U.S. Politics

400,000 People Could Lose Their Health Care Because No One Turned Out To Vote [Tuesday]

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley


If you live in Kentucky, you probably didn’t vote yesterday.

Turnout in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election was simply dreadful. According to the state’s chief elections officer, preliminary results show that only 30.7 percent of voters actually cast a ballot in this off-off-year election. That compares with 45.9 percent of voters in 2014 — a midterm election that featured the lowest turnout rate since World War II — and 59.4 percent of voters during the 2012 presidential race.

It is likely, moreover, that 2015’s poor turnout will have a massive impact on many Kentuckians’ lives. Indeed, it is likely that many low-income Kentucky residents will literally die because so few people cast a ballot in the state’s gubernatorial race.

On the eve of the election, Real Clear Politics’s polling average of the Kentucky governor’s race showed Democrat Jack Conway leading Republican Matt Bevin by more than five points. Yet, with most of the state sitting out this election, Bevin instead defeated Conway 53-44.

Conway was widely expected to continue incumbent Gov. Steve Beshear’s (D-KY) successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which helped over half-a-million Kentuckians obtain health coverage in its first year. Bevin, by contrast, is a staunch opponent of Obamacare who has promised to shut down the state-run health care exchange. Last February, when asked about the law’s Medicaid expansion, Bevin responded unequivocally — “Absolutely. No question about it. I would reverse that immediately.

An estimated 400,000 people will lose their health care if Bevin follows through on this statement.

Kentucky has not yet released data showing turnout rates broken down by party, although they typically do so at some point after the election. As a general rule, however, low turnout is a Republican’s best friend. Voters who are financially secure and who have firmly settled in a community are more likely to vote than others who are more transient and have less financial certainty. That means that groups which tend to prefer Republicans — older voters, white voters, wealthy voters — tend to turn out at higher rates than younger voters, lower income voters and voters of color — all of whom are more likely to prefer Democrats.

There is another important factor that influences turnout as well. When control of the White House was at stake in 2012, well over half of the state’s voters turned out. When control of the Senate was at stake in 2014, over 45 percent showed up. One year later, when no federal offices were on the ballot, voter turnout dropped a third from the already low rate in 2014. And this is a consistent trend seen across the country. In Houston, which voted on Tuesday to scuttle anti-discrimination protections, turnout was only 26.9 percent in this election with no federal candidates on the ballot. Turnout in Ferguson, Missouri, home of the heavy-handed police response to protesters angered by the fatal shooting of a black teenager, turnout fell from about 55 percent in 2012 to 11.7 percent in 2013, when the city held its last municipal election before the protests.

(Last April, outrage at the Ferguson police sufficiently increased turnout that two African Americans were elected to the city council. Yet even under these conditions, turnout only rose to 29 percent.)

The timing of an election, in other words, decides who will actually turn out to vote in that election, and Republicans have a built in advantage when elections are held at odd times that lead to depressed turnout. 400,000 people could lose health care in Kentucky, and it is because the state’s gubernatorial election is scheduled at a time that gives one party a clear advantage over the other.


U.S. Politics

Kim Davis Is Now Altering Marriage License Forms in Kentucky



The Kim Davis saga continues. Less than a week after returning to her post at the Rowan County Clerk’s office, Davis is being hit with a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union for altering marriage licenses issued upon returning to office and failing to comply with her court orders.

According to the ACLU, which is representing a group of Rowan county couples, Davis’ changes to marriage license forms “resulted in material alterations to those licenses that render their validity questionable at best.”

The Kentucky county clerk, an elected official, began working on Sept. 14 after spending five days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Reports began circulating on Friday when a lawyer for Kentucky deputy clerk Brian Mason told the court in a written notice that, upon Davis’ return, “changes were made in some attempt to circumvent the court’s orders and may have raised to the level of interference,” NBC Newsreports.

However, Davis’ lawyer Matt Staver doesn’t believe the lawsuit will stick and said his client hasn’t done anything illegal. “Kim Davis has made a good-faith effort to comply with the court’s order,” Staver told the Washington Post. “The ACLU’s motion to again hold Kim Davis in contempt reveals that their interest is not the license but rather a marriage license bearing the name of Kim Davis. They want her scalp to hang on the wall as a trophy.”

Kim Davis Is Now Altering Marriage License Forms in Kentucky
Kim Davis on her first day back to work at the Rowan County Clerk’s office in Kentucky on Sept. 14, 2015. Source | Ty Wright/Getty Images

Davis initially brought national attention to Rowan county when she refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple who filmed the ordeal and shared it on YouTube. The video quickly went viral, leading many to demand her immediate removal from office, while others, including Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, gave her unabashed support for refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses in the state of Kentucky followed a June 26 ruling from the United States Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage across the country. The ruling restricted states from preventing gay couples to wed.

Chris Riotta

U.S. Politics

George Takei Schools Kim Davis Trolls: ‘I Know The First Amendment, Do You?’


Rowan County, Ky. clerk Kim Davis was released on Tuesday after being jailed over her refusal to issue marriage licenses. The congratulatory back-patting by herself and her supporters prompted veteran actor and gay rights activist George Takei to refer to the entire matter as “a circus.”

“So let us be clear: This woman is no hero to be celebrated. She broke her oath to uphold the Constitution and defied a court order so she could deny government services to couples who are legally entitled to be married.”

He went on to add that Kim Davis is “entitled to hold her religious beliefs,” but said that she is notentitled “to impose those beliefs on others.” Predictably, he was attacked by Kim Davis supporters, people we’ve already established have no concept of either the laws of the Bible or the Constitution. One such troll was Shawn W. Janke. Shawn came at George with the smug presumption that because the actor held an opinion he didn’t like, the man didn’t know the Constitution. His (unwanted) advice?

“George, learn the First Amendment.”

What followed was an absolutely perfect reply to any and every Kim Davis supporter ever. In fact, it’s highly recommended you copy and paste the following quote for future usage.

“The First Amendment has two clauses that are relevant here. One is the Establishment Clause, and the other is the Prohibition Clause. Congress may not prohibit free worship, and that is what so many claim, wrongly, is being violated. But it is also not empowered to establish any religion, nor to enact any laws favoring one religion over the other.

Permitting a state employee to foist her religion upon others, denying them a fundamental right as articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell, would be to give government, through this agent, the power to impose religious doctrine and viewpoint. That it cannot do. Ms. Davis is in effect establishing religion by using her governmental powers to impose her religious views.”

The icing on this burn cake?

” I know the First Amendment, Shawn. Do you?”

Oh my, Mr. Takei!


Kim Davis and her supporters may insist that they know the Constitution, but George Takei just made a couple of important points that expose why they don’t. First, it’s pretty obvious to any objective onlooker that Davis was in trouble because she’s a government official who is using her job to effectively violate the Constitution. It doesn’t matter what god she did it in the name of. She’s breaking the law, and that’s why she was punished.

Another important point that Takei made was that in the eyes of the United States government, Christianity = religion. What this means is that in 2015, there are numerous religions to which the First Amendment’s “Freedom of Religion” clause applies. Many far-right conservatives assume that their religious rights are more important than anyone else’s and that the Constitution protects them exclusively. That’s just not true. People want to paint Kim Davis as a martyr. She isn’t.

As George Takei demonstrated, the best weapon against Kim Davis and her supporters is the absolute truth. Because, as Shawn Janke just learned, a presumption of being right isn’t the same as being factually correct.

Featured Images via YouTube/Facebook (1, 2)

Toni Matthews

U.S. Politics

Oath Keepers Militia Says They’ll Prevent US Marshals From Arresting Kim Davis Again

Oath Keepers Founder, Stewart Rhodes


In case you thought the Kim Davis story wasn’t already grotesque enough, now the extreme right wing, batshit crazy, heavily armed Oath Keepers militia has announced they’re going to prevent federal marshals from detaining the anti-gay Kentucky clerk if/when she decides to break the law again.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes announced yesterday that he had reached out to Davis’ lawyers at Liberty Counsel to offer the protection of his group, which he says is already forming a presence in Rowan County, Kentucky, where Davis was recently released from jail after prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses. Rhodes said in a statement that his position has nothing to do with gay marriage, but rather his conviction that Davis had been illegally detained by the federal judge who held her in contempt for violating multiple court orders.

In a phone call with Jackson County, Kentucky, Sheriff Denny Peyman and other local Oath Keepers activists, Rhodes said that he was on his way to Kentucky to help with the Davis operation. Although the group had originally intended to picket outside the home of the judge who held Davis in contempt, he said, they had changed their plan when she was released on Tuesday.

Rhodes said that the Rowan County sheriff should have blocked U.S. Marshals from detaining Davis, but since neither the sheriff nor the state’s governor will do their “job” and “intercede” on behalf of Davis, the Oath Keepers will have to do it instead. “As far as we’re concerned, this is not over,” he said, “and this judge needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to. If the sheriff, who should be interceding, is not going to do his job and the governor is not going to do the governor’s job of interceding, then we’ll do it.”

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: April 5, 2015

Andy Lyons / Getty Images

The Week

1.Wisconsin ends Kentucky’s perfect season
Kentucky’s bid for a perfect season ended Saturday with a 71-64 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four. The Wildcats, who finish at 38-1 on the year, had hoped to become the first team to go undefeated since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers — and the first ever to go 40-0. “This may never be done again,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. Wisconsin advances to play Duke, which on Saturday walloped Michigan State to set up a title match on Mondaybetween two No. 1 seeds.

Source: Sports Illustrated, ESPN

2.Large Hadron Collider back online after two-year upgrade
After a two-year shutdown to make improvements and upgrades, the Large Hadron Collider is back online as scientists embark on a new mission to unlock elemental mysteries of the universe. For the first time since 2013, scientists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) this weekend shot particle beams through the enormous machine’s 16.8-mile tunnel. “It’s fantastic to see it going so well after two years and such a major overhaul,” Rolf Heuer, CERN’s director general, said. The largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world, the LHC discovered the elusive Higgs boson particle two years ago.

Source: The Guardian

3.Kenya identifies massacre gunman as son of government official
The son of a Kenyan government official was one of the gunmen who last week slaughtered 148 people in an attack on a university, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said Sunday. Abdirahim Mohammed Abdullahi, the son of a government chief in the county of Mandera, was one of four al Shabab gunman who carried out the attack before being killed by Kenyan authorities. Responding to al Shabab’s threat that more attacks would follow, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday said the government would “fight terrorism to the end” and “respond in the fiercest way possible.”

Source: Reuters

4.Pope Francis prays for successful Iranian nuclear deal
In an Easter message Sunday, Pope Francis expressed tacit support for the framework nuclear deal reached last week between the U.S., Iran, and international negotiators. “In hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world,” Pope Francis said in his “Urbi et Orbi” message. Announced on Thursday, the framework deal would sharply restrict Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an end to international sanctions. Negotiators have until June 30 to strike a final, comprehensive agreement.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

5.Fidel Castro makes first public appearance in more than a year
“Full of vitality,” according to local media, former Cuban President Fidel Castroon Monday made a public appearance for the first time in more than a year while greeting a Venezuelan delegation. The 88-year-old last appeared in public on Jan. 8, 2014, at the opening of a Havana cultural center. He definitively stepped down from power in 2008, at which time his brother, Raul Castro, took over the presidency. Local media offered no explanation as to why the appearance was not reported for almost a week.

Source: CNN

6.Italy rescues 1,500 migrants in 24 hours
The Italian navy and coast guard on Saturday rescued 1,500 migrants in five separate incidents in the Mediterranean Sea, officials said Sunday. Three of the five ships sent rescue signals after encountering difficulties near the coast of Libya. Italy rescued 170,000 migrants in the Mediterranean last year.

Source: NBC

7.Rob Ford named to Hockey Hall of Fame’s board
Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been appointed to the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum’s board of directors, the institution revealed Saturday. After months of strenuous denials and a mounting body of blunders, the infamous ex-mayor admitted in 2013 to having smoked crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor” while in office. “When people call me they know they’re getting someone that’s experienced,” Ford, now a Toronto city councilor and an avowed football and hockey fanatic, said.

Source: The Toronto Star

8.Blue Bell ice cream closes plant over listeria scare
Blue Bell ice cream on Friday announced the temporary closure of a plant in Oklahoma due to concerns about listeria contamination. The company said in a statement it was closing the plant “out of an abundance of caution” and would reopen the facility “once our investigation is complete and we have made all necessary improvements.” Last month, the company initiated a recall after tracing a listeria contamination to products made in the Oklahoma plant.

Source: USA Today

9. Ex-Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Robert Burns Jr. dies in car crash
Robert Burns Jr., the former drummer for hard rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died late Friday night in a single-car crash in Georgia. He was 64 years old. A Georgia State Patrol spokeswoman said Burns’ car went off a curve on a road near Cartersville and struck a tree, adding that the accident remains under investigation. A founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Burns left the band in 1974, but not before working with the group on such hits as Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird.

Source: Rolling Stone

10.Baseball returns with Opening Night
In an annual sign of springtime, baseball returns Sunday with an Opening Night matchup between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. One of the game’s great rivalries, the matchup pits a Cardinals franchise riding a decade of success against a legendarily cursed organization poised for a breakout year. The inaugural game will be followed by 14 more matchups Monday for Opening Day.

Source: USA Today

Mitch McConnell

Kentucky Getting Ready to Ditch Mitch As Democrat Grimes Leads McConnell 48%-46%

mcconnell grimes

With those numbers, conservative Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes may have a fighting chance after all…


What looked like it could be an anomaly is beginning to look like a real thing in Kentucky. The Democratic challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Alison Lundergan Grimes, is leading in a new poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP)by 2 points, on the heels of McConnell’s primary win. That’s right — if this is McConnell’s post-primary bump, he’s in trouble.

The poll contains a flood of bad news for McConnell. Eighty-nine percent of respondents are more likely to vote for a candidate who will pass legislation to create jobs. By an 80%-14% margin, voters (including 70% of Republicans) want a candidate that will close tax loopholes on millionaires. Seventy-eight percent of voters want a candidate who will end gridlock and partisanship. Seventy-six percent want a candidate that will make sure that the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes, and by a margin of 63%-31% voters oppose cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations.

Mitch McConnell opposes everything that Kentucky voters said they supported in the paragraph above. What’s even worse for McConnell is that voters strongly oppose what he supports. McConnell has been a vocal supporter of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. McConnell has personally blocked a wide range of job creation bills in the Senate, and he has publicly admitted that he is using gridlock as a strategy to destroy the Obama presidency.

“Grimes leads by a substantial margin among independents with 56% to McConnell’s 30%,” the PPP analyst noted. That’s a pretty big indictment of the incumbent Senator. But then, when 40% of his own party voted against him in the primary, the one narrative that was clearly intrenched was that Kentucky voters are sick of Mitch McConnell and his belief that creating jobs for Kentuckians isn’t his job. That gets old, especially when times are tough and in a state whose main industry has taken a hit.

The PPP analysis of what Kentuckians cared about showed marked support for what Democrats are championing in terms of making millionaires and corporations do their part, “(T)hey want to make sure that millionaires pay their fair share and do not get a lower tax rate than the middle class, and they want to close corporate tax loopholes, especially for shipping jobs overseas.”

And this is made all the more real and painful because PPP is a “liberal-leaning” pollster. And we all know that reality has a thing for liberals these days. Yes, that’s right. While other pollsters were unskewing themselves to show a horse race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in 2012, PPP was found the most accurate after they “projected a 2-point Obama victory and put him at the critical 50 percent mark, 50 to 48 percent over Romney.”

Two points.

After 30 years of listening to Mitch McConnell blame others for his own failures while lining his own pockets, Kentucky voters seem to be over Mitch McConnell. And it doesn’t help the incumbent that his Democratic opponent is strong, smart, and a known quantity in Kentucky. The cheap smears the McConnell people have been aiming at Grimes aren’t sticking.

With Republicans poised once again to waste the American taxpayers’ hard earned money with yet another frivolous lawsuit against a Democratic president, laying the groundwork for even more egregious impeachment proceedings, all voters who care about things like jobs and infrastructure need to make a concerted effort to tell Republicans “enough of the clownshow.”

The only way to be heard by this crowd who pretend to speak for the average American whilst refusing to pass a jobs bill is to vote. VOTE.

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: April 6, 2014

Kentucky celebrates after clinching a spot in the NCAA Tournament title game
Kentucky celebrates after clinching a spot in the NCAA Tournament title game |Tom Pennington / Getty Images

The Week

Search crews investigate potential pulse signals from Flight 370, Kentucky and UConn advance to the NCAA Tournament final, and more

1. Searchers detect possible signals from Flight 370

Raising hopes that Flight 370 will yet be found, search crews over the weekend detected three faint signals that may have come from the plane’s flight recorder. A Chinese ship picked up two signals, one on Friday and another Saturday, and an Australian ship picked up another signal Sunday. Australian Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, who is leading the search operation, said the discoveries were “important and encouraging,” though he cautioned that the news “does not confirm or deny the presence of the aircraft locator on the bottom of the ocean.” [CBSCNN]


2. Kentucky, UConn make NCAA tournament history

The seventh-seeded UConn Huskies and the eighth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament title game with victories Saturday night, setting up a final showdown with the highest combined seed total ever. The previous high came in 2011 when No. 3 seed UConn defeated No. 8 seed Butler. UConn bested top overall seed Florida on Saturday 63-53, while Kentucky topped No. 2 seed Wisconsin 74-73. Of the 11 million brackets filled out through ESPN, only 1,780 — or 0.016 percent — correctly predicated the final matchup. [Yahoo Sports]


3. Protesters rally nationwide for immigration reform

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Saturday calling on Congress to pass immigration reform and demanding that President Obama curb deportations. Organizers said protests were held in about 70 cities across the country, including one in Washington, D.C., that attracted a few hundred participants. In addition to protesting the federal government’s immigration policies, demonstrators also said they were showing solidarity with the hundreds of detainees in Washington and Texas who are engaged in a hunger strike to draw attention to the conditions of their facilities. [NBCAl Jazeera]


4. U.S. sends two warships to support Japan

The United States on Sunday announced it would send two missile defense ships to Japan to allay that nation’s mounting security concerns over North Korea and China. The move comes after North Korea vowed to conduct a “new form” of nuclear test. Yet in announcing the decision, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also warned China, which he called a “great power,” that with that power “comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power, how you employ that military power.” [ReutersNBC]


5. Israeli PM warns of ‘unilateral’ response to Palestine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday his nation would take unspecified “unilateral moves” should Palestine continue its push for United Nations recognition. Netanyahu said Palestine threatened to derail peace talks between the two nations when it last week appealed to join 15 UN agencies and treaties. Netanyahu said Palestine could “achieve a state only through direct negotiations and not through empty proclamations or unilateral moves.” [HaaretzBBC]


6. Mormon leader reaffirms church’s opposition to gay marriage

A top leader with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday reiterated the church’s staunch opposition to same-sex marriage. “While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not,” Neil Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve — the church’s second-highest governing body — said at the church’s biannual conference in Salt Lake City. [Christian Science MonitorAssociated Press]


7. Atlanta Archbishop to sell $2.2 million mansion

Acknowledging that his residence’s opulence does not jibe with “the phenomenon we have come to know as Pope Francis,” Atlanta’s Archbishop Wilton Gregory said Saturday he would soon move out of and sell his $2.2 million mansion. The 6,000 square-foot home was built with the help of a fortune donated to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta by Joseph Mitchell — nephew of the author of Gone with the Wind — that was intended for “general religious and charitable purposes.” [Los Angeles Times]


8. Funerals begin for Washington mudslide victims

Mourners gathered on Saturday for the memorial services of three victims of the deadly March 22 Washington mudslide. So far, 30 people have been confirmed dead in the colossal landslide, and more than a dozen remain missing. [The Washington Post]


9. The Goonies may finally get a sequel

Hey you guys: A sequel to the 1980s cult classic The Goonies may be on the way. Richard Donner, the producer and director of the 1985 hit, told TMZ he’s making a follow-up film. Still, the remark was made somewhat extemporaneously, and Goonies sequel rumors have been floating around for years so it’s uncertain whether a new film will truly ever hit theaters. [TMZVariety]


10. Craig Ferguson guaranteed Letterman’s job — or millions of dollars

The Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson may seem like an apt replacement for David Letterman, who announced Thursday he would retire from The Late Show sometime next year. And if Ferguson doesn’t get the job, he is reportedly in line to receive a payout anywhere in the range of $5 million to $12 million thanks to an “out” clause in his contract with CBS that stipulates he be given the vacant seat or cash once Letterman leaves. [New York PostNew York Daily News]

Senate Republicans · Tea Party Agenda

McConnell lashes out: Tea Party groups ‘ruining’ GOP

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters following the weekly policy lunch of the Republican caucus on Nov. 19, 2013 in Washington, D.C. WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces Tea Party backlash in his coming re-election efforts for 2014.  This should be interesting in light of his most recent statement…


Mitch McConnell ripped tea party-aligned forces like the Senate Conservatives Fund in a recent interview, saying they are “ruining” the Republican brand.

It is the Senate Minority Leader’s latest attempt to stand up to extremists in his party amidst a tough reelection bid that’s left him fielding attacks from the left and right, with Democrats criticizing his role in allowing a government shutdown and his Republican challenger criticizing his role in ending it.

In an interview published on Friday, McConnell chided the most far-right wing members of his party—without specifically naming the tea party —and blamed them for the government shutdown in October.

“There were people who were basically afraid of [conservatives], frankly,” McConnell told theWashington Examiner. “It’s time for people to stand up to this sort of thing.”

In standing up to the tea party, McConnell is walking a tight-rope: he doesn’t want to anger the far-right, grassroots Republicans who have long made up his base, but he does want to stop the tea-party led insurgency that has dragged Republican approval ratings down to historic lowsshut the government down for 16-days, and caused a GOP civil war.

“To have the kind of year we ought to have in 2014, we have to have electable candidates on November ballots in every state—people that don’t scare the general electorate and can actually win, because winners make policy and losers go home,” McConnell told the Washington Examiner. “We can’t just turn the other cheek and hope for the best. It didn’t work in 2010 and 2012 so we’re going to try something different in 2014.”

McConnell kept quiet for the first few years of the group’s existence once he saw its power in Kentucky (a McConnell-approved candidate lost to tea party darling Sen. Rand Paul in a race to be Kentucky’s junior senator), courting tea party forces and even bringing Paul’s 2010 campaign manager to run his 2014 bid.

His battle with the tea party coincides with his 2014 bid, where he’s facing challenges on both sides—from a formidable Democrat, former Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan-Grimes, and a tea party challenger, Matt Bevin. McConnell trumps Bevin in polls, but he and Grimes are neck and neck.

It’s perhaps why McConnell’s gloves came off when he discussed the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group that aims to boot the Senate’s seasoned Republicans, including McConnell, in favor of farther right conservatives like his challenger from the right, Bevin.

“The Senate Conservatives Fund is giving conservatism a bad name. They’re participating in ruining the [Republican] brand,” McConnell said. “What they do is mislead their donors into believing the reason that we can’t get as good an outcome as we’d like to get is not because of a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president, but because Republicans are insufficiently committed to the cause — which is utter nonsense.”

Mitch McConnell

McConnell smacks down tea party groups: They mislead for profit

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks to reporters as lawmakers moved toward resolving their feud over filibusters of White House appointees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 16, 2013.CHARLES DHARAPAK/AP

It appears Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may have finally acquired a new set of cajones.  

As much as I don’t like McConnell, kudos to him for finally standing up to those folks in  the house and senate who wish to end government as we know it and profit from their destructive tactics in the process. 


Sen. Mitch McConnell is done playing nice.

McConnell smacked down the tea party in an interview with Wall Street Journal opinion writer Peggy Noonan published Thursday evening.

The Tea Party is made up of people who are “angry and upset at government,” the Senate minority leader said, but they’ve been mislead by their leaders.

“They’ve been told the reason we can’t get to better outcomes than we’ve gotten is not because the Democrats control the Senate and the White House but because Republicans have been insufficiently feisty. Well, that’s just not true, and I think that the folks that I have difficulty with are the leaders of some of these groups who basically mislead them for profit,” he said.

When the tea party helped Sen. Rand Paul defeat a McConnell-approved candidate in a Kentucky Republican primary in 2010, McConnell made nice with the Senate’s tea party wing and looked to shore up his right flank, hiring a Paul-family friend, Jesse Benton, to run his re-election campaign. A tea partier challenged him from the right, but McConnell leads in polls by a 47 points.

Then the shutdown hit and all bets were off—McConnell quickly became a target when he brokered a deal with Democrats to reopen the federal government without taking down Obamacare.

And the chips fell swiftly.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, slammed McConnell, endorsed his Republican primary challenger, and later began running ads against McConnell.

“So now Mitch McConnell is negotiating the Republican surrender,” the group’s executive director,Matt Hoskins, said. “He gave the Democrats a blank check back in July when he signaled he would do anything to avoid a shutdown and now Democrats can demand whatever they want. It’s humiliating.”

The Tea Party Nation withdrew their endorsement of the Senate minority leader in his primary race; the Senate Conservatives Fund endorsed McConnell’s tea party challenger. Western Representation PAC, a tea party-aligned group, slammed McConnell in a fundraising email titled “A Parliament of Traitors and Whores.”

Even Sarah Palin wrote a Facebook post pointing fingers at McConnell and his reelection race.

“We’re going to shake things up in 2014,” she wrote in part. “Soon we must focus on important House and Senate races. Let’s start with Kentucky.”

So, with little tea party support left to lose, McConnell is hitting back.

The Senate Conservatives Fund “has elected more Democrats than the Democratic Senatorial Committee over the last three cycles,” he told the Journal.

And that race in Alabama, where a birther, tea party activist lost to a conservative business-interest-aligned Republican?

That was a significant election, McConnell said, explaining that Republicans can’t govern if they can’t win elections. And to win, parties must “run candidates that don’t scare the general public, [and] convey the impression that we could actually be responsible for governing, you can trust us—we’re adults here, we’re grown-ups,” he said.

But McConnell isn’t worried about the primary challenge his tea party opponents are hoping to make more difficult.

“I don’t wanna be overly cocky, but I’m gonna be the Republican nominee next year,” he told Noonan.

Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul Lifted Entire Pages of Text for His 2013 Book

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during a  news conference to announce legal action against government surveillance and the National Security Agency's overreach of power on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags
Attribution: REUTERS

Daily Kos

Sen. Rand Paul, plagiarist, wants to challenge accusers to a duel … but he won’t

It looks like Sen. Rand Paul does indeed have a plagiarism problem:

An entire section of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s 2013 book Government Bullies was copied wholesale from a 2003 case study by the Heritage Foundation, BuzzFeed has learned. The copied section, 1,318 words, is by far the most significant instance reported so far of Paul borrowing language from other published material. […]In this case, Paul included a link to the Heritage case study in the book’s footnotes, though he made no effort to indicate that not just the source, but the words themselves, had been taken from Heritage.

Lifting over a thousand words—three full pages of text—for your own book? Yeah, that ain’t copying a few phrases from Wikipedia no more. That’s a double-barreled cut-n-paste. Presumably, when some poor delusional sucker out there is out to buy a book featuring the deep wisdom of Rand Paul, they’re looking for the deep wisdom of Rand Paul, not the deep wisdom of the Heritage Foundation lifted wholesale because Rand Paul was too damn lazy to retype anything himself and had way too many pages left to fill.

In another instance in the book, several sentences appeared similar to a report by a senior fellow at the Cato Institute Mark Moller in the National Wetlands Newsletter. Moller said he had not given anyone permission to reprint any parts of his article.

Damn, this thing was apparently quite the (unintentional) group effort.

Sen. Paul, for his part, is responding in the only fashion the Paul family has ever learned: by turning the batshit knob to eleven and threatening to duel people who bring it up:

”[I] take it as an insult and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting. I have never intentionally done so.”He continued, “And like I say, if, you know, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge. But I can’t do that, because I can’t hold office in Kentucky then.”

I can actually envision Sen. Rand Paul pacing off with reporters with old-timey pistols, ready to defend his honor over the matter of whether or not he’s allowed to lift entire pages of other people’s work and pass it off as his own. I really, truly can.