The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/21/14
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Remarkable,
remarkable interview. That was amazing.
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: Thanks a lot. Thank you.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
In October of 1995, president of Russia, the first president of
Russia following the dissolving of the Soviet Union, was, of course, Boris
Yeltsin. Soviet Union fell apart at the tail end of 1991. Russia became
its own independent country and Boris Yeltsin became the first president of
A few years into that presidency, President Yeltsin paid a landmark
historic visit to the United States to meet with then-U.S. President Bill
Clinton. And this is how that went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS YELTSIN, THEN-RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): And this
is all due to you, because coming from my statement yesterday in the United
Nations, and if you looked at the press reports, one could see that what
you were writing was that today`s meeting with President Bill Clinton was
going to be a disaster.
Well, now for the first time I can tell you that you`re a disaster.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Be sure you get the right is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I can tell you that you`re a disaster.
And you know what, years later we found out that that wasn`t even –
look at the look on his face. That wasn`t even the most Boris Yeltsin-y
thing that happened on that trip.
Years after this trip, years after Russia President Boris Yeltsin
made the president of the United States laugh/cry in front of the
international media and giggle like a prepubescent child, it came out that
during that same trip, Boris Yeltsin snuck out of his room late one night
and tried to hail a cab on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., while
wearing only his underwear. President Boris Yeltsin apparently told the
Secret Service agents who found him that he wanted a pizza. And that is
why most YouTube tributes to Boris Yeltsin have titles like “Boris
Yeltsin`s finest moments” and they show him fervently dancing, or
stumbling, or randomly conducting an orchestra that wasn`t expecting him
This is how the world remembers good old Boris Yeltsin. But bumbling
Boris Yeltsin was also the president of Russia at a critical time in that
nation`s history, right? When Russia was vying to be taken seriously as no
longer the leader of an unwilling empire but as a responsible nation in the
community of nations. And as part of that really big effort, as part of
the effort to bring Russia into the international community to try to
normalize Russian relations with the rest of the world, Boris Yeltsin
decided to make one specific dramatic gesture, decided to do something the
rest of the world had been waiting for, for almost a decade but honestly
most people thought it would never happen.
Before the Soviet Union fell apart back in 1983, September 1st, 1983,
a Korean passenger jet carrying 269 people had strayed into Soviet
territory and the Soviets, of course, shot that plane down. It was Korean
Airlines Flight 007. It was only seconds away from international airspace,
when a Soviet fighter jet hit that passenger plane with two missiles,
killed everybody onboard.
President Reagan was on vacation when the shoot-down happened. He
initially wanted to stay on vacation, and the White House initially said
that he would stay on vacation, but then, four days after it happened,
President Reagan was back in Washington and delivering this sternly worded
address to the nation. He said what the Soviets had done was monstrous.
But honestly, looking back at that time, I have to tell you that
sternly worded address was basically it in terms of the U.S. response, the
presidential response to that tragedy.
Korean Airlines Flight 007 had departed from the United States. It
had departed from New York City. It had stopped to refuel in Anchorage.
It was carrying dozens of Americans, including a serving U.S. Congressman
named Larry McDonald. President Reagan addressed the nation after that
flight crashed and he did use very strong language.
But then, he warned his advisers against any overreaction to what
happened. He told a national security meeting, “We`ve got to protect
against overreaction. Vengeance is not the name of the game.”
So it was a speech, but that was sort of it. This was the middle of
the Cold War. And in truth, there was not much President Reagan or anybody
else could do to make the Soviets take responsibility for what they had
done, to the point where nearly a decade after the shoot-down, when Boris
Yeltsin was the first post-Soviet president of Russia, the reaction to that
shoot-down of that Korean airliner was such that nearly a decade after it
happened, the Russians still had custody of the black boxes from that
crash. They had never given into international pressure, to President
Reagan`s pressure, or anybody else`s pressure to turn the black boxes over
so they could be part of an investigation into what happened.
The Russians kept those voice recorders and those data recorders from
Korean Airlines Flight 007. They kept them away from the world for nine
years. Until Boris Yeltsin decided in 1992 that one of the first things he
was going to do as president of the new Russia would be to try to right
that wrong, to return those black boxes. So, in November 1992, Russian
President Boris Yeltsin traveled to Seoul, South Korea, in what he called a
show of friendship and apology, and he held a big ceremony to return those
black boxes to the South Koreans.
And, by the way, that was totally news to the South Koreans when he
did it. They knew that Boris Yeltsin was coming to visit, but they had no
idea that when he was there, he was going to do the whole thing with the
whole show of returning those black boxes.
The president of South Korea at the time said this incredible
surprise gesture showed that sincerity was building up between their two
Basically saying, you know, listen, he surprised us with this
incredibly sincere gesture. This is a very meaningful thing to us as a
nation. Something we thought would never happen. We are building trust
and sincere regard between our two nations.
Or maybe not. It quickly emerged that Boris Yeltsin`s big show in
South Korea about handing over the black boxes was just a show. He did
hand over the containers, the black boxes.
He turned them over at the big spectacular press event, but they were
empty. There was nothing on the recorders, handed over the recorders, but
not the tapes, the actual data. Oops. It was very embarrassing for
everybody involved. Not the least of which was Boris Yeltsin.
I mean, Russia ultimately had to admit they knew the tapes had been
removed from those black boxes when Boris Yeltsin held that big ceremony
pretending to return them. It`s always been unclear as to whether or not
President Yeltsin himself knew that he was returning props flight recorders
back to the South Koreans without the data.
At least some Russian officials, though, did know. Did know. And
they admitted it. And, of course, it was hugely embarrassing. It opened
up all these old wounds, right, when Boris Yeltsin was trying to change the
way Russia looked to the world, the fact that it looked like they were
trying to convince people they were different but it was all fake, exactly
what you don`t want to happen, right? It`s exactly the opposite of what
Yeltsin was trying to accomplish.
Well, shortly after that whole botched incident, the Russians
actually did turn over the data. They turned over the tapes. And they
didn`t – interestingly, they didn`t turn them over to the South Koreans.
They instead turned over the real data, real tapes to the International
Civil Aviation Organization. That`s the U.N.`s investigative group, best
practices group for civil aviation.
And that agency reviewed the tapes from the shoot-down of that
airliner nine years earlier and then what they ended up doing was
publishing the harrowing transcript of what happened inside the plane as it
was rapidly descending after it had been shot by a Soviet fighter jet fired
And that investigation, what they published, right, it corroborated
much of what we already knew about Flight 007. The plane`s auto pilot had
failed. As a result of that auto pilot failure, that`s why the plane
drifted into Soviet territory. It also corroborated, of course, that
Russian missiles had brought that passenger plane down.
As a result of the cockpit recorders being handed over to the
international body, the world also learned that Soviet fighter pilots had
made no attempt to contact the airliner over the radio before they shot it
And this is the detail that feels like a punch in the gut even all
these years later. Because of that data, the world also learned that the
passengers on that flight may have been alive for a full 12 minutes before
that plane crashed – 12 minutes after it was hit by the missiles, but
before it plunged into the sea.
Details like that are important not just because they tell a
drastically different story, right, from the one we knew. We knew it had
been shot down out of the sky, right? Details like that, though, are
important because they fill in the gaps. They establish a true record of
what happened. They give us the facts, the incontrovertible facts.
I mean, that terrible detail about the 12 minutes of pain and
suffering that those 269 people may have experienced onboard that jet after
it was hit. That detail, for example, played a prominent role in a lawsuit
against Korean Airlines by the families of those passengers.
Those known facts gleaned from those black box recordings, they`re
also proof, right? They`re proof that what was basically reported to have
happened really did happen.
I mean, for years leading up to and after the handoff of those empty
black boxes, the Soviets had insisted that that flight they shot down
wasn`t a passenger plane at all. They said it was a spy plane. That was
why they shot it out of the sky. That explains why it was so off-course.
That plane was filled with spies, not with innocent men, women, and
children. That had been the Soviet line about it, right?
And it is the nature of conspiracy theories that they`re often
difficult to dispel with fact, but it is still helpful to actually finally
get your hands on some facts. To have that official incontrovertible
record of what really happened and what really experienced. And I`m sure
there are still post-Soviet Russians out there who believe that it really
was a spy plane, but it wasn`t and we know it wasn`t and we can show you
how we know.
Since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in Ukraine last Thursday,
we have seen headline after headline about who has control of the black
boxes from that plane. The day after the crash, both the Ukrainian
government and pro-Russian separatists who have taken control of the region
in Ukraine where the plane crashed, they both claimed that they had the
Then, we learned, no, actually the black boxes were maybe in Russia,
maybe Moscow has them. Actually, no, the Ukrainian emergency services,
they said they were supposed to have the black boxes, not the Russians.
There was one day when a separatist leader told the “A.P.” that they
had found no black boxes, nobody had any of them. That said, one of his
own staffers also told the “A.P.” earlier that day they had found the black
boxes. Not only that, they found 8 of the 12 of them which left the “A.P.”
reporter puzzled to say the least because planes don`t have 12 recorders.
They have two. So what did you find eight of?
Today, though, lots of news organizations have reported that the
actual black boxes have, in fact, been both found and handed over to a
delegation from Malaysia. This is the video that reported exchange. It
remains to be seen what, if anything, is going to be gleaned from these
black boxes, if these are the real black boxes from this crashed plane.
And if they are in a condition in which they will be useful.
They`re expected to be transported out of a war zone, that is eastern
Ukraine. Although it`s unclear exactly what happened to them from there
now that they`re in Malaysian hands.
The Malaysian prime minister has so far declined to say what his
country plans to with the recorders.
Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Kiev has been, quote, “knocking down
reports”, conspiracy theories really, that have been running on Russian
state TV. Russian state TV all has been running accusations that it was
the Ukrainian military that shot down the Malaysian jet.
Russian TV is reporting that a Ukrainian fighter jet was in the area
when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 went down. The Russian defense ministry
made that claim today implying if not outright saying that Ukraine shot
down the airliner and everybody ought to leave Russia alone.
When President Obama spoke about the plane today from the south lawn
of the White House, he said that Russia and specifically Russian President
Vladimir Putin have a direct responsibility to make this investigation
happen basically, to compel the pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine to
cooperate with the investigation of the crash site and to allow full and
unfettered access to the investigators.
And Russia this afternoon did vote with the rest of the United
Nations Security Council in favor of a resolution to give investigators
full access to the crash site. That said, shortly after that U.N. Security
Council vote, a representative from Malaysia Airlines complained before the
Security Council they were still being denied access to the site.
Despite the conspiracy theories apparently still airing on Russian
TV, the Russian government as of this afternoon says that it wants what the
world wants, too. A full and independent investigation into what happened
to that downed flight and to those 298 poor people.
Russia says they are with the world in wanting the most detailed
account possible of what happened and a reckoning for those who are
responsible. Russia says they are on board.
Is there any way to know if that`s true? If that`s true, can Russia
make that happen basically? How much control does Russia have on those
pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine? If Vladimir Putin tells them
or asks them to do something, is it as good as done?
And if Russia does not exert their influence, they choose not to,
what can and will the international community do to try to get Russia to
Joining us now is Kimberly Marten. She`s professor of political
science specializing in Russian Affairs at Barnard College in Columbia
Professor Marten, thanks very much for being here.
KIMBERLY MARTEN, BARNARD COLLEGE: Rachel, it`s my pleasure.
MADDOW: Thank you for laughing when I showed the Boris Yeltsin video
of him making Bill Clinton laugh. It`s one of my favorite C-Span moments
of all time.
Russia is now saying it will support a full international
investigation of the crash. We`re still trying to figure out what that
means. If Vladimir Putin told the separatists, do X, is X as good as done?
Does he have control?
MARTEN: He probably doesn`t have complete control but can put a lot
of pressure on them. He can close the border to ensure that no additional
mercenaries go over the border from Russia to help the fight. He can
insure that no additional weapons get to them. He can cut off their
financing. He can change his rhetoric to indicate that he is not in favor
of what they`re doing.
So, those things wouldn`t cause a jump to happen right away if they
don`t want a jump. But it would be a significant amount of pressure that
he could exert on them.
MADDOW: One of the reasons I wanted to talk about the 1983 shoot-
down is not just because Boris Yeltsin is amazing, but because it took
until Boris Yeltsin before Russia made any sort of gesture of apology,
acknowledgment, and taking part in the international community`s
investigation of what happened.
Right now, with Vladimir Putin`s politics, the domestic situation
around this in Russia, can you imagine a path toward Russia acknowledging
any role in this having happened?
MARTEN: Yes. What it would take would be a real change in the
direction that the Putin administration has gone up until this point. But
the reason that it might happen is that, you know, Putin is not really just
a single dictator who causes Russia to follow along behind whatever it is
that he wants. He has to deal with his domestic politics, too, and the
sanctions that have been put on, especially the ones starting last week,
look like they`re really having an effect on economic interests in Russia.
And so, Putin has to be concerned about what the people who are
engaged in a lot of international trade and a lot of international
investment think about what he`s doing. And so, it`s always possible
they`d put pressure on him if they had significant pressure coming from the
western community that would cause a change in policy.
And at that point, Putin could just offer plausible deniability. He
could say, oh, well, you know, we didn`t really want the rebels to do that.
We were not in control of what they were doing. They did this without
seeking our permission. They were not under our control, and now, they
have to face the consequence of what they`ve done.
MADDOW: But it was a terrible accident and it was a Russian-made
MARTEN: Exactly. And the biggest difference between now and 1983 is
that in 1983, of course, it did go up a chain of hierarchical command
inside the Soviet military and this was not a Russian military as a
hierarchical organization. The Russians who have been involved on the
ground, but we think they`re probably people recently retired from the
Russian military going over as contractors, probably paid by Russia but not
going over as a hierarchical representative of the Russian military.
MADDOW: Well, to have the defense ministry today in Russia saying it
was a Ukrainian fighter jet.
MARTEN: Yes, that`s been the message all along.
MADDOW: Does that imply, though, that even if President Putin does
want to make that kind of a shift, that domestically he`s going to be
constrained by a Russian military that`s never going to admit this.
MARTEN: He`s going to be constrained by a lot of factors, including
a very strong sense of Russian nationalism. And, you know, the clip of
Yeltsin made it clear what Putin is offering to Russia. He`s offering them
a leader who is respected because he`s strong. He is somebody who has
control over himself. He`s not a drunken fool.
And so, in that sense, he has to maintain the image of being the one
who`s in control. If he looks like he`s slipping, if he looks like he
cannot keep control of the situation, there are so many people who are
eager to be the ones who would be the new Boris – the new Putin, the
person who would take over from him, that he has to be very concerned about
his legacy and about what happens next. And so, he`s really got a very
complicated situation at home.
MADDOW: Kimberly Marten, professor of political science specializing
in Russian studies at Barnard – thank you very much for being here. It`s
very helpful. I really appreciate it.
MARTEN: Thank you, Rachel. My pleasure.
MADDOW: And to that point of how important sanctions have been here
and important in terms of predicting what happens next, tomorrow in
Brussels, there`s a major meeting of European foreign ministers to talk
about whether there`s going to be a another round of European sanctions
The U.K. is really leading a hard line for those negotiations, and if
they take a big new round of sanctions against Russia tomorrow, I think you
may see the politics here change very quickly. Worth watching.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: When you`re a guest on a news show but you`re not live on a
set, in a remote studio somewhere being beamed in for your interview, it is
usually not possible for you, the guest, to tell when you are being watched
and when you`re not. You can obviously hear your interviewer once the show
is up and running and you`re doing your thing and there`s a guest, but when
you`re waiting for the show to start or you`re waiting for your part of the
show to start, it`s kind of a little weird. You feel like you`re sitting
in a dark box all alone.
But usually there`s a control room full of people on the other end
somewhere who you can`t see, but who can see you. You`re just waiting
around for things to start, but the cameras are rolling. And your mike is
And it`s an in between kind of place. I`ve been in that situation
many times and it`s kind of weird.
And this weekend, on FOX`s Sunday morning news show, the FOX control
room was apparently watching while Secretary of State John Kerry was in
that weird in between not yet on TV place. He was sitting in the studio,
he was waiting to start his interview with show`s host. And at FOX, they
taped him having an off-camera conversation on a BlackBerry speakerphone
with one of his staffers.
And then when they came out of commercial, or whatever, and started
their interview with him, the show`s host, Chris Wallace, told Secretary of
State John Kerry that they just taped him having that off-camera
conversation. And then during their interview, they played the tape of
what they had just caught him saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: You`re doing a series of interviews with
all of the networks and while you were on camera and while you were on
microphone, you just spoke to one of your top aides in between the
interviews about the situation in Israel and the fact that 14 Israelis have
either been shot or killed in an operation. We want to play a clip of that
conversation because it`s an extraordinary moment of diplomacy.
Take a look at this.
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: It`s a hell of a pinpoint operation.
It`s a hell of a pinpoint operation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. It`s escalating really significantly,
just underscores the need for cease-fire.
KERRY: We`ve got to get over there.
Thank you, John. I think, John, we ought to go tonight. I think
it`s crazy to be sitting around.
WALLACE: Secretary Kerry, when you said it`s a hell of a pinpoint
operation, are you upset the Israelis are going too far, and in fact, do
you intend to go back to the Middle East tonight, sir?
KERRY: I think it`s very, very difficult in these situations.
Obviously very difficult, Chris. You have people who`ve come out of
tunnels. You have a right to go in and take out those tunnels. We
completely support that.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Secretary Kerry went on to say that the U.S. supports
Israel`s military action in Gaza but he basically said he is upset by the
death toll. He said, “I reacted obviously in a way that anybody does in
respect to young children and civilians.” Young children and civilians
being killed in this military operation.
In terms of whether or not he was heading back to the Middle East,
the other part of that question, that answer would be a yes. Early today,
Secretary Kerry did leave to fly to Egypt, fly to Cairo. He went there
along with secretary general of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon. They`re flying to
Egypt because they think that Egypt might have the best chance of brokering
a cease-fire to stop the war that`s raging right now in Gaza.
And if you hear that and feels like deja vu, it feels like, ugh, I`ve
heard all of this before, you were right, because this really does keep
happening over and over and over again.
But that doesn`t mean that it has to happen forever. And it also
means that there is a really useful set of information to us available from
the recent past about how this kind of fighting stops – how this fighting,
these bombardments, these exchanges of rockets, these kidnappings, these
wars. How they stop.
Ban Ki-moon and John Kerry and the Egyptians are at the tip of the
diplomatic spear right now, in terms s of trying to secure a cease-fire,
and neither side, neither Hamas nor Israel right now says they`re
particularly interested in a cease-fire right now, but that is how this
will end. The only question is when. And how many people have to die in
And we know that because of the cease-fire that stopped the terrible
fighting in Gaza in 2006, in November 2006. And then after the fighting
started again, we know that in the summer of 2008, it was Egypt who
brokered a six-month cease-fire in 2008. And then when the fighting
started again in December 2008, January 2009, a truly full-scale war, that
war ended in a cease-fire declared three days before Barack Obama was sworn
in as president for the first time in January 2009.
And yes, the cease-fires don`t last forever, so, yeah, the fighting
started again after that, but it was a cease-fire again negotiated in Egypt
that stopped the fighting once more when it stopped the next time in
And now, yes, the fighting is happening again. Today is the second
straight day of more than 100 people killed on the Palestinian side. More
than 500 Palestinian men, women, and children have been killed so far over
these past two weeks. The number of Israeli casualties is more than two
And the fighting and the cause of the fighting feel terribly familiar
because this is basically a recurring war. But the only way out of it is
diplomacy. That is the only way to make it stop even if it won`t stop it
forever. War after war after war in the same place between the same people
shows that no military solution provides a lasting solution either.
In 2006, that war lasted five months. In 2008, the first one was
only four days. The end of that year and into 2009, that one lasted 22
days. In 2012, before the last cease-fire, that fighting took about a
This time, so far, we are 14 days into it in Gaza. And the U.S. and
the U.N. plan right now, Secretary of State John Kerry got caught on tape
saying he wanted to go back to start negotiating that last night, right?
But this morning, he was on his way.
His first effort of a cease-fire a few days ago didn`t take. Now
they try again. And if this next effort of a cease-fire doesn`t work, then
they try again, again. And then they do it again and then they do it
again, because there`s only one way out and you do just keep trying.
MADDOW: Governor Rick Perry wants to be president of the United
States, at least I think that`s what`s going on in this picture. The guy
on the left, I think, state trooper keeping Rick Perry safe. A guy on the
right, again state trooper I think keeping Rick Perry safe.
In the middle, that`s Rick Perry trying to become president. I
think. The guy who`s like ten feet taller than Rick Perry, just an
innocent bystander. Poor Iowa.
The importance of Rick Perry trying to become president, and the
Democrat playing his exact opposite in our politician, who actually might
have a chance to become president someday, that story is coming up.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: In 1897, the “Cincinnati Enquirer” had to use teeny, teeny,
teeny, tiny font – possibly 6-point font maybe – to try to get all the
news on to the page. The type is so small, you practically need a
magnifying glass in order to read the “Cincinnati Enquirer.” It`s that
small because the Ohio newspaper at the time covered everything, from a
shooting at a local church, to sick kittens feared to be spreading disease.
To the type of rope to be used in an upcoming double hanging.
Quote, “The ropes have been completed and delivered over to Sheriff
Plummer. Each rope is 23 feet in length, and they were made to order in
about a week`s time from the giving of the order. They were made by Frank
Vonderheide, Main Street cordage dealer, and most of the work was done by
Mr. Vonderheide himself.”
Made of silver finished sewing twine and comprise of four strands of
110 threads each, the two ropes were specifically ordered to individual
specifications and marked one with a red thread and other with a black
thread so the sheriff could tell them apart for the double hanging on
execution day. Each rope was put on display for public inspection in the
week before the execution.
Something that was not uncommon when death by hanging was the
predominant method that states used to kill prisoners.
Often, the ropes were even handed over to the public after the
execution. In the 20-plus years that the state of Arizona executed people
by hanging them, 28 people were put to death that way and all 28 of those
ropes, all 28 of the actual nooses can be found on display in a local
museum in Florence, Arizona, including the rope used to execute a woman
named Eva Dugan, the last hanging done in the state of Arizona because of
how awful it was. Because when, in her case, the rope snapped, her head
was severed from her body. Five of the witnesses present for that hanging
fainted at the sight.
It was that terrible execution in 1930, the one where the woman`s
head came off, that made Arizona switch over to using the gas chamber to
kill people instead of hanging.
And while the execution method changed, policy of keeping the public
informed about the process did not change. It was a matter of public
record that Arizona purchased its gas chamber from something called the
Eaton Metal Products Company, the holder of the patent on the death
The method states have used to kill people have long been a matter of
public record, down to the very, very granular detail. Until recently.
The last couple of years, the states have had a harder and harder
time getting their hands on the drugs they want to use in lethal injection
procedures. Lots of state legislatures have passed laws to make secret the
sources of the drugs they`re getting to kill people. Making it secret,
though, chafes against this long historical precedent of openness around
the methods of state executions. That long precedent and that long public
history. We`ve always done it in a way that people were allowed to know
what was happening, what means were being used.
Now, states have tried to stop that. And that has just led to a
really big deal federal court ruling. So, in terms of the federal court
system, there`s the Supreme Court at the top, obviously, right? One level
below that are the federal appeals courts, and their numbered circuits.
This weekend at the 9th Circuit Court, that court one level below the
Supreme Court, they blocked an execution due to take place the day after
tomorrow in Arizona.
The 9th Circuit Court said this weekend that if the state of Arizona
won`t disclose the manufacturers of the drugs it`s planning to use in this
lethal injection and if it won`t disclose the medical training of the
people they`re going it use for the execution team, then the 9th Circuit
says that execution cannot go forward. It`s an interesting dilemma for
Arizona right now on a very short-term basis, because they`ve got an
execution warrant for this guy for Wednesday. And the state now has a
choice to make.
If the state of Arizona decides to disclose that information about
the drugs and about the execution team, they will be allowed to kill this
prisoner on Wednesday. What the court gave them is just a temporary
injunction and the court says, this temporary injunction blocking the
execution, it will expire if the state discloses that information. If the
state discloses that info, the execution can go ahead as planned, but if
the state does not disclose that information, the state will not be allowed
to kill this prisoner on Wednesday.
The state of Arizona appealed back to the 9th Circuit today. The 9th
Circuit said no. Now the matter heads to the Supreme Court of the United
Big picture here? Relatively speaking, there has not been all that
much debate about it. But the system of our death penalty in this country,
not the rightness or wrongness of capital punishment and deterrent value
and all the ideological issues, but literally the logistical system of the
death penalty in our country is falling apart. The process of lethal
injection as a means of killing prisoners is becoming untenable, practical
and legally. It`s a mess. And this is all happening right now all of a
sudden on a very short timeframe.
Joining us is Michael Kiefer. He`s a senior reporter for “Arizona
Republic”, “The Arizona Republic” newspaper.
Mr. Kiefer, thanks very much for being here.
MICHAEL KIEFER, ARIZONA REPUBLIC SENIOR REPORTER: Thanks.
MADDOW: So, am I right in saying the state of Arizona, the ball`s in
their court in two ways. They have the option to appeal to the Supreme
Court, but they also could go ahead with this execution if they disclose
KIEFER: Yes. But the issue of secrecy has been ongoing here, since
about 2010 when the drugs that they were using started to run out. From
1977, when lethal injection was invented, until 2010, they always used the
same drug and it was available. But it was an antiquated drug and it ran
What they did at that time was bypass DEA and FDA regulations and
were purchasing the drug in England. When that was reported, it stopped
that flow of the drugs and it started raising these issues of where are
they coming from? They switched to drugs. The drug companies,
manufacturers have refused to sell to Departments of Corrections and that`s
where we are today.
Now, the issue here is also has to do with this drug, Midazolam,
which was involved in two recent executions that were quite flawed. One in
Ohio, where the person being executed showed signs of respiratory distress,
and the other in Oklahoma.
And so, both of these come play here. The – Arizona is planning on
using the same protocol basically as Ohio used. OK? So that`s where
they`re trying to find out where the drugs come from.
The Oklahoma situation, or the qualifications for the medical
personnel kind of comes out of the Oklahoma situation because they used the
procedure by which they do a central line. That is they insert a catheter
in the femoral artery, and in Oklahoma, they went right through the vein,
so the drugs weren`t delivered actually into the bloodstream. Well, that`s
a method that`s frequently used here in Arizona. So if it`s not done
So those are the two issues. So, the state`s argument is that if we
tell you everything, then these drugs will increasingly become unavailable
and we won`t be able to carry out executions. And the defense`s argument
is we have a right to know what they are, where they`re coming from. You
shouldn`t be experimenting with people being executed.
MADDOW: Mr. Kiefer, I know that you and the “Arizona Republic”
reported on Arizona effectively illegally importing its lethal injection
drugs from England, as you mentioned in the past.
Is there any reported known truth in Arizona as to where Arizona got
these drugs? I mean, if they`ve illegally brought them from abroad in the
past, is there a suspicion that these drugs may be from a similar source?
Is there anybody in the state who`s willing to talk about even not for
attribution, anybody talking about where the drugs are from? Is there a
reason to be suspicious?
KIEFER: I`m not sure there is really. I think that problem has
stopped, but it goes more to the question of if every manufacturer is
questioned, more and more manufacturers and distributors will be hesitant
to provide these drugs.
The other issue is, are they being made, are they being compounded?
Are they being made from two orders? So, basically, someone – a doctor
writes a prescription to execute someone, but then there are questions as
to what`s the quality control on that?
MADDOW: Michael Kiefer, senior reporter for the “Arizona Republic” -
- thanks for helping us understand this. Happening as an appeals court
ruling, this is potentially a really big deal for this issue. I appreciate
your help. Thank you.
KIEFER: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Coming up next, why angry, chest-beating
protests are turning out to be a lonely experience in lots and lots of
places around the country. A very weird and unexpected story about the
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, Texas Governor Rick Perry is trying to be as potentially
presidential as possible right now. Governor Perry went to Iowa this
weekend, which is the kind of thing that makes no sense at all to the
governor of Texas unless that governor of Texas wants to be president.
So, Governor Perry went to Iowa and decided to proclaim that he was
sending the Texas National Guard to the border. Nobody quite knows what
the Texas National Guard will do on the border. The flow of kids and young
families turning up at the border is reportedly slowing down significantly
already. And when those kids and young families do show up, they by in
large have just been looking for border patrol agents and then
surrendering, turning themselves in.
So, nobody quite knows how armed troops are going to help in that
situation. Are they going to get in the middle of a hug or what? But Rick
Perry wants to be president and so armed troops it is.
In contrast, consider Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts who
honestly probably has a better chance of actually being president some day
than Rick Perry ever does. Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts has
taken rather the opposite approach to Rick Perry when it comes to dealing
with the practicalities of this matter.
Rick Perry is waving his National Guard wand and nobody really knows
why. But tens of thousands of those kids and young families are already
here in this country in federal custody. And the federal government does
have to figure out how and where to hold those folks while they are being
processed before the vast majority of them will get sent home.
And on Friday, Governor Deval Patrick decided that Massachusetts, his
state, would volunteer to find sites in the state where as many as 1,000
kids might find shelter. And that is a notable policy decision for Deval
Patrick and that is a newsworthy contrast with Governor Magic Wand in
But I raise the issue of this also because of this tape, because of
the way that Deval Patrick made his announcement. It was intense, it was
an emotional thing. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I believe that we will one
day have to answer for our actions and our inactions. My faith teaches
that if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat
him, but rather love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of
Egypt. We are admonished to take in the stranger for in as much as you did
it to one of the least of these, Christ tells us, you did it to me.
Every major faith tradition on the planet charges its followers to
treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated. I don`t know what good
there is in faith if we can`t and won`t turn to it in moments of human
REPORTER: There are going to be a lot of critics, obviously, of your
decision here. How do you respond to the criticism that while other
governors who are running for reelection are saying “no” to this, but
you`re running for the election, so therefore you`re a different position?
PATRICK: This isn`t a political decision.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
PATRICK: Maybe – maybe – maybe it`s best to leave it at that.
Thank you, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts announcing that his
state will help, will find safe shelter for kids who are here without their
And Americans who hold the opposite view to that, who think it is a
travesty to shelter those kids, those folks had a plan to make themselves
heard in a massive way this weekend. And if you didn`t hear them making
themselves heard in a massive way this weekend, it`s not your fault, it`s
their fault, it turns out. And that weird story is straight ahead.
Please stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: USA! USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go back home!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God bless America! God bless America!
REPORTER: OK. Here`s the bus. YMCA bus.
Oh, they are tricking us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: YMCA? YMCA? Clear it. YMCA!
REPORTER: There`s a bus, hopefully it`s just –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will, but this is YMCA –
REPORTER: They`re going to freak these kids out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Those Arizona protesters did not intend to freak out
American kids on their way to YMCA summer camp last week. What they were
there to do was to scare undocumented, unaccompanied Central American kids
(AUDIO GAP) is not the face America likes to show to the world or even to
each other, to represent how we think about anybody, let alone immigrants.
It`s not – give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, learning to
breathe free, but not those kids without their parents.
But there have been a rash of these “screw you, you immigrant
children” protests all around the country. And this past Friday and
Saturday, the anti-immigrant groups decided they were going to go large,
they said it was going to be their national days of protest. They called
it make them listen. And they announced that they would hold “make them
listen” massive days of protests in more than 300 locations around the
country. So, Friday and Saturday were the days to make them listen. It
How did it go? The Friday protests were cozy, maybe is the word.
Quite a few of the scheduled demonstrations did occur but mostly could have
been held in a compact sedan or possibly a minivan.
In many cases, demonstrators uploaded pictures of their small
protests standing in intersections or overpasses on the sides of highways
with signs, and just like the Web site had suggested should happen, but
with the exception of the places where they didn`t happen even though they
said they would.
On Friday evening, the “make them listen” folks posted this message
at their Web site. They said, “If you do not see anyone, please start the
protest on your own.” Be the protest you wish to see.
Yes, Friday was a bit of a bust. It didn`t really happen the way
they said it was going to. They put the word out, if you show up and
nobody`s there, start the protest yourself. That was Friday.
How did Saturday`s protests go? Well, hey, that`s not bad, actually.
Oh, no, sorry. That`s not a make them listen anti-immigrant protest,
that`s the gathering in the former president of the DeMoulas Market Basket
supermarket chain outside of Boston.
This is what a supermarket protest looks like. This is what the make
them listen/keep the immigrant kids out protest looked like on Saturday.
Very small. Sad trombone, music for when you do not win on the “Price is
Do we have the sad trombone – we used to have it. Do we still have
Despite the grossly underwhelming energy of the “make them listen”
protest effort, there did emerge a sort of interesting pattern out there in
the more than 300 planned protest sites around the country on Friday and
Saturday. At many of the locations, counter-protests broke out.
These were not national days of action for immigration reform
advocates. People welcoming the kids and families, but in lots of
locations where they plan to have big anti-immigrant rallies, not many
anti-immigrant folks showed up. And what they did get were pro-immigration
reform demonstrators showing up in numbers equal to or greater than the
antis who called the protest in the first place.
And that was pretty much the theme all weekend – lots of anti-
protest locations, just not necessarily lots of anti-immigrant protesters.
So, our country did not rise up and make them listen, whoever it is they
wanted to listen to their anti-immigrant message.
That said, tomorrow`s another day. And the group called the “make
them listen” protests that fizzled on Friday and Saturday, they say they`re
setting up a string of another set of protests two weeks from now. Maybe
they`ll get better crowds. Maybe not.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Mr. O`Donnell.
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