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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  July 28, 2009 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT

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cooperstown. so you talk about the village of the damned, perhaps, over the course of a couple of days here, rose and then clemens in just a four-day period. >> speaking of all of that gambling, always been biggest baseball taboo to the 1994 scandal. but performance-enhancing drugs, which clemens has been accused of, the brightest stars have cast a cloud of suspicion over the sport. is drug use in baseball becoming a bigger black eye for the sport than gambling's ever been? >> it's interesting because it's so much easier for fans to relate to negatively than the idea of gambling, or what's the difference if you bet on a game or you bet on your own team? it becomes something that needs explanation. i think the performance-enhancing drugs issue gets through to the fans pretty quickly and pretty directly, and the big problem with that, howard, is as we look ahead in the next five, ten years here, there are going to be fewer and fewer automatic hall of famers. this was a great, wonderful weekend. rickey henderson, jim rice. automatic people guys love.
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lines were around the block for them. applause and chores and good feeling all around. maybe not so for the next five years of new hall of fame eligibilities until greg mad dumb becomes eligibility. ibm ronically maybe it becomes pete rose looks not less guilty for what he did but less guilty in the context of what other players have done with drugs. >> one of the things you wrote in your blog, in the 30 seconds in which we have left, is hank aaron is playing a major role in this because of his friendship with bud selig. you want to talk a little bit about that? >> very simply, bud selig worships hank aaron, he's one of his best friends. and hank aaron said publicly the other day here, it's time pete should be in the hall of fame. take that for what it's worth, howard. >> keith olbermann, working even while he's on vacation. enjoy the rest of your final off. >> thank you, sir. thank you for filling in. >> thank you. it's harder than it looks. that will do it for tuesday's edition of "countdown." i'm governor howard dean. and a quick reminder, in minutes you will find me on the world wide web talking with you about
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health care. go to to join the conversation. i will see you back here tomorrow. up next on msnbc, "the rachel maddow show." good evening, rachel. >> good evening, governor dean. you made it look very, very easy. thank you so much. great to see you. >> i don't know what you guys get paid, but you more than earn your money. >> thanks, gov. we will see you tomorrow. >> yep. and thank you for at home for staying with us the next hour. today a new conspiracy theory got its wing. the president of the united states trying to talk about health care reform today but instead having to respond personally to a plot that is not quite the protocols of the elders of zion but it's pretty close. also tonight, we have the confluence of birtherism with c street and the family. jeff charlotte will be here. plus, we have news from cuba, we have news from iraq. and we have very dramatic news from a swimming pool in italy. it is all coming up over the course of the next hour. but here's where we begin. if you thought it was a little
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weird that the white house press secretary had to answer a birther question at the daily press briefing yesterday, the question about whether the president was really born in america, well, today the lunatic fringe one-up that weirdness by forcing not just the white house press secretary but the president himself, to have to answer a question from maybe even further out in right field. it was during a town hall meeting on health care today that was hosted by aarp. check out this question. >> i have heard lots of rumors going around about this new plan, and i hope that the people that are going to vote on this is going to read every single page there. i have been told there is a solve in there that everyone of medicare age will be visited and told how to decide how they which to die. that a great deal bothers me and i want you to promise me that
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this is not in this bill. >> you know, i guarantee you, first of all, we just don't have enough government workers to send -- to talk to everybody. to find out how they want to die. i think that the only thing that may have been proposed in some of the bills -- and i actually think this is a good thing, is that it makes it easier for people to fill out a living will. so i actually think it's a good idea to have a living will. i would encourage everybody to get one. i have one. michelle has one. and we hope we don't have to use it for a long time. but i think it's something that is sensible. but, mary, i just want to be clear, nobody's going to be knocking on your door. nobody's going to be telling you, you've got to fill one out, and certainly nobody's going to be forcing you to make a set of decisions on end-of-life care based on, you know, some bureaucratic law in washington. that would be kind of morbid.
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>> the president of the united states today answering whether or not he wants health care reform because it secretly is a plan to kill old people. this is one of those moments where you go, huh, any questions? most of all just a big misunderstanding. it's like a "three's company" plot line. what's really going on, the government is encouraging people to get living wills, which they have been doing without toefrs for 20 years. but then chris and janet got it in their head, it's not about living wills. it's about killing all of the old people, panic, panic. and then we realize it's all just a big misunderstanding. we're all glad the president can play the part of, i guess, mr. roeper here and clear up the misunderstanding. but it turns out this isn't a "three's company" plot misunderstanding. this is not a confused question from one town hall questioner. this is sort of the tip of the iceberg here. it is a whole new crazy conspiracy theory, unfolding where the craziest of them seem
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to be unfolding these days, among republicans members of congress speaking on the floor of the u.s. house of representatives. i am not kidding. >> republicans have a better solution that won't put the government in charge of people's health care, that will make sure we bring down the cost of health care for all americans, and that insures affordable access for all americans and is pro-life, because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government. >> the republican plan will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government. that's an advantage. that was republican congresswoman virginia foxx of north carolina on the house floor today. and it's not just virginia foxx with this crazy theory. republicans across the country are running with this idea. >> a lot of people are going to die. this program of government option that's being touted as being this panacea, the savior
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of allowing people to have quality health care at an affordable price, is going to kill people. >> that was republican congressman paul broun of georgia. democrats want to reform health care because it's a secret plan to kill people. this is the kind of thing that when it shows up on the floor of the house or in a town hall with the president, you get a little glimpse of crazy. but the nest for this kind of crazy, where this stuff is hatched, it's among the conservative base and in the conservative media. conservative talk radio is really where they let it all hang out. >> people of a certain age, of certain diseases will be deemed not worth of investment, and they will just, as obama said, give them some pain pills and let them loop out until they die and they don't even know what's happened. >> for all of those listening, you're hearing perhaps for the first time the dirty little secret about what's going on here. the elderly are going to be especially -- especially hit on
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this thing. >> you think obama was secretly born in kenya was a widespread conspiracy theory? health care reform as a secret plan to kill old people is everywhere on the right. it's only starting to surface in mainstream politics because of the town hall, because some members of congress are willing to say it on the house floor, but this is a wildly held, wildly propounded theory about health care reform. this is republican thaddeus of michigan in front of the house committee. here he is speaking friday. >> this is very dangerous. we in michigan already fought back in attempted assisted suicide several years ago. and you see the people who support this are trying to use this bill to advance this agenda. >> health care reform doesn't have anything to do with the fact our health care system stinks. it's secretly a way to trick people into killing themselves. that's the argument here. and then there's republican congressman louis gomart of texas. here he is speaking on the alex
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jones talk radio show on the same day. >> we have been battling this socialist health care, the nationalization of health care that is going to absolutely kill senior citizens, put them on lists and force them to die early because they won't get the treatment as quickly as they need. once the government pays for your health care, they have every right to tell you what you eat, what you drink, how you exercise, where you live. any time you have economic chaos, people are always willing to give up their liberty to get economic stability. >> look at hitler. >> yeah, absolutely. one of the best examples. maybe the best example. this has been done throughout history. >> mao did it. >> that's exactly who i was thinking of. but this is the kind of thing we've got to stop. >> you know, the democrats may be fighting it out about whether they're going to be beholden to the insurance companies and whether there's going to be a public option in health care reform, but when it comes to the
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republicans, this is the kind of thing they're bringing to the table, hitler, mao and secret plots to kill old people. joining us now is senator bernie sanders, members of vermont and the pensions committee. senator sanders, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> good to be with you, rachel. >> there seems to be a gap between the seriousness of what's actually being fought over in washington right now and the level of discourse about it. why do you think it is that there's so much sideshow craziness about this issue? >> well, number one, it is an enormously complicated issue. it's a personal issue. people feel strongly about it. frankly, i think from our side of the aisle, we have not been as clear as we should be in what in fact we are fighting for. and one of the problems in that regard is in my view, at least, if we are serious about trying to develop a universal, comprehensive, cost effective health care system, the only way
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you can ring the hundreds of billions of dollars of waste in the system today is through a single payer system. but that is off of the table because of the power of the insurance companies and the drug companies. so if you don't do that, then it becomes pretty complicated and it opens up opportunities for the extreme right wing to come up with their crazy ideas. >> they're sort of filling the vacuum of the lack of details that people don't understand with craziness that people are willing to -- >> well, people do understand -- what people do understand, rachel, i think, is that our current system today is dysfunctional. these guys are talking about, you know, democrats wanting to kill people. the reality is that 18,000 people die every single year in this country because they don't have access to a doctor when they should. today about 1 million families this year are going to go bankrupt because of medically related costs. you have people who are staying on their jobs who would like to leave because the job provides them decent health care today. so we have a dysfunctional system.
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we have got to address it. but in fact once you don't do single payer, it becomes pretty complicated. >> as somebody who's been a long time vocal proponent of the single payer health care system, what is your reaction to these reports out of the senate finance committee that is a bipartisan group of senators is moving forward on some sort of bill that doesn't even include a public option, let alone single payer? >> i'm not happy about that at all. and at the very least, if we can't do a single payer system, at the very least, you've got to give the american people an option of choosing, being able to choose a public plan in competition with the private insurance companies. and i think the insurance companies and their proponents in the congress, are very afraid and rightfully so, that if given the choice, the people would gravitate towards a public plan because a public plan will not have the administrative costs, the huge ceo compensation costs, and the general bureaucracy that
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a public plan will have. but furthermore, if you want to do any kind of cost containment, you need to have the competition from a public plan because without that, the private insurance companies will be out there on their own being able to raise rates as much as they have in the past. >> it's very clear to me why the insurance industry wants to keep things the way they are, because they're profiting quite handsomely and doing quite well in the system the way it is. their incentive here makes a lot of sense to me. >> absolutely. >> how does it work in washington, though, in terms of how they get politicians to go along with them? politicians who represent americans who are by and large completely dissatisfied with this broken system? >> well, rachel, the gap between capitol hill and the rest of the country, i'm afraid, is very, very wide. and one of the areas that, that gap is fed is the fact that, according to "the washington post," the health care industry, if you can believe it, is putting $1.3 million into
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lobbying every single day, every single day. and then you've got the drug companies and their advertising. so with all of that money coming into capitol hill, i'm afraid too many of my colleagues look at the world from the perspective of the insurance companies, from the drug companies who are charging us the highest prices for medicine in the entire world, rather than from the needs of ordinary americans. the antidote to that, and what we have got to do as a nation, is we need a mass moralization. millions and millions of people have got to stand up and make it very clear to the president and to congress that the status quo is simply not acceptable, that we have a dysfunctional health care system, that we're the only nation in the world that does not guarantee -- industrialized nation that does not guarantee health care to every man, woman and child. and yet we end up spending almost twice as much as any other country. we need real health care reform, comprehensive health care reform, and we can do it if we can rally millions of people to help us stands up to the insurance companies and the drug companies.
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>> senator bernie sanders, independent of vermont. thank you so much for your time tonight, sir. it's great to have you here. >> good to be with you, rachel. in terms of the big american political picture, the roles of the two parties, the governing majorities of the future. because of how republican senators have hammered away at supreme court nominee sonia sotomayor recently, you might think that mending fences with latino voters would be a really high priority with the gop voters right now. actually, at this week's annual conference the nation's largest hispanic civil rights advocacy organization, the gop dispatched no one. that will charm them, i'm sure. stay with us for that.
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there was sort of an evel knievel moment in the era of america's don't ask, don't tell policy today. no, they didn't jump double-decker buses. you wish. it was evel knievel before doing his motorcycle jump, he would speed down the ramp and look like was going to jump and at
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the very last second he would start. it was sort of a false start to build the drama. today representative alci hastings of florida had a false start when he introduced and then withdrew an amendment to the defense appropriations act that said that no more money could be spent to investigate or discharge american service members for being gay or lesbian. mr. hastings issued a statement today explaining, quote, due to some pressure from some of my congressional colleagues and from the white house, i have withdrawn my amendment. pressure from the white house? pressure from congressional colleagues? everyone keeps saying they want to get rid of don't ask, don't tell, but what's the strategy here? do ask, do tell. we'd love to hear it. where will you find the stability and resources to keep you ahead of this rapidly evolving world? these are tough questions. that's why we brought together two of the most powerful names in the industry. introducing morgan stanley smith barney. here to rethink wealth management. here to answer... your questions.
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today the nomination of judge sonia sotomayor to the supreme court was approved by the senate judiciary committee. thanks to every democratic vote on the committee and just one republican vote. that of lindsey graham of south carolina. the rest of the committee's republicans hit the same hot botten over and over and over again today, explain yg thing wy voted no. >> i can't vote for her not because she's a latina woman and i can't vote for her because she said all of those things. i can't vote for her because she wouldn't defend what she said and stand up and say i really believe this but i can still be a great judge anyway. >> judges must self-consciously and deliberately set aside personal views, sympathies and prejudices. >> she said that a, quote, wise latina would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male. >> and that edthnicity and gendr can and should have an impact on
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a decision's decision making. >> it is, quote, a wheeze and latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male, close quote. >> in other words, we're not racist. she is. not that we don't like her because she's latina, it's that she doesn't like us because we're white guys. today as republican senators explained their votes against the nation's first hispanic supreme court nominee on the basis of the need to protect the interest of white needs from her, the largest civil rights organization held its annual conference in chicago. the chairman of the democratic party, virginia governor tim kaine, delivered a speech at the conference today, including a section that he delivered in spanish. [ speaking spanish ] the group also heard from senior white house adviser valerie jarrett. now, the national council of la
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rossia says that they did not invite just democrats to address the conference. they said they also extended invitations to republican party chairman michael steele, as well as to republican governors haley barbour of mississippi, tim pawlenty and puerto rico. stooe steele and all three republican governors declined. and did so through the committee. in other words, they did not individually turn down the invites. the republican party turned down all of them. and in addition to the snub, la raza spokesman said the plum line -- the latino community is open to hearing from both sides, which is why both were invited. the republican party not being here may demonstrate a lack of commitment to our community. in an era of richard nixon, the republican party chose the southern strategy, led as much as msnbc's patrick j. bruuchana
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as anyone else. the idea was to maximize the standing by stoking the idea that white people needed to stand together against minorities to exploit fear of and resentment of minorities among white people in order to maximize the republican party's share of the white vote and to assume, along the way, that the republican party would never really compete for nonwhite votes. now as the republican party is the smallest it's been in a generation, in the era of the first black president and the first hispanic supreme court justice, is it possible that we're looking at southern strategy part two? joining us now is representative loretta sanchez, democrat of california. representative sanchez, thank you very much for coming on the show. >> it's a pleasure to be here. thank you for inviting me. >> the rnc is blaming the la raza club on a scheduling conflict. their summer meeting does start this week in california. but conservatives like newt gingrich have been attacking la raza specifically in the summer over sonia sotomayor's nomination.
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do you believe this was an important snub this week? >> well, i believe that it's important because the hispanic vote is not in one party or another. it really is up for grabs in any election, so i think that it would be good strategy for the republicans to actually send somebody. it's amazing to me that they didn't have their chairman or any of their top governors able to attend. i would suggest to them if they were asking me that they should have sent somebody to address that audience. >> do you think that the treatment of judge sotomayor during the con fifirmation proc either by republicans in the hearing room or the auditorium in general, do you think it has been designed to stir up racial resen thement? >> as an american, i hope not. remember as hispanics, we're of all races. there are white hispanics, there are black hispanics, thraere ar asian hispanics. there is not about race for us. hispanics is about culture.
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it's an identity we bring. it's based in the language. but we transcend all of the racists. so i would hope in particular republicans would understand that swer really not about that. what we wanted to see was a qualified -- i'm happy that she's a woman, by the way, because i think we need more women on the supreme court. but what we wanted to see was a qualified latina or latino on there, and i believe we're getting that with this nominee. >> jeb bush, the former president's brother, recently did a bit of a soul bearing interview with tucker carlson of all people in "esquire" magazine. and he essentially said that the republican party couldn't have an electoral future without coming up with a way to win back hispanic voters. how important do you think the treatment of judge sotomayor and the way that her nomination has been handled, how important is that for that task for republicans? >> i know that some republicans have discounted it, saying they really don't need the hispanic vote. for example, you were mentioning pat buchanan's earlier op-ed.
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what he really doesn't understand or what he didn't state in there is something very obvious, and that is the states that make the difference, because of the electoral process, the college that we have, means that certain states really put you over, and that would be california. that would be new mexico. that would be places like florida. and these are places where the hispanic vote would become even more pronounced in the near future. so any party who wants to have a president has to really pay attention to the latino vote. and as i is he, la tsaid, latin necessarily tied to one party or another. but there are some thing that's push us into the arms of the other party, and things of that sort would be, for example, in california where we saw proposition 187, the desire so many years ago by the republicans to take away public education from hispanic -- from immigrant kids in california. >> in terms of the republicans' hopes for turning this around,
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the reason that we're doing this is the story so high in the show today is because i, like you, was very surprised that the republican party didn't want to send somebody to the national council la raza conference. just given the politics here, given what's happened with the judge sotomayor nomination, it seems like -- it seems like a political move that's counterintuitive. if we assume that it was just a mistake and that they really do -- the republican party really does want to go for hispanic and latino voters, what would you expect to see from them in coming months in order to start trying to win back those folks? >> first of all, if we make a gathering, if we throw a party, our culture's about, we would like you to come. if we invite you to come, we would like you to show up. we want you to see that you don't mind being with us or you like being with us actually. that's the first thing. just showing up is a big improvement. certainly, i told you before we're based not in a race but a language. a language that's a very beautiful language. doesn't mean we don't know english. doesn't mean we don't want to
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learn english in which obviously the united states and jobs and everything else again on how well and how articulate you are in english. but we also want to keep our language, our spanish influence alive. so i have seen so many people, colleagues in washington s. of h parties going and learning spanish in the mornings. because they realize that this is important. so i think show up, care about our issues. by the way, the hispanic agenda is a great agenda for america because it really is about education. it is about good jobs and about good benefits. everything that every american family wants and every immigrant population has wanted when they've come to the united states. >> congresswoman loretta sanchez, democrat of california. thanks so much for taking the time to join us tonight. i really appreciate it. >> thanks, rachel. coming up, cnn's lou dobbs calls me names. names that i sort of don't really understand.
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senator james inhofe opens up a whole new window on c street and the family that we didn't know about before. and michael phelps actually lost a race at the world swimming championships today. is it a super high-tech merman swimsuit that's to blame? undefeated professional boxer floyd "money" mayweather has the fastest hands boxing has ever seen. so i've come to this ring to see who's faster... on the internet. i'll be using the 3g at&t laptopconnect card. he won't. so i can browse the web faster,
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why did the secret religious group that runs c street in washington pay for senators and congressmen to take lots and lots of trips to foreign
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countries? jess charlotte will be here in a moment to talk about that in a moment. that's coming up. but first time for a few holy mackerel stories in today's news. secretary of defense bob gates is in iraq meeting with the top defense commander, general odierno and o'malley. secretary get is there to assess the withdrawal of american troops from iraqi cities, which is mandated by status of forces agreement that was negotiated by president bush last year. now, while u.s. troops have withdrawn from iraqi streets and they're preparing to leave the country entirely by the end of next year, the remaining numbers of the coalition of the willing are preparing to withdraw, withdraw, capital w, capital withdraw, withdraw. by friday of this week, every last soldier from every remaining non-american contributor to multinational force iraq, will be gone. the brits, the romanians, the australians, all gone. leaving the united states as the only member of the multinational force.
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so clearly a name change is in order. that will happen in january. multinational force iraq will become united states force iraq. between now and then, the name will continue to be only slightly more ironic than it was previously. since the initial invasion, u.s. forces have consistently made up more than 90% of the coalition. very few countries with large militaries contributed to the coalition, and when they did, it was sometimes still awkward. like when japan announced that they would send troops to iraq, but their troops would not fight. that then required a deployment of dutch forces to protect the japanese, who weren't there to fight, but were still there. oh, coalition of the willing, we hardly knew ye. next up, further proof that no matter how old one gets, no matter how nuclear armed the country is, no matter how intricate the decades' long international feud, international relations can sometimes best be understood as
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a beth of complicated cases of sibling rivalry. back in 2006, the bush administration, not a group of folks known for their sublety in diplomatic matters, erected a very fancy l.e.d. sign in havana, cuba. we, of course, cut off diplomatic relations with cuba in 1961 so we don't have an actual embassy there. the billboard went up at the u.s. interest section, which is kind of like our embassy light in cuba. the billboard is 25 separate red light panels and they're programmed like a ticker to display news and information. news like sports scores and headlines and denunciations of the castro regime. and you notice that last one, the denunciations, that really bothered the cuban government. castro hung big, black flags on 100-foot poles in front of the billboard to block it out, and they stationed guards in san francisco positions to dissuade passersby from even looking up at it. well, wae can now report that
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last month the obama administration quietly pulled the flug in the big thumb in the eye bad news about castro red light ticker in havana. presumably this is only the start. ultimately we will start tepeeing each other's houses and yelling neener neener as well -- someday. finally from the wild, wild word of sports and uniforms, there's news today of michael phelps, indomitable winner of eight olympic gold medals at last summer's games. this is one of the most recognizable images of an american in the world today, the tall, lanky phelps standing there decorated like a christmas tree in a very futuristic, fancy swimsuit. now, that suit was a new fangled device way back, you know, last year in 2008. it was something considered to be fairly revolutionary. that same suit today, the speedo lzr racer, i don't know, it is sort of now the model t of swimgear. it's outdated. mr. phelps wore the very same model suit at the championships
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in rome this week, the lzr or laser, he was beaten soundly by a german guy names paul beaderman. he beat mr. phelps in the race that was his best, 200 freestyle. almost everyone, including mr. beaderman himself, said his victory was due in large part to what he was wearing, a 2009 model, 100% polyurethane suit made by urena. the swimming governing body announced the suit will be banned but not until next spring. which will give the swimming world a chance to shell out for cheater suits for about six months to beat mr. fell epps and then probably back to world domination.
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today on his radio show, cnn host lou dobbs called me a tea backing queen because i made fun of him on this show for helping into the mainstream the off the beat winged-nut racism theory that barack obama is secretly foreign, and, therefore, secretly not really president. mr. dobbs continues to demand that the president produce his birth certificate, even though the president already has.
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whether or not mr. dobbs will continue tracking in this conspiracy theory on cnn, or whether he's been busted at cnn for it and can now only do it on his radio show remains to be seen. meanwhile, we're all left to fick out the nature of what it means to be called a tea bagging queen by lou dobbs. a tea bagging queen. what kind of queen would that be, exactly? can a person beat that queen? anyway, congress is distancing themselves to the birthers now, clarifying that whatever their apparent flirtation with the birthers, they now want to be on record as stating the president of the united states is really president, some very conservative members of the republican party are still encouraging these folks. republican senator james inhofe of oklahoma was asked by his hometown paper, "the tulsa world," whether there's a chance that president obama isn't really a citizen, and, therefore, isn't really president. mr. inhofe said, quote, you
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know, i have never gone through and read all of the stuff on that, so i don't know. i just haven't taken that one on. inhofe's staff then followed up with a written statement from the senator which said, quote, i'm not a legal expert on this subject. if there are legal experts who have concerns, i would encourage them to continue looking into it. keep looking into it. don't let the truth hold you back. senator inhofe is also a long-term associate of the secretive religious organization in washington that's known as the family. the family, among other things, provides well-below-market-rent housing for well-known executives of con at its tax-exempt church on capitol hill called c street. we first started discussing c street and its family on this show when it emerged as a key player in not one or two but three republican sex scandals such as mark sanford, john ensign and former congressman chuck pickering. but the family's links to these sex scandals proved to be an
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alarming window into the other aspects of c street that were frankly more surprising. the fact that members of the group confessed their misdeeds to one another because they compared themselves to secrecy to the outside world. they hold powerful men, and it is almost all men, are god's chosen and they're not bound by the same morality and responsibility to others as normal people are, that hitler and mao and osama bin laden should be studied and considered as models of power and leadership by members of the family. well, now, thanks in part to senator james inhofe, there is something new to consider about c street and the family -- why are they sending members of congress on foreign trips? here's senator inhofe speaking about the family dispatching him to africa. the person doug, who he mentioned in this clip here is doug coe, who's been the longtime leader of the family. >> doug has always been kind of behind the scenes and very quiet. he talked me into going to
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africa. i had no interest in going to africa. at the same day after ten years of saying no to him, i said, all right, i will. i never will understood whyand said that but i did. i felt the philosophy was something put together by doug and this is my interpretation. >> and the national prayer movement and other things. >> oh, yeah. and it's all spiritually based. acts 9:15, what did jesus say to paul in damascus? take my name jesus to the kings. and, of course, if you're a member of the united states senate in africa, they think you're important so you always get in to see their kings. >> you always get in to see the kings. well, in december, "the oklahoman" newspaper reports senator inhofe's trips to africa cost taxpayers more than $187,000 in the past decade. in other words, senator inhofe is representing u.s. interests on trips paid for by u.s. taxpayers, but by his own admission, he's using that time
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abroad to talk about the familiarly's theology with foreign leaders. and he isn't the only one. joining us now is jeff charlotte, contributing editor at "harper's" and "rolling stone" and author of the book "the family." he also has an excellent new article on the daily jeff, thank you so much for coming back on the show. >> hi, rachel. thanks for having me back. >> why is the family sending members of congress to foreign countries? >> well, as i first reported in "harper's" magazine, their local, their long-term goal is 200 world leaders that are god-led and united to the family. they're not like the rapture christians you might be familiar with. they have this idea that christ can't come back so they can build a worldwide movement that they call invisible, that's their word, of strong men, authoritarian leaders on that hitle hitle hitler/stalin/mao model, that they are leaders from washington
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as the capital of a worldwide spiritual offensive. >> so what kind of places do they dispatch members of the family to, and what do those family members do once they get there? >> well, some really bastions of democracy. senator inhofe has traveled to afghanistan, pakistan. other members have gone to serbia, sudan, belarus, albania. senator coburn, who's been in his news for his role in the c street house, was actually very clear what he was doing in lebanon. he was trying to set up christian prayer cells and the government of lebanon -- prayer cells just like the one that helped cover up his pal senator ensign's scandal and this in a country that's long been torn by christian/muslim tensions. everywhere you go, as i said, it's the political philosophy of jesus but what they understand that to mean is not democracy, but rule through an iron fist. >> so when senator inhofe use thad phrase, the political philosophy of jesus, something put together by doug, what he's
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talking about there is the familia famili family's essentially foreign policy as driven by this theocracy of power as we talked about so much in learning about c street? >> it really is. it's a faith-based foreign policy. it's not a faith i think any christians out there would be comfortable with. this goes back to the beginning of this group and how they're so much different than other christian groups. they're concerned at what they call biblical capitalism, and their model many years is worldwide spiritual offensive, working with the military religious freedom foundation, i was able to discover they have taken that spiritual offensive to countries like poland, czech republic. really all over the world, every country in the world. >> when these trips are paid for by senate committees, when they're taxpayer funded, there's obviously a concern as to whether or not that's legal. as i understand it, the legality of groups like this funding foreign trips for members of congress has changed in the past few years, hasn't it? >> yeah, there was. there was an open government act
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in 2007, following the jake abramoff scandals, designed to prevent the kind of travel that family was funding. that might be illegal under the old rules. some would say they're going for one christian right group, the christian embassy, but it was actually being financed by this other group, the family. more recently, as you mentioned, inhofe, conman mcentire, congressman crenshaw. these guys have been traveling, using money from the house and senate arms services committee, two of them were actually using american military transport planes. they are diverting their planes from the proper missions to go and spread their very unorthodox political philosophy of jesus to foreign leaders who might not think that, that's a real solid basis for foreign policy. >> so sometimes these trips are initiated by the family but paid for by taxpayers as you described, but sometimes the family pays for them directly. you reported that the family spent more than $95,000 on
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foreign travel for 20 lawmakers since the year 2000. who are they sending on these trips? and when the family funds stuff directly, how do members of congress explain who it is that dispatching them to these other countries? >> well, what was fascinating, senator ensign was one of them. and senator ensign when challenged by the "las vegas sun" to explain this said he had no idea. can you imagine, rachel, someone said here's $10,000, why don't you take a trip to the middle east and you say sure. i'm not going to ask who's sending me. of course he understood what he was doing. he had been a part of the group for a lochk time. congressman frank wolf, congressman john carter. all of these guys had been traveling on the international foundation, which is one of the family's nonprofits, they had been traveling on the dime of that organization and yet not really being very forthright with us about what they're doing. >> the international foundation is the name of the one that usually -- is that what you said, the international foundation? >> yeah, the family believes, as
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david coe, one of the leaders, the son of doug once explained, we operate like the mafia. and one of the ways we do that, just like the mafia has shell companies, the family has multiple nonprofits, the international foundation, the fellowship foundation, the c street foundation. and they use these to sort of move money around and support projects they're interested in without building a big inspect tuksal image. and i think that's why they're actually teaming up with other christian right organizations, like christian embassy, youth with a mission, these kind of organizations to use congressmen essentially as their missionaries to and for the powerful. >> i can hear the sound of -- of enterprising bloggers putting those names into search engines of fcc filings right now. author of the book "the family: secret fundamentalism at the heart of american power," currently selling out at a book store near you. jeff, thuchsz thank you so much
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for coming on the show again. >> thanks, rachel. coming up on "countdown," governor howard dean guest hosts and does a very good job of it. very exciting. next on this show, an update on the birther's caucus in the united states congress. we're sort of becoming the place that keeps track of these people for some reason. stay tuned. tools are uncomplicated?
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last night on this show we played excerpts of a video produced by mike stark of fire dog lake and "huffing tron post" where he asked members of congress whether they thought mr. obama was a natural born citizen. we played the tape because answers and even the nonanswers sort of had to be seen to be believed. one of the members of congress you saw on the tape was republican congressman tom price of georgia. he was seen on the tape doing this. representative price's communications director contacted us today to say, "his boss was simply running to catch a vote and has no questions about the president's citizenship or status as a natural born american." fair enough. delayed comment trumps no comment at all.
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another republican who made our birther caucus list was republican representative jeff fortenberry of nebraska. here is a part of mike stark's interview we analyzed. >> do you have evidence that he is or isn't -- >> chris matthews held up his birth certificate on "hardball" the other night. >> today his representative told us that the congressman, despite asking mr. stark what the evidence was in the mat earn does believe that president obama was born in the united states. good times. so we may now remove congressman price and congressman fortenberry from the list of the birther caucus and welcome them back to the community. any other representatives want to change their fact-based position on president obama's legitimacy? you can e-mail us at maddow at
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