Changed Ham Hal Rogers, the Prince of Pork, celebrates the good ol’ days…

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August 11, 2011

Are those giant scissors coming out of your crotch or are you just happy to spend 1 Million Obamabucks?

Hal Rogers joined some of his employees friends in London on Tuesday to ribboncut the new Business Innovation and Growth Center.

The so-called incubator includes “9,600 square feet of product development, office and laboratory space. It’s expected to help create 127 jobs and generate $6 million in private investment in its first five years.”

It was paid for almost entirely by taxpayer funds, with over a million coming from the Feds and at least $400,000 from the State.

Hal of course is pretending to swear off such porkbellied projects these days as head of House Appropriations and there’s no reason to believe this incubator won’t actually create 127 jobs and generate $6 million in private investment over the next five years.

But it’s a damn shame that someone like Hal, who obviously understands the importance of tax dollars and what they can do for absolutely decimated counties around the country, can’t find it in his heart or his brain to beat back to vocal minority that threatens to destroy his party. Maybe that’s asking too much. Maybe it’ll just be more fun to watch Hal figure new ways to funnel money back home to help the struggling folks of Eastern Kentucky (or, you know, himself).

Who knows. What we can say with some certainty, is that Hal traditionally brings the bucks and his new taxpayer funded incubator is no different.

In a recent report (PDF), Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) examined “seven nonprofits Rep. Rogers helped start, a nonprofit venture capital firm, and eight private companies.” Oh, and a bank he partially owns.

The nonprofits collectively employ 147 people, according to their most recent tax forms.2 The tax forms also disclose salaries for twelve paid board members – some whom work only part-time – who made an average of $104,000 per year, ranging from a high of $173,581 to a low of $69,339.3 CREW also included nonprofit venture capital firm Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. (KHIC).

KHIC is the group behind Hal’s just-ribboncut $1 million taxpayer incubator. Here’s what CREW has to say about KHIC:

KHIC is a nonprofit venture capital firm based in London, Kentucky, that has connections to almost every other entity in Rep. Rogers’ web. Between 1998 and 2000, KHIC received $2.5 million in earmarks, almost certainly thanks to support from Rep. Rogers. Since 2000, KHIC has received more than $17 million from the federal government in grants and loans and Rep. Rogers has announced many of these awards. Rep. Rogers has also participated in many events at KHIC, including a groundbreaking for a business incubator for which he helped secure federal funds. L. Ray Moncrief, KHIC’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, donated $8,000 to Rep. Rogers’ campaigns over the past two election cycles, but not to any other federal candidates during that time period. In 2007, Rep. Rogers also appointed Jerry Rickett, president and chief executive officer of KHIC, to the board of the Tennessee Valley Corridor. Mr. Rickett and Mr. Moncrief preside over an empire which, in 2009, reported net assets worth at least $45 million. KHIC was founded as a community development corporation in 1968 with $15 million in grants from the federal government and now owns or directs at least 13 other entities, including for-profit venture capital funds and a real estate company.

CREW has much more on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (PDF), but as far as KHIC alone, they found the following payouts:

  • Earmarks (2000-2010): $500,000.
  • Federal Grants and Loans (2000-2010): $16.9 million.
  • Political Contributions (2001-Present): $14,000.

McConnell celebrates big government spending in Kentucky

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July 5, 2011

Here’s Mitch McConnell lying and being a gigantic hypocrite on the Senate floor today, renewing his hostage demands on the debt ceiling:

Attica! Attica!

Yes, these Democrats and their wild spending. So out of control they are.

Oh, by the way, yesterday Mitch McConnell was in Ashland, KY for a “multimillion dollar dedication“. A big federal taxpayer funded dedication. You know, back from the era in which Mitch McConnell bragged about bringing home more federal pork than any other Senator in the land.

One of the most powerful politicians in our country joined in a multimillion dollar dedication.

At Ashland’s new riverfront park, it’s not just Summer Motion that has returned to the banks of the mighty Ohio.

It was about six years ago that U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., brought a very big check to the city of Ashland.

And on Monday — after decades of dreams and planning, as well as years of challenges and construction — the senior senator from Kentucky came back to formally open a new chapter in this river city’s book of progress.

On his first time tour of the revamped Ashland riverfront, McConnell remembered the rainy day he joined in the groundbreaking for the $11 million project. And he spoke of the bright future the converted park brings to this river city.

See, the problem is, they need about $14 million more to finish the project, and you know that the New Mitch McConnell would never delve into something so maliciously evil as government spending to improve the economic…

The grant request for Ashland riverfront phase two is $14 million dollars, and there’s a timetable.


And while McConnell says dollars are tight, he wouldn’t rule anything completely out.

Of course he can’t rule that out. We might have a Republican president in 2013. At that point, just as the last 30 years has showed us, the deficit won’t matter. That whole “deficit/debt” thing is only worth worrying about when Democrats are president, but not when people named Reagan or Bush or Romney are president. It’s simple economics.

Mitch McConnell is once again showing off his crown, as he’s the Biggest Hypocrite in Washington, D.C.

It’s entirely possible that Mitch McConnell is a hypocrite

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July 1, 2011

Remember when Mitch McConnell said this right after the election?

Yes, despite what Ezra Klein says, Mitch McConnell is most certainly a liar.

Bruce Bartlett does a survey of surveys showing what “the people” want on taxes, contrary to what Mitch McConnell is holding the American economy hostage over:

A June 9 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 61 percent of people believe higher taxes will be necessary to reduce the deficit.

A June 7 Pew poll found strong support for tax increases to reduce the deficit; 67 percent of people favor raising the wage cap for Social Security taxes, 66 percent raising income tax rates on those making more than $250,000, and 62 percent favor limiting tax deductions for large corporations. A plurality of people would also limit the mortgage interest deduction.

A May 26 Lake Research poll of Colorado voters found that they support higher taxes on the rich to shore-up Social Security’s finances by a 44 percent to 25 percent margin.

A May 13 Bloomberg poll found that only one third of people believe it is possible to substantially reduce the budget deficit without higher taxes; two thirds do not.

A May 12 Ipsos/Reuters poll found that three-fifths of people would support higher taxes to reduce the deficit.

A May 4 Quinnipiac poll found that people favor raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 to reduce the deficit by a 69 percent to 28 percent margin.

There are 13 more at the link, all from this year.

Just because Mitch McConnell is occasionally off his game and lets the truth slip out does not make him the most honest person in DC.

Mitch McConnell not taking yes for an answer (UPDATE)

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July 1, 2011

The GOP was for the individual mandate before it was against it.

The GOP was for cap and trade before they were against it.

And yes, the GOP was for a deal on the debt ceiling that looked liked this, which Mitch McConnell and the GOP are now against and perfectly willing to bring upon the global economic apocalypse. After all, 2012 is an election year, and the GOP has been leading up to this moment for almost three years now:

By the end of the debt-ceiling negotiations, the Obama administration had agreed to a deal that would reduce the deficit by $2.4 trillion, with $2 trillion of the total coming from spending cuts and $400 billion coming from tax increases. Taxes, in other words, would be about 17 percent of the final deal. Republicans rejected it. But as little as four months ago, it was the Republican ideal.

Mike Konczal points us to “Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy,” the March 2011 report released by the Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee. The report, which tried to argue that fiscal austerity would lead to short-term growth, was as methodologically unsound, and quickly forgotten. But for our purposes, that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is the report’s golden ratio: “successful fiscal consolidations averaged 85% spending cuts and 15% revenue increases, while unsuccessful fiscal consolidations averaged 47% spending cuts and 53% revenue increases,” it concluded.

So when the GOP’s economic policy team sat down to make the strongest case they could for growth-inducing deficit reduction, they recommended a mix an 85:15 mix, not a 100:0 mix. And then, when the Obama administration agreed to an 83:17 mix, the Republican leadership walked out of the room and demanded that taxes be excluded from the deal altogether. How do you negotiate with that?

You mean, how do you negotiate with a party when their leader clearly states that his #1 goal is to make Barack Obama a one-term president? Even if that means an economic collapse?

Nah, I’m sure Lucy will keep the ball down this time.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

UPDATE: I have to share Strangeite’s comment, expanding further on the comparison of Mitch McConnell and Lucy Van Pelt:

Lucy is insecure and very thin-skinned. She berates the other characters mercilessly, but if anyone makes the slightest criticism of her, she flies off the handle and claims the others are not playing fair.

Lucy obviously doesn’t believe in governmental regulation, given her operation of an unlicensed psychiatric booth with no training.

Her sheer incompetence at playing outfield is never her fault, but the result of a series of escalating and absurd excuses; “The moons of Saturn got in my eyes” or “I think there were toxic substances coming from my glove, and they made me dizzy.”

And last but certainly not least, while the goal at hand will be to play a baseball game, she will constantly find ways to stop the game by creating some trivial issue. Instead of playing ball, she will stand at the pitcher’s mound and carry on a one-sided conversation with Charlie Brown over some insanely trivial matter, when everyone else just wants to play baseball.

The real reason Republicans are not happy with their Presidential candidates is because they are waiting for the real Lucy van Pelt to get into the race.

McConnell is for free trade agreements, but only if we don’t help displaced workers

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June 29, 2011

That’s just Mitch McConnell being Mitch McConnell.

You see, no one has advocated for free trade agreements more than Mitch McConnell over the past 20 years. But we must remember that Mitch McConnell’s #1 goal is to make sure that Barack Obama is a one-term president. So now that the Obama administration has finalized its plan for a trade deal with South Korea, Columbia and Panama, Mitch McConnell says that he will vote against it.

Why? Because it will actually provide funding to aid workers who lose their jobs (Trade Adjustment Assistance).

“I’ve never voted against a trade agreement before — but if the administration were to embed TAA into the Korean trade agreement, I would be compelled to vote against it,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters.

So here’s what we have, once again:

1. Mitch McConnell says that Barack Obama should compromise by agreeing to (questionable) free trade agreements.

2. Barack Obama agrees to the trade agreements.

3. Mitch McConnell says that he won’t vote for the trade agreements.

This seems to be repeating itself, doesn’t it? Barack Obama adopts policies that Republicans came up with (cap and trade, health insurance mandate), and then Republicans are suddenly against them.

Ain’t compromise grand?

Mitch McConnell says the darnedest things

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June 27, 2011

Mitch McConnell, perhaps more than anyone in Washington, DC (which would put him in the running worldwide), is the walking and talking human embodiment of a talking point. He goes into interviews knowing precisely what he is going to say, and he is going to answer with those same talking points, no matter what the interviewer asks or how many follow up questions he is given.

There are about a million examples of this, but here is one:

He’s not being facetious, he really does take pride in being nothing but a repetitive regurgitator of talking points.

Which makes this line from his appearance on This Week yesterday just adorable:

“Well, I think we’ve gotten to the point where we ought to put aside our talking points”

He then went on to regurgitate every talking point from every interview and press conference he’s given over the last 3 months.

That’s our Mitch.

McConnell brings hostage demands to the White House Monday

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June 24, 2011

With the rest of the Republican leadership taking their ball and going home, now it’s up to Mitch McConnell to negotiate the gutting of Medicare to electorally bailout out Republicans in 2012, in exchange for not bringing about a global economic collapse. From the Carroll at the CJ:

We have word now that President Barack Obama will meet on Monday with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to discuss the impasse in negotiations over the budget and the debt ceiling.

In essence, the budget crisis is going to the next level, now that the president’s chief negotiator, Vice President Joe Biden, and Republican and Democratic lawmakers broke off their talks on Thursday.

Here’s what Mitch has to say:

“It is my hope that the president requested this meeting in order to finally explain what it is that he’s prepared to do to solve our nation’s fiscal crisis. He’s requested an increase in the debt ceiling, but hasn’t yet explained to the American people what, other than tax hikes, he’s prepared to do about the massive deficits we’ve seen during his administration. The president needs to decide between his goal of massive tax hikes, and a bipartisan plan to address our deficit. But he can’t have both.

Ah, “the massive deficits we’ve seen during his administration”. How about the massive deficits that McConnell was directly responsible for during the Bush years, and the current “massive tax cuts” for top income that are the main reason we’re in the situation that we’re in today?

I guess he forgot to mention those…

McConnell admits that new GOP war critics are giant partisan hypocrites

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June 23, 2011

Oh yes he did. Here’s Mitch McConnell on why so many Republicans have suddenly become big war critics/doves:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

“I do think there is more of a tendency to pull together when the guy in the White House is on your side. So I think some of these views were probably held by some of my members even in the previous administration, but party loyalty tended to kind of mute them. I think a lot of our members, not having our party in the White House, feel more free to kind of express their reservations.”

Hey Geoff Davis, he’s talking to you!

It’s kind of easy to point to this and say this is another example of Mitch McConnell being “off his game”, admitting to something true in public when he is supposed to spin. But maybe Mitch is playing chess here, either in competition with the Paul/Tea Party right, or giving Obama more slack to screw up with next year concerning the wars.

Fascinating, either way.

Rand Paul wasting your tax dollars on collectivist transit

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June 23, 2011

Et tu, Rand?

McConnell accidentally admits that extending the Bush tax rates didn’t work

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June 22, 2011

Dave Weigel caught Mitch McConnell in a big ole logical slip up today. We all know that extending the Bush tax cuts (now Obama tax cuts) in December did nothing to help the economy, and apparently McConnell agrees:

“I, as you recall, negotiated in December an extension of current tax rates. They still had 59 Democrats and a 40-seat majority in the House when the vice president and I negotiated an extension of the current tax rates, and the president went around and said to do otherwise would be bad for the economy. Now, does anybody in this room think the economy is better now than it was in December? I don’t think so. So, look: Taxes aren’t going to be raised.”

That sounded to me like an admission that the tax cut deal hadn’t worked — which meant extending Bush rates plus adding sweeteners didn’t work. And that wasn’t what many Republicans were saying in January, when early job numbers pointed to a possible recovery. I asked McConnell to expand on that: If keeping the Bush tax rates wasn’t helping the economy any, why would we expect keeping those rates, or lowering them, would lead to growth?

“Well, if borrowing a trillion dollars in spending, largely on government, and over-regulating the economy, is good for the economy, we’d be in a boom time. So my view is: Quit doing what we’ve been doing. You certainly don’t want to raise taxes in the middle of the recession, which the president [agreed with] in December.”

So the Bush tax cuts totally worked! Unless you count the last 10 years and specifically the last 6 months.

You’re off your game, Mitch.




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