In Other News… Paul set to run, Judd sues trolls, FoodPort, Prince’s new single Friday, Mar 20 2015 

prince-2014-press-680x450Rand About: The New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, FOX News, CNN and CBS News report Sen. Rand Paul will announce he’s running for president on April 7 at the Galt House. The moment we’ve been talking about for two … Continue reading

In Other News…Undefeated Wildcats, Return of Snowmageddon, Tori Murden McClure and more Friday, Mar 6 2015 

Willie-Cauley-SteinPerfection: Your University of Kentucky winning Wildcats are still at it, rallying from nine points down to defeat the Bulldogs of Georgia earlier this week. That victory brings their record to 30-0, says ESPN. That’s impressive. USA Today says snatching … Continue reading

In Other News… Azalea vs. Papa John’s, top food city, more vaccines, and Lawrence’s pay Friday, Feb 13 2015 

The War on Pizza: Iggy Azalea vs. Papa JohnsDaddy, No!: Sunday was not the best day for Iggy Azalea. She lost out to Eminem for “Best Rap Album” at The 57th Grammy’s, but before that, she lost a little bit of privacy to Papa John’s. The Huffington Post, … Continue reading

In Other News…Paul on vaccines, Petrino drops recruit, Lawrence poses for Vanity Fair Friday, Feb 6 2015 

Paul ShushResistant: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky appeared on CNBC on Monday and according to The Washington Post, it “didn’t go well.” Here’s the Post’s body of evidence. Sen. Paul: 1) Reiterated his contention that vaccines should be voluntary. 2) Said … Continue reading

In Other News… Ali returns to hospital, Paul on disability, ‘best of’ lists, Lawrence interviews Redmayne Friday, Jan 16 2015 

Photo of Muhammad Ali boxingDoctor in the House: Sen. Rand Paul’s been rolling through New Hampshire this week, and he was awfully chatty. He lauded the free market as the way to fix most everything, says Slate; said the Common Core education standards don’t … Continue reading

The Mighty In Other News … 2014 Year in Review Friday, Jan 2 2015 

ION 2014 YIRAnd Happy New Year to you! By now, you’ve had a solid day to recover from all the hijinks and shenanigans and man, you were there to hold my hair back at the end of the night. I owe you … Continue reading

Beware The Trojan Horse Wednesday, Dec 17 2014 

By DEVIN GRIGGS

It’s hard to deny that the past six years have been rough for the American worker.
 
The greatest economic catastrophe since the 1930s struck out of nowhere in 2008, compounding the negative effects of nearly four decades of economic decline and wage stagnation. Millions were tossed out of their homes and onto the streets as Washington moved to bailout the banksters that caused this mess in the first place.

At the same time, millions turned to an incoming administration to fix the mess that had been wrought. Young people, minorities, women, and all those who had felt the brunt of the right-wing turn in American politics since the 1970s, rallied at the polls in big numbers to reject the kind of big business politics that had brought the nation to the brink.

And yet six years into the crisis, we are faced today with many of the same problems that faced us back in 2008. The financial sector today is more concentrated than it was at the time of the crash in 2008.
 
Millions are still without homes, without jobs, and without hope. In response, young people have mobilized, as have other groups that have continued to get the short end of the stick in an era defined by bankster bailouts, austerity, and unending war.
 
The Occupy movement, reflecting the revolutionary currents in the Middle East and Northern Africa, hit American streets in September 2011. From Zuccotti Park to a cramped room at Murray State University, where I was a student, young people made their voices heard.

They denounced the control of government and the economy by the banksters -- the one percent -- and called upon government to make policy in the interest of the workers, the 99 percent. Young people have subsequently acted as the leading force in the protests against police brutality stemming from the tragic slaying of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
 
I don’t pretend to speak for everybody in my generation, but I’d like to think that these outbursts of activity on our part stem from the realization that something is fundamentally and undeniably wrong with the society in which we live. A college diploma is too often worth less than the paper it’s printed on these days. Millions of us toil for long hours at more than one job to make ends meet. Unpaid internships are the rule, rather than the exception. With all that in mind, what else can we do but strike out at everything allayed against us?

There are, however, others waiting in the wings who wish to take advantage of this mass discontent among young people and workers in the United States. These demagogues blame the victims of the Great Recession for that catastrophe, rather than placing the blame upon the one percent that so rightfully deserves it.
 
One of these demagogues is the scion of the Paul family, the junior senator from Kentucky, Republican Rand Paul. Like his father before him, Paul talks a good talk on a lot of issues, but these belie his actual agenda.

Many young people were attracted to Rand Paul’s father, former GOP Texas Congressman Ron Paul, in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential election campaigns. Paul the Elder gained something of a reputation as a maverick, antiwar Republican during the Bush years, giving him a base that he might not otherwise have had had his record been more closely examined.
 
The elder Paul was intimately connected with far-right, proto-fascist hate groups for a good bit of his career, and never shied away from playing on the racism of his support base to raise funds from neo-Nazi websites like Stormfront.org.
 
His son, by contrast, has attempted to chart a more ‘moderate’ (as far as Republicans go) course. Unlike his father, the younger Paul is not a committed non-interventionist. He’s also been a quite vocal advocate of using the federal government to enact his chosen policies, which the “states’ rights” oriented Ron Paul shied away from during his Congressional career.
 
For example, Sen. Paul has time and time again attempted to introduce a national version of a so-called “right-to-work” law during his time in the United States Senate, although thankfully these attempts have, for the time being, been beaten back.
 
The younger Paul seems poised to take up his father’s mantle and seek the Republican nomination next year. Should he obtain it, his candidacy will focus on smoothing out his differences with the Republican leadership while also attempting to make the youth vote competitive, focusing on those issues with which young voters may readily identify: opposition to the ongoing war in Syria, opposition to the War on Drugs, or opposition to mass surveillance programs operated in the name of counter-terrorism.

However, this is just part of the continued Trojan Horse campaign by the Pauls to push their actual agenda: more power and wealth for the one percent.

What would a President Rand Paul, acting in concert with a Republican-controlled Congress, do? He may yet end federal enforcement of the War on Drugs, and devolve that issue to state governments. Further, he may yet cut off funding for anti-ISIS operations in Syria and withdraw troops from the region. But these will be small potatoes compared to what else we can expect from a President Paul.
 
Those of us who remember the 2010 Senate election in the Bluegrass State will well remember Paul’s flip-flopping on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. First he claimed that the Civil Rights Act interfered with the right of private individuals to conduct their businesses as they saw fit (which, in this case, means the right of bigots to treat minorities as second-class citizens), and after strong public pushback on that antediluvian position, eventually came out in favor of federal government intervention in the civil rights arena.
 
Still, it makes one wonder how a President Paul would enforce that law and other laws like the Voting Rights Act, which is currently under a multi-faceted assault by Republicans intent on kicking black and brown voters off the voting rolls.

Paul likewise voted against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would have barred discrimination against LGBT Americans in employment. A 2011 poll conducted by the Center for American Progress found that 73 percent of Americans (including 66 percent of Republicans!) favored barring discrimination against LGBT Americans in employment, putting Paul far out of touch with public opinion on that issue.
 
Paul opposes universal health insurance, favors the militarization of the border with Mexico and opposes birthright citizenship for immigrants. He is an open, vociferous enemy of organized labor, and will likely do everything in his power, should he be elected president two years from now, to undermine the position of American workers and their unions.

Young people should thus not be fooled by Sen. Rand Paul. Low wages, bigotry, and union-busting will not put a single one of us in a better position. We have to instead fight to break down those barriers created by the one percent which divide us as workers, be they racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other -ism or -phobia which benefit those at the top first and foremost.
 
And we have to do so in the context of re-building a labor movement that can not only fight for higher wages, shorter hours, or better working conditions, but that can also act as a battering ram for the 99 percent in its ongoing and unceasing conflict against the one percent. That is change that we can believe in, and that is change that we, and only we, can bring.

Editors note: Devin Griggs, who grew up in Marshall County, Ky., is a Murray State University graduate who lives in the Chicago area where he belongs to UFCW Local 1548. The son of Cliff Griggs, a member of the United Steelworkers, Devin received the 2011 Kentucky State AFL-CIO Youth Award.

In Other News… Cards/Cats brawl, Paul on Garner, Lawrence’s hit song Friday, Dec 5 2014 

Petrino Brawl FeaturedThrilla in the Villa: It is rivalry time, friends. That time of year when your University of Louisville Cardinals face off against the Wildcats of Kentucky, also yours, in either the basketball or football milieus. We wrote on this last … Continue reading

Unions lose either way with Rand Paul Thursday, Dec 4 2014 

Rand Paul says his hat is in the ring for 2016 – for another senate term. But Kentucky’s junior senator didn’t rule out a presidential bid.
 
Team Rand still hopes their guy can run for the senate and for president at the same time. Yet still on the books – and likely to stay there – is that Kentucky law that says he can’t do that.

Oh, the Republicans figured they’d be able to change the law when the General Assembly meets again in January.
 
All they had to do was flip the Democratic-majority House of Representatives. They talked like they had the election in the bag.
 
Meanwhile, the GOP-majority state Senate voted to change the law when the legislature got together last January. The measure failed in the Democratic-majority House.

Despite Sen. Mitch McConnell’s romp on Nov. 4, the Democrats held their 54-46 state House edge.So it looks like Team Rand is back to square one.

To be sure, candidates can – and have -- run for two offices at the same time in other states. The latest double-dipper was Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. In 2012, he won reelection to the House but lost his bid for vice president.
 
Having been thwarted by the Democrats hold in the House, Team Rand is claiming the Kentucky double-dipping ban is unconstitutional. They’ve considered challenging it in court, an interesting prospect considering that Paul professes to be a “states’ rights” guy.
 
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, doubts that changing the law to benefit Paul would pass constitutional muster. Such a switch could be considered special legislation, which the state charter forbids, Stumbo has pointed out.

The Speaker has more than a nodding acquaintance with the Kentucky constitution. He was the state attorney general in 2003-2007.

Anyway, the Paul camp has also mulled over skirting the law by calling for Kentucky to change its presidential primary for a caucus system.

That, too, would require the legislature’s approval. The Senate might go for it. But hogs will fly before the House of Stumbo would.
 
Caucus or no, if Paul became the GOP’s presidential standard bearer, his name still would be on the ballot twice when it counted – on November 8, 2016.
 
“Sen. Paul needs to make up his mind where he wants to serve,” suggested State Rep. Gerald Watkins of Paducah. “If he has his heart set on running for president he should go for it and not try to run for the U.S. Senate at the same time.”

Watkins is a Democrat. But he hastened to add that what he said about Paul goes for Democrats, too. “Running for two offices at the same time is not fair to the state a politician represents.”
 
In any event, Paul hasn’t formally said he’s a presidential candidate, but, you know, if it walks like duck. The tea party-tilting, greed-is-a-virtue Ayn Rand fan has been going out of his way to diss Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
 
While Paul’s political future remains uncertain, his record on labor issues could hardly be clearer: he despises unions.
 
Don’t take my word for it. Check out the AFL-CIO’s Legislative Scorecard. It’s online at http://www.aflcio.org/Legislation-and-Politics/Legislative-Voting-Records. In 2013, Paul voted the union position on bills zero percent of the time. His lifetime score is 4 percent. Soon to be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s score was 17 percent in 2013 and 12 percent lifetime.

Paul and McConnell teamed up to sponsor legislation to create a national right to work law.

So for those of us who pack union cards, a Sen. Paul or a President Paul is a lose-lose proposition either way.   

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

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