“Jade Helm 15” is a planned military exercise slated to take place across the Southwest this summer, orchestrated by the Pentagon.
But to conspiracy theorists on the far right, it’s the planned takeover of Texas by the federal government. Walmart’s even involved, or so the paranoid fantasy goes, closing five of its stores to use as food-distribution centers and house invaders from China. Oh, and each of these Walmarts is also connected to one another by secret underground tunnels (Matthew Yglesias at Vox has a full explanation of the Jade Helm 15 Conspiracy.)
Rachel Maddow sees the fate of the Republican Party in the 2016 election writ large in the Jade Helm 15 controversy.
“This is one of those issues that is hilarious to the real world but is totally serious business in Republican world,” Maddow said on her show Wednesday night.
Maddow went on to point out the irony of accusing the military and Walmart — two institutions more often venerated than not on the right — of conspiracy, then said the Jade Helm 15 controversy has nonetheless made it into mainstream Republican politics.
“To most Republican politicians, particularly those competing for the Republican presidential nomination, where only Republican base voters will decide who’s allowed to run, if you have a choice between seeming insane to normal people and seeming righteous to the base, which are you going to pick?” Maddow said.
“There’s an incentive to pick seeming righteous to the base even if it is seeming nutty to everybody else,” she added.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is officially running for president, but his White House aspirations are just as clumsily implausible as an Ayn Rand plot.
The son of conservative folk hero Ron Paul, the retired Texas congressman and failed Republican presidential candidate, likes to present himself as a civil libertarian.
But his actual positions on many issues are mean-spirited, religiously tinged claptrap that’s reactionary enough to win a GOP primary, but far too hard-right to win a national election.
For example, Paul thinks six months is plenty of time to pay unemployment benefits to jobless workers – and anything beyond that does them a “disservice” by encouraging them to remain unemployed. “I don’t doubt the president’s motives, but black unemployment in America is double white unemployment — and it hasn’t budged under this president. A lot of African-Americans voted for him, but I don’t think it’s worked.”
Paul is against public assistance on a fundamental level, once suggesting the possibility of cutting government benefits for unwed mothers to discourage them from having more children. “Maybe we have to say ‘enough’s enough, you shouldn’t be having kids after a certain amount.’” The small-government conservative admitted that would be unpopular and difficult to implement, but he thinks it’s worth a shot. “It’s tough to tell a woman with four kids that she’s got a fifth kid we’re not going to give her any more money, but we have to figure out how to get that message through.”
The libertarian senator’s views on abortion are right in line with the GOP establishment, and the self-certified ophthalmologist touts his professional bona fides to argue that life begins at conception. “I often say in my speeches that I don’t think a civilization can long endure that doesn’t respect the rights of the unborn,” said Paul, who supports fetal personhood legislation that would outlaw abortion and likely prohibit contraception, stem-cell research, and in-vitro fertilization.
Paul also cites the same ridiculous slippery-slope arguments as any religious conservative against same-sex marriage. “If we have no laws on this people take it to one extension further,” Paul said. “Does it have to be humans?” He later claimed his warning against human-animal marriage was sarcastic and pointed to other arguments he made during the same Glenn Beck radio appearance, saying that he opposed marriage equality on economic grounds. “What is it that is the leading cause of poverty in our country? It’s having kids without marriage. The stability of the marriage unit is enormous and we should not just say, ‘Oh, we’re punting on it, marriage can be anything.’”
Paul agreed with Beck during another radio appearance that Obama’s immigration policies would make most Americans “second-class citizens” compared to undocumented migrants. “I’m thinking about lobbying to become an illegal immigrant so I wouldn’t have to participate in Obamacare,” Paul said.
Speaking of the Affordable Care Act, the senator backed the Republican shutdown of the federal government in an ill-fated attempt to defund the health care law – although Paul publicly said he was willing to compromise. “I know we don’t want to be here, but we’re going to win this, I think,” Paul told then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
He used the death of Eric Garner, who was choked to death by officers while selling untaxed cigarettes, to argue against government regulation. “I think it’s hard not to watch that video of him saying, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,’ and not be horrified by it,” Paul said. “But I think there’s something bigger than the individual circumstances. Obviously, the individual circumstances are important. But I think it is also important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes, so they’ve driven cigarettes underground so as to not make them so expensive.”
The self-certified physician expressed doubts about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines in the midst of a measles outbreak linked to anti-vaxxer families. “I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” Paul said, citing evidence that directly contradicts the scientific and medical consensus.
The senator furiously sniffed that he didn’t realize speeches required citations after MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow caught him plagiarizing a Wikipedia article on the movie, Gattaca. Additional analysis found that Paul had lifted portions of other speeches without citing his sources, and the senator later scrubbed those remarks from his website. “I will admit sometimes we haven’t footnoted things properly,” he said. “I’ve written scientific papers. I know how to footnote things, but we’ve never footnoted speeches — and if that’s the standard I’m going to be held to, yes, we will change and we will footnote things.”
Paul and Maddow famously tousled before over his controversial remarks on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Paul, during his 2010 Senate run, defended the property rights of restaurant owners who wished to bar blacks. “Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant — or does the government own his restaurant?” he said at the time. “These are important philosophical debates but not a very practical discussion.” Maddow mocked Paul four years later, when the Kentucky senator celebrated the 50th anniversary of the landmark legislation.
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared on MSNBC yesterday, and when host Alex Wagner asked what kind of advice he’d give his party’s leaders in Congress, Steele offered some sound advice. “The first would be, ‘Get a grip,’” he said.
Steele’s comments came to mind after reading this report published last night by USA Today.
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn warns there could be not only a political firestorm but acts of civil disobedience and even violence in reaction to President Obama’s executive order on immigration Thursday.
“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation,” Coburn said on Capital Download. “You’re going to see – hopefully not – but you could see instances of anarchy. … You could see violence.”
The far-right senator went on to say, “Here’s how people think: Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the president … then why should it apply to me?”
It’s hard to know what to make of such an odd perspective. If Coburn is correct, why weren’t there similar outbursts of anarchy and violence when Presidents Reagan and Bush took very similar executive actions? If the masses are so deeply concerned about separation of powers and the often-ambiguous lines surrounding executive authority, wouldn’t we have seen instances of pandemonium before?
As a practical matter, I’m not even sure how this would work. The Obama administration has limited resources, so it appears likely to prioritize deportations for criminals who entered the country illegally. So, in Coburn’s vision, anti-immigrant activists will become violent, perhaps literally rioting in the street, until more unobtrusive families are broken up?
Brian Beutler reminded Republicans overnight that “just because right-wingers are blind with rage doesn’t mean Obama’s immigration action is illegal.”
It turns out that the laws on the books actually don’t say what you might think they say. Other presidents have discovered this, too. And since nobody wants to write a “maybe I should’ve asked some lawyers first” mea culpa column, they shifted the debate from the terrain of laws to the murkier terrain of political precedent, norms, and procedure. […]
What’s new is that Republicans have perfected a strategy of rejectionism with the help of a media amplification infrastructure—Fox News, Drudge, Limbaugh—that the left hasn’t adopted and doesn’t yet enjoy. Rather than simply fight to reverse the policy in Congress and on the campaign trail—as liberals do when Republicans weaken environmental enforcement—the right can also now scream “Caesar!” without reference to any objective standards, and get a full hearing.
The MSNBC pundit says she’d love to “use dogs with fake paws to reenact Supreme Court oral arguments
Rachel Maddow addressed two very important issues surrounding the Supreme Court of the United States on Monday night. The first of which, Maddow explains, took place on HBO.
Yes, Maddow discussed John Oliver and his use of “Real Animals Fake Paws” to reenact Supreme Court arguments. “I am not allowed to speak for the news division here,” Maddow states. “Part of the reason why is because if I were in charge of the news devision here, I would totally do this. I would totally use dogs with fake paws to reenact Supreme Court oral arguments.”
“That said,” Maddow continues, “this now exists as an asset in our nation’s arsenal in how to cover civics and understand important decisions made by one of our three branches of government.”
Maddow then covers Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “blistering dissent” on the Texas Voter ID ruling, which she stayed up until 5:00 AM writing. Watch below:
Rachel Maddow has already teared into Congress over its handling of the conflict in Iraq and Syria, but a new move by the House and Senate has pushed the MSNBC host over the edge.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama made a speech praising Congress for quickly passing new legislation that will support his plan to arm and train Syrian rebels. That very same day, the House announced that members of Congress would be taking their five-week recess a week early, and would most likely not return until after congressional elections in November.
Maddow was visibly appalled by this, calling it the reason Americans find Congress so repulsive and “repellent.”
“Sixteen-hundred US military families have gotten the call that they’ve had their loved ones deployed to Iraq, they’re flying those missions right now,” Maddow said. “But Congress? Heading home for another seven week break, because they can’t be bothered to think about that right now. They’ve got more important business to tend to they’ve gotta get re-elected. Because that’s the most important thing they do, right?”
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’…
During an interview Wednesday on MSNBC, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said he had no interest in talking about his position on the Civil Rights Act until the network “does 24-hour news telling the truth.”
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.”
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.”
Rachel Maddow crossed the aisle Thursday night, pointing out that today was not a very good day for three governors — two Republicans, one a Democrat — who have their eyes on the White House prize in the very near future.
Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie of New Jersey, and former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer all began the day with bad news and, as Maddow explained, “They kind of made the bad news themselves.”
Starting with Gov. Walker, who must first get re-elected in his state before making a run for the presidency, Maddow pointed ou that his day started off poorly when newly released data showed the state of Wisconsin 37th in job creation.
“Scott Walker, of course, ran as the guy who was going to create jobs in Wisconsin,” she explained. “When you make something the central point of why you’re running for office, being bad at that specific thing ends up being a really big political liability.”
Walker’s day grew worse when previously sealed documents revealed he is at the center of what prosecutors are calling a “sweeping criminal scheme.”
Maddow added that this is part of an investigation into political shenanigans that has been going on for sometime, but now the public knows about it.
“There it is all over the news today, all over Wisconsin, all over the country, in black and white: ‘Prosecutors say Gov. Scott Walker part of criminal scheme.’”
Maddow then moved onto New Jersey Gov Chris Christie, referring to a report in the Wall Street Journal last week stating that federal prosecutors had impaneled a new special grand jury just to handle Christie corruption cases.
Today Esquire revealed that sources say four staffers and appointees of Christie are likely looking at indictments being handed down.
“After what the Wall Street Journal said last week, and what Esquire magazine said today,” Maddow said. “Well, that made for bad day in the news for governor who wants to be president number two.”
Maddow then turned to Schweitzer who did the damage to himself in an interview with the National Journal titled, ‘The Gonzo Option.’
“The article was just posted today, Brian Schweitzer has already apologized for the things he said to the the reporter in this article,” Maddow explained. “But what he said to the reporter in this article is not the thing that an apology usually makes go away.”
Maddow pointed out that Schweitzer compared Sen. Dianne Feinstein to a streetwalker, said his ‘gaydar’ told him Coingressman Eric Cantor was gay, and added that southern men sound ‘effeminate.’
“Governor Brian Schweitzer, again, has apologized for these remarks. He called them ‘stupid and insensitive.’ He said he is deeply sorry he said these these things, but you know, even just the Dianne Feinstein comments alone,… is there really a deeply sorry, deep enough?”
“It is very frustrating to see that this is the way that we handle debates about foreign policy in this country,” she said. “We take people who were so, provably, terribly wrong and bring them back and treat them like experts on the very subject they were wrong about. It is maddening.”
Luckily, she had a solution:
“Hey Sunday shows! Hey op-ed pages! Hey cable news! Hey everybody! We know you are tempted to keep booking these yahoos on these subjects, but if you keep turning to the people who were famously wrong about Iraq to ask them about what to do about Iraq, you at least will be laughed at. And you will be embarrassed that you did this. And you will eventually have to apologize or at least explain yourself for why you thought Bill Kristol should be explaining what to do now. We can see what you’re doing, and it’s funny, but not in a good way.”