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Trump boasts dubious crowd numbers

Trump boasts dubious crowd numbers

08/19/15 09:19PM

Rachel Maddow points out that Donald Trump's boast of 2500 people at a town hall in New Hampshire is much more than the number estimated by the fire marshal at the event and no official count was performed. watch

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 8.19.15

08/19/15 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* A huge get for proponents of the Iran deal: "Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, is supporting the Iran nuclear agreement. In a statement released Wednesday, Donnelly, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said only the 'steadfast resolve' of the U.S. and its allies can stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
 
* Climate agenda: "The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed the first federal regulations requiring the nation's oil and gas industry to cut emissions of methane as part of an expanding and increasingly aggressive effort to combat climate change."
 
* West Virginia: "One of the last executives charged in a chemical spill that left 300,000 West Virginians without clean tap water for days pleaded guilty to federal pollution violations Tuesday. Former Freedom Industries executive Dennis Farrell entered his guilty plea in federal court in Charleston."
 
* Ohio: "The Ohio Department of Corrections intended to illegally import drugs for executions, according to an FDA letter obtained by BuzzFeed News.... In a June letter, the FDA wrote to Ohio, warning the state that importing the drugs would be illegal."
 
* Texas: "Two first-degree felony charges against Attorney General Ken Paxton were dismissed Tuesday and replaced with new indictments that clarify the securities fraud allegations.... Special prosecutor Brian Wice said the new indictments were issued to provide greater clarity and to defuse arguments typically made by defense lawyers that charges are ambiguous. The underlying fraud allegations remain unchanged, he said."
 
* Egypt: "In a significant leap toward harsher authoritarian rule, Egypt has enacted a draconian new anti-terrorism law that sets a sweeping definition for who and what could face a harsh set of punishments, including journalists who don't toe the government line."
 
* No, seriously, the "24-day" argument against the Iran deal is a terrible argument.
This Aug. 9, 2014, file photo shows Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as he speaks during an event in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Huckabee: MLK would be 'appalled' by Black Lives Matter movement

08/19/15 04:27PM

As a rule, it's a mistake for most politicians to tell the public what Martin Luther King Jr. would believe if he were alive today. Someone probably ought to let Mike Huckabee know.
Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee believes Martin Luther King, Jr. would be "appalled" by the Black Lives Matter movement -- telling CNN that racism is "more of a sin problem than a skin problem."
 
During an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday evening, the former Arkansas governor touted the "all lives matter" mantra and said he was troubled that the movement focuses on one ethnicity. Huckabee added that the late civil rights leader would feel the same.
According to the Politico piece, Huckabee said, "When I hear people scream, 'black lives matter,' I think, of course they do.... But all lives matter. It's not that any life matters more than another. That's the whole message that Dr. King tried to present, and I think he'd be appalled by the notion that we're elevating some lives above others."
 
Let's unwrap this a bit, because Huckabee may not understand the issue nearly as well as he thinks he does.
 
The Black Lives Matter movement was, at least in part, a response to a series of violent incidents involving police officers killing unarmed African Americans. Part of Dr. King's "whole message" was focused on this issue as it existed a half-century ago. Indeed, In King's most famous speech, he specifically proclaimed, "We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality."
 
So, right off the bat, Huckabee's notion that MLK might somehow object to, or be uncomfortable with, the Black Lives Matter movement seems dubious.
 
But more troubling is the degree to which the far-right Republican seems to have no idea why the Black Lives Matter movement exists.
Image: A statue of the United States first President, George Washington, is seen under the Capitol dome in Washington

Where are the GOP's foreign policy 'grown-ups'?

08/19/15 12:55PM

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), seen as an on-the-fence Democrat on the international nuclear agreement with Iran, announced his support for the diplomatic deal this morning. His endorsement came on the heels of three Democratic senators announcing yesterday that they're backing the agreement, too.
 
Republican leaders seem resigned to the fact that they're probably going to lose this fight and the deal will likely be implemented, but the number of GOP lawmakers willing to support the deal still stands at zero.
 
But away from Capitol Hill, the picture changes. We talked this week about some notable Republican figures who may not have a vote, but who nevertheless back the Iran agreement, including former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Brent Scowcroft, a veteran National Security Advisor to several Republican presidents, who also served as the chairman of George W. Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. A reader reminded me that I neglected to mention former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who's also offered support for the deal.
 
Commenting on my piece, Vox's Max Fisher raised an under-appreciated point:
"What we're really seeing here are the last vestiges of a Reagan/HWBush-era Republican Party that took foreign policy seriously on its merits."
He added that Republicans like Scowcroft and Lugar are better labeled the GOP's "grown-ups."
 
That's true. It also raises a broader point about the slow disappearance of these "grown-ups" and their declining influence over Republican policymaking, especially in the area of international affairs.

Wednesday's Campaign Round-Up, 8.19.15

08/19/15 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
 
* A new CNN poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders nationally in the race for the Democratic nomination, 48% to 27%. Vice President Biden was included in the poll, and was a distant third with 13%.
 
* The same poll tested hypothetical general-election match-ups, and found Clinton leading Jeb Bush by 12 points (53% to 41%), Donald Trump by nine points (52% to 43%), Scott Walker by eight points (52% to 44%), and Carly Fiorina by 15 points (55% to 40%). Note, these results covered responses from all Americans -- among registered voters, Clinton also leads each of the GOP candidates, but by slightly smaller margins.
 
* Both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are comfortable with birthright citizenship. In 2015, supporting the plain text of the 14th Amendment is what passes for "moderation" on an issue.
 
* Ben Carson, however, is now publicly opposed to birthright citizenship. By my count, he's the ninth Republican presidential candidate to express hostility towards the 14th Amendment principle.
 
* Planned Parenthood is airing TV ads targeting four incumbent Republican senators: New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, Ohio's Rob Portman, Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey, and Wisconsin's Ron Johnson. (Disclosure: my wife works for Planned Parenthood, but her work has nothing to do with these commercials.)
 
* Speaking of ads, the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity is reportedly launching a $1.4 million ad buy in Ohio, attacking former Gov. Ted Strickland (D). The Ohio Democrat is considered a strong challenger to Rob Portman in next year's Senate race.
Rand Paul Campaigns In Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)

Rand Paul vs. Rand Paul

08/19/15 11:18AM

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) published a piece for the Huffington Post late last week, making a broad pitch for support from "our nation's young people" and announcing the launch of "Students For Rand." That wouldn't be especially noteworthy, except for the way in which the Republican presidential candidate made his case.
If the Republicans want to be the party of tomorrow, it needs ideas that excite young people. Only a candidate who is a socially tolerant, fiscally responsible and principled leader can reinvigorate the Republican brand. [...]
 
We must stand for something so powerful and so popular that it brings people together -- whether they lean left, right or find themselves squarely in the middle. My message of liberty, opportunity, and justice is for all has resonated everywhere, especially in the places Republicans are too scared to go.... Government has no business in your business, period.
At face value, that may seem like a pretty compelling message, particularly to younger voters, but there's a problem with the message -- or more accurately, the messenger.
 
Rand Paul presents himself as "socially tolerant," though he neglected to mention that he opposes both abortion rights and marriage equality. The Kentucky senator also wants to defund Planned Parenthood and is one of the co-sponsors of a far-right bill that would make anti-gay discrimination easier in the wake of the Supreme Court's marriage ruling.
 
In March, the Republican senator told religious right activists that the debate over marriage rights is itself evidence of a "moral crisis" in the United States. He added at the time, "We need a revival in the country. We need another Great Awakening with tent revivals."
 
So, the government "has no business in your business," unless you're gay and/or want to exercise your reproductive rights, at which point Rand Paul is certain that your business is the government's business.
 
These details didn't seem to make it into his Huffington Post piece. Right Wing Watch noted yesterday that this conflict -- pitting libertarian-minded Rand Paul against conservative culture warrior Rand Paul -- pops up quite a bit.

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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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