'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, March 5th, 2010
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Guests: Chris Hayes, Eric Williams, Clifford Alexander
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Lawrence. Thank you very much for that.
And thank at home for staying with us for the next hour.
We begin tonight in Arizona where John McCain is in the middle of a blistering fight for his Senate seat. Who would have thought it at this point in his career, he is facing the toughest primary of his political life against conservative tea party-esque radio host J.D. Hayworth?
And facing that fight, John McCain brought today—today, he brought the biggest Republican gun, I guess, anybody can find these days. He brought to Arizona newly-elected equestrian, trailer-pulling, truck-driving lawyer, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who appeared alongside Senator McCain at a rally in Phoenix today in order to throw his support behind John McCain‘s re-election effort.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Phoenix. My name is Scott Brown. I drive a truck and I am here to support Senator John McCain for another term in the United States Senate.
Let me tell you how brave John McCain is as a politician. John McCain has today introduced an amendment that would prevent the Senate from ever making any cuts to Medicare, using the reconciliation process, using a 51-vote simple majority.
Ladies and gentlemen, I‘m here to tell you it took a lot of political courage for John McCain to introduce that, because John McCain himself has done this thing he now wants to ban four times. Yes, John McCain voted to cut Medicare through the reconciliation process four times. And now, he wants to ban anyone else from doing what he‘s done over and over again. And that, ladies and gentlemen, takes guts—or something.
He used reconciliation to cut Medicare in 1989. He did it again in 1995. He did it again in 1997.
As recently as 2005, he voted to cut Medicare using reconciliation, the very thing he‘s now taking a strong stand against. What a man.
Heck, John McCain campaigned for president on a promise to cut Medicare and Medicaid by $1.3 trillion, ladies and gentlemen. And now, he is bravely taking a stand against himself, dressing up as someone who doesn‘t want to cut Medicare and who wants to ban himself from voting the way he has in the past again and again and again.
Ladies and gentlemen, here‘s a man who‘s willing to contradict everything he has stood for in the name of getting elected by you, the good people of Arizona. Arizona needs someone who‘s going to stand up against people like the old John McCain—and my friend, the new John McCain, is just the man to do it. That‘s why I‘m proud to be here to unveil for the first time it‘s ever been seen the latest brand new ad from John McCain‘s Senate campaign. Please enjoy.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Arizona, haven‘t you had enough of John McCain? His willingness to compromise, his soft, please everyone centrist policy positions. Arizona deserves better, someone who can take on John McCain.
He‘s already here. It‘s new John McCain. This rigidly conservative, unyielding right-wing ideologue will reverse the failed policies of John McCain.
New John McCain is the John McCain we‘ve all waited for. Elect new John McCain, because Arizona can‘t afford another term of John McCain—the other one.
Paid for by the new John McCain for senator committee—which is in no way associated with the committee to re-elect John McCain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK. So that wasn‘t a real John McCain campaign ad, nor was that the real Scott Brown introducing John McCain today in Phoenix.
But they might well have been because—actually, everything that our fake Scott Brown in the pink shorts said about John McCain happens to be true. John McCain has just really and truly and un-ironically introduced an amendment to protect Medicare from the reconciliation process, even though he has voted, through reconciliation, to cut Medicare spending four separate times over the course of the last 20 years and even though massive Medicaid and Medicare cuts were part of his presidential campaign in 2008. It‘s as if he thinks nobody remembers this stuff or no one will check on it. Or he knows they will and he‘ll be called out on hypocrisy and he just doesn‘t care. He‘s apparently, as they say, not embarrassed—which you might have noticed is becoming something of a theme in Washington lately.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah also appears to be unembarrassed about his own inexplicable self-negating pronouncements on health reform back in September of last year when pretending to want some kind of health reform was still OK for Republicans. Senator Hatch appeared on Andrea Mitchell‘s show and agreed with President Obama‘s assessment that Democrats and Republicans were, in fact, in agreement on 80 percent of the health reform proposals that were on the table.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ORRIN HATCH ®, UTAH: We made the point that about 80 percent of what they‘re talking about we probably could agree on. But it‘s the 20 percent where all the money is where we have a lot of disagreements. For instance, he was saying, basically, that they‘re going to have a public plan one form or another, that they‘re going to have an employer mandate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK. Fast forward to this week—now, that the Democrats have compromised substantially on that pesky 20 percent where the all important disagreement was, according to Orrin Hatch, now that the president‘s plan doesn‘t even include a public option and there is no employer mandate which are the things that Senator Hatch was complaining about in that problematic 20 percent—now that that‘s all been resolved, presumably to Senator Hatch‘s satisfaction since those are the things he said he didn‘t want, Senator Hatch was just asked by “Think Progress” if he still agrees with Democrats on 80 percent of health reform.
One might think since Democrats have given in to so many Republican demands since then maybe he agrees with even more than 80 percent now?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HATCH: I don‘t agree with 80 percent of it. I think most of it is a piece of junk. In all honesty, it‘s a big spending, big government bill that really is going to cost a lot more than it‘s worth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It‘s a piece of junk. I don‘t agree with 80 percent of it. Never mind what he said six months about agreeing with the Democrats. Now, Orrin Hatch wants you to know he doesn‘t agree with the Democrats about anything even remotely related to health reform ever, even the stuff that he agreed with him about before, he doesn‘t agree with him anymore.
That old Orrin Hatch, he liked a piece of junk. This new Orrin Hatch is not going to like that old Orrin Hatch if they ever get a chance to meet him.
But “they‘re not embarrassed” theme isn‘t just for distinguished longstanding members of the Senate. It‘s also apparently for anti-health reform people who want to join the Senate for the first time.
Take Sue Lowden. She‘s a Nevada Republican who hopes to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the fall.
Sue Lowden‘s new attack ad against Harry Reid is perfect. It‘s perfect. I could not have made up anything more illustrative to show you how not embarrassed the opposition to health reform is right now. It‘s perfect. It was like a golden gift to me today.
Check this out. This is Sue Lowden‘s strategy against Harry Reid. Her strategy is to come out strong against government-run health care as a means of defending Medicare—which is, of course, government-run health care. You see? It‘s perfect. It‘s perfect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUE LOWDEN ®, NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Harry Reid‘s big government health care plan will raise taxes, put a bureaucrat between you and your doctor, weaken Medicare, kill jobs, push us further into debt. I‘m Sue Lowden and I approved this message, because government-run health care is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Because why? Don‘t let Harry Reid weaken our country‘s largest government-run health care system because government-run health care is wrong. Sue Lowden for Senate. She is against the thing she wants to save.
Of course, she is totally unembarrassed about it—which means if she ever does get to the Senate, she will fit right in.
Joining us now is something that is also perfect, Chris Hayes—
CHRIS HAYES, THE NATION: Oh!
MADDOW: -- Washington editor of “The Nation” magazine. Hi, Chris.
HAYES: I thought you were going to say something that is also unembarrassed.
MADDOW: True. That‘s also true.
I mean, Chris, OK. The overall serious hypothesis here is that they‘re not embarrassed because there‘s no time to be embarrassed, because health reform is really going to pass.
MADDOW: And they‘ve got to—not trouble themselves with, you know, hypocrisy and lying—
MADDOW: -- and getting caught in stuff. It‘s desperation. Do you think that‘s true?
HAYES: I think it‘s desperation, but I also think this is part of the Republican and rights‘ M.O. And in some way, if I kind of abstract myself enough in the situation, I can almost admire it. I mean, the point that they will wield whatever cajoles around.
So, all of the sudden, they are the great defenders of Medicare. This is something they have been doing it since the summer. They are attacking from the left all of the sudden on Medicare even though as you point out this makes no sense. It‘s totally abjectly incoherent.
But the other thing I think is important to sort of zero-in on this particular line is that it‘s really important to note that the demographic base of the right-wing in this country are senior citizens, are older Americans. That‘s where the kind of voting strength and dollar strength of the right is at this moment. And so, in some ways, it‘s playing to their base.
MADDOW: But older Americans aren‘t dumb just because they are older.
HAYES: No, they are not. Right.
MADDOW: And to be simultaneously holding onto this old idea that government-run health care is evil, we‘re here to campaign against government-run health care, while talking about the fact that they are going to save Medicare, I just don‘t think older people are going to fall for it. I think—I think they‘re underestimating people.
HAYES: I agree. I don‘t think they‘re underestimating them.
And one of the things I think you‘re going to see—I mean, even though, demographically, older people are the most skeptical about health care reform, Obama still has an edge in trust on health care reform. There‘s a poll out today saying that. And part of that is the accrued capital that is accrued to the Democratic Party as the protector of these kinds of big middle-class social programs, like Social Security, like Medicare.
And so, I think it‘s an uphill climb for Republicans to turn around and suddenly portray themselves as the defenders of Medicare when in the same cycle, Paul Ryan in the House is essentially advocating for the privatization of Medicare and the, you know, the dismantling of it as a program as we know.
So, yes, I think it‘s actually not a winnable rhetorical fight for them to portray themselves as defenders of Medicare.
MADDOW: Looking specifically, Chris, at this amendment that John McCain has introduced that I made fun of him for at length at the top of the introduction, Ezra Klein argued in “The Washington Post” today is that this idea that you ban reconciliation for things like Medicare is not just completely at odds with McCain‘s record—
MADDOW: -- who‘s repeatedly voted to cut Medicare reconciliation.
It‘s also just a bad policy idea.
What exactly is McCain advocating here? We should never do anything about Medicare without a supermajority?
HAYES: I mean, this is the most—I mean, if you were to come up with a caricature of the worse kind of like, you know, spending hungry liberal idea, right, it would to tie a straight jacket around government so that it could never cut spending, right? That‘s exactly what this amendment would try to do. I mean, the whole the point is that there is a lot of waste in the system and we want to squeeze the waste out.
And, in fact, one would think, getting rid of government waste is one of those kind of horrid cliche that conservative love to talk about—in fact, across the ideological spectrum. And this would say, no, you have—there has to be a supermajority requirement any time you want to touch any of that waste. It‘s just completely ideologically incoherent and a horrible, horrible idea substantively.
MADDOW: Shocker. Shocking. Shocking, I know, especially in primary season.
Chris Hayes, Washington editor of “The Nation”—Chris, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Have a good weekend.
HAYES: You, too.
MADDOW: So, our look at Congressman Bart Stupak‘s quest to hijack health reform in order to ban abortion took a weird turn last night when we started looking into who‘s been paying Bart Stupak‘s rent for the past few years. We have some good news. Congressman Stupak‘s office finally called us back today. The less than good news is that they are still not answering our questions—which has led to more inconvenient questions about Congressman Stupak and some very, very difficult answers that we have dug up on our own.
We‘ve got something exclusive and new and that‘s a big deal for you—coming up next.
MADDOW: America, meet Bartholomew Thomas Stupak, a Democratic member of Congress who is currently making the most of his 15 minutes of fame. The reason that Mr. Stupak is famous these days, the reason his name may sound familiar is because Bart Stupak is currently trying to be the Democrat who brings down health reform. He‘s trying to hijack health reform to use it to enact the farthest reaching restriction on access to abortion in a generation—an effective abortion ban in this country for anyone who can‘t afford to pay for the procedure out-of-pocket.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. BART STUPAK (D), MICHIGAN: We want a bill that says no public funding for abortion and that‘s the principle we‘re going to stand on.
NPR: But if there‘s a bill for you that does not have that language in it, you would be a no vote on that.
STUPAK: There are certain principles—there are certain principles and values you just don‘t trade.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Bart Stupak is not actually correct that when he says without his language, there will be public funding for abortion if health reform goes through. In fact, the Senate version of the bill explicitly bans public funding for abortion, but that‘s not good enough for Stupak. Bart Stupak wants to use the health reform bill as a way to restrict abortion rights even further. Mr. Stupak wants to ban people from purchasing insurance that covers abortion, even if they buy that coverage with their own money.
Before Bart Stupak saw the chance to get his 15 minutes in the spotlight this way, there had been a rough consensus that abortion law would be left as is no matter what other changes health reform wrought. The health reform fight would be separate from the abortion fight. But that was the consensus before Bart Stupak saw his chance to make a name for himself.
In making a name for himself, though, Mr. Stupak has opened himself up to some questions about who he is and where he‘s coming from. Last night on this show, we talked about Bart Stupak‘s long-time Washington, D.C. residence. It‘s an 8,000 square foot, 12-bedroom mansion called C Street. C Street is reportedly run by a secretive religious group called The Fellowship or The Family.
And the members of Congress who live at C Street reportedly pay the paltry sum of $600 a month for rent—which is a sweetheart deal and is pretty clearly way below market value for that area. And that raises the question: who subsidizes the rent that Bart Stupak and those other congressmen pay—or paid?
Today, Mr. Stupak‘s office responded to our questions by informing us that Mr. Stupak moved out of C Street at the end of December. They provided us with a letter that he sent his constituents upon doing so. But they have, so far, declined to answer our questions about how much Mr. Stupak paid in rent, who he paid that rent to, and who subsidized his rent if anyone.
We have looked into it on our own, because we couldn‘t get answers from them. And tonight, we have some big news to report in terms of who Mr. Stupak seems to have been paying.
With all of the controversies swirling around C Street in recent months, the secretive religious group, The Family, has attempted to distance itself from that $1.8 million townhouse. The Family now claims it has absolutely nothing to do with C Street. The president of The Fellowship which is, again, also known as The Family talked to the “Columbus Dispatch” about it just last week.
Quoting from “The Dispatch”: Richard Carver, the president of the
Fellowship Foundation, said “his charitable organization does not own the C
Street Center and has no control over its policy. He said he does not know
who owns or runs the center. Quote, ‘It is simply not a part of anything
So, according to The Fellowship, they have nothing to do with C Street
nothing. They don‘t even know who runs C Street.
Well, today, we were able to obtain what appears to be the official deed to the C Street house. It‘s a deed that is dated September 23rd, 2009. It‘s a deed that appears to change the ownership of the property from a group called Youth With A Mission to an organization called C Street Center Incorporated. Signing on behalf of C Street Center Incorporated is that group‘s secretary, Marty B. Sherman.
Who‘s Marty B. Sherman? Well, here‘s the 2008 tax filing of the Fellowship Foundation, again, or The Family. Right there listed on page seven, hey, wouldn‘t you know, Marty Sherman, associate.
So, The Family claims they have nothing to do with C Street and yet one of their associates is the person who‘s listed on the deed to C Street. The mystery deepens.
Now, you know, The Family is known to be a very secretive group. And one of the things we noted as being a little weird in our coverage of this last night was that Bart Stupak keeps going out of his way to say that he‘s never signed an oath of secrecy around C Street. And, indeed, in a letter to his constituents that his office he gave to us today, he reiterates, quote, “I have never been asked to sign a contract or oath of secrecy concerning C Street or its residents.” Why does he keep bringing this up?
It turns that not that long ago, when talking about C Street to the press, Bart Stupak told “The Los Angeles Times” that he kind of did abide by a code of secrecy when it came to C Street and The Family. His quote to “The L.A. Times” when they asked him about C Street was this, quote, “We sort of don‘t talk to the press about the house.”
The reason this is important is because Bart Stupak continues to deny having anything at all to do with a secretive religious group, The Family. But check this out. In 2002, when Bart Stupak was living at C Street—he‘s lived there for years—when he was living there in 2002, an associate of The Family described for the press the arrangement that The Family had with the members of Congress who have lived at that house.
And this is how The Family described it. Are you ready? Quote, “A lot of men don‘t have an extra $1,500 to rent an apartment. So, The Fellowship house does that for those who are part of The Fellowship.” “The L.A. Times” noting that rent is $600 per month h for each resident.
So the questions remain tonight. Was Bart Stupak paying The Family rent to live at C Street? Was The Family subsidizing Mr. Stupak‘s rent which seems to have been well below market rate? Why would The Family be subsidizing Stupak‘s rent if he wasn‘t, as he says, a member of the group, when The Family admits that they subsidize rent for their members? And why exactly is The Family claiming to have no ties to the house when tax and property records indicate that it clearly does?
Bottom line here, as Bart Stupak tries to shut down health reform for an anti-abortion stunt that won‘t succeed but will make him famous, who‘s been paying Bart Stupak‘s rent in Washington all these years? Has he reported it? And why won‘t he answer questions about it?
Joining us is now is the Reverend Eric Williams, senior pastor at North Congressional United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio. He and 12 other pastors have filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service challenging C Street‘s tax-exempt status.
Pastor Williams, thank you very much for your time tonight.
REV. ERIC WILLIAMS, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: My pleasure. Glad to join you.
MADDOW: The C Street house, as you know, is officially listed for tax purposes as a church. What prompted you and this group of other pastors to want to challenge that status?
WILLIAMS: Exactly that. When I was actually watching your show, when I heard you talking about those sex scandals and these elite powerful men seeking counseling at a boarding house that they call themselves a church, that‘s when my ear perked up. I thought, another Washington scandal—but when anyone begins to represent themselves as a church, that‘s when I pay attention.
MADDOW: As a pastor yourself, what concerns you the most about it being a church in terms of its tax-exempt status? Are you worried that people who essentially abuse that status, sort of, cheapen it for people who deserve it?
WILLIAMS: Well, that‘s right. I‘m concerned about maintaining the historic role the church has played in our society all these years. And when somebody‘s presenting themselves as a church and yet when you begin to ask questions about their activities, the reporting, their membership, and you find it doesn‘t look like a church at all, and then you say, well, what‘s the benefit they get from that?
And the benefit, I believe, is lack of transparency. Complete opacity. We don‘t know the revenue. We don‘t their membership. We don‘t know their activities. We don‘t know the extent of their influence at all.
MADDOW: That is what has attracted me to the story again and again and again. I keep thinking I‘m done talking about C Street and done talking about The Fellowship and The Family. And then it just keeps coming up.
On the specific issue of Bart Stupak, do you find it troubling specifically that members of Congress would be getting what appear to be in-kind donations from this group in the form of rent but they‘re not declared anywhere?
WILLIAMS: Oh, absolutely. I think, any time favors are given, that means there‘s an expectation that goes along with that. And if, indeed, they have been enjoying favors all these years and not declaring that, not admitting to that, it really goes to the credibility of how they are representing the work they do.
MADDOW: It‘s awkward for me because the secrecy makes it hard to report on, as well as to describe what these things mean. We know that when Bart Stupak initially introduced the abortion-related amendment in the House, he cosponsored it with Joe Pitts, who reported widely to be another member of The Family, but again, Mr. Pitts says, no, no, no, I have nothing to do with them. I will say it‘s a challenge for reporting as well.
WILLIAMS: It‘s really hard, absolutely—really hard for us to be able to learn anything. If we can shed a little bit of light on the organization, if they would open the door and invite us into a conversation, maybe they could assure us or maybe we can have some of those questions that you‘ve been digging at and digging at answered for us.
MADDOW: As we have talked about them, The Family has recently claimed that it has nothing to do with the C Street house. I understand that you have heard from affiliates from The Family since your complaint went public and made such a big splash. Is that true?
WILLIAMS: Yes, I was contacted by a couple of folks. One gentleman from Columbus, Ohio, and also was contacted by Tim Coe, son of famous Doug Coe, who expressed interest in talking about my objections and trying to reassure me. And I found that very interesting that he would contact me if, indeed, there is no relationship at all.
MADDOW: I hear your implication there. The Reverend Eric Williams—
MADDOW: Yes. Sorry, go ahead.
WILLIAMS: So, I invited him to a conversation, but a public conversation and made several attempts to invite him to that. And ultimately, he turned me down, wanting only a private conversation rather than one that have some accountability.
MADDOW: So, he—just to be clear—I‘m sorry, I interrupted you there. He offered to get in touch and talk to you about C Street even as The Family denies having anything to do with C Street, but he only wanted the conversation to happen between the two of you without anybody else there.
WILLIAMS: That‘s correct. That‘s correct. They want a private, confidential, un-reportable conversation.
MADDOW: We‘ll see if he‘ll join us on this show. We‘ll reach out to
Mr. Coe now that we know he‘s reached out to you. Reverend Eric Williams -
WILLIAMS: That would be wonderful. Keep up your good work, please.
MADDOW: And you, too, sir. Thank you.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MADDOW: Reverend Eric Williams, senior pastor at North Congressional United Church of Christ in Columbus—good luck to you, sir.
On its substance, support for the military‘s “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” policy has been pretty thin for a while. We will discuss what may be the end of a destructive policy with a distinguished guest. He is Clifford Alexander. He served President Carter as secretary of the army. Mr. Alexander is “The Interview” on this show—next.
MADDOW: The fight over “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” got weirder today. And the general who was chief-of-staff of the air force when “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” got put into place in the first place weighed in against repealing the policy.
But his weighing in seems to have confused matters more than it has resolved them. Check this out. Quote, “I was one of the service chiefs when the “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” compromise was reached in 1993. Until then, every person coming into the military was asked questions directed at establishing sexual orientation. And admitted homosexuals were automatically rejected. Thus, the ‘Don‘t Ask‘ part of the rule actually means gays no longer have to lie.”
So if you‘re gay you don‘t have to lie about that in the military now? Does Gen. Merrill McPeak, former chief-of-staff of the Air Force really believe that‘s true? Because it‘s totally, provably, obviously not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. MICHAEL ALMY, FMR. U.S. AIR FORCE COMMANDING OFFICER: In Iraq, during the height of the insurgency, the Air Force conducted a search of my private E-mails solely to determine if I had violated “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” and to gather whatever evidence they could use against me. I was relieved of my duties leading nearly 200 airmen.
MADDOW (on camera): The proponents of the policy say that you personally, you being gay, has a negative effect on your squadron‘s good order and discipline. How do you feel about that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not one single person I‘m assigned with in my squadron or that I fly with in my fighter squadron knew about this case until this moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Even if Gen. McPeak‘s only recently acquired information about “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” was garnered from watching cable news, say 9:00 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC in the last few months, even just that would have provided him with direct proof, direct evidence that people do have to lie if they are in the military and gay right now.
But even being totally closeted is not enough to stop the witch hunting of people in the military to drum them out of the service. So Gen. McPeak‘s op-ed in favor of keeping “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” was a strange addition to the debate today.
But another one of the service chiefs from the time that “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” was put into place is also trying to make himself part of the debate now to similarly awkward affect. He is Gen. Carl Mundy who is the former commandant of the Marine Corps. He has been op-eding against repealing “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” as well. And he‘s been getting cited by senators for doing so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): I would commend to the members of this committee an op-ed written by Carl E. Mundy, Jr., retire four-star general and former commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. I would ask Mr. Chairman that this op-ed dated January 12, 2010 of Gen. Mundy be included in the record at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: What Sen. Wicker is having introduced into the record there is an op-ed from January 12 of this year by Gen. Carl Mundy that opposes the repeal of “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell”.
Roger Wicker there had it introduced into the congressional record at a “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” hearing. Other than Gen. Mundy‘s current advocacy against “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell,” Gen. Mundy is famous in civilian life for two other things - meaning he‘s famous among civilians for two other things.
First, he once issued an order banning married people from joining the Marines. He ended up having to rescind that after the whole country said, “Dude, say what now?” He‘s perhaps more famous, though, for this. On October 31st, 1993, as commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Carl Mundy went on “60 Minutes” to explain the lack of promotion of minority officers in his branch of the service.
On camera, Gen. Mundy explained that result as follows, and I quote, “In the military skills, we find that the minority officers do not shoot as well as the non-minorities. They don‘t swim as well. And when you give them a compass and send them across the terrain at night in a land navigation exercise, they don‘t do as well at that sort of thing.”
That‘s what gen. Carl Mundy is most famous for in civilian life. He is the man who, as commandant of the Marine Corps, that the Pentagon was forced to apologize for because he went on “60 Minutes” to say that minorities can‘t shoot or swim or read a compass, not like white people can. And now, he‘s helping lead the charge against “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WICKER: I would commend to the members of this committee an op-ed written by Carl E. Mundy Jr., retired four-star general and former commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now is Clifford Alexander. He was secretary of the United States Army under President Carter and chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President Johnson. Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for coming back on the show. It‘s an honor to have you here.
CLIFFORD ALEXANDER, FORMER SECRETARY OF THE U.S. ARMY: Thank you very much, Rachel.
MADDOW: What do you make of senators and other people engaged in this fight now over “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” citing former military officers as a way to try to defend the “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” policy?
ALEXANDER: They have a new approach now. The approach is that this is going to be difficult because we are in two wars. If we were at peace, their argument would be that we must not try this social experiment because you can‘t really tell if it will work during peacetime.
Their approach is to somehow avoid what would make American men and women in the service act in an honorable way, be able to not lie to themselves and lie to those around them.
And there is nothing but, in a sense, some hatred, a little bit of fear and a great deal of ignorance that is driving this force to keep this “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” policy in place.
MADDOW: Gen. McPeak‘s op-ed today, I thought, was important because of his arguments. And I don‘t mean it as an insult to Gen. McPeak at all, but his arguments were strange in my view.
He argued, for example, that warriors are inspired by male bonding and that “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” interferes with male bonding and therefore weaken warrior culture. As a former secretary of the Army, I just have to ask your response to that argument.
ALEXANDER: Well, it‘s as if he‘s watching too many horror movies. It just seems to me he must be living in a world that is unlike any world any of us realistically see. He, of course, excludes women from the capacity to be great soldiers and great and brave people as they have been in many wars with this country and with other countries.
But beyond that, what is so bothersome about both of the generals that you cite is that these men were in charge of the welfare of so many people that this kind of narrow-minded ignorant thinking is allowed to really judge, not obviously just gays, but all people in the military.
That their judgment is somehow better than, according to the senators, the good sense that would say you want men and women, whatever their particular sexual orientation, to be able to serve according to their skills.
Now, we shouldn‘t be studying this. They have been talking about having a long study. The president of the United States, instead of calling for a study, should have said to the Secretary of Defense, “Tell me in 30 days how we can get this legislation moving on the hill. But don‘t hold this until December.”
The president of the United States, according to Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution is the commander-in-chief. He is in charge of the Army and the Navy. When the Constitution was written, there wasn‘t an Air Force. It is quite clear it is up to him to set the tone.
And it is up to him to set what we call very importantly in this democracy civilian control. And that means that the civilians, the people who are elected, are the ones who set the particular way things should be in the services.
You do not look to the military people in uniform to set the policy. You look to them for their expertise. You look to them for judgment. And then you, as the person who is elected head of this government, say to them, this is how it is going to be.
That is what civilian control is all about. Otherwise, you have the situation that has taken place in several countries where the military is running the government. That‘s the last thing we want.
And we certainly don‘t want the McPeaks and the Mundys of that kind of military person running the government or frankly running the services that they ran. The kind of ignorance that was spewed out in that op-ed piece, the ignorance that Mundy attributed to himself as the head of a service is appalling and should be described as such.
It shouldn‘t be the Pentagon really saying, “I apologize for this person.” It should be the Pentagon condemning this kind of activity. We need to get passionate about these things.
We can‘t just say, “Well, he might have been off that day.” If you read this piece in the “Times,” you wonder what logical world this man lives in. He clearly didn‘t know what he was talking about. He has no empirical proof nor is there any empirical proof.
In fact, all of the proof is on the other side because so many countries don‘t go to this ludicrous nonsense of worrying about what is the sexual orientation of who‘s next to the man or woman in uniform.
MADDOW: Clifford Alexander, former Secretary of the Army, this is the second time you have joined us on this show. And in both cases I have been bowled over by the generosity of your time and your arguments. Thank you, sir.
ALEXANDER: Glad to be with you. Thanks.
MADDOW: Thank you. Last night, Liz Cheney told us just how many Americans, even ones we know of, are al-Qaeda sympathizers. I, myself, wound up getting arrested by patriotic Kent Jones who thankfully accepted a slice of cheese pizza as bond.
Later, on tonight‘s update, many people who would usually be usually on Liz Cheney‘s side in an argument think she‘s gone way too far with this one. Stick around if you love your country, and I know you do.
MADDOW: A man named Sean David Morton says that he is a natural psychic, a trained remote viewer and an intuitive consultant. On his Web site, even today, Mr. Morton claims that he “uses talents and abilities to predict future occurrences and trends such as earth changes, political events and stock market fluctuations.”
“He has an astounding ‘hit rate‘ or percentage of successes. His
extreme accuracy led radio host Art Bell to call him ‘America‘s Prophet, a
modern day Nostradamus with more hits than Barry Bonds and the Russian
Wow. He also appears to have relieved people who believe that kind of stuff of more than $6 million by promising to invest in the market according to his psychic visions.
Well, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC, is now suing Mr. Morton for fraud leading to the single best newspaper headline of the day by far, “For Psychic, Suit Came as a Surprise.” Get it? Psychic being surprised?
Anyway, speaking of the SEC, on Monday on this show, our guest for the interview was Harry Markopolos who, for years, repeatedly warned the SEC about Bernie Madoff‘s giant multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. He documented Madoff‘s fraud. He submitted warning after warning after warning, but SEC officials ignored him.
Our own Kent Jones has done a little investigative work into this as to what was going on at the SEC at that time that may explain why Mr. Markopolos was ignored. Hi, Kent. Thanks.
KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rachel. You know, it seems some of them in the SEC had what could be called severe time management issues.
JONES: Take a look.
MADDOW: All right.
JONES (voice over): Is so what were the Wall Street cops at the SEC doing that distracted them from busting Bernie Madoff who was busy stealing $65 billion? Surfing for porn. Some of them anyway.
According to an affidavit obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request, one regional supervisor for the SEC tried more than 1,800 times to look up various porn sites in a 17-day span from his work computer. Hence the term NSFW.
More than two dozen employees and contractors at the SEC have been investigated in the past couple of years after getting caught looking at P-O-R-N during their work day at the SEC.
Check out this exchange between investigators and the furiously right-clicking SEC supervisor, “Now I‘m going to show you what has been marked as Exhibit G. This is a record from the same date, August 20th which our records show you made over 300 attempts to access a Web site called ‘www.LadyBoyJuice.com.‘ Do you have any recollection of attempting to access this site?”
“I do not have any specific recollection on this site. But as I indicated on this specific day, I would not be surprised if I clicked the Web site on one of those days.”
“Do you view these images often?”
“That depends. Define ‘often.‘”
Gee, I don‘t know, dude. How about 1,800 attempts in 17 days? The SEC supervisor said his hobby helped him cope with the stress of the job. But he did admit that all the porn sites, quote, “were kind of a distraction per se,” end quote.
Kind of a distraction. Let the history books note the second American depression was caused by “www.LadyBoyJuice.com.”
MADDOW: How do you even know where to put the emphasis? “Lady Boy Juice.” “Lady Boy Juice.”
MADDOW: Thank you, Kent. All right. As you may have gathered by now, I did not really get arrested last night for being a member of al-Qaeda. So that‘s good.
But it turns out I am far from the only one fuming at Liz Cheney for trying to cast suspicions on everybody and their al-Qaeda sympathies. It‘s getting to the point where it might be awkward for Liz Cheney. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: Coming up next hour on “COUNTDOWN,” Keith turns up on chat roulette with Jon Stewart. Then, next on this show, the backlash against Liz Cheney from some who served in her father‘s administration. An important update on this story is coming up.
MADDOW: And important follow-up for you on our reporting last night on Liz Cheney. Liz Cheney‘s group, Keep America Safe, warning that lawyers who defended people imprisoned by the Bush administration on suspicion of terrorism - those lawyers should themselves be suspected of terrorism or at least of sympathizing with terrorism.
Liz Cheney‘s group calling attorneys who worked on Guantanamo cases who now work at the Justice Department, quote, “The al-Qaeda Seven.” It turns out that Cheney‘s allegation hasn‘t just shocked and outraged bathroom Bolsheviks commie simps like me.
Liz Cheney is also now getting blasted by people like Peter Keisler. Peter Keisler served as the acting attorney general during the Bush administration, an associate counsel to President Reagan. He is a co-founder of the super-conservative federalist society.
Mr. Keisler telling the “New York Times” that Liz Cheney was, quote, “wrong to attack lawyers who defended Guantanamo prisoners.”
Also criticizing Liz Cheney, John Belanger, former senior associate counsel to President Bush and legal adviser to the National Security Council. John Belanger also tells “The American Prospect” today that Liz Cheney‘s attack on those lawyers was wrong.
Also, Ted Olson, Bush administration solicitor general. Ted Olson today told “Newsweek‘s” Michael Isikoff that Liz Cheney‘s attack on those lawyers is outrageous.
Now, Liz Cheney is not backing down in the face of torrent of criticism and revulsion at her tactics. But she does appear to be getting a little uncomfortable. Listen to this from a “Washington Times” radio show yesterday.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
AMY HOLMES, GUEST HOST, “AMERICA‘S MORNING NEWS”: You asked the question, “Whose values does Eric Holder share? In your view whose values does he share?”
LIZ CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Well, what the ad does and actually it doesn‘t question anybody‘s loyalty.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: That‘s Liz Cheney saying her al-Qaeda seven ad doesn‘t question anybody‘s loyalty. Really?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why the secrecy behind the other seven? Whose values do they share?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The ad doesn‘t question anybody‘s loyalty? Can we just look at that again? Was that Osama Bin Laden or somebody who just walked into that shot? Oh, no. Whose value - actually - it‘s not Osama Bin Laden. Turns out it‘s a leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen that they put in that shot when they‘re saying, “Whose values do these lawyers share?”
How very current of them. Whose values do these al-Qaeda seven share? Maybe this guy from al-Qaeda in Yemen? That‘s not questioning somebody‘s loyalty? Seriously, Liz Cheney?
While we are on the subject here, let it also be known that among the lawyers whose loyalty Liz Cheney is questioning are - Pratik Shah. Pratik Shah helped put together arguments for a Guantanamo prisoner‘s case against the Bush-Cheney administration before being hired by the Bush-Cheney administration as an assistant to the solicitor general.
So did Bush and Cheney hire Pratik Shah to bring a terrorist sympathizer into the department of jihad - I mean justice? How about Trisha Anderson who helped represent 13 Yemeni prisoners then got hired as an adviser to the Bush-Cheney administration‘s Office of Legal Counsel?
Did Bush and Cheney hire Trisha Anderson because they wanted to bring a terrorist sympathizer into the Office of Legal Counsel?
How about Varda Hussain? Oh, wait - somebody named Hussain in the Bush-Cheney Justice Department? Yes, she helped represent three Guantanamo prisoners. And then, she got hired by the Bush-Cheney Justice Department Civil Rights Division.
Did Bush and Cheney hire Varda Hussain in order to bring a terrorist sympathizer into the Justice Department‘s Civil Rights Division? I would love to ask Liz Cheney these questions in person.
After all, we have met, ever so briefly. We did call Liz Cheney‘s office again today to try to get her to come on the show. But still, she will not do so. And as one final follow-up to our Cheney-baiting extravaganza of last night, I do actually have to thank somebody.
I need to thank the wonderful props staff of the “Jimmy Fallon Show.” It was the “Jimmy Fallon Show” staff who lent us the handcuffs that Officer Kent Jones used to cuff me at the end of the segment.
When we returned the cuffs this morning, the “Jimmy Fallon” prop folks were really nice. They told us how much they liked the show. Unfortunately, though, we apparently now have a new deal with them.
At the end of the week when they have props left over from skits that cut during the week of “Jimmy Fallon Show,” we have to take their leftover props now in order to figure out something to do with them.
So this is our first one. This is the first leftover we got from them. Thanks, you guys. We got a week to figure something out.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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