BUSTED: Mitch McConnell Secretly Recorded At The Koch Brothers Donor Summit

Every year the Koch brothers hold one or more conclaves of their conservative millionaire and billionaire pals to discuss future strategies and collect donations for candidates and causes that will benefit their parochial interests. These affairs are put on under the tightest security so as to protect the elite attendees from being identified or from having to encounter the riff raff (i.e. ordinary American citizens) they hope to oppress.

Earlier this year, an event in the California beach resort at Dana Point, the Lear Jet Set gathered as usual, but they had a mole in their midst. A recording was just published by The Nation that includes some frank talk by participants including GOP senate candidates Tom Cotton (AR), Joni Ernst (IA), and Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell. McConnell kicked things off by expressing his gratitude to his wealthy benefactors, Charles and David Koch saying that…

“I want to start by thanking you, Charles and David for the important work you’re doing. I don’t know where we’d be without you.”

Mitch McConnell / Koch Brothers

McConnell’s smarmy sycophancy extended to some blatantly miscast interpretations of the onerous Citizen’s United decision by the Supreme Court. McConnell said…

“What did the case decide? Well as you all know, corporations that own a newspaper or a television station (inaudible), they’re free to say whatever they want to say about anybody at any time. But if you were a corporation that didn’t own a newspaper or didn’t own a television station, you couldn’t. So all Citizens United did was to level the playing field for corporate speech. In other words, no longer did corporations have to own a newspaper or a television station in order to say whatever they wanted. It simply leveled the playing field.”

That is a deliberate bastardization of the decision and McConnell, a lawyer by profession, knows it. Corporations have always been able to say whatever they wanted at any time. They have the money to run ads in those corporate newspapers and television networks. They can fund any number of public relations campaigns to disseminate whatever message they please. And they can hire lobbyists to promote their interests to politicians and the media. They have always had these avenues of communication.

What Citizen’s United gave them was a veil behind which they could covertly mold the political landscape to their liking. They can now contribute unlimited sums to Super PACS without disclosing where the money came from. It wasn’t speech they were angling for, it was anonymity. They needed to disguise their participation in campaigns because American’s know that these upper-crusters don’t have the people’s interests at heart.

It was that secrecy that Citizen’s United provided. It was never about “leveling the playing field.” The field was already slanted severely toward the rich, and this just made things worse. It made it more difficult than ever for the voices of average citizens to compete with the wealthy captains of industry who could shout everyone else down.

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With the publication of this recording we are afforded a view into the luxury suites of the plutocrats who seek to dominate our society. We have always known their self-serving intentions, but it is chilling to hear it from their own lips when they think no one is listening.

Not So Breitbart: McConnell Calls Tea Party Bullies Who Need A Punch In The Nose (Allegedly)

The intrepid team of weasels at Breitbart News have published an “exclusive” scoop that threatens to sink the political career of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell participated in a conference call with Karl Rove’s Crossroads PAC and a couple of dozen conservative donors wherein they discussed the political strategies for future electoral victories.

The article on Breitbart News was authored by Matthew Boyle, a notoriously dishonest reject from Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller. Amongst his previous work for Breitbart was an article that invented the existence of ObamaCars, free vehicles that would allegedly be given out to illegal immigrants. He should be writing for The Onion.

In Boyle’s latest piece of fiction he claims to have an anonymous source who was on the conference call with McConnell and Rove and had some juicy tidbits to expose. The opening paragraph of Boyle’s article declared that…

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on a conference call organized by Karl Rove’s Crossroads organization for large donors and their advisers on Oct. 30 that the Tea Party movement, in his view, is a ‘nothing but a bunch of bullies’ that he plans to ‘punch … in the nose'”

Oh my lord. Mitch McConnell is threatening to assault the noses of some Tea Party bullies. And it must be true because there isn’t any indication in that paragraph that the remarks were conveyed by an unknown third party with no proof.

McConnell has had prior run-ins with Tea Party noses. [Author's Note: You cannot imagine the willpower it took to avoid saying that "Tea Party noses are running."] A couple of months ago McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, who was hired specifically to appeal to Tea Party voters in Kentucky, was recorded telling a colleague about his reluctant association with McConnell. Benton said…

“Between you and me, I’m sort of holdin’ my nose for two years because what we’re doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand [Paul] in ’16.”

Subsequent to that gaffe, the McConnell campaign released a lighthearted attempt at damage control showing McConnell standing next to Benton who was holding his nose. But now that we know how McConnell really feels about those Tea Party guys, perhaps Benton isn’t avoiding the stench. Maybe he just got slugged in the schnoz by the scrappy minority leader.

Mitch McConnell

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Ordinarily, embarrassing revelations about Republican politicians would be a welcome treat. And this one fits the bill because McConnell has previously expressed concerns about fringe candidates mounting primary challenges against sitting Republican senators and then losing winnable seats to Democrats. Boyle’s source told him that McConnell explicitly attacked the Tea Party and some of it’s rising stars like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.

Upon reading Boyle’s article, however, there were some gaping holes that a conscientious reader could not ignore. For instance, McConnell is a highly partisan, right-wing, attack machine, but he isn’t stupid. It seems highly implausible that he would make derogatory remarks amount a significant bloc of constituents during a telephone conference call on which he doesn’t know who might be listening. What’s more, by citing an anonymous source in this sort of political dust-up, Boyle prevents his readers from having any sense of who is making these charges. It might very well be a supporter of Matt Bevin, the Tea Party candidate who is challenging McConnell in his own Kentucky primary.

Boyle did include a response from a spokesman for Karl Rove who flatly denied the charge that McConnell had demeaned either the Tea Party or Cruz:

“Your source is ascribing things to the call that simply were never said [...] nothing about the Tea Party or Sens. Cruz or Lee.”

That unambiguous denial didn’t stop Boyle from posting an article that maligned McConnell. As it turns out, there was good reason to be suspicious of Boyle’s exclusive. Washington Examiner reporter Charlie Spiering did what real reporters actually do. He contacted Rove’s people and arranged to hear a recording of the conference call. In his column he noted that…

“McConnell’s comments about dealing with “schoolyard bullies” by punching them in the nose, as reported by Breitbart News, were accurate but were explicitly directed at the Senate Conservatives Fund, not the Tea Party or a specific conservative senator.”

So it appears that Boyle’s source was something less than credible, which is something that wouldn’t much bother Breitbart or Boyle. It is no secret that the BreitBrats are openly hostile to establishment Republicans and that they frequently promote Tea Party challengers. It would be consistent with their agenda for a mysterious McConnell critic to surface and assign comments to him that would harm his reelection effort. And Boyle is just the guy to invent a controversy that would help a candidate running against McConnell. It wouldn’t be the first time that Boyle has come to the aid of McConnell’s opponent. He’s written at least six other articles for Breitbart that feature Bevin favorably and McConnell disparagingly.

Despite the Examiner’s debunking of Boyle’s source, there has been no retraction on the Breitbart website. That’s typical of their shoddy brand of dishonest journalism. Even so, it’s hard to know who to root for in this affair. McConnell the repugnant, Republican pugilist, or Boyle the disreputable, right-wing hack. I must admit, though, it’s a highly entertaining show.

THE FILIBUSTING: Did McConnell Trick Reid Into Limiting The Filibuster?

An historic upending of tradition took place yesterday in the United States Senate. The filibuster, a procedural rule that has stood for a couple of hundred years, was limited in a significant way. After five years of abuse, Democrats finally summoned up the grit to put the brakes on the GOP’s deliberately excessive use of the tactic.

Under ordinary circumstances, the filibuster was used by the senate minority as a last resort when they felt strongly, on well articulated principles, that a bill or an executive branch nominee must not advance. But ever since the election of Barack Obama, Republicans have inappropriately deployed it as a backdoor method of nullifying the presidency of a man they viscerally despise. To illustrate the enormity of the problem, there have been 168 presidential nominees that have been blocked by filibuster. About half of those were the total for the 230 years before Obama was elected. The other half were all during the five years since Obama came to office. Gee, what do you suppose would account for that?

Earlier this year Democrats came within a hair’s breadth of triggering the so-called “nuclear option” (a term coined by then-GOP leader Trent Lott when he was considering doing it). But on the eve of the vote, Republicans promised to quit using the filibuster, except under extraordinary circumstances, if Democrats agreed to call off the rule change. Since then, however, Republicans broke their promise by blocking, or threatening to block, virtually every executive nominee and, just in the past couple of weeks, three appointments to the D.C. Circuit Court. They seemed to be openly daring Democrats to enact filibuster reform.

Under the circumstances, Majority Leader Harry Reid had little choice but to follow through on his prior directive. On a party line vote, he passed a narrow limitation on filibusters that only included executive nominees and judges. Legislative and other business would still be subject to filibuster. Of course, even this measured response that Republicans knew would be undertaken was met with furious indignation. Or so it seemed.

The peculiar thing about their melodramatic objections was that there was an underlying hint of celebration. After all, they didn’t stomp their feet and demand that the rule change be voided. They didn’t swear to reverse this assault on senate tradition and decorum, or repeal it as they swore to do with ObamaCare. Instead they reacted to this reform, that they considered to be akin to tyranny, by declaring that they would make it even worse if given the opportunity. That’s right. This was such an awful turn of events that, should they become the majority party in the senate, they would make the Democrats regret their audacity by exploiting the new filibuster-free environment to its fullest extent. Republicans even promised to expand it to include the elimination of the filibuster for legislation.

McConnell FilibusTurtle

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The parallel to this behavior, were it applied to ObamaCare, would be for Republicans to be so outraged by the insurance reform bill that they would push through universal health care just to show those darned Democrats. Or imagine the GOP so incensed at a Democratic increase in taxes on the rich that they swore to raise them even further when they got the chance. And yes, that doesn’t make any sense. But that’s exactly how they are responding to the filibuster reform.

Very little of the Republican response makes sense. They are arguing that Democrats will regret having nixed the filibuster because it will lead to more Supreme Court justices like Scalia and Thomas. Aside from the concession that Scalia and Thomas are obvious extremists, Republicans seem not to have noticed that they made it to the court despite never having been filibustered. They also seem not to have noticed that the reform passed by the Democrats doesn’t include Supreme Court justices, so it won’t affect future nominees to the high court. Nevertheless, this argument appears to be an invitation to filibuster Supreme Court nominees, an act that would certainly draw the ire of the GOP were it to occur. It should also be noted that the super-patriot Republicans are appalled by what they regard as an assault on the Constitution but, as they are so fond of saying, the word “filibuster” appears nowhere in that document.

Another tack that Republicans are taking is to assert that the changes made by Reid and the Democrats will result in an even more severe partisan divide in Congress. One question: How can the GOP get more partisan than it is now, when they even vote against their own initiatives if the President says he supports them? They could not possibly be more obstructionist if they tried.

So why would Republicans be so giddily looking forward to the new senate rules that prevent them from continuing their filibuster fest? Why would they pick this time to goad Democrats into pulling the nuclear trigger by breaking their promise and throwing up blockades to everything that has come down the pike, even after Democrats warned them that this would be the result? Could it be that they have a renewed sense of confidence that they might retake control of the senate in the wake of the post-ObamaCare turbulence? After having shattered every record for legislative obstructionism, senate Republicans may now be contemplating a favorable outcome in the 2014 midterms, as well as the 2016 presidential election. And if that should come to pass, they don’t want a bitter Democratic minority doing to them what they did to Obama for the past five years (even though Democrats generally do not engage in that sort of petulant behavior). So they create a situation where Reid is compelled to implement filibuster reform, and while pretending to oppose it, they are actually plotting to take advantage of it when they assume the control that they anticipate is coming to them.

It’s a devious plot, but one that may rely too much on their over-confidence in regaining the majority. Today, the President’s polling is in the gutter due to missteps in the execution of ObamaCare. But in a couple of months, if the website is repaired, and people are discovering new and better options for insurance coverage, the polls could just as quickly turn around and Democrats will be soaring past a Republican Party that the public resents for working so hard against their interests. Democrats could even sweep into the majority in the House putting them in a position to enact a broad agenda that includes immigration, guns, the environment, taxes, and more. In short, Republican arrogance may lead to the best hope for Obama to ensure and enhance his legacy.

Bottom line: If Republicans were truly upset with filibuster reform, they would be promising to undo it, just as they have done with ObamaCare? You don’t threaten to expand something that you profess to oppose. Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion is that they secretly support the new rules and may have worked covertly to bring them about. Their outrage is as fake as professional wrestling; as John Boehner’s tan; as a Tea Party intellectual. But their fakery is as real as a heart attack – which is covered under ObamaCare, a bill the GOP also tried, unsuccessfully, to filibuster.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Bigfoot’s Epic Battle With ObamaCare And Congress

In takes a monumental heaping of chutzpah for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to criticize the approval rating for ObamaCare when he is the lowest ranked political leader in the nation with 22% favorability. He lands well below President Obama (49%), Nancy Pelosi (35%), House Speaker John Boehner (27%), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid(27%). But even this act of audacity is eclipsed by Fox Nation’s brazenly deceitful presentation of it.

Fox Nation
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The Fox Nationalist’s headline reads “McConnell: More Believe In ‘Bigfoot’ Than Obamacare.” However, that is not what McConnell said. The source article from the Washington Examiner quotes McConnell commenting on ObamaCare’s implementation saying that “just 12 percent of Americans think the rollout has gone well.” So this is not a referendum on the Affordable Care Act itself, just the admittedly glitchy launch of the website. McConnell failed to note, though, that the job approval rating for Congress is only 11%, so the nation regards Congress in even lower esteem than the ObamaCare website’s botched debut.

McConnell went on to note that 14% of Americans believe in the existence of Bigfoot (which is a sorry reflection on America). However, there is no argument that the vast majority of the country believes that ObamaCare exists. So the comparison doesn’t make any sense. If, instead, they had polled on the public’s approval of Bigfoot we might have a more apt (and interesting) comparison. But I still suspect that Bigfoot would have kicked McConnell’s ass off a cliff (figuratively and literally).

The GOP Alienates Another Key Constituent Group: Seniors

The Republican Party seems to be on a frantic mission to destroy their reputation with every constituency of voters in America, other than the Taliban wing of the Tea Party Christianists.

The GOP is currently engaged in nationwide battles to give government control over women’s bodies. They are exploiting every opportunity to suppress voting rights for African-Americans and other minorities. They oppose immigration reform that would eventually offer a path to legalized status for Latinos, some of whom have lived their whole lives in the United States. They obstructed the enactment of measures that would have prevented the interest rates for student loans from doubling. And, as always, they work feverishly to protect the wealthy from paying a fair tax rate, while allowing the rates to increase for those less fortunate.

So let’s see…who did they leave out? They got women, African-Americans, Latinos, youth, the poor and middle class. Who is left for Republicans to piss off?

Well, it should come as no surprise that the masterminds running the Republican machine noticed the crack in their strategic foundation and have promptly dedicated themselves to its repair.

That’s why Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader in the senate, jumped into action to attack Hillary Clinton, a prospective candidate for president in 2016, as an old hag, thus insulting the final demographic group that may still have had some affection for the GOP. McConnell uproariously joked…

“Don’t tell me Democrats are the party of the future when their presidential ticket for 2016 is shaping up to look like a rerun of the ‘Golden Girls.'”

Let’s just set aside the fact that “The Golden Girls” was a successful and popular sitcom that ran for seven years, with a cast of mature women who had active lives professionally, socially, and romantically. America’s seniors, who already have some cause to reject the Republican agenda that has sought to dismantle Social Security and cut funding for Medicare, can’t be too thrilled with being portrayed as useless fossils who should be consigned to history’s dustbin. Now they have been directly assaulted as has-beens, in the words of Karl Rove, who said of Clinton and her peers that “we’re at the end of her generation and that it’s time for another to step forward.”

For the record, Hillary Clinton is 65, Karl Rove is 62, and Mitch McConnell is 71. In January of 2017, when the next president is inaugurated, Clinton will be a year younger than Ronald Reagan was when his term began.

Mitch McConnell

McConnell had better start paying more attention to what’s in his own Depends. He is approaching his thirtieth year in office and has one of the lowest favorability ratings of any sitting senator. He is up for reelection next year and his first announced opponent is the 34 year old Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes. Not exactly what you would call a “Golden Girl,” unless you what you meant by golden was someone with a rich set of skills, experience and support.

It’s hard to understand what the Republican Party is up to by alienating so many voters. Perhaps their plan to is expand their efforts to define corporations and fetuses as persons and give them the right to vote. But if they have to depend on Teabaggers, End-Timers, and NRA-theists, they are likely to find themselves elected only in districts dug into underground bunkers with ham radio reception that only gets Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson.

Why Is Anyone Listening To The #@$%*#& Tea Party?

What is so hard about this? Congress is struggling to fashion a compromise agreement on a bill to raise the debt ceiling. The Republicans are insisting on attaching unrelated provisions to the bill to satisfy the tantrums of Tea Party-affiliated members who are demanding deficit reduction that imposes severe spending cuts but permits no revenue raising through tax reform and the elimination of loopholes.

But who is being represented by the advocates of spending cuts, which include cuts to critical programs like Medicaid? Who is being represented by the opponents of increased revenues achieved by asking corporations and the rich to share in the sacrifice required to bring our nation back to economic health?

The truth is that no one but a few extremist right-wingers are represented by the positions to which the GOP has lashed itself. Here’s the proof:

Debt Solutions

It is almost unheard of to get 72% of Americans to agree on any politically contentious issue. Yet here we have 72% of the country agreeing that the rich are not presently paying their fair share, and that Medicaid should not be cut. And isn’t just a bunch of socialist lefties. This includes majorities of both Independents and Republicans. Let the significance of that sink in. It is not just a fair number of Republicans, it is a MAJORITY of Republicans.

So for whom is House Speaker Boehner fighting? For whom is Senate Minority Leader McConnell fighting? It obviously is not their GOP constituents. In fact, they are betraying their constituents and putting the whole nation at risk in order to pacify a cabal of small-minded, short-sighted, ill-informed, intransigent malcontents known as the Tea Party.

Of course, there is really no such thing as the Tea Party. There are no Tea Party candidates; no Tea Party policies; no registered Tea Party voters. It is nothing more than a radical faction of the GOP that has canonized the Founding Fathers and debased the Constitution with simplistic misinterpretations and ritual recital.

With poll results like those above, it is unfathomable that Republicans in congress give such a wide berth to their tea-besotted cousins. And the same goes for the media. When news networks placate TeaPublicans by employing them to provide commentary and analysis for that point of view, they are, in effect, giving ultra-conservative Republicans an additional voice that they do not provide to progressive Democrats.

It is clear that the Tea Baggers are wildly out of touch with the mainstream of America and they should not be afforded the special treatment they receive. They are merely an annoyingly squeaky wheel with no popular support. They degrade the debate with their stubborn attachment to dubious dogma. Even the right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page declared that “Republicans are not looking like adults to whom voters can entrust the government.” Actually, they aren’t even looking like children:

Regardless of how the debt ceiling debate shakes out, the media, as well as our congressional representatives, need to recognize that the Tea Party is unworthy of the outsized consideration they receive. They haven’t earned it and they don’t deserve. And catering to their hysterics is counterproductive and worse, destructive. With the abundance of evidence that they are a poorly attended party that is located far beyond the boundaries of common sense, the question remains…..

Why Is Anyone Listening To The #@$%*#& Tea Party?