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PoliticsNation, Thursday, March 13th, 2014

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March 13, 2014

Guest: Marcia Fudge; Jackie Speier, Jan Schakowsky, Jamal Simmons, Jim
Tilmon, Jim Cavanaugh

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, Paul Ryan`s sorry excuse. Congressman Ryan is supposed to
be the GOP`s expert on poverty, the one who supposedly is going to convince
America that Republicans are the ones who really want to help the poor.
But over the last 24 hours, he`s been hammered for those explosive and
offensive comments, blaming poverty on a culture of men not working in
inner cities.


tailspin of culture in our inner cities in particular of men not working
and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the
value and the culture of work. So there is a real culture problem here
that has to be dealt with.


SHARPTON: Culture of working in inner cities? Really. Today, Congressman
Ryan was desperately trying to backpedal. First congressman Ryan told a
blog, quote, "this has nothing to do whatsoever with race. It has never
even occurred to me."

He is talking about inner city culture. But it never occurred to him that
it might be racial? OK.

Later he released a statement saying I was inarticulate about the point I
was trying to make. I was not implicating the culture of one community,
but of society as a whole. But the congressman did implicate one
community. He specifically called out the culture of inner cities. The
truth is poverty is a problem all over America. In fact, the poverty rate
is higher outside of inner cities. 17.7 percent of people living in
nonmetropolitan areas live in poverty. That`s compared to 14.5 percent in
cities. A total of 8.5 million people live in poverty outside of cities.

Does congressman Ryan think those people don`t have a culture of work?
Funny, he didn`t talk about that. But he is still slamming the safety net
programs that is helping the poor. Quote, "I also believe the government`s
response has inadvertently created a poverty trap that builds barriers to

I grew up in the inner city. I grew up with a single mother who at times
had to use food stamps and welfare. And I watched men in my neighborhood,
Congressman, that would get up in predawn hours to wipe ice off the car to
go to work or look for work. I`ve watched them catch subway trains early
in the morning. There was no culture of laziness and not wanting to work?
Oh, there was a problem of having jobs, and there still is. Maybe if you
would work on a jobs bill, maybe if you would work on infrastructure
development, you`d see a lot more men working in the inner cities.

Joining me now is MSNBC`s Krystal Ball. Thank you for being here.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having me, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Paul Ryan says he was inarticulate about the point he was
making. What is your reaction, Krystal?

BALL: Seemed pretty articulate when he was making it. It seemed pretty
clear-cut what he was trying to say. And to me it just remind us how
Ronald Reagan`s specter of the welfare queen, which was all fake, right?
This person that he created didn`t exist. But it was used to tell the
story of how it was the culture of the poor that was really to blame. And
so, if you`re able to blame the poor people themselves, then it doesn`t
hurt so much when you cut the programs that are supporting them, that are
helping them. Then it`s actually the programs themselves and the poor
people themselves that are creating the poverty. Paul Ryan wants to be an
expert on poverty. He wants to convince people that he really cares. But
he can`t hide his contempt for the very people that he claims to want to

SHARPTON: And I think that it also gives him a way of justifying why they
don`t vote for jobs bills and other things, because they condemn, oh,
that`s government poverty traps.

Let`s bring on Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the congressional
black caucus.

Congresswoman Fudge, we`re talking about, of course, congressman Ryan and
his offensive statements. And it was interesting that he talks about
poverty in inner cities. But poverty isn`t some foreign concept. It`s
everywhere, including his own district, Congresswoman. More than 29,000
households in his district receives food stamps, 53 percent of those
households have someone who is working, and 77 percent of those recipients
are white. Poverty crosses all racial and ethnic lines. Don`t we need to
address all of that rather than scape-goating inner city culture?

REP. MARCIA FUDGE (D), OHIO: There is no question about it. I`ve read his
statement and actually listened to it. And I understand that every now and
then we inarticulate, as he says. I also appreciate the fact that he said
we should help in communities and volunteers. I appreciate all of that.

But he started in the wrong place. Instead of talking about solving the
problem of poverty, he started out talking about blaming people for being
poor. He then quoted Mr. Murray, who is a known racist and -- that`s
exactly right, sir, and he uses science to try to support his positions.

He also didn`t talk about the fact that these very same Republicans,
including him, the chair of the budget committee, has gutted public
education. He has cut dollars for job training. There is no
transportation money for people to get to where jobs are. There has been
no jobs bill there has been nothing done but to say that people who don`t
work are lazy.

And I think that he should be not only ashamed of himself, but to go and
drive in his own community and talk to the 29,000 households in his
community who receive food stamps and ask them if they`re lazy? Ask them
if they want to work. Ask them if it`s OK to feel bad about not being able
to feed their families. I think it will give him an earful and I think it
would very different from what he said in his interview the other say.

SHARPTON: Now, Krystal, one of the things -- and all of us have said
things we regretted. I mean, yes, all of us have.

BALL: Sure.

SHARPTON: But what I noticed he did not do that many have done, and many
of us have done, he never said he was sorry for what he said. Should he
have come right out and apologized to the people that he offended, that he
directly attacked? And directly attacked them referring to Charles Murray
who the congresswoman said has clearly written statements that many,
including me regard it as racist?

BALL: Absolutely. I think it would have been entirely appropriate and
called for congressman Ryan to apologize for his statement. Because many
did find it offensive because it was offensive. It was blaming poor people
for being poor. It was calling a whole group of people inner city, quote,
"people lazy."

SHARPTON: And he said it was generation. So, it wasn`t just you, it was
your daddy, your granddad, I mean. He said it was generations.

BALL: That`s right. And again, if you want to actually tackle these
issues, then you have to get beyond the contempt that the right has held
for people who are struggling. If you have contempt for a group of people,
you are not going to be able to empathize with them. You are not going to
be able to understand how you can effectively help them.

Here is the other problem. Congressman Ryan has a history of ignoring the
facts and the evidence in this area on poverty and what actually works to
alleviate poverty, on the causes of poverty, which economists are
increasingly finding because of soaring inequality and structural issues.
And even within his own budget, he has always relied on wishful thinking
and his ideology rather than what scientists and economists say to be the

SHARPTON: Yes. You know, Chair lady Fudge, here is how Paul Ryan tackled
poverty in the past. His 2012 budget cut $3.3 trillion over ten years from
low income programs and gave millionaires $394,000 a year in tax cuts. So
will the millionaires give that money away? I mean, what is the anti-
poverty plan there?

FUDGE: Listen, let me just say this to you, Reverend. I think that Paul
Ryan underestimates the intelligence of the people of America. If he for
some reason believes that just because he said it, people are going to
believe it, his action speak louder than his words. He has done everything
he can to derail every single program that would help the poor, that would
help children, that would help the elderly. He will say that it is a
dependency. It is a culture of dependency.

All he is doing is continuing to denigrate the people who want to -- for
themselves to find the American dream. And he has no intention of letting
them get it, because the only people he is concerned reason the people who
had trust funds like he did when he grew up, or the people who give money
to his campaigns. He is not in the least bit concerned about the poor
people in this country.

And I say to him, I am more than willing to invite you to come to a meeting
of the congressional black caucus, and let`s talk about poverty. I
challenge you today to come. Let`s talk to people about poverty.

SHARPTON: Well, Krystal, you know, he is supposed to be the poverty expert
for the GOP. And unfortunately, the kind of talk about the poor has become
fairly common from the GOP, period. Listen to this.


RYAN: Washington is making the poverty trap much worse.

The left is making a big mistake here. What they`re offering people is a
full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that.

We don`t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied
people into lives of dependency and complacency.

Teach a man how to fish. He can feed himself for a life. Don`t simply
feed fish.


SHARPTON: So these are all statements we hear Ryan all the way through.
He is the poverty guy for the party. He was their nominee for vice
president. You`re not talking about some talker. You`re talking about the
head of the budget committee.

BALL: That`s right.

SHARPTON: The man who was on the ticket last time saying these kinds of
things, Krystal.

BALL: And he is supposed to be their intellectual heavyweight. I mean,
think of that sad state of affairs. And, again, this makes for maybe a fun
sound bite or a folksy sounding sound bite. But the evidence doesn`t back
it up. If you want to help people who are struggling, these government
programs do a whole lot of good. And Paul Ryan himself recently released
this 200-page audit of all the social welfare programs in this country.
And he inexplicably found, because he didn`t want to find this, that a lot
of them are doing a lot of good and have helped reduce the poverty rate in
this century.

SHARPTON: Well Congresswoman Fudge, I`ve got to go. But you know a lot of
these programs did the reverse. They gave a culture word, neighborhood
youth corps, manpower training, model city. They raised kids in my
generation to get up and go to work.

FUDGE: No question about it. And if Paul Ryan wants to talk about the
soul of America, I ask him to look into his own soul. Because if he is
saying we have no soul, he certainly has a hole in his. He needs to
understand that every single person in this country has a right to expect
that their government will take care of them in their greatest need. And
he knows and we know that these programs have been effective. And if he
wants to believe that the only way to cure poverty is to just get rid of
all of the poor people, then, he has another thing coming because he is
going to have a battle on his hands from people like me and the
congressional black caucus.

SHARPTON: Chairwoman Marcia Fudge and Krystal Ball, thank you both for
being here tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Reverend.

And be sure to watch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. eastern
right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, a wild scene on the hill just moments ago as House Democrats
slammed Darrell Issa for his conduct last week cutting off microphones.
They`re calling him abusive and demanding an apology. Tonight we`re live
in Washington ahead.

Also, the GOP`s Obama derangement syndrome hits a new low on the house
floor. You won`t believe what Republicans are trying to pass into law.

And a stunning turn of events into the search for that missing plane. Why
do some officials think it could have secretly landed somewhere?

Lots of questions tonight. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: A raucous scene tonight on Capitol Hill. Democrats demanding
answer from Darrell Issa for cutting off a lawmaker`s microphone. That`s


SHARPTON: Moments ago, a wild scene in congress. A dramatic action from
house Democrats shaming Congressman Darrell Issa for his code of conduct
last week. They called him out for being abusive and for a pattern of
offensive behavior, and demanded an apology for cutting off microphones at
a hearing last week.


REP. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: Whereas ranking member Cummings protested
immediately, stating, quote, "Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like
this. You just cannot -- "

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentlemen will suspend. Chair is going to ask for the
decorum of the house that members not display their ipads. It`s a
violation of the House rules.


After a short back and forward over the rule about holding up ipads,
Democrats got right back at it.


KILDEE: Chairman Issa`s abusive behavior on March 5th is part of a
continuing pattern in which he has routinely excluded members of the
committee from investigative meetings, has turned off members` microphones
when they were questioning a witness. Now therefore be it resolved that
the House of Representatives strongly condemns the offensive and
disrespectful manner in which Cheryl Darrell E. Issa conducted the hearing
on house oversight reform on March 5th, 2014 and requires that he come to
the well of the house to issue a public apology to the members of the


SHARPTON: Democrats saying tonight Issa abused his power as chairman of
the house oversight committee.


expectation that Ms. Lerner will cooperate with this committee and
therefore we are adjourned.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Chairman, chairman, I have a
statement. I have a procedural question, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I
have a procedural question. Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like
this. You just cannot do this. This is -- we`re better than that as a
country. We`re better than that as a committee. I have asked for a few
minutes to ask a procedural -- now you`re turning me off.

ISSA: We have adjourned.


SHARPTON: Tonight a strong direct message to chairman Issa. They won`t
stand for it.

Joining me now, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, a member of the house
oversight committee who just got off the house floor. Thanks for being
here, Congresswoman.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: My pleasure, Reverend.

SHARPTON: A remarkable scene moments ago. How do you think chairman Issa
will respond?

SPEIER: Well, if he is smart, he is going to respond by apologizing on the
floor, because this privileged resolution can be brought up over and over
and over again. And I don`t know how much more he wants to see his face
flashed on the screen with his hand going like this asking that they cut
off the mics.

The problem is that we do have rules in the house that require us to act
with decorum. And in that committee the escalation of abuse by the
chairman had to stop. And hopefully this is going to be the kind of wake-
up call that he will stop cutting off members` mics, which he has done
before. This is not the first time he has done it.

SHARPTON: He has done this before?

SPEIER: Yes. He did it to Congressman John Tierney in the committee as
well. And he has also prevented witnesses from answering questions from
members on the Democratic side. Again, that is not consistent with how the
house is to be run. And I`ve said it before. It`s like a child in a sand
lot who starts throwing sand at others because he is not getting his way.
We`re better than this, as Mr. Cummings said, Congressman Cummings. And
it`s time for us to act like adults.

SHARPTON: When you are chairman of an oversight committee and you`re
talking about serious things like his investigation of the IRS or the
attorney general or whatever, why would you act in a rude way, cutting off
mics and all, unless you`re really not trying to get the answers to what
happened or didn`t happen or the truth, be you are really trying to have
something lean the way you want it?

SPEIER: So that`s precisely the point. It was theater, and it was a step
in the direction of then subsequently holding Lois Lerner in contempt and
that`s sort of his game plan. The real tragedy here is that Lois Lerner
wanted to testify. She wanted another week to prepare, and he was
unwilling to give her that week. And so, she plead the fifth as she has
the legal right to do. And then he gaveled the committee hearing to a
close without giving the other side, the Democrats on the committee the
opportunity to have opening statements and to pose questions as well.

This is a democracy. And unless we`re moving into Russia and Putin, I
think we better get back to reality and do the right thing here.

SHARPTON: You said that he doesn`t want to keep seeing that picture. Does
that mean that if he doesn`t apologize, the Democrats are going to stay on
it? This is not just a one-time show piece that we saw this evening at the

SPEIER: Well, that`s above my pay grade in the house. But I`m certain
that the leadership recognizes that we cannot allow this kind of conduct to
continue to be acceptable in the House of Representatives. We both have to
act with decorum, and we`ve got to respect each other and allow the parties
on each side of the aisle to have their piece.

SHARPTON: Well, I can promise you we will stay on it right here.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, amazing scene tonight. Thank you very much
for your time.

SPEIER: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Republicans have to answer to President Obama`s epic
web video. And like their policies, this one turns the clock back.

But first, an unprecedented mystery. Where is Malaysia airlines flight
370? U.S. officials are now looking into the possibility that the plane
was diverted to an undisclosed location. We have two experts on this
ahead. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: The grand old party has figured out a new way to attract all
those young folks using the Internets and talking on the twitters.
Republicans call it the millennium madness meet-up, and is hosted by a guy
whose peak moment of pop culture relevance came 17 years. Congressman Sean
Duffy, he is an elected official now. But back in 1997, he was the star of
the show that all the kids were talking about, mTV`s "the real world:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a true story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A seventh string pick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To live in a house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Volunteer some time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And have their lives taped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To find out what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When people stopped being polite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Start getting real.




SHARPTON: That`s right. Nothing like a reality TV star from another
millennium to get those young folks to the polls. What happened? Clint
Eastwood wasn`t available? We`ll grab you now. Get your flannel shirts
out, everyone. The GOP is going back to the `90s. I bet Fox and Scully
from the X-files will be there. And Beavis and Butthead might show up too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing to offer you, and I know how the world works.



SHARPTON: And of course we`ll invite Jack and Rose from the titanic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m the king of the world!


SHARPTON: There`s just one little problem. First-time voters who are
turning 18 this year were literally babies back in 1997. The GOP was up in
arms about President Obama`s interview with the star of "the hangover"
movies that he did. But at least his movies are from the right decade.

Do they really think this blast from the past is going to work? As if.
Did Republicans think we wouldn`t notice that this is the true story of a
political party that`s stopped being polite and has started getting really
out of touch?

Nice try, but we got you.


SHARPTON: House Republicans are trying to turn some of the most paranoid
conspiracy theories about the President into law. Last night they passed a
bill making it easier for Congress to sue President Obama if he doesn`t
enforce a law that in a way they like. It`s ridiculous. President Obama
has taken lawful executive actions because Republicans are refusing to do
their jobs. But in their twisted version of reality, that makes the
President some kind of tyrant.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The President`s dangerous search for expanded powers
appears to be endless.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Where is the President`s respect for the rule of law?
It`s past time for this body to say no to presidential overreach.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Will we stand idly by while an imperial president
ignores the rule of law and unravels the separation of powers so carefully
woven into our constitution.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is a democracy, not a kingdom. The United States
president or the United States president is not supposed to be an emperor.


SHARPTON: The President is an emperor? That`s funny. I thought he was
democratically elected president who got 65 million votes. The GOP`s
derangement on this is totally over the top.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: People are in disbelief. They can`t
believe that that`s the president, because they know intuitively they have
to follow the law. Why doesn`t the commander in chief have to follow the

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He will give -- sees that terrorists get documents that
they won`t even let members of Congress have.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He decides which laws he can execute, which laws he will
not execute. And I think that will be the demise of our republic.


SHARPTON: The demise of our republic? Really? If anything is threatening
the demise of our republic, it`s the hysteria and paranoia from the right.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, democrat of Illinois, and
democratic strategist Jamal Simmons. Thank you both for being here.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you, Reverend Al.


SHARPTON: Congresswoman, what is your reaction to your Republican
colleagues trying to pass a bill like this?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, it`s absolutely ridiculous. You know, the President has
actually been the slowest to use things like the executive orders since the
1800s, since Grover Cleveland, of all the presidents. And of course the
President has discretion. Somebody better have discretion on how to
enforce the law, what the priorities are. You know, they say that we`re
not enforcing the immigration laws. I`m sorry, but 1100 people are being
deported every single day.

And hopefully, the ones that are prioritized are the people who are
actually criminals in this country, broken the U.S. laws. So it is
absolutely ridiculous. And, you know, Reverend Al, these are another
examples of bills to nowhere. They get up on the floor with all their
fancy rhetoric about tyranny. And it`s not going to happen because the
President is not breaking any laws. The courts have upheld the discretion
of the President. It`s just silly.

You know, Jamal, let`s go back to where the congresswoman was talking about
presidents all the way back to Grover Cleveland.


SHARPTON: If you look at the fact President Obama is supposedly a dictator
for signing executive orders, then what about the past GOP presidents?
Here is a look at their first term executive orders. Ronald Reagan had
213. George H.W. Bush had 166. George W. Bush had 173. But President
Obama, he had just 147. So if he is a dictator, what is Reagan, Bush and
Bush again?

SIMMONS: Right, Rev. And remember, on these issues, they think the
President is a dictator. But then when it comes to these other
international issues, he is feckless. He doesn`t know how to stand up to
Vladimir Putin, you know, he is weak. So, they have to choose. You know,
either he is a strong leader, or he is somebody who is not doing the job
very well. You know, the other part when we talk about Republicans, I
remember George W. Bush with the signing statements. John McCain tried to
-- help get a law pass dealing with torture.

And George Bush in a signing statement refused to go along with this
definition of torture. So, you know, presidents do this. They make their
own decisions. But this is a continuing pattern of Republicans of bullying
where they not get their own way they start to bully everybody into doing
it. You saw it with Darryl Issa. You saw it with Chris Christie. You saw
it with Congressman Michael Grim threatening that reporter. This is a
habit of Republicans when they start to lose.

SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, Ben Carson who is a neurosurgeon and a
pretty popular figure among conservatives compared the United States to
Nazi Germany in an interview. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You know, we live in a Gestapo age. People don`t
realize it. But you know, what I say, is the Congress has to at some point
step up to the plate. The reason we have divided government is if one
branch of the government gets out of control, starts thinking they`re too
big for their britches. You need to be able to have control.


SHARPTON: I mean, he`s essentially comparing the President`s actions to
the Nazis. I mean Gestapo, you and Congress need to step up? How do you
respond to that congresswoman?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, this doesn`t go over very well with the public, I don`t
believe. And let`s remember it was George Bush through an executive order
that decided that torture was going to be legal. I don`t know how you want
to label that, but it`s certainly when President Obama came in, he entered
that I think in those first weekend in office. And Ronald Reagan, let`s
remember Iran/contra, selling weapons to Iran and then using the money for
Nicaragua and anti-Communist battle secretly. And so this president is
transparent. He is using presidential discretion as the laws have upheld
it. And to call it or even compare to it Nazism, I think it`s absolutely

You know, Jamal, when polled, people were questioned which party is more
extreme in its positions. Fifty four percent said the GOP. Only 35
percent said Democrats. Isn`t this extremism just hurting their own party,
and will voters reject it?

SIMMONS: You know, Rev, that`s actually we have been wondering about.
What is it about this argument they`re making that they think appeals to
the American people. I think it must just be a base turnout strategy.
They must have a bunch of people in the Republican Party who just simply
don`t like Barack Obama being president of the United States. We can all
guess why they don`t like him being there. And they don`t like him being
president. They want the Congress to get him under control, stop letting
this man run the country. And they are trying to activate that base.

Because most people that I talk to care about things like jobs and health
care and trying to get, you know, the kids through school without having a
mountain of debt and get their kids educated and technology. And nobody in
the Republican caucus seems to care about those issues or have a plan for
dealing with them.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Jamal Simmons, thank you both
for your tonight.

SIMMONS: Thank you.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, how Democrats are fighting back against the
billionaire boys club? The Koch brothers can`t operate in secret anymore.

Plus, a jaw-dropping twist in the search for that missing plane.
Developing news about the shutdown of the communications system. That`s


SHARPTON: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished more than six days ago,
and tonight there is a startling new question. Could the plane still be
out there, intact and simply diverted to an undisclosed location? That
exact theory is being raised in today`s "Wall Street Journal." U.S.
investigators suspect that Malaysia Airline Flight 370 stayed in the air
for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location.
And that investigators are actively pursuing the notion that the plane was
diverted with the intention of using it later for another purpose.

Malaysian officials denied this report. But if true, it means the plane
could have traveled another 2200 nautical miles, greatly expanding the
search area. And today the White House said the search may be expanding to
the Indian Ocean, based on new information. But so far, there are only
questions, like this key piece of information.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The plane`s transponders, which broadcast its location,
speed, and altitude had reportedly stopped broadcasting. The plane`s
transponders could have been shut off intentionally or as the result of a
catastrophic event, taking out the electrical system.


SHARPTON: So where is flight 370? And could the plane and its passengers
still be out there?

Joining me now are Jim Tilmon, and aviation expert and former American
airlines pilot, and Jim Cavanaugh, an NBC law enforcement analyst who has
been deeply involved in many high profile investigations, including the
Unabomber case. Thank you both for being on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Jim Tilmon, let me start with you. ABC News is reporting that
two communication systems shut down separately on the flight. The data
reporting system they believe was shuttle down at 1:07 a.m. The
transponder which transmits location and altitude shut down at 1:21 a.m.
What does that tell you?

TILMON: Well, it first tells me that we`re not getting the full story all
the time. It`s like why didn`t someone say this earlier? It would have
made a lot of difference in the way we analyzed the data that we were
getting. What it really means is the system that is automatically sending
maintenance information to the ground and these airlines communications,
and then the transponder is your means of communicating with air traffic
controllers electronically to let them though what your aircraft is doing,
which direction it`s flying, how fast it`s going and all that sort of
thing. If the anchors went off first, I understand it was like 14 minutes
before the transponders went offline?


TILMON: It`s a puzzle to me, because that means that during those 14
minutes, they were getting good data for the air traffic controllers on
the ground about what the airplane was doing. Reverend Al, I`ve been
unhappy about the air traffic control thing ever since this started where.
Where were they? Why didn`t they scramble jets? Why didn`t they do some
of the things that are necessary to do to follow that airplane, they knew
it was in trouble. And they must have been in trouble because they
couldn`t communicate with it.

SHARPTON: Like what? I mean, give me an example.

TILMON: Well, let`s put it this way. If it happened in our airspace, I`ll
put it that way, we would have had all kinds of activity taking place.
There would have been jets in the air following it along. There would have
been all kinds of communications, trials going on. The air traffic
controller would have been going crazy trying to make sure they could reach
you and communicate with you immediately. So none of that stuff happened.

SHARPTON: If "The Wall Street Journal" story is correct, how does one
travel under radar like this for that many hours?

TILMON: Well, radar is one of those things that is dependent upon line of
sight. And if you get low enough and your altitude is low enough, you can
fly under radar. You heard that all your life about flying under radar.
You can`t be done. It`s risky to do unless you really know the terrain
quite well.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Jim Cavanaugh. If you were heading up this
investigation, what would your main question be right now?

CAVANAUGH: Well, I go back to questions we talked about on Monday,
Reverend Al, is was the transponder turned off by a human hand? Was the
data anchor system turned off by a human hand? Was the left turn plane --
did it bank, turn? Was at a pilot or human hand that did that, as opposed
to was it spiraling into the sea. Because if those three things were turn
by a human hand, it would indicate more toward a cockpit takeover. We can
add to that today as NBC News reported today that United States satellites,
infrared specialized satellites did not detect an explosion in the air, and
likely they would have. They`re very sensitive, and apparently they can,
you know, detect things like that.

SHARPTON: So if there was no explosion in the air that was detected, then
either there are some that are saying is it terrorist, but there has been
no terrorist group that has come forward to take credit. And usually
terrorists do things to send a message. And there has been no message.
Then with those two shelved, or at least we think we can shelve them, is
there some viability to "The Wall Street Journal`s" theory that maybe they
landed somewhere because they wanted to use the plane for another purpose
later. But then what happened to the 239 passengers?

CAVANAUGH: Right. I mean, you can`t rule out "The Wall Street Journal`s"
theory, because they`re saying there was a ping from a data source for, you
know, four hours. So, you know, if we add that with the other facts, it`s
possible the plane was flying. If the Malaysian military authority`s radar
which is pretty squishy right now, but could it have gone to the Indian
Ocean? You know, flying that plane toward the Indian Ocean is, you know, a
total dead-end. I mean, you`re not going to reach Africa. You`re going to
be in the ocean. So it wouldn`t indicate to me that a trained pilot who
wanted to steal the aircraft and even sell it or use it or something would
be flying it toward the Indian Ocean. However, a hijacker who might have
killed the pilot, that would be a different story. He might not know how
to do it.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you something. If it went into the Indian Ocean,
will we ever find it?

TILMON: Well, that`s a good question, because that`s a huge expansion of
just water. There`s not a lot out there to be fixing on. But, you know,
it could have started toward the Indian Ocean and then turned around to go
someplace else it planned to go. Reverend Al, this thing has so many
twists and turns and bad information or no information and everything else
that all of us that are desperately trying to find answers for those people
who had loved ones on that airplane are very perplexed and very confused
and very frustrated.

SHARPTON: Well, I think that is an understatement. But there are 239
lives on there. And we can`t stop looking. And we can`t stop searching,
because if there is any way they`re alive, we need to reach them. Let`s
leave it here. Thank you both for being here with me tonight. Jim Tilmon
and Jim Cavanaugh. Thanks for your time.

TILMON: Thank you, Reverend Al.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a group funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers is airing
ObamaCare attack ads with paid actors. But today Democrats are fighting
back with their own ad.

And Attorney General Eric Holder takes another major step toward fixing our
criminal injustice system today.


SHARPTON: Democrats have a message for America. Koch is not it. A group
funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers is airing this ad attacking
democratic Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. It features paid actors
pretending to be families hurt by ObamaCare. But now Democrats are
fighting back with a new ad, calling out the Koch Brothers and Landrieu`s
Republican opponent.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Out-of-state billionaires spending millions to rig the
system and elect Bill Cassidy. Their goal, another politician bought and
paid for. Cassidy`s billion dollar backers. They have a plan for him.
It`s not good for Louisiana.


SHARPTON: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been spearheading the new
push to make sure Americans know about the Koch Brothers` political
network. Already the Koch funded Americans for Prosperity group has spent
more than $30 million on Senate races in states like Louisiana, Michigan,
and North Carolina. The Koch Brothers have not yet responded to our
request for comment on this. Though in the past they have declined to talk
about stories like this and have referred us to the AFP. The Koch`s
generally like to operate behind the scenes, but they can`t anymore. And
Democrats aren`t backing down.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, justice for all. For decades, our criminal
justice system has been broken. But today Attorney General Eric Holder
took another step toward fixing it. He testified before the United States
sentencing commission and endorsed a plan to reduce sentencing for
nonviolent drug crimes.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: This focused reliance on incarceration
is just -- is not just financially unsustainable, it comes with human and
moral costs that are impossible to calculate. By reserving the most severe
penalties for dangerous and violent drug traffickers, we can better promote
public safety, deterrence, and rehabilitation while saving billions of
dollars and strengthening communities.


SHARPTON: In 2010, federal and state governments spent $80 billion on
prisons. Holder said the plan could also reduce the prison population by
more than 6,000 inmates in five years. Since 1980, the U.S. population has
grown by about 40 percent. But our prison population has grown by 790
percent. And sentences for similar crimes are nearly 20 percent longer for
black men than for white men. That`s why it was important President Obama
and Attorney General Holder stated their commitment to correcting the
injustices of our legal system. Last December, President Obama commuted
the sentences of eight crack cocaine offenders. All sentenced under severe
mandatory minimum laws. And last summer, Eric Holder first called to end
severe mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.


HOLDER: Today a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration
traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. And many
aspects of our criminal justice system may exacerbate these problems rather
than alleviate them.


SHARPTON: When people do wrong, when people break crimes, they should pay.
But they should not pay more than what society would have others pay for
the same crime. And we should pay within the reason of giving people
correction, not just detention. We need what the Attorney General has said
we needed for all Americans to be able to live a balanced justice system.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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