The Rachel Maddow Show | February 22, 2013
>> thanks to you at home as well for joining us this hour on a friday. listen, neither the house nor the senate is in session. all the governors of the country are locked in closed door governor association meetings. the president is talking to the prime minister of japan without any of us getting to listen in. this is the kind of day that shouldn't have any news in it at all. but fridays apparently are the new mondays, or at least the new day in which there is always a lot going on in the news. so it turns out on a friday, again, we have a ton to get to in the news. including a story tonight that we have been covering for months that now looks like it is about to blow wide open into a national story in michigan. it's a story about the city of detroit. that's coming up. also, very important piece of the puzzle in terms of fixing the sequester thing that is due to happen in about a week. that fell into place today. and new documents released today show that something we really, really need to be very, very safe may in fact be very dangerous. new coast guard documents revealed on that subject today. and you've got michael moore here tonight for the interview. that is all ahead. it's a really big show .
>>> but we need to start in brussels, where today the war in afghanistan started to end, or these where the constituent countries of nato started the make their commitments today for how much they would commit to that country as our war there starts to end. the headline news out of brussels today was a very terse statement from the pentagon spokesman. it was kind of strange. he was essentially clarifying, hey, whatever you heard from the germans earlier today, that was not true. this is the statement. the reports that the u.s. told allies that we are considering 8,000 to 12,000 u.s. troops after 2014 are not correct. a range of 8,000 to 12,000 troops was discussed, but it was discussed as the possible size of the overall nato mission, not the u.s. contribution. ah, important clarification. so the defense minister from germany had apparently told reporters that 8 to 12,000 troops was how many troops america was going to keep in afghanistan. everybody thought that was very big news since that's not what we heard hear at home at all. maybe that is how the german guy understood it, but it is apparently not the way that leon panetta meant it. that was the headline out of brussels today. those troops, that's nato combined, that's not just us. that was the headline. the other news of course was that representing the united states and apparently confusing the germans in brussels today was leon panetta , the guy who with great fanfare supposedly just stopped being our secretary of defense. here was leon panetta at his farewell ceremony, his big ornate farewell ceremony. this is dated fully two weeks ago. leon panetta has already said goodbye. he was supposed to be home at his walnut farm in california by now. in this meeting today in brussels to plan the end of the afghanistan war , it was supposed to be the international debut of the guy who is replacing leon panetta . it was supposed to be the international debut of america 's new defense secretary , which is why the nomination for defense secretary was probably one of the very first second-determine nominations that president obama announced. chuck hagel ended up not being in brussels today. he has not become the new defense secretary yet because republicans in the senate have filibustered his nomination. a cabinet nomination has never, ever in the history of the united states been filibustered before. but these republicans in this congress and our time decided that they would do this unprecedented thing to chuck hagel . one of the major items on next week's news calendar is that the republicans are expected to finally relent and allow chuck hagel to be confirmed. but jane mayer published something at the new yorker today that made headlines everywhere today because she turned up the way republicans have been operating in washington at the time they have been trying to stop him. to be clear, even with the unprecedented filibuster, everybody knows that chuck hagel is going to be confirmed as defense secretary . democrats have a majority in the senate. hagel has the support of every single democrat in the senate and he has the support of some republicans too. he has the votes. he has a very clear majority of the votes. he is going to be confirmed. he cannot be filibustered forever, and the republicans are not going to filibuster forever. he is going to be the new defense secretary . so the minute joority of republicans blocking him have had to go to some unusual lents to justify what it is they are doing with this filibuster thing even though he is going to be confirmed anyway. the weirdness of it may now have actually some explanation. and the kind of stuff they're doing really has been something that needs an explanation. i mean, lindsey graham and kelly ayotte , take them. their most recent demand from chuck hagel , their most recent excuse for why they are participating in blocking chuck hagel 's nomination is that somebody who had seen chuck hagel give a speech six years ago had later written the blog post about the speech in which he did not quote chuck hagel , but he asserted that chuck hagel had said awful things in the speech. no quotations of anything chuck hagel said there are certainly no transcripts or recordings of anything he said there is no direct attribution of anything that chuck hagel said at all. but lindsey graham and kelly ayotte wrote to chuck hageling is asking him to explain whether that blogger was right. chuck hagel amazingly responded to that with words be. the nature of the demand was unusual, right? especially for two senators who like to maintain themselves as very serious people on the issue of foreign policy . well, that whole incident followed up the blowup around the friends of hamas thing. the friends of hamas thing i can do far less justice that than comedy central can. behold stephen colbert .
>> according to conservative news anger gator breitbart.com, hagel may have taken money from an organization called friends of hamas . friends of hamas is even worse than it sounds because this organization is so sinister that it doesn't even exist. it turns out hagel 's link with friends of hamas goes back to daily news reporter dan friedman who asked a republican senate aide looking for dirt in hagel 's past if hagel had given a speech to the junior league of hezbollah or the friends of hamas , assuming that no one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed. why wouldn't you take it seriously? i mean, if there is no junior league of hezbollah, who puts out the cookbook of bomb recipes? besides, the fact that these organizations don't exist only makes it more suspicious that chuck hagel has been tied to them. what else is he hiding that hasn't happened? is he a member of the al qaeda kids club ? what about the muslim brotherhood or the muslim sisterhood of the traveling pants ?
>> republican senators have been demanding that chuck hagel explain his association with the muslim sisterhood of the traveling pants , or friends of hamas or whatever, an association that they made up. they're demanding that he explain this thing that they made up. they're also demanding that he respond to things that bloggers said about him that sounded awful. but if you are noticing a trend here in the way republican senators are justifying taking this unprecedented action against a cabinet nominee, doing something absolutely that has never been done before in american history , if you are noticing a trend in how they are treating him, allow texas senator ted cruz to crystallize your thinking on this matter.
>> we do not know, for example, if he received compensation for giving paid speeches at extreme radical groups. it may be that he spoke at radical or extreme groups or anti-israel groups and accepted financial compensation. we don't know. it is at minimum relevant to me if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from saudi arabia , came directly from north carolina . i have no evidence to suggest that it is or isn't --
>> but it might be saudi arabia . it might be north korea , right? i demand that you prove that this thing i just made up is not true. that has a name, other than ted cruz . what ted cruz just did there is a thing that has a name in american politics .
>> the did the civil liberties union provide you with money at that time?
>> offices of attorneys and one of them was the civil liberties union, yes.
>> but the question is did the civil liberty union supply you with an attorney?
>> they did supply an attorney.
>> the answer is yes?
>> the answer is yes.
>> you know the civil liberties union has been listed for a front for doing work for the communist party .
>> that was footage for "good night and good luck", the george clooney movie that came out in 2005 . and the footage you can see playing there along with the actors, the footage playing in the background of what is supposed to be the cbs newsroom there along with edward r. murrow looking on, the footage of is joe mccarthy , senator if there wisconsin. and joe mccarthy is famous for stuff like this.
>> there are the millions of loyal americans who have voted the democrat ticket, individuals who are just as loyal, who hate communism just as much and love america just as much as the average republican. that's one group. on the other hand, there is that small closely-knit group of administration democrats who are now the complete prisoners and under the complete domination of the bureaucratic economistic frankenstein which they themselves have created. ladies and gentlemen , they shouldn't be called that administration democrat party . to call them democrats is an insult to the millions of loyal american democrats. they shouldn't be called democrats. they should be referred to properly as the commie crat party.
>> speaking in jefferson city , missouri, in 1950 . the most famous tactic from mccarthy wasn't just name-calling, it was making oddly specific allegations for which he never produced evidence, but nevertheless demanded that people respond to these allegations because his allegations were so specific that they seemed very true, right? and anybody so accused must explain themselves against his secret. but again, oddly specific damning evidence. he famously told a crowd in wheeling, west virginia in february of 1950 , quote, i have here in my hand a list of 205, a list of names that were made known to the secretary of state as being members of the communist party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the state department . 205 names on his history. so it must be true, right? it's not just a round number he made up, roughly 200 names. it's 205 names. that list must have come from somewhere. there must be some basis for this allegation that he is making. it can't just possibly be made up for political effect, right? there is a reason that joe mccarthy 's name became something other than just a proper name identifying him as a person there is a reason we use the term mccarthyism as a political tactic there is are reason people have long been making movies about the danger of this thing.
>> there is just one thing, babe. i'd be a lot happier if we could just settle on the number of communist is know there are in the defense department . i mean the way you keep changing the figures on me all the time, it makes me look like some kind of a nut, like an idiot. the boys are even starting to kid me about it. why just yesterday in the cloakroom they said hey, johnny --
>> well, you're going to look like an even bigger idiot 23 you don't get in there and do exactly what you're told.
>> who are they writing about all over this country and what are they saying? are they saying are there any communists in the defense department ? of course not. they're saying how many communists are there in the defense department . so just stop talking like an expert all of the sudden and get out there and say what you're supposed to say.
>> come on, babe.
>> i'm sorry, hon. would it really make it easier for you if we just settled on one number?
>> yeah. just one real simple number. that would be easy for me to remember. there.
>> are exactly 57 card-carrying members of the communist party in the department of defense at this time.
>> heinz 57 , easy to remember, right? or maybe it was 205 in the state department . and chuck hagel that $200,000 you received from the government of north korea .
>> it is at minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from saudi arabia , came directly from north korea .
>> mccarthyism isn't just a generic term for boorish behavior, for boorish right-wing behavior even. mccarthyism is a particular thing. it is making outlandish scandalous allegations against people and despite having no evidence to back up the allegations, but making the allegations really specific, which makes it seem like they must be coming from some factual basis, when in fact you are just making it up. after making the allegation publicly in a big showboaty way, you demand that the person who you have made this allegation clear his name. in ted cruz 's home state of texas a couple of years ago, the texas state board of education made an attempt to rewrite the state's textbooks to be more idealogically thinking with the way they think. one of the things they tried to revise was the legacy of one senator joe mccarthy . a board member named don mcelroy, who was leading the charge to have texas textbooks declare evolution to be hooey, he also cheerfully told the texan monthly in 2010 that joe mccarthy should be portray in order positively in american history . he wrote a memo on the texas textbook project saying, quote, read the latest on mccarthy . he was basically vindicated. there is a whole swath of the american right that has decided that mccarthyism should no longer be seen as a bad thing. and that may be why the whole friends of hamas allegation and the answer what this blogger said about you six years ago argument and the ted cruz how do we know you didn't get $200,000 from north korea allegation might not seem that crazy to the conservatives who are making those arguments, conservative members of congress who are used to speaking to conservative audiences. and in conservative circles, mccarthy doesn't necessarily seem like such a bad guy . they don't get that the rest of this country can see this resemblance, or more to the point, they don't see it as a bad thing. jane mayer at the new yorker today posted some reporting based on her notes from an americans for prost spectator event that took place two years ago in texas . at that event a not yet senator ted cruz told the crowd that president obama was the most radical president to ever occupy the oval office . from the piece, ted cruz then went on to assert that president obama would have made a perfect president of harvard law school . the reason is because there were fewer declared republicans in than communists. there was one republican, but there were 12 who would say they were marxists, who believed in the communists overthrowing the united states government . 12 exactly. you sure it was exactly 12, sir? 12 implyious counted an it wasn't 11 and it wasn't 13, it was 12. spokesman for harvard law school gave this comment. we are puzzled by the senator's assertions as we are unaware of any basis for them charles friday also told jane mayer today, quote, have i not taken a poll, but i would be surprised if there were any members of the faculty who believed in the communists overthrowing the u.s. government . still, though, it sounds good, particularly when you use that really specific number. i mean, those commies can deny it, but clearly, he's got the fact. he's got a list of 12. jane mayer