tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 22, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
>> it's often the case racial identity gets formed in this country historically in response to the ways that white people and authority conduct themselves. and now that is "all in" for this evening. >> there's a lot coming up in the show tonight. we'll have the state of tennessee doing something unexpected tonight in the last hour and we'll have that breaking news for you out of tennessee. we're just confirming it and nailing it down at this point. also the oil industry did something today that made me laugh out loud while i was sitting at my desk so much so that one passing by my office knocked on the door to make sure i was okay. we have a lot coming up tonight. we start tonight with thanks. with thanks for the fact that we are part of the nbc news corporate family thing. i don't mean any disrespect to our friends at cnn or at fox news channel, competitors in
cable news, it is really to our great and under appreciated advantage in the cable news world that we here at msnbc are part of the nbc news family. that we share resources with nbc. and that we physically share space with them including archive space with them. if that were not true for us today, we would never have been able to find this footage i'm about to show you. we found it deep in the nbc news archives. this is footage that's never been digitized. it only exists on film. the only way we got it on tv on slightly less than a day's notice was by finding the film, playing it as film on a reel to reel projector and then bringing in a video camera to shoot on video what we were able to watch on film on that reel to reel. that's the only way we were able to find this in the deep archives today and bring it back to life from 50 years ago. >> it will ban the sale of other
household articles so hazardous that even labels cannot make them safe. now there is a law that says the eyes of a doll will not be poisonous beings. there is a law that says what looks like candy will not be deadly firecracker balls. now there is a law that says johnny will not die because his toy truck was painted with a poison. both of these laws offer sweeping new protection to the american family. >> that was president lyndon johnson signing the child safety act and creating the consumer product safety commission, which is why as lbj said in that clip, you can't make kids' toys where paint on them is poison anymore and you can't make dolls where the eyes are poisonous beans. that's what he said in his speech. poisonous bean doll eyes is a
thing. look, we found documentation. imported voodoo dolls with eyes made from these pretty red seed bean things that cause nausea, vomiting, liver failure and death after several painful days. or from this doll's eye plant. if you eat these little things that look like dolls eyes, they knock you out and stop your heart and kill you. president johnson was able to cite the threat of doll's eyes being made out of poisonous beans citing that as an example when he created the consumer product safety commission which saved over time countless lives while still depriving us of fun things like lawn darts. the toy that can pierce your skull. 50 years ago today, may 22nd, 1964. two important things happened in american history. the six-month anniversary of the assassination of john f. kennedy is how vice president lyndon johnson became president johnson
but also on this day, may 22nd, 1964, at the university of michigan, the new president lyndon johnson gave a commencement address that day that was essentially his first major effort to define what his presidency would be like. not how he would help bind up the nation after the assassination of john f. kennedy or carry on the kennedy program but rather what he saw for the nation under a president johnson. and before 70,000 people assembled for that commencement address, 50 years ago today at the university of michigan, president johnson defined for the first time his vision for what he wanted of his presidency and america and he called it the great society. >> in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society but upward to the great society. >> the great society was medicare. it was voting rights. it was civil rights.
it was the head start program. it was that consumer product safety commission that we just heard about. it was college loans. it was the first environmental protections we ever had as a country. it was food stamps. lyndon johnson 50 years ago today laid out that vision of what he wanted to do as president and what he thought america could do with its wealth. and then the 89th congress, which met from 1965 to 1967 set about enacting that program. enacting that vision. to this day, that congress remains the most productive congress in the history of the united states. no legislative session has ever done more than that congress did. karen at "the washington post" did a look at that speech 50 years ago today and what president johnson promised and they did that lookback in part because president johnson said in that speech that if this
program of his was going to be followed, he believed that it could achieve its goals in 50 years. he said if we follow the program of the great society that we would be the great society by today. by may 22nd, 2014. and that program, that vision of his included many of the cornerstones of what our government does today. medicare and the rest of it. for all of the famous landmark, can't believe there's a time we didn't have this stuff legislation of the great society, for all of the landmarks and stuff that is remembered, one of the most important things that happened in johnson's legislation 50 years ago that we don't necessarily remember today but was hugely important was something called the immigration and nationality act of 1965. that was part of johnson's great society. that got rid of the national origins quota system around since the 1920s. the system by which the government picked a handful, a
small handful of favored nations from around the world from which we would allow people to emigrate here legally. a quota system that only included countries where people emigrated from there were white people with blue eyes. one of the most consequential things president johnson did was get rid of the quota law. he didn't increase the number of immigrants allowed to come to this country in total but said we won't say it only can be white people from a handful of countries. >> for over four decades the immigration policy of the united states has been twisted and has been distorted by the harsh injustice of the national origins quota system. only three countries were allowed to supply 70% of all the immigrants. men of needed skill and talent were denied entrance because they came from southern or eastern europe or from one of the developing continents. this system violated the basic principle of american democracy.
the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man. it has been unamerican in the high sense. today, with my signature, this system is abolished. >> lyndon johnson in 1965 signing one of the hugely consequential pieces of legislation sent to him by that most productive congress in the history of congress. today 50 years later we currently have the least productive congress in the history of congress. no congress did more than congress in 1965. no congress has ever done less than the one we have right now. and yet when they return to washington in january, the leadership of this current
congress, the house majority leader released his agenda for what they said they were going to do this year. according to eric cantor, majority leader, one of the things he said they planned to pass this year was legislation on the issue of immigration. and nobody thought they were going to do something as sweeping as what happened with johnson in the great society or what happened under ronald reagan, no one believed this republican led house is capable of big things at all. they can barely keep the lights on and sometimes not even that. they did promise on their own terms that they were going to do something on immigration this year. they made this promise in writing. eric cantor made that promise in writing on january 3rd, 2014, and three days later a glowing profile of this never before seen economics professor from virginia.
they profiled him because he was going to run as tea party challenger to eric cantor in the republican primary in mr. cantor's home district this year. eric cantor says he wants to do something on immigration and republicans in congress would do something on immigration has been one of the central points of attack against eric cantor by this guy who is challenging from the right. this tea party challenger who has been getting a lot of conservative media buzz on talk radio, among conservative columnists and national review. and then last week congressman eric cantor went home to his home district in virginia to face a meeting of the republican party local organization in his home district. this is a place from which he's getting the tea party challenge. he went home and he spoke to the republicans in his home district and it did not go well. >> gentlemen, i sit here and i listen to him speak and i hear the inaccuracies. my family is here.
listen. we are about a country of free speech so decency is also part of this. i hear the inaccuracies. my wife and two of my kids are here. my mother. mother-in-law are here. they hear the falsehoods. of course i'm tempted to fight fire with fire but instead let me just leave you with some thoughts to think over. you know, first of all, it is easy to sit in academia, in the ivory towers of a college campus with no accountability and no consequence. when you throw stones -- >> boo! >> when you throw stones at
those of us who are working every day to make a difference. >> that's the republicans in his hometown crowd in his home district. after mr. cantor was booed and heckled by the republican party convention in his own congressional district, they took a vote for who would be the republican party chairman in eric cantor's congressional district. mr. cantor had his own guy in that position, a chair of local republican party in that district. mr. cantor this past week pulled out all of the stops to try to help his guy keep that chairmanship. they sent out mailers to support their guy. they posted out personalized trinkets to party loyalists on the day of the convention team cantor bought up all of the conference rooms in the hotel where the convention was being held in order to deny mr. cantor's opponents any place to meet. they provided day care for the kids of their own supporters.
mr. cantor himself hosted a breakfast. vote for my guy to be chairman of the local republican party. eric cantor did everything he could but his ally lost. the guy who was eric cantor's right-hand man and chairman of the party lost his seat to this guy who made a big show at a recent tea party event in virginia by berating an empty chair stacked with an empty suit on it with a label eric cantor. this guy made a big show of saying he would only call him mr. cantor but not representative cantor because eric cantor doesn't really represent anyone. that guy is now the man in charge of the republican party in eric cantor's home district right now. and his tea party challenger is getting national support in the conservative media becoming a right wing cause celeb against eric cantor. he keeps hitting mr. cantor over and over and over again on the issue of immigration. eric cantor is too soft on
immigration. eric cantor supports amnesty. we have to get rid of him. >> who pays the unanticipated cost that will come with amnesty? who is going to pay medicare, food stamps, big business going to pay those bills? you're going to pay the tab. amnesty and people in the seventh district, i've been out to nine counties and the city, there is 95% -- i haven't met anyone that stands up and says i'm in favor of this. why our majority leader in u.s. congress is in favor, i don't get it. >> that's eric cantor's tea party opponent this year. eric cantor did start out this year saying under his leadership republicans in the house would do at least something. some legislation on immigration reform. he said that at the start of this year. he does not say that anymore. for all of the booing and heckling and people standing up and screaming at him and giving him the double thumbs down when he was at his hometown home district republican party
meeting last week, one of the times that eric cantor did get a cheer from the crowd is when he said this. >> as majority leader, i have said repeatedly that harry reid's amnesty bill is doa and will never have a vote in the house of representatives. [ applause ] >> a cheer for that. just a few months ago immigration reform was on the table. it was literally on the agenda in writing according to eric cantor who sets the agenda for the house of representatives under republican control. but now eric cantor facing a tea party challenger facing a republican primary on june 10th with a guy who is getting quite a bit of support, eric cantor has changed his mind apparently about the republicans in washington voting on immigration legislation. and he's not just changed his mind on some big sweeping idea on immigration reform, he changed his mind on allowing immigration to go anywhere and allowing a vote on the lowest policy that almost everyone supports. >> there's no greater
commitment, there's no greater sacrifice, these men and women want to serve the only country that they know. they are willing to put their lives on the line for our freedom, why wouldn't we invite those educated in our schools, that passed background checks, that speak the language that the military is willing to accept within the military ranks, why not allow them to fulfill their dreams and serve the great nation that they know? >> that's a republican congressman named jeff denham. a supporter of immigration reform. you saw him there proposing a bill proposing in this case just an amendment that almost nobody is willing to argue against. it says if you were brought here by your parents before you were 15 years old, if you grew up here, you went to school here, you speak the language here, you
have never known any other language as an adult under your own steam in your whole life, if you are willing to enlist in the united states military and serve in the united states military and serve this country and that military service should be a way that you can earn legal residency in this country. it should be a path to you getting a green card. this really is the lowest common denominator, right? the alternative is we will allow to you serve in this country's military and risk your life for this country wearing american flag patch on your sleeve if you're lucky enough to survive that military service, when you get out we'll thank you by deporting you and your family. that's the alternative. seriously? eric cantor previously said he supports legislation like this. he supports this concept. but when it was brought up this past week by this republican congressman who wants to make it happen, it was eric cantor who weighed in personally to make
the call to not allow it to be voted on. today in "the washington post" interview, mr. cantor clarified he does agree with the principle of this bill. he does agree we should not deport u.s. military service members. and that honorable service in the military ought to be a path to a green card, of course it should. that's exactly what this bill would do and nothing else. it's the smallest immigration policy you could invent. but despite the fact that eric cantor says he agrees with it, he has no plans to allow it to be voted on. maybe after june 10th? maybe after his primary is over in virginia? maybe these principles that he says he has on this matter will come back into effect after june 10th? 50 years to the day after the launch of the great society and the most productive congress in american history, you and i are now living in the era of the
least productive congress in american history and this is part of why. but even this congress does have to pass a few things. they do have to pass a bill that funds the military. and that is the bill to which this policy change would be attached as an amendment if eric cantor would let it. the least we could do -- the most noncontroversial immigration action possible for the most sympathetic candidates for citizenship who have done the most to deserve it and served their country and earned it that way. if nothing else, this is the one thing that could be done on immigration. eric cantor's office today says the fact that it's not happening on eric cantor's orders has nothing at all to do with this primary election campaign against him back at home. everybody who believes that, raise your hand. no seriously. raise your hand. anyone? predicting the future is a pretty difficult thing to do. but, manufacturing in the united states means advanced technology. we learned that technology allows us to be craft oriented.
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today on capitol hill, ramos decided to make his presence felt in a big way. john boehner was due to hold his weekly press conference and harry reid was due to hold his weekly press conference but jorge ramos decided to make those news conferences into actual news. it was pretty clear it made everybody really uncomfortable. this is not how these weekly news conferences usually go. it definitely was news. >> mr. speaker, we came here to ask you why are you blocking immigration reform. it's been almost a year. >> me, blocking? >> you could bring it to a vote and you haven't. it's been almost a year. >> the issue of immigration reform is an issue i have talked about for 18 months. the president has responsibility here as well. when he continues to ignore
obamacare, his own law, 38 unilateral delays, he reduces the confidence of the american people in his willingness to implement an immigration law the way we would pass it. the president has to rebuild this trust if we're going to be able to do this. >> the senate passed it almost a year ago and you -- >> i just gave you an answer. there's nobody more interested in fixing this problem than i am. >> you can do it. you haven't done it. >> listen -- >> you can do it and you really haven't done it. >> i appreciate your opinion. thank you. >> i just spoke with speaker boehner. he's not going to move on immigration. he says he doesn't trust president barack obama. why are you keeping hope alive? isn't it time to say nothing is going to happen, no immigration reform. he has destroyed thousands of families.
why not put the pressure on. >> first of all, we understand what this has done to families. we have waited 329 days. we're willing to wait another six weeks. at the end of six weeks if something hasn't been done, there's going to have to be a move made. >> joining us is jorge ramos. mr. ramos, thank you for being with us tonight. >> great to be here. >> that was pretty remarkable interchange between you and the house leader and the senate leader today. what did you make of speaker boehner's response today when he looked at you and explained or at least he said he explained why he is blocking immigration reform. what do you make of his response?
>> he's blaming president barack obama and the only person right now, the only person that is blocking immigration reform is speaker boehner. he can bring to a vote immigration reform next tuesday but he simply doesn't want to do it. my take is that they think that they can get away without immigration reform, win the mid terms and wait for presidential candidate in 2016 to define what to do with immigration. latinos will remember and they'll remember in 2016 and they'll lose the white house again because 60 million latinos are going to go to the polls and they'll remember that speaker boehner decided not to bring immigration reform to a vote. >> in terms of your follow-up questions today to senate majority leader harry reid, he told you if something isn't done -- he had a specific time line. he said if something isn't done within the next six weeks, they're going to have to make a move. what do you think he meant by that? >> it's interesting. even senator schumer told me they will wait until july 31st. we have a deadline.
a clear deadline. what i don't like is democrats are giving false hope to many latinos because honestly nothing is going to happen. republicans are not going to move. and they're also protecting president barack obama. they didn't want to talk about the fact that president barack obama has deported more than 2 million immigrants and that he can do something. president obama has destroyed thousands and thousands of hispanic families. what they can do is first to stop the so-called secure communities program. that means the police could act as immigration agent. but on the other hand, president barack obama is stop deportations of the parents and siblings of u.s. citizens and we're talking about 3 million to 4 million people here. the question is if president barack obama wants to really do that. he says he doesn't have the executive authority to do that. other attorneys don't agree with him. that's what many latinos are expecting. what i think is going to happen is republicans won't move on immigration and then after the
summer all of the pressure is going to be on president barack obama even though he doesn't like that. >> on the point of you asking the democrats why are you essentially offering false hope. why do you keep saying this is going to happen. it's not going to happen. i don't know it does protect president obama for them to say that. is it actually a legislative move to say that? >> it may just be a strategy. they are giving republicans a little more time to try to excuse themselves. it's clearly a lack of leadership. a lack of vision. republicans are doing at this point and they don't want people to stop putting pressure on republicans. they don't think it's fair. the white house also i'm assuming they think it's not fair to pressure president barack obama right now on stopping deportations. they want to pressure republicans now and then we'll deal with president barack obama. it's going to happen regardless.
it is going to happen. there are so many people affected here. they're talking about this issue as if it's just numbers. as if it doesn't matter. we're talking about -- look, immigration is something personal for us. when they talk about deportations and self-deportations and when they don't deal with this issue, it's affecting us personally. the most important job for the congress right now and speaker boehner said is to solve problems and republicans right now are simply not solving any problems. >> jorge ramos, host of "america with jorge ramos" on fusion tv. you made a big splash confronting them right after another. state of tennessee made a big and surprising move late tonight. it just happened within the last hour. action by the state's governor. we have that story coming up in just a couple minutes. please stay with us. (music)
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turns out you never know when you will encounter the president of the united states just walking around in public. just out on the sidewalk, at the park. what would you say to him if the actual president of the united states just walked up to you in the park unannounced and gave your kids white house m&ms? what would you say in that circumstance? hold that thought.
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distance from the white house to the interior department, the president decided to walk. it was a nice day. he walked specifically through the busy and touristy area behind the white house called the elipse which means folks that didn't plan to meet the president yesterday, ended up meeting the president yesterday. >> how are you doing? how's business? business doing all right? what's your name? good to see you. what's your names? you're cora. how old are you? >> seven. >> you got your american flag. >> oh my gosh. someone is going to think you're wax. >> good to see you guys. sorry to mess up your run. >> it's okay.
>> good to see you. >> you guys were right in the middle. you could be running in place right now. >> hey! >> what's going on, guys? >> america! freedom! peace! hope. charity! >> people react uniquely to meeting the president of the united states when they don't expect to. some people react by yelling things at him. i think the guy yelled freedom, peace, hope and charity. most of this recording was silly and funny. people just being psyched and surprised to meet the president when they weren't expecting to. one moment that was different than that. it was towards the beginning of the video. it was actually one kind of serious moment. watch. >> we appreciate his service. i bet he was. wonderful ceremony. my grandfather was buried
national cemetery of the pacific and i still remember the ceremony and the flag and taps. still chokes me up every time. >> president obama's grandfather was a world war ii veteran and his ashes rest at the national memorial cemetery of the pacific which is one of the national cemeteries where our veterans are laid to rest. it's unclear exactly why president obama ended up talking with those folks about his grandfather yesterday on the streets of washington but it seemed like people he were talking to had a loved one serving in the military and they were expecting to be at a service for that veteran. i'm guessing from the context. we're just a few days away from the last monday in may, which is memorial day. veterans day is the one in november. that's the happy occasion. a celebration of veterans. memorial day is very somber.
it's when we remember veterans who lost their lives in service. every year in days leading up to memorial day, soldiers from the third infantry place flags one by one in front of more than a quarter million grave stones at arlington national cemetery. a flag for each member of the military that's buried there. they do it every day. they call it flags in. this memorial day of course comes in the midst of essentially a national reckoning with how we are failing the men and women who have served this country and who have then come home in need of medical care, which we have promised them. as we've been reporting for weeks, this new uproar is over the latest problem. the va dealing with its shortcomings and treating veterans like trying to make it look like shortcomings aren't there. the va keeping records that
makes it seem like veterans get timely appointments when they wait weeks or months to see a doctor. president obama addressed the news/old scandal yesterday. he talked about multiple ongoing investigations into record keeping at the va. he said he sympathized with people who want swift justice in this matter but said he would wait for the results of those investigations. and then the president also said this very specific thing. >> what i said to rick today is let's not wait for the report retrospectively to reach out immediately to veterans who are currently waiting for appointments to make sure they are getting better service. that's something that we can initiate right now. >> the president said yesterday he had spoken with va secretary eric shinseki about reaching out immediately to veterans who are currently waiting for appointments. this is something we can initiate right now, the president said. now, since those remarks yesterday there's been criticism of the president that he hadn't moved faster on this overall problem already. that in his comments yesterday there was no concrete plan of something to do right now. but that specific portion of his remarks that i just played, that
in fact sounds very much like a very specific recommendation directly from the president for something to do right away, doesn't it? >> let's not wait for the report retrospectively to reach out immediately to veterans who are currently waiting for appointments. >> is that happening? what does that mean the president said that? we've not been able to get any details from the white house or from veterans affairs since the president read those remarks as to whether or not those remarks mean there is some short-term immediate outreach going on to the veterans most affected here. to the people who are on these actual real long wait lists. how can you announce something like that and not explain what you meant and whether or not you are actually doing it? tonight the va secretary eric shinseki posted a letter directly to veterans on the va's blog. it did not include any further details about any immediate outreach to veterans who were on the wait list. we repeatedly asked the white
house and the va for further details on the president's comments yesterday. we've received no further elaboration as of yet. so is there as the president said some immediate action that can be taken to ease this problem for the veterans who are most affected by the problem? who are currently on wait lists. if so, what is it? if nothing immediate is being done and that was just a misstatement or offhanded comment by the president, why can't something be done in the short-term? this is something that's more than an opportunity for political posturing. this is a real problem that affects real people. if there are concrete steps the president says ought to be taken in the very short-term to contact the people who are legitimately most directly affected by it, why isn't that happening? joining us is ed o'keefe. mr. o'keefe, nice to have you here. >> good to see you. >> this was not in his prepared remarks. it was in response to a question. he said there's no reason to wait for the reports to reach out immediately to the veterans who are currently on these wait
lists to make sure they're getting better service. do you know or do we know what he was talking about? was that an actual proposal or something under way? >> i don't. i do know having talked to secretary shinseki today when he was at the capitol that he said they are doing audits or sort of diving into 26 locations across the country right now. his office is in addition to what the inspector general is doing. and he said that he expects to have some kind of internal or initial assessment prepared to show to the president at some point next week. so whether that means that they're going to these sites and they are actually talking to veterans who are affected, that's not clear. we know rob nabors now assigned to the va is in phoenix today. conceivably he may have been talking to people as well. we don't know because like you said they haven't really told us. we do know that there is sort of secretary led investigation under way.
there's the inspector general's investigation and then of course congress continues to look into the situation as well. but as for immediate care or contact with veterans who might have been on those lists, i haven't seen any report that that's actually happening. >> the reason that we've been trying to follow up on it is because in trying to cover this as a practical problem and not just an opportunity for political fight, it's hard to escape the fact that there are individually identified -- part of the scandal, individually identified veterans in specific need who are on wait lists that are too long. the guys and gals at the center of this are findable. it seems like the president's suggestion was not a bad one if it's not happening in real life, i wish somebody would explain that. >> it would be helpful. >> this is not the first time president obama has tapped a top aide to step in to try to fix a problem. he's done that before. notably at hhs with obamacare rollout but other agencies when they had trouble. has this been an effective tactic in the past? does the administration like
trying to fix problems this way? >> it worked for them before at least from a political standpoint. jeff is on the national economic council and top official at the office of management and budget was sent in to deal with the healthcare.gov debacle last fall and helped right that ship alongside secretary sebelius before she left. and then if you go back remember that gsa scandal with agency spent $800,000 on a big lavish conference in las vegas, after that happened they sent in a guy named dan who had been a deputy secretary of the treasury at the time and was close with the economic team and with the white house. he went in to sort of fix the situation there and earned great credit from lawmakers in both parties for going in and fixing the problem and bringing it fort to them in congressional hearings and other meetings to explain the situation and pretty much right sized that situation quickly. so finding a trouble shooter that has close connections to the white house or has some kind
of a reputation of having scored good will in both parties up on capitol hill has worked. rob nabors was in the room with democrats and republicans trying to sort out fiscal problems over the last years. the fights that kept us up late. he was in the room negotiating on behalf of the white house. republicans may not be huge fans of him or his policy but they know the guy. they have met with him. they understand that he's been close to the president all these years and is now in charge of this situation. >> is it a feature or a bug in the case of rob nabors he has family connections to eric shinseki, to the top leadership of the va, his father was a general who served alongside eric shinseki. general shinseki has talked about their friendship. that means he has credibility with the va too. does that raise an issue about independence? >> it certainly i can imagine there are some republican critics who would worry that perhaps someone who knows the secretary is being brought in to smooth out the situation but i think what it does do is ensures that there's a good, quick relationship between shinseki
and nabors. they know each other and each other's backgrounds and working to get this sorted out. >> ed o'keefe, i really appreciate your clarity on this. thanks for being here. lots more ahead tonight. stay with us. predicting the future is a pretty difficult thing to do. but, manufacturing in the united states means advanced technology. we learned that technology allows us to be craft oriented. no one's losing their job. there's no beer robot that has suddenly chased them out. the technology is actually creating new jobs. siemens designed and built the right tools and resources to get the job done. i missed you, too.ou. hi buddy. mom! awesome! dad!! i missed you.
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some late breaking and unexpected news tonight, just about an hour and a half ago, the governor of tennessee signed a new law in that state that would allow tennessee to use the electric chair to kill people again if the state cannot obtain drugs to use for lethal injections instead. tennessee is not due to execute someone for a few months, but apparently the governor is planning ahead, as the lethal injection system in this country has started to collapse. also in wyoming today, legislators there started drafting legislation to bring back the firing squad in wyoming for the exact same reason that tennessee just did what they did. nobody has been executed in this country since oklahoma terribly screwed up its attempt just over three weeks ago. it was the supreme court that blocked the most recent execution last night. but i have to say, all of a sudden it is getting to be a reasonable question as to whether or not anybody will ever be lethally injected in this country again, but the breaking news tonight, as of an hour or so ago, tennessee now says it
will stop lethal injections and go back to the electric chair if push comes to shove. that story just breaking tonight. we'll bring you more as we learn more. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] staples has everything you need to launch a startup from your garage. from computers, smartphones, and 3-d printers to coffee, snacks, and drinks to fuel the big ideas. yes, staples has everything you need to launch a startup from your garage. mom! except permission to use the garage. thousands of products added every day to staples.com. even safety cones. this week, get maxwell house® original roast ground coffee for $5.99. staples. make more happen.
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transportation department which said that the specific type of oil that's been involved in lots of these incidents, oil from north dakota, that oil is more explosive than the normal types of crude oil that we've historically shipped by train. that's what the federal government has told the oil industry over the last few months, but tonight, a brand new report refutes all those warnings. a new report that's just been released says, actually, not only is this specific type of oil from north dakota not any more dangerous than normal oil, also, according to this new report, that kind of oil can safely be transported using these existing rail cars that the feds say are unfit for service and that keep blowing up everywhere. so that's a big development, right? we've been expecting the obama administration to mandate the oil industry change its ways, but this new report that's been released, that could call it all into question, if we were idiots and we didn't notice that this new report was put out by a group called the north dakota petroleum council. what's the north dakota petroleum council? just an independent organization full of totally disinterested
parties like one of the oil industry's top law firms, just completely impartial disinterested observers, according to this new report that's being taken seriously in the press, this new report by 500 oil and gas companies, the oil industry, according to them, needs to change nothing at all about what they are doing. nothing to see here, these explosive fire balls blowing up the train tracks every few weeks, think of those giant explosions as free fireworks shows, or heat. when the feds put out those safety alerts saying this type of oil is more explosive and these rail cars are unsafe for it, those safety alerts are basically meant to urge the oil industry to voluntarily change what it's doing. well, the oil industry has now responded by saying, as far as they are concerned, there's no problem to fix. this new report from all the oil and gas companies follows another report released last week by the oil refining industry, and surprise, they, too, say this north dakota oil is totally fine, the rail cars we've been using are just perfect, pay no attention to the aforementioned explosions. just today, one of the top lobbyists for the rail car manufacturers said the same thing, according to them, they've got no problem.
these rail cars are getting a bad rap, they are totally fine, we swear, we love explosions. if there was any hope within the federal government that the oil industry was going to voluntarily choose to be safer, they were going to adopt voluntary new safety standards, that answer has now come in a resounding way, and so now the question is, what's going to happen next? last week we the secretary of transportation on this show, and he said he hoped the industry would comply with the government's warnings, but told us, "they are not going to write the standards. we want to make sure this country is safe and we are going to do everything we can to get there." this is not getting a lot of national press yet, but this is going to be a big fight between the federal government on one side and the most profitable industry the world has ever known on the other side. this is getting business press so far, but no politics press. if there was any doubt this fight was coming, this fight has been put to rest with the oil industry' announcement that they think everything's fine. this is going to be a big one. now it's time for "the last word."
thanks for being with us tonight. lawrence o'donnell will be here tonight by phone and we have some breaking news on the irs to discuss with him, but first, why did democrats decide to get onboard with these benghazi hearings? one name comes to mind, hillary clinton. >> new questions today about the benghazi select committee. >> another fight on capitol hill. >> yesterday, nancy pelosi appointed five dems to that committee. >> how much is about protecting hillary clinton? >> she is the presumptive nominee. >> democrats are going to do what they can. >> defense team to protect hillary clinton. >> everybody keeps warning might be a, quote, circus. >> no question this is going to evolve into a circus. >> we must not politicize it. >> this is not about politics. >> political side show. >> monumental waste of time and taxpayer dollars.
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