Wednesday, May 02, 2018

West Virginia's Senate Race: A Big Ugly Mess... Centered Around "Cocaine Mitch" McConnell


In his latest ad, West Virginia Republican Don Blankenship strike back at Mitch McConnell by refersring to himl as "cocaine Mitch"-- as in "Ditch Cocaine Mitch." Catchy. The primary is next Tuesday and McConnell is spending millions to make sure Blankenship loses. And it's working. Blankenship's polling has gone down from 1st to 3rd since McConnell's ad campaign went into full swing. Blankenship was formerly referring to McConnell as "a swamp captain," so this is a decision to get more aggressive with the very disliked head of the DC establishment Republicans.

McConnell controls a shady SuperPAC-- the Mountain Families PAC-- which is spending money in the primary to destroy Blankenship with TV ads reminding voters that he is a "convicted criminal," who lived a lavish lifestyle while ignoring mine safety laws. "Don Blankenship," one ad concludes, "was about the money. "West Virginia families paid the price." A million dollars in vicious ads like this have tanked Blankenship's campaign and made it a lot easier for popular conservative Democrat Joe Manchin to keep his seat.

The name-calling is intense. One of McConnell's former staffers, Josh Holmes, long rumored to be a McConnell lover, accused Blankenship of being "mentally ill" and Blankenship himself asserting that McConnell is in thrall to China, due to his Chinese father-in-law's shipping company, Foremost Maritime Corporation, which has financed McConnell's career and personal wealth. In fact, it was on one of the family ships, the Ping May, that the 90 pounds of cocaine was found-- being smuggled from Colombia to Holland. Recent polling has shown that McConnell is the most hated and toxic politician in America.

A decade before McConnell, a notorious closet queen, "married" Elaine Chao (a beard), her criminal father, James Chao, started donating to/bribing McConnell. In 2014, Lee Fang, in a report for for The Nation explains how McConnell benefitted from his relationship with his father-in-law (the cocaine smuggler).
The Republican Senate minority leader’s personal wealth grew seven-fold over the last ten years thanks in large part to a gift given to him and his wife in 2008 from James Chao worth between $5 million and $25 million (Senate ethics forms require personal finance disclosures in ranges of amounts, rather than specific figures). The gift helped the McConnells after their stock portfolio dipped in the wake of the financial crisis that year, and ensured they could pay off more than $100,000 in mortgage debt on their Washington home.

The generous gift made McConnell one of the wealthiest members of the Senate, with a net worth averaging around $22.8 million, according to The Washington Post’s review of his financial disclosures.

Following the gift, McConnell sent a letter of congratulations to an auditorium of Chinese officials in Shanghai who were gathered for an event honoring James Chao’s wife (McConnell’s mother-in-law, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, who passed away in 2007). The Shanghai Mulan Education Foundation, created in her honor, regularly hosts students from the University of Louisville, where McConnell has a leadership academy bearing his name that sends students on trips to China.

The ties between McConnell and his in-laws have come under scrutiny before. In 2001, they were probed in depth by the New Republic in an article that charged that McConnell led an effort to soften his party’s criticism of China. Through James Chao, who was a classmate of Jiang Zemin, the president of China in the ’90s, McConnell and his wife met with Jiang several times, both in Beijing and in Washington. McConnell subsequently tempered his criticism of Chinese human rights abuses, and broke with hawks like Senator Jesse Helms to support Most Favored Nation trading status with China. As Foremost established closer ties with mainland China, McConnell endorsed the position that the United States should remain “ambiguous” about coming to the defense of Taiwan. In 1999, McConnell and his wife appeared at the University of Louisville with Chinese Ambassador Li Zhaoxing. Li used the opportunity to bash congressional leaders for rebuking China over its repression of the Falun Gong religious sect. “Any responsible government will not foster evil propensities of cults by being over-lenient,” Li reportedly said at the event with McConnell and Chao. Rather than distance himself from the remarks, McConnell reportedly spoke about his “good working relationship” with Li.

...McConnell has positioned himself over the years as a tough on drugs politician. In 1996, McConnell was the sole sponsor of the Enhanced Marijuana Penalties Act, a bill to increase the mandatory minimum sentencing for those caught with certain amounts of marijuana. A press release noted that his bill would make “penalties for selling marijuana comparable to those for selling heroin and cocaine.”

In recent weeks, McConnell has touted his role in calling for more federal money to be used for drug enforcement.
Blankenship, whose own fiancée is from China, has been on the campaign trail telling West Virginia Republican voters that McConnell "has a lot of connections in China" and that his wife, now Trump's Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, is "from China, so we have to be really concerned that we are in truth" when it comes to putting America’s interests first. Meanwhile, McConnell's former lover, Holmes, noted that Blankenship had used a "racial blast" against the Taiwan-born Chao, whom he described as "the dictionary definition of the American dream... The one consistency we've seen over the last decade is that the death rattle of a primary candidate is always a tendency to attack other Republicans because they know reporters will report it. At this point what's clear is that voters are writing him off and so he knows that by attacking McConnell he'll get attention."

McConnell knows Manchin will easily defeat Blankenship, which is why he's doing all he can to make sure he loses next week's primary. As of the April 18th FEC reporting deadline Blankenship had raised $3,517,000, as much as the 2 generic GOP establishment candidates, Patrick Morrisey and Evan Jenkins combined. 99.94% of what Blankenship has "raised" ($3,515,000) came from his own bank account. McConnell's Mountain Familes PAC has spent $1,328,456 attacking Blankenship and McConnell's Senate Leadership Fund has kicked in another hundred grand. Meanwhile Schumer got into the act by spending $1,833,351 to help Blankenship, persuaded that he will be the easiest Republican for Manchin to beat. Sounds like a vile mess? Of one thing there is no doubt: the winner of the West Virginia Senate race in November will be a conservative who puts special interests ahead of working families' interests. The game may be expensive-- but it is definitely rigged.

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At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had read somewhere that McTurtle's FIL (and his immediate relatives) hold control of many of the US ports. IF we still had real investigative reporters, and a media which wasn't owned by corporatist criminals, might we soon learn just how much this cushy arrangement is affecting the Average American - even those in the flyover states which have never seen a container ship?

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish you would stop wasting your space with takedowns of WV.

Nobody in WV even cares if they get ratfucked. All they care about is their hate (of minorities, women and democraps). They'll elect anyone who also hates as they do and will put up with infinite ratfucking (like never wanting mining regulations that will prevent hundreds of deaths per year) without even connecting the dots.

You don't waste much space on KS either... same thing. Leave those hapless morons to suffer their own stupidity and prejudices.

You can do the mcturtle takedowns in any context. You (and we) don't need WV or KS.

At 2:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree, 1:56. If Gore had won WV, he'd have been president. That he didn't is completely upon him.

At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gore didn't WANT to win. His turtling right after and his gaveling down the CBC challenge to the electors proves this. Yes, it was completely upon him.

I seriously doubt that gore could have ever won WV anyway.

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, 5:29. But this raises the question: Why run if you don't want to win? Why did the Party make him their candidate? Were they already in the tank to corporatism and on the take?

This enquiring mind wants to know!

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that Gore probably couldn't have won West Virginia in 2000, but this begs the question: why, after decades of being in the Democrat column, did the state suddenly turn bright red? The answer, I believe, lies with the fact that beginning with Bill Clinton (and even earlier), the Democrats began adopting the economic policies of the Republican Party. Promoting such folly as NAFTA and Most Favored Nation status for China (I.e., alowing the Chinese Communists to join the WTO.) The result of these policies has been the utter devastation of West Virginia and other heavily industrialized states - the "Rust Belt".

Before neoliberal economic policies rose to the forefront, West Virginia, although never prosperous, ranked in the mid-30's among the 50 states in most socio-economic categories. It was only after the DLC and the DNC adopted Republican economic policies that the state fell to the bottom with Mississippi, Arkansas and other economically backward states. To win back West Virginia, the Democrats have to promote and adopt policies that bring 'real, concrete benefits'. Working people will respond to these ideas as witnessed by the success of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidentially primary where he beat Clicnton in all 55 of the state's counties. It also explain why Trump, with his admittedly shallow promises to MAGA, beat Clinton in WV and other declining industrial states. Clinton offered only 'blame the victim' policies. E.G, "get an education" or "innovate".


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