Those hoping to kill the international nuclear agreement with Iran have faced a variety of obstacles, but one in particular has proven hard to overcome: their own track record.
Just as there are a variety of Republicans and their allies pushing for an armed confrontation with Iran now, many of these same people were cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq 13 years ago. Indeed, many have tried to find even one person who was right about Iraq in 2002 and 2003 who also now opposes the diplomatic solution with Iran. So far, no names have popped up.
But as MSNBC's Zack Roth reported, Dick Cheney doesn't much care. The failed former vice president has a new book in which he not only condemns President Obama's foreign policy, but he tries to defend his own tarnished legacy -- especially on the subject of Iraq.
At one stage, [Dick and Liz Cheney] write that "history will be the ultimate judge of our decision to liberate Iraq." But just two pages later, as if unable to resist re-engaging the issue, they describe the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as a "grave threat to the United States" before concluding: "We were right to invade and remove him from power."
They even insist that U.S. troops "were in fact greeted as liberators," just as Dick Cheney predicted before the invasion -- a quote that Bush administration critics have frequently hung around his neck.
Cheney, promoting the book, was asked yesterday why anyone should listen to him on Iran given his record on Iraq. "Because I was right about Iraq," Cheney responded.
Like it or not, there's ample reason to believe such transparent nonsense actually matters.
After controversial videos were released a few months ago targeting Planned Parenthood, a variety of states launched investigations of local affiliates. Officials in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania cleared the health care group of any wrongdoing.
But in Florida, the story is a little more complicated. In response to the fetal-tissue uproar, Gov. Rick Scott (R) ordered a review of Planned Parenthood's 16 clinics in the state. Politico reported this week that the Republican governor's office wasn't altogether impressed with the findings -- so Scott aides gave the truth a little touch-up.
Gov. Rick Scott's office scrubbed a press release written by his own regulators that found there was no "mishandling of fetal remains" at clinics run by Planned Parenthood and, at the same time, said it would refer doctors who worked at those clinics to the state Board of Medicine for possible disciplinary action.
The point of the investigation was to examine Planned Parenthood's fetal-tissue donations, and as the Politico report noted, Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration prepared a press statement making clear the group did nothing wrong on this front.
It was at that point that the governor's office reportedly "deleted information" recommended by state regulators.
It didn't get a whole lot of attention yesterday, but Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unveiled a $10 billion plan to combat substance abuse, and by all appearances, it's a serious approach, prioritized after Clinton heard from voters who emphasized its importance in their own families' lives.
Clinton's plan calls for treating addiction as a public health issue, rather than a law enforcement one, and pledges more resources for treatment and recovery programs. That includes giving all first responders access to naloxone, a drug that can save the lives of people in the midst of an opioid overdose. [...]
Clinton also calls for better training for prescribeers, to limit prescriptions to addictive drugs like OxyContin. Clinton's plan would devote $7.5 billion in federal-state partnerships to build up local treatment programs, with a potential federal match of $4 for every $1 a state invests.
The release of the plan coincided with a new Clinton op-ed on the subject published in New Hampshire, and a post on Medium in which the campaign shared personal stories from Americans who've struggled with addiction and substance disorders.
Rand Paul argued in New Hampshire Wednesday that the heroin epidemic in the United States could be solved in part by putting people back to work.
"People always come up to me and say, 'We got heroin problems and all these other problems.' You know what? If you work all day long, you don't have time to do heroin," the Kentucky senator said to applause while holding a meet-and-greet at the Airport Diner in Manchester.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch yesterday "strongly condemned shootings of law enforcement officers in Texas and Illinois and issued an unequivocal message of support for police." The comments came on the heels of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) arguing that "the entire Obama administration" has shown "hostility [towards] law enforcement."
Cruz, of course, backed up his argument by pointing to ... nothing. Soon after, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) appeared on Fox News and said the White House's support for law enforcement has been "ambiguous," which contributes to violence and lawlessness. To support the contention, the scandal-plagued Republican also pointed to ... nothing.
Taking an even less subtle approach, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) published a piece on a far-right blog yesterday, reflecting on "a serious problem."
In the last six years under President Obama, we've seen a rise in anti-police rhetoric. Instead of hope and change, we've seen racial tensions worsen and a tendency to use law enforcement as a scapegoat.
Look, eventually we're going to reach a put-up-or-shut-up moment. We talked yesterday about how offensive it is when politicians exploit the deaths of police officers for partisan gain, but as the number of GOP candidates connecting the White House to the slayings grows, it becomes all the more important for Republican officials to do one specific thing:
Back up their ugly claims with some shred of proof.
Rachel Maddow reports on President Obama restoring the name of the tallest mountain in North America to Denali over the objections of Ohio Republicans, and shares clips of President Obama speaking on climate change in Alaska, working to burnish his environmental record before his time in office runs out. watch
Today will likely be an interesting day for Kentucky's Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk who's paid by taxpayers to issue marriage licenses, but who refuses to provide licenses to couples she finds morally objectionable, citing "God's authority."
Yesterday, Davis and her attorneys once again asked a federal court to allow her to ignore the law, effectively seeking a waiver from multiple court orders. Not only is this likely to fail, but the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge David Bunning, appointed to the bench by George W. Bush, will reportedly ask Davis today why he shouldn't hold her in contempt.
In the meantime, the dispute has gained increasing national notoriety, becoming the new litmus test for Republican presidential candidates. MSNBC's Alex Jaffe reported last night:
The Republican presidential field has started to take positions on Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who's scheduled to appear in court on Thursday for refusing to issue marriage licenses in the state against the order of a federal judge. [...]
A handful of candidates weighed in on Tuesday and Wednesday, but only after they were asked for comment. Candidates who responded so far have done so along predictable lines, with social conservatives expressing outspoken support for Davis, and more moderate-minded candidates dismissing her move.
The more some candidates weighed in, the more others felt compelled to do the same. And at this point, it's clear that a few GOP candidates recognize the importance of the rule of law, while others aren't so sure.
David Miliband, former British foreign secretary, current president of the International Rescue Committee, talks with Rachel Maddow about the numbers of refugees fleeing Syria and elsewhere, the struggle to accommodate them in Europe, and how some countries, like the U.S. have been slow to respond. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on President Obama touring Alaska to bring attention to climate change, but also taking the time to meet people and learn about the native culture, and share a personal moment with a fish. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on an upcoming meeting between Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and RNC chairman Reince Priebus as Republican Party officials are circulating a loyalty pledge to all candidates but clearly with a Trump third-party run in mind. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on an ill-advised fight Jeb Bush has picked with Stephen Colbert by fundraising off his appearance on the Late Show premiere, and Senator Elizabeth Warren raising eyebrows with somewhat open-ended answers to questions about her political future. watch