THE ED SHOW
July 7, 2014
Guest: Gregory Pratt, Jesse Jackson, Sarah Slamen, Burt Neuborne, Goldie
Taylor, Lee Gaddies
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is been a violent July 4th weekend here in Chicago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a tragic 4th of July weekend in Chicago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About more than 60 people have been shot and there`s
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sense threat -- presents a direct threat to the
homeland in Syria and Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chicago has had a devastating record of violence in
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The police have certainly had their hands full (ph)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: This is not like a hurricane or an
earthquake. This didn`t have to happen.
FATHER MICHAEL PFLEGER, ST. SABINA: From the White House and down to the
city, there should be a response.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mayor Rahm Emanuel declined to address the violence
PFLEGER: So what do we do? How do we stop this?
MCCAIN: They feel abandoned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they can bring an aid from teams (ph) to a 60-
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we get down the thousand troops by 2017, it will
hunt us far worst than Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundred of police have been dispatched in dangerous
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police will continue to face an uphill battle until
gun laws change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gang, drug, gun, violent problem, they still persist in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we wouldn`t accept it in Iraq, we shouldn`t accept
it in Chicago.
MCCAIN: This thing is in danger of spiraling out of control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Lately, many conservative lawmakers have been
focused almost exclusively on danger abroad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: In this case, I think that our secretary of state, Secretary
Kerry, could go to the region and try to maybe do a little shuttle
diplomacy. This thing is in danger of spiraling out of control.
SEN.JOHN BARRASSO, (R) WYOMING: When the United States leaves a vacuum,
others will go in, others will feel it, bad actors will show up and we`re
seeing that right now. And my greatest concern is for what he intends to
do and I think they have the capability and the intent to attack the United
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Attacks on the U.S. are certainly a major issue. But after a
terribly violent Independence Day weekend in Chicago, we also need to focus
on attack here in the U.S.
More than 80 people were shot and at least 14 people killed in a flurry
(ph) of gun violence this weekend. And today, Rahm Emanuel who left his
post, as President Obama`s chief-of-staff to become mayor of Chicago, he
released a statement on this tragic weekend.
Mayor Emanuel said, "The number of shootings and murders that took place
over the holiday weekend is simply unacceptable, and points out that we
still have work to do. The solution does not just include policing," he
said. "We also have to give our young people alternatives to the street,
and as a community we need to demand more of ourselves and our neighbors."
Emanuel has been focused on a wide-raid of crime fighting approaches as he
recently told MSNBC`s Chris Hayes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAHM EMANUEL, CHICAGO MAYOR: When a community engages and takes ownership,
it`s not how many cops you have, it`s how many community activists you have
working with public safety officials, showing our kids and our families,
these are your streets. They don`t belong to those with guns. And that
has had a real impact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The mayor also emphasizes the overall decline in violent crime in
the city and he`s not wrong about this broader trends. The city has cut
crime from its peak but it`s also faced criticism for trying to cook the
books on this crime statistics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT WAGUESPACK, ALDERMAN, 32ND WARD: When the police department and the
mayor`s office is saying, "No, crime is down, don`t worry about it." And
that`s where I think a lot of people are saying things have gotten out of
control in terms of keeping the stats, keeping the numbers, and what`s real
out there on the street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: This year the Chicago Police Department tallied (ph) what it
called quote, "Historic lows in crime and violence. The year saw the
fewest murders since 1965. The lowest murder rate since 1966 and the
lowest overall crime rate since 1972."
That is important context for what`s happening, but after a weekend where
80 people were gun down, many of them bystanders just going about their
normal lives and some of them teenagers killed in exchanges with police.
People in Chicago are rightly asking if this is the best the city can do
when well, local Chicago politicians have been united in restricting access
to guns. They have tough gun control laws there.
A legal weapon still flow into this city and into the hands of many young
gang members. Mayor Emanuel argues only national gun control can stem the
gun running into the city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: The hardest problem we have is the free flow guns into the city
which is why I have called for a national legislation. We are not an
island here. But also, the other piece on this is investing in
neighborhoods and communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: There are -- no one expects national gang control to happen soon.
But just like the bout (ph) of mass shootings that have terrorized so many
in our nation, people are asking how many more have to die before
politicians make this the true priority.
Tonight, we`re going to discuss that reality and the ethics here and the
policy implications with Reverend Jesse Jackson. That`s in one moment.
But first, I do want to get you the latest from the ground. Gregory Pratt
has been covering the story for the Chicago Tribune, joins us from Chicago.
What can you tell us today about how the city is dealing with the acrobat
from these shootings?
GREGORY PRATT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Well, thank you for having me on. I was
at the shootings on Saturday at the shooting in -- on 87th and same on on
the forest outside of Chicago where police shot a 16-year-old kid who was
three days away from his 17th birthday. And, you know that wasn`t a very
good scene. You know the family was very upset by the shooting and, you
know, they wanted answers to about what happened.
MELBER: And did this feel for the city like it came out of nowhere?
PRATT: I think people expect that the 4th of July is a very bad weekend
for shooting. It`s a very busy weekend for shooting and -- for shootings
and for law enforcement. I think that the superintendent was out today,
and he said that -- she said that the shootings, you know, there was an
increase on shooting on Sunday. I think that statistically, it wasn`t so
bad Friday and Saturday, and then Sunday was a particularly bad day.
MELBER: And what is the reaction here to the argument that Mayor Emanuel
has made on the one hand, larger trends suggesting something their doing is
working, on the other hand understandable pain and frustration with this
kind of terrible weekend.
PRATT: Well, I can only speak to what I saw on the scene, you know, and I
think that there`s frustration obviously on the ground level with law
enforcement from families and from people and neighborhoods, you know, like
the people that I was talking to. I think that there`s kind of, you know,
people say crime is down and statistically it is, but I think there are a
lot of people for whom that`s not very comforting because there`s still
tremendous amount of gun violence as we saw this weekend.
MELBER: And as you say from your time on the ground, what it is your sense
of the way the police are handling it?
PRATT: Well, I think the police are trying to do their jobs. I think
that, you know, on a ground level, you know, police officers are trying to
do their jobs in trying to keep order. I know that the family in this case
was upset that after this young man who had been, you know, police got
called to this neighborhood because there was shootings.
They found this young man. They chased them. They eventually found him
after he had been hiding under a car. He had a gun. Anyways, that`s what
police say, and they told them to drop it. He didn`t so they shot him.
And I think that the family in this case was upset that they didn`t know
more about what it happened from police at the scene. And you know, they
weren`t allowed to identify the body in the alley and things like that.
MELBER: Gregory Pratt, thank you for you reporting from the ground. I
appreciate that. I want to turn now to Reverend Jesse Jackson, President
of Rainbow PUSH Coalition and a man who has been working on these issues
for a long time. Your thoughts after looking at the events from this
REV. JESSE JACKSON, PRES., RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: Well, over a thousand
had been shot this year. About 200 have been killed. There is these guns
that are made in Barrington (ph). We know over 75 percent of them are sold
which store purchasers come. So guns in, drugs in, jobs out, lost about
900,000 of jobs in that in the last 10 years.
We know the mass infusion of jobs and job train. We lost about 80,000,
vacant home with abandon lots. Why can`t we retrofit those house, put
these young people back to work. One side of the town unemployment 40
percent, north side 4 percent, suburb job on the three (ph) Chicago is 25
to unemployment, 4 percent employment job on this time (ph). We need to
balance the equation.
MELBER: And Reverend, as you saw here on reporting this night, one of the
things we were looking at is the contrast with some of where Washington`s
political focus has been in this kind of pay and this kind of problem in
our cities. Why do you think this doesn`t get more attention and response
from the political class?
JACKSON: Well, there has been no plan for reconstruction. In our
communities where you have this high level of pain and frustration, we`ve
closed 50 schools, 72 grocery stores, 50 drug sources of food does it, our
health does it, our school does it, an unemployment crisis, and therefore,
there needs to be some plan for reconstruction.
When I look at all the abandon homes, the vacant lots that those youth had,
the excuse to begin to tear down (ph) and retrofit houses and build them
and track jobs. We can`t get away from the sovereignty of wreck rights
(ph) without investing some money. That`s true in Chicago as well.
MELBER: And when you look at, as I was asking, the Chicago Tribune report,
when you look at the police here, they`re obviously up against a top
situation and we see in the crime statistics in Chicago as well as many
other cities, when it gets hot out, when people are outside more the
overall number of -- basically interactions between people goes up and we
see crime goes up and they`re trying to deal with that. On the other hand,
they are facing some criticism here for shooting down young individuals all
though some of them aren`t. Your thoughts in the police here.
JACKSON: Well, this is a war zone. It`s a zone of terrorist. It`s under
state of emergency. So that should be the plan to state of emergency.
Police cannot -- police -- buildings that are vacant and abandon, they
can`t police a vacant lot. They can abandon the floor. We know what the
guns are made in Barrington (inaudible) suburb. Remember, they sold it at
ex-gun shop (ph). We know the drugs are coming from. There are no gun
shops in Chicago, don`t manufacture drugs in Chicago.
And so that assist that we are an island and trapped by guns and drugs
shopping (ph) and jobs going out and either the President that (inaudible)
a national urban crisis. As a matter of fact, (inaudible) taken place
where he wants to be organized. He understands it very well. We need help
at every level. We cannot handle it locally apparently.
MELBER: Now, and you mentioned the gun shops, I mean, that is interesting.
Mayor Emanuel and a really united city council there have restricted the
ability of gun sales in most parts of Chicago and yet the guns come in and
we play that sound from the mayor. What do you think also the mayor`s
approach here. He has -- argues strenuously including from before this
weekend that he is winning this battle that he is bringing crime down in
the city and doing it the right way. Is he right?
JACKSON: No. The Chicago land story is misleading. He is doing his best.
I think he`s working real hard. But, we know that guns are manufactured in
Barrington and down state. We know what they look -- where they are meet
(ph). We know where the guns are sold plus 77 percent of those kids are
covering (ph), we know where drugs come in.
For the amount that infused them (ph), let`s try something different like
jobs and job training and rebuilding schools and not tearing them down.
Let`s try something different rather than telling adults to behave and
children to be quiet. It just won`t work.
MELBER: I hear you on that Reverend Jesse Jackson. Thank you very much
for your time this evening. I appreciate it.
JACKSON: Thank you sir.
MELBER: And coming up, the Supreme Court`s decision on Burwell v. Hobby
Lobby is opening some very new exceptions. You might not have heard about
yet for the top one percent. We have the Rapid Response Panel to weigh in.
And first, Rick Perry calls conspiracy on the immigration surge. Trenders
is next. Don`t miss it.
MELBER: And you know what time it is now. It`s time for the Trenders as
always. And you can find the Ed Show on twitter@edshow and on Facebook.
And you can find me right after tonight`s show on Facebook at
Now the Ed Show social media nation has decided and we are reporting here.
Our today`s top Trenders voted on by you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number three Trender, sparking interest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new trend of flying drones into fireworks displays
has led to some impressive video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And boom goes the dynamite.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A daring drone flyer captures the rocket`s red glare up
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stunning video taken by an amateur drone user on
West Palm Beach Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The colors do, the colors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears that this video has started somewhat of a
trend, but it could also lead to some illegal troubles. Their device could
be struck by a firework and potentially reflect the explosions for the
device itself at the heads of unsuspecting bystanders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number two Trender, pop, pop, pop, pots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Washington will become the second green state in the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Washington State lead about two dozen pot shot
proprietors now (ph). They can finally get rolling on their Marijuana
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Choke, choke it out men.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Washington State preps for illegal pot sale.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Liquor control bore (ph) was overwhelmed with nearly
7,000 pot lies (ph) to these applications.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there is no way I was going to turndown an
opportunity to be a pioneer in this industry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Growers right now say the demand is so large that they
are running out of supply.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We ourselves only have 10 pounds which it will sell
out the first day. No doubt about that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It did handy stuff man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will be no edibles for sale for now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo`s have munchies tonight yo (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And today`s top Trender, Rick roll.
GOV. RICK PERRY, (R) TEXAS: This is a failure of diplomacy. It is a
failure of leadership.
We used to have an incredibly in that administration or they`re in on this
somehow another (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rick Perry can`t slip his immigration inaccuracies past
PERRY: I don`t believe it particularly cares whether or not the border of
United States is secure its people (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s telling people not to come. Do you really
believe there`s some sort of conspiracy to get people into the United
PERRY: When you do not respond in any way that you are either in apt (ph)
or you have some ulterior motive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Joining me now is Sarah Slamen, Field Director for the Texas Fort
Bend Democratic Party. How are you?
SARAH SLAMEN, FIELD DR., FT. BEND DEMOCRATIC PARTY: I`m doing well. How
MELBER: I`m good. We`ll start here with our Rick Perry conspiracy moment.
I guess the weirdest part is that he is just owning it. So he said this on
Fox News and then we just played there on ABC. He just sort of reiterate,
yeah, the President must be in on illegal immigration. He doesn`t explain
why that would be a good thing for a president. What`s going on in Texas
SLAMEN: What`s going on is that it`s the same Know Nothing you know,
racialized (ph) rhetoric that they`ve been able to use for hundreds years.
He refuses to move away. It`s really know nothing. That`s how the Tea
Party in Texas like Rick Perry if you can remember. Like the Know Nothing
Parties who are anti-immigrant and just hateful and really
You know, these people aren`t supposed to be about patriotism. There
supposed to be no better about patriotism than everyone else. He is
sitting here accusing the President of conspiracy. Anything could detract
the tension away from the fact that not one member of our congressional
republican delegation has called for a single vote on this so called border
crisis. Lots of special hearings and field hearings and fund raisers, but
not a single vote they`ve been able to call.
MELBER: Yes. It`s a good point and, you know, you can`t really disapprove
a wild conspiracy like, "Oh, the President`s in on this kind of immigration
crisis." But he also made some other claims that I want to play that it
didn`t add up much. Take a listen to him talking about where people are
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: We have record high numbers of other than Mexicans being
apprehended at the border. Lists of people that are coming from states
like Syria that have substantial connections back to terrorist regimes and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: States like Syria, that`s not actually true. The Austin American-
Statesman took a look back in 2012, the most recent numbers. There were
643,000 individuals stopped at the border, only 56 were from Syria which
again not that much to be surprised. I actually tried to punch it out in a
calculator but it was too many zeros, you know, 00000.0 percent from Syria.
Why do you think politically, why does he make a claim like that when it`s
so easily disapproved and it makes it hard to take him obviously very
SLAMEN: This is a great question Ari and I`m answering it also in every
American, you know, with someone whose family emigrated from Syria after
the First World War, I can tell you that because it`s perfectly acceptable
for Republicans to hate Latinos and Arabs that`s why this has any traction
to be taking pot shot at a refugee population who like, you know, my
ancestors did, are trying to escape really terrible, terrifying warfare and
somehow in impune (ph) them all as terrorists. There is no conspiracy
theory needed for that. It`s all connect the dots of Republican
legislation and politics.
They constantly fear monger about Latinos and Arab-Americans and Muslims in
the same way. You know, Charlie Pierce on the Boston Globe has a great
book called "Idiot America" about the history of following cranks and
conspiracy theory in this country because it`s so much easier for people to
get cut up on a scheme than it is to look at the reality of the situation.
And the reality of the situation is that Republicans like Rick Perry
welcome policies like NAFTA and CAFTA and our failed war on drugs and that
is why the majority of immigrants from Central of Latin American countries
are coming to our borders because of their failed policies that have
contributed to poverty and economic violence. It has nothing to do with
terrorist caliphates in Iraq and Syria.
MELBER: Right. You based the things it`s like a dog whistle or a way to
say, "Oh, if you don`t like Mexicans" that`s one thing they`re doing and
then bring in Syria not on the facts but just this kind of a reference that
might scare people in the state?
SLAMER: Absolutely. If you have to paint Marietta (ph) which is for it
was last week which is a bus that contain children, immigrant children who
were some of them alone, if you had to deal with that with your elector and
say you`re screaming at a bus of children versus you`re screaming at a bus
of Jihadist, what do you think works better on this low information racist
Tea party voters. They know exactly what they`re doing.
MELBER: And let me also mention that, you know, Perry has talked a lot
about this letter he sent in 2012 and said there has been no response
whatsoever. That was part of -- that`s how we played where this is all
(ph), you know, there are either incompetent (inaudible) because there`s no
been response. You know, I went back and was reading a letter today, I was
like looking back over Governor Perry`s correspondence, and what he
basically asked for in that letter is one, to patrol the border, and two,
to meet with foreign governments immediate consultation with these
countries of origin.
That is exactly inaction what this administration has done which is not to
say the border is a 100 percent secure. There is clearly a border
challenge here but the notion that has been no response to letter that
there is no patrolling at the border or no diplomacy with some of the
Central American countries is laughable.
SLAMEN: Yes, absolutely. Governor Perry has what I`ve been describing as
daddy issues when it comes to President Barack Obama. He`s like a sad
rebellious to information teenager. His all emotion, his all rhetoric, and
the fact then that daddy has been very busy and that he has been dealing
with these other countries and then Rick Perry wants to cuddle up to daddy
and say give me $500,000 millions. I need half a billion dollars to fix
Throwing more police at the violence of poverty and the narco violence that
is across that border, that is not what`s going to make things better.
Putting more police there is not going to stop people from feeling
desperate enough to send their children up to meet this police. So I wish
Governor Perry would take off his glasses, get back to readings some of his
old correspondence like you did and stop blaming everything on daddy and
start looking at the Republican congressional delegation that represents
this -- our State of Texas and refuses doing anything about this until it
becomes a talking point or way to raise money.
MELBER: Yes. So, let`s talk to politics for a second there because
obviously, as everyone remembers, there where times when he instruct of
much more conciliatory note on this -- on some of these immigration issues
and on education. And then on top of that, he is not running for governor
again, right? How much on the ground.
MELBER: . I mean, you`re obviously on the other side here as a local
Democrat. I know you`ve testified before the legislature, you`re every
involved on the ground, how is this all playing out with people saying "OK,
do we just look at this through the prism of presidential politics here or
a different interpretation would be he may not be running for anything
again, and this is just the real Rick Perry.
SLAMEN: I think he is definitely running for president again that`s why
he`s running around California. You know, everything (inaudible) when he
did is for raising money in California, Greg Abbott, Rick Perry, they`re
going exact same thing. I believe this is all in a run to a presidential
run. And as governor of Texas, he had seen the demographic destiny of
Texas in regards to Latinos. He can`t get the rest of his, you know,
national republicans on board about that.
So I think he does as much damage control as possible to like you said
appear conciliatory. But on the other hand, you have a man who believes in
total states rights doesn`t recognize the President`s authority in any
another situation, constantly raises his money and redirect over rejecting
the President questioning the President`s legitimacy.
So, it`s a really confusing argument for everyone on our side. You know,
the President is not allowed to improve our healthcare system but he has to
be everything and all and nothing for the border. I think that, you know,
everything is so polarized right now that the Democrats are saying it the
way that we understand it which is that Republicans still have no answer.
They don`t have an answer for healthcare. They don`t have an answer for
immigration. They don`t have an answer with these issues.
Their base is still getting backed up further and further into the corner
and are just being given the short term, you know, dog whistles about
protect the border, protect their souls (ph) from terrorists but not really
thinking about the structural issues, you know, around this immigration
MELBER: Yes. And if every argument they have is we don`t trust Obama on
the border, that is a political argument with a firm expiration dates. So
sooner or later they have to explain.
MELBER: . what they would do so differently.
Sarah Slamen, thank you for joining us.
Still ahead, we have the Supreme Court`s narrow quote unquote ruling
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that leaves the door wide open for many corporations
to claim some special right. We`re going to be playing that in the Rapid
Response -- Response Panel will weigh in.
Plus, thousands of Detroit residents are now left without running water.
Many are alleging that city`s water department is actually targeting the
poor here (ph). Detroit homeowner Lee Gaddies joins me with the latest.
And next, you know what time it is. I`m taking your questions a little
second at this call, at least for today, Ask Ari Live, that`s straight
MELBER: Welcome back to the Ed Show. We love hearing from our viewers as
you know. And tonight we have a little something we`re calling Ask Ari
live, we`ll get that.
Our question first is from John, "Why don`t the oil coal and gas companies
invest in new energies?"
Good question, fair question. I think one part of the answer is we often
imagine the market is a big level playing field and they`re not a bunch of
these companies get huge investment benefits. They get tax cut benefits,
they get benefits from incorporating abroad, and we don`t have enough -- we
have some, but not enough benefits and incentives for folks within the
market to try other things. So you can do more solar, you can do more wind
if you incentivize it and also think about all the ways that folks hide the
money overseas, which is another incentive to continue business as usual.
All right, let`s do out second questions, from Tom, "If Republicans don`t
like -- there it is. If Republicans don`t like lawyers, why is speaker
Boehner palling around with one to sue President Obama?
I don`t take offence as a lawyer to lawyer jokes of the antipathy towards
lawyers. And I think this is a great question. A big thing that
Republicans, including John Boehner have talked a lot is frivolous lawsuits
and court reform, those are buzz words for the idea which is sometimes true
that a lot of stuff goes into court, waste people`s time and doesn`t belong
in court in the first place.
If that argument makes any sense, if there`s any kind of lawsuit that we
shouldn`t waste out time and money and on court, it is more certainly the
frivolous lawsuits against President Obama for doing his job.
I was also reminded when this whole thing, this whole story broke, when
they had (inaudible) come out and the question was, should there
protections, so people don`t get fired because they`re gay? John Boehner
said, he didn`t want to support that because he thought it would create
frivolous lawsuits. So it is clearly a type of complaint we only hear at
If you want a prediction here and I don`t make a lot of predictions about
the courts, but I don`t think Speaker Boehner`s stunt political lawsuit
will be successful. That`s one prediction.
All right, stick around, the Rapid Response Panel is next.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) with your CNBC market wrap. The Dow fell
44 points but remains above the 17,000 mark. The S&P 500 is off 7, the
Nasdaq Composite sheds 34. Investors were reluctant to place any big bet
to have a second quarter earning season.
It officially kicks off tomorrow with Alcoa reporting results. And AAA
(ph) says gas prices has fallen for the past 10 days to 3.65 a gallon. The
groups says worries about Iraq have started to ease and oil prices are
moving lower. That is it. Dr. Hardball (ph), after this.
MELBER: When conservative on the Supreme Court gave new powers to
corporations in the Hobby Lobby ruling, they said, it would be a narrow
decision. You know how long that lasted? About three days. Late last
week is the Independence Day weekend, it was about to begin and a lot of
people weren`t paying attention. The court issued a new emergency ruling
restricting health coverage for women at Wheaton College. It was exactly
the kind of expansion that conservatives on the court claim the Hobby Lobby
decision would avoid.
A bait and switch so blutant and fast that Justice Sotomayor were broke
with the court`s usual decorum to slam her conservative colleagues
dishonesty, "Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they ca
take us at our world", she wrote. "Not so today. This action undermines
confidence in this institution."
Sotomayor was unusually blunt because the stakes are so high. Hobby Lobby
did start out as a case about contraception. But the court`s conservatives
made it about corporations. And just as Citizens United helped rewrite the
campaign playbook, businesses and conservative organization are now lining
up to use Hobby Lobby as a way to avoid following federal laws.
The founders told us, all men are created equal. But in this business,
Friendly Corp, you`re often better off being a corporation personhood. And
executives can avoid persona liability under corporate personhood for
(inaudible), they taken the market. And now with this new decision, under
the new right in Hobby Lobby, executives can basically pick which laws they
don`t want to follow, simply because they`re company doesn`t believe in
If that sounds messed up, that`s because it is. If maybe a sweet deal for
the 2 percent of Americans who run this kind of companies. But how long
can the court put their priority above everyone else?
Joining me now in our Rapid Response Panel, civil liberty`s attorney, Burt
Neuborne, who has argued a dozen cases before the Supreme Court and filled
a brief against the expansion of corporate rights in the Hobby Lobby case
and Goldie Taylor, MSNBC contributor and Columnist for thegrio. Good
evening to you both.
BURT NEUBORNE, CIVIL LIVERTIES ATTORNEY: How are you doing?
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening Ari.
MELBER: I`m good, good evening. Goldie, let me start with you. First on
contraception what we saw here late last week in capsule summary as I
mentioned was something that look much broader than we were told it would
be in that original opinion from Justice Alito. You`re thoughts on that
and the politics of this expanding case.
TAYLOR: Well even before Wheaton, I believe that this was much more broad
then Alito wrote in his pre (ph). You know, I always believe that you
could not write a decision, narrow enough that is only what pertain to
contraception, that once you gave, like person the right to in further
values, religious or otherwise, onto a separate corporation then there
would be no into that and we saw it within the coming days, just after that
that, you know, that truth bore out.
What happens, I`m going to wonder, when someone who was a non-Christian, a
Muslim for instance, decides that they want to impart their closely held
religious values on a company that they own that is not, you know, widely
held by shareholders. What will Christians do then? And by the way Ari,
I`m an Evangelical. I just believe that sometimes we take this so called
religious liberty a bit too far, when we take it outside our household and
want to begin to impose out values on other people. And I think that`s
where the court got this wrong.
MELBER: Yeah. I mean, you raise a great point and you mention this
specific example of a different faith. This is not a hypothetical. In
France they`ve dealt with this, where you have Muslim adherence who say,
"Well, our belief system is that all women that we come into contact with
should have to wear a veil. It`s a sincerely how ...
TAYLOR: That`s right.
MELBER: ... how to use the language of the court. But if you strike the
balance in saying, well other people, in this case, specifically other
women`s rights are going to have to be trouble in the workplace, that is
the "balance." It doesn`t feel equal, it doest feel like a balance that
not something that I would recognize as religious pluralism in United
I want to bring Burt in specifically to bill in this point because Justice
Ginsburg cautioned about this. And she wrote in her decent, "The courts
determination that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act extends to all of
these for-profit corporations is bound to have untoward effects and, you
know, referencing this idea if narrowness." She said, "Although the court
attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporation. Its logic
extends to corporations of any size, public or private."
NEUBORNE: Well of course she`s right. What Justice Alito tried to do, in
claiming this was narrow, it`s a kind of voodoo economic. He said, "Don`t
worry, there`s no cost here." Absolute, in fact he called it zero cost.
He said the employees will continue to get exactly the same coverage and
the insurance companies will eat the additional cost. They will be force
to bear the additional cost. And you said, "You know what? It`s good for
him, because it`s cheaper to ensure contraception than it is to pay for
So what he did with the magic wand is to say, "Don`t worry about this case,
it`s really narrow, because there are zero cost. Now we`re already
beginning to see that when you take the program to scale, when you move it
from a few religious church organizations and move it to all the small
corporation in America ...
NEUBORNE: ... you go from a couple of thousand employees to a couple of
million. The insurance companies will simply not sit still for paying that
NEUBORNE: Someone is going to have to pay the cost. And guess who`s it`s
going to be? It`s going to be you and me. Because they`re going to demand
that they got a subsidy from the United States, for the additional cost.
And that subsidy will raise an establishment cost violation, because what
it does ...
MELBER: And when you say a thousand cost, what you mean is religious
NEUBORNE: Religious freedom. I shouldn`t talk (inaudible). What it does
is it forces taxpayers to subsidies somebody else`s ...
NEUBORNE: ... religious belief.
MELBER: Right. So let me go to ...
NEUBORNE: And you`re not allow to do that.
MELBER: Let me go to Goldie on that. I mean, what are the politics here
when you have a conservative justice saying, "Oh this is fine. The
government should just pay for more stuff."
TAYLOR: Now, I`ll tell you what`s happened. The religious right has lost
a political, you know, the culture wars, the politics that they love over
these past 20 years. They lost that fight. And so now they`re cashing
themselves as libertarians. That, you know, we don`t know our rights and
(inaudible) upon. All the while, they want to infringe on other people`s
right. They want, you know, invasive -- what do they call ...
MELBER: Vaginal ultrasound?
TAYLOR: They want to -- yes, vaginal ultrasound. They want those things
to happen, they want to get between a women and her doctor, you know. And
so, you know, rather than cast themselves, you know, as the kind of people
who really want to get involve in people`s lives, they reach upon the
argument to say that, "Hey look, were Rand Paul libertarians, we really
don`t want to be involve in people`s lives as we don`t want you involve in
ours. They think they`re going to win the argument on that measure, but
the real politics say that, come 2014 later this year, come 2016.
You`re going to have an awful lot of women, married, single women,
Republican women, who are going to vote against those kind of notions and I
think it`s going to cost them.
MELBER: Well, you know, it`s funny you mention that because I think it
also goes to something that Ed talks about a lot in his show, which is,
when you talk about American business, there is room for business to do
good things in our society, surely. But the average voter ...
TAYLOR: Yeah, absolutely.
MELBER: ... whatever their politics, relates to business more than
employee than as a business owner or CEO, the map bears that out. And so
they`ve have cast is ruling in a certain way and said, "Oh, if you`re
religious, you`ll have more right at work." No. Not if you`re an
employee, doesn`t do anything for you. Now if you run a company, if you`re
one of the lucky 2 percent, OK fine. And so they`re going to have to deal
with, I think the politics of that as people go work and figure out, "Oh,
this might take something for me in my healthcare plan or other parts of my
work, but not give anything to me.
And Burt, I want to bring you again, in this idea, what business does.
Because you filed a brief in this Hobby Lobby case, where you said we get
certain benefits to corporations and we treat them as different in people
and that`s good for business, but we`re going to down a corporate saying
this here, there would be a problem if we basically say that they are no
accountable, they`re not liable for their executives. But now they get to
have personal right. Explain that.
NEUBORNE: Well I final debrief that said, to the business community be
careful what you wish for. Because the key to having corporations really
function well in our economy is a wall ...
NEUBORNE: ... between the shareholder and the corporation.
NEUBORNE: That means that shareholders can invest and not have to worry
that if the corporation goes bust, they`ll come after the shareholders.
MELBER: The people, right.
NEUBORNE: It`s called, limited liability, hugely important. Corporations
can own other corporations and create pyramids, that`s where all the money
NEUBORNE: They have subsidy areas overseas and they hide the money there.
Now if you pierce the corporate veil by a shareholder ...
TAYLOR: That`s right.
NEUBORNE: ... saying, "Hey, just treat me as the same as the corporation
NEUBORNE: ... why can`t we pierce it in the other direction? Why can`t a
creditor d do it? Why can`t the IRS do it and say, "For get this wall,
it`s a phony wall.
MELBER: Yeah, I -- you put that so well Burt, because either that wall
doesn`t mean anything, right? Or it`s one way, only for corporate
interest. And I think that a hard place for his court to be, to say we`re
only with the corporations and never with the employees long-term.
Again, it takes time. But as people figure that out, Burt Neuborne and
Goldie Taylor, thank you both for your expertise tonight.
NEUBORNE: Thank you Ari.
MELBER: Coming up, a lesson in patriotism from America`s favorite gun
toting draft dodger. Pretenders is next, stay with us.
MELBER: And in Pretenders tonight, Republican rocker Ted Nugent. He
decided July fourth was the right time for another partisan. Where Anthony
(ph) wrote a new commentary calling President Obama a dictator, really, and
addressing Americans who don`t share his views. He wrote, "To the sheep on
the other side, happy Dependence Day, and good luck with that, because
after our little fourth of July partying, we are gain rolling up our
sleeves and fighting like never before to take back this country from the
bloodsuckers and scammers, where hard work pride, excellence, productivity
and real patriotism once again rule the day.
Now look, folks, we might all be better off if no one paid any attention to
Nugent`s political opinion. But here are the facts, he remains a prominent
figure in conservative circles. The NRA hosted his speeches. A Republican
member of congress brought him to the state of the union last year and
Nugent famously said, he endorse Mitt Romney, but only after a long heart
and soul conversation.
Well a look at Nugent`s record makes you think he`s not the most credible
messenger for that Independence Day spirit.
(BEGIN VEDIO CLIP)
TED NUGENT: I was in Chicago, I said, "Hey, Obama you might want to such
on one of these you punk. Obama, he`s a piece of shit and I told him to
suck in my machine gun. Let`s hear it from him."
A Chicago communist raised, communist educated, communist nurtured,
subhuman mongrel, like the acorn community organizer, gangster Barack
Because I tell you this right now, if Barack Obama becomes the president in
November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.
I`m an extremely loving passionate man and people who investigate me
honest, without the baggage of political correctness, ascertain the
conclusion that I`m a damn nice guy. And if you can find a screening
process more powerful than that I`ll (inaudible). How does that sound?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no idea where that unexpected outburst came
from. The second part of it directed to a female CBS news producer.
(END VEDIO CLIP)
MELBER: Good times. And for the NRA and conservative Republicans who went
over Ted Nugent as an ally and a spokesman, you can keep on pretending.
MELBER: Welcome back to the Ed Show. For decades we have seen the decline
of a great American city in Detroit. Now the situation there has turned
very dire. Water is being shutoff for thousands of Detroit`s poorest
residents. Since March, the Detroit water and sewage department has
shutoff water roughly 12,500 people. The department in the process of
issuing shutoff notices to over 150,000 residents. Let me say that again,
150,000 people in that city who are reportedly behind on payments.
The situation is so bad, the United Nations actually released a dedicated
statement on this saying that shutting off water "constitutes a violation
of the human right to water and other international human rights."
Now this weekend, our own Ron Mott visited with the people of Detroit and
it`s clear from his reporting, these residents are in a very tough spot.
(BEGIN VEDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing.
RON MOTT: It`s been about two months since any water has come out of
Nicole Hill`s faucets in Detroit.
So were you here the day this happened?
A dry spill cause by contested bill she says, totaling $5,700.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Borrowing, you know, David Copperfield magically
giving me $5,000, there`s no way I can pay it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We never ask for free water, we want to be able to pay
what we can afford, this is a human rights violation. What kind of
government would allow his people to live without water? What kind of
people are we.
MOTT: Activist Monica Lewis-Patrick is spreading word about the
MONICA LEWIS-PATRICK: I`m here to give you some information about the
water shutoff. Alleging gentrification is the underlying motive with city
LEWIS-PATRICK: One of the most egregious issues that I think this country
is facing, is to allow people to be denied water because someone else wants
to benefit from that.
(END VEDIO CLIP)
MELBER: As you saw there is some city activist and residents have been
arguing, the water department is explicitly targeting the poor and they
claim other delinquent customers still have plenty of water flowing. Local
news affiliate, WDIV reports Ford Field home within Detroit line actually
owes over $55,000 here. Joe Louise Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings
owes over $80 past due. Ford Field is owned by the Wayne County Stadium
authority and Joe Louise Arena is own, technically by the city of Detroit.
The stadium said they do have the money to pay but they don`t agree on the
amounts due, that may make them like a lot of other people who`s water is
already off. Now as of now there are no reports of shutting off their
water for either of those stadiums.
Now for more let me got right to Detroit homeowner and community activist,
Lee Gaddies. Good evening to you.
LEE GADDIES, DETROIT HOMEOWNER: Thanks Ari, thanks for having me on today.
MELBER: Absolutely. The Ed Show folks here want to have you on to get a
view directly from the ground. What`s happening?
GADDIES: Ari, as one of the largest homeowner associations in Detroit,
we`re trying to encourage people to move into our homes and to repopulate
the city of Detroit. And it`s really hard when you have this total
disconnect between the reality of what`s going on and this wishful thinking
on the part of the water department. When Detroit was fat and happy, the
water department was taken over, not by local government but by a judge,
who then over saw the water department for the last 30 plus years.
They decided to take that money and not invest it in Detroit`s
infrastructure in the water department but seek new customers in the
suburbs, making sure they had access to new customers out in the suburbs.
Meanwhile, the Detroit infrastructure suffered when it had money. Now that
Detroit has lost it`s tax base, lost it`s residency and needs to
repopulate, they have crumbling infrastructures, water is leaking right now
in a park that I`m a member of, People for Palmer Park, 400 acres of land
is flooded, killing primordial forest in that park.
For 10 years, water has been flowing into that park, they haven`t came in
shut it off. But they want to shutoff four people`s water. What the Water
Department needs to do is work out a plan with the residents to keep these
people in their homes by letting them pay a percentage of their income,
because a lot of these people are on-fix incomes to stay in their homes and
have access to water.
Because if you take the young mother and put her kids in foster care and
put her in jail, right, you have to pay $34,000 to Wayne county to keep her
in jail for a year.
GADDIES: I think it`s a lot cheaper to keep her in her house and keep her
water on and for me as a tax payer to pay for all the other social services
that have to go on when you remove that person and break up that family and
kick them out of their houses by denying them access to water.
MELBER: And Lee, what do you say to people who argue, "Well, this is a
product that people can`t afford it and they can`t keep providing it."
GADDIES: Then you know what? Then treat all of us equally, shutoff the
water Ford Field, shutoff the water at America Park, shutoff the water of
all of these companies and build them for all of the broken water remains
that they have and water running in their properties.
Why don`t they go after the banks that foreclose on people and then (ph)
sit on these houses for three and four years, allowing water to flood
basements? Why don`t they taxing them? Why aren`t they billing them for
the water that`s being flooded into these houses when the copper and metal
is stolen from the foreclosures?
MELBER: Lee Gaddies, I know you`ve been working ...
GADDIES: We`re asking for a fair treatment.
GADDIES: You know, we`re not saying that the people don`t owe money, but
if Ford Field was contesting their water and not letting them pay for it,
then I think the residents need to have that same respect.
MELBER: Right. Well I appreciate your point there. I know you`re working
hard on this issue. Lee Gaddies, you get the last word here tonight, thank
you very much.
That is the Ed Show. I`m Ari Melber in for Ed Schultz. Now Politics
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