tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC March 20, 2013 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
in fact, if you want to give him a hard time, you could say he probably was concentrating on other things, because he basically took the favorites. this was like investing in microsoft and u.s. steel. louisville, indiana. you could say maybe not butler, but new mexico could end up in the championship game. >> what about gonzaga? >> i can't see them winning the whole thing. >> the fact that they might do the chaka khan song, this is not vcu's year. this is a cinderella that could come out of this. i like st. louis a lot. >> we've heard the president. now we want to hear from the expert. before i get to that, barack
obama is a pretty knowledgeable guy when it come dollars basketball. >> having grown up in hawaii myself, played high school basketball two years behind him, he lives and eats and sleeps hoops still. and he loves t he knows his basketball. i just think he took a little less time on this pool than he did other ones. >> see, republicans, that's a good thing. >> who do you have for your elite final four? >> i like tom izzo. he could get us to the elite eight. i don't know if this michigan state team is up for to, but i wouldn't be surprised to see a michigan state/indiana final. and i do like the hoosiers winning it all. >> i'll have you know i scored six points when i played with the big boys on the ymca. >> you combine for 44 with the best guy, and you had two. >> me and lebron did a heck of a job. >> before we go, i want to get your reaction to this viral
video of a basketball fan who was reluctant to share his ice cream with his sweetie pie. let's take a look at this. >> that's just wrong. >> eventually he gave it up. but what are your thoughts on this, man? come on. that's kind of cold. what do you think about that? is that american? >> there's etiquette at games. and one of them is you don't ask from ice cream from the person you actually got it from. keep your own -- go get your open ice cream. >> women of america, that's not my position. mike wise. thank you so much. that's the ed show. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. who's your pick to win it all? >> my pick obviously is gonzaga, because it is the funnest name to say. but women of america can share your ice cream. this is going to be on bumper stickers by tomorrow morning. >> thank you for staying with us this hour.
usually when the president of the united states is traveling abroad, things slow down at home in terms of political news. but that is not true of today. yes, the president is in israel. it's his first trip there as president. we'll have more on that trip in a moment. but while he is in the middle east, here at home the nation is marking the 10th anniversary of the war in iraq. richard pearl, who was wrong about iraq and al qaeda, wrong about iraq and nukes, wrong about how easy he said the iraq war would be, richard pearl marked the 10 year anniversary of the invasion by telling national public radio that it was not reasonable to even be asked whether that war should have been waged. washington, congress itself is busy ignoring the anniversary of the war, since i think neither democrats or republicans who supported it want to talk about having done that. and the democrats and
republicans who opposed the war ten years ago, they are still not taken seriously in the beltway on national security issues, even though they were right and all the supposedly serious people were wrong about iraq. today the congress did hold a hearing on the outrageous and worsening backlog at the veteran's administration. veterans home from iraq and other wars waiting months and even years to hear back from the va. the va suggested that they have a rock solid plan to fix the problem. but the republican chairman of the veteran's committee in the house is calling for the resignation of the va official who is in charge of the claims backlog. so there is a lot going on in politics right now. and in news about politics right now, despite the president's overseas trip. but in our news we begin in colorado. we begin at the scene of a rather stunning crime. it may have been a random act. it may have been an act of revenge of some kind. it may have been something personal. it may have been an
assassination of sorts and we may not know for a long time. until the police are able to tell us more about what happened but here's what we do know. at it's in el paso county. the woman told the 911 dispatcher that someone rang her doorbell. when her husband opened the door, whoever was standing there shot her husband in the chest. he died on the scene. this is from last night. the el paso sheriff's dispatcher telling the police what had just happened. >> no suspect was found on the scene. the man who opened the door of his home only to be shot in the chest by the person standing there was a man named tom clements. tom clements is the head of the
corrections department in colorado. his title was executive director of the colorado department of corrections. there is still no one in custody. authorities have released the description of an unoccupied car that was reportedly seen running, although nobody was in it, near the clements home. the car was described as being a dark-colored or black lincoln. the car was boxy in shape. colorado governor gave an emotional press conference this morning. the governor said tom clements was on the verge of retirement. he had worked in corrections in the state of missouri for three decades before coming to colorado. he had been about to retire, but he, the governor was able to lure him to come to colorado to take the job running the state's prisons, because the governor knew he was the right man for
the job. the governor then took questions from the press. and right away, the reporters on scene raised the question whether there might be any connection between this murder last night and the gun debate that's going on in colorado. with this major high profile event that was scheduled for this morning, the governor signing three new pieces of legislation. the governor responded that tom clements had been supportive of the bills, but not in a particularly active way. until there is a suspect or explanation of what happened, nobody has any idea what motivated this murder. law enforcement said they're not jumping to conclusions whether his job or his job as second in command of state prisons in missouri before he came to colorado, whether any of those job titles had anything to do with his murder last night. they said they're keeping an open mind as to the possibility that what he does for a living had nothing to do with why he was killed.
but in response to the killing, at what is already a heightened time of political tension in the state, colorado officials have responded by increasing security for other top government officials in the state. they have also increased security at the governor's mansion. this is happening in colorado at an already heightened time. the colorado legislature has been debating and passing gun reform legislation and that debate has been unusually contentious. they have pledged on the floor of the senate that they will disobey them. they will disobey the state's new laws. democratic lawmakers have received threats for their support of gun reform. criminal charges have been brought against people for making death threats against pro gun legislators.
the sheriff in el paso county, which is where tom clements was killed, his office is the one in charge of the investigation, the sheriff is one of the sheriffs who has been highly critical of the gun legislation. so all of that pre-existing tension and those threats and that political battle on a day when a member of his cabinet was murdered by means of a gun, the governor in colorado today did not reschedule. he went ahead and signed those three new pieces of gun legislation into law. universal back ground checks, a law that requires customers to pay for the background check and a law that limits magazines to 15 rounds or less. after the news of the death of his cabinet secretary, the governor did not just sit down and sign right away. it was an interesting moment when he sat down to sign these bills. i think he was taking a minute to let it sink in. watch.
>> historic day today in colorado as those new gun reform, gun law reforms are signed into law. of course it will also be remembered as a tragic day because of what else has happened in colorado at this time. meanwhile, this is the front page the people woke up to of the new york daily news today. shame on us. shame on u.s. assault weapons bill dead. dianne feinstein said that her bill to bring back an assault
weapons ban, a bill to ban the sale of high capacity magazines that hold more than ten bullets at a time, that bill will be left out of the senate democrats' package. that is a decision made by harry reid who says that the assault weapons bill does not have the votes to make it past a fill buster by the republicans. that is what we reported yesterday. and all of that is still true. senator feinstein's bill is not going to be in the democrat's reform package in the senate. but if you ask senator dianne feinstein, that fact that it's not going to be included in the overall package of bills that goes to the senate floor, that does not mean that her bill is dead. according to her, it may not be a part of that overall
comprehensive bill, but she is not going to play dead on this subject, and she insists that it will be voted on by other means. >> now senator reid had said you deserved a vote. but it's appearing that it could be an amendment. that it could be a symbolic vote. what's your response to this new -- >> no, if it is an amendment, that is not ha symbolic vote. it enacted a law. it went on to the house. it was enacted what senator reid told me is that i would have an opportunity for a vote. i take him at his word. this is very important to me, and i'm not going to lay down and play dead. i think the american people have said in every single public poll that they support this kind of legislation. it's aimed to protect children, to protect schools and malls. it's aimed to dry up the supply of these over time.
and it came out on a 10-8 vote of the judiciary committee not to give me a vote on this would be a major betrayal of trust in my -- as i would see it. >> senator dianne feinstein saying her bill will be voted on as an amendment, even if it is not included in the main package of legislation sent to the senate floor. also yesterday, the white house chief of staff said that as far as the white house is concerned, they consider this assault weapons ban to be very much alive. >> we'll see what happens in terms of what bill comes to the floor. we think it's very important and a good step that several of these measures were passed out of the judiciary committee last week. as soon as they come back from this next recess to address the gun issue. >> harry reid says he's not going to bring it up. >> then there will be amendments i'm sure from senator feinstein. we're going to work on this. we're going to find the votes. and it deserves the votes. >> we are going to find the
votes says the chief of staff. joe biden repeated that very claim. what everybody says is impossible is not impossible. he says we are not giving up on this assault weapons ban. >> we are still pushing that it pass. the same thing was told to me when the first assault ban was in '94. that it couldn't possibly pass. it was declared dead several times. i believe that the vast majority of the american people agree with us. the vast majority of gun owners agree with us. so i haven't given up on this. >> i have not given up on this. after news broke yesterday that the assault weapons ban would be dropped from the broad gun reform bill in the senate, the junior senator from the state of connecticut said that he wants to be able to get a vote specifically on the high capacity magazines, a ban on high capacity magazines as a standalone amendment. what happened in his state, of
course was the massacre at the sandy hook massacre. he says if we are to address what happened that day the assault weapons is a must. joining us now is senator blumenthal. thank you for be being back with us tonight. i appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> the headline in all the press is that the assault weapons ban is over, it's dead, it's not going to move forward at all. senator harry reid says it won't get past a fillabuster. but they're all saying do not proclaim it dead already. this can still happen. what do you think? >> reports of its demise are
greatly exaggerated. i think that it still is very much alive. and the reason that i think so is that the vast majority of american people want this provision of law. because they know that an assault weapon, an ar-15 was used in newtown magazine as well as a high capacity magazine. the two provisions are joined together for a reason. they both attest to what we must do to stop more newtowns and newtown is a call to action. so i think what has to happen, the silent majority needs to become a lot less silent and to tell their congress men and their senators in the next two weeks when they're home, what they think is necessary. now the bill right now, as it's been described, has a lot of good elements. the illegal trafficking banan straw purchase prohibition. the requirement for background checks of all purchase of firearms and of course the school safety provisions, all very, very important. but i think we need to keep fighting.
>> do you think that this is an issue, specifically on the assault weapons ban which right now includes that extended magazines ban. do you think this is going to make a difference on the pro gun reform side of it? the nra says that the pressure from its members are what stopped it in its tracks. do you think those who have been on the fence could be pushed by their constituents? >> very much so. three and a half months ago, this issue was thought to be politically untouchable. the whole issue of gun violence prevention was thought to be politically so risky that no one would get near it. but this time really is different. and we've made a lot of progress so that the public sense of urgency has really tipped. it's changed viscerally and seismically. so i think that as long as we can sustain that sense of urgency, as long as people in
congress hear from the country, i think it can be passed. we knew it was going to be an uphill job. it was always going to be a marathon, not a sprint. and the assault weapons ban was always the most ambitious, the politically toughest of all these provisions. and i am going to be proud to be with dianne feinstein in supporting this measure when it's offered as an amendment and i hope that it will pass. >> today the news out of colorado was so shocking in terms of the death of the corrections commissioner last night, shot on the doorstep of his home. that happening just hours before the colorado governor was due to sign three new pieces of gun reform legislation into law. obviously there's no reason for us to believe that the incidents are connected other than the fact that it was a gun murder. just a remarkable confluence of hid lines though.
i wonder how you view the fact that colorado and also new york state sort of led in terms of the states in terms of passing those extended magazine bans? is what's happening in the states giving any sort of momentum to what's happens in the federal level. >> i think it does enhance the momentum, these kind of events which tragically and unfortunately have continued and probably will continue. and nobody wants them to continue, but they will add urgency, and the point about colorado, although we know very few of the details, but the 2500 people who have perished, who have been killed by gun violence since newtown, 2500 people, a lot of them were killed with stolen guns, illegally trafficked guns, straw purchased guns, guns that would have been stopped from purchases by background checks. these other measures can make a difference. so we should look for what is positive and important in the bill that will be presented with
the leadership's endorsement and try to improve it with amendments on the floor. that's the strategy we need to use. >> senator richard blumenthal of connecticut. i have a feeling we will be in further touch with you as this stuff moves quickly. thank you. if you were looking for a moment of leverage with your member of the senate on this issue, this is probably the moment of leverage. it has to be said. while they're making the decision about how to move these things and in what order and piece by piece, this is the time when hearing from their constituents makes all the difference. president obama is abroad. stay tuned. [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age.
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president obama is in israel tonight. and all day his trip got lots and lots of attention. this is what it looked like on the internet. at every site that starts with www dot, it was blanket coverage. israel has for decades of course been a big, boisterous, high profile part of our american politics. during the presidential campaign, republicans tried to make a big stink about how president obama had never
visited israel, not once in his first term. just like every republican president since nixon. george h.w. bush didn't go. on his trip today, he planted a tree. he also signed a guest book. there were plenty of photo ops. this was the big one. see that big box thing that looks like it's on the back of a truck there. the president visiting the israeli air defense system that has a name that sounds like it comes out of a comic book. the iron dome. a big iron dome fly swatter paid for in part by the united states. and that's where our domestic politics intruded on today's
presidential trip abroad. we are still trying to wrap our heads around the self-inflicted, unnecessary, designed to be dumb budget cuts. the sequester. and yes, those cuts include the funding for the iron dome. at his press conference today with his israely counterpart, the president oohed and awed. >> we're providing more security assistance and advanced technology to israel than ever before. and that includes more support for the missile defenses like iron dome. we will take steps to ensure that there is no interruption of funding for iron dome. >> taking steps to ensure that there's no interruption of
funding for iron dome. one of the ways to not interrupt the funding of the iron dome would be to get rid of the sequester. we're not talking about that. we're talking about trying to mitigate its effects. on a related note, related to those budget cuts at home, here on the show last night we spoke with tammy duckworth of illinois. she represents illinois's 8th district. she was a helicopter pilot in iraq. she left the service and worked as assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs of veteran's affairs. last night, she told us about efforts currently underway in congress to try to protect service members and their families from the cuts of the sequester. trying to protect benefits already promised to service members and their families. one of those is to help out with
tuition assistance for active duty service members. because of the sequester, the army, the air force and the marines have had to suspend that program. the navy has not yet decided what to do about it. but the other branchs have suspended. they say they don't have a choice because of the way the sequester is structured. congresswoman tammy duckworth said she would be signing onto a letter to the secretary of defense asking him not to kill the program, to try to find some way to keep it going. but this is only a draft letter. no signatures on it yet. it looks like it will stay in draft form. the senate passed an amend. to another funding bill that would prevent the defense department from killing it. the bill will go to the house tomorrow where we think it's got a good chance of passing. what this all boils down to is that congress isn't fixing the sequester problem that they created.
in fact, this band-aid passed today will only last six months. but on the bright side, this is the way they have to go about trying not to make it any worse. the other option for the iron dome, for service members tuition assistance, for the grants to service members' family, does this make sense? all they have to do is repeal the sequester. hello all tuition assistance. you could bray it all back if you repealed the sequester. that's what you'd call a win, win, win. but viewers are advised to not hold their breath for that. c-max come. c-max go. c-max give a ride to everyone it knows.
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now starting unit nine. some of the world's cleanest gas turbines are now powering some of america's biggest cities. siemens. answers. from 1966 to 1972 and 1973, the head of the cia was this guy. he was fired as head of the cia in 1973 by richard nixon. mr. helms had been associated with a lot of shady things that the cia did, but one shady thing he would not do was use the power of the cia to stop the water gate investigation. president nixon wanted him to do that and we not do that, and he
got fired. the man who nixon installed to replace him was this guy. he only lasted six months on the job. but those six months had lasting consequences. for starters, he ordered a review, a collection at the cia of anything the cia had done over the years that might be seen as embarrassing or illegal or at least in contravention of the charter under which the cia was founded. at the cia they call that collection of embarrassing and illegal activity, the family jewels. in 2007, the agency declassified the family jewels when they decided to publish the 700 page report that resulted from the misdeeds over the decades. a lot of it was heavily redacted. but some of had was clear as a
bell, like this. hey, look. see the numbers on the side there? so who knows what number one is? that's totally redacted. but in number two, they clearly say that the cia used a member of the mafia to try to assassinate fidel castro. the cia's mission statement is that it is supposed to collect information and analyze information and give that information to policymakers so they can decide what to do with it. the agency even has an all about the cia web page that's aimed specifically at sixth graders to 12th graders. and they spell out our mission is to provide information or intelligence to the president, and all other officials who make and carry out national security policy. we provide these leaders with the best information possible to help them make policy involving other countries. true. but also sometimes they send a mafia guy named johnny to go try to kill fidel castro in cuba, which is a heck of a lot different than providing
information to policymakers on that subject. the cia has always had its hand in something other than just getting information. they have taken direct action, helping install the shaw of iran in 1953. sending a mafia hit man to try to kill castro. but in 1973, the short-lived director decided that the cia needed to warn congress about something they were go to do. he went to congress. he went to talk to the chairman of the armed services committee to tell them about something the cia was about to do. but the chairman of the armed services committee said to him, don't tell me. i don't want to know. this is now part of the senate's
official history. he wished to brief him on a major operation. no, no, my boy, responded the senator. don't tell me. just go ahead and do it. but i don't want to know. congress did not want to know. part of the u.s. government was engaged presumably in using force, presumably, in some foreign country, but the armed services committee, the part of congress that oversees the use of force against foreign entities didn't want to hear anything about t don't tell me. because while they did think it was their job to oversee the actions of the u.s. military they did not see it their job to oversee the actions of the cia, even when they were acting in a rather military-ish fashion. you see the problem. no oversight. our country's not supposed to work like that. in 1975, in the midst of the post-watergate uproar, in the mid '70s, after water gate,
after this upset caused by water gate, the congress decided to do something about this oversight problem, specifically on these types of actions. they decided if the armed services committee wasn't going to oversee the cia, then somebody else should. some other thing in congress should. so they created something called the select committee on intelligence. which they gave responsibility for overseeing the stuff that spies do. since clearly the spies were doing a lot more than just spying. 30 years later, by the time of our post 911 wars, the cia's activities were ramped up to be more than its bad assassination attempts. the cia was operating a full-blown air force of remotely piloted planes. what about oversight? up to the job of overseeing this. the answer seems to be sort of and sometimes. look at this.
even after drone strikes against militants in pakistan were expanded by george w. bush, the strikes were subjected to little congressional review. during my time, the committees didn't do any oversight on drone strikes to speak of. said a former senior cia official. since 2009 it has apparently gotten better. overall, it has gotten better. and the members of congress who chair the intelligence committees in the senate and the house say frankly they are overseeing the cia just fine, thank you very much. the broader issue is this -- what the cia is doing now, a big part of what they are doing really isn't spying at all. it's just war. i mean, when it is six straight years now of aerial bombardment with a death toll in the thousands, this is not sending johnny to havana to go get
castro any more. this is war. but because it is the cia that's doing it instead of the military, it's war that is waged secretly with no expectation that our elected officials will even admit that it's happening. and there's no expectation that it will be overseen by congress the way that war is overseen by congress. this isn't armed services. this is intelligence, and it's responsible for keeping safe the family jewels, right? one of the interesting d.c. dynamics is that the cia maybe doesn't want this job any more. that although they have been ramped up to become a covert air force, not everything is psyched up about it. after petraeus had to resign, the acting director who took
over was described in the press as concerned about the overmilitarization of the cia. john brennan who president obama appointed to run the cia in his second term, he told the washington post in october that he too was interested in the cia getting out of the drone business, saying essentially that that is war and not intelligence and as such it should be done by the pentagon and not by the people who are supposed to be our nation's spies. well, that transition, that change, that potential change, at least, is now maybe happening. it's just a single article, citing three anonymous sources. but it says the white house is poised to sign off on getting the ca out of the war business, putting the cia back in the business of spying. war by any other name would be
conducted by the military. and is overseen that way within our government. our civilian officials could not deny this part of our warfare. the 911 commission recommended doing this years ago. the upper echelons of the cia say that they would like to do this. even hawks like john mccain have been advocating for this kind of change. if this happens, if this happens, if they move drone warfare out of the hands of the cia and put it under the auspices of the military, this would not be the end of drone warfare, but it would be the end of a really big and far reaching change that we made as a country after 911 that we never, ever debated. it just happened. joining us now for the interview, is i'm very pleased to announce, patrick murphy. he served in the u.s. army in
iraq. what do you make of this report today in the daily beast that the white house is ready to pull the cia out of the drone warfare business and put it under pentagon control instead? >> i'm a little ticked because i got scooped by somebody else on a different website on my first day on msnbc. this is a big deal. we're basically going back to the fundamentals of what the cia should be. and they should not be a power of military force. they have clear rules of engagement under title 50 of the united states code. the military is under title 10. there should be a military operation, a drone, because it is an instrument of war. and there should be one set of
rules and regulations that we abide by. >> when you were in congress serving in armed services and intel, there's a split. do you think that it is as possible for congress to oversee the intelligence community as it is for them to oversee the military? is it harder to know what the cia is doing? >> it's much harder. for several reasons. one, all you're hearing in the intelligence committee, there's no staff, you're there. i remember i was, i take copious notes and i took a bunch of notes and i would have to keep them there. i couldn't go back and digest them or rewrite them. it's all secret information. but it's important. and we had our hands full. it was really the intelligence committee that ended torture or what the bush administration called enhanced interrogation techniques.
and that was not an easy task and what we did there, because i think this is very analogous, what we did there was we made sure that they, cia and other intelligence assets that we do, if we do have folks that are detainees that we use the rules of engagement under the department of defense. and in that case, general petraeus was one of our biggest advocates. because you've got to look at it from the other perspective. the folks in afghanistan and pakistan and wherever, you know, they don't say this is a intelligence guy. they just know it's the united states of america. and that's why we've got to be clear and concise in how we treat people and how these instruments of war are deployed. >> if the white house does make this change, do you think it's going to make a difference in terms of the way that our country is connected to the wars that we are waging overall? i mean obviously there's the issue of wars going on for 10,
12 years and whether the country feels connected to them. but there's a specific problem with drone warfare when our officials have to deny that they have any knowledge that these things are happening. do you think it would make any difference when officials who are supposedly directing the war to have to admit this stuff to us? >> well, it does give, there is some ability under title 50, what the cia's under, that because they can basically lie, because it's a covert program. they don't have to be necessarily forthful and they wouldn't be perjury. they can still have clandestine programs, but they can't lie to the congress or they'll be held in contempt of congress. but i do think it's a shift, rachel, of president obama's war fighting. he's going clearly from a counterinsurgency to a counterterrorism doctrine. he's being very specific. counterinsurgency is a lot of manpower.
barack obama has been very clear that we're going after the bad guys. he's very clear that he's an ass kicker and if he's, he's going after someone who puts our families in danger. you know we have the john boehner is bad at his job hypothesis? that hypothesis is about to get a part two, coming up. ? when her sister dumped me. grandpa was my dad a good athlete? no. oh dad, you remember my friend alex? yeah. the one that had the work done... good to see you. where do we go when we die? the ground. who's your girlfriend? his name is chad. and that's where babies come from. [ male announcer ] sometimes being too transparent can be a bad thing. this looks good! [ male announcer ] but not with the oscar mayer deli fresh clear pack. it's what you see is what you get food.
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the house tea party caucus established 2010, was founded by 2010 and by halfway through 2011 it had accumulated 60 members, 60. but then, poof. as quickly as it emerged it appears to have fizzled. the vaunted tea party caucus that has shaking up washington, they have not actually met since july of last year. their website is still up and running. so somebody is still paying those web hosting fees. the group is refiling to make themselves exist in the
congress. but right now they are just not there. haven't been there for months. and until today nobody really noticed, which is fine unless the beltway wants to keep using their supposed existence as the justification for why no one listens to the republican party's so-called leaders. if you do not have the tea party caucus to blame for that any more, who are you going to blame instead? that story's next. [ birds chirping ] i'm your hot water heater. you hardly know i exist. that's too bad. 'cuz if my pressure relief valve gets stuck... [ booooooom! ] ...we hot water heaters can transform into rocket propelled wrecking balls. and if you got the wrong home insurance coverage, it's your bank account that might explode. so get allstate. [ dennis ] good hands. good home. make sure you have the right home protection. talk to an allstate agent.
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he picked indiana. also not an entirely obvious choice. in previous years, republicans have responded to the president with outrage as if this is a major scandal when he does this. >> we are going to a dire state, and maybe i will not worry about the bracket. >> the president may look a little disconnected. >> he is so