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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Gail Collins, Chris Hayes


KEITH OLBERMANN, “COUNTDOWN” HOST:  And now to discuss something strange about the Koch brothers‘ “Rally for Jobs” Web site—ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  Good evening, Keith.  Thank you for that.

And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.

Plenty of chaos to sort out from this day of news and not just the hardcore book-burning wingnuttery chaos coming out of Florida.  There‘s also the Republican Senate primary now newly starring Sarah Palin and a Tea Party candidate who says that abstinence is not enough.  We all must also abstain from ourselves as well—if you know what I mean.

Also, one of the most pathetically fake political campaigns we have yet has the pleasure of unmasking, courtesy of the secretive oil billionaire, Koch brothers.

And THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW‘s staff vote for this year‘s single most unhinged campaign speech and it had a lot of competition.

That is all coming up this hour.

But we begin with the extremist Christian pastor in Florida who was planning to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 by burning copies of the Koran.  He has now changed his plans twice.

The pastor claimed in a press conference this afternoon that he was canceling his Koran-burning because the imam behind the planned Islamic cultural center in downtown Manhattan agreed to move the building away from the hallowed grounds of the old Burlington coat factory building—blocks away from the World Trade Center site.  That‘s what the pastor said.  He said he is ditching the Koran-burning because the so-called Ground Zero mosque is moving.

But the imam and developer behind the planned cultural center in Lower Manhattan quickly came out with a statement saying they did not agree to move the center at all.

So, now, the pastor says he is merely suspending his Koran-burning plans, not canceling them.  That‘s what happened on that insane front today.

If you are looking for other ways to celebrate—and I do mean to celebrate—the 9/11 anniversary this year, don‘t worry.  One event that has not canceled or suspended is the planned Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin 9/11 beer bust up in Alaska.  Tickets range in price from a low of $73.75 to a high of $225 for a spot in the arena and participation in a “meet and greet.”

As “The Hill” newspaper reports, there was no indication to whom or what the proceeds will go.

But organizers are also making clear that if you are 21 years old or over, you can get tickets in the section in which they will be selling booze at this event.

Sarah Palin is advertising the event on her Facebook page.  Quote, “I hope my fellow Alaskans and anyone visiting from outside will join me this Saturday, September 11th, 2010, at Anchorage‘s Dena‘ina Center at 8:00 p.m.  Glenn Beck will be there.  You won‘t want to miss it.  Tickets are available at,” end quote.

And unless anyone believe it is somehow a coincidence that this event is being held on 9/11, here again from Ms. Palin‘s Facebook page.  Quote, “I can think of no better way to commemorate 9/11 than to gather with patriots who will never forget.”

OK.  How is this for never forgetting?  How about us patriots who are dedicated to never forgetting 9/11, we all get together as Americans and agree to get health care for the heroes of 9/11 -- the first responders who are sick because of the dust and debris they were exposed to at Ground Zero at the real 9/11?

Now, I understand that this is an unstoppable train.  We like to commercialize and exploit everything.  And apparently, there are people shameless enough about this American tragedy to turn it into a $200 a ticket “meet and greet” commercial commemorative beer party.

But here‘s the thing, in July of this year, 155 Republicans voted “no” to providing 9/11 first responders with health care.  Only 12 Republicans voted for that bill.

It is about to come up for a vote again and I can think of two voices that could be incredibly influential with Republicans who, so far, are refusing to support the heroes of 9/11 to get health care.  Two potentially influential conservative figures who will be entertaining their fans at a 4,500-seat convention center in Anchorage on the anniversary of 9/11 because it‘s 9/11 -- and yes, there will be beer and $200 “meet Glenn Beck in person” tickets.

With money to be made and beer to be drunk, I‘m sure talk of ailing 9/11 responders would be a real downer, so let‘s not get too hopeful that this might be turned into a constructive cause.  But, you know, maybe.

Do you want to know who else has realized the merchandising potential of the 9/11 anniversary this year?

In partnership with Citizens United—yes, the same Citizens United that won the Supreme Court case that says corporations can pour limitless cash into American elections—former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has put together a very scary new movie.  It‘s called “America at Risk.”  And they have decided to give “America at Risk” its national launch date on 9/11, whereupon it can be yours for the low, low price of $19.95 plus $4 shipping and handling.  Act now.  Operators are standing by.

Trailer for the new launched on 9/11 movie is already up online.  Here‘s an excerpt.  And I actually should tell you up front that I admit to modifying this excerpt to be able to put it on this TV show in a way that allows me to live with myself.

For the first few seconds of this video, I‘m not actually going to show you the video part of what Newt Gingrich decided to put on screen while making the argument you will hear him making here, because the video in the original?  The video that he shows while making this argument, the images he chooses to use to sell this stuff, what he is showing is graphic video—graphic video from the real 9/11.  And I am not going to help him market that.

So, I will show you this clip so you know what this is.  You will hear what he says, but I‘m not going to show the 9/11 exploitation video that he shows while he says it.


NEWT GINGRICH ®, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER:  Our enemies are clear in their desire to defeat America.  They told us so repeatedly.  We have many of our elites who are afraid to identify our adversaries by name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What we used to call the “war on terror,” we are clearly losing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Despite our successes and sacrifices, lives lost and billions spent, the war on terror and the ideology behind it have only just begun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This war will go on until the whole of the world embraces Islam or submits to Islamic law.  That is the ideology of jihad.  (INAUDIBLE) show of destruction is not a deterrent.  It‘s an inducement because that is what they‘re hoping for.  This is the end of time.  This is the final struggle.


MADDOW:  This is the final struggle.

You know, lots of people have been wondering why everybody has been paying so much attention to this one lunatic in Florida who decided to burn Korans on Saturday instead of—I don‘t know, braiding his mustache or screaming at house plants or whatever it is he normally does to occupy his time.  There are in this country wingnuts country and they do wingnutty things all of the time.

The “Kansas City Star” today ran a quote from the crazy Fred Phelps funeral protester cult people in Kansas complaining that they‘re jealous of the mustache-braider, Koran burner, in Florida, because two years ago, they, too, set fire to a Koran in plain view on a Washington, D.C. street and nobody seemed to care and they‘re lamenting that.

And, of course, nobody seemed to care about that.  Fred Phelps and his crew are crazy people.

In the news media, as a general rule, tries, whenever possible, to not treat crazy people doing crazy things as a legitimate news event.  Crazy person does crazy thing in public is something that goes in a medical record or a police report or a poem about existential angst.  It‘s not news.

What‘s different now?  The reason nobody paid attention to crazy Fred Phelps‘ Koran-burning antics and almost literally everyone in the country is paying attention to the Koran-burning antics of this equally crazy Florida guy is because today, the sentiment behind “I‘m a crazy guy who is going to burn me some Korans on 9/11” is being carried into the mainstream by a current of extreme anti-Muslim “We‘re at war with Islam” rhetoric.

Do you really want to know why we‘re all suddenly paying attention to one lunatic in Florida who‘s been threatening to burn copies of the Koran?  This is why.


GINGRICH:  Many of our elites are afraid to even identify our adversaries by name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What we used to call the “war on terror,” we are clearly losing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Despite our successes and sacrifices, lives lost and billions spent, the war on terror and the ideology behind it have only just begun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This war will go on until the whole of the world embraces Islam or submits to Islamic law.


MADDOW:  Not just crazy guys who scream at house plants, like the Florida pastor, but supposedly serious political figures like Newt Gingrich have been banging this drum on the right that we in America are at war with Islam—not with terrorists, with Islam, with an entire religion with anybody who is a Muslim.  And that‘s why we‘re all talking about the Koran-burning kook in Florida.  Because thanks to the Newt Gingriches of the world and the other supposedly mainstream politicos who have been pushing and flirting with this “we‘re at war with all Muslims” nonsense, there is a growing sense in this country that simply being Muslim means being at war with the United States.

There‘s nothing new going on in the news that is driving this.  There have always been mosques.  There has always been new mosque.  There have always been nutball pastors doing nutball things to dramatize their nutball ideas about holy war and how important that makes them feel.

For the most part, the story of the crazy Florida pastor has been talked about in terms of religious freedom and First Amendment rights.  That‘s the way that the national, responsible mainstream media dealt with this story.

But that‘s actually the wrong frame for this story.  He is a kook doing as kooks do.  That is not why he is relevant.  He‘s no more relevant than Fred Phelps and the people who protest that funerals in order to try to get attention.

The guy in Florida is relevant, because suddenly the belief that is driving his particular brand of wingnuttery, suddenly, it‘s shared with lots of other Americans.  Lots of other Americans who are listening to what supposedly serious figures on the right are telling them.  And that is a much more—that is a much more ominous sign about where this country is headed and the fact that some crazy guy in Florida decided for a minute that he was going to try to burn some Korans.


MADDOW:  If his continuing prayer on the issue does indeed lead that Florida pastor to cancel his planned Koran-burning stunt, there‘s still a certain percentage of the population who are crazy enough to say they want to take his place.  Should that get covered as news?

“New York Times” columnist Gail Collins has been writing about this problem.  She joins us next.



HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE:  We are hoping the pastor decides not to do this.  We‘re hoping against hope that if he does it won‘t be covered.  As a—as a—you know, an act of patriotism.



MADDOW:  The off—the off-camera sound you heard there, bonne chance, somebody saying in French, no less, good luck.  Good luck wish for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as Ms. Clinton today got at least part of her wish.  The Gainesville, Florida, pastor who has threatened to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday, on 9/11, did indeed call off his “pay attention to me” one-finger salute to the Constitution, at least for now.

But that pastor has gotten a lot of attention any way as reporters and editors and producers try to figure out what to say about a jerk who is clearly just hoping that you will say something about him.

“The New York Times‘” executive editor, Bill Keller, had asked his staff to avoid using pictures of burning Korans.

“The Associated Press,” which normally provides a blizzard of updates on a “big kids chasing the soccer ball” story like this, said it would instead deliver just a single story each day and no video or photos of Korans on fire or even, quote, “detailed text descriptions.”

FOX News announced it would not cover the Koran burning.  No live feeds.  No video.  No still photos.

ABC, CBS and NBC, which is our parent network at MSNBC, they all took a similar approach, saying at least that they would cover the Koran-burning as a news event with context and perspective.

The question of what exactly that means for the story of the Florida Koran-burning pastor almost became moot today when that particular extremist minister put down the matches.

But then, the inevitable, wanting to get in on the publicity, a couple Koran-burning copycats wanted a turn at leading the news cycle.  A minister in Tennessee said that he would burn the Koran at home and post his own video of it online.

Also, naturally, the infamous funeral protesting Christian cult group in Kansas, you know the ones, I love the guy on the right, they say not only have they burned a Koran in the past, they would like to now do so again.

Joining us is “New York Times” columnist Gail Collins, wrote a piece today called, “The 5 Percent Doctrine,” in which he said, quote, “It is important to remember that about 5 percent of our population is and always will be totally crazy.

Gail, thank you for coming in.


OLBERMANN:  Salient difference between mentally ill and crazy in order to make this political argument?

COLLINS:  Yes. Well, mentally ill is, you know, a problem, an illness.  Something that‘s treatable.  And there‘s also, of course, criminals who have to be put in jail.  But besides that, there‘s about 5 percent of the people for whom there are signs on the Grand Canyon saying, do not walk to the edge over the fence.  The people who like to wear machine guns to public protests, just to show that the Second Amendment is there, and people who have no judgment at all about anything—and there‘s a ton of them out there and you just have to remember that when you‘re judging what they‘re doing.

MADDOW:  Well, how do you then make responsible decisions about whether or not crazy people‘s crazy antics count as news?  Nobody is saying that this guy is actually making a good case for himself on wanting to celebrate 9/11 this way.  I do think, though, that it‘s been covered in a way that is substantially different than other crazy people doing crazy things on this—on this subject in the past that have been covered.

COLLINS:  Yes.  And you‘re right that it‘s scary to think that now you‘ll have sort of an “American Idol” kind of moment in which all of the crazy would-be ministers are going to be competing on who gets to be the next one.

But—it has been—there‘s a context right now.  There is a political context into which this has been dumped, that‘s all about the mosque issue in New York, which is not the same thing.  There‘s a desire right now and I think some people‘s part to say, well, the mosques, both of these are bad ideas but constitutionally protected.  Build the mosque and here.

It‘s not the same thing at all.  There‘s not the same thing to build a community center in a building next to a bar which you already are praying in but you would like to have a swimming pool and auditorium there, which is the context of this, and let‘s burn the Koran to show that Islam is evil.  It‘s not the same thing at all.  But because the first one was so politicized by so many people who outrageously took this sensitive issue and started making TV commercials for their campaigns, saying mosque, Ground Zero will not stand, here I am in front of the burning buildings again—I think that led—set the stage for the second thing to become such a big deal.

MADDOW:  So, essentially, the coverage is driven by this crazy Florida pastor guy seeming like a second beat on the same story?

COLLINS:  Yes, exactly.


COLLINS:  This is another constitutionally-protected bad idea.

MADDOW:  Right.

COLLINS:  But it‘s not the same thing.  It‘s not the same thing at all.  And I also have not noticed the same people who were making their campaign commercial standing in front of the burning World Trade Center saying, never, never, never on my watch, I‘m not seeing them come out and say burning the Koran is a terrible idea in their campaign commercials.  This does not seem to come up the same time.

MADDOW:  It doesn‘t have exactly the same resonance.  I mean, I made the case in the opening segment in which I yelled, and I‘m sorry, but I feel a little emotional about it, that the reason that this is getting driven the way that it is and sort of why this kook guy without a congregation who otherwise would be happily ignored by everybody involved in the creation of news in this country, the reason that it has become news is because it is sort of tapping into this idea that there is a war on Islam in America, there at least is a war of Islam on being America.  And that‘s being pushed by relatively respectable political figures.  There doesn‘t seem to be anybody who‘s been pushing that line though answering for the crazier side of it.

COLLINS:  Yes.  So, I think that‘s a good point.  And, you know, this whole thing, I‘ve always wondered from the beginning, there‘s fire laws about burning things in bonfires in Gainesville apparently and my impression was that the fire department was not going to let this happen anyway.  So, we were doing this thing for no reason whatsoever except that it balances off the other thing about New York, which was such a bad idea.

It‘s not our finest hour as a country actually right now.  But I do think, if you keep the 5 percent rule in mind, perhaps next time, it will work out better.

MADDOW:  Do you think that when, you know, the defense secretary called this pastor, when Secretary Clinton spoke about out it, when the president spoke out about it, should they have—should they have demerged, should they have not spoken out about it so as not to elevate this guy?

COLLINS:  You know, it‘s a good question.  They are probably sitting there asking themselves that question.  Now, certainly, once they did that, you couldn‘t as a news organization say, I am going to ignore the crazy guy that the president is calling up tomorrow, whatever, you know?


COLLINS:  It doesn‘t work at that point.  We‘ll see.

MADDOW:  Gail Collins, columnist for “The New York Times,” and always a very welcome guest here—thank you for coming in.

COLLINS:  Great to be here.

MADDOW:  Nice to see you.

Coming up: a textbook example of bogus grassroots outrage courtesy of those Obama-hating billionaire secretive brothers, the Koch brothers.  It‘s a faux-tastic segment.

Please stay tuned.


MADDOW:  Even though this election year is not likely to work out great for Democrats, liberals can take heart that at least the White House seems finally to be giving up on that whole self-defeating unilateral disarmament bipartisan thing.  The Republicans were never going to go along with anything from this White House.  The White House seems maybe to have figured that out now.

And the president and the vice president and the Democrats more broadly seem willing to finally call Republicans out now to make John Boehner famous—to draw a clear distinction between the parties in this last eight weeks lead up to the election.  And that makes it all the more weird that President Obama and Vice President Biden have both gone way out of their way recently to say nice things about George W. Bush.

The first time was in the president‘s speech about the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush.  It‘s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset.  Yet, no one can doubt President Bush‘s support for our troops or his love of country and commitment to our security.


MADDOW:  Commitment to our security.

You know, I—I get these style points here.  I get the presidential magnanimity, the “let‘s turn the page, you seem like a nice enough guy.”

But if there‘s one thing that disproves someone being committed to American security, it‘s got to be that person starting a war that had nothing to do with American security.  That‘s the big American lesson of the Iraq war.  Don‘t be so reckless with America‘s security that you start a war without reason to.  That was the first strange props to George Bush moments in the last couple of weeks.

Then, last night, there was this from the vice president on the “Colbert Report.”


STEPHEN COLBERT, COLBERT REPORT:  Let‘s talk about President Bush for a second.  The administration has got some critique and criticism from me and my conservative friends—you have not given enough credit to President Bush.  Would you like to take this opportunity right now to look over there and say thank you?


Mr. President, thank you.  You‘ve honored these guys, you‘ve honored these women, you‘ve honored these troops, and I have known you your entire eight years as president.  I‘ve never known a time when you didn‘t care about what happened.  We disagreed on policy.  But you deserve a lot of credit, Mr. President.


MADDOW:  Again, points for stylistic magnanimity, I guess.  I don‘t

mean to spoil the love here.  But President Bush threatened to veto the

G.I.      bill.  President Bush wouldn‘t allow there to be photos or media coverage of fallen soldiers‘ caskets coming home from that war.


When soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan needed more body armor, he and the Pentagon couldn‘t spare the change because at $260 a soldier, it was spare change to provide it for them.  Troops‘ families for years bought body armor for themselves.

Remember the soldier who challenged George W. Bush‘s defense secretary about why they were having to make homemade armor for their Humvees in Iraq?


DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY:  As you know, you go to war with the army you have, and not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.


MADDOW:  In other words, get over it.  We wanted to start this war.  If you guys didn‘t have the equipment you needed to be able to fight it—whatever.

As I said, I think I understand the style points on making nice overtures to the previous president, but thanking Bush for being awesome to the troops and caring about national security when you‘re talking about a war he started despite national security—it‘s inexplicable and it‘s whitewash and it‘s weird.


MADDOW:  Five days before the Republican Senate primary in the great state of Delaware, the campaign of the tea party-endorsed candidate, Christine O‘Donnell, got a big boost this afternoon when she won the endorsement of Sarah Palin.  Former Governor Palin today made official what was before merely a re-tweet of a Christine O‘Donnell tweet.  She called into Sean Hannity radio show and endorsed Ms. O‘Donnell. 

Does that give Christine O‘Donnell a shot at the Senate nomination, even though she‘s running against a veteran Republican Congressman, Mike Castle, who has never before lost an election, even though the full auto-machine of the Republican Party is operating on all cylinders to help Mike Castle win and to keep Christine O‘Donnell from doing so, and even though her previous claim to fame before she became a perennial candidate was as an activist so committed to sexual abstinence that she hoped to convince America that not only should no one have sex outside marriage, no one should ever have sex alone?

I guess it‘s the way to put that - ever.  In this year, with Sarah Palin‘s endorsement, with a bunch of money from the tea party group that helped knock off an incumbent Republican senator in Alaska last month, could Christine O‘Donnell actually beat the establishment Republican in this Senate primary? 

And would you think that was more or less likely if I told you that her campaign manager is the guy who ran this campaign, too?


RICK BARBER ®, ALABAMA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE:  I would impeach him.  And if that‘s not enough, some of you men own taverns.  Sam, you are a brewer, Mr. President, a distiller.  You know how tough it is to run a small business without the tyrannical government on your back.  Today, we have an Internal Revenue Service that enforces what they call a progressive income tax. 

You‘ll love this.  Every year, if not every quarter, we‘re basically required to spy on ourselves, report what we earn and who we hire and fire with an all-powerful separate court system.  Without representation, they can increase taxes, add costly regulation or perform malicious audits. 

Now, the same IRS is going to force us to buy health insurance, cram it down our throats or else.  Now, I took an oath to defend that with my life and I can‘t stand by while these evils are perpetrated.  You gentlemen revolted over a tea tax.  A tea tax.  Now, look at us.  Are you with me? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Gather your armies. 


MADDOW:  That guy didn‘t win on July 13th, but the guy who did that ad for his campaign now running the Christine O‘Donnell campaign in Delaware. 

Helping us now gather our armies is Washington editor of “The Nation,” MSNBC contributor and frequent guest host of this program.  Hi, Chris Hayes.  How are you? 

CHRIS HAYES, WASHINGTON EDITOR, “THE NATION”:  Hi, Rachel Maddow.  I‘m great.  How are you? 

MADDOW:  Well, spooked.  I‘m a little spooked out. 

HAYES:  I‘m gathering my armies. 

MADDOW:  Is Mike Castle the next Lisa Murkowski?  Does this Palin endorsement mean that Christine O‘Donnell has a shot? 

HAYES:  You know, gosh, I would like to say no, but I mean, people have been made fools of who said no to the answer of that question.  I mean, there‘s an old saying right about any district attorney can indict a ham sandwich. 

This is a question of, like, can the tea party nominate a ham sandwich?  Like, can they take anyone and turn them into a legitimate candidate for the United States Senate?  Because that‘s pretty much what we‘re dealing with here. 

We‘re kind of - I mean, this is a perennial candidate.  This is someone who lost the largest margin the last time she ran against Joe Biden, but she lost by 40 points.  This is someone who is kind of a career and never do well. 

I mean, she doesn‘t have anything that if you looked at her Wikipedia page or knew anything about her, you would think she would be contender for a United States Senate seat.  And yet, here we are. 

And who knows, going down the stretch?  I don‘t think she‘s going to win but it‘s not outside the realm of possibility. 

MADDOW:  Does the fact that the Republican establishment really is

firing on all cylinders against her -

HAYES:  Yes, they are.

MADDOW:  Does that actually give her more -

HAYES:  Certainly.

MADDOW:  It‘s like sort of judo power in terms of coming as an anti-establishment candidate from the tea party side. 

HAYES:  Yes.  I think that so much of tea party identity revolves around this kind of very tribalist sense of victimization, that they are out - “they,” capital T - are out to get us.  That is the entire thrust of every utterance that comes out of Sarah Palin‘s mouth. 

She has made a political career as being the victim of some nebulous elite other, some liberal other.  And so when Christine O‘Donnell goes on radio and says, “They are stalking me and they‘re trying to stake out my apartment.  And now, they‘re filing an FEC complaint against me,” that just stokes the flames of that sense of embattled-ness that has been the kind of driving force of this whole political movement. 

MADDOW:  If Christine O‘Donnell does win the primary, does that mean the seat goes Democratic in the general election? 

HAYES:  Well, I mean, I think she‘s a pretty weak general election candidate.  It is a blue state.  It‘s not, you know, super, super blue, but it‘s a blue state.  And I think that the Republican Party is making a fairly - a fairly good political calculation strategically that Mike Castle is a much, much stronger candidate in the general election.

In fact, he is probably going to win if he gets this nomination.  I think it really does throw it wide open.  And it‘s hard for me to imagine her taking the Senate seat from the state of Delaware. 

But I say that as someone who has been continuously astounded by the kinds of people that have been nominated this election cycle.  So I don‘t want to come back here in November, eating my words and watching the swearing in ceremony of Christine O‘Donnell, United States senator. 

MADDOW:  The longer the primary season goes on, the more astounding the nominees have been getting. 

HAYES:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  So this is amazing.  Washington editor of “The Nation,” Chris Hayes, thank you very much for being here, sir. 

HAYES:  Great to be here. 

MADDOW:  OK.  Still ahead -


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I have been a Republican in times good and I‘ve been a Republican in times bad. 


MADDOW:  What may be the greatest, fastest, loudest, most tense campaign stump speech ever, next.


MADDOW:  Breaking news from Riverside, California, where a federal judge, a U.S. district court judge, has just declared the military‘s “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” policy to be unconstitutional. 

Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled that the policy is a violation of the First Amendment.  Judge Phillips added that evidence showed that the policy has had, quote, “a direct and deleterious effect on the military.”  She said she will issue an injunction barring the federal government from enforcing “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell.” 

The Justice Department, of course, will have an opportunity to appeal her decision.  For anybody who has been following the various legal cases against “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, this is the case that was brought by the log cabin Republicans, by the gay Republican group. 

We‘ll have much, much more to come on this story, this breaking news.  We‘ll be right back.


MADDOW:  As someone who covers politics every day, I seldom get the privilege of pure political emotion.  Phony outrage, phony sincerity, phony humility - these you see all the time.  But genuine passion is rare. 

Today, however, we came across a jaw-dropping Verdi aria of a speech by a Republican candidate, a man named Phil Davidson, a speech that practically bled with raw gut churning passion that definitely could not have been faked. 

Kent Jones is here.  He has seen it.  Kent, surely, Phil Davidson‘s speech was rewarded with a victory, right?  I mean, passion counts. 

KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  You would think that, but no.  Phil Davidson did not get to be the Republican nominee for Stark County treasurer.  However, nothing can diminish the hall of fame quality of this speech.  Prepare to be amazed. 

MADDOW:  It‘s amazing. 

JONES:  Amazed. 


PHIL DAVIDSON ®, CANDIDATE FOR STARK COUNTY TREASURER:  Ladies and gentlemen of the Stark County Republican Party executive committee, good evening.  And thank you, not only for your attendance, but for allowing me the opportunity to speak.  My name is Phil Davidson.  And I am seeking our party‘s nomination for the position of Stark County treasurer on November 10th - November of 2010, excuse me. 

In terms of my background, I am from the village of Minerva, where I am serving my 13th year of elected service as a Minerva council member.  In terms of education, I have a bachelor‘s degree in sociology, a bachelor‘s degree in history, a master‘s degree in public administration and a master‘s degree in communication. 

In terms of elections across Stark County, I represented our party twice on the county ballot in both the primary and the general elections when I ran for Stark County clerk of courts in 1996 and Stark County commissioner in 2000 and I will not apologize for my tone tonight. 

I have been a Republican in times good and I have been a Republican in times bad.  Albert Einstein issued one of my most favorite quotes in the history of the spoken word and it is as follows, “In the middle of opportunity -“ excuse me.  “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  I‘m going to repeat that so I have clarity tonight, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” 

This is the opportunity we have been waiting for.  The Stark County Treasurer‘s Office is a mess.  It‘s in dire need of structure and guidance.  And now is the time to seize this opportunity with an aggressive campaign in an even more aggressive campaigner. 

If nominated tonight, I promise each and every person in this room I will hit the ground running, come out swinging and end up winning.  Drastic times require what?  Drastic measures.  Yes.  Who said that?  Thank you!  Drastic times require drastic measures. 

Infestation.  We must win this election.  If nominated tonight, I will win this election.  And I‘m going to say that again, so there‘s no miscommunication tonight.  If nominated tonight, I win.  Tell your friends.  Tell your neighbors.  Tell Randy Gonzalez.  I‘m coming. 

If nominated tonight, I can guarantee with 100 certainty that what you are seeing from me tonight is what everyone else out those doors is going to get over the next eight weeks.  Government may be about service.  Politics is about winning. 

Tonight, as a candidate seeking the Republican nomination as position of Stark County treasure I humbly ask for your vote as members of the Stark County Republican Party executive committee.  Thank you. 



MADDOW:  He didn‘t win? 

JONES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  He didn‘t get it? 

JONES:  Infestation! 

MADDOW:  Whoo!  Whoo!  Thank you, Kent.  Whoo!  Coming up on “COUNTDOWN,” Keith interviews - I can‘t calm down now.  Keith interviews the co-author of Stephen Hawking‘s new book in which he says the creation of the universe did not need God. 

But first on this show, very, very, very rich people in politics ought to be better at buying fake crowds to represent their views.  Cheap, rich guys exposed!  Next!


MADDOW:  OK.  This might be a little hard to see, but I promise you, it‘s worth it.  What I‘m holding in my hand right now is a bona fide collector‘s item.  To our knowledge, you cannot buy this item in a store, although you may be able to find it in some vast unexplored corner of the Internet.  I don‘t know. 

Can we get a close-up shot of this?  Does that work?  It‘s a teeny, tiny fake dime.  It‘s fake because it‘s not a real dime, but it is made of real gold.  On one side of the dime is the word “liberty.”  And on the reverse side, which they took a picture of earlier - yes, it‘s an image of two men, one of them named Ed Clark and one of them named David Koch.  David Koch, currently the 10th richest man in America. 

Last month, I interviewed Jane Mayer on this show after she wrote a profile of David Koch for “The New Yorker.”  In that interview, Jane Mayer mentioned that David Koch had made a failed run for vice president back in 1980 on the Libertarian ticket.

And that mention jogged my girlfriend Susan‘s memory that she had a souvenir from that campaign.  That campaign in 1980 minted gold dimes with David Koch‘s head on them, like he was Caesar. 

And while it is awesome to be so filthy rich that you can mint gold money with your head on it while you‘re running for office, while that is awesome, it is really hard for somebody with ideas like David Koch‘s, even if you‘re as rich as David Koch is, to get elected to office in this country. 

David Koch‘s Libertarian presidential ticket lost that election very, very badly.  And Mr. Koch moved on.  He refocused his attention on Koch Industries, the second largest privately-held company in America which David Koch and his brother, Charles, inherited from their dad. 

If David Koch could not get elected vice president to promote the interests of his company and himself as the world‘s 10th richest man, even though he minted money with his own head on it, what are his other options? 

Well, there‘s the traditional way that rich corporations in which people try to get their way in American politics - by buying it.  Take, for example, California‘s Proposition 23.  California has a strict greenhouse gas reduction law.  Prop 23 would suspend that law.

And that, of course, would be awesome for companies that make a lot of money by making a lot of pollution.  Ninety-seven percent of the funding for Prop 23 so far comes from oil and chemical companies, including a cool $1 million donation dumped into the campaign by Koch Industries a week ago today. 

But if you‘re the 10th richest guy in America, if you inherited that wealth, if you‘re the kind of guy who wants to take money out of his pocket and see his own face looking back at him from the money, do you think you‘re going to be satisfied with failed bids for office and big donations to your pet political causes? 

Of course you‘re not.  It‘s not enough.  How about a movement?  Some sort of seemingly popular uprising.  Could a popular movement to promote the interests of your company and yourself as the 10th richest man in the country be purchased by any chance? 

I would like to introduce you to happy, friendly Hispanic waitress serving salads.  I‘m not calling her that.  That‘s actually what this is that you‘re looking at.  See, here‘s the label at “”  Happy, friendly Hispanic waitress serving salads. 

You can also meet her at the Web site, “”  See, there she is.  “” is a fake grassroots effort funded in part by the Koch brothers to make it look like they are real humans who passionately believed that Koch industries needs to be able to pollute more. 

Look, here are firemen buddies who are rallying for Koch Industries.  I‘m not being patronizing about it.  That‘s the name of what you‘re looking at.  “Firemen buddies” is the label used as the descriptor for this photo where it comes from, at “” 

Here‘s “man working on power line.”  Here‘s “paramedic in ambulance.”  At the Koch Brothers‘ “” Web site, the caption next to all of these fake purchased clipart images says in part, quote, “Throughout September, thousands of Americans will assemble together to call upon the government to reopen the gates of American energy prosperity.” 

A great focus group tested political story line, of course, complicated by the fact that these regular Americans rising up for whatever are models at “,” images of whom have been purchased for this nifty fake campaign. 

This week, “” held an event, an offline, live action, real human event in Canton, Ohio. 


KAREN BUCHWALD WRIGHT, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AERIAL CORPORATION:  The reason for those Energy Citizen jobs rallies across the nation is to put Washington, D.C. on notice.  We have to put them on notice that we will not continue to tolerate the wasting of our tax dollars on dubious green projects, phony “green jobs” with ridiculous returns on investment. 


MADDOW:  Thanks to “” for attending the event and for pointing out that that particular concerned American citizen, worried about her tax dollars in a way that just happens to coincide with the interests of the oil and gas companies, is the president and CEO of Aerial Corporation, which is a giant gas company. 

The problem with the “” idea is that there aren‘t enough oil company CEOs like her to make any live action event look like a popular uprising.  And while you can populate your Web site with models purchased from iStockPhoto, it would be really difficult to populate your rally with models purchased from iStockPhotos, even if you bought the rights to print out those clipart people life-size and glue them on to cardboard. 

So if you want to create the impression that there is a popular uprising of regular Americans, willing to physically make themselves seen, rallying for the interests of Koch Industries and the 10th richest man in the world - 10th richest man in the country, what‘s the next best way to do that?  Watch this. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Which refinery are you with? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Marathon Petroleum(ph). 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And are there other many folks out here today from Marathon working? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  This whole bus right here. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This whole bus right here is from Marathon? 



MADDOW:  Marathon - as in Marathon Oil Company?  Rally for Jobs, a project of Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute, bussed in people who work for oil companies to fill up their regular citizens rally promoting what the oil companies want. 

Quote, “Most arrived in four buses that delivered them from the Canton area.”  This is not the first time that Koch Brothers and Company have done something like this.  You might remember us reporting last August when they did this in Houston. 

They held a supposedly regular citizens rally against climate change legislation, where the oil companies, again, bussed in their own employees.  That time, they got busted because you could see the fine print on their signs. 

What does that say at the regular person whose interests just happen to coincide with the profit motive of the oil industry, what‘s that fine print say on the sign?  Energy Citizens which according to Google in .35 seconds is a project of the American Petroleum Institute. 

Frankly, the thing that is most surprising about this is not that they‘re doing it.  The thing that is most surprising about this is that they are so bad at it.  If you combine the Koch brothers‘ fortune from dad‘s oil and chemical company, their fortune is second only to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in this country. 

These guys have more money than God‘s accountant, but they have taken the cheapest possible route to trying to hide what they are doing in politics.  And sure, it‘s interesting that they‘re faking this movement.  That supports their bottom line. 

But what‘s more than interesting, what‘s fascinating is that they‘re faking it so cheaply.  If you go to iStockPhoto, you‘ll find that you can buy the “happy friendly Hispanic waitress serving salads” for like $16 right now.  They don‘t even bother to go to page two of the list either. 

If you type in “waitress,” “happy friendly Hispanic waitress serving salads” is the first one that comes up.  But you know what?  Even on the cheap, they did get the headline that they wanted out of their bussing the workers fake rally in Ohio.  There it is - in the “Akron Beacon Journal,” “Hundreds rally against taxes on oil and natural gas.” 

The Koch brothers are so bad at this that any news outlet looking beyond the press release for their information on this could just as easily have published the headline, “Oil companies bus in workers for pathetic PR stunt in Ohio.” 

You know, you can try to persuade people with your ideas by running for political office, by minting gold money with your head on it that makes you look like Caesar.  You can throw tons of money at efforts to defeat laws that stop your pollution and hurt your profits. 

But when you try to get your way by faking it, you will get made fun of, unless and until you get better at it.  Get off your wallet, Koch brothers.  You can do such a better job.  You can do a way better Astroturf job than this with the money that you‘ve got.  Come on.  You are making this too easy. 

That does it for us tonight.  We will see you again tomorrow night.  Meanwhile, there‘s lots to add to what you see on this show.  We are very proud of our excellent blog at “”  “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN” starts right now.  Have a good night.



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