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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: May 14, 2015
Guest: Kathie Obradovich, Mike O`Brien



RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And thanks to you at home as well for
joining us this hour.

President Obama tonight gave a solo presidential press conference at
Camp David. It was mostly about foreign policy. The president has been
meeting with Middle Eastern leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council,
which means naturally a lot of the talk today was about Iran and also about
the war in Yemen.

But President Obama tonight led off this press conference with
comments about the fatal Amtrak crash two nights ago in Philadelphia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Before I get to what
we discussed here today with our Gulf partners, I want to, again, express
my deepest condolences to the families of those who died in Tuesday`s
terrible train derailment outside Philadelphia. I want to express my
gratitude for the first responders who raced to save lives and for the many
passengers who, despite their own injuries, made heroic efforts to get
fellow passengers to safety.

And for a lot of people on that train, it was a routine journey, a
commute, a business trip. For the Amtrak employees who were badly hurt, it
was their office, place of doing business and that somehow makes it all the
more tragic.

Until we know for certain what caused this tragedy, I want to
reiterate what I have said, that we are a growing country with a growing
economy. We need to invest in the infrastructure that keeps us that way,
and not just when something bad happens, like a bridge collapse or a train
derailment, but all the time. That`s what great nations do.

So I offer any prayers for those who grieve, a speedy recovery for
the many who were injured as they work to recover. And we will cooperate,
obviously, at every level of government to make sure that we get answers in
terms of precisely what happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: President Obama speaking tonight at Camp David at the top of
his presidential press conference.

Right around the same time, the president was speaking the NTSB
tonight released some new details, including some harrowing new details
about what happened in Philadelphia and where they are into their federal
investigation into the crash. We`re going to have more on that coming up
in just a moment. Actually, quite a bit of new detail tonight from the
NTSB.

But watching the president today at this official presidential press
conference, at the official presidential retreat at Camp David, watching
the assembled press corps, the president there solo taking their questions,
standing at podium with the presidential seal on it -- moments like this in
the news cycle, you have to feel for the poor schmucks that are out there
campaigning to get his job.

Structurally, it`s just difficult. It`s a challenge no matter who is
approximately. It happens every four years. But nights like this,
occasions like this, show you, I think, starkly the challenge for the
candidates who are trying to replace him. There is this presidential-ness
gap, right, between the person depth, right, between the person who is in
the White House and is, therefore, enjoying all the trappings of
presidential gravitas, especially at events like this, and then there is
this unfortunate contrast of what looks like on a day-to-day basis to try
to win that office.

Exhibit A, Ben Carson. Can we come in closer there? Ben Carson,
look closely there. Missing his front tooth. Missing his front tooth, the
poor guy. Yes, missing his front tooth.

TMZ posted this photo late last night of declared Republican
presidential candidate Ben Carson at a campaign event in South Carolina.
This is from TMZ. Quote, "The Republican hopeful was stumping at Tommy`s
Country Ham House in Greenville, South Carolina, where he chowed down on
scrambled eggs, grits and ham biscuits and then noticed a bonus on his
plate. His front tooth had fallen out."

TMZ then also showed this photograph of Dr. Carson staring down at
his plate of grits and eggs noticing the tooth that had fallen out and
deciding what to do with it. Quote, "The good doctor stared into his
plate, thought for a second and discreetly placed the errant chomper into
his shirt pocket. Dr. Carson then stood up and delivered an impassioned
speech with a hint of whistle."

Tommy`s Country Ham House in Greenville, South Carolina, is a popular
Republican campaign stop, the walls of Tommy`s Country Ham House are filled
with pictures of people like Newt Gingrich, and Jim DeMint and Rick
Santorum, lots of other Republican presidential hopeful, all shaking hands
with Tommy after having enjoyed a famous Tommy`s Country Ham House
breakfast.

But poor Ben Carson, when he made his campaign stop there, now that
he is running for president, his front tooth fell out into his grits. And
actually, it wasn`t his tooth falling out. It was his teeth falling out.

Dr. Carson explained later that day that more than one of his teeth
just fell out while he was campaigning in South Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, they said it was a
pretty rough and tumble place. They said it was a rough and tumble place,
but I lost two teeth since I`ve been here. You know, this one went out
last night. This one went out -- but I`ve also had a chance to see two
very fine dentists here in South Carolina. So, it was very good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Dr. Ben Carson having his front teeth fall out while
campaigning in South Carolina. Hereby takes the top prize, I will tell
you, this is hotly contested amongst RACHEL MADDOW staff, but I believe Ben
Carson losing his teeth on the campaign trail is now officially the
weirdest thing to happen in presidential politicking this week. I say this
is hotly contested because there are other members of the RACHEL MADDOW
SHOW staff who believe that Ben Carson look losing his teeth while
campaigning is the second weirdest thing that happened this week because a
lot of people on my staff believe than nothing can top this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the co-chairs of Rand Paul for president,
(INAUDIBLE). I`d like to make a quick introduction of your state senator.
We`ll do a couple of opening remarks and then the pledge and let me
introduce state senator.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: I have debated whether or not to warn you. I`m sorry,
Jackie. She had a minor cardiac episode on the set here.

But that really happened. That happened on Monday of this week. It
happened in New Hampshire at a Rand Paul for president event.

The guy who licked the camera in this instance was not just a local
creep who turned up at the Rand Paul speech because he wanted to lick a
camera there. He wasn`t an activist trying to ruin everything for Rand
Paul. He wasn`t even a volunteer who was so excited to get near Rand Paul
that his excitement got both physical and misplaced at the same time and he
fell in love with the camera.

No, the guy who did the licking and then gave the eye afterwards,
yes, the smile is the hardest part, he is a paid Rand Paul staff person and
not at the low level. He is the political director for the Rand Paul
campaign in the state of New Hampshire.

On Monday, Rand Paul`s New Hampshire political director licked that
guy`s camera at the Rand Paul speech. By Monday night when the tape of him
licking the camera was starting to circulate everybody was sort of
recalibrating their expectations for how weird the campaign might get this
year.

But in the couple of days since that happened, the Rand Paul campaign
has had time to think it over, had time to think about what happened there,
and they have decided that they like that guy. They are keeping him on
staff.

So, I guess everybody is now on notice, if you want to come to the
Rand Paul presidential campaign, this is their political director and that
might happen to you at any moment. In a way, that might make the campaign
more fun. It will definitely make it for germy.

But as goofy as campaign has been thus far, this week it has also
become clear that there is an emerging substantive issue for the Republican
Party in terms of the political skills and potentially the campaign
viability of the guy who is closest to being their front-runner for the
nomination.

Jeb Bush is kind of the safety school of the giant Republican field
of candidates, right? I mean, Republicans might decide to go in some
radical new direction and pick a total unknown or a complete political
newcomer. For example, there was a FOX News poll that came out yesterday,
a national poll of registered Republican voters, and there was another
candidate tied for first place with Jeb Bush in that poll, and it was Ben
Carson, toothless Ben Carson. So, I mean, Republican Party might decide to
go in a radical new direction and pick somebody like that.

If they don`t, though, their safety school, the candidate they have
to fall back on, right, their known quantity, is Jeb Bush. He`s not
officially declared as a candidate so far. He`s obviously running, though.
He`s campaigning hard.

It turns out, I think to a lot of people`s surprise, that he`s not a
very natural national candidate. Every day he`s got some wobble. He`s got
something that he gets wrong or doesn`t come out right. Today he showed
off in Tempe, Arizona, he showed off that he was wearing a new Apple Watch,
he has a new Apple Watch, and he suggested that we should all have Apple
Watches instead of Obamacare, because there will be health apps on our
apple watches. So, who needs health insurance? That was little strange.

He said a couple of days ago that his number one adviser on Middle
East politics is his brother, George W. Bush. And that may be true. It
just seems like he didn`t understand how people would hear that when he
said it.

But in terms of his own views and what he`s offering the country as a
candidate, today was the fourth day in a row in which Jeb Bush took a new
and somewhat surprising position on the Iraq war. And this is getting to
be I think a problem in terms of whether or not he is going to continue to
be a frontrunner, whether he is going to be seen as a viable candidate. It
started this week on Monday on the FOX News Channel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: On the subject of Iraq.

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Yes.

KELLY: Obviously, very controversial. Knowing what we know now,
would you have authorized the invasion?

BUSH: I would have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: I would have, he says yes, I would have. And then he goes
into a longer answer as to why he would have. The answer was yes, knowing
what we know now, I have authorized the Iraq invasion. That was Monday.

Then, Tuesday morning, CNN had a strange third-hand report or maybe a
secondhand report that maybe he didn`t mean to have said that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANA NAVARRO, CNN COMMENTATOR: I can tell you that I e-mailed him
this morning and I said to him, hey, I`m a little confused by this answer,
so I`m generally wondering did you mishear the question? And he said, yes,
I misheard the question.

So, I think when you hear the entirety of his answer and he talks
about the faulty information, it`s hard not to conclude that he misheard
the question. Instead of hearing if we knew what we know now --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So what`s his answer?

NAVARRO: He must have heard if we knew what we knew then.

CUOMO: So what was the answer?

NAVARRO: Well, I didn`t ask him that second question.

CUOMO: So, you had that first question, you didn`t ask the second
part?

NAVARRO: That is one spokesperson not for me. Listen, it`s too
early in the morning, OK, for me to be exchanging e e-mails and being
coherent about something that happened ten years ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: It might have been early in the morning but she brought it
up, and so through Ana Navarro, we had the first revision of Jeb Bush`s
statements. So, we went from yes, knowing what we know now I would have
authorized the war, to I misheard the question. As to what his answer was
to the real question, Ana Navarro said she did not know. That was Tuesday
morning.

Then Tuesday afternoon, he didn`t say he misheard the question, he
said he had misinterpreted the question.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BUSH: Yes. I need -- thank you. Because I was -- interpreted the
question wrong, I guess. I was talking about given what people knew then,
would you have done it, rather than knowing what we know now.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: So, Monday, the answer was yes to the Iraq war. Tuesday
morning, the answer was he misheard the question, we don`t know what his
answer is. Tuesday afternoon, he said he misinterpreted the question, but
he also didn`t go on to state what his answer would be.

And then Wednesday, yesterday, he said that he wouldn`t answer the
question at all and actually, it would be offensive to answer the question.
It would be a disservice and disrespectful to American soldiers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I apologize. This guy looks like his head is about ready to
explode, so we need to let him talk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, I saw your interview with Megyn Kelly
and there was one question that he requested you about in Iraq and
Afghanistan.

BUSH: Yes, or Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iraq, I`m sorry. And you asked -- or you said, I
think it was yesterday, that I don`t want to answer hypotheticals. Don`t
you think running for president is hypothetical when you say if I run for
president, dot, dot, dot?

BUSH: Rewriting history is hypothetical. I respect the question,
but if we`re going to get back into hypotheticals, I think it does a
disservice for a lot of people that sacrificed a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So, that was the answer yesterday. The reason why he said
he didn`t want to answer. So, we went from answer yes to I misheard the
question to I misunderstood the question to it would be irresponsible and
disrespectful for me to answer the question.

And then today, though, he decided that he would answer the question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: So here is the deal. If we`re all supposed to answer
hypothetical questions, knowing what we know now, what would you have done
-- I would have not engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: OK. So this has been four days now of him answering this
question. Yes, I misheard, I misunderstood, I won`t answer it, and then
no. But right after he said no, today, no, we shouldn`t have gone into
Iraq, he then immediately said going into Iraq was a good idea. He said
the world today is safer because Saddam Hussein is gone. It`s
significantly safer.

So, if you are George W. Bush`s brother and you are running for
president very soon after the presidency of George W. Bush, you should
expect to be able to answer a basic question about the war your brother
started, which is widely viewed as the worst foreign policy blunder in the
United States in a generation.

Jeb Bush doesn`t seem to be able to handle even that totally
predictable, basic, qualifying question for his candidacy. We`re now four
days into him trying to answer it and he still doesn`t totally make sense.
And the way he handled it in terms of using a surrogate and then a
misunderstanding and then I won`t answer it and then I will answer and I`ll
qualify.

So for Republicans this is an interesting spot in the overall
campaign for the presidency. If their safe school, right, is starting to
look like a bad idea. If Jeb Bush is already failing the basic stuff he
knows he has to get right, what that does is makes the whole huge field of
Republican candidates who aren`t Jeb Bush, not just interesting for being
such a big field, it makes it potentially important who is in that field
because one of them is going to have to be the nominee if Jeb Bush cannot
be the nominee.

And the Republican field is remarkably, historically enormous. It`s
the largest field ever of candidates, and likely candidates, who can`t just
be dismissed as cranks, or protest candidates, or folks on the fringe.
These are all folks who legitimately have a shot and who legitimately have
a claim to, say, be in the debate.

As of last the week, we had 22 people on our short list of candidates
and potential candidates for the Republican nomination. Late last week, we
finally got to drop one person off that list when Michigan Governor Rick
Snyder announced that he would not run. So poof, good-bye, Rick Snyder.

Now we get to take one more name off the list. We get to take one
little head off of this list.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR: As I look forward, I have
decided not to seek the Republican nomination for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, where are you? Three,
two, one -- poof. OK. So he`s gone, too.

That`s it, though. With John Bolton gone today and Rick Snyder gone
last week, that means we are down to a short list of 20 candidates and
might be candidates. Everyone else on this list is, as far as we know, at
least a maybe and potentially a credible challenger.

I should tell you in today`s news former New York Governor George
Pataki -- sorry. Former New York Governor George Pataki announced he will
make his decision public about the presidency on May 28th. Clear your
schedule.

So, the Republican candidate field is big, it is diverse, it is
mostly very interesting, no offense. But what`s coming into focus this
week is that if Jeb Bush is going to be a bad candidate or if he is at
least going to run a feckless, failing campaign, who is in the remaining
giant field that is going to potentially make a real run for it? Who is in
that field is becoming all the more important.

And with that in mind, it was very juicy news a couple days ago when
we reported that Jeb Bush is going to be snubbing the Iowa Republican Party
and not participating in the Iowa straw poll this summer. Since we
reported that two nights ago, McKay Coppins at "BuzzFeed" has also reported
the far more provocative perspective that not only will Jeb Bush not
compete in the Iowa straw poll, he may not compete in Iowa, period.

Jeb Bush for president campaign is pushing back on this reporting
publicly, but "BuzzFeed" says they have three sources with knowledge of Jeb
Bush`s campaign strategy telling them that Jeb Bush, quote, "does not plan
to seriously contest Iowa`s caucuses and may ultimately skip the state
altogether." A top Republican consultant and a high level fundraiser, both
of whom have been courted by the Bush camp say that Bush`s advisers have
been explicit that the campaign would not seriously invest in Iowa during
the primaries.

Maybe this is a secretly genius move or maybe this is another example
of Jeb Bush surprisingly failing the basics of what it means to run for
president. But in either case, it makes the whole field, the whole
enormous size of the field all the more important if this is the way Jeb
Bush is going to run.

Joining us now is Kathie Obradovich. She is the political columnist
for "The Des Moines Register."

Ms. Obradovich, thanks very much for being here. It`s nice to have
you here.

KATHIE OBRADOVICH, DES MOINES REGISTER POLITICAL COLUMNIST: Thanks
for having me, Rachel.

MADDOW: Is it secretly genius to skip Iowa, either to de facto skip
Iowa by not really trying there or to actually skip it and not even really
compete?

OBRADOVICH: I think it would be really short sighted for Jeb Bush or
any candidate to start off this campaign writing off a state, particularly
a state like Iowa which is, true, does not pick presidents but Iowa does
start whittling down that enormous field that you just got done talking
about. And the first people who get winnowed in Iowa are the people who do
not campaign in Iowa.

Now, can Jeb Bush win Iowa without winning the Iowa caucuses?
Absolutely. But not campaigning in Iowa pretty much writes off his chances
of winning Iowa in November. You can count the number of true swing states
in Iowa on, you know, maybe a hand and two fingers, maybe three fingers.
Iowa is one of those.

MADDOW: In terms of whether or not Jeb Bush is making an effort in
Iowa, and you make a good point about Iowa being an important swing state
come the general election, I understand that he has been to Iowa maybe once
so far since he has been unofficially running for president, and I know
that he is due to be there again this weekend. Will that really be just
the second appearance that he`s made the whole time?

OBRADOVICH: Yes. So Jeb Bush is getting a slow start, but he is not
campaigning -- he`s not been campaigning heavily anywhere in the early
states. He has been spending all of his time on the coast raising money.

So, you know, he hasn`t really been spending all the time that he
hasn`t been in Iowa in New Hampshire like Chris Christie has been doing.
Chris Christie has not been to Iowa very much, either. He is spending that
time in New Hampshire.

Jeb Bush is spending his time in New York and on the coast raising
money. And so, he is getting a slow start. I`m not going to judge what he
will or will not do in Iowa by that. And I also don`t judge what he will
or will not do in Iowa by whether he competes in the straw poll or not. I
think the straw poll is a completely separate issue.

But we will have to wait and see whether he sets up a real campaign
here, if he tries to identify voters. If he tries to make an effort to do
well, maybe not -- you don`t have to win Iowa caucuses to do well but to do
well in the Iowa caucuses.

MADDOW: Kathie Obradovich, political columnist at "The Des Moines
Register" -- Kathie, thanks very much for being here. It`s good to have
you here.

OBRADOVICH: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got lots more ahead on tonight`s show,
including a big showdown that happened to be one of the largest things I`ve
ever seen floating on water and a lot of very tiny boats today.

Plus, a military aggressor getting trolled in the greatest way
possible. It involves dance music.

Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Are you Swedish? No? Have you ever wanted to move to
Sweden? I am about to make you want to move to Sweden. Even if you hate
the cold, even if you hate both lingonberries and meat balls, you are about
to want to become Swedish. Hold on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Next week over Sweden and northern Norway, there`s going to
be a huge multi-nation military exercise. They`re calling it the Arctic
challenge.

Russia has been getting increasingly pushy with its military lately,
particularly in the Arctic. So, this is in some quarters being seen as a
kind of provocative response to the Russians. This is Scandinavia pushing
back.

Arctic challenge will happen next week again over Sweden and Norway.
It should make things nice and tense up there. Sweden in particular got
particularly tense, a little nervous late last year when they spotted a
mysterious thing lurking off their coastline.

It looked like this. It`s a sonar image. It may or may not have
been a Russian submarine lurking there secretly. But Sweden worried that
that`s what it was. And some people in Sweden worried about that worry,
because a few months after the Russian submarine scare off their coast,
Sweden suddenly decided that they were going to up their spending on their
military because they felt provoked by Russia.

Not everyone in Sweden likes Sweden upping its spending on its
military. This is the logo for the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society.
They say they`re the oldest peace organization on Earth. They say they
don`t want Sweden to up its military spending.

They say things like. If weapons had functioned as a conflict-
solving method, there would have been peace a long time ago.

So, this group does not want Sweden to militarize in response to
Russia poking around on their coast. They also want Russia to stop poking
around on their coast.

So, this group has come up with a genius way to try and accomplish
both of those objectives. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society wants to discuss
a more effective way than violence and aggression to solve conflicts. The
Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society proudly presents the singing sailor.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Oh, yes. This ought to do it. It`s a waterproof sealed
light box showing a dancing neon gay sailor wagging his crotch around.

The reason it says 1944 on that you might have seen when they showed
the picture there, 1942 is when Sweden decriminalized homosexuality. So,
this peace group, they built this neon waterproof light box. They say they
have lowered it into the water in the spot where that Russian submarine was
spotted off the Swedish coast.

The idea is that if the Russians come back, the singing sailor light
box is what they will find then there and it also constantly emits a Morse
code message that says over and over again in Morse code, "This way if you
are gay. This way if you are gay", while the neon sailor guys dances and
swings his hips.

The idea is that the Russians will be so homophobic that when they
see this off the Swedish coast, they will turn around and flee in terror
back to Russia. Or if they decide not to flee, this way if you are gay,
this way if you are gay, if they decide to stay, it will be for love, not
war.

Either way, the Russian threat is neutralized. And Sweden doesn`t
need to spend billions more on their defense budget. Tada! Thank you,
singing sailor. I`m sure this will work.

Activism is hard, but it doesn`t mean it can`t be awesome, even on
scary issues. That`s our next story tonight. So please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: A few months ago, right after Christmas, the "New York
Times" magazine published this amazing long form piece called "The Wreck of
the Kulluk." Reading that magazine article was the single best thing I did
between Christmas and New Year`s last year. And I had the time off and I
did a lot of great stuff that week. But this was amazing.

"The Wreck of the Kulluk" has since been published as an e-book. I
highly recommend it. It`s riveting.

Quote, "By midnight on Christmas Day, there were gale-force winds and
swells the size of houses. Rather than crash forward through the building
swells, as other ships might, the Kulluk marked their passage like a giant
metronome, pitching and rolling on a stomach-churning five, then seven, the
ten degrees off vertical. Six hundred yards ahead, the same waves were
bucking, but the two ships were out of sync. The towline between them was
slack one moment, then crackling with tension, then slack again.

At 11:35 a.m., the towline snapped. Aboard the Kulluk, the crew
prepared an emergency towline. To pick up the emergency towline from the
Kulluk, the tug made a U-turn in swells that exceeded 25 feet. Briefly
perpendicular to them, it took a heavy roll. A steel hook the size of a
grand piano secured to a wall when not in use came crashing down, damaging
hand rails and vents. Seawater poured on to the deck."

A few days later, the tug`s four main diesel engines began to fail,
number two, number three, number four, and then finally number one.

The following day, two coast guard Jayhawk helicopters dispatched to
rescue the 18 crew members on board the Kulluk while it was adrift. One of
the rescue swimmers is quoted in "The Wreck of the Kulluk" saying, you know
when you have a bobber on a fishing pole and you throw it out there and
reel it in really fast and it makes a wake over the bobber? That`s what
the Kulluk looked like. It looks like we were trying to bat the
helicopters out of the sky."

So there`s this amazing action movie of a story, "The Wreck of the
Kulluk", a piece written by a journalist called MacKenzy Funk.

But this account of "The Wreck of the Kulluk" is journalism. It`s
not a novel. The Kulluk was a real thing, a massive aging Arctic drill rig
run by Shell Oil.

The Kulluk was not designed to have its own engine to propel itself
across the engine to wherever it wanted to drill. It has to be towed
everywhere by tugboat and after the wreck of the Kulluk, after the disaster
when the towline snapped and it couldn`t be re-harnessed and it couldn`t be
grabbed again and the 18 crew members on board had to be rescued in this
incredibly dangerous, heroic operation with the coast guard rescue swimmers
and everything, at the end of it all, the Kulluk was lost. It was wrecked.

A few days after they saved the crew by the skin of their skin, Shell
ordered the Kulluk just cut loose entirely and that entire rig just went
astray, crashed on the shore of an uninhabited island. That was it.
Damage it sustained rendered it unusable.

The Kulluk ended up getting scrapped. It got sent to China to become
scrap metal. Well, now, the Kulluk did have backup on the drilling
expedition it was supposed to be on in Alaska. It was paired for that
mission with another rig called the Noble Discoverer. It was a different
kind of ship, but also an old ship.

During that 2012 drilling expedition in Alaska, all kinds of things
went wrong with the Noble Discoverer, too. It was at one point nearly
grounded on a beach in the Aleutian Islands when the Noble Discoverer
couldn`t handle the high winds up there.

Four months later, it briefly and sort of randomly caught fire.
After that, the coast guard boarded it in port and found over a dozen
violations involving the safety and pollution equipment. These were
criminal violations.

The rig`s main engine piston cooling water at that point was
contaminated with sludge. The coast guard found the crew was dealing with
that problem by skimming the excess sludge and oil with a ladle and a
bucket that they had propped up next to the engine. That was the system to
fix that fundamental engine problem. The contractor operating the Noble
Discoverer for Shell ended up pleading guilty to eight felonies and paying
a $12 million fine.

This attempted drilling mission in Alaska, 2012, it was not just a
complete loss, it was a disaster. It was a fiasco. A huge failure by
Shell. They`re supposed to be the best in the business, the company most
likely to be able to drill in the Arctic. It was a huge failure by them, a
huge failure for the first major effort to mount a drilling operation in
the Arctic. It was just a disaster.

And now they want to do it again. Well, the poor Kulluk, alas, has
been wrecked. It`s now scrap metal. It`s being turned into tractors or
something in a Chinese scrap yard. The Kulluk has been shredded.

But the other ship from that fiasco, the Noble Discoverer, it didn`t
get scrapped. In fact, Shell is now planning on using the Noble Discoverer
again this year in the Arctic. They must have gotten a fresh ladle, maybe
a bigger bucket.

They are sending the Noble Discoverer back up there again, at least
they are going to try to. But instead of the Kulluk which is now dead, now
they have a whole new rig to go with the Noble Discoverer for this year.
It`s the Polar Pioneer.

And today, the replacement ship for the Kulluk, the Polar Pioneer,
arrived in Seattle, Washington. Shell hopes to keep the Polar Pioneer
there during the eight months out of the year that they won`t be trying to
drill oil wells in the Alaskan Arctic, and, yes, they based the Kulluk
there, too, when they tried that doomed mission with that doomed rig a few
years ago and Seattle didn`t much mind.

But that was then and this is now and we`ve been through the Kulluk
and this time with the Polar Pioneer, this time, Seattle minds. This time
Seattle is up in arms.

The mayor of Seattle says Shell shouldn`t bring that rig to Seattle.
The city council has said so, too. The city government is threatening to
fine Shell for every day it`s there. The port of Seattle has been mealy
mouthed about the whole thing, but even they say they have questions as to
whether or not it`s legal for Shell to bring that rig in there.

But the activists in Seattle, the activists who don`t want it there,
they are making themselves very clear. One of the things they have been
taking to their kayaks to try to blockade this whole thing.

The Polar Pioneer did get into port in Seattle today, and the
activists said even though they tried to keep it out of port in Seattle,
they will now, possibly, try to stop it from ever getting out of that port.
They may try to stop it from leaving for Alaska.

This started with the wreck of the Kulluk. The Kulluk`s replacement
is now the focus of a teeny tiny naval blockade, an armada of ships no
bigger than your average love seat. How many zillion of them zillion of
them Seattle plans to mobilize to stop this thing is turning out to be a
very dramatic thing to watch.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: This is a live shot from terminal five of the port of
Seattle in Washington state. Just a few hours ago, that big yellow oil rig
you see there, the Polar Pioneer, was met by activists in kayaks who say
they plan to prevent that oil rig from ever leaving Seattle to drill for
oil in the Arctic.

Joining us now, Seattle City Councilman Mike O`Brien. He was with
the activists in kayaks today.

Councilman, thanks very much for being here. It`s nice to have you
here.

MIKE O`BRIEN, SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL: Thanks for having me, Rachel.

MADDOW: So, how did it go today? Obviously, the rig did get to
port. I understand there was some ambiguity as to when it would arrive.
But clearly, some people were able to mobilize and get out there and at
least annoy the thing.

O`BRIEN: Yes. People were watching on our Web site, tracking marine
vessels. We got a text alert. I got a text alert about noon today saying
we`re mobilizing at 1:00. The action today was never to actually block it
or stop it, but to simply go out and give it a very cold welcome and say
you`re not welcome here at the port of Seattle.

MADDOW: Now that the rig is there, and it`s at the port of Seattle,
is there a plan to try to keep it from leaving to go up to the Arctic, or
is it essentially a cold shoulder plan, a symbolic plan of the kind you
described in terms of what happened today?

O`BRIEN: Well, I think there`s a couple level of things going on.
One, we`re going to have a lot of kayak-tivists out there in Elliott Bay
protesting in the next couple of weeks. And I wouldn`t be surprised if
there is civil disobedience when it tries to leave to try and prevent that
from happening or at least screw up the schedule.

At the same time, the city is working on a legal strategy because
it`s here currently in violation of the permits that we have. And we want
to make sure that when it does eventually leave, that it doesn`t come back
and Seattle is not the home port for the Arctic drilling fleet of Shell
Oil.

MADDOW: If Shell does get it together, and I think this is a big if
because I don`t know if it`s possible, but if shell does what it says and
it gets it together and they do figure out how to drill the Arctic and
they`re going to start doing so on a regular basis, isn`t there a sort of
geographical inevitability to Seattle being a hub for that? Won`t the oil
industry always lean on Seattle to do that just because of where Seattle
is?

O`BRIEN: Well, there`s certainly a connection between Alaska and
Seattle. It`s been long, lasting for decades. And they`re certainly
trying to lean on us right now. But what we`re hearing and as an elected
official in Seattle, the people in Seattle do not want to be associated
with Arctic drilling. That may become a problem for shell and maybe that`s
a point where they can no longer drill in the Arctic.

O`BRIEN: While the rig is there, and there`s going to be --
obviously there`s a reason that they are there. They are doing all the
sort of staging things that they need to do to get ready to try this
unprecedented thing again back up in Alaska. Do you expect there will be
continuing civil disobedience, demonstrations and other forms of protests
the whole time the rig is there and its support vessels?

O`BRIEN: I believe so. You know, Seattle has a long history of
civil disobedience and this is something that`s just so counter to
everything that Seattle stands for. You know, we`ve -- we try to think of
ourselves as leaders on fighting climate change. And to be the center of
this fight for drilling in the Arctic which is completely reprehensible and
irresponsible from what we know about climate change.

No one should be drilling in the Arctic. And frankly, all other oil
companies have already pulled out of the Arctic because it doesn`t make
sense to them. It`s just Shell is the last one standing.

MADDOW: Seattle City Councilman Mike O`Brien who is taking a stand
on this both with his mouth and also his kayak -- Councilman, thank you
very much for your time tonight. Nice to have you here.

O`BRIEN: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got a lot more ahead, including something
else interesting that happened in a boat that afflicted a giant corporate
behemoth, I think.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: A programming note, a serious one: today is my father`s
birthday and he`s here.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDOW: Hi, dad. I forgot to get you anything.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDOW: Happy Birthday.

RACHEL`S DAD: It`s OK.

MADDOW: I love you, dad. Happy birthday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: So, tonight in Philadelphia, federal investigators said
they`ve acquired new video from the train that crashed in Philly on Tuesday
night. NTSB described this footage taken from a forward facing camera at
the front of the train. They`re using the footage from that video camera
to piece together the moments just before the derailment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB: We can see the -- see the track being
illuminated by the train`s headlight. And it also shows the speed of the
train. Sixty-five seconds before the end of the recording, the train speed
reached about 70 miles per hour. Forty-three seconds before the end of the
recording, the train speed exceed 80 miles per hour. Thirty-one seconds
before the end of the recording, the train speed was going to 90 miles per
hour.

Sixteen seconds before the end of the recording, the train speed was
going through 100 miles per hour. Just before entering the curve is when
the engineer applied the engineer-induced braking and I`ll describe it as
seconds, mere seconds into the turn we could see the train tilting
approximately 10 degrees to the right and then the recording went black.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The lead NTSB official on the scene tonight saying they have
this clear video from the front of the train as the train accelerated on
the approach to that sharp curve whether the engineer hit the brakes and
train starts tipping off the tracks.

NTSB also said contrary to some earlier media reports, the engineer
from the train has agreed to be interviewed by federal investigators. They
expect that to happen in the next few days. He has also spoken to police.

His lawyer said today the engineer told police everything he knew.
The lawyer said the engineer suffered a concussion in the crash and doesn`t
remember much from the minutes leading up to the crash but his memories
might come back as he recovers from his concussion.

He also said the engineer handed over his cell phone and he submitted
to testing, which the attorney said would reflect no drinking, no drugs, no
medical conditions, nothing.

The Philadelphia district attorney`s office says it`s also
investigating the crash. They`ll decide whether to bring charges.

But beyond the various investigations into the cause of the
derailment, the search and the rescue and the cleanup continue. Today, the
Philadelphia fire commissioner described the latest developments in his
department`s search at the site and how the death toll and the accident
ended up rising by one today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DERRICK SAWYER, PHILADELPHIA FIRE COMMISSIONER: This morning, around
0800 hour, 0800 o`clock this morning, we received a call to bring back our
dog, our cadaver dog. So, we worked in conjunction with a dog from PA task
force and the police department to go out and do another search of that
first car that was -- had a large amount of wreckage.

The dog hit on a couple of spots and we were able to find one other
passenger in the wreckage. We utilized our hydraulic tools to open up the
train a little more so we could reach the person, extricate that person and
have them transported to the medical examiner`s office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: With the news of that sad discovery today, the death toll in
this crash rose to eight people. Officials also say now officially that
all 243 passengers and crew members on board the train have been accounted
for.

More to come. Watch this space.

(COMMERCILA BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER: What y`all got going on today?

PETER HARRISON: Just cruising.

OFFICER: Why when these gentlemen tell you not to go in the further,
y`all keep going?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Why when they tell you not to go any further, you keep
going? Very good question.

We got that video last year from an activist group called River
Keepers. River Keepers basically watchdog rivers. In this case, they were
watching off the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. They got into a little
metal boat, little john boat, and they went to check out a canal that flows
at the river.

At the head of that canal is an old shutdown coal burning power
plant, property of Duke Energy. The leftover coal ash from that plant is
filled with toxins and heavy metals like arsenic. Duke Energy stores that
marvelous stuff in these coal ash pits which for some chemical reason are
bright teal blue.

Because these particular pits are very close to the Cape Fear River
and because coal ash pits to sometimes leak, the Cape Fear River Keepers
motored up that public canal one day last March to check things out. They
did not get far before they met up with the law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER: What y`all got going on today?

PETER HARRISON: Just cruising.

OFFICER: All right. Why when these gentlemen tell you not to go in
the further, y`all keep going?

HARRISSON: I thought we had a right to use the water.

OFFICER: You do, but what`s the point of going all the way up there?
Are you fishing or anything?

HARRISON: We`re just looking around.

OFFFICER: OK. Well, you all have your IDs or anything on you?

HARRISON: Yes.

OFFICER: Just need to see those real quick.

HARRISON: Have you done something wrong?

OFFICER: No. I`m just checking your IDs, man. Y`all are coming up
here. This is all for the power plant. This is all the power plant`s
property.

HARRISON: Including the water we`re boating on?

OFFICER: I`m pretty sure. I can get wildlife out here, they`ll
scratch you a ticket.

I`m not going to scratch you a ticket. I`m just going to check your
IDs and let you all go down there and tell you not to come back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: It turns out the River Keepers were not breaking the law.
The local sheriff later said they had every right to be on the water and
they would not be bothered any more. As they went about their River Keeper
inspections.

And the River Keepers did report finding this orange stuff along the
banks of that canal when they got up close in their boat. But look what
else they found from a different perspective. That same way the river
keepers flew over Duke Energy`s teal blue coal ash pits from an airplane
they saw Duke Energy pumping water out of those lagoons and into the canal.
That feeds into the Cape Fear River, which supplies drinking water for
people who live downstream.

Duke Energy was pumping water from the coal ash pits directly into
the canal and also into the woods. And the River Keepers spotted them
doing it. That was March 2014. At the time, duke energy told us that this
pump is was just routine maintenance work.

But look where the River Keepers photos ended up. Look at this.
This is part of a federal plea deal posted today in federal court in North
Carolina. The River Keeper photos are now evidence in the federal
prosecution and conviction of Duke Energy. Duke Energy pled guilty today
to multiple criminal counts about their Cape Fear plant and other plants.
Their disastrous, also, disastrous Dan River coal ash spill last year.

Nine times today,, the judge asked the Duke Energy`s legal officer
how she responded to the charges. The "A.P." reports, quote, she replied
softly guilty each time. Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty
over and over.

For those crimes, Duke Energy agreed today to pay $102 million. The
judge said this is the largest criminal fine in the history of the state of
North Carolina.

And the way we got here is that the River Keepers were right. They
were right that something was going on at those coal ash dumps on the Cape
Fear River. They were right Duke Energy`s coal ash pits were a problem
around the state. They were right to be poking around there even when they
were told to buzz off.

They were also right in warning about a disaster like the one that
happened on the Dan River last year. And today in federal court, the River
Keepers were $102 million right that what Duke Energy had been doing was
not only gross to them, it was a federal crime, biggest federal crime ever.

The River Keepers were right. North Carolina should maybe send them
a thank you note for not turning around and going home that day.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll 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
BE UPDATED.
END

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