U.S. Politics

GOP leaders want details before funding Trump’s border wall

THE HILL

Republican leaders in Congress want more details from President Trump about his proposed border wall before appropriating significant funding for the project.

They have questions about the design and how the administration would handle the rights of property owners whose land would be used to build the structure.

“What I’d like to see is a plan that we know is going to be implemented that’s going to be effective before we start writing the check,” said Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Cornyn said the administration needs to spell out “a layered approach” of “infrastructure, technology and personnel.”

He and House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who has jurisdiction over the wall, are in negotiations with the Trump administration to figure out precisely what they have in mind.

“We’d like to see what the plan is before we write a big check,” McCaul told The Hill on Thursday.

“We’re in current discussions with the administration. What is it going to look like, how much is it going to cost and how are you paying for this thing?”

Asked if he has received enough information from the administration, McCaul described the talks as “a work in progress.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week that it probably wouldn’t make sense to build a wall — which Trump suggested during the 2016 campaign would reach between 35 and 45 feet in height — along the entire length of the 1,954-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

“There are some places along the border where that’s probably not the best way to secure the border,” McConnell said in an interview with Politico Playbook.

McConnell also said he didn’t think that Mexico would repay the United States in some form for the wall, something Trump has vowed will happen.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the wall is how to build it through along the 1,200 miles of border running through Texas, where most of the adjacent land is privately owned.

It could take years for the federal government to litigate the eminent domain claims necessary to build the barrier.

Trump’s budget submitted to Capitol Hill Thursday requests an initial installment of $4.1 billion for the wall, which GOP leaders initially estimated would cost $12 billion to $15 billion. The total final price tag for the project could run to more than $20 billion, according to other experts.

By requesting more information about the administration’s plans for a border wall, GOP leaders could buy themselves time and avoid a messy standoff with Democrats over including money for the wall in the government funding measure that must pass by the end of April to avoid a government shutdown.

Senate Democratic leaders warned this week that they would not allow the measure to pass if it includes funding for the wall.

They wrote in a letter to McConnell and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) that it would “be inappropriate” to include funding in must-pass bills needed to fund the government.

Democrats say the administration needs to answer questions about eminent domain procedures, the design and location of the wall and whether Mexico will fund any of its construction.

A senior Democratic aide reiterated Thursday that Democrats will not support a funding package to keep the government operating beyond April if it includes money for the wall.

Trump’s border wall proposal creates yet another problem for GOP leaders by calling for it to be paid for initially with cuts to non-defense discretionary spending programs.

His budget asks for $3 billion in fiscal year 2017 funding to pay for initial construction of the wall and improving homeland security — $1.5 billion of that total would go toward the wall.

The president has requested an additional $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2018 funding to continue construction of the wall next year.

Trump wants the money for the wall included in the government funding package that must pass by April 28, but GOP leaders are leery of giving Democrats an excuse to block it. A government shutdown fight would distract from their efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare and begin work on tax reform.

The White House budget request puts McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan(R-Wis.) in a bind because it calls for offsetting half the cost of a $33 billion supplemental spending bill — which includes $30 billion for defense and $3 billion for the wall and additional homeland security measures — with cuts to non-defense programs.

Democrats say this is unacceptable because it violates the agreement of the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act, which set the spending levels for defense and non-defense programs.

Senate Democrats wrote in their letter to McConnell and Cochran that Congress has already agreed that any extra funding “should be divided equally between defense and non-defense priorities.”

“Is McConnell going to be an enabler and do what Trump wants or is he going to stand up to the president and tell him there’s no way Congress can pass legislation funding the government by the end of April if it cuts non-defense programs,” said a senior Democratic aide.

By delaying funding for the wall and perhaps the rest of Trump’s supplemental spending request until the administration provides more details about the wall, GOP leaders may be able to sidestep a fight with Democrats in the six weeks remaining before government funding expires.

Ryan reminded reporters Thursday that “we just got the president’s budget submission” and “this is the very beginning of the budget process.”

“What I’m encouraged by is the notion that we’re going to begin rebuilding our military, which is something we’re all very worried about, the hollowing out of our military,” he said.

The negotiating time leading up to the deadline to fund the government is compressed by a two-week recess that both chambers plan to take in the middle of April.

McConnell said he hoped to pass the House GOP’s plan to repeal ObamaCare, the American Health Care Act, before the April recess, but that now appears unlikely as GOP senators have raised a variety of concerns with the legislation.

Some GOP senators want the legislation to undergo hearings and markups in the upper chamber, which would delay floor consideration.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has said the House bill will be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

ALEXANDER BOLTON

U.S. Politics

Nervous GOP senators rooting for Ryan to fail

AP-paul-ryan-01-as-170308_31x13_1600Photo by Joan Walsh

THE HILL

A growing number of GOP senators are hoping the House fails to pass its bill to repeal and replace ­ObamaCare so they won’t be blamed for killing it in the upper chamber.

Support for the House legislation has “disintegrated” in the Senate, according one Republican senator who requested anonymity to discuss internal conference politics.

It will require substantial revisions to win the support of moderate Republicans in the upper chamber — something that will likely make it unacceptable to conservatives.

Given what looks like an unbridgeable divide in the Senate GOP conference, some are saying that it would be better if the bill dies in the House.

“I’ve heard that maybe the best thing is that this doesn’t get out of the House so we’re not the ones who ditch it,” said a Republican senator who has publicly voiced concern about the bill but requested anonymity. “Right now this is disintegrating in the Senate, with everyone off on their own about what they don’t like about the bill.”

The lawmaker said that voting for the House measure could come back to haunt Republicans again and again, just as votes for ­ObamaCare in 2009 and 2010 came back to hurt Democrats in the 2010, 2014 and 2016 elections.

“It’s tough to vote for policy that hurts people,” the senator added.

An analysis released by the Congressional Budget Office Monday found that the House plan, known as the American Health Care Act, would increase the number of uninsured by 24 million compared to current law over a decade.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who is emerging as a leading voice in the Senate healthcare debate, called the projection “eye-popping” and “awful.”

Several of his colleagues have had similar reactions, though they are holding back on slamming the House bill out of courtesy to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and their own leadership.

Another Republican senator who requested anonymity to discuss the House bill candidly said, “There are no good options.”

The lawmaker acknowledged that not fulfilling the party’s campaign promise to repeal and replace ­ObamaCare would be politically painful in the short-term but worried that voting for bad policy could have negative reverberations for the GOP over the next decade.

“The best thing may be to kill it early so it doesn’t come over here,” the GOP senator said.

“One option may be for it to fail and for ­ObamaCare to continue to implode so that it drives us,” the senator added.

If premiums continue to rise and health insurance companies continue to drop out of the federal and state exchanges, there could be less political blowback from repealing ­ObamaCare, the legislator reasoned.

A third Republican senator said, “I think it’s better if it does not come out of the House in its current form.”

The lawmaker said if House GOP leaders manage to pass it, the measure should undergo a major renovation in the Senate by going through hearings and markups in the Finance and Health committees.

Ryan is determined to pass the House bill and told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview on Wednesday that senators are free to amend the legislation as they see fit. But it remains to be seen if Ryan can get the votes. According to a whip count by The Hill, at least 15 House Republicans are leaning no or are staunchly opposed to it. Dozens are declining to say where they stand. If all members vote and all Democrats reject the legislation, Ryan can only afford 21 defections.

Ryan declined to say whether he could pass the bill if it came to the floor this week.

“It’s going through the legislative process. That legislative process has not been finalized,” he told Tapper. “That’s, no offense, that’s kind of a goofy question or faulty premise, because this goes through four committees. We’ve gone through two so far.”

Earlier this month, Ryan guaranteed that the legislation would pass the House.

David Brooks, a center-right columnist for The New York Times, warned last week that the House healthcare bill, if enacted, “will probably lead to immense pain and disruption.”

“That will discredit market-based social reform, cost the Republicans their congressional majorities and end what’s left of the Reagan-era party,” he predicted.

While not persuasive among conservatives, this doomsday scenario is alarming to Republicans from swing states.

Senate Republican leaders are trying to shore up their crumbling ranks by warning them the political fallout will be worse if their party fails to deliver on its campaign promises over the past several elections to repeal  ­ObamaCare.

“I couldn’t disagree more,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) when told some of his colleagues hope the bill will die in the House.

“How do you explain not keeping the promise we made in the last three elections to repeal ­ObamaCare?” he said.

“We think we know a better way to deliver healthcare through free-market competition and more choices that lower costs,” he said. “If you believe that, you believe this is going to work. If you don’t believe that, it’s a different situation.”

A senior GOP aide said Republicans have no excuse for not repealing the controversial law because “we own government” and noted that President Trump made repeal a core promise of his 2016 campaign.

Yet, Trump has also said on a number of occasions that Republicans could choose to do nothing and watch ­ObamaCare collapse in 2017. Trump, who has endorsed but not fully embraced the House bill, has indicated he wants to sign a repeal-and-replace bill.

During a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) advised Trump that he should let ­ObamaCare falter if he can’t strike a better deal.

Later in the day, Graham told radio host Hugh Hewitt, “If you don’t believe it’s better than ­ObamaCare over the long haul, if you think you’re going to own it for the rest of your life, President Trump, it will be called TrumpCare — don’t buy it.”

Internal talk about delaying the repeal of ­ObamaCare indefinitely has some members of the Senate Republican Conference bristling.

“Now is the time for action,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told a gathering of activists outside the Capitol Wednesday.

“Failure is not an option. If Republicans take this opportunity and blow it, we will rightly be considered a laughingstock,” he warned.

Repealing the law appeared to be a goal that unified the party when the Republican-controlled Senate and House passed legislation that would have gutted the law in 2015. The stakes were lower then because President Obama was widely expected to veto it, and did.

Consensus has disappeared now that Republicans in Congress know that whatever they pass will be signed into law by Trump.

Behind closed doors, moderates are telling their colleagues that the political calculations have changed.

“The debate at my lunch today was over people who want more subsidies, more government subsidies for health insurance,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told The Hill in an interview Wednesday.

“It’s disappointing, but they claim they weren’t really voting last time, they were pretending to vote last time,” he added.

Paul also wants the House bill to fail, but his motivation is different from that of centrist GOP senators.

He wants to scrap the American Health Care Act and replace it with legislation stripped of subsidies that promotes greater competition in the marketplace by equalizing treatment of healthcare insurance between individual- and employer-purchased plans.

“Though I want to believe the glass is half full, I am tempted, very tempted, to smash a glass half full of ­ObamaCare Lite — smash that glass to smithereens!” he wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday on Breitbart.

Another Senate conservative and former House member, Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), last week called on his “friends in the House” to “pause, start over.”

Should the House approve its bill, Cotton said, Republicans could lose their majority in the lower chamber.

“Do not walk the plank and vote for a bill that cannot pass the Senate and then have to face the consequences of that vote,” he told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos.

House Republicans, however, are vowing to pass the legislation next week. They want to get the political hot potato off their plate as soon as possible.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a large contingent of House Republicans want to pass a bill, even if it is likely to die in the Senate, because they don’t want to get blamed by conservative constituents for failing to pass an ­ObamaCare repeal bill endorsed by Trump.

U.S. Politics

GOP rep: Trump may exceed Obama on ‘violating our rights’

 

GOP rep: Trump may exceed Obama on ‘violating our rights’

© Greg Nash

THE HILL

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) says he has concerns about President-elect Donald Trump’s respect for the Constitution.

“President Trump has made clear that he supports a very strong surveillance state,” he said Thursday in Grand Rapids, Mich., according to MLIve.com. “And he may even go beyond what President Obama did in terms of violating our rights.”

“I’ll be supportive when I think he’s right and I’ll be critical when I think he’s wrong,” Amash added of Trump. “I’ve been a critic of the Obama administration. There were many times when the Obama administration didn’t follow the Constitution, and I took them to task. I will do the same with the Trump administration.”

Amash also said he wouldn’t shy away from breaking with fellow Republicans over Trump’s policies, citing government spending as one potential division.

“I will take positions that sometimes the political establishment – my own party – won’t like,” he said. “I will take positions that sometimes the Trump administration won’t like. And sometimes I will take positions that the Democrats won’t like. My job is to be fair.”

“We need to make sure we are keeping our debt under control,” Amash added. “Whenever you have one party controlling all of government, you tend to have less of a check on spending.”

Trump will enter the White House next month with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate behind him.

Many rank-and-file Republicans have rallied around the president-elect after their party’s often bruising presidential primary.

Amash initially endorsed GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and then Ted Cruz(Texas) before Trump earned the Republican presidential nomination.

The Michigan lawmaker has been a vocal critic of Trump, and refused to back either him or Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton before Election Day.

BY MARK HENSCH –

U.S. Politics

Rand Paul: Obama Has ‘Conflict Of Interest’ In Appointing SCOTUS Nominee

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AP Photo / Steve Marcus

TPM LIVEWIRE

The senator said that the Supreme Court reviews cases that are “trying to figure out who has the power to do what.”

“The president has said he has the power basically to create immigration law out of nothing,” Paul said. “He says he has the power to basically cripple entire industries like coal without ever having been given that power by Congress. So see, we have a Constitutional debate on whose powers — the president or Congress? And I think the president sort of has a conflict of interest here in appointing somebody while we’re trying to decide whether or not he’s already usurped power.”

“It’s going to be very, very, very difficult to get me to vote for a presidential nomination from this president,” he continued. “I will look at it if it comes down, but my threshold for voting for somebody is going to be very, very high.”

Paul noted that Obama does have a right to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court, but added that “it is very unlikely that he’s going to find a nominee that I think isn’t going to be devastating to” Kentucky.

H/t ThinkProgress

U.S. Politics

Republicans Flip Out After Rand Paul Treats Them The Same Way They’ve Treated Obama

rand-paul-chin-afp-475x356
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

POLITICUS USA

Getting a taste of their own medicine is not sitting well with Republicans.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has made some powerful enemies in the Republican Party and conservatives are taking note. It was bad enough when Paul accused Republicans of emboldening ISIS and called them “lap dogs for Obama.”

The last straw came as the Republican trolled national security, leaving the nation vulnerable so that he could fundraise for his 2016 presidential campaign by pontificating from on high Smug Mountain.

Jim Geraghty writing in the conservative National Review today took Paul to task for accusing other Republicans of wanting a terrorist attack on the US so they can blame Paul:

Say the 2016 Republican presidential primary comes down to Rand Paul and… well, just about anybody else in the GOP field.

Don’t you think that a lot of Republicans will line up behind “Anybody Else”, compared to the senator who said: “People here in town think I’m making a huge mistake. Some of them, I think, secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me.”

Sigh. Rand Paul seems to believe that Republicans hate this country so much they’d love to see it blown to bits just to prove him wrong. So yeah. Republicans are a lot of things, including reckless and irresponsible and out of touch and at times ridiculous — but I don’t believe for one second that they would like the country to be blown up due to their failure to govern just so they could blame their teenage son.

That’s just crazy. Paul’s narcissism flag was in full flight.

Rand’s antics have long wearied the sanes, but now even Republicans are annoyed. How dare Paul accuse them of things they accuse Obama of every day?

Just recently Republican Lindsey Graham accused Obama of hating Christians and loving Muslims (apparently it’s bad to love Muslims). They falsely accused Obama of lying and being guilty of worse than Watergate based on flimsy, faux evidence that was later revealed to be Republican-manufactured, with the help of a willing press. Of course all of this was to be expected by the party that let their Vice Presidential candidate accuse the then Senator of “Pallin’ around with terrorists” and not loving America “like we do.”

Mind you, the above quotes come from the party that likes to accuse Obama of the “politics of division”.

Poser Senator Rand Paul is catnip for the frothing Kenya, fake birth certificate, conspiracy-obsessed conservatives, in addition to appealing to bored, sheltered, suburban types who like to imagine themselves to be highly unique and edgy-interesting. Yes, it’s so unique to see naïve people falling for a shyster who sells them a load of rhetorical crap about “independence” that somehow always involves donating to him. SO NEW. Only Rand Paul cares about liberty. (*Snicker*) Everyone else is out to get you.

Rand Paul is the Republicans’ perpetual teenager-in-rebellion. The brawl between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the junior Senator from Kentucky continued on the Senate floor Monday with McConnell desperately blocking amendments from Paul and Paul finding petulant ways to get back at McConnell by blocking the Senate from speeding up the vote.

But somehow, teeny bits of reality penetrated the Galtian smog surrounding Paul so that he must have realized that everyone from his own party hated him. This would not do, for all of his talk about liberty, the teenager needs his parents. So he sort of walked back his latest accusation, attributing it to “hyperbole”. Because yes, hyperbole and hysteria and not watching your words and launching rhetorical grenades at people just because you disagree with them is totally leadership material. Or it is exactly how a teenager behaves when a parent explains that the garbage must be taken out or else it accumulates.

From the Hill:

“Sometimes, in the heat of battle, hyperbole can get the better of anyone, and that may be the problem there,” the Kentucky Republican said Monday on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.”

“The point I was trying to make is, I think people do use fear to try to get us to give up our liberty.”

LOL. Rand Paul would never use fear to get a political outcome. I mean, he did, but it’s different when he does it. Because it’s for “LIBERTY”. Anyone who disagrees with him wants to kill everyone just to get even with him! Rand Paul hates haters.

Republicans opened the door to this kind of crazy “governance” with six years of conspiracy theories gone wrong. Now that they invited the vampire in, they can’t get him out. And like everyone else, they don’t like being on the receiving end of crazy.

Sarah Jones

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: May 6, 2015

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1.The U.S. investigates ISIS claims it staged Texas attack
Skeptical U.S. investigators are looking into the Islamic State’s claim that it wasbehind the attack at a Texas cartoon contest featuring images mocking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The White House said it was too early to say whether ISIS really was involved in what would be its first strike in the U.S. Police shot and killed two men — Elton Simpson and his roommate Nadir Soofi — after they allegedly opened fire, wounding a security guard. A federal law enforcement agent said Simpson was under investigation before the attack.

Source: Reuters, Fox News

2.Mike Huckabee launches second White House bid
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Tuesday became the latest in a flurry of candidates to jump into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Huckabee, a former president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention, made a strong showing in his first White House bid, in 2008. On Tuesday, he jabbed at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and GOP rivals such as Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, saying he would be “funded and fueled not by the billionaires but by working people across America.”

Source: Bloomberg

3.Hillary Clinton backs citizenship path for undocumented immigrants
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday publicly backed establishing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States. “We can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship,” she said at a Las Vegas high school. Seeking to draw a contrast between her view and that of rivals in the Republican party, the Democratic frontrunner said, “When they talk about legal status, that is code for second-class status.”

Source: USA Today

4.Investigators say Germanwings co-pilot rehearsed crash
French investigators reported Wednesday that the Germanwings co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing his airliner in the French Alps had entered crash settings on the plane’s previous flight in what appeared to be a rehearsal for the tragic fatal dive. Andreas Lubitz repeatedly set the altitude dial to 100 feet on a flight to Barcelona that ended normally, French safety agency BEA reported Wednesday. On the return flight to Dusseldorf, he allegedly locked the captain out of the cockpit and crashed, killing himself and 149 others.

Source: NBC News

5.Baltimore officer challenges prosecutor claim that Freddie Gray’s arrest was illegal
One of the six Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death has filed court papers challenging prosecutors’ claim that Gray was falsely arrested. A lawyer for Officer Edward Nero, who has been charged with assault, misconduct, and false imprisonment, said Gray had an illegal knife, and challenged prosecutors to produce it. Baltimore City’s State Attorney Marilyn Mosby filed the charges last week after receiving a police investigative report. She said the knife was legal under state law.

Source: Baltimore Sun

6.French lawmakers back bill likened to U.S. Patriot Act
The lower house of French parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would broaden the government’s spy powers. The bill, which is expected to easily pass in the Senate, was drafted days after gunmen killed 17 people in separate attacks — including one on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The so-called French Patriot Act would let intelligence agencies tap phones and monitor email accounts without a judge’s permission. Critics say it it is an unnecessary encroachment on liberty.

Source: The New York Times, AFP

7.Four sentenced to death for mob killing in Afghanistan
An Afghan court on Wednesday sentenced four men to death for participating in the March mob killing of a 27-year-old woman named Farkhunda who was wrongly suspected of burning a copy of the Koran. Forty-nine people, including 19 police officers, were tried for their alleged roles in the fatal beating, which caused widespread anger and spurred calls for greater women’s rights in Afghanistan. Eight others were convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Charges were dropped against 18, and the rest will be sentenced Sunday.

Source: The Associated Press

8.California water regulators adopt mandatory conservation rules
California’s State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday approved the state’s first rules for mandatory water conservation as the state struggles with an historic drought that is entering its fourth year. The emergency regulations require communities to slash water use by as much as 36 percent. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) ordered the cutbacks, which hit urban users hardest while giving broad exemptions to the state’s giant agricultural sector, even though it accounts for 80 percent of the state’s water use.

Source: Reuters

9. Loretta Lynch meets with Freddie Gray’s family and police in Baltimore
Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited Baltimore on Tuesday, saying she was considering a request from City Council President Jack Young for a civil rights investigation into the city’s police department after the death of Freddie Gray. He suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody. Lynch met with Gray’s family, protesters, city officials, police, and religious leaders. Calm has returned to the city following protests and riots, but Lynch said tensions between residents and police remain.

Source: Politico, The Associated Press

10.Federal government approves ferry service to Cuba
The Obama administration on Tuesday granted licenses to at least four companies to offer ferry service between Florida and Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. “I’m very excited, because this is a historical event in U.S.-Cuba relations,” said Leonard Moecklin Sr., managing partner of one of the companies, Havana Ferry. The move is part of an effort, announced by President Obama in December, to restore diplomatic relations between the U.S. and its former Cold War antagonist.

Source: Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, The Wall Street Journal

Baltimore Unrest · Sen. Rand Paul

Rand Paul Tries to Prove He’s Not a Racist By Making Jokes About Baltimore Protests

Government Shutdown Enters Second Week
Sen. Rand Paul – Attribution: none

PoliticusUSA

Rand Paul’s (R-KY) public relations tour is meant, in part, to assuage the narrative that he’s a racist. This narrative is based on things like Paul being against Civil Rights and his knowingly hiring a secessionist who cheered the assassination of President Lincoln. So he found himself joking on the radio Tuesday morning that his train went through Baltimore and he’s glad it didn’t stop.

Being a Republican, Paul knows he can fix erase the facts surrounding the narrative that he’s a racist with some sweet talk, without changing a thing about his policies. If he just tells black people he is not a racist, they will believe.

This explains why the Republican presidential candidate went on the Laura Ingraham show Tuesday and cracked wise about the protests in Baltimore and said it was not appropriate to discuss the “root cause” of the protests at this time, and then blamed the “lack of fathers and lack of moral code” for the protests (that’s Southern Republicans for “black people”, FYI):

Audio from Media Matters via TPM:

Paul said:

I don’t know if there is an answer from the federal government. It obviously. It’s a local problem primarily, but you have to have enough show of security, enough show of a police force to deter the kind of action. I think once it happens it sort of spirals out of control, and it’s depressing. It’s sad. It’s scary. I came through the train on Baltimore last night (sic). I’m glad the train didn’t stop. (laughter).

But the thing is, is that really, there are so many things that we can talk about that I think it’s something we talk about not in the immediate aftermath, but over time. You know, the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of sort of a moral code in society, and this isn’t just a racial thing.

It goes across racial boundaries, but we do have problems in our country and you see this and you that we’re close to the tipping point and closer to the tipping point than many think, so there are a lot of things that can be done, but there can be no excuse for the behavior.

Lest anyone get the idea that Paul is being a racist, he assured Ingraham, “This isn’t just a racial thing.”

OH. Just “lack of fathers” and “morals”, which is how Republicans describe African American families. Also known in GOP circles as “welfare moms”. Yes, plenty of conservatives have already blamed welfare for the riots, which makes no sense if they want to blame black people because there are more southern rural whites on welfare but whatever. We can’t keep running after facts in a Republican narrative or we’ll get motion sickness.

What Rand assures us is that we must not discuss the root cause of the protests, which is the entire purpose of protests, unless we were to blame the lack of fathers. In that case, we should talk away.

Thus we get to: It’s single moms’ faults that police are killing black men. This Paul feels is the appropriate discussion to have rather than discuss police violence against black people and inherent racial bias.

The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday morning:

Fifteen police officers were injured in a clash with school-age children that began around 3 p.m., and two remain hospitalized, police Col. Darryl DeSousa said in a press conference Monday night. Earlier, police spokesman Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said one officer was unresponsive and others suffered broken bones.

The incident stemmed from a flier that circulated widely among city school students via social media about a “purge” to take place at 3 p.m., starting at Mondawmin Mall and ending downtown. Such memes have been known to circulate regularly among city school students, based on the film “The Purge,” about what would happen if all laws were suspended.

Kowalczyk called the demonstrators “lawless individuals with no regard for the safety of people that live in that community” and said they would be identified and arrested. Police said via Twitter many of the rioters were juveniles and urged parents to bring their children home.

Rand Paul is saying that these school children lack fathers and morals.

In truth, the violence erupting in Baltimore can’t be hung on the peaceful protesters of police injustice in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. But it can be hung on anger. And while it is wrong and it is not productive, it is the inevitable result of relentless injustice. We are assured of this inevitability by Republicans, actually, who argue that they must have the rights to own any gun with no background check in case the government comes after them. They need the right to murder the government for liberty. That is the Republican argument against reasonable gun laws.

The real irony here is that the “everyone carry a gun with no background checks for liberty against big government!” crowd, the people who say this even after the slaughtering of innocents — statistically carried out by young, white men by the way — these people have an issue with protesters looting and getting violent as they protest what they see as government abuse via the police.

If the looters were all white and they were protesting the continuous murdering of white men by mostly black police, Republicans would deem the protesters to be warriors of liberty “for Christ” and claim martyrdom. Republicans have repeatedly justified breaking the law in order to fight things they don’t like, including affordable healthcare for all. They call this righteousness.

But when black people protest being murdered by the government, Republicans declare that they lack morality. Not the best way for Rand Paul to make the argument that he’s not a racist.

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness has a deep influence on the mindset of the right

A postage stamp showing an image of Ayn Rand, circa 1999 (catwalker / Shutterstock.com)
A postage stamp showing an image of Ayn Rand, circa 1999 (catwalker / Shutterstock.com)

The Raw Story

Ayn Rand (1904-82) has arisen from the dead. Over the last decade the pop philosopher and propaganda fictionist extraordinaire has moved steadily from the cultish margins to the mainstream of US conservatism.

Her ghost may even haunt the current presidential race with the candidacy of Republican Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian darling who received a set of Ayn Rand books for his 17th birthday.

In her bestselling books and essays, Rand frankly celebrated selfishness and greed – and the underside of this celebration is a scorn toward and demonization of any simple caring about other human beings. Such a stance has become a hidden, yet driving force behind such loaded catchphrases as “spending cuts” and, more grandiosely, “limited government.”

In a larger sense, though, Rand had never died. Sales of her books remained steadily in the six figures in the years following her demise, their underground influence an unacknowledged-if-discomforting fact of American life. A couple of reader surveys carried out in the 1990s by Book-of-the-Month Club and the Library of Congress, and by the Modern Library imprint, showed Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead near the top of the polling results, according to author Brian Doherty. And, in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, sales of her works tripled.

Randianism, what she called Objectivism, now exists as a mass phenomenon, a grass-roots presence, a kind of folklore. “Who Is John Galt?”, her recurring slogan from Atlas Shrugged, can be seen on placards at Tea Party rallies, on leaflets casually affixed to telephone poles or on the shopping bags of Lululemon Athletics, the Canadian sports apparel company. The firm’s CEO, Chip Wilson, is an avowed Rand fan. So are the current corporate chiefs at Exxon, Sears, the BB & T Bank in North Carolina and the funky Whole Foods chain.

And of course, there’s Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, who started out in the 1950s as Rand’s star disciple and never in the course of his career was to abjure the special relationship.

Rand and the mindset of the right

Randthought, which I discuss in my book, On Nabokov, Ayn Rand and the Libertarian Mind, serves as a major doctrinal component within the mindset of the libertarian, the latter being the most significant American ideological development of the last 35 years.

The title of a 1971 book by Jerome Tuccille (a libertarian journalist and Libertarian Party candidate for governor of New York State in 1974) says all: It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand. Rand’s fan base has since grown to include Paul Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice-presidential nominee, who in 2005 openly credited Rand with his having entered government service and who reportedly has had his staffers read the market guru’s books.

Rand did not invent libertarianism. The thinking, sans the name, had been around since at least the 1920s. And her contemporaries, economists such as Milton Friedman and the so-called Austrian School, gave the set of ideas academic standing and respectability. In Rand’s truculent fiction, however, an abstract theory effectively took on flesh via dashing heroes and unabashed hero worship, vivid myths and technological magic, page-turning suspense and torrid, violent sex. For every studious reader of economist Friedrich von Hayek, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of eager devourers of Rand.

Curiously, an aging Rand loathed libertarians, attacked them as “scum,” “hippies of the right” and “a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people.” She hated them in great measure because, in her view, they had adopted her economic principles yet ignored her total “philosophy.” (Rand also disliked any situation over which she couldn’t exercise personal control.)

Her heirs and successors in the so-called Objectivist camp have since waged a kind of sectarian cold war with libertarians. One thinks of the split between Stalinists and Trotskyists or between Social Democrats and Communists.

Meanwhile the libertarians themselves have gone their merry way with their political party (the nation’s third largest) and Tea Parties, and with their myriad think tanks and media organs.

The GOP’s fraught affair with Rand

In the interim, starting with Ronald Reagan, the GOP has absorbed selected aspects of the rhetoric and larger aims of the libertarian purists (much as the New Deal did once pick and choose rhetoric and programs from the socialist left). At the same time, official party conservatism took to cultivating the evangelical Christian sectors, marshaling issues such as abortion and evolution in an aggressive bid to gain favor with fundamentalist voters.

In addition, picking up from the “Southern Strategy” of Republicans in the 1970s who wooed Southern Democrats by catering to racial tensions, candidates and publicists now play on continuing resentment over the Civil War defeat and the Civil Rights struggles. They deflect blame onto “Big Government” for any and all ills, much as libertarians and Randians are wont to do. The result is a marriage of convenience, an uneasy alliance between a pro-market, secular Right and the older, faith-based forces who make common cause against a perceived common enemy.

Rand, ironically, was an outspoken atheist, a fact that eventually led VP candidate Paul Ryan to publicly repudiate her “atheist philosophy,” claiming disingenuously that his once-touted Randianism was merely an “urban legend,” and that, as a Catholic, his thought came rather from St Thomas Aquinas.

Still, whatever these doctrinal differences, Rand’s vision will continue to provide inspiration and intellectual ammunition for the foot soldiers of US conservatism, libertarian or otherwise.

In many respects, America is becoming — in echo of the title of a book by journalist Gary Weiss — an “Ayn Rand Nation.”

The ConversationBy Gene H. Bell-Villada, Williams College

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton · Sen. Rand Paul

Rand Paul: Hillary Has So Much ‘Baggage’ She Needs An Extra Plane

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AP Photo | J. Scott Applewhite

TPM LiveWire

“I’m starting to worry that when Hillary Clinton travels, there’s gonna need to be two planes – one for her and her entourage, and one for her baggage,” Paul said. “I’m concerned that the plane with the baggage is really getting heavy and teetering.”

Paul, who, like Clinton, recently announced his 2016 presidential candidacy, criticized Clinton for using a private email account while she was secretary of State, according to The Hill. The Republican candidate also reportedly took issue with the fact that the Clinton Foundation had accepted monetary contributions from foreign governments.

Paul has recently faced criticism over his comments and behavior toward women, prompting accusations that he’s sexist and forcing his wife to defend him against the claims.

2016 Hopefuls · Rand Paul · Sen. Rand Paul · The Guardian (UK)

Watch Rand Run: Paul Cuts Off And Flees Live Interview When Questions Get Too Hard

Rand Paul Guardian interview | You Tube Screencap

PoliticusUSA

Sen. Rand Paul had another disastrous interview with a member of the media today. Watch Sen. Paul walk out on an interview with The Guardian just as he was being pressed on his flawed campaign strategy.

Video:

As you can see, in the video above, The Guardian’s Paul Lewis was in the middle of asking Sen. Paul about how he plans on winning the Republican nomination on a platform of criminal justice reform when the vast majority of Republicans believe that the law is being applied fairly to all Americans. Sen. Paul didn’t say goodbye, or excuse himself from the interview. He just walked out.

The media initially reported that Paul campaign staffers turned out the lights on Lewis, but the Paul folks claim that it was a CNN producer who was setting for Paul’s next interview that left the scene in darkness.

Rand Paul is getting a taste of what happens when journalists hold him accountable for his policy inconsistencies. Sen. Paul seems to be running a very entitled campaign for a family that has perpetually run for president and never come remotely close to winning anything of consequence.

Paul has defined himself as the angry lightweight who is going to deflect from his flip-flops by either attacking or running away from the media. If Sen. Paul wants people to vote for him, media engagement is a free way to reach millions of potential voters. So far, Paul has hit the 2016 campaign trail and fallen flat on his face.

Sen. Paul may not have had the time to answer Lewis’s question, but there are more graceful ways of ending an interview than walking out. If Paul had excused himself politely from the interview, there would be no story, but if Rand Paul can’t handle NBC’s Today show and Paul Lewis from The Guardian, voters shouldn’t have any faith that he can handle being president.