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E.g., 7/8/2015
Surrounded by security personnel, rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, sings the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville while gathering with his supporters to challenge the BLM on April 12, 2014.

Rand Paul, Cliven Bundy are 'in tune with each other'?

07/01/15 08:42AM

A little over a year ago, right-wing rancher Cliven Bundy and some of his well-armed friends forced a dangerous confrontation with federal law enforcement. Cooler heads prevailed when the Obama administration, in the interest of public safety, chose not to escalate the situation, and thankfully no one was hurt.
But Bundy quickly became a cause celebre in far-right circles, celebrated by Fox News and Republican officials, right up until the rancher's racist views came to light. Conservatives who were cheering Bundy on quickly discovered the problems with celebrating an unhinged activist who claimed to be an expert on "the negro" and who believes black people were "better off as slaves."
Soon after, the Nevada affiliate of the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity started scrubbing its online messages offering praise for Bundy and his radical campaign.
Given this history, why in the world would Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul choose to spend time with Cliven Bundy? MSNBC's Eric Levitz reported yesterday:
The Kentucky senator met the indebted rancher on Monday, when Paul held a question-and-answer session for "about 50 supporters and activists interested in land rights," in the town of Mesquite, Nevada, the Associated Press reported. [...]
"In general, I think we're in tune with each other. I don't think we need to ask Washington, D.C. for this land. It's our land," Bundy told the AP after his meeting with Paul.
Some of the initial reports suggest their "meeting" was fairly innocuous, with Bundy simply attending a Rand Paul event in Nevada. Candidates can't always control who shows up at a gathering open to the public, so it wouldn't necessarily be the senator's fault if Bundy appeared at a campaign Q&A session.
But according to Bundy, there's far more to it.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Frank-Walter Steinmeier during the talksin Vienna, Austria, Nov. 24, 2014.

Diplomacy with Iran enjoys strong support from US public

07/01/15 08:00AM

The good thing about an arbitrary, self-imposed deadline is that it can be moved without consequence. The international diplomatic talks with Iran, for example, were supposed to wrap up yesterday, but negotiators believe they're still making progress so they gave themselves an extension -- the new deadline is next Tuesday, July 7.
It's still unclear if an agreement will ultimately come together, and recent posturing from Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei hasn't helped. But the process continues to move forward, and just yesterday, the International Atomic Energy Agency reportedly concluded that Iran is complying with requirements that it reduce its stocks of enriched uranium. Had the IAEA uncovered evidence to the contrary, the talks may have very well unraveled.
As for the domestic politics surrounding the nuclear negotiations, Senate Republicans continue to complain bitterly about the diplomatic efforts, though it's clear the public feels differently.
By a 2-to-1 margin, more Americans support the United States and other world powers pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran than oppose it, according to new results from the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Thirty-six percent of respondents say they back the deal, which intends to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon by allowing inspections into the country's nuclear sites in exchange for reducing economic sanctions that are currently in place. By comparison, 17 percent oppose it.
These results are largely unchanged from a similar poll a few months ago.
They're also in line with the latest Quinnipiac poll, which found most Americans support the potential agreement. Three other independent polls released since March showed similar public backing for the P5+1 process.
We're accustomed to seeing the occasional disconnect between the Beltway and the public, but the differences here are especially striking.

Trade deal leaks and other headlines

07/01/15 07:59AM

Leaked: what's in Obama's trade deal. (Politico)

Greece bailout prospects remain unclear. (Washington Post) 

Another black church in South Carolina burns; cause unknown. (AP) Update: probably not arson. (AP)

The 15 juiciest revelations from Hillary Clinton's emails. (New York Magazine)

FBI investigating 11 attacks on San Francisco-area internet lines. (USA Today)

Myanmar fisherman goes home after 22 years as a slave. (AP)

See the works of art that prisoner Richard Matt allegedly traded with a guard. (NBC News)

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NJ paper warns of Chris Christie 'lies'

NJ paper warns of Chris Christie 'lies'

06/30/15 09:47PM

Tom Moran, editorial page editor for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, talks with Rachel Maddow about his experience reporting on Chris Christie and how the governor's confidence can disguise his not telling the truth. watch

Send it to Rachel!

06/30/15 08:46PM

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Tuesday's Mini-Report, 6.30.15

06/30/15 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
* Keep expectations low: "Greece and its European creditors began talking again on Tuesday about how to keep Greece afloat financially, but appeared not to be moving fast enough to prevent the country from missing a debt payment due at the end of the day."
* Iran: "Pushing past a Tuesday deadline, world powers and Iran extended negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement by a week as the U.N. nuclear agency prepared to announce Tehran had met a key condition -- significantly reducing its stocks of enriched uranium that could be used for atomic weapons."
* Climate policy: "In a jam-packed but complex day for international climate action, Brazil, the United States, and China -- three of the world's top 10 greenhouse gas emitters -- all announced new goals Tuesday. The commitments came in different forms and units, ranging from forest hectares to renewable energy gigawatts -- but collectively appeared to represent a new and major step forward towards addressing climate change and cleaning global energy systems."
* This is likely to be a huge case: "The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a challenge to the way public-sector unions finance their operations. Union officials said a ruling against them would deal a blow to organized labor."
* A great week, but not the greatest week: "President Barack Obama said Tuesday that last week -- when he won historic victories on trade, health care and gay rights -- was "gratifying," but he stopped short of calling it his "best week ever," as some pundits have."
* I suppose this is how the system is supposed to work: "A county clerk in Arkansas intends to resign from her position because she doesn't believe in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples." If you don't want to issue marriage licenses, it's probably best that you don't keep a job that requires you to issue marriage licenses.
President Barack Obama smiles during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., June 30, 2015. (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Obama's place in history becomes even more secure

06/30/15 04:49PM

It was about eight months ago when Paul Krugman, who hasn't always been President Obama's biggest fan, said what many in the political establishment would not. "Obama has emerged," Krugman wrote, "as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history."
To be sure, it is a little early to start reflecting on the Obama's place in history, since his presidency still has over a year to go, during which time much can happen. But after last week -- the Affordable Care Act's success at the Supreme Court, the breakthrough on marriage equality, the advances of the administration's trade agenda, the breathtaking eulogy in Charleston -- there's been renewed talk, not just about Obama's rejuvenated presidency, but also about his qualifications for the pantheon of American leaders of historic consequence.
My msnbc colleague Benjy Sarlin published a thoughtful piece on the Obama legacy over the weekend.
"At the end of the day, we're part of a long-running story," Obama told the New Yorker's David Remnick in one interview. "We just try to get our paragraph right."
Now consider what the paragraph version of Obama's presidency looks like as of now, with the key terms for next week's social studies midterm highlighted in bold.
"The first black president, President Obama took office amid the Great Recession, stabilized the economy with a stimulus and auto bailout, passed universal health care and Wall Street reform over fierce opposition, and implemented a suite of regulations aimed at combatting climate change. The first president to embrace marriage equality, he presided over the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing it nationwide."
I think Sarlin's right on both counts. First, that's a pretty impressive paragraph that suggets Obama will be remembered as a great and important president.
Second, it's also true that when it comes to history, presidencies tend to lose their rough edges -- we look past day-to-day, granular developments as they get further away -- and leaders are remembered based on their most notable achievements.
White House scandals can, of course, detract from those accomplishments -- see Iran/Contra and Watergate, for example -- but as we discussed a few weeks ago, even conservatives tend to concede, "President Obama has run an amazingly scandal-free administration, not only he himself, but the people around him. He's chosen people who have been pretty scandal-free."


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.

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