Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Don't Look Now, LePage, But Bevin Is Gaining on You

Threatening phone calls to legislators? Check.  Legislators considering impeachment?  Check.  Childishly defensive accusations in the media?  Check.  Boorish behavior that would embarrass a five-year-old?  Check.

State Rep. Russ Meyer, D-Nicholasville, released a recording of a voicemail message Tuesday that he received in December from Matt Bevin in which Meyer says the Republican governor warned him of the “impacts” of not switching political parties.

Meyer said in an interview Tuesday morning that he received the call from Bevin on his cellphone at 8:40 a.m. Dec. 17 after he had informed Bevin’s chief of staff, Blake Brickman, that he wasn’t going to switch parties.

Meyer said he had met with the governor and Brickman on Dec. 15 and talked to Brickman again Dec. 16.

In the tape Meyer released Tuesday, Bevin said he was “a little disappointed by some of what I’m hearing. Would love to speak to you.”

"I want to make sure you understand, uh, where, where things are in my mind and the decisions I’m going to make, uh, in the days ahead, the weeks ahead, the months ahead. I want you to be very aware of what the impacts of those decisions will be as it relates to you, your seat, your district, etc. — just so we have all the cards on the table,” Bevin said.

Meyer said Tuesday that he thinks a major road project in his district was postponed recently because he decided to remain a Democrat. The Bevin administration has denied that.

The $11 million project was an extension of East Brannon Road in Jessamine County to Tates Creek Road near the Fayette County line. It had been approved by Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, just before he left office in December.

The Bevin administration delayed the project, saying the Beshear administration didn’t secure a necessary portion of land before the deadline to begin work. The state was contractually obligated to pay The Allen Co. $625,000 in damages because of the delay.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, told reporters Tuesday that state or federal officials should investigate the matter.

“I would think that either state or federal authorities would look at this and at least give it a look and see,” Stumbo said. “There’s certainly very serious allegations about the abuse of the separation of powers.”

If the allegations are true, Stumbo said, the House would consider pursuing articles of impeachment against Bevin.

“If they canceled that project to retaliate against a member that was duly elected, then that’s a waste of taxpayer money and in my judgment, that’s a theft,” Stumbo said.

Bevin’s director of communications, Jessica Ditto, said Stumbo has lost credibility with the people of Kentucky.

“Speaker Stumbo’s erratic behavior and foolish comments are an embarrassment to the commonwealth,” Ditto said in a statement. “Kentuckians deserve better than such buffoonery from our leaders.”
Projection is a hell of a drug.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Colin Kaepernick Deserves a Medal

The Muhammed Ali Speaking Patriotic And Racial Truth to Power Medal.  With Telling Jingoistic NFL Greedheads to Fuck Off and Die Cluster.

Think Progress:

On Saturday night, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained seated as the national anthem was played during the team’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” the 28-year-old told reporters after the game.
His action — or, rather, inaction — sent shockwaves throughout the NFL community. In the past 48 hours, Kaepernick has been called “unappreciative” and “ignorant” by former NFL players; others, including a former teammate of his, have said that he was disrespecting the military and being downright unpatriotic.
And in a league that has extremely close ties with the military and nationalism, there are few things worse than being perceived as anti-American.
But while Kaepernick might not be displaying the one-size-fits-all patriotism that the NFL likes to heavily promote, he is showing patriotism nonetheless.
“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country,” Kaepernick told reporters on Sunday. “And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone.”
Kaepernick’s desire is for liberty and justice to be applied uniformly to all American citizens. He is willing to lose his job and lose endorsements in order to speak up for those that he does not feel are getting a fair shake in his country. That is his version of patriotism.
Compare that to the NFL, which treats patriotism as a brand.
Last year, it was revealed that the Department of Defense had paid NFL teams $6.1 million between 2012–2015 for military tributes at games, including the field-sized American flags, flyovers, and fireworks. (The NFL announced in May that it was returning $724,000 of that.)
While the league stages and heavily promotes military family reunions without providing full context, it also fines players, such as former Carolina Panther Josh Norman, for wearing patriotic cleats that do not fit into the NFL’s very strict uniform guidelines.
All in all, Kaepernick fits the official definition of patriot — “a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government” — far more than than the NFL does.
“This stand wasn’t for me. This stand wasn’t because I feel like I’m being put down in any kind of way,” Kaepernick said. “This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice, people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard, and effect change. So I’m in the position where I can do that and I’m going to do that for people that can’t.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Kaepernick hasn’t experienced racism. On Sunday he spoke about helping a friend move, only to have cops come and point guns at him and another black friend, assuming they were intruders. When he was named the starting quarterback for the 49ers, there wasracially-charged criticism of his tattoos and leadership skills.
But Kaepernick knows that compared to most, he has it good. He sat during the national anthem because black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by the police. Unarmed black Americans are five times as likely as unarmed white Americans to be shot and killed by police. And far too often, there is no punishment for police officers committing these murders.
Kaepernick might not have a spot on an NFL roster for much longer — there are rumors that the 49ers will release him for “football reasons” — but as long as he has a platform, he plans to follow in the footsteps of athlete activists before him, most notably Muhammad Ali.
For his part, Kaepernick plans to continue to sit during the national anthem until he sees significant progress.
“This country stands for freedom, liberty, justice for all, and it’s not happening for all right now,” Kaepernick said. “To me this is something that has to change, and when there’s significant change and I feels like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent and this country is representing people the way it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
You know who is the most fanatic about making empty jingoistic gestures like standing for the anthem and saluting the flag?  Traitors, that's who.  Spies. Terrorists.  Because they know that pretending patriotism is the easiest thing in the world, and will guarantee them a pass from suspicion.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Freakazoid Support of Trumpie Not Ironic At All

No, Mike Lux: Xian love of the Orange Menace is completely in keeping with their political goals since they agreed to oppose abortion in return for Catholic support of segregated schools forty years ago.

The freakazoids don't give a shit about Donald Treason's utter lack of morality, religious or otherwise, or his two divorces, or his probable payment for a good couple of dozen abortions, or his sexual lust for his own daughter, or his worship of Mammon, or his constant bearing false witness, or his tolerance of gays.

All the freakazoids care about is authoritarian control and dominance by white, straight, xian men.  Conveniently exactly the same thing that Trump cares about.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Gov. Lying Coward's Plan to Strip Health Care From 400,000 Kentuckians

Remember: Expanding Medicaid brings billions of dollars into Kentucky and saves our regional hospitals.  Cutting Medicaid costs Kentucky taxpayers billions in lost revenue, lost jobs and lost lives.

Joe Sonka details the "changes" that Kentucky GOP Gov. Matt Bevin has made to his planned waiver of Medicaid expansion, which the federal government basically told him that he wasn't going to get approved.  Bevin apparently doesn't give a damn and is submitting it anyway, and is daring the Department of Health and Human Services to tell him to piss off so he can blame somebody else when Kentucky Republicans take health coverage away from ten percent of the state.
Under the waiver proposal dubbed Kentucky HEALTH and first unveiled in June, individuals with income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty rate would still be eligible for expanded Medicaid, though “able-bodied” persons would have to pay a monthly premium to maintain coverage and could be locked out from coverage if payments are missed. Such individuals also would no longer be automatically eligible for benefits such as vision and dental, having to earn credits in their My Rewards Account by having health risk assessments, volunteering, taking smoking cessation classes, having a job or being in school. 
Bevin reiterated in a press release announcing the submission of the 87-page waiver on Wednesday that his plan would lead to better health outcomes, ensure the long-term sustainability of the state’s Medicaid program — as Kentucky must begin to kick in a small percentage of costs for covering the expanded population next year — and “familiarize members with commercial insurance and prepare them for self-sufficiency.” 
“The submission of this waiver is the result of many months of extensive research, planning and time spent traveling the state listening to Kentuckians,” said Bevin in his press release. “Kentucky HEALTH will allow us to continue to provide expanded Medicaid coverage, but unlike the current Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, it will do so in a fiscally responsible manner that ensures better health outcomes for recipients.”
The major scam here is the "My Rewards Account", like any health savings account you put money into to cover your medical expenses, but you lose all the money in it at the end of the year.  It's a tax on people who are bad at predicting exactly how sick they'll get in the course of 12 months, underestimate it and you lose your coverage for non-payment of premiums, overestimate it and you pay the state extra tax money you really can't afford.  It's a fun guessing game, and the winner is Bevin, every time.
While Bevin’s proposal had received wide praise from Republican officials in Kentucky, health care advocacy groups have expressed concern that requiring premiums and locking people out of coverage for failure to make payments would serve as an obstacle to many low-income individuals and families gaining Medicaid insurance. HHS also has emphasized that states seeking a waiver to alter its Medicaid expansion may not limit access to coverage or benefits by conditioning eligibility on work or other activities, impose premiums or cost sharing at levels preventing low-income individuals from accessing coverage, or penalize people for needing Medicaid coverage for multiple years. 
When unveiling his proposal in June, Bevin warned that if HHS does not approve the waiver, then “there will not be expanded Medicaid in the state of Kentucky,” an indication that he would either repeal the executive order of former Gov. Beshear to expand Medicaid — which resulted in over 400,000 people receiving coverage — or decline to reauthorize it next year. When asked what he would do if HHS only approved of 90 percent of Kentucky’s waiver proposal, Bevin said at the time that there is still a “negotiating process” going forward. 
HHS press secretary Marjorie Connolly released the following statement after Gov. Bevin’s announcement, again praising the success of Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion over the past few years and indicating that the process going forward could still take considerable time. 
“Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion has been very successful in improving health coverage, access to care, health outcomes, and financial security for its citizens,” said Connolly. “HHS has been clear that, as we begin the review of this application, we will assess it based on longstanding Medicaid principles of access to coverage and affordability of care. As in other states, we are prepared to continue dialogue for as long as it takes to find a solution that maintains and builds on Kentucky’s historic progress, and avoids moving backwards.”
Except backwards is exactly where Bevin is heading with this.  He's holding health insurance coverage for 400,000 plus Kentuckians hostage, and either he gets what he wants or the people of the Bluegrass State get it right between the eyes.

That's our governor! 

What You Don't See

Friday, August 26, 2016

Dem Candidates Protest Farm Bureau Hate

In their bright orange protest shirts, no less!

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, and 6th Congressional District Democratic nominee Nancy Jo Kemper of Lexington joined about 40 protesters outside Thursday’s Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast at the Kentucky State Fair to urge the Farm Bureau to change “discriminatory” practices.

The protest was peaceful without any arrests. Last year, three protesters were arrested by state police on misdemeanor charges that were later dropped, and the three have a pending U.S. District Court lawsuit against the state police.

Yarmuth, wearing an an orange T-shirt that said, “No Hate in Our State; Kentucky Farm Bureau Big on Discrimination,” said the Farm Bureau had policies against gays, teachers, unions, pro-choice advocates and death penalty opponents.

“Most people in that room don’t know the Farm Bureau’s policies,” Yarmuth said while standing outside the Kentucky Exposition Center, where more than 1,600 people, including a lot of politicians, gathered for the Farm Bureau’s 53rd annual breakfast.


Kemper, who is trying to unseat U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, in Central Kentucky’s 6th District, said she always has been for equal rights of all people.

She said she believes there are “gay kids in rural areas,” and the Farm Bureau should be concerned about them.

Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, said his organization and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, the Jefferson County Teachers Association and Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice joined in the protest.

No, no difference between the parties at all.

You only hear that from white, straight men.  The ones who have nothing to fear from the violent hatred animating the repugs.  Everybody else has everything to fear from the trumpists.

And everything to gain from the Democratic Party.  Let the presidential nominee explain:
When we publish transcripts of speeches it's usually in our news pages, not the Editors' Blog. But I think Hillary Clinton's speech on the Trump campaign and the mainstreaming of white supremacists hate groups into the GOP is one of the more important speeches of the election cycle. So I'm putting the transcript here in full, after the jump.
And here's the video:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bevin Shits Pants Over Order to Treat Trans People As Human Beings

Yeah, Governor Pants-Shitter really is an inexcusable piece of shit.  This press release is nothing but a regurgitation of all the anti-trans lies and fear-mongering.  Shame on him. Again.

Gov. Matt Bevin today joined a lawsuit against yet another Obama Administration regulatory overreach (SIC) that affects Kentucky’s taxpayers (SIC) and violates the medical judgment (SIC) and conscience rights (SIC) of doctors and health care professionals (SIC) across the country.
“The Obama Administration continues its attacks (SIC) on the constitutional rights (SIC) and religious freedoms (SIC) of Kentuckians,” said Gov. Bevin. “It is both appalling (SIC) and illegal (SIC) for the federal government to force (SIC) Kentucky taxpayers to foot the bill for sex-change operations (SIC). That is a ridiculous misuse (SIC) of power by the Obama administration. I intend to fight this type of liberal foolishness (SIC) at every turn and will stand firm (SIC) in protecting the rights (SIC) and values (SIC) of Kentuckians."
Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implemented a new rule “interpreting” the definition of “sex” (eeeeekkkk! scare quotes!  Everybody run!) within the Affordable Care Act. As the Obama Administration has attempted to do in other instances, this new rule interprets “sex” as a state of mind, not a biological fact. (SIC) When it enacted the law, Congress used the term “sex” as a biological category. (SIC) The Obama Administration is now trying to redefine the law so that the term “sex” means ones’ “internal sense of gender which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.” But the President does not have the power to rewrite law. (SIC)
The impact of this new rule on Kentucky and health care workers is significant. (SIC) Not only does the rule require taxpayers to fund all treatments designed to transition to a different sex, it also forces health care workers, including physicians, to provide controversial services. (SIC) Under the new rule, a physician who believes that certain treatments are not in a patient’s best medical interests may be in violation of federal law. And a physician who, for religious or conscientious reasons cannot perform a particular procedure, chooses to instead refer a patient to another health care provider may also be determined to be in violation of this new rule.
Kentucky taxpayer dollars will not fund this lawsuit.(SIC)
(SIC) is short for motherfucking liar lying about fucking mothers. Again.

From the Hill:
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, called the lawsuit "a thinly veiled attack on transgender people.
"The ACA rule does not mandate what kind of care doctors can and cannot give," Keisling said. "It bans discrimination. It's there to make sure that transgender people can get the treatment we need without facing harassment - or worse. Over a dozen federal courts have confirmed that the term "sex" in federal non-discrimination laws, including the ACA, applies to gender identity."

Keisling said the regulation not only ensures transition-related care for transgender people, but prohibits medical providers from discriminating against transgender people seeking care for other health issues "from colds to cancer."

"This regulation does not undermine medical judgment," Keisling added. "It simply requires that medical decisions be made based on medicine, not prejudice."
You'll be stunned to learn that the power behind this lawsuit is a bunch of freakazoids who think they're being eaten by lions if anyone dares to deny their babby-jeebus-given "right" to harass, humiliate, fire, attack and even kill LGBT people in the name of their precious "religious freedom."

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Turning Kentucky's Proud Universities into Vocational Schools

Shame on you, Eastern. SHAME.  Tell Governor Lying Coward and the austerity-loving motherfuckers in the General Assembly to give you the goddamn money you need to educate Kentuckians to survive in an ever-changing world.

A world that demands critical thinking skills.  Critical thinking skills that can only be learned from a broad liberal arts education.  The kind of liberal arts education that Kentucky governors worked for decades to build in Bowling Green and Morehead and Murray and yes, Richmond. 

The kind of liberal arts education that is a clear and present danger to the repugs who know they appeal only to mouth-breathing, slope-headed, know-nothing morons.

The kind of liberal arts education that must be destroyed.

From the Herald:

Amid statewide budget cuts for the next two years, Eastern Kentucky University is deciding which academic majors and minors should be cut and which need more support. 

French, journalism, theater, horticulture and geography are recommended for suspension in a preliminary report by the Academic Budget Review Subcommittee of majors and minors that have had fewer students in recent years.


On the other hand, physics made the probationary list, with an average of just seven majors in eight years. But, “as a STEM discipline, the program should be supported,”
HA!  STEM, of course.  Only tech geeks will receive an education; everyone else will be indoctrinated into obeying their corporate overlords without question.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Feds Finally Admit: Privatization is the WORST

This decision addresses only privately-run federal prisons, but the issue is of course far, far bigger.  The problem with private prisons is not the prison part, it's the private part.

Giving tax dollars to for-profit companies to provide public services is worse that a mere horrific  waste of money and an even more horrific abuse of helpless citizens.  It's worse than incompetent, worse than counter-productive, worse than sabotaging the very idea of public services provided by public employees at public expense.

Privatization - which in most cases is invisible to the public - gives people the precisely wrong idea that government does not work and should be run like a business.

It's private companies making a profit off of the Common Wealth that always fails.

The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.
Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”
“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote…
The Justice Department’s inspector general last week released a critical report concluding that privately operated facilities incurred more safety and security incidents than those run by the federal Bureau of Prisons. The private facilities, for example, had higher rates of assaults — both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff — and had eight times as many contraband cellphones confiscated each year on average, according to the report.
TPM took a deep look at private prisons here as part of a series on privatized government in general. 

And that's where this prison story needs to lead: the millions of government contracts worth tens of billions of tax dollars given to private companies to do everything from janitorial work to running schools to nursing patients to undermining public safety as cops and firefighters.

Only government can provide public services, because only government is accountable to the public.

Now that we have proof that private contracts always cost more than public employees and always fail to provide adequate services, it's time to put an end to companies sucking off the taxpayer tit.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Parents Warned: Ark Park "Promotes Obliteration of Human Beings"

An article in New Scientist magazine recently cautioned parents and schools not to allow children to visit a Noah’s Ark theme park in Kentucky, citing scientific errors and an underlying message that praises the “obliteration of humans.”
In a column published by New Scientist last week, evolutionary biologist Josh Rosenau of the U.S. National Center for Science Education explained that parents should look beyond the Ark Encounter’s petting zoo when deciding whether to allow children to attend.
“It is, in fact, a hard-core creationist extravaganza replete with pseudoscience. It is no place for field trips,” Rosenau wrote. “Perhaps because of disappointing visitor numbers so far, it is offering reduced rates – $1 a student and free tickets for accompanying teachers – to tempt schoolchildren through its doors. Schools and parents should know that a visit wouldn’t educate or entertain, it would misinform and browbeat.”
In addition to the constitutional prohibition against government promoting religion, Rosenau observed that the park’s message to students would undermine their education.
“[E]verything in the park is designed to promote scientifically impossible ideas that contradict everything that scientists know. From astrophysics to zookeeping, the visitor is deluged with misinformation,” he said. “It may be impossible to find a single sign in the park that is free of scientific errors.”
But it was the Ark Encounter’s “subtler form of indoctrination” that really disturbed the evolutionary biologist.
“The relentless message to visitors is that our world is as fallen and wicked as Noah’s, and that the destruction of the flood – including the obliteration of all humans other than a virtuous few – was not just acceptable but praiseworthy,” Rosenau lamented. “Under the pretence of illustrating a beloved tale shared by Jews, Christians, Muslims and others, Ark Encounter presents a message as socially divisive as it is scientifically inaccurate, instilling fear, hatred and hopelessness.”
“Those are lessons no school or parent should want their students or children to take on board.”

Arguing With Reason

To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.

Thomas Paine
(via moralanarchism)

Your Feelings Are Irrelevant

Via Divine Irony:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fuck Off, Hillary-Loving Repugs

Like I been sayin' for years now: no repug is ever, ever, EVER going to vote for a Democratic candidate.
The second Clinton is inaugurated, impeachment proceedings will begin because that's what these GOP fuckers do. And every single one of them will run like baby rats back to their rat mother's teats and join the party in condemning Clinton for whatever made up shit they crap out this time. Their support of Clinton is just fucking cover so that they can say they turned away from Trump when he finally melts down and starts calling for death squads (which, again, would make Negroponte fucking hard).

If I were Clinton, I'd demand that each of these assholes scrambling to get away from Trump join the Democratic Party. Don't make it easy on this scum. Tell them they need abandon their party or tell them to go to hell with Trump. Leave the GOP to the extremists and the racists and the nutzoids. You know climate change is real. You know gun laws need to be passed. You fucking know that the tax laws are tilted radically towards the wealthy. You know that LGBT issues are done. You know that unless you get down and dirty with the fundamentalists and nationalists and the remnants of the Tea Party, you will be primaried. So fuck you and your support. Show you mean it. Then we can fight about the identity of the Democratic Party, which we're gonna have to do anyway.

False Equivalence


via digby

Rejecting Unions Is Racist and Misogynistic

Low-paying non-union service jobs are held by women and minorities.  High-paying unionized manufacturing jobs are held by white men.
But there's no law of physics that says service jobs have to be low-paying. All they need is a union.

That's why it's not just a Fight for Fifteen.  It's a Fight for Fifteen and a Union.

Why do factory workers make more in Michigan? In a word: unions. The Midwest was, at least until recently, a bastion of union strength. Southern states, by contrast, are mostly “right-to-work” states where unions never gained a strong foothold. Private-sector unions have been shrinking across the country for decades, but they are stronger in the Midwest than in most other parts of the country. In Michigan, 23 percent of manufacturing production workers were union members in 2015; in South Carolina, less than 2 percent were.
Unions also help explain why the middle class is healthier in the Midwest than in the Southeast, where manufacturing jobs have been growing rapidly in recent decades. A new analysis from the Pew Research Center this week explored the state of the middle class in different parts of the country by looking at the share of households making between two-thirds and double the national median income, after controlling for the local cost of living. In many Midwestern cities, 60 percent or more of households are considered “middle-income” by this definition; in some Southern cities, even those with large manufacturing bases, middle-income households are now in the minority.
Even in the Midwest, however, unions are weakening and the middle class is shrinking. In the Indianapolis metro area, where the Carrier plant Trump talks about is located, the share of households in the middle tier of earners has shrunk to 54.8 percent in 2014 from 58.9 percent in 2000. And unlike in some parts of the country, the decline in the middle class there has been primarily driven by people falling into the lower tier of earners, not moving up. The Carrier plant, where workers make more than $20 an hour, is unionized.
But this much is clear: For all of the glow that surrounds manufacturing jobs in political rhetoric, there is nothing inherently special about them. Some pay well; others don’t. They are not immune from the forces that have led to slow wage growth in other sectors of the economy. When politicians pledge to protect manufacturing jobs, they really mean a certain kind of job: well-paid, long-lasting, with opportunities for advancement. Those aren’t qualities associated with working on a factory floor; they’re qualities associated with being a member of a union.
When Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton or anyone call to bring back manufacturing jobs per se, what they are saying is primarily that they want good paying jobs for working class Americans again. And where those good paying jobs exist, like at the Carrier plant, they need to remain there. But the reason that we think that manufacturing jobs pay well is because a century of union struggles. As we can see when those manufacturing jobs go overseas, just because you work in manufacturing doesn’t mean you have a good job. What you have is usually a hot, dangerous, exploitative job where you have no rights and that takes very little brain power. The workers of Bangladesh, Honduras, and China could tell you that just because you have a manufacturing job does not mean you have a good life. So could the workers in Lordstown in 1972. 
What made that palatable to American workers after 1935 was that they could unionize those factories and thus give their lives dignity. That legacy is still with us as manufacturing still usually pays better than fast food. But there’s nothing inherently more dignified in working in a timber mill than there is flipping burgers. The difference is that we don’t see those jobs as jobs that should be paid well and should be unionized. Popularly, they are seen as entry level jobs. But the woman in the chain coffee shop where I am writing this post is in her 40s and is probably making not much more than minimum wage, as are so many service industry workers. Those jobs should be union jobs too. They should make as much as steel workers made in 1965 or whatever. Manufacturing is never coming back to the United States in 1965 numbers. That’s for a number of reasons. Globalization is not going to put back into a box. And what jobs do come back are going to be heavily automated. This we know.

That doesn’t mean that we should ignore manufacturing. Whether in the U.S. or Honduras or Bangladesh, the goal needs to be that workers of the world make enough money to live a good life, have a say over their conditions of work, do not get exposed to pollution, and work in safe workplaces, among other things. That happens only with unions. And in the current globalized world with modern trade agreements, it happens with workers and citizens having access to the new legal systems developed to protect corporate rights and it happens with companies be held legally accountable for their supply chains.
One other critical point here, which is that manufacturing nostalgia is also nostalgia for the age of the white male single breadwinner. And while I support jobs that pay enough to support a family, there’s definitely social and racial problems here and there’s no question that these issues animate the nostalgia people feel for these jobs.

But whatever the job, wherever it is, people live dignified lives if they have unions. If they don’t have unions, their lives are worse. That’s why companies are engaging in extreme capital mobility, creating extralegal courts to protect their rights, using opaque supply chains, putting long-term temp workers on the same workplace floors as unionized workers, etc. The goal is to repeal workers’ gains of the last century.

Our goal therefore needs to be to move the gains of the last century onto the jobs of the new century while doing what we can to ensure that wherever companies move their production that those gains will also be achievable by the workers of the world. Until we do that, our dignity will be under constant threat. But fundamentally, it doesn’t really matter whether the jobs is in a steel mill, a hamburger joint, or teaching. All workers must have good wages and unions.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Candy Barr Performs Massive Pander in Desperate Play for Black Votes

Camp Nelson richly deserves to become a national park.  It's a scandal that it has been ignored by federal authorities for so long.  
I'm sure it's just a coincidence that Barr proposes this park honoring black soldiers in the Union Army just as he is facing a strong challenge to his re-election and needs every black vote he can scrounge.

An effort has begun to put a Jessamine County historic site into the National Park System.

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, has introduced a bill that would authorize the Department of Interior to conduct a study that would be the first step toward bringing Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park into the National Park System.

The heritage park tells the story of black soldiers who were recruited and trained to fight for the Union. The park is off U.S. 27 about six miles south of Nicholasville.

“This is a place of national historic value,” Barr said in a visit to the park Thursday.

Camp Nelson was established by an order of President Abraham Lincoln. It was named for Maj. Gen. William “Bull” Nelson.

As many as 10,000 black troops trained there. Eight regiments were founded at Camp Nelson and five others were stationed there, making it the third-largest such center in the nation.

Other training centers for black troops in Philadelphia and New Orleans were larger, but more archaeological resources were preserved at Camp Nelson because it was in a rural area, said Stephen McBride, director of interpretation and archaeology at the park.
Get out to vote on Nov. 8, you Sixth District Democrats.  Nancy Jo Kemper will be a much stronger advocate for Camp Nelson than Candy Barr has any intention of being. 

Governor Scofflaw Urges Lawbreaking

Boy, has Judge Phillip "Honey Badger" Shepherd gotten under Bevin's skin.

Gov. Matt Bevin has urged the new University of Louisville Board of Trustees to meet in apparent defiance of a judge’s order blocking them from acting.

In an interview on WHAS-AM radio Wednesday, Bevin told host Terry Meiners that “the new board is not enjoined. The new board has authority to meet and they should do exactly that.”

In a July 29 order, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled that the “governor's appointment of replacement board members and their authority to act as the duly constituted Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville” was “temporarily enjoined,” pending a final resolution of Attorney General Andy Beshear’s lawsuit contesting Bevin’s power to abolish the old board and appoint a new one.

The injunction also blocked Bevin, “his agents, employees and all other persons acting at his direction from taking any actions to implement his orders on U of L."

Beshear, who won the temporary injunction, said in a statement that Bevin encouraging defiance of a court order is a "serious matter that should concern all Kentuckians. We live in a country governed by the rule of the law, which must be respected.”

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Immigrants Taking Over Just the Way the Old Immigrants Did

My Irish and German immigrant ancestors did exactly this.  They faced down the Know-Nothing Nativists screaming "dirty Micks!" and "Kraut traitors!" and voted and ran for office just as Americans have always done, and are still doing.

Over the years President Obama has come up with a line he uses whenever people at his rallies boo at things like Trump’s remarks. He always says, “Don’t boo…vote!” That is exactly what the Somali community in Minnesota did this week.
Neighborhood activist Ilhan Omar made history Tuesday by winning a fiercely competitive DFL primary in a Minneapolis House district, which means she likely will become the nation’s first Somali-American legislator next year…
Born in Somalia, Omar, 33, and her family escaped civil war and lived for four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before ultimately moving to the Somali-American neighborhood of Cedar-Riverside, where she has lived for nearly two decades and is currently director of policy initiatives at Women Organizing Women…
Tonight we made history,” Omar told the crowd. “Tonight marks the beginning of the future of our district, a new era of representation. Tonight is about the power of you.”…
Omar’s dramatic victory threatened to overshadow another upset, this one from 24-year-old Fue Lee, who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and currently works in the office of Secretary of State Steve Simon. He defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Mullery, DFL-Minneapolis.
Both upsets came in heavily DFL districts, which means they are virtually assured of victory in November.
And remember: unless you are a full-blooded Native, you're the descendant of immigrants, no more "American" than that Muslim Syrian refugee who just took the oath of citizenship, and who you better believe is going to be voting on November 8.

Yet Another Vicious Black Lives Matter Attack on a Harmless White Supremacist

These motherfuckers aren't expressing political opinions.  They're a clear and present danger to our democratic republic.

Think Progress:
On Tuesday night, a white supremacist in Olympia, Washington stabbed a black man on the street in an apparent crusade to fight Black Lives Matter. The suspect later reported to police that he’d taken “a blood oath to to fight on the street” and was acting on behalf of law enforcement.

The unidentified victim was standing outside a bar in downtown Olympia, smoking a cigarette with his white girlfriend, when the suspect ran up and stabbed him in the abdomen. The woman was also injured. The two survived — and were able to catch the perpetrator and report him to the authorities.
The suspect had multiple racially-charged tattoos with phrases like “White Power” and “Skinhead,” and told police that he was downtown because word had spread about anti-police graffiti there. He claimed Black Lives Matter was responsible for the graffiti, even though law enforcement never confirmed that was the case.

According to court documents filed after the incident, the suspect assured officers that he was acting on their behalf.

“At one point he stated that he knew we couldn’t hurt the black groups on the street so he wanted to let us know that he takes care of them for us,” police wrote. “That he is able to fight those fights and will continue the fight against all of the Black Lives Matters people.”

The suspect, who told police he’d done time at the Washington State Penitentiary, also informed them that he wanted to attend a Donald Trump rally to continue “stomping out more of the Black Lives Matter group.”

The stabbing on Tuesday fits into a surge of white supremacy in the U.S., which has been supported — and encouraged — by the Republican presidential nominee. Trump frequently reposts racist messages and memes on social media and refers to his “heritage” in speeches — coded language that’s earned him the support of the KKK. On Wednesday, he likened Hillary Clinton to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, borrowing language from white supremacist groups. And last week, Trump made a veiled call for white supremacists to gun down Hillary Clinton.

Black Lives Matter has been targeted in the past year. Last November, as members of the group gathered in Minneapolis to protest the police shooting of Jamar Clark, white supremacists showered them with bullets. And on Wednesday, the Ku Klux Klan announced that it would crash a Black Lives Matter rally in Long Island, New York.
And no, the murderer is not going to be tried, much less convicted, much less executed. If he gets more than a week of jail time before he gets released on his own recognizance while waiting for the charges to be dropped, I'll be amazed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ru Paul Nails It

Do you want a pompous braggart who doesn't know anything about diplomacy? Or do you want a badass bitch who knows how to get shit done? That's really the question.

Health Insurers Throw Tantrum Because Profits Not Obscene Any More

Poor babies.  Obamacare exchanges reduced their profits to merely outrageous and disgusting. How will they ever survive?

By bitching and pissing and moaning and holding their breath until they turn blue in the hopes somebody will kill off that health-care-for-everyone Affordable Care Act and let them get back to fucking over everybody who is not a healthy 25-year-old and making obscene profits at the expense of working people.

Governor Shitting His Pants to use this corporate fraud to justify killing off the last vestiges of kynect, along with the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who depend on it to keep them alive, in 3, 2, 1 ....

Aetna’s announcement comes after UnitedHealth said in April it would be cutting its marketplace involvement significantly, and Humana has also signaled a retreat from ACA exchanges. All three decisions have prompted Republicans to declare that Obamacare is failing and that they were right all along. But experts say some of the criticisms miss the nuance on what is actually driving the cutbacks.

“It’s not a statement that the marketplaces can’t work or that they aren't working," Linda Blumberg, a healthcare policy fellow at the Urban Institute, told TPM. "It’s a statement that these insurers are by and large not terribly competitive the way they came in, and if they are going to make money in this market they're going to have restructure and re-orient to the characteristics of what the consumers want.”


Not every carrier is struggling on the exchanges, and consumers’ willingness to shop around for deals has benefited insurers that offer plans that are on the cheaper end.

“There are insurance companies that are doing well and those are companies that have experience serving a low-income population,” Cox said.

Many of those carriers offer plans with narrow provider networks, while big insurers like Aetna and UnitedHealth have tended towards broader provider plans, which offer consumers more choices but at a higher cost.

“What consumers are showing time and again on these marketplaces is that they are very willing to trade a broad choice of providers for a low price, and the carriers that figured that out early are the ones that seem to be doing well,” said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute.

There is the possibility that the big insurers who are now pulling back will re-enter the marketplaces once they're better equipped to meet its demands. UnitedHealth, for instance, kept its new, more boutique-style subsidiary, Harken Health in the Indiana and Georgia exchanges where the insurer was otherwise withdrawing. It has signaled it could expand Harken Health to Florida.

"I would expect that, in a lot of those areas, they'll come back in. But they'll come back in with different looking products that are more similar to the ones that are competing well,” Blumberg said.
It's called competition, motherfuckers. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Any Immigrant is More American Than Donald Traitor

Immigrants have to fight a mountain of obstacles to get to America.  They don't get born one day and find themselves birthright Americans.

Immigrants have to earn every dime they get, and by earn I mean bust their asses every day cleaning the disgusting toilets of privileged asses like Donald Traitor.  Who steals their wages anyway.

Immigrants have to endure the abuse and mistreatment and bigotry that every generation of immigrants endures, always from immigrant descendants who have forgotten where they came from.

Immigrants learn citizenship the hard way, by living it every day.  They don't get to ignore the rules like those who are born white, male and rich.

Immigrants have to want America bad.

Donald Traitor wants a bad America.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) thinks Donald Trump needs to take a test before he is elected president.

In a press release Monday afternoon, Reid called on Trump to take the U.S. naturalization test – the test that immigrants must pass to become citizens of the United States. The test includes questions about the country's history, founding, laws and Constitution.

“Since Donald Trump wants to impose new tests on immigrants, he should take the one test every immigrant has to pass to become a United States citizen. He would almost certainly fail, given his general ignorance and weak grasp of basic facts about American history, principles and functioning of our government," Reid said. "The fact is, Donald Trump is nothing more than a spoiled, unpatriotic drain on society who has earned nothing and helped no one."

Reid said that unlike immigrants,"Donald Trump represents none of the qualities that make America great. "

"Immigrants work hard to get here and become Americans, while Trump inherited everything from his father and works hardest at Tweeting insults and ripping off hard-working people with two-bit scams," Reid said.

Reid also claimed that while immigrants must denounce loyalties to foreign governments to become citizens, Trump "plays footsie with Putin and invites the Russian government to launch cyber attacks against our country."

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Persecuted Christians

I recognize Christians not by their love, but by their sanctimonious arrogance and their pernicious whining about their victimhood.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Andy Barr's a Lying Idiot Who Hates Kentuckians

The War on Poverty, aimed directly at the horrific conditions in the Kentucky Mountains, failed because President Lyndon Johnson had to pay for the War in Vietnam, and then Dick Nixon and congressional repugs stripped the rest of the programs' budget.

Yes, Barr's remarks are repug orthodoxy for the past 40 years, but that does not make them any less vicious and cruel to the working poor people of the Commonwealth who are being fucked over by a repug governor and congressional repugs like Barr.

From the Herald:

The federal government’s war on poverty was an expensive failure that made generations of Americans dependent on handouts, says U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, who is promoting a conservative alternative this election year.

Barr has co-authored a report for the House Republican Study Committee that recommends sweeping changes in federal benefits for the poor. There would be more work requirements and lifetime limits, similar to what Congress imposed on welfare recipients in 1996. The federal government might turn over programs, such as food stamps, disability payments and public housing, to the states in the form of block grants, while encouraging states to narrow eligibility and eliminate fraud.


Back in Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, Barr’s Democratic challenger on Nov. 8, Nancy Jo Kemper, said she isn’t impressed by his suggestion that poor people “just need to get a job.” For one thing, many poor people already work or desperately want to, Kemper said.

“Part of my complaint with this,” Kemper said, holding a copy of Barr’s report at her campaign office, “is how much it blames the poor for their poverty, rather than our failure as a society to help with job training, child-care expenses, reliable transportation, health insurance, minimum-wage increases — all of which could lift people out of poverty. He says quite strongly that Washington bureaucrats cannot lift people out of poverty. And I beg to differ. You have only to point to increasing the minimum wage to see what it does to add a boon to the whole economy.”
Nancy Jo Kemper, you voters in the Sixth District.  Get the fuck off the couch and make sure she kicks Barr's lying, repug, Trumpist ass out of Congress.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Kentucky Writers to Bevin: Take Your Award and Shove It

They see through you, motherfucker, and will not be condescended to, co-opted, bribed or otherwise disrespected by your Trumpist, austerity-loving, white privileged ass.

From Rich Copley at the Herald:

The Affrilachian Poets, a diverse Lexington-based collective of writers directly or indirectly connected to Appalachia, has rejected its 2016 Governor’s Award in the Arts, citing Gov. Matt Bevin’s positions on education, the humanities and other issues.

“It is the opinion of the group that the governor’s comments, positions and actions regarding education in general, the Humanities specifically, universal healthcare, criminal justice reform, and the LGBTQ community have been reprehensible and go against the core of who we are as writers and educators and as artists committed to resisting oppression,” the group said in a statement posted on Facebook. “It is in the spirit of Kentucky’s rich literary tradition reaching back to William Wells Brown, that we vehemently reject any award given in this governor’s name.”
No comment from Gov, Lying Coward.

Read more here:

Friday, August 12, 2016

Bevin Turns State Employee Charity into Freakazoid Con Job

No, Gov. Lying Coward, state employees are not your private workers you can force to follow your freakazoid idiocy. 

"Servant leadership" is freakazoid code for fundamentalist proselytizing pretending to be secular.

State employees are secular representatives of a secular government providing secular services to residents of all religions and no religions.

Gov. Lying Coward does not get to appropriate the public service he does not pay for to spread his own freakazoid propaganda.

There are many excellent reasons for state employees to NOT contribute to KECC, most obviously the fact that it washes donations through the corrupt United Way, which takes a five percent cut.

But the best reason of all not to contribute is that Gov. Lying Coward has turned KECC into a freakazoid con game.

Dear Leaders of the Commonwealth,

As state employees, we work together each day to make Kentucky the greatest version of itself. Our roles may be varied and cabinet functions distinct, but we all make a significant difference. We lead by caring for others, devoting our time and talents, and lending a helping hand.

Kentucky Employees Charitable Campaign (KECC) provides a great opportunity to put this leadership into practice. Charities represented by KECC improve academic achievement, provide medical care to children and rebuild communities after disasters strike.

I am honored to serve as this year’s KECC Chair. The reason I selected Servant Leadership as our campaign theme is because servant leaders improve the well-being of their community through selfless generosity and commitment.

I challenge each of you to step up and be a servant leader. Your generous participation in KECC will touch the lives of those who need it most throughout the Commonwealth, including people and families in your community. Donations of any size help, and even more importantly, they assist Kentuckians in reaching their fullest potential.

Each year, the KECC Charities are carefully vetted, and work in partnership through this campaign to improve the lives of children, seniors and families across the Commonwealth. I encourage you to watch this year’s video and learn more about the charities through the links below. It’s important to understand how your donation can change the life of a fellow Kentuckian.

Thank you for your consideration. As citizens, we should take our state motto to heart: “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” By working together, we can create a Kentucky that shines like a beacon for the entire world to see and emulate.

Governor Matt Bevin
2016 KECC Chair