'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
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Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: May 6, 2015
Guest: Ron Guggisberg, Christy Hoppe
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: If they took away the title, there would
be rioting, including some in this studio.
MADDOW: A one-person, pitiful, under-informed riot.
HAYES: No justice, no peace.
MADDOW: That`s right. Thank you, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
One of the funnier, conservative political impulses in this country
in the last few years was when President Obama was first elected, and to a
lesser extent when he was re-elected in 2012. There was this little
outburst on the right of American conservatives threatening that they were
going to move to Canada.
They were so disappointed that America had taken a liberal turn that
they were going to take refuge in a country with socialized medicine,
really high taxes and an open door policy for immigration. I don`t think
Canada was going to make them feel better if what they were worried about
was liberalism. But a lot of American conservatives said when Barack Obama
was elected, that they were going to move to Canada because of those
election results that they did not like.
What do you do, though, if you are a conservative who already lives
in Canada and you get an election result you do not like, because it`s way
It turns out the Canadian conservatives do not, in that instance,
threaten to move to the United States, which actually might make sense for
them. Now, if you are Canadian conservative and you are horrified by some
liberal winning an election in Canada, what you threaten to do in that
instance is you just threaten to move somewhere else in Canada.
The least liberal part of Canada, the Canadian equivalent to Texas,
everybody says, last night, that province just elected the Canadian
equivalent of Bernie Sanders to run their province. And now today, on
Twitter, all the conservatives in Alberta are threatening that they are
going to move to Saskatchewan in protest.
Look at some of the stuff on Twitter. "Well, there goes the
neighborhood. I will now be moving to Saskatchewan." "Sell everything.
Move to Saskatchewan." "Lock down the Alberta-Saskatchewan border to slow
down the eastbound traffic."
1133Canada is the fifth largest producer of oil in the world, almost
80 percent of Canada`s oil comes from Alberta, comes from the Alberta tar
sands. Canada does overall have kind of a clean and green pseudo-
Scandinavian reputation, right? But if you have wondered why Canada kind
of sucks on climate change, pull out of international agreements and, you
know, they don`t hit the targets and all that kind of stuff, it`s mostly
because of Alberta, and because of Alberta`s tar sand oils and Alberta`s
consistently conservative influence on Canadian national politics,
particularly around energy and the environment.
Right now, the Canadian prime minister is a conservative. His name
is Steven Harper He is from the conservative stronghold of Alberta. The
conservative party has been in charge in Alberta for 43 years? Forty-three
years, they have held power there, longer than any one party has been in
control of any one part of Canada ever.
So, with the Alberta oil and conservative lock on the politics there,
Alberta really is the Texas of Canada. But it`s even more so than Texas
is, look at the political map. Heading in to last night`s election, this
was the conservative dominance of the local government in Alberta. It is a
parliamentary system there. So, there are more than two parties.
But those red squares there, those are the conservatives. That`s the
conservative party in Alberta heading into last night`s election. That`s
what they had. That`s how they controlled it.
And if you look at just blue seats there, those four blue squares,
those were the liberal seats in that parliament. That`s the new Democratic
This is what it was in Alberta before last night`s election. And
this is what happened last night. Whoa!
Wow, not only did the liberal new Democratic Party take over from the
conservatives for the first time in 40 years, they just stomped them. They
absolutely stomped them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL NOTLEY, ALBERTA PREMIER-DESIGNATE: Well, my friends --
I know. I think -- I think we might have made a little bit of
Friends, I believe that change has finally come to Alberta.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDO: That is Rachel Notley, the new not-at-all conservative
premier of Canada`s most conservative province.
The head of the conservative party not only lost to Rachel Notley
last night, he resigned immediately as premier. He resigned immediately
from the legislature overall. And he said last night that he would leave
politics forever effective immediately. He is now back in private life.
He is gone.
And so, today, conservatives in Alberta said they were going to move
And the Canadian international press started running out of
adjectives to explain how big a shift this was. Seismic shift. It`s a
political earthquake. Conservatives were decimated. Pigs do fly. This is
as unlikely as socialists taking power in Texas. Hell freezes over in
The one key player in Alberta politics that has freaked out the most
since these election results came in, the one sort of stake holder that
plays a really big goal in Alberta and Alberta politics was the oil
industry. Oil industry is freaking out. Look at the headlines, energy
sector braces for change. Alberta`s oil patch now in uncharted waters.
One energy industry financial analysts saying the industry is
somewhere between disbelief and dismay. They just had not believed this
would happen. They thought, quote, "That people would come to their
Another oil industry financial guy basically had a panic attack on
the business pages saying, quote, "As an investor in the oil patch, you are
going to get your teeth kicked in."
The new Democrats who just took party are saying they will take a
different approach to energy issues in particular and economic issues more
broadly. They`re going to take a look at the royalties that oil companies
pay back to the taxpayers. They are planning on hiking the corporate tax
rate a little bit from 10 percent to 12 percent.
And they say they are going to do a total U-turn on the issue of
climate change where Alberta for years has pressured Canada to be worse on
climate change. Now, they say Alberta is going to pressure Canada to be
better on climate change.
They are also planning to do a total policy U-turn on something that
directly affects the United States, the Keystone pipeline, still up in the
air. Obama administration has not decided one way or the other about
improving or not. That Keystone Pipeline would start at the Alberta oil
sands in Albert, Canada, and it would pump that Canadian oil across the
border and all the way across the United States all the way down to the
refineries in the Texas Gulf Coast.
Now, that Alberta last night threw out the conservative government
that they have had for 40 years and, instead, have picked this new
Democratic government, this new liberty government. The new premier,
Rachel Notley, says that Alberta is right now going to stop spending any
more government resources on pushing the United States to approve that
pipeline. They are going to stop pushing for Keystone.
And who knows, you know, President Obama might still decide to
approve the Keystone pipeline. He might still decide that. He gets to
decide on his own terms. But if he does, it is not going to be because our
neighbors to the north are pressuring him to do it. Alberta is going to
stop putting pressure on the U.S. about that.
When President Obama first got elected, and all those American
conservatives were threatening they were going to move to Canada to get
away from the horrible socialist things he was going to do to the country,
I think nobody would have predicted when he first got elected that one of
the things that would happen during the Obama presidency, one of the
terrible socialist, ecotopia tree-hugger gay, hippie things he would do
during his presidency would be to make the United States the world`s number
one producer of oil. But over the course of the Obama presidency, we have
become the largest producer of oil in the world. We produce more oil every
day than Saudi Arabia does.
Now, on the one hand -- neat. On the other hand, that comes with a
whole raft of new policy challenges. Some of which are about climate
change and some about very nitty-gritty, just basic logistics and safety
details like, for example, how to move all this oil around the country.
And part of that is pipeline politics and Keystone politics and other
pipeline projects that have attracted so much attention and so much
protests and so much politicking, and so much lobbying and so much money.
Those big pipeline projects will get built or they won`t eventually.
But in the meantime, all of that pipeline politics happens, what has
already scaled up incredibly rapidly and at an incredibly huge scale in
order to move oil around the country, in the meantime, what we have decided
to do is trains -- oil trains. And that has produced its own new political
weather as these oil trains with increasing frequency derail and crash and
blow up. And when they blow, they cause these apocalyptic fireballs,
Railroads are not new technology, obviously. Shipping oil by rail is
not new technology. But we are shipping so much of it more than we used
to, that we have very quickly proven that the old safety standards we had
for doing that kind of thing at low volume are not good enough now that we
are doing it high volume. And the government really is scrambling to catch
up after we have one after another of these huge explosions.
Last night, literally just last night on this show, we had the Obama
administration`s transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, here live to tax
about the brand new rules that were just announced to try to deal with the
problem of oil trains blowing up all over the place.
And talking with Secretary Foxx last night, I think the government is
happy to have some rule out at all given how hard the oil industry is
pushing against it and how long it takes to roll these things out.
But what they have rolled out is, you know, kind of a mixed bag. On
the one hand, they are setting new rules for stronger tanker cars that
hopefully won`t blow up so easily. On the other hand, even these new
mandatory standards for stronger cars won`t go into effect for years. They
are going to leave the current generation of unsafe cars on the rails for
up to another five years.
On one hand, the new rules say first responders and emergency crews
should get more information about these rolling mile-long bombs that are
pulling through cities and towns all across the country. On the other
hand, the new rules say the general public should get even less access to
information about those trains than we get now.
So, they are trying to come up with a fix to the problem. And every
step of the way, the industry, the railroad industry and the energy
industry -- they`re pushing back and saying, oh, there is no problem at
all. Pay no attention to the apocalyptic fireball in the corner, right?
So, that fight is underway. We had the transportation secretary here
just last night talking about it. And then, wake up this morning -- right
This morning, another oil train blew up. It`s a train made up of the
type of oil cars that even the new rule will leave on the rail for another
five years, until 2020. We still don`t know why this latest oil train
derailed about -- but it did. And at least a half dozen oil tankers full
of Bakken crude blew up after the derailment happened. Those cars, as far
as we know right now, are still burning tonight.
This is the fifth major oil train derailment and explosion this year
already. And once again, it has happened in the state of North Dakota,
which is becoming more synonymous with oil production in North Dakota than
Alberta is or than Texas is. North Dakota is where we pump that Bakken oil
shale crude which many people feel is even more volatile, even more prone
to blowing up than your run-of-the-mill everyday crude from somewhere else
other than North Dakota.
When this derailment and explosion happened today, North Dakota had
to evacuate the town of Heimdal, in central North Dakota. Heimdal is a
very small town. It`s about 80 miles east of Minot, North Dakota.
The state Health Department issued a health advisory advising people
to stay indoors to avoid breathing any of the considerable smoke that this
oil train fire has been putting out all day. They have dispatched at least
four separate fire departments to try and monitor the scene, if not put it
out. These fires are usually burning too hot and too big to put out. You
just wait for them to burn.
They have dispatched at least four separate fire departments and two
hazmat teams. Officials from the EPA are on site monitoring whether that
oil has gotten into a nearby river. The NTSB says they have started an
inquiry into this crash. They plan to have their investigators on the
ground there tomorrow. The Federal Railroad Administration has their
administrators there already. But we don`t know why it happened.
And just this year, this is oil train disaster number five already,
as the federal government is at the very beginning of this long, unwieldy,
slow process of trying to catch up to what`s going on on the rails and
places like North Dakota in the meantime, where all the oil is coming from,
are basically left to muddle along on their own and handle this issue as
best they can, both for themselves and these small towns like Heimdal,
North Dakota, which had to be completely evacuated today. But also for the
country as their particularly volatile leading export rumbles across the
country in these big, fragile tin cans that seem slightly less safe than a
1976 Ford Pinto playing bumper cars.
Joining us now is Ron Guggisberg. He`s a North Dakota state
representative and captain with the Fargo Fire Department, and therefore
the perfect person to speak to about this issue.
Representative Guggisberg, thanks very much for being with us.
STATE REP. RON GUGGISBERG (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Thanks for having me
MADDOW: So I`m extrapolating a little bit from what I`ve seen in
terms of fire departments responding to these oil train fires around the
country. As somebody with experience in fire fighting and somebody who has
looked at this from a policy-making perspective, is it fair to say that
when these trains blow up, there really isn`t a way to put out the fires at
least in the short-term?
GUGGISBERG: You know, when these trains derail and start a fire, you
can`t just walk in there and put the fire out obviously.
The issue we`re having in North Dakota, as far as first responders,
95 percent of our firefighters are volunteers. That means that, you know,
they have volunteered, stepped forward to help their communities to put out
a car fire or a house fire or deal with other natural disasters.
But they didn`t ask for this. They didn`t ask for a railroad to go
through their community. And they didn`t ask for the dangerous things that
are on the railcars.
MADDOW: It seems like concerns for first responders, as you`re
describing there, and it`s incredibly acute when it`s almost all
volunteers. But concern for first responders is something that actually
hasn`t been at the top of the agenda of people been worried about this new
safety crisis that we have got in the country. I wonder if there is enough
training, there is enough specialized equipment, there is enough, you know,
sort of best practices advice that could go out and put first responders in
a better stead, or is this sort of just an -- this is un-fightable as the
situation in terms of what first responders may stumble on literally in a
town of any size anywhere in the country as these trains go everywhere?
GUGGISBERG: Yes, Rachel, you are right. The best way to put out a
fire is to prevent it from happening in the first place. And it`s the same
with a rail accident.
You know, we had a big fight this session in North Dakota legislature
about whether or not to approve three rail inspectors to start a state rail
inspection program, which we eventually did, with basically, 1/2 rail
inspectors. It made us the 31st state in the nation to have one. It was a
fight until the final day.
MADDOW: Is that because there is denial at the state level in North
Dakota that there is a safety risk here? Is it just pure fiscal
conservatism that people don`t want to spend money on anything? Is there
hope that the federal government or the industry themselves might somehow
step up and take care of it? What`s driving them?
GUGGISBERG: Well, I would say all of the above. The thing is, we
are ready to collect money from diesel tax on the railroads. We are going
to collect between $5 million and $6 million in the next two years of our
budget cycle. Only $600,000 of that will be used for rail safety in our
Now, in fact, we had $3 million in the budget to help first
responders. Instead of using this railroad tax, what the Republicans and
majority did was take money that was already in a fund for the
firefighters, took it away from the local fire departments to use for rail
The other issues are always -- yes, we`re just against any type of
government. I did think it was kind of funny. It seems like almost every
day in the North Dakota legislature, we had bills to talk about our state
sovereignty and balance budget amendments. So, we want the federal
government to stop spending money.
But then when it came to this, when it came to our rails in our
state, the Republicans and the majority wanted the federal government to
come in and take care of us.
MADDOW: Wow, and having watched firsthand, and had first hand
conversations with people in the federal government who are trying their
best to take care of it -- I can tell you, there is going to be no federal
rescue here. And unless it happens at some other level, I`m not sure it`s
going to happen any time soon.
North Dakota State Rep. Ron Guggisberg, who`s also captain with Fargo
Fire Department, it`s a real pleasure to have you. Thanks for being with
GUGGISBERG: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Literally, he is the perfect person to talk to
on this issue. We had to invent him. Obviously, he is an actor. No, I`m
All right. We`ve got lots more ahead, including the question of how
is it the state of Texas, the state with more "don`t mess with us" swagger
than any other state in the country is also the nationwide leader in
"they`re coming to get us" paranoia.
We`ve got a lot ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Chuck Norris, Walker, Texas ranger, bringing the law and the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ranger, we`re leaving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re leaving all right, but you`re going to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No way. No more jail, never.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Chuck Norris used to play the guy you`d want on your side in
a fight, any fight. Well, now, Chuck Norris is on the most fantastic site
in the craziest fight of all.
As promised, that story is coming up tonight. I`m very excited about
it. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: This is an important update. Last night, we reported on the
absolutely ginormous number of candidates running or conceivably running
for president on the Republican side this year. And by our math, by our
count, there were 22 total, six in the race already for sure, and a slew of
other maybes adding up to 22 all together.
But tonight, we have a math update, because Politico.com tonight is
reporting that the Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, will not
run for president. That is -- whoop. Bye!
That`s according to two sources familiar with his planning. It`s a
little bit weird because just yesterday, Rick Snyder hinted that he really
might run. But now, he is apparently out, at least according to
Tonight, we have just learned that Rick Santorum is more than likely
officially getting in. The former Pennsylvania senator will reportedly
announce his candidacy on May 27th in Pittsburgh. We`ll just be pipping
Rick Perry. Rick Perry due to announce June 1st.
As of this moment, in terms of the bottom line -- there are six folks
officially already running. One other who will be announcing his candidacy
by the end of this month and 14 others who may very well run.
We`ll keep updating the math. Watch this space.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, it is true. I
have not managed to make everybody happy. Six years into my presidency,
some people still say I`m arrogant and aloof, condescending.
Some people are so dumb. No wonder I don`t meet with them.
And that`s not all people say about me. A few weeks ago, Dick Cheney
says, he thinks I`m the worst president of his lifetime, which is
interesting, because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my
Quite a coincidence. I mean, everybody has got something to say
Mike Huckabee recently said, people shouldn`t join our military until
a true conservative is elected president. Think about that. It was so
outrageous, 47 ayatollahs wrote us a letter trying to explain to Huckabee
how our system works.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama at the White House correspondents` dinner
last week making a pretty good joke about Dick Cheney and a less funny but
more specific joke about Mike Huckabee -- specifically about Mike Huckabee
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: There is no greater
heroes to our country than our military but I might suggest to parents, I`d
wait a couple of years until we get a new commander-in-chief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Parents, don`t let your kids enlist in the military while
President Obama is in office. Never mind the myriad of wars around the
world. Just think -- wait until it`s President Huckabee in a couple of
The former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee did announce yesterday
that he is running again for president. There are so many contenders and
potential contenders for the presidency on the Republican side that we are
going to get some kind of announcement about someone basically every day
between now and the summer.
On Monday this week, we got Ben Carson announcing in the morning.
And then we got Carly Fiorina announcing in the afternoon. The next day on
Tuesday, we got Mike Huckabee announcing that he would run. Today, we got
the announcement that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder would not run and that
we might get Rick Santorum by the end of the month.
But the Huckabee announcement I think provides a particularly good
snapshot of something that`s going on in Republican-ville that does not
necessarily make sense in the rest of the country. But because it is going
on in Republican-ville, it is going to be a national hum on the edge of our
national politics, just because Republicans are into it, even if nobody
else understands it.
So, here is how it goes. In conservative politics, one of Mike
Huckabee`s most potent allies has always been Chuck Norris. Yes, Chuck
Norris. He is now 75 years old. But Chuck Norris is still the platonic
ideal of an action hero to a certain chunk of the Mike Huckabee base.
And so, it helps Mike Huckabee a lot that he gets to do joint
appearances and funny campaign ads with Chuck Norris like this one when he
ran for president in 2008. And now that Mr. Huckabee is running again, he
is deploying Chuck Norris again.
So, as Mike Huckabee was announcing he is going to run for president
again yesterday, Chuck Norris simultaneously was doing an interview with
the "New York Times", explaining how there is no one better qualified in
America to be president than his friend, Mike Huckabee.
In order to give that interview to the "New York Times" about Mike
Huckabee, Chuck Norris did have to interrupt his regular schedule of
writing columns for the conservative conspiracy Web site World Net Daily.
And to be fair, a lot of what Chuck Norris writes about for World Net Daily
is like selling people on his helpful tricks to lose the fat with magic
green tea and Chuck Norris probiotics.
But when he is not persuading his World Net Daily readers to send
away for this breakthrough new book from cleansing toxins from your gut
lose weight now, he also most recently has been urging his readers to
consider the dangers of Jade Helm 15.
You have heard by now about the conservative freak out over Jade Helm
15. Jade Helm 15 is a U.S. military training exercise scheduled to take
place for eight weeks starting in July and a bunch of states in the
American southwest. The idea is for Green Berets and Navy SEALs and other
special operation troops to do a big training exercise in different kinds
of terrain they might find themselves in if serving overseas. That`s the
official stated purpose of Jade Helm.
But on the far right fringe, Jade Helm is the first stage of a
martial law takeover of Texas and maybe other states too or maybe just
Texas. On the fringe right, Jade Helm is actually the military setting up
prison camps for American citizens and also there could be something to do
with the aliens that are hiding underground. Plus, don`t forget the blue
laser horse thing at the Denver airport which is definitely involved.
Out there on the right, Jade Helm 15 is about a network of
underground tunnels where the entrances are disguised by these mysteriously
closed Walmart stores and the tunnels go to secret deep underground
military bases, DUMBS for short. DUMBS, because apparently this is an
intelligence test and we`re failing.
But, you know, if you line up the maps up right, if you line up the
maps, you can see with your wide open eyes, the network of underground
Walmart tunnels so clearly. Those Walmarts with the tunnels and the DUMBS,
those will be where the Chinese troops will be setting up their
headquarters or maybe the Walmarts for the enslaved American children who
are in the tunnels now who will have to be moved out of there when Jade
Helm starts because the federal government will use Jade Helm to conquer
Texas and they`ll need room for all the new political prisoners, who
obviously are all of Texas` armed conservatives.
And so, yes, maybe the Walmarts are where they will stash all the
Texas patriots guns after the Jade Helm troops take them all away. See,
it`s in the maps. It`s right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are maps circulating that show several
underground -- deep underground basis around the United States. There are
also maps circulating that show tunnels that connect those bases. You will
also see how Walmarts connect to some of the bases in some of the tunnels.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walmart has been in this special kind of
partnership in this war against terror with DHS. They could very well be
going through a process connecting them to an underground network. This is
a very real situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the document, Texas, Utah, and conservative
areas of southern California are listed as hostile areas.
RICK WILES: I hope Jade Helm 15 is not the preparation for or the
actual implementation of a roundup of patriotic men who have the capacity
to influence and inspire the citizenry to resist a coup against the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is a little taste of the Jade Helm right-wing freak-
out, particularly in Texas. And it`s obviously, the great Jade Helm 15
freak-out has become a pretty funny big national joke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, COMEDY CENTRAL: You know who is calling it a Texas
takeover, Lone Star lunatics. Dallas (EXPLETIVE DELETED), Houston
(EXPLETIVE DELETED), Texas. There is no Texas takeover. The United States
government already controls Texas since like the 1840s. They left and came
back. Just borrow a text book from a neighboring state. It`s all in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And yes, it is funny. It`s hilarious with a capital
And, of course, the conspiracy theory is being cooked up in Texas,
thank you, Texas, and is being trafficked by Texas radio host Alex Jones,
the king of all internet conspiracies that will supply you with male
vitality potions that will make you look more hairy if you take the picture
in the right light.
But here`s the thing, the military`s Jade Helm military exercise is
still a ways off. It`s not due to start until the middle of July. And
despite the mainstream ridicule of this panic, the Jade Helm story isn`t
going away on the right.
Last week, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott actually called out
the Texas state guard and directed them to monitor the Jade Helm exercise
so Texans know their safety and constitutional rights and private property
rights and civil liberties will not be infringed. He called out the guard
to monitor the U.S. military last week. This week, despite all the
ridicule and everybody in mainstream America making fun of this, he is out
there touting the decision, defending the decision, not backing off one
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, running for president, says he has now
written to the Pentagon to demand answers from them about Jade Helm 15 and
what`s really going on about this purported military exercise.
Republican hopeful, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Senator Paul, also says he
is looking into this Jade Helm issue.
The Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris show right now is basically equal
parts. Mike Huckabee for president and be afraid of Jade Helm.
The next candidate who we are pretty sure who is going to announce on
June 1st is Rick Perry. Rick Perry made a little stab at trying to be the
voice of reason on the Jade Helm issue, which was interesting. But watch
this, watch this little piece of tape. He is trying to sort of be the
voice of reason on this. But watch how his handlers pull him away in the
middle of his comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: The Texas Guard to monitor the U.S. military operations.
RICK PERRY (R), FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: You know, I`m one of these
guys, I think it is OK to question your government. I do it on a pretty
regular basis. The military is something else. So, you know, I think our
military is quite trustworthy. The civilian leadership, you can always
question that but not the men and women --
QUESTION: Governor Perry, when should we expect an announcement from
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Governor Perry, Governor Perry, he`s got to go. He`s late,
Pity the poor Republican politician who needs to figure out the
appropriate line on this, right, to avoid offending the base, which is
upset about this matter, but also needing to not seem insane to the rest of
I mean, this is one of the issues that is hilarious to the rest of
the real world but is totally serious business in Republican world. And
for most Republican politicians, particularly those competing for the
Republican presidential nomination, where only Republican base voters will
decide who`s allowed to run, if you have a choice between seeming insane to
normal people and seeming righteous to the base, which are you going to
There`s an incentive to pick seeming righteous to the base, even if
it is nutty to everybody else. And on the surface level, the U.S. military
and even Walmart seem like they would be pretty hardened targets when it
comes to conservative criticism, right?
You think that those two institutions might be safe but nothing is
immune anymore, not at times like these even when it comes to the military,
right? There is now no alarm that goes off on the right anymore when you
get too crazy, or when you touch things that are too close to the
And Jade Helm panic is funny. Jade Helm panic, though, is going to
be with us for a while. It is hilarious and ridiculous to most of the
country, but it is real on the right and it is fast becoming real politics
for real ambitious Republican politicians.
Hold that thought.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How will this affect our routine daily lives?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First and foremost, we are truly invested in
everybody`s personal rights and their privacy. That`s what we live for.
We live to support the Constitution of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In light of the people`s overwhelming opposition
to this martial law program, with the commissioners court consider
reversing their invitation to these guys and would the court be offended if
I told the colonel that I didn`t believe a single word that he just said?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a special operations, Navy SEALs, Green
Berets, Delta Force and others that are running this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Central Texas right outside of Austin where they
are running their main operations against the enemy force, Texas, for Jade
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`ll have some real mission that are
legitimate, mixed in to confuse the idiot public, kind of like cyanide
pills, you know, taste like sugar, or 80 percent sugar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Jade Helm 15, cyanide and sugar, idiot public, everybody
The great paranoid panic over the Jade Helm military exercise this
summer has become a national joke, except among the Republican base.
And therefore, it can`t be a joke among Republican candidates who are
trying to please that base, right? They`ve got a very, very distinct
decision, right? They`ve got to choose in this case between trying to seem
righteous to that base, but not seeming insane to normal people at the same
How are these candidates going to be able to tow that line?
Joining us now is Christy Hoppe. She`s the Austin bureau chief of
"The Dallas Morning News", which has been covering this story pretty
Ms. Hoppe, thanks very much for being here.
CHRISTY HOPPE, DALLAS MORNING NEWS AUSTIN BUREAU CHIEF: Thank you
for having me. And welcome to Texas while we still have a state.
MADDOW: Thank you very much, before the federal government comes in
and locks you all up in closed Walmarts.
MADDOW: Yes. You know, a lot of people were surprised when Governor
Abbott told the Texas guard to monitor this exercise, because it felt like
it was a funny little fringe concern about this thing. Was he hearing
concerns about this from more people that we might expect? Is this a
bigger concern than we know?
HOPPE: Well, he is hearing about it from his own base. Greg Abbott
ran for governor as attorney general, and his biggest applause was, I wake
up every morning and sue the federal government and I go home.
So, he has made a pretty substantial political stake in railing
against the federal government and distrust of the federal government and
state right. So, this was part of -- in his wheelhouse.
MADDOW: Part of it that feels hard even with understanding that
context is that it`s not like it is a homeland security exercise, right?
It`s not like it is an ATF exercise. It`s a U.S. military special force
exercise. And it seems like guys like Greg Abbott who have been able to
build a political career around hating the feds haven`t built that
political career on being suspicious of the military.
HOPPE: Right. I mean, a lot of these same folks are help support
our troops on bumper stickers.
HOPPE: So, there is a cognizant dissent that you think the military
would use those Walmart tunnels to come and confiscate your guns and impose
martial law at the same time you think they are heroes. The heroes they
MADDOW: I want to -- I played that lieutenant colonel from special
operations command, going to the county meeting to try to talk people off
the ledge -- in part, because I think it is remarkable the way he was
treated there. I think it is interesting the way the military has taken it
above themselves to try to talk people off the ledge here.
Are they still doing that? Are they making a big PR effort to try to
calm people down about this?
HOPPE: Yes, they are. There was a briefing in the state capital
yesterday to staffers and others for legislatures to help answer questions
raised about this and the constituency. So, you know, it`s like any
conspiracy theory. You know, our president was born in Kenya. You know,
9/11 was an inside job. It has some of its own, you know, fire power on
the Internet. People start to listen.
MADDOW: Do you expect that people like Ted Cruz and other people who
are courting the Texas Republican base as their wonderful president may
stick with the Jade Helm criticism or at least the conspiracy theorizing
around it as a way to keep people interested?
HOPPE: I don`t think they lose political capital among their base
for doing it. Now, there are a lot of Republicans. Todd Smith, who is a
16-year legislator in Texas, called them out and wrote an open letter to
Greg Abbott, saying, why are you pandering to idiots? You know, I hate
that the Republican Party is falling this far and that they can`t recognize
a common sense approach of saying, this is insanity. You must stop.
But, you know, as I said, you know, and as you`ve said, you know, the
Republican base is very powerful and active. The Republican primary is the
only election that counts. That`s what, you know, Republicans have held
every state-wide office in Texas for the last two decades. All you need to
do is win the primary.
MADDOW: That`s what makes the Republican on Republican conversation
in Texas so fascinating and important.
Christy Hoppe, Austin bureau chief for "The Dallas Morning News" --
it was great to have you here on the show. Hope you`ll come back. It`s
really nice to have you here.
HOPPE: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. We have quite a bit left on the show tonight of slightly
less crazy news, slightly less crazy, slightly.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So it has been a tense night in the great state of Oklahoma.
A tornado has touched down. The Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City
has had to be evacuated twice tonight because of the storm. That airport
still appears to be under evacuation right now. All incoming flights to
Oklahoma City are being diverted.
These tornados caused damage throughout the state. Today and the
tonight, water and debris, a lot of roadways, more than 10,000 Oklahoma
electric customers are without power right now. Oklahoma has now activated
its emergency operations center and it`s been directing people as to where
they can go with shelter if they need to.
But Oklahoma is not alone. In Kansas, a wave of tornados touched
down today. In Nebraska, tornadoes damaged a number of homes today. Minor
injuries were reported in Nebraska. More than a dozen tornados touched
down in those three states today and this is part of a larger system that
is still rolling through that part of the country. Those states are still
on a severe weather watch as of this evening.
We`re going to keep you posted as we learn more.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, here is what you need to know about before tomorrow.
Tomorrow, voters in the U.K. are going to polls to elect a new government.
The country is divided into 650 constituencies. Each constituent has a
seat in parliament. People vote for local candidates to represent them in
parliament and the leader of whichever party gets the most seats gets to be
The biggest parties are Conservative Party, which is Prime Minister
David Cameron`s party and the Labour Party, which is headed up by Ed
Milliband. So, the assumption is that one of those guys will get to be
prime minister after tomorrow`s voting, but they are really, really running
neck and neck.
Look, literally, they`re tied in the polls. If the polls are right
and neither of the major parties gets enough seats to form a government on
their own, then we will get a hung parliament, which is like a hung jury
but with more tea and crumpets, and more Queen Elizabeth, because if there
is a hung parliament after the voting tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth will need
to jump in and pick a leader who will then cobble together a coalition to
try to run the country.
The election is tomorrow. The closer the two major parties are, the
more the minor parties can potentially play a decisive role. Nobody knows
what`s going to happen tomorrow. There is a roughly 50 percent chance that
the current prime minister will be out on his ear this time tomorrow night.
It`s all very exciting.
There`s a five-hour time difference between the East Coast of the
U.S. and Britain. So, plan tomorrow to stay up late, and watch this space.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: You live a busy life. The last thing you want to have to
worry about is your birth control pill. That`s why we`re introducing
OrthoEsterin, a new low dose daily birth control pill with little to no
Ask your doctor if birth control is right for you. Then, ask your
boss if birth control is right for you. Ask your boss to ask his priest.
Find a Boy Scott and see what he thinks.
Tap a mailman on the shoulder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry. I didn`t mean to startle you.
NARRATOR: Tell him you didn`t mean to startle him and then ask him
if birth control is right for you.
Put it online and see how many likes it gets.
Ask an old black man and an Asian boy playing chess in the park.
Then ask them how they became friends because there has just got to
be a story there.
Ask someone who just got one of those cochlear implants and is
hearing for the very first time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But just can I get birth control?
NARRATOR: Ask Jeeves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m supposed to ask you, too.
NARRATOR: Ask your mom`s new boyfriend. Then, ask the Supreme
Finally, ask yourself why you insist on having sex for fun.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No refills? I have to go through all this
again next month?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. See you then.
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Can I have a gun?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Remember, that`s your right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The great Amy Schumer, everybody.
One sight of satirical genius is when it accidentally or on purpose
predicts the real news. That part of the Amy Schumer skit with the boss
there, that just happened in real life. The part about asking your boss if
it`s OK to use birth control?
D.C. passed a law recently saying if your boss has a moral problem
with birth control and you are on birth control, your boss cannot use that
as a basis for firing you. Republicans in the House of Represents just
voted to repeal that law in D.C. House Republicans just said, yes, your
boss absolutely should be able to fire you if you take birth control or if
you have premarital sex or if you get pregnant out of wedlock or if you
have in vitro fertilization.
There`s very little chance that that House bill will ever become the
law. The White House has already said the president will veto it. But
that push to get Congress to repeal that D.C. law to say it`s still OK if
your boss fires you if you fight birth control.
That push came from powerful conservative groups from D.C. and is
coming from 2016 presidential candidates. Ted Cruz sponsored the bill to
do that in the Senate. Rand Paul now says he supports it, as well.
Every year, the Beltway media tells us this is the year Republicans
are no longer focused on social issues, right? The whole war on women
thing is just a big Democratic conspiracy. Social conservativism stuff was
not supposed to matter in 2016.
It still matters. Republicans are still obsessed with birth control
and abortion. It`s still a real thing. But at the very least, this year,
it also has the potential to be a very, very funny thing.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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