tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 28, 2014 1:00am-2:01am PDT
>> cable newspaper columnists, you have the world reaching out, saying you're wrong. >> you know, the evidence has a way of overcoming authorities and authoritarianism. a way of overcoming ideology. >> and members of congress. congressman rush holt, thank you. that's all in. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. >> good evening. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. before he was elected to the united states senate, this man, richard burr worked in the sales of lawn mowers. used to distribute cool things like the yazoo kees walk behind mower. that was his expertise before coming to the united states senate. now that mr. burr is in the united states senate, he is the top ranked republican on the senate veterans committee, even though senator burr never served in the military, is not a veteran. he represents north carolina, has a disproportionate amount of
veterans. out of deference to where he's from if not who he is, senator richard burr who is not a veteran is the top republican in the senate on veterans issues. and you know, you don't have to be a veteran to do right by veterans or care about veterans' issues. it has at times been an awkward thing. he has made some inexplicable decisions over the years on veterans issues. i mean inexplicable in the technical sense, in the sense he has done things he himself cannot explain. tammy duckworth, flew black hawk helicopters.
when they shot a rocket grenade, the crash caused her to lose her entire right leg and left leg below the knee, almost lost her right arm. when tammy duckworth returned to her home state of illinois after her rehabilitation, she was appointed director of illinois state department of veteran's affairs. then in 2009, president obama nominated her for a post at the va in washington. and then richard burr, senator lawn mower from north carolina, decided he was going to block her nomination. she should not be at the va. senator burr would not say why. never raised any specific objections to the war hero double amputee va nominee. he just decided he, richard burr, was going to be the guy to stand in her way, without ever explaining himself. he finally relented only after weeks of blocking her
nomination, and being asked why he was blocking her nomination, and never being able to come up with any substantive explanation whatsoever. that's richard burr. this past thursday, veterans committee in the senate held a major, much publicized hearing about the va and this nonsense that seems to be going on at va medical centers around the country involving long wait times for veterans to get appointments, va health centers keeping two sets of books to disguise the fact that wait times are really long. eric shinseki testified, alongside the va executive in charge of va health care. that official has since resigned. but then that day, the day of that hearing, around lunchtime a bunch of different veterans organizations, they got their turns to testify as well. so it was shinseki first that day of the hearing, then the veterans organizations.
then later in the afternoon, the inspector general from the va. but as i say, it was kind of around lunchtime when the veterans groups themselves got to give their testimony on this issue. and senator richard burr got up and left while the veterans groups were talking. see with the arrow there? happened sort of quick. senator burr was not the only senator that left for some of that portion of the hearing. but he was gone for almost all of it. he really did not bother to be there to hear what the veterans groups had to say. see, there's his empty seat. when richard burr did return from wherever he was while the veterans groups were talking, did i mention it was lunchtime, senator burr had no questions at all when he returned for any of the veterans groups. he made one comment about something that another senator said at one point that day, but had no questions for the veterans groups. made one comment about something another senator said. then this was the only comment he made. this was his only remark related to veterans groups.
it was basically him telling them to leave. >> not that i don't love you guys, but we're going to try to get the next panel in before we get into a series of votes that will bring a finality to this. so thank you. >> when he says so thank you, he means go now, you can go, please leave. that was senator richard burr's whole interaction with the veterans group, after he left almost the entire time they were testifying at the hearing. then thereafter, senator inexplicable struck again. after that hearing, senator richard burr wrote an open letter to the veterans organizations that testified that day at the hearing that he did not bother staying for. why do you write an open letter? if richard burr wanted to communicate to the groups, get in touch with veterans groups, it is not like they wouldn't take his call. he is the ranking republican on veterans issues in the senate. he didn't contact them directly. instead he did it as an open
letter. he wanted this to be publicly consumed. had a public statement to make that was to the veterans groups, but an open letter. wanted to make sure everybody knew he was saying it. and he wrote this open letter to condemn the veterans organizations and tell them basically that they're terrible at their jobs. and he knows they're terrible at their jobs because of how they testified at the hearing in the senate. remember, he didn't actually stay at the hearing to hear most of what they said. but nevertheless, he said it became clear to him at that hearing while they were testifying that these veterans organizations are just interested in his words in defending the status quo, and securing their access to secretary shinseki. richard burr says the veterans organizations whose testimony he walked out on says they're doing a terrible job as veterans organizations because they didn't call for eric shinseki to be fired the way he, richard burr did.
the response from the groups he criticized in the open letter was pretty much what you would expect. just, for a sample, a lot of groups responded, a lot sounded like this. for a little flavor. a little taste. dear senator burr. on behalf of paralyzed veterans of america and its members, i write to express our deepest disappointment with the action you took heading into the memorial day weekend. he did this over the memorial day weekend. your open letter to all veterans clearly displays why the vast majority of the american public puts no faith in their elected officials to do what is right for this country. we clearly know more about what the holiday represents than you do. every member of congress should be ashamed by your open letter. only a politician would be so bold to believe he or she knows better what veterans want and need than actual veterans themselves. you clearly represent the worst of politics in this country. wow.
paralyzed veterans of america go on to point out the senator's repeated recent votes against legislation to help veterans, including senator burr participating in a republican filibuster of the bill in february that would expand va medical centers. maybe the wait time problem would have gotten a little better. senator richard burr of north carolina frankly has frequently stepped in it when it comes to dealing with veterans issues. it makes it all the more amazing that republicans have kept him as their top ranking authority on veterans issues in the united states senate. but him doing this over the memorial day weekend, it is earning him a round of press about as bad as you can get in the absence of a sex tape or indictment. just for the flavor how it is being received. look at this. the art of politics is scoring political points while at least maintaining a guise of trying to do what's best for the country. if senator burr was trying to do
that, this wasn't his best effort. burr is probably lucky he isn't up for re-election this year. that's from pbs. aside from senator lawn mower north carolina's self proclaimed authority on veterans issues, aside from him, mainstream politicians in our country have basically agreed to at least try to look like they're on veterans' side. at least try like you're doing the best for veterans. the reason richard burr's actions are shocking over and over, nobody is that much of a jerk to veterans. there's unspoken agreement in modern politics, in the era of long, devastating wars where the general public doesn't sacrifice but military veterans do, time and time again, there's general agreement that everybody is on veterans' side, that at least we take pains to be seen as pulling for them, even if we fight like cats and dogs over policy
decisions that make veterans, even if we fight over issues of war and peace, we used to fight like crazy over issues like war and peace. even with all the fighting we are willing to do on war and peace, we are supposedly all on veterans' side. we don't fight as much over war and peace as we used to, since the end of the bush, cheney era in politics, the republican party hasn't settled on a foreign policy perspective. neoconservative rose to power under bush and cheney, how we started the recent long two wars. since the lived experience of neoforeign policy, nothing has bubbled up in republican politics to replace it. there was a moment john mccain was the nominee. his old school interventionist, never met a war he didn't like,
might have become the new republican way had john mccain done better. he lost that election. nobody thinks he will run again. when he does his arm the rebels, let's bomb the new country speech, every week or two, nobody thinks that john mccain speaks for anybody other than john mccain, and of course lindsey graham and occasionally kelly ayotte. but nobody thinks they are the republican party on foreign policy. but who is? when the republican party had to nominate somebody for president after john mccain, they picked a ticket that made no pretense of having any interest in foreign policy or military issues whatsoever. while we were at war. mitt romney gave a speech accepting the republican nomination for president, never mentioned that we were at war, not even lip service aside, just didn't come up. that whooshing sound when you open the international section of the newspaper, that's the
vacuum sucking sound of absence and nothingness where there used to be republican debate to foreign policy. that absence has been going on for five plus years now. there's just nothing there in terms of what the republican party is offering on foreign policy. they're not participating in foreign policy debates. yes, they're trying to make a scandal out of benghazi. that doesn't count. today the question was called as to how long we're going to keep not having a credible two sided debate in this country about the use of military force and the wars and foreign policy of this country, because today in a major announcement from the rose garden, president obama announced that the country is in his words turning a page when it comes to our role in the world since 9/11. >> it is time to turn the page on more than a decade in which so much of our foreign policy was focused on the wars in afghanistan and iraq.
when i took office, we had nearly 180,000 troops in harm's way. by the end of this year, we will have less than 10,000. >> president obama announcing today america's combat mission in afghanistan will end this year, 2014. after the end of this year, the number of american troops in afghanistan will go next year to just under 10,000, 9,800. the year after that, going to roughly half that number, about 5,000 troops. those 5,000 troops their job in the last year will basically be to make their way toward the exits. >> by the end of 2016, our military will draw down to normal embassy presence in kabul, with a security assistance component just as we've done in iraq. i think americans have learned it is harder to end wars than it is to begin them. this is how wars end in the 21st century.
we have to recognize afghanistan will not be a perfect place and it is not america's responsibility to make it one. the future of afghanistan must be decided by afghans. >> president obama will give the commencement address at west point tomorrow and the white house is billing that as a major foreign policy address, and as such, the president may give further details on this plan at this speech or his thinking in terms of the strategy behind it. the basic details, 32,000 americans serving in afghanistan now, that number will go down to 10,000 by next year, 5,000 the year after that. the plan is to have it go to basically zero or zero and embassy presence for 2016. 2016. what else is going to be going on at that point? the plan is to have the war in afghanistan actually over and americans gone by 2016. since the republican party has stopped talking about foreign policy, we have really not had debate about our on-going war in
afghanistan. with this announcement today, president obama set up a time line in which the 2016 presidential election will be in full swing as american forces are supposed to be leaving afghanistan all together. 10 years ago that timing would have made the war in afghanistan the singular issue on which that election was conducted. with this announcement of the specific timing today, has president obama come up with a way to force both political parties once again to reckon with war? richard engel joins us in a moment. stay with us. e wrinkle cream gr. if it doesn't work fast... you're on to the next thing. clinically proven neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair. it targets fine lines and wrinkles with the fastest retinol formula available. you'll see younger looking skin in just one week. one week? this one's a keeper. rapid wrinkle repair. and for dark spots rapid tone repair.
by the end of 2016 our military will draw down to a normal embassy presence in kabul, with a security assistance component just as we've done in iraq. i think americans have learned that it is harder to end wars than it is to begin them. this is how wars end in the 21st century. we have to recognize afghanistan will not be a perfect place and it is not america's responsibility to make it one. the future of afghanistan must be decided by afghans. >> joining us now, richard engel, nbc news chief foreign correspondent. he joins us now from moscow. thanks for being here. appreciate your time. >> reporter: absolutely. how many times have we spoken about afghanistan and the war and we went there, and now it seems like we have a book end to
the 9/11 era. two-and-a-half years, and then this war should be over, america's longest war. it is quite an amazing announcement when you think about it. >> yet it is still it is still two-and-a-half years down the road. there will still be 10,000 americans in iraq this time next year, if it happens on the president's timetable, it will be a 15 year-long war. how does this fit into the range of what is possible in terms of what the president could have done here? >> reporter: i know from afghans that this was on the shorter side, that the afghan government, the government that is due to come into office soon after the next round of elections wanted a longer glide period. they wanted u.s. troops to be on the ground a lot longer than two years. the reason we have been talking about this for so many years, for so many months now, is that they still have to have
bilateral security agreement. under the terms of that bilateral security agreement, u.s. troops could be in the country for another 12 years or more. that was the possibility. so what you saw today was the president saying we're going to draw down and we're going to draw down really quickly. so going down to 10,000 in the first year. after 2014, which is higher than people expected. that's the number a lot of military officials had been pushing for, 10,000, we can do something with that number, the country won't totally fall apart, but after the first year, it gets cut in half, and after the second year it is over. that is a shorter time frame than a lot people had been expecting. we will have to see if it works. what you saw today was this administration saying if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but we're done. >> richard, just thinking about the way the iraq war ended and
it is easy and hazardous to make comparisons between the two different wars. one of the things we saw in terms of the way the iraq war ended, the mission transitioned at the end in terms of the last year u.s. troops were in iraq, the mission transitioned into a mission to leave, that the logistical enterprise of getting out of a country you have been in so long in such great numbers is itself a huge military operation. is that essentially the only job american troops can get done, especially the last year they're there? >> reporter: well, i think a lot of that is going to be much worse in afghanistan than it was in iraq. iraq is flat and we have a very friendly neighbor to the south of iraq in kuwait. all you had to do to get out of iraq is get on the highway and drive. afghanistan is landlocked central asia with pakistan as the main land border, which is not always cooperative.
sometimes convoys are attacked. otherwise, you have to fly material out. right now, about 32,000 troops. he is talking about getting them down to 10,000 by end of the year. that's not that many, not much time to get 20,000 troops out of a landlocked central asian country. certainly a lot of effort between now and then is going to be involved in just ex-filling, never figured out why they use that term, ex-fill. getting stuff out, what they will be focused on, then trying to maintain this training mission. right now, u.s. troops mostly are on a training mission. about 90% of their time, they're on their bases in big control
rooms with television screens telling afghans, giving them help, advice, satellite imagery when necessary, and i think that's going to be the mission going forward, but yeah, a lot of the time over the next year is getting the stuff out of that country. >> richard, it strikes me the time frame the president laid out today involves the real leaving, the full ex-fill as you say, from afghanistan happening at the time we're going to be having another presidential election in 2016. i have no idea what will happen in terms of partisan politics, in terms of whether or not the leaving of afghanistan is something the two parties or candidates at that point are fighting about. in the shorter term for politics, though, when you talk to intelligence sources or military sources about this
announcement today or what was expected in terms of the plan for getting out, could you -- do you expect resistance from people doing the work there in terms of the way the plan is shaping up? >> reporter: not so much. there was a real panic in the military when karzai refused to sign this bilateral agreement. all troops were supposed to be gone end of the year. people i had spoken to thought if this happens, we really could have a complete collapse of afghanistan, then what happens to the mission, what happened to all of the american lives lost, all american troops that were wounded there, all nato troops that lost their lives, would it have been completely in vain if they left and the country descended rapidly into civil war. it seems highly unlikely that's going to happen because the new government that's going to come in has said it will sign the agreement, so at least have two-and-a-half years. two-and-a-half years is not a tremendous amount of time, but it is enough time to try and get the country, to keep the country moving on what officials on the ground say is a more positive track. so they're a lot happier with this scenario and the scenario they were facing a few months ago. >> richard engel, nbc's chief
today, the president of the united states took part in what he called one of his favorite events of the year. science fair! the white house science fair today. the president got to meet geeky superstars like these teenagers that built a catapult. and this sandless sandbag, made with polymers. why didn't we do that before? >> as you see here, this is what a polymer looks like. then when you add water, it
straightened out and expands like this. you want to try? >> i do. i actually have one of these. >> you do? >> they're very cool. i love them. sometimes i just stare at them in space. sometimes in the oval office i just look at one of these. >> this was the fourth time the white house hosted its own science fair, honoring about 100 students from across the country. there was one field of science not represented at the white house, a field of science that's maybe more like science's long lost twice removed cousin's neighbor. to learn more about that, you have to exit the white house and turn hard right at the news from kentucky. that story is next.
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earth and everything that happened thereafter, then the earth is not very old. if taken literally, the bible tells the story of an earth, a whole planet, that is at most 7,000 years old. and so if that's what you believe, fossils are an awkward thing because fossils are the physical record of living things that died millions of years ago f you're a creationist, there's no such thing as millions of years ago. fossils mess up the story of the earth in six days and adam and eve and the begatting and jesus and us. it only works if there's a few thousand years. creationists can't make sense of anything more than a few thousand years old. it is a problem. maybe now it is turning out to be a public policy problem. in 2010, some creationists in kentucky said they were building a noah's ark theme park, a representation of the story from the bible as they believe it literally happened on earth.
creationists don't believe animals evolved slowly over millions of years. they think god created everything at the same time in that same week. everyone was to together on noah's boat, that has to include dinosaurs, if there were ever dinosaurs on this earth, they had to be there on the boat with noah and the snow leopards and parrots and emus, everybody all together on the boat. humans and dinosaurs together. when the creationist group answers in genesis, announced plans to build their noah's ark theme park, the state of kentucky offered them $43 million in tax incentives for them to build that theme park. and that quite memorably led to a question that the kentucky governor didn't want to answer. >> there would be dinosaurs on the ark? >> question for them. >> you know the position of the
answer in genesis. we will have appropriate animals in the ark. >> can you get to the microphone when you speak, please? >> sure. >> i'm sure we will have representative kinds of animals on the ark, to include dinosaurs. >> kentucky, you are getting dinosaurs on the ark for your $43 million in taxpayer money. that was 2010. the creationists building the ark park said they would have the whole thing ready by this year, 2014. but only held the ground breaking ceremony last month, run ago bit behind. that same group unveiled a marquise exhibit at the creation museum a few miles up the road. they will be show casing at the creation museum a dinosaur, specifically an allosaurus that appears to have died in noah's flood. world, meet poor ebenezer who didn't make the boat.
he was found about 50% intact. the museum is displaying a skeleton made of his bones and casting for bones they didn't find. ebenezer's job at the museum is to show kids that evolution is not real, but the noah's ark story is real. it turns out that ebenezer comes with the fossil record of his own almost as amazing as the history they're trying to invent for him at the museum in kentucky. in may, 2002, a group of fundamentalist christian home schoolers, they claimed they dug him up. they dug up that dinosaur in colorado after a last minute prayer for help. >> thank you for guiding mark and bruce to this spot, lord, we ask a blessing, especially as we enter this dangerous time period
or difficult time period. >> within moments of breaking dirt, a remarkable discovery is made. dr. bellamy struck the neck vertebra leading to a skull. they found their allosaur. >> and behold, ebenezer was found before they had to go home. it was announced their dinosaur discovery in colorado disproved the nutty idea that they're millions of years old and proved the bible version of the planet's history instead, quote, the evidence strongly points to a relatively recent, catastrophic event, similar to that described in the bible as the flood of noah's day. not only was this fully articulated dinosaur found laying in a bed of leaves and plant debris, but wood from trees mixed in the bones, some that has petrified and nonpetrified elements in the same piece of wood. if this creature were millions of years old, the evidence would look quite different.
they believe dinosaurs must have died in the flood then found a dinosaur that proves they found it after the flood. they found it in leaves and plant debris. nothing is millions of years old. he was so young, he was practically garden fresh, a dinosaur taking a nap in leaves, and they stumbled upon him. overnight, the kids and their press release became a sensation. on the paranoid fringe of home net daily. home schoolers find intact dinosaur skeleton, lying in a bed of leaves and plant debris. that detail is important. the families paid $1,000 a piece to go on a dinosaur digging adventure. now starred in a new movie sold to other home schooling families so more people could pay not just for the movie but for the chance to dig up their own ebenezer. the movie cost $18 if you got the dvd. for another 30, you could get johnny his own rock hammer.
ebenezer turned out to be a money maker, at least he was supposed to be for people that found him and marketed him so aggressively. ultimately as part of a legal settlement over who found him, who had rights to make money off him, a few years ago, the same dinosaur got put up for auction. he was bought at the auction, this is amazing. he was bought by the man who ran as the presidential candidate in 2004 from the constitution party. you see confederate flags. he is a neoconfederate debt collector, and he says that laws passed by congress are not necessarily binding, he says when the south lost the civil war, no earthly force remained that could stand against washington. the same year he ran for president, he bought at auction the creationist dinosaur that proves noah's flood. now today he is running for local county council running on a secessionist platform. >> it is not to be sure your
seat belt is buckled or make sure you're wearing your helmet, take your money to give it to him and redistribute wealth. that's not the purpose of government. >> he also believes the idea of evolution is unamerican. last year after he bought that dinosaur, his foundation donated it, donated that fossil to the creation museum in kentucky so it could be used to help disprove evolution. so that is where kentucky's new allosaurus came from, starting with the leaves and plant debris where they stumbled upon him, through the neoconfederate guy, onto the creationist museum in greater cincinnati. the phone number for the group selling fossil adventures was disconnected. the partner turning that find into profits confessed to a long, inappropriate extramarital affair, and his operation shut down.
but thanks to this guy and his creationist neosecessionist love for the creation museum has a dinosaur. we called and the director of research says he can't vouch for the part about the dinosaur found in a layer of leaves and plant debris. he says evidence of a dinosaur dying in noah's flood instead of millions of years ago is in the position of bones and condition of bones when found. he welcomes other scientists having a look. meanwhile, the museum says several thousand visited that new exhibit of the dinosaur at the creation museum. the dinosaur they say died in the flood at the time of noah's ark. thousands came this weekend and they're still up for millions in kentucky taxes. the answer to the first policy question posed in 2010. now we know. there will be dinosaurs on the new noah's ark being built in kentucky, along with all of the
we are able to report on crime and punishment and politics thereof. you may have seen things about capital punishment. they made it hard to do that to people intellectually disabled. states can't use iq tests alone to establish whether somebody is intellectually disabled, they have to take a wider look. that ruling today at the supreme court was one small step toward making it harder for states to kill their prisoners. outside the courts, all of a sudden a fast pace, what's making it harder for states to kill their prisoners is the logistics of how states can do that. states started killing them by
injecting them with misused pharmaceuticals in the early 1980s. oklahoma the first state to make it the official way of killing, texas the first state to actually do it. it was 2008 when the supreme court ruled lethal injection was a constitutional way for states to kill prisoners. the ruling went in great detail saying it wasn't cruel and unusual, the first drug they would inject into prisoners would anesthetize the person being killed so the procedure wasn't too cruel. the constitution bans cruel and inhuman punishment. so the first drug is legally crucial. three years after that ruling, all of that went away. the last facility making it in the united states shut down. it was going to be made in italy. but the italians are really against the death penalty and didn't want to be making something that would be supplying america's executioners. so in january, 2011, the company that made it put out a statement, because they couldn't prevent it being diverted to departments of correction for use in capital punishment
procedures, they announced they were stopping making that drug all together. you can no longer get it in the united states. seeing this coming. fearful their supply was about to dry up, some states already started planning for what they would do. they planned to switch to a different drug. a lot planned to switch to pentobarbital. a few months after the first drug was pulled off because the company didn't want it used in executions, same happened to the second one. they put out a statement saying they adamantly oppose distressing use of our product in capital punishment. they announced a new distribution system for the drug designed to keep it, away from ever getting into prisons. cannot be used in places that plan to use it to kill people. so, january 2011, the first drug yanked off the mark tight keep it away from prisons. july, 2011, receipt placement drug gets yanked from prisons too. in 2012. some move toward a drug called propofol, the drug famous for association with the death of michael jackson, you might remember. but in august 2012, the manufacturer of that drug as well, also yanked their distribution system for that drug, specifically to make sure it couldn't get into prisons in the united states. they limited their distributors p last w announced they ha drug they were going to use to kill prisoners. a drug brevital, and indiana announced last week they obtained a sufficient supply of brevital and plan to use it for a lethal objection.
over the past three years, that's four drugs, one right after the other, that have been pulled by their manufacturer. the companies that make the drugs, find out states are using them to kill people and the companies flip out don't want their drugs used for it. they try to get them back from the prisons. stop sales. change their distribution systems and tell distributors not to sell to any body who will sell to the prisons. and the states keep scrambling. well now today we can report exclusively, it has happened again. last week, the state of indiana announced they had fund a new drug they were going to use to kill prisoners. a drug brevital, and indiana announced last week they obtained a sufficient supply of brevital and plan to use it for a lethal objection. we obtained this statement from the makers of brevital saying oh, no you don't. the company says they were not aware indiana was obtaining their drug how to kill somebody. the company says they object to
it being used that way. they're yanking their distribution system to make sure it can never again get into a prison system to be used to kill someone. we called the indiana department of correction tuesday sue ask if they're planning on sending the drug back, given that the company says they're intending to use it improperly. and the company that makes the drug objects. so far we have not heard back from the state of indiana. this has been sort of, a technical back story. to the ongoing and in debate in our country whether or not we should kill prisoners. but this technical issue, the actual physical means by which states kill people, it's very quickly becoming a huge and real logistical hurdle to the ability of the states to keep doing this. and you know maybe the states will all go back to, hanging and, gunfire and electrocution or beheading. that tree mans to be seen. what is happening outside the court system, logistically, the decision a generation how to go to turn executions into something that seems vaguely
medical that has brought to us a pin the where the execution system in the country is now basically being stopped by the actual profession and business of real medicine. joining us now, richard deeder. thank you for being with us. nice see you. >> thank you. >> it seem to me like we are fast headed toward a situation in which the only way states scan legally get drugs to kill people with is if they have them made to order for the purpose of using the drugs to kill people. is that what is happening here? >> they are experimenting with new drugs. never allowed, prisons, mental hospitals, we wouldn't allow experimentation. states are looking to what they can find available on the shelf. or having it made ad hoc for a particular execution. not knowing if that will work well. or be a disaster like happened in oklahoma, a few weeks ago. >> since what happened in
oklahoma a few weeks ago there have been, at least, three stays of execution just senate we have reported on this show. we don't typically, report stays of execution on this show. as a national story, national news story, national significance. what seems important about the stays that we have reported is that since oklahoma, there has effectively been a moratorium, nationwide on lethal injection since then. with states looking for alternative methods to kill their prison and renewed worry in oklahoma do you feel like the lethal injection system is collapsing. >> it is right now. it doesn't mean the end of capital punishment. i think there might be some drug out there that has been really tested. and, been, is available, is made, or could be made in the u.s. this is certainly a period in which the whole system is, is in an experimental phase.
all done in secrecy. i think if this were, more out in the open, maybe states could come to some, you know, collective agreement. but, this is, you know, paying guards to travel at night with cash to go to get drugs for executions, it is a strange process right now. >> right now. in terms of the way, what's happening legally is the best states can do, to fight to keep the sources of their drugs secret so nobody can learn more about how they're having to do it. fascinating, a fascinating time in what seems like an unchanging story. it's moving very fast right now. richard deeder, executive director of the death penalty information center. thank you for joining us. appreciate your time. >> my pleasure. >> we have one more important bit of news for you tonight. fresh election results including incumbents in actual trouble. that's next. [ julie ] the wrinkle cream graveyard. if it doesn't work fast... you're on to the next thing.
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for all the fascinating things that have happened in this year's primary elections, texas tonight the first state in which a statewide elected official or a federal incumbent official, has been turfed out of office. texas incumbent, republican, david dewhearst lost to dan patrick. because of the makeup in texas he is likely to become the new lieutenant-governor in the state of texas. and, another one to watch, this one is a congressional race. this is texas' fourth congressional district. 28% of the vote in right now. so this is, worth watching closely. but this is ralph hall, republican congressman, ralph hall, oldest serving member of congress. facing a primary challenger from the republican party. mr. hall, served 17 terms. no other member of congress has been thrown out of his office this year in a primary. but tonight, at least, 28% in.
he is running two points behind. that's within to watch. last polls close in texas about an hour ago. some closed two hours ago. some closed an hour ago. results are still coming in. we'll let you know more here on msnbc tonight as we learn it. now time for "the last word." good wednesday morning. right now on "first look." obama's vision. the president lays out his plans for america's pullout from afghanistan ahead of this speech at west point today. nbc news exclusive. the most wanted man edward snowden speaks out to brian williams. >> somber occasion honoring the victim of the uk santa barbara killing. plus one heck a tornado captured on tape. google's driverless cars with no steering wheel and team usa warms up for the world cup. good wednesday morning to you, i'm frances rivera. after a decade of fighting in avenue zan stan, today, we