Rand Paul

The limits of personal liberty

(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Given the recent reports on the measles outbreak across the country, the  phrase “Give me liberty or give me death” takes on an ominous meaning these days…

The Week

“I am the master of my own fate — and no one, including the government, can tell me what to do.” That’s libertarianism in a nutshell, and in the abstract, it’s a seductively appealing philosophy. Embrace it, and it leads you to a natural corollary: Parents should not be forced to vaccinate their kids against childhood diseases. “The state doesn’t own your children,” as sometimes-libertarian Sen. Rand Paul explained this week. “Parents own their children, and it is an issue of freedom.” In California and 13 other states caught up in a measles outbreak, we are now seeing a demonstration that one person’s freedom can inflict painful and potentially fatal consequences on an entire community. Childhood diseases that medicine defeated decades ago are making a comeback, thanks to parents who seek “philosophical” exemptions from vaccinating their kids.

Libertarians are absolutely right that personal freedom is important — and easily eroded. Left unchecked, government does indeed presume too much control over our decisions, our money, and our privacy. But in a country of 320 million souls, what we do affects each other — sometimes profoundly. In a libertarian paradise, Americans would still be free to smoke in enclosed offices and restaurants, and 50 percent of the population would still be lighting up — sticking society with their health-care costs. No one would be required to wear a seat belt in the car. And yes, vaccinations would be strictly optional, and the nation’s “herd immunity” would disappear. As an old adage points out, your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of another person’s nose. So go ahead, swing your fist — but good luck finding a space that doesn’t have a nose in it.

10 things you need to know today: February 3, 2015

Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

The Week

1.Second snowstorm hits already snow-covered Northeast
Boston authorities postponed a victory celebration for the New England Patriots after their Super Bowl victory, moving it from Tuesday to Wednesday due to a record breaking winter storm. The second blizzard to hit the Northeast in a week dumped another foot of snow on Boston, which was blanketed with two feet of snow last week, the most snow ever to fall on the city in seven days. The storm has been linked to at least 10 deaths, and forced the cancellation of 2,900 flights in Chicago, Newark, Boston, and New York.

Source: Reuters

2.Paul and Christie criticized for vaccine remarks
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates, faced criticism from medical experts on Monday after suggesting some child vaccinations should be made voluntary. Paul said some vaccines have caused “profound mental disorders.” Christie said parents need “some measure of choice” although, with a U.S. measles outbreak surpassing 100 cases, a spokesman said Christie believes “there is no question kids should be vaccinated” for measles. CDC director Tom Frieden said not vaccinating endangers other children.

Source: Fox News, The Washington Post

3.Obama sets new rules on NSA data mining
The Obama administration on Tuesday will announce new rules about how U.S. intelligence agencies manage the data they collect. The National Security Agency and other spy agencies will have to delete private information they collect about Americans that has no intelligence value, and do the same for foreigners after five years, The New York Timesreports. Obama will also begin a regular, formal White House assessment of NSA spying on foreign leaders.

Source: The New York Times

4.Obama releases his proposed $4 trillion budget
President Obama on Monday unveiled the specifics of a $4 trillion proposed budget that would roll back blanket spending cuts, raise taxes on wealthy Americans, and extend tax benefits to the middle class. “These proposals will put more money in middle-class pockets, raise wages, and bring more high-paying jobs to America,” Obama said in a statement. The budget covers the 2016 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The blueprint is largely a symbolic statement of the president’s priorities, as Congress will make significant changes to it over the coming months.

Source: The Associated Press

5.Google reportedly is developing an Uber rival
Google invested $258 million in Uber in August 2013, and put more money in the next year, but now the internet search giant reportedly is preparing to compete with Uber by starting its own ride-hailing service, possibly linked to its driverless car project. A person close to Uber’s board said David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer and an Uber board member, informed fellow Uber board members of the possibility. Uber leaders reportedly have seen a prototype app being used by Google employees.

Source: Bloomberg

6.Cuba publishes first photos of Fidel Castro since August
Cuba on Monday released the first photos of former president Fidel Castro seen since August. With Cuba’s communist government and the Obama administration attempting to renew diplomatic relations cut off in the Cold War, rumors have surfaced that Castro, 88, was dead or near death. Last week, Cuba released a letter attributed to Castro in which he said he didn’t trust the U.S. but advocated a “peaceful resolution to conflicts.” The photos, published in the official Granma newspaper, showed Castro in a meeting with a youth leader.

Source: The Washington Post

7.Bus firebombing kills seven in Bangladesh
Attackers hit a packed bus with gasoline-bombs in Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing at least seven people and injuring 16 others. The local police chief blamed the bombing on opposition activists, but they denied responsibility. At least 53 people have died in political violence, mostly vehicle firebombings, since the opposition launched a nationwide transportation strike in early January in a bid to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to resign.

Source: The Associated Press

8.Suge Knight charged with murder
Former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight was charged with murder and attempted murder on Monday for allegedly running over two men with his truck, killing one and injuring the other. His $2.2 million bail was revoked because authorities considered him a possible flight risk. Police said Knight argued with the men on the set of Straight Outta Compton, a film about the group N.W.A., and later ran them over. Knight’s lawyer said he accidentally ran over the victims while trying to get away from two men trying to attack him.

Source: Los Angeles Times

9. Charles Manson’s marriage license expires with no wedding
Eighty-year-old mass murderer Charles Manson’s marriage license is set to expire on Thursday without a wedding. Manson and his fiancee, 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton, missed their last chance to marry over the weekend — weddings are not performed on weekdays at the California prison where Manson is incarcerated. Burton, who uses the nickname Star, intends to get another 90-day license and proceed with the wedding plan, according to a source in contact with her.

Source: The Associated Press

10.Revenge-porn site creator convicted of extortion
A California court on Monday convicted revenge-porn site founder Kevin Bollaert, 28, on identity theft and extortion charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison. Bollaert set up one website, YouGotPosted.com, where women’s former husbands and boyfriends posted nude photos of them, and he established another website, ChangeMyReputation.com, where victims could pay up to $350 to get the photos taken down. “This is essentially 21st century blackmail,” Deputy Attorney General Tawnya Austin told jurors last week.

Source: NBC 7 San Diego, The Washington Post

Megyn Kelly Speaks Up For Mandatory Vaccination On Fox: ‘Some Things Do Require Big Brother’

kelly

Credit: AP

It looks like Fox News can tell the truth at times…

Think Progress

A debate on vaccines has infected the nascent 2016 Republican presidential primary. Rand Paul, for example, said that the right of parents to refuse vaccines is “an issue of freedom.” To bolster his point, he claimed that vaccines can give children “profound mental disorders,” and idea that is completely unsupported by medical literature.

Similarly, Chris Christie framed the vaccination issue as a matter of “parental choice.” (Faced with mounting criticism, Christie later backtracked partially, saying only some vaccines should be optional.)

Monday night on Fox News, Megyn Kelly provided the antidote. Appearing on The O’Reilly Factor, Kelly spoke out forcefully for mandatory vaccines. (O’Reilly agreed.) Speaking directly into the camera, Kelly said, “I want to say on the record, I have three children under the age of six. I vaccinated all of them. On time. As the doctor prescribed. Nothing was delayed.” She noted that the science showing vaccinations are safe and beneficial for children is “very certain today.”

Kelly predicted the issue would continue to play a role in the Republican presidential primary because it had become about “Big Brother.” “On the other hand, some things do require some involvement of Big Brother,” Kelly said.

Kelly may want to have a conversation with her colleague, Sean Hannity. On his program Monday, Hannity said that “parents should have the choice” on whether to vaccinate their children. Hannity featured commentary from Dr. Eric Braverman who told millions of views that “no one” is giving their children the full course of vaccine shots. According to Braverman there is an “overreliance” on vaccines to prevent disease.

The segment featured more medically accurate commentary from Dr. Marc Siegel, who accused Braverman of perpetrating a “bait and switch.” Even Siegel, however, opposed mandatory vaccinations. Braverman concluded the segment by claiming that vaccines “don’t always work” and attributing the measles outbreak in Disneyland to the combination of heat and junk food.

In 2015, there have been more than 100 cases of measles reported in the U.S. across 14 states. The Center For Disease Control is “very concerned” that the country could be on its way to a major measles outbreak. Already, dozens of babies, too young to get vaccinated, have been forced into isolation.

Although Megyn Kelly has a growing reputation of standing up to some of the worst excesses on Fox News, not everyone is impressed.

How Rand Paul bombed at Koch brothers gathering

Sen. Rand Paul is pictured. | Getty

“Jeans might work for a younger audience,” said one attendee, “but these are old bulls who put on a tie every day to go to the office.” | Getty

Politico

His laid-back style turns off big money donors.

Some of the most influential players in big-money conservative politics gathered late last month to discuss government’s role in society, but their focus kept shifting to a less weighty topic: Rand Paul’s outfit.

The Kentucky senator and prospective GOP presidential candidate — whose libertarian politics mesh with those of the billionaire megadonor brothers Charles and David Koch — appeared at the annual winter meeting of the Koch donor network wearing a boxy blue blazer, faded jeans and cowboy boots.

Some attendees commented that Paul’s appearance was “cavalier,” said Frayda Levin, a Paul supporter and major donor who attended the conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, California. It was organized by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the nonprofit hubthat oversees the Koch network. “This is an older crowd and much more establishment crowd. They are used to a Romney. They are used to a Jeb Bush,” Levin said.

“Jeans might work for a younger audience,” said another attendee, “but these are old bulls who put on a tie every day to go to the office.”

The sartorial criticisms hint at a potentially more serious challenge for Paul — securing the backing of enough big-money donors to be competitive in a crowded Republican primary that could include prolific fundraisers such as Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.

During a Sunday afternoon speech at the Koch forum , Paul drew skepticism among some donors by touting tax breaks as a means of spurring economic growth in blighted inner cities. That stance is anathema to the brand of small-government conservatism espoused by the industrialist brothers and many of their network’s donors, who object to marketplace interference. Even Levin admitted she was “a bit surprised. But he’s just exploring ideas right now. People didn’t quite understand where he was coming from.”

Donors were further put off by Paul’s performance later that evening in a forum for prospective GOP presidential candidates that also featured Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas. At times slouching in a cushy arm chair, Paul, with his legs crossed, gave rambling answers that contrasted sharply with other participants.

At one point, he opposed eliminating tax benefits to the oil and gas industry — from which Koch Industries, the brothers’ multi-national conglomerate, benefits but which the brothers philosophically oppose. Paul seemed less prepared than Rubio, who gave detailed answers and was by far the most sharply turned out of the trio (pressed Navy blue suit, crisp white shirt, red tie and American flag lapel pin). Cruz, tieless in a light blue shirt and tan sports coat, laced his remarks with one-liners.

The next day, when 100 donors participated in an informal straw poll conducted by veteran consultant Frank Luntz, Paul finished dead last. Rubio came in first, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who stopped by the conference, but could not make it for the panel.

Paul’s spokesman Sergio Gor noted the event was mostly off the record (though the forum was streamed live online) and said his office wouldn’t comment on specifics. But, he added “we can assure you Sen. Rand Paul made great inroads with countless individuals who attended the event. His individual meetings with attendees proved very, very fruitful and he was well-received by the hosts. Finally, since the event was closed to the press, it is impossible for any reporter to accurately reflect the opinion of 300 attendees.”

Still, several attendees characterized Paul’s performance as a missed opportunity for him to significantly broaden his base of megadonor support headed into a presidential election in which the two major party nominees and their allies are expected to spend upward of $1.7 billion apiece.

Big-money support is seen as a key weakness for Paul, much as it was for the presidential campaigns of his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul. While there are key differences between father and son in both style and substance, major donors still look skeptically upon both Pauls’ brands of libertarian-infused conservatism — particularly their noninterventionist foreign policies.

Supporters argue that Rand Paul, who has opened offices in Silicon Valley and Austin, can overcome that by looking outside the traditional GOP megadonor community

“Mainstream donors were never his primary target. He is bringing in guys from Silicon Valley, from the tech world, who were never comfortable with the Republican Party,” Levin said, describing Paul’s donor base as “transpolitical.”

Indeed, Paul has met with a number of tech tycoons who defy party labels, such as Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and early investor in Facebook and LinkedIn, who gave more than $2.7 million to super PACs supporting Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign; Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg; PayPal board member Scott Banister; Joe Lonsdale, founder of Palantir who is considered a Thiel protégé. Napster co-founder Sean Parker, who has waded increasingly into national politicsin recent months, donated $5,000 to Paul’s leadership PAC in November, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

Paul might not raise the most, but he will have necessary donor support, said Aleix Jarvis, one of the few Paul backers among the K-Street lobbying world of Washington. “Money is not going to be a problem for him,” said Jarvis, a lobbyist at Fierce Government Relations. “It won’t match what Jeb does, but I think that’s an advantage in Rand’s mind.”

Yet with mixed results, Paul has continued to try to court allies among the traditional megadonor community.

During a 2013 major donor summit organized by the Karl Rove-conceived American Crossroads super PAC, Paul was aggressively challenged on whether he would support a military strike on Iran if it became apparent that the regime had enough uranium to build a bomb.

The Freedom Partners conference seemed like fertile turf for Paul, given that Paul’s libertarian sensibilities align closely with the Koch brothers and some of their key donors.

In fact, Charles Koch is thought to favor Paul most among all the prospective 2016 candidates. And Paul has traveled to Koch’s home turf of Wichita to court him, playing at least one round of golf with the 79-year-old billionaire. (Paul’s PAC late last year paid $406 to Koch Industries for a “golf expense” according to a recent campaign finance filing).

Some have viewed Charles Koch as a bridge to other network donors. The Koch network intends to spend $889 million in the run-up to the 2016 election on a combination of political organizing and advertising, as well as academic research and advocacy on free-enterprise issues. While the brothers and their network have not said whether they will try to influence the GOP presidential primary, the political world is closely watching its every interaction with prospective candidates.

Some conference attendees say Paul was well-received in a small group break-out session on one of Koch’s key issues — criminal justice reform.

But when Paul defended his noninterventionist positions in response to a question on Cuba at the candidate forum, sources say he got mixed results from the Koch donor network, which has become increasingly diverse and now includes several donors who are more aligned with the hawkish GOP orthodoxy on foreign policy.

Asked about his support for President Barack Obama’s move to normalize relations with the communist island nation, Paul said “We’ve tried an embargo for 50 years. It hasn’t worked. The reason I call it a form of isolationism is if you apply the embargo … if you do that for China, for Vietnam, for Laos, for any of the other countries that have human rights abuses, that would be a policy of isolationism.”

Levin conceded that Paul’s foreign policy isn’t for everyone. “That’s what differentiates him. I don’t think he came across as extreme libertarian. Rand Paul just thinks we can’t patrol the world,” she said. As for the Rancho Mirage, she said “I don’t think it was a missed opportunity. He tried to court them, but there are some issues — some key issues — that he’s not going to back down on.”

The Kochs Plan to Buy the 2016 Election for $889 Million

Charles Koch | Attribution: None

PoliticusUSA

The New York Times calls it $900 million. The Washington Post“nearly $1 billion.” CNN simply calls it “staggering.” Ben Ray, spokesperson for Democratic-aligned American Bridge put it best, telling USAToday: “What an obscene amount of money.”

The actual amount announced Monday at the Rancho Mirage Ritz Carlton is $889 million, and that is what the Koch brothers’ political network (17 Koch-funded organizations) plans to spend buying the 2016 elections for corporate America and the 1 percent.

It is, as CNN informs us, “[M]ore money than any private network has ever spent on an election cycle.” It is also as much as either the Republicans or Democrats spend: Compare this to the $675 million spent by the Republican Party in 2012. And the Kochs can spend the money however they want, unlike the RNC.

How much money is that? With a budget of $20 per person you could feed nearly 50 million people better meals than most of them have ever had for one day.

If you go by the approximately $3 the USDA reimburses schoolsfor free student lunches, that $889 million would feed 296 million children. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service said 21 million kids received free or reduced-price lunches in 2013. You do the math.

Oxfam has already announced to the world that the “Richest 1 percent will own more than the rest by 2016.” Apparently, that isn’t enough for the Kochs. They’ve got to have their own country, too.

As The Washington Post reported,

The massive financial goal was revealed to donors during an annual winter meeting here hosted by Freedom Partners, the tax-exempt business lobby that serves as the hub of the Koch-backed political operation, according to an attendee. The amount is more than double the $407 million that 17 allied groups in the network raised during the 2012 campaign.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) were all on hand at the Koch’s retreat for seminars and strategy sessions, greedily rubbing their fingers in anticipation. Not coincidentally, Newsmax tells us that,

Most of the 450 who attended the weekend event weren’t interested in another Mitt Romney run. They leaned more toward Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

What we can take from Charles Koch’s welcome speechSaturday, is that the Big Lie is alive and well in the Koch family: “Americans have taken an important step in slowing down the march toward collectivism,” he said. Of course, collectivism is not a threat and the Kochs are huge corporate welfare queens, more than happy to take our tax dollars from the federal government they excoriate.

Like his bought men, Walker, Rubio, Paul, and Cruz, Charles Koch is simply inventing threats out of whole cloth, and reassured guests and employees both,

But as many of you know, we don’t rest on our laurels. We are already back at work and hard at it! In fact, the work never really ends. Because the struggle for freedom never ends.

He claimed that,

Much of our efforts to date have been largely defensive to slow down a government that continues to swell and become more intrusive – causing our culture to deteriorate. Making this vision a reality will require more than a financial commitment. It requires making it a central part of their lives.

So the Kochs are presenting themselves as defenders of American culture now. This, from a man so far removed from American culture he cannot begin to imagine an average American’s life. Yet he claims to be defending our culture. This is the point of Koch’s speech at which the Greek gods would begin casting lightning bolts, for hubris was always mankind’s greatest sin.

Just keep in mind, that freedom he is talking about is serfdom for you and me.

The impact of this amount of money cannot be ignored. As Ben Ray of American Bridge put it, “If they are spending more than the RNC, I know exactly who the (Republican) presidential candidates will listen to.”

And even Grover Norquist told The Washington Post that, “It’s not like a Chicago political boss where Charles would say, ‘We’re all for this guy.’ But if he said, ‘I really like this guy’ and did an op-ed, it would matter.”

Which means Mother Jones is not engaging in mere hyperbole when they say, “It’s official: The Kochs and their rich friends are the new third party.”

Democrats, who have neither a plethora of corporations nor a bevy of 1 percenters to fund their campaigns, will have to work a lot harder to find that kind of cash. Of course, Democrat money will reflect the views of actual Americans rather than the insatiable appetites of the 1 percent.

According to the Post, “The $889 million goal reflects the budget goals of all the allied groups that the network funds. Those resources will go into field operations, new technology and policy work, among other projects.”

The one thing a billion dollars can’t buy are a viable platform or likeable candidates. It remains to be seen whether it is enough to convince blacks, Latinos, women and others that the Republican Party actually cares about them.

But make no mistake: this represents a full-scale assault on American democracy. Ted Cruz was quoted as saying Sunday night that, “There are a bunch of Democrats who have taken as their talking points that the Koch brothers are the nexus of all evil in the world.” He said that thinking is “grotesque and offensive.”

While you have to respect Cruz’s loyalty to his owners, he is wrong. What is grotesque and offensive is what he and his fellow employees of Koch Industries have been up to at the Rancho Mirage Ritz Carlton: plotting the murder of American democracy.

Rand Paul: Garner Chokehold Death Cop Shouldn’t Be A Cop Anymore

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) | AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis

Why do I feel that Rand Paul’s statement is nothing more than political pandering for his 2016 Presidential bid? Oh, because that’s exactly what it is…

TPM LiveWire

Paul made the comments during a fundraiser for Mississippi Republicans on Monday. Paul had previously blamed the entire incident that resulted in Garner’s death on a New York City cigarette tax (a point that Jon Stewart lampooned on the Daily Show).

On Monday Paul, according to the Clarion-Ledger, said he was “horrified” by Garner’s death.

“While the grand jury has made its decision, whether or not a policeman who accidentally kills someone while stopping them from distributing cigarettes, that’s probably a lack of discretion and you probably shouldn’t have the power to be a policeman any more, at the very least,” Paul said according to the Clarion-Ledger.

He did note that he’s been criticized for the tax remark.

“Over the half price of cigarettes in New York City is taxes, so you’ve criminalized behavior that really the police shouldn’t be involved with to begin with…I’m not even sure that Garner had any individual cigarettes on him,” Paul said.

Sunday Talk: Finger on the pulse

attribution: Ayn Rand

Daily Kos

This week, self-certified ophthalmologist Rand Paul, the undisputed Congressional champion of minority rights, formally announced that he’s running for reelection to the Senate in 2016. Left unsaid was that he’s also planning to run for president in 2016.

Now, it may be true that, under Kentucky’s (existing) election laws, simultaneously running for two offices isn’t allowed—but so what!?

The fact is, Rand ain’t your father’s brand of Republican; he isn’t even his father’s brand of Republican.

Whereas Ron Paul subscribes to all kinds of far-out conspiracy theories, Rand has both of his feet planted firmly in the real world—and from there, he can see that the biggest issue facing the black community is that the taxes on cigarettes are too damn high!

Morning lineup:

Meet The Press: Widow of Eric Garner Esaw Garner; Rev. Al Sharpton; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D); Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D); Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance; Texas Attorney General/Gov.-Elect Greg Abbott (R); Others TBD.Face The Nation: New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton; Camden County, NJ Police Chief J. Scott Thomson; NAACP President Cornell William Brooks; Former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell; Roundtable: Charles Blow (New York Times), Gerald Seib (Wall Street Journal), David Ignatius (Washington Post) and Jeanne Cummings (Bloomberg Politics).

This Week: New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio (D); Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA); Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R); Roundtable: Republican Strategist Matthew Dowd, Former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, Rich Lowry (National Review) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez(D-CA).

Fox News Sunday: Radio Host Rush Limbaugh; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R); Roundtable: Brit Hume (Fox News), Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), George Will(Washington Post) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Former President George W. Bush (R); Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Julian Castro; Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX); Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: an interview with Lynn Good, the CEO of Duke Energy (preview); a report on billionaire doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong, who is using nearly a billion dollars of his fortune developing an unconventional method of fighting cancer that he hopes will make it a chronic, treatable disease instead of a death sentence (preview); and, a report from Cremona, Italy, the birthplace of Stradivarius violins (preview).

Rand Paul Proposes Unusual Strategy On Voter ID To Help Republicans Court Black People

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) | CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JOSE LUIS MAGANA

Think Progress

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said on Sunday that he supported voter ID laws — but didn’t think Republicans should make the issue part of their campaign platform because it alienates black voters.

“I’m not really opposed to [voter ID laws]. I am opposed to it as a campaign theme,” Paul told CBS’ Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer. “Republicans, if you want to get African American votes, they think that this is suppression somehow and it’s a terrible thing.”

But contrary to Paul’s analysis, African-Americans are right to think voter ID laws mainly affect their communities. Laws mandating voters to show government identification disproportionately affect people of color and the poor, while reducing voter turnout. Those laws also carry racial tensions and reinforce stereotypes: A recent study showed that white Americans were more likely to support voter ID laws if they were shown pictures of African-Americans voting.

Republican-run states in particular have been lobbying for voting restrictions like reduced early voting times and voter ID laws, citing that such measures reduce voter fraud. But studies have shown that voter fraud is a non-issue: Voter fraud occurs at aninfinitesimal rate, with only 13 credible in-person cases logged between 2000 and 2010.

Paul went on to say that restoring voting rights for ex-convicts should be given more attention than ID laws. “I want more people to vote, not less,” he explained. “The number one impediment to voting in our country right now, it’s having a previous conviction. That’s where the real voting problem is.”

But voter ID laws actually cause fewer people to vote. The Government Accountability Office reported that such laws suppress voter turnout. Kansas and Tennessee, which have tightened their voter ID laws, had a decreased voter turnout especially among black voters, according to the GAO report.

Paul expressed having “mixed feelings” about the matter, but emphasized that Republicans harping on voter ID laws on the campaign trail pushes needed votes away instead of steering them toward the polls. “The Republican Party brand sucks and so people don’t want to be a Republican and for 80 years, African-Americans have had nothing to do with Republicans,” Paul said during a campaign stop in Detroit last week.

On Sunday, he reaffirmed that stance, saying “Republicans have to get beyond this perception that they don’t want African-Americans to vote. I don’t think it’s true. I’m not saying it’s true. But by being for all of these things, it reinforces a stereotype that we need to break down.”

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:

ABC’s “This Week” —Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., head of the Democratic National Committee.

___

NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Kaci Hickox, the nurse who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone and contested state-imposed restriction on her in Maine after her return home.

___

CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Paul; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

___

CNN’s “State of the Union” — Paul.

___

“Fox News Sunday” — Mitt Romney; Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.

Ebola Scare-Mongerer Rand Paul Wants You to Think You’re Going to Die

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky)

The Daily Beast

What’s with the Kentucky Senator’s ceaseless fear-mongering around the Ebola scare? Because to the GOP, scaring voters is good for business.

Although Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, has now died of the disease, American public health officials remain confident in our nation’s ability to prevent a widespread epidemic. “The bottom line here is we know how to stop it,” CDC director Tom Frieden told NBC News this weekend. “It’s not going to spread widely in the U.S., for two basic reasons. We can do infection control in hospitals, and we can do public health interventions that can stop it in its tracks.”

His wasn’t the only voice that sought to reassure. “I know there’s a lot of reason to be concerned. It is a serious problem, but in my lifetime, when we have been frightened by this so-called coming epidemic—most of it has never materialized,” said Mr. Paul. Ron Paul, that is, Rand’s dad. “I think sometimes overreaction can become very dangerous as well,” said the elder Paul. Indeed.

Sir, please call your son and tell him that.

Rand Paul, Republican Senator from Kentucky, recently told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham that Ebola “could get beyond our control” and speculated: “Can you imagine if a whole ship full of our soldiers catch Ebola?”

Saying “it’s a real mistake to underplay the danger of a worldwide pandemic,” Paul, doing his level best to overplay the danger, told Glenn Beck: “I think I said this the last time I was on your show a couple weeks ago, I said that I’m concerned that political correctness has caused us to underplay the threat of Ebola.” Er, um, because the people dying of Ebola in West Africa are black? I’m confused… Anyway, I thought the reason not to let panic spread was because, you know, panic is bad and we should have a rational and informed public rather than an irrationally fearful one. But speaking of informed…

“It’s an incredibly transmissible disease that everyone is downplaying, saying it’s hard to catch,” Rand said to Beck. “Well, we have physicians and health workers who are catching it who are completely gloved down and taking every precaution and they’re still getting it. So, yes, I’m very concerned about this.” Rand Paul, mind you, is a doctor and should know better than to spread skepticism or downright misinformation about public health issues. But instead, he is using Ebola to not only attack President Obama (as are other Republicans, natch) but to push his extremist anti-government agenda that goes beyond healthy skepticism to tin-foil hat conspiracy land

Though here it’s worth noting Rand’s hypocrisy—the health workers who are contracting Ebola don’t have adequate protective gear, something the United States might be able to help with if we would actually fund public health and foreign aid instead of slashing it. Meanwhile, Rand Paul actually wants to end all U.S. foreign aid. Think of how much worse Ebola would be in West Africa without America’s help.

Paul isn’t alone in panic-mongering. Other Republicans have joined in, including Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, who mysteriously also blamed “political correctness” for why the United States is sending troops to help in West Africa, troops Gohmert asserts will “get Ebola that they can bring back.

And the former head of the Republican Party in South Carolina recently tweetedthat anyone in the United States who has Ebola should be euthanized immediately, adding a lynch mob dimension to the panic

Why? Partly, it’s the “any excuse to criticize anything on Obama’s watch” mindset. But also just as the news media plays to or even inflames such fears to drive ratings, Republicans stoke fear to drive votes. Simply put, when voters fear for their safety, they vote more Republican. Scaring voters, whether about ISIS or Ebola, is good for the GOP.

As fear about ISIS grew among Americans, so did support for Republican leadership on foreign policy. An October 6 poll found that just 11 percent of Americans are “very worried” they will be exposed to Ebola. If Republican panic hyping continues, aided and abetted by media coverage, look for that number to rise—along with the electoral outlook for Republicans next month

And meanwhile, look for Rand Paul to carve out his own corner of this advantage by stoking anti-government sentiment as well—the same October 6 poll found that 42 percent of independent voters are not confident in government’s ability to handle any Ebola outbreak. As that number grows, so does the potential voting block for a anti-government libertarian Rand Paul presidency.

“Could we have a worldwide pandemic?” Rand Paul asked in another interview. “The Spanish flu in 1918 killed 21 million people, the plague in the 14th century killed 25 million people; I’m not saying that’s going to happen, I don’t know what’s going to happen.” Actually, Rand Paul, despite every reasonable and responsible fact to the contrary, you not only implying a mass pandemic might happen but clearly encouraging the American people to panic.

Your own dad said that’s dangerous. Take his advice.

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