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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/22/13

Guests: Jane Mayer, Michael Moore

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Happy weekend to you. SCHULTZ: You too, my friend. Thanks. MADDOW: Thanks to you at home as well for joining us this hour on a Friday. When, listen, neither the House nor the Senate is in session. All the governors of the country are locked in closed door governor association meetings. The president is talking to the prime minister of Japan without any of us getting to listen in. This is the kind of day that shouldn`t have any news in it at all. But Fridays apparently are the new Mondays, or at least the new day in which there is always a lot going on in the news. So it turns out on a Friday, again, we have a ton to get to in the news. Including a story tonight that we have been covering for months that now looks like it is about to blow wide open into a national story in Michigan. It`s a story about the city of Detroit. That`s coming up. Also, very important piece of the puzzle, in terms of fixing the sequester thing that is due to happen in about a week. That fell into place today. And new documents released today THAT show that something we really, really need to be very, very safe may in fact be very dangerous. New Coast Guard documents revealed on that subject today. And you`ve got Michael Moore here tonight for the interview. That is all ahead. It`s a really big show. But we need to start in Brussels, where today, the war in Afghanistan started to end, or at least where the constituent countries of NATO started the make their commitments today for how much they would commit to that country as our war there starts to end. The headline news out of Brussels today was a very terse statement from the Pentagon spokesman. It was kind of strange. He was essentially clarifying, hey, whatever you heard from the Germans earlier today, that was not true. This is the statement: "The reports that the U.S. told allies that we are considering 8,000 to 12,000 U.S. troops after 2014 are not correct. A range of 8,000 to 12,000 troops was discussed, but it was discussed as the possible size of the overall NATO mission, not the U.S. contribution." Ah, important clarification. So the defense minister from Germany had apparently told reporters that 8,000 to 12,000 troops was how many troops America was going to keep in Afghanistan. Everybody thought that was very big news since that`s not what we heard hear at home at all. Maybe that is how the German guy understood it, but it is apparently not the way that Leon Panetta meant it. That was the headline out of Brussels today. Those troops, that`s NATO combined, that`s not just us. That was the headline. But the other news, of course, was that representing the United States and apparently confusing the Germans in Brussels today was Leon Panetta, the guy who with great fanfare supposedly just stopped being our secretary of defense. I mean, here was Leon Panetta at his farewell ceremony, his big ornate farewell ceremony. This is dated fully two weeks ago. Leon Panetta has already said goodbye. He was supposed to be home at his walnut farm in California by now. In this meeting today in Brussels to plan the end of the Afghanistan war, it was supposed to be the international debut of the guy who is replacing Leon Panetta. It was supposed to be the international debut of America`s new defense secretary, which is why the nomination for defense secretary was probably one of the very first second-determine nominations that President Obama announced. Chuck Hagel ended up not being in Brussels today. He has not become the new defense secretary yet because Republicans in the Senate have filibustered his nomination. A cabinet nomination has never, ever in the history of the United States been filibustered before. But these Republicans in this Congress and our time decided that they would do this unprecedented thing to Chuck Hagel. One of the major items on next week`s news calendar is that the Republicans are expected to finally relent and allow Chuck Hagel to be confirmed. But Jane Mayer published something at the "New Yorker" today that made headlines everywhere today because she turned up the way Republicans have been operating in Washington at the time they have been trying to stop him. To be clear, even with the unprecedented filibuster, everybody knows that Chuck Hagel is going to be confirmed as defense secretary. Democrats have a majority in the Senate. Hagel has the support of every single Democrat in the Senate and he has the support of some Republicans, too. He has the votes. He has a very clear majority of the votes. He is going to be confirmed. He cannot be filibustered forever, and the Republicans are not going to filibuster forever. He is going to be the new defense secretary. So the minority of Republicans who are blocking him, they have had to go to some unusual lengths to justify what it is they are doing with this filibuster thing even though he is going to be confirmed anyway. The weirdness of it may now have actually some explanation. And the kind of stuff they`re doing really has been something that needs an explanation. I mean, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, take them. Their most recent demand from Chuck Hagel, their most recent excuse for why they are participating in blocking Chuck Hagel`s nomination is that somebody who had seen Chuck Hagel give a speech six years ago had later written the blog post about the speech in which he did not quote Chuck Hagel, but he asserted that Chuck Hagel had said awful things in the speech. No quotations of anything Chuck Hagel said. There are certainly no transcripts or recordings of anything that he said. There is no direct attribution of anything that Chuck Hagel said at all. But Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Kelly Ayotte wrote to Chuck Hagel anyway, demanding that he explain whether that blogger was right about him, when that blogger said that he was awful, even though we couldn`t quote. Chuck Hagel amazingly responded to that with words, but the nature of the demand was unusual, right? Especially for two senators who like to maintain themselves as very serious people on the issue of foreign policy. Well, that whole incident followed up the blowup around the "Friends of Hamas" thing. The "Friends of Hamas" thing I can do far less justice that than Comedy Central can. Behold Stephen Colbert. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDY CENTRA: According to conservative news anger gator,, Hagel may have taken money from an organization called "Friends of Hamas". "Friends of Hamas" is even worse than it sounds because this organization is so sinister that it doesn`t even exist. It turns out Hagel`s link with "Friends of Hamas" goes back to "Daily News" reporter Dan Friedman who asked a Republican Senate aide looking for dirt in Hagel`s past if Hagel had given a speech to the junior league of Hezbollah or the "Friends of Hamas", assuming that no one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed. Why wouldn`t you take it seriously? I mean, if there is no junior league of Hezbollah, who puts out the cookbook of bomb recipes? Besides, the fact that these organizations don`t exist only makes it more suspicious that Chuck Hagel has been tied to them. What else is he hiding that hasn`t happened? Is he a member of the al Qaeda kids club? What about the Muslim Brotherhood or the Muslim sisterhood of the traveling pants? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Republican senators have been demanding that Chuck Hagel explain his association with the Muslim sisterhood of the traveling pants, or "Friends of Hamas" or whatever, an association that they made up. They`re demanding that he explain this thing that they made up. They`re also demanding that he respond to things that bloggers said about him that sounded awful. But if you are noticing a trend here in the way Republican senators are justifying taking this unprecedented action against a cabinet nominee, doing something absolutely that has never been done before in American history, if you are noticing a trend in how they are treating him, allow Texas Senator Ted Cruz to crystallize your thinking on this matter. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We do not know, for example, if he received compensation for giving paid speeches at extreme radical groups. It may be that he spoke at radical or extreme groups or anti-Israel groups and accepted financial compensation. We don`t know. It is at minimum relevant to me if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea. I have no evidence to suggest that it is or isn`t -- (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: But it might be Saudi Arabia. It might be North Korea, right? I demand that you prove that this thing I just made up is not true. That has a name, I mean, other than Ted Cruz. What Ted Cruz just did there is a thing that has a name in American politics. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the Civil Liberties Union provide you with an attorney at that time? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have many offers of attorneys and one of them was the American Civil Liberties Union, yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the question is did the Civil Liberties Union supply you with an attorney? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did supply an attorney. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The answer is yes? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The answer is yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know the Civil Liberties Union has been listed for a front for doing work for the communist party. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was footage for "Good Night and Good Luck", the George Clooney movie that came out in 2005. And the footage you can see playing there, along with the actors, the footage playing in the background of what is supposed to be the CBS newsroom there along with Edward R. Murrow looking on, the footage of is Joe McCarthy, senator from Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. And Joe McCarthy is famous for stuff like this. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) FORMER SEN. JOSEPH MCCARTHY (R), WISCONSIN: There are the millions of loyal Americans who have voted the Democrat ticket, individuals who are just as loyal, who hate communism just as much and love America just as much as the average Republican. That`s one group. On the other hand, there is that small closely-knit group of administration Democrats who are now the complete prisoners and under the complete domination of the bureaucratic communistic Frankenstein which they themselves have created. Ladies and gentlemen, they shouldn`t be called that administration Democrat party. To call them Democrats is an insult to the millions of loyal American Democrats. They shouldn`t be called Democrats. They should be referred to properly as the commie-crat party. (APPLAUSE) (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: The commie-crats. That was Joe McCarthy speaking at a campaign rally in Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1950. The most famous tactic from McCarthy wasn`t just name-calling, it was making oddly specific allegations for which he never produced evidence. But he nevertheless demanded that people respond to these allegations because his allegations were so specific that they seemed very true, right? And anybody so accused must explain themselves against his secret -- but again, oddly specific damning evidence. He famously told a crowd in Wheeling, West Virginia in February of 1950, quote, "I have here in my hand a list of 205, a list of names that were made known to the secretary of state as being members of the communist party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department -- 205 names on his history. So it must be true, right? It`s not just a round number he made up, roughly 200 names. It`s 205 names. That list must have come from somewhere. There must be some basis for this allegation that he is making. It can`t just possibly be made up for political effect, right? There is a reason that Joe McCarthy`s name became something other than just a proper name identifying him as a person there is a reason we use the term McCarthyism to describe this as a political tactic. There is are reason people have long been making movies about the danger of this kind of thing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is just one thing, babe. I`d be a lot happier if we could just settle on the number of communist is know there are in the Defense Department. I mean, the way you keep changing the figures on me all the time, it makes me look like some kind of a nut, like an idiot. The boys are even starting to kid me about it. Why just yesterday in the cloakroom they said hey, Johnny -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you`re going to look like an even bigger idiot if you don`t get in there and do exactly what you`re told. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Babe -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are they writing about all over this country and what are they saying? Are they saying are there any communists in the Defense Department? Of course not. They`re saying how many communists are there in the Defense Department. So just stop talking like an expert all of the sudden and get out there and say what you`re supposed to say. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, babe -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m sorry, hon. Would it really make it easier for you if we just settled on one number? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Just one real simple number. That would be easy for me to remember. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are exactly 57 card-carrying members of the communist party in the Department of Defense at this time. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Heinz 57, easy to remember, right? Or maybe it was 205 in the State Department. And Chuck Hagel that $200,000 you received from the government of North Korea? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: It is at minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: McCarthyism isn`t just a generic term for boorish behavior, for boorish right-wing behavior even. McCarthyism is a particular thing. It is making outlandish, scandalous allegations against people and distracting from the fact that you have no evidence to back up the allegations, but making the allegations really specific, which makes it seem like they must be coming from some factual basis, when in fact you are just making it up. After making the allegation publicly in a big showboaty way, you demand that the person who you have made this allegation clear his name. Just look at the scandal surrounding you. You better disprove these allegations, or at least try to. In Ted Cruz`s home state of Texas a couple of years ago, the Texas State Board of Education made an attempt to rewrite the state`s public school textbooks to be more ideologically in keeping with how they think. One of the pieces of history that the conservatives in the Texas Board of Education tried to revise was the legacy of one Senator Joe McCarthy. A board member named Don McElroy, who was leading the charge to have Texas textbooks declare evolution to be hooey, he also cheerfully told the "Washington Monthly" in 2010 that Joe McCarthy should be portray in order positively in American history. He wrote a memo on the Texas textbook project saying, quote, "Read the latest on McCarthy. He was basically vindicated." There is a whole swath of the American right that has decided that McCarthyism should no longer be seen as a bad thing. And that may be why the whole "Friends of Hamas" allegation and the answer what this blogger said about you six years ago argument and the Ted Cruz how do we know you didn`t get $200,000 from North Korea allegation might not seem that crazy to the conservatives who are making those arguments, conservative members of Congress who are used to speaking to conservative audiences. And in conservative circles, McCarthy doesn`t necessarily seem like such a bad guy. They don`t get that the rest of this country can see this resemblance, or more to the point, they don`t see it as a bad thing. Jane Mayer at the "New Yorker" today posted some reporting based on her notes from an Americans for Prosperity event that took place two years ago in Texas. At that event, a not-yet-senator Ted Cruz told the crowd that President Obama was the most radical president to ever occupy the Oval Office. Quoting from Jane Mayer`s piece today, Ted Cruz, quote, "then went on to assert that President Obama would attend Harvard Law School four years ahead of him, would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law School. The reason is because there were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there, than there were communists. There was one Republican, but there were 12 who would say they were Marxists, who believed in the communists overthrowing the United States government." Twelve exactly. You sure it was exactly 12, sir? Twelve implies that counted and it wasn`t 11 and it wasn`t 13, it was 12. Spokesman for Harvard Law School gave this comment, "We are puzzled by the senator`s assertions as we are unaware of any basis for them." Harvard Professor Charles Fried, who is a Republican, who served as Ronald Reagan`s solicitor general, also told Jane Mayer today, quote, "I have not taken a poll, but I would be surprised if there were any members of the faculty who believed in the communists overthrowing the U.S. government." Still, though, it sounds good, particularly when you use that really specific number. I mean, those commies can deny it, but clearly, he`s got the fact. He`s got a list of 12. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: I would be very interested to know, and I think the American people would be very interested to know whether a nominee for secretary of defense has received substantial funds directly or indirectly from foreign nations. I don`t know if Mr. Hagel has received funds directly or indirectly from foreign sources, from extreme sources. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I don`t know, but I demand that he explain anyway. Jane Mayer, the staff writer for the "New Yorker" magazine wrote today that the same senator that you just saw there, Ted Cruz also a couple of years ago identified 12 law professors at Harvard Law School, 12 exactly, who were Marxists, who advocated a communist overthrow of the U.S. government. Is this proper context for understanding what`s going on with Ted Cruz and the Chuck Hagel nomination in the Senate, indeed for the entire nomination of Chuck Hagel and the entire Senate? Jane Mayer, thanks very much for joining us tonight. It`s nice to have you here. JANE MAYER, THE NEW YORKER: Glad to be with you. MADDOW: What was the reaction in Texas that the event that you attended that you reported on today when Ted Cruz made the allegation about the communist law professors wanting to overthrow the government? MAYER: Well, the thing you have to know about Ted Cruz is he is a terrific speaker. And he is a really powerful orator. And he had the audience up on their feet and cheering by the end of that speech. It ended with a quote from -- a letter from the Alamo where he was quoting saying "victory or death", and "We are going to win." And they were all up and cheering. So I think, you know, it was a speech that was throwing red meat to his crowd, and they loved it, absolutely. MADDOW: Is this one of those moments where it is sort of right-wing world and the rest of the world where it seems obviously McCarthyist and therefore problematic, just doesn`t register that way in front of a more conservative audience, or does it register as something that Joe McCarthy might say, but that`s not seen as a bad thing? MAYER: Well, I do think it`s an interesting question about whether the things that he has been saying in Texas that go over really well there are playing as well in the U.S. Senate. Because in a way, I think that what is acceptable in Texas may be beyond the pale of what is acceptable inside Congress, even though some people think the standards aren`t all that high in Congress. But he was chastised by some -- in his own party for going after Hagel with the sort of insinuation and innuendo about taking money from North Korea without any facts to substantiate it. And so, both Senator John McCain and Lindsey graham, Republicans who are, you know, you would think would be -- who were also raising questions about Hagel, turned on him at some point and basically said that he had gone beyond the pale. So I think you`re right in wondering if there are some parts of this country where what`s allowable is a different standard. I have to say I think you got it so right when you described what characterizes this kind of speech, though. When I was there, what so struck me was the specificity, the weird specificity of 12 professors on the Harvard law faculty who are communist and want to see the overthrow of the U.S. government -- it seemed so on the face of it improbable to me, knowing Harvard Law School, which is basically turning out the men and women who are the pillars of the United States legal establishment, including many members of the United States Supreme Court. And so -- but it was that specificity that makes it sound like there must be something in it here. And -- but he never did name who they were. So when I wanted to follow up on this after there had been sort of allegations that, you know, some critics began to say doesn`t he sound a little like Joe McCarthy, gosh, I remember when he actually was accusing people of being communists and disloyal, trying to overturn the U.S. government, because I heard him say that. So I went back to my notes, and I sent a note to his spokeswoman and said can you name me, can you tell me who these communists are on the faculty at Harvard Law School? And I never heard back from them. But then I did call Harvard Law School, and I spoke with one of his professors who is a well-known Republican there, who worked in the Reagan administration, and asked him if he thought there was any truth in it. And he said, you know, kind of in sorrow that he felt that Ted Cruz, who had been one of a very good student of his, was really inaccurate in this, and that among other things, there was more than one Republican. Charles Fried was not the only Republican. He thought there was at least four others when he was on the faculty when Ted Cruz was in law school there and he doubted that there were any members of the faculty who were communists who wanted to see the communist overthrow of the United States government. I mean, among other things, there is something called the Smith Act that makes it illegal to belong to an organization that actively trying to overthrow the U.S. government. MADDOW: So it would be kind of a big deal at Harvard. We probably would have heard about it before that speech in Texas. MAYER: It would be a big deal, yeah, it would be. And so, anyway, I thought that given the closer look that is being taken at Ted Cruz, it was the right time to share what I remembered of him. MADDOW: Well, that he would not answer your follow-up question, or at least hasn`t answered yet about who the 12 are probably means that I won`t be able to get an answer out of him on that subject either, but we will also follow up to see if he really does have a list, because boy, that really would be a story. Jane Mayer, staff writer for the "New York" magazine -- thanks so much for joining us tonight. It`s always really great to have you here. Thank you. MAYER: Thanks a lot. MADDOW: Thanks. All right. One man I would love to see grill Joseph McCarthy is Michael Moore. The Academy Award-winning director is going to be joining us for the interview in just a minute. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: We`re going to play where`s Waldo on the show tonight. It`s a special where`s Waldo propaganda edition. We`ve got Michael Moore here for the interview. Lots ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: On November 26th, a Shell oil rig pulled into port in Seward, Alaska. The rig had just finished doing some drilling in the Arctic when Coast Guard officials boarded the rig for a routine inspection. That routine inspection quickly turned into oh my goodness, there is a problem. Shell, you are not allowed to leave this port until you fix all of these violations that we just found. What the Coast Guard found that day in Seward, Alaska, was apparently so troubling on board that rig that they reportedly call in criminal investigators to see if these aren`t just regulations being broken, these were laws that were potentially being broken. But, quote, "when criminal investigators arrived, they found that the Noble Discover`s crew had been provided with lawyers, and that they were declining to be interviewed." Before the Coast Guard even got on board that day, that drilling rig had already had a really eventful year in a bad way. It came lose from its anchor in the Aleutian Islands back in July. It nearly ran aground. Four months after that, it had an explosion and a fire while it was sitting in port. This thing has had kind of a bad year. But now is the part where I tell you that that thing is the good news oil rig for Shell this year. Last year, the government gave permanents to Shell to start doing some preliminary drilling in the Arctic, and shell sent these two rigs up there to do it. And this one, with the crew that got lawyered up so they didn`t have to talk to criminal investigators about the violations found on the ship, that was one of them. This was the other one. This one you can see here grounded off the coast of Alaska last month. As we reported back then, it lost power, it went adrift. It eventually crashed into an island. The rig finally did get towed off of that island, and Shell is now making preparations to drag it away, maybe to Asia for repairs. But if it makes that journey, it will join its sister ship, this other one, which is also on its way to Asia. This is the one where the crew had to get lawyers to avoid talking to the coast guard about all the safety violations. These are the two ships that Shell sent up there after they got those coveted permits. When the Coast Guard originally boarded that rig back in November, they found 16 safety violations. Well, today, thanks to Congressman Ed Markey`s office, we got the details of those 16 violations. And it`s not a good list. Violation number four, main engine piston cooling water is contaminated with sludge and oil. Crew skims the oil off with a ladle and bucket during rounds. Yes, that sort of ladle. Yes, that sort of bucket. We called Cob Cavnar today who has been a guest a number of our times. We wanted to get his take on the violation. He told us that actually the most serious weren`t the ladle and bucket thing, but the ones related to things like self-closing doors in the area where the crew sleeps that the Coast Guard discovered did not actually self-close. It`s automatic systems like that that become really important in case you have a fire on board. The Deepwater Horizon rig, for instance, did not have a properly functioning automatic shutdown system which allowed flammable gas to spread throughout the rig which contributed to the disaster. We reached out to Shell tonight to get the response to the list of violations being made public. They were not immediately available for comment. But this is it in terms of being able to drill in the Arctic, supposedly. Shell is supposed to be the gold standard in terms of this type of work for that entire industry. But this is the fate of the two rigs that Shell has tried to make drill in the Arctic. One of them gets beached. One of them gets lawyers. If the new secretary of the interior gets confirmed, one of the first things that she is going to have to deal with once she is in office, it will be the 60-day review of Arctic drilling that the Interior Department started last months as a result of Shell`s litany of accidents up there. It`s essentially a review of whether or not the oil industry knows how to do this sort of things safely. That decision should be coming soon. But before that happens, something else big is set to happen in this industry. Next week is sort of a busy week in Washington. The House and Senate are back in session. We`re going to have the nominations of Chuck Hagel and John Brennan acted on, we think. But it`s also going to be a big week for the aforementioned most profitable industry on the planet. If you personally took a boat out into federal waters off the U.S. coast and you dumped a barrel of oil into the water, there is a specific dollar amount that that would cost you for polluting the ocean like that. Clean Water Act says if you demonstrated basic ordinary negligence when you dumped your barrel of oil into the ocean, that barrel would cost you $1,100 is your pollution fine. If your actions were worse, if they were more reckless than just ordinary negligence, then the fine goes up. The Clean Water Act allows you to be fined up to $4,300 for dumping that one barrel of oil in the ocean. Well, in the case of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf two and a half years ago, the biggest accidental offshore oil spill in history, in that case, BP is looking at that kind of per barrel fine for each of the roughly 4 million barrels of oil they spilled. If their actions were found to be reckless, that means BP would be looking at having to pay close to an $18 billion fine just to the federal government, just for the oil that they spilled, just under the Clean Water Act. And the people suing BP here are not just the federal government, but state and local governments from five different states and more than 130,000 other private claimants. What starts on Monday is slated to be one of the biggest trials ever in terms of what is at stake financially and in terms of how many people are involved. Things like this, cases like this that are this big almost never go the trial. They always get settled out of court. But this one appears to be heading to trial before a judge starting on Monday. Dang. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: We have reported on this show about Michigan a lot, specifically, about stuff that Republicans are doing in Michigan that nobody else is even trying to get away with anywhere else in the country. In what is one of the most radical things being done by Republicans in any state government, Michigan Republicans have been abolishing democracy at the local level, overriding local election results to get rid of your locally elected officials, and instead having your town run by fiat without voting by an emergency manager installed by the government. The emergency manager can fire everyone you elected to represent you, can abolish contracts, can sell off, or give away your town`s property. He or she can even abolish your town on his or her own say-so without getting a vote. Protest all you want, go ahead get mad, you are not living in a democracy anymore, not at the local level. There used to be a normal emergency manager law in Michigan, but Michigan Republicans under Governor Rick Snyder fed it steroids and turned it into something that no Republicans anywhere else in the country have even tried to get away with. The premise of the emergency manager law is that democracy is part of the problem. In order to fix a city or a school district, you first have to take away people`s ability to vote for what they want and who they want representing them. The democracy thing is a problem, and it needs to be got around in order to fix things. So say Republicans in Michigan. Michigan voters, however, disagree. Michigan voters collected enough signatures to force a referendum on Rick Snyder`s law. In November, they repealed it by a big margin. Fifty-two days later, Rick Snyder just signed a new one. Republicans in the state legislature passed it. Rick Snyder signed it, and this time they did it in a way that can probably not be repealed -- because neener, neener, will of the people, schwill of the people. This is what Michigan is like now. There`s news this week out of Michigan`s largest city, Detroit. A special review team from the governor, Rick Snyder, his administration reported this week that they consider Detroit to be an emergency state. And thanks to that emergency manager law that Rick Snyder signed after people repealed the old one, this emergency declaration means the Governor gets to decide now whether or not to overrule local democracy in Detroit. He gets to decide whether he`ll install somebody to run the city without all that interference from that pesky voting stuff. One local Democratic activist in Michigan, Chris Savage, started charting the effect of this emergency manager law in his state, started looking at the places that had their democracy taken away from them at the local level. Chris Savage started charting it at his Web site, at Ecletablog where he noted that if you consider the African-American population of Michigan and you consider the racial makeup of the towns where Michigan state government has decided to take away local democracy, all of these towns, the relatively small ones like Benton Harbor on Lake Michigan or Allen Park, Ecorse, down river from Detroit, add in Pontiac where they used to make Pontiacs, add in Flint which lost thousands of jobs in the G.M. plant. And now, finally, potentially add in Detroit itself, since they`re considering taking over Detroit, you add all those places up and what you get is a Michigan that is on the verge of eliminating local democracy for almost half of the black people who live in that state. For almost half the African-Americans who live in the realm of Rick Snyder. Quoting Chris Savage, if Detroit gets an emergency manager, 49 percent of the African-American in Michigan will live in cities where their elected officials have been replaced by a single state-appointed ruler. You can not say that Michigan Republicans meant to do this. You can`t say they intended to render the votes of half the state`s African-Americans meaningless, but with this decision pending in Detroit, that is what they are now on the road to doing. People ask me why I am obsessed with Michigan Republicans. This is why I am obsessed with Michigan Republicans. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. Happy Friday. Let`s play where`s Waldo. Except our Waldo in this case is this guy, the one that we have circled. This is a TV news report from the site of an explosion in Syria yesterday. And the guy in the baseball hat is saying essentially, we the Syrian people, we blame the foreign fighters. We support the government. Now, this one is last July, same one without the hat, right? In an amazing coincidence, twice now, a camera crew from state-run television ran into the same guy, the same average Joe, who wanted to say on camera that he supports the government and the people support the government and they all hate the horrible, horrible rebels. And look, a second report from the same day, same dude, same outfit, still just a man on the street who has nice things to say about the government. Here he is again. He is a man in the crowd except the man on the street that the Syrian TV just happened to find. Just happened to find him again, here he is, our Waldo, just I unavoidable for comment apparently, yes, there he is again, you see? The numbers you see there at the top, people from Syria started to notice the man turning up in all the reports, as the go-to man on the street who will praise the government, or look on approvingly when others praise the government and they started circulating essentially greatest hits videos to inoculate people against him being maintained as a man on the street in this kind of propaganda. That man on the street`s name is not really Waldo, but he`s not really the man on the street, either. The supposed media that used that guy as the man on the street are actually showing propaganda arranged by the government. That`s happening right now in the war in Syria. The lead blog at "The New York Times" today pulled together that footage, which the Syrian activists have been crowing about on Twitter and social media for a while now. But that phenomenon of the government cooking something up to look like news that isn`t really news, that is not specific to wartime, and it`s not specific to that country, a lot of that countries do that. In 2005, then President George W. Bush said it was wrong, he didn`t know about it when his administration was found to be paying tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to columnists to write nice things about George W. Bush`s policies, when they were being paid to do so. Look, it`s just man on the street who loves the government. Look, it`s a syndicated columnist who loves No Child Left Behind or the healthy marriage initiative, or whatever they were being paid to shill for. Where it got really creepy was around the Bush administration`s wars. The State Department under George W. Bush producing video segments design for local news reports of Iraqi Americans saying, thank you, Bush, thank you, USA. State Department produced, quote, "news segments" about coalition liberators making everything awesome in southern Iraq. This report on how great everything was going for women in Afghanistan, thanks to the leadership of George W. Bush, this ran as news as if their own reporters reported it, on the one year anniversary of 9/11, on the FOX affiliate in Memphis, Tennessee, even though it was made by the State Department. It was about two and a half years after that, after President Bush had already been reelected in fact that the media at large started to figure out and report the fact that the Bush administration had been doing this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: If the White House is struggling with a public relations in the Middle East, here at home, some are perfecting the craft of public relations disguised as news, and it`s getting a lot of air time. Here with that, NBC`s Andrea Mitchell. ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Available on the web, to TV stations across the country, upbeat reports on Iraq. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A letter made the transportation of drinking water awkward and difficult. That changed with the liberation of Iraq. MITCHELL: With positive interviews. And this. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iraqis are buying political and religious books, once banned under the regime of Saddam Hussein. MITCHELL: And there is this report, shot in Michigan`s Arab-American community. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They seemed to revel in the collapse of Saddam`s regime, as much as they did in Baghdad. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Ten years ago, being against what the Bush administration was doing was being against more than the Bush administration, particularly the Iraq war, which they sold to us with a full court press 10 years ago today. Being against the whole Democratic Party, a whole chunk of the Democratic Party, the bulk of the so-called adults in Washington, almost the whole foreign policy establishment and most of the media -- not all of which was running propaganda, State Department-produced, fake news reports as if they were real news. But some of the media was, but enough of the country was taken in by what the Bush administration was selling that being openly against them, openly against the war 10 years ago today, that was a very hard place to be. And 10 years ago, at this time on Oscar`s weekend, the Oscar ceremony in 2003 took place four days after we invaded Iraq. The Iraq war was four days old on Oscar night, and the Academy Award that year for best documentary was given to "Bowling for Columbine," Michael Moore`s documentary about violence. And Michael Moore went to the stage and he asked all the other filmmakers from all the other documentaries that were nominated to go -- that were nominated, up and stand there with him on the stage. And Michael Moore, with the Iraq war four days old said to the academy awards audience and to the national audience with millions watching, to a chorus of booing, Michael Moore stood up there and said at the Oscars, "I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, they are on stage because we like nonfiction. We live nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame on you. And any time you have the pope against you, and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you very much." The crowd was booing, but maybe some people were cheering, but they were booing really darn loudly. And at the Academy Awards, they brought up the music loudly to try to drown him out. He finished up loud as heck. It was a really big deal at a time when that was really, really hard to do. And that was 10 years ago at the Academy Awards. Joining us now for the interview is Oscar-winning filmmaker, Michael Moore. Mr. Moore, thank you very much for being here. It`s great to have you her. MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER, DOCUMENTARIAN (via telephone): Rachel, thanks for having me on. MADDOW: Take us back 10 years. You`re standing on that stage at the Oscars, you`re denouncing the war in Iraq. The boos are raining down on you. They`re playing you off the stage. When you look back at that, how did you see it now? MOORE: Well, it was a little scary at the moment, waiting in the wings for me were security. They`re having to form a ring around me because there were some really angry stage hands that wanted to beat me up. They sort of wisp me away and got me out of there. And within the next few hours, the death threats began and continued for the next couple of years. So at the beginning it wasn`t -- you know, it was not very good. But you know, now, these days, I mean people remember the speech and you know, they thank me for it and they remember watching it, and all of that. But you know, I mean, I just o-- it was the fourth day of the war. I didn`t know whether there were weapons of mass destruction or not. I just took a wild guess, sort of just my basic instinct that these people are essentially liars. And I`m not going to believe them. MADDOW: Was it a hard decision for you to make to do it? Did you know you would get that kind of hostile reaction that you got in the immediate moment? MOORE: No, I didn`t -- because especially -- when I`m looking at the main floor, all the nominees. The actors, Martin Scorsese and Meryl Streep, they`re all applauding. I don`t see. Nobody is booing me. But the boos are all coming from the balconies, where the sponsors and advertisers and executives were all sitting. So, it got pretty loud, they were afraid a riot would break out, or whatever. But, you know, look, what you said in your set-up is true. All of us will at some point probably come to a place in our lives where we`re faced with a moment where are you going to follow your conscience or not? And I knew it was not going to be popular. I knew what the polls said that day, that 70 percent of the American public was against the war. You had "The New York Times" pushing the war. You had the editor of "New Yorker" endorsing the war. The 29 Democrats in the Senate. Even Al Franken, my good friend, all supported the war. So I really was out on a limb, those that were there with me knew what it felt like. It was not good. And I think -- what I`ve been thinking this week about this is that the lesson from this, when the attempt to do this again, whether it`s with Iran or whatever, just anybody who is listening to this. Just, you know, don`t be afraid. If you think you`re right, and you are following your conscience and you know you`re right, stand up and say it. And yes, you`re going to be alone for a while, but eventually truth will come out. It will come out. And you`ll be remembered for being on the right side. It is just that hard place at the beginning. And so, if they attempt to do that with Iran, that`s my position from now on always is, that whatever they`re telling me I`m just going to assume it`s not true. And they have to prove it to me, as opposed to the other way around, where the press was oh, yes, whatever they say is true. Well, maybe some of us will find out some of it is not true later. Well, we have lost too many lives as a result of how the media handled that. MADDOW: That`s called healthy skepticism and that the thing -- the size of the things they are trying to sell is directly in response to the size of the skepticism that should be considered healthy. MOORE: Exactly. MADDOW: Michael Moore, thank you for what you did 10 years ago, I know it was had and I know you took a real hit for a long time for doing it. And congratulations on everything since then. Thanks for being here tonight. MOORE: Thank you, Rachel, and thank you for your documentary this week. God bless you. MADDOW: God bless you back, man. Thank you. All right. That does it for us tonight. Thank you for being with us on a Friday night. Now it is time for "THE LAST WORD." Have a great weekend. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END