Mum’s The Word From Mitch McConnell On Social Security, But We Know He Wants To Privatize It. Saturday, Oct 25 2014 

Reporters are still bird-dogging Sen. Mitch McConnell over a story in The Hill that said his campaign offered to pay volunteers to help boost “an enthusiastic atmosphere” at his campaign rallies.

The other day, Louisville’s WAVE TV ran a news story featuring McConnell’s response to the continuing controversy. Predictably, the senate majority leader wannabe tried to fluff it all off.
 
But what got my attention was how the WAVE story ended: “McConnell also faced a question…about whether if he became majority leader he would push legislation to offer privatized accounts for Social Security. McConnell said he wasn’t going to say what his agenda would be” [Italics mine].

Alison Lundergan Grimes is this union card-carrying, 63-year-old Social Security recipient’s candidate.

Yet if I were a retiree on the fence wavering between Team Mitch and Team Switch, I’d give what McConnell said – or, rather didn’t say – some serious, if not prayerful, consideration before I voted a week from Tuesday.
 
In any event, this lifelong Kentuckian and out-to-pasture community college teacher is grateful to be getting Social Security. I want Uncle Sam to keep running the program.

Right-wing scare tactics about Social Security going broke are baloney. They are calculated to undermine public confidence in one of the best federal programs, thus helping pave the way for Republicans like McConnell to privatize Social Security.

I don’t want my Social Security turned over to private businesses whose main goal is turning a fat profit for their owners and stockholders. A privatized program would also be subject to the vagaries of the stock market.
 
Of course, right-wing Republicans have been trying to deep six Social Security since Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a New Deal Democratic congress enacted it in 1935.

McConnell doesn’t have to worry about making ends meet after he retires. He’s a millionaire.

Almost every other conservative critic of Social Security is as well-heeled as McConnell, or even richer. Like McConnell, those plutocrats will still be living on Easy Street, too.
 
Up and down the campaign trail, Grimes has repeatedly promised to oppose Social Security privatization.
 
Meanwhile, Team Mitch would rather the media get back on Grimes for not telling us who she voted for in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.
 
I voted for Obama both times. I don’t care who Grimes voted for. It doesn’t affect my future.

What happens to Social Security does, big-time. So I care a lot that that mum’s the word from Mitch about the program’s status if he ends up ramrodding the Senate.

Anyway, McConnell evidently clammed up about Social Security during a session with reporters after he gave a speech to the Republican-leaning Rotary Club in Louisville, his hometown. That’s when he tried to dismiss the cheerleader hiring flap as much ado about nothing.

Joe Sonka, my favorite Bluegrass State blogger, was there. He might have been the reporter who asked McConnell the question cited in the WAVE story.

McConnell knew the Rotary Club was friendly turf. “Though he hasn’t mentioned it much on the campaign trail over the past year, McConnell specifically touted his effort to push President George W. Bush’s plans to reform Social Security in 2005, which would have set up private accounts for retirees,” Sonka wrote for Insider Louisville online.

Sonka quoted the captain of Team Mitch: “After Bush was re-elected in 2004 he wanted us to try to fix Social Security. I spent a year trying to get any Democrat in the Senate — even the most reasonable Democrat of all, Joe Lieberman – to help us.”


By the “most reasonable Democrat” McConnell meant “the Democrat who most often agrees with me.”

Sonka added: “Bush’s reform plan stalled out, as it polled terribly and Republicans chose not to pursue it. Democrats at the time painted private accounts as a risky scheme that would endanger seniors’ retirement security in the wake of a downturn in the market, make the Social Security program less solvent, and lead to benefit cuts.”

Commercial nails McConnell on certain ‘unfair advantage’ Friday, Oct 24 2014 

Screenshot: "Be considerate and think before sharing."
Two weeks ago, Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign began airing a commercial that was not publicly searchable on its Youtube channel. Now the Senate Majority PAC is doing the same.

Unlike Grimes ad that annoyed her base because it was downright hateful to immigrants, the Senate Majority PAC's ad looks pretty good. Why is it not publicly searchable on Youtube?  Would a modest show of transparency hurt that much?

In Other News… Grimes/McConnell, fairness in Berea, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, and Lawrence buys a house Friday, Oct 24 2014 

Bill Clinton and Alison Lundergan GrimesAnd We Have Ourselves a Ball Game: Last week, I reported that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pulled its dollars out of Kentucky, leaving Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes alone to take on Republican incumbent senator, Mitch McConnell. I didn’t … Continue reading

The “Big Dog” Bill Clinton Exposes Mitch McConnell. Senator No’s Con Job. Friday, Oct 24 2014 

Former president Bill Clinton, stumping for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Paducah, revealed his version of how Sen. Mitch McConnell is trying to con voters by tying her to President Barack Obama.

“Now here’s what the real message is,” Clinton told about 1,800 Grimes partisans who jammed the McCracken County High School gym.
 
Grinning broadly and standing before a huge American flag reminiscent of the opening scene from the movie Patton, he pretended to be the senate majority leader wannabe: “I know you don’t like the president.
 
“This is your last chance to vote against him because he’s gonna be gone in two years and you know you want to pop him one more time.
 
“You know you do.”

The Big Dog paused to let the laughter and applause subside.
Then he started act two as Sen. No: “Now you know the price for this is giving me a six-year job and I vote against you for six whole years. It’s a very high price…for your two-year protest, but you’ve got to do it.

“I know I can get you where you can’t think any more. I know I can get you where the foam comes out of our mouth and the steam comes out of your ears.”

More mirth rattled the rafters. “We’re all laughing but its true isn’t it?”

Clinton had set up the crowd by musing, “It’s been my experience that if somebody tries to get you to stop thinking, they do not have your best interests at heart.”
 
Clinton said McConnell “wants to make this about who voted for whom in 2012 even though he knows if you vote on how they’re going to vote for the next six years you will elect her and by a very healthy margin.”

Night had fallen. Clinton had spent a crisp, clear autumn day barnstorming with Grimes across western Kentucky.
 
Many in the Paducah crowd pack union cards. Kentucky’s secretary of state, Grimes won the Kentucky State AFL-CIO’s endorsement last year.
 
Clinton, who carried Kentucky in 1992 and 1996 -- and made campaign stops in Paducah both times -- had appeared with his candidate at an afternoon rally in Owensboro that drew an estimated 3,000 people.
 
Many in the Paducah crowd had voted for Clinton and for Obama. Based on campaign buttons stuck on shirts, jackets and blouses many plan to vote for Hillary Clinton should she decided to run for president in two years.
 
“What’s Mitch McConnell done for us the last 30 years? Zero,” said Pete Howell, a retired member of United Steelworkers Local 665.

“Mitch is always talking about what he’s done,” said Glenn Dowdy, a former president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council.
 
“But what he hasn’t done is more important – he hasn’t helped working families. He hasn’t helped anyone but himself.”

Throughout her remarks, Grimes repeatedly urged the crowd to “stand up, fight back!” The refrain sounded familiar to Larry Sanderson, a retired UA international representative.

Ten days before, he organized a “Stand up and fight back against the Republican War on Labor 2014” union rally in Paducah.
 
Sanderson wanted to boost support for a quintet of local labor-endorsed Democratic candidates for the Kentucky legislature, including State Reps. Gerald Watkins of Paducah and Will Coursey of Symsonia, House hopefuls Jesse Wright of Mayfield and Jarrod Jackson of Princeton plus Jeff Parker of Paducah who is running for the state Senate.

Grimes came to that rally, too, and spoke to an assemblage of about 3,500 union members, their families and labor backers.
 
Sanderson beamed at the chorusing. “We need to elect Alison,” he said. “But we also need to elect our candidates for the legislature.”
 
Republicans, who have a right to work majority in the Senate, promise to pass a right to work law if they gain control of the Democratic-majority House on Nov. 4, election day.

The gym was Team Switch’s house. Grimes signs and union banners hung from walls and railings. Many in the crowd waved a variety of Grimes-for-senate signs.

Clinton referred to the union banners. Grimes acknowledged her union support.
 
She said the election is “about whether Kentucky will stand up and fight back against a senator who has literally become rich Mitch on the backs of Kentuckians -- increasing his pay each and every year while voting to keep Kentucky poor.
 
“Seventeen times he has voted no to increasing the minimum wage. Will you stand up and fight back? Say yes!”

The crowd replied loudly in the affirmative.

“Will you stand up and fight back against a senator who says the women of this nation don’t deserve equal pay for equal work...are we ready for a senator that says 76 cents on every dollar is not acceptable? Let me hear you say yes!”

The throng again chorused on cue.
 
“Stand up and fight back against a senator who has made it his mission to enact, not just in Kentucky but nationwide, right to work for less legislation,” Grimes urged.

“You and I both know it doesn’t increase wages. It doesn’t grow the middle class. Will we stand up and fight back for a senator that knows labor has lifted millions out of poverty?”

“Yes!” came the reply.

Grimes said McConnell “has tried to buy us out. He’s tried to bully us and he’s trying to bruise us. But we won’t back up.
 
“We will stand up and fight back and together, Kentucky. We won’t just live history. We will make it on November fourth.”

Diana Yancey wants to help Grimes be a history maker. Grimes would be the Bluegrass State’s first woman senator.
 
“But Alison stands up for men and women,” said Yancey, a former staff representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
 
Paducah grade school teacher and Kentucky Education Association member Natalie Krupansky agreed. “She will change things for the better.”
 
“I’m for Grimes because I don’t want right to work here in Kentucky,” said McCracken countian John Morris, a member of USW Local 7-669 in nearby Metropolis, Ill., where his union has been locked out for months at the Honeywell Corp. nuclear processing plant.

Former Kentucky labor secretary J.R. Gray said McConnell is a do-nothing senator. “Alison Lundergan Grimes represents fresh new ideas, especially for working people.

”She wants to put people back to work. She supports a living wage, not just a minimum wage.”

Hardy Williams, who is retired from Machinists Local Lodge 1294, didn’t mince words about why he’s for Grimes. “He’s a Republican and she’s a Democrat. It’s that simple.”

Five big-name Democrats spoke on Grimes’s behalf: Gov. Steve Beshear, a pair of former governors – Julian Carroll and Martha Layne Collins -- Kentucky Attorney Gen. Jack Conway and state Auditor Adam Edelen, who doubled as emcee.

A surprise supporter showed up from California -- Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, the movie and TV star, musician and game show host.

Mitch McConnell Pays Folks To Attend His Events! Thursday, Oct 23 2014 

 

The Hill
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined comment on the news that he's offering all-expenses-paid trips for volunteers to provide "enthusiasm" during stops on his bus tour.

"I'm not sure I know what to say about that," he told CBS affiliate WVNS, directing the reporter to campaign adviser Josh Holmes.

The Hill reported this week that a Kentucky Republican Party operative emailed supporters in early October offering all-expenses-paid trips to join the senator's tour and "contribute to an enthusiastic atmosphere" at events.

Holmes previously told The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., that the volunteers were working during the tour and it was "standard practice" to pay expenses for such volunteers. Read more.

 


Kentucky Senate Race: Grimes V. McConnell Still Looks Like A Dead Heat. Tuesday, Oct 21 2014 

The new Bluegrass Poll seems to prove Team Switch’s contention that the last Bluegrass Poll wasn’t an “outlier,” pollster-speak for a survey that’s the exception, not the rule.

Released Monday, the survey had Sen. Mitch McConnell up 43-42 over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. The previous Bluegrass Poll put Grimes out front, 46-44. Both surveys were well within the margin of error.

The new poll “confirms yet again that the 15-month campaign plan from which we have never wavered has Alison poised for a narrow but decisive victory on November 4th,” said a Monday statement from Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst.

He added, “Since the last Bluegrass poll, Mitch McConnell and his allies have outspent our side by nearly $3 million, lying about Alison and her record, and they have nothing but a statistical dead heat (and the further cementing of McConnell’s mid-40’s ceiling) to show for it.
 
“McConnell and his allies have spent a whopping $50 million trashing Grimes and yet today we stand deadlocked just 15 days out.”

The survey of 655 likely voters also had Libertarian David Patterson with five percent.

“The poll shows that McConnell is in the fight of his political life despite being the most powerful Republican in the Senate and likely to take over as the Senate majority leader if he wins re-election and the GOP can win control of the Senate,” wrote Joseph Gerth in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Bluegrass State’s largest newspaper.

Team Switch dismissed the previous Bluegrass Poll an “outlier.” So did some Washington pundits and political science professors in Kentucky and elsewhere.

Hurst countered that the current poll “confirms what we learned in the previous Bluegrass poll—that there has been a fundamental shift in the race since late August when McConnell led by 4 points, represented by a substantial swing to Grimes that has her tied or enjoying a slight lead.
 
“Even the right-wing Gravis poll last week showed Alison gaining 7 points since their September 16th survey, with huge pickups amongst the key independent demographic.”

Hurst charged that Team Mitch “is still pushing bad data in hopes of feeding a media narrative that the race is slipping away. That may be working with some DC outlets, but once again, the disconnect between Beltway punditry and the reality on the ground is vast.
 
“McConnell’s two latest data points do nothing but prove that this race is tied for the incumbent, at best. To wit: the Fox News poll touted by Republicans in early October had McConnell up four points, but as FiveThirtyEight noted of that poll, controlling for the GOP-leaning house effect of Fox polling, the actual result would be McConnell +0.4% — a pure coin flip.”

Hurst also took exception to the numbers in the recently-released Republican-leaning Rasmussen poll, which put McConnell on top 52 to 44.
 
The liberal Daily Kos website derides Rasmussen as “the House of Ras.” Hurst claimed the Rasmussen survey “was riddled with so many errors and flawed assumptions it’s barely worth rebutting.”

Hurst’s statement also said that “McConnell’s numbers remain dangerously low for an incumbent” though “McConnell partisans will point to a year’s worth of public polling showing the majority having McConnell in the lead.” Those numbers don’t matter, he added, “given that the fundamental shift shows Alison pulling into the lead or tied and McConnell stuck in neutral with momentum on our side.”

In addition, Hurst said Team Switch “remains in an extremely strong financial position…The campaign recently released yet another record-breaking 3rd quarter fundraising haul, announcing nearly $4.4 million cash-on-hand for the sprint down the stretch. That amount is more than any Democrat holds in any competitive 2014 U.S. Senate race that remains in play.”

She Drives A Compact But Votes Like It’s A Cadillac Sunday, Oct 19 2014 

"Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their backs on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will have to sit on their blisters." -- Abraham Lincoln.

About this time four years ago, I was driving past a western Kentucky Walmart and spotted a woman in a “Rand Paul for Senate” tee shirt loading groceries into an old compact car.

Based on her wheels, I guessed the shopper lives far from Easy Street.

I saw the same car pulling out of the Walmart the other day. A fresh “Team Mitch” sticker was on the back bumper.
 
I don’t know if the driver was the Rand Paul fan I saw in 2010. But a woman was behind the wheel.
 
McConnell is a millionaire. He is bankrolled by millionaires and billionaires who expect him to do their bidding.

The senate majority leader wannabe always comes through for the plutocrats. That’s ditto for Paul, the junior senator from my native Kentucky.

Paul isn’t running this time. McConnell is, so right now I’d ask my fellow working class Kentuckians to focus on his record.
 
The AFL-CIO says McConnell voted the union position on legislation just 17 percent of the time in 2013 and only 12 percent of the time since he came to the senate in 1985.
Let’s look at the basis for McConnell’s near rock bottom numbers. McConnell:
  •    Supports a national right to work law.
  •    Opposes the Employee Free Choice Act.
  •    Supports repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act.
  •    Opposes collective bargaining rights for public employees. He said “public sector unions are a 50-year mistake.”

McConnell wants to abolish or render ineffective the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. He wants to do the same with laws designed to safeguard worker life and limb on the job.

McConnell would like to deep six the National Labor Relations Board or at least pack it with members who share his anti-unions views. His ideal secretary of labor is his wife, ex-Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. She shares her spouse’s deep disdain for all things union.
 
Anyway, when McConnell praises “free enterprise,” he means free of unions.
 
McConnell is an old-time Social Darwinist who thinks employers ought to have the right to run their businesses pretty much as they see fit, and if workers don’t like it they can quit and get a job somewhere else.

McConnell is a disciple of the “trickle-down” theory of economics. That is, if politicians make the rich richer with big tax breaks and regulation relief, everybody will be better off.

   “Trickle-down” economics gave us the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Reagan recession of the 1980s and the two Bush recessions of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

On the other hand, union jobs go hand in hand with prosperity. Unions played a big part in creating the middle class in America.

Sadly, a lot of good union jobs have been going overseas for years. McConnell is fine with outsourcing.

Earlier this year, he led senate Republican opposition to a measure to stop companies from deducting from their tax bill expenses connected with moving their operations to a foreign country. The measure also would have provided tax credits to companies that bring operations back to the U.S.

Plutocrats like outsourcers vote their class interests. A lot of working class people don’t, and that’s why politicians like McConnell and Paul are in office.

Oh, they love for working stiffs to blame themselves for having to scrape by from paycheck to paycheck or for ending up unemployed.
 
Politicians like McConnell and Paul claim that the unfettered free enterprise system gives everybody who works hard a chance to go from “rags to riches.” So they want working people to believe it’s their own fault they aren’t rich.
 
In his TV debate with Alison Lundergan Grimes, his Democratic opponent, McConnell admitted he inherited his millions from his mother-in-law.
 
Paul was born on Easy Street. His daddy is Rand Paul, the millionaire, right wing ex-Texas congressman.
 
McConnell and Paul are hardly alone. A lot of today’s millionaires inherited their fortunes or were born into well-heeled families. That’s always been the case.

“While some multimillionaires started in poverty, most did not,” historian Howard Zinn wrote of the late 19th century Robber Barons. “A study of the origins of 303 textile, railroad and steel executives of the 1870s showed that 90 percent came from middle- or upper-class families.”

Zinn added, “The Horatio Alger stories of 'rags to riches' were true for a few men, but mostly a myth, and a useful myth for control.”

The myth is still being pushed by right-wing politicians, the right-wing media echo chamber, and religious right preachers.

In any event, Republicans like McConnell and Paul do all they can to encourage the idea that we’re all in the same boat even if mine is a leaky little dory and theirs is a big fancy yacht.
 
McConnell, Paul and politicians like them want working people to think that because they might own (or are making payments on) a home – however modest – or a car – even a heap – their interests are the same as millionaires and billionaires who live in mansions and own fleets of luxury cars.

Of course, Mitch and Rand don’t generally invite folks like the Walmart patron over for dinner at the mansion or for a round of golf at the country club. Mitch and Rand want their votes, not their company.
 
Naturally, when other candidates stick up for unions, government programs that help people who need help and talk about making rich people pay their fair share of taxes, the plutocrats and their bought-and-paid for politicians holler, “class warfare!” and “socialism!”

And they start blabbing how they love God, guns and Old Glory but not abortion and same sex marriage.
 
(A buddy of mine remembers seeing a TV news show where President George H.W. Bush leveled the “class warfare” charge against the Democrats while standing on the deck of the Bush family yacht anchored offshore from the Bush family mansion at Kennebunkport, Me.)

Edwin Lyngar admits he was once like the Walmart shopper. He had a hard time making ends meet and still voted for millionaire politicians who put the screws to him. “I’m angry at my younger self, not for being poor, but for supporting politicians who would have kept me poor if they were able,” he wrote in Salon.
 
It took him a while, but Lyngar figured out that right wing politicians had been conning him about the government. “….I earned a bachelor’s degree for free courtesy of a federal program, and after my military service I used the GI Bill to get two graduate degrees, all while making ends meet with the earned income tax credit.”

He added, “The GI Bill not only helped me, it also created much of the American middle class after World War II. Conservatives often crow about ‘supporting the military,’ but imagine how much better America would be if the government used just 10 percent of the military budget to pay for universal higher education, rather than saddling 20-year-olds with mortgage-like debt.”

Speaking from experience, Lyngar said that many working people who vote Republican “know that they are one medical emergency or broken down car away from ruin, and they blame the government. They vote against their own interests, often hurting themselves in concrete ways, in a vain attempt to deal with their own, misguided shame about being poor. They believe ‘freedom’ is the answer, even though they live a form of wage indenture in a rigged system.

“Government often fails because the moneyed interests don’t want it to succeed. They hate government and most especially activist government (aka government that does something useful). Their hatred for government is really disdain for Americans, except as consumers or underpaid labor.

“Sadly, it took me years — decades — to see the illogic of supporting people who disdain me. But I’m a super-slow learner. I wish I could take the poorest, struggling conservatives and shake them. I would scream that their circumstances or failures or joblessness are not all their fault.

“They should wise up and vote themselves a break. Rich people vote their self-interest in every single election. Why don’t poor people?”

Despite Grimes’ anti-amnesty ad, Kentucky-wide social justice group/PAC, sticks with her Friday, Oct 17 2014 

From Facebook
In spite of senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes' repulsive anti-amnesty ad airing last week, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC) decided to continue supporting her (through their New Power PAC), against incumbent Mitch McConnell, according to an email sent out to members this morning. KFTC sent a similar letter to their allies, which would include organizations focused on immigrant rights, explaining their decision.

But KFTC also sent a letter to Grimes, "expressing in the clearest terms our disappointment in her and her campaign. All this may also lead to more public expression of our disappointment."

KFTC may be Kentucky's largest grassroots social justice group, and it isn't just an environmental group. Other issues KFTC organizes around include economic justice, new safe energy, an honest democracy. That includes working in solidarity with Kentucky's immigrant community in the fight for immigrant rights.

Disclosure: I'm  a proud KFTC member, but even I wasn't, I believe the KFTC Executive Committee got this one right, and their comprehensive analysis is helpful to putting Grimes ad in perspective.

Here's their complete heart-wrestling email below:

We wanted you, as a KFTC member, to see this message from our Executive Committee as soon as possible due to the timeliness of this issue in the media.  We're also mailing the letter to all our members so you'll be receiving a hard copy early next week.  We wanted make our best effort to ensure that all KFTC members have a chance to read this important message.

                                                                                                            October 17, 2014
Dear Fellow KFTC Members,
It is a privilege to work with and for you as your new KFTC officers. We are all Kentuckians, and we are reminded every day that – as our favorite KFTC hoodie states – “we are our best hope for change.” The undeniable truth of that message has never been more clear than it is this year.
We believe that we – all of us, together – have the opportunity to build New Power in our Commonwealth, with a just economy powered by clean and safe energy, creating more and better jobs, a safe environment, and a bright future for our communities and our children, all dependent on and made possible by a healthy democracy.
This year in particular, KFTC has been focused on building the healthy democracy we deserve and expect, where everyone has the opportunity and incentive to participate, where each voice is heard and respected, where public decisions are made to advance the interest of all of us, not the privilege of a few, where we act from our shared values to achieve our common purpose.
As KFTC, we understand that creating the democracy we imagine relies on participating in the democracy we have, and our experience tells us that is no easy task. We are working hard to secure the right to vote for the formerly incarcerated; we help thousands register to vote so they can participate; we gather information about the positions of political candidates and share it with hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians. We shine a light on candidates who share our values and support the issues we care about, and sometimes on those who do not. And finally, we encourage everyone to make their own, best choice, get to the polls on election day, and exercise their right and their voice. Building the Commonwealth we deserve requires many things, including political leaders with vision, integrity, and a commitment to shared progress.
We entered 2014 knowing that it would be a big year, a decisive year. As you know, Kentucky is host to one of the most watched political contests in the country this year, the campaign between Senator Mitch McConnell and his challenger, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. The democracy we have has placed a big opportunity – and challenge – on our doorstep.
The KFTC Steering Committee has regularly discussed and debated this election ever since the 2012 elections, primarily because we believe that Kentucky desperately needs a new U.S. Senator. Senator McConnell has enjoyed a long and storied career in Washington DC, and there is no doubt that he is one of the most powerful politicians in the country. However, he has consistently used his power to block progress. He has promoted and protected the practice of mountaintop removal and other destructive mining while blocking efforts to promote mine safety; he has weakened our tax system, making it less fair and insufficient to meet our most basic needs; he has been the nation’s primary proponent of flooding our political system with corporate money; he has perfected the art of division and gridlock in order to protect the interests of his sponsors, to the detriment of the rest of us. He has not given us – in fact he has worked hard to prevent – the democracy we need or the representation that all Kentuckians deserve.
This past week, we are disappointed to say, we didn’t get the representation we deserve from his challenger either. Some of you may have seen what is fast becoming an infamous political ad about immigration run by the Grimes campaign in which she uses demeaning and de-humanizing language to describe undocumented immigrants and pledges to oppose efforts to ever include them in our democracy. For us, it was not just another political ad. It was a clear statement that exemplified the worst elements of our political culture: exploiting fear, inspiring prejudice, assigning blame to some of the most vulnerable among us instead of seeking solutions that reflect our values and our shared humanity. For many Kentuckians, and many KFTC members, it was a last straw, and forced some of us to consider stepping back from the table altogether.
Speaking for ourselves, we were outraged, we were disappointed, and we were saddened by this episode. The lack of integrity that contaminates our elections is poisonous to our democracy. We also recognize that an election is a choice. Voting one’s conscience by not voting is one legitimate and principled choice. We also understand that one of these two politicians will be the U.S. Senator from Kentucky. The consequences of this election are so great we believe it is important to encourage Kentuckians to participate.
We believe that if we want an increase in the minimum wage, Secretary Grimes is the choice that can help make that happen. If we want to see some relief for students and new graduates facing a mountain of student debt and a weak job market, Secretary Grimes is the candidate to support. If we want to see improved mine safety protection, pension protection for miners, and investment in new job creation in the coalfields, it’s the same choice. If we care about a healthier democracy, Secretary Grimes has been a champion of voting rights. On issue after issue that we care about, when it comes down to a choice, the difference between the two candidates is not only clear, it is stark.
Four years ago, KFTC formed the New Power PAC in order to publicize our issues and express our support for candidates who align with our values and views. At our September Steering Committee meeting, we debated the considerations and consequences in the Senate race, including discussion of Grimes’ lack of vision on coal issues. The Steering Committee voted to “spotlight” candidate Grimes, in essence endorsing her, based upon the many issues where her position aligns with ours. Her immigration ad rocked our resolve this week, but we believe there is so much at stake in this race that we are choosing to go forward with our support and our voter empowerment campaign.
Here’s what we are doing. We’re sending this letter to all KFTC members, encouraging us all to stay engaged. And we will be sending a similar letter to our allies in the state, reminding them of what is at stake and encouraging them not to step away. We are sending a letter directly to Alison Lundergan Grimes expressing in the clearest terms our disappointment in her and her campaign. All this may also lead to more public expression of our disappointment.
And then we are getting back to work. We’ve mailed our voter guide to more than 52,000 Kentucky households and posted it online at www.kentuckyelection.org. We’ve hired and trained more than 40 voter empowerment organizers and deployed them in six regions of the state. Next week, we all kick into get-out-the-vote mode. We’ll be sending out more than 75,000 postcards encouraging voters to get to the polls and support candidates that support our issues including Elisabeth Jensen, John Yarmuth, Ron Leach – and Alison Lundergan Grimes. Our goal is to get 50,000 voters – including unlikely voters from the communities where we organize – to the polls on election day. We need your help going door-to-door, on the phones, and speaking with your friends and family to reach that goal. In an election this close, with this much at stake, those voters could be the difference makers.
Thank you for your commitment to KFTC, to a brighter future, and to a healthy democracy. We continue to believe we can have the democracy we imagine, but we are reminded daily that it will take a lot of work to get there. Your commitment to building KFTC translates into more power and growing influence over the political debate and the electoral outcome, every election cycle. We hope you’ll join us for the next two weeks in taking the next step.
With respect,

Dana Beasley Brown
Chairperson

Carl Shoupe
Vice Chairperson

Elizabeth Sanders
Secretary-Treasurer

Tanya Torp
At-large Representative

Sue Tallichet
Immediate Past Chair
Paid for by New Power PAC, www.newpowerky.org.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Update 6: 58 PM:
KFTC has made the email/letter to members public via social media:

In Other News… Clinton visits, Grimes/McConnell debate, Paul likes his donuts, new ‘Hunger Games’ trailer Friday, Oct 17 2014 

Alison Lundergan Grimes and Hillary Clinton (photo from Grimes campaign)The Big Guns: Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state, came through Louisville on Wednesday to support Democratic Challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, says USA Today, CBS News, Politico, The Hill and MSNBC. Bloomberg describes it as a rescue mission. The Wall … Continue reading

40 Of The 1000 Briggs and Stratton Workers Attend Mitch McConnell Event At Factory Wednesday, Oct 15 2014 

Mitch McConnell visits Briggs and Stratton factory in Murray, Kentucky and according to WPSD only 40 of the 1000 employees attended.

Also, according to WPSD, WPSD or the other television station and three newspaper crews were not allowed access to the event.

Next Page »