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"Never before have so few with so much promised to take away so much from so many and then laugh their asses off as the so many with so little vote for the so few with so much."
A Jim Pence Quote
"American Politics, a sport for the rich and enslavement for the rest of us."
A Jim Pence Quote

Mitch McConnell's Top Priority: Mitch McConnell!

by: By BERRY CRAIG

Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 15:43:27 PM EDT

I don’t know if two big photos hanging on Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office wall reflect cynicism or no sense of the ironic.

Maybe it’s both.

Anyway, a staffer for Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job, emailed a press release the other day that caught my attention more for what it showed than what it said.

The communique came with photos, one of them showing the senate majority leader wannabe grinning and standing in front of his desk. Black and white images of Sen. John Sherman Cooper and Vice President Alben Barkley peer over his shoulders.
 
Cooper, from Somerset, was a liberal Republican who voted for landmark federal civil rights laws in the 1960s. He supported Medicare and was generally friendly toward unions.

A World War II veteran, Cooper became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War.
 
Barkley, whose hometown was Paducah, was senate majority leader under President Franklin D. Roosevelt before he was elected President Harry Truman’s vice president in 1948. He was a pro-union, New Deal-Fair Deal Democrat who didn’t duck the liberal label.

Both Cooper and Barkley believed that the federal government should play an active role in promoting economic, racial and social justice.

Neither Cooper nor Barkley were given to demonizing the other party. They didn’t believe that compromise necessarily meant craven surrender.
 
Young Addison Mitchell McConnell was a Cooper intern.

“John Sherman Cooper would be appalled at Mitch McConnell,” said Dr. Duane Bolin, a Murray State University historian and author.

Cooper wouldn’t have dreamed of bragging that his top political priority was making John F. Kennedy a one-term president. Bolin recalled seeing a photo of Cooper that mirrored the senator’s politics.
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Mitch McConnell And His Neo-Know-Nothings

by: By BERRY CRAIG

Mon Sep 22, 2014 at 11:42:47 AM EDT

Team Mitch is tooting the dog whistle again.

This time, Sen. McConnell is letting a fan club borrow it.  The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a group linked to Karl Rove, has put out a TV ad claiming that President Obama and Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job, aim to give “amnesty” to “illegal immigrants.”

By tooting “amnesty” together with “illegal immigrants,” the KOC ad crafters knew a lot of Kentucky white folks would think Mexicans, not the 50,000 undocumented Irish and other white Europeans in the country.

Of course, the GOP’s pandering to anti-immigrant prejudice is also rooted in bare-knucks politics. Most Hispanic Americans vote Democratic. A lot of them are pro-union, too. Hence, the last thing the screw-the-unions Republicans want is a clear path to citizenship for immigrants who will likely swell Democratic and union ranks.   

At the same time, most African Americans also vote for Democrats, and many are in unions. Thus, Republican nativism dovetails with the GOP’s neo-Jim Crow voter ID laws, which are calculated to diminish minority voting.

Anyway, nativism is almost as old as the republic. Only the targeted immigrants have changed. In Kentucky of the 1850s, nativists singled out Irish and German Catholics, many of whom settled in Louisville, the state’s largest city.

George D. Prentice, editor of the Louisville Daily Journal, embraced the anti-foreign and anti-Catholic Know-Nothing Party, which became popular in the Falls City and many other parts of Kentucky. He editorialized against "foreign hordes” and warned of a Catholic takeover of the country.

On Aug. 6, 1855, election day, Know-Nothing mobs rampaged through German and Irish neighborhoods in Louisville, killing at least 22 people and injuring many more. The rioters burned down houses and stores and threatened to torch Catholic churches. Prentice’s editorials were blamed for helping incite the rioters.

The Know-Nothings are long gone. But their bigotry thumps in the chests of white Kentuckians of the send-’em-all-back-to-Mexico persuasion. Accordingly, Team Mitch and its buddies have shined up the dog whistle.

Long gone, too, is the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln. The Great Emancipator won the presidency in 1860 standing on a platform with a plank that declared, “…The Republican party is opposed to any change in our naturalization laws or any state legislation by which the rights of citizens hitherto accorded to immigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad.”

Five years before, Lincoln had roundly denounced the Know-Nothings in a powerful speech: “I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can anyone who abhors the oppression of Negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’

"We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
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Battleground Kentucky: Stand Up And Fight Back Labor Rally Oct. 11th, Paducah, Kentucky.

by: By BERRY CRAIG

Sat Sep 20, 2014 at 17:24:08 PM EDT


When:
  October 11, 2014 Noon - 2:00 PM

Where: Carson Park, Paducah, KY.

 House Speaker Greg Stumbo will join state senator and former governor Julian Carroll in firing up the crowd at Paducah’s Oct. 11 “Battleground Kentucky: Stand up and Fight Back in the 2014 War on Labor” rally.

“Who better than Speaker Stumbo to warn us what will happen to organized labor if the Republicans take the house?” asked Sanderson, a retired UA international representative.

The Republicans control the state senate. They have made passage of a right to work law a top priority should they win the house.

Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, would almost certainly veto a right to work bill. But in Kentucky, a governor’s veto can be overridden by a simple majority of both houses.

The rally is set for noon to 2 p.m. at the Carson Park grandstands. Bob’s Drive In will sell hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips and soft drinks. “But people can come earlier and visit with their union brothers and sisters,” Sanderson said.
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Bluegrass Rural PAC: Down-home And Not A Thing Like The Koch Sibs

by: By BERRY CRAIG

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 19:02:15 PM EDT

"Super PAC.”

You’re thinking Charles and David Koch, those right-wing billionaire brothers, right?

Wrong. Think low budget. Think grassroots. Think tiny Melber.

The little Graves County community is headquarters for Bluegrass Rural – http://bluegrass-rural.com – a new 527committee headed by a pair of Kentucky women and a guy from Massachusetts. None of them are millionaires, or even close to it.

“Our mission is focused on voter education in rural Kentucky, specifically exposing Mitch McConnell’s record,” said treasurer Jeanie Embry of Paducah, up the road from Melber.

Embry’s partners are Gail Hardy of Cadiz and Matt L. Barron, owner of MLB Associates of Chesterfield, Mass.

“Matt is the brains behind this project,” Embry said.

Bluegrass Rural is just out with a radio ad spotlighting McConnell’s 2005 opposition to funding for better armoring Humvee military vehicles that were extensively used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The commercials are being broadcast on radio stations in Lebanon Junction, Vine Grove, Hopkinsville and Cadiz. They can be heard on the website.

“If we can raise $2,500 before end of September we've got a donor who'll match that amount,” Embry said. “We welcome suggestions about additional ad topics and where to run them.”

Barron has spent more than 32 years in electoral politics at the federal, state and local levels. He is a veteran researcher for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and for several Democratic members of congress.

More information about Bluegrass Rural is available by phone from Barron at 413-296-0118 or by email from Embry at Jeanie.embry@hotmail.com or Hardy at gail.hardy@mchsi.com.
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Sunday Train: Reflections on a visit to the East Coast

by: BruceMcF

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 16:18:36 PM EDT

Cross-posted from The Sunday Train ~ apologies for the jet-lag induced cross-posting delays

Your intrepid sustainable energy and transport reporter was recently required to engage in some official business with an overseas consulate located in New York city, and in order to be able to afford to sit and wait as the wheels of bureaucracy as long as might have been required, obtained lodgings in a relatively cheap motel in New Brunswick and took the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor train back and forth. This week's Sunday Train is a collection of scattered observations made along the way.

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Mitch McConnell's Mum Moment

by: By BERRY CRAIG

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 00:57:52 AM EDT

“Do you repudiate Richard Fink’s remarks at the Koch retreat this summer?” a reporter asked Mitch McConnell the other day.
     
His chattiness was caught on tape at the now famous Father’s Day fund-raising conclave hosted by Charles and David Koch. But when the scribe aimed a mike at McConnell, mum was the word from the senate majority leader-wannabe.

McConnell had heaped high praise on the Koch sibs. He promised the billionaire Republican donors present that hogs would fly before a GOP senate under his reign would hike the minimum wage. Fink, a Koch political guru, compared any such pay boost to fascism.
   
“This is not just in Germany,” Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos quoted Fink. “It's in Russia, in Lenin, and Stalin Russia, and then Mao. This is the recruitment ground for fascism."

Fink’s bizzaro blather reminded me of a Kentucky senator who, in a 1962 speech at Yale, said that members of the far right-wing John Birch Society, the Tea Party of his day, “don’t know anything about history” and they “apparently have never read anything at all.”

The solon would become Addison Mitchell McConnell’s boss. He was Sen. John Sherman Cooper, a Bluegrass State mountain Republican who didn’t duck the liberal label.
 
McConnell was one of Cooper’s interns.
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Rand Paul, Ron Paul, Mitch McConnell, Dimitri Kesari, Jesse Benton. The Lone Star Bluegrass Mafia?

by: Hillbilly

Tue Sep 09, 2014 at 18:19:16 PM EDT


Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive.
- Sir Walter Scott (Marmion, 1808)

A tangled web indeed.

Dimitri Kesari, is currently in the middle of a 2012 Iowa payola scandal. He was deputy campaign manager for Ron Paul at the time and worked for Jesse Benton. Ron Paul’s campaign manager.

So what does this have to do with Kentucky? A lot. Jesse Benton has served as Ron Paul’s campaign manager, Rand Paul’s campaign manager and Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager. Jesse Benton is also married Ron Paul’s granddaughter. Dimitri Kesari served as Ron Paul’s deputy campaign manager and has performed work for Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign.

Many Kentucky political pundits were surprised by Senator Rand Paul’s rise in 2010. In 2010 Senator Mitch McConnell endorsed Trey Grayson in the Republican senatorial primary. Rand Paul was pretty much unknown at the time and Trey Grayson was Senator Mitch McConnell’s man. We all know what happened after that. Rand Paul won the primary and went on to defeat Jack Conway in the general election and left Senator Mitch McConnell scratching his head and impressed, all at the same time.

So how did Rand Paul defeat, Senator Mitch McConnell’s man, Trey Grayson? With a little help from his friends and daddy Paul, that’s how. Guess who showed up at the Young Americans for Liberty March 2010 spring break seminar, during the 2010 Kentucky senatorial primary. Dimitri Kesari. Now you can guess who the the Young Americans for Liberty supported after the seminar. Rand Paul that’s who.  

Freedom Works
An overwhelming majority of these students support Rand Paul for Kentucky’s next Senator. This should come as no surprise.

 
So what is the Young Americans for Liberty? It’s a group that’s headed by Jeff Frazee, Ron Paul’s former National Youth Coordinator and was funded with $25,000 in seed money from Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty.

In 2012 Jesse Benton served as Ron Paul’s campaign chairman and Dimitri Kesari served as deputy campaign manager for the Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign. It was during this time that Dimitri Kesari allegedly gave Kent Sorenson’s wife a $25,000 check dated December 26, 2012 to switch his, Kent Sorenson’s, allegiance from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul. In other words, a bribe.

Fast forward to September 2012. Senator Mitch McConnell hires Jesse Benton as his 2014 campaign manager and in 2013 Dimitri Kesari’s Hyllus Corp. gets hired by the McConnell campaign and is paid about $73,000. A McConnell spokesperson said Hyllus was "contracted to consult and work on a specific field project involving initial field organization, regional mapping, voter history research, walk maps and voter canvass technology testing."

August 2013 the Kent Sorenson, Dimitri Kesari and Jesse Benton Iowa bribe scandal story breaks and Jesse Benton stays on as Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager until August 2014, when he resigns.

Senator Mitch McConnell has refused to answer questions about Dimitri Kesari and/or Jesse Benton and I can’t say that I blame him. Maybe the FBI will have better luck when they ask him.

So there you go. The Lone Star Bluegrass Mafia.
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It's More Than Coal

by: By BERRY CRAIG

Mon Sep 08, 2014 at 11:32:20 AM EDT

If the new NBC/Marist poll is right, most Kentuckians evidently don’t care how cozy Sen. Mitch McConnell is with the Koch brothers or that his ex-campaign manager quit because it looks like he might be involved in a seamy political bribery scandal in Iowa.
 
Among likely voters, the survey has the senate majority leader wannabe up 47-39 over Alison Lundergan Grimes, his Democratic challenger. Libertarian David Patterson is at 8 percent in the poll.

Okay, this is where candidates trailing in the polls – and their supporters – say the polls are wrong and that the only poll that counts is the one on election day.

Of course, voters have proved polls wrong. They might do it again on Nov. 4.

However, the NBC/Marist poll comes after two other recent surveys that showed McConnell with leads among likely voters – 47-45 in a Survey USA Bluegrass Poll and 50-46 in a CNN/ORC International poll. Both spreads were within the surveys’ margin of error.

The Bluegrass poll was taken before The Nation magazine released an audiotape of McConnell fawning over big bucks Republican donors at a secret strategy meeting in California hosted by the Koch sibs. The CNN poll came after the cash fest and post Jesse Benton resigning.

More than a few Bluegrass State Democrats expected – or at least hoped – that subsequent surveys would break Grimes’ way over the Koch conclave and Benton’s retreat.  

The NBC/Marist poll showed that Kentuckians still view McConnell unfavorably by a 48-45 margin. They see Grimes pretty much the same way – 43 percent unfavorable, 41 percent favorable.

But in the polls, McConnell is winning where it counts, in the head-to-head matchup. That’s more proof that Team Mitch is succeeding in making the election a referendum on President Obama.

Obama lost Kentucky, big-time in 2008 and 2012. Today, Kentuckians disapprove of his job as president by 64-29 in the CNN/ORC poll.

Grimes is trying to get Kentuckians see the election as between McConnell and her.  She has distanced herself from the president, especially on coal.

“I don’t think that’s working,” said a veteran western Kentucky Democrat who is for Grimes. “McConnell keeps saying ‘Grimes-Obama, Grimes-Obama, Grimes-Obama.’ That’s what people are listening to.”

He didn’t say what “people.” He meant white people, who make up almost 92 percent of Kentucky’s population.  

I’m not for a minute saying everybody who is against the president and for McConnell is a racist. Neither would Obama or Grimes.

But a lot of white people don’t like Obama because he’s not white. Racism is the elephant in the room in homes from Paducah to Pikeville.

A lot of reporters choose to ignore the pachyderm. “The president's high disapproval rating is fueled in part by his policy on coal -- a major employer in parts of Kentucky,” wrote CNN’s Mark Preston in crunching the CNN/ORC numbers.

David Hawpe sees the elephant if Preston doesn’t or doesn’t want to. “It’s not just a coal thing,” Hawpe, the former Louisville Courier-Journal editorial page editor, wrote in The Lexington Herald-Leader after Mitt Romney blew out Obama in the Bluegrass State going on two years ago. “Nor is it just about Kentucky's religious, conservative, rural values.”

Hawpe concluded, “Nobody wants to say it out loud, but race is part of the political equation, in Kentucky and elsewhere. We're not post-racial, yet.”    

To be sure, few white people will admit to reporters that they hate Obama because he’s black. Even so, GOP bigwigs are clued in.

“We are still a racist state, I hate to admit,” an unnamed Republican strategist confessed to Politico’s Jason Zingerle a few months ago when the McConnell campaign was cranking up. “Anything you can connect to Barack Obama is a winning thing for us.”

Hawpe, an eastern Kentucky native, zeroed in on the Bluegrass State neck of the woods where I was born, reared and still live: “McConnell used the GOP Southern strategy handed to him by Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, took Western Kentucky away from the Democrats, and changed the state's political personality.”

Hawpe quoted GOP operative Kevin Phillips’ famous explanation of the Southern Strategy that The New York Times published in 1970: “From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that .... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.’”

Democrat Obama’s moderate politics is pretty close to Democrat Bill Clinton’s. But Kentuckians are favorably impressed with the white guy from Arkansas by a margin of 61-35, according to the NBC/Marist Poll.

Meanwhile, the poll also showed that anything that just has Obama’s name on it is poison in Kentucky. Kentuckians don’t like “Obamacare” – McConnell’s slam term for the Affordable Care Act -- by a 62-31 margin, according to the NBC/Marist poll.

But they favor Kynect, -- the name of the Bluegrass State’s health exchange under the ACA -- by 34-18, with 18 percent unsure. Thirty percent had never heard of Kynect.

Meanwhile Team Mitch rolls on, with the captain pandering to the social issues and practicing dog whistle politics with the white folks. He doesn’t have to say anything about the president’s skin color.

Tooting his whistle by calling the president’s “war on coal” a “jihad,” the Muslim word for “holy war,” is working just fine for him, if the polls are correct.

And he’s not about to dispute Kentucky white folks who think Obama is a Kenyan-born, Islamo-Socialist who wants to replace the constitution with Sharia Law. He’s also way cool with Kentuckians who don’t know that “Obamacare” and “Kynect” are the same thing.
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More Dark Money, $1.2 Million, For Mitch McConnell From His Former Chief Of Staff Steven Law

by: Hillbilly

Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 14:32:32 PM EDT


Steven Law Mitch McConnell and Mitch McConnell’s 2nd wife Elaine Chao go way back.

Washington Post
Kentucky: Crossroads GPS is dropping into the race between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) beginning Oct. 6. The group, led by former McConnell chief of staff Steven Law, will spend $1.2 million on ads that week. Read more.
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Kentucky Republican State Rep Candidate Randy Bridges Inspires Paducah Labor Rally

by: By BERRY CRAIG

Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 13:40:38 PM EDT

Not surprisingly, union members booed and heckled a Republican candidate for the state legislature when he touted a right to work law at the annual Labor Day picnic in Paducah, Ky.

Emcee Larry Sanderson said the guy inspired him – “to organize an old-time revival of a union meeting. If what he said doesn’t fire us up, I don’t know what else would.”

A 68-year-old retired UA international representative, Sanderson has rented the city’s Carson Park horse race track grandstands for an Oct. 11 rally. “We’re going to call it ‘Battleground Kentucky: Stand Up and Fight Back against the 2014 War on Labor,’” he said.

Meanwhile, the candidate, Randy Bridges, has boosted Sanderson’s ardor even more. Shortly after Labor Day, he appeared in a front-page Paducah Sun newspaper photo with pro-right to work House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover and other like-minded western Kentucky Republican legislators and hopefuls.

The state senate has a right to work Republican majority. The GOP has made passage of a right to work law a top priority if they win the house Nov. 4.

Gov. Steve Beshear would almost certainly veto a right to work bill. But in Kentucky, a veto can be overridden by a simple majority of both houses.        

The Kentucky State AFL-CIO has endorsed Bridges’ opponent, State Rep. Gerald Watkins, D-Paducah. He followed Bridges to the microphone and was cheered loudly when he cited Communist China as an example of right to work territory.

“I was so angry about Bridges coming into our house and saying what he said that I was awake half the night thinking about it,” Sanderson said. “It’s like somebody coming into your house and taking the food off your table.

“Are you going to give him a to-go bag? Or are you going to do something about it?”

Sanderson got busy exercising the latter option.  

He has already lined up state Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, as the rally’s featured speaker. A native of McCracken County, of which Paducah is the seat, Carroll was governor in 1975-79.

Carroll’s father, “Buster” Carroll, was a member of Paducah Operating Engineers Local 181, according to Sanderson, who was business manager of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184 for many years.   

“I want to get as many retired union people up on the stage as we can,” he added. “I want them to stand up. Then we can ask the crowd, ‘Do you want to lose everything these guys did for you? Are you going to be the generation that lost it all?’”

To generate publicity for the rally, Sanderson is having a union print shop in Paducah turn out fliers and hard-hat stickers.  “I’ll take the fliers around to union halls and plant gates and parking lots myself if I have to, but I need help.”

Local 184 chipped in $500 and pledged helpers. The Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council voted $100 toward the rally and delegates promised to aid Sanderson.

“I want people to wear their hard hats to the rally, and their union tee-shirts.  I want to fill those grandstands with union members, our families and our friends. Politicians who are our friends are welcome to come and be recognized.

"We welcome everybody to unite with us to repel the vicious attacks that are being planned against the working men and women of Kentucky.”

The Paducah rally is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 11, 2014 noon to 2 p.m., local time. More information is available from Sanderson at (270) 564-1108. His email address is larrys184@comcast.net.
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