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Rancher Cliven Bundy stands near a metal gate on his 160 acre ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada on May 3, 2014. (Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters)

Cliven Bundy arrested, Oregon standoff nears its end

02/11/16 08:00AM

It's been nearly six weeks since a group of well-armed militants drove to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, took control of its headquarters, and posted guards in camouflage outside. As regular readers know, the militia members, led in part by to Ammon and Ryan Bundy, controversial rancher Cliven Bundy's sons, said they were willing to kill and be killed if necessary in their effort to have federal land turned over to local authorities.
 
As of last night, the standoff appears to be nearly over. Ammon and Ryan Bundy were taken into custody, and late last night, their notorious father was also arrested. The Oregonian reported:
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who touched off one armed showdown with federal authorities and applauded another started in Oregon by his sons, was arrested late Wednesday at Portland International Airport and faces federal charges related to the 2014 standoff at his ranch. [...]
 
He faces a conspiracy charge to interfere with a federal officer -- the same charge lodged against two of his sons, Ammon and Ryan, for their role in the Jan. 2 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns. He also faces weapons charges. The Bundy Ranch Facebook page reported Cliven Bundy was surrounded by SWAT officers and detained after his arrival from Nevada.
For those needing a refresher, two years ago, there was an armed confrontation between federal law enforcement and Cliven Bundy's well-armed supporters in Nevada. The Obama administration, in the interest of public safety, chose not to escalate matters against the rancher, who claims not to recognize the legitimacy of the United States government, and the underlying dispute went unresolved.
 
Bundy continued to ignore multiple court orders and he still owes the United States more than $1 million after he was fined for grazing on protected land.
 
Last spring, he seemed to realize he was in an unsustainable position. "It's hard to tell, but the feds, they're probably going to do something," Bundy told the L.A. Times. "[T]hey're probably just standing back, looking at things."
 
Not anymore.
 
And speaking of things being over, the standoff in Oregon is likely to wrap up today. NBC News reported overnight:
Sanders' biggest challenge: voter turnout

Sanders' biggest challenge: voter turnout

02/10/16 09:47PM

Jaime Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, talks with Rachel Maddow about how well Bernie Sanders has been able to establish a political operation in South Carolina, and the demographics Sanders will have to reach. watch

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 2.10.16

02/10/16 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* More on this in the morning: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will end his presidential bid on Wednesday after a disappointing sixth place finish in the New Hampshire Republican primary, NBC News confirms."
 
* It's impossible to overstate how much is on the line: "The Supreme Court's surprise decision Tuesday to halt President Obama's climate change regulation could weaken or even imperil the international global warming accord reached with great ceremony in Paris less than two months ago, climate diplomats said."
 
* Afghanistan: "The United States Army will deploy hundreds of soldiers to the southern Afghan province of Helmand, where government forces have been pushed to the brink by Taliban militants, a military spokesman said Tuesday."
 
* The "determined to strike" framing sure does ring a bell, doesn't it? "Leaders of the Islamic State are determined to strike targets in the United States this year, senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday, telling lawmakers that a small group of violent extremists will attempt to overcome the logistical challenges of mounting such an attack."
 
* Ferguson, Mo.: "Faced with one of the most monumental decisions in its city's history, the Ferguson City Council voted to attach conditions to a consent decree with the federal government. The move is not sitting well with some of the embattled city's residents – or the Department of Justice."
 
* CDC: "If you want to know how quickly the Zika virus will spread, just look at what happened in Puerto Rico with a related virus, chikungunya, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday."
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina fields questions from the press following the “happy hour” debate hosted by Fox News at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)

Carly Fiorina exits stage right

02/10/16 04:01PM

Last night, following another failed primary race, Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina told supporters, "We are going to keep going." Evidently, that wasn't quite true.
Carly Fiorina dropped out of the presidential contest on Wednesday, after scoring just 4 percent of votes in New Hampshire's Republican primary.
 
"While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them," the former Hewlett-Packard executive said in a statement.
Fiorina's full statement is available on her Facebook page. The California Republican ended her candidacy after finishing in seventh place in New Hampshire, picking up about 4% of the vote, which followed a seventh-place finish in Iowa, where she received less than 2% of the vote.
 
For Fiorina, who was seeking the presidency despite never having served in elected office, this was her second attempt in politics, following a failed U.S. Senate campaign in 2010, when she lost by double digits to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
 
The former tech executive's departure from the race is unlikely to have a significant impact on the overall trajectory of the nominating fight, but let's not forget there was a point not too long ago in which Fiorina looked like she'd be a real contender.
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on stage before the start of the Democratic presidential debate sponsored by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H., Feb. 4, 2016. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Voter turnout challenges Sanders' recipe for success

02/10/16 12:53PM

It's not exactly a secret that Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign faces skeptics when it comes to "electability." With so much on the line in 2016, including the prospect of a radicalized Republican Party controlling the White House and Congress, plenty of Democratic voters, even some who may like Sanders and his message, are reluctant to nominate a candidate who's likely to fail in a general election.
 
And on the surface, those concerns are hard to dismiss out of hand. Sanders is, after all, a self-described socialist senator running in an era in which most Americans say they wouldn't support a socialist candidate. He's 74 years old -- two years older than Bob Dole was in 1996. Sanders has no experience confronting the ferocity of the Republican Attack Machine.
 
When GOP officials, leaders, and candidates take steps to help the Sanders campaign, it's pretty obvious why.
 
But Sanders and his supporters have a counter-argument at the ready. Below these surface-level details, the argument goes, Sanders' bold and unapologetic message will resonate in ways the political mainstream doesn't yet understand. Marginalized Americans who often feel alienated from the process -- and who routinely stay home on Election Day -- can and will rally to support Sanders and propel him to the White House.
 
The old political-science models, Team Sanders argues, are of limited use. Indeed, they're stale and out of date, failing to reflect the kind of massive progressive turnout that Bernie Sanders -- and only Bernie Sanders -- can create.
 
This isn't the entirety of Sanders' pitch, but it's a key pillar: the Vermont senator will boost turnout, which will propel him and Democratic candidates up and down the ballot to victory.
 
There is, however, some fresh evidence that challenges the thesis.

Wednesday's Campaign Round-Up, 2.10.16

02/10/16 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
 
* There hasn't been any major shake-up on Hillary Clinton's staff, but she is adding Jen O'Malley Dillon, the former deputy campaign manager for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, to the Clinton team.
 
* As attention now shifts to South Carolina, which hosts its Democratic primary in about two weeks, Clinton unveiled a new ad yesterday called "Broken," which focuses on systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
 
* Chip Englander, who ran Rand Paul's failed presidential campaign, has decided to join Marco Rubio's operation.
 
* It seems hard to believe, but Rep. Todd Young, the leading Republican candidate in Indiana's U.S. Senate race, "may not have submitted enough valid petition signatures to qualify" for the ballot. The Indiana Democratic Party is moving forward with a challenge to Young's eligibility.
 
* MSNBC reported yesterday that Bernie Sanders, throughout his Senate career, "has been a regular presence at luxurious Democratic fundraising retreats, according to more than a half-dozen lobbyists, donors and former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee staff members with whom he attended the events." It follows a similar report about Sanders attending a 2007 fundraiser on Martha's Vineyard, which included wealthy lobbyist donors.
 
* The field of Republican Senate candidates in Florida will apparently grow to five, with homebuilder Carlos Beruff poised to throw his hat in the ring.

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Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.

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