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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, April 28, 2014

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April 28, 2014

Guests: Khary Lazarre-White, Kate Sheppard, Lucia McBath; Simone Campbell;
Hunter Walker

ARI MELBER, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Today the L.A. Clippers lost some of their
sponsors. Tomorrow, they might be headed towards losing their owner.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shocking racial comments allegedly by an NBA owner
shake the entire league.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The racist comments allegedly made.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Racist remarks allegedly caught on tape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

V. STIVIANO: People call you and tell you that I have black people on my
Instagram, and it bothers you?

DONALD STERLING: Yes, it bothers me a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those comments are not surprising.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is nothing new.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has been a pattern.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is someone whose racism has been abided by the NBA
for decades.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2009, Sterling settled a housing discrimination

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The largest settlement to the Justice Department.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At issue -- allegations he discriminated against
Hispanic and African-American renters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who`s going to want to play for this guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What player exactly would want to play for this owner?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During yesterday`s playoff game, Clippers players
staged a silent protest, dumping their warm-up uniforms on center court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, everyone from Hall of Famers to the president is
weighing in on this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The power, if you will is in the hands of Adam

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The NBA has announced a news conference tomorrow on
its investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Sterling has become bad for business.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The racist comments allegedly made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Racist remarks allegedly caught on tape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What many are calling a defining moment for the NBA.


MELBER: I`m Ari Melber, in for Lawrence O`Donnell.

And we begin tonight in Los Angeles, a city that has been rocked by a
scandal that stretched from racist comments allegedly made by the L.A.
Clippers owner on a private conversation, to a very public rebuke from his
players, his colleagues in the league, and halfway around the world from
the president himself.

Just tonight, Miami Heat players wore their jerseys inside out during warm-
ups in solidarity with those Clipper players. In 24 hours, the L.A.
Clippers face off of course against the Golden State Warriors in game 5 of
the playoffs.

But first, tomorrow afternoon NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will announce
the results of the NBA`s initial investigation into those remarks allegedly
made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling. TMZ sports released a recording
allegedly revealing that Sterling was telling his then girlfriend she
shouldn`t post pictures of herself socializing with black people including
magic Johnson on her Instagram account.

Now, Stiviano uses that photo-sharing Web site and has about 150,000
followers there. We`re going to play the call audio in a moment.

But first, here is the latest from Magic Johnson, tonight, outlining what
he thinks should happen to Sterling.


MAGIC JOHNSON, NBA HALLF OF FAMER: He has to lose the team hopefully.
Yes, they have to play in the playoffs. If you boycott, that`s the wrong
thing because you still can achieve what you want. Now, the boycott, if
nothing happens, then you can boycott in the off-season and not just the
Clippers. The whole league has to, because if he`s not thrown out, you`ve
got to do something.


MELBER: We can also report tonight that the number of companies suspending
their Clippers sponsorships has grown to eight. And five have ended their
sponsorships altogether. The L.A. chapter, meanwhile, of the NAACP, which
was actually planning to honor Sterling next month, said this today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a personal, economic, and social price that
Mr. Sterling must pay.


MELBER: As we`ve said before, NBC News has not confirmed the authenticity
of these recordings first posted by TMZ sports and the sports Web site

Now, here is part of the audio of that alleged discussion between Donald
Sterling and V. Stiviano. Sterling has not denied it`s him up to this
point. The statement from the Clippers` president says that there`s an
emphatic view here that what`s on the tape is not consistent with his


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m living in a culture, and I have to live within the
culture. So that`s the way it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People call you and tell you that I have black people
on my Instagram, and it bothers you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it bothers me a lot. If you want to broadcast
that you`re associating with black people. Do you have to?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You associate with black people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not you, and you`re not me. You`re supposed to be
a delicate white or delicate Latina girl. How about your whole life every
day you could do whatever you want? You could sleep with them, you could
bring them in, you could do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not
to promote it on that and not to bring them to my games.

There`s no negativity. I love everybody. I`m just saying in your lousy
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) Instagram, you don`t have to have yourself with --
walking with black people. You don`t have to. If you want to, do it.

I think it`s nice that you admire him, I`ve known him well, and he should
be admired. And I`m just saying that it`s too bad you can`t admire him
privately and during your entire (EXPLETIVE DELETED) life, your whole life
admire him. Bring him here, feed him, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) him, I don`t
care. You can do anything.

But don`t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have
to call me. And don`t bring him into my games. OK?


MELBER: Deadspin also posted an extended version of the alleged


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know that you have a whole team that`s black
that plays for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just -- do I know? I support them and give them
food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does
someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have -- who makes the game?
Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners that
created the league?


MELBER: While many owners, players, and coaches around the league have
condemned Sterling, tonight "USA Today" reports the Clippers head coach Doc
Rivers is refusing to speak with Sterling after the owner called him.

Rivers also publicly spoke out tonight saying, quote, "I would like to
reiterate how disappointed I am in the comments attributed to Donald
Sterling and I can`t even begin to tell you how upset I am and our players
are. Today I had a meeting with the members of our organization. When
you`re around all these people, you realize they`re just as upset and
embarrassed by the situation and it does not reflect who they really are.

This is a very emotional subject. This is personal. My belief is that the
longer we keep winning, the more we talk about this. I believe that is
good. If we want to make a statement, I believe that is how we have to do

Joining me now is "Washington Post" columnist Jonathan Capehart and Khary
Lazarre-white, co-founder and co-effective director of the Brotherhood-
Sister Sol.

Welcome to you both.

Your thoughts on everything we are seeing today.

attention on this issue is warranted. I think it`s very important that
we`re discussing it.

But I think there`s also a larger conversation about why it is that we`re
discussing it now. This man has a long track record of saying racist and
vile things, creating a work environment that is not conducive to black
people being comfortable in that work environment and actually settled with
the Department of Justice for nearly $3 million because of his housing
violations, refusing to allow black and Latin people to live in his

So I think there`s a question as well for the board of governors, for the
former commissioner David Stern, why was this man not brought to task
earlier? Why was he not penalize when this is a league that has shown an
interest and a focus in penalizing players for using derogatory comments
online, for dressing inappropriately, for fighting, and then you have an
owner who has this type of track record and it takes the release of this
statement to bring about this conversation?

So, I think it also raises that question, why now are we talking about it,
why has this not been dealt with previously.

MELBER: Yes, I think you`re speaking of something very profound there,
which is people often talk about a teachable moment. Lord knows a lot of
people around the country, really around the world are looking at this.
And yet you`re speaking to the question of is this a teachable moment or is
this another entertainment moment and is it the nature of the drama here
that`s drawn attention that should have been here earlier?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has a new article out raising some of those same
points. Let me read this. And Jonathan Capehart, I`d like to get your
thoughts on it.

He writes, "What bothers me about this whole Donald Sterling affair isn`t
just his racism. I`m bothered that everyone acts as if it`s a huge
surprise. He was discriminating against black and Hispanic families for
years, preventing them from getting housing. It was public record. We did

Suddenly, he says he doesn`t want his girlfriend posing with Magic Johnson
on Instagram and we bring out the torches and rope. Shouldn`t we have all
called for his resignation back then? If we`re all going to be outraged,
let`s be more outraged that we weren`t more outraged when his racism was
first evident."


hindsight being what it is, people should have gotten up in arms during the
lawsuits and tried to call for Mr. Sterling`s -- you can`t remove him.
He`s the owner of the team, but at least public rebuke.

But what`s happening now I find at once sickening and fantastic. Sickening
in that we have to listen to these recordings of this man saying horrible
and derogatory things about African-Americans, about people who are on his
team, you know, by extension.

But it`s fantastic in that the near-universal and instantaneous
condemnation that has fallen on Mr. Sterling is fantastic to see. That so
many times we go through these big racial moments, these teachable moments,
and they get bogged down in a nuanced argument where everyone is offended,
no one is satisfied by the conversation.

Here we have gone through five days now, maybe even six if you include in
Cliven Bundy and what we were talking about last week and what the Nevada
illegal rancher was saying, and then we go right into the weekend talking
about Donald Sterling and what he is allegedly caught on tape saying. The
universal condemnation that has fallen on both these men is something that
really speaks to just how bold the racism is, but also how we don`t have to
argue with people that these two people should be universally condemned.

Everyone gets that. They know that. So, I`m taking this as a positive
sign of just how far our conversation has moved.

LAZARRE-WHITE: Yes, I mean, I agree with Jonathan on that point, that it`s
very important that the condemnation has been so broad. His own daughter
has condemned him. His son-in-law has condemned him. And I think that is
extremely important.

But I think it still behooves us to look at this issue of why we have such
a long track record of somebody who has made -- if he is in the end forced
to sell his team, the estimate is that he will raise almost $800 million in
profit from what he bought his team from. He has been allowed to earn such
a large amount of income, yet he`s been allowed to run his team in a vile
way that has been disrespectful of his ownership, of his players of, of
fans, et cetera.

So, I do think we do need to understand from Adam Silver tomorrow as the
new commissioner why this has been allowed to proceed for so long, why the
board of governors, the owners, and I don`t think collectively the owners
of the league have taken him on as broadly as we would like to see.

I think it`s happened from players. I think it`s happened from coaches.
Obviously, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic. But I think broadly the owners
need to come out and to shun him as a fellow owner, to say this has no
place in our league, this is not something we stand for, this is not what
the NBA`s about.

And I don`t think that type of condemnation has occurred yet and I would
look for that to come from both the owners universally and the commissioner

MELBER: And if they don`t do that tomorrow going into the next game, if
they don`t do that in a way that is firm and that is economically
accountable, then what?

LAZARRE-WHITE: I think that, you know, as Magic said, it is absolutely
essential that the players come together to protest this. People have
compared it to Muhammad Ali. Nobody is questioning somebody going to jail.
Nobody`s talking about taking away people`s livelihood. Nobody`s saying
that somebody`s going to be forced to go to a war.

This is not a comparison to Muhammad Ali. What we are saying is players as
men, as multimillionaires, as very prominent citizens in America, need to
stand up collectively and quite honestly do more than turn their shirts
inside out but to speak out very publicly, collectively as a body, and if
need be refuse to play. I think it`s absolutely essential.

MELBER: Jonathan, go ahead.

CAPEHART: I just think -- I`m really concerned about people pushing the
players to do something that they may not be able to do contractually. I
haven`t looked at the NBA contract, and I don`t know what contract
obligations these players are under. But I did -- I do think the sort of
silent protest that they engaged in yesterday and what, Ari, you showed in
the tape leading into this segment is the dignified and proper response for
right now.

And the league is in the middle of playoffs. These are folks who, you
know, they`ve got a job to do. They`re working but they`re also under
contract. And so, until someone from the NBA or until someone who actually
covers sports, unlike I do, can tell me what recourse do the players have,
can they actually refuse to play and not have it boomerang on them and
become a punishment on them for protesting something that the owner of the
team did and who should be held accountable for?

MELBER: I think that`s intricate and involved. I also think we know the
history of the civil rights struggle in this country often involves
boycotts and some of the difficult economic questions there, including the
wider impacts on the communities and the people employed here.

I think the question for the rest of us in media and obviously in the
culture is what do we want to do about this long-term? Because we are the
fans. We are the enablers as well. That`s where the conversation goes
beyond the easy, look at this obviously terrible disgusting racist phone
call that involves celebrities and Magic Johnson and this woman`s photos.
What do we as a society want to do about this and not just go after one
person when there`s a collective history and as you mentioned -- a history
of housing discrimination that even the DOJ got involved with this very

Thank you both for walking us through some of this. Jonathan Capehart and
Khary Lazarre-White, thank you very much.

Coming up, we`re going to look at the politics of predicting some of these
deadly storms and how spending cuts may make it harder and how a new bill
may save some lives here.

And Sister Simone Campbell joins me to discuss the pope`s message on income
inequality which spread like wildfire on Twitter today. Some better social
media news.

And later, Lucia McBath returns to tell us about something she was
mentioning last week, her visit to the NRA convention and what gun
advocates have to say to a woman who lost her son to gun violence.

Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a wedge. It`s a big wedge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me the motion. Which way is it moving?


MELBER: Coming up, you`re going to see what happens as that tornado moves
into Mississippi and what happened when it touched down. The latest on the

Plus, why making sure the government`s able to do its job can save lives.
That`s next.


MELBER: Tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama caused serious damage and two
more deaths today as the central and southern states were hit for a second
time by a storm system which has already killed 16 people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s moving to the right. Big wedge.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got to go right now.



MELBER: Last night, a group of deadly tornadoes hammered seven states,
including Oklahoma, Iowa, and Arkansas. Fourteen people were killed in
Arkansas alone where one twister left a 100-mile-long path of destruction
through an area northwest of Little Rock. In Livonia, one of the hardest-
hit towns, one resident said he was lucky to take cover right before the
twister struck.


PHIL TAWNEY, VILONIA, AR: Luckily, we had enough warning that we could get
down in our hidy hole. We were sitting down there and it went right over
the top of us. Came out and total destruction.


MELBER: It`s fair to say the family made it because of that speedy
warning, a warning that came from the National Weather Service, a federally
funded division of the Commerce Department. And while tonight all eyes are
rightfully focused on the emergency response, there are some policy lessons
here too.

Just a few weeks ago in fact, the U.S. House passed a bipartisan bill ton
only support the National Weather Service but specifically to direct 350
million toward improving the technology that our government uses to predict
extreme weather events.

Jim Bridenstine, a Republican from Oklahoma, said he introduced the bill in
response to the tornado that killed 24 people in his district last year.

You look at the wreckage and results today, and many climate experts are
saying this is a key time to move on that very bill, which would help the
U.S. prediction technology catch up with better models used today in many
countries in Europe.

Despite the House`s bipartisan and little-noticed breakthrough here, the
Senate has yet to act on the measure.

Joining me now is Kate Sheppard, the environment and energy editor at "The

Welcome. How are you?


MELBER: I`m good.

When we look at these events, first we obviously cover the destruction. We
have the regrettable loss of life. But as we were researching this today,
it was striking to look at this issue of the prediction technology. Tell
us about that.

SHEPPARD: Well, over the years prediction technology has gotten a lot
better. Now, scientists at the Weather Service can predict about 75
percent of the storms before they happen. And they get an average of 13
minutes warning. That`s much better than it was even back in the 1980s
when they only predicted about 25 percent of them and they only got about
five minutes` warning.

So, it`s gotten much better. But it could still get a lot better. As you
mentioned, other countries have better satellite programs than we do and
better monitoring systems. So, there`s still a lot that can be done to
improve those systems going forward.

MELBER: Let me play a little more sound from Congressman Bridenstine on
the issue here from the debate. Take a listen.


REP. JIM BRIDENSTINE (R), OKLAHOMA: The Moore tornado killed 24
Oklahomans, injured 377, and resulted in an estimated $2 billion worth of
damage. A warning was issued only 15 minutes before the tornado touched
down. Just 15 minutes. In fact, 15 minutes is the standard in America.
Mr. Speaker, America can do better than 15 minutes.


MELBER: I`ve got to tell you, I agree with that. And if that`s sort of a
version of what in politics we call American exceptionalism where you get
everyone pumped up about the idea that we should at least do as well as any

And you look at this story today and you think this technology is
available, it is relatively low cost by the standards of the federal budget
and the weather forecasting improvement act here would do this and it`s on
the one hand boring when you look at weather -- you know, weather
legislation. I`m not surprised the Senate hasn`t snapped it up yet. And
then on the other hand supremely important to potentially saving more

SHEPPARD: It is really important and it will save lives. I think that the
Senate needs to act on this bill and I think it will. The Senate has in
the past supported more funding for these programs at NOAA. It`s really a
question of how to get that money to them as soon as possible, to improve
the systems as quickly as possible.

But over the years, we`ve cut funding to programs like this. You look at
the sequester that was indiscriminate cuts to agencies. It didn`t really
care about tornado prediction. It cut budget for things like that as well.

So, going forward, we need to prioritize these programs across the board.

MELBER: And real quick -- this initially got weighed down by some climate
change fights and then those were resolve resolved. Tell me about that.

SHEPPARD: This bill initially when it was crafted would have taken money
away from climate change research and put it into this weather program and
a lost people balked and said it`s really not they`re to say those are two
separate things. Our understanding of climate and weather are all really
interrelated and it doesn`t make any sense to take funding away from
climate and put it into weather.

And so, they resolved that in the end. The bill does not take anything
away from climate funding but just puts more money into weather research.
So, that was a positive change it was good it passed the House that way.

MELBER: Right. And I thought that was a small example of the good science
on climate stuff not getting shut out even though there`s usually bad news
on that politically, obviously, bad news when our hearts go out to this
many people who`ve been hurt and affected today.

I would also be remiss, though, Kate, if I didn`t ask are those new red

SHEPPARD: They are new.

MELBER: OK. I like them. I like them and they`re noticeable.

Kate Sheppard of "The Huffington Post" -- thank you for joining us tonight.

SHEPPARD: Thanks for having me.

MELBER: Absolutely.

Now, coming up, we have Sister Simone Campbell and Josh Barro to talk about
the pope versus Rush Limbaugh on income inequality.


MELBER: In "The Spotlight" tonight, some Republicans are caught between a
rock and a hard place, specifically, between the pope`s teachings and Rush
Limbaugh`s orders. You may remember that Pope Francis issued an
influential papal exhortation about economic inequality late last year. He
urged people to reject the idolatry of money and an economy of exclusion.

And that began an unusual debate about ethics in market capitalism that
continues this week and set off a few Republicans who don`t want anyone to
challenge the, quote, "magic of trickle-down economics."


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: This pope makes it very clear he doesn`t know
what he`s talking about when it comes to capitalism. This is an unfettered
anti-capitalist dictate from Pope Francis that`s going way beyond matters
that are ethical.

This -- this is a -- almost a statement about who should control financial
markets. Trickle-down is the magic. And yet here`s Pope Francis: Trickle-
down policies have not been proven to work. And they reflect a naive trust
in the goodness of those wielding economic power.

What the pope has written about this is really befuddling because he`s
totally wrong. I mean, dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong.
But the pope here has now gone beyond Catholicism here, and this is pure
political. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.


MELBER: It`s not just pure Marxism on talk radio, either. The House
Republicans` top man on the budget, Paul Ryan, who does campaign as a
practicing Catholic, tried to put the Pope`s conversation in a more
positive light.


create upward mobility, and free enterprise that gives opportunity to
everybody, no matter who they are and where they are in life and in
America. That`s what we`re for. He`s invited this debate, and I think
it`s a fantastic conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You don`t think he`d endorse your budget, do

RYAN: Of course not. I don`t -- he`s the Pope. Popes don`t endorse
budgets. Popes say let`s have a conversation about how to fix the broken
status quo, how to bring the poor in, how to not have a welfare state and
how to produce upper mobility.


MELBER: That conversation continued today as Pope Francis released a
statement that he certainly knew would strike a chord out there.

Quote "inequality is the root of social evil."

The Pope shared that thought on twitter, enabling his followers to amplify
the message, which they did. The missive was shared and favored over
20,000 times today. And the Pope`s increasing economic focus is also
drawing coverage in the financial press.

Bloomberg News here reporting Pope says inequality root of evil in post--
canonization tweet. And the economics Web site business insider noted "the
Pope`s thoughts on inequality couldn`t be any more clear."

What`s also clear is the Pope is arguably the most visible public figure in
the world and he`s not backing down from making this progressive economic
argument or from making it on moral grounds.

Joining me now is Sister Simone Campbell the executive director of network
the national catholic lobby and the author of the book "a nun on the bus,"
and Josh Barro from the "New York Times" and an MSNBC contributor.

Welcome to you both.

Sister Simone, your thoughts today.

SIS. SIMONE CAMPBELL, AUTHOR, A NUN ON THE BUS: Well, I was really excited
to see the Pope pick up this key aspect of his exhortation from November
because really it is inequality that is driving us apart. It is separating
who do have wealth from those who don`t, but what it`s really doing is
undermining our democracy and undermining our society. So I was glad he
picked up that phrase and I was also glad that it got so much attention.

MELBER: Yes. You mentioned the exhortation and some remember that, and
that goes to what a modern Pope he is. You know, your twitter can be used
for photos. It can be used for nothing and piffle or it can be used to
revisit and broaden out nor elaborate text.

Let`s read from the exhortation which was entitled "no to the idolatry of
money" where he wrote "while the earnings of a monitor are growing
exponentially so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity
enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies
which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial
speculation. Consequently they reject the right of states charged with
vigilance for the common good to exercise any form of control. A new
tyranny is thus born."

Josh, there`s a lot going on in there. Part of it I think reflects his
status and world view and experience from being from, you know, a different
type of country and an economy as many people feel in the developing world
that they don`t even have any real meaningful control over their economic
conditions with when they`re so dependent on the global economy.

JOSH BARRO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. No, I think that`s right. And I
think with changing economic times the Pope has been changing the focus of
what the papacy is discussing publicly.

I thought the exhortation was a lot better than the tweet today, which if
you take literally is clearly incorrect. We do have too much inequality
and rising inequality is a problem. Any sort of economy that produces
broadly shared prosperity is going to have some degree of inequality. So I
assume the Pope didn`t literally mean that we should have no inequality

But I think what you see also in Argentina, where the Pope is from, we see
that inequality is a social problem but it is not the only social problem.
Argentina`s had a lot of economic problems, many of which have to do with
problems with the rule of law that make it unclear who is going to own what
property in the future and discourages investment, discourages productivity

So there are a number of things that we need in an economy that works for
everybody. One of those things is an equal distribution of income but
there are variety of things that we need in the mixed economy to make
capitalism work for everybody. It`s not that we need to reject capitalism.

CAMPBELL: And I think that`s the experience in our nation as well, that we
see the control of many of the court decisions seems to be a high
preference for those who have wealth. We see the banks that are too big to
fail, which preference those who control at the top as opposed to those who
-- those small investors. We see over and over again the shift of money to
the top.

This is not just an Argentinean experience. This is a U.S. experience.
And this U.S. story needs to be dealt with in these moral terms.

MELBER: Yes. And you say moral terms, Sister Simone, and that`s what
struck me and why we played some of Rush Limbaugh and Paul Ryan. There`s
an empirical economics debate here about what works, and then there`s also
a values debate over what role our ethics should play in how we limit or
have in the efficiencies in the marketplace.

I mean, Sister, do you think that the Pope here is able to actually weigh
in on both effectively?

CAMPBELL: I think he`s coming at it mostly from the moral perspective, but
it`s -- well, I`m a lawyer, and we would say it`s shocking to the
conscience of the court. And this is shocking to the conscience of the
court of public opinion, that 95 percent of the recovery in our economy has
gone to the top one percent and that people -- 90 percent of our people
have flat wages.

This is wrong. I met a woman who works for minimum wage full-time but
because she lives in a high-rent area -- I mean, in the D.C. area she has
to live in a homeless shelter, she told me, because she isn`t making enough
money to pay rent. I mean, in the richest nation on earth our people
working full-time can`t pay rent? This is wrong.

MELBER: And let me just read a little more of the exhortation on this
point. The Pope writes, "some people continue to defend trickle-down
theories, which assume that economic growth encouraged by a free market
will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness
in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts,
expressed as a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding
economic power and in the prevailing economic system."

BARRO: Yes. No, I think that`s right. And I think different economic
times call for different economic policies, some of which need to aim at
the broad middle class and the poor. Right now the reason that 95 percent
of income gains since the end of the recession have gone to the top one
percent is that there`s been essentially no income gain for the bottom 99
percent. And if we had fiscal and monetary policies that promoted full
employment, employers would have to pay higher wages in order to employ
people. So there would be a way to adjust the market economy to improve
those outcomes.

On the other hand, there are some policies we need that do encourage the
creation of capital, that encourage people to invest in businesses, and in
some sense those are benefits that trickle down. So there are actions that
need to be taken both at the top and the middle at the bottom of the
economy. It`s a holistic approach rather than saying just one or the

MELBER: We`re out of time. Sister Simone, you`re shaking your head. Just

CAMPBELL: Briefly, I think that we have had policies that preference the
top. It`s about time that we focus on those who are the hard workers, who
create the wealth for those at the top. They need to participate. That`s
what we need.

MELBER: Sister Simone Campbell and Josh Barro, thank you very much both
for being here.

BARRO: Thank you.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

MELBER: Coming up, congressman gone wild and what`s next for the two in

And later, what the NRA had to say to Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan
Davis and what Lucia McBath had to say to the NRA. That`s up ahead.


MELBER: While Sarah Palin was pushing to end gun-free zones around schools
this weekend at the NRA stand and fight rally in Indiana NRA president
Wayne Lappiere introduced this new ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still believe in the good guys?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you`re surrounded by a world where mad men are
famous and good ones forgotten. Doors are locked, and streets have gone

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where filthy crimes go unpunished and killers and con
artists prey upon anyone who still follows the rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s time to believe in the good guys again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are the five million men and women of the National
Rifle Association of America. Join us.


MELBER: Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, was also at the
convention hoping to find some NRA members willing to have an honest
conversation about our gun laws in this country. Did she succeed? Well,
she`ll join us coming up.



REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: I will not speak about anything that`s
off topic. This is only about the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What about -- all right. Thank you.
Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the
allegations concerning his campaign finances.


MELBER: That was Republican congressman Michael Grimm getting aggressive
with New York One reporter Michael Scotto earlier this year. Today it was
more clear why those questions about the federal investigation were so hot
for Grimm. The former FBI agent turned congressman had to turn himself
over to FBI agents. He faces a new 20-count indictment.

Charges against Grimm are related to a health food restaurant he owned
before getting elected to Congress and included hiring undocumented workers
and filing false tax returns. Grimm pled not guilty and was released on a
$400,000 bond. He struck back at prosecutors when leaving court today.


GRIMM: This political witch hunt was designed to do a couple of things but
first and foremost assassinate my character and remove me from office. I
know I`m a moral man, a man of integrity. So let me be perfectly clear. I
will not abandon my post or the wonderful people who entrusted me to
represent them.


MELBER: The indictment comes on the same day that Congressman Vance
McAllister announced he will not seek reelection. The one-term Republican
who ran a campaign ad discussing his quote "big family breakfast every
Sunday before church," end quote, was recently caught on camera kissing a
woman who is now a former aide.

Now McAllister said in a statement today, quote "I failed those I care most
about and let down the people who elected me to represent them. Today I`m
announcing I will not seek reelection but I will continue to be that voice
and will uphold the office to which I was elected to serve for the
remainder of my term."

The news is the latest in a string of ethical headaches for GOP leaders in
the house. Earlier this year they of course had to deal with Trey Radel as
well, the Florida Republican who was caught buying cocaine from a federal
law enforcement editor.

Joining me is Hunter Walker, politics editor for "Business Insider."
Welcome. How are you?

Love the stubble, let me say.

MELBER: Thank you. You know, you`re in a club there. So it`s a biased
statement, but we`ll take it.

Now, in the problems here obviously this doesn`t reflect the entire
Republican party and yet when you see this indictment and he`ll get a
chance to defend himself in court and you`ll see these other folks dropping
out it`s not exactly what Republicans want going into the mid-terms.

WALKER: Absolutely. And Grimm`s seat is really one of the top democratic
targets because he is the only Republican in the New York city delegation.
So this was not a race where they wanted to have this kind of trouble.

MELBER: Yes. And you look at this indictment today and on the one hand
you`ve got serious allegations of financial impropriety, hundreds of
thousands of dollars of skimming and stealing according to the government,
and that`s fine.

On the other hand, let`s be clear, he is going to go in and make an
aggressive argument that they went after him related to one fact, that he
was a politician, for campaign finance problems that they did not prove,
that they could not stick to him, and now they`re going back deeper into
his basically business life before getting elected and his lawyers are
going to argue that this isn`t really a big-time case, this is something
where they failed once on the politics and then went in for something else.

WALKER: Well, they did find this in the course of that investigation, but
that investigation is very much still on. And you had a woman earlier this
year who was a friend and fund-raiser for him. She pled guilty -- or I`m
sorry, she was charged with straw donations to him. The other guy who was
in the center of the campaign pled guilty. So there`s a lot going on with
him. And he may make the argument that this is a witch hunt. That`s what
he`s doing. But you know, that`s not over either.

MELBER: When you look over at McAllister, we have a tweet from part of his
sort of philosophical view of all of this. Lance McAllister tells me quote
"he`s got no regrets about staffer kissing scandal. Everything happens for
a reason."

I`ve never struck completely with that approach to interpreting world
events, but he has a view here that the Republican party`s going to welcome
because he`s going to go away.

WALKER: Exactly. They`re in no danger in his district. It`s a staunchly
Republican area of Louisiana. But what I found really, really baffling
about his statement. He said he had no regrets. When this aide that he
kissed was a close family friend of his and this broke up her marriage. He
says it made his marriage stronger. But he caused a divorce here. He at
least had a hand in it. And now says he has no regrets.

MELBER: Yes. I mean, that`s the weird part. And it can be the tawdry
part of these scandals. But his public statements here aren`t exactly
exhibiting that kind of concern, which is a separate question from whether
or not this is the standard you want to apply to politicians. The
Republican party being notoriously inconsistent on that. And yet part of
what we`re seeing here is the complexity of the scandal seems to have a
great deal of impact for the GOP on whether you stay or go.

WALKER: Absolutely. This case with Grimm was so complex that the U.S.
attorney in Brooklyn actually broke out these two charts to show reporters
all the various charges here. There`s perjury. There is obstruction.
Meanwhile, McAllister, you know, we have a simple case and a kiss and, you
know, some type of cheating. And that`s much more likely to hit the cable
news cycle. We`re here discussing it tonight. That`s much more salacious
and scandalous. And that type of scandal seems to get an immediate

MELBER: Right. And very simple for voters in attack ads. Over on the
democratic side you`ve got Charlie Rangel, a long-serving member of
Congress here, former chairman of the ways and means committee, who
survived a challenge based partly on allegation as round financial
improprieties last time. He`s facing off against two Democrats in the
primary here who are still trying to dredge some of that stuff up.

WALKER: Exactly. And you know, Rangel`s case is a real illustration of
how difficult it is to make sense of these really complex financial
charges. Every time I`ve discuss it with him he just sort of splits hairs
and, you know, turns the whole thing into smoke and mirrors.

MELBER: Right. And he`s not under an indictment. So obviously, you do
not have that same sort of proof point. Although Grimm will continue to
argue that he should get his day in court, voters should at least give him
that much time.

Hunter Walker, thanks for joining us tonight.

WALKER: Thanks for having me.

MELBER: Absolutely.

Coming up, Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, tells us what happened
when she went to the NRA convention.


MELBER: Lucia Mcbath, the mother of Jordan Davis and the spokesperson for
Moms Demanding Action, was at the NRA convention this weekend looking to
start a conversation. She`ll tell us what she found. That`s next.



goliath of the gun lobby. And we are the Davids, called to protect and
serve those that cannot protect themselves. Collectively together, let`s
aim to keep our communities free from laws that infringe upon our right to
live without fear of unnecessary gun violence. Moms, stand up. Speak out.
For the lives that you save very well may be your own. Thank you.



MELBER: Joining me now is Lucia McBath, a spokesperson for moms demand
action for gun sense in America, who demonstrated outside the NRA`s
convention this weekend in Minneapolis. Her son, Jordan Davis, was killed
by gun violence in November of 2012.

Thanks again for joining us tonight.

MCBATH: Thank you. It`s always a joy.

MELBER: Well, we spoke before you went down there, and you outlined some
of what you were hoping to achieve, including a civic dialogue of sorts
here. Tell us about how it went.

MCBATH: Well, actually, every town for good sense in America, moms demand
action, we were really quite pleased with the number of mothers that came
from all across the country, the support, overwhelming support that we`ve
received for our efforts, for standing up, speaking out, and really working
towards our goals of making this a safe nation for all individuals. So we
were quite pleased with our efforts.

MELBER: When you spoke to people heading into the NRA convention there,
were you able to have any kind of meeting of the minds?

MCBATH: I don`t think we deliberately tried to engage with any of them at
the convention. Even though we do know that they knew that we were there.
They knew that our presence was there. Definitely. I think I heard
somewhere around the way that, you know, they were talking about us --
which is good, which is good. You know, we want them to know that we were
there. We want them to know that we`re engaged and actively trying to
negate some of what they`ve been trying to say about our organization.
Some of the misinformation. So we believe that we did everything we set
out to do that weekend.

MELBER: Right. And you know what I think in politics showing up is always
powerful. And you were there in person, as we mentioned. You`re also
trying to show that your organization, as I understand it, is there in this
debate, not going away, not backing down.

Let me read a little from a piece you wrote that was up on You
say, "while the gun lobby may have a big head start, I truly believe
citizens standing for gun safety will eventually emerge victorious. I see
signs of that momentum on these issues is moving in our direction when
Colorado passed a background check bill last year, when Wisconsin passed a
law keeping firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers just this month I
felt hopeful. When I speak with audiences around the country and hear
their stories, I feel hopeful too.

What struck me about the way you made your argument there is so often in
politics and certainly in journalism we look to tell one story. You`re
referring to the fact that this fight at the state and local level is many
different stories and some states are moving in your view towards more
safety in the law.

MCBATH: Absolutely.

And I`m very encouraged by that. I would have to say, though, particularly
in my own state of Georgia, you know, there`s a lot of work to be done.
Definitely a lot of work to be done. But in comparison there are a lot of
states that are really beginning to recognize that the laws are not working
as they believed that they would. They`re beginning to see statistics, you
know, growing, just large numbers of individuals that have been hurt under
these laws, and they`re becoming very expansive, which is very, very

So I think in months to come we`ll really begin to see some movement, in
years to come. It will take a long time. It will not happen overnight.
But we really believe that in the long run that our citizens will really
begin to understand the ways that they truly are going to be able to make
the change is legislatively, at the polls, and we`re going to be able to
influence them to do that.

MELBER: Yes, I hear you on that. And I know this is an issue you`ve been
leading on from stand your ground to as you mentioned the expansion of gun
rights in Georgia but also in those other states as well in your article,
which I can mention for people is up at For those who want to
read it.

Lucia McBath, you get tonight`s last word. Thank you.

MCBATH: Thank you so much.

MELBER: You bet.

I am Ari Melber, in for Lawrence O`Donnell.

"All In with Chris Hayes" is up next.


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