Rand Paul

Must-see morning clip: Jon Stewart wants Rand Paul to pick an opinion and stick with it

Must-see morning clip: Jon Stewart wants Rand Paul to pick an opinion and stick with it

Screenshot from The Daily Show

 Salon

“You took a position, you should stand by it!” Stewart exclaimed

If Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is to become the GOP’s presidential candidate in 2016, he’s going to have to stick to his opinions, said Jon Stewart on Thursday night. While Paul has sought to end funding to Israel, he has since backtracked on his unpopular opinion. Stewart criticized Paul for flip-flopping on his foreign aid stance, exclaiming, “You took a position, you should stand by it!” Now Paul is off to the Iowa, where he’ll probably say many more unpopular things.

One Congressman’s Very Awkward Confrontation With DREAMers: ‘You Are Very Good At English’

Undocumented activist Erika Andiola (left) confronts Rep. Steve King (R-IA) | CREDIT: DRM ACTION COALITION

Think Progress

During an awkward confrontation Monday, two undocumented activists approached Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in a restaurant in Okoboji, Iowa, to tell them that they are undocumented. After shaking hands, undocumented activists Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas told King that they did not want him to kill an executive action that grants temporary legal presence to DREAMers, a colloquial term used to describe some undocumented immigrants illegally brought to the country as children, like themselves.

Andiola asked King to rip up her employment authorization card, a work authorization document issued after she had been approved for a presidential initiative known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. But King refused and instead said that their families were not abiding by the laws of the country. When she charged that he had said that undocumented immigrants like her have “cantaloupe calves,” alluding to a characterization he had made on the House floor last year, he said, “You can understand the English language.”

ANDIOLA: I’m actually a DREAMer. I’m originally from Mexico, but I was raised here. I graduated from Arizona State University. I know you want to get rid of DACA. And I wanted to give you the opportunity, if you really want to get rid of DACA, just rip mine. You can go ahead and do that. You take my DACA, you will literally take away everything.

KING: This is not what I do. [...] I don’t call you names–

ANDIOLA: I mean, cantaloupe calves?

KING: That’s drug smugglers. You’re very good at English. [Grabs Andiola's arm] You know what I’m saying. So you can understand the English language. You’re saying something that’s not true. I spoke of drug smugglers… Your ears work too, I was speaking of drug smugglers only.

ANDIOLA: You’re the one who’s trying to get rid of DACA.

KING: And you heard why. I told you why. The president has no constitutional authority to do what he has done.

ANDIOLA: Yes he does. [She turns to Vargas] He’s actually an attorney, he’s a DREAMer. He graduated from law school.

KING: Oh and that makes you an authority. [...] You keep your card. I don’t do individual policy. I do national policy for everyone. It troubles me a great deal that you have such disrespect for the laws of the United States of America. You’re telling me that you don’t have to abide by the laws.”

 

For his part, Paul — still masticating on a hamburger — assessed the situation early on and left the table with his aide Sergio Gor. Gor later told the National Journal, “Senator Paul had a media avail after the event and that’s where we had to be. CNN, Buzzfeed, Wall Street Journal and several local outlets attended the media avail.”

In the nearly eight minute clip provided by the advocacy group DRM Action Coalition, King went on to accuse Andiola and Vargas for “not abiding by our laws.” Even after Vargas explained that he wanted to serve in the military and that there wasn’t a system for him to be able to become legal, King kept pushing the claim that President Obama had violated constitutional law and eroded the rule of law. King said, “I don’t want to build a country with people who disrespect the law.” When Andiola explained that her mother had escaped domestic violence, King egged her on saying, “she’s illegally in the United States.” Deep in their uncomfortable argument, a man shouted “Go home! Take care of your own.”

Andiola’s confrontation is not the first, and it is not likely to be the last. Late last year, two teenagers approached House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in a Washington, D.C.-area diner to ask him to stop deportations. Another time, former- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) brushed off a young girl who asked him to help her undocumented father. Activists have also held candlelight vigils at Boehner’s home and have been arrested for holding civil disobedience sit-ins in House Republican offices.

Before they left for August recess, House Republicans voted through two measures that would gut legal protections for DREAMers and unaccompanied Latin American children who are coming across the southern border. They have approved measures in the past that would make it easier to bring civil lawsuits against the executive branch for failing to execute federal law and requiring the attorney general to explain the constitutionality of all enforcement decisions made by federal agencies. The Senate will likely not take up any of these bills and the President has already promised to veto the measures.

Rand Paul To MSNBC: When Your Network Stops Lying, Then We Can Chat

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MSNBC Screenshot

Most GOP lawmakers avoid MSNBC like the plague.

I have my issues with MSNBC in general but Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow represent the best of that network.  Notice that Rand Paul went on a program from MSNBC’s afternoon lineup which happens to include several anchors one of which is the daughter of a former GOP politico.

Therefore, I suspect Rand Paul means Hayes, Maddow and O’Donnell.  Those three have a “no holds barred” approach to their network broadcasts.  By the way, it’s a known fact that virtually all GOPers stay away from anything resembling “truth”.   Just sayin’…

TPM LiveWire

In the interview on “The Cycle,” host Ari Melber probed Paul to discuss his apparent change of heart on the Civil Rights Act. Melber brought up the senator’s comments from 2010 in which he said he would have modified the act’s rules for private businesses. Paul responded to Melber by saying that he had always been in support of the act and that MSNBC had treated him unfairly.

“I learned my lesson: To come on MSNBC and have a philosophical discussion, the liberals will come out of the woodwork and go crazy and say you’re against the Civil Rights Act, and you’re some terrible racist. And I take great objection to that,” Paul said.

Paul went on to say he took “great offense” to people skewing his viewpoint, saying he was the biggest advocate in Congress for getting back people’s voting rights and “mak[ing] the criminal justice system fair.”

“The honest discussion of it would be that I never was opposed to the Civil Rights Act,” Paul interrupted as Melber continued to push for discussion on the senator’s past comments. “And when your network does 24-hour news telling the truth, then maybe we can get somewhere with the discussion.”

Watch the interview via MSNBC here…

Sunday Talk: The daddy party – 07-27-2014

ALT TEXT

Daily Kos

If, as is widely expected, Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz should both decide toseek the GOP nomination for president in 2016, the race will be a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican party.

And, more importantly, it will deliver themost epic campaign surrogate match-up in American history.

Rand, a self-certified ophthalmologist, is the son of conspiracy theorist/Russiaapologist Ron Paul, MD—himself a two-time primary loser.

The good doctor’s experience with direct mail would certainly be a boon to Rand’sminority outreach efforts; and he’d need all the help he can get on that front.

After all, Ted’s outspoken father, Rev. Rafael Cruz, hails from Cuba (and later Canada), which makes Ted a bona fide minority—unlike Rand, who just plays a minority in urban settings.

 

Morning lineup:

Meet The Press: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Chris Gunness (United Nations Relief and Works Agency); Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY); Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); Roundtable: Judy Woodruff (PBS), David Brooks (New York Times), Nia-Malika Henderson (Washington Post) and Ruth Marcus (Washington Post).

Face The Nation: Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin; Roundtable: David Leonhardt (New York Times), Amy Walter (Cook Political Report), Anthony Salvanto and John Dickerson (CBS News).

This Week: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX); Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX); Roundtable: Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), S.E. Cupp (CNN) and Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich

Fox News Sunday: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA); Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi; Roundtable: Brit Hume(Fox News), Kirsten Powers (USA Today), George Will (Washington Post) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Sen. Lindsey Graham(R-SC); Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley; Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA); Julia Ioffe (The New Republic).

 

Elsewhere:

A Florida state senator was so impressed by convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza’s latest “documentary” that he wants it shown in every school statewide.

Republican Alan Hays, inspired after seeing the movie in theaters, said he now plans on introducing a one-page bill in November which wouldrequire all 1,700 Florida high schools and middle schools to show the movie to their students, unless their parents choose to opt them out. The documentary film is a conservative-spin on American history focusing on elevating the “essential goodness of America” while discrediting criticisms about American’s checkered history with civil rights and social justice. It’s not completely inconceivable for the bill to pass the Republican-controlled Florida legislature and be signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott.”I saw the movie and walked out of the theater and said, ‘Wow, our students need to see this.’ And it’s my plan to show it to my colleagues in the legislature, too, before they’re asked to vote on the bill,” Hays said.

 

GOP’s ’16 consolation vanishes: Suddenly, Democrats have the deep bench!

GOP's '16 consolation vanishes: Suddenly, Democrats have the deep bench!

Elizabeth Warren, Ted Cruz (Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts/AP)

Salon

After Romney’s 2012 loss, pundits raved about the GOP’s new leaders. But two years later, Democrats have the edge

In the wake of President Obama’s re-election in 2012, reporters found one soothing source of solace for the GOP. “One race the Republicans appear to be winning is the one for the deepest bench of rising stars,” wrote the Washington Post, and plenty of folks followed up. Democrats, meanwhile, had nobody on the bench but Hillary Clinton – a formidable candidate if she were to run, but that wasn’t even certain.

Beyond Clinton, there seemed to be a wasteland populated by ambitious governors no one had ever heard of (Martin O’Malley), some who were well known but not widely liked (Andrew Cuomo). Oh, and Brian Schweitzer.

The Republican list, meanwhile, seemed almost infinite: blue and purple state governors like New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and Virginia’s Bob McConnell, and Tea Party senators like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Romney’s ambitious, “wonky” running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, had his fans, as did former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Even Texas Gov. Rick Perry, recovered from back surgery and sporting hot new glasses, could have another life in 2016.

But in two years, the situation has almost reversed itself. Promising GOP governors – McDonnell, Christie, Walker – find themselves dogged by scandal. The Tea Party trio of Paul, Cruz and Rubio still vies for media attention and right wing adoration, but Rubio’s immigration reform work doomed him on the right. Unbelievably, Paul is widely labeled the frontrunner (but don’t tell that to Cruz), while the party establishment and neocon hawks search for an alternative. Despite all that impressive talent, Mitt Romney leads the pack in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, in what’s widely being reported as trouble for Hillary Clinton, because that’s the narrative the media know best, it turns out there are a bunch of popular and maybe even formidable Democrats. Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren wowed the crowd at Netroots Nation. (Check out this great New Yorker Biden profile if you want to know how the VP is keeping his options open). The Netroots buzz inspired the Washington Post’s Phillip Rucker and Robert Costa to survey the landscape of Democrats who’ve put a toe or more in the water for 2016.

We learned that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is visiting Iowa (it is only one state away), while New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has a book coming out. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is said to be huddling with donors, believing the party could use a dose of red state common sense.

This is all framed as mildly ominous news for Hillary Clinton – the headline is “With liberals pining for a Clinton challenger, ambitious Democrats get in position” — but Klobuchar, Gillibrand and Nixon have all endorsed Clinton, and Warren has encouraged Clinton to run while insisting she won’t do so herself. The only Democrats listed who may still run even if Clinton does too are O’Malley and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.

Regardless of the intent of the framing, the Rucker-Costa story actually pointed up the vitality in the Democratic Party, where lively debates over income inequality and foreign policy have so far fallen short of creating bitter divisions and factions, at least so far. Again, contrast that with the GOP, where Ted Cruz seems to be staking his 2016 hopes on his ability to humiliate every party leader and make sure Republicans will never make inroads with the Latino population. He’s blocking bipartisan emergency legislation to deal with the border crisis, and pushing to reverse President Obama’s deferred action on deportation for young people brought here by their parents.

Meanwhile Warren, the progressive elected the same time as Cruz, is touring the country campaigning for Democratic Senate candidates, even some who are more centrist than she is, like Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes and West Virginia’s Natalie Tennant.  She’s focused on growing the Democratic Party, not cutting down colleagues who are less progressive.

So: the GOP’s right wing firebrand is a loose cannon who is completely out for himself, while the Democrats’ left wing firebrand is working amiably with party leaders and deflecting talk of a primary challenge to Clinton. In the end, the rising number of possible alternatives to Hillary Clinton is a sign of Democratic strength, even if the media tends to bill it as weakness.

‘Unimaginable’: Rachel Maddow catches Rand Paul flip-flopping on the Civil Rights Act

Rachel Maddow 070214 [MSNBC] | Screenshot

The Raw Story

Four years after awkwardly skirting questions about the Civil Rights Act, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was suddenly happy to honor its 50th anniversary.

“Here’s Rand Paul, celebrating that law that he says, eh, he’s not sure he could have voted for,” Maddow said, displaying a statement posted on Paul’s website. “Today he says, ‘It is simply unimaginable to think what modern America would be like if not for’ that law to which he used to admit he was opposed. Now he’s its biggest champion. The word ‘unimaginable’ is exactly the right word here.”

The statement, Maddow said, was released in conjunction with Paul’s appearance at an event in Shelbyville, Kentucky, honoring a family of local activists, during which he “sang the praises” of not only people involved in the Civil Rights Movement, but the legislation itself.

“I don’t mean to be raining on the parade,” Maddow said. “But I have to point out that this does mark something of a shift in Rand Paul’s position on this legislation.”

Specifically, Maddow brought up their May 2010 interview, during which Paul — at that point still a senatorial candidate — said that while he agreed with nine of the ten provisions of the law, he would have tried to modify Title II, which prohibited private businesses from discriminating on the basis of race.

“What it gets into then is if you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant even though the owner of the restaurant says ‘well no, we don’t want to have guns in here,’ the bar says ‘we don’t want to have guns in here because people might drink and start fighting and shoot each-other,’” Paul said at the time. “Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant? These are important philosophical debates but not a very practical discussion.”

“Well, it was pretty practical to the people who had the life nearly beaten out of them trying to desegregate Walgreen’s lunch counters despite these esoteric debates about what it means about ownership,” Maddow responded. “This is not a hypothetical, Dr. Paul.”

As the Washington Post reported last year, Paul has subsequently argued that it was a “mischaracterization” of his position to say he questioned the Civil Rights Act, an argument Maddow has rebuked.

Watch Maddow’s commentary, as aired on Wednesday, HERE

Rand Paul: Trade Hillary Clinton To The Taliban, Not Guantanamo Detainees

Sen. Rand Paul (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Whatever happened to political correctness and decor?  The Tea Party, in my opinion has destroyed any semblance of comity(courtesy and considerate behavior toward others)  in politics.  The GOP as a whole has sanctioned this sort of thing and can’t speak out due to censure and blacklisting.   Not to mention the rich donors who would cut them off in a heartbeat.

It’s a strange world we live in…

The Huffington post

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered some red meat to the Texas GOP convention on Friday, suggesting that, instead of Guantanamo Bay detainees, President Barack Obama should use Democrats such as Hillary Clinton as a bargaining chip in any future dealings with the Taliban.

“Mr. President, you love to trade people,” he told a supportive crowd in Fort Worth, according to Politico.

“Why don’t we set up a trade? But this time, instead of five Taliban, how about five Democrats?” he joked. “I’m thinking John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi …”

The Kentucky Republican, who is making moves toward a presidential run in 2016, also criticized the administration for failing to properly notify Congress before the trade for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Saturday.

“I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve been a little bit annoyed with the president,” he added. “Releasing five Taliban senior officials is not only against the law, it’s illegal and wrong and he should never have done it.”

Paul skipped a classified briefing held by administration officials this week detailing the exchange and the reasons for the secrecy.

H/t: Ted

10 things you need to know today: April 25, 2014

Kerry said Russia was making a "grave mistake."

Kerry said Russia was making a “grave mistake.” | (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Week

Kerry warns Russia over Ukraine, conservatives condemn Nevada rancher, and more

1. Kerry warns Russia it’s running out of time in Ukraine
Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia that it would be making a “grave mistake” if it failed to comply with an accord requiring it to reduce tensions between Ukraine and pro-Russia separatists. Meanwhile, Russia launched military exercises near the border. A U.S. official said Russian leaders could face new economic sanctions as soon as Friday if Moscow does not stop threatening force. “The window to change course is closing, Kerry said. [The New York Times]

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2. Conservatives rush to slam rancher’s remarks on slavery
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy became a libertarian hero for his fight to graze his cattle on federal land, but his supporters rushed to denounce him Thursday for asking at a press conference if African Americans were “better off as slaves.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky.), one of Bundy’s most influential supporters, called the comments “offensive.” Fox News pundit Sean Hannity called them “ignorant” and “racist.” [Los Angeles Times]

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3. Israel ends peace talks over Palestinian unity deal
Israel suspended peace talks with the Palestinians on Thursday after President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction agreed to form a unity government with its rivals Hamas. The U.S., which sponsored the talks, had been trying to extend them beyond an April 29 deadline for a deal. Israel’s security cabinet said the country would not negotiated with Hamas, “a terror organization that calls for Israel’s destruction.” [Reuters]

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4. Obama promises South Korea support as North Korean nuclear test looms
President Obama promised South Koreans on Friday that the U.S. would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with them against the prospect of a nuclear-armed North Korea. Obama, visiting South Korea on an Asia tour, said North Korea would only isolate itself further by pursuing nukes. The remarks came as North Korea reportedly prepared for its latest nuclear weapons test. Obama also offered condolences for South Korea’s deadly ferry disaster. [The Associated PressCNN]

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5. Eleven middle-school students and driver injured in bus crash
Twelve people were injured, three critically, when a bus carrying middle-school students slammed into trees and a lamp post in California on Thursday. The driver appeared to have suffered the most severe injuries. Rescuers had to cut him from the bus and pull him out through the broken windshield. A student said the bus went off the road in a turn. A California Highway Patrol spokesman said the driver might not have hit the brakes. [The Associated Press]

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6. Disorderly passenger triggers a hijacking false alarm
A drunk passenger caused a hijacking scare on Thursday when he tried to enter the cockpit of a Virgin Australia flight. The jet’s crew stopped him, handcuffed him, and put him into a seat in the rear of the Boeing 737-800. The plane landed safely and the passenger was arrested after Indonesian authorities initially interpreted the incident as a hijacking and briefly closed Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport. [The Age]

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7. Measles cases hit a 19-year high
The number of measles cases in the U.S. jumped to a 19-year high in 2014, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control. Measles was officially declared eradicated in the U.S. in 2000, but the CDC said 129 cases had been reported so far this year. Most involved unvaccinated people who were infected abroad. Among those unvaccinated, 68 percent had “personal belief” exemptions from school vaccination requirements. [WLTZUSA Today]

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8. Buffalo Bills cheerleaders suspend operations over lawsuit
The company that manages the Buffalo Bills’ cheerleading squad — the Buffalo Jills — has halted operations through next season, after five cheerleaders filed a lawsuit claiming they had to work hundreds of hours without pay and endured groping. The suit also says the company president — Stephanie Mateczun of Stejon Productions Corp. — made them take a “jiggle test.” Stejon is hiring lawyers and declined to comment. [The Associated Press]

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9. X-Men director Bryan Singer publicly denies sexual abuse allegation
X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer on Thursday made his first public statement about a lawsuit in which 31-year-old Michael Egan accuses Singer of drugging and raping him as a teenager, calling the allegations a “sick twisted shakedown.” He also said he was dropping out of an X-Men promotional campaign to avoid diverting attention from the film. [The WrapStar-Ledger]

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10. Ex-justice Stevens joins the majority favoring legal pot
Former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens said Thursday that the federal government shouldlegalize marijuana. The “distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction,” Stevens told NPR. The general consensus is that prohibition against alcohol nearly a century “was not worth the cost,” Stevens said, and most Americans will eventually reach the same conclusion about pot. More than half already favor legalization. [NPR]

Top GOP Presidential Contender’s Political Experience Consists Of Insulting Obama

Current anti-Obama insults might still be viable for some GOP Presidential contenders in many of the red states and gerrymandered districts…

Liberaland

Dr. Ben Carson may be a very talented neurosurgeon. He’s likely saved lives. But he is a conservative hero with no political experience who is being boosted as a 2016 candidate for one reason only: He insulted President Obama at a most inappropriate occasion, during the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast.

A group encouraging retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to run for president raised $2.4 million in the first three months of this year, more than the group backing Hillary Clinton or those affiliated with Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and other potential candidates, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Carson, 62, has emerged as a prominent African-American conservative commentator. He appears regularly on Fox News and writes a weekly column for the conservative Washington Times newspaper.

Carson’s spokesman says he is not interested in running for president and he is not affiliated with the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee.

The money is a sign that conservative voters are looking beyond the usual political suspects for a presidential candidate, the head of the Ben Carson committee said.

It’s actually a sign that conservatives are desperate.

 

Raw Story’s top 10 villains of 2013

The Raw Story

Ted Cruz speaks to CBN

There are literally too many villains in the news. Here at The Raw Story, we reported so many awful things our elected officials and opinion shapers said or did this year — whether they’re imprudent, malicious or just ridiculous — that there were too many villains to fit into a Top 10 list (sorry Sarah Palin, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Erik Rush, Rick Santorum, Gordon Klingenschmitt and Ken Blackwell; you all missed the cut). But we managed to combine a couple of entries to cram all the bad guys into one conventional list of 2013′s biggest villains.

Jim Wheeler via Wheeler4Nevada

Dishonorable mention: Jim Wheeler, Nevada Republican state assemblyman: He told a gathering of Storey County Republicans that, if his constituents demanded, he would vote to reinstate slavery. The comments were reported in October, although he’d made them more than a year earlier, in August 2012. While the timing may technically disqualify him from our list, Wheeler’s comments merit a dishonorable mention.

Redeeming qualities: Listens to his constituents. Would only vote to bring back slavery at gunpoint, and while holding his nose. Is that not better than doing so enthusiastically? Oh. Right. Yeah, slavery is an issue that’s definitely worth laying down your life to fight against.

 

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) says creditors 'would thanks us' if U.S. went into default [CNN]

10. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL): It’s been a busy year for the first-term Tea Party lawmaker. He backed legislation to investigate the circumstances of President Barack Obama’s birth – including chasing down conspiracy theories about his actual birth mother being a wanted terrorist – in hopes of invalidating all the laws he’s signed. Yoho called the health care reform law “racist” because it imposed a tax on tanning bed use and said federal workers who were furloughed during the government shutdown shouldn’t be paid – even though he voted to reinstate their back pay. Yoho also invited families in his district to attend a course on buying a gun and using it safely on the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. It’s true that YOLO, and let’s hope Yoho only serves once.

Redeeming qualities: As a former veterinarian, presumably likes animals. Voted to reinstate back pay for furloughed federal workers, even if he insulted them. His name invites use of the #yoho tag, which is fun.

Rand Paul speaks to ABC News

9. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): “Aqua Buddha” has a problem with sourcing. He got caughtplagiarizing his speeches and books from Wikipedia and other sources, and his butt-hurt threats to just “footnote everything” and duel Rachel Maddow were arguably worse than the original sin. And Paul’s board certification for his eyeball chiropractic opthalmology practice turned out to be just as legit as the “slumbering wombat” hairstyle he wears (i.e., it’s fake, and self-applied). But even more problematic for the 2016 presidential hopeful, his foreign policy isincomprehensible and has been caught palling around with racists, just like his dad.

Redeeming qualities: Grandstanding March filibuster drew attention to a real issue – the proposed domestic use of drone strikes – even if he was eventually joined on the Senate floor by the “wacko bird” caucus, proving that even a cuckoo clock is right twice a day.

Racial discrimination charges against Paula Deen dismissed [ABC News]

8. Paula Deen: It’s not surprising that a 66-year-old white woman who grew up in the pre-segregation South would hold some racist views or make racist comments. It’s not right, of course, but it’s not surprising and can even be forgivable. But her explanation that she was only joking, and that her jokes are usually targeted at group stereotypes, was pretty bad. Fantasizing about aslave-themed wedding for her brother, complete with identically dressed black servants to evoke “the Shirley Temple days” is even worse. Especially in 2007, as she admitted in a deposition for a sexual and racial harassment lawsuit filed by former employees against Deen and her brother. The suit was later settled, and Deen was dropped by the Food Network and many companies she endorsed due to the uproar over her admitted remarks and botched apology.

Redeeming qualities: Her cookware is actually pretty decent, even if her recipes are grotesque caricatures of down-home southern cooking.

Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Republican Representative Darrell Issa (AFP)

7. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA): Look, no one is supposed to like the House Oversight Committee Chairman. As the congressional watchdog with subpoena power, you’re supposed to be the bad guy – but that doesn’t mean you should also be bad at your job. In his dogged pursuit of a scandal that can be used to impeach Obama, the California Republican has wasted scads of taxpayer money and revealed sensitive information not meant for release. Government transparency is good and proper, but this is just sloppy and vindictive work. “Derp Throat’s” indiscretions have been sofrequent and egregious that his fellow committee members have complained they aren’t trusted with the sensitive materials they need to do their jobs. Issa claimed his office forgot about a court order when releasing sealed documents on the “Fast and Furious” gun sales investigation, and he shared security information on the government health care exchange website the White House said could serve as a blueprint for hackers. Issa also recommended that a health official“watch more Fox News” to learn about the Affordable Care Act, which is laugh-out-loud stupid.

Redeeming qualities: Accused car thief and suspected arsonist with a shadowy business past. Those aren’t good things?

Ethan Couch

6. (tie) Judges G. Todd Baugh (Montana) and Jean Boyd (Texas): Baugh drew broad and richly condemnation for his decision to sentence former teacher Stacey Rambold to just one month in prison for raping a 14-year-old student. But his justification was arguably worse, claiming the teenage girl – who later took her own life — was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as her teacher. Boyd also made international news for herdecision to sentence 16-year-old Ethan Couch to 10 years on probation, but no jail time for killing four pedestrians and badly injuring two friends in a drunken driving crash. The teen’s attorney argued that the teen suffered from “affluenza” due to his wealthy, indulgent parents, and his wealth and privilege prevented him from knowing the difference between right and wrong.

Redeeming qualities: Baugh apologized and later tried to annul the sentence, but the state’s Supreme Court ruled he didn’t have the authority to do so. The judge concedes he should be censured, if not removed from the bench for his remarks about the teenage rape victim. Boyd’s sentence, which may allow the teen to stay in an upscale alcohol treatment facility at his father’s expense, will keep Couch under court supervision for 10 years, while a jail term may have allowed him to be released after just two years.

Steubenville protest 010512 by roniweb via Flickr CC

5. Steubenville, Ohio: The sexual assault and subsequent cover-up last year of an unconscious 16-year-old girl laid bare a rape culture so deeply rooted in the football-mad small town that the prosecutions still haven’t stopped, even with the convictions of two teens on rape charges. Photos of the drugged girl being carried from party to party, sexually assaulted, mocked and abused were circulated on social media by other teens who witnessed the attacks, but police said they were unable to find any witnesses until the hacktivist group Anonymous shared the incriminating posts. Residents accused the girl of making up the attack, despite photographic evidence to the contrary, to bring down the town’s highly successful football program and rebuked the media for publicizing the case. After football players Ma’lik Richmond and Trenton Mays were found guilty in March and sentenced to at least a year in juvenile prison, two teenage girls were charged with threatening the victim. A grand jury just last month indicted the school superintendent, a volunteer assistant football coach and two school employees accused of helping to cover up the crime. Even the judge who presided over the rapists’ trial excused the teens actions, noting that the verdict served as a lesson of the dangers of social media, and not a cautionary tale against committing or condoning sexual violence.

Redeeming qualities: Of course, even in a town as small as Steubenville, there are good people and bad people. But unfortunately, the attitudes and actions that have landed the town on our list are not limited to Steubenville. For example, CNN’s Candy Crowley grieved after the convictionthat “those two boys’ lives are ruined.” Elsewhere, a woman who accused a Florida State football star of raping her said police cautioned her against pursuing charges “because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable” in the football-obsessed college town. (Prosecutors later decided not to charge the player, Jameis Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy the following week.) And in a remarkably similar case from Missouri, a special prosecutordecided to re-open a rape investigation after a teenage girl went public to discuss her alleged sexual assault by two football players and subsequent harassment, which also attracted involvement by Anonymous. Rape culture is real, and it’s everywhere.

George Zimmerman laughs in court (Fox News / screen grab)

4. George Zimmerman: History will recall George Zimmerman, if he leaves any discernible mark at all, as an angry, underemployed vigilante who shot an unarmed black kid to death after provoking a confrontation, losing the subsequent fight and then claiming self-defense to initially avoid charges. A jury found there wasn’t enough evidence this summer to convict him of second-degree murder or manslaughter, and that should have been the last we heard from Sean Hannity’s id. But Zimmerman periodically turns up in the news for driving too fast, usually carrying a gun, and beating up or threatening his estranged wife or girlfriend. Zimmerman beat the rap on both domestic violence cases for the pretty much the same reasons abusers always so. But before recanting her accusations, his girlfriend painted a disturbing picture of a desperate, suicidal man unable to handle the pressure of living under media scrutiny but who is so desperate to stay in the spotlight that he’ll commit crimes to keep his name in the news. He recently sold a painting on eBay for more than $100,000 and started a sanctimonious, self-aggrandizing Twitter account. This story won’t end well.

Redeeming qualities: Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha.

Rafael Cruz speaks at town hall event in Delaware (C-SPAN)

3. (tie) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and oil baron Rafael Cruz: Many conservatives don’t trust Obama because they fear he’s a foreign-born Manchurian candidate primed for political success by a nefarious outsider father who wishes to reshape the United States in his own image. So it’s weird that they seem to like Ted Cruz so much, because he was born in Canada and pushed into right-wing politics as a child by his Cuban-born, supervillain-voiced father, Rafael Cruz, who tells anyone who’ll listen that his son was anointed by God as a “political savior.” (And conservatives made fun of Barbara Walters for her Obama-as-messiah metaphor!) The younger Cruz still retains the “boy pastor” style of speaking he honed as a teenager in the Amway-backed Free Enterprise Education Center, even when he seems to be reading from a random conservative’s Facebook wall (“Duck Dynasty,” Ashton Kutcher, “Star Wars,” Dr. Seuss) during his pointless faux-libuster that helped kick off the even more pointless government shutdown he helped force.

Redeeming qualities: The way his eyebrows sweep plaintively upward when he’s feigning sincerity, as if to say, “Aw, look: He thinks he’s people.”

Koch brothers

2. The Koch brothers: It’s a conspiracy, man. The banal white faces of dark money are basically the root of pretty much all corporatist evil in this country. Billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch are behind efforts to keep minimum wages lowrestrict reproductive rights and pressure lawmakers into shutting down the federal government in a failed effort to defund Obamacare. Then, to deprive the health care reform law of the young, healthy recipients needed to offset older, riskier investments, they sponsored a campus tourto convince college students it’s cool to go without health insurance. Speaking of colleges, the pair has made large donations to colleges in hopes of buying influence over professor hiring, and they’ve been able to buy economic studies that turn out the results they want.

Redeeming qualities: The Koch brothers have donated a nearly incomprehensible amount of money to medical research, the arts and various museums. So that’s nice.

Wayne LaPierre speaks to Fox News

1. Wayne LaPierre: This ghoulish stain exploited the gruesome massacre of 20 first-graders and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary while lobbing back the same accusation at anyone who dared wonder whether restricting access to guns may have prevented the slaughter. LaPierre waited in hiding for a week for the initial shock from the tragedy to wear off before calling for more guns in schools, and he continued pushing for more guns everywhere with each new, painfully routine mass shooting occurred throughout the year. He claims to represent gun owners, but instead stokes their darkest fears to benefit the gun manufacturers he actually represents. “The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters,” LaPierre said one week after the Newtown, Connecticut, killings. And he should know, assuming he’s not too ashamed to walk past a mirror.

Redeeming qualities: Hasn’t shot anyone, to my knowledge. It’s long past due that we restricted access to ruthlessly efficient killing tools, but nothing will really change until we stop associating guns and violence with manhood. Teach your kids that guns are for cowards.