Guests: Spencer Ackerman, Frank Schaeffer
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Lawrence. Thank you. Have a
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this week.
One story this week almost made it into our segment, "The Best New
Thing in the World Today," but it got cut at the last minute because
something better came along. It got cut in the big story about an Arkansas
high school marching band turning up at the house of one of their player`s
grandmothers because grandmother was too ill to go to the game. I still
love that story. You go, Rogers Heritage High School.
But what Roger Heritage High School of Arkansas pushed out of "The
Best New Thing in the World" segment that day, what got cut in favor of the
marching band segment, was something that the Web site Mediaite headlined
as "When horrible people unite."
When the president of Iran spoke at the United Nations last week, the
main news that he made, of course, was that everybody walked out on him
again -- like they pretty much always do now whenever he speaks in public.
Quoting from "The Guardian" newspaper reporting on the walkout, "U.S.
diplomats were first to leave when Ahmadinejad referred to the mysterious
September 11th incident as a pretext to attack Afghanistan and Iraq."
The mysterious September 11th incident, huh? Goodbye, Mahmoud. See
The U.S. first, then essentially all the Western countries get up and
walk out of the U.N. while he is talking. The "when horrible people fight"
part of all this is that the other folks who got very mad at the president
of Iran for being a 9/11 truther, for him suggesting that the U.S.
government faked 9/11, for him suggesting that al Qaeda didn`t do 9/11, the
other folks who got mad at him about that were al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda this week put out the seventh issue of their oddly slick but
still poorly translated terrorist quarterly magazine which is called
"Inspire." And the magazine includes this article complaining that Iran is
subscribing to 9/11 conspiracy theories, calling President Ahmadinejad of
Iran ridiculous for suggesting that al Qaeda shouldn`t get all the credit
it really, really wants for having done 9/11.
So, Iran`s president denying that al Qaeda did 9/11. Al Qaeda wanting
credit for 9/11. You guys fight it out amongst yourselves. I`m just going
to watch and eat popcorn.
That same issue of the al Qaeda magazine has this right at the end on
the left hand side there. A blurry photo of people in what appears to be
Grand Central terminal in New York City. Plus, this notice of an article
by Anwar al-Awlaki, on targeting the population of countries that are at
war with the Muslims. Al Qaeda in its magazine says, as you can see here,
that this article by Anwar al-Awlaki is coming soon.
No, it`s not. Not anymore.
Today, the United States government announced Anwar al-Awlaki was
killed in Yemen. It is understood to have been by a CIA drone strike.
Killed along side with Anwar al-Awlaki was another star from the most
recent issue of the al Qaeda magazine, the author of main essay article, of
how great al Qaeda is at propaganda and how bad the U.S. is.
The author of this essay, which you can see here is Samir Khan. Samir
Khan and Anwar al-Awlaki again reportedly killed today by a U.S. strike in
Yemen. Both known for their role in al Qaeda propaganda and importantly
both Americans. Not just American-born, as they`re being described so
often today, but Americans -- American citizens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, I want to say a
few words about some important news. Earlier this morning, Anwar al-
Awlaki, a leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was killed in Yemen.
The death --
OBAMA: -- the death of Awlaki is a major blow to al Qaeda`s most
active operational affiliate. Awlaki was the leader of external operations
for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In that role, he took the lead in
planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Just days after the Obama administration announced the death
of Osama bin Laden in May of this year, a reported drone strike in Yemen,
reportedly very nearly killed Anwar al-Awlaki. But, today, they actually
got him. A joint effort between the CIA and Joint Special Operations
Command -- just as killing Osama bin Laden was.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Republicans turned their
typical anti-Democrat soft on crime/soft on terrorism attack against
candidate Barack Obama. They frequently used surrogates like Rudy
Giuliani, New York City`s mayor on 9/11, to accuse candidate Barack Obama
of not having either the experience or the desire to fight al Qaeda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NYC MAYOR: What I do suggest is he doesn`t
have the experience to handle terrorism. I call it a pre-September 11th
mentality that he wants to return to.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The question is whether this is a man
who has what it takes to protect America from Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and
other grave threats in the world. And he has given you no reason to answer
in the affirmative.
GIULIANI: The Democrats want to go back to a pre-September 11th view
of terrorism, what I call being on defense. This is not a realistic
approach. Time has proven that being on offense is better than being on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Since Barack Obama was sworn into office in January, 2009,
here`s how that whole defense idea has turned out. In August 2009, U.S.
forces killed the top leader of the Pakistani Taliban, a man they`d been
hunting down for years.
One month later, U.S. forces kill not only the operational planner for
one of the region`s main terrorist networks but also one of the main
operations planners for al Qaeda in East Africa.
Three months later, two more of al Qaeda`s top operational commanders
are killed in Pakistan.
In February 2010, U.S. forces capture one of the Taliban`s top
military commanders in Pakistan and they killed two more terrorist leaders
in the region.
A month later, the Obama administration knocks off two more terrorist
leaders, one top al Qaeda operative killed in Pakistan and the man believed
to be behind the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings is killed in Indonesia.
One month after that, this time in Iraq, U.S. forces killed two of the
top leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq.
The very next month an aerial drone strike in the tribal areas of
Pakistan kills al Qaeda`s number 3 commander.
A month later, also in Pakistan, U.S. forces killed an al Qaeda
commander believed to be the head of the group of external operations.
Then, of course, the big one in May of this year, U.S. Special Forces
raid a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing the head of al Qaeda and its
founder, Osama bin Laden.
One month later, U.S. forces put into overdrive. A predator drone
strike kills one of al Qaeda`s most experienced operational commanders in
Pakistan. Three senior operatives of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are
killed in Yemen. And one of the senior leaders of al Qaeda in East Africa
is killed in Somalia.
Two months later, a CIA drone strike kills al Qaeda`s number 2 in the
mountains of Pakistan.
And earlier this month, al Qaeda`s chief of operations in Pakistan is
killed right around the anniversary, the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.
And now, today, the man who is now being described by the U.S.
government as the chief of external operations for al Qaeda`s affiliate in
Yemen, the inspirational of voice of al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, Anwar
al-Awlaki, is killed by a drone strike in Yemen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
MCCAIN: The question is whether this is a man who has what it takes
to protect America from Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and other grave threats
in the world. And he has given you no reason to answer in the affirmative.
GIULIANI: The Democrats wan want to go back to a pre-September 11th
view of terrorism, what I call being on defense. This is not a realistic
approach. Time has proven being on offense is better than defense.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Anwar al-Awlaki may not have been a household name in America
the way Osama bin Laden was. But it was not for lack of trying. The
number of plots he was believed have been involved in was said to have
inspired, has been linked to by U.S. officials. That is a very, very long
The Nigerian national who attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit
on Christmas Day 2009, the young man who hid explosives in his underwear,
he later told federal investigators that he received direct instructions
from Anwar al-Awlaki during a trip to Yemen the month before the attack.
Al-Awlaki is believed to have been in contact with the Army
psychiatrist who was arrested after the mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas,
a mass shooting that killed 13 people back in 2009. Intelligence officials
reportedly intercepted more than a dozen communications between that Army
major and al-Awlaki. In the months before the shooting, officials believe
Army Major Nidal Hasan attended some of Awlaki`s sermons at the mosque in
Virginia. The failed New York City Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad
reportedly told agents who questioned him after that bombing that Awlaki
was the one who inspired his actions.
The six men arrested for plotting to attack Fort Dix in New Jersey in
2005, they were allegedly found to have been in possession of one of
Awlaki`s sermons. They were also reportedly recorded discussing the
importance of Awlaki`s call for jihad against America.
In October 2010, al-Awlaki allegedly supervised a plot to blow up two
U.S. cargo planes by detonating explosive that were supposed to be hidden
That same year, a British airlines worker who Awlaki was believed to
be in contact with was arrested and convicted of trying to get a bomb
onboard a plane at London`s Heathrow Airport.
A Seattle man who was arrested in June this year in a plot to attack a
military processing center in Washington state with machine guns and
grenades, federal agents say he was a devotee of al-Awlaki.
A Baltimore man arrested in September and charged with plotting to set
off what he thought was a van full of explosives at a U.S. recruiting
center, he`s also alleged to have been a follower of Awlaki.
You may have noticed a lot of allegedlies and reportedlies and
believe-to-have-beens in that very long list. It sounds bad to have him
associated with all of these things.
But in terms of whether or not Anwar al-Awlaki was directly
responsible for any of those plots, there are a lot of allegations, but
none of those allegations was ever made in court.
The Yemeni prosecutors did not -- excuse me, did charge Awlaki in
absentia in Yemen back in November with inciting violence, by allegedly
sending Internet messages to a 19-year-old in Yemen. Awlaki allegedly
urged him to kill foreigners.
Aside from that, though, being tried in absentia in Yemen, Awlaki was
never charged for anything in this country. U.S. officials never attempted
to open up an indictment against him. The way they justified this killing
is that they had put him on an assassination list -- an assassination list
that the president signed off on. And that was the due process.
And again, Yemen`s official news agency says the U.S. drone strike
that killed Anwar al-Awlaki also killed Samir Khan, which means the United
States killed not just one American citizen today, it killed two.
There are two big consequences for that for us when we think about
America and al Qaeda. One of them is homegrown terrorism, right? People
who are Americans, people who have not only lived here but who have all the
benefits of American citizenship and all that affords in terms of access to
potential targets in this country are part of al Qaeda. It is not a
foreign threat, it is a transnational threat. And we are included in that
transnational threat. That is consequence one.
Consequence two is whether or not having U.S. citizenship should
protect you from the kinds of extraordinary tactics that the United States
government has used to fight al Qaeda. Can the United States government
choose an American citizen to be executed without ever charging them with
anything? Without ever proving anything against them? Without ever giving
them a chance to defend themselves?
In April 2010, Anwar al-Awlaki was the first American citizen added to
the CIA`s kill or capture list of most wanted terrorists. And whether or
not you think it is deserved, under what authority did President Obama or
could any president sign him up to be killed on site?
In response to being put on that list, Anwar al-Awlaki`s father filed
a lawsuit to prevent the United States from targeting his American son for
killing. In December, a federal district judge threw the father`s case out
of court. He said that Anwar al-Awlaki`s father did not have the authority
to sue on his son`s behalf because his son is a full grown man.
Joining us now is Spencer Ackerman, senior reporter for Wired.com`s
Spencer, good to have you with us to help us report on this. Thanks
for being here.
SPENCER ACKERMAN, DANGGER ROOM SENIOR REPORTER: Thanks for having me,
MADDOW: In announcement of Awlaki`s death, was there acknowledgement
the U.S. could be in uncharted legal territory here?
ACKERMAN: None at all. You can imagine President Obama wanting to
maintain that position as much as possible.
This is an American citizen, two American citizens who have been
killed. And if the president can avoid owning up to the thorny legal and
moral implications of what happened today, probably the better for him.
MADDOW: So, assassination is illegal by executive order in the United
States. We are not supposed to carry that out as a matter of domestic
policy or as a matter of foreign policy. I understand that people who
believe that this was legally, or that this was legal, believe that it was
legal under the authorization of use of military force, that this was part
of the war on al Qaeda.
Does citizenship afford any meaningful distinction for that as a legal
justification for killing?
ACKERMAN: Under the authority to use military force passed right
after 9/11, no, there`s no carve-out. There`s no mention of American
citizenship. It`s an exceptionally broad mandate from Congress, giving the
president pretty much any power he wants to wage war anywhere around the
globe. It`s battlefield earth. And there`s no really been any pressure
from Congress to restrict those powers in any way.
The courts decided in the case you mentioned that they weren`t going
to sort of step in and say who the military or the president can target.
So, there`s nothing to stop the president from deciding unilaterally who he
wants to target.
MADDOW: How important is it to know exactly what role Awlaki had in
al Qaeda and then the sort of franchise model that we think of al Qaeda as
an inspiration for either lone wolf terrorists or small cell-based
terrorist groups. How important is it for us to know how that will be
different without him, I guess, in terms of coming up with legal
justification for how he was killed?
ACKERMAN: It`s crucial for a couple reasons. One is there`s no
declared war in Yemen, right? We`re not at war in Yemen. There`s never
been any declaration there.
So, in order under international law for this to have been a legal
action in Yemen, there must be some standard of imminence according to most
legal authorities in this sense. So, if Awlaki isn`t part of some
operational plot that`s moving forward, it`s an open legal question whether
killing him was legal.
And then furthermore, this is an American citizen we`re talking about,
both him and Samir Khan. They`re clearly guilty of incitement. You can
see on any of Awlaki`s disgusting poisonous videos how they`re trying to
get Americans to kill their fellow Americans.
On the other hand, there`s absolutely no evidence ever been authored
that either man was part of an operational cell of al Qaeda or part of an
unfolding plot. It`s just pure assertions.
And to kill an American without recourse to due process of laws,
absent that basic evidence is crossing the Rubicon on the war on terrorism.
MADDOW: In terms of that Rubicon, and whether there are others, if
the U.S. government can justify this action overseas, what about here in
the U.S.? I mean, we know the FBI is also tracking people with possible
ties to al Qaeda and other forms of extremism. Does -- how close is this
to the government claiming the right to kill first and ask questions later
of U.S. citizens in the United States?
ACKERMAN: Right. I don`t understand what the differentiating
criterion could be, you know, why in Sinai, not Schenectady? Why in Yemen
and not Yuma?
If the important factor is that an American citizen can be targeted
for destruction, why not just fly a drone over the next, you know, plot
that, you know, like we heard this week that guy from Massachusetts was
apparently trying to pull off. Why even bother arresting an American
citizen at all? And you`re down to an exceptionally tricky, murky and ugly
MADDOW: Spencer Ackerman, senior reporter for "Danger Room" and
somebody who`s been doing I think very clarifying and well-informed work
about this today. Spencer, thanks very much for helping us figure it out.
Some news you can use now. For our viewers in the great state of
Ohio, starting today, if you are in a drinking establishment, you might
consider investing in a metal detector. Or brushing up on your pat-down
skills? Some notable firearms and liquor news coming up for you, shortly.
MADDOW: There was a rumor for a hot minute today that Mike Huckabee,
the former governor of Arkansas and FOX TV host was going to maybe think
about maybe running possibly for president again. The Internet got very,
very excited about the Huckabee prospect. The rumor has now been pretty
definitively shot down by the Huckabee camp and office with his political
action -- official with the political action committee telling NBC, quote,
"There is no truth to the rumors that Mike Huckabee is reconsidering a run
But don`t despair. Rumors are still fun. Rumors are still happening.
For example, the Chris Christie might maybe someday think about
running for president even though he keeps saying he`s not to rumors came
back from the dead today. Hooray. "The Star Ledger" in New Jersey today
reporting today despite all firm evidence to the contrary, Governor
Christie is seriously considering running for president in 2012. Still an
anonymous source, naturally, close to the governor, naturally, telling "The
Ledger" that in the last week, Mr. Christie has been swayed from his
earlier refusals to run by an aggressive "draft Christie" effort by a cadre
of Republicans and donors unhappy with the existing GOP field.
Now, it is impossible to say whether or not the Republican field is
actually going to get any bigger. As far as Chris Christie goes, there`s
no reason to put anymore faith in this current round of excited rumors
about him than any of the previous rounds of excited rumors about him.
But the excited rumors, themselves, are evidence of something.
They`re evidence of just how unhappy Republicans are right now with their
options. The Mike Huckabee rumor, for example, started with the report in
"Reuters" that begins like this: "Mike Huckabee has been approached by
conservative activists unhappy with the current crop of Republican and
presidential hopefuls sources tell Reuters."
Conservative activists not happy with their choices, I think that
means you, Rick Perry.
Maybe they have caught up with 10 things about Rick Perry that worry
conservatives as "The Houston Chronicle" posted recently.
As for Chris Christie, the rumors he might someday decide to run
though he said a thousand times, those rumors seem to keep cropping back up
because of the establishment Republican Party`s effort to draft him. He`s
got Nancy Reagan reportedly telling him to run. Barbara bush calling his
wife and telling her that she should tell him to run. George Pataki going
public with his effort to convince Chris Christie to run.
It`s as if the Republican Party, which by the way has a full
complement of well-known and established candidates to choose from, it`s as
if the Republican Party is still waiting for the real race to begin.
They`re waiting for better options to show up.
A major Republican donor telling "The New York Times" this week,
quote, "There`s enough chatter and phone calls and static, whatever you
call it in the spy business, that everyone is just sitting around. There`s
no confusion among the main donors. No one has signed up with either major
campaign in the last three weeks. " That would be you, Mitt Romney, and
you Rick Perry, nobody is signing up with you because they`re waiting for
something better to come along because they don`t think you`re good enough.
The Republican establishment is not happy. And the conservative
establishment is not happy. They`re so unhappy they are still trying to
draft new candidates to run against each other. The Republicans are trying
to find both an establishment candidate who is not Mitt Romney and non-
establishment candidate who is not Rick Perry.
The party is still churning in other words. Eventually, it is going
to have to come together behind one candidate. The party establishment and
the conservatives are going to have to agree on someone. And it will
happen, one way or another, because as the saying goes, Democrats fall in
love and Republicans fall in line.
Who are they going to fall in line behind? And how are they going to
come to agreement about who it`s going to be? One of the ways that will
happen is through events like this one coming up next weekend in
Washington, the Values Voter Summit.
As you can see, most of the major Republican candidates are going to
be there. Not just the really fringy right wing ones. Mitt Romney is
going to be there this year. He has spoken in the event in years past.
This year, if you check out the schedule, you`ll see Mitt Romney
scheduled to speak on Saturday, right before a man named Brian Fischer.
Brian Fischer? Remember, remember, remember our old pal Brian Fischer?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BRIAN FISCHER, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: We should not allow Muslims
to serve in the U.S. military and we have got to raise questions about who
we can afford to allow Muslims to immigrate into the United States at all.
President Barack Obama nurtures a hatred for the United States of
America and I believe nurtures a hatred for the white man.
I do question the patriotism of groups like Planned Parenthood. They
are subverting morality.
Liberals in the United States of America hate the Declaration of
Counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity have no
First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.
Permits, in my judgment, should not be granted to build even one more
mosque in the United States of America. Not one.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to have to choose as a nation
between the homosexual agenda and freedom, because the two cannot co-exist.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: That last bit about the homosexual agenda being at odds with
freedom, that came from Brian Fischer`s speech at last year`s Values Voter
Summit. This year`s scheduled lineup, again, lists Mitt Romney followed
immediately by Brian Fischer.
And that is particularly awkward this year because not only has Brian
Fischer managed to be outlandishly all caps bigoted against every other
group in America that you can think of. But as the folks at "Right Wing
Watch" have been pointing out, recently, Brian Fischer is especially
bigoted against the Mormon Church and against Mormons.
Brian Fischer had said the First Amendment should not by apply to
Mormons. He does not believe that Mormons should have the freedom to
practice their religion or to speak about it freely in America.
And Brian Fischer is scheduled to speak right after Mitt Romney, who`s
a mainstream Republican presidential candidate, also a Mormon.
Author Frank Schaeffer is a predecessor of the self-described values
voters. His father was a seminal figure of the Christian conservative
movement of the 1970s and 1980s. It would not exist in the way it does
today if Francis Schaeffer had not made it so. Frank Schaeffer grew up in
that, he himself was an evangelical in those days and work with his father.
Frank parted ways with the religious right more than 20 years ago.
But as regards events like the Values Voters Summit and proximity of
presidential front-runner in the Republican Party, to people like Brian
Fischer, Frank Schaeffer knows of what he speaks.
Frank Schaeffer joins us next.
MADDOW: Joining us tonight for the interview is Frank Schaeffer,
who`s father Francis Schaeffer helped shaped the evangelical movement in
this country and the religious right. Mr. Schaeffer grew up in the
religious far right. But his latest book about it is called "Sex, Mom and
God: How the Bible`s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics and How I
Learned to Love Women and Jesus Anyway."
Frank Schaeffer, it`s nice to have you back on the program. Thanks
very much for being here.
FRANK SCHAEFFER, AUTHOR, "SEX, MOM, AND GOD": Hi, Rachel. Nice to be
MADDOW: So, the Values Voters Summit is happening next week. It has
become a mainstream Republican event now. Attendance more or less expected
of establishment Republicans. All the candidates I think except for Jon
Huntsman will be attending this event next week. When they go, they`ll be
sharing the stage with people like Brian Fischer and the American Family
What to you think that does with the politics of the Republican Party?
SCHAEFFER: Well, I think there`s a simple way to put it. And that is
this is religion masquerading as politics. And what happened, you know,
you introduced me before the break as someone who had been part of the
religious right at the very beginning, especially in the antiabortion
What we did back in the `70s and `80s was simply to, first of all, be
agitators knocking on the door of the Republican Party. And then if you
update to the present moment with candidates like Rick Perry, Michele
Bachmann running and the values conference, people like Brian Fischer now
showing up on the same platform as these candidates, you realize that those
of us who used to be agitators on the outside have now become the insiders
actually running for office. And so, I think people make a mistake by not
realizing that these are very serious folks.
But what they`re serious about it not politics. I think that`s where
the mainstream media really misunderstands the situation. They`re serious
So, you have two kinds of Republicans running. You have Mitt Romney
who has to pretend he is serious about introducing a theocracy to the
United States with his litmus test of moral values. And then the true
believers like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry.
And then the agitators who come in to rev them up like Brian Fischer.
But, I say, again, it`s religion masquerading as politics. The goal is
theocracy rather than democracy. And when they talk about coming back to
the Bible, what they really mean imposing biblical law in a form of
Christian evangelical Sharia here in the United States.
And so that is the world these folks are trying to create. And I just
hope we wake up and realize this and stop looking at all this in bits and
pieces, and understand there`s a real agenda here.
MADDOW: In terms of the immediate effect on Republican politics,
there are two Republican presidential candidates who are Mormons, Jon
Huntsman and Mitt Romney. Jon Huntsman will not be attending this event,
but Mitt Romney will be. He`ll be speaking right next to Brian fisher on
the agenda. They`re adjacent on the schedule.
What should we understand about the interaction of Mitt Romney`s faith
and people like Brian Fischer and the American Family Association and folks
you`re describing with these politics, their feelings about the Mormon
faith and its freedom of religion?
SCHAEFFER: Well, you know you have to look at John McCain to
understand. Remember 2000, John McCain called these folks agents of
intolerance. And then in the next election, totally sold out and nominated
one of them as his running mate so that he could get the backing of people
like Focus on the Family, the families values guy, Brian Fischer and so
forth, tick off the litmus test, the anti-gay, antiabortion, et cetera, et
And so, you know, when you look at Huntsman, you just have to conclude
maybe he`s still both sane and has some integrity.
Mitt Romney is probably sane but he`s got to pretend he`s one of them
and he`s got to pretend he likes it. So, he`ll stand up there and chuckle
and it will be like an act that he`s putting on. Who knows what he really
believes, but he certainly is identified as a Mormon.
And the folks he`s standing up there with regard Mormons not just as
heretics but non-Christians altogether. You know, similarly, as they would
look as a Hindu, running for office or an atheist. And there`s no way
So, you know, in the evangelical vote that has told itself lies about
Barack Obama consistently, in their mind, it would be a choice if Romney
was running between the Mormon and the Muslim. That`s how they`d see it.
And in the lying world of evangelical propaganda politics, they`d look
at these two people as outsiders.
So, the Republican Party has a problem with their Mormon candidates.
That is, you know, they`re in a party where one of McCain`s backers until
he dumped him, John Hagee in Houston was referring to the Roman Catholic
Church as the whore of Babylon. And then McCain had to duck out of that
But, look, when Rick Perry launches his presidential campaign with a
prayer meeting and he has people so fringed associating with him
theologically, that even most right wing evangelicals disassociate
themselves from that, you know something is going on.
And I say it again -- it is religion masquerading as politics. The
agenda of the religious right is the theocracy in the United States of
They wrapped themselves in the flag but the America they support is an
America that doesn`t exist. It`s one without immigration. It`s one
without black people.
It`s one without gay people. It`s one without women having a right to
choose. It`s one where the whites remain forever in the majority.
And as this America slips away, what you really see is part of the
larger story that you were referring to at the beginning of this program,
with the war on terror continuing. And that is the real story worldwide, a
collision course between fundamentalist religion of all kinds, not just
Christianity, and reason and science and modernity and progress.
And in America, it`s being fought out in the trenches, in the
Republican Party, which is having within its ranks the same kind of civil
war as is going on in the Islamic community where you have moderate Muslims
trying to reclaim something of their Islamic heritage from fanatics. And
here in America, the fanatics have taken over the Republican Party. And
that`s where we are today.
And so, the fanaticism is based on a kind of sexual dysfunction. You
were talking about the subtitle of my book "Sex, Mom and God" and I talk
about how crazy ideas about sex led to crazy politics. Look where all
these trails lead back to -- gay rights, about sex, homosexuality as they
would call it. Gay rights about sex. All of this stuff is to do with a
culture war that has its end destination, a kind of imposition of theocracy
here in America. That`s who the Republicans are about these days.
MADDOW: Frank Schaeffer, veteran of the religious far right movement
and the author of the book "Sex, Mom and God" -- Frank, thanks for joining
us tonight. It`s nice to have you here. Thank you.
SCHAEFFER: Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot.
MADDOW: All right. Cocktail moment needed after that, right?
Also in gun news. Those two things coming up together: cocktails and
Happy Friday. Stay tuned.
MADDOW: Quick follow-up to a story we`ve been covering for a long
time now: the efforts of Republican-controlled states this year to make it
harder to vote. Making you have to show ID, you never had to show before
and not everyone has in order to vote now. Making it impossible to do
voter registration drives to sign up new voters. Not letting you register
before the election anymore. Shutting down and shortening early voting.
One of the states where Republicans are trying to shut down early
voting is Ohio, where that state`s recent history with people having to go
to heroic lengths in order to vote might make you want to make voting
easier, not harder. But then, from Republicans` perspective, too many
people might be able to vote and you can`t have that.
Republicans in the Ohio legislature passed the kill early voting bill
earlier this year. Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich signed it into
law. But, yesterday, Ohioans trying to save early voting delivered this
truck full of signatures to the secretary of state to stop that law. They
turned in 90,000 more signatures than they need to be certified -- to stop
the Republicans` kill early voting law from going into effect in Ohio, and
to put the law on the ballot to try to repeal it on election day 2012.
We will keep you posted.
MADDOW: Before Barack Obama was elected president, the National Rifle
Association posted this warning for its members. It`s a list of 10 ways
the President Obama would, quote/unquote, "change" the Second Amendment.
"Politico" posted this back in 2008.
Their list, their warning includes a ban on the use of firearms to
defend yourself in your own home and closing 90 percent of the gun shops in
America. That`s what the NRA said that Barack Obama would do if he were
elected president. Scary stuff for NRA members, enraging stuff.
So, Barack Obama does, in fact, get elected president and as president
he ends up saying very little and doing even less about gun laws. His most
notable act with regard to guns so far has been signing a bill that allows
you to carry a gun in national parks.
Now, it should be noted that gun control proponents are not all that
happy with this part of the Obama presidency. This part where he`s doing
almost nothing about guns except allowing more of them in places they
didn`t used to be allowed.
But you know who else isn`t happy about it? The NRA. NRA Vice
President Wayne LaPierre says you can tell President Obama is coming for
your guns by the way he`s not coming for your guns. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA: So when he got elected, they concocted a scheme
to stay away from the gun issue, lull gun owners to sleep and play us for
fools in 2012. Well, gun owners are not fools. And we are not fooled.
We see the president`s strategy crystal clear. Get re-elected and
with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying
our firearms freedom. Erase the second amendment from the bill of rights
and exercise it from the U.S. Constitution. That`s their agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The NRA says the way you can tell Obama is coming for your
guns is that he`s not coming for your guns. It`s genius. That is the
insane paranoid message from the NRA this year.
But in the context of debate over guns in this country, broadly
speaking, that speech passes for reasonable almost. Republican Congressman
Joe Walsh told a Tea Party group this week in Illinois that Illinois needs
a concealed weapons law. Why? Because, quote, "The most important
amendment in the bill of rights is the Second Amendment. It protects every
other amendment. It`s the last line of defense between us and our
So, thank God for the guns that Americans have between us and our
Not to remind the congressman of work when it`s almost the weekend,
but Congressman Joe Walsh, you`re a congressman. You are the government.
You ran for office, you got elected, you joined the government. There is
no between you and the government unless you`re a way more complicated
person than I understood and you should get help.
But wait, I can even top that. You have heard in recent months about
an undercover program co-named Fast and Furious at the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms. ATF agents tracked guns as they were sold illegally.
They let those sales happened so they could catch Mexican drug lords who
were buying those illegal guns. But 2,000 of the guns ended up loose on
the streets for a time and a border patrol agent was killed at a crime
scene where Fast and Furious guns were found.
In covering the Fast and Furious story, the FOX News Channel used as
their on air authority on this story a man named Mike Vanderboegh.
Vanderboegh says the whole thing is a Obama administration conspiracy
against the Second Amendment somehow which, well, whatever. That`s his
But, more importantly, do you remember who Mike Vanderboegh is?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: His name is Mike Vanderboegh. He`s the former leader of a
group called the Alabama Constitutional Militia. Mr. Vanderboegh has been
advocating specifically that people throw bricks through the windows of
Democratic Party headquarters all around the country and he wants credit
apparently whenever anyone follows his advice.
On his blog last week, Mr. Vanderboegh wrote an anti-Democrat
manifesto that included this call to action. "We can break their windows
before can break their windows before we have to resort to rifles to resist
their "well-intentioned" tyranny. These windows are not far away from
where you are reading this right now and virtually every city and county in
this land, there is a local headquarters of Pelosi`s quarter, the Democrat
These headquarters invariably have windows, so if you wish to send a
message that Pelosi and her party cannot fail to hear, break their windows,
break them now, break them and run to break again. Break them under cover
of night. Break them in brought daylight.
Break them and await arrest in willful, principled civil disobedience.
Break them with rocks. Break them with sling shots. Break them with
baseball bats, but break them.
The time has come to take your children and grandchildren into your
own two hands and act. It is after all more humane than shooting in self
And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds of
thousands of Democrat Party headquarters across the country, we might just
wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle
unnecessary. Break their windows, break them now.
Mr. Vanderboegh made this solicitation from Pinson, Alabama, it`s a
suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, where he resides and from where he expound
in great detail online all about the federal government`s secret plots to
assert control over your live and then kill you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was our show`s reporting for when Democratic Party
offices like this one. This was Gabby Gifford`s office in Arizona, when
Democratic Party offices had their windows smashed in the wake of health
The `break their windows, break them now" guy is who FOX News is using
as their on-air authority to report on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco d and
With politics like these, with conservative politics like these, it
seemed like nothing can get done in this country about guns and gun laws.
But, you know, when Americans put their minds to it, we can, in fact,
passed gun laws in this country. It`s just not unusually the kind that
make us feel any safer for instance.
Starting today in Ohio, you can now carry a concealed weapon into a
bar. Just tuck that sucker into your pocket, walk right into your local
watering hole. The new law does come with a limit. If you are carrying a
concealed weapon into a bar in Ohio, you are not allowed to drink alcohol.
Who is going to check for guns with every order? The bar keep? The
bouncer? There Gin Rickeys. OK. But, first, you got to empty your
pockets. Actually, turn around and let me pat you down.
OK. Sure, here`s your Bud Light. But, first, I got to wand you.
And if someone`s got a concealed weapon and gets hammered anyway, who
is going to volunteer to take the hammered guy`s gun away then? Somebody
sober on the next barstool with his own gun? What could possibly go wrong
in Ohio starting today?
Up next, a cocktail moment involving guns and alcohol, but not
bullets. Not even shot glasses. I promise.
MADDOW: All right. Today at the news meeting for the show, we talked
a lot about the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen -- how it
happened, what it means, the politics of it, the legality of it.
We talked about the 2012 politics, the Mike Huckabee rumor, the
continued Chris Christie rumors, the fact that all of these candidates who
are trying not to seem crazy also have to try to court the religious right
and so, they`re getting themselves up on stage with Brian Fischer of all
people next week. Brian Fischer, the guy who thinks that America should
wage war on demon grizzly bears. Seriously. Look it up.
We talked about Admiral Mullen living as chairman of the Joint Chiefs
after two years. It must be a big, big news day. There`s a lot to talk
But when we got hung up in our news meeting, what we could not get
past today was Ohio`s new law that goes into effect today. Thanks to
Ohio`s new Republican legislature and Republican governor, today, a new law
goes into effect in the great state of Ohio that makes you legal for you to
take a concealed hand gun into a bar. However , it is illegal to keep
having that gun in the bar if once you are in the bar you elect to have a
In trying to imagine exactly how Ohio`s poor cocktail waitresses and
bartenders are going to have to enforce this genius legal move, our
discussion as a staff today turned to the fact that there very, very few
good drinks named after weaponry. They are a lot of bad drinks that are
named after things that explode, various grenades and bombs of various
kinds, but if you actually want a good drink that is named after a deadly
weapon, Ohio, I`m here to tell you, it`s the French 75.
French 75, allegedly, but probably appropriately named after the
French 75 millimeter field gun, a piece of artillery that fired very, very
fast for its day and shot very, very big rounds.
Now, it`s not totally clear that what that big gun has to do with this
drink, but it was being used around the time that is got invented and the
drink does have champagne and that`s French and frankly that`s good enough
All right. The French 75, you need a half ounce of lemon juice which
has to come from an actual lemon, distressing as that may be. So, half
ounce of lemon juice which is usually what you get out of about a half
lemon, ice in the cocktail shaker, half an ounce of simple syrup, which is
just equal parts of sugar and water. We use demerara syrup, which is why
this is brown, half an ounce.
So, equal parts of lemon and sugar, and then 1 1/2 ounces of booze.
Now, some people make a French 75 with gin. Other people make it with
cognac. I will tell you that it traditional and therefore more correct to
make it with gin.
I like cognac. Sue me. It`s not traditional or correct, but it`s
tastier and brown liquor makes you tough.
So, you snake up with ice, pardon me.
What have we learned about shaking? You have to shake until it hurts
Strain into a champagne glass or any other glass you can find around
that hopefully has a stem. It stays cold even when you hold it in your hot
little hands. Top with champagne.
Uh-oh, real boil. That`s going to tip over. Sorry.
Then you top with a lemon twist. The way you make it is by cutting a
long thin swath of lemon. You don`t really the pip, you just want the
lemon oily part. This takes care of the fuzz on top of the champagne.
Drop it in there, the French 75. This is to Ohio`s bartenders,
cocktail waiters and cocktail waitresses. I`m terribly sorry about all of
the extra guns you are going to have to deal with now because of your
ridiculous legislature and governor. I hope you have a safe and great and
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