In Other News…Yarmuth sits in, Calipari/Pitino, ‘For Peter Pan…’ and new Jennifer Lawrence project picked up Friday, Jun 24 2016 

John Yarmuth

Sit In: On Wednesday, Democrats in the House of Representatives staged a sit-in on the house floor to push a vote on gun legislation, says TIME and U.S News and World Report. At 11:30 a.m., Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth tweeted, “I’m on the House floor with @repjohnlewis & Dems staging a sit-in to demand action […]

In Other News… McConnell on guns and Trump, Muhammad Ali remembered, Will Oldham in Salon, and Lawrence’s future project Friday, Jun 17 2016 

Trump McConnell

Reaction: On June 12, 2016, Just before 2 a.m., Omar Mateen, 29, walked into an Orlando gay nightclub, Pulse, and started shooting. He killed 49 and wounded at least 53. Mateen was killed in a shootout with police. It’s being called the deadliest mass shooting and the worst terror attack since September 11, 2001, according […]

McConnell To Trump: ‘Get On Message’ Wednesday, Jun 8 2016 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has followed through on some principles laid out in his recent autobiography — rebuking GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for comments made against a federal judge of Mexican descent.

In his book “The Long Game,” McConnell underscores his support for civil rights, saying he withdrew his support for Republican Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election because of the Arizona senator’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act.

At a Washington press conference on Tuesday, McConnell told reporters that he disapproved of Trump’s comments against the judge.

“It’s time to stop attacking various people that you competed with or various minority groups in the country,” McConnell said.

Trump has made statements that Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge presiding over a lawsuit against the presidential candidate’s defunct Trump University, would rule unfairly in the case because of Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the southern border of the U.S. with Mexico.

Curiel’s parents are from Mexico but he was born in Indiana.

McConnel said Trump needs to “get on message” because the race against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “is imminently winnable.”

“The American people at their core do not want four more years like the last eight,” McConnell said. “We’re all anxious to hear what he may say next.”

In his book, McConnell talks about how Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act in 1964 hurt the Republican Party for decades.

“…[A]t the time, all anyone could say about Republicans on this issue was that we had nominated a candidate who opposed the civil rights bill,” he wrote.

Scott Jennings, a former adviser to McConnell and President George W. Bush says that McConnell’s comments about Trump show that he is trying to make sure the election doesn’t cause the party “serious problems” this year and down the road.

“If you try to run an entire presidential election on comments and issues like that, it is a recipe for disaster in November,” Jennings said. “History will remember everything you say and history will remember the banner under which you said it.”

Trump says that his comments about Judge Curiel have been “misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage.”

McConnell says he still supports Trump’s candidacy.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois has withdrawn his support for Trump, saying his comments were “un-American.”

Brief: Mitch McConnell to visit near U of L Monday, Jun 6 2016 

By Kyeland Jackson —

Senate majority leader and U of L graduate Mitch McConnell will visit the Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium June 17 to discuss his recent publication.

The discussion and signing for his book, titled “The Long Game: A Memoir,” is being hosted by the McConnell center. The center is celebrating its 25 year anniversary, and recently sent scholars to China as a part of their study.

“Senator McConnell is perhaps the most famous U of L alum, as well as one of the most impactful political figures of our age,” McConnell Center Director Gary Gregg said. “His book is getting considerable world-wide attention, and it’s an honor for us to host his first discussion of his memoir here in Kentucky.”

The book details Senator McConnell’s political career, spanning his time as a student body president in highschool to his current position as the United States senate majority leader.

The event will be held in the PNC club at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium at 6pm. While tickets are free, all attendees must register and obtain tickets through Eventbrite.com to attend.

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Mitch McConnell: Republican Party Is At An ‘All-Time High’ Wednesday, Jun 1 2016 

While some of Washington’s most prominent Republican leaders are still struggling over whether to endorse Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the call to do so last month — as soon as Trump became the likely nominee.

In fact, for all the talk of the GOP’s upheaval, the Kentucky Republican says he doesn’t think a Trump nomination will redefine the Republican Party in any substantial way. The party is now at “an all-time high,” he said.

McConnell spoke to Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition about what he sees for the future of the GOP — as well as why he approves of Trump’s Supreme Court picks and stance on border security, but thinks the candidate’s proposed Muslim ban is a “very bad idea.”


Interview Highlights

On Trump’s picks for the next Supreme Court nominee

The single most important thing I would remind right-of-center voters in suggesting that they vote for Donald Trump is: Who do you want to make the next Supreme Court appointment? Donald Trump has already put out a list of 10 or 11 right-of-center, well-qualified judges, a list from which he would pick. I think that issue alone should comfort people in voting for Donald Trump for president.

On banning Muslims from entering the United States

It’s a very bad idea. I mean, for example, the king of Jordan, who is a great ally of ours, wouldn’t be able to come to the United States, and so that’s not something I think we ought to do. Do we need to tighten restrictions on people coming into the country? I think there’s a good argument for that, but a kind of broad ban is a bad idea, and, of course, many American Muslims are great sources of information as we seek to look for domestic folks who might be engaged in trying to promote terrorist activities.

On building a wall between Mexico and the United States

I think we do have border security problems, and all of these suggestions are worth looking at. … We would have to see whether that would actually produce the desired result. There are plenty of suggestions made. The border is way more porous than it should be, and I think we’d be open to discussing anything that enhances border security.

On what Republican voters want

I think the Republican Party is at an all-time high. We don’t have the White House, but we’ve had very good years. The American people gave us a new majority in 2014. I don’t in any way think the American people rejected the Republican Party, or we’d be in a lot worse shape than we are. I think in this particular election, however, Republican primary voters are looking for an outsider.

McConnell will appear on Morning Edition again Thursday to discuss his memoir The Long Game.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Could Trump Cost McConnell His Senate Majority? Wednesday, Jun 1 2016 

In his attempt to maintain control of the U.S. Senate and send a Republican to the White House this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is walking an awkward line when talking about presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, McConnell was asked if Trump’s nomination would help Republican candidates for Senate during the November general election.

“I think we don’t know yet,” McConnell said. “What I do think is that Senate races are big enough to where you can paint your own picture. And all of our candidates are going to be in a good position to run.”

Republicans are defending 24 of their 54 seats in the Senate and Democrats are defending 10 of their 44 seats.

Steve Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky, says it’s unclear if Trump will ultimately hurt the GOP’s chances further down the ballot because he both energizes new voters and disenfranchises established ones.

“He’s offending a lot of voters in the middle that might have supported the GOP and yet he’s not doing it in the way that, say, a Ted Cruz would have done by stating a very clear, stark ideological message around which at least the party could rally within Republican constituencies,” Voss said.

Voss says that Trump is “extreme” on some issues but “not notably conservative” when it comes to others.

Trump has called for barring Muslims from entering the U.S. and deporting all illegal immigrants from the country.

Meanwhile he’s strayed from the GOP platform on abortion to permit the procedure in situations of rape, incest and in cases where the mother’s life is threatened.

“It so wholly depends on what he does from here on out,” Voss said. “But for sure, nothing he’s done so far has made the map look any better for the Republican Party and there’s a good chance he’s made it worse.”

The Center for Politics’ Senate ratings map predicts Democrats expanding their ranks to at least 47 seats and Republicans holding on to at least 48. The map also predicts five “toss-up” states — Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Hampshire.

While Trump’s message has been embraced by Republican voters all across America, McConnell said he doesn’t believe the party is fundamentally changing.

“What he is helping us do is reach out to voters who lately haven’t voted for Republicans,” McConnell said. “And I think that could end up making him very competitive in November.”

McConnell is trying to encourage Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida to run for re-election to his seat, which will be a toss-up between the winner of a crowded GOP primary field and one of two congressmen running in the Democratic primary.

“We’re doing everything we can to encourage him to run,” McConnell said on MSNBC.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Senate Leadership Fund, which has ties to McConnell, is prepared to spend heavily on Rubio’s re-election campaign if he chooses to run.

Mule trader Trump Sunday, May 22 2016 

By BERRY CRAIG   You’re at the bargaining table. The lead management negotiator slides over a piece of paper. “You’re going to love what I’m proposing,” the guy says. “Honest. It’s so good you don’t even have to check it … Continue reading →

The post Mule trader Trump appeared first on Hillbilly Report.

McConnell Aide, Kentucky Senator Talk Supreme Court Stalling In Louisville Wednesday, Apr 13 2016 

One of the biggest questions in Washington right now is whether Merrick Garland, the federal judge nominated by President Obama for the Supreme Court, will get a hearing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell staked out his position just hours after the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia: No. The Senate would not hear any nominee from Obama.

But the president nominated a centrist federal judge in good standing among both major political parties, which has increased the political pressure on Senate Republicans to offer him a hearing. At the same time, 184 lower-court positions remain unfilled as McConnell’s Senate stalls votes on Obama nominees.

The national debate over Garland and the meaning of the Constitution’s “advise and consent” clause arrived at the Louisville Forum today.

Democratic Kentucky Sen. Morgan McGarvey and attorney Richard Dawahare argued the Senate should consider Garland. On the other side, University of Louisville law professor Russell Weaver and McConnell field representative Andrew Condia argued the Senate was at liberty to withhold any consideration.

Here’s what the Constitution has to say about the president’s and Senate’s roles in the nomination process:

“…the [the President] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…”

And are the main points from the Louisville Forum debate:

Richard Dawahare opened, arguing the debate had been inaccurately framed:

“They actually stated the outlier position: Should the Senate consider and confirm Merrick Garland? The precedent has been that in the president’s last term, the Senate has always confirmed the choice, the nominee. That’s the position. So, the question should have been, ‘Should the McConnell-led Senate ignore history, ignore the Constitution and refuse to consider this fine nominee?’”

Dawahare held that precedent obligates the Senate to consider a nominee and make a decision blind to ideology, and that the only question ought to be whether the nominee is qualified. He went on to mention that Republicans like Senate President pro tempore Orrin Hatch, prior to the vacancy, had spoken very favorably of Merrick Garland’s qualifications and his moderate decisions as a judge. He claimed there was no good reason to deny Merrick Garland a hearing.

Russ Weaver disagreed, saying there is no Constitutional obligation to consider a nominee. He also said there are many examples of nominees going without a hearing or subsequent confirmation.

“We have 25 nominees who never received an up or down vote in the Senate. We have 11 or 12 nominees who never got out of the judiciary committee. There were some who never had hearings whatsoever.

“One of the things we’ve seen in recent decades is that the Supreme Court is rapidly becoming a policymaker in the United States… It can do that, and has done that, but if it’s going to make policy, it’s quite legitimate for the Senate to weigh in in terms of saying who they want to have on the court… This is the only point at which the government has a significant level of say about who we put on the court. So I think given the fact that the court is increasingly making policy decisions, it’s quite appropriate to do what the Senate has historically done, which is to look at their policy positions.”

Morgan McGarvey responded:

“This is nothing more than a political stunt by the Republican majority to drive their base to the polls in November. That’s what this is about.”

McGarvey agreed with Weaver that the Senate is under no constitutional obligation to consider a nominee. He disagreed on what precedence dictates, however.

McGarvey said since 1955, all nominees have received a hearing unless they were withdrawn by the president himself. The average time from nomination to hearing since 1967 has been 50 days.

By refusing to uphold the last 60 years of standard practice in at least holding a hearing, McGarvey said the GOP is setting a dangerous new precedent. McGarvey did not insist that Garland be confirmed, only that the Senate consider him.

“At what point is it too arbitrary? When there’s two years left in a President’s term? Three years?”

Andrew Condia spoke as the representative of McConnell. He attempted to explain McConnell’s decision not to consider Obama’s nominees:

“Well, the Senate is doing the job it was elected to do in 2014, and that is to serve as a check on President Obama and the executive branch. If the American people want the Senate to change the ideological tilt of the court for an entire generation, then I can only imagine that we will see a President Clinton or a President Sanders in January 2017, and perhaps a Democratic Senate. But the Senate has no requirement to be a rubber stamp for the president.”

McGarvey briefly responded:

“Only a third of the Senate is up for a vote every year. Seven of the seats taken back [in the 2014 election] were in states Mitt Romney won. The 5 million more people that voted for President Obama in 2012 actually had no voice in this process.”

Letter to the editor: McConnell embodies political progress Monday, Apr 11 2016 

By Corey Thomas–

Last week in this publication, a student authored an opinion piece that unfairly criticized the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Instead of weighing McConnell’s full tenure at the helm of the United States Senate, the author focused on the Republicans’ refusal to consider Judge Merrick Garland for the United States Supreme Court.

A fair look at McConnell’s record as the Majority Leader reveals that the notion of the 114th Congress not working is divorced from reality. The new Republican Senate has produced a large amount of bipartisan legislation to help Kentucky and the entire United States. For example, the 114th Congress negotiated an overhaul of No Child Left Behind that passed the Senate 85-12. Just this past week, the United States Senate passed bipartisan legislation named the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016.

This legislation addressed opioid and heroin abuse across the United States. As someone with friends and family that have been affected by drug abuse, like many of my fellow Kentuckians, I believe that McConnell deserves sincere thanks for his leadership on this critical issue.

Unfortunately, the previous article criticized McConnell for “establishing an environment of ignorance and partisan division.” In my opinion, his efforts in the Senate to tackle critical issues facing our nation show just the opposite. McConnell pushed for bipartisan agreement wherever and whenever possible and should be commended for his efforts. His brief tenure as the Majority Leader offers a stark contrast to the near tyrannical rule of now-current Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). In his near decade as Majority Leader, Senator Reid refused to lead the Senate to complete basic tasks such as passing a budget.

In terms of divisive partisanship, Reid is the standard bearer. He led the maneuvering of Obamacare through the Senate by holding votes in the cover of darkness and, ironically, by using Senate rules for Budget votes to stifle debate on the 2,000+ page, multi-trillion dollar bill. I contend McConnell’s many legislative achievements this year clearly show that he deserves more credit than he’s been given. Indeed, he deserves considerable praise for leading the Senate back from an era of divisiveness that rivals anything witnessed in Washington in decades.

Finally, if the other writer wants to discuss President Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court, I would suggest that he look to history of Supreme Court nominations. In 1992, current Vice-President and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Joe Biden (D-DE), made strong statements from the Senate floor about rejecting potential nominees from a Republican president. Senator McConnell is merely employing the “Biden Rule,” a principle, which holds that the voters of the United States ought to have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice instead of confirming a nominee in a president’s final year in office.

The question about this nomination is not about the characteristics or qualifications of Judge Garland. Instead, McConnell’s refusal to consider the judge is meant to give American citizens a vote! I support Senator McConnell and the power that he has given to the American people and my vote.

 

Climate Hawks Vote Endorses Sellus Wilder For U.S. Senate. Friday, Apr 8 2016 

Click here to visit Sellus Wilder’s Wilder for Senate Facebook Page and here to visit his Wilder for Senate website. Some of you may be familiar with Sellus Wilder’s film “The End of the Line.” Climate Hawks Vote We’re delighted … Continue reading →

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