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Neo-Nazis undermined by table-turning tactics

Neo-Nazis undermined by table-turning tactics

11/19/14 09:55PM

Rachel Maddow reports on tactics used by an anti-neo-Nazi group in Germany to undermine the neo-Nazi movement, including co-opting a Nazi parade with an anti-Nazi walkathon fundraiser and a pro-Nazi t-shirt that changes its message when washed. watch

Ahead on the 11/19/14 Maddow show

11/19/14 06:53PM

Tonight's guests:

  • Rep. Ben Luján, (D) New Mexico, DCCC Chair
  • Cristina Jiménez, co-founder and Managing Director of United We Dream

And here's executive producer Cory Gnazzo with an outline of what's coming: 

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Wednesday's Mini-Report, 11.19.14

11/19/14 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* The stage is set: "The president will lay out the details of his unilateral actions during a prime-time address Thursday evening in a pitch to an American public weary from years of failed attempts to overhaul the immigration system amid a deeply-divided Congress. After that, the president will hit the road Friday, traveling to the Las Vegas high school where he first made his push form immigration reform nearly two years ago."
 
* Israel: "As Israelis and Palestinians grappled Wednesday with the new-old reality of spiraling violence, Israeli security forces revived a controversial antiterrorism policy, demolishing the East Jerusalem home of a Palestinian man who plowed his car into pedestrians last month, killing a baby and a young woman."
 
* Montana: "District Court Judge Brian Morris on Wednesday ruled that Montana's ban limiting marriage to between a man and a woman is unconstitutional. According to a press release from Montana ACLU, Morris ruled that the amendment violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
 
* Secret Service: "A man was arrested near the White House Wednesday afternoon after police searched his car and found a .30-30 rifle, ammunition and a six-inch blade in the vehicle. The man -- identified as 41-year-old R.J. Kapheim of Davenport, Iowa -- approached a uniformed Secret Service officer near 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. saying 'someone in Iowa told him to drive to the White House,' NBC News confirms."
 
* Torture report: "Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein expects her panel's long-delayed report on the CIA's use of torture to be released before Republicans take over the chamber, signaling to reporters there's one sticking point left." Feinstein added that policymakers are "down to essentially one item in the redaction."
 
* Texas: "A Texas judge refused Tuesday to quash on technicalities two criminal felony indictments for abuse of power against Gov. Rick Perry, ruling that the potentially embarrassing case against the possible 2016 presidential hopeful should proceed. The governor's defense team had sought to have the matter thrown out, arguing that the special prosecutor, Michael McCrum, wasn't properly sworn in and that some paperwork wasn't correctly filed. But a written ruling from District Judge Bert Richardson, who, like Perry, is a Republican, sided with McCrum."
Barricades that were used to close the Martin Luther King Memorial during the government shutdown in Washington, Oct 17, 2013.

Heritage vetoes Republican 'rescission' plan

11/19/14 04:53PM

Traditionally, Congress has remained quite calm after previous presidents took executive actions on immigration policy. This Congress intends to go in a different, more hair-on-fire direction.
 
But which direction, exactly? GOP lawmakers can't fully agree amongst themselves, at least not yet, on whether to shut down the government (again), impeach a Democratic president (again), refuse to govern (again), or generally just throw an elaborate partisan tantrum for a while. Some combination therein remains a distinct possibility.
 
Yesterday, however, Republicans seemed to be warming up to a tactic called "rescission." Long-time readers may recall that the tactic came up a year ago, but Roll Call reported on how it would apply this time around.
A new option emerged on Tuesday: passing an omnibus in December and later, after President Barack Obama issues his executive action on immigration, rescinding funding for the specific federal programs being used to implement the order.
 
House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., pitched the idea at a closed-door GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning.... Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a senior GOP appropriator, said under the approach being discussed, Congress would enact a 12-bill omnibus in December and later, in the new Congress when both chambers are controlled by Republicans, pass a separate bill that would rescind funding for certain programs.
The details would obviously need to be worked out, but some GOP lawmakers see this as a way to thread a needle. Instead of a shutdown, Republicans would agree to keep the government's lights on, but the legislation would cut spending, retroactively, for the parts of government President Obama would use to implement his immigration policy.
 
It's hardly a silver bullet -- it's hard to imagine the president signing it into law before Dec. 11 -- but the interesting thing was the reaction from Heritage Action, which helped spearhead the GOP's shutdown drive in 2013.
 
In short, the far-right group said rescission isn't good enough.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie steps from the voting booth after voting on Nov. 4, 2014, in Mendham Township, N.J.

Remember Christie's controversial Ebola policy?

11/19/14 04:09PM

About three weeks ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) unveiled a new policy, one whole day in the making, imposing a mandatory, 21-day quarantine on those who may have been in contact with Ebola patients in West Africa. It was this policy of course, that put nurse Kaci Hickox in a tent for a few days.
 
At the time, Christie seemed quite impressed with himself. Two days after the imposition of the policy, the governor boasted that he had "absolutely ... no second thoughts" about it. Christie was not only certain that his policy would quickly become the national model, when asked about criticisms from CDC specialists, the governor proclaimed, "[T]hey don't want to admit that we're right and they're wrong."
 
After Christie finally let Hickox leave, the governor added, "Our policy hasn't changed and our policy will not change."
 
With all of this in mind, Josh Marshall asks a good question: "Did Chris Christie quietly dump his crackpot Ebola quarantine policy when no one was looking?"
We hadn't seen any public reports about new health care workers being forced into quarantines. So we checked in with the state of New Jersey. A spokesperson for the state Health Department told [TPM] that 71 people are currently under active monitoring in the state -- which means they're asked to check their temperature twice a day and report it to the local health department. During the 21 day self-monitoring period they are free to work and go about their business like anyone else.
 
In other words, aside from taking your temperature that's the same situation the doctor in New York had before he started showing symptoms. And it was his case that led to the new policy.
It's important to note that there are some missing pieces to this puzzle, and it's tough to say for certain whether the Christie policy -- the one he was so eager to brag about, the one he used to present himself as a national leader -- was quietly cast aside.
 
But there seems to be a story here.
A man runs through a closed National Mall in Washington, DC, Oct 3, 2013.

GOP sees a shutdown as a consequence-free gambit

11/19/14 12:07PM

Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.) was asked yesterday about the prospect of Republicans shutting down the government again. "If he's not willing to work with us, then we don't have any other choice," Duncan told Nashville Public Radio.
 
Yes, for some in Congress, a shutdown isn't just a good idea, it's practically mandatory.
 
As GOP lawmakers and activists continue to bat the idea around, the fault lines are becoming clearer. Republican leaders want to avoid a shutdown, fearing a public backlash, while many rank-and-file members remind one another that the backlash never seems to come. Dave Weigel reported today:
[I]n the received, popular GOP history of the last Congress, the shutdown really did not end badly for the Republicans. They won, didn't they?
 
"Let's think about all the hyperbole, the hyperbolic statements coming from everybody, particularly the talking heads on television," said Arizona Representative David Schweikert, a member of the Tea Party class of 2010. "This was supposed to be the end of the Republican Party. The public would never understand what the fight was all about. Turns out the public was a lot smarter than a lot in the political class and media class gave them credit for. They were able to discern that it was an honorable fight over many of the things that were rolling out in the new health care law."
Well, that's certainly one way to look at it. The other way is that a year passed and voters largely forgot about the GOP's shutdown by the time Election Day 2014 rolled around.
 
But the notion of a consequence-free shutdown is nevertheless taking hold within the party.
 
"This is the second shut down where the GOP got blamed and saw no catastrophe at the ballot box," Erick Erickson argued this week. "Every horror story every talking head within the GOP Establishment trotted out to scare congressmen and senators into caving turned out to be crap."
 
Maybe so. But Republicans appear to be asking themselves one specific question -- "Will this hurt the party?" -- when there are other questions equally deserving of answers.
Image:

'I just don't see the argument for unconstitutionality'

11/19/14 11:02AM

The Federalist Society is arguably the nation's premier legal group for conservative attorneys and jurists. If you're looking for a room full of powerful Republican lawyers eager to take on President Obama in the courts, you'd be wise to start at a Federalist Society gathering.
 
And with that in mind, it was all the more interesting to see Sam Stein's latest report from the annual Federalist Society national convention -- "one of the highest-profile conservative legal events of the year" -- featuring appearances from two sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices. Stein attended a panel discussion where there was broad agreement about the legality of the administration's plans.
[B]y and large, the panelists agreed the president has wide legal latitude to prioritize and shape deportation laws, as regrettable for Republicans or the long-term balance of powers that may be.
 
"I think the roots of prosecutorial discretion are extremely deep," said Christopher Schroeder, the Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and Public Policy Studies at Duke Law School. "The practice is long and robust. The case law is robust. Let me put it this way: Suppose some president came to me and asked me in the office of legal counsel, 'Is it okay for me to go ahead an defer the deportation proceedings of childhood arrival?' Under the present state of the law, I think that would be an easy opinion to write. Yes."
Schroeder added, "I don't know where in the Constitution there is a rule that if the president's enactment affects too many people, he's violating the Constitution.... If the Congress has enacted a statute that grants discretionary authority for the administrative agency or the president to fill in the gaps, to write the regulations that actually make the statute operative, those regulations to all intents and purposes make the law."
 
He went on to say, "I agree this can make us very uncomfortable. I just don't see the argument for unconstitutionality at this juncture."
 
Other conservative legal scholars offered very similar assessments at the event -- and there was no pushback from other attendees.
 
And for Republicans in Congress, this raises a concern for which there is no obvious solution.

Indiana's Pence hopes to 'ennoble' hungry workers

11/19/14 10:15AM

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) announced last month that the state would sharply curtail food-stamp availability to struggling families. His latest defense isn't quite persuasive.
 
First, a little background. As Alan Pyke recently explained, federal rules require able-bodied, childless adults, after three months, to either work or attend a job-training program in order to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (also known as food stamps). But during economic downturns and times of high unemployment, Washington will give states waivers, allowing struggling workers to receive food aid for more than three months.
 
As far as the Department of Agriculture is concerned, the economy is not yet strong, so states can continue to extend SNAP benefits beyond the three-month cap. But Pence doesn't want to -- the Republican governor thinks the economy is plenty strong to reapply the pre-crisis limits. It means tens of thousands of Hoosiers will lose their benefits.
 
Pence appeared on Fox News yesterday and explained his thinking on the issue.
"I'm someone that believes there's nothing more ennobling to a person than a job," Pence insisted. "And to make sure that able-bodied adults without dependents at home know that here in the state of Indiana, we want to partner with them in their success."
 
"You know, it's the old story," he continued. "Give someone a fish, and they'll eat for a day. Teach them to fish, they'll eat for a lifetime."
So, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is blocking health care benefits for low-income families in order to help them "live the American dream" and Gov. Pence is curtailing food aid in order "ennoble" people.
 
How very gracious of them.

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