'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Tuesday, March 30, 2010
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Guest: Rev. Eric Williams, David Neiwert
KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR: And now, with news of even more
trouble, the conservative D.C. which is known oxymoronically as the Family,
say nothing of round 97 of the epic fight of Senator Scott Brown versus
Senator Scott Brown‘s delusions, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Keith. Has he gotten back to you
about you running for Senate against him?
OLBERMANN: No. He couldn‘t my—he couldn‘t spell my name and
couldn‘t me find on the phonebook.
MADDOW: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Thank you.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for this next
hour. We begin tonight with a developing story concerning C Street. For
many years now, members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, have lived
at a lavish 6,000-square foot, 12-bedroom, nine-bathroom townhouse right
near the Capitol. It‘s a building called C Street.
Now, as we‘ve talked about on this show before, C Street is run by a
secretive religious group called The Family. The Family has recently
denied having anything to do with this residence. But the property deed to
C Street is signed by an employee of The Family and The Family‘s tax forms
show C Street to be an affiliated organization.
So, the Family‘s attempts to try to distance themselves from C Street
have not worked and, frankly, they‘ve been clumsy.
That said, lots of people have been trying to distance themselves from
C Street in the past year since a string of alleged and admitted C Street-
related extramarital affairs have come to light.
Mark Sanford that he received counseling about his extramarital affair
with the woman from Argentina while he was keeping that affair secret.
John Ensign said he got counseling at C Street, as well help
negotiating an attempted cash payout to his mistress while he was keeping
that affair secret.
And former Congressman Chip Pickering‘s wife says that C Street is
where Chip Pickering actually carried out his alleged extramarital affair
while that affair was secret as well.
So, C Street, because of all those sex scandals, got very famous very
quickly for all the wrong reasons. It‘s particularly awkward given all the
wacka-chika-wacka going on there—particularly awkward was the fact that
C Street was, for tax purposes, listed as a church.
Earlier this month, as we reported, a group of Ohio pastors asked the
IRS to strip C Street of its federal tax-exempt status, because although it
does claim to be a church, in the view of these pastors, there isn‘t a
whole lot that‘s very churchy about it. Well, now, the same group of
pastors has brought to light new information about C Street and the members
of Congress who live there or have lived there. This new information
raises the prospect of serious violations of congressional ethics rules and
the prospect that members of Congress have violated tax laws to the tune of
tens of thousands of dollars potentially.
This group of pastors know what they‘re talking about. The letter
they sent today to the commissioner of the IRS is drafted by their
attorney. Their attorney is the former director of the exempt
organizations division at the IRS. In other words, he‘s the man who used
to be in-charge at the IRS of groups getting tax-exempt status.
Here‘s the issue they‘re raising in their new letter. Members of
Congress who lived at C Street, this 12-bedroom, nine-bathroom, maid-
serviced townhouse, a stone‘s throw away from the Capitol building—these
members of Congress were reportedly only playing $950 a month in rent.
That was reported last year. In 2002, it had been reported that they were
paying $600. But again, as of last year, it‘s reported to be $950 a month.
If you compare that rent to what it would cost to live basically
anywhere else in that area with the same sort of amenities, it really looks
like these congressmen were getting a huge discount on their rent.
Remember, this is a furnished townhouse on Capitol Hill, with housekeeping
services and meal services available.
Compare $950 a month at C Street to $4,000 at the Marriott ExecuStay
in the same area, which offers roughly the same type of services even if
it‘s not as posh. Compare $950 that these members of Congress are paying
at C Street to $4,500 at the Capitol Hill Suites nearby. Compare $6,000 at
the Capitol Hill Liaison Hotel.
If you want to ignore all the extra amenities and furnishing and
housekeeping services that the C Street congressmen were enjoying, if you
want to just rent a one bedroom apartment in that same area without all the
bells and whistles, try $1,700 a month.
So, when you look at these figures, surprise, surprise, right, members
of Congress getting a sweetheart deal—an obviously subsidized deal on
their living arrangements.
Here‘s the rub—if you or me or a member of Congress was paying that
kind of way below market rate for their housing you have to tell the IRS
that. It‘s income. They call it imputed income.
If you were, say, paying $1,000 to live somewhere and the actual fair
market value of that place was $2,000 a month, you‘d have to report that
$1,000 difference as taxable income when you filed your taxes. So, if
these members of Congress were paying $950 instead of a conservative
estimate of what that housing was, which is worth probably 4 grand a month,
that would mean these members of Congress were getting as income a rent
subsidy of about $3,000 a month. $3,000 a month over a year, that means
they would have had $36,000 of extra income to tell the IRS about and to
pay taxes on. Did they?
Members of Congress don‘t have to release their tax returns—but
this group of pastors would like the IRS to find out. In their complaint
they read this, quote, “If C Street is indeed charging a below market rate
in effect subsidizing the rent for the members of Congress who live
there—and the residents are not including its value in taxable income,
then the members may have significant unreported income tax liabilities.”
And there‘s more. Now, if it were you or I in this situation, if I
were in this situation or you were in this situation, anybody who‘s not a
member of Congress, we might have a tax problem on our hands with this.
And, you know, that‘s what Al Capone went to prison for.
But because these are members of Congress, they have something else to
worry about. They may also have a congressional ethics problem on their
hands. Members of Congress have to declare any gift to them that‘s valued
over $50. If this subsidized rent was to given to them a gift or a
donation, they are required to declare it as such. Every year, members of
Congress fill out these financial disclosure reports.
And according to a review done by this pastor‘s group none of the
current members of Congress who live at or have lived at C Street have ever
declared that they received any sort of gift in the form of a rent subsidy,
let alone, say, $36,000 a year in a gift in a form of a rent subsidy.
Today, we contacted every current member of Congress we know of who
either lives at C Street now or has reportedly lived there in the past. We
contacted Senator Jim DeMint, Senator John Ensign, Senator Tom Coburn,
Senator Sam Brownback. We contacted Congressman Zach Wamp, Congressman
Bart Stupak, Congressman Mike Doyle and Congressman Jerry Moran.
We asked each them whether they reported their subsidized rent, the
subsidized rent they allegedly received to the IRS, whether they would make
their tax returns public, and whether any of this was declared as gifts on
their financial disclosure reports.
So far, two of these members of Congress have gotten back to us,
Congressman Mike Doyle and Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. I want to
sincerely thank both of them for having their staff get back to us and I
really hope the rest of them will as well.
Here‘s what Mr. Doyle told us today, quote, “While I no longer live at
C Street, I never received any subsidized rent there. My living
arrangements then and now have always complied with House rules and
When we asked how much Congressman Doyle paid in rent while he lived
at C Street so we could assess the veracity of his statement that it wasn‘t
subsidized, Mr. Doyle‘s office declined to comment.
A spokesman for Senator Coburn also got back to us tonight, telling us
this, quote, “He hasn‘t received subsidized rent. He pays more than
$10,000 a year for a room and bathroom only.”
Just to be clear if you do the $10,000 a year in rent, breaks down to
about $833 a month—which is obviously even less than the $950 a month
figure that had been reported.
We also contacted the IRS today to find out if they intend to look
into these allegations. They, too, declined to comment. They told us they
were not at liberty to discuss any individual‘s tax information. As I said
before, this is a developing story—really, really developing.
Joining us now is the Reverend Eric Williams. Reverend Eric Williams
is senior pastor at North Congregation—excuse me—North Congregational
United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio. He and 12 other pastors have
filed this latest complaint with the IRS.
Pastor Williams, thanks very much for joining us again.
REV. ERIC WILLIAMS, N. CONG. UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: Oh, glad to.
MADDOW: As I just mentioned, the IRS is pretty tightlipped with us
today when we spoke to them about these allegations. Has your group heard
back from them at all? Or do you expect to?
WILLIAMS: We did hear back after the initial complaint. And it was a
standard letter saying they received our concerns and would look into it if
it merited. And if we have any further concerns to forward those. And
really, that‘s with this second letter is, a supplement to our original
MADDOW: These allegations of potential tax violations, potential
ethics violations are very serious charges. With the exception of
Congressman Doyle and Senator Coburn, none of these current or former
residents of C Street, at least to us, have yet come forward to try to
clear their names. Have any of them tried to come to you to clear their
names? Do you expect that they—that they can or that they will?
WILLIAMS: I‘ve had no contact from any of them. And quite frankly, I
would be pleasantly surprised if they did reach out to us.
MADDOW: Your complaint makes a detailed case, appears to be a solid
case that these members of Congress were paying well below market value
WILLIAMS: That‘s right.
MADDOW: Is the tax-exempt status of C Street as a purported church
relevant to the way that you think these congressmen and senators may have
been evading taxes here?
WILLIAMS: I think that goes to the heart of it, because this boarding
house, is purportedly a church, there‘s no opportunity to look at their
finances. There‘s no obligation to do any reporting, therefore—you
know, quite frankly, I don‘t know if the members of Congress even paid any
rent at all.
And the subsidy, was it a gift that was given? Was it imputed income?
We don‘t know anything like that.
All we can do is ask the questions and ask the IRS to compel C Street
center and the members of Congress to comply. We‘d like to know. We would
like to know.
MADDOW: When Congressman Doyle and Senator Coburn told us today that
they didn‘t any receive subsidized rent, as you heard me describe, neither
one of them willing to elaborate particularly on that claim, it may be that
members of Congress were in the dark and thought that rent was super cheap
in Washington and they didn‘t know they were getting a subsidy? Does that
WILLIAMS: Well, that‘s a far stretch if possible at all. As far as I
know, C Street center is the only boarding house and steps away from work
that offers this kind of luxurious housing. So, I would think anyone who
was staying there would certainly understand they were getting a pretty
sweet deal. This is a special relationship they had with this boarding
MADDOW: To that point—I mean, aside from whether these members of
Congress were accurate with the IRS and accurate in terms of their
disclosure forms with Congress, if you think they were aware of getting
this sweetheart deal. And it seems conceivable that they did, I don‘t
think any of them are dummies and thought this was everybody else was
paying in rent.
Are you concerned about access, influence, other forms of quid pro quo
with whoever was subsidizing them and what they may have been expecting in
WILLIAMS: Well, I can‘t believe they were getting subsidized housing
because they had a financial need. They make quite a bit of money,
$174,000. So, it wasn‘t a gift just to help meet ends. So, I have to
think that they were receiving a favor with some kind of expectation.
And, of course, the whole Family code of secrecy really suggests that
there was a lot of conversation, private conversation, private influence
going on well below the radar. And I have to think all these members who
were enjoying the favors of staying at C Street center were involved in
that kind of communication.
MADDOW: Reverend Eric Williams, senior pastor at North Congregational
United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio—I guess, thank you for your
continued vigilance on this subject. I have a feeling it‘s not going to be
the last time I talk to you about this. Thanks for your time tonight.
WILLIAMS: We‘ll stay on it. You bet.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MADDOW: OK. So, long after pretty much everybody concluded that the
minority party in Washington would try to stop everything on President
Obama‘s legislative agenda, President Obama himself appears to have
concluded the same thing, and he said so out loud on TV today. That
remarkable landmark statement, that video and the evidence that he‘s not
just saying it, he believes it—coming up next.
MADDOW: Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts has been running a sort
of fake campaign against me for his Senate seat. It‘s fake because I‘m not
running. I thought I made that clear and that this whole thing has blown
over. But Senator Scott Brown is not letting it go. He is still lying
about it. His latest prevarication and my latest bewildered attempt to
hold him accountable for totally making stuff up for money—is coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are done.
OBAMA: What we now have is the basic principle that in a country as
wealthy as ours, nobody should have to go without basic health care.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS (voice-over): Emboldened by his health care
victory, the president also took on Senate opponents, bypassing them to
appoint 15 of his stalled nominees as soon as Congress left for its spring
OBAMA: The United States and Russia have agreed to the most
comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government will pay lenders to refinance and
lower the principal for borrowers who pay on time but are deeply under
MITCHELL: The president was back on home soil this morning after
surprising the world by showing up Sunday in Afghanistan.
His twin purposes, boosting morale for the troops and pressuring
Afghan President Hamid Karzai to clean up his corrupt government.
OBAMA: Today, we mark an important milestone on the road to health
insurance reform and higher education reform—when a great battle pitting
the interests of the banks and financial institutions against the interests
of students finally came to an end.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: As presidential weeks go, this has been a big presidential
week. President Obama signing health reform into law, signing student loan
reform into law, announcing new help for people in trouble on their
mortgages, using recess appointments for the first time to finally get some
of his nominees through, announcing a giant new treaty with Russia on
nuclear weapons, a surprise trip to visit troops in Afghanistan and to
jawbone President Karzai there about getting his act together—all in one
Everyone who says you can‘t get anything done in Washington with just
one party, you can‘t get anything done unless the opposition party agrees
to help, they‘re wrong. They‘ve been proved very wrong even if you just
look at what has been done this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Look, I think that the Republican Party made a calculated
decision, a political decision, that they would not support whatever we
did. And I think that‘s unfortunate because when you actually look at the
bill itself, it incorporates all sorts of Republican ideas. I mean, a lot
of commentators have said, you know, this is sort of similar to the bill
that Mitt Romney, the Republican governor and now presidential candidate,
passed in Massachusetts.
I am frustrated that Republicans who I think had an opportunity to
help shape this bill declined that opportunity. I will continually reach
out to Republicans. I will continue to incorporate their ideas even when
they don‘t vote for the ideas I presented. But what I‘m not going to be
dissuaded from is us going ahead and taking on these big challenges that
are critical in terms of America‘s long-term economic health.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama speaking on the “Today Show” today. That‘s
where he stands now, as he considers how to use this new accumulation of
political capital that he‘s got. Capital accumulated not just from winning
the election but now from what he has been able to do in office.
Republicans, meanwhile, are also trying to capitalize on what
President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have been able to pass.
Republicans are fundraising on claims that they‘ll be able to repeal these
reforms magically somehow—maybe.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: If the intensity level is as high as
it is, I could draw you a scenario, albeit unlikely, that the president
would be forced to repeal or really replace it with the provisions that we
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Albeit unlikely—yes, you think?
Maybe President Obama will repeal his own health reform law. That‘s
the pitch now.
After John McCain initially tried to convince donors that he, John
McCain, could repeal health reform somehow, now, he wants donors to believe
that President Obama might repeal health reform. And if you believe that,
I‘ve got a flashing red siren and a code red, code red panic button to sell
Remember when House Republicans were doing that “code red, code red”
thing from before health reform passed. Code red, send us money, we‘ll
stop health reform. We promise.
Well now that they didn‘t stop health reform, they have decided to
keep the Code Red Web site up anyway. This is the Web site. It‘s still
They can‘t very well ask for more money to stop health reform passing.
That already happened. So, now, instead, the Code Red Web site is to get
people to send them money to repeal health reform even though that would
require President Obama to go along with their plan—just maybe a little
Still, it‘s probably good for a few bucks though.
Top House Republican John Boehner today saying, “Republicans will
fight to repeal ObamaCare.” He sent out a fundraising email today asking
supporters to “make a generous contribution of $25, $100, $250, or whatever
you can spare.”
He also promises that Republicans “will match every contribution made
before midnight on Wednesday.” Quick, donate now. We have created an
arbitrary deadline to give the impression of urgency!
Republicans in Congress are against health reform that just passed.
Republicans in Congress are against student loan reform that‘s just passed.
Republicans are against proposed new help to stop the millions of
foreclosures, to stop creating more new blighted neighborhoods full of
empty houses in America. They are against the treaty with Russia to reduce
nuclear weapons. They are against proposed new rules to reform Wall Street
One thing that‘s different about chapter two of the Obama presidency
as compared to pre-health care chapter one is that now, Democrats appear to
have figured out that they can do stuff. They can pass legislation even
when Republicans are against it. Democrats can pass stuff and Republicans
can‘t repeal it any time soon. But don‘t tell their donor lists.
MADDOW: During the show last night, we were able to report on the
arrest of the ninth suspected member of a terroristic militia group who is
allegedly planning an attack on law enforcement officers and planning to
wage war against the United States government. Police say Joshua Matthew
Stone was hiding inside a rural Michigan home. When police played messages
over a loud speaker from his family and friends urging him to surrender, he
did so peacefully. Mr. Stone was arraigned today.
So, here are all nine of the militia members who have been arrested
and now indicted. One of the nine is a man named Kristopher Sickles.
According to the federal indictment against him, Mr. Sickles also goes by
the name “Pale Horse.” He appears to have made a pretty overt traceable
footprint online over time.
As the rest of the militia movement and right wing anti-government
fringe in this country tries to distance itself from this Hutaree militia
and these people who have been arrested, we don‘t actually just have to
take their word from it. Some of the evidence is available, open source
online for anyone to see.
To that end, I want to show you a bit of a video that was reportedly
posted online in October 2008. It‘s just before the ‘08 election. It was
posted online by an Ohio militiaman who called himself “Pale Horse.” It‘s
been since been taken down but here‘s an excerpt of it that was played on
Ed Schultz‘s show last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, America. It‘s your wakeup call from the Ohio
militia. You people need to make up, start buying some of these. See?
Ask yourself, why do you not have one of these? Go out and buy a gun, OK?
They‘re not that expensive, OK? You can get a gun and lots and lots of
ammo for these guns, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Southern Poverty Law Center is a group that monitors militias
and extremist groups. They took note of that video and others that were
posted to the now defunct Ohio militia Web site back in April of last year.
They noticed that one of those videos included a shout-out from the Ohio
militia to the Michigan militia. Quote, “Thanks for letting us train at
Camp Stasa with you guys.” Camp Stasa is thought to be a Michigan militia
Now, when the Hutaree suspects were all rounded up and arrested over
the weekend and last night, all the other militia movements rushed to
distance themselves from this group of people who was being hauled off to
jail. But even amid the militia movement‘s rush to declare “Those arrested
guys don‘t have anything to do with us,” even amid that rush came an
admission from the spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia
that the Hutaree trained with them on at least a couple of occasions. So,
you‘re getting a sense of the connection here, right?
This guy, Kristopher “Pale Horse” Sickles gets arrested as a member of
Hutaree. He has an online record on which he appears to be the man
describing himself as being associated with the Ohio militia. He connects
himself and is connected by other militia members in that state to Michigan
Now, Michigan militias have a heck of a history. In 2005, this
decade, 2005, a Michigan militia member named Norman David Somerville was
arrested for possessing and distributing more than 2,000 machine guns. In
2003, a Michigan state trooper was shot and killed in a standoff with a
Michigan militia member named Scott Woodring who was himself fatally shot
by troopers a week later. A Michigan militia member named Paul Darland was
convicted in 2001 of the fatal shooting of another militia member‘s
And of course, most infamously, Terry Nichols, a Michigan native,
and Timothy McVeigh attended at least one Michigan militia event before the
Oklahoma City bombing. Even the Michigan militia folks admit to that.
What else is this Pale Horse guy known for online? Watch this
short clip and see if this one is about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here‘s my idea. We have a one-million-man, armed
militia men, march on Washington - a peaceful demonstration of at least a
million. Hey, if we can get that million, even better. But at least one
million armed militia men marching on Washington.
A peaceful demonstration. No shooting. No one gets hurt. Just a
demonstration. The only difference from any typical demonstration is we
will all be armed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That again is the man identifying himself as “Pale Horse” who
we think but cannot confirm is the same “Pale Horse” arrested this weekend
as a member of the Hutaree militia and accused of plotting an assault on
police officers and wage war against the United States government.
That‘s a man calling himself Pale Horse calling for a million
militia man armed march on Washington. He wants people to show their
weapons, bring their firearms to Washington, D.C. for a march on the
Does that idea sound familiar at all? Of course, Pale Horse‘s
armed march on Washington didn‘t happen. He was calling for it to take
place on July 4th of last year. Instead, though, an armed march on
Washington is going to happen this year on April 19th, on the anniversary -
the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building
by Timothy McVeigh.
How did we come to know about this current planned armed march on
Washington, or march on as close as these people can think they can legally
get to Washington? We found out about it because the guy who is calling
for people to throw bricks to a Democratic Party headquarters around the
country, a former militia leader from Alabama, is a keynote speaker at the
armed march on Washington event.
I can already feel the common wisdom congealing around this story
that these militia members who were arrested were part of some offshoot,
unique standalone religious cult that has nothing to do with anything else
that‘s going on in the world of anti-government extremism in this country
right now. But if you just scratched the surface of the story, just barely
scratched, that common wisdom falls apart.
Joining us now is Dave Neiwert. He‘s the author of “In God‘s
Country,” a book about the patriot movement. He‘s also the author of “The
Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right.” He is a
managing editor of a Web site I like a lot which is called “Crooks and
Liars.” Mr. Neiwert, thanks very much for coming on the show. It‘s nice
to have you here.
DAVID NEIWERT, AUTHOR, “IN GOD‘S COUNTRY”: Always a pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: So we are coming up on this planned armed carry march on
Washington on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. These folks
are going to show up to D.C. with guns. What do you expect to happen that
day and do you think that is an important occasion?
NEIWERT: Probably not. I mean, I expect there will be probably more
people than showed up for the million man militia march of last summer
which we covered it at the time. You know, we wrote about it at the time
that they were talking about those. And we said they were probably just
shooting off a lot of hot air.
And sure enough, yes. As far as anybody knows, nobody showed up
in D.C. on July 4th of last year. But I expect there will probably be a
few more. You know, I was in D.C. just about a week and a half ago for the
I was there on Sunday for the immigration march, the march for America.
And that attracted about 200,000 people at least.
But it got very little coverage. So I‘ll predict this - there
will be a lot fewer people than there were for the march for America. But
I bet it gets a lot more coverage than the march for America.
MADDOW: But the charges against the Hutaree militia in Michigan and -
frankly, my coverage of this planned event for April 19th. The charges
suggest that authorities are very much concerned about domestic terrorism.
I‘m covering the April 19th march, not because I think it is
going to be giant, but I think it is a sort of red flag if there is
something going on in terms of anti-government extremism right now and a
potential for domestic terrorism.
NEIWERT: Yes, absolutely.
MADDOW: Do you think there is a reason we don‘t hear more about it in
our politics right now?
NEIWERT: Well, a lot of it is the fact - I mean, this is something,
you know - Rachel, I have been writing about the extremist right since the
1990s. It has not been an easy road a hoe as a freelancer because it is
very difficult to sell these kinds of stories.
I think in the mainstream media, this kind of narrative really
runs counter to what a lot of people want to talk about, especially when we
talk about terrorism.
You know, I think it is very popular to sort of conceptualize
terrorists as somebody with a turban and brown skin, especially since
But the reality is as we remember from April 19th, 1995 is that,
far more often, the terrorists that we encounter in this country are people
who look like our neighbors.
MADDOW: In terms of the overall - the way this fits overall into
politics, are there moderating influences in the sort of anti-government
wing of the conservative movement right now, the more mainstream part of
the anti-government wing who are trying to draw a hard line against
extremist rhetoric that might encourage folks inclined toward terrorist
NEIWERT: Well, yes. I mean, you know, there are always the David
Frums out there, the folks who are - have at least - you know, they‘re
traditional Republicans and traditional conservatives.
And I think that they understand that the extremist right is very
much a threat to conservatives as much as it is to liberals. I mean, if
nothing else, it is going to destroy the name of the American right for the
next decade if these people - if the extremist right really gains control
of the conservative movement.
MADDOW: Dave Neiwert, thank you very much for coming on the show.
Author of the book “Eliminationists,” managing editor of “Crooks and
Liars.” It‘s great to see you, Dave. Thank you.
NEIWERT: Hey, thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: So Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts has still got a problem
with me. I thought this whole thing was over, but he said I was running
against him for the Senate. And I said, “No. Really, I‘m not. Cut it
out.” Turns out he is not cutting it out. He has made up his story and he
is sticking with his made-up story. That‘s coming up.
MADDOW: Is there anything cooler than obliterating protons at a
velocity approaching the speed of light? Is there anything cooler than
that? A subatomic “Moment of Geek,” straight ahead.
But first, a couple of holy mackerel stories in today‘s news. An
important follow-up on one of the weirdest arguments ever made about the
military‘s anti-gay “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” policy. We call this surreal
back and forth between Sen. Carl Levin in the Armed Forces Committee and a
retired Marine general named Jack Sheehan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. JACK SHEEHAN (RET.), UNITED STATES MARINES: That was the largest
massacre in Europe since World War II.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI): Did the Dutch leaders tell you it was because
there were gay soldiers there?
SHEEHAN: It was a combination -
LEVIN: But did they tell you that? That‘s my question.
SHEEHAN: Yes. They included that as part of the problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Pressed to name these people he said were Dutch leaders who
supposedly told him that the Srebrenica massacre happened because the Dutch
had gay soldiers on their payroll, Gen. Jack Sheehan said he based his
allegation on something he was told by a man named Hankman Berman.
The Dutch responded by saying, “Hankman who?” There was a former
chief-of-staff in the Dutch Defense Ministry whose name was Gen. Henk van
But if that‘s who Gen. Jack Sheehan was thinking about as
“Hankman Berman,” the general made it clear that he had never actually said
such a crazy thing about the gay soldiers or the Dutch military.
Gen. Sheehan has now apologized. He has written an apology
letter to Gen. Breemen, saying that the U.S. Military. This is the letter
that the U.S. Military released today.
In it, Gen. Sheehan says, quote, “I am sorry that my recent
public recollection of those discussions of 15 years ago inaccurately
reflected your thinking on some specific social issues in the military. To
be clear the failure on the ground in Srebrenica,” he said, “was in no way
the fault of individual soldiers.”
You hear that, liberal, not discriminating Dutch soldiers? You
are not responsible for a genocide. You‘re welcome. As you were.
Meanwhile, in our country that does discriminate against gay
people who want to serve in the military, the president seems to be at odds
with his own Department of Justice.
President Obama has called himself a fierce advocate for gay
rights. He says he wants to repeal “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell.” He even put
that pledge in the State of the Union Address this year.
But the Federal Justice Department filed a brief last night
asking for a case challenging “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” to be thrown out of
Now, the Justice Department has to defend acts of Congress. It
says it is required to do so although some say there is some wiggle room
there. But you know what the Justice Department definitely doesn‘t have to
The Justice Department definitely doesn‘t have to use anti-gays
in the military quotes from former Chairman of the Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff
Colin Powell from the ‘90s. The Justice Department‘s brief repeatedly
quotes Colin Powell from 1993 speaking against gay people in the military.
Colin Powell, of course, has since said that he thinks “Don‘t
Ask, Don‘t Tell” should be repealed. Still, the Justice Department is
quoting pre-changing his mind Colin Powell as being in favor of a policy
that current Colin Powell opposes.
Don‘t let the man‘s actual views get in the way of a not-very-
good argument, right? Right, fierce advocate guys?
MADDOW: Keith asks Michael Musto about the GOP‘s apparent embrace of
art - at least art involving nearly-naked ladies in West Hollywood
But first on this show, freshman Senator Scott Brown is still
going after me even after I spent a whole week reiterating that I am not,
not, not, not, not, not, not running against him. The lie that will not
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW (on camera): I‘m not running. That I am not running. I never
said I am running. The Democratic Party in Massachusetts never asked me to
run. I‘m not running. I‘m not running for anything.
That I‘m not running against him. I really am not. I never was.
I‘m not running for office. I never said that I would run for office.
Nobody‘s asked me to run for office.
I‘m not running against Scott Brown. I‘ve never said I‘m running
against Scott Brown. Massachusetts Democrats never talked to me about
running against Scott Brown. Honestly, I‘m not running. They never asked
me to run. Never. Not. Didn‘t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So my effort to not run for Senate in Massachusetts is not going
well. I keep trying to not run. But Scott Brown won‘t let me. I thought
this was over. He sent out a fundraising letter last week asking
conservatives around the country to give him money because of my planned
run against him for his Senate seat.
In the letter, he attacks me for having a far-left agenda and
says that “Democratic Party bosses in Massachusetts want a rubber stamp who
will vote for their plans to expand government, increase debt and raise
taxes, someone like Rachel Maddow.”
Someone like Rachel Maddow who is not running against Scott Brown
for Senate, who was never recruited to run against Scott Brown for Senate,
someone who has been made over into a fake Senate candidate against Scott
Brown just so Scott Brown can raise money around the country on what an
awful person I am and how America can‘t afford my far-left agenda.
I thought this was over. I thought this was weird but at least I
thought that it was finally over. Turns out, it is not. Sen. Scott Brown
of Massachusetts is not letting this go if you can believe it.
Yesterday, Sen. Brown came out to my neck of the woods in western
Massachusetts to attend a ribbon cutting. And while he was there in
beautiful downtown Greenfield, Massachusetts, in Franklin County, he went
back after me again.
He told Democratic State Senator Stan Rosenberg, quote, “She‘s
trying to boost her ratings.” Oh, but wait. It‘s even on tape.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stirred quite a thing up, you know, with
Rachel Maddow. Everybody‘s talking about it in the neighborhood.
SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R-MA): Whatever. She‘s trying to boost her
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: I‘m boosting my ratings. I‘m boosting my ratings, how,
Senator? How am I boosting my ratings? I‘m boosting my ratings by being
the subject of a lie that you‘re telling about me to raise money?
I didn‘t do this, Senator. You did this. You dragged me into
this. You made something up that is not true. You have such a lack of
respect for your conservative donor base around the country that you don‘t
care if what you‘re telling them is true or not.
You think it doesn‘t matter in politics if what you say is true
or not, “Just give me the money. It makes for a good story - good, scary
liberal story. Do you feel scared? Then send me your money. Who cares if
the story is true or not? Who cares?
It turns out I care. Somebody‘s got to draw a line somewhere.
Lying should have consequences. You shouldn‘t get to flat-out lie in the
conduct of your business as a United States senator and get away with it.
Everybody says that this is just the way people do things. This
is just politics. But politics is for something. Politics is about more
than just politicians. Politics is about our country.
And I don‘t concede that the only thing we can expect is from
people in politics is for them to lie to us and not care and get away with
it because we don‘t expect better. So I recognize this is probably futile,
but I‘m going to say it.
Sen. Brown, you need to stop lying about this. Since the
original fundraising letter that lied and said I was being recruited to run
for Senate against him, Sen. Brown has presented no evidence that I am
running against him or that Massachusetts Democratic Party officials ever
recruited me to do it.
He hasn‘t presented any evidence that those things are true,
because they‘re not true. But he keeps saying them, even after I said
flat-out that these things are not true. He told Boston talk radio, for
example, “Bring her on.”
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BROWN: Bring her on. I don‘t care.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Bring her on. I don‘t care. Sen. Brown, you‘re lying. I‘m
not running and you know I‘m not lying. And when you say, “Bring her on,”
to make people think that I‘m running against you, you‘re lying. Stop it.
Sen. Brown, you then had your spokesman put on this statement,
“It was an open secret that the Democrats were trying to recruit Rachel
Maddow to run against Scott Brown in 2012.”
Sen. Brown, again, you‘re lying. They didn‘t try to recruit me.
It is a knowable fact. It is an empirical, checkable statement. You are
lying. Stop it.
Sen. Brown, then you had your spokesman tell “The Boston Globe”
that we hadn‘t been - my office, my team, hadn‘t been calling your office
to try to get you to come on this show.
Sen. Brown, you‘re lying. My office called you multiple times a
day, every day, over and over and over and over again to try to set this
right. I will show you the phone records if you care. You are lying when
you say that it didn‘t happen. Stop it.
Sen. Brown, then you had your spokesman tell “The Boston Herald,”
“I think Rachel Maddow would be an interesting candidate.” And the ad I
published, he said, wasn‘t in fact - the ad that I published to say that I
wasn‘t, in fact, running, he said, quote, “looks like it was written by the
Democratic National Committee.”
Sen. Brown, you‘re lying. I wrote the ad. If you had called me
back and asked me about it, I would have told you that. And again, I‘m not
a candidate against you. You know that. When you say or you had your
spokesman say that “I think Rachel Maddow would be an interesting
candidate,” you‘re saying that in order to make people think I‘m running
And you‘re lying and you know you‘re lying. Stop it. Stop
lying. If you want to be nice, you might even want to apologize for having
told these lies. But most importantly, I don‘t want you it to do it again.
You‘ve been in Washington seven weeks and you‘re already lying
over and over and over again insistently, about something that, frankly, is
not worth it. You picked something to lie about that you got caught for.
And you picked someone to lie about who quixotically and probably
stupidly has decided not to just let it go, to not let you get away with
it. Sen. Brown, I am sorry that you don‘t actually get me good ratings.
To tell you the truth, our viewers seem to like it better when
I‘m talking about health reform or sovereign wealth funds or New Jersey
rest stops than when I‘m talking about you, if you want to crunch the
numbers about how our ratings tracked with what we talked about in the last
I keep talking about you lying about me, not because I want to
get ratings out of it. You don‘t rate, sir. The reason I keep talking
about it is because I want politicians to stop doing things like this, to
stop making stuff up to run against instead of running against actual not-
made-up problems that our country really has.
I‘m trying to increase the cost of you lying so that you‘ll stop
doing it. Stop doing it.
MADDOW: What‘s the sound of two protons colliding? Trick question.
Subatomic particle collisions are silent, of course, you guys. The protons
whiz around and collide inside a beam pipe with a really high vacuum. So
no noise because sound requires a medium within which it travels, right?
But even if we can‘t tell you the sound of two protons colliding,
how about the sound of this?
MADDOW: Geeks being very excited. That is the sound of super-
psyched, totally geeked-out particle physicists reacting to the collision
of subatomic particles. It happened at the Large Hadron Collider, 17 miles
of magnetic track buried deep under the Alps between France and
This morning, after not being able to make stuff work quite right
before, scientists - they were able to send the protons whipping around two
tracks in opposite directions at 99.9 percent of the speed of light. Then
they crossed the streams, letting the protons collide with the combined
source of 7 trillion electron volts.
And when they saw the first evidence that the collision was
successful, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research
were so excited, they couldn‘t even type properly.
Look at this message they posted on Twitter, “Experiment have
seen collisions.” Here‘s what they were looking at that they were all so
geeked out by. Very pretty. I don‘t know what it means, either.
But there are going to be a lot more of those things. They‘re
going to keep smashing stuff at this level for the next year and a half or
so. And then they plan to get the Large Hadron Collider working at its
ideal capacity, which would cause particles to smash into each other at
twice the force of today‘s experiment, a level corresponding to the energy
of the Big Bang.
And when that happens of course, that, of course, will be the
moment of geek to end all moments of geek. And if this program and the
universe don‘t exist, we will definitely cover it right here.
But that does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow
night. Until then, you can download our podcast from iTunes. You can also
check out our new blog at MaddowBlog.MSNBC.com where we do all sorts of
things we can never get away with on the air.
Right now, you can find links there to background information on
all the stories we covered tonight, including the complaint that‘s been
filed with the IRS about the tax status of members of Congress who live at
C Street. It is totally worth reading. It is only about seven pages long.
Thanks very much for being with us tonight. “COUNTDOWN” with
Keith Olbermann starts right now. Have a great night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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