IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/15/14

Guests: Andrew Bacevich, Shira Springer

RACHEL MADDOW, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you. HAYES: Appreciate it. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining this hour, happy Monday. We`ve got lots coming up on tonight`s show, including a big deal that is about to happen tomorrow in Kansas. It`s a story with big, national political implications that has not had much national attention yet. Also tonight, there`s still more news breaking about the National Football League, the NFL and its handling of domestic violence by its players. There is yet more to report tonight on the question of whether the league, itself, has been trying to cover up its problem with that subject. Also tonight, a year after the Bridgegate scandal, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has now gotten himself into another totally unrelated scandal that involves not only himself but also another republican, would- be governor, a Republican candidate for governor in another state that isn`t New Jersey. That`s all ahead tonight. But we start tonight with Prince Harry. And we start with Prince Harry because we can. Here is Prince Harry getting 26,000 people to do the wave. And I will warn you, that he calls it the Mexican wave, but then he gets them all to do it, right after he convinces them all that they should put down their drinks first. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HENRY CHARLES ALBERT DAVID, PRINCE HENRY OF WALES: If you`ve got a drink, put it on the floor. No spillages. We`re going to do a Mexican wave. (Inaudible) again someone in trouble. We`re going to do a Mexican wave from the front to the back. Put your drinks down. From the front to the back, one, two, three, go. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Prince Harry asking 26,000 people to do the wave. Front of the stadium to the back of the stadium. But he is savvy enough to know that the consequences of that that request will be, in his words, spillage, unless everybody puts down their drink before they try to wave their arms in the air. It`s a very smart prince. That happened last night in London at the closing ceremony of something called the Invictus Games. In the United States, there`s something called the Warrior Games, which is actually organizes part of the Paralympics, the Paralympic Games. Prince Harry is in the British army, that`s included him serving in Afghanistan. He`s a big supporter of veterans. And apparently, after seeing injured service members compete in the Warrior Games in United States, he went home and founded basically a companion event. It`s called the Invictus Games that took place over the last four days in London. More than 400 wounded service members competing from 13 different countries. They used the facilities from the London Summer Olympics for the venues. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could almost have been two years ago. The red arrows flying low over the Olympic Park in London to open a spectacle of competitive sport. Members of the royal family were there. Charles and Camilla, William, but no Kate, her pregnancy sickness made it impossible. And most notably on this occasion, Harry, for these are his games. The Invictus Games, a gathering of men and women from the military of different nations who suffered life-changing injuries. A small team from Afghanistan led the parade of athletes, soldiers injured on the battle field for whom sport has been a vital aid to recovery. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was solemn at times and inspiring at time as the Invictus Games were, you could tell that at the end of four days of these games in London, the organizers, including Prince Harry himself, they were a little loose. They were a little willing to bend the royal rules, hence the alluding of the crowd and the drunken stadium wave. But the prince saying, this is going to get me in trouble. And I think also, hence, seem going off script to the press yesterday about something the royal family in Britain is really not supposed to be weighing in on. The prince was asked by the press last night where he thought the next Invictus Games should be held. And he said this. He said, quote, we`ve got America showing interests for 2016. We`ve got Canada showing interest for 2017. So the question is, what do we do next year in 2015? I personally would love to keep it in the U.K. Follow up question? Where specifically in the U.K., would he like to keep the games? The prince had a suggestion in mind. He said how about Glasgow? That would be a great way to keep the games in the U.K., put them in Scotland, because Scotland for now is part of the U.K. The royal family, both in times when they`re beloved and in times when they`re not, they`re expected to remain strictly neutral on political matters in the United Kingdom, and the question of whether or not Scotland is going to be a part of the U.K. anymore, that is an acutely political question right now. But referendum is this Thursday for Scotland to decide whether it is going to vote no on independent and stay in the U.K, or whether they are going to vote yes and become their own, independent country. Something like 97 percent of the Scottish population over the age of 16 is registered to vote in this referendum on Thursday, 97 percent. It`s unclear at this point whether or not Scotland would be keeping the royal family in place as had to state. If they do go independent, the leader of the Independence Movements in Scotland says he hopes the queen would stay on for an independent Scotland. He says she could be Elizabeth, Queen of Scots. There`s some precedent for that. It`s not clear that would work again. The further as the queen herself has been willing to go in talking about the referendum is to allow herself to be overheard yesterday while she told someone after a church service, quote, I hope everybody thinks very carefully about the referendum this week. So she`s definitely keeping her cards close, right? But there`s her grandson, Prince Harry, saying next year in Glasgow. Everybody do the wave. Until very recently, nobody really thought that the independence campaign had a shot in Scotland. That the last is appalling leading up to the vote, it has looked like either a tie or maybe even a yes vote narrowly leading. And so, the British government and the other powers that be -- who do not want the U.K. to break up, they are now, right now, pulling out all the stops to try to stop the independent side from winning. The pro- independence, the vote yes side, they know that they have the momentum heading into the vote. They are deriving as desperate, all of these last minute efforts to derail them. All these politicians coming north from England drop to Scotland to say please, vote no. But that charge of desperation, that is a charge the British prime minister is not running from anymore. The British prime minister is calling himself, desperate at this point. Today, he posted this on Facebook. It says, quote, I desperately want our family of nations to stay together. It would be heartbreaking to wake up on Friday morning to the end of the country we love. Then, today, in Scotland, in Aberdeen, Prime Minister David Cameron did his hearted felt begging in person. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: For the people of Scotland to walk away now would be like painstakingly building a home and then walking out the door and throwing away the keys. So I would say to everyone voting on Thursday, please, remember, this isn`t just any old country. This is the United Kingdom. This is our country. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was about as emotional as upper crust British politicians get. But this is an emotional time for that country. It`s an emotional time for the prime minister himself if David Cameron is the prime minister on whose watch, his country actually breaks apart. There is a growing expectation that he will have to resign or he will be forced out as prime minister. Even with the very close polling on the issue and with the expectation of near 100 percent voter turn out, there is a large chunk of the Scottish population that says they`re still undecided as to how they`re going to vote. So that means, the next 48 hours is basically going to be -- no sleep, right? No holds barred, constant campaigning trying to sway every last voter in Scotland before they go to the polls on Thursday. This is a very high- stakes, very emotional time. And it happens at the exact same time that the U.K. is facing a serious foreign policy challenge and a serious terrorism challenge. On Saturday night, a Sunni militant group ISIS released yet another video of, yet, another beheading. Their first video a few weeks ago showed the killing of an American journalist, Jim Foley. In that video, they threatened to kill a second American, Steven Sotloff. And second video showed the killing of Steven Sotloff and then they threatened to kill a British man named David Haines, an aid worker. Well, this video that was posted Saturday night showed the killing of David Haines and showed a threat to kill another British hostage, a man named Allen Henning. Allen Henning is in his late 40s and he`s working in Syria as an aid worker, just to state of Haines` was (ph), and this terrorist group says they plan to kill him next. David Cameron made a televised address in the U.K. after the video of David Haines` killing was released. He said, today the whole country want to express into deep sympathy for David Haines` family, they`ve endure the last 18 months of David`s captivity with extraordinary courage, and now David has been murdered in the most callous and brutal way imaginable. He said, we have to confront this menace. The United States is taking direct military action, we support their efforts. British tornadoes and surveillance aircraft have been helping with intelligence gathering in logistics. He closed by saying, this is not something we can do on our own. We have to work with the rest of the world. But ultimately, our security as a nation, the way we go about our everyday lives in this free and tolerant society that is Britain, it has always dependent on our readiness to act against those who stand for hatred and who stand for destruction, and that is exactly what we will do. British Prime Minister David Cameron said that in a televised address in the U.K. last night. That is some of what is going on in the U.K. right now. As the U.K. simultaneously considering this week whether a part of the country will vote to secede from their union -- I mean, if you have ever wanted the job of being British prime minister, let`s say you just saw some great BBC mini series and it made you want to be prime minister, if you`ve had that fantasy, this week is not one of those weeks that you might fantasize about having that job. Beyond that incredibly difficult debate in the U.K., because a lot of external issues in the U.K. and beyond what`s going on here at home, the response to ISIS, basically continues on three levels right now. The first level is diplomatic. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Paris today for an international summit designed to secure commitments from as many countries as possible to contribute to the fight against ISIS. This Paris summit today follows a similar summit of Arab countries that was hosted in Saudi Arabia at the end of last week. U.S. officials said yesterday that offers from the Arab world so far, specifically, include offers to carry out air strikes against ISIS. Although no Muslim governments are admitting to that in public even if they are reportedly telling that to U.S. government officials behind the scenes. So the effort to assemble a Gulf War I style international coalition for action against ISIS, that`s one level of response so far, the diplomatic level. The second level of the response is military, already. The Pentagon confirming late tonight that this is a newly expanded military effort in Iraq now, we`re up over 160 air strikes overall. And what the Pentagon just released tonight, they`re describing two air strike that took place yesterday and today. And what`s notable about these is that they have a different strategy behind them. The Pentagon saying tonight, quote, the air strikes Southwest of Baghdad was the first strike taken as part of our expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions to instead hit ISIL targets, as Iraqi forces go on offense, as outlined in the president`s speech last Wednesday. In total of planning on says the strikes destroyed 6 ISIL vehicles in Mount Sinjar and in ISIL fighting position Southwest of Baghdad that was firing on Iraqi personnel. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely. So if the previous efforts -- military efforts and Iraqi the about humanitarian missions and stopping ISIS from taking over key infrastructure, now they`re saying they`re hunting down ISIS positions and bombing them there. So, putting together the international coalition, that`s diplomacy. This newly expanded military effort, newly expanded air strikes in Iraq in support of Iraqi forces that are fighting ISIS on the ground. But then there`s the third level, at which this response is going forward, and that`s the political level here in our own country and how that is going to play out, really, is anyone`s guest. This is fast-moving in terms of the politics here. The house of representatives came back early today from suppose to be long weekend to instead start considering ISIS. They initially said they wanted to have a vote tomorrow on whether or not congress will approve efforts to arm and support Syrian rebel groups other than ISIS. Groups that are fighting inside Syria. Congress has now decided to put that vote off until Wednesday at the earliest, even though they wanted to vote tomorrow. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey are scheduled to testify in the hose on that issue tomorrow. And the house may want to listen carefully while they are speaking. As recently as last summer, the Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey had wrote this -- has written this letter to congress, warning congress about the risks of choosing rebels to support in Syria. This letter said, quote, the risks include extremists gaining access to additional capabilities, retaliatory cross border attacks or our inadvertent association with war crimes due to many difficulties. We try to vet those rebels. The decision of whether or not to arm Syrian rebel groups is not an easy decision. If it was an easy call, congress could have made that decision last year, the last time that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs this morning that it might lead to all sorts of horrible results. But the arming the rebel`s question is something that congress thinks is an easier question than authorizing the U.S. military action that`s already happening against ISIS and that the president had said he is expanding. Today, Congressman Adam Schiff of California introduced the latest resolution that would have congress authorize military force in Iraq. His resolution would authorize it for 18 months. But such is the state of our politics on war and peace right now as a country. But the big question for our congress is not even whether your member of congress would vote yes or vote no to using force on a resolution like Adam Schiff`s. The big question right now in Washington is whether you your member of congress would even like to vote at all. One way or the other on this rapidly expanding military operation or whether they`d just like to pretend that it`s none of their business and the president does this stuff alone on his own say-so. And here`s just one more thought as congress considers how much they really want to try to duck this question. A new few poll just came out today on how the American public feels about fighting against ISIS. And the top line results on that poll are very interesting. I`m not sure I expected this. Democratic support President Obama`s plan for using military force against ISIS. Republicans support president`s plan for fighting ISIS. Independence are a little bit below a majority of the aisle those up, over all the American people are in support of what the president says he wants to do in terms of using force against ISIS. Just keep that in mind. But then, look at this. Ask the public which broadly supports fighting ISIS, ask them what they think the effect will be of us doing that? What will be the effect of the U.S. taking military action against ISIS. Do you think it will make us more likely to face a terrorist attack here at home, or do you think it will make us safer here at home? In this same poll. Way more people believe that will make us more likely to be attacked here at home if we take military action against ISIS. But, still, the public broadly still supports taking that military action. I told you these politics are changing fast. Joining us now is Andrew Bacevich. He`s a retired army colonel. He`s currently a George McGovern Fellow at Columbia University. He`s the author of Breech of Trust, how Americans failed their soldiers and their country, as well as a number of other books, all of which I have read and liked very much. Professor, nice to see you. Thank you. ANDREW BACEVICH, CHAIR OF INT`L RELATIONS: Thank you. MADDOW: How is the debate going so far? You`ve been a pretty harsh critic of how well we debate matters of war and peace in our country now. How does this debate going? BACEVICH: Well, I think this confirms how peaceful them as the congress is. I mean, you`ve made the point that they are running away from the notion of voting on the president`s initiative. We kind of understand why they`re doing that because we`re facing an off-year election in another what? Less than two months? But it seems to me that it`s very unfortunate. Over the course of the past basically 60-70 years. Well, going back to the Korean war. We`ve developed this habit of deferring to the chief executive to decide matters of war and peace quite contrary to what the congress -- excuse me, the constitution calls for. Many people had made the point that we need to reverse that. We need to adhere to the constitution. This is a chance to do that and the congress won`t fulfill its responsibilities in that regard. I think it`s appalling. MADDOW: So far, they are not fulfilling their responsibilities. You do see individual members both republican and democrat starting to introduce proposed resolutions to authorize the use of force. We don`t yet know if they`re going to vote on it. It seems like what they`re going to vote on first is the specific question of supporting the Syrian -- supporting Syrian rebel groups other than ISIS. BACEVICH: Which is a peripheral issue. The main issue here is shall we, once again, engage in the Iraq war? And the president is clear that he wants to do that. I`ll be it in a certain way, emphasizing air power, but promising not to use ground troops. But any way you cut it, it`s a war. And congress ought to be the body that decides whether or not we`re going to go to war. MADDOW: As they do consider this, as you put it, this peripheral issue, this other issue about arming Syrian rebels, my sense, just as a political observer, is that they`ve hived that off and put that first for two reasons. One, because they think it`s an easier question. BACEVICH: But it`s not. (CROSSTALK) MADDOW: doesn`t seem like an easier question, but also, because they think that if they vote on that, that might make it look like they`re voting on the issue and then they don`t have to move on to the separate issue, that is an American -- American war. I wonder what your sense is of the American public`s side of that political calculation. (CROSSTALK) BACEVICH: Well, you were just talking about that poll where you were siding the results is kind of contradictory. I think in many respects they`re not. I mean, on the surface they are. The American people support action against ISIS. Why? Because we are appalled by what this organization has done. In particular with regard to the murder of the American journalist, and so, I think that evokes a popular sense of we need to do something to pay these people back. On the other hand, the American people, I think, have -- do have a larger appreciation that over the past basically since 9/11 are military efforts in the greater Middle East. They`ve failed. And so they`re not eager to make this be a big war. And frankly, I think the president also appreciates that. That`s why every time he talks about this war, he, on the one hand says, we`re going to degrade and defeat ISIS. And, on the other hand, don`t worry, I promise I`m not going to commit U.S. ground troops, which is a way of reassuring Americans that this commitment will be a limited one, and that`s a way to maintain the somewhat tenuous support for the actions that he is proposing to pick. MADDOW: Is there a way that a president, any president or this president on particular could scratch that itch of the American polity that we want to do something. Scratch that itch make people feel like something is being done. In fact, do something without starting another war or is it, do we automatically reflex toward war when we want an action. BACEVICH: Well, we do. I mean, to me, this is the subject I wished that the discourse here would focus on -- I don`t think the question is what to do about ISIS. I mean, if we could magically destroy ISIS tomorrow, we would defeat them tomorrow. The conditions that gave rise to ISIS would still exist. MADDOW: Exactly. BACEVICH: What do you want to call it? Political dysfunction? Economic underdevelopment? Alienation? Failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? All of the above? Those -- that`s where ISIS comes from and my view is that, yes, let`s go after ISIS. But let`s not kid ourselves that if we destroy ISIS, we somehow accomplish some larger purpose with regard to moving this region back from chaos towards some amount of stability. And that needs to be our goal. MADDOW: Professor Andrew Bacevich, George McGovern Fellow at Columbia University, and I should tell you, the professor has an online course right now called America`s War For The Greater Middle East, which goes live on September 24th. We have the information about that on our web site tonight if you`d like to learn more. Andrew Bacevich, thank you so much. BACEVICH: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: It`s always good to see you. All right, lots more ahead on tonight`s show, including some latest news from tonight on the NFL`s unfortunately metastasizing domestic abuse scandal. Please, stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Tomorrow morning is going to be a big morning, a big, big, bigger than big whale of a morning. Tomorrow morning my excitable friends, we get the four most-exciting words in at-home viewing (inaudible). Watch Supreme Court live. Exclamation point. The Kansas Supreme Court live tomorrow morning, exclamation point. And although I am sure oral arguments for the Kansas Supreme Court are always exciting and worth watching, exclamation point, the arguments tomorrow morning are not only going to be great, they`re actually also kind of a big deal and you can watch them live. The high court of Kansas tomorrow is due to hear oral arguments on what could be a critical race in terms of who controls the United States senate for the rest of the Obama presidency. The court is going to decide whether the Kansas senate election can be a two-way race between a republican incumbent and an independent or if the judges are going to force instead to be an unwilling three-way race. So this is the re-election race in Kansas for Republican Senator Pat Roberts. Because there is a strong independent in the race, it looks like he may have a shot at beating Pat Roberts. The democratic candidate wants to drop out of the race in order to give the independent guy a clean shot. However, Kansas republican secretary of state have said that in democratic eye, he didn`t fill out his paperwork in exactly the right way so he`s not allowed to quit. If the court forces this to be a three-way race, it they don`t let that guy quit, then the polling says the incumbent Republican Pat Roberts looks to be on his way to winning re-election. Even though he`s pretty unpopular and he hasn`t really campaigned all that harder, all that well. If the democrat can drop out in a two-way race, the polling says the independent can beat Pat Roberts. If so, republicans hope for capturing the United States senate this year will get much, much shakier. And, so, yes, I`ve checked. And I can tell you, that the Kansas Supreme Court online streaming countdown clock is rolling right now. The court battle kicks off at 10:00 A.M. Eastern, 9:00 local time, 20 minutes all argument for each side and control of the United States senate potentially at stake. What`s happening now in bright red Kansas has been a fascinating story right, with this three-way, two-way race. But Kansas is not the only place where something that weird is happening. We have seen the virtually exact same dynamic play out in Alaska this month. In Alaska, they had a three-way race for governor, with the democrat and an independent splitting the vote against the republican incumbent. Like in Kansas, the democrat in Alaska also decided to quit the race because it offered a better chance for unseating the incumbent republican. But in Alaska, they did it a little differently, in Alaska, the democratic candidate for governor quit the race for governor but, instead, signed onto run for lieutenant governor on the same ticket as the independent guy with he used to be splitting the vote against the republican incumbent (inaudible). In Alaska, the democrats and the independents have formed a rare fusion ticket to try to beat the republican. So the fusion ticket in Alaska, in Kansas, they`re trying to get the democrat out of the race all together so it can just be the incumbent versus the republican -- sorry, the independent versus the republican. This is kind of a thing this year in politics, right? We`ve got it happening in Kansas and we`ve got it happening in Alaska. And because the rule of trifecta never fails me, there is now some question as to whether a similar dynamic might also emerging in Maine. Tea Party Republican Governor Paul LePage. He won the gubernatorial election in Maine last time with just 38 percent of the vote. And the reason Paul LePage was able to become governor of Maine with nowhere near a majority of vote is because the vote in that race was split three ways. Governor Paul LePage won with just a 38 percent, an independent named Eliot Cutler was a couple of points behind him. And the democrat just got whomped in that race. That split vote in 2010 created the amazing and often surreal experience of Maine having a Tea Party governor named Paul LePage. Now he`s running for election now. And this time around, that same independent candidate, Eliot Cutler, is back in the race. But this time, the democratic candidate actually has a better chance of winning. At least that`s what the polls look like. A new poll out yesterday shows Democrat Mike Michaud leading the current three way field by a single point. That`s Mike Michaud in the center there, 43 points. The independent, Eliot Cutler making his second bid as an independent, he`s only drawing 11 percent of the vote now. But if this were a two-way race, in a race just between the Republican and the Democrat, then Democrat Mike Michaud is already ahead by four. Half the people who say they`d vote for the independent guy in a three-way race say if it happened to end up being just a two-way competition, they would vote for the Democrat. So that would be enough probably to turf out Paul LePage. So same dynamic at work here? I should tell you that the independent in Maine, Eliot Cutler, his campaign says he will not quit the race no matter what. He doesn`t view himself as a spoiler. It should be noted that he did finish a very close second in 2010. But you know what, in politics, nobody ever says they`ll quit the race until they quit the race. Independents and Democrats have decided to pull on the same side of the tug-of-war in order to defeat incumbent Republicans this year in the Kansas Senate race and in the Alaska governor`s race this year. Are they going to do so in the Maine governor`s race as well? This is a new thing emerging for this year`s elections. How many states is this going to happen in? Watch this space. Time is running out. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is the weather report tonight for the city of Indianapolis. The forecast calls for temperatures of around 62 degrees -- that`s nice -- but also a steady mix of rain and thunderstorms pretty much throughout the night, sort of a rainy, stormy unsettled mess tonight in Indianapolis. I am clearly not a weather person. We don`t usually do local weather reports on this show. But the weather tonight in Indianapolis, it`s sort of a national story because it means that is this banner will not be flying over Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis starting tonight`s Monday Night Football matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles. This banner, you see it in red there? It says #GoodellMustGo. This banner was set to be flown over the stadium tonight during the Colts-Eagles game. That will no longer happen because of tonight`s inclement weather in Indianapolis. And naturally, the Goodell in the #GoodellMustGo banner is Roger Goodell. He`s the commissioner of the NFL. And while that sign will not fly above the skies of Indianapolis tonight, it did fly over three NFL stadiums yesterday in Cleveland, in San Francisco and in New Jersey. The banners were the work of a women`s rights nonprofit group called UltraViolet, an activist group which, along with the National Organization for Women has called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign over his handling of the NFL`s Ray Rice situation. Commissioner Goodell`s decision to initially hand down only a two-game suspension of Mr. Rice after he was arrested on domestic violence charges. But the pressure that is building against Roger Goodell is no longer just about the Ray Rice situation. The NFL now also has an Adrian Peterson situation. Adrian Peterson is a real football star. Everybody in the NFL is really good. Adrian Peterson is like household name good. He is a star running back for the Minnesota Vikings. He was indicted by a Texas grand jury last week on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. At my decision, we have opted not to show you the images that have been released of the injuries to the 4-year-old boy apparently caused by his father. But they apparently came by Mr. Peterson hitting the boy with a switch, hitting him with a thin, wooden rod, which is usually a tree branch. The boy -- again, 4 years old -- is reported to have suffered unspecified injuries from the beating. Adrian Peterson turned himself in to police in Texas this weekend. He posted a $15,000 bond. That happened on Saturday. And then when the Vikings played against the Patriots on Sunday, the Vikings held Adrian Peterson out of the game. He didn`t play. Today, though, the Vikings general manager announced that, despite the indictment, despite his star player being out on bond on felony abuse charges that could get him years in prison, today the Vikings announce that Adrian Peterson will practice and will play with his team in this weekend`s game. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICK SPIELMAN, MINNESOTA VIKINGS GENERAL MANAGER: This is a very important issue. And I want to take time to emphasize that the issue of child welfare is extremely serious and should be taken serious not only by us, but by everybody. We are trying to do the right thing. This is a difficult path to navigate, regarding the judgment of how a parent disciplines his child. Based on the extensive information that we have right now and what we know about Adrian, not only as a person, but what he has also done for this community, we believe he deserves to play while the legal process plays out. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: He deserves to play. If you run an NFL team or if you`re a coach or if you`re an owner, this is sort of the new normal. Monday press conferences used to be for talking about Sunday`s game and updating the press on player injuries and stuff. But, now, the NFL press corps is instead asking insistent questions about team policies and league policies concerning star players who beat their wives and children and the question of whether or not teams are going to let their star players play while under felony indictment or after they`ve been convicted. This is Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. Greg Hardy was convicted in July on two counts of domestic violence after assaulting and threatening to kill his girlfriend. Greg Hardy is appealing that conviction. And his team, Carolina Panthers, initially allowed him to play pending his appeal after the conviction. Greg Hardy played in his team`s first game of the season last week. But then, this past weekend, they decided that they were going to bench him. Today, Greg Hardy`s coach had to face the media about his team`s shifting response to that domestic violence situation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: Is Greg going to be with the team this week? RON RIVERA, CAROLINA PANTHERS COACH: Oh, Greg is with the team. I mean, we`re in a situation obviously where we`re going to go through this week and evaluate the circumstances and situation. In light of a lot of things that have happened, we`re going to continue to gather information on this. This is a very fluid situation, guys. And we`ll see what happened. QUESTION: Was there any new information since you guys played him in week one but sat him in week two? Was there any new information in this week - - RIVERA: I don`t know if I would say new information as much as you know, some of the things that changed in the climate. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: This is a mess right now for the NFL. It`s all of these teams dealing with all of these domestic violence issues with no apparent rhyme or reason for how they`re dealing with them. Think about this, right? Ray Rice gets a two-game suspension and then ultimately an indefinite suspension for his domestic assault incident against his then fiancee. Carolina Panthers guy, Greg Hardy, gets convicted of two counts of domestic abuse, then he`s allowed to play a game, then he gets benched for a game and now his status is fluid for this coming weekend`s game, not because of anything about him but because of a changing climate. Adrian Peterson, as we mentioned, gets indicted on child abuse charges. He`s held out of a game this past weekend right after turning himself in. But now he`s clear to play next weekend. And then there`s Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers, who was arrested on suspicion of battering his pregnant fiancee and who has been allowed to play in both games so far this season and there`s no reason to believe anything will change in that regard this coming weekend. He`s out on bail. His court appearance has been postponed until later this month. So that`s four players and four incidents and four situations where the NFL and the individual teams are just sort of freelancing in terms of punishments or non-punishments or when you get a punishment or when you don`t and what the standard is. Everybody`s just playing it by ear, trying to gauge public reaction to their decisions and the making adjustments on the fly. This is a multi-billion dollar industry, the premier cultural institution of the United States of America in the 21st century. There`s now a white- hot spotlight on the NFL and particular on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for the seemingly haphazard, random approach to how the NFL is policing these issues or not policing them. Roger Goodell has now chosen to deal with that spotlight by disappearing. Commissioner Goodell was expected to attend last night`s Sunday Night Football game in San Francisco, the big grand opening of San Francisco`s new multi-multi-multi-million dollar stadium. But Roger Goodell, in the end, was a no-show as the situation surrounding him and his league grows worse by the day. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RIVERA: We`re in a situation, obviously, where we`re going to go through this week and evaluate the circumstances, the situation in light of a lot of things that have happened, you know, we`re going to continue to gather information on this. This is a very fluid situation, guys. And we`ll see what happens. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: A very fluid situation. Carolina Panthers` Coach Ron Rivera, struggling to answer one of the many questions he`s now facing about how much of a domestic abuse problem is too much of a domestic abuse problem when it comes to deciding whether or not you get to play football in the National Football League. Joining us now is Shira Springer. She`s a sports enterprise reporter for "The Boston Globe," Ms. Springer, thanks very much for being with us. It`s good to have you here. SHIRA SPRINGER, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": Thanks for having me. MADDOW: So is this chaos at this point? Or is there a method to the madness that I do not see? As far as I can tell, it`s Ray Rice indefinitely suspended after previously it was a two-game suspension; Ray McDonald out on bail, playing; Greg Hardy, convicted, playing in game one, but not in game two. Now, Adrian Peterson, indicted, out in game one but back in for game two. It feels like chaos to me. SPRINGER: It feels like chaos to me, too. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to any of these punishments, any of the stances the teams have taken. They lack logic. For Ron Rivera to get up there and say this is a fluid situation with a player that`s been convicted is laughable. And it just seems that teams don`t know what they`re doing. The league doesn`t know what they`re doing and they`re grasping at straws because they`re in total crisis management at this point. MADDOW: In terms of the NFL`s response, we heard from the NFL today that they`re hiring or promoting four women to serve as advisors in shaping the league`s stance on domestic violence, including women who`ve been very involved with this, both in the law enforcement side and as advocates. Do you see that as a substantive move? Is this improving the masthead sort of decision? Or is this something where it might actually change the way the league is behaving? SPRINGER: I think it might actually change the way the league is behaving because of one woman in particular, Lisa Friel. She was the head of the sex crimes prosecutions in the Massachusetts -- Massachusetts, rather the Manhattan district attorney`s office. And I have spoken to people who have worked for her in that office and they have nothing but praise for her. And more importantly, they say that she is a woman who can speak truth to power, who will speak her mind and will not fear telling Goodell or the owners, for that matter, what they need to hear even though it may be what they don`t want to hear about various domestic abuse and various sexual abuse cases that come across her desk. And she`s going to be in charge of the investigative wing of the NFL`s new policy. So I am hopeful that with more strict investigations into these matters, more thorough investigations, that there will be more fitting punishments and more rhyme and reason to those punishments. MADDOW: I am a person who follows football enough to be a fan, but I -- before these scandals, never paid attention to the administration of football. Is it a weird thing that Roger Goodell was a no-show at Sunday night in -- at the Sunday game in San Francisco yesterday? He was expected today be there, as far as I`ve heard. SPRINGER: Yes, he was expected to be there. And the owner of the 49ers, I believe up until Saturday afternoon, believed he was coming. So, yes, it is weird. I mean, when you`re putting out, you know, opening these billion-dollar stadiums, you want the commissioner there -- at least you used to want the commissioner there. Now that may not be the case. MADDOW: Shira Springer, sports enterprise reporter for "The Boston Globe," thanks for helping us understand this. Very helpful. Thanks a lot. SPRINGER: Thank you. MADDOW: All right. We`ve got lots more to come, including a best new thing in the world. And you know you need it. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So this, this is you. This is what you look like to your United States senator. Have you ever had a chance to meet your senator up close and personal, did you ever notice maybe looking at a senator the kind of strange look in his eye or her eye? Something you couldn`t quite figure out? Maybe it`s because when your senator was looking at you, he or she was actually seeing one and one-third pieces of paper, because one and one- third pieces of paper is what your senator`s office gets for every single adult constituent in his or her home state. That`s how much paper they`re issued. If you`re your senator`s constituent, this is what you mean to them. And the reason we know that is awesome. It`s brand new. We never knew it before today. And it is by far the best new thing in the world today. And that story is coming. Hold on. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. Best new thing in the world today, I love this one, God bless you "USA Today." Look at their headline today. "Senate has a secret book of rules." Oh, really? Tell me more. "USA Today" obtained and published something that has never been made public. It`s the official handbook of how to be a United States senator. This is a real thing. And it`s apparently so secret that the Library of Congress doesn`t even have a copy of it. Today, thanks to "USA Today" it was made available online in almost its entirety -- they only cut out the security parts of it -- and apparently this handbook`s been around forever. Before today, though, it was always secret. It`s basically a reference guide for everything senators need to know, what constitutes an appropriate expenditure on travel or a map of all the parking lots that you can park in as a senator. And then there`s this, quote, "Music on hold is available to leadership offices as an alternative to silence when callers to their office are placed on hold. The leaders, whips and assistant leaders and conquered secretaries may select one hold music program source from four available options." Senate hold music, because one of those things that are apparently there was a secret rule about. But we now know about the four options. We called that phone number listed in the handbook today that offers Senate leaders their choice of hold music. This is what happens when you call that number. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to the Senate Music on Hold sample selection line. Please note that you may press * at any time to return to the main menu to listen to another selection. Your four selection choices are as follows: press one for classical, press two for environmental, press three for patriotic or press four for country Western. (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: That`s America, OK, four different choices. Which one to -- let`s -- I`m a liberal. Let`s go with environmental. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A sample environmental music: (MUSIC PLAYING) MADDOW: That`s not environmental. Anyway, maybe something with a little more edge. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sample country Western music. MADDOW: Yes, hit it. (MUSIC PLAYING) MADDOW: Yes. That last one, if you are listening closely, is the country classic, "She Thinks My Tractor`s Sexy." And if you`ve ever had the pleasure of being put on hold at Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn`s office, "She Thinks My Tractor`s Sexy" is the hold music you will get. He went with country and Western as his choice. Thanks to the Senate handbook, we now have a whole new set of categories to put senators in, right? They`re not just Democratic or Republican or independent; you can classify them as patriotic, classical, country and Western or environmental. Senator Patty Murray is classical. We`ve checked her hold music today -- that`s hers. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso on the other hand, he picked patriotic music. A lot of brass. So did House Speaker John Boehner. He went with the patriotic category of hold music. Also thanks to the Senate handbook, we now know how your senator`s office gets its paper. They get an amount of paper by dictate of the Senate, according to a very strict formula. Each member gets one and one-third pieces of paper for every adult constituent in their state. So if you`re from California, that means that Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein have each been issued one-and-a-third pieces of paper with your name on it, which adds up to more than 30 million pieces of paper per office. Much less for Wyoming, right? Also if you were ever wondering how your senator decorates his or her office, apparently with a little help from the U.S. Botanical Garden. Each senator, according to the Senate rulebook, is allowed to borrow up to six plants from our national botanical garden annually but no more than three plants at a time. No hoarding the plants! It`s all in the Senate handbook, which used to be secret, but "USA Today" published it. It is without question the best new thing in the world. You can take a look at the handbook yourself. We posted the whole thing online tonight at Maddow Blog. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL". THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END