Skip to main content

tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  August 24, 2010 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT

9:00 pm
bush declared mission accomplished in iraq. the 127tday of the deepwater horizon disaster in the gulf. i'm keith olbermann. good night and good luck. with more from the -- attorney general now going after women's rights, ladies and gentlemen, here's rachel maddow. >> it's alarming to look into the teleprompter and see the words the kooch. very upsetting. >> i dropped crazy from it which would have emphasized crazy. >> people in virginia call him the kooch. it's hard to talk about him without people in virginia knowing that it is, however, very awkward. >> we're just reporting the facts. >> that's right. we report uncomfortably, you decide uncomfortably. thank you, keith. thanks to you all for staying with us for the next hour. within the next hour we'll bring you the guys republican party has chosen to be their face of the party for the elections this year. we'll bring you the really rich
9:01 pm
guys behind the tea party, supposedly grassroots tidal wave sweeping america and we will opposite of celebrate the return of probably the creepiest guy to make american news headlines in, oh, say, the past five years. the creep is back. and no, before you jump to a perfectly snarky conclusion, before you click send on the hate mail, all of those people on the show this hour, the new face of the gop, tea party rich guys and the creep, they're all different people. that's all coming up. we begin tonight with a perfect illustration of how rights are taken away in this country. how do you take away something that people enjoy as a right? option one, the most direct option is to try to make that thing illegal. if it turns out that you are treading on people's constitutionally protected rights in order to try to make this thing illegal then the courts of course will stop you and you'll be left with fuzzier options. you could try persuading people not to do this thing you disapprove of, you could try
9:02 pm
persuasi persuasion, try scaring people, try threatening people or go about making it so difficult to do the thing you disagree with that though you can't technically outlaw it you can de facto prohibit it by making it almost impossible for anyone to do it. that last option is a very effective means of eliminating rights in america. eliminating them even when it's illegal to technically take that right away. "washington post" is reporting that the crusading super-conservative increasingly high profile attorney general of the great state of virginia declared now the state can begin regulating first trimester abortion clinics. because the antiabortion movement chased abortion services out of many hospitals and doctors offices. it is a service that is largely provided in specialized clinics now. right now in virginia these clinics are regulated in the same way as other offices where patients receive other forms of outpatient services. places like, places where you
9:03 pm
get oral surgery or plastic surgery. under the crusading attorney general's new legal opinion clinics that provide abortions could be regulated like hospitals in which case according to abortion rights groups 17 of the 21 abortion providers in the state of virginia would probably have to close their doors. if the attorney general got his way, those 21 clinics would be newly required to be no more than 15 miles from an emergency room. in most cases their hallways would have to be widened, structurally, in order to be able to fit two gurneys through the hallway at once. even though they don't generally use gurneys. they would need to have swinging doors installed in all of their doorways. none of this has anything to do with abortion services, none has anything to do with providing abortion services more safely. it's because the state of virginia would be requiring clinics to operate as if they are hospitals which they are not. should be noted just because the state's attorney general, mr. ken kuchineli says this is how
9:04 pm
he interprets the law, claiming it's okay to regulate, that doesn't mean it's the law. as attorney general he has a lot of way to do that. when he was a state senator he consistently supported bills that would have done exactly what this new legal opinion attempts to do, force abortion clinics into hospital-style regulations. none of those bills ever passed. so having failed to actually change the law through democratic means he's going with what he sees as his next best option, declaring the law has changed anyway in his opinion. that particular page out of the playbook is one we've seen before. the approach to restricting constitutionally protected rights is a road that we've been down before. we know where this road, in fact, ends. once upon a time the country was introduced to another crusading national spotlight seeking super duper antiabortion attorney
9:05 pm
general, his name was phil klein. like mr. cuchinelli phil klein seemed frustrated at his inability to make abortion illegal in his state in kansas. he, too, took matters into his own hands. he decided that as attorney general of kansas he was just going to go after abortion rights by any means necessary. like ken cuchinelli, phil klein started off by issuing a legal opinion. an opinion he thought would help him in his crusade to stop abortion. he attacked abortion in kansas by using child abuse reporting statutes. he used child abuse reporting statutes as a means of getting his hands on the medical records of women and girls who had undergone abortions so he could search for evidence of wrongdoing within those records and prosecute abortion providers. that was his plan. as part of that pishing expedition, he subpoenaed guest records from a hotel near the
9:06 pm
clinic run by the late dr. george tiller. they then compared the subpoenaed information from the hotel to medical records that had names redacted from them. they had gotten those records from the state with the names removed. when they compared those records to the hotel records they figured out how to identify patients who had abortions by name. thanks to that operation, phil klein's office put together a list that allegedly included names of 221 adult women who had abortions. eventually those medical records and others they managed to collect over time were traded around like baseball cards. on phil klein's way out of office in 2007, there was a mad scramble in his office to decide what to do with those records. naturally they weren't going to leave them behind. they were valuable in the antiabortion wars. they thought they might be able to use them or get other local district attorneys to use them somehow to try to stop abortion. these private medical records
9:07 pm
that were obtained in the first place under shady circumstances involving a hotel record subpoena, they were stored for a while in the assistant attorney general's garage then spent 40 days that rubbermaid tub in another staffer's apartment. at one point these private medical records were all photocopied by a member of phil klein's staff at a local kinko's store. as you might have imagined by the very fact that we are talking about this, the whole operation in kansas sort of blew up. there were big repercussions for phil klein. not only did he get voted out of office by the good people of kansas, he's under investigation for alleged ethics violations. he could end up losing his law license. one of his underlings who also faced charges related was censured by the state in charge of disciplining attorneys. phil klein never managed to fulfill his dream of prosecuting
9:08 pm
the late george tiller for abortions. the overall point of what phil klein was trying to do was to take this constitutionally protected right away from women, law be damded. to use the law as an instrument to take away a legal right. the effort legally failed, but to an activist like phil klein the law was not what was important here. what was important was the outcome. in kansas the outcome was at least in part that the private medical records of 221 women who had had abortions were photocopied including their names in full view of anyone who happened to be hanging out at kinko's on january 8th, 2007. the result is every woman who has had an abortion or thought about having an abortion or thinks she will someday need an abortion will have to wonder if she'll be followed to a clinic or hotel near a clinic by antiabortion activists from a state attorney general's office. whether her medical records will
9:09 pm
get passed around by people who think of private medical records as opposition research. phil klein's campaign against abortion in kansas wasn't a complete failure, because he succeeded in making it seem harder and riskier and scarier to get an abortion. it is a long and messy road, but that is how constitutionally protected rights are taken away in this country. and now in virginia, act two. joining us now is terena, executive director of nayral pro choice in virginia. thanks for your time today. appreciate it. >> thank you so much for having me, rachel. >> let me ask you about this legal opinion issued by your state's attorney general ken cuchinelli. is the strategy to make it too costly for abortion clinics to stay in business? >> absolutely. he's been trying to do this for many, many years. especially while he was in the state senate, least for eight
9:10 pm
years and he did so unsuccessfully. he's trying to circumvent the legislative democratic process and doing this through this opinion and is giving the power to the board of health. >> why is it regulating abortion clinics as if they are hospital, telling them they need to abide by the same regulations a hospital needs to abide by. why is that such a hardship for clinics? why would that have the effect of shutting clinics down? >> if you think about your typical doctor's office, most of them are rented facilities and they're very small. they're not hospitals. if you had to retrofit an existing office, whether you own the building or you don't, you're talking about $1.5 to $2 million a year to -- or i'm sorry, $1.5 million to $2 million total to actually have that retrofitted to become a small hospital or what we call
9:11 pm
surgical centers. >> you were the source of the quote to the "washington post" that in your estimate of the 21 clinics that provide abortion services in virginia now, you think 17 of them would be shut down in fthis went into effect? >> absolutely. these are small facilities that simply could not meet these guidelines. it's really sad because abortion is already very hard to access in virginia. 86% of counties and towns in the state of virginia do not have an abortion provider and many of these facilities also offer reproductive health care, other types of family planning services. and also some of them are used as general practitioners offices. so if they shut down we're talking about a lot of women losing their only access to health care. >> terena, let me ask you about this in the broader political context. phil klein in kansas, bob mcdonnell in virginia, ken
9:12 pm
cuchinelli in virginia, these are republican politicians, conservative politicians who made their bacciferous opposition to abortion part of their campaign for office. crusading antiabortion politicians are very common on the conservative right right now. on the other hand, crusading for abortion rights, to protect a woman's right to choose is something you hear very little about, even from very progressive democrats who are running for office. do you think that republicans have been able to sort of steal this debate? would it help to have democrats campaigning on this issue? >> i would like to see that. i think, unfortunately, it has become such a difficult issue to talk about. they have hijacked the language and unfortunately what they've also done is they've made people feel like abortion is dangerous and it's also scary. so it's hard for a pro choice
9:13 pm
candidate, whether they're democratic or republican, to actually talk about this. because it's so easy to listen to the rhetoric of the other side and instead of actually really giving it thoughtful analysis as to why people are pro-choice and what that actually means. that means comprehensive sex education. that means access to family planning. birth control. if we had those two things in order, we could reduce the numbers of abortions in this country and in the state of virginia. no one even wants to talk about that either. it's a very difficult issue. >> tarina keene, nayral pro choice in virginia. thanks very much for joining us and giving this story a national spotlight. appreciate it. >> thank you so much, rachel. so after all that, after bob mcdonnell's speech with studio audience and eric cantor's pizza party and paul ryan's display of
9:14 pm
intellectual proes, and bobby jindal's moment of unappropriatedness, all we've been seeing in the past year with republicans coming up with the face of the republican party, after all the guys have been auditioned since the mccain/palin loss in the last election to barack obama and joe biden, after all of that, republicans seem to have settled on who is going to be the face of the new republican party. it's john boehner. the face of the republican party. that's next. and later, the "new yorker's" excellent jane mayer has been in washington since watergate. she says she has never seen anything like it. find out who she's talking about just ahead. hi, ellen! hi, ellen! hi, ellen! we're going on a field trip to china! wow. [ chuckles ] when i was a kid, we -- we would just go to the -- the farm. [ cow moos ] [ laughter ] no, seriously, where are you guys going? ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao!
9:15 pm
ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! [ female announcer ] the new classroom. see it. live it. share it. on the human network. cisco. i can take one airline out... and another home. so with more flight options, i can find the combination that gets me there and back quickest. where you book matters. expedia.
9:16 pm
what do you do with a newfangled star trek meets horror movie pain weapon? a weapon rejected by the u.s. military for use in war zones
9:17 pm
oversea overseas? after rejected by the military, what's the next stop for a technology like that? here's a hint. it's in the pacific time zone. that's coming up next.
9:18 pm
politics 101. in the first midterm election after a president is elected, the president's party loses seats. just about every time you can set your watch to it. this time republicans are raising expectations that they will not only gain seats in this election, they think they will go all the way. they will gain control of congress. like they did in 1994. the last time a new democratic president had to face his first midterm. in 1994, though, the so-called
9:19 pm
republican revolution had a face. more than a mascot, less than a leader. he was the party personified. in that election by a specific republican official. it was newt gingrich. newt gingrich became speaker of the house after that year's big republican gains. as republicans try to replicate 1994 all over again this year, who's going to be this year's newt gingrich? who's the republican counterweight to president obama? who represents to voters this year what republicans have to offer? sometimes in looking for this year's newt gingrich, republicans have just gone with actual newt gingrich again, given how things work out once mr. gingrich became speaker when he got charged with the largest ethics fine in history and then quit. old newt might not be the best choice for the role of the new newt. similarly, while there is much popular interest in the ways and sayings of former vice presidential candidate sarah palin the fact she, too, quit
9:20 pm
her job in politics and functions only now as a media celebrity makes her also an awkward choice. republican party chairman michael steele, well, he has the right job as party chairman to play the role, but it's only tv show hosts like me who want michael steele to be on tv and public talking every single day of the year including sunday and holidays. actual republicans don't seem to feel the same way about mr. steele. other candidates for the job of being the republican counterweight to obama have risen and fallen and risen and fallen over the course of the past year. there are the clear candidates in waiting like mitt romney who can't get near a microphone without talking about how much he hate france. also minnesota governor tim pa -- i'm sorry, tim pawlenty. there have also been republicans given big stages on which to speak this year and some cases bobby jindal, big stages from which they visibly fell off of. some republicans have been allowed to introduce policy
9:21 pm
proposals like paul ryan's budget in order to boost their national profile. it seems like now as we head into the homestretch for this year's elections, as the primaries start to wind down. republicans seem to have settled on their mascot guy. their candidate. their counterweight to the president. the guy who will personify what republicans have to offer america in 2010. i'm honestly surprised to say this. it seems like they have picked john boehner. the republican congressman who would be speaker of the house if republicans won the house this year. mr. boehner gave a major speech today in cleveland laying out the republicans' economic strategy. mr. boehner is also the republican scheduled to give a speech on iraq on the day offed hand-over of command in baghdad, when the president has requested time from the networks for a primetime oval office address. republicans appear to have plighted their trough for this election. in the blue corner will be president barack obama, in the red corner it will be this guy.
9:22 pm
three, two, one, go. joining us now is jonathan alter, msnbc political analyst, "newsweek" columnist and author of "president obama year one." >> hi, rachel. >> democrats are raising money over the notion of john boehner being speaker. so is the elevation of boehner as the face of the republican party, is that a good thing for democrats or a good thing for republicans? or both? >> i think it's very good thing for democrats. look, the republicans want this to be a referendum on obama. the democrats want the midterms to be a choice. the path that they're on or, you know, return to the past and george w. bush. they can make it another choice, straight-up obama versus boehner. it would be wonderful, for instance, to see them debate, presumably boehner would say no if obama said let's have a discussion on tv the way they did last year about health care,
9:23 pm
except this time maybe just make it boehner and obama. the point is, he's an excellent foil for the democrats. it's not just because of all the jokes about his orange complexion that politicians have been using for the last couple years. this is a guy who was most famous before he came the house minority leader for having passed out checks from the tobacco industry on the floor of the house of representatives. that's not an allegation or an exaggeration. he actually did that. and in the years since, you know, he's no newt gingrich when it comes to talent. he just doesn't really have any political chops. so i think the democrats are just delighted he's stepping forward. >> in terms of why this has happened then, republicans aren't strategically dumb heading into a big, important election like this. why would they be putting boehner forward in this way? nobody had to give an economic speech about the republican
9:24 pm
counterpoint to the policies. nobody had to make a big policy speech that was going to get attention for having called for the resignation of the economic team. nobody has to give a counterpoint speech on iraq august 31st. why aren't the republicans putting them up? >> rachel, i have to tell you because of technical difficulties i'm not sure if i heard your question. i'm not getting audio right now. i'll try to answer it anyway. the -- the republicans, you know, feel like they have a really good message with the status quo. and so they feel free to kind of distort the obama performance. so for instance when boehner said today, quote, the stimulus has gotten us nowhere, that's not an opinion, it's a factual misstatement. this congressional budget office, which is nonpartisan, estimated the stimulus has
9:25 pm
provided between 1.5 million and 3.5 million new jobs and expanded the economy by as much as 4.7% in the second quarter. so, you know, facts can be stubborn things as ronald reagan said. they're out there now giving the press the opportunity to actually assess which of the candidates -- which of the politicians is telling the truth on the facts about the economic condition of the country. and on that basis, if we can get back into what sometimes is called the reality-based community, then maybe we can have a real argument based on facts as opposed to opinions. and i think the democrats' challenge, rachel, is to tee this up appropriately. it should be done on -- on boehner's and the republicans' decision to argue this on taxes. on extending the tax cuts for the wealthy. so the democrats now have an
9:26 pm
opportunity to say, okay, that's about $300 billion minimum. should we spend that giving more millions to millionaires or spend that money on millions of new jobs? that's a pretty good compare and contrast for democrats. we'll see whether they can execute on that. my feeling is if they can't use that then maybe they should get into a new line of work because there are real opportunities politically here for the democrats to lessen their losses and hold the congress if they can stigmatize boehner and the republicans and just explain what they represent which is a return to bush economics. >> jonathan alter, msnbc political analyst, "newsweek" senior editor and columnist and author of the book "the promise." also a man who can perform a television segment with one ear tied behind his back. >> that part i heard. the "new yorker's" jane
9:27 pm
mayer joins us in a moment. remember when we introduced you to billionaire brothers who didn't want anyone to know they were funding the tea party movement? jane mayer figured out all that and what else they're funding too. that they really don't want anyone to know about. it says you like cool jams. i do like cool jams. it says you're not real. [ growls ] sorry. it says mackenzie ellerd got that exact same dress. [ screams ] it says it's the second switch. alright. [ switch clicks ] [ whistles and clapping ] [ male announcer ] at&t feels everyone should have access on the go, so we're making mobile broadband more affordable. introducing new smartphone data plans starting at only $15. at&t. rethink possible. in this. one day, i'll park this in a spot reserved for me. it's got 26,000 miles on it now, but i'm gonna take it to a thousand million. [ male announcer ] when you own a certified pre-owned mercedes-benz, chances are they'll own it one day, too. which is why it undergoes such a rigorous inspection
9:28 pm
to meet our uncompromising standards. one day, i'm gonna drive this to vegas. [ male announcer ] hurry in to your authorized mercedes-benz dealer for 1.99% financing during our certified pre-owned sales event through august 31st. during our certified pre-owned host: could switching to geico realis a bird in the handre on worth 2 in the bush? appraiser: well you rarely see them in this good of shape. appraiser: for example the fingers are perfect. appraiser: the bird is in mint condition. appraiser: and i would say if this were to go to auction today, appraiser: conservatively it would be worth 2 in the bush. woman: really? appraiser: it's just beautiful, thank you so much for bringing it in. woman: unbelievable anncr: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more.
9:29 pm
9:30 pm
1 1,000, 2 1,000. 3 --
9:31 pm
>> those aren't people at a very, very elementary acting class. those are people meeting the pain ray. or to use its given name the active denial system. the active denial system. sounds like an indexed term in a child psychology textbook. it's actually a pain ray. an invisible pain ray developed by the defense contractor rafeyon for the u.s. military. it shoots a beam of millimeter waves that penetrates human flesh through your clothing causing a sensation akin to being hit with scalding water or by the blast of heat you get when you open a hot oven. once the pain ray hits you the only way to stop the pain is to -- watch what these guys do. get out of the way of the pain
9:32 pm
ray. run away. after being developed it was sent to afghanistan this summer to be used as a crowd control device. as they say, in the field. in the war zone. on people other than volunteers and journalists. interesting point, though, the military didn't accept it. the military promptly sent the pain ray back to the united states from afghanistan without using it. military spokesman saying only that, quote, the operational need for the device was not approved by commanders. so no reason given as to why it wasn't approved. it just wasn't approved. you think of all the things the military has approved over time, but this, the pain ray, this was too far for them. too much. they didn't want it. and so now because the u.s. military has determined that the pain ray is not suitable for use in a war zone, the pain ray is coming home. the pain ray is coming home to be used here, against americans. against american prisoners.
9:33 pm
at the detention center in castayet, california. the prisoners deemed unruly at this facility will find themselves on the receiving end of the smaller version too hot for afghanistan military pain ray. the full-scale version is called the active denial system. as i said, the smaller one they'll be using in the jail, they're calling it an assault intervention device. same pain, different name. the military one gets mounted on a humvee. the jail one you see right here, it's about 7 1/2 feet tall and apparently lives in this office. the jail got the device for free as part of an operational evaluation by the department of justice and penn state university. so it's sort of an experiment. an experiment on prisoners. want to see what it does again? >> oh! >> 1 1,000, 2 1,000, 3 -- >> because it was supposed to be used for the military the
9:34 pm
pentagon funded the development of the pain ray to the tune of about $40 million. the pain ray will be used against americans in a trial. a publicly funded experiment. for which people who are locked up in los angeles county's jails did not volunteer. america, these are your tax dollars at work. get one of these every six months you go without an accident. [ judy ] what are you waiting for? call or click today for a free quote or to find an allstate agent. call or click today for a free quote ♪ check the wife check the kids check your email messages ♪ check the news online ♪ check the money in the bank check the gas in the tank ♪ ♪ check the hottie walking by... ♪ ♪ ...wait that's a dude, no thanks ♪ ♪ check the new hairdo check the mic one two ♪ ♪ 'cause i'm about to drop some knowledge right on top of you ♪ ♪ you check a lot of things already why not add one more ♪ ♪ that can help your situation for sure ♪ ♪ check your credit score ♪ free-credit-score-dot-com free-credit-score ♪ ♪ you won't regret it at all vo: offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage.
9:35 pm
with their autobahn for all event. it ends soon. they got great prices. cars built for the autobahn. people are gonna be driving crazy in the jetta... ...the routan, and the cc. that cc is gorgeous. that jetta is awesome. my wife loves her new routan. and they all come with that carefree maintenance. scheduled maintenance included. we're not shopping for cars here, people. c'mon! well, i am now. that's kind of exciting. [ male announcer ] the autobahn for all event. lease the jetta limited edition for $199 a month or get 0% apr. ♪
9:36 pm
or get 0% apr. are you suffering from keeps coming back?n?heartbut then you're ready for new zegerid otc. zegerid otc is the first 24-hour treatment ever with two active ingredients: prescription-strength medicine plus a protective ingredient that shields the medicine from stomach acid so it's effectively absorbed. just one zegerid otc capsule a day can relieve your heartburn all day and all night. if you have frequent heartburn, try dual-ingredient zegerid otc. heartburn solved. check this out. boo-yah! shazam! h2...o! hydrolicious! magic bananas! it's the first one click faucet filter that removes 99% of lead and microbial cysts. adios contaminos!
9:37 pm
okay. so let's say your dad founded a really big oil and chemical company. let's say just for the sake of argument that it's the biggest privately held oil and chemical company in the whole world. the second largest privately held company of any kind in the whole country. and because your dad founded that company, and because dad's will was awesome, you and your brother are now tied in the rankings for the ninth richest men in america. usa, usa. if those were your circumstances, what would make sense is that you, as the head of a giant oil and chemical company you inherited from your dad, you would do things like trying to stop the government from limiting greenhouse gas emissions. you live for greenhouse gas emissions.
9:38 pm
you'd be trying to make sure there was no tax on fossil fuels. you'd be trying to prevent chemicals like formaldehyde from being labeled as causing cancer, make millions and millions of dollars after all from formaldehyde. they'd be good for the bottom line of the business you inhe t inherited from dear old dad. if you're sitting at home watching this show you probably did not inherit a giant oil company from dad. i'm sorry. the brothers who did, charles and david koch of koch industries have done all the things i mentioned. they've done the advocacy and service of their company's bottom line through koch industries but funneled a lot of money through organizations with innocuous sounding names. groups like citizens for a sound economy. who's against that? or citizens for the environment. hmm, sounds like hippies. there's also david koch's latest venture, american's for
9:39 pm
prosperity. who's against prosperity? all of these groups have been started or funded by the koch brothers and they happen to serve the financial interests of koch industries. last summer we discovered it was groups like americans for procesperity behind the grassros tea party rallies around the country. they were paying for bus, organizing speakers, putting together training kits, making talking points, designing the website, all that stuff. tea partyers who attended these rallies were essentially instructed to rally against things like climate change legislation, by billionaire oil tycoons. in addition to fighting against all of that stuff specifically related to the oil and chemical industry which make sense because that's where they got dad's money from, the brothers have been bankrolling efforts to reduce social services in america, defeat health reform,
9:40 pm
defeat the economic stimulus package. these are things that may have vague connection to the bolt tom line of koch, but the brothers are pursuing an agenda beyond their own narrow or very rich corporate self-interest. they have an interest that's hardcore ideological, hardcore conservative. dad's money to pursue that agenda turns out goes a long, long way. joining us for the interview tonight, the "new yorker's" jane mayor, author of "covert operations: the billionaire brothers who are waging a war against obama." thanks very much for joining us tonight. >> great to be with you, rachel. >> let me ask you about the distinction i made in the introduction. it seems like a lot of what the koch brothers have funded has a direct impact on koch industry's profitability. describe for us the ideologically motivated stuff they've been funding. >> sure. the two interests do dovetail to a large extent, but they are
9:41 pm
very hardcore libertarian id idiologs and have been many years. their early years are actually very revealing. i go into the family story to some extent in the "new yorker." they were early backers and followers of a man named robert lefevour, an an anarchist. the only thing he believed in was a government that would protect individual rights. from those early days they were supporters of getting rid of things like social security, income taxes, all kinds of regulations. they wanted to get rid of the fbi, cia. charles koch who is interestingly heads of one of the most important and influential companies in the country is also a man who described himself quite recently as a radical, so it's a radical ideology they have. >> one of the things that is
9:42 pm
striking is the distance between the sort of john burch-era koch the father ideology you've described and modern day, even very far right conservatism. for example, the idea of getting rid of the fbi and cia is something that would strike a lot of today's modern national security conservatives as kind of off the deep end, right? >> well, it would, but i mean, they are extreme libertarians. day are the major funders of libertarianism in the country and have been for a number of years. at a certain point the two things collide quite nicely for them in that what they have been spending a lot of money on is fighting regulations on things like, as you've mentioned, the environment. they have a history of serious pollution problems and even criminal problems having to do with pollution record. when they go after the federal government, they're also aiding their bottom line. >> the strategy of the brothers
9:43 pm
has been to try to influence policy by bankrolling a lot of right-wing think tanks, a lot of right-wing organizing outfits. why did they determine that was the best route to take? you describe in the piece how one of them at one point ran for office. >> that's true. it's really interesting, in 1980, david koch, the brother who lives in new york city, became vice president of the libertarian ticket. and actually if you take a look at that campaign the language was much like the tea party. they talked about having a tea party then to get rid of taxes. it was a flop at the ballot box. they got something like 1% of the vote and realized they couldn't really win in kind of the open democratic marketplace. so instead they decided to go recede from public view and start funding a complete apparatus of public opinion that would push america in the other direction in other ways. there's a book about them and
9:44 pm
the libertarian movement called "radicals for capitalism" in which they are described as deciding that politicians were just actors and it would be better to write the script for the politicians than to be the politicians. so people that started writing the scripts were the think tanks they started funding and academics they started funding and some of the pundits they started funding. >> one of the things that's most intriguing about them is that until recently you've heard so little about them. they've really taken great pains to keep their own names out of the headlines to do this in a low-key way. do you have insight into why they haven't been more transparent about their political donations and what they're trying to do? >> well, one of the people who worked with them for a long time who talked to me said that they prize their privacy partly because they think it helps their bottom line. one of the things they really don't want is to be in the center of political controversy
9:45 pm
because, for instance, they make an awful lot of household products that everybody knows in this country. things like brawny paper towels and dixie cups and stainmaster carpet, lycra, all kinds of things that -- georgia pacific lumber. these things we're all familiar with and they don't, i'm told, really want to have the public connect those products to their extreme politics, and, you know, it also might bring congressional investigations if they were in the news more. so they try to be way behind the scenes. >> i did notice that -- i was sort of scanning your piece at first looking to see if anybody in democratic politics or in the administration was going to weigh in on this subject. we've been sort of talking about the koch brothers in americans for prosperity in the early days of the tea party. we didn't go as deep as this piece in the "new yorker." you got a comment from david axelrod from them. i'm wondering if you got the sense that the administration,
9:46 pm
the obama administration is frustrated with the influence of the koch brothers, if they want there to be more public awareness of what they're doing. >> you know, i mean, i can't really speak for the white house. i get the feeling that they -- what they're frustrated about is that the tea party's been able to be portrayed through most of the media. not necessarily yours because you've done a terrific job on covering americans for prosperity. many places it's been considered a spontaneous uprising that came from nowhere. there is certainly for real anger out there in the country. what i think is frustrating for the white house from what i can see is that very few people have connected the dots to explain the corporate interests that are organizing a lot of it. and who are trying to exploit it in many ways, push their own agenda, organize people so that as you mentioned they will start rallying against things like cap and trade policy and energy. these are issues that are pretty
9:47 pm
abstruse issues to people. not the bread and butter issues people go out in the streets for. they're issues and pushing the tea party in that movement. >> astroturf is a pet tole yum product. jane mayer, a piece in the latest issue of "new yorker." it's linked at our blog, maddow blog. coming up on "countdown," rnc chairman michael steele popped up on spanish language television to try to make the case to latinos that republicans aren't that gung-ho about arizona's new paper please law. like an episode of "three's company," it was all just a big misunderstanding. coming up on this show, very unexpected return of the man known to the rachel maddow staff as the creepiest guy on earth. it's all coming up. that's why having the right real estate agent is more important than ever. at remax.com, you can find experts in short sales
9:48 pm
or bank-owned properties or commercial real estate, agents who can help speed up the process, no matter how intricate. and that's good news, whether you're trying to sell or hoping to buy. because the only sign you really want to see is "sold." nobody sells more real estate than re/max. visit remax.com today. [ female announcer ] start your morning... hey. what are you doing up? i thought i'd take a drive before work. want to come? [ female announcer ] or make his day. yeah. [ female announcer ] maxwell house gives you a rich, full-flavored cup of coffee, so you can be good to the last drop.
9:49 pm
a tornado hits, air life denver takes off... their night-vision goggles keeping the rescue mission safe... and powering those goggles-- the only battery air life trusts: duracell. trusted everywhere. ♪ now the healing power of touch just got more powerful. introducing precise from the makers of tylenol. precise pain relieving heat patch activates sensory receptors. it helps block pain signals for deep penetrating relief you can feel precisely where you need it most. precise. only from the makers of tylenol.
9:50 pm
a fantastic opportunity to get 0% apr financing on every new 2010 cadillac model. like the cts sport sedan. the most acclaimed vehicle in its class and a "car and driver" 10 best, three years in a row. or the all new cadillac srx luxury crossover. and even the most acclaimed luxury suv ever, the cadillac escalade. summer brings out the best in all of us. hurry in to get 0% apr financing on every new 2010 cadillac during cadillac's "summer's best" sales event, going on now at your cadillac dealer. ♪
9:51 pm
the economy at least in virginia is starting to grow again but it's mainly through spending cuts. >> or not. that was governor bob mcdonnell of virginia this morning touting his state's $400 million budget surplus, taking credit for that surplus on the basis of his own proud fiscal discipline.
9:52 pm
republican dream come true. it would be, except for the fact that what also helped balance virginia's budget was massive, massive spending. spending by the federal government as part of the american recovery and reinvestment act, also known as the stimulus, which governor mcdonnell has repeatedly derided saying as a candidate for governor of virginia that quote, this bill contains significant categories of spending that may do little to help the economy, saying as governor, that quote, we cannot continue to have all of the states rely on the federal government. except presumably for virginia. which got a whopping and is getting a whopping $2.5 billion of stimulus money. stimulus money that even stimulus hating governor bob mcdonnell had to acknowledge this morning actually helped with the state's budget. >> i think in the short run, most governors would say that some of the money that came in
9:53 pm
the last couple of years into budget certainly plugged a few holes. long term, that's not going to be the solution. little short-term help from washington has certainly reduced some of the cuts, even though we've cut $10 billion. but long-term, what we've done here in virginia this year was significant new structural cuts. is what you're going to have to do to remain solvent in any number of areas of the state budget. >> little short term help. got a little something, $2.5 billion of it. you can either take credit for your balanced budget and stop talking smack about the stimulus money that got you that balanced budget, or you can refuse to take the credit for the balanced budget because you don't like how you didn't earn it. really only have two choices. one or the other. what's it going to be, governor? . maybe you don't have to settle...period. introducing the newly-redesigned 2011 r-class. ♪
9:54 pm
my friends at work think there's more than one "me." introducing the newly-redesigned 2011 r-class.
9:55 pm
...because on our trips, i always get there faster. see, expedia lets me mix and match airlines. so i can take one airline out... and another home. so with more flight options, i can find the combination that gets me there and back quickest. with a little help from expedia, my friends will think i can be everywhere at once. where you book matters. expedia. [ female announcer ] start your morning... hey. what are you doing up? i thought i'd take a drive before work. want to come? [ female announcer ] or make his day. yeah. [ female announcer ] maxwell house gives you a rich, full-flavored cup of coffee, so you can be good to the last drop.
9:56 pm
or use it to run across the planet. the fun, the fast, the solid glk. see your authorized dealer for exceptional offers through mercedes-benz financial. there are people in the
9:57 pm
world who make news in such a way that the further you get in time from when they were in the news, the less you believe they really existed. that they aren't some composite of crazy things you remember from other stories. i have graphed it for you. for some people in the news the more time goes by, the less the person seems like real life. jonathan keith edema is one such person in the news, a person you wished you had never, ever hear from again. it is hard to believe he actually existed but he did, and apparently he still does. jack is back in the news. more on how in just a moment but first the patches that make up this particular quilt of did that really happen. he first turned up in the news as a self-styled american soldier of fortune in afghanistan. he went to afghanistan in 2002 and by that time, he had already been convicted of wire fraud in the u.s. he had already built up criminal records in three states and he had already tried unsuccessfully to sue steven spielberg and his production company for a movie jack edema claimed was secretly about him.
9:58 pm
then he went to afghanistan where seen started to claim he was advising the northern alliance and also rounding up taliban and al qaeda fighters with his private anti-bad guy squad that he named task force saber 7. what happened to task force saber 6 and 5, we do not know. a mystery. mr. edema's most infamous move was still to come. he opened up his own jail in his house, in kabul. he would arrest people and then imprison them in his jailhouse. once he even convinced u.s. authorities to accept one of his prisoners, that prisoner was later released. if what jack was doing sounds a lot like kidnapping, the afghan government agrees with you. they arrested him in the summer of 2005. he was put on trial, convicted and sentenced to a ten-year prison term on charges of illegally entering the country and, you know, running a private torture prison in his house. a private prison in his house where he tortured people. footage from that prison aired not only on news shows covering
9:59 pm
the story five years ago but also in the last two consecutive al qaeda propaganda videos released on the anniversary of september 11th, as in look what americans do, join the war against america. thanks, jack. he was pardoned by hamid karzai after serving two years of his ten-year prison sentence. the soldier of misfortune left afghanistan and reportedly returned to the u.s., where we like our private prisons run by giant corporations, thank you very much, not by individuals working from home. so we thought and we hoped that was the last we would hear from him, the creep who, as time went on, you really couldn't believe was a real guy who really did that stuff. so long, jack. we were wrong. the danger room blog calls our attention to the fact that he has resurfaced apparently holed up in a house in mexico. according to local news reports, local police in mexico want very much, please, to talk to him about accusations that he held people in his house against their

129 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on