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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/07/14

Guests: Wayne Slater, Clay Jenkins

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks a lot, man. CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. OK. The largest privately held corporation in the United States is called Cargill. Cargill makes all sorts of food. They make palm oil. They have a really big coco plantation. I think a few of them around the world. Every single egg that gets eaten in a McDonald`s restaurant in the United States of America goes through a Cargill facility at one point or another in its life span. Cargill is a massive company that`s got their hands in everything, including lots of everyday products that people use all the time. But you cannot buy stock in Cargill. They are private. They are a family-owned company. And despite how huge that company is, and how ubiquitous their products are, neither the Cargill Company nor the family who owns them, are particularly famous in either a good way or in a bad way. They are pretty low profile, right? The splashiest extracurricular thing about the family that owns Cargill is that they`ve made Cargill the t-shirt sponsor for a minor league soccer team in Britain. That`s pretty much it. This is the team. This is their logo. It`s got a cute fuzzy little cow on it. It`s I -- I don`t know if they say it Hereford there? Hereford, I don`t know, I`m sorry. I`m not great with cows. But Cargill advertises on their shirts. At least they used to. And that`s pretty much it. They do not have a very high public profile for the largest privately held corporation in United States of America. Contrast that with the family that owns the second largest privately held company in America, that would be the Koch family and Koch Industries. Koch Industries made Charles and David Koch two of the wealthiest men in the world when they inherited the oil and chemical company that bears the family name. They inherited the company from their father who was named Fred Koch. That`s how -- that`s how the Koch brothers got so rich. They inherited that company from their dad. And by sheer coincidence they decided, they found, that the best qualified person in the whole world to run Koch Industries fertilizer, the best person in the whole world to run that huge division of their dad`s huge company, happens to be one of their own sons. Imagine the coincidence. He`s the best qualified man in the world to do this job, and he`s right there in the family. His name is Chase Koch. Chase, who is carrying on the Koch family tradition of dad mysteriously deciding that you are the most qualified man for the job. And you happen to have the same last name. It`s crazy, right? In September of last year, that young man who got the job from dad, Chase Koch, he was struck with a sudden desire to give this man a lot of money. This man is the attorney general of the state of Texas. OK. This is the Koch Industries fertilizer plant that`s in Sweetwater, Texas. This plant reportedly now handles a large amount of nitrogen-based fertilizer, but state records show that it fairly recently had stored more than 10,000 pounds of a fertilizer that`s called ammonium nitrate. And even if you know as much about fertilizer as I know about cows, even if you know nothing about fertilizer, you probably know the name ammonium nitrate because of this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (EXPLOSION) (EXPLETIVE DELETED) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God Almighty. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Oh, my Lord. Get in the truck. Get in the truck. Oh, my Lord. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That explosion was about 200 miles east of the Koch Industries fertilizer plant in Sweetwater, Texas. Those images were taken and these images were taken last April in the town of West, Texas, which is just south of Dallas. The aftermath of the massive ammonium nitrate explosion at the fertilizer plant in that town in West, Texas, left a 90-foot wide crater as if a daisy cutter bomb had been left on the town. Fifteen people were killed, more than 200 people were injured. A whole portion of the town basically was just vaporized. Hundreds of buildings destroyed or damaged. Given the size of the blast in that town of West, Texas, it is a miracle there were not more than 15 people killed. Look at the structures where that were destroyed. I mean, the buildings heavily damaged or totally destroyed by that blast included, oh, an apartment building, a nursing home, three schools. After that explosion happened, after the immediate needs for rescue and recovery in that town, it was just stunning to look back at what had been there. To look at the aerial views of that small town and realize that both the town middle school and the town high school essentially abutted -- they backed right up on to this plant. You see the fertilizer facility there in the center? It`s got a lot of white roads in the middle there. Look at the middle school backs right on to it, and West High School backs right on to the back lot of it. They abut. They back on to this plant that was storing 30, 40, 50, 60 tons of highly explosive material. Two months before that explosion in West, Texas, officials at the middle school, that middle school that backs right up on to the plant noticed that somebody had the bright idea to do a big brush pile burn -- to burn a big pile of cut brush right next to the fertilizer plant and, therefore, right next to the middle school. It was sort of a controlled burn in the sense that it wasn`t a wildfire. It had been set on purpose. But it was a brush fire next to all that explosive fertilizer packed into that plant, while school was in session right next door. And so, the school, when they saw that controlled burn, they made the decision to evacuate. To get all the kids away in case that fertilizer plant went up. So, we know folks in town knew the fertilizer plant was there. They knew at least some of the dangers of having a plant like that there with all that explosive fertilizer stored there. We know that because of that evacuation in February where thank God, the plant did not go off like a bomb that day. But it did go off like a bomb two months later. And when it did, for anybody nearby, it really was like the freaking end of the world. The reason that that plant full of explosives was in the middle of all those schools and the nursing home and the apartment building was all packed right around it is because there were literally no zoning laws there at all. So, the only rule about where you could put your house your or business of any kind is whether or not you (a), owned the property, and (b) could fit it in there. No zoning rules at all in terms of what can be right next to each other. Also, there`s no statewide fire code in Texas at all. I mean, it`s not like they have a statewide fire code and the Texas one is lax and lets you get away with a lot you can`t get away with other places. No, I mean, there is no state fire code at all in Texas. And beyond that, Texas state law bans local communities from establishing their own fire codes at the municipal or county level. So, it is literally illegal in the state of Texas to require fire alarms, fire exits, sprinklers, anything like that. And at this fertilizer plant in West, Texas, the explosive fertilizer was stored in wooden bins, in a mostly wooden building. There was no alarm system of any kind. There was no firewall system of any kind. There were no sprinklers. And that would be amazing even if we didn`t know that people also occasionally started brush fires out back for fun. Since what happened in West, there`s been a review by the chemical safety board which is a federal agency that reviews these things in the same way that the NTSB is the federal agency that reviews plane crashes after they happen. The chemical safety board -- they did a review of what happened in west and, you know, can`t require anybody to do anything, but they can diagnose what went wrong and they can make recommendations. And when they look at what happened in west, they say, yes, that was very preventable. The state fire marshal in Texas also doesn`t have legal authority to require anybody to do anything. Remember, this is the state with no fire codes. But the fire marshal for the state ever since West happened, he`s been traveling all over the state saying we really ought to change the way we handle this stuff even though you won`t give me the authority to require it. The local press has been in on the issue as well. The ABC station in Dallas, which is called WFAA, they`ve recovered a place in East Texas which they have identified as basically another one of these things waiting to happen. Like the fertilizer plant in the town of West, this is mostly wooden structure, at least a partially wooden structure. One that`s even closer to the center of town that it`s in. So, basically, directly adjacent to the town`s center, the main town`s center, town square in Athens, Texas. And even though the facility is a little bit ramshackle, it`s reportedly been broken into multiple times. It isn`t in great repair. It has no apparent safety measures in place like sprinklers or the rest of that stuff, they do store tons, tens of tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer there, the same stuff that blew up in West. In fact, 5 1/2 weeks ago on May 29th, that was the Thursday after Memorial Day, this facility in Athens, Texas, they got a delivery of 70 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. That`s significantly more than the amount of ammonium nitrate fertilizer that blew up the whole town of West, Texas. They got 70 tons delivered just hours before a fire broke out at that same plant. And with the fire burning, and with at least 70 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in that partially wooden building with no sprinklers, no firewall, no alarm system, the local fire apartment evacuated most of the town. And amazingly, that plant full of explosive fertilizer did not blow up despite the fire. Amazingly. This is the editorial that the "Dallas Morning News" ran about it, about how the town dodged a bullet with that fire at the fertilizer plant. It`s actually the second time that that town has dodged a bullet at that facility. This past November, a restaurant across the street from that facility also caught fire. That restaurant fire burned completely out of control. The building was a total loss. The restaurant burned to the ground. Across the street from the facility holding the tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, but miraculously, the plant holding tons and tons and tons of explosives just across the street, that partially wooden building, decrepit building, it didn`t blow up then, either. It seems like it`s kind of an unlucky little corner or maybe it`s the luckiest corner on earth. And because it is maybe the luckiest place on earth, perhaps that is the plan in Texas. They`re just going to continue to hope that providence smiles on the great state of Texas when it comes to not blowing parts of it up all the time, because even though the town of West blew up last spring, and in at least one other Texas town with a very similar facility, they have dodged at least two bullets now since then in terms of that happening again. Texas, in its infinite wisdom, has changed precisely nothing since the West, Texas, apocalypse in terms of how that state deals with its rules or regulations or its laws about how to keep this from happening again. They have changed nothing. Actually, I should not say that. It`s not true. They did change one thing. Texas state government is totally controlled by Republicans, right? The Republicans in Texas state government did decide they would change one thing in the wake of what happened at West, Texas. Back to our friend, Chase Koch. "The Dallas Morning News" reports that in May of this year, a few months after Chase Koch, the head of fertilizer for Koch Industries, a few months after Chase Koch discovered his newfound love and affection for Greg Abbott, to whom he`d never given money before. A few times after Chase Koch`s first time ever $25,000 donation to Greg Abbott and $50,000 at least from other Koch entities, including Chase Koch`s dad, Charles, according to the "Dallas Morning News", a few months after that money came in and the brothers flew Greg Abbott out to one of their "meet the candidate" retreats with lots of other donors, Greg Abbott did decide that he was going to change one thing in Texas about storing dangerous chemicals there, specifically about storing chemicals like ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which almost wiped one Texas town off the map. He did decide he was going to change one thing. He decided the public would no longer be allowed to know where large quantities of explosive chemicals were stored in Texas. That`s the change. For decades, companies storing significant quantities of potentially hazardous material like, say, explosive fertilizer, they would have to report that to the state, and the state then maintained a database of that information. They`d make that information available to anybody who asked. So the news media, regular citizens, somebody thinking about moving to the neighborhood, anybody, the public had a right to know that information for decades. The state maintained and provided that information. But not anymore. In May, Greg Abbott, as attorney general of the state of Texas, he issued the one change in law or policy that has happened in Texas since the explosion in West. He said that state agencies, henceforth, quote, "must withhold this information from the public." Quote, "Upon review, we find the submitted information about chemical storage in Texas is now confidential." It wasn`t before, but now it`s confidential. Attorney General Greg Abbott issuing that legally binding opinion in May. He did so rather quietly. The press in Texas, however, noticed, and last week, Greg Abbott was asked how on earth this made sense. Why should the state now start keeping secret from the people in Texas this information that people used to be able to get? Why should this now be secret? Now that we`ve had this great disaster and everybody`s worried about it. Why can`t we know now? We used to be able to know. This was Greg Abbott`s response. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: You know where they are if you drive around. Let`s bear this down. If you`re living in West, Texas, you know that there`s some facility there and you have the right to ask the people in West, Texas, hey, what chemicals do you have in there? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Just drive around. Just drive around. If you see something near your kids` school or near your house that looks chemically, just drive over there and regulate it yourself. The official advice from Republican-controlled Texas state government to the citizens of that state is that Texas residents should go door to door in their communities trying to surmise whether or not there might be any dangerous chemicals stored in any facilities nearby. Then, they should ask those proprietors of those facilities to tell them about the danger. This is from the "Texas Tribune," which is one of the outlets that was there when Greg Abbott was explaining that people should go door to door to facilities in their area to find out what chemicals are there. Quote, "When asked if citizens had the right to go on to company`s private property to ask for that information, Attorney General Abbott initially said absolutely. Abbott corrected himself seconds later. `Just to make clear, you may not be able to walk on private property,` he said, `but you can send an e-mail, letter, notice, to anyone who owns any kind of private property or facility.`" An e-mail, a letter, or a notice. This is the new plan in Texas. Happy 2014. There are something between 26 million and 27 million people living in the state of Texas. Each of you is responsible for driving around, figuring out what looks suspicious, finding contact information for any of those suspicious businesses you might have seen while driving around, whether or not they are holding dangerous chemicals on site. It is then your responsibility to find their contact information, write to them, ask them to disclose to you their chemical inventories and whether or not they might be dangerous to you and your kids and then just sit back and wait for the safety to roll in. Since then, "The Houston Chronicle" newspaper and local TV stations in Texas have been trying to take the state`s advice. Asking chemicals directly -- asking chemical companies directly, hey, what do you got there? They basically found mixed result when they`ve been asking, but a lot of companies just telling them to buzz off. Those are media organizations. What happens when it`s just somebody who lives down the block? In response to criticism over this new plan, Greg Abbott`s campaign manager tweeted out this sort of snarky comment to one of the reporters who`s been covering the controversy saying basically, oh, listen, this wouldn`t be so hard to do, what Greg Abbott`s saying. He said, "They`re called fire departments. Let me know if I can help track them down for you." Meaning, oh, stop whining. Just ask the local fire department and they`ll tell you about the dangerous chemicals stored in private facilities in your town. After that came out from Greg Abbott`s campaign manager, a spokesman for Greg Abbott at the attorney general`s office had to issue another clarifying statement saying, never mind about that fire departments thing, saying actually under this new ruling from Greg Abbott, local fire departments are not going to tell you either. I mean, they might, but they might not and they certainly don`t have to. We have a lot of ideological debate in our politics about the proper size of government, what government is for, right? A lot of that debate is very esoteric, very theoretical. But Rick Perry is going to run for president again on the basis of the Texas miracle. Where he says things like not having any zoning laws and not having any fire codes, those are the things that make Texas great. And we should elect him president because he will apply that Texas miracle to the whole country. And Greg Abbott is the man who`s running to replace Rick Perry in Texas. He`s the Republican candidate for governor in Texas this year. Now, we reached out to Koch Industries today for a comment, but we have not heard back. Their spokesman told the "Dallas Morning News," though, there`s absolutely no connection between the Koch`s newfound interest in campaign contributions to Greg Abbott and Greg Abbott`s subsequent ruling in storing chemicals in Texas. They call that, quote, "A vague and improbable quid quo pro linkage." However, Greg Abbott is running a Koch Industries supported campaign for governor in Texas on a platform that includes his idea that the solution to this happening in one little Texas town is that you should no longer be allowed to know if this is a possibility in your town, too. Just figure it out yourself. Joining us now is Wayne Slater, senior political writer for the "Dallas Morning News." Wayne, thank you for being here. It`s nice to have you here. WAYNE SLATER, DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Great to be with you. MADDOW: So, the timing of the attorney general`s opinion on storage of chemicals in the state obviously raises questions in terms of its connection to campaign donations. It also raises questions about its connection and timing to the campaign. He`s running for governor. Does he think he`s done something that was just a political asset, or is this something he was hoping no one would notice? SLATER: I think it`s something that he figured that nobody would really notice. And it wasn`t until WFAA asked for an update on the information that we suddenly realized that a state agency was saying after years of providing this information, no, we`re not going to provide it anymore. Greg Abbott has issued an opinion that says it`s no longer available. And in an odd way, it is a perfect message to corporate, business, and other supporters of Greg Abbott, his campaign contributors and others, to say privately, or maybe somewhat more quietly, look, I`m on your side, we`re not going to be loading you down with all kinds of regulations, but I do not believe that he thought this was going to blow up. Clearly, he did not have a very good answer when he told reporters the other day, look, if you`ve got a problem, just knock on the doors, ask people what they have, and these good private companies will tell you what dangerous and explosive chemicals they have stored right next to where your child is playing on a playground. MADDOW: It is a remarkable message to the business community and as you say, potential donors. Even if you basically wipe part of a Texas town off the map, having done something unsafe and something that is not recommended in terms of how you store chemicals, I`ve still got your back, I`ll make it easier for you to get away with that by letting people disguise the fact that you`re doing it. I mean, I guess I have to wonder, thinking about this both in terms of the message and what it does nationally, whether or not this is something that will hurt him politically. I mean, the Wendy Davis campaign, she`s running against him, been able to hold him to account on this to make this an issue that they`re going to be able to run with? SLATER: You know, some Democrats in the legislature have raised questions, have gotten some pushback this summer on a legislative panel about whether we ought to tighten up these regulations. Some other groups say we need to do something. Wendy Davis begins tomorrow a five- or six-day tour of several cities? Which she says, look, we have the right to know. Wendy Davis says that if she were elected governor, that one of the first orders of business in the next legislative session, the legislature meets in January, is to change the law to make it very clear that families and people and homeowners and those living around chemicals do have the right to get this information. The key here is that part of the Wendy Davis campaign against Greg Abbott has been to say that he is a Texas Republican business-minded insider who protects his friends, but that`s not really necessarily good enough because I think, frankly, Rachel, a lot of people think that politicians of all stripe protect their friends when they`re in office. The problem for Abbott here is if this episode, if this decision suggests not only that he`s protecting his financial donors, his cronies, his friends, but he`s doing so in a way that could affect your children, your family, your neighborhood, then maybe Wendy Davis is on to something. MADDOW: Wayne Slater, senior political writer for the "Dallas Morning News" -- I have to admit that I had no idea the footage we had of Greg Abbott was him sitting in front of the periodic table of elements. I want to make clear for the record that we didn`t fake that. He really did it, just giving us the perfect visual punch line. Wayne, thank you very much. I really appreciate it, man. It`s good to see you. SLATER: Absolutely. MADDOW: All right. Lots more ahead on this post-Fourth of July holiday Monday, including governor Chris Christie of New Jersey declaring his independence from what one might think of as a basic form of human decency, and that story`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Two years ago this month, there was a mass shooting inside a screening of one of the "Batman" movies in Aurora, Colorado. Eighty-two people were shot many that incident, 12 people were shot and killed, 70 people were shot and injured. The shooter in that mass shooting used a pump-action Remington shotgun and a .40 caliber semiautomatic Glock handgun and the Smith & Wesson version of an AR-15 assault rifle. It was the assault rifle that he rigged with a drum magazine like this one, which could hold up to 100 bullets, feeding them all one after another into that gun. This wasn`t an automatic weapon where you hold down the trigger and the gun fires multiple times while you`re holding the trigger down. This was a semiautomatic gun which means it fires a bullet every time you squeeze the trigger and it fires them as fast as the speed of your trigger finger allows. He had a 100-round magazine plugged into that gun. One of the reasons he had to switch weapons and ultimately stop shooting is when the 100-round magazine jammed. If it hadn`t jammed, there`s no reason to think he would have not fired all 100 rounds out of that assault rifle, but because it jammed he had to stop firing that particular weapon after he used it to shoot 40 or 50 times. In the mass shooting the previous year in Tucson, Arizona, the one that nearly killed Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, that gunman also had an extended size magazine. He had a Glock semiautomatic pistol that did not have the standard size magazine that comes with that gun which is a magazine that fits inside the hand grip of the pistol. He instead had extended capacity magazines that held roughly 30 bullets, the kind that hang way down out of the hand grip of the gun. He stopped shooting only when he needed to reload. When he was trying to reload, he fumbled it basically. He dropped a new loaded magazine that he was trying to load into the gun and that allowed this brave woman to grab that magazine away from him. And that delay, that interruption in his shooting, allowed somebody else to get to him and too tackle him and to stop him shooting anymore people than the 19 people he had already shot. He shot and wounded 13 people including the congresswoman. He shot and killed six other people. But then when he had to reload, they stopped him. The capacity of that ammunition magazine determined both the duration of the shooting spree and how many people ultimately got shot. It turns out that happens a lot. Year and a half ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the shooter in that mass shooting had ha bunch of normal sized 10-round magazines at home, but he chose to leave those ones at home and instead take to the elementary school that day a whole stack of big extended magazines that held not 10 rounds, but 30 rounds each. The Newtown Elementary School massacre killed 20 little kids, and six adults. But it all happened in less than five minutes. With those big 30- round magazines, that gunman was able to fire 154 bullets in less than 5 minutes. The only times he stopped firing were when he had to pause to reload that gun. A reconstruction of the crime by the "Hartford Courant" newspaper found some of the kids who survived Sandy Hook that day only were able to survive because of trouble that that gunman had trying to get his gun reloaded. The size of the ammunition magazine determined the duration of the massacre and ultimately the total number of victims. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have learned in the time it took him to reload in one of the classrooms, 11 children were able to escape. We ask ourselves every day, every minute, if those magazines had held 10 rounds, forcing the shooter to reload at least six more times, would our children be alive today? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was Nicole Hockley who you may have seen as a guest on this show. Her son, Dylan, was one of the kids who was killed at Sandy Hook. Because some of the kids who survived at Sandy Hook were able to escape that day while the killer was trying to reload his gun, some of the families from Sandy Hook have argued that one of the most concrete, specific, granular ways to prevent more deaths via mass shooting in our country would be to limit the size of ammunition magazines. So, anyone engaged in a mass shooting will at least have to pause to reload, which might give some potential victims the time to escape and which might give some potential rescuers a way to get to the gunman. Eight states plus Washington, D.C., have enacted some kind of ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. In New Jersey this year, the legislature passed a law to set a 10-bullet maximum for ammunition magazines in that state. Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed at Sandy Hook, and Mark Barden, whose son, Daniel, was also killed at Sandy Hook -- on Wednesday, Ms. Hockley and Ms. Barden personally delivered 55,000 signatures to Governor Christie`s office in New Jersey, petitioning him to sign the New Jersey legislation about the size of the ammunition magazines. That same day, though, Governor Christie vetoed it. And that same day, he refused to meet with those two Sandy Hook parents about the issue. The spokesman said the governor was not in the office and couldn`t meet with them even though the families say they saw him there that day -- the day right before the holiday weekend when he vetoed this bill, which had been passed by the legislature way back in May, tough guy waited until the last day before the holiday weekend to sign it. Ah, maybe no one will notice. He`d had the legislation since May. Why did he pick the day before the holiday weekend to sign it? And then he tried to say he wasn`t around, couldn`t meet with these Sandy Hook parents though he was right there in the office at the same time they were. Tough guy. And then when the press did ask him about it today, this is how he explained himself. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I`ve heard the argument, and so, are we saying, then, that the 10 children on the clip that they advocate for, that their lives are less valuable? If you take the logical conclusion of their argument, you go to zero, because every life is valuable. And so why 10? Why not six? Why not two? Why not one? Why not zero? Why not just ban guns completely? I mean, you know, so the logical conclusion of their argument is that you get to zero eventually. So, you know, I understand their argument. I feel extraordinary sympathy for them and the other families, and all the families across America who are the victims of gun violence. I understand their argument. I`ve heard their argument. I don`t agree with their argument. We have a fundamental disagreement about the effectiveness of what they`re advocating for. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Why save anybody? If you`re not going to save everybody, why save anybody? Such favoritism. Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden have now responded to Governor Christie saying, "His refusal to meet with us is a cowardly political move. We know that smaller magazines would have saved more lives at Sandy Hook Elementary, possibly even the lives of our own children. We respectfully ask that the governor meets with us and tells us to our faces that it wouldn`t have protected our own children and that it won`t save the lives of New Jersey`s children. We doubt he has the courage to face us." The editorial board of the largest paper in New Jersey is also taking the governor to task on this. Quote, "Governor Christie vetoed the bill that would have limited the number of bullets in gun magazines to 10. The idea is psychos on a rampage would have to stop and reload more often given the potential victims a chance to escape or pounce. It`s a modest measure. It would not stop the massacre, but it would improve the odds that the damage could be limited, that lives could be saved. So, why did Christie veto this bill? The inescapable conclusion is that he was worried Republican primary voters would hold it against him in the 2016 presidential campaign." And then referring back to those sandy hook elementary school parents who the governor wouldn`t meet with, the editorial closes with this, "One hopes that Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden in their grief understand that most people in New Jersey stand with them and regard this as a shameful moment." No one is quite sure what counts as a shameful moment in New Jersey politics anymore, but the governor calling out the parents of murdered kids, for them not understanding the value of human life? This is at least testing the bounds of what is usually called shameful, if not the very definition of the word, itself. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Last week, we reported on Riverside County, California, where angry mobs of protesters have turned up to scream and swear and protest the arrival of three buses containing unaccompanied children and parents with small children, as the Department of Homeland Security tried to move them into a border patrol processing facility so they could go through the next step of the immigration and customs process. That day, the anti-immigrant protesters got their way in Murrieta, California. They got the buses holding those kids to turn back, diverting them to other facilities in the southwest of the country. Now, that happened last week, but those protests are not over. People are still congregating, protesters on both sides. MSNBC contributor, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi was there on the ground over the holiday weekend and shot some of this footage. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JARID: I`m here to support my city of Murrieta, because really we`re a small town and don`t have the resources of capabilities of managing 140 people every single three days. ALEXANDRA PELOSI, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: What is your worst fear? JARID: Our worst fear is people coming and it just starts spreading disease and whatnot, and stuff gets spread throughout our little town and community to our children. PROTESTER: What part of children don`t you understand? What part of children don`t you understand? What part of children don`t you understand? PROTESTER: If Obama likes them so much, let them stay at the White House. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, et cetera. Alexandra Pelosi who captured that footage on the Fourth of July this past weekend, she`s going to be on "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL" later tonight. You`ll want to see this. But consider this, too. As people in Murrieta, California, are yelling, screaming, blockading the road, that`s not all that should squeeze into this snapshot of this moment in our country. Something very, very different than Murrieta, California, is going on in Dallas County, Texas. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUDGE CLAY JENKINS, DALLAS COUNTY, TX: These are the three sites in Dallas County that we believe are the most viable to accommodate the children. I think we`re North Texans, and part of the reason for making this decision was my faith. It wasn`t just faith in God. It`s faith in the people that are standing behind me and faith in our community. I don`t think North Texas will turn its back on children. REPORTER: Will you please just respond to some of the criticism you have been personally receiving from some of your critics saying that this is strictly a political move on your part to have this action and make these efforts now? JENKINS: If this is a political move, then I am the stupidest politician in Texas. You know, we`re the first community in this nation that has reached out to the federal government. The hand has gone the other way asking for help, and communities have either turned them down or failed to get these sort of emergency shelters outside of federally owned military bases. The politics of this is that there are no politics of this. This is about children. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: This is about children. There are no politics of this. That`s Dallas County, Texas, Judge Clay Jenkins. He`s the top government official in that county. What he`s announcing there is that Dallas County wants to open three possible sites to house unaccompanied immigrant kids who are arriving here in this country with no place to go. Dallas County is offering. Riverside County, California, and Dallas County, Texas, both on the front lines of this growing influx of undocumented and unaccompanied kids making their way into this country and into their states. But they are showing very, very, very different responses to that problem. Hold that thought. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JENKINS: The politics of this is that there are no politics of this. This is about children. It need not be partisan, it need not be political, it need not be shrill and hateful. These are not others. These are children. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has proposed that Dallas County, Texas, should convert civilian facilities in that county to house unaccompanied immigrant kids rather than having those kids processed and what amount to jail-like conditions in the federal system while they`re awaiting processing or deportation back to their home countries. Dallas County is also looking for families to serve as foster families for those kids as well. A very different approach than we`re seeing in some other parts of the country. Judge Jenkins joins us tonight for the interview. Judge Jenkins, thanks very much for being with us. I appreciate your time tonight. JENKINS: Rachel, thanks for having me. MADDOW: So, what inspired you to propose these sites in Dallas County to be used to temporarily house and care for these kids? JENKINS: Well, I`m a father, and I saw the images on television and I got reports back from the Baptist men and Catholic charities who`d been down to the border and felt that we had the capability and the facilities and the compassion as a community to help, and so I made a call for us to help and we`re going to take 2,000 of the children. MADDOW: Is your decision on this the final word? Does this have to go through some sort of other decision-making process? What kind of reaction have you had in Dallas County to this plan of yours? JENKINS: Well, I`m relying on the faith community and our community groups to step up to this challenge and I`m relying on the people in the neighborhoods where these facilities will be located to open their arms and recognize that these are precious children of God. They`re not others. They`re little children and they`re in need of our help. Yesterday, I went door to door in one of those neighborhoods and not a single person that I spoke to opposed having a shelter directly across the street in a former elementary school. Had volunteers cover the whole neighborhood, and overwhelmingly that neighborhood was willing to open their arms to provide compassionate care for these children and get them out of what I believe are inhumane conditions on our border by no fault of our border agents, but because we`re just completely overcrowded with children there. MADDOW: I understand that you did visit some of those holding facilities I think in the border town of McAllen last week. Is that so? And if so, what did you see there? What do you know about these facilities where the kids are being held now? JENKINS: Rachel, I saw children younger than 1 year old. I saw a child crying for her mother while a border agent changed her diaper. Saw children looking across with their faces pressed to the glass at their siblings that were in different cells from them. I saw children, like your children and my children, who are scared and feel abandoned and were dirty and need help. And in Dallas County, we have the ability to help them and we`re going to help them. MADDOW: I understand that Dallas is also looking -- Dallas County is also looking for families to potentially be involved as foster families for these kids. Is that right? JENKINS: I had a meeting today with leaders in the Catholic charities and the Baptist general convention of Texas and asked them to look not only throughout North Texas, but throughout the United States and I`ll ask others to help with that, so that we can find foster families so that we can provide some love and some normalcy to these children. MADDOW: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, thank you for talking with us about this. We`d love to stay in touch with you in terms of how this goes, especially as you take in those first 2,000 kids. Thank you. JENKINS: Thank you, Rachel. All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Coming up: terrible news about wristwatches. Terrible, terrible news. Particularly for wristwatch-wearing men with really big beards. And, boy, is that a hard thing to say. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. He`s essentially the pope for the world`s 150 million Russian Orthodox Christians. And like the pope, modesty and humility are supposed to go along with that job. Which is why this photo caused such a giant scandal in Russia a few years ago. This is the head of the Russian Orthodox Church on the right side of your screen there. And what is that? That it turns out is a $30,000 Swiss watch. Did you know you can spend $30,000 on a wristwatch? I had no idea. When the church posted that image to their official Web site, though, they attempted to disappear the watch entirely. See, they extended his sleeve to cover his wrist. What they missed when they did that was the reflection of the watch that appeared on the table right in front of him. So then everybody knew they were hiding something. The church ultimately had to apologize. Look at that, look at that, they just moved his sleeve down. Had to apologize for that botched Photoshop job last year. But it turns out that the extravagant watch on the supposedly humble and pious guy, that is a problem that is not unique to Russia, that problem has now been exported into some fairly gruesome circumstances. And that really weird story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Every year, the National Counterterrorism Center puts out a counterterrorism calendar. It`s formatted like a really creepy daily planner. Each day marks a notable terrorist attack or an important advance in the fight against terrorism, like an arrest or conviction of a terrorist leader. The calendar also comes with several full-page pinups of wanted terrorists, one for each month of the year. Mr. March is this guy, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, the al Qaeda splinter group of Sunni fighters that`s taken over a wide and growing swath of Iraq and Syria. The State Department is offering a $10 million reward for any information leading to his arrest. And if you do have any information about this guy`s whereabouts, it asks you right there on the calendar to go ahead and e-mail the State Department at the Rewards for Justice e-mail address at Whoever is responsible for checking over the weekend probably came back to a full inbox today, because look who turned up over the weekend on the Internet machine. Mr. March himself. This video circulated online this weekend and it appears to be Mr. Al Baghdadi delivering a sermon at a mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul. And while the tape has yet to be officially authenticated, if it is, Mr. Al Baghdadi, this is a very rare sighting. Also, I should mention, the release of the tape came just days after there were reports that Mr. Al Baghdadi had been killed in airstrikes in Iraq. But there he seems to be in Mosul, delivering Friday prayers on the sixth day of Ramadan, alive and apparently well-fed, dressed conservatively in black robes with a thick beard. The Sunni militant leader appeared relatively -- sort of austere. He talked about his own humility, his own piety, his piousness. He has after all proclaimed himself to be the leader of all the world`s Muslims. There he is giving that sermon. In that vein, sort of wearing an outfit that`s meant to evoke the dress of medieval Islamic leaders, except for one tiny detail. One accessory. I could be mistaken but what`s that on your right wrist? It seems to be sporting a fancy wristwatch. I know as much about wristwatches as I know about cows but I`m guessing could be a Rolex, possibly? His more than 20-minute speech is punctuated every so often by a flash of silver seen when he raises his right arm at certain spirited parts of his sermon, a sermon which it should be noted he denounces Western materialism. In a call to arms, he asks true believers to follow him out of faith, not for desire for luxury or leisure. That visual contradiction ended up being the focus formal English language and Arabic language press today who were distracted by trying to sort out the make and model of his jewelry. The best guess so far appears to be it`s either that Rolex there in the center, or maybe the James Bond-preferred Omega Seamaster. If it is the Omega, that retails at upwards of $6,000. Maybe that is the blinged-out leader of ISIS, this group, Mr. Al- Baghdadi. If so, it is a pretty amazing new image of the Islamic leader who has claimed himself essentially the king of all Muslims and has helped reignite the Iraq war. Always check your accessories. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Good evening, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END