The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/03/09

Guests:
Rep. Peter DeFazio, Jeremy Scahill
Transcript:

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  Good evening, Keith.  Am I not supposed to tell anybody that you and I have been computer animated for years?

KEITH OLBERMANN, “COUNTDOWN” HOST:  I‘m just glad you think I‘m animated.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDOW:  Stop motion sometimes on this side of 9:00 p.m. at least, but I know what you mean.  Thank you.

And thank you at home for staying with us for the next hour.

The president turned to the unemployment emergency today.  The good political news for him on that subject is that his opposition, for whatever he decides to do, is going to include these guys—who are putting out their own ideas, which is awesome for Obama.

After days of silence and days of our reporting, some American politicians finally have something to say about another country‘s proposed law to kill people for being gay.  A TRMS investigation heats up, and it is coming up.

The creepiness that used to be named Blackwater turns out to be way

creepier than even the most paranoid among us thought.  We will be joined

by Jeremy Scahill to talk about that new news.

      

Plus, a moment of geek involving the Internets and giant red balloons, and the possibility of you winning $40,000.

It‘s all ahead.

But we begin tonight with a really big, really important brainstorming session.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We cannot hang back and hope for the best when we‘ve seen the kinds of job losses that we‘ve seen over the last year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  President Obama invited 130 executives, labor leaders, economists and small business owners all to the White House today to try to tackle the country‘s worst unemployment crisis since the Reagan years.  This is not just one of a series of wonky little policy initiatives on the Obama administration‘s agenda, this is a “front of the line, huge deal, dwarfs all other domestic issues” problem that has the power not only to sink the next elections for the president‘s party but potentially to sink a presidency.  It also, frankly, has the potential to change the character of our country.

Financial watchdog Elizabeth Warren is now warning about the prospect of an America without a middle class.  It is a really big problem.  And it‘s one that‘s going to take a really big solution, a massive jobs initiative.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman this week is sounding the alarm on what he calls a “social and economic emergency.”  Mr. Krugman noting that state and local governments are going broke because they‘re taking in less taxes and they often can‘t legally run deficits.  To keep them from laying off hundreds of thousands of workers, Krugman is recommending direct federal aid to state and local governments and a lot of it.

He‘s also calling for at least a small-scale version, he says, of the New Deal‘s Works Progress Administration, to put people to work directly at public service jobs.  He‘s also calling for federal incentives for businesses that hire new workers, literally paying companies if they hire people.  A version of that, paying companies not to fire people in the first place really helped blunt unemployment in Germany.

Now, none of this would be cheap.  These are not shy little tinkering ideas.  But this is not a shy little tinkering unemployment crisis.  This is huge.

There are six people looking for a job for every job that‘s out there.  Six people looking for a job for every single job.  A third of our fellow Americans who are unemployed right now have been unemployed for more than six months.

This is not an economy that needs a little one-yard gains, little quarterback sneaks.  We need yardage.  We need to make up a lot of ground and fast.  Long bombs, end-arounds, that get us near the goal line.  Seventy-five-yard punt returns for touchdowns.

And as the White House tries to put those kinds of big plays together, they do have one little bit of good political news to bask in.  There is apparently no real defense on this subject coming from the other political team.  If Democrats need to do something big on the economy, they can take comfort in at least so far Republicans offering only totally random alternative ideas.

On the occasion of the president‘s jobs summit today, both the current House Republican leader, John Boehner, and the former leader, Newt Gingrich, held their own shadow jobs summit.

John Boehner‘s featured the architect of the fiscally disastrous Bush tax cuts and a former economic adviser to John McCain.  That adviser is most famous for having written a book 10 years ago called “Dow 36,000.”  Yes, remember when the Dow hit 36,000?  No, you don‘t.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor is also pushing his own economic recovery plan, hint, hint, tax cuts, a spending freeze.

And Mitt Romney, remember him?  Mitt Romney of all people unveiled his 10-point jobs plan in an op-ed in “USA Today.”  Romney bravely calls for extending those fiscally disastrous Bush tax cuts.  He calls for investing in nuclear power plants, and he calls for stopping any pesky limits on CEO pay for bailed-out companies.

Mitt Romney also thinks we need to make sure there‘s not too much red tape in the financial sector—because if there‘s one thing we learned in this financial crisis this past year, it‘s that Wall Street needs to be let loose a little more.  And the CEOs of companies that imploded, they frankly need to get paid a little better.

See you in 2012, Mr. Romney.

Joining us now is Congressman Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon.

Congressman DeFazio, thank you so much for coming on the show tonight.  I really appreciate it.

REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D), OREGON:  Rachel, it would be funny if we weren‘t in so much trouble.

MADDOW:  I know.  Well, let me ask you about the premise as I see it here.  I think that Democrats, that we as a country need to do something big, that there‘s going to actually need to be some pretty big government action to tackle unemployment this big.  Do you think that‘s true?

DEFAZIO:  Absolutely.  I remember the so-called stimulus, which I was one of the few Democrats to vote against last spring, it ditched a bunch of investment in infrastructure and other concrete improvements, school construction and other things, in favor of yet another dose of tax cuts to get three Republican Senate votes.

I‘m hoping the Obama administration has moved beyond that now and realizes that we aren‘t going to hear anything from that side that‘s meaningful, nothing that‘s going to put people back to work.  What good is a tax cut when you‘re unemployed?  And begin to invest in some of the basics.

We have a plan to begin to catch up with our infrastructure deficit in this country.  We just got great numbers from a couple of national groups of both on transit and highway and bridge infrastructure.  And we could productively invest within 120 days, $79 billion creating over 2 million construction jobs, associated jobs in engineering and other fields, and about 400,000 manufacturing jobs producing transit vehicles, parts for that and control systems and all those sorts of things.

That‘s just a start.  But that would put a foundation underneath a long-term productive recovery for this country.

MADDOW:  Well, as you said, you voted against the stimulus bill in part, as I understand it, because that infrastructure spending got dropped.  When you talk about something with 120 days horizon spending $80 billion to save or create 2.4 million jobs, those sound like very, very rich numbers in terms of the effectiveness of government spending and what we need to do in terms of jobs.

What do you think the political prospects are for getting something like that passed?

DEFAZIO:  Well, it seems maybe even Larry Summers is coming around. 

We‘ve discussed them before and his reluctance to invest in infrastructure.  And he was a key architect of a tax cuts in a lot of this bill and the cuts in the infrastructure because he thought it wouldn‘t spend it.

Four percent of the money spent out of that so-called stimulus has

produced 25 percent of the jobs, and that was transportation infrastructure

real jobs, measurable job.  We can tell you where every single one was, how many hours that people work.  Unlike a lot of the other things which haven‘t even begun to produce jobs.

      

MADDOW:  Well, on that subject there, in talking about the Republican counter-proposals thus far—and I think it‘s important, in order to understand what kind of political opposition job creation proposals are going to face.  The one thing that Republicans do all seem to agree on is this talking point that the stimulus has been a huge failure.

A brief summary of that right here to listen to.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER:  They‘ve got a stimulus bill that‘s not working.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Of course, it‘s failed.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MINORITY WHIP:  To do so would acknowledge the failure of the stimulus bill passed in January.

MITT ROMNEY ®, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Their stimulus didn‘t work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Their stimulus didn‘t work.  That‘s the one talking point all of these different Republicans agree on.

Didn‘t the CBO just say that stimulus really has worked?

DEFAZIO:  That which was spent on transportation infrastructure, real investments has produced quite a few jobs.  The jobs we saved in public education and in the states, in critical public services, police, fire—all those things have worked.

But, you know, there‘s a lot that has yet to happen.  Some of the green jobs stuff has gone awry in terms of wind power where most of the manufacturing jobs for the wind turbines have gone to China.  We need stronger Buy America provisions in any subsequent bills that are aimed at an American jobs recovery, not a Chinese jobs recovery.

MADDOW:  A lot of people are going to be looking to you for leadership, I think, and guidance and actually explanatory power on following the infrastructure focus for this next undoubted round of spending.

I do have one last question for you, congressman.  Oregon or Oregon State?

DEFAZIO:  I wanted to wear my “O” hat in here.  I‘m a Duck.

MADDOW:  I hear you.

DEFAZIO:  I‘m headed there right now.

MADDOW:  I know you are.

DEFAZIO:  I mean, not to the game but to a place to watch it.

MADDOW:  I know.  And I realize it was a big sacrifice to spend this time not watching the game.  So thank you very much.  Go Ducks.

DEFAZIO:  Go Ducks.

MADDOW:  Appreciate it—Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon.

OK.  I say Blackwater.  You say guns for hire that operate outside the purview of any country‘s laws?  Right.

How about guns for hire company whose founder turns out was doubling as a CIA operative and personally acting as part of a hitman squad for our secret military in places we‘re not supposed to be.  Yes.  We‘ve got the details coming up.  Or you could just wait for it to become a Steven Soderbergh movie.

And several members of Congress finally reacted today to another country‘s proposed law to kill people for being gay.  These American leaders had not said a word about it until the story of their links to the people behind this bill made it onto TV.  An exclusive and rather shocking TRMS investigation is next.

Stay where you are.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, THEN-U.S. PRESIDENT:  Today on the continent of Africa, nearly 30 million people have the AIDS virus—including 3 million children under the age of 15.  Ladies and gentlemen, seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many.

Tonight, I propose the emergency plan for AIDS relief—a work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  A legitimately moving moment in President Bush‘s State of the Union address back in the year 2003.  When all was said and done after two terms of the Bush administration, American help fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa was one marquee issue of compassionate conservatism that Mr. Bush could brag about in trying to shape his legacy for historians and he did come back and talk about the issue at the end of his presidency to remind people about that.

The issue of AIDS in Africa indeed became one of the hallmark causes for a lot of different conservatives who wanted to keep the compassionate conservatism idea alive, conservatives like Kansas Senator Sam Brownback.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK ®, KANSAS:  It‘s amazing how grateful people are for—if you save—help save their lives.  The approval ratings of the United States in Africa, the highest continent in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  But it‘s not just that these conservative religious politicians have a generic continent-wide engagement on the issue of AIDS in Africa.  The involvement that these politicians have had has largely been focused on one specific country, Uganda.  When President Bush came into office, Uganda was one of the success stories in Africa when it came to fighting AIDS.

Their success was built around a strategy called ABC.  ABC stood for “abstinence,” “be faithful” and “condoms.”  In other words, first abstain from sex, otherwise be monogamous, otherwise use condoms.  And condom billboards, condom promotion was evident all over the nation of Uganda.

This effort to combat HIV and AIDS through that comprehensive strategy worked pretty well.  Infection rates in Uganda dropped from about 15 percent to 5 percent from 1991 to 2001.

But then President Bush‘s big high-profile push to help fight AIDS in Africa ended up coming with a big catch.  American conservatives wanted the focus to be on abstinence, not on condoms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWNBACK:  It‘s abstinence-focused.  If you want to stop the spread, the key best way to do it is abstinence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  When Congress finally passed the big AIDS legislation that President Bush wanted, Republican Congressman Joe Pitts slipped in an amendment that said 33 percent of the funding – 33 percent—could only be used for abstinence programs.  Fully, a third of that money earmarked only for abstinence, even as American research consistently demonstrated that abstinence programs just don‘t work.

As religious conservatives were pushing abstinence on places like Uganda from Washington, internationally-minded, politically-connected America conservative evangelical began focusing on Uganda as well.  Evangelicals like American Pastor Rick Warren and his Saddleback Church; evangelicals like the Family which we‘ve talked about on this program with Jeff Sharlet.

The Family, of course, is the secretive religious organization that runs the C Street dormitory for lawmakers in Washington.  It‘s led by a man named Doug Coe.

Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma credits Doug Coe for launching his own activism in Africa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JAMES INHOFE ®, OKLAHOMA:  Doug has always been kind of the unseen and very quiet.  He talked me into going to Africa.  I had no interest in going to Africa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Religious conservatives saw Uganda specifically as a place that they could have some real influence.  Uganda‘s first lady became an emphatically born again Christian.  Her husband, the president, is believed to have serious ties to the Family.  Same goes for the ethics minister of Uganda, as well as a number of legislators there.

One of Uganda‘s most prominent pastors began speaking at Rick Warren‘s mega-church in California.  He became so close with Rick Warren that Rick Warren‘s wife reportedly called him her brother.

And while Americans were courting that Ugandan pastor here touting their own compassionate conservatism on the issue of AIDS in Africa, back in Uganda, that pastor was taking up the anti-condom cause, holding public bonfires of condoms, conducting some of the most extreme anti-gay preaching and activism anywhere in the world.

Evangelicals and conservative politicians in this country saw Uganda as a place that they could leave their mark.  Senator Sam Brownback traveled there to look into the AIDS issue in 2005.  Senator James Inhofe made at least 20 trips to Africa just since 1999, mostly to Uganda as well as Ethiopia.

In March of this year, a group of three American evangelicals traveled to Uganda for a conference on the evils of homosexuality.  Their message was that homosexuality is a choice, that it can be cured by a relationship with Jesus, that, in short, you can pray the gay away.

There‘s been a dual effort under way here: anti-gay proselytizing by American evangelicals and assurances from conservative American politicians that we can solve that nation‘s AIDS problem.

The culmination of these efforts—this massive focus on Uganda—is a piece of legislation that‘s been introduced in that country now that attempts, it says, to tackle the AIDS problem in that country and the problem of homosexuality all at once.  It‘s a bill that calls for the execution of any gay Ugandan who is HIV positive, who is caught having gay sex—death by hanging specifically.  And it‘s not just gay Ugandans who are HIV positive who are being targeted, the sentence just for being gay is life imprisonment.

The sentence for knowing somebody who is gay and not reporting them to authorities, presumably so they can be prosecuted, is three years in prison.  This bill was written by a Ugandan legislator purportedly taken in by Republican Senator James Inhofe and the Family here in America.

Having lit this fuse and created this environment in Uganda where a bill like this can exist, some American evangelicals and conservative politicians are now sort of washing their hands of the whole situation.

Pastor Rick Warren is saying, quote, “It‘s not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”

The evangelical leaders who went there in March are now saying their intent was not at all to inspire this type of legislation.

But what about all of the conservative politicians in this country who have shown themselves to have such influence in Uganda and who have decided to concern themselves so publicly with this one specific country in Africa?

Now that there‘s a bill in that country that calls for the execution of people who are gay in that country for the simple fact of being gay, those politicians maybe should say what they think about it.

Family-linked Senator Tom Coburn‘s office is telling us today that the senator does not support the legislation.  When we asked his office whether he would communicate that to officials in Uganda where it might matter, the senator had no comment.

Family-linked Congressman Bart Stupak‘s office telling us, quote, “Any claim that I support the legislation before the Ugandan parliament is as clueless as it is false.”  Mr. Stupak‘s office adding that he believes the State Department is looking into it.

Indeed, the State Department telling us exclusively today that they are looking into the matter saying, quote, “If adopted, a bill further criminalizing homosexuality would constitute a significant step backwards for the protection of human rights in Uganda.”  The State Department tells us that they are in the process of raising this issue with Ugandan authorities.

Now, the office of Congressman Joe Pitts, who slipped in that pro-abstinence language telling us today—who slipped in that pro-abstinence language in the Bush AIDS bill, he told us today, quote, “What the Ugandan legislation proposes to do is unambiguously wrong and I hope they will not proceed with it.”

These statements, of course, encouraging.  Some other senators remain silent on the issue as yet.  Senator John Ensign‘s office, for example, told us today they could not get an answer from him on this issue because he‘s been so focused on health care.

We made repeated calls to the offices of Senator James Inhofe and Senator Sam Brownback.  We have yet to hear back from either of them on this issue—despite the fact they‘ve been so proudly outspoken on issues affecting Uganda and, specifically, sexuality in Uganda in the past.

Conservative politicians and evangelicals in this country have made a really big push into Africa in recent years and they‘ve even been very delighted to get some political acclaim as compassionate conservatives for having done so.

When a human rights disaster like this is born in that country that they‘ve taken so much pride in showing off their influence in, in a country they have been intimately involved in, it could be argued that it is incumbent upon those politicians to at least say what they think about that legislation, if not take action in that country in which they have such influence.  We‘ll keep you posted on what we hear from them, their future actions or lack thereof.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  By the time President Obama‘s new plan for Afghanistan is implemented, there will be 100,000 U.S. troops there—which means that President Obama will have roughly triple the number of U.S. troops that were in Afghanistan when he took office.  That‘s the most talked about, but the second most sobering set of numbers of the whole new Afghanistan policy.

The most sobering and perhaps overlooked is that as we look to get up to 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, turns out we‘ve already got more than 100,000 contractors there.  Yes.  U.S. Central Command is telling “Talking Points Memo” that the number of contractors in Afghanistan is 104,000 now.  And that number has grown by 30,000 just in the past six months.  And the number of contractors is only expected to grow further along with the new troop increase.

The last time we paid a lot of attention to contractors in

Afghanistan, some of them were doing vodka shots in places—yes.  Embarrassing the country and themselves and making us wonder all over again why it is that we pay people like this to go to our embassy instead of our own troops.

Here‘s a new reason to wonder.  Some pretty stunning revelations about the most notorious defense contractor of them all, Blackwater and its founder Erik Prince.

A new article in “Vanity Fair” by Adam Ciralsky, which we‘ve linked at our Web site—says this about conservative billionaire Erik Prince, quote, “For the past six years, he appears to have led an astonishing double life.  Publicly, he has served as Blackwater CEO and chairman.  Privately and secretly, he‘s been doing the CIA‘s bidding, helping to craft, fund, and execute operations ranging from inserting personnel into “denied areas”—places U.S. intelligence has trouble penetrating—to assembling hit teams targeting al Qaeda members and their allies.  Erik Prince, according to sources with knowledge of his activities, has been working as a CIA asset: in a word, as a spy.”

It‘s not just that Blackwater has been working for the CIA, the allegation is that Erik Prince personally has been working for the CIA.

The CIA assassination squads we heard so much about this summer when it was revealed that the CIA had kept them secret from Congress, apparently, they trained at Erik Prince‘s house.

Joining us now Jeremy Scahill, reporter for “The Nation,” whose cover story in this week‘s “Nation” magazine is on Blackwater.  It‘s called “The Secret U.S. War in Pakistan: U.S. Special Forces Enlist Blackwater‘s Help on Covert Operations.”

Jeremy, thanks very much for coming on the show.

JEREMY SCAHILL, THE NATION:  Thank you.

MADDOW:  What is important about Erik Prince personally being a spy and admitting to it now beyond what we already know about what his company does?

SCAHILL:  Well, I have to say on the outset, I see this sort of as Erik Prince taking out an insurance policy for himself and talking to a guy who served Adam Ciralsky as a CIA lawyer.  He‘s a trusted guy.

Erik Prince is in the crosshairs now of the Congress, of federal investigators and others.  And by sort of preempting of what he thinks is going to be a sort of barrage of attacks against him by essentially outing CIA operations himself and then crying that he‘s like Valerie Plame, it‘s a way to insulate himself from future attacks.

What‘s significant about this is that Erik Prince actually tried to join the CIA and my sources tell me he failed the polygraph test—not that he didn‘t have enough experience, which is what he says in this piece, but that he actually couldn‘t pass the polygraph.  And so, there was an alternative arrangement made with Prince where he not only—as you say—was sort of running a sort of private war, sometimes with the CIA, sometimes with the Special Forces, sometimes freelance, but he himself also was an asset of the CIA.

Him coming forward now, I think, is significant.  But I also think we have to realize he is a smart political guy, too.  He knows what he‘s doing.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR:  In the “Vanity Fair” piece, Erik Prince says that it is one of Blackwater‘s bases in Afghanistan that is the closest forward operating base to Pakistan.  In “the nation,” you are reporting that despite the company‘s denials, Blackwater totally is operating in Pakistan itself right now.  What are you able to report that they‘re doing there?

SCAHILL:  For years Blackwater has been operating under the cover of a training program.  We heard a lot about training from the president since his plan was addressed.  Blackwater‘s training the Pakistani frontier corps which is a federal paramilitary force hunting down high value targets in the frontier province.  Former Blackwater‘s Executive told me that the line is crossed, that Blackwater guys are going out on these raids.  Parallel to that Blackwater is at the center of a u.s. Special Forces, not cia but u.s.  Special Forces drone bombing campaign inside of Afghanistan.  They are also helping to plan targeted assassinations, snatch and grab operations not just in Pakistan, Rachel but also against the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan inside of Uzbekistan as well. 

MADDOW:  OK. So, this is a huge deal because in terms of learning about what we‘re doing with the drones, what we‘ve been able to say up until this point is yes, the military uses drones.  The military uses drones in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.  They use them for surveillance; they use them sometimes for bombing.  If there are drone attacks in Pakistan, those are not u.s. military, that‘s the cia, that‘s why we never comment on them.  You‘re saying that‘s not true.  Its contractors, but they are also working with the u.s. military, secret elements of the u.s. military. 

SCAHILL:  I have multiple sources in this including a very well placed military intelligence source.  And part of the reason why the military intelligence source is speaking to me is because he is offended at the idea that you have these operations happening outside of the military chain of command and with no oversight from the Congress and says that some of the highest civilian casualty attacks from the drones are not in fact cia attacks but are military attacks because as he put it they simply don‘t care.  There‘s no oversight.  If there‘s one bad guy in a building and 34 civilians, 35 people are going to die. 

MADDOW:  I want to tell you, read you something from the “New York Times” website.  This was just posted, new article by Scott Shane entitled cia expanding drone assaults inside Pakistan.  Shane says the white house has authorized an expansion of the cia‘s drone program in Pakistan‘s lawless tribal area to parallel the president‘s decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.  American officials talking with Pakistan about the possibility of striking in one province they‘ve never apparently done drone strikes in before, Baluchistan, controversial move because it‘s outside the tribal areas.  They say that‘s where they believe Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to hide.  What do you think are the significance of this?

(CROSSTALK)

SCAHILL:  I think we need to view this sober reality.  The war is in Pakistan right now.  There‘s no question about it.  The question, though, is how much it is going to expand.  Are we going to see an expansion of actual covert operation teams alongside the drones?  This is I think a very disturbing aspects of what we‘re seeing unfold right now, because these are actions that are going to destabilize Pakistan and going to create new enemies for the United States because of the high civilian casualties that they‘ll bring on. 

MADDOW:  It may be something that the United States—that maybe a risk to the United States as well is to incur. 

SCAHILL:  Clearly. 

MADDOW:  In order to, it is.  In order to reap whatever military, anti-terrorist benefit we think we can.  It‘s complicated by the fact that because these are covert operations we‘re not willing to explain what it is that we‘re doing and creates a complete chasm of credibility between us and Pakistan. 

SCAHILL:  Well, it also raises the prospect of not the clandestine operations of the cia.  The Pakistanis have long known the cia was doing it.  But here is the military operation inside of a country that we don‘t have a declaration of war against. 

MADDOW:  Jeremy Scahill of the nation‘s cover story right now is on Blackwater, it‘s called the secret u.s. war in Pakistan.  U.s. Special Forces enlist Blackwater‘s help on cover operations.  It‘s great to have you on the show.  Thanks for sharing your insight with us.

SCAHILL:  Thank you Rachel. 

MADDOW:  President and Laura Bush are now out on the speaking circuit making some major scenario these days.  Did you hear that Laura Bush just gave a really big paid—too.  I bet you didn‘t.  It‘s coming up.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Still ahead, tmi.  The country‘s numero uno most famous climate change denier  is also fascinating for lots of other reasons, including what he says is a 100 percent homosexual free multi-generational family history. 

And we have a truly geek-tacular moment of geek coming up.  One that could earn the geekiest among a $40,000 cash prize. 

A first of few holy mackerel stories in today‘s news.  Last night I had a rather robust discussion about the military escalation in Afghanistan with Susan Rice, our u.s. ambassador to the United Nations, with whom it turns out I very much enjoy civil disagreement.  There is one point made by Ambassador Rice that the news Gods insists we follow up on today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

SUSAN RICE, UNITED NATION‘S AMBASSADOR:  In Pakistan, where we also are working to reduce and eliminate the safe haven, you have now a government that is actively going after the extremists and actively trying to counter.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

MADDOW:  A government that is actively going after the extremists and trying to counter them.  The crucial point about why it supposedly makes sense to escalate now.  Oops, I didn‘t need that anyway.  Why your nines escalation will be effective even if year eights escalation really wasn‘t.  Well, now in year nine the administration argues Pakistan is fighting extremists, right?  Right, so it makes all the difference, this is why it going to work this time, right?  Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, right?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

Yousuf Raza Gillani, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER:  I doubt the information which you are giving is correct because I don‘t think that Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

MADDOW:  I don‘t think Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan.  Osama bin who? Where, here?  If one of the arguments for sending 30,000 more American troops to  Afghanistan is that Pakistan is supposedly fired up on all cylinders about fighting  terrorists, somebody should maybe check with them to see if Pakistan even actually recognizes that Osama freaking bin Laden exists in their country. 

Next, Propranolol, Propranolol is a blood pressure medication.  It‘s also the kind of thing that can kill you if you take an overdose of it.  On November 10th, a young doctor who worked at a prison outside Tehran received the delivery order of a salad.  The young doctor ate the salad and then dropped dead.  Forensic tests now revealing that the salad was laced with a lethal dose of Propranolol. 

That same doctor earlier this year had testified to a committee in Iran‘s parliament that protesters against the government—protesters against the government, after Iran‘s disastrous presidential election, had been tortured at the prison that he worked at.  He testified that one young protester he had treated had died from torture he‘d suffered in prison.  He said that he had been ordered to list the cause of that protester‘s death as meningitis. 

Ultimately, the scandal of the tortured protesters in Iran led the country‘s supreme leader to shut down that specific prison where the whistleblower doctor worked.  But by November 10th, Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani, 26-years-old was dead after eating that medication-laced-salad.  Authorities first said that he was killed in a car accident, then they said he‘d had a heart attack at age 26.

Then last week, the top police officer in Iran said the doctor had killed himself in a courthouse and left a suicide note.  Now, the tests reveal it was death by poisoned salad, Iran‘s prosecutors say they‘re still looking into whether the death was a murder or a suicide because maybe he chose to kill himself with this salad?  His name is Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani.  We will keep you posted on this case. 

Finally, about a month ago we brought you a glimpse of George W.

Bush‘s post presidential career as a motivational speaker. 

In fact our own Kent Jones went down Fort Worth, Texas to hear the 43rd President U.S. speak at a get motivated seminar with the Former President shared the stage with football great Terry Bradshaw among other highly paid motivators. 

Turns out that was not a one-off.  Our nation‘s 43rd president is still in the business of motivating people for an undisclosed about rumored to be quite large six-figure fee.  Yesterday, he was the Keynote speaker yet another get motivated seminar, this one in San Antonio, Texas, part of a line up that included San Antonio Spurs Point Guard Tony Parker.  And this guy, name of James Smith.  Where is James Smith?  That‘s still Tony Parker.  Come on.  No James Smith? 

All right.  There he is.  James Smith gives real estate investment advice, a little bit  for free at an event like get motivated and then for much, much, much more at his follow-up seminars.  They cost thousands of dollars.  Sign up now, get rich quick. 

The San Antonio express news reports that President Bush‘s remarks included his now standard line about the humbling effect of having to pick up dog poo when he walks his dog now.  Apparently, at the white house, you know, there‘s a kind of guy who takes care of that.  But George W. is not the only member of the Bush family who is making money these days.  Now looks like Former First Lady Laura Bush is out on the random trade association chicken dinner circuit as well.  The former first lady spoke this week at a dinner for the foundation of the national association of train—of chain drugstores.  The national association of chain drugstores.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I will swear to uphold the honor and dignity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

After the oval office, though, retirement is for cashing in baby, yes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Full of the first casualties of the escalation of the war in Afghanistan is apparently the amount of time our fighting troops will get between deployments.  It‘s called dwell time.  And once upon a time the Obama administration‘s goal was to give our fighting men and women more of it.  Currently, soldiers get about a year at home for every year of deployment.  Marines get slightly more.  Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Bob Gates testified that he hoped to lengthen that dwell time for soldiers to two years at home for every year out.  That was before the president decided we needed to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.  So now that hope for two years dwell time is apparently out the window.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

SEN. MARK UDALL (C-DO), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE:  What effect do you see this additional deployment having on dwell time and the length of deployment cycles and reset?

ADM. MIKE MULLEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS:  We want to get to a point where there home twice as long.  With this deployment decision, we expect that it will probably take a couple more years to get to a point where he‘s out two-to-one.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

MADDOW:  That was yesterday.  Then, today testifying before the house armed services committee, Admiral Mullen seemed to slightly back off that more pessimistic prediction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

We‘ll still be able to have on the Marine Corps side dwell time move out towards two-to-one fairly significantly, a little more slowly on the army side.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

MADDOW:  A little more slowly on the army side.  John Solts (ph) of the Progressive Veterans group votevets.org says, the dwell time change it‘s bad in itself and he says it raises the prospect of a whole lot of other potentially troubling consequences of the president‘s troop escalation for the military. 

Quote—“What about ending stop loss, or not using the individual ready reserve, or mobilizations that are no longer than 12 months for the National Guard and Reserve?  All of those could be in Jeopardy.  This concerns are why votevets.org can‘t endorse this strategy.  The math doesn‘t add, and Admiral Mullen‘s testimony raiser more concerns and questions that answers.”        

I‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Because there has been so much political change in the past year, the political headlines, they are often populated by people you might not have heard of before recently.  So as a public service, we have tasked our own intrepid Kent Jones with figuring out the salient details of who some of these folks are.  It is tmi.  And tonight we feature someone who came up earlier regarding his involvement with American evangelicals in Uganda.  Kent, Kent, tell us who it is.  Tell us who it is. 

KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, it is of course, Conservative Republican Senator James Inhofe.  And the more I‘ve learned about him, I don‘t know where he gets time for Uganda.  Check it out. 

MADDOW:  All right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KENT INHOFE, OKLAHOMA:  It is not the tarp Program anymore.  It‘s the SOAP program, spend it money on anything program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(START VIDEOTAPE) 

JONES (voice-over):  No tax and spend liberal big government acronym will get in the way of Senator James M. Inhofe.  The M. stands for mountain.  No, really, his name is James Mountain Inhofe.  And what a mighty unyielding alp he is.  All the others are just foothills.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INHOFE:  I get criticized for being critical like this nobody else would do it, somebody has to tell the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

JONES:  The 75-year-old Oklahoma republican told as a life insurance executive, a state senator and mayor of Tulsa before being elected to the u.s. Senate in the Newt Gingrich revolution of 1994.  Washington, meet senator god, guns and gays.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

INHOFE:  In the recorded history of our family, we‘ve never had a divorce or any kind of a homosexual relationship.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

JONES:  Is this kind of inclusive nonjudgmental world view that got Inhofe re-elected three times.  The voters of Oklahoma giving him a clear mandate against change.  During the Bush years, Inhofe was free to roam with the full backing of the white house.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

INHOFE:  The president did a good job.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

JONES:  But now that Obama and the democrat are in charge, the mountain has become a volcano of indignation like, how could those sneaky democrats possibly vote on health reform on a Saturday night?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INHOFE:  What are our people doing on Saturday night?  They‘re not watching tv, they‘re not listening to radio, they‘ve got ball games, they‘ve got other things that American people do on American way on a Saturday night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES:  How could this so-called president possibly close the prison at Guantanamo?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP0  

INHOFE:  There‘s never been a document in case of torture in Guantanamo.  This is all a fabrication of the terrorists and those individuals in the Middle East who tried to make it look like we‘re torturing people.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

JONES:  During his ten years in office, Inhofe also voted no on expanding kid‘s health insurance, no on implementing the 9/11 commission recommendations, no on requiring background checks on sales at gun shows and said that the birthers, quote, “Had a Point.”  But since he became chair of the environment and public works committee, the senator has become most famous for this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

Since 2003, I have been the lead senator standing up and exposing the science, the cause, the hysteria beyond global warming alarmism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)   

JONES:  For Climate Change Activists, James Mountain Inhofe is an inconvenient truth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

INHOFE:  You‘re going to see a lot of desperate things that they‘re going to try to do.  But that one, as we said in Oklahoma, that dog‘s not going to hunt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)   

JONES:  Desperate alarmists.  Not like when cool, collected Senator Inhofe compared the environmental protection agency to the Gestapo or when he likened Clinton‘s epa administrator Carol Browner to Tokyo Rose.  Or when Inhofe says, global warming is a myth perpetuated by the weather channel to boost ratings. 

Inhofe also famously declared that global warming is, quote, “The second largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

It‘s not whether or not we‘re going through a global warming period.  We were.  We‘re not now.  You know, God is still up there.  We‘re now going through a cooling spell and the whole like issue there was, is it man-made gases?  Anthropogenic gases, Co2, methane?  I don‘t think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

JONES:  As for the upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen?  Oh, he‘ll be there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

INHOFE:  Now, I‘ll be traveling to Copenhagen.  Leading what has been called in the medium as the true squad despite the millions of dollars spent by Al Gore, the Hollywood elites, the United Nations, the climate alarmists has failed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES:  Ah, yes, Al Gore, his great climate change nemesis, the yang to Inhofe‘s yin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

INHOFE:  Well, it seems that – 

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN:  Senator Inhofe, we‘ll freeze the time for a minute. 

INHOFE:  Take your time. 

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN:  Senator Inhofe, we will be freezing the time for a minute. 

INHOFE:  Why don‘t we do this?  At the end, you can have as much time as you want to answer all the questions. 

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN:  No, that isn‘t the rule.  You‘re not making the rules.  You used to when you did this.  You don‘t do this anymore.  Elections have consequence…

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

JONES:  Yes, elections do have consequences.  Senator Inhofe just won

re-election last year.  So we‘ll be in this shadow of this mountain until

at least January 3rd, 2015.

(END VIDEOTAPE) 

MADDOW:  Two questions for you Kent.

JONES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Number one, middle name actually mountain? 

JONES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Not a tmi invention?

JONES:  For real.  Mountain.  James Mountain Inhofe.

MADDOW:  Did he also really suggest that the weather channel was trying to boost its ratings?

JONES:  Well he said they would like that, yes.  It would be great. 

They would love it if we were afraid all the time. 

MADDOW:  My girlfriend Susan is here tonight.

JONES:  Yes.

MADDOW:  And Susan is obsessed with the weather channel.  And honey, I don‘t want you believe it.  I don‘t want him to hurt your feelings.  He didn‘t mean it.  Take that you, Senator Inhofe.  Thank you very much Kent.  I‘ll appreciate it.

JONES:  Sure.

MADDOW:  Coming up on “Countdown” Keith Olbermann asks why Sarah Palin is charging people to take photos with her.  But first, – equipment of Willy Wonka‘s golden tickets using giant balloons instead of chocolate bars.  We have an extremely geeky very cool moment of geek coming up next.  Stay right where you are.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Tonight‘s “Moment of Geek” involves ten red balloons, $40,000 and at least radically the National Security of the United States of America.  It is a project of Darpa, the research charm of the pentagon that was founded in1958 after the soviets surprised us by launching their Sputnik Satellite.  Determine to keep America ahead of the technological curve, one of the things that Darpa does now is sponsor public competitions for money in the hope that competition for that money will drive innovation. 

And their last big public challenge from money, the innovation was in fact about making cars go without drivers and without remote control.  Robot car spooky.  Their next one, balloons.  On Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, ten big eight-foot wide red weather balloons are going to appear at ten locations around the continental u.s.  They will be pulled down at 4:00 in the afternoon.  The first person who finds all ten of these balloons and submits to darpa the latitude and longitude of each one wins $40,000.

It‘s a project to see how people use the internet and social networking to solve this puzzle and yes they are already anticipating that competing teams will use disininformation, and maybe even put up their own fake balloons to psych out other teams.  So, darpa staff members will be stationed with each legitimate balloon with their darpa credentials in hand, available for inspection.  As if the whole thing could not get any geekier.  Darpa announced the project on October 29th, because it was the anniversary of the day that the first message was sent over the Arpanet. 

And the balloon challenged itself will take place on Saturday, December 5th, December 5th being the 40th anniversary of the day when the first four nodes of the Arpanet were connected.  The node connecting anniversary, of course.  The Arpanet, the advanced research project agency networks is which eventually became the internet, responded by DARPA there in a cold work (ph). 

Inspired by darpa‘s challenge, we her at the Rachel Maddow Show are launching our own little balloon quest, though because of budget catch, we could only muster three balloons. 

Here‘s the challenge, we have embedded a red balloon like that one in three different online video segments from past RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, go to Rachel.msnbc.com to find these balloons.  You can help each other or hurt each other‘s chances, via twitter.  Use the hash tag maddowquest.  Be the first person to e-mail us at Rachel.msnbc.com with the correct locations of the three balloons and I will announce the winner on the show a week from today.  No cash, sorry.  Ge just sold us to Comcast, we‘re trying not to freak out the new boss.  So, no cash but plenty of glory and then the clips are Rachel.msnbc.com and we humbly suggest twitter hash tag maddowquest.  Go crazy, may the best geek win.  Have a great night.  “COUNTDOWN with Keith Olbermann starts now.”  

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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