Razed Mayfield, Kentucky Tire Plant Is A Metaphor For Mitch McConnell’s America Monday, Aug 25 2014 

Sen. Mitch McConnell knows he probably won’t get a lot of union votes on Nov. 4.

Oh, he’ll keep trying to grab as many as he can by pandering to so-called “social issues” like guns.  Neal Knox, a former NRA head, once bragged that the gun issue “is the one thing that will spin the blue-collar union member away from his union." (See “The Right Wing Attack on the American Labor Movement” by Joanne Ricca, who is retired from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.

The NRA, which is cozy with anti-union groups like the National Right to Work Committee, has endorsed McConnell. (The NRTWC is in the senator’s corner, too.)

The unions of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, many of whose members are hunters, have endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job. Meanwhile, McConnell, the supposed gun guy, has yet to accept Grimes’ challenge to meet her on a shooting range.

Anyway, everybody knows that voter turnout almost always goes down for mid-term congressional elections, compared to presidential elections. McConnell hopes a host of Kentuckians who pack union cards will be among those who won’t bother to go to the polls or who haven’t even bestirred themselves to register.

Team Mitch knows the odds: a union member who votes will likely go for Grimes. Thus, McConnell (and other like-minded anti-union candidates) nearly always benefit when union members don’t vote or don’t register to vote.
McConnell wants union members who like to hunt and shoot to vote for him because the NRA is on Team Mitch. The NRA is blanketing the Bluegrass State with a pro-McConnell flier.

McConnell would rather union members not look at his record on union issues. It’s dismal. But don’t take my word for it. Check out the AFL-CIO’s U.S. Senate scorecard for 2013.

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 get specific. McConnell supports a national right to work law. He opposes the Employee Free Choice Act. He opposes collective bargaining rights for public employees.

McConnell is against prevailing wage laws. He wants to abolish or render ineffective OSHA and MSHA.  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.

Indeed, when McConnell extols “free enterprise,” he means free of unions.

McConnell is an old-time Social Darwinist who doesn’t believe business owners have any meaningful responsibility toward the well-being of their workers or their communities. McConnell thinks that 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 you make the rich richer with big tax breaks and regulation relief and let them drive down wages and bust unions, everybody will be better off.

“Trickle-down” economics gave us the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Reagan recession of the ‘80s and the George W. Bush recession of the first decade of this century.

On the other hand, union jobs go hand in hand with prosperity. Sadly, a lot of jobs are still going overseas. McConnell is fine with that.

Not long ago, 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.

McConnell said the job-saving bill was an election year stunt by Democrats.           Anyway, some union members do vote on the social issues, especially guns, evidently believing the union will always be there for them.  They should chat with members of United Steelworkers Local 665 at the big Continental Tire plant in Mayfield, Ky., where I have lived all of my life.

A lot of the union members enjoyed hunting. They were able to buy nice guns and hunting duds – nice homes and vehicles, too -- on their good union wages. They had paid vacation time on which to go hunting, too.

The plant and the union were around for more than 40 years. But seven years ago, Continental shut the plant.  

Predictably, local Republicans who are tight with McConnell blamed the union. However, the union did all it could to help keep the Mayfield plant open.

"We made concessions in 1994, 1997 and 2001," said Wayne Chambers, Local 665’s last vice president. “We offered to extend our labor agreement and commit to workforce restructuring, if the company would make an equal commitment to invest in the plant and this community.

"Continental wasn't interested. They told us they were a global company, and they were going to build their tires wherever they wanted and as cheaply as they could." “Wherever they wanted” included cheap labor countries.

Of course, you could replace “Continental,” “tires” and “Mayfield” with dozens of other company, product and town names all over the country.     

Our tire factory is a metaphor for the future of organized labor and American industry if the likes of Mitch McConnell keep having their way. The plant’s unhappy fate is also a stark warning to union men and women inclined not to vote to Ditch Mitch because the NRA, or some other single-issue, social issues group, is supporting him.

The plant isn’t just an empty building with a crumbling parking lot full of weeds. The factory, which employed more than 2,000 people at its peak, has been demolished. Machines are grinding up the concrete remains into gravel.

Only a warehouse survives. It is being used for storage by a non-union company and employs few people compared to the plant in its heyday. They are paid much less than the plant workers earned, too.

Mitch McConnell once student council president of duPont Manual High School Monday, Aug 25 2014 

1991 Honda Accord
In a recently uncovered C-SPAN interview from November 1992, Senator Mitch McConnell reveals he drove a Honda Accord. We see a McConnell who is a divorced D.C. bachelor, beginning his second term in office. 

He goes out to parties sometimes, but not every night. He works out to keep himself fit, and he enjoys Tom Clancy books.

McConnell also talks candidly about the struggle entailed with his very first election campaign. The most-dreaded race for student council president of Louisville's duPont Manual High School. It was a close race, McConnell tells us, but he pulled it out in the end:

Interviewer:"What kind of campaigner were you and were there issues?"
 Sen. McConnell: "The best way to get elected was to be endorsed by the football players and the cheerleaders..." 
"I decided that the key was carrying the junior high school, the younger kids who didn't know any of this. And clearly being endorsed by the football players and the cheerleaders, who everyone knew, was probably the key. So we made up these little brochures, endorsement brochures, and we stuck them in the lockers."
Nice. McConnell was effectively sending spam to children before the internet was even invented.

There's even sweet footage of McConnell talking about how great it would be to have more women in the Senate. View the complete interview at this link:
C-SPAN | NOVEMBER 25, 1992 | Life and Career of Mitch McConnell

Evidence Mitch McConnell Chief of Staff spearheaded campaign work offered to Senate Ethics Committee Friday, Aug 22 2014 

(8/22/14 8:14PM Update: On August 20, 2014, the Kentucky Democratic Party also asked the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to investigate a similar allegation against Sen. Mitch McConnell. Their request is based on other new evidence that is unrelated to the evidence discussed here. More info on their request here.)

New evidence was recently offered to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics on the role Senator Mitch McConnell's Acting Chief of Staff played in his re-election campaign. That evidence was offered by me, via written correspondence on May 30, 2014.

On February 2, 2013, McConnell's Acting Chief of Staff,  Roy E. Brownell, a federal employee paid with taxpayer dollars was recorded sharing to a small audience approaches to exploit Ashley Judd's religion and mental health for McConnell's political gain. It is illegal for US Senators to use Senate staff or resources for campaign work.

In a segment of that recording NOT released by Mother Jones, a voice introduces "Reb" (Brownell) by noting "he has spearheaded a lot of research, opposition research." The same voice reveals that the research Brownell was about to reveal was "just sort of a miniature sample of some of the things we’ve been up to.."

Immediately after Mother Jones published the bulk of the original recording, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the FBI and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to investigate McConnell for using taxpayer resources to conduct the opposition research. 

CREW's request, to my knowledge, was based only on what was released publicly.

Unlike the FBI who obtained the original recording, to my knowledge, neither CREW nor the Ethics committee had access to the segment which identified Brownell as the actual presenter of the research. The May 30, 2014 correspondence to the Committee sought to correct that discrepancy.
Also, CREW's prior request for an investigation of McConnell's suspected violations of senate rules was renewed in my correspondence to the Ethics Committee.

Undoubtedly, McConnell will claim Brownell's work on behalf of his campaign was done during his off-work hours. For that to be true, however, Brownell must be real wizard at multitasking. A book he has co-authored, Magna Carta and the Rule of Law, is due to be soon released. A foreward is anticipated by Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. That's nice.

My offer and request to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics appears below, after the  jump. According to USPS, the original was received by the Committee on June 2, 2014, but the Committee has yet to reach out, at least to me, to procure this evidence.  
Curtis L. Morrison
(address redacted)
(address redacted)

May 30, 2014

Honorable Barbara Boxer, Chair
Honorable Johnny Isakson, Vice Chair
Senate Select Committee on Ethics
Hart Building, Room 220
Washington, DC  20510

Re: Additional Evidence Supporting Request for Investigation of Sen. Mitch McConnell

Dear Chairwoman Boxer and Vice Chairman Isakson,

On April 11, 2013, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”) respectfully requested that the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, as well as the FBI, investigate whether Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) violated Senate rules by misusing Senate staff or resources to conduct opposition research about potential campaign opponents. 1 CREW’s request was in response to the release by Mother Jones of a recording of a meeting between Sen. McConnell, members of his Senate staff, and unknown persons.2

As I have since written in Salon, I made the recording which led CREW to request the investigations of McConnell.3 On April 12, 2013, I surrendered possession of my computer, cellphone, Flip Video Camera, and Google password to the FBI. This month, the FBI returned my personal property, although I understand the investigation is not closed. Upon reflection, I have realized that while the FBI had the benefit of access to the unreleased portion of the recording, the Committee did not. This means the Committee had less information with which to make a decision on whether to pursue an Ethics investigation than the FBI.

I am writing today to rectify that error. In an unreleased segment of the recording relevant to the requested investigation, a voice is heard saying:

“One thing we thing we wanted to do, so everybody had a good structure awareness of um, Max throwing boulders back at pebbles, um, is have Reb show just sort of a miniature sample of some of the things we’ve been up to.. Uh, he has spearheaded a lot of research, opposition research.”

From the context of that introduction, the presenter of the opposition research is Reb, who is undoubtedly McConnell’s Acting Chief of Staff Roy E. Brownell II (Reb). 4

This additional segment is relevant to CREW’s request for an investigation because it reveals that it was McConnell’s own Acting Chief of Staff who “spearheaded” the collection of opposition research and not an outside firm or even campaign staff;  the total amount of research completed was more expansive than the “miniature sample” presented in the released recording; and that the same Chief of Staff presented the opposition research proudly.

McConnell appears to have used taxpayer resources, the labor of Senate staff, to play “Whac-A-Mole” against his political opponents, an abuse of power which cannot be tolerated in this country.

In conclusion, in light of this additional evidence, I humbly ask that the Senate Select Committee on Ethics reconsider CREW’s request to investigate whether McConnell violated senate rules by misusing Senate staff or resources to conduct opposition research about potential campaign opponents.

If the Committee would desire to hear the full digital recording, please contact me and I will cooperate fully in sharing it, just as I did with the FBI.


                                                                        Curtis L. Morrison
                                                                        (502) 403-9498

2 David Corn, Secret Tape: McConnell and Aides Weighed Using Judd’s Mental Health and Religion as Political Ammo, Mother Jones, April 9, 2013; Online at: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/mitch-mcconnell-ashley-judd-secret-tape-senate
3 Curtis Morrison, Why I secretly recorded Mitch McConnell, Salon, May 31, 2013; Online at: http://www.salon.com/2013/05/31/why_i_secretly_recorded_mitch_mcconnell/
4 Legistorm website: Roy E. Brownell (Reb); Online at: http://www.legistorm.com/person/Roy_E_Brownell_II/306.html

CEO Forks Out Big Bucks After Breakfast With Mitch McConnell In The Capitol Senate Dining Room Friday, Aug 22 2014 

National Journal
August 20, 2014 Only one week after Sen. Mitch McConnell took the CEO of Delta Air Lines to breakfast in the exclusive Senate Dining Room last month, the airline executive and his wife wrote $10,000 worth of checks to help fund McConnell's political operation. Read more.

In Other News…Calipari’s ‘fan,’ McConnell on GOP majority, and the Lawrence/Martin romance Friday, Aug 22 2014 

Ali TweetHe’s a Magic Man: University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari appeared on the Mike Francesa radio program this week while visiting New York. After Calipari left, Francesa mused that while Calipari is unquestionably a brilliant recruiter and motivator, he … Continue reading

Mitch McConnell’s Public Town Hall Meeting Turns Out To Be A Private Town Hall Meeting! Thursday, Aug 21 2014 

When a Mitch McConnell public town hall meeting, in Leitchfield, KY. August 21, 2014, was advertised on the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce website as being a town hall meeting for the public I didn’t believe it. So I called the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce and they told me it was open to the public and there would be room for about 200 people.

I was happy to hear that because I wanted to attend, with my camera/camcorder, and ask some questions. I arrived there early, after driving 40 miles. I waked in the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce office and asked the lady working there if the event was open to the public and she told me it was. I asked her if I would be allowed to shoot photos and video at the event and she told me she didn’t know.

The town hall meeting was going to be held at the Centre on Main directly behind the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce. It’s actually part of the same building and some folks were already going in. I noticed a young man going in with a tripod and camcorder and within a few minutes he came back out. I asked him if he was going to shoot video of the town hall meeting and he told me Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason told him it was a private meeting. I noticed other people leaving and they were saying the same thing, that Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason had told them that this was a private meeting.

Now I’m getting confused and a little frustrated. So I walk back to the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce office, that’s now full of folks waiting for Senator Mitch McConnell, to try and find out what’s going on and they told me that it is a private event sponsored by the mayor. Really, I thought Senator Mitch McConnell was sponsoring this. In any event see the uncut and unedited video below of us tracking down Mayor William H. Thomason. The video is unedited except for a screenshot of the public invitation.

After talking with Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason I decided to try and capture (see the video below) Senator Mitch McConnell arriving at the public/private (snark) town hall meeting he is hosting, and Leitchfield Mayor William H. Thomason is sponsoring and all the time I’m thinking no wonder Washington, D.C. is screwed up.

Senator Mitch McConnell arriving at the public/private town hall meeting.

To be honest the day wasn’t a total waste, because there were folks outside protesting Mitch McConnell and Mitch saw them when he pulled in. Click here to view photos of the protesters


Video of the protesters.




Mitch McConnell Town Hall Protest Leitchfield, KY August 21, 2014. Photos And Video. Thursday, Aug 21 2014 

Protesters at a Senator Mitch McConnell's public town hall meeting that turned out to be a private town hall meeting when we tried to get in. Click here to view the photos.

Stay tuned we’ll have more on how Senator Mitch McConnell’s public town hall meeting turned out to be a private town hall meeting.


Mitch McConnell To Speak At Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce Luncheon Wednesday August 27th Wednesday, Aug 20 2014 

The Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce will host a Special Chamber Luncheon, Sponsored by CARTOWN KIA, on Wednesday August 27th at the RJ Corman Hanger. The featured speaker is Senator Mitch McConnell.

Why a large Mitch McConnell zombie is a bad idea Tuesday, Aug 19 2014 

A large Senator Mitch McConnell zombie has been promised at this year's "Zombie Walk," and I think that is a bad idea.

In 2011, Former Rep. Gabby Giffords was one of 20 people shot by Jared Loughner in an Arizona supermarket parking lot. Six of those injured did not survive. On the same day of the shooting, Gawker's headline was: Shot Congresswoman Was In Sarah Palin's 'Crosshairs.'

Outrage over Gifford's shooting shook the nation, but what's more, there was outrage especially from Democrats about what might have inspired the shooter to do such a dreadful act. When it become clear we weren't going to find out what motivated Loughner, John Stewart offered this sobering guidance:

"For all the hyperbole and vitriol that's become a part of our political process—when the reality of that rhetoric, when actions match the disturbing nature of words, we haven't lost our capacity to be horrified. ... Maybe it helps us to remember to match our rhetoric with reality more often."
Whether you or I were called to action by the crosshairs on Sarah Palin's website, is irrelevant in hindsight. Loughner may have been. We do not know. In my opinion, organizers and media owe a  responsibility to audiences not to use rhetoric or show images which could inspire mayhem. (Yes, I'm looking at you, local television station who acted like #louisvillepurge was a real thing.)

Simply, zombies are dead people. McConnell is a live person. Portraying McConnell as a zombie is portraying a sitting U.S. Senator as a dead person. That might seem like good fun, but when big 'Zombie McConnell' gets on TV, and the audience includes a mentally ill person with a registered firearm, what happens then? 

The annual walk takes place along Bardstown Road in Louisville, in McConnell's own Highlands neighborhood on August 29th. According to a media advisory from protest organizers People for the American Way, the theme of their protest is 'Senator McConnell is a Zombie for Big Money in Elections.'

McConnell should be defeated in November, for a plethora of reasons you can explore in this very blog. But I do not wish for 'Zombie McConnell' to become a thing, either in fantasy or reality. Let's grow up kids.

As an aside, if you're still going to the Zombie Walk, helpful tips:

Because Councilman Tom Owen doesn't take public safety seriously, Bardstown Road is a very dangerous place for pedestrians. There are few crosswalks and the LMPD gleefully tolerates the motorists who disregard them. Please, if you participate in this event, use the crosswalks at stop lights, and wear the most reflective clothing your zombie wardrobe will allow. Small children? Put them on a leash. Hey, don't judge me for the idea, you're the one wanting to take them to a Zombie Walk.

Secondly, please do not spill fake blood on the sidewalk. It doesn't clean up easily after it dries and it freaks out the neighborhood dogs. Why would you want to do that?

Gene Nettles Letter To The Editor: Of Donkeys, Jennys And Jacks Monday, Aug 18 2014 

Letter To The Editor
By Gene Nettles Hickman, Ky.

Of Donkeys, Jennys And Jacks

A major change occurred in Kentucky just a few years ago. For 350 years  the population had been rural, the change came when city and environs populations out numbered others. Often we long for a return to simpler times, times when neighbors were neighborly and all were alike in eking a living from farming. Forgotten are the callouses, sweat and blisters. Farm folks knew animals quite well, even the smallest tyke knew the difference between a donkey and a jack. Girls knew from experience that an old jack  was likely to bite or kick them. They little understood the vendetta the jack showed in singling them out. Times change but old jacks, such as the one we send to Washington,continue to bite and kick females. Just ask Ms. Ashley.

The old jack has an affinity for coal, we have his word on that. Unfortunately he does not share this affinity equally with miners and mine owners. He cozies up to the Kentucky Coal Association—a group of twenty two coal mine owner members such as Peabody Energy, Alliance, and Patriot---it is not surprising that there are no coal miners in their list of members as annual dues are as much as $12,000. This is the bunch who has foisted on Kentuckians the impression that they somehow represent miners. The results are 50,000 license plates with the motto “FRIENDS of COAL” when it should read “FRIENDS OF COAL BIG MONEY.” We have really been snookered. Miners deserve better.

The old jack has been a denier or negligent or an idiot to have sat on his rump in D.C. eating carrots fed to him by big money. Two decades of forecasts for diminished coal use, mining and burning with an attendant residual effects that are clearly harmful to children and other living things are not state secrets. A powerful jack could have used his influence to legislate retraining, education, and job opportunities for displaced miners. A diligent jack would have made an all out push to make “clean coal” clean. The exact opposite of concern for miners has been reported by Kentucky.com in pointing out the “tag team” nature  seemingly existed between the old jack and his jenny. Any undesired coal action that got by the jenny could be buttonholed by the jack or simply kicked clean out of the pasture.

As chief overseer of for mine safety and health the jenny took a “relaxed” attitude in regulating coal mines according to reports per Kentucky.com. The old jack denied any interface with the jenny concerning mine oversight---what a horrible admission for an imitation champion of coal miners to make. Why did he not get out the buggy whip and get after the jenny to do the utmost to protect miners?

The old jack is now like all old jacks, crafty, sly, self aggrandizing, and  often  will bite and kick without purpose. He should be harnessed to a farm wagon, replete with a license plate reading”BIG COAL MONEY'S BEST FRIEND”, and confined to roam around the pasture, not needing to be “fixed” because he has done this to himself as reparation for his misdeeds  to Kentuckians and especially miners.  Unfortunately he will not be around to witness the misery, mayhem, and suffering that will come, the fruit of the seeds sown by  a jack who once wore the chief obstructionist crown.

Gene Nettles
Hickman, Ky

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