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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/26/15

Guests: Muriel Bowser, Xeni Jardin

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I think that was llovely, Ari. I just really llike it. ARI MELBER, THE CYCLE: Thank you. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: A llot. Thanks. Well done, Ari. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. So, being a gardener has never before had such social cache. I mean, like, maybe World War II with the Victory Gardens, in places where nobody had access to any good food. And you were there the gardener, and you could produce the turnip and no one else could. And so, you were the king of the world because you could grow people stuff they otherwise could not get. Maybe in the Victory Garden era, a gardener had this much social capital, but maybe not. What`s s happening right now might be more extreme, because right now, people who can garden, people who have the know-how and the experience and the stuff and the physical ability to grow things out of dirt, those people are about to be more socially in demand than basically anybody else in this giant state, and this tiny District of Columbia. So, as you know, the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized pot already within the past year. Both of those states are now places that have businesses, stores, dispensaries where you can walk off the street and buy a joint. Not a different a process than buying a six-pack of beer. They have legalized it already in Washington and in Colorado. This week, Alaska and Washington D.C. joined them, Alaska on Tuesday and D.C. last night at midnight. And both of those places, pot is also now legal. However, unlike in Colorado and Washington, in Alaska and D.C., there are no pot stores. There is no place where you can buy it. If you`re 21 or over, it`s now legal in D.C. and Alaska to possess a certain amount of pot. It`s also legal to smoke pot, as long as you don`t do it in public. But how are you supposed to get this pot that you can legally possess and legally smoke? You`re not allowed to buy it and nobody is legally allowed to sell it. And so, get to know a gardener. Pot is technically legal in Alaska and D.C. as of right now. But the only way you`re legally allowed to get it is to grow it, to grow it yourself, or for somebody that has grown it themselves to freely give it to you in exchange for nothing. Not only can they not sell it to you, they can`t trade you for it either. "The Alaska Dispatch News" did this handy Q&A on the day that Alaska legalized this week on Tuesday, and, you know, it`s asking some very basic questions. What is still illegal as of February 24th when it comes to pot? Well, among other things, you cannot sell pot. Really? Are you sure? Can`t I sell pot? No, you cannot sell pot. You can give away up to one ounce of marijuana in Alaska, but only, quote, "without remuneration." Meaning, you cannot be paid at all if you give somebody pot. And payment doesn`t just mean money. Payment means anything. Because this is Alaska, they have to specifically point out that exchanging firewood for marijuana, for instance, that would be considered payment and you can`t do that. So, those are your options for legally obtaining pot that you`re legally allowed to possess and smoke. The only legal way to get it is to either grow it themselves or be incredibly, incredibly charming to somebody who does grow it themselves. Washington D.C. has coined a new slogan to help people remember this weird rule about what is newly legal and what is not in the district. In D.C., the pot rules for short are "home use, home grown". That`s the mantra. "Home use, home grown." You can only use pot at home, not anywhere out in public, and the only pot you can use is pot that you, or somebody you love, has created from dirt, and seed, water, and light. "Home use, home grown." Of course, because it`s D.C., there is the problem of home rule. In Alaska, at least, this weird situation where only gardeners and the people who love them can get high, that situation exists now in Alaska, but it won`t exists forever. Alaska thinks that by this time next year, the state will have regulations in place so people will be able to legally buy pot in the state instead of having to grow it or get it for free off somebody who grew it. That`s going to change in Alaska within a year or so. But in D.C., that`s apparently never going to change. At least, it`s never going to change while the Republicans are in control of Congress. I mean, even though, there is no Republican member of Congress from D.C., there are a handful of Republican congressmen, specifically Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, and Andy Harris of Maryland, have decided to make it their mission to stop D.C. from implementing their own law, which D.C. residents passed with 70 percent of the vote last November. By virtue of the vestigial constitutional relic that allows Congress to interfere in the local laws of D.C., these Republicans in the House were able to block the D.C. city counsel and the D.C. mayor from establishing any rules and regulations governing the sale of pot in the districts. That`s why D.C. isn`t going to have pot stores, like Washington and Colorado do. That`s why there`s been a run on flower pots and Miracle Grow at your local gardening centers as well, right? But even though the Republicans in Congress blocked D.C. from setting up ways to sell pot, specifically, they do not appear to have blocked D.C. from moving ahead on the other things that were approved in that voter approved initiative, including legalizing, possessing pot, and smoking it in private. They`ve only blocked the sale part of it. So, D.C.`s mayor and city council, and the police chief, and the local authorities in D.C., they made their plans. They made their plans for legalization to go into effect as of midnight last night. They put out this handy flier explaining what that means. Selling pot, not permitted. Public consumption of pot, not permitted. Driving while high, obviously not permitted. Consumption in public housing, not permitted. Nobody under 21 can do possess it or some it, or grow it, anything, but as long as you home grow, and you only give it away for free, you, if you`re over 21, can possess up to two ounces and you can get baked at home in your private residence as long as your private residence isn`t in public housing or anybody else that your landlord won`t allow you to do it. It`s very limited in scope, right, but it is a change. And D.C.`s spunky new mayor did this press availability to announce the change, to announce what was going to happen, to announce the rules, to announce that it was going into effect at midnight last night to take questions from the press, explain, like, listen, I`m at mayor of the city. This is what we`re doing. This is what that voter initiative means and we`re going ahead with it. She did that press availability and the Republicans in Congress freaked out. Jason Chaffetz from Utah and Mark Meadows from North Carolina, they sent the mayor of D.C. this threatening letter, saying their oversight committee in the House is, quote, "investigating your recent assertion that in your opinion, Initiative 71 will take effect on February 26." Quote, "We strongly suggest you reconsider your position." Quote, "If you decide to move forward with the legalization of marijuana in your district, you will be doing so in knowing and willful violation of the law." And then, look at this. They demanded that mayor hand over to Congress a list of any employees who participated in any way, in any action related to the enactment of this initiative. They want the employee salary, and position, the amount of time the employee engaged in the actions, they want a list of actions taken. In case it was not clear enough that this was a threat from Republican members of Congress against the mayor and other employees of D.C. city government for implementing this new law, in case that threat wasn`t clear enough, Congressman Jason Chaffetz again of Utah made the threat explicit. He told "The Washington Post" in an interview, quote, "You can go to prison for this. We`re not playing a little game here. We`re putting them on notice." He told "The Associated Press", quote, "The penalties are severe and we`re serious about this." Republican Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland, that is him in the microphone. That`s him in the background? Andy Harris of Maryland previously nationally famous only for this weird thing he did right around Valentine`s Day when he sat behind someone else on C-Span, and he ostentatiously winked and made eyes at the C-Span camera for a solid two minutes while texting with somebody. Yes, Republican Congressman Andy Harris previously famous only for being the winker. He now says he was winking at his mom. OK. Congressman Andy Harris is among the Republican members who have gone super agro on this issue at D.C. He is now demanding that the attorney general of the United States and the Justice Department arrest D.C. city officials and the mayor for going ahead with legalizing pot. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ANDY HARRIS (R), MARYLAND: Two years prison time, you lose your job, there are fines involved. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: If you`re feeling that there`s a certain disconnect between what these Republican congressmen are doing to D.C., and Republicans supposedly believing in local control, and a federal government that doesn`t overreach -- if you`re feeling that disconnect, you are not alone in that feeling. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS FRATES, CNN: Congress blocked Washington, D.C.`s voter- approved ballot measure to legalize marijuana. REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Yes. FRATES: And I just wonder, doesn`t that cut against the whole Republican message of state rights, and small government, and power to the people that you and your party are such a fan of? CHAFFETZ: Well, Washington, D.C. is not a state. And Washington, D.C. has a lot to offer, but, you know, free rein on marijuana use. I just don`t buy that. I just don`t think that`s the way they should operate. So, state`s rights, yes. But Washington, D.C. is not state. FRATES: So, you point out that Washington, D.C. is not a state, but certainly, everybody who lives in Washington, D.C. pays federal taxes. They voted to allow that in the place where they live, and now, Congress has come in and said, no, no, no. We don`t think that`s appropriate. Isn`t it a little big brotherish, a little paternalistic? CHAFFETZ: Well, looking at the Constitution, Washington, D.C. is different. They`re not a state. And we have a role to play, and the Congress passed this. And I just don`t think that recreational marijuana in Washington, D.C. is the right direction to go. FRATES: What would you say to people who say Mr. Chaffetz, I live in Washington D.C., you live in Utah. It might not be right for Utah, but we believe Washington -- CHAFFETZ: I spend a lot of my time here as well. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: You keep that up and there will be bus trips of people going from D.C. to Utah. To say, hey, Utah, here`s how you ought to run things. I spent some time here. So, we are in this incredibly weird moment right now. I mean, it is weird enough that temporarily in Alaska, and apparently permanently in D.C., you can smoke pot, you can have pot, but you cannot get pot, unless you can grow it. So, it`s like a radical gardening mandate. That is weird enough. But on top of that, Washington, D.C.`s duly elected mayor and city council are now being told by Republican members of Congress that D.C. going ahead with this new law, even in this limited way, means that the mayor and city council ought to go to prison. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Some Republican members of Congress are calling for the fed to arrest D.C.`s mayor and city council members when they arrive here at work later this morning. REPORTER: Mayor, how do you react to the talk that you might go to jail, that part of this? MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D), DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Well, I -- you heard that we believe that we`re acting lawfully. So, I have a lot of things to do here in the District of Columbia. Me being in jail wouldn`t be a good thing. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Joining us now is the person at the center of this issue right now, the mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser. Mayor Bowser, thank you so much for being with us tonight. BOWSER: Thank you, Rachel. It`s really my pleasure to be here. MADDOW: I have to ask -- clearly, you are not in jail. We check to see if we`re going to have to bail you out in order to have you on TV. I imagine that there is a lot of tension between D.C. city government and Congress because they have this vestigial constitutional role in sort of stopping D.C. from doing things it wants to do. Did you expect it would come to the point where they`d be threatening to jail you? BOWSER: Well, this is an issue, Rachel, where some people feel very strongly at the Congress and they are speaking loudly. But our residents also spoke loud and clear last November when seven out of ten of them went to the polls to vote to approve legalization of small amounts of marijuana in Washington, D.C. for use by adults in their homes. And I`m the mayor of the District of Columbia. I was elected, and my job is to implement the people`s law. The people changed the law, and it`s my job to implement it. MADDOW: If members of Congress that are so excited and head up about this issue and are being so confrontational about this issue, if they decide that, OK, they`re not going to put you in jail, but they want to do everything possible to try to stop the city and to try to stop you from going ahead with this, what other options do they have? What else is at risk for you and for D.C. in terms of what Congress controls? BOWSER: Well, the Congress can act in a lot of ways. They have -- and if your viewers don`t know this -- they have jurisdiction over the District of Columbia in a lot of ways. We send our budget to the Congress. Our laws lay over at the Congress. And the Congress well knows how to stop things when they want to stop things. And they have done it in the past. They attacked our ability to support women`s reproductive health issues. They attacked our ability to provide clean needle exchange in the District of Columbia, and even medical marijuana. The answer for us, of course, is statehood so that Americans that live and pay taxes in the District of Columbia can have a voting member of Congress, our Eleanor Holmes Norton would have a vote, and we would have two senators. So that the members, and we have been especially antagonized by Representative Andy Harris who is the first district in Maryland. He could spend his time antagonizing the district, and they threaten to harass us and attack our funds that are due us by the federal government, just like any other state. But I know the people in the first district of Maryland would much rather has his attention on their issues. MADDOW: On the substance on this charge in the marijuana laws and the enforcement priorities in the district, how did day one go? And what do you think the biggest challenges are going to be for D.C. in terms of this moving forward? It is a little bit of a complicated array of things that people are going to have to understand in terms of what changes. BOWSER: Yes. And it was complicated by Andy Harris. Now, the voters of the District of Columbia were very clear on what they wanted to approve -- home use, home growth by adults. But I think it was also the expectation that the council of the District of Columbia would be able to pass reasonable regulations to regulate the sale of marijuana so we wouldn`t have this confusing state. But, currently, I want to be very clear, that residents and the will of the voters is being realized because Initiative 71 is enforced in the District of Columbia. MADDOW: The mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser, I know this is an incredibly difficult and pressure-laden time for you -- thank you so much for walking us through what you`re going through. I really appreciate it. BOWSER: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. Good luck. I love D.C. All right. Lots more in tonight`s show, as we get one day closer to what may be the shut down of the Department of Homeland Security. Congress has started to get a little loopy. Videotape evidence of their true blue bipartisan loopiness is coming. Plus, we`ve got some fancy car explosions for you. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRICIA MCKINNEY, TRMS SENIOR PLANNING PRODUCER: I`m here to give you selections of swag prizes for our Friday night news dump edition. MADDOW: Why do you look like at Gordon`s fisherman? MCKINNEY: Because, I`ll put this down, do you recall the whaling metaphor? MADDOW: Yes, yes, yes. MCKINNEY: This is one of the whaling -- MADDOW: Oh, it`s left over as a costume. MCKINNEY: Yes. MADDOW: What happened? We`ve been using that. It`s kind of awesome. MCKINNEY: Well, we could. I mean, we have more than one. MADDOW: Is it lined or is it just -- MCKINNEY: Yes, it`s the real thing, it is a real -- MADDOW: Nice. MCKINNEY: Kind of pricey too. OK, now, this is something that Rosaline (ph) has had on her desk and keeps offering it every week. Why don`t she use it? Really, it`s a ruler of the first ladies of the United States. It has no connection to the show except that it`s been on one of our producers` desks. MADDOW: First ladies influence -- first -- OK. Double size ruler with teeny little pictures of all the first ladies` heads. MCKINNEY: Yes. MADDOW: (INAUDIBLE) OK. MCKINNEY: And then this is Bill Wolff`s beard. MADDOW: Oh, so anybody can look bearded. MCKINNEY: I have no idea why we made this, but we made it at some point, and there is a piece of our former executive producer that could live on. MADDOW: It`s so creepy to give somebody this. I don`t know. What do you think? This is (INAUDIBLE) That is clearly an item of value. I think, you know what? We love our viewers, I think the item of value. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, this is a thing that happened today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: You know what this is? It is a snowball, and it is just from outside here. So, it is very, very cold out, very unseasonable, so here, Mr. President, catch this. Uh-huh! (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Uh-huh! Republican Senator James Inhofe furnishing a snowball on the floor today because logic. Obviously, the existence of a snowball in the winter time disproves climate change. Case closed, America. Argument over. It`s cold. That was that kind of day in Washington today. There was also this moment, Nancy Pelosi wearing sunglasses at a Democratic press conference. She said she was doing it in solidarity with Harry Reid, who, it should be noted, has been wearing sunglasses inside earlier this week, as he recovers from a terrible eye injury. But today, he was not wearing his sunglasses, he was instead wearing sort of prismatic half glasses, even while Nancy Pelosi tried to do sunglasses solidarity. And it just didn`t work. It was a little weird. Honestly, I think members of Congress are getting a little punch on Capitol Hill. Probably because we`ve seen to be careening without control into another government shutdown. We are about 24 hours away from the Homeland Security Department shutting down, unless Republicans figure out how to get over the fight they`re having about it amongst themselves. And if you don`t believe me about the punchy thing, this was John Boehner`s response today to a reporter who asked him what he planned to do about that impending shutdown. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Your answer is about what you will do the same as yesterday. Can we -- Mitch McConnell has said exactly what he is going to do, you know exactly what you`re going to get. It`s going to be a clean DHS funding bill. Are you going to put it on the floor, are you going to kill it, are you going to let them vote on it, have you even had this discussion? (INAUDIBLE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We didn`t invent that. That is the way -- we put that through the kissy noises to English Google translator today, but I still don`t know what he meant. Punchy. It is getting punchy and weird in Washington. Punchy and chaotic. The fight among Republicans over whether Republicans should shut down Homeland Security in protest over President Obama`s immigration policies, it has led to some of the nastiest Republican on Republican sniping and political cannibalism that we have seen in a long time. Congressman Peter King, Republican of New York, doesn`t want to shut down Homeland Security. He just told reporters, quote, "People think we`re crazy. There are terrorist attacks all over the world and we`re talking about closing down Homeland Security. This is like living in the world of the crazy people," end quote. Republican Senator Mark Kirk was even more blunt. He is frustrated with Republicans in the House who he thinks want to let Homeland Security shut down. Mark Kirk says this, quote, "We really, as a governing party, we got to fund Homeland Security and say to the House, here is a straw so you can suck it up." On the other side, there is Republican Congressman John Fleming saying if Republicans do keep Homeland Security running, keep it open, the conservative base, quote, "would be extremely angry". Congressman Fleming says any action to avoid the shutdown of Homeland Security would put Congress in very, very delicate territory. Republican Congressman Matt Salmon of Arizona also tells reporters that if John Boehner acts to keep Homeland Security from shutting it down, if he acts to keep it open, John Boehner will find himself on, quote, "on very thin ice." This is what it has been like for the last 48 hours heading into the shut down. Look at the headlines. GOP lawmakers clash. GOP Congress in disarray. House GOP bashes McConnell. Republicans grapple with internal rifts, right? The Republicans set this whole thing up as a fight between themselves and the White House. Or at least themselves and Democrats. What it has ended up being is a fight between themselves and themselves. The Senate, at some point in the next 24 hours, is expected to pass a bill funding Homeland Security. The House at last report had not come up with a way to pass the same way themselves. And so, maybe they will just pass something to keep Homeland Security open for three weeks and then, in three weeks, we`ll go through all of this again. That`s the latest reporting tonight from NBC News on Capitol Hill, in terms of what John Boehner`s strategy is. Maybe a bill that just lasts for three weeks and then we do it again? Maybe. But honestly, nobody knows what`s going to happen until it happens. John Boehner said yesterday that he and Mitch McConnell haven`t spoken in two weeks while this crisis between them has been brewing. Now, we are heading down to the last 24 hours and it is anyone`s guess as to what they will do. The stress seems like it`s getting to them. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We`re waiting to see what the Senate can or can`t do. The house passed a bill six weeks ago. It`s time for the Senate to do their work. I don`t know what the Senate can or what they can`t produce. If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas. REPORTER: Jeh Johnson -- BOEHNER: We passed a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security six weeks ago. Six weeks ago. Time for the Senate to act. We passed a bill to fund the department six weeks ago. I`ll tell you what, how many times do I have to say it? (INAUDIBLE) (LAUGHTER) BOEHNER: When I make decisions, I`ll let you know. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We`ll let you know. It`s so weird. Watch this space. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You`re going to hear it directly from me and bluntly because I care. If I didn`t care, there`s no reason to do that. LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: But sit down and shut up? CHRISTIE: Yes. Well, sometimes, people need to be told to sit down and shut up. (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Yeah, shut up! Whoo! Oh, yes, it`s that time of year again. It is officially CPAC Week. This is the week when the whole conservative movement travels en masse to Washington, D.C., to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. They do this every year. It`s always fun. But this particular CPAC is more exciting than most years because this year, all the potential 2016 Republican candidates for president are there, trying to drum up support for their might be candidacy. So, today`s session included speeches by the aforementioned Chris Christie. Shut up! There was a particularly well-received speech by Sarah Palin today. I`m not kidding. It received a lot of compliments across the aisle, from everybody. There was a not-that-well-received speech by Ted Cruz today. He seemed to have not much of an effect on the crowd at all. Ben Carson was there at the opener. He`s a very good speaker. Everybody is there. But here is the thing to keep an eye on for tomorrow, because tomorrow, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is scheduled to give his CPAC speech, and there appears to be a movement afoot in which CPAC attendees who do not think that Jeb Bush is sufficiently conservative, they are apparently going to boycott his appearance tomorrow. Not boycott in the sense that they`re not going to show. They say they will show up, but then as soon as he takes the stage, they plan to stand up and walk out of the room. This is sort of a protest against him for being too much of a squish. The conservative "Washington Times" reports today that, quote, "a movement is under way to stage an informal protest when Jeb Bush takes the stage." So, that would be dramatic. Jeb Bush however apparently has a planned of his own. This is very hard to believe, but is reporting tonight that the Jeb Bush team has apparently arranged for his supporters to be brought to the CPAC conference by bus tomorrow morning to try to fill the seats, to pack the hall with people who like Jeb. "Slate" got a hold of e-mails from of Jeb Bush`s top supporters. The email implores the recipients of the email to, quote, "arrive as early as possible to get a seat. Our early rise team will be there at 7:30 a.m. onward, helping reserve seats." 7:30 onward, Jeb Bush isn`t speaking until 1:40 p.m. But they`re packing the hall for him starting at 7:30 in the morning. A Bush insider confirming to "Slate" tonight that Jeb Bush`s PAC is helping organize transportation to the event. So, this is shaping up to be a really interesting showdown at CPAC tomorrow. I mean, who`s going to prevail? The Jeb Bush seat stuffers who were there five hours early, to make sure only pro-Jeb Bush people are in the room, or the Jeb Bush boycotters who plan to be in the room but get up and walk out as soon as he shows up. That`s tomorrow afternoon. Grab your popcorn, I love you, CPAC. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is a $200,000 car. At least it was. These photos were posted online today "Hot Rod" magazine, and then picked by They got a lot of online traffic today. According to "Hot Rod", this car, a $200,000 Porsche Turbo 911S, over 400 horsepower, goes 190 miles an hour, this car apparently self-emulated in the parking of a Florida Costco while the owner was inside. And so, naturally, somebody shot a video. Lots of people took pictures, and now you can spend a lot of time looking at minute detail at a totally destroyed, very, very valuable car. This is a popular niche online actually. At, all they do is post pictures of very expensive cars that have been somehow destroyed. You can search by type of expensive car or you can search by type of wreck. So, if you really like to see expensive cars on fire, you can see just the ones on fire. If you want to see just expensive cars crashed into buildings, you can search by that too. When it comes to the destruction of very valuable things, there is a very whole corner of the Internet devoted to pictures of the accidental destruction of very, very valuable cars. Very valuable things destroyed accidentally. There is also valuable things destroyed by looting and stealing. The most famous thing about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Massachusetts is its trove of Rembrandts, and Degas and Monets and Vermeers that they had stolen from them in 1990. Still unsolved. The FBI still has a $5 million reward for the art theft. The museum still displays the empty frames of where all of its paintings and drawings used to be before they got stolen. In the category of very valuable things lost through a looting and stealing, you can also put the art and artifacts that were lost from the Iraqi National Museum after the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the collapse of the Iraqi government and the U.S. as the invading force not making any provisions to protect that invaluable heritage, that invaluable stuff from people who steal or loot it. Sometimes, invaluable things are lost by accident. Sometimes, they`re lost by looting and stealing, which may or may not be facilitated by negligence in caring for those items. But there is a whole other category for the terribleness of the loss, when very valuable things, irreplaceable things are lost because of a deliberate decision to destroy. And in our time on Earth, we are now getting used to the deliberate desecration and destruction of world heritage sites because of religious fanaticism. Radical Islamic fundamentalists deciding that it`s up to them to rid the world of things like the Bamiyan Buddhas, these huge Buddhas the in the painted caves in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001 took those Buddhas out with anti-aircraft missiles and tank shells and ultimately dynamite and they totally destroy them. A decade later, it was the U.N. World Heritage site, the ancient Islamic shrines in Timbuktu in Mali, attacked and destroyed by a fanatical linked to al Qaeda. It`s in the summer of 2012. Now, of course, it`s ISIS. After ISIS took control of Mosul, Iraq`s second largest city, one of the things ISIS did was attacked Mosul`s library and the library in the University of Mosul as well, destroying books about everything other than Islam in a bon fire. Now, today, ISIS has released a video showing their fighters using sledge hammers and drills to destroy ancient -- really ancient artifacts, icons that in some cases are over 2,000 years old, from among the most ancient civilizations on the planet. NBC`s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is in Turkey right now and he filed this report tonight. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Add cultural genocide to ISIS` growing list of crimes. The group, which has killed, terrorized, and uprooted hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Syria is now destroying their heritage, too. "We were ordered by our prophet to take down false idols and destroy them", says this ISIS member in a video released by the group -- which includes music and slow motion sequences. Then, the men go to work, ransacking Mosul`s renowned museum and a nearby archaeological site, demolishing irreplaceable statutes and works of art. Some crumbled with a mere push. Others require more effort. The big ones are defaced with power drills, including this winged bull, a god who protected the Assyrian empire 2,500 years ago, now powerless against this modern day vandals. (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel reporting tonight. Richard now joins us live from Istanbul. Richard, thanks for staying up late to be with us tonight. It`s nice to have you here. ENGEL: Absolutely. That video is just so infuriating. And we spoke to an archaeologist who has been studying this region, studying this part of Iraq for two decades now. And it`s heartbreaking. This is world civilization that ISIS is trying to erase by design. And it is systematic and it is going on, and it is not over yet. What we saw today is really just a part of a broader campaign because ISIS has set up shop in Mesopotamia, in the cradle of civilization. Just in Iraq, there are around 2,000 archaeological sites in areas that are under ISIS control. That`s just in Iraq, let alone Syria. MADDOW: Richard, in terms of ISIS`s strategy, obviously, they`re masters of propaganda. I think in your report tonight on "Nightly News", rightly pointing out some of the production values and the production techniques they`re using to try to sort of increase the horror as you watch these irreplaceable things destroyed. Is this designed to provoke in the same way that their video showing violence against people and murder of hostages are designed to provoke -- do they want a specific response to this? ENGEL: No, this has nothing to do with provoking the West. It`s not like putting a Western hostage on his knees and killing him while insulting the president. This is a much more religious mission. These people believe that this is the point of establishing the caliphate. They are purifying their land by removing previous cultures, by removing anything that came before Islam. In Islamic terms, the time before Islam is called Jahiliyyah, the time of ignorance, and things from the time of ignorance as it is called are a distraction from Islam at best. At worst, they are false idols. They are things that can tempt you away from the one and true path of God`s final religion. So, they want to remove these things and believe it is their holy duty and that they are proud to do this in front of their community and in front of potentially other recruits abroad. The Taliban did a similar thing in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda, there is a trend of iconoclasm within Islam and also within -- within all of the sort of monotheistic religions. Early Christians did the similar things, but that was 2,000 years ago. MADDOW: Speaking of early Christians and looking at these artifacts, some of them leading back to the Assyrian Empire, right, from 2,000 years BC, obviously, this is happening in the context of these reports that may be as many as a few hundred Assyrian Christians, not fighters, just civilians, women, children, families, have been taken by ISIS. Do you know what is going on in terms of the veracity of those reports and what we think the risk is to those Christians that they have kidnapped? ENGEL: Yes, these ruins are from the Assyrian civilization, from the city of Nineveh, which was around 2,500 years ago. That`s when it flourished. And the people that lived in this area where the Assyrians lived have adopted the name and they are the Assyrian Christians. They are not the ancient civilization. They`re just the descendents you will say, or the people who live in that region. And the Assyrian Christians have been targeted by ISIS for death, conversion, enslavement, sometimes they have been taken has slaves working in ISIS homes -- cooking, cleaning, doing whatever the masters would demand. And starting last Sunday, there was a series of about 30 Assyrian Christian villages that were holding out. They organized their defense committees and their own popular militias and ISIS invaded and they swept in. And the defense committees could not hold on. And some Christian men, defenders, were taken captive, some elderly women and children were taken also captive. And there are reports that as many as 300 of these villagers are now in ISIS`s hands, fate unknown. MADDOW: NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, just absolutely harrowing stuff. Richard, thank you very much, man. I appreciate it. ENGEL: Absolutely. MADDOW: All right. After a long, hard battle, today marks an Independence Day for the Internet. We`ve got lots ahead on that. So, please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: I have said this before and it remains true. We get more e- mail, more feedback, more tweets about our next guest than any other guests we have on this show. It is an under statement that she is a fan favorite. She`s also my technological Sherpa. Her name is Xeni Jardin and she joins us next. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, we`ve been having a clash of the titans in this country. This one involves really giant corporations on one side, including this network`s parent company, and really giant corporations on the other side, too. The two sides have been fighting about how much and whether the government should regulate traffic on the Internet. You`ve got cable companies on one side who don`t want -- and telecom companies, right -- who don`t want the government telling them what to do. And you`ve got other companies, some small ones, some big ones, like Google and Facebook, on the other side, along with a whole bunch of activists, and they`re all worried about the cable companies making it harder to see certain stuff on the Internet. People being able to pay to get their stuff out there and people who can`t pay getting stuck in the slow lane. In a fight like this, there`s going to be a winner, there`s going to be a loser. And honestly, yes, it is way more fun to watch gorillas to fight about anything than it is to watch giant corporations fight about net neutrality and regulation of the Internet. But there`s also a very interesting political argument that`s been articulated in some weird ways. One side of the argument has been, in some ways, represented by the Glenn Beck wing of the conservative movement. Glenn Beck has moved on from his hobbit kingdom at FOX News to the hobbit kingdom he built for himself on the Internet machine. Mr. Beck would now like to sell you a $17.91 Bill of Rights cap, in case your patriotic ears get cold. He would also sell you some Bill of Rights jeans for when you`re just lounging around your underground bunker. Glenn Beck e would most definitely like to tell you on the idea that this net neutrality thing, whatever that is, that will definitely obviously be the socialist end of the world. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GLENN BECK, BLAZE TV: This is truly about control. When you look at what they`ve tried to do, they tried to take away your guns. They`re trying to take away your voice. They need control of the Internet. If we lose the Internet, and the government takes control of the Internet, you will not be able to chart your own course online either. That leaves us exactly where? With a mimeograph machine? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: They`re taking away your guns and they`re making you use a mimeograph thing. It`s all the same thing. I`ll meet you in the basement. The Glenn Beck, they`re coming for your keyboard side, they lost the argument today. The Federal Communications Commission today voted 3-2 for net neutrality, against the fulminations of the Glenn Beck side of the argument, right? To the extent that he was making a political argument here, he lost the political argument. But if the paranoia Glenn Beck side of this lost, how do we understand who won? And what do they get for a prize? And for the people who have been activists on this issue for years while most of the rest of us have been wondering how it`s all going to wonder -- wondering how it`s going to work out, how does today feel for the people who fought so hard to win this? Joining us is Xeni Jardin, tech culture reporter, co-editor of, a grassroots supporter of net neutrality. Xeni, it`s great to see you. Thank you for being here. XENI JARDIN, BOINGBOING.NET: It`s an honor to be here again, Rachel. Thank you. MADDOW: I have been watching your reaction online to this today. I have been watching the discussion online today. I know that everybody is psyched, but can you explain to people who can`t previously care about this issue why you are psyched? JARDIN: There is exuberance and joyous nerd core rapping ringing out throughout the Internet land today. There`s also I hear a party for net neutrality advocates in D.C. with cocktails, with names like Internet libre. I know you`re fan of cocktails. There`s just a sense of great, great excitement and triumph, because this really was a victory of the people. Net neutrality is basically the idea that all network packets are created equal. And if you`re into cat GIFs and I`m into dog GIFs, we get to access the same stuff at the same speed, not one being slower than the other because Comcast or Time Warner has a sweetheart deal with the people who make dog GIFs. The idea that the content, that, you know, the videos, the blogs, the news reports, the everything that we like to share, to access and to talk about online, that everything should be a level playing field. That`s what this fight was about. And we won. And the people won. Not the big companies with all of the money on their side. There was such a diverse group of grassroots organizations. It was like -- depending on how you count it, 4 million to 7 million American citizens -- contacted the FCC to let our government know that preserving the status quo, preserving an open and free Internet was important and it is important. MADDOW: How resilient is this decision? Obviously, I think people worry that this might not happen because of the amount of lobbying and the big money interest, particularly pressing for this to go the other way. Now that the FCC has made this decision how long will it stick and what will determine whether or not it does? JARDIN: I`m not foolish enough to predict that, but a year and a half ago everyone thought this was absolutely impossible. I do know that this is something that our president has taken up as something of a personal cause, and he hasn`t had that many political victories. So, if you think about it, I don`t imagine he`s going to let this one go without a fight. You know, the Republicans in Congress would have to have a veto-proof majority on proposing legislation that would gut this. That`s a high hurdle to pass. I do imagine, as many others do, that there`s going to be legal challenges. There will be lawsuits. But this law, the ruling that came down today, this is like the third round. Each round prior was challenged by lawsuits, the telcos, the cable companies, the trade groups who would profit from having the ability to charge for access lanes. MADDOW: So, we`ll have to see whether or not they go back and do that again. At this point, an open question whether or not the market adjusts to it, or whether they keep fighting it in a very short term. Xeni Jardin, tech culture reporter and co-editor of -- Xeni, thank you. Really appreciate it. JARDIN: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. Some late breaking news is just in. Please state with us. I`ll have that for you after we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Update with some brand new news. Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee took a vote on whether or not to confirm Loretta Lynch to be the next attorney general replacing Eric Holder. There was suspense whether she would get enough votes. In the end, three Republicans voted with Democrats to confirm her today. That was enough to move her nomination forward to the floor. However, we can`t report exclusively tonight on when that is going to happen. Senate sources telling THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW tonight that a floor vote on Loretta Lynch is likely to be next week. Now, there has been no official announcement on this. Junior Texas Senator Ted Cruz has been campaigning that the Republican leadership in Congress shouldn`t even allow a vote on her on the floor. But again, our sources telling us tonight that the Republican leadership in Congress is blowing off Ted Cruz on this matter and Loretta Lynch will get her vote to be the next attorney general of the United States next week. We`ll see. Watch this space. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Hello, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END