By Steve Hunley

American Insurrection

For the first time since the American Civil War, at least as far as I know, armed secessionists have occupied American soil and territory while legal and legitimate authorities simply stand by and gawk.  The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle, Washington is a 7-9 block area occupied by gun-toting domestic terrorists.  Forget about the hypocrisy of the outcry about social distancing and mask-wearing by the mainstream media, which pretty well evaporated when the peaceful protests began.  Now the story of the pandemic is falling well behind the protests, many of which ceased to be peaceful.

USA Today carries news stories about the “peaceful protesters,” at least some of whom have guns.  Really?  According to the liberal media, I thought citizens having guns was a bad thing.  Yet armed protesters are still “peaceful.”  Good to know.  Mayor Jenny Durkan, who is apparently nuts, says it’s just a bunch of peaceful protesters out for a lark and exercising their First Amendment rights.  Is that so?  Ok, so my occupying someone else’s property while armed is merely me exercising my First Amendment rights?  By this warped logic a bunch of people can get their guns and occupy Fourth and Gill where Mayor Indya Kincannon lives and they would just exercising our First Amendment rights. Wrong!  Like I told you, Jenny Durkan is clearly nuts or the stupidest woman running a city in the United State of America today, or both.  Durkan described the goings on in Seattle thusly: “It’s patriotism.”  Ms. Durkan you clearly don’t even know the meaning of the word.

The “peaceful protesters,” clearly few of whom have responsible jobs, much less actual responsibilities, are enjoying a festival-like atmosphere while they sit around and discuss what life would be like were there no police.  They are planting a garden in what was once a public park.  Evidently Mom and Dad are still sending checks as some restaurants are reporting their businesses remain open with walk ups.

These sorts of things happen on the local level first, usually with changing the city council, which is precisely what the City Council Movement is trying to do here.  There are already two “Democratic Socialists” on the Knoxville City Council: Seema Singh and Amelia Parker.


Speaking of Socialists…

Both Amelia Parker and David Hayes are touting the Minneapolis City Council’s approving “a community-led public safety system to replace the police department following the death of George Floyd…”  Parker is obviously more savvy than Hayes and is attempting to utilize more rational and calmer rhetoric, while David is shrill and confrontational.  Amelia points out the plan in Minneapolis is figuring how to engage “with every willing community member” in the city.  It would be interesting to know what “willing” is supposed to mean?  Like socialists all across the country, Amelia and David are for defunding the police department and replacing cops with social workers and the like.  Amelia gushes that, “We have the opportunity to reimagine public safety in our city and implement incremental change all while meeting the calls for change coming from the public.”  At last count, that was 30 calls out of 187,000 residents, Amelia, hardly a clarion call for anything.

So we’re going to reimagine public safety in Knoxville, are we?  Do people have to reimagine they are never going to recover their stolen property?  Are we going to reimagine a 911 phone system that will be constantly busy?  Are we going to reimagine the People’s Committee on Restorative Practices telling folks, there’s no arrest to be made for breaking into your home because you are privileged?  Are we just going to reimagine it didn’t happen when somebody beats the crap out of your Mom or your Granny for her purse?  Or do we wait on the People’s Committee for Reporting Alleged Incidents?  Are we going to reimagine a violent domestic dispute by sending a host of social workers to talk them down?  How are we going to reimagine bank robberies?  I guess we just shrug and grin that the perps are misunderstood and, after all, the government will print more money anyway.  How do all of these social workers actually help the victims of crime?  I suppose that all depends upon whom we see as the victim.

The theory is community-led safety initiatives prioritize community needs to improve the quality of life for every resident.  Supposedly, it will address “the root causes of crime” through “providing a supportive environment” to help people deal with whatever issues they have, including mental illness, drug abuse, financial problems and the like.  Boy howdy, that has SUCCESS written all over it!  I can just imagine crime will disappear in a heartbeat.  All of this seems predicated that we really won’t need the police any longer, because there won’t be any crime any more.

Amelia Parker and David Hayes are already reimagining the City of Knoxville.  I am imagining folks are going to leave in droves while Mayor Indya Kincannon just stands by and stares like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights.


Really Bad Optics

State Representative Gloria Johnson has been touting her proposed amendment to the budget in Nashville.  Johnson said she wanted to restore $150 million to the state budget, quite likely for teacher raises.  Johnson grumbled GOP legislators killed her amendment, saying some unnamed Republicans told her teachers should be glad the General Assembly didn’t raid teacher pensions.

Johnson growled, “Furloughed teachers don’t get pensions.”  No, but they DO get paychecks, Gloria, at least here in Knox County.  Teachers have been absent from classrooms since March and as far as I know, have never missed a paycheck yet since the COVID-19 virus pandemic began.  Teachers are off for the summer and still collecting their checks.

Johnson was hardly the only legislator posturing or pandering.  State Representative Matthew Hill, a Republican, offered an amendment to pay teachers a one-time $1,000 bonus in lieu of a pay raise.  Hill’s proposal was to spend $70 million out of the state’s rainy day fund.  Unmentioned through all of this, at least to my knowledge, was that most teachers receive an annual step raise.  I don’t know of any other employee, public or private guaranteed a raise every year.  Hill’s brother, Timothy, is a candidate for Congress this year in upper East Tennessee to succeed retiring Congressman Phil Roe.

Virginia Couch, Democratic party candidate in Tennessee’s Eighteenth House District, which is presently held by retiring State Representative Martin Daniel, has also bemoaned the fact the teachers aren’t getting the 2% raise initially included in Governor Bill Lee’s budget.  Of course that budget was before the COVID-19 crisis.  Since then many public employees have been furloughed, taken pay cuts or worse.  We have yet to see the fallout in next year’s budget, which many experts believe will be worse.  Some estimate the state budget will have to be reduced by $1.5 billion again next year.  No matter how deserving — and teachers are not the only class of employee, public or otherwise, deserving of a pay raise — all such raises come from the taxpayers.  It seems like bad optics considering we are in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Still, the fine art of pandering has been honed to perfection by many politicians and even some would-be politicians.


A State of Allegations

David Plazas, who holds the interesting title of Director of Opinion, for the Nashville Tennessean, has an opinion column expressing his sorrow and outrage that the Tennessee House of Representatives spiked a resolution memorializing Ashanti Posey, a 17 year-old African-American who was shot to death.

The state Senate passed the memorial resolution unanimously.  Majority Leader William Lamberth effectively nixed the same resolution in the House by raising the issue of the Davidson County police report, which stated Posey was killed while trying to buy marijuana.  According to Plazas, Ashanti Posey worked two jobs, played on a girls’ basketball team, and was gay.

I really don’t agree with the decision of the Tennessee House of Representatives not to pass the memorial resolution.  Plazas made the valid point the memorial resolution was defeated because of mere allegations against Ashanti Posey, none of which were proven.  It isn’t the first time allegations have stalled or stopped nominations or resolutions.

I don’t believe the House of Representatives should have defeated the resolution memorializing Ashanti Posey, just as I didn’t believe allegations should have been used to try to derail the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U. S. Supreme Court.  I don’t think David Plazas was consistent in both opinions.