“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.
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.
Fox News Mitch McConnell: “As the American people continue to ask, ‘where are the jobs,’ Gov. McDonnell has offered common-sense economic policies in stark contrast to Washington Democrats’ job-killing agenda. We don’t need a government takeover of health care or a ‘cap-and-trade’ national energy tax – we need a common-sense plan to help middle-class families and small businesses and allow them to keep more of what they earn so they can save, invest, and hire.”
“Gov. McDonnell understands that the American people are more interested in shrinking unemployment than expanding government. He is an impressive public servant and an excellent choice to offer Republican solutions for our country.”Read more.
Who would rather spend father’s day with Charles and David Koch rather than his children and/or family? A Senator from Kentucky that’s who. Senator Mitch McConnell to be exact.
June 15, 2014 was father’s day and Senator Mitch McConnell seemed to be content to spend the day with David and Charles Koch rather than spending time with his children or family.
The Nation What McConnell didn’t tell Politico was that two months ago, he made the same promise to a secret strategy conference of conservative millionaire and billionaire donors hosted by the Koch brothers. The Nation and The Undercurrent obtained an audio recording of McConnell’s remarks to the gathering, called “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society.” In the question-and-answer period following his June 15 session titled “Free Speech: Defending First Amendment Rights,” McConnell says:
“So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board [inaudible]. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.” Read more.
Turns out Mitch McConnell’s headquarters wasn’t bugged and Mitch McConnell hasn’t apologized to Curtis Morrison for wrongly accusing him of such. Yes Curtis Morrison taped a conversation, but he didn't bug Mitch McConnell’s headquarters and any charges against him appear to have been dropped.
Sen. Mitch McConnell knows he probably won’t get a lot of union votes on Nov. 4.
Oh, he’ll keep trying to grab as many as he can by pandering to so-called “social issues” like guns. Neal Knox, a former NRA head, once bragged that the gun issue “is the one thing that will spin the blue-collar union member away from his union." (See “The Right Wing Attack on the American Labor Movement” by Joanne Ricca, who is retired from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.
The NRA, which is cozy with anti-union groups like the National Right to Work Committee, has endorsed McConnell. (The NRTWC is in the senator’s corner, too.)
The unions of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, many of whose members are hunters, have endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job. Meanwhile, McConnell, the supposed gun guy, has yet to accept Grimes’ challenge to meet her on a shooting range.
Anyway, everybody knows that voter turnout almost always goes down for mid-term congressional elections, compared to presidential elections. McConnell hopes a host of Kentuckians who pack union cards will be among those who won’t bother to go to the polls or who haven’t even bestirred themselves to register.
Team Mitch knows the odds: a union member who votes will likely go for Grimes. Thus, McConnell (and other like-minded anti-union candidates) nearly always benefit when union members don’t vote or don’t register to vote.
National Journal August 20, 2014 Only one week after Sen. Mitch McConnell took the CEO of Delta Air Lines to breakfast in the exclusive Senate Dining Room last month, the airline executive and his wife wrote $10,000 worth of checks to help fund McConnell's political operation. Read more.
When a Mitch McConnell public town hall meeting, in Leitchfield, KY. August 21, 2014, was advertised on the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce website as being a town hall meeting for the public I didn’t believe it. So I called the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce and they told me it was open to the public and there would be room for about 200 people.
I was happy to hear that because I wanted to attend, with my camera/camcorder, and ask some questions. I arrived there early, after driving 40 miles. I waked in the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce office and asked the lady working there if the event was open to the public and she told me it was. I asked her if I would be allowed to shoot photos and video at the event and she told me she didn’t know.
The town hall meeting was going to be held at the Centre on Main directly behind the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce. It’s actually part of the same building and some folks were already going in. I noticed a young man going in with a tripod and camcorder and within a few minutes he came back out. I asked him if he was going to shoot video of the town hall meeting and he told me Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason told him it was a private meeting. I noticed other people leaving and they were saying the same thing, that Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason had told them that this was a private meeting.
Now I’m getting confused and a little frustrated. So I walk back to the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce office, that’s now full of folks waiting for Senator Mitch McConnell, to try and find out what’s going on and they told me that it is a private event sponsored by the mayor. Really, I thought Senator Mitch McConnell was sponsoring this. In any event see the uncut and unedited video below of us tracking down Mayor William H. Thomason. The video is unedited except for a screenshot of the public invitation.
After talking with Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason I decided to try and capture (see the video below) Senator Mitch McConnell arriving at the public/private (snark) town hall meeting he is hosting, and Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason is sponsoring and all the time I’m thinking no wonder Washington, D.C. is screwed up.
Senator Mitch McConnell arriving at the public/private town hall meeting.
To be honest the day wasn’t a total waste, because there were folks outside protesting Mitch McConnell and Mitch saw them when he pulled in. Click here to view photos of the protesters
A major change occurred in Kentucky just a few years ago. For 350 years the population had been rural, the change came when city and environs populations out numbered others. Often we long for a return to simpler times, times when neighbors were neighborly and all were alike in eking a living from farming. Forgotten are the callouses, sweat and blisters. Farm folks knew animals quite well, even the smallest tyke knew the difference between a donkey and a jack. Girls knew from experience that an old jack was likely to bite or kick them. They little understood the vendetta the jack showed in singling them out. Times change but old jacks, such as the one we send to Washington,continue to bite and kick females. Just ask Ms. Ashley.
The old jack has an affinity for coal, we have his word on that. Unfortunately he does not share this affinity equally with miners and mine owners. He cozies up to the Kentucky Coal Association—a group of twenty two coal mine owner members such as Peabody Energy, Alliance, and Patriot---it is not surprising that there are no coal miners in their list of members as annual dues are as much as $12,000. This is the bunch who has foisted on Kentuckians the impression that they somehow represent miners. The results are 50,000 license plates with the motto “FRIENDS of COAL” when it should read “FRIENDS OF COAL BIG MONEY.” We have really been snookered. Miners deserve better.
The old jack has been a denier or negligent or an idiot to have sat on his rump in D.C. eating carrots fed to him by big money. Two decades of forecasts for diminished coal use, mining and burning with an attendant residual effects that are clearly harmful to children and other living things are not state secrets. A powerful jack could have used his influence to legislate retraining, education, and job opportunities for displaced miners. A diligent jack would have made an all out push to make “clean coal” clean. The exact opposite of concern for miners has been reported by Kentucky.com in pointing out the “tag team” nature seemingly existed between the old jack and his jenny. Any undesired coal action that got by the jenny could be buttonholed by the jack or simply kicked clean out of the pasture.
As chief overseer of for mine safety and health the jenny took a “relaxed” attitude in regulating coal mines according to reports per Kentucky.com. The old jack denied any interface with the jenny concerning mine oversight---what a horrible admission for an imitation champion of coal miners to make. Why did he not get out the buggy whip and get after the jenny to do the utmost to protect miners?
The old jack is now like all old jacks, crafty, sly, self aggrandizing, and often will bite and kick without purpose. He should be harnessed to a farm wagon, replete with a license plate reading”BIG COAL MONEY'S BEST FRIEND”, and confined to roam around the pasture, not needing to be “fixed” because he has done this to himself as reparation for his misdeeds to Kentuckians and especially miners. Unfortunately he will not be around to witness the misery, mayhem, and suffering that will come, the fruit of the seeds sown by a jack who once wore the chief obstructionist crown.
"Mitch McConnell's a guy who's made a cottage industry out of hatred for the president of the United States," says Kentucky State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, a Democrat.
A lot of Kentuckians buy what the senator is selling.
Many of them are white folks who still can’t get over the fact that the country elected, then re-elected, an African American president. More than a few of these white folks live a long way from Easy Street.
McConnell is a millionaire whose politics are calculated to make the rich richer.
He despises unions. He’s for keeping tax breaks for American companies that move factories to cheap labor countries.
He loathes government programs that help anybody who needs help. He’d love to gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and, of course, deep six the Affordable Care Act.
He hates laws that do things like protect workers’ lives and limbs on the job, shield the environment against polluters and ensure the products we consume are safe.
At the same time, McConnell is all for lavishing hefty tax breaks on rich people like himself and on big corporations while tossing tax crumbs to working stiffs like me.
McConnell wins elections largely by making political hay off multitudes of my fellow Kentuckians who are of modest means and who benefit from the very government programs he wants to wipe out.
New York Times AUSTIN, Tex. — A grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts on Friday, charging that he abused his power last year when he attempted to pressure the district attorney here, a Democrat, to step down by threatening to cut off state financing to her office. Read more.
Remember Mitch McConnell proudly posting this YouTube video of Rick Perry endorsing him?
Don’t be surprised when Team Mitch takes the video down.
Timing is everything in politics, for better or worse.
The National Rifle Association is sending a mailer into Kentucky portraying Mitch McConnell as the savior of the Second Amendment against President Barack Obama and – wait for it – Michael Bloomberg, the millionaire anti-coal guy on whose foundation board the senator’s spouse sits.
Bloomberg is also for tougher gun control laws.
Okay, it’s Bloomberg Philanthropies’ anti-coal stand that has put Chao in the news because her husband says coal is the love of his political life.
But if I were McConnell, the last thing I’d want to see in the Bluegrass State is anything with Bloomberg’s mug on it.
The buzz over the Bloomberg board giving $50 million to the Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign seemed about to die down. Now comes a flier telling Kentuckians that Chao’s boss on the board is one half of the “OBAMA/BLOOMBERG GUN CONTROL AGENDA.” Bloomberg has pledged $50 million of his personal fortune toward candidates who will vote for stronger gun laws.
So where does the flier leave the significant other of Kentucky’s NRA-backed senior senator?
"If she [Chao] is on that board and he [McConnell] definitely is for coal, I think it's time for her to resign," Marilyn Kirtley, a Team Mitch player, told a Louisville TV reporter.
Chao says she’s not stepping down and her husband supports her.
I wonder how many McConnell partisans who got the flier would say the same thing Kirtley said but would now add “guns” to “coal.”
Naturally, the flier ignores Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job. “She’s anti-coal!” is McConnell’s manta.
The union-busting coal barons have put their big bucks behind McConnell. The United Mine Workers of America has endorsed Grimes. Interestingly, McConnell, the supposed gun guy, has yet to accept her invitation to meet on a gun range, hallowed ground to the NRA faithful.
Team Switch has steered clear of the Chao/Bloomberg board fray, though some big-name Bluegrass State Democrats have called for Chao to resign.
Anyway, you can bet the farm if Grimes’s hubby were on the Bloomberg board, McConnell would muster his trademark affected high dudgeon, call a press conference and demand that he quit.
So does that make Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s spouse, a closet you-know-what?
Those of us who pack union cards remember the senator’s significant other as the conservative, anti-labor secretary of labor under conservative, anti-labor President George W. Bush.
Well, now it’s all over the news that Chao is on the board of directors of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the foundation that agreed to chip in a cool $50 million to the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign. The campaign’s objective is to end the country’s reliance on “dirty coal, plant-by-plant, community-by-community, state-by-state.”
Chao protests that Bloomberg Philanthropies got involved in the anti-coal effort before she got on the board. A board flak backs her up.
So does Joe Romm of Climate Progress online. But he said Chao’s argument has three big holes. “First, yes, it’s true that Chao joined in April 2012, and, Bloomberg announced the initiative in July 2011 as we reported at the time,” Romm argued. But he added that Bloomberg made it plain in its 2013-2014 annual report that its partnership with the Sierra Club is ongoing.
Second, he suggested that most people “don’t join the boards of foundations whose central mission they oppose — they resign from them.” The Bloomberg website makes no bones about the foundation “helping to end our nation’s reliance on dirty coal.” Citing Kentucky media reports, Romm said Chao was on the board when at least half of the grant checks were cut to the Sierra Club.
Grana evidently figured she was showing solidarity with the senator who in April told Edmund Shelby, editor and general manager of The Beattyville Enterprise newspaper, that it “is not my job” to bring jobs to Lee County, of which Beattyville is the seat. The unemployment rate was 12.8 percent.
Alison Lundergan Grimes says it is everybody’s job to boost Bluegrass State employment. She’s the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job.
Grimes has pounded McConnell hard on his comment about creating jobs, calling it “reprehensible.”
Shelby had asked McConnell what he would do to bring jobs to Lee County. "That is not my job,” Shelby quoted the senator. “It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet."
The captain of Team Mitch swears the scribe quoted him out of context. Shelby is sticking by his story, word-for-word. “We were both speaking English,” he said.
Anyway, The Hill article sounds like Grana tried to take back what she said. She went on to praise her candidate as a “seasoned veteran, he understands the workings of the Senate and Washington in general, and knows how to get things done.”
Jaffe asked for examples. The best Grana could do was, “He’s done a lot for the state of Kentucky, but I mean I can’t just rattle you off anything that you want to know right now.”
Grana really wanted to help her candidate -- ditto for President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his guy fifty-four Augusts ago.
Richard Nixon, Ike’s vice president, was running for president against Democrat John F. Kennedy. “I just wondered if you could give us an example of a major idea of his [Nixon’s] that you had adopted” as president, Charles H. Mohr of Time magazine queried Eisenhower at a press conference on Aug. 24, 1960.
“If you give me a week, I might think of one,” Ike famously replied. “I don't remember.”
The Kennedy for president campaign made hay off Eisenhower’s damn-them-with-faint praise sounding comment.
Grana might have handed Team Switch more potential ammo on the jobs front: It’s not just the captain of Team Mitch who doesn’t get it on job creation. It’s the players, too. And when pinned down by a reporter, they – or at least Grana – are, Ike-like, short on specifics about how great their guy is.
McCracken -- Paducah is its seat -- is the most populous county in deeply conservative deep western Kentucky, heretofore McConnell country. But local Democrats say Grimes is faring well here. Polls show a close race statewide.