THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
April 5, 2013
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Guest: Elizabeth Esty
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Chris. You made it through the
week. How do you feel?
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: I feel good. I feel good. I feel great
about a Friday night and I don`t have to wake up tomorrow. It`s been a
MADDOW: This is your first weekend off in a long time.
HAYES: It really is.
MADDOW: Well, celebrating your first weekend off. You know how you
came by our news meeting today and I said we were going to figure out a way
to get people jumping over car into the show.
HAYES: Did you do it?
MADDOW: Stand by.
HAYES: We`re going to go watch.
MADDOW: All right. Thanks, man.
Thanks to you for joining us.
Happy Friday. All right. Happy Friday.
The first thing you need to know this Friday is that there is such a
thing as competitive lock picking. Right here, you are looking at the
winning entry in the 2009 KP lock picking competition. KP stands for key
picking, which I guess is a particular kind of lock picking
What you are witnessing here is a highly skilled human being getting
the better of a very strong lock. At least that sort of what it seems to
indicate on the caption on this YouTube video. Our champion here is
apparently triumphing over a lock that has a, quote, "six mushroom driver
pin set up", of which two are serrated as well.
This guy apparently loves both Minnesota hockey and competitive lock
picking. In this clip, you can see from his shirt there, right? In this
clip, he is solving a lock that has five pins, three serrated regular
drivers and two serrated spool hybrids. That sort of thing apparently
takes a while. This is very skilled work even if the ethic of this
particular sport is that you do not show your face while doing it.
This guy, claims that he just started lock picking. We are witnessing
day one of his competitive lock picking career. He doesn`t really seem
ready for competition yet -- certainly not for a pair of serrated spool
hybrids. But as you can see, he`s sort of getting there.
Now behold, there was also a close cousin to competitive lock picking,
which is escaping from handcuffs for fun. The escaping from handcuff sport
starts kind of like competitive lock picking but then get weird in a hurry.
Like, you know, it`s a lot of the -- the shirtless thing. Put on a shirt,
man. This is YouTube. Everybody can see you.
We are all very impressed by your skills in escaping from these
handcuffs. We are all impressed by your pecs.
Hey, full clothed people also play this game in public. These guys
are on a stage with an emcee racing each other to spring out of their
handcuffs. This is not a college of lock picking event.
It looks fun, right? Something to do on a Saturday.
Ever since Harry Houdini, this has been show-offy (ph), pseudo magic
thing that people do. Pick the lock, break the hold. Throw on the water
on hand cuffs, go ahead, I`ll swim the shore.
It`s kind of an amazing thing. It`s a showman thing that people have
done for a very long time.
Modern innovations in the field of things you are not supposed to get
out of have led to other can kinds of escapology skills as well. You can
find on-line a bunch of how-tos for how to get yourself out of newfangled
plastic zip tie handcuffs that they used, particularly for crowd control.
A bunch of different YouTube videos out there of guys showing off how fast
they can get out of their plastic zip ties.
This kind of stuff, this is one of my favorite corners of the
Internet. I don`t know how to do these things but I love watching people
do it. I love this stuff.
But one of the things that does not happen because there is a college
of lock picking, one of the things that does not happen because we know
there are humans out there who can do these cool human tricks.
Even though this stuff exists and we can prove it by watching people
do this stuff online, nobody, as a result of that, says, well, we shouldn`t
use handcuffs any more in our country. We should not lock doors any more.
We shouldn`t have door locks any more, because after false sense of
security. I mean, after all, there are these people on the Internet who
clearly know how to defeat these things that we call locks.
Just because a few guys with a hobby can pick locks doesn`t mean we
live in post-lock age. That would be ridiculous, right?
There`s also a new weird thing that I would admit to not totally
understanding how it works, but people jump over cars. People jump over
moving cars. This is a thing. And please, please do not try this at home.
The fact that this is a thing, this a thing that exists has not led to
us as a country saying clearly we shouldn`t have cross walks because now
people jump over cars. Yes. Some people jump over cars but not everybody
can jump over cars and not everybody does jump over cars.
So, yes, cross walks are still a bright idea.
There is something to be said for respecting the exceptional as
exceptional, for refusing to tailor policy for everybody because of some
people`s abilities on the margins, or some people`s willingness to break
the law. I mean, arguing from those margins are fundamental against the
case of gun reform always but particularly this year, you have heard it a
million times. This argument we shouldn`t have new laws about guns because
criminals do not care about our laws. Criminals will break those laws and
therefore we should not have them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Most crimes are committed nearly 90
percent of crimes are committed with guns that are bought illegally.
Criminals do crime. They don`t pay attention to our laws.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Criminals will never go
through a background check.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. People who are committing gun crimes and
murdering people with guns are not getting them under the law anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to tell our citizens, oh, no, no, no,
we`re going to limit your ability to protect yourself and your family.
You`re law-abiding. And these animals, these wolves at the door, who don`t
play by the rules, they don`t have rules. There are no rules.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Why is this the argument for gun laws when it is it not the
argument for any other kind of law? Nobody says, well, why bother having
laws against murderer robbery since murderers and robbers won`t respect the
laws? Nobody says that.
But the go-to argument against gun reform is that gun laws should not
exist because they might be broken. And then, once they are broken, what
good are they?
Now, though, that some part of the country are deciding that that`s
dumb argument. Now that some parts of the country can make the argument
but you`re not to win with that argument and we`re going to enact new gun
laws anyway and the anti-gun argument is evolving. It`s evolving beyond
the standard "criminals will break laws" argument and they are getting into
Harry Houdini competitive lock picking part of the argument.
It started this week on FOX News Channel of all places.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His mother was a legal gun owner. And how do
you know this person would not have obeyed the law, and then Adam Lanza,
would have been limited to ten rounds instead of 30?
WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA: Megyn, you could -- people that guns, you can
change magazine clips in a second. There is no evidence that anything
would have changed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: What the NRA guy is arguing there, to a very good question
from a host on FOX News, is not that we should not put any limits on the
sizes of magazines that hold ammunition, because reloading magazines is no
problem. It makes no difference if you have 10-round or 30-round, magazine
because people have skills to be able to swap in new magazines so fast, it
only takes a second. It`s basically instantaneous. It makes no
difference. You should see these guys swapping magazines out.
And he is right. There are people who competitively reload firearms.
That`s a sport in the way that competitive lock picking is a sport. Look
how fast can I reload my gun. Google it. there`s a million of people who
do this. It`s a sport. Actually, it`s not a million people. It`s a
really specific sport that not many people do, but some people do.
Should the laws that apply to everybody in the country be decided
based on the unusual and special skills of the half dozen guys who do this
thing with fast reloading? Or should our laws reflect what happens in real
The shooter who opened fire in Tucson when he tried to kill
Congressman Gabby Giffords, he did so with a high capacity magazines. He
had a bullet in the chamber and he had 30 bullets in the magazine. He shot
31 rounds. He was stopped only when he tried to reload.
The size of his magazine determined how many bullets he could fire
before he was stopped. He had 30 plus the one in chamber and that was it
The shooter who opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School in
December did so with high capacity magazines. He fired 154 bullets in less
than five minutes.
The use of high capacity magazines that allow somebody to fire that
many bull net so short a time has been central to the Sandy Hook parents
argument for why we ought to change the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have learned that in the time it took him to
reload in one of the classrooms, 11 children were able to escape. We asked
ourselves everyday, every minute, if those magazines had held ten round,
forcing the shooter to reload at least six more times, would our children
be alive today?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Would our children be alive today? Parents in Newtown have
been asking that question, making that argument really. Since the massacre
at sandy hook elementary school, four states have passed new regulations on
guns -- New York state, Connecticut, and Maryland. Each passed a ban on
assault weapons and a limit on the size of ammunition magazines. Colorado
did not ban assault weapons, but even Colorado went there in the size of
magazines. Colorado set a magazine size limit of 15 bullets.
And as a policy matter, you can see what aim is here. I mean, in
Colorado, in the Aurora massacre, the gunman there, used a huge 100-bullet
capacity drum magazine, a magazine that he bought legally.
The Tucson shooter, again in the Gabby Giffords assassination attempt,
used a 30-round clip that he bought legally. The Newtown shooter used 30-
round magazines that his mother bought legally. Had the assault weapons
ban not been allowed to expire in 2004, none of those magazines could have
been purchased easily and legally.
And, yes, maybe they could be found illegally or on the gray market of
in-the-know gun enthusiasts. And maybe there are people from whom the size
of the magazine doesn`t matter at all because they are competitive
ammunition magazine quick-change artist who show off on the YouTube. But
Banning expanded clips makes them harder to get, which makes it less
likely that your Tucson, Aurora, Newtown mass shooter has one when the next
mass shooting starts. So maybe then it ends sooner than it otherwise would
have been, when they actually find that they cannot reload fast enough to
stop someone from stopping them.
So four states now have taken action to go back to the kinds of limits
on extended magazines that used to be in place for a decade until 2004 when
George W. Bush and Republican-led Congress let the assault weapons ban
Limits on magazines, are happening. Limits are magazines are becoming
real. Four states already. And that apparently is freaking out the NRA.
If they have to rely on this Harry Houdini argument now about this guy
being the kind of guy we should think of as a typical gun user in America,
if they have to rely on this Harry Houdini arguments to get out of the bind
of their own making, you can tell, you know they are running out of
Joining us now is Elizabeth Esty. She is the congresswoman who
represents Newtown, Connecticut.
Congresswoman Esty, thank you so much for being here tonight. I
really appreciate your time.
REP. ELIZABETH ESTY (D), CONNECTICUT: Thanks, Rachel. Glad to be
MADDOW: We spoke on the show before the Connecticut state legislature
had moved to pass new gun laws in your state. Now your governor signed
those new laws into effect. Are you satisfied with what your state has
done? Do you think this is the right package of reforms?
ESTY: I do think it`s a great package of reforms and one of the
things that`s so heartening about it, is that here in Connecticut, and you
have talked about it, this is a big gun state. This is the home of arms
manufacturing in United States. It`s part of our history. My district in
particular is full of gun owners, of hunters, of sportsmen.
And in this state, we got bipartisan cooperation to pass a very strong
gun safety law that has the elements I would like to see in Washington --
banning of assault weapons, banning of high capacity magazines, vigorous
mental health program and really looking at what we can do across the board
with universal criminal background can checks. Really the foundation of
what we must have at national level.
MADDOW: On that issue of extended magazines, because I highlighted
that in the introduction and because we are seeing the NRA`s arguments on
the issue sort of devolve I think as more states act to limit high capacity
magazines, how do you think Connecticut was able to get bipartisan
agreement on that?
I mean, obviously, Connecticut Democrats could have move forward
without Republicans at all. They have the numerical advantage in both
houses of the state legislature and there is a Democratic governor. But
they were able to get Republicans on board for a bipartisan measure,
bipartisan support for that in particular. Is that duplicable in other
states, or maybe even federally?
Well, I hope so, and I think some of it comes from really knowing
these people. They understand the cost of political inaction. And a
number of Republicans who voted for this bill knew some of the families in
Newtown, and how can they look these people in the eye?
And as you mentioned in your introduction, 11 children escaped out of
that classroom when Adam Lanza was changing magazines. Eleven lives were
saved by the real life example of what happens when you run out of bullets
in a magazine and in a chamber. It has real-life consequences.
And so, how could those legislators look them in the eye and say, I`m
not doing everything I possibly can so save another family, another
community from this sort of heartache?
MADDOW: The clip that I played of the one Newtown mom in the
introduction there, one of the things she said yesterday at the bill
signing is that she feels like the families who have chosen to be advocates
on this, and not all of them have, but families that have chosen to ask for
public policy reform in response to what happened for them, they feel they
have been treated with respect. They feel like they have been heard. They
feel like they have been listened to.
It`s very heartening to hear that for a country that is very
emotionally tied up in those families and what they have gone through.
When you have been working with them and you have been working with the
Newtown survivors and people in that town which you represent, do you feel
like that`s broadly held? That people feel they are being heard, they are
being respected both in Connecticut but also nationally?
ESTY: Well, I think, again, when you get people to think back to core
principles, how can we better care for our children? How can we reduce the
number of gun deaths in this country?
When you look at the fact of 30,000 people lost every year, over half
of them suicides, there`s almost no one in this country who doesn`t know
someone who was killed by a gun. And when you get people into a problem-
solving mode, think, what can you do? What can we do? What can we, as
Americans, do together to protect our children, to protect our communities?
Then we stop the demonizing.
I`ve been able to engage gun owners in my district who are highly
supportive, particularly around universal criminal background checks for
all sales and around federal felonies for trafficking and straw purchasing.
They know they are essential tools for law enforcement. And face it,
Rachel, if we are going to keep guns out of hands of the criminals, we have
to ask who these people are when they are buying guns. It just makes
MADDOW: Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, Democrat of Connecticut, when
you were elected , you did not know this would be such a focus of your time
in Congress, I`m sure. But have you taken this up with as much alacrity as
I think anybody could have ever expected. Thank you very much for keeping
us apprised of what you`re doing. Thanks very much.
ESTY: Thank you. And thank you for your commitment to continuing to
bring this issue in front of the American people. It really helps. Thank
you so much.
MADDOW: I appreciate it. Thank you.
All right. Good news tonight for all of you separation of church and
state fans out there in cable TV land. Less good news for family planning
sex ed crowd. But if you like the establishment clause, we have a story
for you. Please, stay tuned.
MADDOW: This is sort of, especially for viewers in Arkansas. If you
live in Arkansas, there is for you. If you know anyone who lives in
Arkansas, I give you a second, give them a call, tell them to tune in.
This is something that might be helpful if you live in Arkansas.
All right. The fifth most profitable corporation in the entire
country right now, the fifth most profitable, number five, is the Ford
Motor Company. Ford is back and they are back in a big way. Number five.
Number four, on the most profitable companies in the country list is
Microsoft. Seriously. This is not a list from 1998. I promise. This is
the most recent Fortune 500 list. Microsoft has cracked the top five.
They are number four.
Number three is Apple. That sort of makes sense, right? Apple is
just an absolute juggernaut right now.
Number two, second most profitable corporation in the country. It`s a
little mom and pop operation called Chevron. The giant oil company pulled
in $26 billion in profit last year alone. Not bad, right? As you can see,
the top four most profitable corporations in the country are all within a
few billion dollars of each other. They`re all clustered together.
But none of those companies, none of them comes anywhere close to
matching the undisputed king of corporate America, the top dog, the single
most profitable corporation in the entire country is -- boing, wow --
Exxon. ExxonMobil leaves everybody else in the dust.
All of those company, when they go to sleep at night, they dream about
becoming ExxonMobil when they grow up.
I mean, big numbers are kind of hard to get your head around, but just
to get some idea of how rich ExxonMobil is, consider this. Consider
Walmart, Google, McDonald`s, American Express and Goldman Sachs, all
fabulously profitable companies, right? You have to put them all together
to equal one ExxonMobil in terms of profit, combined, yes.
ExxonMobil is doing just fine these days, thank you very much.
Who is not fine are the people who live above Exxon`s Pegasus oil
pipeline -- which ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas, a week ago today. That
cleanup is still going on tonight. Those residents are still evacuated
from their homes.
One of the rather incredible things about this that we learned about
the spill once it happened is that many of the residents who live over the
pipeline did not know the pipeline was there until it burst.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s supposed to be a 20-inch pipeline run from
Illinois to Texas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bradley (ph) knowing nothing of the pipeline.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had no idea. And I`m the fourth or fifth house
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Now they know. It`s a bad way to find out it`s there, right?
We also know about previous safety violations as it relates to that
specific Exxon pipeline. In 2010, the federal government fined Exxon for
failing to inspect a different portion of that same pipeline as frequently
as is required by law. Sounds bad, right? I mean, not only did they not
do it but they got caught and the federal government nailed them for it.
You want to know what fine was for that? The fine was, $26,000.
OK, just for some perspective, so Exxon made $44 billion in profit
last year. That breaks down to with, per day profit of $122 million a day.
That`s what they make in profit in one day.
That`s $26,000 fine on that pipeline that burst in Arkansas, the day
that fine was assessed by the federal government, that represented this
much of their profit that day. Look at ratio of the two dots there. It`s
barely a blip. That`s just for one day`s profit.
You think that kind of robust oversight and punishment motivates a
company like this to do the right thing?
After the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010
President Obama signed a law that strengthens these sorts of fines that can
be levied against oil can companies when they do something wrong. The law
doubled the maximum civilian penalty that the government can issue for a
single pipeline safety violation. It doubled it. It had been $100,000.
Now it`s $200,000. Oh, because that will scare `em.
Exxon`s last big oil spill before this one in Arkansas, was when one
of their pipelines burst under the Yellowstone River in Montana in 2011. A
year before that disaster, federal officials told Exxon that that
particular pipeline was subject to a number of probable violations of the
law. Among the regulations that Exxon was in apparent violation of were
emergency response training and rules governing the potential corrosion of
pipes and having out of date maps and records for that specific pipeline.
And then, of course, that pipeline burst, flooding the Yellowstone
River with oil and Exxon was hit with a proposed fine for those violations
and a few others. The proposed fine was $1.7 million.
Again, just for context sake in terms of the day that fine was levied.
Here is how that fine relates to the profits that Exxon made in that single
day. Exxon made that day about $122 million in profit and here is that
giant $1.7 million fine they were slapped with. Not even a gnat bite into
their profits for that one can day.
In terms of the latest spill in Arkansas, Arkansas`s attorney general
has been so far pretty much all over this. We had him on the show earlier
this week. He has been touring the affected area in recent days. He said
today that his head hurt all day yesterday just from being exposed to the
fumes in Mayflower for a couple of hours.
He is now demanding a trove of documents from Exxon, including the
company`s inspection reports for those pipelines.
There is news today a number of residents of Mayflower, Arkansas, who
are affected by the spill, they have now filed the first class action
lawsuit against Exxon for what happened there. And so, again, to our
viewers in Arkansas, to anybody affected by this spill, here is the thing
to know about fighting Exxon. There is something to know about fighting
Exxon over this thing that they just did to your and your state.
There is nothing that Exxon fears from the federal government. They
have so captured the parts of the government that are supposed to punish
them when they thing happens, that the pain that that sort of punishment
could cause them redounds to them essential not at all.
If Exxon or any other oil company is ever going to be deterred from
this sort of bad behavior, it will not be because of the government holds
them to it, at least not anytime soon. It will be because the individuals
or state who have been wronged, they will be the ones that make Exxon know
they have done wrong. They will be the ones that force them to make it
And yes, Exxon can afford it.
MADDOW: OK, the great Ezra Klein is still to come on the thing that
has liberals and Republicans kind of on the same side today, kind of.
Plus, how the issue of sodomy is making all the difference in the
world in the Virginia governor`s race this year. Sodomy. Straight ahead.
I told you this would be a Friday kind of show.
MADDOW: Today, after causing a few hours of rather widespread panic,
the Federal Aviation Administration relented and announced it would not be
shutting down air traffic control towers in 38 states. Even though the
sequester is forcing the FAA to cut more than $600 million out of its
budget, the FAA announced after a few hours of upset today that they will
not find that money by taking away air traffic control towers from small
and medium sized airports in 38 states. Because that would be crazy,
So we are not going to do that. We`re not going to do that until
June. And then we are going to do that.
You know, it`s amazing, when you cut hundreds of billions of dollars
out of what federal government spends on stuff, you find the stuff the
federal government spends on is not just all waste and stuff that`s easy to
make fun of. So, the cuts forced by the sequester, which Republicans
suggested were just a good start, just a drop in the bucket, just the first
of many more rounds of cuts, that must be much deeper than this because of
all of the waste that is federal spending, these cuts are turning out to
force things like cancer clinics turning away Medicare patients because
they can`t afford to treat them.
About 2/3 of cancer patients get their oncology drugs at clinics
instead of at hospitals. And thanks to the sequester, the clinics can`t
get reimbursed for the cost of the very expensive drugs, so they cannot
administer them. So elderly cancer patients are going without chemo, which
must be a shock if all you have been told the government spends money on is
stuff that`s easy to make fun of, like shrimp treadmills or whatever,
The cancer drug story was first reported by Sarah Cliff who writes for
Ezra Klein`s "Wonk Blog" over at "The Washington Post". But whether it is
local news covering impact of the state by state of the sequester or
wonkier than your usual blog of blogs, about cuts who aren`t supposed to
hurt Medicare patients ended up hurting them anyway, or whether it is the
slow, national sinking in of the realization that if you cut Head Start by
this much, that means that some places, like Indiana, are going to start
deciding whether or not American children can go to preschool by lottery.
And that`s their only chance at preschool in their whole lives forever,
decided by lottery.
Whether it is micro level news or today`s macro level news that seem
to show the squeeze that this self inflicted nonsense is starting to put on
the overall jobs picture in our economy. Whatever it takes to sink in, it
kind of feels like it`s sinking in.
So then why did the president just float a budget plan with more
austerity in it? With even cuts to Social Security for Pete`s sake?
All of the headline level coverage of this today was about its
political reception, how the Republicans won`t even say yes to these
Republican ideas that the president is putting forward, about how the left
is disgusted and says they will not stand for a Democratic president
attacking Social Security any more than they would stand for a Republican
president doing the same, only with a Republican at least, you would have
seen it coming.
My question is less a political question than it is a policy question.
At a time when the austerity that we are going through is kicking us in the
teeth economically, and the president is among those railing against the
bad impact of the austerity we are experiencing already, why is he
Joining us now is the amazing Ezra Klein, "Washington Post" "Wonk
Blog" columnist, MSNBC policy analyst -- Ezra, it`s always great to see
you. Thanks for being with us tonight.
EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC POLICY ANALYST: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: So the president`s new, sort of, to my mind, shockingly
austere budget rejected outright by the Republicans by Speaker John
Boehner, is that sort after good thing for liberals that John Boehner
scoffed at it and said he wouldn`t consider it.
KLEIN: Rejected we should say before it`s even comes out. It doesn`t
come out until next week. All we`ve got are previews in the press right
now. Two things on this, one, it`s not actually that new of a budget.
The part that everybody is talking about, the compromise part, the
part where he will chain CPI, which is a big cut to Social Security in
exchange for tax increases, that part has been on the president`s Web site
on Whitehouse.gov for months now. It`s under the heading sequester plan.
And it is something that has got him really not much pick-up but it has
And the White House`s view is, why not just put that out if we`ve
already endorsed it, why not show we are really willing to do it. There is
another part to the budget, another, what they call, which is going to have
a bunch of new investments and stimulus spending and things like pre-K and
all these things that are pretty worthwhile. It doesn`t seem to me that
anybody expects to have a chance at all in Congress. So it is not clear
why they have put that in a separate, again, as they call it, oddly enough,
But there is going to be that part of sort of try to help the economy
stuff in the budget. Now, it is a case of Boehner over and over and again
beginning sort of in the 2011 debt ceiling negotiation and continuing on
until now, rejects the budget before any real negotiations again. He keeps
saving liberals from President Obama`s desire to reach a bipartisan deal
that would in fact cut Medicare and Social Security perhaps quite
substantially. That way, they`ve kind of been united.
MADDOW: So, we end up getting nothing because the Republicans say no
to anything the president puts forward. If the Republicans are willing to
say, yes, liberals would be really mad because what the president is
willing it say yes to is stuff that would actually be way more either
austere or difficult for populations for people with Social Security than
liberals are willing to see happen, right?
KLEIN: Well, there is a bit of that.
The White House`s argument would go this way, they would say, what
they want to do is replace the sequester, which the big problem with it is
it front loads all these cuts, instead of having them grow over the next 10
years, they happen as much this year as next year, as much next year as the
year after. And that`s the opposite of what you want to do.
So, they would replace it with a larger total amount of deficit
reduction. It would be back loaded. So, it would be a lot less in year
one and then less in year two than in year three, less in year three than
in year four. And overall, they think that would be a better glide path
for the recovery.
On that, they are right. It`s clearly would be the case.
I`ve argued before, I don`t mind the way the sequester cuts are
organized in terms of having half in defense and half else. If you could
give the president or somebody who had some smarts here, discretion over
not just how to arrange them within those big buckets but how to glide them
in over the time dimension of sequester, I would be fine. I think defense
should be cut and I don`t really understand why liberals and particularly
the White House thinks it is so much better to raise taxes on say rich
people giving money to charity than to cut the defense spending.
But big thing for them is time dimension. The big problem with
sequester is not necessarily the total amount of cuts over 10 years but the
amount that come in this next year and these next two years.
MADDOW: When you saw the job numbers come out today, Ezra, did you
feel like that reflected what happened already with the sequester? Would
we be seeing that this soon or is that likely explained by other things?
KLEIN: I think if we blame them on any government policy, I`m not
sure we should yet. it would be the payroll tax hike that came a couple of
months ago. You saw retail jobs tank. I think we lost 24,000 of them last
That is what we would expect to see from payroll tax hike. The
sequester didn`t hit that hard in March. It will hit much harder in April.
But for the folks who are coming out, see, it wasn`t the sequester, I put
it this way, we don`t know -- maybe those numbers will prove out to be
better than we think in a couple of months when they get revised and we get
But if it was 88,000, which is not a good number, imagine if we had
the sequester on top of that. Maybe it would be 20,000 or zero. Sequester
is expected to kill 750,000 jobs this year alone, a half percentage point
of GDP. In an economy where we only creating 88,000 some months, that`s a
brain dead, idiotic, terrible thing for us to do.
MADDOW: Which is why it was designed that way in the first place, to
be as brain dead and idiotic as possible so we wouldn`t do it.
MADDOW: And then we did it.
Ezra Klein of "The Washington Post`s" "Wonk Blog," MSNBC policy
analyst -- Ezra, thanks a lot. I appreciate you being here tonight.
KLEIN: Thank you.
All right, great state of North Carolina is cruising along nicely
being a state, doing state stuff, reasonably well within the realm of
normal state stuff. Ladies and gentlemen, the great state of North
Carolina has changed its mind about how to behave. That`s coming up.
MADDOW: It`s incremental, it is limited and it is way overdue. But
still, we`ve got a piece of good news tonight on a story that we have been
can covering intensely on this show. That good news is coming up next.
MADDOW: Update for you on something we have been covering intensely
on this show and which we have had a ton of feedback from you, our viewers,
whenever we cover it.
It is a story of the treatment of our veterans right now, specifically
the backlog in dealing with veterans disability claims at the V.A. The
update today is that the White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, and
the head of the V.A., Eric Shinseki, they did a press event with reporters
That`s remarkable in itself, the head of the V.A. never did national
press events at all in his whole first four years on the job. But he is
doing them now.
And at today`s press event, they announced two big important things.
First they want to boost the V.A. budget by $2.5 billion specifically to
try to deal with the backlog problem, and second White House chief of staff
Denis McDonough said that White House is considering forming a presidential
commission to deal with this problem.
If that sounds familiar to you, it`s because Iraq and Afghanistan
Veterans of America sent 34,000 signatures to the White House last month
asking for such a commission, asking for the president to get personally
involved in fixing the backlog problem. And now, today, we learned that
the answer from the White House is at least, maybe.
Well, that maybe and extra funding, neither of them is bottom line
improvement yet for veterans but both of those things that they announced
at that press event and the existence of that press event at all, those are
signs of life. Steps in the right direction. Green chutes, as they say.
We will stay on this. Watch this space.
MADDOW: So happy Friday. Happy Friday particularly to any theocrats
watching tonight, because I know you guys have kind of bad day.
Sadly for theocrats today, these North Carolina Republican state
legislators decided to cave. They decided to withdraw their legislation
calling on the state of North Carolina to establish a state religion.
Their House Joint Resolution 494 would have asserted that North Carolina is
sovereign from the U.S. federal government and as such, North Carolina
henceforth will not recognize any federal interference with the state,
quote, "respecting an establishment of religion."
The establishment of a state religion is quite literally the first
thing that the Bill of Rights says you can`t do. It`s the first thing even
before freedom of speech. But North Carolina Republicans are not buying
that stupid Constitution stuff. That stupid Constitution thing does not
apply in North Carolina and they will establish a state religion if they
The sponsors of this legislation are not just little some random bowl
of mixed nuts either. The guy with the circle around him, yes, he`s the
Republican majority leader in the North Carolina House, and he was part of
this group trying to do this along with 14 Republican co-sponsors. Until
somebody finally backed them into a corner and showed them even though it
might be disappointing, sadly, North Carolina is still part of the mean old
United States of America which does not allow you to establish an official
Maybe you were thinking of Saudi Arabia?
The North Carolina legislature has been going on a real show this year
now that they have gone completely Republican-controlled, with the
Republican-controlled governorship as well.
In addition to the establishing a state religion thing, they`re also
cracking down on divorce. Even if the reason you want to get divorced is,
say, domestic violence, your spouse abusing you, the Republicans in the
state legislature of North Carolina want the state government to intervene
in your marriage to block you from getting divorced for two years, during
which time they will mandate you attend state government classes and
workshops that are designed to make you not get divorced from your abusive
spouse for two years -- because, you know, small government.
Speaking of small government, we are also waiting action now from
Alabama`s Republican Governor Robert Bentley who says he will sign
legislation that will use targeted, medically unnecessary overregulation as
a tool to shut down the state`s abortion clinics. That policy has been
passed by the Republicans in the Alabama state legislature and the
Republican governor of Alabama is expected to sign it.
Republicans have already put the exact same law into effect and are
using to try and shut down the last clinic in Mississippi. Republicans are
also doing the same thing now in North Dakota. The Republican governor
signed it there, too -- to shut down the last clinic in North Dakota.
Republicans are working on the same approach to shut down on the
clinics in Texas now as well. And they are halfway there in the state of
Virginia isn`t even a red state. But it is governed at the state
level by Republicans. So they are using state government regulations to
try to shut down all the abortion clinics as well.
That is what Republicans do whenever they are in power now. That is
Republican governance 2013 style.
In Arkansas and in North Dakota this year, Republicans are also flat-
out passing unconstitutional bans on abortion. As if Roe versus Wade just
didn`t exist. They are just banning abortion at the state level, just try
and stop them.
Arkansas Republicans are essentially in a frenzy this year, because in
Arkansas, Republicans took control of both houses of the state legislature
in this past election for the first time since `74. And I don`t mean 1974.
I mean 1874, since the reconstruction era after the end of the Civil War.
And when you have not had control of something since 1874 and you get
control of it, I guess you just yee-haw let`s ban abortion. Who cares?
Also, they`ve gotten right down to work to make clear that Arkansas
rejects the Equal Rights Amendment. This is a headline from this week.
The Equal Rights Amendment -- you know, the equality of rights shall not be
denied or abridged because of one`s sex.
Maybe it`s because it`s got the word sex in it, but Arkansas
Republicans took decisive action this week in 2013 to declare their state
to be against that.
Republicans in Arkansas and Texas both introduced legislation in the
past few weeks to block sex education, and education about preventing HIV
and sexually transmitted diseases. Yes. What do we need that for? That`s
North Dakota Republicans this year tried and failed to block sex-ed
specifically for kids who are homeless or in foster care. That`s night.
In Ohio this week, the Republican attorney general wrote a scathing
letter to the federal government demanding that your boss, your employer
should be the one to decide whether or not you can get contraception
through your health insurance. Boss, can I talk to you about something?
In Texas this week, Republicans introduced legislation to overtly
rescind all funding from anything gay-related and from all women`s centers
at all public colleges and universities in the whole state.
This is what the Republican Party is working on around the country
right now. The Beltway press does not cover Republican politics that way,
but that is what they`re doing. It`s not what they`re talking about. It`s
what they`re doing.
You don`t even have to go far outside the Beltway to see what they`re
doing. In Richmond, Virginia, this past week, which is not far outside the
Beltway -- in Richmond this past week, Virginia`s Republican attorney
general petitioned a federal government to let the state of Virginia keep
its sodomy law.
You remember when the Supreme Court said sodomy laws were
unconstitutional and they have to be struck down? Virginia decided to keep
A Republican state legislator at the time, a young man named Ken
Cuccinelli, he was part of the effort to keep Virginia sodomy law on the
books, even after the Supreme Court ruling, because he still really liked
the sodomy law.
When he was running for attorney general in 2009, he explained his
thinking on the subject and why he was against protecting gay people from
discrimination, telling a Virginia paper in 2009, quote, "Homosexual acts
are wrong. They are intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-
based country, it is appropriate to have policies that reflect that. They
don`t comport with the natural law. I happen to think it represents, to
put it politely, I need my thesaurus to polite, it represents behavior that
is not healthy to an individual. And an aggregate is not healthy to
And so, keep the sodomy laws on the books.
Well, now, that state legislator is attorney general. And he`s using
Virginian taxpayer dollars right this second to try to keep the state`s
unconstitutional sodomy law on the books.
Now, in case sodomy is not a word in you`re everyday parlance, the law
says that even between consenting adults, even between straight consenting
adults, even between straight consenting married adults, the state
government of Virginia bans you from putting your faces or genitals
together in a way that is not approved by the state government
Ken Cuccinelli`s petitioning -- I can`t even say it, it`s too
upsetting. Ken Cuccinelli is petitioning to keep that on the books.
Since Mr. Cuccinelli is also the Republican Party`s nominee to be the
next governor of Virginia, he would be succeeding Governor Ultrasound,
since Ken Cuccinelli is not just some wing nut acting alone and is instead
the Republican Party`s choice to lead the state, "Mother Jones" magazine
has now inquired of Mr. Cuccinelli`s gubernatorial campaign to ask if he
personally has ever violated the state sodomy law.
Ken Cuccinelli, have you ever violated the crimes against nature
prohibitions in the sodomy law that you are petitioning a federal court to
keep on the books in the common wealth of Virginia? "Mother Jones" asked
the campaign of Cuccinelli or anyone working for his campaign had engaged
in the conduct prohibited by the state`s ban on oral sex and anal sex
between consenting adults. They also asked whether Mr. Cuccinelli would
fire any campaign staffer who had done so.
So far, no answer. I kind of hope "Mother Jones" does not get an
answer to this. Can you imagine if they did get an answer? The Beltway
version of the Republican Party is getting all sorts of unearned credit
right now for supposedly trying to move the party past this stuff, right?
RNC chairman Reince Priebus gets all sorts of Beltway credit for
saying that Republicans should try to at least sound less Old Testamenty
when they talk about social issues.
But I say that the credit for moving the party past this stuff is
unearned credit, because he, even Reince Priebus himself, the Republican
Party chairman, cannot hold himself back from this stuff. It`s too
alluring. They can`t give it up.
Here`s Reince Priebus saying two days ago if you support Planned
Parenthood, you support infanticide. Infanticide? Seriously?
No, not seriously, but this is the national chairman of the Republican
Party`s take on it.
The Beltway line on the Republican Party right now is that social
conservatism is over for the Republicans, right? That the party is
modernizing and kicking all those old school conservative issues to the
curve. That Beltway line is total bullpuckey.
Look at what they`re doing. Not what they`re saying. Dozens of
congressional Republicans and Republican senators have just signed on to
demanding more investigations of Planned Parenthood.
The gubernatorial candidate in Virginia is fighting for sodomy laws.
They are banning abortion and cracking down on the gay in everywhere
they are in control of any form of state government. The Beltway common
wisdom on this is wrong.
The social conservatives have triumphed in the Republican Party. And
you could tell it not from what they say to the Beltway press. You can
tell it from how they are using the power that they have in governing all
over the country.
You cannot distill this stuff out of the Republican Party. This is
the Republican Party. If you kicked them out of your bedroom, they would
have no idea where else to go.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again on Monday.
Now, I do not know how you behaved this week, but whether you were
good or whether you`re bad -- right now, you have to go to prison.
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