The TN Legislature Does Not Like LGBT People…: Not a newsflash, but the news from Nashville is not all bad. On Feb. 17, the Tennessee State Senate voted 27-5 to approve Brentwood GOP Sen. Jack Johnson’s bill to allow homophobic therapists and counselors to discriminate against their patients using the guise of “religious liberty.” Nashville Scene reports that the legislation did not find such support in the Tennessee House: “Rep. Dan Howell, R-Cleveland, gave a ringing speech about religious liberty and then hemmed and hawed a little bit, decided he lacked the votes and took his bill out of the House Health Subcommittee. He could bring it back after amending it to make it less outrageous.” That is good news for lovers of equality — for now, at least — but don’t get comfy. The Tennessee House turned around on March 3, and voted 73-18 to pass a resolution denouncing marriage equality. As the Scene notes, the resolution effectively is meaningless, but it does send a message to LGBT Tennesseans that their state representatives by and large do not have their backs: “[B]efore the Republican supermajority cut off debate, no Democrat stood up and spoke out for fundamental rights and marriage equality during the floor debate.”
… Or Diversity The Tennessean reports that the state Senate Education Committee voted unanimously March 2 to add an amendment to the proposed University of Tennessee budget that would end state funding for the Knoxville campus’ Office of Diversity and Inclusion: “‘Only federal funds shall be expended to support the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville,’ the amendment reads.” Problem is, according to UT officials, the diversity office gets no federal funding, meaning that if this amendment goes through it will defund the office completely. Sen. Delores Gresham told the Tennessean that she was not aware of this, noting, “I would not completely defund the office. I think that would be extremely injurious. I would not do that, so I’ll have to double-check that because that’s not my understanding.” By the way, the reason for the amendment: Reoffers a photo gallerypublicans in the state Senate were angry about two recent posts on the diversity office’s website — one promoting the use of gender-neutral pronouns when requested and another advising employees on how to “ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.”
Bernin’ It in the Streets: On Feb. 27, Nashville was among 80 US cities participating in the March for Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator and presidential hopeful ended up losing in Tennessee to the Democrat establishment candidate in the March 1 Super Tuesday primary — overall, she won seven states to Sanders’ four (which is still positive for those feeling the Bern). But on Saturday, hundreds turned out to march from downtown to Centennial Park and back, and it was, in a word, glorious. Nashville For Bernie Newsletter (edited by moi) .
By the way, if you are a Bernie fan, do not lose faith. Things will improve after March 15, just watch. And remember these words from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: This is not a moment, it’s the movement. Don’t throw away our shot by giving up. There is a long way to Philadelphia.
Speaking of Philly: If you are a Democrat and willing to support the party nominee, whoever it may be, you may be interested in taking part in the electing of delegates for the national party convention, which takes place in Philly this summer. The Nashville For Bernie Newsletter offers advice on how to get involved — the state party delegate meetings take place March 5 and 19 — from party veteran and Bernie2016 volunteer Sidney Bennett.
Mad as Hell: Truthdig on March 3 features a blistering read by Chris Hedges, who posits that “college-educated elites, on behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on the working poor” and calls the repugnant rise of Donald Drumpf the lower classes’ revenge. Check out this uncensored excerpt of The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism:
These Americans want a kind of freedom—a freedom to hate. They want the freedom to use words like “nigger,” “kike,” “spic,” “chink,” “raghead” and “fag.” They want the freedom to idealize violence and the gun culture. They want the freedom to have enemies, to physically assault Muslims, undocumented workers, African-Americans, homosexuals and anyone who dares criticize their cryptofascism. They want the freedom to celebrate historical movements and figures that the college-educated elites condemn, including the Ku Klux Klan and the Confederacy. They want the freedom to ridicule and dismiss intellectuals, ideas, science and culture. They want the freedom to silence those who have been telling them how to behave. And they want the freedom to revel in hypermasculinity, racism, sexism and white patriarchy. These are the core sentiments of fascism. These sentiments are engendered by the collapse of the liberal state.
The Democrats are playing a very dangerous game by anointing Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate. She epitomizes the double-dealing of the college-educated elites, those who speak the feel-your-pain language of ordinary men and women, who hold up the bible of political correctness, while selling out the poor and the working class to corporate power.
Reich Defends Bernienomics: Robert Reich, Slick Clinton’s former labor secretary, is all in for Bernie Sanders. On Alternet, Reich takes on establishment economists critical of Sanders’ single-payer health care plan and insists that the math behind the plan does work. Seriously, if you have questions as to whether Bernie’s ideas make financial sense and, frankly, whether they are doable, Reich has the answers. And the following video, made with MoveOn.org, is a must-see.
Proof that Obama Is No Progressive, and Neither Is Biden: My head is still reeling. President Obama endorsed Patrick Murphy for the upcoming Florida Democratic senate primary. Patrick Fucking-Republican-In-Disguise Murphy. Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Murphy over progressive Rep. Alan Grayson too. I just can’t… It would be all too easy to believe that these endorsements had to do with Grayson’s recent endorsement of Bernie Sanders over the establishment candidate. And it is all too likely that Grayson’s brave move played a part. But Gaius Publius at Down With Tyranny says Obama and Biden’s shameful betrayal of progressives is more complicated — and sinister — than that. Of course, the story starts with greedy and controlling corporations and Wall Street banksters, includes potential funding for a presidential library, and ends with Obama throwing his support behind mainstream sellouts like Chuck Schumer, Chris Van Hollen, Ted Strickland, and Patrick Fucking-Republican-In-Disguise Murphy. Read the piece in its entirety; it will blow your mind. When Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren call the US system rigged against We The People, they aren’t kidding. And if you buy that Obama — or the Democrat establishment candidate — is on the side of the people, you are fooling yourself.