The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/18/13
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining us this
hour. Have you seen this man? The guy in the middle holding the turtle,
Rick Scott, Republican governor of Florida.
Rick Scott reportedly has not shown up at the Florida state capitol
building for nine days. He reportedly has not been to his own office, the
governor`s office in Tallahassee for at least three days.
Rick Scott does not seem to be missing because of some kind of foul
play or hike in the Appalachian Trail or anything like that. Rather Rick
Scott has seemed to be in hiding from this.
A whole bunch of mostly young citizens in his state camped out at his
office protesting. Saying they want to meet with the governor and they
want him to call the Florida legislature back into session into a special
legislative session to consider what they are calling the “Trayvon Martin
Civil Rights Act.” With that act they want lawmakers and Governor Scott to
repeal Florida`s “Stand Your Ground” law. The law that says who gets to
shoot whom in Florida and under what circumstances.
These protesters marched into Rick Scott`s office on Tuesday of this
week. They announced they would not leave until they got a meeting with
the governor, himself. That first night, Tuesday night, about 30 people
spent the night in the governor`s office.
The second night, last night, it went up to about 50 people spending
the night in the governor`s office.
Tonight, Thursday night we are told it is closer to 70 people.
Rolling out sleeping bags and planning to stay all night.
The capitol police in Tallahassee have so far said that these
protesters are free to stay, as long as they do not interrupt official
business. So they are staying. And their occupation is getting larger in
Rick Scott`s office. Rick Scott, meanwhile, has been traveling around the
country and traveling around the state, traveling anywhere but his office -
- with all those people who are there who want to talk to him about the
thing he desperately would like to stop talking about.
Today, Rick Scott turned up in Tampa, Florida, and he told people who
were traveling with him, told the reporters who were following him, that he
would take some questions.
Naturally, when he went to take questions, the first one was about
“Stand Your Ground”. Governor Scott said the same thing he has been saying
about “Stand Your Ground” all these many months. He said that everybody
should mourn Trayvon Martin`s death. He said also that a task force that
he commissioned to look into the “Stand Your Ground” law has already made
its ruling. It`s already said that the state should keep it and he agrees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I put together a task force of 19
individuals, bipartisan. They traveled the state. They listened to
ordinary citizens. They listened to experts. And they concluded that we
didn`t need to make a change to the law and I agree with their conclusion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
REPORTER: So, you`re comfortable with –
REPORTER: Governor, will you call a special session, Governor, on
civil rights? Will you call a special session, Governor, on civil rights?
Governor, why are you in such a hurry to leave?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: What`s the rush, Governor? Just one question? Really?
As Governor Rick Scott`s grand tour of anywhere that is not his office
continues, Democrats have begun to call for Governor Rick Scott to please
come home. A pair of state lawmakers today challenged the governor to come
home to his office, to talk to the protesters there, saying Governor Crist
would have done that, Governor Bush would have done that, why can`t
Governor Scott do that?
Those lawmakers also said today that they are supporting the
protesters` call for a special legislative session to reconsider “Stand
Your Ground” law. Quoting a governor today, Florida likes to tout being
first. While we were at the front end of the line to implement this `Stand
Your Ground` law, we should be the first to repeal it.”
We were on the front to implement it, we should first to repeal it.
You know, it is true Florida was the first state in the country to
pass the modern iteration of the “Stand Your Ground” law. “Stand Your
Ground”, of course, says, basically, if somebody makes you feel afraid, you
can shoot them. You don`t have to bother to remove yourself from the
situation or anything. If you feel afraid, go ahead and use force. You`re
And Florida passed that law in April 2005. It had been the NRA`s top
priority that year. Then, Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed the bill with
an NRA lobbyist standing at his side.
You can see that actually here – the lobbyist standing there in the
blue jacket. Her name is Marion Hammer. She is the NRA`s top lobbyist in
Florida, and “Stand Your Ground” was her law.
It was the NRA`s law. And the NRA was very, very proud of it once Jeb
Bush signed it into law. They bragged about how this law they`ve gotten
passed in Florida. There`s going to be a national model.
From press accounts at the time, quote, “Wayne LaPierre of the NRA
says his group will introduce the bill in every state. We will start with
the red states and move to the blue states.”
The NRA wanted to roll this law out everywhere and they prioritized
it. So Florida went first. But then in short order, 21 other states had
passed some version of the “Stand Your Ground” law. They started with
Florida in 2005 and look how far they got.
The NRA had incredible momentum on this, but as they moved along,
along, winning in the states, those states were starting to feel the effect
of those laws. Of what living under laws like that means for the states.
In Florida, where they tried it first so they had the longest
experience with it, “The Tampa Bay Times” started studying “Stand Your
Ground” cases. They found what they called “shocking outcomes.” One man
killed two people who are not armed. He got acquitted.
Under “Stand Your Ground” in Florida, you could be acquitted if you
shot somebody who is lying on the ground. You could be acquitted for
shooting somebody in the back of the head.
The Tampa Bay newspaper said it was impossible to know how many “Stand
Your Ground” cases Florida had, but it appears to be several hundred and of
the ones they could track, nearly 70 percent of the accusers in these cases
went free. So, that was the lived experience of “Stand Your Ground” in
Florida after the NRA got the first new “Stand Your Ground” laws on the
Nationwide, it looked like this. This is the number of legally
determined justifiable homicides in the country, at the start of the NRA`s
campaign. And here`s what happened after the other states piled on. More
people can shoot more people in this count with impunity, from 2005 on, on,
on, on up.
Never mind, you know? It was full steam ahead for the NRA and “Stand
Your Ground”. This is what they wanted. Full steam ahead. Keep passing
Until February 26th, 2012, when they lost their momentum – because a
neighborhood watch volunteer shot and killed Trayvon Martin who had been
walking home in the rain wearing a hoodie and carrying iced tea and a bag
of Skittles. There would be no arrest in the case for six weeks even
though there was no doubt as to who had pulled the trigger. The shooter
said he had acted in self-defense.
And, of course, self-defense in Florida now is “Stand Your Ground”. A
lot of the country was outraged about this case, outraged about the
handling of this case in Florida, outraged that the shooter was not being
arrested. He`s not being arrested, how can it be that he`s not being
We all learned quickly because Florida had this law. This “Stand Your
Ground” law. The lady in the blue jacket. Right. Ah. Oh.
And it turns out it`s not just Florida. Florida was first, but now
basically everybody has this law. Why does everybody all of a sudden have
this law? This seems new.
Where did this law come from in all these states that not many people
had noticed before this marquee case in Florida suddenly shocked everybody
with its implications in this case?
The law came from something called ALEC, this force for force “Stand
Your Ground”, defend your castle laws may have been an NRA priority. But
the way the NRA pushed them was through the American Legislative Exchange
Council – ALEC, for short.
You can see here the legislative scorecard from ALEC for model
legislation. The Castle Doctrine, which is “Stand Your Ground”, right
there on the ALEC list.
This chilling marquee case in Florida attracts enough outrage that the
big, mainstream corporate interests that belong to ALEC started to get
embarrassed to be associated with the law, right? Because the uproar was
not just about Florida, once people realized what this law was and how it
It was not just about the NRA or the “Stand Your Ground” law. It`s
about the way the law had been written as model legislation by this group
that the NRA and all of these corporations were part of. And the
corporations, these other constituent members of ALEC beyond the NRA, they
started to get embarrassed about being associated with this.
Why on earth does Kraft Foods want to shoot first and ask questions
later bill on its legislative agenda? So, Kraft Foods, yes, drops their
membership from ALEC which had been pushing these “Stand Your Ground” laws.
PepsiCo drops their membership from ALEC. Coca-Cola drops their
membership from ALEC. Mainstream household name companies start dropping
out of ALEC one after another after another and then, finally, ALEC
announced, OK, we`re getting out of the “Stand Your Ground” business. We
are eliminating our public safety and election task force.
I mean, why would Pepsi be working on gun laws? Right? Didn`t make
any sense. So, ALEC when they got the pressure started to see the pressure
manifest as its corporate sponsors dropping out and ALEC thereby dropped
But the laws do not go away. In fact, the NRA stays as much a part of
ALEC as ever. They kept on. The NRA doing a trap shooting event with ALEC
at ALEC`s recent convention, sponsored by the machine gun maker Browning
Arms Company. The NRA remained very much a part of ALEC.
And now, with the protesters camped out at Rick Scott`s office and
with Florida the birthplace of the “Stand Your Ground” law, and with Rick
Scott refusing thus far to go back to his office because apparently he does
no want to talk about this stuff, the power of the NRA is once again back
at the center of American politics. The way it has been since December,
since the mass shooting at that elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
What happened in Florida is a different tragedy from what happened in
Newtown, but it turns out that while the impetus might be different, the
fight is the same. And the adversary is the same. And all of the anti-NRA
outrage, and anti-NRA work that we have seen as a nation since the Newtown
tragedy, it matters all over again, right?
I mean, the Newtown families are continuing to lobby members of
Congress – continuing to lobby in the states, pushing on after even losing
that big Senate vote. Just this week, Newtown families, there`s Francine
Wheeler, taking her case to states like Pennsylvania who are considering
changing in their gun laws, now joined by a new group, dressing up at one
point in cow costumes saying it`s time to stop being cowed by the NRA.
And Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, the astronaut, Mark
Kelly, visiting seven states in seven states, making the case for gun
reform. The Congressional Black Caucus saying they`re ready to legislate
against “Stand Your Ground”, encouraging President Obama to not give up on
the issue despite the uphill fight.
All of this work to organize against the NRA since Newtown. On the
other side, the NRA is standing there in the wake of the Trayvon Martin
outrage saying, yes, yes, we`re going to defend “Stand Your Ground” this is
If “Stand Your Ground” is going to fall, it`s going to be because the
forces arrayed against the NRA are stronger than they have ever been. And
they are stronger than they have ever been for a lot of reason. Are they
strong enough now to make a difference?
Moments ago, on this network, a member of the group that is camped
outside the Florida governor`s office said he just now got a phone call
from the governor. He says the governor told him that he will finally meet
with the protesters tonight. Maybe the governor just wants his office back
or maybe there is room here for something to change.
Joining us now is Marc Caputo. He`s a political columnist for the
Mr. Caputo, thanks very much for being with us. It`s nice to have you
MARC CAPUTO, MIAMI HERALD: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: So, you have written about the role of “Stand Your Ground” in
the overall Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. You`ve also written that
regardless of the outrage and all the pressure, nobody should expect this
law to change.
Are you at all surprised to hear the governor at least wants to talk
to the protesters in his office about it tonight?
CAPUTO: Well, no. I mean, I think they made it quite clear they`re
going to stay there for quite some time. So if they stay in his office and
they increase in numbers, eventually, he`s going to have to address them.
In 2006, a similar group, the kind of the forerunners of this group
held a sit-in when George Bush was a governor, involving the death of a
young man named Martin Lee Anderson. And what happened there is they
stayed and stayed and Jeb Bush finally met with some of the folks and they
went away. And I think Rick Scott has kind of gotten the message.
MADDOW: In thinking about the power of the NRA, when this initially
passed, it was not at all a subtle thing, right? Jeb Bush, it was NRA
language, Jeb Bush signed the law with NRA lobbyists standing next to him,
the NRA proudly touted this as something that they not only got done in
Florida but they were going to get done all the way across the country. It
was clear that this was something – the authorship was very clear.
Has the political power of the NRA changed at all relative to its
opponents since Newtown, since the sort of re-politicization of guns in
this country after that tragedy in Connecticut?
CAPUTO: Well, we haven`t seen any evidence of that changing in
Florida. Understand, Florida has very urban areas, Miami, Tampa,
Jacksonville – but it`s still a southern state in many of its sympathies,
and part of that is gun culture.
Florida was nicknamed the “gunshine state” for a reason. I mean, we
like guns here. There`s 1.15 million concealed weapon permit holders. So,
that`s a pretty big constituency.
That doesn`t mean common sense gun reform is resisted by all gun
owners or potential gun owners, but right now the economic interests are
favoring the gun – how would I say, the proponents of more gun rights.
The folks who oppose gun rights or want to scale back gun rights or want to
have more gun control, if you will, they really have an uphill battle.
Understand the legislature is overwhelmingly Republican. Democrats
barely have about 36 percent, 37 percent of the seats on average in the
House and the Senate together. And the governor`s office is controlled by
So, the first thing is the Democrats have to find a candidate and
probably win the governor`s office and slowly chip back and win in the
legislature. Even if they do that, there are going to be Democrats who
represent rural areas who probably won`t want to change because a lot of
their constituents favor having fewer gun restrictions.
And the last Quinnipiac poll in Florida showed that “Stand Your
Ground” was favored by a majority of Florida voters, and a smaller
percentage, obviously, favored repealing it or changing it.
MADDOW: Because of the national attention to this case, and because
Florida`s pioneering “Stand Your Ground” law ended up being copied and done
in a lot of other states, two dozen other states around the country almost,
a lot of people are looking at the George Zimmerman verdict and the Trayvon
Martin case in general and hearing very conflicted analysis as to whether
or not “Stand Your Ground” is important, was determinative, even, as to
what happened in that case.
Having watched the case closely, is “Stand Your Ground” effectively
the definition of self-defense in Florida? Was it central to the case in
way it was decided?
CAPUTO: Yes. Remember this is that stand y ground is self-defense in
Florida. If you have a self-defense defense in Florida, it`s a “Stand Your
Ground” defense, especially in lethal force cases. This was a lethal force
case. Therefore, “Stand Your Ground” has something to do with it.
Was it determinative? We can`t know. We weren`t in the jury room.
But we do know this: is that the jury instructions had almost word for
word “Stand Your Ground” language. Juror B-37 told CNN that they had
discussed “Stand Your Ground”. In fact, she twice of her own accord
mentioned “Stand Your Ground”.
So, for anyone to say “Stand Your Ground” had nothing to do with the
case, it`s strange. It`s false. It`s like – you know, on my end it`s
almost like describing a sphere to a flat earth society person. I just
can`t understand why they say it has absolutely nothing to do with it.
It is an argument of degree, but we don`t know the degree. But it had
something to do with it.
Also understand this about “Stand Your Ground”, a big change it made.
Before it passed in 2005, Florida had what many states have, which is a
duty to retreat when you`re in a confrontation in public. If you`re
lawfully in an area and some guy comes up and picks a fight with you, you
actually had a duty to retreat before using lethal force.
The phrase was you had a duty to retreat, quote, “to the wall.” Well,
they changed that and they said you have a right to “Stand Your Ground” and
meet force with force anywhere in public. Assume that you were lawfully
there and you were engaged if lawful activity.
So, again, “Stand Your Ground” certainly had something to do with this
case. How much? We don`t know. It certainly had something to do with it.
MADDOW: Marc Caputo, political columnist for the “Miami Herald.”
Thank you very much for your time tonight, Marc. I`m going to send you a
new ear piece as thanks for being here.
CAPUTO: Sorry about that. I was smiling too much. I apologize.
MADDOW: It`s all right. I appreciate you being here. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Lots and lots and lots to come tonight, including
the most important drip in the drip, drip, drip saga of skeviness involving
Virginia`s governor ultrasound, the biggest drip yet.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, it turns out there is a smoking gun in this case. You
want to see it?
“Dear Jerry. This e-mail is to confirm a meeting between Johnny
Williams and Virginia Health Secretary Bill Hazel on Thursday, November 4th
at 9:00 a.m.
And who was Monica? Monica is scheduler, office of Governor Robert F.
McDonnell. Tada. Governor ultrasound, right? Better known as the guy who
says he gave nothing in exchange, he never did nothing officially as
governor for the man who he, in fact, arranged this meeting for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA: The particular case of Mr. Williams
and Star Scientific, that company has received no state benefit, no
economic development grants, no targeted money out of the budget, no board
appointments. They`ve really – they`ve received nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s not true. Actually, they received something. They
received a lot from you. Including now we know, you, the governor, having
your scheduler intervene directly to set up a meeting for the company with
Virginia`s secretary of health.
The secretary further says, today, to the “Washington Post,” that
after the governor`s scheduler directly set up that meeting, the governor,
himself, followed up personally, telling the Virginia statehouse secretary
that he really wanted him to take on this meeting with his friend at the
When he says friend, he means the guy who has given him $145,000 in
cash since he has been governor. Not as political donations, but as gifts,
loans? Maybe loans but none that have been paid back. So, for now, gifts,
$145,000 in cash to Governor McDonnell and his family.
Before today, we knew what we think are the basic details of how
business has been working in Virginia under Governor Bob McDonnell`s
leadership. He and his family cashed $145,000 in checks from the CEO of
this Virginia company that`s under federal investigation.
The same CEO further bought the governor an engraved $6,000 Rolex
watch, bought the governor`s wife a $10,000 suede jacket and a whole bunch
of other designer clothes and shoes and handbags. He paid for their
lakeside home vacation. He loaned the governor $190,000 white Ferrari to
So, that was the flow of goods and services to bob McDonnell and
family in one direction. What flowed in the other direction from Bob
McDonnell, governor, was a launch party for that CEO`s product held at the
governor`s mansion, the governor`s wife flying around the country as first
lady of Virginia to endorse the CEO`s product, and at least two meetings
arranged for the company CEO to directly lobby the top health officials in
the state, on the recommendation of the first family.
We did not know before today`s story in “The Washington Post” that
Governor McDonnell`s office and governor McDonnell personally arranged the
delivery of that quo for the aforementioned quid, but thanks to today`s
“Washington Post,” we know, we have the actual e-mail.
Now, of course, it`s no crime for somebody to meet with the health
secretary, but you know, it is a crime for a public official to – well, go
to the Supreme Court here, it is a crime for a public official to obtain a
payment to which he was not entitled knowing the payment was made in return
for official acts. Governor Bob McDonnell took $145,000 in cash and lots
more in prizes from a guy whose company loses roughly $25 million a year
and who wants the state of Virginia to give his product a boost.
Governor Bob McDonnell then arranged meetings – he personally
arranged the meetings for that guy to meet with state health officials to
plead his case for how the state could help him. And that`s why it seems
like maybe Bob McDonnell is worried now about the prospect of going to
I mean, there is a reason why this guy needed the governor personally
involved in order to get high-level meetings like this, let alone product
launch parties at the governor`s mansion. I mean, Google this guy.
This guy used to sell something called LungGuard. Add LungGuard to
cigarettes and it keeps you from getting cancer but you can keep smoking.
Yes, the FDA had to get involved in that one and force him to stop selling
it, since there`s nothing you can add to cigarettes to stop them from
giving you cancer.
Then, after that he had a magic wrinkle cream that he built a whole
multimillion dollar company around, conning lots of investors out of lots
of money saying he had found a cure for the wrinkle. It actually started
off saying the wrinkle cure was – actually a cure for a whole family of
eye diseases. That turned out to be bunko, so that he repurposed it and
said, no, no, no, it doesn`t cure eye diseases, it cures wrinkles.
And by the time he got to wrinkles, that was around the time that the
SEC sued him for false claims about the wrinkle magic and he had to pay
$300,000 plus a lot more at the state level.
Then, he got the state of Virginia to give him an economic development
grant, saying he had a new magic pill that could create tons of jobs in the
state. He got the economic development grant from the state of Virginia.
It turns out the pill wasn`t magic and wasn`t going to create any jobs, and
so he had to pay the state back.
As recently as January, the dude was still getting busted for selling
snake oil. Look at this. I mean, from LungGuard to Lacramore, the eye
cream, I think, the wrinkle cream, to Star Scientific`s made-up misleading
relationship with Johns Hopkins. But even with a Google trail behind m
like this, even with just having screwed over the state of Virginia,
itself, on the economic development grant thing, including one of the
company`s officials, unfortunately being unable to discuss the company`s
obligations because he had to go to prison on bribery charges? Did you say
But even with this very public, oh, go don`t go there Google trail
streaming behind this guy, it doesn`t matter. That CEO can still get one-
on-one meetings with the health secretary for the state of Virginia. He
can get his launch party for his new magic pill held at the governor`s
mansion with the governor and the first lady in attendance. He can get a
picture of the governor of the state holding his magic pill like the
governor is Vanna White and the magic tobacco pill is behind door number
And he can get all of that despite his record because he has an in, he
has an in with the governor who just cashed $145,000 worth of his checks.
And who now makes calls to open doors for him, personally.
Governor ultrasound and the smoking gun turned up today by the
If you want to see the smoking gun, yourself, we have posted it at
MADDOW: Waiting, generally speaking, stinks. It stinks to have to
wait, right? I mean, you can, though, try to make waiting seem like a
feature and not a bug. You can try to make waiting work for you. A
certain national brand of ketchup figured out that strategy a long time ago
for its ads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Boy, some kids are slow.
UNIDENTIFIED KID: You mean your mom doesn`t buy you Heinz?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Nope, why should she?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Wait until you taste it.
UNIDENTIFIED KID: What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Can I stay over tomorrow night, too?
ANNOUNCER: Think rich Heinz ketchup. The taste is worth the wait.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You can stay over, adorables 1970s child commercial actor.
Maybe you`ll get to meet Carly Simon.
Yes, the longer you wait for certain things like, for example,
ketchup, maybe the better they pay off. Imagine waiting years. Imagine
sitting and waiting patiently and letting that anticipation stack up on top
of itself for years, for decades, in fact. Until in an instant, today,
your hopes and dreams are finally realized.
That moment would be the best new thing in the world today and it
really happened and it was really great and that`s coming up right at the
end of the show.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: It was man time in the great state of Texas today. The
governor, bunch of his bros, meeting at man past man o`clock to talk about
how much they all support women`s health.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Thank you all for being here today. It
is a very happy, celebratory day. You have been very integral part of this
very important day for all of us who support life, and for those who
support the health of Texas women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If there`s something about this scene that seems familiar,
you may be thinking about a similar scene that took place at man past man
o`clock last month in Ohio when Republican Governor John Kasich signed a
new he state budget that was stuffed with changes to state law on rape and
abortion. All these things added at the last minute in Ohio without debate
that passed on a party line vote, stuff put into the budget like a gag
order on rape counselors, blocking them from counseling rape victims about
the option to have an abortion in the event of a pregnancy that resulted
from that rape.
Stuff like a new mandated ultrasound for Ohio women seeking abortion
services, whether or not that ultra sound was medically necessary and
whether or not the woman wanted it. And along with that mandated
ultrasound, you also get a mandated speech from your doctor, whether or not
your doctor actually believes what is in the speech the state is mandating
that he or she has to say.
They redefined the meaning of the word pregnancy in the Ohio state
budget. Seriously. They stuffed the budget with all kinds of stuff that`s
now going to be the new norm for women in Ohio. So, yes, of course, it
makes sense to sign all that into law with the guys.
It`s like last year`s House hearing in D.C. about Obamacare`s
contraception coverage mandate. So, fellows, the birth control pill, the
IUD, tell me your stories. Yes.
Then, last month, the House Judiciary Committee pushing through a new
federal 20-week abortion ban with hey, guys, surprise, surprise, and all
male panel headed up by Congressman Trent Franks.
So the exile in guy-ville scene in Texas this morning has become a
pretty typical thing in Republican politics of late. But so has the
reaction to these kinds of bills outside of Republicanland and outside of
guy-ville. The new Texas antiabortion bill to radically reduce access to
abortion and women`s health care in Texas of course lit up state politics
and a good part of national politics, too. The Texas bill brought
thousands of people to the state capitol in Austin to protest and rally and
give testimony. People filling the state capitol rotunda inside, spilling
on to the lawn outside.
All while senator, State Senator Wendy Davis stood for 11 hours to
filibuster the antiabortion TRAP law that had been shoved through in the
first special legislative session called by Governor Perry for that
When the bill`s supporters were thus forced to explain themselves, the
bill`s own sponsor ended up saying things like this on the record.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. JODIE LAUBENBERG (R), TEXAS: You have hospital emergency
rooms. We have funded what`s called rape kits that will help the woman –
it`s basically cleaning her out, and then hopefully that will alleviate
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s not what a rape kit – yes.
The clean her out, no exceptions for rape or incest abortion law got
through the Republican dominated Texas legislature. Democrats stopped it
for the one special session. But the Republicans passed it in the second
session and that was what became law today with Rick Perry and his guy
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: No one will ever have to ask you, where were you? When the
babies` lives were being saved?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, this is how a bill becomes a law in Texas. A bill that
has changed the Texas map forever, shrinking the number of facilities where
women can go for abortion services and other health care needs from 42
clinics, which exists now, down to what`s expected to be five clinics left
– a map that the Republican lieutenant governor who oversees the state
senate wanted all along. He tweeted in the midst of this fight in Texas
that, in fact, reducing the number of places women could get an abortion in
the state was exactly what the whole thing was all about.
And today, it has already started plan the parenthood in Texas
announcing today they`re closing three facilities at the end of next month.
Each of the facilities provides health and family planning services to
women in the Gulf Coast region of the state, and those facilities will be
shutting their doors. Many more facilities are not expected to be far
Joining us now for the interview tonight is Amy Hagstrom Miller.
She`s the founder of Whole Women`s Health. She currently operates five
clinics in Texas.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, thank you for being with us tonight. It`s nice
to have you here.
AMY HAGSTROM MILLER, WHOLE WOMEN`S CLINIC: Thank you so much, Rachel.
It`s delightful to be here even under the circumstances.
MADDOW: I cannot imagine that it was a huge surprise to hear the
Planned Parenthood announcement today about three clinics closing. But do
you expect we`ll be hearing about a lot more clinic closures in Texas in
MILLER: Yes, I`m sorry to say that was the whole design of this law
in the first place. I mean, they ran it under the guise of health and
safety for women. But, really, it was a strategy, very well-thought out on
their part, to close down the vast majority of clinics in the state and
curb women`s access to safe abortion care.
MADDOW: What is your most immediate concern for the five clinics now
that you operate in Texas? What do you think is going to happen next for
MILLER: Well, you know, this law is, it`s crafted to be really what`s
perfect storm – both with the hospital privileges requirement and
restrictions on medication abortion, the 20-week ban and ambulatory
surgical center requirements, all crafted into the same bill. Three of
those things go into effect 90 days from now, and most of us are facing,
you know, a big hiccup with the hospital privileges piece that`s requiring
physicians to have privileges within 30 miles of the clinic.
And, you know, for the vast majority of doctors who do out-patient
surgery or office-based surgery, hospital privileges aren`t something you
would need because your medical practice isn`t based in the hospital. And
so, we`re in the process now of trying to get some of our physicians who
don`t currently have privileges hospital privileges in a very complicated
medical system where a lot of the hospitals are owned by Catholic
institutions, Baptist institutions.
Then, we also have the hiccup of – you`ve covered this in the past –
of the restrictions about Medicaid and women`s health care Medicaid not
being able to have any sort of association or affiliation with an abortion
So, the hospitals are in a situation right now if they grant
privileges to a doctor who provides abortion, they may run risk of not
being able to accept women`s health care Medicaid. So, it`s really a
perfect storm. That goes into effect in the first 90 days, along with
restrictions on medication abortion, which are going to require a woman to
come in for four visits, simply for an abortion pill that`s taken early in
the pregnancy and the ban of abortions over 20 weeks.
And then, starting in September 2014, we`re looking at the ambulatory
surgical center restrictions that are very onerous, very expensive and are
going to set down a set of clinics for whole another, you know, set of the
So, all of these things together are going to combine to make it very
difficult to maintain a practice that provides safe care for women in
MADDOW: In a number of states that have been pursuing similar
strategy to this, where they`re using new regulations that are very
obviously designed just to shut down clinics, we`ve seen the court step
down and block them from going into effect, most recently in Wisconsin. I
have not seen anything, that any litigation has been filed yet in Texas,
but do you expect that these sorts of regulations that this new law would
be blocked by a court if it went to court right away?
MILLER: You know, we have a couple of different sort of contingency
planning we`re doing, in addition to trying to get privileges for the
physicians and come up with sort of backup plans. I`m working very closely
with the center for reproductive rights and looking at bringing suit
against the state of Texas, specifically for the privileges and the
(INAUDIBLE) and the first time around and also for the ambulatory surgical
And I think, you know, we`re likely to get an injunction I think in
the short run. But what we`re looking at in the long run is the Fifth
Circuit, which is not the Ninth Circuit that Arizona got to go through.
And we`re, you know, understandably worried about the Fifth Circuit and I
think that`s part of the strategy of our opposition is that, you know,
statedly, wide open, you know, I was invited to be an expert witness in the
Senate committee hearing along with one of the antiabortion attorneys from
Notre Dame, and he was very forthright about we want this case to be
challenged, we want it to go to the Fifth Circuit, we want to see it end up
in the Supreme Court.
So, I think that`s by design something that our opposition is looking
strategically to have happen in the state of Texas.
MADDOW: Especially in a big state of Texas and potentially facing
losing such a huge proportion of the clinics that provide this service
right now, do you think that women will go to extreme measures to try to
get abortions illegally or in Mexico or through some other means if they
can`t get to the clinics they`ve been used to going to?
MILLER: Absolutely. You know what I`ve always said, women started
having safe abortion after Roe. But women had always had abortion, whether
it`s pre-Roe or post-Roe. And this law doesn`t do anything to change the
need for abortion. It doesn`t do anything to address unplanned pregnancy.
So, whether or not women have access to safe abortion, the same amount
of Texas women are still going to need abortions and what we`ve already
seen, even just since the last regulation passed about a year and a half
ago that requires women to come in for two separate visits.
In two of my clinic communities, I have a clinic on the border of
Texas and Mexico and one on the border of Texas and Louisiana. We`ve seen
women take matters into their own hands, not unlike pre-Roe. We`ve seen
women using – trying to self-induce with medications they either get at a
flea market or they get from somebody in town, that they heard through a
grapevine that somebody`s selling something.
We`ve seen women actually do things they did pre-Roe. It`s horrific
to talk about. But beat their stomach. Ask their partner to beat them to
induce a miscarriage, trying to induce the abortion because just a simple
two visits requirement with 24 hours between them is too much for some
women to be able to handle because most patients are working mothers, it`s
very difficult to get childcare and driving to the clinics.
So, when we`re looking at a law that`s going to further restrict
access and have the only clinics remaining in the biggest cities in Texas,
Texas is a giant city. I mean, we`ve got four of the top 11 cities in the
country as far as population. We`re talking about a lot of women affected
by this legislation.
MADDOW: Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder of Whole Women`s Health Clinics
in the state of Texas, thank you very much for your time tonight. Please
stay in touch as this moves forward. Appreciate your time.
MILLER: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. Best new thing is coming up. It was worth the wait. I
Stay with us.
MADDOW: All right. It was just before noon in Milan, Italy, when a
Muslim cleric known as Abu Omar has just stepped out of his home in Milan
to head to the mosque for noon prayers. And out of nowhere, a policeman
demanded in Italian, show me your passport.
The cleric handed over his passport and then things got weird.
Witnesses say somebody inside a nearby white van flung open the side door
of the van, two men left out, grabbed the guy, threw him in the van and
We later learned that he was taken to an American military base in
Italy, and then to another U.S. base in Germany, and then he was flown to
Cairo, where he said he was horribly tortured at the time. But at the time
he was taken in Italy, February 2003, it seemed like he was just kidnapped,
just disappeared. And Italy was very unhappy about it, particularly
because their own police had been watching this guy in their own
So, an Italian deputy chief prosecutor who usually handled mafia
investigations started looking into this disappearance. How could this guy
just get snatched off the street? The prosecutor kept digging, trying to
piece together the story, and there was finally a break in the case in
2005. The prosecutor got 17 sets of cell phone records from the area and
from the time that this man was taken off the streets.
From those records, the prosecutor was able to put together a list of
people who he said must have been present when the guy as abducted. And on
that list was the CIA station chief for Milan, a man named Robert Seldon
Abut Omar was considered a suspect by the yourself, that is why the
CIA grabbed him apparently as part of the U.S. extraordinary rendition
program, where people were taken in one country and not taken back to the
U.S., but instead taken to a third country, an unrelated country, for
When the prosecutor named the local CIA station chief in that case the
chief claimed diplomatic immunity, but the judge did not buy it. By that
time, the man had retired, and the judge said he has lost his immunity, and
besides, for a crime as serious as kidnapping, even an active employed
diplomatic wouldn`t get immunity for something like that.
Well, two years later, in 2007, an arrest warrant was issued for the
CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady and 25 other people for kidnapping,
for seizing a terrorist suspect without a warrant and transferring the
person to another country, often one known to employ torture.
But by the time the arrest warrant issued, all the Americans on the
list have seen the writing on the wall on this case and they had bogged out
of the country, they all had fled Italy, including the former CIA station
chief guy. The judge went ahead with the trial anyway. That June, in
trial, he read out loud the name of all 26 Americans in the case, listing
them all – fugitive, fugitive, fugitive.
But while the trial was carried out in absentia, particularly the
station chief became wanted men. This was is the Interpol poster for him.
He was the guy on the left in this Interpol poster.
In 2009, the ruling came down, the judge convicted Robert Seldon Lady
and 22 other Americans, almost all of them CIA operatives for the
kidnapping of that cleric off the street in Milan. It was touted as a
landmark ruling, but only a symbolic one, since the defendants, the
convicts now, were not in the courtroom.
Robert Seldon Lady, the station chief, was handed an eight-year
sentence, nobody ever thought he would ever serve it because he was not in
Italy and clearly, he would never go there again. But today, he got
arrested in Panama, of all places, which before today appeared to have no
connection to this case at all, and maybe until today didn`t have any
The Italian justice ministry put out a statement saying the man has
been detained and reportedly has been picked up near Panama`s border with
Costa Rica. So far, the Panamanian government is not even confirming that
they`ve got him. But the Italians say that they do.
As for the CIA, there has been no comment – I don`t know how long
they can go on making no comment about this. We still don`t know much
about what happened here. But the lead Italian prosecutor on this case,
the guy who started the investigation back in 2004, he said today that the
arrest in Panama came after the arrest was requested by Interpol, and, no,
I can`t explain that, either.
But because of this story, it is now suddenly important to know that
there is no extradition treaty between Panama and Italy. So, if the former
Milan CIA station chief was in fact arrested in Panama for an extraordinary
rendition he participated in, in the Bush years that snatched the guy off
the streets of Italy, and Italy wants its revenge now, if he in fact under
arrest for that in Panama right now, that doesn`t necessarily mean that he
will get sent from Panama back to Italy to serve out the years in prison to
which he has been sentenced.
And what was he doing in Panama anyway? Way more questions than
answers here as of yet. But this is an intense story and a potentially
really explosive one.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: OK, best new thing in the world today – we haven`t done one
in a long time. This is great.
This is a funnel full of a substance called “pitch.” Tar pitch –
super thick, almost solid goo.
And what you are looking at here is a live camera that has been
trained on this goo 24/7. And people have been watching this live feed of
this thing full of goo for years, for science.
This is the oldest continually running laboratory experiment in the
world. In 1927, a physics professor at the University of Queensland in
Australia heated up this goo, until it melted a little bit, poured it into
a funnel, put a beaker into the end of the funnel and let the thing harden
back up for three years.
Three years later, in 1930, he opened it up to let the goo start to
flow up and waited for gravity to do its work. He waited for eight years.
Over that time, one drop of goo formed at the end of the funnel, ever so
slowly. And that drop finally fell and dripped out eight years later, in
But here is the tragedy – nobody was watching when it happened. The
experiment is still running. And in the last 83 years only eight drops of
tar pitch have formed in that funnel and fallen. And all of that time,
nobody has ever managed to be watching when the drop breaks off.
Not one time in 83 years has anybody been in the room with their eyes
fixed on the pitch at the right moment when it happened. In fact, for the
most recent drip in November 2000, there was even a video camera trained on
the experiment, but something went wrong with the camera and they missed
it. The camera was there and they still.
But the so-called pitch drop experiment is not the only one going on
in the world. Besides Australia, there is another one going on in the
world. In 1944, a physics professor at Trinity College in Dublin decided
to try the same experiment, sealed up some melted pitch in a funnel, let it
drip for decades, for 69 years, just like in Australia nobody was watching,
but the key moment until it actually dripped, until now!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A few weeks ago, however, physicists in the
department noted a drip was again forming. They set up a web camera to
film it around the cloud. And last Thursday as this time-lapse footage
shows, the drip finally dropped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Are we finally going to see this thing that nobody saw happen
in 83 years? Are you guys ready to see it? Can we? Can we?
This is the time lapse. It`s nine days worth of drip cam, but look –
oh, my God, we were waiting for this – generations.
Oh – best new thing in the world today. Thank you.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Have a great night.
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