A question for Matt Bevin and Rand Paul

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Why would a white supremacist give you money?

“Add Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin’s name to the list of Republicans who have received campaign donations from a white supremacist referenced in the manifesto of the man who allegedly shot and killed nine people last week in Charleston, S.C.,” the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Sam Youngman recently wrote.

Matt Bevin’s benefactor is Earl Holt III, president of the St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens.

Holt’s group “is the modern reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center website.

“Among other things, its Statement of Principles says that it ‘oppose[s] all efforts to mix the races of mankind,'” the website says. “Created in 1985 from the mailing lists of its predecessor organization, the CCC, which initially tried to project a ‘mainstream’ image, has evolved into a crudely white supremacist group whose website has run pictures comparing the late pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and referred to black people as ‘a retrograde species of humanity.’”

In December, 2013, Holt contributed $500 to the Bevin for senate campaign, according to Youngman’s story. Bevin lost to Sen. Mitch McConnell in the May, 2014, GOP primary.

Holt obviously figured the tea party-tilting Bevin was a good investment.

On the campaign trail Bevin buddy-buddied with a Bluegrass State branch of the reactionary and conspiratorialist John Birch Society. The Birchers claimed the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s was a communist plot to create “a Negro Soviet Republic in the United States.”

No doubt, Mike Peroutka, who ran for president in 2004, would agree with the Birch Society. The Human Rights Campaign called him an “active white supremacist and secessionist sympathizer,” Youngman wrote in another story.

Bevin said he voted for Peroutka, candidate of the far right wing Constitution Party.

Peroutka’s endorsers included the League of the South, “a neo-Confederate group that advocates for a second Southern secession and a society dominated by ‘European Americans,'” according to the SPLC website. “The ‘godly’ nation envisioned by the League should be run by an ‘Anglo-Celtic’ (read: white) elite that would establish a Christian theocratic state and politically dominate blacks and other minorities.”

Bevin’s benefactor Holt is a hero to Dylann Roof, the avowed white supremacist who is accused of murdering nine African Americans in Charleston’s historic Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Holt’s largess extended to several other Republicans, including Rand Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator. Paul’s political action committee pocketed $1,750 of Holt’s money, Youngman wrote.

Holt clearly figured Paul, another tea party hero, was worth some cash, too.

After all, when Paul ran for the senate in 2010, he criticized aspects of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, but backpedaled.

Nonetheless, the “criticism mirrored the views of his father [Rep. Ron Paul], who stood up on the House floor when it celebrated the 40th anniversary of the act in 2004 and denounced it as ‘a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society,’” the Louisville Courier-Journal reported in 2010.

In 2006, according to the Washington Post, Paul wrote a letter to his hometownBowling Green Daily News claiming the U.S. Fair Housing Act, another important civil rights law, “ignores the distinction between private and public property.” Paul added: “Decisions concerning private property and associations should in a free society be unhindered. As a consequence, some associations will discriminate.”

Now Bevin and Paul can’t give away Holt’s dough fast enough. Bevin’s campaign manager said Bevin and his running mate, Jenean Hampton, who is African American, will each give $500 to a scholarship fund for minority students, according to Youngman.

Paul’s staff said he is contributing $1,750 to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund to help families of the murder victims, Youngman wrote.

Anyway, I suspect that before Holt’s contributions hit the news, few Kentuckians had even heard of him and his group. There is plenty more about Holt and the CCC on the SPLC website.

For example, the CCC’s newspaper, “Citizens Informer, regularly publishes articles condemning ‘race mixing,’ decrying the evils of illegal immigration, and lamenting the decline of white, European civilization,” the website says.

The website also lists some CCC quotes and their sources:

“God is the author of racism. God is the One who divided mankind into different types. … Mixing the races is rebelliousness against God.” — Council of Conservative Citizens website, 2001

“We believe the United States is a European country and that Americans are part of the European people. … We therefore oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime. We believe that illegal immigration must be stopped, if necessary by military force and placing troops on our national borders; that illegal aliens must be returned to their own countries; and that legal immigration must be severely restricted or halted through appropriate changes in our laws and policies. We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called ‘affirmative action’ and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.” —Statement of Principles, Citizens Informer, 2007

Youngman wrote that “Holt has contributed to dozens of Republicans, most of them “racing to donate the money to charitable causes.”

This old reporter hopes some young speedster from the Fourth Estate will chase after the fleeing Republicans—especially Bevin and Paul—and ask them two questions:

“Why would a white supremacist give you money?”

“Why did you take the money?”

Of course, Bevin and Paul would hotly deny they are bigots. Four of Bevin’s adopted children are black.

But their campaigns accepted money from a big-time bigot. Bevin and Paul didn’t give away the cash until the media called their hand on where it came from.

 

Protect My Check pretzel twisters

By BERRY CRAIG

The way they twist themselves, the folks at Protect My Check ought to start a pretzel factory.

PMC is the Florida-based anti-union group that is helping push county “right to work ordinances” in Kentucky.

PMC claims the measures are legal under the state’s home rule law. The group claims it favors “state sovereignty.”

Unions are challenging the ordinances in federal court, arguing that the National Labor Relations Act says states and territories pass can right to work laws.

Meanwhile, the PMC has rummaged around and found a Kentucky law it doesn’t like – the one that prohibits corporations from giving money to political parties and candidates for state offices.

Suddenly, mum’s the word from PMC about “state sovereignty.” Now they’re fans of federalism, or at least Uncle Sam’s judiciary.

On PMC’s behalf, the reactionary, anti-union Goldwater Institute of Arizona is suing in federal court to get the Kentucky law overturned. Both PMC and the institute are closely tied to the billionaire Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

So the folks at PMC are gung-ho for “state sovereignty” when it suits them. But they’re fans of federalism when it suits them better.

PMC bosses and staffers would make a fortune as pretzel twisters.

Saluting union volunteers in Paducah

By BERRY CRAIG

Unions seldom make the news except during strikes, which the media commonly calls “labor disputes.”

The implication, even if unintentional, is that strikes are the union’s fault.

At the same time, a lot of conservative newspaper editorial writers, pundits, and radio and TV talking heads slam unions flat-out. Often, they claim unions are greedy and selfish and care little or nothing about their communities.

“It’s time to set the record straight,” said Kyle Henderson, president of the Paducah-based West Kentucky Building and Construction Trades Council.

The council sponsors a luncheon the day before the annual Fancy Farm political picnic, where the weather, barbecue and politics are usually spicy hot.

The luncheon, which attracts state and local union-endorsed candidates, is set for noon, July 31, at Walker Hall. This year’s feed will feature special displays focusing on union volunteers who have donated their labor and skill on a variety of projects.

“We are going to emphasize the good things unions have done, and continue to do, to benefit our community,” added Henderson, who is also business manager of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184. “Hundreds of our members have worked thousands of hours for free to help make our city a better place for everybody.”

The spotlight will be on union locals affiliated with the building trades council: Boilermakers Local 40, Bricklayers Local 4, Carpenters Local 357, Chauffeurs and Teamsters Local 236, Glaziers, Arch, Metal and Glass Workers Local 1165, IBEW Local 816, Insulators Local 37, Ironworkers Local 782, Laborers Local 1214, Millwrights Local 1076, Operating Engineers Local 181, Painters Local 500, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184, Roofers Local 106, Sheetmetal Workers Local 110 and Sprinkler Fitters Local 669.

“But members of all unions all over the country also volunteer on many projects,” Henderson said.

They wire, frame, plumb and paint. They landscape, pave, pour concrete, hang sheetrock, dig and lay foundations, roof, insulate, weld and more – all at no charge.

Monuments to union volunteer labor are visible all over Paducah, an historic old port city where the Tennessee River merges with the Ohio.

Union volunteers helped build, renovate, restore or repair:

–Brooks Stadium, a baseball park dating to the late 1940s.
— The Robert Cherry Civic Center
— The W.C. Young Community Center, named for a national labor and civil rights leader from Paducah
— Habitat for Humanity homes
— The 1909-vintage Hotel Metropolitan, one of the few places African Americans could stay in Paducah when racial segregation was the law and the social order
— Merryman House, an emergency shelter for abused women and children
— The pavilion in Noble Park, the main city park
— The Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club

In addition, union members donated money and labor to help preserve the old steam locomotive that is on display with antique rail cars at the riverfront and volunteered to helped repair homes damaged by severe local flooding in 2011.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Larry Sanderson, a retired UA international representative who was a longtime Plumbers Local 184 business manager. “There are many, many more examples.”

He cited the home of Missy Jenkins, a teen who was paralyzed in the 1997 Heath High School shooting. “The building trades unions and some contractors got together to provide free labor and materials to make her house handicap accessible,” Sanderson said. “And they didn’t charge a dime for it.”

Jeff Wiggins, president of the Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, which is also headquarted Paducah, is proud to see his brothers and sisters in the building trades show the community “the true face of unions.”

Explained Wiggins, who is also president of United Steelworkers Local 9447:

“Union members are people who take care of our communities, the middle class, the elderly and children. We just want our slice of the pie. We don’t want the whole pie.”

Wiggins agreed that unions seldom are in the news except during strikes. “Nowadays we don’t go on strike; companies lock us out. They want people to think we are just a bunch of thugs who strong arm our way into getting what we want, and we’re not.”

He agreed that union members volunteer their time and money in many different ways. “We coach little league baseball, basketball, football and soccer. We donate to our local churches and to charities. We support all kinds of activities in our communities.”

The late Bill Sanders, who started as president of the Paducah building trades council before Henderson and Wiggins were born, said unions are vital to the well-being of their communities.

“We believe in community — good churches, good government, good jobs, good wages, health and welfare,” said Sanders, who became executive secretary of the council when he was 72 and  held that post until he died in 1999 at age 91.

Sanders, who was also vice president of the Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council, loaned $45,000 of his own savings to help buy land around the Jackson House retirement center, which opened in Paducah in 1974. The smaller Sanders House, across the street, is named for him.

Both retirement facilities were union-built and are union-operated.

Dubbed “Mr. West Kentucky Labor,” Sanders was quick to point out that more than union members benefit from unions. He remembered a Detroit woman who, almost penniless and down on her luck, got drunk in Paducah and ended up in jail. She had hurt her knee and needed medical attention.

“My office is near the jail,” Sanders said. “The jailer came over to me and told me about her. He said, ‘Bill, you’ve got a union meeting this morning. Will you see what you can do?’ I said I would, and I asked him how much money she would need. The jailer said, ‘Five hundred dollars for her hospital bill and she’ll have to have some traveling money, too.’ Well, we made up all that money. So I went down to the hospital and gave this money to that lady, and she said, ‘Mr. Sanders, when I get better, I’m going back to Detroit and go back to my husband and try to work things out.’ When she got well, she went back to Detroit, joined the church and got back with her husband. That’s the kind of things unions do that never get in the paper.

Brett Guthrie Votes For TPA aka Obamatrade

Brett Guthrie R2-KY voted today, June 18, 2015, to give President Barack Obama Trade Promotion Authority, aka Obamatrade, thus greasing the skids for the top secret, big business friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Now who would have thought that Republican congressman Brett Guthrie R2-KY would vote to give President Barack Obama all of that authority? TPA aka “Fast Track.”

Citizens Trade
Fast Track, however, delegates Congresses’ authority to the Executive branch so that the Administration is granted the power to negotiate trade agreements, draft implementing legislation to change U.S. law, and sign agreements into international law. Congress’s involvement is restricted to 20 hours of debate and an up or down vote on the final bill with no amendments allowed. Fast Track is an anomaly in terms of legislative procedure in which Congress generally goes through a multi-step process of writing, debating, and amending legislation.

Brett Guthrie voted for Obamatrade?  Wow! Money talks and our jobs walk.

This is the same guy that voted to take legal action against President Barack Obama and now he’s delegating his authority to the same President. Like I said, money talks.

Guthrie Votes for Legal Action Against President Obama

07/30/14

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Congressman Brett Guthrie voted today in support of a bill that provides a pathway for legal action to be taken against the president.  

“We’re seeing a president who is not interested in working through the appropriate and necessary legislative channels to make laws,” said Congressman Guthrie.  “With no regard for Congress, the president has taken a clear ‘my way or the highway’ approach. That’s not how the law making process was designed and flies in the face of the Constitution.”

“President Obama said during his last State of the Union address that he had a pen and a phone.  It turns out he’s only interested in using his pen.  There are three branches in the U.S. government – something the president seems to forget.”

H.Res. 676 authorizes the Speaker of the House to file a lawsuit against President Obama for not faithfully executing the law and fulfilling his duties as president, as required by the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit focuses on the requirements of Obamacare and the president’s unilateral delay of the employer mandate.  While the House has passed legislation many times to stop Obamacare’s implementation, the president does not have the constitutional authority to unilaterally rewrite laws.

“President Obama and I were first sworn into office at the same time.  He vowed to move past partisan politics and lead a transparent government, and I had hoped we could work together to solve the problems facing our nation.  It’s exceedingly clear that this is an ‘imperial presidency,’ a far cry from the collaborative, open environment he promised,” added Congressman Guthrie.