Mitch McConnell promises to hand the government over to corporate America if the Republicans retake the Senate in November

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Every summer, at about this time, conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch apparently shine the sign of the relentlessly sucking vampire squid onto the dark, steely clouds above Gotham and call our nation’s most evil industrialists to a secret location, where, over steak, cigars, and the world’s finest prostitutes, they plot the destruction of our federal government alongside their bought-and-paid-for politicians.

Well, this year, thanks to an anonymous source, audio has been smuggled out from this several hundred person event, which the Koch brothers refer to ironically as “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society.”

There’s a lot that still needs to be delved into, but, on the surface, the biggest surprise seems to be the fact that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell can be heard on the recording promising hundreds of our country’s most wealthy conservatives that, if the Republicans take control of the United States Senate this November, they’ll set out immediately to scuttle current attempts to raise the minimum wage, and instead set to work defunding every initiative put in place by the Obama administration… rolling back environmental protections, repealing Wall Street reforms, and killing Obamacare.

While there’s no evidence as to how well his message was received, our friends at Think Progress are reporting that the objective of this year’s secret Koch event was “to raise $500 million toward making McConnell the Senate majority leader next year and another $500 million to defeat a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.” And it would seem that McConnell did a pretty good job of articulating why investing in the Republican party would be in the best interests of those in the room.

Given the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court, which essentially gave corporations the ability to expend unlimited resources on U.S. elections, one imagines that Mitch won’t have any problem raising the money…. Speaking of the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 Citizens United ruling, McConnell can be heard on the tape praising the decision as having “(leveled) the playing field for corporate speech” and given rise to “the most free and open system we’ve had in modern times.”

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Here, if you’re interested to know more about what McConnell said, is a clip from the New York Times, followed by a recording of the audio.

…“In the House and Senate, we own the budget,” he said, explaining that the initial blueprint on taxes and spending does not require the president’s signature. “So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. We will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on health care, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.”

The channel released audio of three other Republicans in tough Senate races — Representatives Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Joni Ernst, a state senator in Iowa — all of whom also praised Charles G. and David H. Koch and the millions of dollars they have provided to help Republican candidates…

Fortunately, as the author of the New York Times piece points out, McConnell, even if he and his party take the Senate, may have a problem making good on his promises, unless he has a plan as to how they might be able to end the filibuster. (As it stands, spending bills with “riders” would need 60 votes in the Senate in order to avoid filibuster, and, even if the Republicans retake the Senate, it seems unlikely they would be able to get that many votes to repeal the initiatives McConnell noted.) That doesn’t, however, mean that they couldn’t do significant damage. As the New York Times points out, “Through a budget procedure called reconciliation, Republicans could clear a path to tax legislation or changes to entitlement programs that could pass later in the year with simple majorities in the House and the Senate.”

Elizabeth Warren, among others, is taking McConnell’s comments very seriously. Here’s what she had to say earlier today.

I couldn’t believe the words that came out of Mitch McConnell’s mouth last week.

The Republican Leader admitted that if his party takes control of the Senate this November, they’ll spend the next two years using tricks and political games to undermine President Obama’s power and grind the government’s work to a halt.

Then today, a new audio recording came out of Mitch McConnell speaking at a secret Koch Brothers strategy conference. He confirmed his plans: First, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and second, gut the new rules we passed to hold Wall Street accountable. It’s a one-two punch to leave families on their knees while the big banks rake in bigger and bigger profits.

If you thought last year’s government shutdown was reckless, or if you thought last month’s Republican lawsuit against the President was disgraceful, just imagine what Washington will look like with a Republican-controlled House and Senate bought and paid for by the millionaires, billionaires, and Wall Street.

It’s already hard enough to get real reform done in Washington, but as long as we control the Senate, we can stay on offense. And most importantly, we’re in a much better position to fight for what we believe in.

-To fight for raising the minimum wage, so no one who works full-time lives in poverty.
-To fight for strengthening Social Security, so people can retire with dignity after a lifetime of work.
-To fight for our kids to have a chance to go to college without getting crushed by debt.
-To fight for equal pay for equal work and access to birth control.
-And to fight for stronger rules and tougher enforcement on Wall Street, so we can start to level the playing field for America’s middle class.

I’m fighting for this and a whole lot more – but the truth is, it would become much more difficult to get anything done if we lose control of the Senate two months from now.

If you’d like to help ensure that we keep the Senate from the hands of politicians who owe their careers to the Koch brothers and the astroturf Tea Party organizations that they’ve created to attack progressive candidates and spread disinformation helpful to their small government cause, please join me in sending a few dollars today to Alison Lundergan Grimes so that she can afford to keep fighting McConnell in Kentucky. It’s certainly an uphill battle, but it’s not impossible.

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19 Comments

  1. Meta
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    From The Hill:

    But McConnell’s campaign stood by the comments, and his campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore pointed back to a recording of Grimes at a recent fundraiser, where she made no mention of Kentucky’s coal industry.

    “In contrast to Alison Lundergan Grimes’ failure to defend Kentucky coal from the EPA behind closed doors with Obama donors, Senator McConnell fights for Kentucky wherever he goes,” Moore said. “Earlier this summer Grimes failed to utter a word of support after promising Kentuckians she would defend Kentucky coal at a Harry Reid fundraiser and lord knows what she said to Tom Steyer and anti-coal billionaires when she attended their conference in Chicago.”

    Read more:
    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/216093-mcconnell-under-fire-for-comments-to-koch-summit#ixzz3BgrFWYAC

  2. Eel
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    The only thing that surprises me about this is the fact that people are surprised by it.

  3. Meta
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Ezra Klein and many others believe the Republicans will retake the Senate.

    Unlike in the House, where every seat is up for reelection, only about a third of the Senate is up for reelection in any given cycle. In 2014, the third of the Senate up for reelection is the third of the Senate that won their seats in 2008. And since 2008 was a very Democratic year, that means Democrats are caught defending many more seats than Republicans.

    Of the 36 seats up for reelection in 2014, Democrats control 21 of them. Republicans only control 15. So Republicans have many more opportunities to win seats than Democrats do.

    That’s one reason why pretty much every major forecaster is currently projecting that Republicans will retake the Senate in 2014. The New York Times gives them a 67 percent chance. The Washington Post gives them a 61 percent chance. “The most likely outcome involves the Republicans winning about the six seats they need to take over the Senate, give or take a couple,” writes Nate Silver.

    Read more:
    http://www.vox.com/2014/8/27/6053039/the-most-important-facts-about-the-2014-election

  4. EOS
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    “set to work defunding every initiative put in place by the Obama administration”

    Can’t happen quick enough!

  5. anonymous
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    This, from Talking Points Memo, is all you need to know about the Koch brothers and their intentions: “The Kochs and their network have poured millions into an array of organizations — including Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the Heritage Foundation — which deny science behind climate change, while fighting to roll back federal cuts to carbon emissions from power plants, to undo state-level renewable energy requirements, to stop environmental regulations, and to take down various other efforts like Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.”

    The fact that you really think this Tea Party movement of yours really about individual liberty is both incredibly sad and totally hilarious, EOS.

  6. Posted August 28, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Yet the poor, rural Christians will continue to vote for these people because abortion!/blacks!/gays!/guns!. Going balls to the wall forced birth and anti-affirmative action was simply brilliant, as it got the South, Catholics, etc. to vote against their economic interests. I’d love to hear some audio just ripping the crap out of those people. (Not that it would make them change their voting habits…it would just be fun to listen to).

  7. Taco Farts
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

  8. EOS
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Unlike real legislation, executive orders can be revoked in a day with a second “stroke of the pen – law of the land”.

  9. alan2102
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    “Elizabeth Warren, among others, is taking McConnell’s comments very seriously.”

    Hmmm. Could that be the same Elizabeth Warren who — along with Al Franken, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, and ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of all other Democrats in the Senate — just finished voting to support genocidal atrocities in the ME?
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/18/1314873/-Senate-Passes-Resolution-Endorsing-Israeli-War-Crimes-by-Unanimous-Consent#

    Could that be the same Elizabeth Warren who consistently apologizes for militarism and imperialism, and who is herself a 1%-er with close ties to some of the worst banks and corporations?
    http://interestingblogger.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/elizabeth-warren-is-a-fraud/
    http://interestingblogger.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/does-elizabeth-warren-really-care-about-the-average-american/

    Yes, THAT Elizabeth Warren.

    But, in spite of her well-documented sordid past, I have every confidence that she will now — from this day forward! — stand tall and take principled positions in favor of truth, justice and the interests of common people of this and all nations. I am similarly confident that her fellow Democrats will follow suit. Amen.

  10. alan2102
    Posted August 30, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/08/28/elizabeth-warren-speaks-israelgaza-sounds-like-netanyahu/
    “when Warren has spoken on national security, she has invariably spouted warmed-over, banal Democratic hawk tripe…. During her Senate campaign, for instance, she issued wildly militaristic – and in some cases clearly false – statements about Iran and its nuclear program that would have been comfortable on the pages of The Weekly Standard.
    Even as conservative Democratic Senate candidates from red states such as Nebraska’s Bob Kerrey were vehemently condemning the threat of war against Iran during their campaigns, Warren was claiming (contrary to the U.S. Government’s own assessment) that “Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons”, adding: “I support strong sanctions against Iran and believe that the United States must also continue to take a leadership role in pushing other countries to implement strong sanctions as well.” Those claims about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons remained her position even after she was told that they squarely contradict the U.S. intelligence community’s clear assessment of Iran’s actions.”

    NO! That is NOT the real Liz Warren! NOT NOT NOT! Liz Warren is a PROGRESSIVE — like Obama — and a believer in peace and justice! If she actually said any of those bad or stupid things, it must have been because the evil Republicans conned her into it. That’s the only explanation. Maybe the NSA implanted those ideas in her brain with a mind-control laser, on the demand of Mitch McConnell. Whatever the case, she doesn’t really believe those things, in her heart of hearts, and we’ve got to pray and have faith that she will never be conned like that again.

  11. Posted August 31, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Left leaning America does not really care about truth or justice. What they are interested in (like their extreme right wing counterparts) is purity of thought.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Warren on Isreal, but I’m happy to see that she isn’t cowering blindly to her supporters. I’m not sure that many politicians truly do, but it’s certainly the case that American liberals expected that she would.

  12. alan2102
    Posted September 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Peter: You’re right. Warren has no obligation to blindly, coweringly refrain from being a nazi/neocon and exponent of mass murder. The clear will of her constituents is irrelevant. It is high time we ceased clucking about this silly “representative democracy” nonsense. Instead, we must explicitly affirm Michels’ “iron law of oligarchy”, and get on with the full-bore fascist project. No more temporizing, excuses, or mincing of words!

  13. dragon
    Posted September 2, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Alan
    Would you be willing to rank the 100 Senators? More specifically, which republicans do you feel are better than Warren? And why?
    Or are you just a pox on both parties, neither are as pure as i am, asshole.

  14. alan2102
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    dragon: “asshole”.

    Now now, old bean, I may be an asshole, but at least I keep myself clean.

    Which party is “better” depends on what you want. If you want things to remain approximately in a holding pattern, you might want to vote R. That’s because, as I’ve explained earlier, the Rs are indeed crazy reactionary mofos, but by virtue of that very fact they arouse resistance, and tend to neutralize themselves. With the Ds, the opposite obtains. The antiwar movement, for example, was robust and growing during the Dubya years, but collapsed promptly as soon as Obama was elected — and has remained collapsed, you might note. The Occupy phenomenon was essentially a late reaction to the dominance of R-type policies (supported by both Rs and Ds, including Clinton) and the corresponding move toward fascism/feudalism over the last 30 years, and it collapsed after a short run on broadway. If we had an R in charge, it is much more likely that Occupy would have survived and grown. Having a D in the White House provides that tiny glimmer of hope that is necessary to defuse real radical initiative or significant protest.

    The Rs are so fucking insane that near anyone in their right mind is shocked and moved to take counter-action. Even some staunch conservative Rs of long standing became so nauseated with their own party during Dubya’s reign that they dropped out and became independent. An outstanding example is Paul Craig Roberts — life-long R, Assistant Sec’y of the Treasury under Reagan, (etcetera), who became profoundly radicalized during the Dubya years and now sounds like a firebrand progressive. He sounds like what Liz Warren SHOULD sound like, but does not, because she is a phoney and he isn’t. I now class Roberts as one of the greatest big-picture truth-tellers currently on the planet, right up there with guys like Chris Hedges, Morris Berman, Chris Floyd, Noam Chomsky, and a few others. Listen to a few of his interviews and you will see why I say that: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/category/interviews/

    The Rs, then, have a self-neutralizing tendency because they are SO crazy and unacceptable, while the Ds, in contrast, put everyone to sleep and remove all urgency. Their rhetoric is much better and more reassuring. While pursuing substantially the same policies as the Rs, they are more effective than Rs; as Glen Ford (blackagendareport.com) put it, they are the “more effective evil”. If you want to speed America on its path to fascism/feudalism/banana-republic-ism, with little in the way of resistance, you should vote D. Under a D regime, the neocon/fascist/CIA complex can (and, as everyone can now clearly see, DOES) get just about everything it wants, unimpeded by the dissent and resistance that would accompany the same actions by the Rs.

    A growing tendency in the progressive sphere over the next 5-10 years will be Warren-Bot-ism — and perhaps Hillary-bot-ism as well, though it is difficult to imagine anyone taking Hillary seriously as a progressive. Warren-bots will defend Liz no matter what she does, no matter how outrageously fascistic and murderous her actual votes. Which is understandable, since she skillfully delivers appealing faux-populist rhetoric about getting after Wall St, etc. However, no real populistic initiatives will be undertaken or gain traction. She is controlled opposition; useful and in fact indispensable to the forces of fascism, since progressive elements must be kept in the game, thinking that they’re going to get something. Otherwise, they might drop out and begin organizing authentic alternatives — real threats to the system. The Occupy phenomenon was such a real threat, and it had to be neutralized. Liz is a great neutralizer in that respect: Occupy-ish rhetoric, with no substance. She’s perfect, really; straight out of Central Casting. She would be ideal on the bottom half of a ticket with Hillary — taking the edge off of Hillary’s strident neo-fascism and tossing a minor bone to progressives (which they would triumphantly chew on for 5 years or so, until the hopium wears off). Mike Malloy, btw, on Hillary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=1SGlDpVgGgk#t=330

    The Democratic Party in general can now be counted upon to (attempt to, probably successfully) co-opt and neutralize any real opposition to empire, imperialism, militarism, police-state-ism, and so on.

    The Warren-bots will follow in the footsteps of their forebears, the now thoroughly-discredited Obama-bots — many of them being the same people. Eventually the Warren-bots will be mugged by reality enough times that it will no longer be possible to maintain the facade — just as no serious person with an above-room-temp I.Q. can maintain such a facade with respect to Obama. But that will take at least 5 years; maybe 10. And by then, there will be another “progressive” controlled-opposition savior to take her place.

    Cornell West on final decline and fall of the Obama-bots (and on Hillary):

    http://www.salon.com/2014/08/24/cornel_west_he_posed_as_a_progressive_and_turned_out_to_be_counterfeit_we_ended_up_with_a_wall_street_presidency_a_drone_presidency/

    SUNDAY, AUG 24, 2014 07:00 AM EDT

    [H]e posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair.

    [W]e ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist. It’s like, “Oh, no, don’t tell me that!” I tell you this, because I got hit hard years ago, but everywhere I go now, it’s “Brother West, I see what you were saying. Brother West, you were right. Your language was harsh and it was difficult to take, but you turned out to be absolutely right.”

    Q: Is there anybody who thinks he’s progressive enough today?

    Nobody I know. Not even among the progressive liberals. Nobody I know. Part of this, as you can imagine, is that early on there was a strong private-public distinction. People would come to me and say privately, “We see what you’re saying. We think you’re too harsh in how you say it but we agree very much with what you’re saying in private.” In public, no comment. Now, more and more of it spills over in public.

    Q: One last thought, I was talking to a friend recently and we were saying, if things go the way they look like they’re going to go and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee and then wins a second term, the next time there’ll be a chance for a liberal, progressive president is 2024.”

    A: It’d be about over then, brother. I think at that point – Hillary Clinton is an extension of Obama’s Wall Street presidency, drone presidency, national surveillance, national security presidency. She’d be more hawkish than he is, and yet she’s got that strange smile that somehow titillates liberals and neo-liberals and scares Republicans. But at that point it’s even too hard to contemplate.

  15. dragon
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Wow.
    I had a feeling you were a nut job, thanks for clearing that up for me.
    Paul Craig Roberts writes for infowars(alex jones), vdare, breitbart,drudge,etc..
    and yes the world is coming to an end in 2017

    It was 2017. Clans were governing America. Clans organized around families and individuals who possessed stocks of food, bullion, guns and ammunition.
    The first clans organized around local police forces. The conservatives’ war on crime during the late 20th century and the Bush/Obama war on terror during the first decade of the 21st century had resulted in the police becoming militarized and unaccountable.
    As society broke down, the police became warlords. The state police broke apart, and the officers were subsumed into the local forces of their communities. The newly formed tribes expanded to encompass the relatives and friends of the police.
    ..Goods reappeared in markets under the protection of local warlords. Transactions were conducted in barter and in gold, silver, and copper coins.

    __________
    So your message is:
    the Rs are indeed crazy reactionary mofos

    The Rs are so fucking insane that near anyone in their right mind is shocked and moved to take counter-action. Even some staunch conservative Rs of long standing became so nauseated with their own party during Dubya’s reign that they dropped out and became independent.

    The Rs, then, have a self-neutralizing tendency because they are SO crazy and unacceptable

    Vote republican!
    Makes perfect sense.

  16. alan2102
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    “Paul Craig Roberts writes for infowars”

    No, he does not “write FOR infowars”. He writes, and his stuff is picked up by a variety of sites. My personal fave is http://www.counterpunch.com (one of the very few authentically left sites), but there are others.

    As for that quotation (from an older PCR column that I missed): yeah, the occasional dystopian scenario is appropriate. We may indeed be heading for a place that dismal. With luck it will not be that bad, but who knows? Our “leaders” are not lifting a finger to prevent such outcomes, much less to prepare us for such possibilities.

    PCR: “The conservatives’ war on crime during the late 20th century and the Bush/Obama war on terror during the first decade of the 21st century had resulted in the police becoming militarized and unaccountable.” Right. Sound familiar? It should. It is happening, and it will get worse. It IS GETTING worse. Do you ever hear old Lizzy Warren speaking truth that plainly? No. Not a chance.

    “Vote republican! Makes perfect sense.”

    I did not recommend voting R. I did venture my thoughts as to the meaning and impact of voting R, or D. Do you understand the difference?

    As for recommendations, I suppose voting D is better just because it makes us feel better, temporarily, and there’s nothing wrong with a little short-term gratification — provided it is done in the knowledge that that is all it is.

    By the way, I don’t mind insults at all. Ad hominem is cool. But I prefer if the insults are accompanied by some substance, some real argument, some actual on-point reply to what was originally offered. That’s when it has value. Try it some time. You might enjoy it.

  17. alan2102
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Further from that PCR item that you quoted:

    “With the dollar’s demise, import prices skyrocketed. As Americans were unable to afford foreign-made goods, the transnational corporations that were producing offshore for US markets were bankrupted, further eroding the government’s revenue base.”

    Yo. This is coming, but it might not be quickly as PCR suggests in this fanciful scenario. It might happen as more of an evolutionary or incremental abandonment of the dollar as the universal medium of trade settlement. This is already beginning, in trade relations (especially wrt energy) between Russia, China, the BRICS and the rest of the world in general. It might take quite a few more years yet for the dollar to lose its status. Or, maybe it WILL happen more quickly. Who knows? But it is coming, that much is for sure.

    The dollar’s “exorbitant privilege” (as a French Minister of Finance put it, insightfully, decades ago) — the real major source of our fantastic wealth, at the expense of the rest of the world — will not go on forever. The natives are restless. They are getting REALLY fed up with us (the U.S.) and our depredations. And they are not going to put up with it much longer. Why do they hate us? Because we’ve been shitting on them for decades.

    This is the kind of critical truth that you will hear from Paul Craig Roberts, and a few other truth-tellers that I mentioned, but not from a single politician either R or D. Lizzy Warren? Forget it! Hillary? DOUBLE forget it! It is actually inconceivable now that any politician of either party could speak honestly and plainly about the truly important issues. The situation is too far gone; the truth is far too upsetting, unsettling, radicalizing.

  18. Demetrius
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Re: Thomas Frank’s interview with Cornell West that recently appeared in Slate (that alan2012 mentions above) … it is definitely worth a full read:

    http://www.salon.com/2014/08/24/cornel_west_he_posed_as_a_progressive_and_turned_out_to_be_counterfeit_we_ended_up_with_a_wall_street_presidency_a_drone_presidency/

  19. alan2102
    Posted September 4, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    And, for the last few ‘Bama-bot stragglers out there (if any):

    Chris Hedges:
    “How many times does Obama have to lie to you before you get it?”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FhfZGy3p844#t=455

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