updated 9/23/2011 10:00:09 AM ET 2011-09-23T14:00:09

Guest: Allen Ault


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, "THE LAST WORD" HOST: A special live edition of
"THE LAST WORD" is coming up at 11:00 p.m. tonight.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW is up next.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Lawrence.

And I will just say that I know Tank and I know Anthony. And Tank
could bench press any normal sized person who you know, but Tank could
actually do a biceps curl with Anthony in each arm.

So, if you guys go out tonight, I would please like documentation of
that.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to video that for you, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. Thanks a lot, Lawrence.

Hi, Levi. Hi, Tank. See you later.

All right. Thanks to you at home. I`m going to be following them out
there, too. Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.

We`ve got sort of a big day of news on a day we did not expect to have
this much news. Here in New York City, was the locust for a lot of today`s
news in a way that we also did not expect. Lots of cities in America have
like a Chinatown or even a little Italy. Orange County, California
famously has its own Little Saigon.

But New York City -- New York City is the only city in America, I
think, that can pull off simultaneously having a Chinatown, also a little
Italy, also a little Saigon, also a Korea town, also a little Pakistan, a
little Tokyo, a little Panama, a little Albania, a little you name it. New
York City is not only diverse in its population, New York City is
international in a way that no other city in the world, let alone this
country is.

But still, when the United Nations General Assembly convenes in New
York City, even in a city like New York, you feel it. And you feel it not
just because of all the traffic that it causes but because there is a
sudden international influx of world leaders and their entourages and their
issues. Even the protests change.

New York City always has protests. But it`s only when the U.N. is in
session that we have something like this, an anti-Iran, Russia, China,
Syria protest being led by activists from Egypt, Iran, Palestine, Syria,
Tunisia, and Yemen.

In terms of protests inside the U.N., though, this year was a
particularly good year for what`s come to be known as the annual "walk out
on Mahmoud day." This happens every year. The president of Iran, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, stands up to give a speech. Shirt, jacket, no tie. He`s very
short.

He gets up to give his speech. He starts denying the Holocaust. He
starts demonizing America. Now, he`s also a 9/11 truther, for the record.
And every year, like clockwork, when he does that speech in that suit and
that shirt with no tie -- this happens.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: While the president of Iran, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, was giving his speech to the general assembly, a walkout took
place. Dozen of delegates, as you see there, led by the U.S. They
gathered their stuff and with some drama they walked out.

The reason why they walked out, his speech called the U.S. slave
masters and colonial masters. Then he went after the rest of the allies.
Then he talked about the, quote, "mysterious September 11th incident." For
him, it was more or less the usual stuff. But it was too much for some of
the delegates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: This is quickly becoming a New York City tradition. This
year`s Mahmoud walkout day was particularly good -- as you saw there. But
I mean last year`s Mahmoud walkout day was a classic too. Remember?

There was Ahmadinejad starting his annual speech. Right? Jacket,
shirt, no tie. And then, oh, look at that. There go the U.S. diplomats.
Followed shortly thereafter by the Brits, by the Spaniards, by the Swedes.
Yes, the Spaniards. The Swedes. And oh, heck, eventually the entire
European Union as well.

There were actually two Mahmoud walkouts in 2010. A few months before
that one you just saw, there was Ahmadinejad starting another speech at the
U.N., this time wearing glasses. And then look at that, yes, there they
go. There go all the diplomats.

This is sort of the diplomatic equivalent of a one finger, middle
finger salute. Everybody sort of pensively packs up their briefcases and
then they try to plan their means of walking out of the room so that it is
as ostentatious as possible. Never walk away from the podium, for example,
when you can walk toward it before breaking to one side to leave the room.

Of course, nothing will ever top the Mahmoud walkout day from 2009.
This was also at the U.N. but it was in Geneva. I don`t know if it`s just
that room or whatever, but Mahmoud walkout in Geneva 2009 was perfect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That was definitely the best walkout ever. The guy stopping
and taking a picture of him from like three feet away from him at the end
of the aisle -- oh, I love the walkout on the Iranian president time of
year. President Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly yesterday
morning. And then he started an entire day of bilateral meetings with
other world leaders, including crucially the prime minister of Israel and
the head of the Palestinian Authority.

Tonight, diplomats are still trying to avert a request for statehood
by the Palestinians at the United Nations tomorrow.

As President Obama was engaged in those meetings, an entire day of
speeches by other world leaders unfolded in front of the main body of the
U.N. And aside from the diplomatic awkwardness that is the hallmark of
international gatherings like this, there was one other very specific bit
of awkwardness brought on by the fact that the U.N. is located here in New
York City, because the other thing that New York City is in America, aside
from being our nation`s largest population center and the most
international of all U.S. cities, New York City also has the greatest
concentration of American zillionaires.

And while the leaders of nations like Lebanon and Equatorial Guinea
and Estonia were speaking yesterday at the U.N., the magazine "Forbes"
simultaneously released its list of the 400 richest individual people in
America. And some of those people as individuals have a larger personal
net worth than the economies of entire countries like, say, Lebanon,
Equatorial Guinea, or Estonia. Some American individual people have more
money than some individual entire countries.

One of the big headlines out of the "Forbes" 400 list this year is for
Charles and David Koch, the Koch brothers. Their father, of course,
invented a way to turn oil into gasoline. They inherited dad`s company.
And importantly, they did not take it public. It is a private company,
which means that anything the company makes redounds to them as
individuals. And, boy, does it?

They have a banner year -- their combined net worth jumping by more
than 40 percent in the past year. The Koch brothers are up to $50 billion
in personal wealth right now. And that means that as of this year, Charles
and David Koch as two people have more money than the GDP of Sri Lanka,
Slovenia, Bulgaria, Oman, Tunisia, Guatemala, Uruguay, Lebanon, Serbia,
Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Costa Rica, and all of the other countries that you
see scrolling by you right now.

If the Koch brothers wanted to like buy Samoa, not the cookie but the
country, Samoa`s GDP is $565 million, which means that the Koch brothers
could personally buy roughly 88 Samoas and still have change left over.
The Koch brothers -- look at the countries -- OK.

The Koch brothers have done really, really great with the oil and
chemical conglomerate they inherited from their dad. It was the second
largest privately held company in the entire country. Over the last few
years their combined net worth as two people has skyrocketed from $34
billion in 2007 to $50 billion now.

They have always been rich, and I mean really rich. But in the last
five years, the Koch brothers` network has been swelling like a broken
ankle. It has been an awesome, awesome time for them as two men.

But during that time, Koch Industries, the company, the source of
their wealth, has seen something a little different happen. Here`s how
employment levels have changed at Koch Industries during this same time
period. Koch Industries has shed employees by the tens of thousands -- as
the Koch brothers have gotten personally billions and billions and billions
of dollars richer.

Wait a minute, though. I thought rich people were the job creators.
In corporations, the job creators, right?

The Koch brothers are rich people. And they privately hold this
corporation. And yet the more money they seem to make, the fewer Americans
they seem to employ.

Now, there`s no reason to single out the Koch brothers on that front.
I mean, it is illustrative to do so. But this is basically the story of
corporations and of rich people in the country right now.

As corporate profits are sky high right now, as America`s biggest
corporations are seeing profits 26 percent higher than they were a year
ago, we know from the unemployment figures that those profits are not
translating into jobs for Americans.

For a company like ExxonMobil, for example, that is sort of how it`s
been in recent years. As ExxonMobil has seen its revenue go up and up and
up and up and oh, my God, even further up, the number of people employed by
Exxon has gone down and down and down.

As President Obama and Democrats have proposed dealing with the
deficit and the fiscally disastrous legacy of the Bush tax cuts that mostly
benefited the richest people in this country, as Democrats have talked
about dealing with those problems by increasing the amount of taxes that
rich people pay, congressional Republicans have responded by calling rich
people "job creators." If you are rich, you are by definition a job
creator to today`s Republicans. And that is very cute, to be called a job
creator.

But again, rich people are doing astonishingly well right now. And
that does not appear to be translating into them hiring lots of people.
Although if you ask the Koch brothers-funded group Americans for
Prosperity, quote, "We know that decreasing taxation and regulatory burdens
on job creators and innovators is the only policy design that has ever
lifted people out of poverty, spurred economic growth, and created jobs."

This is the basic economic fight right now in the country. The right,
including the conservative groups bankrolled by Charles and David Koch
trying to make the case that the richest people in the country and
corporations are the key to the economy, that although they admittedly are
doing really awesome right now, if they could just do a little more
awesome, if we could just figure out some way to cut their taxes and let
them make more profit, that will result in there being more jobs for other
people and everything being better for everybody.

Corporate tax cuts and tax cuts for very, very rich people like the
Koch brothers will, in the words of Americans for Prosperity, quote, "Lift
people out of poverty." or at least it will help them build the pile of $50
billion they are already sitting on into an even bigger pile while their
company keeps laying people off.

On the other side of that fight are the Democrats, and they the almost
united front they are finally getting around to showing for the president`s
jobs agenda, which does include this very populist message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Would you rather that
the oil companies get to keep their tax loopholes? Or would you rather
make sure that we`re hiring thousands of construction workers to rebuild
America?

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Would you rather keep in place special tax breaks for
millionaires and billionaires? Or would you say let`s get teachers back in
the classroom so our children can learn?

Now, the Republicans, when I talked about this earlier in the week,
they said, well, this is class warfare. You know what? If asking a
billionaire to pay their fair share of taxes, to pay the same tax rate as a
plumber or a teacher is class warfare, then you know what? I`m a warrior
for the middle class. I`m happy to fight for the middle class. I`m happy
to fight for working people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That basic policy idea apparently is stupefying to the pundit
class and to the beltway media, who cannot believe how far Obama is going
out on a limb by campaigning on something like this.

The policy of raising tax on the wealthiest Americans is a policy
supported by huge majorities of the American people, including something
like 70 percent to 80 percent of people who describe themselves as
moderates. This is a really popular idea. And every Democrat in the
country can run on this very popular idea.

And Democrats who are good at articulating this idea I think will run
on this idea to great effect. Por ejemplo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I have all this --
well, this is class warfare, whatever. No. There is nobody in this
country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear.
You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You
hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your
factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid
for.

You didn`t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize
everything at your factory and hire someone to protect against this because
of the work the rest of us did.

Now, look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific
or a great idea, God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the
underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay it forward
for the next kid who comes along.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The right wing is circulating that video today as if it is
something that looks bad. I think they are believing their own rhetoric
about what people think about ideas like that. I think the more that gets
circulated the better people like Elizabeth Warren and other people with
that message are going to do with a broad swath of Americans left, right,
and center.

Elizabeth Warren is probably the Democrats` best communicator on
economic issues other than maybe President Obama himself. She is now
running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts against the number
one recipient of hedge fund industry contributions in the entire country,
Republican Senator Scott Brown.

Elizabeth Warren has been in that race in Massachusetts for about a
week. She is now leading Scott Brown.

Scott Brown previously thought to have an absolutely impenetrable
positive approval rating in Massachusetts. But, as of right now, as of the
most recent poll, Elizabeth Warren ahead by two.

Populist economic messaging tends to work for Democrats. So, you`ve
got people like Elizabeth Warren out there running on that. You`ve got
President Obama out there running on that. You`ve even got rich guy Warren
Buffett now being drafted to go campaign for President Obama on this issue
starting next month.

This is the fight going on in the country right now. These are the
two sides. Koch brothers and the Republicans on the rich people just need
more side, and the Democrats pushing the tax the rich, Warren Buffett Rule
on the other side.

Here`s the thing, though. Here`s the thing that`s new this week that
you need to know. On that new "Forbes" 400 list, the Koch brothers
combined are now a lot richer than Warren Buffett -- many billions of
dollars richer. Game on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Speaking in front of an aging bridge between Speaker John
Boehner and Senator McConnell, technically between Ohio and Kentucky,
President Obama was kind of fired up today. Did you see this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We used to have the best infrastructure in the world here in
America. We`re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad, the
Interstate Highway System. We built the Hoover Dam. We built the Grand
Central Station.

So how can we now sit back and let China build the best railroads, and
let Europe build the best highways, and have Singapore build a nicer
airport, at a time when we`ve got millions of unemployment construction
workers out there just ready to get on the job, ready to do the work, of
rebuilding America?

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: So, Cincinnati, we are better than that. We`re smarter than
that. And that`s why I sent Congress the American jobs act 10 days ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: I have to say I`ve got kind of a crush on the crowd. Pep
rally applause over infrastructure and our pride in the Hoover Dam. Am I
dreaming?

Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC`s new weekend show "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES"
joins us for that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this
wall.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Today at the Ohio River, with the backdrop of a decrepit
bridge that needs repair, a bridge that runs between Ohio and Kentucky, the
two states where the top two Republicans in Congress come from -- today,
President Obama tried sort of a reverse double axle version of "Mr.
Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge. Help
us rebuild America. Help us put construction workers back to work. Pass
this bill.

CROWD: Pass this bill! Pass this bill!

OBAMA: Let`s pass the bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Cincinnati, I have a crush on you. I`m telling you.

President Obama continuing his national barnstorming for his jobs bill
today, symbolically putting the top Republicans in Congress on the spot for
where he chose to give the speech today. And it`s worth noting that for
all the consternation in the Beltway press, in the pundit class, for
President Obama being confrontational with Republicans about what it is he
wants, for all the speculation that the president isn`t really like this
and he`s just doing these sorts of speeches and taking this sort of tack on
this issue because he`s being forced to politically, for all of that
Beltway noise it is worth noting that when you see the president out on the
speech giving these kinds of speeches, he kind of seems to be enjoying
himself these days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The idea for a big boost in construction is supported by the
AFL-CIO, but it`s also supported by the Chamber of Commerce. Those two
don`t get along on much. But they agree we should rebuild America.

So, my question is, what`s Congress waiting for? Why has it taken so
long?

Now, the bridge behind us just happens to connect the state that`s
home to the speaker of the House with -- with the home state of the
Republican leader in the Senate. Now, that`s just a coincidence. It`s
purely accidental that that happened.

But part of the reason I came here is Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell,
those are the two most powerful Republicans in government. They can either
kill this jobs bill or they can help pass this jobs bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Republicans are accusing the president now of campaigning --
grrrr -- when he gives speeches like this now. Maybe so. But if so, he
really seems to be having a good time while he is doing it.

Joining us now is Chris Hayes, host of the new and already great "UP
WITH CHRIS HAYES," which airs weekend mornings here on MSNBC. Chris is
also editor at large of "The Nation" magazine.

Good to see you, sir.

CHRIS HAYES, HOST, "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES": Good to see you, Rachel.

MADDOW: I`m just barely recovered from that Sunday morning.

HAYES: You were splendid. I saw some things on the Internet about
how you had had a long night earlier.

(LAUGHTER)

HAYES: They were s reporting on that topic.

MADDOW: So, yes. Should we talk about that? No, we probably
shouldn`t talk about that.

HAYES: We should talk about the president.

MADDOW: That`s right. The president. Let me ask you about both the
style and the substance here. I actually think it`s notable, even though
I`m not a body why language expert, pundit. I think it is notable that the
president seems to be having a good time enjoying this, not shushing the
crowd, for example, when they are booing the names McConnell and Boehner.
And even previously when we`ve seen him campaign, it`s the sort of thing
where he`d say no, no, no, don`t boo, everybody be nice. He`s not doing
that anymore.

HAYES: That is a great observation. And I think that it -- you know,
there`s a tendency in commentary in politics to be what we call in
economics pro-cyclical, which is when the president is doing poorly
everyone rushes to talk about how he`s terrible and listless and has no
leadership qualities and the Ron Suskind book comes out saying the same,
and then everyone piles on and you forget, you get this weird induced
amnesia. It`s an extremely able, deft, confident, exceptional politician.

And what happens is the cycle sort of get to this internal logic. His
approval ratings are down, the economy is bad, and everyone`s like what`s
happened to -- you know, he`s right there. That is a very good, able,
amazingly powerful politician. And I think in some ways, he has been not
using his superpowers for a lot of his time in office.

I think -- I don`t know why, frankly. I`m not inside the president`s
head. I think it`s a strategic choice about the best way to accomplish
legislative ends was not to induce confrontation. But for whatever reason,
they have chosen a different strategy. And this strategy puts him much
closer to the kind of Barack Obama that I think a lot of people felt very,
very deeply enthusiastic about in the campaign.

MADDOW: The professional left, in the words of Robert Gibbs, the both
liberal pundits such as me and you, and also I think the president`s most
articulate and loudest supporters both online and in the print press, have
been arguing for a more confrontational tone from the president for some
time. Now that the president is doing it, do you think that was good
advice?

HAYES: Yes, I do, actually. And I think it was good advice in this
respect -- we can`t lose sight of the fact that the policy he is urging,
which is higher taxes on the highest earner, is remarkably popular.

This is something that is the most popular means of deficit reduction.
It gets to 80 percent. It`s popular among Republicans. It`s actually
relatively popular among Tea Party folks, OK?

MADDOW: Really?

HAYES: So, it`s not majority support but it has a higher --

MADDOW: It`s majority support among everybody except Republicans, and
it`s not that low among Republicans.

HAYES: Exactly. Shockingly not that low among Republicans. And so,
I also think it is good -- I think it`s good policy and good politics
people -- look, I think that people -- look, I think they understand there
is nothing else getting through this Congress and whatever was done in the
past where they had to sort of conserve this kind of like confrontational
capital, like, pick their spots when they were going to battle because they
would get Mitch McConnell spooked or someone spooked and they would blow up
the whole deal -- those days are gone, right?

What you have to do is lay down markers and draw clear distinctions.
And that`s what they`re doing. And I think -- yes, I think it`s effective
politics.

MADDOW: Briefly, do you think that Democrats are sort of getting with
the program or do you think we`re going to see consistent sort of Mary
Landrieu style splitting from the president?

HAYES: This is the huge open question, right, on this precise issue,
right? Which is, do -- will the Democrats in Congress and particularly the
Senate understand that the strategy is essentially an all or nothing
strategy, it`s kind of like shooting the moon, right? So you cannot
undermine shooting the moon or you end up in the worst possible situation,
right?

MADDOW: Yes.

HAYES: So, the worst situation is for the president to be leading and
drawing clear distinctions and to have people of his own party muddying the
waters on that and messing up the distinctions, right?

They`re either sort of with him or against him to invoke a phrase from
a previous U.S. president in a different context. And I think that the
sooner they sort of understand that, the better.

MADDOW: Do you think they will understand that?

HAYES: I don`t know. Mary Landrieu.

MADDOW: Yes. Mary Landrieu --

HAYES: A mystery wrapped inside an enigma, wrapped inside a lot of
oil money in that state.

MADDOW: Mary Landrieu, you are welcome -- very welcome on this show,
as you have been for the very long time, if you want to talk about that or
any other issues, for real. Chris Hayes, editor at large of "The Nation"
and the host of "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES," which is an excellent show, and I
would say that even if you weren`t my friend. Congratulations on your
success. It`s great.

HAYES: Awesome to have you. I really enjoyed it.

MADDOW: Thanks, Chris.

All right. The key, the heart, the catalyst of the "Best New Thing in
the World Today" coming up at the end of the show is acting, the imitation
of life, thespians -- all in the name of social equality. That`s just
ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Fair warning because my girlfriend Susan is here watching the
show tonight and I know she`s very concerned about the fate of puppies as
seen on television. I`m here to tell you that tonight`s show, "Best New
Thing in the World," includes a dramatic puppy rescue. The rescue also
connects to other larger important socioeconomic, political, and even
global issues. But right now, what you need to know is dramatic puppy
rescue minutes away.

And I swear the puppy is fine. I just want you to know that before we
get to the puppy rescue. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Torture doesn`t work, to start with.
Physical torture doesn`t work. The Israelis don`t torture, and they are
facing acts of terror every day. And again --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know it doesn`t work from your own
experience? Because when you --

MCCAIN: Not only my own experience, but I mean most experts will tell
you that when enough physical pain is inflicted on someone they`ll tell you
anything they think that you want to know.

But I`m very worried about the image of the United States of America
engaging in this kind of activity. It`s not -- I hold no brief for the
terrorists. They are the quintessence of evil. I hope they never get out
of prison, the evil ones. But it`s not about them. It`s about us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: It`s not about them. It`s about us. Senator John McCain,
who survived torture personally in Vietnam, speaking back in 2005 about his
belief that it does not really matter why you want to torture someone or
whether it works in some way to torture someone. Senator McCain
consistently over the years making the most robust moral argument against
torture, which is that there`s nothing about the person being tortured that
tells you whether or not torturing them is the right thing to do.

His point is that we as Americans should not as Americans be doing
torture to anyone. And that`s because of who we are, not who they are.
Vice President Dick Cheney, of course, argued the opposite. Vice President
Cheney argued and continues to argue that torture is justified, that it
shouldn`t even be called torture because of who the United States did it
to.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: You`ve heard endlessly about
waterboarding. It happened to three terrorists. To call this a program of
torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American
lives and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Is it not torture if it is done to bad people or if it is
useful in some way?

There`s now a new national debate about the death penalty after a
prisoner named Troy Davis was put to death by the state of Georgia last
night more than four hours after his scheduled time of death on the fourth
day that had been set as his execution date. The consternation and
controversy over Troy Davis`s execution centered on doubts of his guilt.
Seven of the nine witnesses whose testimony was used to convict him have
reportedly recanted. Three of the jurors who convicted him say now that
they would not have voted to convict if they`d known then what they know
now about the case.

When Troy Davis` execution was delayed last night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern
in Georgia, the state of Texas at the exact same time went ahead with
killing a prisoner named Lawrence Brewer. They killed Lawrence Brewer for
the racist hate crime murder of James Byrd in Texas in 1998. There was no
question as to Lawrence Brewer`s guilt.

Tonight, the state of Alabama killed a prisoner named Derrick Mason
for a murder in 1994. The judge who sentenced Derrick Mason to die lobbied
against the execution. The judge is saying that he actually ruled
incorrectly in the case and Mr. Mason should not be killed by the state.
Although there is that controversy over Mr. Mason`s sentence, there is no
basic question about Derrick Mason`s guilt.

Today, the state of Georgia, about half a day after they killed Troy
Davis, set their next execution date on October 5th for Marcus Ray Johnson
for a murder he committed in 1994. Marcus Ray Johnson contends that he had
bad legal representation in the trial that got him the death penalty. But
here, again, there`s no basic question about his guilt.

Is the justice of the death penalty fundamentally about the goodness
or badness of the person who is to be killed? Is it about their guilt or
innocence? Or is it an intrinsic question about whether or not the
governments that we build for ourselves are governments that should kill
prisoners?

To the extent that killing prisoners is one of the jobs we ask of
state government employees, it`s not an abstract thing. It is a physical
job to be done. And it is a job that requires tools.

Georgia used a relatively new set of tools to kill Troy Davis last
night. The state had its supply of sodium pentothal seized by the federal
government earlier this year under suspicion that the state had imported it
illegally from a fly by night drug distributor based out of the back of a
driving school in west London.

So, instead of sodium pentothal, which the state used for decades to
kill its prisoners, Georgia has recently been using a drug with the trade
name Nembutal to kill its prisoners instead, including Troy Davis last
night. Nembutal is a drug veterinarians use to put down household pets.

The Danish company called Lundbeck that makes Nembutal argues that it
should not be used in execution of humans. The U.S. company that makes
sodium pentothal contacted us here at MSNBC today, wanting us to let you
know that even though they do not make their drug that is used to kill
prisoners anymore, they also did not want their drug used in executions.
And year after year, the company says it wrote to state Departments of
Correction telling them to stop using sodium pentothal to kill people.

It is understandable that a big company really does not want to be
associated with planned killings in prisons. But we all are. We all pay
the salaries of the people who do this work in our name.

Joining us now for the interview tonight is Dr. Allen Ault, the former
warden from the Georgia prison where Troy Davis was executed last night.
He also served as commissioner of corrections for three states. He`s
currently the dean of the College of Justice and Safety at Eastern Kentucky
University.

Dr. Ault was one of six retired wardens who wrote to corrections
officials and the governor of Georgia yesterday, urging them to reconsider
their decision to deny Troy Davis clemency and to consider the effect on
corrections staff who would be carrying this execution out.

Dr. Ault, thank you for joining us in our coverage late last night,
and thank you for coming back tonight. I really appreciate it, sir.

ALLEN AULT, FORMER GA CORRECTIONS COMMISSIONER: Yes, ma`am.

MADDOW: As a warden and later as a commissioner of corrections in
Georgia, you participated in several executions early in your career. You
told us last night that you view executions as a form of premeditated --
premeditated killing, premeditated murder. What made you think about it
that way?

AULT: Well, it`s -- the policy book for execution`s probably about an
inch and a half thick. It is well-scripted. There`s a lot of rehearsals.
I don`t know of any other type of murder that is that premeditated or even
scripted. There`s a lot of rehearsals.

I don`t know of any other type of murder that is that premeditated and
are even scripted. So, it`s -- everybody involved knows exactly what
they`re to do and exactly what`s going to happen and how that individual`s
going to be killed.

MADDOW: In this letter that you and a number of other retired
corrections officials sent out yesterday, you wrote about what you
described as "awful lifelong repercussions that come from participating in
the execution of prisoners." I know we discussed this late last night, but
I`m wondering if you could tell our viewers now, if you could describe what
participating in the -- in executions as a process is like for prison
staff.

AULT: Well, I assume that it`s different for different people. But
certainly, I can speak from my experience and other individuals who`ve
talked to me, people who have a conscience. And you`re killing somebody.
And there`s no denying that.

And especially when we know that several people have been declared
innocent with the new scientific techniques, and we`re not real sure if the
individual we`re executing this evening or next week is really guilty. And
that in itself, that kind of doubt -- the other thing most of us know all
the research which indicates that capital punishment does not deter. And
it seems so illogical to say to the public we do not want you to kill, and
to demonstrate that we`re going to kill individuals.

MADDOW: The man who was killed last night in Texas in the same hour
that Troy Davis had been assigned to be killed initially, the son of the
man who that prisoner murdered, James Byrd`s son, had said that he did not
want the death penalty carried out against his father`s murderer. Last
night, Troy Davis` alleged victim`s family said they did want him executed
for the death of Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia.

Do the wishes of victims` families I guess inflect in any way your
feeling about having participated in executions or generally the way that
staff do this, the way they feel about it, do you think?

AULT: No. I think the victim`s feelings should be taken into
account. And in every execution that I attended, I spent time with the
victim`s family. We didn`t allow them to go to the execution. But they
usually were in the prison.

And we had them separated from the witnesses. And I spent time with
them and the chaplain spent time with them. And I talked to them after the
execution, and sometimes several weeks after the execution also.

And most of the victims` families that I talked with, they thought
they were going to get a lot of relief or closure from the execution. And
in most cases, they did not.

MADDOW: Dr. Allen Ault, former warden from the Georgia prison where
Troy Davis was executed last night, former state commissioner of
corrections in Georgia and in Colorado and Mississippi -- sir, I feel like
your perspective on this, it`s not only invaluable to us in terms of
covering this, but your decision to write to corrections officials last
night and put this into words before that execution was a real act of
bravery and made some very powerful arguments.

So, thank you for doing that, sir, and thanks for talking with us.

AULT: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. Republicans in Congress say they would like to
pay for disaster relief by taking money from other government programs.
House Democrats are saying no way to that. And now, apparently we are
facing another possible government shutdown crisis over this.

The latest on that potential crisis coming up straight ahead on "THE
ED SHOW." And also coming up here, the "Best New Thing in the World" --
sorely needed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to --

REPORTER: After about 40 minutes of frantic digging, this -- a
newborn puppy free at last.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: All right. They do not exactly tell you this in TV school,
but if you can lead with a puppy rescue, lead with the puppy rescue.

And this puppy rescue even leads to politics, which we love, because
this puppy, who is fine now. Really, I swear. Leads to Texas Governor
Rick Perry.

The Republican governor joined the presidential race last month after
saying he felt called to run by a higher power. Mr. Perry has also issued
his own calls to a higher power. In April, the governor called the people
of the Lone Star State to spend three days praying for the, quote, "healing
of our land, for rain to end the record drought that has plagued Texas
month after month," and that created the backyard crack that swallowed up
that poor puppy.

Governor Perry has also called the whole nation to prayer, this time
for the healing of our country, for fixes to problems like our economy.
That call for prayer was centered on this marquee event in a Houston
stadium headlined by Rick Perry and endorsed by a list of very conservative
Christian luminaries -- like this person who might now be getting famous
for what she described as the effect on birds in Arkansas of repealing
"don`t ask, don`t tell."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CINDY JACOBS, FOUNDER, GENERALS INTERNATIONAL: The black birds fell
to the ground in Beebe, Arkansas. Well, the governor of Arkansas` name is
Beebe, and there was something put out of Arkansas called "don`t ask, don`t
tell" by a former governor, this was proposed, Bill Clinton. And so, could
there be a connection between this passage where, now that we have the
repeal of the "|don`t ask, don`t tell." It could be because we`ve said
it`s OK for people who commit these kinds of acts to be recognized, you
know, in our military for the first time in our history.

There is a potential that there is something that actually happened in
the land where 100,000 drum fish died, and also, where these birds just
fell out of the air.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That is Cindy Jacobs, a self-described prophet and faith
healer. She also exorcises gay demons and she interprets the impact of
political decisions, as you saw there, on the natural world.

According to Cindy Jacobs, who again was a prominently featured
endorser of Rick Perry`s stadium event this year, according to Cindy
Jacobs, Rick Perry`s stadium event worked. We don`t know yet about the
whole nation but Texas, at least, she assures us, was, in fact, healed by
Rick Perry`s stadium day of prayer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACOBS: We found some areas very, very violent, because the former
culture was a murderous -- like in Texas here, and all the coasts, around
Houston and Galveston, some of the that area. The Native American people
were cannibals, you know, and they ate people. You could see the
manifestation of that in the churches where people turned against people
and kind of cannibalized other people`s ministries.

So, there`s been a lot of prayer over that in Houston, Texas. They`ve
done a lot of intercession over that and broke the curses on the land. And
we just had a prayer meeting in Houston a little week ago. The governor of
Texas, really as an individual, instigated this -- 35,000 people showed up
to pray and it was only a prayer meeting called within three months, you
know, a three-month period of time.

So, what happened? The land is starting to rejoice, you see, because
of that prayer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The land of Texas starting to rejoice because of Rick Perry`s
stadium prayer event in Houston. With all due respect, since Rick Perry`s
stadium prayer event in Houston, Texas has been quite literally on fire.
Nearly four weeks after the prayer meeting, Governor Rick Perry re-upped
his wildfire disaster proclamation for the ninth time for every county in
Texas. Hundreds of homes were lost just in September. The worst of it
seems to be over now but there were 65 new wildfires in the last week alone
in Texas.

And Texas has not only been burning, it is still locked in its
terrible historic drought. And to make it all worse, we have since had it
confirmed that Texas this year endured the hottest summer ever recorded in
the United States.

Texas has been so hot and so parched that they have teen rescuing
Texas` fish. Wildlife biologists last week evacuated fish from the Brazos
River, wading out into the salty (INAUDIBLE) nets and scooping up small eye
shiners and sharp-nosed shiners so they do take them to safety at the state
hatchery because there`s not enough water in the river to keep them alive
anymore.

And as you know, Texas has been so hot and dry that this little puppy
fell into a hole in the yard where the ground had cracked open. It took
the animal rescue squad 40 minutes to dig the little guy out. And then he
went back to his mama with a budge of little puppies -- squeals that I for
one cannot bear to play a second time. OK, maybe in a minute.

And, frankly, while we`re on the subject, on Tuesday, tens of
thousands of bees swarmed a University of Texas gold tournament. They had
to cancel the final round which meant at team from Kansas won.

Now, Texas is a great state with many reasons to rejoice. Among them,
that people there will stop to dig a puppy out of ground. But if Cindy
Jacobs really thinks that Governor Perry`s prayer event has led to the land
in Texas rejoicing by chasing of the cannibal spirits, I protest. Along
with the puppy in the drought crack, who is fine -- adorable, tiny and
thirsty, but fine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: This is not an actual trial, but it is very, very close.
Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me go down to point four where you say
countries that legalize same sex marriage saw alarming moral decay. Do you
see that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you say Netherlands legalized gay marriage in
2001. And to that date, incest and polygamy became legal. Do you see
that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you agree with that, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You believe that after the Netherlands legalized
same sex marriage, the Netherlands went on to legalize polygamy and incest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s just here today. It does not say one caused
the other to happen. It shows the moral decay of a liberal country and
their views of sex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you are saying here is that after same sex
marriage was legalized, the Netherlands legalized incest and polygamy. Now
whether that was a casual -- that was casual or not, you`re saying that`s
what happened after same sex marriage was legalized. Correct, sir? Same
sex marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Look at the date. Polygamy happens
afterwards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who told you that? Where did you get that idea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s on the Internet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: It`s on the internet. Also, it is not true, but it is on the
Internet. How can this be?

Your anti-gay marriage experts at work, America. That was just one of
the many jaw-dropping moments from California`s trial over its anti-gay
marriage Proposition 8. What you just saw was a re-enactment of that
trial, reenactment based on the transcript that was posted at
marriagetrial.com.

"The Best New Thing in the World Today" is that a federal judge has
now ruled that the real actual videotapes of the real actual Prop 8 trial
should be unsealed and released to the public. Unless that decision gets
reversed on appeal, that means we will soon get to see the real people who
the Prop 8 trial actors were portraying.

Now, I have a feeling the actors acting out the transcript will end up
being more fun than the real deal, but who knows? The fact that we will
finally get to find out for ourselves amid intense public interest is the
"Best New Thing in the World Today." That does it for us tonight. Now, it
is time for "THE ED SHOW."

And don`t forget, a special live edition of Lawrence O`Donnell, 11:00
p.m. tonight Eastern. Have a great night.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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