tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC June 21, 2012 4:00am-5:00am EDT
are cooked up on the right in particular, these two groups of people cannot talk to each other. we don't understand what each other's purported news stories mean. today was one of those days when they tried to drag something out of the conservative media world where it's been cooking for a year and they tried to drag it into the main stream to see if it could survive in the main stream, see if it could survive outside of the right wing world in which it was incubated. i don't know if anybody has any idea what is going on in today's news, but here is the story. march 2010, which is a little over a year after president obama took office, right? congress passed health reform. there were months of not knowing if it would happen, right down to the very last few days they weren't sure, but finally, the third week in march of 2010 when it was clear congress had finally figured out how to pass health reform. on the friday morning of that third week in march when it became clear it was going to
friday morning, march 19th, 2010. sometime later on in that day, indeed, a large brick was thrown through a window at louise slaughter's business in niagara falls, new york. the window had to be boarded up completely. that same night, friday night or early saturday morning, another brick was thrown through a window at the sedgwick county office. that brick was reported to have anti-obama and anti-health care reform messages written on it. a day later, saturday night or early sunday, another brick shattered glass doors at the democratic party headquarters in rochester, new york. i think we have a picture of the brick, right? shortly after the health reform vote took place on sunday, another one, this time a fist-sized rock reportedly thrown through the front window of the hamilton county
headquarters, and then early american morning, a few hours after the health reform bill, glass panels were smashed out at gabrielle giffords' office in tucson, arizona. that was march 2010. as an aside, gabrielle giffords within a year went on to barely survive an assassination attempt in arizona. after she resigned, her former staffer ron barber was signed in the house to replace her. in terms of the timing here, today, of course, is possibly also the eve of the supreme court decision on health reform. decision on whether or not the conservative majority on the supreme court is going to find health reform somehow unconstitutional. that had been expected as early as this monday. the next possible date on which they might issue the ruling is tomorrow morning. the might happen tomorrow.
the thing about the timeframe between health reform passing and this expected ruling from the supreme court justice. since health reform was passed, since we're on the eve of the supreme court ruling on its future, whatever happened to the break your windows militia guy? despite issues about being followed by law enforcement, the break their windows militia blogger guy told the washington post that he had not been questioned by any law enforcement agencies after the rash of democratic attacks -- attacks on democratic offices he called for. he called for them, he claimed credit for them. after it was done, he continued to threaten more. >> there are rifles being cleaned right now. do you understand it? >> cleaned? >> taken out of the closet and cleaned. >> being the break their windows, cleaning our rifles, incitement to violence guy from
the health reform fight, did bring this blogger guy some measure of fame on the fringe. he kept threatening civil war and armed sedition on right wing talk radio. he was booked as a speaker in an openly carry your fire arms rally that was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the oklahoma city bombing, classy timing. since that time, the break your windows guy, has moved on to a new thing. he has moved on to promulgating a new conspiracy theory about president obama taking away your guns. so it has come to pass that your uncle who watches fox news all day is worked up about something today. in the span of 27 months since he told everyone to go break everyone's windows since health reform passed, in the stage of 27 months, the break your windows militia guy has now become the man who has led republicans in the united states
congress to vote the attorney general of the united states in contempt of congress today. it's him. this armed resistance break their windows, break them now guy, is where the whole fast and furious thing came from. if you don't know anything about the fast and furious thing, you are forgiven. but if you have heard about it from your uncle or because you happen to be visiting tonight from fox, hello, i hope you will forgive me while i explain that it refers to a law enforcement strategy that started in the george w. bush administration, a program to let some sketchy gun sales go through in the hopes that following those guns after they were sold could lead the atf to mexican drug kingpins that they could arrest. now, whatever you think of that style of law enforcement program and that george w. bush administration starting it and the obama administration continuing it, to this militia blogger guy, to the break their windows, break them now guy, this got reimagined as a
conspiracy to eliminate the second amendment. to take away your guns by selling them to people on the border. if it doesn't sound like it makes sense, it's because it doesn't make sense. to the fevered mind of a full time conspiracy theorist who sees himself oz part of an armed movement, that's what he made up, and boy, has he gone places with it. this is the way he would explain it on his blog, the gun walking program.
>> this is crazy, right? the theory here is the obama administration sold too many guns in order to create gun violence in order to cause revolt in the american people about the horrible thing those guns are doing in order to make people feel more positive about gun control so then they could get away with taking everyone's guns away secretly some day after they stop selling the extra guns to get there. they're being super laxed in gun control as a conspiracy to be super tough on gun control. what? yes, what? this is a theory cooked up by the break their windows guy, and this is the republicans fast and furious thing that led to today's political news. this guy became the fox news channel authority on the subject of the fast and furious investigation. here he is being interviewed on fox news about fast and furious.
look at him identifying himself as an online journalist. this is the break their windows break them now guy. he expounded his conspiracy theory on fox news, he fed it to jeff sessions of alabama, to chuck grassley of iowa. they listened to it, believed it, and republicans in congress have been running with it. >> frankly, i believe it was set up to deal with second amendment liberties of law abiding citizens and pushing into a perception that it was the problem of the second amendment as opposed to law enforcement. >> very clearly, they made a crisis and they're using this
crisis to somehow take away or limit people's second amendment rights. >> to somehow -- somehow being the key term there, right? the idea is by selling guns, the obama administration is going to block people from selling guns, right? it's obvious. take the blinders off, america. they're being super lax on gun control for gun control. see, if you were a person who watched fox news all day, it is possible you have been marinating in this conspiracy theory for long enough now that this seems feasible, therefore, today's vote to hold the attorney general under contempt in this scandal is understand able to you. for the rest of us, it's a moment like i had on a greyhound bus. i finally allowed myself to look and confirm my suspicion that the person sitting near me who was speaking ostentatiously on
the cell phone for the entire greyhound bus ride was speaking into a brick of aluminum foil that was shaped like a phone. this is as crazy as it seems. this is a very strange and implausible and probably impossibly implausible cockamamie make a cell phone out of lumen theory. this was a guy who told people to break windows after health reform passed, but the right is hardwired to believe stuff like this. not just your uncle, all of them, and it can be easy to forget on the right, they're susceptible enough to conspiracy theories like this in their closed loop fact free universe of media. it can be easy to forget that unless you listen to what the conversation sounds like in right wing media land. i went to anchorage in the 2010
elections. we tried to cover the joe miller primary against republican senator lisa murkowski. and i experienced this first hand on the issue of gun politics, when i ran into a group of protesters on the street who said they were protesting against lisa murkowski because of something having to do with guns. something having to do with guns that made a ton of sense to them but did not translate. >> good luck, you guys. >> we disagree with that. >> she what? >> she confirmed eric holder. >> why are you against that? >> anti-gun attorney general the country has ever had. >> what has he done against guns? >> what hasn't he dub against guns? let's look at his voting record beforehand. >> he wasn't elected -- >> all i'm asking is look at what his record was.
>> what he has done on guns that you're upset about? >> i honestly, i don't know enough about him to answer that truthfully. >> can i ask why you're upset about eric holder? >> because he's antigun? >> what has he done? >> i don't have the facts. >> agitated people protesting on the street who are not good at explaining their views can be forgiven for sounding nonspecific or even a little crazy about these things, but what those folks were articulating to me in anchorage before the 2010 election when they were agitating for joe miller against lisa murkowski, owners to sleep and play us for
fools in 2012. well, gun owners are not fools and we are not fooled. we see the president's strategy crystal clear. get re-elected and with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms freedom. erase the second amendment from the bill of rights and exercise it from the u.s. constitution. that's their agenda. >> that was the head of the national rifle association speaking at the annual c-pac conference about the general concept you know he's going to take away your guns is because he hasn't done anything to take aware you guns. see. perfect plan. they concocted a scheme to lull gun owners to sleep by not taking away their guns. that's how you know they're coming for them. they believe in abstract sense,
that the reason you know president obama is coming after you guns is because he hasn't. and it's exactly what the fast and furious thing is in this specific. >> an attempt to blame the second amendment, blame american gun owners and give more gun legislation here in the united states. i mean, that sounds more like a south american dictatorship than it does what we expect from our department of justice in the united states of america. >> sounds like something that might be cooked up in the addled cartoonishly paranoid guy who is afraid of stuff that is happening. >> the national rifle association announced before the vote today on whether or not attorney general holder should be held in contempt, they announced that the vote would be scored as part of their ratings from the national rifle association. so your rating as a member of congress from the nra will be hurt if you don't vote to hold eric holder in contempt of congress for this crazy
conspiracy theory. naturally, the vote in the house committee on holder today was party line. every single republican voted to hold the attorney general in contempt over this crazy conspiracy theory that the obama administration allowed guns to be sold in mexico in order to upset people so guns couldn't be sold anymore. that the second amendment was going to be eliminated because they upset people by gun violence when they promulgated in order to upset you. fox news and the echo chamber that it elevates is an important phenomenon. there's a whole world of things that are presented as plausible over there that don't translate at all to the rest of the world that doesn't watch fox news, but inside that bizarre bubble of opportunistic paranoid, cockamamie factless break their windows nonsense is most of the
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leaders in that department that have not been held accountable. >> well, with all due respect, and i mean this with great respect, the notion this was an operation set up to do something to impinge upon second amendment rights of my fellow citizens is absurd. >> 23 ayes, 17 nays. >> the ayes have it. and a contempt report is ordered reported to the house. without objection so ordered, the committee stands adjourned. >> party line vote in one republican controlled house committee today to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt of congress. the speaker of the house, john boehner, a vote in the full house on that matter will be held next week. it's all about a conspiracy theory marinated on the right, essentially alone in right wing media that the fast and furious gun running program in the southwest was somehow a
conspiracy to take away second amendment rights by upsetting people about gun violence. joining us now is bob herbert, senior distinguished fellow for the public policy and advocacy. thank you for being here. >> great to be here, although i have to tell you, it is not fair to have to comment on this story in public because once you immerse yourself in this issue, it's like being on acid. it's unbelievably crazy. >> let me say that that is true of a lot of gun issues. gun issues i have always described at the great ungoogleable. it's not possible to get rational, unbiased, real information about what is going on with gun laws, particularly with politics because you're so deep in conspiracy land that you get no real information. this fast and furious is a subset of that, but yeah, party line 100% of republicans voting on it today. voting for it, voting to hold attorney general in contempt
over it. is this the fringe becoming main stream or is there something else? >> the republican party is hooked up with the fringe a long time ago. the republican party, a main stream party in the sense we only have two parties, but it's not main stream if you're thinking about the way most americans think about most important issue. what's important to look at here is what are senators like -- what are people like issa and grassley doing riding the wave of this guy, for example. he comes up with something that is utter madness, and big shots in the republican party just pounce on it and then ultimately, it leads them to a contempt citation against the attorney general of the united states? i mean, that is just madness. we need to understand, one, this was not a holder operation. this sting, which was a terrible sting, it ended tragically and that sort of thick, but holder
ordered an end to this. the people in charge of the sting were either fired or reassigned. there is an investigation in the justice department and congress is investigating it. i don't have any problem with that at all. the idea this had something to do with the obama administration wanting to underline second amendment rights is madness of the higher order. people like me who are very much in favor of enforcing gun control laws and would like gun control laws strengthened, who would like to make it more difficult for people to access guns, obama has been a terrible disappointment. the brady campaign gave him an f for his performance in terms of gun control. so it's just madness to talk about him undermining the second amendment. he's done nothing of the sort. >> in terms of real policy
concerns and the real responsibilities of governing, i was focused today on that, too, on the issue if you really are interested in gun policy and not just interested in conspiracies, the brady campaign has given him an f. they have done nothing to increase gun control or not, whether or not you think that's a good idea. is the true that a rationally based administration ends up being constrained to the point where they can do zero on the policy issue because even when they do or, that's construed as some act of aggression? >> i think whether it was the obama administration or another democratic administrion, i believe they could have done more on gun control in a number of other issues. i think that the forces who are opposed to some of the things that the republican party stands for should be fighting harder against the republican party. should be fighting back harder on some of the issues. and if you take gun control, for
example, this is like an unbelievably important issue. the republicans talk about being concerned about this agent who was killed and it's your right to be concerned about that. but 100,000 americans are shot every year. and 30,000, more than 30,000 die. and these are a result of homicides, suicides, and gun accidents. your viewers ought to understand if they watch your show, during the course of this show, three americans will die from gun shot wounds because three americans die from gun shot wounds every hour. this is an incredibly important issue. if the republicans are concerned about what happens when guns get into the wrong hands, they should pay attention to the 100,000 americans affected by this. >> any discussion on how to deal with that in policy is so backwards in the telescope, doing nothing is construed as secretly plotting to do too
much. >> exactly, and not only that. what they really want to do is undermine the legitimacy of the people who do not agree with them, soy they want to undermine the legitimacy of eric holder, barack obama, and the democratic party. >> by lining up with the break their windows militia guys. this is just an incredible guy. it's great.
the richest quinn tile, the orange is the second richard, the red, so on, the poorest is the gray, on the right. if you ask americans what this graph means, if you ask americans how would you like the wealth in this country to be distributed, what would be best? this is what americans say they would like it to be like. americans say, even ideally, we get that the richest people in the country are going to control more money than the poorest people in the country, that's our system, capitalism, yellow, richest, get a bigger share of the pie than the poorest. this is what americans say they would like our country to be like. that said, we realize that the rich really have gotten richer, and so when we ask americans instead what they really
we think we are as a society. we are way more unequinthan we think we are, and what we say wi want to be is radically more equal than we are and radically more equal than we have deluded ourselves into thinking we are. based on a survey, they can kept this graph in my book marks in my computer. i think this is amazing. it may also be key to fixing one of the scariest things written about the future of the country. chris has a new book out called "twilight of the elites" and he makes the case that people who are supposed to be good at something in this country are no longer good at stuff. we're calcified that we count on
an elite to do everything, but for an important reason, our elite sucks and it's kind of hard to argue with him on that. what elite institution is in good shape in our country if you judge by our recent history. if you judge by the first decade of the century, what chris calls the decade of fail, it starts with the supreme court.
right? institutional collapse. good reason to have faith in nothing we are supposed to have faith in. the failure of everything run by the elites in our country. the novel and arresting thesis we're getting now from chris hayes in this important book. is that we need better elites, which means there has to be room for there to be new ones which is why this is a reason to be cheerful actually. yeah, we have a spectacularly unequal society, a spectacularly calcified elite, but americans don't want that. they don't want we have now, and if we can figure out a way to
get the america we say we do want, chris says that is how we'll freeze ourselves from all our elite institutions being such epic catastrophic failures. interesting, right? joining us now for the interview, my friend and colleague, chris hayes, and the author of the brand new blockbuster "twilight of the elites." congratulations. you did it. >> thank you very much. it's wonderful to be here, wonderful to see you healthy and happy and in the anchor chair again. >> as i start with all -- with guests in situations like this, tell me what i got wrong about your thesis or at least tell me if i got it right, that wanting more equality in the united states is maybe a solution to us sucking so badly at everything we're supposed to be good at. >> i'm so glad that you showed that data because i think we do have a sense, and you hear this on the left a lot, america is
unequal because americans like it that way, because americans buy into this idea that it should be this way, that the job creators are owed deference, and that is interesting because it shows we have more galatarian impulses than we give ourselves credit for, that we underestimate just how unequal the society is and we want it to be more equal. if my analysis is right, and i'm partial to think it is, i think that is the way out because ultimately, what we're seeing in the fail decade, over the last ten years, i think, is the inevitable crises that extreme inequality of the kind we have had produces. and the reason it produces it, and this is really important, is it produces a society in the elites have the social distance from the people whose decisions that -- the people who experience the effects of their decisions, and that's a recipe for catastrophe. that's all sorts of examples of how that plays out.
>> you have to have an elite that has to earn it. you have to get back to amare talkerousy, you have to be in charge of something because you have proven to be good alt something, and there has to be more competition to be in the elite? >> we have a system of tremendous competition now. some of the problems we have, the jamie dimons of the world are a perfect example, but we have a terrible combination of, it's kind of like the bailouts, they were the worst parts of socialism and the worst part of capitalism, we have the worst part of this ceaseless competition and don't have accountability at the top. think about the fact that we have seen more baseball players before juries for lying about steroid use, than we have seen major bankers before juries for the largest destruction of wealth in the history of the country. right? we have a country that is incredibly, incredibly at the
bottom, we put more people in prison than any other industrialized community, and we have a labor system in which you can be fired because you give your boss the wrong look or call him dude, yet at the top, we see almost no accountability. we see the same people who sold the iraq war still dining out on that. we see the same people who brought down wall street have jobs or are left with golden parachutes. that produces perverse incentives for the decision makers at the top. >> how do you see us getting toward an accountability that makes the elite a better elite? >> a huge part of it, i think, is making the society more equal. it gets back to the chart you showed in the beginning. we can't have a society in which the people at the top are that much -- are so removed from the experience of ordinary life, and there's all kinds of ways you can think about shrinking it.
one of is the fact that you see play out, and you basically wrote a book about this entire thing and identified this quite well, which is think about the wars we have fought for ten years, the longest period of war in public history. the number of veterans in congress is at historic lows. we have the people at the top of the income strata and the educational strata increasingly alienated and removed from the folks to fight the war, bear the burden with record amounts of tours, et cetera, and that facilitates the length of the engagements. we have to come up with ways to shrink that, the embed our elites in the same system that everybody else is in. >> so people feel the pain they're inflicting with bad ideas in their own lives in their own families' lives. chris hayes is the author of "twilight of the elites." host of "up with chris hayes."
when you asked me to read the book, i said this is the next big thing we have been waiting for. i think that. i think this is the concept we need to be debating in terms o talking ability big picture stuff. this is a huge achievement, really impressed. >> that means a lot. thanks a lot. >> best new thing in the world coming up. never mind, see you later.
new election results tonight in what is probably the most watched, most highly anticipated county judicial race in the country. the hotly contested kreep versus peed race for superior judge in san diego, california. it is finally over. more than two weekafter election day. they are still counting absentee ballots, but as of today, gary kreep is more than a thousand votes ahead of garland peed, which means kreep beats peed. the reason this has been the most watched race for county judge in forever is because it's kreep versus peed, which is amazing, but garland peed is not just a judicial candidate with a distinctive last name. he's a 27-year veteran prosecutor who was running for a county judgeship on the strength of some pretty solid credentials. quoting from the san diego union tribune, for nearly 30 years, garland peed has been a capable prosecutor, everybody working with him likes him, he's wrapped up every serious endorsement imaginable, to the judge whose
seat he would have filled. and yet, inexplicably, he seems to have lost to a guy named kreep who the county bar says is unqualified. so that's the peed in kreep versus peed. a well-liked and respected prosecutor with all the key endorsements. also the guy who lost. the guy who won, the kreep in kreep versus peed, well, the local bar association did, in fact, rate him as lacking qualifications to be a judge. he's also the guy behind this amazing birther infomercial called, where was president obama born? where for the low, low price of $30, gary kreep will send a bunch of faxes to try to get to the bottomf the scandal of the president's true birthplace. >> we petitioned congress to -- a petition campaign to block the certifying of the electoral college results until after our lawsuit had a chance to be heard or mr. obama had produced proof that he was a natural-born citizen.
unfortunately, congress refused to do anything about that, despite rumors that the at least one congressman was going to challenge the results. no one in congress did it. >> that's gary kreep. the birther infomercial guy who solicits 30 bucks to send junk mail to state officials about obama's secret foreignness. he is now going to be a judge, making $178,000 taxpayer a year, for at least six years. as a judge! judge. as in judgment. for some higher stakes birtherism, though, we have to turn to the mitt romney for president campaign, where the cochair of the mitt romney for president campaign in the state of arizona is this guy. he's arizona's secretary of state, which means he is in charge of elections in that state. he made national headlines last month with news of his work to verify president obama's birthplace. >> i believe that the president
>> if you don't get an answer from hawaii in time, if they won't comply, if they refuse to comply with this, will you remove the president from the ballot? will you exclude him from the plat? >> that's possible. >> arizona's top election official, investigating president obama's birth records and threatening to keep the president off the 2012 ballot in
arizona. ken bennett was ultimately convinced that president obama was, in fact, born in hawaii. he ultimately even apologized for embarrassing the state of arizona with that episode of birther pandering shenanigans, and it might have ended with that, but, no. this week, evidence of a new variant of birtherism coming from the same guy, peddling a brand-new ex-nutty conspiracy theory about president obama and kenya. >> now, i know there's a lot of people that i have a lot of -- are very skeptical as to whether the president was born in hawaii. personally, i believe he was. i actually think he was fibbing about being born in kenya when he was trying to get into college and doing things like wring a book and on and on and on. >> the new theory is that obama was born in the united states, but he lies about being born in kenya! for, you know, getting into
college and writing books and stuff. >> so there was weird stuff going on. i actually think it was happening back in his college days, because i think he has spent $1.5 million or $2 million through attorneys to have all of the college records and all of that stuff sealed. so if you're spending money to seal something, that's probably where the hanky-panky was going on. >> so the president is born in hawaii, just like his records say, only he secretly hasn't said that all along, but he's secretly pretending to be kenyan before he was secretly kenyan after he spent $1.5 million or perhaps $2 million, a lot of money, anyway, covering up his false college records, which are secret affirmative action, not really from kenya, about him being fake born, maybe not in hawaii, maybe secret somewhere else, like kenya. it's all very bad, according to the top elections official in the state of arizona. again, this is not from an infomercial guy. that's the guy who's just been elected a superior court judge in san diego. thanks, san diego.
this, no, this is from the guy who was in charge of elections for the state of arizona and who is the mitt romney campaign co-chair for the state of arizona. arizona, which is a state in america, which is probably the country you live in. we ask the romney campaign today if mitt romney agrees with his arizona campaign co-chair on these matters. we will let you know if we hear back from them on that. also, i will then eat my hat.
best new thing in the world today. this is nbc's white house producer, shauna thomas. she played right field today for the press corps team in the annual charity softball game that pits female members of congress against female members of the washington press corps. in addition to working for nbc, shauna is a senior agent in the collective called improv everywhere, which means she does things like becoming an out of the blue bridesmaid in a surprise wedding that improv everywhere threw for a couple they did not know who got married at city hall. so my day shauna thomas is a successful journalist at nbc news.
she's also a merry prankster in her offtime. but among the fun facts that shauna listed about herself in the press materials for today's game was this, shawna went to ampling arts high school with beyonce. we followed up with her to ask if she had proof of the beyonce connection. shawna said she didn't have a yearbook, because she sold it to somebody who wanted the yearbook in order to get beyonce's picture, this picture, apparently. shawna said she sold her yearbook for $400. so to shawna thomas who worries about the less successful graduate, shawna, i'm here to tell you, you are the be new thing in the world today. i'm sorry, beyonce, there's no contest. and, by the way, shawna's team, the flakes, beat congress 13-10. whoo-hoo! 13-10. woohoo! going to extremes.
the first day of summer brings record-setting heat across the nation. no offense on defense. the man at the center of the child sex abuse scandal that rocked penn state decides not to take the stand. and major milestone. what england's prince william will be celebrating today. good morning, everyone. i'm lynn berry. those stories and more straight ahead. this is "first look" on msnbc. we begin this morning with a summer scorcher, and it is brutal. it may have only been the first official day of the season, but across much of the country, it already feels like the middle of a long, hot summer. nbc's jay grey has more. >> reporter: a heat wave continues to sweep across much of the country right