tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC July 24, 2020 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
decisionmaking. >> i think that's -- i think that's for sure. david fahrenthold, thanks for all you do. have a good weekend. >> thank you. >> that's for "all in." chris will be back on monday. rachel maddow now. >> great to see you. your prime time debut. congratulations. super well done. >> thank you so much. >> i appreciate it. enjoy, my friend. thank you. that was great. thanks to you at home for being with us for this hour. happy to have you here on a friday night. it is friday for sure. i triple checked. that's good. the headlines however still not good about which i'm sorry. this, for example, was a hard one to wake up to today at "the washington post". their main headline today, u.s. passes 4 million coronavirus cases as pace of new infections roughly doubles. that is terrible.
that's where we are. in politics news, the major headline today, what will actually i think go down in the books in terms of presidential politics history, is the fact that the president last night did just abruptly announce the cancellation of the republican national convention next month to renominate him to run for a second term. one day after that surprise announcement from the president or about 24 hours after that announcement now, it is still quite unclear as to whether there will be anything that looks like a republican convention at all next month. i mean an american presidential campaign history there have been good conventions, there have been bad conventions and boring ones and scary ones. in modern times though there's never been one they just couldn't get it together to actually do, and it seems like that is a real risk here. i mean we'll see what they pull off, but the republicans and the white house being in denial about the coronavirus, first in
north carolina where they initially cancelled, then in florida where they tried to move it to before they had to cancel there as well, i mean that's just a historic thing. their misconceptions about the coronavirus don't seem to be getting any more realistic and so we have this chaos of them making all of these rash, last-minute decisions, which is their own fault. we don't know how it is going to resolve. i mean other people could see that there was a problem with the jacksonville, florida, plan. a poll of florida voters just out yesterday showed that 62% of florida voters thought that holding the republican convention in jacksonville would be unsafe. yeah, duh, everybody could see this except apparently the white house and the republican party until they smacked into that reality a month before this thing is supposed to go live. florida just hit a new daily death record for the virus. florida test results, which is a key metric, you want positivity rates to be as low as possible
of test results. florida test results have been over 10% positive solidly for more than a month now. for several days this week they were considerably over 10%. in jacksonville specifically, the city where the rnc was going to be held until yesterday when they cancelled it, teachers in jacksonville are now listing that city's republican mayor as their personal health care proxy on their living wills as a way of trying to get his attention for how much they do not want to be forced back into in-person classroom instruction next month while florida's epidemic is still raging out of control, while icus are at 130% capacity in the state's most populous county. but i mean the republicans' decision here, the white house's sudden decision last night to cancel the republican convention, it does put a fine point on this as a matter of policy, right? i mean how can it not be safe enough to host the republican convention in florida right now but florida's republican governor meanwhile says it is
safe to force open every single school in the state, which is his current position? i mean this was actually the lead at the "politico" playbook today. quote, all caps. wait a second, how can the white house push schools across the country to open, vowing it is safe to gather, while at the same time they're cancelling the republican convention in jacksonville, florida, saying it is not safe to gather? right. like i said, putting a fine point on this as a matter of policy. but florida and the great state of tennessee have just hit record daily death rates. the u.s. death rate overall is up over 1,100 deaths a day now steadily this week. it hasn't been that high in months. a whole bunch of states had a record number of new infections reported in the past 24 hours. alabama had a new record again. they have been setting new records all week. also hawaii, also indiana, also missouri, also new mexico.
meanwhile, policy decisions that we made as a country, we made federally to try to mitigate what we thought would be a short-term crisis here, those mitigating policies, those policies designed to ease the burden on americans while we went through what we hoped was a short-term crisis, those policies are now coming to an end with the crisis not being over at all, with the crisis being bigger than ever. 4 million cases and the pace of new infections doubling in less than a month. the federal ban on evictions expires tonight. that puts 12 million americans who rent their homes at risk of being thrown out by their landlords as of midnight tonight. the federal boost unemployment benefits, that is effectively ending right now too. legally it expires at the end of next week, but with congress not having acted by now to extend it -- and they haven't, they've now gone home, the way the timing works for unemployment eligibility their failure to act already in congress this week means that effectively many
americans have now received their last check of these boosted benefits. you know, these things were supposed to be temporary. these things wouldn't have had to be extended again had we been past this by now, had we beat down the epidemic, had we controlled the virus the way basically all of our allies around the world have handily done. the graph showing u.s. cases versus cases in the european union over time, look at us and look at them. it is still the best diagram we've got of what it means to have leadership or not, what it means to have real governance or not. those are our peer countries as allies, at democrats, as countries that got hit at basically the same time and at the same initial rate that we did. look how closely our initial curve tracks with theirs. well, the difference is they responded the way public health
experts the world over say you need to respond to something like this. we instead decided to pull all of the drawers out in the kitchen, put them upside down over our heads while raining the cutlery in front of us. i mean the reason we still need to extend what was supposed to be temporary economic help, the reason we can't open everything from schools to electionive surgeries to beaches to bars and all of the rest of it back up is because we can't fix the economic damage of the pandemic without fixing the pandemic, without having less people infected all the time and getting sick and dying, without getting our curve down so that this thing is manageable and we can find hot spots when they arise, find people through testing, with timely turnaround times, with good contact tracing. we can identify new outbreaks and squash them by isolating the people who have been exposed. we are so beyond being anywhere
near that in this country simply because our pandemic is out of control. as long as it is out of control, no, we can't open anything back up. yeah, people still need economic help. dr. deborah birx, who is apparently one of the only trained public health people involved in the white house's daily work and decisionmaking on this crisis, dr. deborah birx told the "today" show on nbc today that after the country looked on in horror at new york's catastrophe in april, you know, with 25,000 new yorkers dying in a matter of weeks, now she says with new infections nationwide doubling in less than a month, with hospitalization numbers nationwide and death numbers nationwide back up where they were in the worst of it in april, now she says as of today that the other biggest states in the country -- florida, california, texas -- now dr. birx says their epidemics are also bad. we should see all of them as simultaneous analogs to new york
at its worst. >> i just want to make it clear to the american public. what we have right now are essentially three new yorks with these three major states, and so we're really having to respond as an american people. >> these three major states, florida, california, texas. today over 150 prominent u.s. medical experts including zeke emanuel, who you know from here at msnbc, they all signed on to this letter. i know there's open letters and there's criticism of the government and stuff and these things come and go. this is actually very simple, very confrontational, right to the point and worth paying attention to because this is kind of the simple truth right now, at least as i see it. you see their headline, shut it down, start over, do it right. it says this, quote, dear diggs makers, hit the reset button. of all of the nations in the world, we've had the most deaths from covid-19.
at the same time we're in the midst of reopening our economy, exposing more and more people to coronavirus and watching numbers of cases and deaths skyrocket. in march americans went home and stayed there for weeks to keep themselves and their neighbors safe. you, decision makers, did not use that time to set us up to defeat the virus and then you started to reopen anyway, and too quickly. right now we're on a path to lose more than 200,000 american lives by november 1st. yet in many states people can drink in bars, get a haircut, eat inside a restaurant, get a tattoo, get a massage and do myriad other normal, pleasant but nonessential activities. let's get our priorities straight. reopening before suppressing the virus isn't going to help the economy. economists have gone on record saying that the only way tree store the economy is to address the pandemic i.t. stself pointit that until we find a way to boost tests and develop a vaccine, open or not people will not be in the mood to participate. so shut it down now and start
over. nonessential businesses should be closed. restaurant service should be limited to take-out. people should stay home, going out only to get food or medicine and get fresh air. masks should be mandatory indoors and outdoors where we interact with others. yes, that is stark what they're saying but, quote, we need that protocol in place until case numbers recede to a level at which we have the level to effectively trace. then and only then we can try a little more opening one small step at a time. you should, they say, bar nonessential interstate travel. when people travel freely between states, the good numbers in one state can go bad quickly. if you don't take these actions the consequences will be measured in widespread suffering and death. we need you to lead. tell the american people the truth about the virus even when it is hard. take bold action to save lives, even when it means shutting down again. unleash the research needed to contain the virus, massively ramping up testing, building the
necessary infrastructure for effective contact tracing and providing a safety net for those who need it. our government has thus far fallen short of what the moment demand. history has its eyes on you. the headline there, "shut it down, start over, do it right." signed by more than 150 u.s. health experts. what they're asking for here basically is for the u.s. to give it another go. try again. do what all of our peer countries around the world have basically successfully done all over the world. we know what works. for a lot of reasons, we didn't do it on the first round. we missed our chance to get it right the first time. so we should notice give it another try. like dr. david hoag told us on the other night on the program, the best time to act was months ago, the second best time to act is now.
give it another go. try to do it right now, rather than resigning ourselves to deaths of hundreds of thousands of more americans and an epidemic that never goes away and an economy that can never come back because the epidemic is still too large. we missed our chance to get it right the first time. try again. now, importantly, what they're asking for is national action, an abandonment implicitly of this idea we've been pursuing for some reason, which is that every state should do their own thing on their own timeline with no coordination. right, that's the basic point of the simultaneous action versus sequential action. the graphs from dr. dave ho we've been trying to show on this show all week, with the basic idea, the simple idea being if we act together all at once, if we act simultaneously like the graph shows on the left, the whole thing is over sooner. but if we don't, if we let everybody act, if we let every state act whenever they feel like it, honestly, that may feel
good, it may feel like a great american idea from the outset, but what it means ep deem logically s is it will go on and on, and the economy will be hit harder because it has to be shut down so much longer. it is an infectious disease, right. it is not ideological thing. it is an infectious disease. listen to infectious disease experts about how to do this thing with the least pain. they knew from the beginning. we ignored them and did it the hard way and that's what we're living through. listen to the experts on how to do this stuff. or if you don't like listening to the experts, instead just look at every other country in the world. they got it under control by doing that while we still don't even know if we can have school again any time soon. since the president started crowing that he was going to use the federal government to somehow force schools open
nationwide, we have started to see protests around the country by teachers and by some parents against trying to force schools open in an environment where the spread of the virus is out of control. in just the past week, just looking for these protests just as a top-of-the-line survey, we've seen teacher protests in -- as you see here, jackson, mississippi, the state capital in the great state of mississippi. we've seen big teacher protests in cherokee county, georgia. we've seen protests at the state capital in the great state of alabama. we've seen protests in chicago and in austin, texas, in iowa where iowa republican governor kim reynolds says she intends to force schools to open statewide in iowa no matter what. some iowa teachers have started writing their ono bwn obituaried sending them to kim reynolds, leaving up a spot in which she can fill in the date on which they died. i mentioned we've also seen florida teachers writing living wills. in jacksonville they've been naming the mayor there as their
health care proxy to make health decisions for them when they're incapacitated. here is an interesting case. in arizona there's been tons of teacher protests. they've been doing mobile teacher protests in these preteer significant teacher demonstrations. in phoenix, scottsdale, tempe, mace an, surprise arizona. arizona is an interesting case. arizona, if you have been paying close attention, their numbers statewide are finally starting to level out a little bit this week after arizona having been the scariest place in the country in terms of covid for much of june and july. now, arizona's rep governor doug doocy initially like trump and florida's republican governor desantis, arizona's governor doug doocy initially just announced a mandate by which he declared all schools must open no matter what. but, you know, there was pushback and the pushback
worked. this sort of thing is worth paying attention to, particularly if you are beaten down by how bad the headlines are and how bad the news is staying. look at the places where people fighting for constructive policy are winning, are getting even politicians who have not been good on this issue to get better. in arizona we saw it when the state public health association balked at what the governor was telling schools to do. the state public health association telling governor doocy instead of picking a date out of a hat by which he declared arizona schools had to open, instead they said the government should pick evidence-based criteria to decide when or whether it is safe to open k-12 schools. they suggested things like a sustained and consistent reduction in the number of new covid cases in the community. they wanted to see a threshold that communities had to meet. for example the positive rate being under 5% for two weeks at a time. they wanted to see contact tracing being up and running and
effective, hospitals having beds available in case there was a new surge. the arizona public health association told that state's governor he should pick criteria that could indicate that it is safe to open and then make school districts meet those criteria before they open rather than him just randomly declaring it doesn't matter and it is safe because he says so on a date on which he picked out of a hat. so the arizona public health association speaks up. the state superintendent of schools in arizona joined in the call as well, and, of course, you cannot overstate the impact of teachers all over the great state of arizona taking to the streets and showing up and being heard. it takes a lot of work like that, but it has now sort of at least worked. the arizona governor has now reversed course and is telling schools they will need to meet public health evidence-based criteria in order to open
instead of him making a random date for a mandate. it is not perfect and there's ambiguity. it remains to be seen. we will see how it works, but everybody who has been telling you that citizenship is really important right now and that citizenship can really work right now and that your country needs you right now, that we citizens need to make our government do a better job right now, well, i mean it is a small -- it is a small thing and it is one state. again, we will see how it works, but the activism and the pressure and the expert opinion and the sustained criticism and the sustained constructive criticism in arizona has this week appeared to make that state's response at least marge ne less ignorant, dangerous and fatal. it has pushed that state's decisions to at least admit that scientifically accessible facts exist and they matter as to what the state should do next. so take that.
take that little kernel and run with it. be heartened by that example. your citizenship is very important right now. your civic example is very important right now. your country needs you right now because our country needs to get less dumb really fast. perhaps you can help. back in may "the associated press" had a remarkable stream of stories, great investigative reporting from "the associated press" about what the cdc was doing in terms of providing expert cdc advice on how we could reopen things in america. that "ap" reporting resulted in the initially leaked and then ultimately soft launched quiet publication of the first cdc guidelines on how a number of different entities in the united states, including schools, should decide whether and how it is safe to reopen. now, i want to show you the flow chart from that guidance that, again, first leaked and then was very quietly released without
announcement in may after the "ap" did that reporting. you see the headline here, "reopening schools during the covid-19 pandemic." the purpose of this tool is to assist administrators in making decisions with k-12 schools during the covid-19 pandemic. the first column, top of the column says in bold blue type, should you consider opening. then it gives you a checklist. what's the first item on the checklist? well, is the school in a community no longer requiring significant mitigation? that's the first thing you need to check. you are trying to decide if your school should open. the cdc says the first question you need to answer is, is the school in a community where the virus levels are low enough that it no longer requires significant mitigation, meaning significant intervention to try to control the virus there. if the answer to that is no, you still need significant mitigation in your community, you still have a lot of virus circulating, then the answer from the cdc back in may is, okay, then your flow chart here is over.
skip right to the big stop sign. do not open. if you cannot check off that first criteria, you cannot open. that's the cdc as recently as two months ago. cdc guidance saying plain as day with icons, you cannot open any school anywhere in america if the virus is prevalent enough in that community to require significant mitigation measures. right now in america that's a lot of america. right? because our epidemic is a catastrophe coast to coast. of course, the white house yesterday just released new school opening guidelines under the banner of the cdc. these new guidance -- guidelines they just released don't even address the issue of whether schools should be safely reopened or not. they just tell you how to reopen. "the washington post" today was
first to report that portions of the so-called cdc guidelines were not written by the cdc, think were written by white house staffers. but, you know, the early drafts don't go away. even though they didn't make a big deal out of them and they didn't send out a press release or brag about them when they put them out because they didn't want to make the white house mad, the cdc did tell us -- not just in black and white but in bold, blue type with a big red stop sign, they told us in may before the white house got its mitts on the recommendation to not open schools anywhere in america until community spread was well under control. if you are in a community where there is a lot of virus, there is no safe way to open your school per the cdc before the white house started writing their guidelines and calling them cdc guidelines. now they have, you know, submarined that recommendation. they're hoping, i guess, we didn't print this stuff out before they tried to supersede it. our national response to coronavirus remains terrible. what we are learning over the
course of this thing though is that citizens can force the government to get better at it. boy, is it hard with a government this bad. but the alternative is to give up. why not -- and the reasons not to give up are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of the lives of our fellow americans, including potentially ourselves. someone who has been right about this stuff from the beginning is going to be our guest live here next, laura garrett. she has earned a nationwide reputation as sort of the cas cassandra of this pandemic, as a person willing to say hard things including now about what is going to happen with u.s. schools this fall. laura garrett joins us live next. stay with us. hand. granted. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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national-scale school reopening be considered, at all? answer, 'emphatically, no. that is the opening salvo from laurie garrett, who has been both scary and right about coronavirus from the beginning. she has written a new sobering piece which is called "america's schools are a moral and medical catastrophe." a guide to understanding the science and politics preventing u.s. children from being educated this year. preventing u.s. children from being educated this year? this whole year? laurie garrett calling the white house demand for schools to reopen and to figure out how on their own, quote, nothing short of moral bankruptcy. joining us without further ado is laurie garrett, pulitzer-prize winning journalist and someone we have been checking in with periodically over the course of this crisis, if for no other reason she keeps us honest. laurie, thank you for being here today. it is a bracing read.
>> thank you, rachel. >> you have been willing to say stark things, including in terms that other people would be likely to sugar coat, and you lay it out bluntly. what do you think is the reality check that americans need about safety considerations and the realistic chances of opening in-person instruction for kids this year? >> well, there's several things. first of all, it is not zero risk even in communities where the transmission of covid-19 is relatively low. opening schools is not a zero risk exercise. you don't know what the scale of the risk is unless you have done your baseline testing, you know exactly what percentage of your kids in each school level, each age group are already infected, what percentage of your teachers, your cafeteria workers, your janitorial staff and your administrators are
infected, and you track them over time and cohorts so that you follow infection rates and you have baseline data and building data, and then you have people -- you have policies in place for what to do if someone is infected and you have people who can track them and figure out if they took the virus home to their grandmother, to their father, to whomever. none of this is being done in almost any school district in america. on top of that, the cost, how do you make a school safe to attend for everybody involved? the adults, the children, the visiting parents. how do you make a school safe to attend? it costs money. you have to have a good air conditioning and air flow system. you have to limit the number of people per classroom, which means more space needs to be somehow available or staggered schedules with more teachers handling fewer students.
all of these things need to be done and they can't be done in school districts where there has never been enough money to do basic education at any time in the last many decades. so we're asking schools that have zero spare cash to somehow build a fancy air filtration system, to somehow do testing and somehow create additional classrooms. they don't have money. >> laurie, i am struck that the very first thing that you said was testing, that schools need access to frequent, quick-turnaround repeated testing for kids, for school staff, for teachers, and it needs to be linked into a competent contact tracing, essentially outbreak monitoring system. i feel like even six months into this in terms of the massive death that we have seen in the
united states we still don't have testing figured out even for nursing homes, even for long-term care facilities where we've had this huge bulk of the american deaths come from. even in well-resourced school districts it seems to me very unlikely they will have access just to the first thing that you described, that kind of testing regime. >> rachel, universities in the ivy league won't have it. so how would a public school located in a desperately poor community or on a native american reservation land or in rural alabama possibly have it? i mean this is just so poorly thought out. the rewrite on the cdc document is shameful. it is a mandate that doesn't even begin to discuss safety for the employees. it is all written from the point of view of dismissing the possibility that children will
somehow get sick and die and, therefore, the school should open without any real precautions taken. it is absolutely immoral. you know, betsy devos gave an interview, and she is the secretary of education, in which she basically said how you open is up to you, folks, you decide. we're just telling you that you have to open or we're taking your money away from you. now, they don't even have enough money to teach the kids under normal circumstances in many school districts across the nation, and you're telling them to conjure resources to do something unheard of. the question is that testing for any cohort is being done stupidly. it is utterly issue rational wh -- utterly irrational what we're doing in this country right now. we are asking people to queue up in a parking lot and let their
car engine run for eight hours to get a test that they get results from three to seven to ten days later. what we're not doing is smart testing that targets specific cohorts of people as sort of canaries in the coal mine to let us see over time, uh-oh, we see a little uptick in the first grade class, ms. mcgraph, her class, we have to get in there and find out what is going on in her class. we don't have the capacity. nobody is setting that up. so we're just going to throw children to the wolves, throw teachers to the wolves, all for some mythlogical reason that somehow there's a massive demand. in fact, every survey and poll i have seen for the last seven, ten days shows the majority of parents don't want to send their kids to school if they are unsure about its safety. they are unsure about its safety, especially in these states with ramped
out-of-control community spread of sars cov-2. it is irrational. >> laurie garrett, science writer, pulitzer prize winner journalist. laurie, thank you for speaking that blunt truth here tonight. thank you for doing that. thanks for being here. >> thank you, rachel. . i will say what laurie is describing there in terms of what sort of can't be done within the u.s. educational system right now, i mean the solution to that is not that we need to blow up and reassemble education in this country before anybody can go back safely. the solution there is that we need to get the virus under control overall. once you have the virus under control overall, then it is potentially safe to open schools. but when the virus is out of control, schools are the last place in the world that will be safe for kids or anybody that works there. it is community transmission of this virus that must be stopped. the country must act as a whole,
as one to get our curve down, to get our numbers down so we have this thing to a manageable size. then you can talk about school and everything else reopening. i'll be right back. (vo) parents have a way of imagining the worst... ...especially when your easily distracted teenager has the car. at subaru, we're taking on distracted driving... ...with sensors that alert you when your eyes are off the road. the subaru forester. the safest forester ever.
a couple of times on this show since the president was inaugurated we have had a yale historian here, a professor named tim snyder. we had him here because he wrote what amounted to a citizen's handbook for how to recognize if the obvious authoritarian inclinations of your president actually start tilting your country toward authoritarianism. it is about what we can do about that, what we can learn from other countries that have gone through similar descents like that. it is called "on tyranny, 20 lessons from the 20th century." it is like $6 or so, $8. it is longer than a pamphlet but smaller than your typical
paperback and it is a practical thing. i've probably bought and given away about 30 copies of it. a lot of it is simple and kind of profound and practical. rule number one, for example, is do not obey in advance. most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. if times like these individuals think ahead about what a more oppressive government will want and offer themselves without being asked. a citizen who adapts in this way is teaching power what it can do. lesson number two. defend institutions. this one means a lot to me. it is institutions that help us to preserve decency. choose an institution that you care about, a court, a newspaper, a law, a labor union, and take its side. then check out lesson 13, which feels both designed by and also sort of thwarted by this particular moment. quote, practice corporeal politics, corporeal means of like the body. it wants you softening in your
chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. get outside. put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. make new friends and march with them. designed for this moment and specifically thwarted by this moment. tim snyder's "on tyranny" is meant to give you practical work to do within this country sliding in an authoritarian direction. but snyder is blunt about not just being practical but alert for the worst, watching for the worst signs, why you shouldn't sugar-coat those things, you shouldn't convince yourself they're not a big deal, like this one that has bugging me for a few weeks now, at least since we've been seeing what is happening in lafayette square outside the white house when the protester cleared the protesters violently for the purpose of his photo-op and what we've seen about federal agents operating in the streets of portland, oregon. lesson six. be wary of paramilitaries.
when the pro-leader of paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come. that's not exactly what we've been seeing, but it is the lesson that comes to mind. that's been looming for a lot of us as we have watched unidentified federal officers of some kind scoop people off the streets of an american city and the president threatening now to do it in democratic-controlled cities nationwide. that's why i wanted to talk to tim snyder again. joining us for the interview is tim snyder, best-selling author of "on tyranny." he is professor of history at yale university. he is abroad and is up in the middle of the night to be here. professor, thank you so much for being here. i really appreciate your time. >> of course. >> should we be thinking about this thing we've been watching in portland, the president's threat to use force and his performative of force against civilians as a material rule of law crisis, as something we ought to worry about in terms of
our democracy? >> of course. in a rule of law state, which is what we should be, you can tell the police from the civilians. when the police don't identify themselves, when the police don't wear insignia, when the police act as though they're above the law, then you have moved clearly in an authoritarian direction. it is the dark fantasy both in light and literature of authoritarianism, totalitarianism that someone you can't identify arrests and takes you away in the middle of the night so, yes, this is something we should be attending to. >> given your seminal work looking at the history across europe of the descent into authoritarianism and the way that different types of cultures have slid in that direction, are there lessons from history about the right way or the most effective way, the most meaningful way to resistor oppose that kind of thing when it starts to happen in a country that you think of as a republican, as a democracy?
>> well, one of them we've already talked about, which is protest itself. you have to start to identify yourself with the protesters, so if first they come for the undocumented and you do nothing because you are documented, maybe you are making a mistake. then they come from the blacks. you don't do anything because you're not black, you're making a mistake. then they come for the protesters and you don't do anything, you are making a mistake. at some point you have to turn it around and say, like those moms in portland are doing, if they're coming for the protesters i have to stand up for those people, i have to staun for stand up for my fellow people, their right to the first amendment, the fourth amendment, i'm going out for that reason. history shows that mass, peaceful protest works. if you are not protesting now, this would be a good time to start. >> one of the things that you spoke with michelle goldberg about at "the new york times" this week in what i thought was an excellent piece of analysis was the importance of the fact
that it does seem to be elements of the federal government, elements of the department of homeland security, specifically assigned to the border and assigned to policing and dealing with immigrants, those appear to be the parts of the federal government that have dispatched these unidentified, unnamed federal officers to the streets. that to you, you've said that's important, that we're seeing that part of the federal government brought off the border and into the interior to start policing civilians. why is that important to you? >> yes, this is something that any historian of empire would say or the political theorists would say. violence starts at the borderland. people can become accustomed to violence at the border, and what an authoritarian regime does is it brings those people back into the cities and uses themselves against protesters in the cities. people who are trained to think of others as not like us, as aliens, as foreigners are then told, well, there happen to be people inland who are also not like us. a similar aspect here is
detention centers. we have a huge network of detention centers which are basically lawless zones. another historical pattern is people who are trained in lawless zones such as detention centers or concentration camps are released into cities later on and they behave the same way, the way they've been trained. this is the reason why we care about human rights, why we don't have lawless zones, why we don't treat people who are not citizens differently than citizens, because once you give up on human rights you find soon your rights as a citizen will soon go away as well. >> professor snyder, i have another aspect of this that actually is about our president and his connections abroad and the kinds of leaders that he admires abroad. if you wouldn't mind sticking with us for one quick commercial break, i would like to ask you one more question about that stuff when we come back. >> of course. >> great. our guest is professor tim snyder. he is the best-selling author of "on tyranny and the road to unfreedom." we will be right back.
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today michael cohen, president trump's former lawyer was released from prison into home confinement. he was released because the justice department said he couldn't stay on home confinement anymore if he wanted to write a book criticized president trump. they said basically give up the book or go back to jail. i know this stuff can sometimes feel just another day in the trump administration, but in the cohen case, a federal judge ruled yesterday that our government locked up an american citizen for writing a book critical of the president, and he ordered that citizen freed. that happened while there are these unmarked federal officers swooping down on protesters in portland, oregon again using tear gas and anti-crowd munitions, including pulling people off the streets and
detaining them without telling them why they're being kidnapped or by whom. for all the crises affecting the country right now, there is an escalating daily crisis of the rule of law that is churning away alongside all of that. here is tim snyder, best ksellig author. professor snyder, thank you for sticking around. i want to ask you about one aspect of this. but because of your history, your experience as a historian and the way that you have asked us to learn from other countries that have gone through authoritarian slides, what do you make of the fact that the president seems to be escalating his communication and calls with vladimir putin of russia? the kremlin told us this week they just had their seventh call since the end of march. should we see this as a separate lane, or should we see these things as potentially connected? >> of course they're connected.
mr. trump makes no secret of the fact that he admires mr. putin. mr. putin is someone that just secured his own ability to be president through the year 2036, and that kind of presidency for life is something which naturally interests mr. trump. the two men have had a vivid relationship for several years now. and mr. putin interfered in our elections the last time around. we're now looking at a situation where mr. trump is getting crushed in the polls. he doesn't seem to have much chance in november, at least much chance in a conventional election. so it doesn't seem surprising he would think of one of his fortunate constituents and allies as mr. putin. i think all of this is connected with november. i think portland is connected for november. it is a dry run to it in november. we will see these guys at polling stations and i think mr. putin is all about november. what can mr. putin offer mr. trump in november. >> tim snyder, the author of "on
tyranny and the road to." i hope you will come back and be with us soon. >> any time. glad to be with you. thank you. >> all right. we'll be back. stay with us. we'll be back. stay with us they get that no two people are alike and customize your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. almost done. what do you think? i don't see it. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
and no credit check on the first two lines. get a $50 prepaid card when you switch. 5g is now included with all new data options. switch and save hundreds. xfinity mobile. congressman john lewis was the son of sharecroppers. he crew up just outside alabama. tomorrow troy university will hold a public celebration of his
remarkable life starting at 11:00 a.m. eastern. tomorrow night there will be a second service for him at the church that was the starting point for the montgomery marches in 1965, the brown chapel and the church. sunday morning congressman lewis will make his final crossing over the site where he shed so much blood. his body will then be received at the alabama state capital where he will lie in state. and then monday and tuesday, john lewis will lie in state at the united states capital. msnbc will be carrying live coverage of that. we'll see you tomorrow night. >> john lewis, they broke his school when they beat him. yet, every time i met him and every time i interviewed him, the man had kindness. he had a smile on his face. i often think if they jailed me
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