Rachel Maddow StoriesRSS

select from:

E.g., 10/6/2015
E.g., 10/6/2015
Pope in Washington wields power to influence

Pope in Washington wields power to influence, inspire

09/23/15 11:47PM

Rachel Maddow reviews the day Pope Francis spent in Washington, D.C., revealing a litany of things we didn't already know, and points out that this pope, who has impressed with world with his modelling of humility and charity, has the chance to make a major impression on the United States with his unprecedented speech to Congress on... watch

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 9.23.15

09/23/15 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
* Finding a willing successor might be tricky: "Martin Winterkorn, the embattled chief executive of Volkswagen, has announced that he is to resign following the scandal surrounding the emissions of its diesel cars."
* Kirkland & Ellis gets a new client: "Volkswagen has hired the US law firm that defended BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster to help it deal with a growing collection of investigations and law suits over the emissions scandal that has rocked the car maker and dragged in the German government."
* Papal visit: "Pope Francis touched on a number of hot-button issues on his first full day in the United States, delivering two big speeches that referenced climate change, religious liberty, immigration, and abortion."
* OPM: "The Office of Personnel Management said Wednesday that 5.6 million individuals' fingerprints were stolen in the massive breach the agency discovered earlier this year -- more than five times the amount originally reported."
* Martin Shkreli makes a name for himself: "Over the past week, the 32-year-old has become Public Enemy No. 1 thanks to his company’s decision to raise the price of a lifesaving drug by more than 4,000 percent, from $1,130 to $63,000.... 'Pharma bro,' as Shkreli quickly became known, is not the first person to corner the market on a drug and then hike its price -- although he is a frequent offender."
* I suppose "crisis enthusiasts" is too long? "The Associated Press, which sets editorial guidelines followed by media outlets around the world, ruffled a few feathers on Tuesday when it announced it would no longer call those who reject climate change 'deniers' or 'skeptics.' New guidance in its official AP Stylebook is to use 'climate change doubters' or 'those who reject mainstream climate science.'"
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks during a national security forum at The Citadel Sept. 22, 2015 in Charleston, S.C. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty)

Fiorina trips over 'nuclear option,' in more ways than one

09/23/15 04:27PM

Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina spoke at the Citadel yesterday in South Carolina, and if you watched last night's show, you know the GOP candidate ran into a little trouble while speaking about U.S. policy towards Iran.
"Republicans in the meantime, many are saying, 'Oh, I would let this deal stand. I would see if they're cheating. For heaven's sake, they've been cheating for 30 years. How much more evidence do we need?
"But beyond that, if ever there was a time for the nuclear option, boy, it's the Iran deal. If ever there was a time for the nuclear option -- I don't mean -- let me explain. Let me explain. I realize that might be confusing, the nuclear option in terms of Senate process."
Under the circumstances, it's an important clarification. When Fiorina referred to the "nuclear option," she was referring to the nickname for changing procedural rules in the Senate. She did not mean the option of using nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
That's the good news.
The bad news is, Fiorina's argument still doesn't make a lot of sense.
Sen. Marco Rubio

Rubio's far-right transformation on immigration is complete

09/23/15 12:50PM

There were unique political circumstances that opened the door to comprehensive immigration reform two years ago: both sides of the fight really could get what they wanted at the same time. Broadly speaking, Republicans wanted increased border security; Democrats wanted a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the United States; and each side could live with the other's goal.
Eight U.S. senators -- four Republicans and four Democrats -- worked out the details and crafted a popular policy with broad support. One of them, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), saw it as a signature issue upon which to base a presidential campaign.
We now know, of course, that the process fell apart. House Republicans killed the bipartisan package and Rubio abandoned his own legislation.
This week, the far-right Floridian's transformation on immigration policy reached its end point. Bloomberg Politics reported yesterday:
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has effectively ruled out granting lawful permanent residency to undocumented immigrants if he makes it to the White House, even for a second term.
Pressed by conservative host Sean Hannity during a Monday night interview on Fox News, the Florida senator said he's open to a path to citizenship for people in the U.S. illegally, but only a decade or more after passage of bills to secure the border and modernize the legal immigration system.
The GOP senator specifically told the Fox News host that after officials "stop illegal immigration" and "modernize" the system, "then ultimately in 10 or 12 years you could have a broader debate about how has this worked out and should we allow some of them to apply for green cards and eventually citizenship.”
Let's flesh this out because it's arguably a turning point for the candidate who may very well become his party's presidential nominee.

Wednesday's Campaign Round-Up, 9.23.15

09/23/15 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Though a Quinnipiac poll in Iowa last week showed Bernie Sanders inching past Hillary Clinton, a new PPP survey in the state found Clinton with a 21-point lead in Iowa, 43% to 22%. Vice President Biden was third in the poll with 17%.
* On the national level, a new poll from Bloomberg Politics shows Clinton leading the Democratic field with 33%, followed by Biden's 25% and Sanders' 24%.
* Ben Carson's super PAC said yesterday that it received a "surge of donations" after the Republican said Muslims should be disqualified from the presidency. “We sent out an email to Carson supporters, and we’ve never had an email raise so much money so quickly -- it’s unbelievable," the super PAC's chairman boasted.
* In related news, Carson is now trying to argue that his anti-Muslim comments were misquoted by the media. He's completely wrong.
* Scott Walker's support in the polls was minuscule, but his network of financial supporters was considerable. At this point, it appears Marco Rubio is "set to inherit" about two-thirds of Walker’s “big-donor fundraising apparatus."
* In case Donald Trump's various feuds weren't exasperating enough already, the Republican presidential hopeful is now apparently threatening the Club for Growth.
* Mike Huckabee said this week, “I know that most politicians say we want everyone to vote, I’m gonna be honest with you, I don’t want everyone to vote." The GOP candidate said there are "stupid" Americans who should "stay home."
The Volkswagen logo is displayed as people gather for the unveiling of the new 2015 Subaru WRX at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Nov. 20, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP)

Political spotlight shines on Volkswagen scandal

09/23/15 11:20AM

On Monday, Americans learned that Volkswagen orchestrated an international scam, putting 11 million cars on the road designed to deliberately circumvent emissions standards. On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush announced his plans to loosen environmental safeguards to make things easier on polluters.
Yes, once in a while, political and non-political stories intersect in surprisingly interesting ways.
The political salience of the VW scandal is increasingly acute. While Bush was inexplicably arguing that it's time to scrap a variety of environmental regulations, Hillary Clinton was describing the Volkswagen debacle as "outrageous." The Democrat added, "When companies put profits ahead of safety and the environment, there should be consequences."
She's not the only Democrat thinking along these lines.
Sen. Bill Nelson, in a scathing speech on the Senate floor, said Tuesday the latest scandal involving deceptive auto industry practices should result in criminal charges and regulatory reform. [...]
Nelson said it was time for jail terms, not fines.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also called yesterday for the Justice Department to conduct a “full and thorough” investigation into the allegations surrounding the German automaker.
Former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. (Photo by Timothy D. Easley/AP)

Kim Davis faces new allegations in Kentucky

09/23/15 10:46AM

When U.S. District Judge David Bunning let Kim Davis out of jail two weeks ago, the court order came with some specific instructions. The county clerk was locked up for defying court rulings, her oath of office, and a court order, and if she intended to remain free, Davis could not “interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”
This week, however, the ACLU filed a new court motion insisting the interference is ongoing.
After returning to her job on Sept. 14 as the Rowan County clerk, the filing said, Davis “immediately” began meddling with licenses that the office’s deputy clerk, Brian Mason, was issuing.
She “confiscated all the original forms, and provided a changed form” that didn’t mention Rowan County, the filing said. Nor did the new form mention her name or references to a “deputy clerk.”
Where Mason’s signature would appear, the filing said, there were initials.
Slate's Mark Joseph Stern said yesterday that in light of the new court motion, Davis "may be heading back to jail."
"[I]llegally tampering with marriage licenses -- perhaps with the intent to render them invalid -- seems like a step beyond her initial law-breaking," Stern noted. "Before, Davis was only telling same-sex couples to get married in a different county. Now she is actively sabotaging the legality of their marriage. That level of duplicity must be hard to endorse -- even for those who think one public servant’s anti-gay beliefs should trump a binding Supreme Court ruling."
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a town hall event at Rochester Recreational Arena, Sept. 17, 2015 in Rochester, N.H. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty)

Trump isn't sure anti-Muslim questioner was a 'bigot'

09/23/15 10:10AM

What seemed like a one-day story has unexpectedly turned into a week-long controversy.
Donald Trump continued to defend his failure to correct a town hall audience member who said President Obama is a Muslim, arguing in an interview with CBS that it's not clear whether the man who asked the question was a "bigot."
In an interview for "60 Minutes" set to air in full on Sunday, CBS News' Scott Pelley asked Trump what his decision not to call out a supporter who said that Muslims are a "problem in this country" says about the real estate mogul. "Well, he said much more than that. That was part of the statement. He then went onto say other things," Trump responded.
When CBS's Pelley described the man who asked the question as a "bigot," Trump balked.
"You don't know that," the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination said. "I mean, he asked a question. You don't know that he was a bigot."
Hmm. “We’ve got a problem in this country called Muslims,” the man said. “You know our president is one. He’s not even American.” Instead of cutting the man off, Trump allowed the voter to add, “But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: when can we get rid of them?”
I suppose we could have an extended conversation, parsing the nuances of the word "bigot," but I rather doubt Trump would like where the discussion ended up.
Republican presidential candidate retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson answers questions at the Commonwealth Club public affairs forum Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in San Francisco. (Photo by Eric Risberg/AP)

Ben Carson argued evolution was 'encouraged by' Satan

09/23/15 09:28AM

A few years ago, then Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) delivered some rather amazing remarks in which he described pillars of modern science -- including evolutionary biology and the big bang -- as quite literally “lies straight from the pit of Hell."
House GOP leaders made Paul Broun a member of the House Science Committee.
As it turns out, the same year, Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson delivered remarks that were strikingly similar. BuzzFeed reported yesterday:
In a speech delivered in 2012, Ben Carson said the big bang theory was part of the “fairy tales” pushed by “high-faluting scientists” as a story of creation.
Similarly, Carson, a noted creationist, said he believed the theory of evolution was encouraged by the devil.
I wish I could say that's an exaggerated description, but it's really not. The retired right-wing neurosurgeon, known for his off-the-wall ideas about a great number of issues, called the science surrounding the big bang "ridiculous," and added in reference to evolution, “I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary."
In context, "the adversary" appears to refer to Satan.
Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush gestures while speaking during a town hall event at a VFW hall in Norfolk, Va. on Aug. 28, 2015. (Photo by Jay Westcott/Reuters)

Jeb takes aim at consumer safeguards at the worst possible time

09/23/15 08:46AM

Just this week, a federal judge sentenced a former owner of a Georgia peanut company "to 28 years in prison for his role in a recent salmonella outbreak." The "cartoonishly evil" scheme to knowingly ship salmonella-tainted products nationwide made hundreds of Americans sick across 46 states and killed nine people.
As this prison sentence was coming down, Volkswagen was admitting that it "rigged U.S. emissions tests so it would appear that its diesel-powered cars were emitting fewer nitrogen oxides, which can contribute to ozone buildup and respiratory illness."
Against this backdrop, Americans are receiving powerful reminders about the importance of regulations, safeguards, and consumer protections. But it's also against this backdrop that Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has made an important declaration: there are simply too many safeguards in place for American consumers.
GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush unveiled a plan Tuesday to roll back a number of controversial regulations from the Obama administration, ranging from environmental rules to financial reform laws.
During campaign events in Iowa, Bush threatened to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) controversial power plant rules, clean water rule, and coal ash rule.
According to the Bush campaign's new policy paper, there's a "regulatory crisis" that Jeb intends to rectify. Elect Bush president and he'll go after Dodd-Frank financial-industry protections, EPA regulations on coal ash and carbon pollution, and even net neutrality rules from the FCC.
While many candidates look for new ways to sound populist, Jeb Bush is running on a counter-intuitive platform: he believes Washington is simply too mean to Wall Street and polluters, and Jeb intends to be their champion.
A farmer plants corn in a field near De Soto, Iowa on May 5, 2014.

Poll: Nearly a third of Iowa GOP wants to criminalize Islam

09/23/15 08:02AM

The top-line results in the latest Public Policy Polling survey suggest Iowa Republicans are largely in line with GOP voters nationally. But that's not what's important in this poll.
PPP found, for example, that only three Republican presidential hopefuls are in double digits in the Hawkeye State: Donald Trump leads with 24%, Ben Carson isn't too far behind with 17%, and Carly Fiorina is a competitive third with 13%.
From there, there's a second tier with "decent levels of support," as the PPP report put it. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are tied for fourth with 8% each, while Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee are tied for sixth place with 6% each.
The top-line results, however, aren't the most interesting result in the poll. Indeed, these results include Scott Walker -- who was in eighth place, for what it's worth -- who ended his campaign before the survey was published.
What's far more striking is this:
[Donald Trump is] probably not hurting himself too much with his negativity toward Muslims either -- only 49% of Republicans think the religion of Islam should even be legal in the United States with 30% saying it shouldn't be and 21% not sure. Among Trump voters there is almost even division with 38% thinking Islam should be allowed and 36% that it should not.
Let that sink in for a moment. Many of the same social conservatives who believe Americans' freedom of religion must be protected at all costs also believe that a faith tradition they don't like should be illegal. When these Iowa Republicans view the Constitution, they see a First Amendment that exists for them, not those they find offensive.
After Ben Carson said Muslims should be disqualified for the presidency because of their faith, his campaign manager boasted, “While the left wing is huffing and puffing over it, Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20. People in Iowa particularly, are like, ‘Yeah! We’re not going to vote for a Muslim either.’”
Given the PPP findings, it seems Team Carson, as offensive as its posture is, knows its audience.
Pope John Paul II  breaks into a long laugh at the Vatican in this Feb. 17, 2004 file photo.

E.J. Dionne, Jr. coverage of previous papal visits

09/22/15 09:49PM

Samples of some of E.J. Dionne, Jr.'s coverage for the New York Times of Pope John Paul II's travels to Togo, India, and Peru:

TOGOVILLE, Togo, Aug. 9— Pope John Paul II, apparently disturbed by his visit to this nation's opulent presidential palace, broke his schedule today to stop at a mud hut and speak with an impoverished woman about her life. ...

CALCUTTA, India, Feb. 3— Today, even Pope John Paul II was at a loss for words.

As tens of thousands of mainly Hindu, mainly destitute Calcuttans cheered outside, John Paul visited the home for the dying established by Mother Teresa in the heart of this city's slums. ...

AYACUCHO, Peru, Feb. 3— Pope John Paul II issued a dramatic plea today to guerrilla fighters in this rugged Andean mountain province to lay down their arms and ''seek the roads of dialogue and not those of violence.'' ...

read more


About The Rachel Maddow Show

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.



Latest Book