Pentagon Rebuts ‘Wild Speculation’ On Texas Takeover

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Pentagon officials on Monday assured Texas residents that upcoming military exercises in the state is not part of a plot to take over Texas, despite conspiracy theorists' concerns that the U.S. will impose martial law in the state.

Editors' Blog

Walmart: We're Not Part of Military Takeover

One of the best part of the conspiracy theory embraced by top Republicans in Texas is the idea that shuttered Walmart stores are actually being prepared as either staging areas or detention facilities for President Obama's planned military takeover of Texas. Some theorize that tunnels may be being prepared connecting the shuttered Walmarts as part of the takeover. But Walmart now says there's "no truth to the rumors" that they're involved.

Tally

We're trying to keep you updated on people who think we need to be worried that President Obama may be plotting to take over Texas with US military special operations forces operating under the guise of a military training exercise. So far we've got the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz, Chuck Norris, Rand Paul and Ron Paul.

So far the only people to push back in the opposite direction seem to be people who've already been tossed from politics for being RINOs.

Annals Of Fox News Fails

As you may have seen below, Fox News belly flopped into an empty swimming pool this afternoon. Here's the video as Fox races to correct its misreporting. Poor Shep.

Oy, Fox

Police reportedly shot a black man in Baltimore within the last few minutes ... in front of a Fox News correspondent, who is reporting that the man was running away when he was shot and that he didn't see the man make any aggressive moves. Watch the video here.

Late Update: Baltimore police are saying no one was shot at that location, period.

Later Update: Fox in full retraction mode now. Wow, this was just an epic failure. Shep Smith is prostrating himself before viewers with a full-on apology for the mistaken reporting.

An Embarrassment

From our piece on the notorious anti-Muslim extremists behind last night's Muhammed cartoon contest, this nugget from Matt Duss: “Even among people here in Washington that promulgate these ridiculous claims about the insidious Muslim menace in America, Spencer and Geller are seen as kind of an embarrassment."

Chat BridgeGate & Jade Helm 15 with TPM's Catherine Thompson, 1 PM Eastern Wednesday

TPM's Catherine Thompson will visit the Hive (sub req) to talk about her recent coverage of the BridgeGate scandal and the conspiracy theories swirling around “Jade Helm 15,” a U.S. military exercise that Texas right-wingers fear is cover for the implementation of martial law. Catherine will answer questions about her recent reporting and what it’s like to cover domestic politics from TPM’s New York office. She’ll also offer her take on a wide array of current events.

Get your questions in now and then join us Wednesday in The Hive.

— Joe Ragazzo

Really Important Favor I Need to Ask

As long time readers know, each year we do a big annual survey of our readers. It takes about ten minutes to fill out. It's really basic questions. And it is a huge help to our whole organization, because it goes right to our bottom line, how we pay staff and all the expenses that keep this small independent publication going. We're going to be running the survey later this week. So when you see my post announcing it, please take a few moments to fill it out. We really appreciate it.

After the jump, more information about why it's important and how we protect your privacy.

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More on America and the Car

Last week in the first installment of our series Nona Willis Aronowitz looked at America's faltering love affair with the car. Fewer men see cars as a key way to define their identity, technology has become a new focus of conspicuous consumption, energy prices are (at least usually) high and in many big cities cars simply aren't necessary. Today, in part two of our series, we look at the other side of the equation. Outside of a few big cities - and in many cases even within them - a car (something that is often out of reach for the working poor) remains a key element of economic survival or the possibility of decent life. Read part two here.

A Couple Quick Thoughts on Geller in Texas

When George Lincoln Rockwell, the American Nazi Party leader, was shot and killed in 1967 it was wrong. Same with George Wallace (who was gravely wounded and paralyzed, not killed) in 1972 or with Meir Kahane in 1990 - precisely because as a society we value free speech and we also don't allow civilians to kill people they don't like. But just as with these other worthies, we should prosecute the offenders (perhaps difficult in this case since at least the two on the scene are dead) without valorizing people who run hate groups. It's really that simple. There is zero contradiction between the two judgments. Pam Geller is a cancerous presence in the US political conversation; same with her pal Geert Wilders, the flamboyant and parodic far-right, racist Dutch parliamentarian she brought for her Muhammed cartoon event down in Texas. Political violence is the greatest corrosive of free and ordered societies. But a hate group is a hate group the day after someone takes a shot at them just like it was the day before.

BREAKING on Bridgegate

TPM's in-house Bridgegate-a-palooza expert (and expert on so much more) Brian Murphy is down at the court house in Newark watching today's Bridgegate developments. And I just got off the phone with him to get a read out on what was discussed in the court room proceeding today about just what David Wildstein is pleading guilty to and factual claims he is making as part of his plea.

Here are the key points

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