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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  July 16, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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significant steps to end nuclear proliferation in the u.s. senate. it's tuesday, july 16th, and this is "now." score one for peace. the new clear option is off the table. >> i think everyone will be happy. everyone will not be, oh, man, we got everything we wanted. but i think it is going to be something that is good for the senate. it is a compromise, and i think we get what we want, and they get what they want. >> nearly an hour after majority leader harry reid announced a tentative compromise on the filibuster of presidential nominees, the senate has voted 71-29 to end debate on richard cordray, the president's nominee to head the consumer financial
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protect bureau. a refresher on just how ridiculous the use of the senate filibuster has gotten under president obama. richard cordray has been waiting 730 days -- that's 730 days for a vote on his nomination. the compromise hashed out a few hours ago calls for the replacement of two of the president's picks for the national labor relations board, but his remaining five nominees, including richard cordray, will move forward without filibuster. while harry reid had signaled as recently as yesterday a willingness to go nuclear and change the upper chamber's filibuster rules with a simple majority, in the end peace prevailed with a bipartisan agreement orchestrated by reid and senator john mccain. aside from the positive juju that comes with compromise, one likely reason democrats didn't decide to pick up the red phone is this -- majority/minority dynamics in the senate may change and may change soon. as of this week republican takeover in 2014 is looking
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increasingly possible. when montana's former governor brian schweitzer a democrat announced last weekend that he would not run for montana's open senate seat, the gop's odds for taking back the senate got a big boost. for the first time this year, senate republicans think they are in strike distance of taking back control of the senate. "our best guess is that republicans will end up with somewhere between 50 and 51 senate seats after 2014 putting them right on the threshold of a majority." joining me to discuss all of this today, msnbc political analyst jonathanal t alter, mang editor of the, joy reid, and chairman of the slate group, jacob wiseberg, and ari
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melvin. joining us from new hampshire, jennifer singer. thanks for joining us. i want to go to you first, jennifer. you just wrote an article about john boehner and saying the speaker is newt but not unintelligible trying to get into the mind of the leader of the raucous caucus. there is a moment in the piece i wanted to signal out specifically today where you acknowledge and sort of bring to the fore the notion that the senate is now the place in our democracy where things get done, which is really counter to the historical narrative around the senate. the senate is usually where things got slow-walked. i think today is great evidence of the fact that this is in fact the upper chamber where compromise now happens because of what is going down in the lower chamber. >> correct. i think compromise is pretty
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elusive in the lower chamber. the problem is the republican conference is polar eized it self-in a way that's really surprised. you could say that there is one kind of striking ideological division that which is they are definitely divide about immigration. they're definitely ultra nationalists who sort of subscribe to the kind of pat bu nannen pitch fork fantasy of immigrants coming over the border and being terrible, then there are those who kind of hope for a much more humane approach to undocumented immigrants. but what's strange to me is that most of the divisions in the house republican caucus are sort of tactical and not ideological. caucus is sort of divided between those who think that like compromise is fine and those who think that compromise is absolutely the worst thing in the world. and they are willing like to lay dynamite beneath the floor boards and willing to blow
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everything up on account of this belief and i think they are winning is what's going on. >> we'll open this up to our panel in new york. jonathan jonathan, the fact that john mccain was praised roundly by harry reid as one of the ashfof tekts ashth tekts of this compromise. but the fact that the president has to nominate two new people for the national labor relations board, two people effectively griffin and block -- richard griffin and sharon block are effectively being punished for no actual reason. is this in the end a bad deal for democrats or a good deal for democrats. >> harry reid said it was a good deal for the senate. it is not a good deal for the country. is not a good thing. the president of the united states, whichever party he is in, should be able with his nominees to get an up or down vote. the filibuster under the nuclear
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option would have been preserved for judges and for legislation because senate tradition does have a place for the filibuster. but when it comes to the nominees to fill out his administration, the president should be able to get an up or down vote on all of them as a matter of principle! so i was really disappointed today that they came to a deal. i wanted them to have this so-called nuclear option, and if the republicans used it when they got -- if they got control in 2015, that's okay. a republican president should have his picks, too. >> but wasn't this sort of -- i mean everything is sort of hostage politics at this point. harry reid sort of had to go to the very edge of the line and say i'm going to use this in order to get a fairly small concession, i guess, according to jonathan's point. i wonder though if there wasn't a larger threat if harry reid had used the nuclear option which is outlined by "the new york times."
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the editorial board today prints in an op-ed -- a mid session rules change like this one is a potentially dangerous act, one that republicans would certainly take much further in retaliation should they retake the senate. already party members are threatening random acts of obstruction. i mean -- what random acts? democrats exercise the option but this is a president -- eventually saying go for the nuclear option but the threat of even more obstruction from republicans is i think terrifying to most people who are watching this. >> how much worse can it get? harry reid who on this very shoud program renounced our kinships of our last names. 735 days for richard cordray? harry reid should have used this om option before. why did he wait until now, until 735 days in to even try this? i have to say the cowardice of
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the democratic leadership in the senate -- as if the republicans can do worse than filibustering literally everything that comes to the floor. what more could they do, harry? what is it going to take for you to show some leadership? no relation. >> look, i was disappointed, too. the filibuster is a tool of obstruction. a compromise to retain a tool of obstruction does not advance the cause of peace. i think there is a kind of filibuster which belongs, which is the kind you saw wendy davis do in texas where you stand up and dlifeliver a talking filibur on an issue that matters to you that much. but the rest of it is one of the things that's wrong with washington. it is not in the constitution. it is a senate rule and it is a senate rule that in this case is being badly abused. so i think this is a shame that they've worked it out. >> ari, we hear a lot of of yosemite sam style positions on this panel which is like go for the nuclear option, harry reid,
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guns blazing. we read nate silver's prognostications about 2014 and his thesis perhaps that republicans may take the upper chamber. that doesn't seem to deter you guys from believing that harry reid should have still gone forward with the nuclear option but i think it does put some fear in to some democratic hearts, especially those that are actually in the upper chamber, the notion of having republicans in the majority and able to retaliate without all of the weapons at hand in terms of the democratic minority. >> there is a lot of backlash politics in the senate and unlike the house because it is only one-third of its members up every two years, there is a lot of sway that can happen. nate silver an others think that democrats may be in for a hard slog. as jonathan said, this goes deeper than party affiliation. if you think that we should have a government of people. rather than a government of empty chairs. right? so 700 days and people not getting votes goes to that problem. i've heard the term nuclear option. it is interesting that even democrats call it that.
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this also is a democracy option, or a majority option. >> right. jennifer, ari hits on an important point which is sort of the thesis of governing or not governing which seems to be part of the conservative project at this point and your colleague at "new york" magazine writes this in "new york" magazine -- before the obama era, the process of corralling votes, placating holdouts and hammering out compromises was not something either side especially loved, but also not something that one side dislike more than the other. but a hatred for law making has emerged in the obama years. first as a republican tactic, and then as an apparently genuine belief system. i mean in your reporting on john boehner, did you see that belief system made real? >> yes. yeah -- well, i mean no. there are certain kinds of laws these guys would love to pass, so not precisely. but i do believe that -- here's what's interesting. you do have to pass a budget. you do have to contend with the debt ceiling.
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there are all these things that you have to do an these guys seem willing to do nothing. and again just halt the process. and in turn get far less of what they'd ever want. so in that sense, yes. by blocking all the legislation that they've had, they've actually then kind of come out with worse deals for themselves. now we have a system where -- not a system. i'm sorry. we now have legislation or we'll have like old obama policies still in effect because they haven't changed whatever -- they haven't passed new laws. so i think that for sure -- i mean i think that what jonathan is saying is correct. i would also say though that under ordinary circumstances when the house works, things go very quickly an having the senate as a brake pedal is a good thing. >> let me just focus actually specifically on these fill bust e ers. this was as much about sticking
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it to the president for his nominees as to the very offices they fill. richard cordray is going to be head of the consumer financial protection bureau, the establishment of which the republicans fought tooth and nail. >> they don't want that job. >> this was as much of an effort to make it difficult for the president as to try and sort of unwind the power of that office or the existence of that office, as the case may be. >> right. i'm not sure the politics of that are that great on their part. blocking elizabeth warren for that job made her -- was part of what made her a national figure. and once the decision has been made to create this job, it does strike me as illegitimate to say someone can't have a vote. i mean i think republicans in their -- if the tables turned, positions reversed, would be making precisely the same argument the democrats have been making which is let's have an up or down vote. you can reject a nominee, have you a constitutional right to do that but it is not fair to keep it bottled up for 700 days. >> they did make that argument did shall. >> of course they did. >> in blocking bush nominations.
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but what's different now is that one of our political parties has become radicalized. during reconstruction of the civil war we had a group of legislators known as radical republicans. today, once again, we have a group of legislators who should be known as radical republicans. what they favor is a dramatic departure from where we've been as a country. as jacob indicated, a bill has been passed and signed to create -- >> it's law. >> right. it's law. the same thing with obama care. it's law. to try to throw sand in to the gears, trying to stop the machinery of government from working is contrary to our traditions. in our country when a law is passed, it should be allowed to be implemented and it is extra constitutional to try to prevent the implementation of existing law. >> to your point about the republican conference becoming further ever more radicalized,
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we have a chart that i believe ezra klein in the "washington post" ran yesterday. you look at the swing. the right -- the right ribbon keeps going up in terms of ideology and extremism. >> to amplify the point that jonathan just made, we now have a party, whether you are looking at the senate or even the supreme court is in the business of unmaking laws. not making laws. they are in the business of saying 99% of the senate voted to renew the voting rights act. radical right on the supreme court says unmake that law. you have an entire congress whose purpose to be to unmake obama care, undo this idea of having the consumer financial protection bureau. just undo it. they're just there to unravel government and unravel laws. this is not i don't believe what the founders intended the congress, or the supreme court or any of these entities have do. >> it is like running for uncongress. republicans are sure trying. we have to take a break and
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unfortunately say good-bye po "new york" magazine's jennifer singer. after the break, it didn't take long for rush limbaugh to link the zimmerman verdict to obama care. we'll look at how the right flank is turning the death of a teenager into a political battle. that's next on "now." "i'm part of an american success story," "that starts with one of the world's most advanced distribution systems," "and one of the most efficient trucking networks," "with safe, experienced drivers." "we work directly with manufacturers," "eliminating costly markups," "and buy directly from local farmers in every region of the country." "when you see our low prices, remember the wheels turning behind the scenes, delivering for millions of americans, everyday. "dedication: that's the real walmart"
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in the days since the george zimmerman trial has come to a close, much of the country has engaged in an impassioned conversation about race and racism. whether or not it still exists in american society, and if so, what to do about it. but on fringes over the debate
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of color and prejudice, there is a stream of validation, figures on the right who have found some sort of vindication in the death of an unarmed teenager and the eye quital of the man who killed him. just minutes after the jury's decision, ann coulter tweeted one word -- hallelujah. the next day fox news' geraldo rivera was unbowed suggesting martin simply got what he deserved. >> you dress like a thug, people are going to treat you like a thug. that's true. i stand by that, even if my own family. >> but perhaps the most shameful celebrationed by ho was hosted limbaugh who suggested george zimmerman's freedom and trayvon martin's killing were somehow -- >> the progressives, liberals out there are having a little temper tantrum because they didn't get their way. but really, folks, how often are they on the losing end of anything anymore? they're getting gay marriage. they got obama care.
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they've got obama. this verdict is not part of a string of defeats for the left. it is an interruption in a string of victory after victory. >> limbaugh was the first conservative to put a killer's akwis t acquittal on par with historic progress. but his comparison was telling as much as it was reprehensible. limbaugh put a spotlight on the partisan lines that crosshatch the death of trayvon martin, his killing and zimmerman's x on ration have now officially entered the conservative arsenal as weapons to be deployed. buttons to be pressed in service of division, alongside demagoging obama care andville fig gay rights. ted nugent working from the very same playbook uses the zimmerman trial as an excuse to fan the flames of division and indict the president of the united states. in an op sed on sunday that
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called trayvon martin a dope smoking racist gangsta wannabe, nugent wrote no one can possibly dispute the recent surge of black racism increasing throughout barack obama's presidency. to attempt to claim otherwise is a laughable lie. the jury got it right, and non-racist america rejoices that there is still common sense, honesty and decency aware of identifying justice in this country. to nugent and limbaugh and coulter and the rest of the right flank that has made the decision to exploit the death of a child for partisan gain while claiming decency and honesty? these are not simply laughable lies. they are disgraceful ones. joining us now from washington, "washington post" columnist and msnbc political analyst, eugene robinson. eugene, thanks for joining us and thank you for a great, great op-ed today in the "post." before we get to it, i want to talk about what is hamg happeni happening in the wake of the
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george zimmerman trial and how conservatives are begin to use this to score political points which is as crass as i have seen on the national stage. >> i don't know that i can say much about it that you could actually say on television. i mean words that won't get me bleeped. this is reprehensible is a word we can use. and also, i think odd. because i think most americans don't want to associate themselves with open, outright racism or with rejoicing in the death of a boy who was three weeks past his 17th birthday. i don't think most of america wants to join in that celebration. yet there goes the right flank or i guess -- i don't know if you called it the right flank or the white flank, but in any event, that segment seems to be
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taking absolute joy and literally dancing on the grave of trayvon martin and that's as disgusting a spectacle as i think i've ever seen. >> i thought it was like astounding that rush limbaugh claims this is a victory -- literally says this is -- the liberals are complaining because they've had a string of wins on things like marriage equality and national health care law. and this is angering the left because it's not a victory -- it's a victory for the right. >> think about just for a second. you had members of the jury, including b-37 who was predisposed to acquit george zimmerman from day one saying that after they read her the verdict they cried. and then have you people like limb ba and ann coulter rejoicing. think about what they are rejoicing about. they are rejoicing that somebody got acquitted of shooting and killing a teenager. if that is what they want to rally around and claim as a victory, okay. i used to look at old photos of lynchings back in the '30s, in
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the early 20th century and wondered to myself about the people standing around, what were they thinking? how could they be smiling, posing with this dead body? it was because at the time they thought, we won. that was a victory, that was a bad person, this person committed whatever offense, they looked at a white woman wrong, they touched a white woman, they did something in society considered to be reprehensible to them in their own southern culture. i used to wonder what kind of a person could that be. take that and transform it into the modern era. anyone who could rejoice in the death of a teenage, find that a glorious victory, it makes you see people in those pictures were actual people because it is possible to have that much hatred and that much vile toward another person. how is he part of the left? he was a child. not voting age. no obama voter. he was a kid. if you think it is glorious that his killer got off, whether or not you agree with george zimmerman's claims of
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self-defense, there is something wrong with you. >> but joy, there were -- just to put it in the contempt of the o.j. trial -- there were a number of people, unfortunately, who were rejoicing when o.j. was acquitted and there were two dead people. so this rejoicing when your side wins goes both ways. it's reprehensible whenever it occurs. >> you can't really equate the two things. >> no, i think you absolutely can. for people to rejoice that o.j. got off when he clearly killed two people -- the cases are very important. i'm not comparing them and everyone of their particulars. but that kind of rejoicing at an acquittal is not cool. >> jonathan, can i just say, there was nobody out there saying that nicole brown simpson needed to be put down like a rabid dog which is what people on the right -- >> or calling her posthumously a weed smoking gangster -- >> believe me, i'm not rationalizing these people. i just wrote a whole book
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trashing them. i don't want there to be any confusion. >> people looked at the o.j. trial, right or wrong, good or bad, they were rejoicing in the fact -- >> a lot of americans didn't even like o.j. simpson, didn't believe in his innocence at all but they were saying this is something we never -- >> let me let eugene do better than me. >> yeah. o.j. simpson was never black until he went on trial. it's not like had he this deep seed association with black activism or anything like that. obviously he killed those people. there was no rejoicing in my household when he got off. similarly, there's no rejoicing in a lot of households now that george zimmerman has been acquitted. it is in this case a fringe group. but the two cases i think really are quite a bit different in the way the victims were treated by public discourse. and in this case trayvon martin
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was blamed from the start, from the very beginning before his body literally was cold. the assumption was made by police and prosecutors at the time that, oh well, this was self-defense, no need to do a proper investigation, no need to test george zimmerman for drugs or alcohol, no need to really look for witnesses and it turns out no need to gather the evidence that would have served a proper prosecution which didn't happen until six weeks later and that was really too late. >> as a lawyer i would point out, there are legal differences. elements for example in manslaughter are that a person has been killed and that the accused/aggressor committed the thakt l act that led to that death. in this case, unelement of that crime, an act to led to the death, that is undisputed. in the o.j. case, that was disputed, a core of the battle. lawyers look that the differently because you look at the underlying element. the other thing i would add is what we have here is a desire by
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a lot of people, i would argue more on the right than on the left, but a lot of people to put things into this trial that ultimately have to do with our own problems with race and is untrue. >> i want to get to that point. i think what we've seen is this sort of reveal about where we are. a lot has been revealed in terms of not only politics but what is in the sort of collective american heart. there are some dark things that are in certain corners of this country. i think it is really telling that rush is out there -- i won't play the whole sound but he had said at one point "the narrative is black people are routinely victimized by white people. all these crimes where black thugs kill or beat up white people that don't get reported? why -- you know it as well as i do. it doesn't advance liberalism. not only does it not advance liberalism, it exposes it for the fraud that it is." >> well, look. i mean i think there is a phenomenon where people respond to these trials in terms of this racial reflex. it is very ugly and i agree with jonathan that the o.j. case, the
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reaction is something different but probably parallel on the other side. trials are terrible proxies for issues or any kind of sentiment of that kind because they -- they're subject to a different standard of truth and proof. all the jury ruled was that the government did not prove george zimmerman guilty of murder or manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt. that's the decision they had to make. but at the same time, i do think that there is -- there are larger issues that come into play here obviously and it is not an appropriate discussion. when i heard the rush limbaugh quote at the beginning i was thinking i actually agree with him in part in the sense that liberals are winning on a lot of issues and they often act as if they're not. >> but do you think that this -- the death of trayvon martin is a political issue? >> no, it has nothing to do with with it. it is not a political issue and it is not a "victory" for conservatives or liberals. you can't see it that way.
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but the truth is on cultural issues, on sort of moral views of society, liberals have made tremendous gains in recent years. you could say flipping it the other side, conservatives are making gains in the sort of economic picture of society is changing. >> but that's firmly sort of basing the conservative project against social progress, which is to say integration, civil rights, marriage equality -- >> that is -- that is the concern of -- that's exactly right. so this is what people have to kind of wake up and recognize, that we are in the middle of a titanic ideological struggle and you do have conservatives who are protecting, what in the case of voter suppression, for instance, is jim crow style ideas. right? they really are. when you probe -- when you look in to what voter suppression really was. so they are protecting a
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disappearing way of life. they're on the wrong side of history and they're going to say and do really stupid things like celebrating this verdict in the process. but i think one of -- the part about this case that interests me the most is not the acquittal as outrageous as it was, especially on manslaughter, but what happened at the front end. i was appalled that he wasn't arrested at the beginning. because you know for absolute sure that if george zimmerman were black he would have been immediately arrested in that case and that was the double standard that drove me crazy at the beginning. >> okay. this is obviously lots to talk about here. short break. we'll have more with our panel after a commercial break. a real. here's kevin, the new boyfriend. lamb to the slaughter. that's right brent. mom's baked cookies but he'll be lucky to make it inside. and here's the play. oh dad did not see this coming. [ crowd cheering ] now if kevin can just seize the opportunity. it's looking good, herbie. he's seen it. it's all over.
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the verdict in the george zimmerman trial has sparked a national dialogue about race and prejudice. eugene robinson writes in the "washington post" today the conversation we need to have is about how black men, even black
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boys, are denied the right to be young, to be vulnerable, to make mistakes. we need to talk about why, for example, black men are no more likely than white men to smoke marijuana but nearly four times as likely to be arrested for it an condemned to a dead-end cycle of inkaicarceration and unemployment. i call this racism. eugene, i want to get to your piece today because it is really great and powerful. it's been echoed across the country by people of color and people who aren't familiar with racial dynamics in this country, the denial of young black men to exist in society as young white men and young white women do. >> yeah, if we could talk about that and look at that then we will have, i hope, begun to make some progress. this is something that we ignore and have ignoring for years and years. i would slightly disagree with something jacob said earlier. i think trials are an interesting snapshot of society.
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as we go deep into the circumstances of an event. i think we learn something about america at that moment and i think we learn something -- i think we learned a lot about how society values or does not value the lives and emotions and feelings and the humanness of black men. it's as if they don't -- he's three weeks past his 17th birthday but he doesn't get to be a boy. he's made into a man full of menace and he's -- the assumption is that he wouldn't be afraid in this hand to hand combat, but george zimmerman would be afraid and that of course trayvon martin would dominate this because that's what black men do, i guess in combat. and we should look at that. it is not pretty, but we should look at it. >> ari, the idea of racism --
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some parts of the conservative movement have said this is a problem in and among black america and we don't need to do anything about it. jason riley in the "wall street journal" says young black men will not change how they are perceived until they change how they became. >> there are too many in the white community who see violence in the black community and think that's their problem. he ultimately says it's our problem. >> it depends whether you look at it systemically or not. problem with looking at a trial is you are looking at a sample size of one. that's a difficult way to assess any kind of national problem. in this incident occurred in times square you'd have four camera angles on it and a very different proceeding. and if have you vong evidencest of a murder you would play out and if it looked different you probably wouldn't have a prosecution. this had is about as any trial
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is, evidence, fir aarnsd for fi foremost. it also had racism built in. we saw overcharging regardless of race but i don't think it works well to do it on an end of one. when i worked at new york county public defenders, you go in the morning to arraignment and back to a holding cell in new york city and you see everyone who can't afford a lawyer from the night before that was arrested and it is all young black men and it is mostly drug charges. i know a lot of white people in new york and manhattan who do drugs and i never saw them on drug charges in the arraignment. quadruple on marijuana alone. if you look at dna databases and how things are collected by arrests and swabs, then the first dna database we'll build in this country is a black america. right? there is a lot of systemic issues but we have to go beyond the sample size of one to hit them.
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>> 98% of the time if you go to court you lose, you get convicted. right? black men who are in the position of george zimmerman, his attorney said had he been black he never would have been charged? oh yes, he would, and woe have been convicted. that's what happens to black men. two, to the geraldo point of how black men dress and act, if you walk around on the upper east side on any fall day, all the white people that you see, a lot of younger ones are wearing hoodies, too. hoodies are not just sold to young, black men. mark zuckerberg wore a hoodie into the new york stock exchange. if somebody like a neighborhood watch had seen mark zuckerberg walking in the stock exchange, would very followed him intimidating and followed him in to make sure he wasn't somebody suspicious that looked like he was on drugs? mark zuckerberg wears a hoodie because he's a hipster. >> when my younger son was in high school, his voice sounds like mind.
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i answered the phone and he said hey, yo, what's up, dog. i said oh, this is mr. robinson. it turned into, hello, mr. robinson, how are you like eddie haskell on "leave it to beaver." turned out this was white kid who had adopted this sort of gangsta persona because that's the way they talk to each other or they were doing that this week. but in fact he was allowed to slip back into his regular self. but somehow black kids are not allowed to just be putting on an act and to slip back into their regular self where they, you know, they kiss their younger sister and they're nice to their grandmother and all the things that trayvon martin was. >> look, these are all issues of double standards and institutional racism and they are entirely real. conservative point of view is there is no such thing as institutional racism, it is only a question of individuals. the problem what i was trying to get at before is that in a trial the question is the individual. it is not society on trial. but the lessons we take about
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society, eugene's absolutely right, are the real ones. >> in the previous hour a kid named justin francis was on msnbc, a high school student, young black kid, talking about the world from his perspective. we need more of that if we're going to broaden this conversation. we have to hear about it from a lot of the kids who are actually affected. >> if there was anything good to come out of that trial, it was people trying to walk in trayvon martin's footsteps for a day or night, as the case may be. and really bring to the fore the issue of how young black men are treated in society both in the justice system and in society at large. eugene robinson, thank you, as always. i encourage everybody to read that op -edop-ed. we'll put it on our website later today. we'll discuss political comebacks and circuses just ahead. [ male announcer ] it's 7am and steve is already thinking about tomorrow.
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usaa. we know what it means to serve. it didn't take long. once disgraced love gov, el got spitzer has gone from tabloid foder fodder to front runner in new york city's comptroller. we'll discuss comeback kids when the former governor's opponent scott stringers joins us on "now." [ brent ] now steve's looking pretty good so far. [ herbie ] eh, hold on brent, what's this? mmmm, nice car. there's no doubt, that's definitely gonna throw him off. she's seen it too. oh this could be trouble. [ sentra lock noise ] oh man. gotta think fast, herbie. back pedal, back pedal. [ crowd cheering ] oh, he's down in flames and now the ice-cold shoulder. one last play... no, game over! gps take him to the dog house.
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[ male announcer ] see what's happening behind the scenes at for the multitasker, getting the most from every dollar. cenes for the visionary, seeing cash coming in and going out. for the dreamer, checking that retirement is right on track. for the cfo, making sure assets are working overtime. for over 160 years, pnc has been part of the communities we serve, providing tools, guidance and experience to help people achieve. he resigned in disgrace five years ago but now eliot spitzer in the latest candidate to beg for forgiveness in a year that's seen its share of candidates seeking political redemption. spitzer, the self-styled steam roerl and antiwall street crusader who would leave office
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known as client number nine is now running for city comptroller. spitzer's opponent in the race is scott stringer who spent 13 careers in the new york state assembly prior to being elected manhattan borough president in 2006. joining me now, scott stringer. thanks for joining us. >> great to be here. >> talk about the race. you were ahead. you were in a good place. spitzer enters the race. numbers change. you're now down 15. >> i am in a good place because at the end of the day we'll win this race because it is going to be decided by prime voter democrats, progressive democrats, folks who believe that the middle class needs a voice, people who don't want the drama of eliot spitzer who is a failed governor by any measure and is now coming in to the race, refusing to release five years of taxes, refusing to file a conflict of interest form and this show is basically making clear to people that elliott represents a different set of
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rules than the regular public and that's not going to play well in the city of new york. >> the rules were different for eliot spitzer specifically given his previous incarnation as a crusader. >> the tax returns will reveal what we paid him. will you not be impressed. i think this race is screwed up because i happen to think that scott stringer has a really impressive record. eliot spitzer has an impressive record. they're both running down the ticket for controller. i think we have a mayor's field which is totally underpowered. anthony weiner, it is not what he did, it is what he didn't do in congress which was anything impressive. right? i wish that we had either of these two candidates running for mayor, to be honest, and not for comptroller. >> joy, i'd love your thoughts on our scandal plagued new york ballot. we have both wiener and spitzer,
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mark sanford now holds elected office. how have things changed in america as far as sexual indiscretion or are they basically the same? people point back to clinton and lewinsky and say that was an indiscretion of national proportions and dude seems to be doing fine. >> i think in a lot of ways the overreaction of republicans to bill clinton's indiscretions sort of set the stage for our current sort of scandal culture. i think they went so far in trying to impeach the president based on a sexual indiscretion. people said wait a minute, we don't really care that much about a person's personal life. now people look at is the focus on them appropriate, is that what we are really concerned about in terms of the job they are doing and people are not that concerned about a person's private life if they're happy with the job they're doing and particularly if the economy is good. if their own personal situation is pretty good, people tend i think not to care that much. >> scott, you were sort of making the point about it being a mark against competence and a
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distraction. new york city does not suffer fools. to that degree i do think it is uphill to prove as comptroller or mayor your scandal-plagued past isn't a liability. >> i think he is going to have a real hard time making the case you should be comptroller, a job where you have to build coalition, it is not being a sheriff, it is being a steward of a $155 billion pension fund. the 14th largest in the world. it is about the security -- retirement security of individuals. it is not our money. it is not elliott's money so forget about his personal issues. this is about competence. this is about working. when you look at my record, of being able to do really important things by bringing people together, when this guy went to albany full of promise. forget about how he left. you should have seen how he was when he was there? it was unbelievable.
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and that's the problem. >> i think it is the arrogance factor. >> can i ask you a question about that $145 billion fund? spitzer has a new book where he says he wants to use that power of that $145 billion to change corporate behavior in america in a fundamental way that relates to executive xe compensation, all the rest. do you want to use the pension fund that way, too? >> he see late to the game. we've been working on those corporate governing issues for a long time but always through the lens of what's best to grow our pension fund. we're the sixth largest institutional investor. of course we have to look at issues relating to corporations but you have to do it not as a sheriff, as a steward and you have to do it responsibly. tell you something about new york voters -- they're gritty, they're tough and they're going to make the right decision because they want someone who has integrity, leadership and experience and once this issue of spitzer fades we'll be able to reconstitute a government
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that represents the best qualities of our city. >> i like the gritty and tough endorsement of new york voters! some of the new york voters on this panel will take it! >> flattered. >> scott stringer, thank you. it is going to be a wild ride. best of luck to you and thanks for joining us. we'll have more after the break. announcer: where can an investor be a name and not a number? scottrade. ron: i'm never alone with scottrade. i can always call or stop by my local office. they're nearby and ready to help. so when i have questions, i can talk to someone who knows exactly how i trade.
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thank you to jonathan, joy, jacob and ari. that's all for now. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. i'm meteorologist bill karins and the heat wave continues. not just for the east coast, it is spreading across the great lakes and midwest and ohio valley. in the mid 90s for a lot of cities on the east coast. the heat spreading into chicago today, up to 92. areas of texas, cooler and wet to new mexico.
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