updated 4/17/2014 10:50:53 AM ET 2014-04-17T14:50:53

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
April 16, 2014

Guests: Jim Cavanaugh, Chuck Schumer

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, man.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

On the Fourth of July in 1995, a county commissioner in Nye County,
Nevada, which is here in southern Nevada, Nye County, a county commissioner
in Nye County decided to celebrate Independence Day by declaring that Nye
County, Nevada, was independent of the United States of America.

He got into a bulldozer and he drove that bulldozer over to some
federally owned land in Nye County, it was part of a national forest, and
he used the bulldozer to bust through that closed road in that national
forest. He claimed that all federal land was under his control, because
the federal government had no authority in little Nye County, Nevada.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: NBC news in depth tonight. More on the fight
over the role in the federal government in the American west, it`s an all-
out brawl called the sage brush rebellion. On one side, the federal
government. On the other, some land owners and some local governments and
the battle is threatening to turn very ugly.

NBC`s Roger O`Neil tonight has the first part of our in-depth report.

ROGER O`NEIL, NBC NEWS: In the land of wide open spaces, there`s a
new land war. The federal government owns almost half the property in the
West, and the fight is over who should control it.

The first shot was fired in Nevada, captured on home video, Dick
Carver, a county supervisor, reopened a road in the Toyabe National Forest.
Two federal rangers said they were threatened.

It was the Fourth of July, and it became a declaration of independence
for a new rebellion. This time, from the feds.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: On the one hand, it is sort of funny, right? This little
county in Nevada, this one county commissioner, bulldozing his way across
the national forest, saying, this land is mine. This is ours! The U.S.
government doesn`t exist here.

On the one hand, it`s funny, except for the fact that this was
happening in the context of bombs that kept going off in federal government
offices, all over that part of the country.

Now, that bulldozing was July 4th. It was Independence Day in 1995.
In March of 1995, a U.S. Forest Service employee named Guy Pence had had a
pipe bomb set off in his office at the U.S. Forest Service. Five months
later, another pipe bomb blew up in a van that was parked outside his
house. His wife and his daughter were home at the time, but thankfully
they were not injured.

On January 6th, 1996, the following year, a bomb exploded just outside
the U.S. Forest Service headquarters, in Espanola, in New Mexico, and that
was the second time in less than a year that a Forest Service headquarters
had been bombed.

It also happened in March, 1995, in Carson City, Nevada.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROKAW: A bomb went office in a U.S. Forest Service office in Carson
City, Nevada, blowing out windows, but there was no major damage, no
injuries. No claim of responsibility either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Beyond those Forest Service bombings at around the same time,
two Bureau of Land Management offices were also bombed. That was also
happening 1994, 1995, 1996. Of course, if you think about it, in the
middle of all of that was the anti-federal government bombing that took
place 19 years ago this week, in April 1995, in Oklahoma City. The bombing
of the Alfred P. Murrah federal office building in Oklahoma City. That
building included regional offices for the ATF, recruiting offices for the
U.S. military, regional offices for Secret Service and the DEA and the
Social Security Administration.

The Oklahoma City bomber and his accomplice were both part of
something called the Sovereign Citizen Movement, which doesn`t recognize
the authority of the federal government. Part of the reason that Timothy
McVeigh was found and arrested after the Oklahoma bombing was that his car
didn`t have proper license plates. That`s one of the things that is a
hallmark of the Sovereign Citizen Movement. They refuse to register their
cars under property authority.

Those guys from the Oklahoma City bombing were also part of the armed
militia movement at the time. County officials saying they didn`t -- the
militia movement, excuse me, saying that they only recognized county
official, they did not recognize the authority of the United States of
America. We also had county officials bulldozing their way down federal
roads at the time.

The ongoing bombings of federal offices that not only preceded
Oklahoma City, but still kept happening after Oklahoma City, you look back,
what`s remark able the politics of that time, and what is suddenly newly
relevant in today`s news, is that at the time, there were these relatively
mainstream figures on the American right, mainstream figures, members of
Congress, who basically said they went to Washington, they went to Congress
to represent these radical splinter groups that said they didn`t believe in
the existence of the United States of America.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROKAW: To better understand the sage brush rebellion, you need to
know who`s on their side. Surprising answers tonight in part two of in-
depth from NBC`s Lisa Myers.

REP. HELEN CHENOWETH (R), IDAHO: I`m Helen Chenoweth.

LISA MYERS, NBC ENWS: In many ways, Representative Helen Chenoweth is
the personification of the sage brush rebellion.

CHENOWETH: My battle is to maintain the culture and the heritage and
the lifestyle that we have here in the West.

MYERS: She wants states to take back control of land from the federal
government and to weaken environmental regulations and protection of
endangered species.

CHENOWETH: Spotted owls are supposed to have 4,000 acres per nesting
pairs of spotted owls. I mean, I don`t even know how they find each other
in 4,000 acres. But that`s besides the point.

MYERS: If she stopped there, Chenoweth would merely be a conservative
with a Western flair. What distinguishes her and some of her freshman
colleagues is their firm belief that the federal government has crossed the
line. That instead of protecting individuals, it routinely tyrannizes
them.

Do you believe that federal employees on balance are agents of
tyranny?

CHENOWETH: No, I believe the nature of government can be tyrannical
and has become tyrannical.

MYERS: Critics accuse her of stirring up fear and pandering to
extremists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She appeals the to the very far right in Idaho and
I think in this country.

MYERS: What really put Chenoweth on the national map, for better or
for worse, was her refusal to criticize the militia movement in the wake of
the Oklahoma bombing. She still refuses.

CHENOWETH: My responsibility as a congressman is to represent every
one equally, whether I feel entirely comfortable with them, whether they`re
my best friends or not.

MYERS: Whether she`s a pioneer for the West or a standard-bearer for
extremists, Chenoweth is comfortable in the forefront of what she calls a
real rebellion against the federal government.

Lisa Myers, NBC News, the Capitol.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW: Helen Chenoweth is long gone. She left Congress in 2000,
after confessing to an adulterous affair she had had, even though she said
President Bill Clinton should resign over his adulterous affair. Helen
Chenoweth then sadly died in a car accident in 2006.

But the politics that made her famous are either back now or they
never went away in the first place. Only this time around, they don`t just
have a few random members of Congress that NBC has to go out to the Capitol
and dig out of the far-right fringe of the Republican Party.

This time, for those politics, they`ve got the prime-time stars of a
big cable news network called the FOX News Channel, which has been very
busy for several days now, more than a week now, trying to turn this
particular guy into a household name.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLIVEN BUNDY: This is what we, the people, are asking this morning.
Disarm the park service.

(CHEERS)

BUNDY: And lately, Red Rock Park and all other parks that the federal
government claims to have jurisdiction over.

(CHEERS)

BUNDY: Take your county bulldozers and loaders tear down that
entrance places. Get the county equipment out there and tear those things
down this morning.

(CHEERS)

CROWD: Yes, do your job, sheriff! Do your job! Do your job,
sheriff! Do your job, sheriff! That`s what you were elected for!

BUNDY: You disarm those park service people. We want those arms
delivered right here under these flags in one hour! And media --

Media -- are you here, media?

I want you to go to every place that they got a federal park service
station, and you watch those county machines tear down those places today
in the next hour. And if you report back to these people, we the people,
in one hour, if they`re not done, we`ll decide what we`re going to do from
this point on. Thank you!

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: One hour, you have one hour to send the county machines out
to tear down the entrance places at the federal land and disarm the federal
agents. One hour! Media, you document it!

This is one of these guys in Nevada who has not recognized the
existence of the United States of America. And these guys have been around
for a long time, right?

In 1995, one Nevada county official did go and bulldoze a federal road
in a national forest in order to prove that the U.S. government didn`t
really exist in Nevada. But, now, these same guys are back and they`re
demanding that the local sheriff go do that again, within the hour! That
the local sheriff go take county machines and disarm federal officials and
arrest any federal officials, officials from the federal government, that
have trespassed in Nevada, which though these guys is not part of the
United States.

And if you are flashing back to the mid-`90s and looking at this
stuff, it`s not just because of the demanding the bulldozer, right? It`s
not just because of the bulldozer references, it may also be because when
you heard that sheriff there being yelled at by that local rancher, that he
needed to go bulldoze federal properties and he needed to go disarm federal
agents, you see those guys standing in front of them, standing in front of
the stage there, facing away from them, right, while he`s making these
claims. These sort of fake military guys standing in front of the stage,
standing in front of the guy who does not recognize the existence of the
United States, they are 1990s-style militia men.

You can see in this photo from NBC News, the guy on the left there has
what I presume to be un-regulation facial hair, the self-proclaimed rank of
captain. He`s wearing captain`s bars on his fatigues there. I say it`s
self-proclaimed, though, because his patch on his uniform is not from any
U.S. military operation.

It says, Praetorian Guard. Praetorian Guard is the name that the
Arizona state militia has given themselves. They say on their Web site
right now, they are recruiting patriots statewide. They want you to know
that China has upped its military spending recently. And they`ve posted a
very sleepy-looking picture of Antonin Scalia and said underneath that
picture, the news that there`s internment camps coming back.

The militia guys from Arizona and from all over, you probably heard,
they`ve descended on Nevada, this past week, and over this past weekend, to
turn a long-standing, but kind of boring dispute over grazing fees, between
the federal government and one of these guys who doesn`t believe in the
federal government, these militia guys descended on that site in Nevada
over the last few days to turn that sort of boring, bureaucratic conflict,
into something that is a little bit more like a war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

REPORTER: On a bridge in Bunkerville, holding high-powered scoped
rifles, these men took cover, prepared to shoot, prepared to die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here to protect our freedom. Had to happen some
time. Might as well happen now, right?

REPORTER: This Saturday, he took position with other gunmen, taking
the high ground, as federal agents waited in the wash below. Between them,
men, women, and their children marched towards a fence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get ready.

REPORTER: On the other side of the fence, Bureau of Land Management
agents, also armed, also took cover.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: This is reporting from the local CBS affiliate, KLAS from
over the weekend. Obviously, they are covering the drama here of this
armed standoff, not very far outside the major city of Las Vegas, but
they`re also noting how freaking weird it is to have a political dispute
resolved in this country, in the 21st century, based pretty much on which
side brought more guns to the political argument.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: On the streets of Las Vegas, when gunmen point weapons at
sworn peace officers, they`re often shot and killed. But in Bunkerville,
these men held the bridge. The difference between these gunmen and gunmen
in our urban streets comes down to a political cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At some point, you have to draw a line in the
sand, and, I guess, this is it, you know?

REPORTER: Regretfully, we didn`t get this man`s name. Our
photographer was fearful of possible cross fire should shooting happened
and kept moving. But these gunmen and others pledged to be back, because
these anti-federalist protesters got their first victory. Not by the
ballot, not by rallies, but on a bridge with guns aimed at police.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Got their victory, not by the ballot, not by rallies, but on
a bridge with guns aimed at police.

And as that report from KLAS notes, this domestic dispute in Nevada
really is basically over now, at least the dramatic part is over. The
federal government stopped trying to enforce federal law about grazing
fees, stopped trying to enforce a court order that said they could enforce
that federal law. And they backed off, because people showed up with guns,
to stop them from enforcing that court order.

And while that is a remarkable form of dispute resolution for this
country in the 21st century, it`s also true that the drama is also kind of
over. The guy who says he does not believe in the United States is still
refusing to pay the grazing fees that everybody else pays to let his cows
eat grass on federal land. And the government says they`ll continue to
work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.

So the drama here is over. But the drama being over, of course, that
is terrible news for the people who have basically been selling tickets to
what they hoped was going to be a shooting war, involving anti-government
zealots in the American southwest. I mean, the right has been hyping this
as a fight almost to the point of hysteria.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIPS)

ALEX JONES, RADIO HOST: This could be how the shot heard round the
world happens in this case or others that are happening. If they ever fire
on innocent, peaceful people, trying to take stolen cattle and act like the
mercenaries they are, this could turn into 1776 very quickly.

BUNDY: Yes, and we are -- we are totally disgusted with this type of
government. We`re -- I don`t think we the people are going to stand it and
I`m not going to stand it, and I`m going to stand for it, and I`m going to
stand as long as it takes to do whatever it takes to get this --

JONES: Incredible. We`ll get updates from you in the next few days,
sir, to find out what unfolds.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: That was the rancher that doesn`t believe in the authority of
the federal government of the United States, on the radio show of the
conspiracy theory guy who`s the king of the 9/11 truthers. He`s also the
one who says the Boston bombings was perpetrated by the U.S. government,
also the Newtown school shooting was perpetrated by the U.S. government.
He`s also the one who says the U.S. government creates tornadoes and uses
them as weather weapons.

The Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity, the
affiliates of Americans for Prosperity in Nevada and also in Colorado
online, they`ve been trying to popularize this fight, with this rancher in
Nevada, popularizing it to a national audience -- #biggovernment,
#topconservatives on twitter #bundybattleisheatingupinnevada, read more
here.

The conservative magazine, "The National Review", at "The National
Review Online", they say, if you want to see the case for limited
government, consider the siege happening in this dusty corner of Nevada.

Remember when there was going to be a trucker blockade of Washington,
D.C., where hundreds -- no, thousands, no, millions, no, billions of
truckers were going to slowly circle the nation`s capital on the Washington
Beltway and bring the federal government to its knees unless Nancy Pelosi
was arrested and they had all these other demands.

The guy who was the spokesman for that trucker`s ride for the
Constitution this past fall, the guy who said if this trucker uprising
didn`t work, then there should be an armed uprising against the federal
government, the guy who apparently received a little bit of attention from
the secret service after saying and then reiterating that Hillary Clinton
should be shot because Benghazi -- that guy apparently still has and does a
radio show, and on his radio show, he`s also hosted the Nevada rancher
who`s in this fight, who`s appeared there as well.

Glenn Beck`s Web site has been as breathless over the story as anybody
else on the right. Nevada rancher taking on the government in a battle
that`s reaching the breaking point.

And, of course, there`s the mother of them all, our friends at "World
Net Daily", you remember the "World Net Daily" guys, right? They`re the,
show us the real birth certificate people. The Obama conspiracy world net
superstore.

"World Net Daily" recently blasted out their exclusive news, quote,
"news", that even though the story appeared to end this weekend, that that
standoff in Nevada, it appeared to end when the federal government gave in
to all the militia guys pointing guns at them and the government walked
away from the cattle grazing dispute, "World Net Daily" says that was just
a ploy to lull everybody into submission, and actually, they had sources
that said, according to their sources, and what their sources were hearing
from their sources from their sources from their sources, what they were
able to, quote, "report," was that the federal government was actually
about to launch a midnight raid. Quote, "And there probably would be
violence involved," says "World Net Daily".

"World Net Daily`s" source is a guy from this militia movement, which
says that only county sheriffs have real authority and the federal
government doesn`t exist. "World Net Daily" source says he`s hearing that
a federal raid is coming. He tells "World Net Daily", quote, "I don`t
think it would be possible to launch such a raid without violence. I don`t
think the Bundy family would lie down and be taken."

Now, on the one hand, who cares, right? Who cares what "World Net
Daily" says? These are the people with all the birth certificate
conspiracies saying about President Obama, they`re the ones that say that
President Obama the not only secretly foreign, he`s secretly a Muslim and
he`s secretly gay, and he`s secretly gay married, mm-hmm.

A few days ago, they published an alert to America that what might
have looked like a lunar eclipse was actually a blood moon divine warning
to President Obama that he should stop passing so many executive orders.
Yes, seriously.

But what is cockamamie and hilarious and sometimes even a little sad
on the right, it becomes something else when a media institution called the
FOX News Channel decides to promote the worst of this stuff. When they
drag this stuff up out of the far right, rather pitiful fringe, and they
turn it into a national conservative cause celebre. And that`s what the
FOX News Channel has done with this story in Nevada.

And this is the important thing, I think -- it didn`t end this weekend
when the standoff ended in Nevada. I mean, yeah, they pumped this up until
this thing happened. FOX News and all these other right-wing outlets were
building up this Nevada rancher who doesn`t believe in the federal
government. They were building him up all last week. The right wing press
both online and on radio and on FOX News, they were hyping this
confrontation, they were turning this guy into a huge hero.

But then, when there was this big standoff this weekend and it ended
with lots of guns there, but without anybody getting shot, the FOX News
Channel was palpably disappointed, and since then, they have gone into
overdrive, essentially trying to get the armed standoff going again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United States government versus the Nevada
rancher, Cliven Bundy, and Bundy with the backing of a grassroots swell
from freedom fighters and a slew of TV cameras successfully got the feds to
back down.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: This is a FOX News alert. The federal
government has surrendered in the battle against Nevada rancher, Cliven
Bundy. But according to Senator Harry Reid, this, in fact, is not the end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: One of the prime-time hosts on the FOX News Channel last
night, and I kid you not, he led his prime-time show on FOX with the "World
Net Daily" story about how they heard from guys who heard from guys from
guys who heard from guys that there is going to be a midnight federal raid
on that ranch and it`s going to be a violent one! That was their lead
story.

I mean, to be clear, the only place that story is coming from is crazy
"World Net Daily". And the rancher, the "I don`t believe in the U.S.
government" rancher, came on as Sean Hannity`s guest on his FOX News
program, and Mr. Hannity asked this rancher about his claim on the "World
Net Daily" Web site about the fact there`s going to be a raid on his
rancher, and the rancher answered by referencing the fact that we had a
very suspicious blood moon, did you hear about that? That maybe there was
this suspicious federal blood moon that was made up by the government. I
swear this happened. I am not making this up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Welcome to Hannity, and this is a FOX News alert. The
federal government may have surrendered in the battle against Nevada
rancher Cliven Bundy, but according to Senator Harry Reid, this, in fact,
is not the end. But, first, according to online reports, a former Nevada
sheriff claims that his sources inside the federal government say that the
Bureau of Land Management may be quietly planning to raid the Bundy ranch.

So given that warning, could there be another standoff brewing
tonight?

Back with us is the rancher himself, Cliven Bundy. We`re also joined
by his daughter Stetsy and his son Aman is back with us.

Guys, welcome back to the program. There have been a lot of reports
about this. What do you make of the sheriff`s comments, Cliven?

BUNDY: I had no -- I really know nothing about that, you know? I can
say one thing, we had a beautiful moon last night. And I thought, you
know, that thing might be fixed up there by the federal government, I`m not
sure. But it was different, that`s for sure.

HANNITY: All right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: What do you think about this conspiracy theory that somebody
made up over "World Net Daily"? I don`t know, but I liked that other
conspiracy theory from "World Net Daily", the one about the moon. OK!

This is what`s happening on FOX News Channel right now in prime-time,
in case you haven`t been watching.

This actual story in Nevada is dead. It`s over. At least the threat
of armed anti-government zealots having a shooting war with the federal
government seems to have cooled down a little bit. But the FOX News
Channel, in all its glory, is doing everything they can to try to bring
that threat back.

And on the one hand, it`s hilarious and pitiful. On the other hand,
it is playing with fire, because what they`re talking about here is not the
distant past, it is a violent past in our country. And it would be one
thing if FOX News was trying to gin up armed conflict in ignorance of what
this kind of conflict has resulted in in the past in our country, but
they`re not ignorant about it. They know exactly what it is that they are
playing with here. And it`s clear they know how things like this can end,
because they themselves keep bringing it up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s people being killed like at Waco, Texas, and
we don`t want any of that to happen.

HANNITY: For those that don`t remember the Branch Davidian and the
Waco compound, I mean, that was out of control. Or those -- you can go
back to Ruby Ridge and Randy Weaver or Elian Gonzalez, which both of us
were covering at the time. This seems to be a moment where we really feed
to stand back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Bob, a lot of memories coming back, Waco and
Ruby Ridge, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see Ruby Ridge, Waco coming right back, and it
would be a tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, in all those instances, obviously, the
government was wrong in Waco. The government was wrong at Ruby Ridge,
except the people in those situations were also pretty goofy. So, what the
government should do is just back off.

HANNITY: I`ll be honest, we saw what happened at Waco and the Branch
Davidians. I`m concerned.

We have exclusive details on what some say may become the next Ruby
Ridge or Waco Davidian compound issue. Some say a potential Waco or Ruby
Ridge is about to unfold.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: Try not to sound so excited when you say that.

Ruby Ridge happened in 1992. White supremacists, white separatist guy
who affiliated with the Aryan Nation, he sold sawed off shotguns to
somebody who turned out to be an undercover ATF agent. When he failed to
appear in court on those charges, U.S. Marshals serving the warrant for his
arrest ended up in a shoot-out. They shot his teenage son, they shot his
wife, a federal officer was also killed in the shoot-out.

Waco was the following year in Texas, heavily armed compound of the
Branch Davidian cult, was the scene of a huge shoot-out and a huge fire, a
huge conflagration in which 76 people died, six cult members and four
federal agents were also killed in an earlier raid.

We did a documentary on Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber a
few years ago on MSNBC and we turned up footage of Timothy McVeigh on site
at the Waco siege. While the Branch Davidian thing was happening in Waco,
there was Timothy McVeigh, looking on. That deadly incident was part of
his anti-government radicalization that led him two years after Waco to do
this in Oklahoma City.

Anti-government extremism in this country, the militia movement, the
bombing of federal targets, these fantasies about armed militia, rebellions
against the jackbooted thugs of the federal government -- this is not
fiction in our country, this is not even the distant past. These guys are
still around. This movement is still very much with us.

But even as this latest standoff in Nevada appears to have ended
peacefully, what is unprecedented this time around is to have something as
big and as loud and as powerful as the FOX News Channel blowing hot air on
the dying embers of that conflict, trying to rekindle it into another giant
fire.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Bob, a lot of memories coming back, Waco and
Ruby Ridge, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see Ruby Ridge, Waco coming right back, and it
would be a tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, in all those instances, obviously, the
government was wrong in Waco. The government was wrong at Ruby Ridge,
except the people in those situations were also pretty goofy. So, what the
government should do is just back off.

HANNITY: I`ll be honest, we saw what happened at Waco and the Branch
Davidians. I`m concerned. We have exclusive details on what some say may
become the next Ruby Ridge or Waco, Davidian compound issue. Some say a
potential Waco or Ruby Ridge is about to unfold.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: The FOX News Channel this week has been breathlessly, almost
excitedly, trying to reignite an already tense situation in southern Nevada
-- not only hyping the cause of the folks who mounted an armed standoff
against federal law enforcement this weekend, but pitching the story over
and over and over again as the second coming of the Waco and Ruby Ridge
tragedies from the 1990s.

Joining us now is Jim Cavanaugh. He`s a retired special agent in
charge for the ATF. He was a key hostage negotiator during the 1993
standoff with the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, in the `90s.

Mr. Cavanaugh, thank you very much for being with us.

JIM CAVANAUGH, RETIRED ATF SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: I thought of you while watching that FOX coverage and
realizing they were bringing it back to Waco, bringing it back to Waco, and
specifically to Ruby Ridge as well, over and over and over again. I just
have to ask, as somebody who was there and involved in that response, do
you think at any level it`s appropriate to compare what is happening right
now to what you went through at Waco?

CAVANAUGH: Well, I think only in the minds of the radical right, you
know, where they can see a violent conflict with government authority and
government agents, and then they can turn into a cause celebre to
strengthen their movement.

You know, this movement is not new. We dealt with them in the `70s,
you know, post-civil rights era in the South. We dealt with them when they
were the Posse Comitatus, we dealt with them when they bled over with the
Klan.

But in the `90s, they became more galvanized right after the Ruby
Ridge event. And that involved a man who failed to report for a court
hearing on a gun charge, and the ensuing tragedy occurred, as you
described. And mistakes, certainly, on both sides, but, you know, failure
to report in a nation of laws to address the charge, and that`s what we
had.

But right after that, there was a seminal event, Rachel, in Estes
Park, Colorado, where the radical right, the real deep movers in the
radical right met and had a summit meeting. You know, kind of like the mob
had in Appalachia, New York, in the `50s. And out of that summit meeting
really came the new and improved radical paramilitary activities of the
`90s. Louise Beam, the infamous Klansman, and he posited a leaderless
resistance at that meeting.

So, that was a Seminole event in the radical movement in America.
And, of course, then we had Waco, which everyone here is talking about,
but, just a few facts to clear that up. You know, you had a charismatic
cult leader David Koresh, who would take a family into the cult.

From then on, he would sleep with the man`s wife, he would sleep with
the 12-year-old and 14-year-old female children that the man might have
brought in there. He would control their lives completely. He stockpiled
machine guns and silencers and hand grenades and made all these things and
he named the place Ranch Apocalypse. And he was destined for, you know, a
huge apocalypse.

And we found out after all this transpired at Waco that before we even
went on the initial raid that he had taken his mighty men, six or eight
guys that were his, you know, bodyguard or Praetorian guard that surrounded
him, and they would practice going out, loading cars in front of the
compound, with all their rifles, and they were going to go to Waco and
slaughter everyone at McDonald`s. That was before we even went on the
raid.

So, he was reaching, reaching for disaster. When I would talk to him
on the phone, he would say, you know, Jim, I`m 33 and I`m a carpenter. He
wouldn`t say he was Jesus, but he would say things like this.

It`s a much different event. So to call that in on a rancher who`s,
you know, obstructing the court order in Nevada, it`s not the same thing.
Only in the minds of radical extremists who want the confrontation.

MADDOW: In terms of that -- you called that seminal event that
meeting that happened in Colorado, am I right, when I hear you saying, that
was essentially after Ruby Ridge, it was sort of, they used that as a
galvanizing event to try to bring together disparate strands of the right?

CAVANAUGH: Yes, it was a very, very important event, because for all
the years leading up to that, we would bust these conspiracies that were
hatched really in the back rooms. I mean, we would have an informant in
the Klan, when they would plot a bombing. You know, it would be six or
seven Klansmen, maybe some Nazis in there, they would plant a bombing and
we would have someone in there wired, we would bust it up.

The sedition trial in the late `80s was to try to take out the
leadership of all these groups, the Klan, the order, you know, they killed
the Jewish talk show host, Alan Berg in Denver with a machine gun. And ATF
and the FBI were always trying to knock those organizations down.

So, the Estes Park meeting was their change. And Louis Beam, the Klan
leader, tried to push this leaderless resistance. In other words, operate
in small cells, by yourself or just you and one other. And in fact, that`s
what Terry Nichols and McVeigh did in Oklahoma City. They operated as two.

MADDOW: Understanding how these different events serve both as
rallying points and as modes for new types of organizing on the radical
right, I think, puts a really fine point on how dangerous it is to
celebrate that maybe this is the next thing after Ruby Ridge and after
Waco, maybe this is the next organizing moment -- to talk about it in those
terms just strikes me as incredibly dangerous.

Jim Cavanaugh, retired special agent in charge with the ATF, thank you
for helping us understand this. Appreciate it, sir.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you.

All right. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: On October 28th, 1886, President Grover Cleveland held a huge
celebration in New York. A dedication to the Statue of Liberty, a gift
from France, sitting in the New York harbor. The dedication took place on
what is now known as Liberty Island.

The celebrations included a water parade with approximately 300
vessels that passed in front of Lady Liberty. This engraving from the
Library of Congress depicts the New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty
that day.

The fireworks you see didn`t actually happen, even though they`re in
the engraving. They were postponed due to bad weather.

But bad weather or not, New York City did hold the very first ticker
tape parade that day in Lower Manhattan. It was in honor of the new
statue, the Statue of Liberty. And while there were reports of that
horrible weather that day, thousands of people did still show up.

In the 128 years since that first parade, there have been 203 more
ticker tape parades up the Canyon of Heroes, up the stretch of Broadway
between Battery Park and city hall, that`s called the Canyon of Heroes.
It`s hosted parades for everyone from visiting heads of state to American
Olympic teams to New York pro-sports teams who won championships, to
astronauts, to war veterans, frequently to war veterans.

And interestingly, as well, at the end of World War II, in 1945,
Germany surrendered to the allied forces in May of 1945. Japan didn`t
surrender until August, though.

Still, there were ticker tape parades welcoming home war heroes that
year, not only in September and October and December, but also back in
June, even while the war in the Pacific was still being fought, they had
one of those welcome home parades after Germany surrendered, but before
Japan did.

When the Korean War ended in 1953, there were five different ticker
tape parades in lower Manhattan for the return of different groups of U.S.
troops coming home. Thirty-eight years later, there was another parade to
make sure that Korean War veterans knew they were not forgotten and that
they got a proper welcome.

It was not the same for Vietnam War veterans. The ticker tape parades
to welcome home veterans of Vietnam, that was delayed for a long time. It
was not until 1985, more than 10 years after the last American personnel
had returned home, that Vietnam vets finally got the nation`s official
welcome home on lower Broadway. That long-delayed parade welcoming home
the Vietnam vets, that was the biggest one ever.

In 1991, when the veterans of America`s first war in Iraq, the Gulf
War, returned, New York threw them a ticker tape parade on the Canyon of
Heroes. December 2011, the second war in Iraq ended.

The last American troops left Iraq in December 2011. That ended our
nearly nine-year military presence in that country. And at the time, for
that occasion, two New York City council members proposed that the city of
New York host a parade to welcome home the troops from that war, to mark
the end of the war in Iraq.

Then, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said his office reached
out to the Pentagon to discuss the potential, but the Pentagon reportedly
said no. The Pentagon reportedly told Mayor Bloomberg`s office that having
a parade would put soldiers who were still fighting in Afghanistan in
harm`s way. They said it wouldn`t be appropriate to do that while other
soldiers were still fighting -- should be noted, though, that other cities
around the country didn`t wait for the Pentagon.

The city of St. Louis, Missouri, was the first one to hold a parade,
to say welcome home to Iraq vets, followed by Houston and Tucson and
Fayetteville and North Carolina and Melbourne, Florida, and Richmond,
Virginia, and Kansas City, and Chicago, lots of cities.

But not New York -- not in the Canyon of Heroes, not in the place
where America thinks of as the place that we make it official, where we
really say, welcome home, as a nation.

Over this past weekend, Senator Charles Schumer of New York decided to
raise the issue again. He said, now, combat operations in Afghanistan are
coming to an end. And so, maybe now, now is the time to start to plan,
finally, a welcome home parade for the troops who served in Iraq and in
Afghanistan. And now, there is a new mayor of New York City, Bill de
Blasio, and he says he supports the idea.

So, is now finally the time, 2 1/2 years after the end of the Iraq
war, will the American troops who fought in that war and in the Afghanistan
war as well, finally receive the same welcome home as the thousands of
troops who have fought in all those wars before them?

We may have an answer to that. Hold on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Even though there have been
divided views in America about Iraq and even Afghanistan, just about every
American has treated our newest vets with the respect and acknowledgement
they deserve. Therefore, it is appropriate not to wait and we should give
them one of the grandest honors to bestow all of our veterans and that is
this parade down the Canyon of Heroes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Joining us tonight for the interview is Senator Charles
Schumer of New York.

Senator Schumer, thank you very much for being here. Appreciate it.

SCHUMER: Good evening.

MADDOW: We have talked about the issue a long time.

SCHUMER: You have. You`re one of the -- you are one of the prime
people who has pushed this to happen. It`s great.

MADDOW: Well, it has -- it has been an interesting conundrum to me
that we didn`t do something to mark the end of the Iraq war in this
country.

SCHUMER: Now, they did try. There were two councilmen from Staten
Island who called for this. They needed the city`s cooperation. Mayor
Bloomberg, and I don`t begrudge him. Called up DOD. They said until
combat is ended in both Iraq and Afghanistan, which they regarded as
interrelated conflicts because many people who served in Iraq went to serve
in Afghanistan and vice versa, that they shouldn`t do it.

Now, the president called for combat to end by the end of 2014. Hagel
seconded this. So, now is the time to get moving and prepare and do the
great parade that New York can do down the Canyon of Heroes. I talked to
DOD. And -- they, you know, they`re, they`re the bureaucracy of
bureaucracies, and they`re jumping through 100 hoops. But they have been
very positive.

MADDOW: There was this. New York is New York. No other city in the
country is New York. And the Canyon of Heroes is its own thing in terms of
having a place where we have national recognition.

But all of these other cities, sort of ignored what the Defense
Department was saying. And, and, went ahead with. I wonder, how does that
influence the decision making about what to do here?

SCHUMER: Well, I think they did their own parade. They didn`t have
the cooperation of DOD. I mean, if we have the cooperation, we can have
the top military brass come. We can have flyovers. We can have all kind
of military bands and everything else. It will be a grand, grand parade.

So, the other parades were good. But to give these women and men who
served us and risked their lives for us, the recognition they deserve,
there is nothing like a parade in the Canyon of Heroes with the full
support of our nation`s Defense Department and all extra things that that
entails.

MADDOW: The history that weighs heavily here for me at least looking
back at previous parade in the Canyon of Heroes is the Vietnam War, another
very uncomfortable conflict for the nation, in terms of the political
issues that it raised and also a very unpopular conflict, the war in Iraq
and to a lesser extent, the war in Afghanistan, have also been unpopular.
But in Vietnam, that translated to difficulties for veterans coming home.

SCHUMER: Yes.

MADDOW: And there was no parade for more than 10 years.

SCHUMER: Ten years and that was wrong. If people disagreed with the
policies, and I think there was probably as much disagreement with Iraq as
with Vietnam, but you don`t take it out on these people, particularly the
Vietnam dates.

They were drafted. They served. They served noble and well.

I think if someone asked me, why was it different? You know, one of
the nice things about the Iraq war, for a lot of not nice things about it -
- is that the soldiers have been treated well from the beginning. Congress
did unite to improve health benefits. A G.I. bill was re-enacted, so they
can afford college.

Many of them, of course were, older. They were reservists, national
guards people who left their families to go, who left their jobs to go.
Not just fresh out of high school or college. While many more were in
Vietnam.

And so, there was a different view. Why was it different? Vietnam,
Iraq.

I think, I -- cut my political eye teeth protesting the Vietnam War
when I was, you know, in college. There was just so much anger at the
establishment in Vietnam that it boiled over unfortunately into the
veterans as almost symbols of the establishment.

In Iraq, people thought the war was wrong. But there wasn`t the same
hostility to the whole way America was going. Vietnam was sort of an
awakening to a lot of people.

MADDOW: What about the issue of paying for a large scale welcome home
event? Obviously, it`s going to take a lot of money.

SCHUMER: It will take some money. We`ll figure that out. The mayor
has been involved.

Look, we pay for parade for athletes. I think that`s a great thing.
I love the Yankees and Giants parades.

MADDOW: Yes.

SCHUMER: I know. I know. But there were no Mets. No Dodgers, no
Jets when I was a kid. So, those were the teams. I stuck with them.

But -- we can pay for this. And I have talked to Mayor de Blasio, he
is fully on board. And a lot of the veterans` organizations want to chip
in, in all kind of different ways.

So, I think paying for it went be the hard part. It`s getting it
organized. And we`ll have to figure out when we can do it. We will wait
with DOD`s wishes, until combat is declared over.

It would be nice if that happened in, in September. You know, given
these elections. Maybe that can happen, because they will be quicker to
sign an agreement. Karzai was resisting an agreement. We can do it on
Veterans Day. What a great thing that would be.

MADDOW: Senator Charles Schumer of New York -- as I said, we covered
the story for a long time.

SCHUMER: And you have done a great job. Kudos, kudos.

MADDOW: Thank you. This is the first progress we`ve been able to
report in a long time. Congratulations, sir.

SCHUMER: Good to see you. Thanks for your good work.

MADDOW: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: On a Wednesday night, 364 days ago -- so, a year ago tomorrow
-- this happened in a town called West in the great state of Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(EXPLOSION)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t hear. I can`t hear. Let`s get out of
here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That absolutely terrifying explosion one year ago at a
fertilizer plant in Texas killed 15 people and just leveled a huge part of
a well-established American place. In the year since that plant and that
town blew up, we have learned a lot about what happened there and why.

But what we have decided to do about what happened there will amaze
you. And we have got that story for you on tomorrow night`s show. I hope
you will be here for that.

Thanks for being with us tonight.

Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD".

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

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