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Rand Paul overlooks Cliven Bundy’s racism to pander to the far right

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Rand Paul is openly courting Cliven Bundy’s militia supporters by appealing to the scofflaw rancher at a campaign event Monday.

Paul spoke at a campaign stop in Mesquite, Nevada on Monday, the Associated Press reports. Bundy sparked an armed stand-off between federal agents and a militia at his Nevada ranch in 2013. His ranch continues to be an attraction for right wing extremists, from sovereign citizens to militia members.

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Bundy told the AP he and Rand are “in tune,” adding he doesn’t think the federal government should have any say over “our land.”

Rand had thrown his support behind the rancher in 2013, calling the federal government’s actions “overreach.” But he withdrew it after the New York Times reported Bundy made racist remarks about blacks, saying they:

abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.

But Paul seemed ready to court him again on Monday.

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“I think almost all land use issues and animal issues, endangered species issues, ought to be handled at the state level,” Paul told the AP. “I think that the government shouldn’t interfere with state decisions, so if a state decides to have medical marijuana or something like that, it should be respected as a state decision.”

Paul also seems to have the support of David Lory VanDerBeek, a Nevada politician from the far-right Independent American Party who is also tied to Bundy Ranch. Last week he wrote on his Facebook page that he “loves” Paul’s position on the IRS.

VanDerBeek is linked to Jerad and Amanda Miller, a married couple who dropped everything in their home state of Indiana to come to Bundy Ranch to take part in the stand-off. They later gunned down two police officers and a Walmart shopper before being killed in a shootout with authorities.

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VanDerBeek had communicated with the couple numerous times and acknowledges his criticism of police may have resonated with the couple.

In April of 2013, Bundy’s refusal to comply with federal agents over more than $1 million in grazing fees and fines over 20 years inspired hundreds of armed supporters to hunker down at his ranch to help him resist. Federal Bureau of Land Management agents backed off after the militia aimed sniper rifles at them – a felony offense, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports.

According to the SPLC report:

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Antigovernment extremists have been encouraged by irresponsible politicians and commentators, the report found. Rather than condemning the effort to suspend the rule of law at the Bundy ranch, numerous politicians – including Nevada’s governor – and commentators such as Fox News’ Sean Hannity supported Bundy and his followers.

The stand-off was viewed as a victory by the extreme anti-government “Patriot Movement.”

Last year, the Millers went on a shooting rampage in Nevada, murdering two police officers in cold blood, leaving a Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a note saying the revolution had begun and a swastika on the officers bodies and killing a shopper at Walmart before they died in a shootout with police.

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The Millers had joined the Bundy Ranch militia the year before.


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‘Worse than Obama’: Lindsey Graham has full-blown freak out over Trump’s latest Syria statements

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday had a full-blown freak out after President Donald Trump publicly said that the Turkish slaughter of the Kurds in northern Syria was not America's problem.

Writing on Twitter, the senator had his harshest condemnation yet of the president's decision to abruptly pull American troops out of Syria while giving Turkey a green light to invade the area.

"I hope President Trump is right in his belief that Turkeys invasion of Syria is of no concern to us, abandoning the Kurds won’t come back to haunt us, ISIS won’t reemerge, and Iran will not fill the vacuum created by this decision," Graham wrote. "However, I firmly believe that if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq."

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Ex-GOP lawmaker will run for Senate in Kansas — as a Democrat

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A Kansas state lawmaker who left the Republican Party last year will run next year for the U.S. Senate -- as a Democrat.

State Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills) will run for the seat held since 1997 by the retiring Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), reported the Associated Press.

Republicans have not lost a U.S. Senate race in Kansas since 1932, but Democrats are feeling more confident with the victories last year of Gov. Laura Kelly and Rep. Sharice Davids.

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Trump waves off deaths in Syria: The Kurds are ‘no angels’

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to leave Syria by saying the Kurds are "no angels."

Trump made the remarks during a White House meeting.

"They are no angels, by the way," he was quoted as saying about the Kurds.

Republicans have accused Trump of betraying a U.S. ally by abandoning the Kurds to be crushed by Turkish forces in Syria.

Read some of the reports below.

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