THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
June 20, 2013
Guests: John Stanton, Cliff Schechtman
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
You know, when they dig up the Sean Hannity time capsule, an entire
section of that time capsule could be filled with this stuff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: They are mad these borders aren`t sure.
They are mad the 700-mile fence hasn`t been built. They are mad at the
amnesty aspects of this.
The anointed one announced Friday that this nation will no longer
deport young illegal immigrants.
Without the consent of Congress through this unilateral executive
order, President Obama has made amnesty the official policy of the United
States of America.
The house this very night, by the way, passed 216-198, the DREAM Act
which is basically amnesty. A bill would grant amnesty to children of
illegal immigrants who join the military or attend college for at least two
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Amnesty, the anointed one, giving away the country, amnesty
to the illegals.
Only Sean Hannity could really tell you what was going on here. The
anointed one was not going to tell you. Sean Hannity was going to tell you
the truth and he was not going to put up with it t. Night after night,
month after month, for years, Sean Hannity railed against the idea of any
kind of amnesty, any path to citizenship, any sort of immigration reform
that did anything other than just kick everybody out.
And then this happened. Latinos voted against Mitt Romney almost as
a bloc. Latinos voted against Mitt Romney and for Barack Obama and Barack
Obama won a second term. And then the day after the election, the world
met a whole new version of Sean Hannity.
This version of the FOX News host was all for immigration reform. He
even had a plan of his own.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HANNITY: We`ve got to get rid of the immigration issue altogether.
It`s simple for me to fix it. I think you control the border first. You
create a pathway for those people that are here. You don`t say you got to
That is a position that I`ve evolved on. Because, you know what, it
just -- it`s got to be resolved. The majority of people here, if some
people have criminal records, you can send them home. But if people are
here, law-abiding, participating, four years, their kids are born here, you
know, first, secure the border, pathway to citizenship, done. But you
can`t let the problem continue. It`s got to stop.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s got to stop because it`s costing Republicans the White
House over and over and over again and that`s not likely to stop either.
At the time of his very dramatic conversion, it seemed as if Mr. Hannity
immigration opponent it turned into Mr. Hannity immigration reformer
because Mitt Romney had just lost the election the day before. And I think
at core, that really is why Mr. Hannity flipped so dramatically from one
side of issue to the other.
But it turns out something else was going on behind the scenes at FOX
News. We now know that Republicans had been lobbying FOX News on that
Ryan Lizza of "The New Yorker" reported this month that Republicans
have, quote, "talked privately to top hosts at FOX, including Bill
O`Reilly, Sean Hannity and Neil Cavuto, who are sympathetic to their
"God bless FOX," Senator Lindsey Graham said. "Last time, it was
amnesty every 15 seconds."
Republicans in Congress decided to forget lobbying each other and
started lobbying the real power in Republican politics, which is FOX News.
And it seems to have worked because this time on FOX News, they are sitting
around interviewing Republican lawmakers who want immigration reform. They
are spending their air time talking about how great immigration reform will
You know that sci-fi-esque subplot in a lot of war movies where the
war ends, the war is actually over, but there are some people on the fringe
who have not heard that and they just keep fighting the war because they
don`t know? That`s what it`s like in right wing media right now. All that
lobbying to get FOX News Channel hosts on board it worked, and in so doing,
it cleaved off part of conservative media from taking part in the anti-
immigrant drum beat that we`re so used to from the American right.
What remains having not heard the news still fighting the war is the
part of the conservative media that no one bothers trying to reach. People
like the commentator Ann Coulter on the right-hand side of your screen, and
the Internet conspiracy theory guy Glenn Beck who you see on the left side
of your screen -- now heard daily comparing immigration reform to the Klan!
The Klan? Yes, the Klan. As in Ku Klux Klan? Yes, that Klan.
When you subtract the relative mainstream from the argument, even as
it is mainstream as FOX News, what remains is crazy town. And it is crazy
town on the right that`s leading the media charge against immigration
reform. The more normal part of the conservative media world has been sort
of brought over to the other side.
The same kind of cleaving between the mainstream right and the way
far kooky right is happening not just in the media side of this stuff, but
also in the raw politics. In South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham a few
weeks back faced this ad airing in his home state attacking him for
supporting reform. The ads ran on TV across the state of South Carolina.
You can see here the ad is paid for a by a group called Numbers USA. They
were founded by a man named Roy Beck who is described as an expert on
sprawl and global population.
But you can also find Roy Beck here, on the site of something called
the American Renaissance urging people to run to their phones and call
Congress to stop immigration reform. He`s using American Renaissance to
reach his audience, which makes sense, because American Renaissance is the
place to explore opportunities for white advocates. It`s a place where
races are more different than previously thought -- and they do not mean
that in a good way.
According to the founder of American Renaissance, the races are
different. Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely
to their own devices, Western civilization, any kind of civilization
disappears. White panic, everybody freak out.
Now that FOX News has essentially called a truce on immigration
reform, that kind of neo-Nazi, race purity, white supremacist (INAUDIBLE)
peddler, is where the rump opposition on this issue has hunkered down.
Last month, another group with ties to American Renaissance launched
a new ad against Senator Graham. About five minutes later, the Web site
"BuzzFeed" reported on the other warnings, like the one against the war on
white America and the war on white heritage.
Same thing happened with the conservative Heritage Foundation in May.
The Heritage Foundation is supposed to be a mainstream respected
conservative think tank, leading the conservative push against immigration
reform. Well, the Heritage Foundation last month produced a report that
said immigration reform is going to cost the country, cost the country, $6
The Heritage report co-authored by this senior policy analyst, a
senior staffer at the Heritage Foundation, "The Washington Post" dug up his
graduate school thesis where he writes the average I.Q. of immigrants in
the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native
population. And the difference is likely to persist over several
generations. The consequence are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation
among low I.Q. immigrant groups and more underclass behavior.
So, according to this theory, that not only do white people have
higher I.Q. than this immigrant underclass that we`re stuck with as a
nation, but native white people will always be superior to the nonnative
white people, because it sticks, this difference between us as humans,
generation after generation, it sticks.
Somehow despite hiring that guy as a senior staffer, the Heritage
Foundation says they never read those words from their senior policy
analyst. They also managed not to see their senior staffer writing, quote,
"Hispanics are, in fact, substantially more likely than whites to commit
serious crimes." He was writing that for the same Aryan nation supremacy
of the racist, duck weed cover back water of the interwebs that published a
piece for Holocaust Remembrance Day that showed a pile of dead bodies from
the Holocaust and then said, quote, "I can`t believe it`s crept up on me
again. I discovered that today is Holocaust Memorial Day and I`m fresh out
That`s where the Heritage Foundation found their senior policy
analyst to present their anti-immigration reform policy report to the
American public. Also, the Congressional Budget Office has now studied the
immigration reform bill at the request of Republicans in Congress and it
turns out white supremacist guy can`t count. Yes, shocker.
It turns out that at the Republicans in Congress, CBO has found that
not only would reform not cost the country $6 trillion, as Heritage`s white
people are better guy claimed. CBO says reform would save us $700 billion.
Save us that money, not cost us that money.
And that is just how the anti-immigration groups are faring right now
inside the Beltway, in D.C., on the sort of neo-country club end of anti-
immigrant politics. The rougher side, though, the sort of leading bloody
edge of the anti-immigrant movement has never been in .D.C. it`s always
been folks like these, the self-proclaimed vigilantes of the border, guys
who dressed up in camo and desert pants and stuff. Plunge off into the
desert looking for somebody to round up.
The leaders of the posse that you see here is J.T. Ready, a founder
of something he tried to make sound official by calling it the U.S. Border
Guard. But it was just his thing. He was also a part of the group, the
You can see him here in his Nazi uniform. Not Halloween.
Here he is at an anti-immigration rally in Arizona. J.T. Ready,
border vigilante and neo-Nazi, and political figure, actual figure, actual
Arizona anti-immigrant politics being applauded here by his friend.
Republican Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce.
"The Phoenix New Times" chronicled this collaboration between J.T.
Ready and Senator Pearce, right up until the time when J.T. Ready killed
himself and four other people. He shot four people dead and then turned
the gun on himself just over a year ago at his home in Gilbert, Arizona.
But before he met that bad end and took all those innocent people
with him, J.T. Ready was just another anti-immigration guy with camouflage
gear and Nazi suit for special occasions and in regular clothes that he
could wear to anti-immigrant rallies where he could be applauded by
mainstream anti-immigrant officials in conservative politics. The Arizona
bill that Russell Pearce and those guys tried to pass and did succeed in
passing was known as the papers please law.
Last year, that pioneering experiment in stand mandated racial
profiling was largely struck down by the Supreme Court.
The author of the bill, the author of that bill, J.T.`s pal, Russell
Pearce, then got turfed out of his job in the Arizona State Senate. Mr.
Pearce got recalled by the voters in his district, the first lawmaker in
state`s history to suffer that humiliation in Arizona. He was kind of the
first horseman of the nativist anti-immigrant movement in Arizona and he
lost his job.
The second horseman, you could say, is of course, Sheriff Joe Arpaio,
the very long arm of the law, in Maricopa County. Last month, a federal
judge ruled that Joe Arpaio`s office had engaged in racial profiling
against Latinos. Back in 2008, Sheriff Arpaio spoke at a meeting of the
Minutemen Civil Defense Corps.
He was a special guest speaker, joked about the pink underwear that
he makes prisoners wear. And when he finished talking, the founder of
Minutemen Civil Defense Corps walked over and awarded him a Minutemen Civil
Defense Corps Plaque of Appreciation. Then the Minutemen founder guy told
the crowd that he himself would be meeting with Russell Pearce to write
some new bills for Arizona.
You can see the same founder of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps
here. I think we`ve got a newer photo of him. This is his mug shot. He
was arrested yesterday in Phoenix and accused of sexual misconduct with
three girls under the age of 10, founder of the Minutemen Civil Defense
The anti-immigrant groups in this country are really having a bad
day, having a really bad time of it. And with the news today out of
Washington that Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have reached a
breakthrough deal on a reform bill, who is left on the anti-immigrant side
to lead the fight against that now?
Joining us is John Stanton. He`s Washington bureau chief at
John, thank you for being here. It`s nice to see you.
JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: It`s good to see you.
MADDOW: I`m sorry you had to watch me reading the whole time. My
STANTON: It`s OK. You did a great job.
MADDOW: Thank you. Everybody got to see the part in my head. This
is very clear.
So the deal in the Senate today on immigration reform makes it seem
more possible in the senate. But the thing that I feel like is unspoken
and I`m curious about is who is against it and how powerful are they?
STANTON: Well, in the Senate, they are not very powerful. That`s
Jeff Sessions, folks like Ted Cruz, potentially Rand Paul, although he`s a
bit squishy on it, I think. Chuck Grassley, they are opposing it.
And they sort of come up with a bunch of reasons. They say, you
know, we need to have stronger border security. We need to have better
interior security. Jeff Sessions does not like the idea of having a
pathway to citizenship. He sees it as amnesty.
You know, but in the Senate, I think it`s definitely the tide is turn
on them pretty hard.
MADDOW: There will be no votes, but there are not enough to upturn
the bill. They`re not enough to stop it.
STANTON: They can`t get the poison bill amendment in this bill at
MADDOW: Is there anybody in terms of outside pressure either in
conservative media, or in conservative pressure groups, who might be able
to flip more senators against it? Because right now, it looks like it`s
going to pass.
STANTON: No, I don`t think so. I think in the Senate, it`s pretty
solid. I`m not sure how many votes they are going to get, but they are
probably beginning to get close to 70 votes, I would imagine.
STANTON: Maybe 70 votes. And you think that`s a bug deal.
But the problem for them is the house. And the media, the switch by
FOX and some of the other members of the media on the conservative side to
a certain degree didn`t happen soon enough. You know, people are hearing
from people back home, it`s become an engrained thing in conservative
And members of the House are hearing it from constituents every day.
We don`t want this bill. This is an amnesty bill. We don`t believe in it.
And there`s a lot of pressure on a lot of these members. Even
members that I think are predisposed to vote for this that believe they
need to start dealing with the issue, if for no other reason to get off
their back so that in a generation, they can start to win back Latino
voters, they are still feeling that pressure and their electoral pressure
are going to start to come to bear on them, I think.
MADDOW: I believe that a certain vocal portion of the Republican
base is hard wired because of years of the old Sean Hannity and the whole
pre-conversion media to call everything amnesty and argue against it, the
sort of Tancredo-lization of the Republican politics, that the Republicans
went through post-George W. Bush failed effort at this.
But it seems like there`s not much bolstering that except muscle
memory. It doesn`t seem like there`s very many people who are actively
making that case in a way that is more powerful on even the Republican side
than the people who are arguing the opposite.
STANTON: I think that`s rit. The tide has shifted, but it hasn`t
taken effect yet. Maybe in two years this was happening, that effect you
And I think the bigger frankly is that the Republican leadership
right now in the House is not in any kind of a position to force this issue
and to really quarterback this. If you look at what happened with the farm
bill today, Speaker Boehner came out and very abnormal for him to take a
position on a bill at all. He does not speak about bills generally.
He came out this week and he said he wanted this bill to pass, he
wanted to see a farm bill get passed.
MADDOW: Kiss of death.
STANTON: Sort of like the owner of a football team saying, full
confidence in coach. And the next, he`s gone. Sort of what happened here,
And that, I think, speaking poorly for the chances of something like
immigration, which is a much bigger deal than the farm bill and much more
controversial in Republican ranks.
MADDOW: And to be clear, it seems like what`s important about the
farm bill is not necessarily that Republicans didn`t vote for it, but that
John Boehner and the Republican leadership apparently had no idea it was
going to fail, brought it up expecting it to pass and then we`re blind
sided by the thing they were supposed to be in control of. It just makes
it seem like chaos there.
STANTON: I think, you know, part of the problem there, and I think
this is what could happen with the immigration bill, they kept moving it
further and further to the right. The Democrats kept telling them, if we
keep moving it to the right, we`re not going to vote for this. We`re not
going to vote for this. And they didn`t have votes on some amendments that
would have been poison pill sort of early on.
The last one that they did was a work for food stamps program. That
was the straw that basically broke the camel`s back. This is what
Republicans were telling us today, this is what sort of killed this thing,
is we had this vote, Democrats abandoned it and we no longer had votes.
MADDOW: Yes. It turns out when we made things too right wing and
they told us if you do that, we won`t vote for it. Whacky.
I got to say, the only rule -- I could never be speaker of the House,
I know what rule to abide by if you are going to be speaker of the House,
is that you have to be able to count. It`s not working.
John Stanton, Washington bureau chief of "BuzzFeed", John, thanks for
STANTON: It`s a pleasure.
MADDOW: We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: I once interviewed a man named Richard Cohen on this show.
He had written books about how to become un-gay. You`re gay, he could fix
He was using the idea of that endeavor to help promote a law in
Uganda that would have sanctified the death penalty as the penalty for
homosexuality in that country. My conversation with the pray away the gay
therapist Richard Cohen about that implication of his work led to this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Page 72 through 74, you say, among the list of factors that
could lead to homosexual desires --
RICHARD COHEN: Yes.
MADDOW: -- divorce, death of a parent, adoption, religion, race.
COHEN: Race, that`s not in there.
MADDOW: Yes, it is. Here I am, page 75 of your book, with your name
on the cover.
MADDOW: I got to ask you. Every single one of those ideas is insane
to me. I mean, the divorce makes you gay for example.
COHEN: No, no, no.
MADDOW: You described it as a factor that contributes to homosexual
COHEN: You`re taking it out of context, Rachel.
MADDOW: I`m reading it from your book, dude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If you don`t mean it, you can`t put it in your book. I`m
sorry I called you dude.
Today came big news from his Cohen`s field of study, if by study you
mean quack pseudo science that says you can make yourself un-gay if you
just try hard enough.
That news is ahead.
MADDOW: This upstanding young man is a rising junior at the
University of Wisconsin, Platteville. Engineering major, he`s got a minor
in math and business administration. He`s a tech guy who works for the
media technology services on campus, fixing problems when some piece of
classroom equipment doesn`t work.
He`s in the honor roll. He`s an R.A. in a dorm. He`s in a Young
Entrepreneurs Start Up Launch Club. He`s in the Campus CEO Club.
He has personally started two small businesses already at the age of
20. One a travel company and one a computer company. His father is a
Lutheran pastor. He`s a Wisconsin native. He`s a good kid, very
Joshua Inglett is his name.
And as a young ambitious bright guy, young Mr. Inglett applied for a
seat on a statewide board in Wisconsin. He applied to be one of the two
statewide representatives for college students on the board that governs
the excellent public schools of the University of Wisconsin system.
There`s 13 4-year campuses and 13 2-year campuses. He`d be one of the two
student reps on the board that governs those schools.
Joshua Inglett applied for that job. This is his litter of
application. He applied for the job. He got the job.
Scott Walker says, "I`m pleased to appoint Joshua to the UW System
Board of Regents." And everybody is psyche. His school puts out a press
release. They`re very proud.
The local paper does a proud story. Joshua Inglett got the gig.
We`re so proud.
And then Scott Walker took it back. This was the initial story
posted by the local paper. But this was the updated story they had to pose
a day later because Scott Walker rescinded the offer. He appointed the kid
and then he took it back, because a conservative activist group in
Wisconsin noticed that Joshua Inglett had received the appointment and once
they saw his name getting the appointment, they decided to comb through the
list of Wisconsin residents who had signed the recall petition against
Scott Walker a year or so ago.
They found that Joshua was one of the million people who signed that
petition and Scott Walker went back on the offer for him to be on the board
and they rescinded the appointment, even after publicly announcing it. The
amazing thing here is that there`s no competing explanation from Scott
Walker or his administration. They have no other story about why this
obviously qualified kid, who they selected for the job, had to be
unselected after the fact. They haven`t come up with some other story.
It`s just he signed the recall petition.
If you signed the petition saying there should be a recall election
against Scott Walker, you`re out. The kid did not even vote in the actual
election. He just signed the petition saying there ought to be an
election. And the Republicans and the conservative movement in Wisconsin
are going to use that list to retaliate against Wisconsinites or presumably
as long as they control state government.
For what it`s worth, state law says no sectarian or partisan tests or
any test based on race, religion, national origin or sex shall be allowed
or exercised in the appointment of the employees of the system, but Scott
Walker and Republicans in Wisconsin say screw that. If you signed the
recall petition against Scott Walker, you are blacklisted in the state from
A million people in Wisconsin signed the recall petition against
Walker and apparently as long as Republicans are running state government,
that million people in Wisconsin, one in every four registered voters in
the state, will be blacklisted indefinitely.
Kind of pitiful, right? Petty. The word you might be looking for is
small. Scott Walker, small.
But another Republican governor elected in the same Tea Party way
this little Scott Walker is actually giving little Scott Walker a run for
his smallness. Get this. It`s one thing to blacklist a million people in
your state and bar them from public service because you have decided they
are your enemies, ala Scott Walker, but how about the governor of a state
deciding that three of the largest newspapers in his state are no longer
allowed to cover state government?
He`s issued a government-wide blanket, indefinite no comment on all
matters in all agencies for state government. Newspapers he says are no
longer allowed to government cover the government because the newspapers
made him feel bad.
If you thought Scott Walker was small for blacklisting a 20-year-old
kid who signed the recall petition when he was 18, Scott Walker has got
nothing on this other guy. This story you`re going to have to start
measuring with the micrometer before the end of this week.
This story is mind bending and has just started to unfold and we have
it here, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: My comments going to be we
withdrew the nomination and there are plenty of other god candidates we`d
looked at, and we`ll look at this case. Again, I wasn`t involved in that
directly. I`d just say that in the interest of not pulling him through the
details of his, we just we withdrew the nomination and that we`ll be
submitting another name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The state of Maine is lovely this time of year. The
governor of Maine, however, not so much.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Senator Jackson said today`s event was a last ditch effort
and they have the votes to override.
GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: That`s fine. That`s who he is. You
know, Senator Jackson claims to be for the people, but he`s the first one
to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.
That comment is not politically correct, but we have to understand
who this man is. This man is a bad person. He doesn`t only have no
brains, he has a black heart. People like Troy Jackson, they ought to go
back in the woods and cut trees and let somebody with a brain come down
here and do some work.
REPORTER: That comment about the Vaseline is going to offend people?
LEPAGE: Good, it ought to, because I`ve been taking it for two
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Taking it how exactly.
The exact comment in case you couldn`t hear there was -- he claims to
be for the people but he`s the first one to give it to the people without
providing Vaseline. He says, the guy has a black heart, no brains, bad
person, ought to go back in the woods and cut trees and for good measure --
let`s get that one more time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEPAGE: He`s the first one to give it to the people without
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So that`s how the governor of Maine talks about people he
disagrees with. In this case, he was talking about a state senator who
disagrees with him on this decision to veto the state`s budget. That`s
what earned the give it to him without Vaseline analysis from the governor
The same governor has also said that the NAACP that they should,
quote, "kiss my butt." He also shared with the local Chamber of Commerce
his theory that windmills are fake. They secretly have little electric
motors inside them that make it look like they are wind-powered, but really
they are a conspiracy.
One of the lines from this governor that made national waves because
of its bizarreness and it`s crassness that I never understood before now
was his line about growing little beards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEPAGE: Take plastic ball and put it in the microwave and heat it
off. It gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. And so worst cases,
some women might have little beards, but we don`t want to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Worst cases, some women might have little beards. This is
your governor, state of Maine. What he was on about there was Maine`s
effort to ban a chemical called BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups and
other kids products because of health risks posed by that chemical,
particularly to young kids.
When Maine passed the law that let them ban those chemicals in 2008,
companies AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, the American Petroleum Institute, a
former lead paint maker called Millennium Holdings, the American Chemistry
Council, the chemical industry lobbying group, they all opposed that law.
To argue against that law, to argue against the kids safe product act,
those corporate interests hired a lobbyist. That lobbyist lost the fight.
A lobbyist lost the fight and so the bill became law.
But then, Paul LePage became governor and hired that same lobbyist to
run the Department of Environmental Protection for the whole state. And
then, wouldn`t you know it, the bottom fell out of that program. No
chemicals have been added to it. The career employee who ran that program
got reassigned to a filing job and got investigated for testifying to have
about what the governor denounced as a problem of causing the little
A remarkable 7-month long investigation by the "Portland Press
Herald" shows that by picking the lobbyists who fought against most of
Maine`s environmental policies, to be the person running Maine`s
environmental agency, the agency that implements those policies, Paul
LePage got himself a nifty system. The person who LePage put in charge in
Maine`s environment had been the lobbyist for a Texas-based group of four
chemical companies that make brominated flame retardants. Before Paul
LePage was elected, those flame retardants were set to be blocked in Maine
as carcinogens. But their lobbyist got put in charge of environmental
protection for the state so the plan to get rid of the flame retardants
very neatly got shelved.
She was also the lobbyists for these companies and all these
corporate groups wanting to block Maine`s recycling laws. She had been
their lobbyist against the state`s recycling laws. And then when Paul
LePage put her in charge of enforcing them, surprise, she recommended
eliminating those programs.
The most incredible story, though, is about this lake, Flagstaff
Lake. When full, it`s the fifth largest fresh water state in the whole
beautiful state of Maine. It is lovely, except when it`s not because
Florida Power and Light, which owns the dam that the lake is on, when they
drain the whole thing too far in order to use the outflow of water from the
lake to make power downstream, all of a sudden, Flagstaff Lake is not very
pretty anymore nor does it smell very good.
The dam is Florida Power and Light`s dam so they get to do what they
want with it. But Flagstaff Lake is also surrounded by homes. It`s a big
tourist draw. It`s the swimming and boating lake for that whole part of
The state has an interest too. The people who live in that part of
Maine have an interest too. They he been fighting for years to try to
limit some of the deep, deep drawdowns of the lake water at least in the
You lose a couple feet here and people have to haul in their boats.
You pull three or four feet out of the lake and you get big mud flats.
They drain it out too much and you can get sand storms.
Because it`s a hydroelectric thing, federal energy regulators are
involved in setting the rules for something like for so much they can draw
the lake down. They play a part in balancing the energy-producing demands
of the company and the environmental needs and the other needs of the
Here`s the thing -- when Paul LePage took over the state, the state
suddenly said that they actually do not want the needs of the state to be
considered at all anymore in the regulation of that lake. The regulations
governing how much water can be drained out of that lake should only
consider what the power company wants, not the people of Maine, not the
people who live there, nothing, just do what the power company wants.
Paul LePage`s head of environmental protection for the state said she
did not file to have the state`s needs considered about the lake because it
was screw up. It was a clerical error. She got mixed up.
Quote, "Something that was lost sight of during the transition in
leadership. Oops, we forgot to file the paperwork and now we lost the
It turns out the person Paul LePage put in charge of the environment
for the state worked as a lobbyist for the law firm that represented
Florida Light and Power, represented the power company. And the "Portland
Press Herald" just reported that she met with the guys from her old firm
who were representing the power company before she made the decision to
just opt out, to just opt the state out and let the power company take what
That decision she made to essentially, forgive me, but screw the lake
and let the power company take it, that decision is locked in place for 25
Maine will not have a chance to undo this disaster and try to save
the lake until 2036. So, goodbye, Flagstaff Lake. Hello, Tea Party
governance in the great state of Maine.
In response to this blockbuster reporting from the "Portland Press
Herald," the LePage administration has decided that their response is going
to be no comment. But it`s not a normal no comment. They are instituting
a blanket no comment indefinitely on everything for the "Portland Press
Herald", and for their related papers. One in Augusta, the state capital,
and one in a city where terrified little Paul LePage used to be the mayor.
The LePage administration`s response to reporting on the way he`s
running the state is to try to block three of the largest papers in the
state from reporting on state government at all. The way the papers found
out they were being blocked from covering state government is when a
reporter called the state house to get a copy of the public events
calendar. Not exactly Deep Throat stuff, right? The governor`s public
events calendar, can we get a copy of that? The answer was no.
Then another "Press Herald" reporter asked for a comment on Medicaid
expansion and Obamacare in the state, the response from the spokesperson
was not no comment this time, but rather no comment specifically to the
"Portland Press Herald", ever, on anything, forever. You are not allowed
to cover the government anymore. Touche!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Senator Jackson said today`s event was a last ditch effort
and they have the votes to override.
LEPAGE: That`s fine. That`s who he is. You know, Senator Jackson
claims to be for the people, but he`s the first one to give it to the
people without providing Vaseline.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is the governor of the state of Maine speaking today.
Joining us now is Cliff Schechtman. He`s executive editor of the "Portland
Press Herald," which the governor of Maine is trying to block from covering
state government effectively by issuing a blanket indefinite no comment on
all matters, including even the most basic stuff like public documents.
Something I have never seen before in all of years covering politics.
Mr. Schechtman, thank you very much for being with us tonight.
CLIFF SCHECHTMAN, PORTLAND PRESS HERALD: Thank you. Glad to be
MADDOW: When Governor LePage`s office said they would no longer talk
to the "Press Herald" or your sister papers, did they explain why? Did
they make a more explicit complaint?
SCHECHTMAN: No, we heard it from other people. They didn`t tell us.
And the reason was they claim bias.
And, of course, this isn`t about bias. This is about them being
really uncomfortable with us doing investigative journalism that showed how
these powerful forces affect the lives of regular citizens.
MADDOW: Have they raised complaints about your reporting in this
investigative series? Are there things you want you to correct?
SCHECHTMAN: No. In fact, this thing had 15,000 words over three
days. We have not gotten one complaint about one factual error. Not one.
In fact, we have overwhelming response from the community, from readers
across the state, from states, thanking us for doing is.
MADDOW: Seeing the chief executive, seeing a powerful politician,
especially a politician who likes confrontation, seeing them upset with
press is not unusual, but it is unusual for a governor to try to stop large
newspapers from covering his administration.
Is it just the governor`s office that will not talk to you and your
sisters papers now, or is this the whole government that he says is under
orders not to talk to you about anything?
SCHECHTMAN: Well, if you listen to his spokesman, it`s the entire
government with the exception of public safety and emergency situations.
That means health and human services, the biggest department in the state
that takes care of the needy, housing, Department of Transportation, every
state agency other than state police.
MADDOW: Does this work?
SCHECHTMAN: But I have to say --
MADDOW: Sorry, go ahead. Sorry to interrupt, go ahead.
SCHECHTMAN: But I have to say, practically, they didn`t talk to us
much any way, I mean, the governor`s office. The other agencies have been
helpful. Legally, if we ask for documentation, they have to give it to us
even if we file a bunch of Freedom of Information requests, which we do a
lot already, we`re going to be doing a lot more.
So at most, it will slow us down a little, but we really do have a
roomful of a lot of talented journalists, as you can see in the series we
did by Colin Woodward. I have to put a plug in for him. We`re going to
keep doing what we`re doing, although this will slow us down a little.
MADDOW: To that point, I mean, obviously they feel like they can
affectively block you from covering state government by refusing to talk to
you about anything. I was struck by that detail that the way you learned
you had been blacklisted was by a request for the governor`s public events
schedule. There couldn`t be anodyne or publicly available than that.
They seem to think they can give your competitors such a speed
advantage in terms of finding anything out. They think they will be able
to shut you down in terms of your state government coverage, but you think
that`s not true?
SCHECHTMAN: Yes. I mean, it`s outrageous. They are not going to be
able to shut us down. But it`s outrageous.
People are getting hurt in the end are the people in Maine. The fact
that we would even be slowed down at all. That they don`t want to be
transparent, that they don`t want to share the information with us, the
largest news organization in the state is outrageous.
I do think eventually they are probably going to see their ways are
wrong and start talking to us again.
MADDOW: But in the meantime, you do not plan on changing anything
about the way you cover this agency other than the fact you`re going to
have to go through round about means?
SCHECHTMAN: We`re going to do more of this kind of coverage. The
response was so good, we`re dedicated to do even more of this kind of
investigative journalism on how the state conducts its affairs and how good
a job these public servants are serving the public. Everybody in the
country right now watching this interview was really hoping that was going
to be your answer to that question, sir.
Cliff Schechtman, executive editor of Maine`s "Portland Press
Herald," an excellent newspaper has done a really remarkable investigative
series here and is paying a price for it in the way that will help you long
run and hurt this politician doing it, thanks very much for your time
tonight. Good luck.
SCHECHTMAN: Thank you very much.
All right. If you were planning to pray your way to not being gay, I
have some inconvenient news for you tonight. Please hold on.
MADDOW: One of the strangest forgotten mini scandals of the George
W. Bush administration was involving his AIDS czar. Yes, he had czars,
too, the Kenyan.
President George W. Bush`s AIDS czar ended up getting fired from his
czar-ship for unexpected reason. One of the Bush era AIDS issues was that
in order to get funding for AIDS related programs, you as an organization
had to denounce prostitution and pledge not to do any work with sex
The Bush AIDS czar was all about this. The Congress, I think, very
appropriately has said that organizations, in order to receive money, need
to have a policy opposed to prostitution and sex trafficking. I don`t
think it`s too difficult for people to be opposed to prostitution.
Easy for you to say Bush era AIDS czar who less than a year later
resigns when it turns out he was on the client list for the D.C. madam. It
was just for massages, I swear.
Today, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down that Bush
era policy, predicating funding to fight AIDS on making organizations swear
that they would not work with some of the population that are among those
most affected by the disease, because as you know, prostitution icky.
Writing for a 6-2 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said the
government cannot compel a grant recipient to adopt a belief as a condition
of funding. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself because she had worked on
this issue as President Obama`s solicitor general. Justices Scalia and
Thomas voted to keep the policy in place. But Chief Justice Roberts and
Justice Alito and Justice Kennedy and all the more liberal justices all
joined forces to fight it down. Again, it was a 6-2 vote.
It`s an interesting split in the court. And it`s a big deal
decision. And it`s a good reminder of the Bush AIDS czar.
But that was not the biggest decision that everybody has been waiting
for from this court. Next week is the last week of this session for the
Supreme Court. And they still have 11 more cases in which they have to
hand down rulings.
Everybody is expecting some of those rulings to be handed down on
Monday, but with so many cases to be announced, and we`re down to the last
week when they can announce it, the justices are probably going to have to
add at least one day after Monday next week in order just to make these
The big cases everybody is waiting on are still outstanding,
affirmative action. This is the case called Fisher versus University of
Texas. The court has to decide if race and racial diversity can be things
that public universities consider when they make their admissions
decisions. Justice Kagan has had to recuse herself from that one too. So,
that`s going to be a ruling from eight justices, not nine on affirmative
Also still outstanding, a backbone civil rights law in our country,
the Voting Rights Act by which certain parts of the country with the
history of rigging elections by racial means, they have to get any changes
they want in their election systems cleared by the Justice Department head
of time. That case is Shelby County, Alabama, versus Holder. That`s the
Voting Rights Act case.
Then there are two same sex marriages cases, the Hollingsworth versus
Perry case in California, and United States versus Windsor. The California
case is the test of California`s ban on same sex marriage, which the state
of California is refusing to defend in court. And then the Windsor case is
about the federal law that blocks recognition of same-sex marriages. And
that is the federal law that Obama is refusing to defend in court.
So, one note on the two marriages cases that are now expected: there
are standing issues and technical issues not the least of which related to
the fact that the laws are not being defended by the government that are in
charge of enforcing them. But one of the most substantive issues in the
marriage cases is the question of whether mistreatment of gay people under
the law should be strictly scrutinized, whether in legal terms it should be
hard to get away with that, it should be hard to get away with the law that
discriminates against gay people.
And part of the legal determination of that is the justices having to
decide, whether or not being gay is a thing, whether being gay is something
you just are or you can change if you want to. That part of the legal
fight has led to some weird back-and-forths in the courtroom so far.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA, SUPREME COURT: When did it become
unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868
when the 14th Amendment was adopted. Sometime after Baker where we said it
didn`t even raise a substantial federal question? When -- when did the law
You say it is now unconstitutional?
TED OLSON: Yes.
SCALIA: Was it always unconstitutional?
OLSON: It was constitutional when we as a culture determined that
the sexual orientation is a characteristic of individuals that they cannot
SCALIA: When did that happen?
OLSOON: There is no specific date in time.
SCALIA: Well, how am I supposed to --
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: This is an evolutionary cycle he`s saying at the end. We
are evolving. We are evolving. We are trying at least to evolve out of
the idea that gay people are only gay, people are only part of this
discriminated against group because they want to be, and if they would only
beat couches with tennis rackets, watch, or whatever -- if people would
only have enough aversion therapy where they tell you terrible things about
gay people, or if you`d only be religious enough or you`d only hit enough
balls with a tennis racket with a lot of anger, then you don`t have to be
The idea of the gay as something that you are, not something that you
decide, that is central to what is going to happen next. It`s part of why
the Justice Department said it wouldn`t defend the anti-gay law at the
federal level, it`s part of the argument is in these two Supreme Court
cases. The argument to keep anti-gay discrimination laws in our country
depends in fundamental ways on the believe that being gay is a choice, and
you can choose not to be gay if you want to not be gay.
Today, the largest highest profile group in the country devoted to
the cause of changing gay people into straight closed its doors and
apologized and said it doesn`t work. The group is called Exodus
International. They have not been changing gay people to straight people
for the past 37 years, but now they will stop trying. There will certainly
be other groups that take up the mantle, but they are the big one and as of
today, they are done, and they say they are sorry.
And the Supreme Court rules next week.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD."
Have a good one.
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