big hurdle was overcome, as the Tennessee State Capitol Commission finally voted to move it despite “NO” votes from Senator Jack Johnson on behalf of the TN Senate Republican caucus and Rep. Matthew Hill on behalf of the TN House Republican caucus.

The next step was supposed to come this week, when the Tennessee Historical Commission was scheduled to vote on the Capitol Commission’s recommendation, but because of the cold weather it has been delayed until March 9th.

Meanwhile, Lt. Governor Randy Mcnally and Speaker Cameron Sexton have been busy trying to delay it even further, claiming the issue isn’t properly before the Historical Commission and asking the attorney general to weigh in with an opinion.

Delay, delay, delay. It’s obvious Mcnally and Sexton and their caucuses are doing all they can to keep this hurtful statue in place because the cries of black Tennesseans and their allies are not enough.

But what if they were to hear from entirely different voices? What if Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs were to show they truly do understand how much pain their words and actions have caused, and speak out about the bust, encouraging Mcnally and Sexton to drop their challenge to its removal, and asking the Historical commission to vote to remove it once and for all?

It would be a healing moment for country music, our state, and their souls.

“These elected officials aren’t listening to black Tennesseans,” says Pastor Chris Williamson of Strong Tower Bible Church, who has been involved with the statue issue for quite some time, and recently spoke out about it at a hearing. “They aren’t even listening to their black colleagues who have to walk by that statue every day and be reminded of what it represents. Maybe white country music stars are exactly who they need to hear from. Words of encouragement from Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs for them to do the right thing could go a long way.”

A long way indeed.

Taking a position on this controversial topic probably wouldn’t be easy for country music stars like Wallen & Combs. But very often doing the right thing isn’t.

 

Justin Kanew is the founder of the Tennessee Holler. Foller him on Twitter here.

“You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself for Belittling What Happened at the Capitol”

On WZTV FOX 17 News, the Holler’s Justin Kanew skewers Tennessee Republican Party EC member Michelle Foreman for deflecting blame from Trump (onto city mayors…) and denying systemic racism.

 

KANEW TO WILLIAMSON COUNTY: CANCEL CASADA

“If values matter, if we’re trying to teach our kids to do the right thing, we need to #CancelCasada like his own Republican caucus did.”

Watch The Holler’s Justin Kanew help WILLIAMSON COUNTY remember why ex-speaker Glen Casada had to resign in shame.

Here’s his op-ed in the Tennessean.

Carol Swain Insanity

This past Sunday morning, The Holler’s Kanew joined FOX 17’s “Nashville in Focus” political panel along with the infamous Carol Swain. Swain is known for spewing top-notch GOP propaganda, and her talking points on this panel were no different. From downplaying the COVID19 pandemic to claiming that teachers shouldn’t be paid as much to teach remotely, Swain is in rare form on this panel.

Swain on Masks:

Swain on schools re-opening during COVID19:

Watch the full panel here.