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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  December 17, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PST

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the standing has been overcome, we'll see a lot more decisions like this. congressman steve cohen and jameer jaffar, thank you. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. >> did that piece say "game of phones"? well done. thank you at home for joining us this hour. the numbers are in. it is official now. the congressional election last week in massachusetts appears to have been the lowest turnout congressional election in massachusetts history. only 13% of people turned out. 13% of voters in that district turned out to choose a replacement for ed markey, when he got kicked upstairs to the u.s. senate in a special election earlier this year. so, yes, massachusetts now has a new member of congress, one of the very few women that massachusetts has ever elected to federal office, and that is very exciting, except that nobody actually bothered to show up when it came time to decide whether or not that would
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happen. do not despair, though. turns out, this is not the new normal, there is no reason to extrapolate from that result in massachusetts and say, ah, that's the way it's going to be now. and we know that, because less than a week after that election, this past weekend, on saturday, rhode island proved them wrong. saturday was a terrible, terrible day on the east coast in terms of weather. just one of those storms that, i don't know, maybe looked pretty in retrospect on sunday when you could see all the snow that had fallen, but when it was coming down on saturday, it was freaking windy and icy and slushy, and it just got worse and worse all day long, and it hurt to walk outside. saturday was like having a snow cone mashed in your face by somebody in a bad mood. and on saturday, in the middle of that weather, in the little town of exeter, rhode island, they had huge voter turnout, even in that storm, even though it was a saturday, even though
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all they were voting on was a little town-specific, municipal matter. they nearly tripled the turnout. they nearly tripled the voter turnout that massachusetts had been able to muster for a congressional race that was held just a few days earlier on a normal tuesday, like a normal election and everything. exeter put them to shame. exeter, rhode island, has 5,000 registered voters, more or less, more than 1,800 of them turned out in the storm on saturday to vote in their little, local election that may or may not have been about guns. rhode island is really small, right? rhode island is so little that if you are not from rhode island, you tend to think of it as just one big place. but there are 39 cities and towns inside the great state of rhode island. it's not just one thing. and of rhode island's 39 municipalities, one of them, only one of them, the town of exeter, doesn't have its own city or town police force. so, in the town of exeter, rhode island, if you call the police for anything, there's no local
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police to respond. it's actually the state troopers who respond in exeter. and because there is no local law enforcement infrastructure of any kind, there's no chief of police, there's no police department, exeter, rhode island, alone has a bureaucratically awkward issue that its town council has been trying to fix, and the issue is this. when you want to get a concealed carry permit for a gun, you're supposed to get the okay for that, the permit and everything, from your local police department. exeter, rhode island, doesn't have a local police department. practically speaking, that means they do not have access to the databases and computer terminals and other things that make it easy to issue the permit and do the background checks. police departments tend to have those things. exeter doesn't have a police department, and so, they don't have them. the town clerk and the town council were trying to take on those responsibilities about those permits themselves, but they just don't have access to the information and equipment to be able to do it. so, the little town of exeter made the decision that just as state police handle police issues for the town, maybe the
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state attorney general's office could please handle this permit issue for the town. they did not want to change anything materially about whether or not people get okayed for permits or not. they just wanted somebody to do it who has the ability to do it, because they don't have the ability to do it. and so, they made this request to change the permit paperwork part of it to the attorney general's office instead of being at the local level. that's the change they wanted to make. and then all hell broke loose. >> i really don't understand why you guys are interfering in this whatsoever. it's, you know, if you don't like it, don't be in office. if you don't want to do this, don't! if you're unwilling, unable to do a job, then go get a different job, but we're not going to let -- [ cheers and applause ] we seriously just need you to just do what it is you're supposed to be doing and quit making extra little hoops that we all have to jump through just because you don't like what you're doing! [ cheers and applause ]
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we don't need other people coming in and butting in to our business. >> the town council in exeter did not even think that they were making a change that was about guns. they were literally just arranging for somebody else to handle the paperwork, but pro-gun activists decided to make an example out of this little town, they're going to make an example out of exeter, rhode island. this was war. and they decided that they would recall all the democrats on the town council who voted for this antisecond amendment tyranny in the form of a small bureaucratic change that would not affect gun rights at all. and so, cue the national attention from the gun lobby, cue the angry petitions, cue the hundreds of people turning out for what previously had been sleepy town hall meetings. but of all these people screaming about it nationwide and signing petitions and denouncing the town and packing those meetings, very few of them apparently proved to actually be from exeter, rhode island, because when the actual voters of the actual town turned out in
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the middle of that storm on saturday in really unexpectedly high numbers to vote on that recall effort, they said no to the recall for all four of the town counselors who the gun folks were trying to recall, exeter, rhode island, said no, no that those town counselors will be able to keep their jobs, thank you very much. they not only said no, they said no loudly. not only was it a big turnout this weekend in exeter, rhode island, the margin was big, too. exeter voted to keep their councillors in their seats by a 2-1 margin. so, that was exeter, rhode island, on saturday. the state digs out of a particularly cold and slushy winter storm, the town joins the nation in marking the one-year anniversary of the mass killing of first graders at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. that anniversary was saturday, which is the day exeter voted. and the little town of exeter, when they voted, soundly rejected the gun lobby's effort to demonize its town council for trying to take the smallest and least offensive step possible
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toward very minor reform of the regulations surrounding gun ownership. >> as the snow falls outside on a frigid saturday night, the heat is on inside exeter town hall. two sealed envelopes containing the results are already in, and after the third one's delivered, it's a matter of minutes before the fate of four council members is known. >> so, they will keep their seats. >> reporter: the council members are relieved and excited to get back to work. they say they will continue to champion their stance on weapons regulation. >> i'm sure if you asked each one of us if we would like the legislature to continue to consider that change in the state statute, i think every one of us would ask that, yes, they do that. >> reporter: now the city council, complete with its original five members, passes along a message of gratitude to the residents of the town. >> council members, the volunteers from around the state and the citizens of exeter who came out to vote, we appreciate it. >> that little, snowy, failed recall effort in rhode island
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this weekend is basically the opposite of what happened in the state of colorado this past september. you might remember that after newtown, democrats in the colorado state legislature passed laws to limit access to high-capacity ammunition magazines and also to require background checks for gun purchases. everywhere in the country, you already have to have a background check if you buy a gun at a gun store. colorado decided this year that you should not be able to evade that background check by buying the gun on craigslist or at a gun show or something. for every gun sale in the state, not just the ones in gun stores, but for every gun sale in the state, there ought to be a background check. and just like in rhode island, when those bills passed the colorado legislature and they were signed in to law by governor john hickenlooper, again, all hell broke loose with the gun lobby calling it war and calling it tyranny and launching recall efforts against state legislators who had supported those bills. they tried to go after a whole lot of colorado legislators. most of the recall attempts did not get off the ground, but in
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two cases, they were successful. for two state senators, their support for those gun laws cost them their seats. the colorado gun lobby the next day posted these tomb stones online, bragging about how they had killed off those two senators. in november, a third state senator quit, rather than face a recall herself. she quit so her party could replace her and then that person could run next year without having that gun vote on their record. and you know, the colorado recalls, especially if you ask anybody in the beltway, colorado recalls have become the story about gun policy after newtown, right? what happened in colorado, those two recalls, they have become central to the understanding of the impossibility of getting any real reform in this country. since those recalls, though, we have also learned something else really important about what changed in colorado, and that's the actual data on what colorado's change in the law did. so, it used to be that in a private sale of a gun in colorado, there'd be no background check. since the laws went into effect
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in july, there have been about 4,500 private sales of guns in colorado. but now because of the new law, there has been a background check, and 98% of the time, whoever was buying the gun went through the background check fine. they got okayed to buy the gun. turns out, they're not a felon, they don't have a domestic violence protection order against them or something, they have a right to own a gun, and so, the transaction went through, 98% of the time, fine. but 2% of the time, since that law went into effect, the person going through the background check to buy a gun in a private sale didn't clear that background check. and so, that person should not have been able to buy that gun. and because of this law, that person was not able to buy that gun. this means people with domestic violence protection orders, people who are convicted felons, people who have had their right to own a firearm legally stripped away, and it turned up in the background check. there have been 72 people in colorado who have tried to buy a gun illegally through a private sale since this law passed. 72 people who were stopped from doing so because of this law.
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does that feel like tyranny? do you need the convicted felon and the guy with the domestic violence protection order against him to be able to illegally get new guns? under the old law, they illegally could get new guns. under the new law, they can't, and 72 of them have been stopped. is that tyranny? on this background check issue, nothing new is illegal that was not illegal before. it's just that people are less able to get away with it. it's just that people now can get caught for trying to illegally purchase weapons when they used to be able to get away with it without anybody working and it's working. it has worked 70-plus times since the law went into effect in july. and for that, two state senators had to lose their jobs. that law was them tyronically crossing the line. "the new york times" gives a platform to a group of sheriffs who say they not only oppose any
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new gun reforms, but will refuse to enforce them, presenting themselves as the other side of the gun debate. anybody who wants to reform gun laws has to answer to these sheriffs. this is not noted in "the new york times" front-page profile of these guys, being the gun reform opposition now, but it should be noted that almost 2-1, almost every one of them mentioned in the article is also a secessionist. the guy in the lead of the article is the sheriff of weld county, running as -- he's running for office right now as a tea party republican for state senate in colorado. he would prefer to not join the colorado state senate. he would prefer to join a different state senate. he would prefer that his county and other rural counties that he says aren't served by the denver metropolitan area, he would prefer that they secede from colorado and form a new state of their own. the next named sheriff in the article is also a secessionist. his name is john lopy, a sheriff in far northern colorado who, too, wants to have his county
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secede from california and form a new state, a new state called jefferson. here he is giving one of their jefferson state talks. independence day is coming. here's the siskiyou county secession facebook page. this is them casting their vote for what the new state bird should be for the new 51st state of jefferson that they want to form after they split off from california. they seem partial -- i think this is maybe an osprey? i think maybe this is their county vote? the "times" today also gives a shout out to richard mack, who used to be a sheriff but now runs a cottage industry, traveling the country telling america to wake up from federal tyranny, advancing his theory that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement authorities in the country, that supreme court rulings do not apply to county sheriffs and sheriffs can decide for themselves what laws they want to enforce and which ones they do not want to enforce based on their own personal views of what seems constitutional to them. this is the other side of the
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argument. one year after newtown, this is the state of the argument. if it seems like there is an imbalance between the practical and the radical, there is. there is. that imbalance exists on this really important issue. and when that kind of imbalance exists on any policy issue, you usually expect the pragmatic side to win, at least in the long term. but in the now term, in terms of what's happening right now, it's the wild-eyed secessionist guys getting quoted as authorities on this issue on the front page of the "the new york times" and they're quoted in your town, too, like in exeter. saying they answer to no one, laws don't apply to them, they can enforce the laws they want to enforce and the federal government is a tyranny. these guys are a traveling road show. they're wide-eyed, wild-eyed secessionists who want to break up the country into more than 50
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states so they can get gun freedom that they've been demanding all this time and who are telling local sheriffs that laws don't apply to them. the supreme court is meaningless. you just make it up at the county level. that's the gun rights side right now, right? two sides of this argument are really, really mismatched and out of balance, but it is the super unbalanced side that now, at least for now seems to be winning. it's amazing. joining us now is rhonda field, colorado state representative, representing parts of aurora, where, of course, 12 people were killed in a movie theater last year. her son was gunned down in june 2005 before he was set to testify as a key witness in the murder trial of his best friend. representative field sponsored three gun reform bills that passed the colorado legislature this year. representative fields, thank you very much for being with us tonight. i really appreciate your time. >> thank you, rachel, for having me. it's an honor. >> i'm trying to sort of take the temperature of this debate as a country in terms of understanding not just what's
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happened in terms of policy but who's winning the argument a year after newtown. what do you think about that writ large for the country? and what do you think colorado's experience should tell the rest of the country? >> you know, colorado is on the right track, and we're doing the right thing to keep our community and our neighborhoods safe. we passed gun legislation that i think that's common sense, it's very reasonable. and to have our sheriffs say that they're not going to uphold the law to me is unacceptable. as a citizen, i don't get a chance to pick and choose what laws i want to obey or comply with. they just need to do their job. >> in terms of the ongoing political debate in colorado, obviously, there were two recalls of state senators that were successful, a bunch of others that didn't get off the ground, but two of them were successful, and the third democratic legislator decided to resign rather than face the recall effort. does that mean that the momentum is still on that side of the argument or do you feel like as
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they continue, that side continues to push that tactic and those strategies that they'll continue to rack up victories? >> you know, what we have here in the state of colorado is great leadership. and with leadership sometimes there is consequences. it breaks my heart that my two colleagues were recalled and one was resigned, but i think that we're on the right side of history, we're doing what's right for our schools, we're doing what's right for our neighborhood. and at this point, we're not looking back. i mean, we're going to claim the future and we're going to be continuing to look for solutions. >> we've had as a country far, far, far too much experience with mass violence, but colorado and the aurora area in particular has had an excessive share of those incidents, including recently at arapahoe high school, obviously columbine and the movie theater murders last year. does -- i guess, does the political debate, the
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conversation about this resonate differently in your district and where you're from because of that personal history, that personal connection of so many people in your community to these almost unimaginable incidents? >> yeah, i believe it does, you know. i'm all too familiar with what it feels like to be a victim of gun violence. and what happened at the aurora theater shooting, when a gunman went into a theater and he shot 58 people, wounded them, killed 12 people because he had a high-capacity magazine. we know that the only reason that those guns exist is for them to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time. and we have to do something to address this type of violence. >> colorado state representative rhonda fields, who represents aurora, colorado, thank you very much for being with us tonight. it's nice to have you here. >> thank you. >> thank you. all right, a big, big ruling about the nsa spying program came down this afternoon. and the traffic jam that haunted
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ft. lee, new jersey, still haunts new jersey governor chris christie in a way that we could not have foreseen even before today. that story is getting bigger and weirder by the day. stay with us. [ female announcer ] we give you relief from your cold symptoms. you give them the giggles. tylenol cold® helps relieve your worst cold and flu symptoms. but for everything we do, we know you do so much more. tylenol cold®.
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edward snowden first let loose his huge leak of information on the nsa and its previously secret surveillance methods back in june. in the six months since then, it has felt like there have been
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further revelations and some further political repercussions almost every week, some of them based directly on mr. snowden's information, some of them in reaction to his leaked revelations. but before today, there had been no legal consequences whatsoever of those leaks and the additional information they turned up. today, a federal district court judge in washington, d.c., ruled that the government's secret gathering of data on u.s. phone calls is likely unconstitutional. in a preliminary injunction, the judge ordered the government to stop collecting data, not on everybody, but at least on two plaintiffs who brought the case. this is not the only challenge on nsa surveillance methods working through the courts, but this is the first one that has, forgive me, slammed the nsa aside its head and made them stop something they were otherwise doing. joining us to help us understand the significance of this ruling is charlie savidge, washington reporter for "the new york times" who's been covering national security and wrote about this development today. thank you for being here today.
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>> thanks for having me. >> so, this is the first time that a judge in a regular court has ruled against the nsa's surveillance program. there have been rulings before, though, or at least arguments on this subject before the fisa court, before a secret court, right? >> that's right. the secret surveillance court, known as the fisa court or the fisk, has repeatedly authorized this one secret program going back to the bush administration. that court looks very different than this one. >> in terms of the way that those court proceedings would have been different, what's the difference, i guess procedurally, between this regular u.s. district court ruling today and what would have been argued before the secret court in the past? >> well, both involve article 3 judges, but the way the fisa court works is only the justice department, only the government is allowed to come before the court and make arguments.
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it all happens in secret, and the court hears the government's point of view, doesn't hear the adversarial point of view, and then rules. and if it rules in favor of the government, there's no one there to appeal. so, it's a very stacked procedure when you're talking about these large programmatic surveillance programs like this call log metadata program we're talking about. >> obviously, this is just a preliminary injunction from a district court judge, the appeals court above him, and then the ruling on the merits, the appeals court above him and, of course, the supreme court. there's lots more legal wrangling that could happen even over just this one complaint. do you think this is interesting just because it's the first of its kind, or could this be substantively significant in terms of what the nsa's allowed to do? >> well, you know, it's an injunction, but the judge is not enforcing it right now. he's giving the government time to appeal, which he thinks will take six months or so, so on the ground, nothing is really going to change immediately because of this ruling, but i still think it's a big deal for a couple reasons. it's starting a conversation
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which will probably continue in several other similar lawsuits in other courts around the country that's going to go wind its way towards the supreme court about whether in the modern world, with smartphones, ubiquitous in our pockets, we really don't have any fourth amendment privacy rights over our calling data and associated data, like locational data. that's a principle that dates back to a 1979 supreme court case that the government has relied on for this program, really, the dark ages of communications technology, and this may be cracking the door towards reconsidering that for the 21st century. i also think that there's been such a cascade of revelations about the nsa is doing this, the nsa is doing that, it's doing other things overseas, it's using cookies, whatever, that the original snowden leak, which was this program, that all americans' phone calls, purely domestic phone calls, records of them are being collected and stored by the government for five years and analyzed, that really remains for an american privacy rights perspective the
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most important revelation, and it's been sort of buried under this deluge of other revelations about other programs and other stuff that's happening overseas. i think this very dramatic, long ruling today will serve to sort of re-elevate the original leak at a time when congress is debating whether to keep it, to entrench it, to scrap it or overhaul it in some way. >> is there anything significant about the leaks, mr. snowden's leak about this program in particular, that made this court case possible, the fact that some of these things were made public and things that the government was doing were confirmed by the government for the first time after his leaks, did that allow for some of this legal wrangling to happen, or would this have happened whether or not these things had ever been admitted to? >> this would not have happened if these things had not been admitted to, but without the leak, we wouldn't have known this was happening. there was a "usa today" article that hinted at this in 2006 and then sort of got forgotten, and there was, in sort of what had
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happened to this program after the bush administration had gone under the water. we had some senators in the intelligence committees who were warning obliquely that something strange was happening with the patriot ac with the government and they weren't allowed to talk it. i filed a foia lawsuit and the judge read what was happening in a classified incamera by himself hearing and dismissed the case without them knowing what was going on. it took the leak by edward snowden to really drive this into the public consciousness and force the government, essentially, to acknowledge what was going on, which created the opportunity for people to challenge it as well as because the government itself has described it as comprehensive, systemic, giving legal standing to various plaintiffs to say, well, if it's everyone's call, it's my call, therefore i have standing to put this before a regular court. >> that standing issue has been so fascinating to watch, the way things got dismissed in the past, because nobody could prove what they suspected the
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government was doing to them. that tipping over and changing this year. it always seemed like it would have big implications. now we know. charlie savage with "the new york times," thanks for helping us understand this tonight. appreciate it. >> thank you. the george washington bridge traffic jam story that started as the teeny, teeny, tiny, tiniest little political story in the entire world has just gotten enormous. stay with us.
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we reviewed our office expenses the other day, pens, paper, mechanical pencils for me, remarkable number of highlighters, but also, weirdly, a lot of websites. one of the things that we find hardest to explain to the accountants on the 50-whateverish floor here in this building is our show's history of benevolent domain name squatting. over the years, we've had the occasion to acquire all of these different website names, all of which redirect to our show website. like, for example, when tennessee passed a law that banned the condoning of gateway sexual activity, what was that all about? in the thought that the state of tennessee and maybe governor bill haslem might some day want to explain what they were thinking, we bought for them gatewaytosexualactivity.com, which we publicly offered to the state of tennessee and its governor. we still have it for you guys, if you want it, but they never called. there was also that time when my friend, michael steele, was still chairman of the national republican party, and he said this. >> it's crazy nonsense, empathetic.
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i'll give you empathy. empathize right on your behind. >> and so began empathizerightonyourbehind.com. michael steele even works here now at msnbc, but he so far has not had use for empathizerightonyourbehind.com. when he does, i will be keeping it safe for him. i still think the best one we ever bought was for former presidential candidate, former senator, former actor fred thompson. when fred thompson started doing his very, very serious renew the bush tax cuts ads, that led naturally and obviously to fredthompsonisinherentlyfunny. com, which would be a great thing to own if you were fred thompson. come and get it, sir! it's yours for the taking. so far, he has shown no interest. and so, we just keep paying our 8 bucks a year, whatever it is for all of those sites, which we have to explain at the end of the year every year.
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and i mean no harm. we mean no harm by holding these things. at worst, we're just teasing, right? but in the chris christie administration in new jersey, when they do that same kind of thing, turns out, they are not teasing. and the fact that we know that means that the strangest political scandal in the country right now just got stranger. hold on. that very, very new jersey story is straight ahead. stay with us. so, this board gives me rates for progressive direct and other car insurance companies? yes. but you're progressive, and they're them. yes. but they're here. yes. are you...? there? yes. no. are you them? i'm me. but those rates are for... them. so them are here. yes! you want to run through it again? no, i'm good. you got it? yes.
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rates for us and them -- now that's progressive. call or click today.
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bruce springsteen, obviously, is the boss. he is the new jersey icon to end all new jersey icons. rutgers university in new jersey offers a freshman seminar on the biblical foundations of bruce springsteen lyrics, i kid you not. but if you want more information about bruce springsteen, you go to the obvious place for that information, brucespringsteen.com. you will not find it there, because there is nothing at brucespringsteen.com, because mr. springsteen does not own that web address. he tried very hard to own it. when he found somebody else had registered his name as a website, he fought the case up to the world intellectual property organization, arbitration and mediation center, but had a lost. and now the official bruce springsteen website is dot-net, not brucespringsteen.com, but rather, dot-net, which makes you
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feel like you're talking on a flip phone in the 1990s when you type it in. when you don't ask and register somebody else's domain name for their website, that's called cyber squatting. theoretically, you can cyber squat someone in a nice way, as in, hey, i noticed you hadn't bought the web address with your name in it, i bought it for you, here it is. theoretically, you can cyber squat for that nice reason. more often, people are doing it for the money, hoping the person who got their name stolen will want to pay to get the use of their own name back. even worse, you can impersonate someone online if you bought a web address with their name in it or try to capitalize somehow on other people's interest in that person, or you can steal their name just to be annoying so that person can never use their own name for their own website on the internet. and a political version of that particular kind of creepiness seems to be the new and strange twist in the new jersey political scandal that keeps getting weirder by the day. this is the controversy about whether a small city in new jersey was being politically
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punished when an appointee of new jersey governor chris christie, otherwise inexplicably, ordered the shutdown of two of the entrance lanes on to the world's busiest bridge, thus backing up traffic so badly into the town of ft. lee that the whole town was essentially gridlocked for almost a whole week. although there were initial claims that maybe some sort of traffic study was the explanation for what happened to ft. lee that week back in september, the executive director of the agency that runs the bridge says, you know what, no, there was no traffic study. two weeks before the traffic armageddon shutdown, the democratic mayor of ft. lee, new jersey, apparently had rejected requests to endorse chris christie in his bid for re-election as new jersey governor. now, using the busiest bridge in the world to gridlock a small city as political payback to that city's mayor? that seems insane, right? but that explanation, as crazy as it sounds, is not going away, because in the now weeks-long investigation of what happened
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to ft. lee back in september, nobody in the chris christie administration has come up with a better explanation for why those lanes got closed on that bridge. even after the governor accepted the resignation of his top two appointees to that agency, there has still been no explanation for why they had to resign. what exactly happened there? what happened there, if it wasn't political retaliation? this is david wildstein, a high school classmate of new jersey governor chris christie. he was given a job at the port authority by governor christie. he is the man who ordered the bridge closure, and he was the first guy to quit as a result of this controversy. interesting guy, as it turns out. over the weekend, "the star ledger" in newark reported that that job mr. wildstein got as a political appointee at a salary of more than $150,000 a year, that job that he got has no job description. also, the response to a public records request showed that in his hiring file, there was never a resumé.
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there was never a resumé on file for mr. wildstein, a man with no resume, hired to do a six-figure job that has no job description. so, who knows why chris christie hired him or what he hired him to do. we do not exactly know what job this guy was supposed to be doing, but now we do know more about how exactly he did his work. this weekend, "the bergen county record" reported that while david wildstein was working as a high-level political appointee at the port authority, he was also buying a bunch of domain names on the side, website names, targeting people and registering their names on the internet without their permission. this seems to be kind of one of the ways he did business. so, after "the bergen county record" published a profile of mr. wildstein last year, mr. wildstein apparently showed them how much he disliked that by going after the reporter who wrote the profile. the reporter's name was shawn boburg. after the profile came out, david wildstein went online and bought shawnboberg.com.
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now, if you go to shawnboberg.com, it redirects you not to anything about shawn boberg or the newspaper where he works, but instead directs you to the website of the newspaper that is the chief rival to shawn boberg's paper. apparently, david wildstein does this kind of thing all the time. this past april, about a week after the port authority came to a settlement with the faa, a settlement that mr. wildstein apparently did not like, mr. wildstein again purchased domain names using other people's names. the vice chairman of the port authority was involved in that settlement. his name is scott rechler and also his adviser, david garten. now scottrechler.com and davidgarten.com is named by wildstein. patfoye.com was purchased by david wildstein. he even bought up the name of the faa's associate administrator of airports. do you think anybody needs that
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name for any reason if your name isn't christopher norato? really, this david wildstein guy needs that website? and that's kind of a unique name. it's not a famous person's name, not the name of a company, it's not bruce springsteen's. you only buy that to specifically annoy one person and one person only. the site with her name as the web address takes you to the website for the new york yankees, who apparently are david wildstein's favorite team. neener, neener! hope you never wanted to set up a website. i've got your property. democratic candidate for lieutenant governor of new jersey this year was a woman who also has a unique name, milly silva. millysilva.com now also takes you to the yankees home page because chris christie appointee david wildstein is squatting on her site and he took it. also, democratic strategist in new jersey, bob summer, somebody who used to write for david wildstein's politics blog site, his name is being squatted by wildstein as well.
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bob sommer was asked if he had any idea this bobsommer.com thing was going on. his response was "wow! i am shocked that someone who i worked with very closely has taken my domain name without my knowledge." a spokesperson for governor christie said today that the campaign for re-election for governor christie and the governor himself, they all had no idea this was going on, no knowledge of it at all. as this chris christie administration story gets weirder by the day, the big picture here, the reason the story is still around to get weirder and weirder by the day is that there is still no explanation forthcoming from anyone for why two lanes on the busiest bridge in the world had to be randomly closed, causing traffic mayhem for a week, if it wasn't just a neener, neener, vindictive political move. governor christie has been insistent from the beginning that the idea this was political retribution is a ludicrous idea. i mean, can you imagine somebody in the chris christie administration being so petty,
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just over politics? can you imagine that kind of a petty, vindictive, nasty little abuse of power? can you imagine it? it's getting easier to imagine now, because this is not shawn boburg's website, and this is not the website of the executive director of the port authority of new york and new jersey. something rotten and petty and vindictive has been going on in new jersey. how long until we get an explanation that everyone believes? sooigds is i actually was the
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sooigds is i actually was the guy working the cones out there. you really are not serious with that question? what happened? no, i haven't. >> my question to you is, is the reason you chose not to exercise that discretion is because you feared for your employment? >> i was concerned what the reaction would be if i did not follow his directive. >> that was the general manager of the george washington bridge saying he feared for his job if
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he didn't follow orders that were given by a long time chris christie ally, closing down those lanes gridlocked joining us now is new jersey state senator who says she will be asking the u.s. congress to investigate whether these closures are politically motivated. thank you for being here. why ask congress? why would that be the right body? there has been a lot of questions asked in new jersey already. >> i think there are several bodies. . and take a look at the legislation which is probably 80 years old today. along with the fact that congress is gao issued a report in the late summer, maybe a week
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or two before the infamous bridge gate took place. criticized the port authority for their lack of transparency. remember, this is the busiest bridge in the world. and we pay among the highest tolls in the country for the privilege of driving over the busiest bridge in the world. and the fact that anybody would use this bridge, this infrastructure for some petty political pay back is almost so bizarre it is a little bit difficult to believe. >> it has seemed difficult to believe, and i did not believe it and chose not to put this story on the air for the first couple of days that i was reading about it because the political implication was so weird. no competing explanation has emerged.
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is there an explanation that explains why this happened that isn't about political retribution? >> there is no explanation that has come forth. i attended four meetings of the port authority in new york and new jersey. three commission meetings and one sub committee meeting. i went october, november, december, and i stood up and questioned what is going on here. can you tell me? each month there was this is under internal review. and each of those people well before this, i know the impact of the bridge on the area. i represent not just fort lee but other areas, too. and all the towns that back up to the bridge. each of those commissioners i
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pointed out before i voted for them please be aware of the issues that are created by having the bridge in fort lee. and the idea that they tried to spin the story with an issue of fairness? >> well, the bridge is in fort lee so everybody drives through fort lee in order to get there. >> please, stay in touch with us. i feel like the story is fascinating. it started off as something very hard to take seriously. and now it is something hard to avoid. thank you for helping us understand. >> thank you for helping us understand. appreciate it.
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>> today two, count them, two of president obama's nominees were confirmed. two in one day. sky remains in place. cats still refuse to live in peace with dogs and everything is okay. republicans have been filibustering everybody in sight. because of the rules change that democrats passed about three weeks ago over vociferous republican opposition, now some folks are getting through. today the senate voted to confirm ann patterson. obviously a very important job up until today and patterson has been our u.s. ambassador to egypt. now she is moving up to one of the top positions in the state department. directly after that vote the senate moved on to the high profile nomination of jay johnson to be secretary of homeland security. republicans had made a halfhearted effort to make his nomination seem mildly controversial. the top lawyer for the whole defense department.
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he is president obama's pick to succeed janet napolitano and today jay johnson was confirmed, becoming the godzilla sized agency's fourth leader ever. we thought the senate was not coming back until tomorrow but they came back late today to do those five minutes of work basically. now they need to confirm at least one more federal judge. they need to confirm the new chair, and there's the giant farm bill and the giant defense bill and the small matter of a national budget. if they do all of that this week and they say they're going to do it all, that might be more than they have done the whole rest of the year combined.
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this is the time of year that is called cramming. this is supposedly the world's greatest deliberating body. right now they are just cramming. watch this space. good tuesday morning. right now on "first look," wintry mess. millions will wake up to a winter wonderland and one heck of a messy commute. unconstitutional. a federal judge rules the nsa's collection of our phone records is likely illegal. expect the case to reach the supreme court. mega maenaa, could we be headed for a $1 billion christmas eve jackpot? we have details. and rock 'n' roll hall of fame welcomes a whole new class of great artists and bands. plus, it's just another day for a couple of french dare devils getting a better view of the alps. frightening just to look at. good morning, everyone. all gh

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