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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  December 28, 2011 1:00am-2:00am PST

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with the people. he hasn't beenonest with the people. and we'll show him in the election time. >> okay. wisconsin state senator lena taylor and john nichols. that's the show. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, ed. i like the talk of the wisconsin people as angry badgers. only people from wisconsin can say that. but you take it seriously when they do. >> they sure do. thanks a lot. and thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. tonight's the night that most political observers thought could never happen. tonight's the night we've been anticipating for weeks. december 27th is a date marked not only with a big red x for important day, but in many cases to people of politics it's marked with a big red x and question mark beside it. because today was the day -- tonight was the night that the republican candidates for president were to participate in a debate in iowa moderated by a
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man named donald j. trump. a night where it was a competition for donald trump's love and affection where he was supposedly going to support a candidate during the debate. the donald trump debate was to take place this evening in des moines, iowa. for a few weeks it seemed it was going to happen. then the drugs finally wore off and that date which we all marked in our calendars with stars and question marks was suddenly cast in doubt. newt gingrich and rick santorum both said they would be willing to participate. none of the other candidates got on board. and mr. trump offered up a couple excuses and decided not to do it. the sponsor of the debate said the debate would still go on tonight without donald trump. in the end they were forced to postpone its own debate to a
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date still uncertain. i don't know what ended up airing in place of the donald trump news max debate tonight. i don't have ion tv, so i can't tell you. had the republican party gone ahead with a debate moderated by donald trump, this race would have had a different dynamic with a week to go until iowa. i mean that seriously. the biggest strength of newt gingrich's strategy has been his performance at debates. gingrich has not had a debate to perform in for a couple of weeks now. and he will not have another debate to perform in between now and next week when the iowa caucus goers will be making their decisions on tuesday night. had that donald trump debate gone forward as scheduled as ridiculous that would have been, the dynamic maybe would have
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been different with a week to go. in some ways the cancellation of the trump debate has given the dynamic of the overall republican race a chance to go back to square one. what did trump do after he dropped out of the debate? out of this debate that even a candidate like michele bachmann was too embarrassed to go to? he very publicly unregistered as a republican and reregistered as an independent thus trying to stoke that he might become a third party candidate for president between now and november. mr. trump was sort of running for president back in april, he was actually a front runner for awhile. he was in fact the first real non-mitt romney bubble candidacy of the race this year. eventually donald trump's bubble yielded to the rick perry bubble which then yielded to the cain bubble which then yielded to the gingrich bubble which has no gone to the emergence of a new ron paul bubble at least in iowa. the resurgence of donald trump on this race, to be a third party candidate, that's a sign
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of how things are back to where they were at the beginning of this race. the iowa caucuses are one week from today. but the weekly standard is once again editorializing that some republican that isn't yet in the race should quote, come to the aid of our country. the conservative establishment is still trying to woo new candidates to join the race one week before iowa. and while it is possible that there could be a third party candidacy at some point, there really can't be a late entry republican into the race. there could be, but the important ballot deadlines are over. and even some of the declared candidates who really are running are having some trouble getting on the ballot. we'll have more on that later in the show. so we're left with this republican party establishment being dissatisfied with all of the republican candidates.
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and that's manifested in part by the republican establishments tv network falling ostentatiously in and out of love with each successive bubble candidacy. fox news channel loved the idea of a donald trump candidacy this year. you could not get him off that network. then that was over. fox news channel loved the idea of rick perry entering the race. then that was over. fox news channel loved the idea of herman cain surging to the top. you could not get herman cain off the fox news channel. then he managed to end that in a messy fashion. maybe even more so because it should be said that fox news has never really seemed to like newt gingrich all that much. and they really seem to hate the current iowa front runner, ron paul. >> ron paul is not going to be elected president. he's not.
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he has a very strong core of fanatical believers, but they do not represent the mainstream of america. >> there's a percentage of this country that's crazy. and the crazy people, they're going to have somewhere to go in ron paul. >> he's really by far the most liberal radical candidate of the bunch. >> the assumption is this guy is your crazy uncle. but you never expected him to get this far. >> nobody attacked him because nobody thought he was going anywhere. >> crazy uncle's driving the car. >> that's our republican front runner in iowa right now. that's how he's getting talked about on republican tv. rightly or wrongly, ron paul is hated on the fox news channel. and if you can't win the fox news channel, it is hard to believe that a republican candidate can win anything approaching the nomination. i mean, he can have a bit of a bubble without having fox on your side. but without winning on republican party tv which is what fox news is, it is very hard to sustain a lead among
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republican party voters. republican party voters watch fox. and they watch very little else. and if fox says no, it is hard for them to say yes. in defiance of fox. at least it's hard for them to defy fox for long. that's part of the reason i think why the newt gingrich surge has been wobbly and short lived. that's why even if ron paul is able to hold on to his lead and win in iowa a week from tonight, no one believes that will translate into electoral. like when they picked huckabee. or buchanan came in second. no offense. and so week out of iowa, newt gingrich and ron paul have surges there. but the surges are sort of weak. and neither one of those
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candidates has fox news in their corner. and so there remains only one candidate who nobody has tried on yet. one candidate who might not have a fox news problem. and who has the great asset of being very, very explicitly underestimated. particularly here on this set on this tv show. are all of these guys really in play? do they all really have a shot? apparently they do. if newt gingrich does, they all do. okay not rick santorum but the rest have gone through this. we sort of expect them to do this with everybody in the field. except for rick santorum. nobody's going to vote for rick santorum. come on. >> he said he will have a big announcement in iowa. there are no indications that the announcement is he's quitting. but it's never a good sign when you say you have an announcement the first thing people ask is are you quitting? >> his role is -- i'm sorry that was actually my own typo. rick santorum does not have a role. he's just rick santorum.
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>> it has never been more clear that mitt romney will get the nomination and it has never been more clear that republican voters prefer almost anyone over him. i mean, not rick santorum obviously but aside from that, really, anyone. >> rick santorum. in the past few weeks and days have gotten a bunch of support from leaders in iowa. calling itself huk's army who are mike huckabee supporters the last time around in iowa when mike huckabee won iowa. today huck's army declared rick santorum is their man. i have been wrong. he's getting his bubble. google it. joining us now is a man who has covered every iowa caucus. mr. yepsen, thank you for joining us tonight. >> good to be with you. >> have there been other years
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in which things have been this unsettled in the field just a week out from the caucuses? >> you know, i was thinking about that earlier today and i don't think so. we've had times where we weren't sure who was going to win. nothing on this scale, this much in flux. the polls, they're pretty much out of date now. i expect pollsters went b back into the field to get a new sense of where this race is. but no. it's a great race because media people can't figure it out. >> which makes it fun to talk about. when people talk about the polls in iowa, you always hear from observers even if the polls are timely that you shouldn't trust them anyway. that iowa is notoriously difficult to poll. why is that? >> well, pollsters simply just mechanically have to drill pretty deep into the electorate to find likely caucus goers. it's 3 million people. it's about 600,000 republicans. and, you know, down here below that is 120,000 likely caucus goers.
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so they can be hard to find. secondly there's a lot of new people. you were talking about this ron paul phenomenon. he's attracting new people. about a third of the likely caucus goers say they're first time. those people get awfully hard to find. so what it means is this is going to be difficult, impossible to predict. and it's great. we're going to have a race in a week. >> thinking back on previous republican caucuses, in 1996 of course bob dole won the republican nomination that year and bob dole won the iowa caucuses that year as well. right on his heels in iowa, a very close second was pat buchanan. do you see -- in talking about the ron paul supporters, do you see any echoes of the support pat got in iowa in the ron paul candidacy this year? could his isolationism be appealing to the same block of iowa republicans? >> i think so. i think ron paul is on to
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something. there is an anger in the electorate. you see the same thing on the far left-hand side of the movement. people are angry throughout the political spectrum. and so i think it's easy to dismiss ron paul. i certainly agree with those who say he's not going to be the republican nominee for president, but i think he's on to something. pat buchanan was on to something. pat robinson was on to something. so you have to read these results as something more than who comes in first and second. you have to ask what are voters saying? what's the republican party saying? what are republican activists saying? and i think clearly a lot of them are upset. and isolationism as you know has been a streak throughout the republican party since about 1912. and so it's very real. it's there and at a time of deficits, americans -- a lot of americans on the right and on the left are tired of these wars. they want to turn inward and
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focus on our problems at home. and ron paul is giving voice to that. >> you heard my thesis in the introduction here about the murdoch primary. that fox news channel whether you like it or hate it does function as republican party tv. so many republican voters watch fox and watch fox almost to the exclusion of a lot of other sources of information. so it's hard to sustain national support at least if you've got fox news constantly talking smack at about you all day long. i don't expect you to agree with every part of that thesis, but i want to know if you think it applies differently in iowa than anywhere else? are they less or more effected by the fox news primary? >> i think activists, the ones i've watched in both parties over the years, their news consumption rates are high. they read a lot. they watch a lot of television. they listen to a lot of different radio stations. so i wouldn't -- these people are -- they're activists. their level of political motivation is high.
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think about it. going out to caucus is more highly motivated political act that writing a check to a candidate. so these people in both parties who go to caucuses, i think a lot of them are sophisticated. >> in terms of the rick santorum maybe bubble, santorum basically has no money but he has spent essentially a year in iowa, a ton of time on the ground. what do you think is the maximum ratio of time in the state to money that can still pay off in terms of the real organization that you need to win on caucus night? >> you know, spending time in the state is only part of the puzzle. i've seen candidates who've spend time in the state over the years who didn't win. alexander is a good example. i think a candidate has to have several things. they have to have a good message, be an attractive candidate. they have to be someone they see as electable. and they have to spend time on task and money helps too. while rick santorum, i don't think a lot of republicans have
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taken him seriously from the beginning simply because he lost a big senate race in pennsylvania. if he can't win in pennsylvania, a lot of republicans are saying we're not going to make you our standard pick. he's a nice guy. just a matter of you can spend time here and that's a prerequisite. but there are other things there too that have to be included. and you talked about social conservatives. and he certainly has an appeal to social conservatives. if you drill down into the poll numbers, you'll see even among social conservatives, it's the issue of jobs and the economy more important to social conservatives in iowa than things like abortion and gay marriage. there's a lot of talk about abortion and gay marriage but they're not the drivers as they have been in the past. >> david yepsen, it is just invaluable to be able to talk to you about this tonight, sir. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> i got to say i still think -- i think we are going to see -- we've got six nights left until
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the iowa caucuses. i think we will see a fox news driven attempt to create more of a santorum bubble. i think fox is going to push him. i could be wrong. i'm always wrong about rick santorum. but i can feel it. you heard over the holiday how almost none of the republican candidates got on the ballot in virginia. it turns out that's the least of their worries in virginia. that story coming up. m@n@=@s
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best new thing in the world today, ambitious island edition. first time ever. coming up at the end of the show.
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the 12th amendment to the constitution is not the most plainly worded of the amendments. it sets out the rules for the electoral college. a process that can seem opaque even on a clear day. but this little bit of legal algebra, the part about not being an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. it means the candidate for president and vice president cannot live in the same state. you can't be president and vice president on the same ticket if you're from the same state. so if newt gingrich nominee he would have had a hard time nominated one of the obvious choices. that would be virginia's ambitious macdonald. governor macdonald would have a hard time being his running mate because they are both declared residents of virginia. that has not been bob macdomd's custom. he said quote, i'd be very
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interested. it is a swing state. i'm not asking for the call. i'm not looking for the call. i've got the best job in america, but i think anybody who's in public life if a presidential nominee said i need your help to win, well, it would be a tremendous honor. please call me. call collect. anytime. you have my cell number. virginia's governor has been an enthusiastic supporter of his own candidacy for vice president if someone will only ask him. but thanks to the 12th amendment, he can't be newt gingrich's vice presidential nominee. the meeting of governor mcdonnell's blind ambition and the 12th amendment provides relevant context for the news out of virginia this yeek. newt gingrich failed to reply in virginia. the virginia republican party announced this in a tweet christmas eve. on the surface this looks like a hilarious story about the campaign being a mess.
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gingrich is polling first in virginia and he lives in virginia and he pledges to deliver vastly more signatures to get on the ballot in virginia. and he did not get on the ballot. fail. and it still looks like a newt gingrich fail. who can't get on the ballot there responds to not getting on the ballot there by letting his campaign compare the situation to december 1941. he compared not getting on the ballot in virginia to pearl harbor. you cannot get more fail on the head of this pin. no more fail will fit. except it's worse here. because we're not just talking about newt gingrich. he is not the only candidate who failed to make the ballot in virginia. although nobody else compared it to pearl harbor. it is also michele bachmann, rick perry, jon huntsman, and rick santorum. none of them qualified to be on the ballot in virginia.
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the only choices for virginia republicans will be mitt romney and ron paul. because they are the only two who turned in enough signatures to qualify. whatever you think of the republican candidates or republican politics this year, are these two guys a reasonable approximation of the republican field? no these two guys are not. given what's just happened in virginia, i think it's worth understanding about the state's politics right now. it's worth knowing that governor bob mcdonnell would love to be the vice presidential nominee. and it's really hard for him to be the pick of newt gingrich if gingrich wins the nomination. it's also worth noting that governor mcdonnell's hand-picked successor is virginia's lieutenant governor bob boling. bob boling is running the campaign for mitt romney in virginia. mr. romney did manage to get his name on the ballot. lieutenant governor boling is being challenged in his own race
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to succeed bob mcdonnell. his own race to be governor is being challenged by this guy. this guy who used to be just another really radical republican state senator until he grew up and became virginia's really radical attorney general. ken kuchineli wants to be governor. he was elected on the same republican ticket with governor mcdonnell and bill boling. and he is as ambitious on his own terms and is now challenging boling for something everybody thought boling would get. in this stew of back stabry and mixed metaphors, into this stew swims the nominating process. with virginia's 50 republican nominating delegates bobbing along up for grabs at least between mitt romney and ron paul. joining us now is anita kumar who covers for "the washington post." thanks for your time. nice to have you here. >> thanks for having me. >> i find virginia politics
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fascinating but i don't follow it as closely as you do. let me know if i got anything wrong. >> no that was a good summary of what's going on right now. >> tonight as we were getting ready to go on the air, we learned that texas governor rick perry has sued virginia. they're suing the virginia board of elections and the state republican party saying that the way the republicans are running the primary this year is unconstitutional. he's trying to force the federal court in richmond to put him on the ballot. what do you think is going to be the impact of this lawsuit if anything? >> well, it's unclear. the state board of elections meets tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. to decide or to officially certify the results from the republican party. so i don't think there's a lot of time left to do that. they'll actually determine
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tomorrow also which names will be first. will it be romney or ron paul. i'm not sure there's a whole lot of time. but you're correct. governor perry did sue really late today. i talked to both the chairman of the state board of elections and the executive director of the republican party and they had not been served yet. they weren't even aware of the lawsuit or that it was coming. >> if the virginia republican party decided to pull an all nighter and do something, if they wanted to do something by tomorrow morning in terms of getting the results certified, do they have anything they could do to allow more on the ballot? or is this really legally done? >> well, i think first of all it's too late. because those signatures, the certification was due today to the board of elections. december 27th. they've sent the results to the state board of elections. that part is over. but they're actually not in charge. they don't make the rules. this is the law of virginia. so the law would need to change. virginia as you know has one of the hardest most difficult processes to get on the ballot. and to change the general assembly, the legislature would
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have to change that. >> is there anything governor bob mcdonnell could do by executive order or legislature to get them to pass an emergency change? >> i don't think so. there's a lot of talk in richmond in these last few days about who could do what and what the legislature could do but even the legislators and both -- they are controls or will be in january by republicans who don't want to do that. the governor could ask them to do that. he could use his influence to do that but there are no signs the governor wants to do that. as far as i know no one has called him to ask him to do something. he has not indicated he doesn't want to do anything. he has not endorsed anyone. and he very much doesn't want to play favorites here. >> big picture here, this is a crazy situation. i mean, virginia -- if i were a virginia republican, this decision that has just been made
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now essentially takes me off the board in terms of anybody competing for my vote. with only ron paul and mitt romney on the ballot, there's no reason for any candidate to compete there. nobody will see it as definitive in any way and at the same time you've got the lieutenant governor leading the mitt romney campaign in virginia and you've got bob mcdonnell having said he wants to be picked to be vice president and he can't be picked by newt gingrich. who does that leave? aren't they opening themselves up to charges that they are handing for their own ga in? >> they are. but you have to remember the party didn't make the rules. these are the rules that are legally binding. but yes it does leave them very few options if you're a republican and voting. mitt romney, ron paul. interesting, virginia is one of the places where we don't register by party. i'm not a republican, i'm not a democrat. i'm anything and i can vote in a primary. it'll be interesting to see how
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many will come out to vote? >> there won't be a democratic primary because barack obama is the only one there. >> that's right. >> incredible. anita kumar. you have an enviable job at a time like this. thank you so much. >> thank you. all right. you know what are awesome? ticker tape parades. they are loud and messy and great. and they're enshrined in the forever. which contemporary american heroes get ticker tape parades and when they get them is it open? the data on that and the debate on that coming up.
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fridays are good. friday's just a great day of the week. there's probably actually data to support this. but compelling evidence is visual. you ever see this lady cut loose? stand by. ♪ ♪ >> donna summer did not sing a disco classic and did not have roles in a disco-based motion picture in 1978 because it was
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tuesday. no. it was friday. thank god it was friday. that brought out the world of boogie in jimmy carter america. friday means roller boogie and jeans at work for everybody. friday means you can do what you want and sleep it off the next day. it is the weekend without the burning of a weekend day. if you list your house on a friday it has a 12% better chance of selling. oh, friday, let me count the ways. if as a country we could all just decide that we were going to cancel a day, just skip that day and get on to the next day, you know if we could do that. if you could bag one day of the week, why in the name of half priced appetizers would you cancel friday? you'd cancel friday? stay tuned for that. in 1938, an american pilot names douglas corgan flew from long beach to brooklyn, new york. fmf]n]
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in 1938, an american pilot names douglas corgan flew from long beach to brooklyn, new york. his flight plan said his next stop was he was supposed to fly back to california. instead, he took off pointing east. he didn't touch ground again until he landed in dublin, ireland.
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thus earning the name wrong way corrigan. that also earned him a ticker tape parade in lower manhattan. the first was held in manhattan in 1886 for the dedication of the statue of liberty. since that first one, there's been 203 more ticker tape parades up broadway. the stretch of broadway between battery park and city hall is called the canyon of heroes. it's been for everyone for visit heads of state to american olympic teams to sports who win champions. to astronauts to the pilot in the home made plane. there's a special historic resonance of a ticker tape parade welcoming american soldiers home. marking the end of a war. even that history is complicated. at the end of world war ii in 1945, germany surrendered in may, japan in august. there were ticker tape parades
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that year in honor of specific generals in june, september, october, and again in december. plus two more in august and october for the president of france and for president truman respectively. even though macarthur got a big welcome after truman fired him, other veterans of the korean war were not honored in a ticker tape parade until the early 1990s. two weeks after this parade marking the end of gulf war one. should there be a ticker tape parade for the end of the iraq war? they have proposed the city have a sprad to mark the end of the iraq war this month. mayor bloomberg says his office has reached out to the pentagon to discuss the matter. the pentagon said it's new york city's call. is it right to honor one war while there's another war going on in afghanistan?
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even troops home from iraq now are looking at the indefinite future ahead expecting further deployments. the combat troops were told that they would be shipping out to afghanistan by early summer. these two wars started by the george w. bush administration have been unrelated wars. fought for different reasons and in different places. but it has been the same tiny proportion of americans who have fought both of them. is it wrong to take a day to commemorate the end of one of those wars while the other one is still raging? is that a bad idea? should we wait? if the answer is to wait, how long do we wait? how long do we wait to have some showing of national appreciation for the people who have fought the long, long iraq war on our behalf. if we do not mark the end now
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does it end up like korea where some other generation finally gets around to recognizing these men and women 40 years down the road. 40 years after we didn't do it. as i said right now this appears to be a politically hot potato. the pentagon said it's not their call. new york city wants to hear from the pentagon. my opinion is that there are mixed emotions about commemorating the end of iraq while afghanistan is ongoing. as we shrug toward a decision on whether or not to do this, the graphite strips on lower broadway to show the occasions for all the other ticker tape parades, that record in the street shows that not every canyon of heroes new york city ticker tape parade is a straight up victory parade. as americans for is 125 years we have done this as a sign of appreciation. and we do it with all the emotion that brings to bear. and if there is no parade to
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hooray our troops outside with confetti for the end of the iraq war, then how else are we going to show that appreciation? open question. discuss. uyjl6ns'4m4oxl,f3+
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you tell us what you want to pay, and we give you a range of coverages to choose from. who is she? that's flobot. she's this new robot we're trying out, mostly for, like, small stuff. wow! look at her go! she's pretty good. she's pretty good. hey, flobot, great job. oops. [ powers down ] uh-oh, flobot is broken. the "name your price" tool, only from progressive. call or click today.
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america behold. the strait of hormuz. this is why your car is able to start up when you turn the key. this channel there is how oil
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gets out to the ocean where it's transited all over is the world. a third of all the oil transited by sea goes through that tiny little spot. now, on the south side of the strait of hormuz is the nation of oman. tiny country. on the other side of the strait of hormuz is iran. oh, iran. today iran said they will completely halt the flow of all oil through the strait. said today quote, if the west imposes sanctions on iran oil exports not one drop of oil can flow from the strait of hormuz. from iran, kuwait, iraq, from the uae. most of the liquefied natural gas is out of qatar. the reason they're threatening is because of european and american threats against iran.
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considering an all out embargo. a ban on anybody buying oil from iran. they want to do that for the 27 nations of the european union. they're working to convince their allies around the world to do the same. if that happens, it would be like flicking the light switch off on iran's economy. complete and fast economic disaster. and so iran is doing a ten-day war games exercise right in the strait of hormuz. they are saying they're willing to shut down the strait of hormuz completely. good-bye persian gulf. if there are threats going back between iran an the west, it must be a day that ends in y. threats between iran and the west are nothing new. what is new, though, is how big and severe the sanctions threat is against iran to try to get it to stop what most of the rest of the world believes is its
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nuclear weapons program. the u.n. security council has slapped iran with four rounds of sanctions before congress went on christmas vacation, they passed the iran threat reduction act. they passed it by 410-11. that house bill passed sanctions on iran's central bank. any country buying oil from iran is doing business with iran's central bank. howard burrman exwhaned this to the hill. he said this would cut iran off from the world's banking system. it would also mean american officials could not hold talks with corresponding officials in iran. think about that for a second. that means -- well, as dennis kucinich explained when he voted against this bill. as he explained, this means if you had hoped that diplomacy would be a way to end this situation peacefully, it is a pretty big deal that the house essentially voted to ban
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diplomacy as a means of trying to resolve differences between our country and iran. also it has caused iran's own currency called the riyal to lose a third of its value in the last three months. that's inspired many to rush gold and dollars. if the money you normally have is losing value rapidly, you want to preserve your wealth. so iranians have been lining up at banks to buy any currency other than their own. anything but the riyal. here at home, another version of sanctions on iran's central bank made their way into the defense bill that president obama signed into law last week. the administration was against it. against that amendment. but congress passed it and president obama signed it into law anyway. so now iran is showing off its military right in the strait of hormuz. that is a threat both to europe and to us and to anybody who wants to buy oil.
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if you've still got anyone on your list for whom you have not bought a christmas present, have you considered a barrel of oil? it might be good for paying off somebody's college education some day. joining us is josh rogan, author of "the cable blog." thanks for being here. >> always a pleasure. >> there are threats flying back and forth between the u.s. and iran, between the europeans and iran. that in and of itself is not new. both sides regularly threatening each other, but is there something different about what's going on right now between iran and the west? are the stakes higher somehow? >> yes, you hit it perfectly. the obama administration has been trying to avoid ramping up the confrontational tone with iran. the last thing they want to do is provoke a crisis. and unfortunately, they've been forced into signing this new sanctions bill. it's the kirk menendez bill which puts crippling sanctions on the central bank of iran and forces the u.s. to sanction third countries who do business.
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we're talking about any country around the world. that's every country, including allies like japan and south korea. the administration is in a tough spot. they have to enforce the sanctions, they have leeway. now is the battle over these third countries. iran is sending a message to all these countries around the world, if you follow these u.s. sanctions we're going to punish you. if you don't follow these, the u.s. is going to punish you. it puts all these countries into a horrible situation, a lose/lose scenario. that's exactly what the administration was trying to avoid. >> is this a scenario in which the europeans and the americans could end up split from china and russia or china and russia say you know what, we're big enough and don't need you and we're willing to continue to do business was iran? we'll make the difference up? >> i think that split is already there. that's evident. there are lots of sanctions against iran. china and russian are largely
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believed to be ignoring those sanctions. that gives them some leeway but not enough. the europeans are the key ones here. if they go through with that embargo, that will have a huge effect. the obama administration will then be, quote unquote, leading from behind but that is the operative point in the debate right now. it's not only about china and russia too, countries like japan and south korea are hugely depend on their oil and they're huge american allies. the japanese foreign minister told secretary clinton, we can't do this. we don't want to cut off oil imports from iran. the secretary of state said listen, we'll work it out somehow. meanwhile, tensions continue to rise. brinksmanship goes on. we're all headed towards some sort of the either diplomatic and hopefully not a military confrontation. >> in terms of the european decision which you're identifying as the key turning points here, when do you expect that to be made, and what do you think that's going to be? is there any doubt that europe's going to go through with it.
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>> yeah, we don't know what their decision will be. the bottom line is that the precedent for this is europe's oil embargo on syria which is going through horrendous violence right now. that having a really deep effect on the syrian government's ability to do business. if syria is aa team, iran is the major leagues. they control much more of the world oil market and european countries would suffer if their governments go through with this. that's a very serious political consideration. back here in washington, the american economy will suffer if we put crippling sanctions on iran that raise gas prices and the obama administration doesn't trust the average voter is going to draw the distinction between the benefits of delaying iran's nuclear program and the higher prices at the gas tank. it's a tough one to explain and a discussion they don't want to have heading into their presidential election. it's not a good idea for them. >> jeff rogin for foreign policy magazine, thanks for being here. appreciate it. >> thank you.
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>> we'll say right before christmas, richard engel came by the news meeting for our show and the question from the floor of our news meeting was richard, as we're all going home for christmas, what should we be reading about to prep for 2012 he said read every day about iran. read something every day because that's what you need to know about the world in 2012, iran, iran, iran. all right. right after the show on the last word with lawrence o'donnell," he'll be exploring ron paul's defense of unpasteurized milk. drink free or die. and here best new thing in the world coming up.
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okay. best new thing in the world. this is the international date line, imaginary line at roughly 180 degrees longitude although it zig-zags around for political convenience. on the east side of the date line, it's today, on the west
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side, it's tomorrow. the island of samoa is on the today side. the government has decided they want to be on the tomorrow side. if you bought tickets to go to samoa this week, check the date. samoa is canceling friday. it will not happen in samoa. it will be 11:59 on thursday the 29th and one minute later, it will be midnight saturday. the start of your blink can be thursday night and the end of your blink can be saturday morning, which is an ambitious technical and logistical reorganization. the only more ambitious reorganization i think a country has taken recently was also samoa a couple years ago. two-thirds of the world roughly drives on the right. the other third drives on the left. in the past 40 years or so, three countries have decided to change sides. sweden and iceland and burma all had been british style left side drivers.
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and they all decided to switch to the right. but no country has switched since burma did it way back in 1970 and no country in modern times as far as i can tell has ever switched in the other direction. nobody has tried to make right side american style drivers switch to driving on the left. until now. until samoa. yes, two years ago, samoa's same prime minister decided to change the side of the road that they drive on from the right side, the american side to the british style left side of the road. the reason for that switch is similar to the reason for the date switch they're making this week because their biggest trading partners are australia and new zealand where they drive on the left and where it's already tomorrow. so it makes sense. it's a hard thing for a country to do, but it makes sense these changes. only thing that doesn't is this. if you were going to make a decision to get rid of one day of the week, you wouldn't pick monday? seriously? i mean samoa you have to kill any day of the week and you