'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
July 8, 2014
Guest: Shiza Shahid
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: Quick programming note.
I`m going to be on "Watch What Happens Live" with Andy Cowen tonight on
Bravo, which means I need to run, because that thing is live.
Luckily it`s already time for "the Last Word with Lawrence O`Donnell."
Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Rachel. I will be
MADDOW: Thank you very much.
O`DONNELL: Start running right now.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
O`DONNELL: Tomorrow, the governor of Texas, who tried to take the
presidency away from Barack Obama, will meet with President Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Texas showdown about to take place.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR, NOW WITH ALEX WAGNER SHOW: President Obama will
visit the state tomorrow and Thursday there is a back and forth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With the governor of Texas, Rick Perry.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR, HARDBALL: Children`s hour.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I don`t believe he particularly cares.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of grandstanding on both sides.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Perry says when the President arrives in
Texas, he won`t will there to treat him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does not want to have a traditional meeting with the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saying he would not allow for his words, thoughtful
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Politics sometimes is about pictures and pictures
MATTHEWS: The President, when he was walking with Chris Christie, made
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President will meet tomorrow with state leaders
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the President extended an invitation for Governor
Perry to join his meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Rick Perry has accepted the President`s
invitation to attend.
PERRY: Yu are either inept or you have some ulterior motive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a lot of political tension as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They think that he snap chapped with impoverished
children in Honduras?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s going to be a pretty interesting meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should be good.
O`DONNELL: President Obama finds himself now in two separate struggles
over the southwest border tonight.
The first is the challenge to get additional money to deal with the growing
crisis of immigrants fleeing across the Rio Grande Valley into south Texas.
Today, the White House submitted a $3.7 billion emergency supplemental
request to Congress. $1.6 billion to support a deterrent and for
enforcement strategy which would include additional resources for border
patrol agents, expansion of air surveillance capability and expedition of
processes of returning individuals.
$300 million to supplement existing public media campaigns in Central
America. And to support repatriation and reintegration efforts. And $1 .8
billion to provide care of unaccompanied children.
Some Republicans are already coming up on opposition to that proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), VIRGINIA: $3.7 billion is a slap in the face to
the taxpayers of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The other struggle with President Obama is with Texas governor
Rick Perry. Governor Perry said this about the President on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: I don`t believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of
the United States is secure. We have been bringing to the attention of
President Obama and his administration since 2010, he received a letter
from me on the tarmac. I have to believe that when you do not respond in
any way, that you are either inept or you have some ulterior motive of
which you are functioning from.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Rick Perry will get a chance to voice his conspiracy theory
face to face with President Obama when he visits Dallas tomorrow for
meeting of local government officials and faith leaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: When Governor Perry sent
a let tore the White House yesterday indicating a desire to meet with the
President, we thought it made sense here to extend an invitation to
Governor Perry to allow him to participate in that meeting with other
Texans who are seeking to address this situation in a constructive manner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: While in Texas, President Obama will not be visiting the border
where thousands of people have come across in recent months, many of them
say they are fleeing Central American regions overcome by murder and gang
MSNBC met one such mother, Sarah Cirfuentes fled to Texas from Guatemala
with her 2-year-old son. A dangerous journey she now says she would not
TEXT: In the last year, South Texas` Rio Grande Valley region has seen a
dramatic uptick on the number of unaccompanied minors and families coming
from Central America to the U.S. Many immigrants make the from counties
like Guatemala, where more than 50 percent of the country lives below the
poverty line and violent crime is widespread.
Guatemala mother, Sara Cirfuentes, and her son are among the thousands of
mothers and children fleeing from their home countries out of fear for
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text): A year ago, they killed my son`s
father and they threatened our entire family. We didn`t give much
importance. Bu eight months later after they killed my son`s father, they
killed his uncle. I don`t know if they are (INAUDIBLE) or if they are drug
lords, I don`t know. I don`t know why they did what they did.
I`m running away basically because I got really scared. After eight months
of them being afraid, my mom told me I should leave.
People go through so much to get here. It is really hard. It`s not just
picking up and doing. You have t travel on mountains to get on buses, deal
with the Mexican police.
A lot of things happened to us. When Mexican police tool a;; of my money,
they treated me like I had done something wrong.
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC`s Krystal Ball and Ari Melber and Norma
Garcia, anchor for Telemundo 39 in Dallas, Texas.
Norma, what do people expect to see of the President tomorrow in Texas?
NORMA GARCIA, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO 39, DALLAS: We`ve been following the story
closely. Before, there was no hand shake. The governor said there was not
enough. And now we know that there is a meeting.
What we can expect from the meeting is probably something very quick. The
President will only be here about four hours. I don`t believe that`s
enough time to get to the bottom of this matter. But I think meeting is
better than handshake and probably a trip to the border would have been
better than both.
O`DONNELL: Krystal, what about the trip to the border? Should the
president be doing that?
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: You know, Republicans had seized on
this idea that the President should go to the border. Some Democrats have
also been critical.
To me, the issue of the optics, whether or not he goes to the border, is
not really the vital issue here. I think the vital issue is the policy.
And so far, the administration has moved essentially to beef up border
security in an attempt to appease Republicans and to process these children
as quickly as they can. And they have indicated they want to send the
majority of them back, when the U.N. is saying that actually a majority of
these children may qualify for refugee status and be able to seek asylum in
the U.S. So I`m more concerned about the policies and the optics of
whether or not he happens to go to the border.
O`DONNELL: But Ari, policy is always more important, and then the politics
-- or the optics, as we say, ends up determines more than it should. But
with a democratic congressman in Texas saying this could be President
Obama`s Katrina if he does not go and take a real look at what`s happening
there in the same way that George W. Bush did not go and take a real look
at what was happening in New Orleans after Katrina.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Yes. And I think the politics and the
perception of that do matters. So that is a reality. I would second
Krystal`s point, which I think is a more optimistic or hopeful one, which
is let`s try to stay focused on the right things here.
Also to this point, why don`t all the members of Congress who haven`t said
where they stand on a actual concrete proposal, why doesn`t even of them go
and visit and take a look at these children, these children who are stuck
and decide whether or not there`s any of that money that we should actually
Because if you look at the bill, and you, of course, explicated it here at
the top of your show, a lot of what`s in there is very practical stuff, not
left-right stuff, not solve the whole immigration asylum problem stuff, but
do we want more case officers to help process these children, many of whom
are here as minors, didn`t necessarily make this choice and now need help.
Do we want more, as you mentioned, Lawrence, public education campaigns in
Central America where people are being preyed upon in the worse ways and
told to risk their families` lives to make a trip that will not end well
for them. I would say to these members of Congress, if they haven`t said
where they stood, go and look at the children, then come back and tell us
whether we get an up or down vote.
O`DONNELL: Norma, we`ve all seen politicians make ceremonial visits to
different locations. And on a thing like this, of you were to go to a
border station, I can`t imagine what anything of any real utility he would
actually learn by going there.
What would you suggest it is possible for the President to learn by -- and
where should he go to observe what`s really happening there?
GARCIA: Well, probably the Rio Grande Valley sector, which is the area
where most of the children from Central America are coming through. From
the perspective of a reporter, I believe that it`s always better to see the
problem firsthand. Of course, the President has the agenda. He will be
here tomorrow. So just like being in Texas, I think he will get to
understand the magnitude of the problem.
But there is a crisis going on in our south Texas border. I don`t think
anybody can deny that. But seeing the problem firsthand would probably
give him a different perspective.
O`DONNELL: But you know, the problem is not, Krystal, on the border at the
border station. It`s the video we`re looking at right now. These people
are in Mexico at that point. They have not come to the crossing point. I
think if there`s anything for the President to see, I think it is worth
seeing, is that trail, is that experience of what these people are going
through to get to our border.
And I think he could shine a light only that the way JFK shined a light on
the poverty in Appalachia. That people kind of were aware that it was
rough there, but no one had any idea how bad it was until that Presidential
spotlight went down there.
BALL: I think that`s right. I mean, another thing that in terms of
Norma`s point about a reporter being able to see the situation firsthand in
terms of the policy that he could impact, also visiting one of the
detention centers where children and young families are right now and this
would give him an opportunity to speak to them about their journey and
about the reasons that they fled their country to come to this country.
And I think that`s actually the exactly some of the imagery that he is
fearful of having out there, because the conditions in these detention
centers, as you we`re seeing the images right now on the screen, they`re
pretty grim. And for him to be associated with that visual I think is
something that this administration has decided they don`t want to go there.
Well Ari, he`s associated -- if you`re the President, this is happening on
your watch, this is, in a certain sense, the executive branch creation down
there. I mean, it seems to me that the only option he has in relation to
the people in those places is to actually go there so that we can see what
his enforcement procedures are actually creating.
MELBER: Right. He can do that and he can also say look, we`ve done a
bunch of other things behind the scenes. The foreign policy was there
weeks ago. Vice President Biden went down to Central America, did these
meetings with heads of state in person and on the phone in some cases and
continued to press the case, the foreign policy case, that they`ve got to
get control and help carry this message in every way they can that these
families should not be recruited up here.
The problem with that, it is the problem you see in a lot of asylum cases,
and there`s a reason why this was original law that created this process
was so bipartisan, because there`s a lot of places like Honduras where it
is so terrible, that no matter how bad that journey is, people still need
to make it because what they`re facing at home is that terrible. And
that`s why it was Honduras, it was sex trafficking. There was a lot of
terrible stuff out there that members of Congress said hey, help these
people get asylum.
BALL: Yes, and the U.N. in their report on this crisis, when they were
interviewing children, the children were not saying we came here because it
would be easy. They said we are leaving because of violence. We are
leaving because we`re afraid we`re going to be killed or raped. So that is
really the driving force here.
O`DONNELL: Krystal Ball, Ari Melber and Norma Garcia, thank you all very
MELBER: Thank you, Lawrence.
BALL: Thank, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Chris Christie vetoes a gun bill because apparently
he still believes he can win the Republican Presidential nomination.
And later, Harry Potter and the world cup. You`ll have to see what that is
all about in the spotlight tonight. Harry Potter`s back.
O`DONNELL: OK. I`m going to confess what is probably the obvious. I
don`t know much about Harry Potter. But I have a Harry Potter wizard who
is going to join me and explain how Harry Potter has come back and kind of
connected to the world cup. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Yesterday, Chris Christie was forced to defend his decision to
veto a ten-round limitation on ammunition magazines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Mike, I`ve heard the argument. And
so, are we saying that the ten children on the clip that they advocate for,
that their lives are less valuable? If you take the logical conclusion of
their argument, you go to zero, because every life is valuable. And so why
ten? Why not six? Why not two? Why not one? Why not zero? Why not just
ban guns completely?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here`s how former Republican politician and admirer of Chris
Christie Joe Scarborough reacted to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST, MORNING JOE: The logic, the ten precious
children logic, it`s so convoluted that I don`t think he can say that with
a straight face. I think he would be embarrassed to say that to parents
who lost their children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Which, of course, is a reasonable explanation of why Chris
Christie refused to meet with two parents who lost their children in the
massacre of first graders in Newtown, Connecticut. What Chris Christie is
ignoring is the incontrovertible fact that the sooner a mass murderer has
to reload, the sooner that mass murderer is likely to be stopped. That is
exactly how the mass murder who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and
murdered six people was stopped.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICIA MAISON, DISARMED TUCSON SHOOTER: The gunman was now down partly
on top of me, and I saw the colonel and -- I didn`t know who it was then,
and Roger Salsberg had flattened him. He is on his right side. I
immediately got to my knees and they were shouting, "grab the gun, grab the
gun." And I couldn`t reach the gun because it was in his right hand and
that was the distant one from me. As they were doing that, he pulled out a
magazine from his left pocket and had it in his hand but he dropped it on
the sidewalk. And I was able to recover it before he could get it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: This morning on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough identified what he
thinks is controlling Chris Christie`s position on this issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: I think it`s kind of chicken something, which I won`t say on
the air. There is a second word. I mean, the two words, again, it`s
chicken we`ll say salad for Chris Christie to not meet with these families
at least for five, ten minutes. This proves that Chris Christie still
thinks he can win the Republican nomination for President of the United
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is David Corn, the Washington bureau chief for
"Mother Jones" and `Washington Post" columnist Jonathan Capehart. Both are
MSNBC political analysts.
Jonathan, what Chris Christie was ignoring when he was rattling off, you
know, about five, six, you know, or two or one or no bullets is the
constitutional limitation. The Supreme Court has said clearly there is
individual right to bear arms. And that Supreme Court does believe there
is a reasonable limitation on ammunition devices like this. And you have
to pick a number that is within their notion of reasonable and in the past
they found nine was the federal law for a very long period of time. So
when you`re at ten, you`re going to clearly survive a constitutional
challenge. And if you went down to, you know, four or three or two, as
Christie was suggesting, there would be absolutely no chance of surviving
the constitutional challenge.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right.
And I think the key word in your question is reasonable. There`s nothing
reasonable about the Republican primary base. I mean, let`s just go under
the assumption that the reason why Chris Christie is doing this is because
he`s trying to curry favor with potential Republican primary voters for a
potential 2016 Presidential run.
There`s nothing reasonable about the pro-gun folks within the Republican
Party who don`t want any kind of restrictions, reasonable or not. And so
for Chris Christie to give that horribly convoluted answer. And I have to
agree with Joe in his description of Governor Christie and his inability or
unwillingness to meet with those two Newtown parents, I agree with him.
Chris Christie is someone who has made a reputation as being someone who is
not afraid of a challenge, unafraid to go and take on a challenge, take on
a problem, you know, head first. And in this case, he couldn`t find the
time, five minutes, ten minutes, to meet with these two -- with these two
families to hear them out.
Senator Cruz was able to do that, why not Governor Christie? I think we
know the answer to that.
O`DONNELL: David Corn, could you imagine there would be a day when Joe
Scarborough and other Republican analysts would look at Chris Christie on
some issue and say well, he`s just chicken, he`s just afraid of addressing
it honestly? I mean, if Christie had a reputation a year ago, it was well,
you know, he`s the straight talking tough guy.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, he is that`s certainly
out the window now. And he can look at the Republican Presidential primary
horizon and stretch things out pretty well. If he voted for any type of --
or if he approved any type of gun control bill, he would be even greater
toast. I don`t know how you go beyond the toast that he is.
O`DONNELL: Well, that`s the thing, you can`t.
CORN: It`s quite clear in his mind what he say about the bridgegate and
everything else that he still thinks he has a shot.
O`DONNELL: Yes, he does.
CORN: So anyway, that`s what he`s operating on. But I have to say, you
know, we talk -- Joe and others have taken on the absurdity of his
argument, why ten, why not nine? Are those lives any more value or less
value than the others? Or by that same exact reasoning, why not have clips
of 50 or 100 or 200? Because the law is between 10 and 100 are just the
same. I mean, it`s really quite bizarro (ph) and if he ever gets the
Republican nomination, which he won`t, this will come back to haunt him.
But he is a diluted fellow on a lot of friends and we will see how it goes
on the next six months.
O`DONNELL: Well, yes. Jonathan, that`s a great point, that the Christie
logic pulled in both directions would allow people to have, you know,
O`DONNELL: Anything they want.
CAPEHART: Yes. Here`s what is interesting about what Governor Christie is
doing besides his arithmetic. So he is taking up this position, this very
conservative position on guns to basically, I think mollified the far right
and the Republican party base over what he`s done on the gay marriage
Now, hear me out. The courts, the chief judge in the Supreme Court in New
Jersey is the one who legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey. And
Governor Christie stepped out there and criticized, blasted this guy. And
I wrote a piece saying, here`s how Governor Christie is going to prove his
republican bonafidies (ph), his conservative bonafidies (ph). He`s going
to dump that Supreme Court chief judge because that guy`s tenure would be
up and he can appoint someone new and show the far right that he`s not
beholden to this guy.
Well, you know what happened? That judge is still on the bench. That
judge was reappointed. So this gives -- when conservatives start focusing
in on Chris Christie and where he is on their issues, on that issue he`s
going to fail miserably. But when it comes to guns, he`ll just be fine
because he wouldn`t even meet with grieving parents who were killed by gun
CORN: Jonathan, I think you got something there. But I also have to say,
it doesn`t matter what he`s done in gay marriage. You know, guns are the,
you know, of the three top issues of a lot of people in the Republican
party, it`s guns, guns, and more guns. And so, what regardless of --
CAPEHART: I would say guns, God and gays. But go on.
CORN: But I would put guns, guns, guns before you get to God and gays.
But so, regardless of what he`s done with a judge involved in gay marriage,
there is just absolutely no way that he would be competitive at all if he
approved any gun control law. No matter what he has done in any other
O`DONNELL: He will be as competitive in the Republican nomination race as
he would be in the New York marathon.
O`DONNELL: It`s been over since the time he will had his press conference
saying, you know, I rely completely on my staff. You cannot run for high
office saying I rely completely on my staff. And by the way, they all
tricked me and betrayed me.
We`re out of time for tonight. David Corn and Jonathan Capehart, thank you
both for joining me tonight.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence. Good to see you.
CORN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up, Harry Potter has world cup fever. Harry Potter is back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rubius Hagret (ph), keeper of keys and graves at
Hogwarts. Of course, you know all about Hogwarts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No? Didn`t you ever wonder where you mom and dad
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re a wizard, Harry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, Harry Potter is back and he has world
cup fever. J.K. Rowling shocked millions of fans across the world today
when she published a new short story on her Web site about Harry Potter,
the world`s most famous wizard.
Rowling wrote the story as part of an online series about the 2014 world
cup, the Quidditch (ph) world cup. Quidditch (ph) is, of course, the
official sport of the wizarding world. In the story, which Rowling wrote,
in the voice of a fictional gossip columnist, we learn more about the adult
lives Harry and his friends.
Joining me now is host of MSNBC`s "Ronan Farrow daily" and Harry Potter
Thank you very much for joining me.
RONAN FARROW, MSNBC HOST, RONAN FARROW DAILY: That is an honoring title.
But I`m glad to be here.
O`DONNELL: Everything I know about Harry Potter just passed us by in the
teleprompter. OK, that is it. That`s the whole thing. And that`s the
most of Harry Potter movies that I have scene is right there in that
FARROW: You got the important part.
O`DONNELL: And I don`t say that proudly. I feel kind of out of it. My
staff, who you know, is -- this was, I lost the vote, and we are doing a
Harry Potter story.
FARROW: This is not the Lawrence passion pick of the night.
O`DONNELL: Right. No. But it was unanimous. The entire does and you got
to do this harry Potter thing.
What is the big deal about the author doing a little kind of updating
today? The excitement on my staff, they couldn`t even speak English words
about it they were so thrilled.
FARROW: It is remarkable and everywhere I turn, everyone I talked to,
adults are in that state of frenzy about it. And it is partly I think
people at that particular age, where you grew up with the character and now
you want to see them losing their hair the way you are. There`s a
relatability there. And people are just t check in. And look, it is
phenomenon. That said, there are people pushing back. A new republic call
this is a scam. There are these super fans that read this and found it was
1500 words and were incensed about it.
O`DONNELL: Because they needed another several million words?
FARROW: They want more. They like the tones, they`re attached to the
O`DONNELL: Someone is mad because she only wrote 1500 words? Would they
rather have zero on Harry today?
FARROW: I think the majority of fans are happy. I mean, I read it. It`s
cute. There`s not a lot to it. You do get that play that play of where
these characters are. And it`s interesting, partly in that there`s a dark
edge to it because it`s this satire of the gossip --.
O`DONNELL: Yes. He does it in a gossip column voice. And this little
hints in here. You know what? You should read this instead of me. Here
is one of her excerpts today.
FARROW: Time is coming from us all, even Harry. The quote is about to
turn 34. There are couple threads of silver and the famous honor (ph) is
black hair. But he continues to wear the distinctive round glasses that
some might say are better suited to a style deficient 12-year-old.
O`DONNELL: So we know he has some silver hair. We know that.
FARROW: You really caught on. And how old is he now with his silver hair?
FARROW: He`s 34. Look, I mean, we are all hold on for dear life here,
O`DONNELL: You are going to get there someday.
FARROW: You got to find me on you. But all are so lucky. And he`s orer,
I don`t know if --
O`DONNELL: That`s right. I had you read that because I don`t know what
that word means or how to say it.
FARROW: So an orer is the Navy SEAL equivalent, defense against the darks
FARROW: A very prestigious combative guy now. He slips in a little
tantalizing tidbits to keep the fans strung along with you. He has got a
cut on his face. We don`t know why. She is playing this on --
O`DONNELL: I have to believe that these books did a lot for literacy in
America and around the world, because I saw kids carrying these things
around who were never going to be carrying books around. Yes, they were
going to be reading some books, but they had to work their way through
massive novels, which is not something that every 12-year-old kid does.
FARROW: Huge. And you know, as the books go on, they welcome more
nuanced. Look. I left those books as an adult, excited fort what she was
going to do under her own name or an outs (INAUDIBLE) in the world of adult
literature. I mean, I think she`s got real skill and artfulness. And I
say, in addition to helping literacy, she overhauled the way authors relate
to their publishers. She took control in a way no one ever has before.
O`DONNELL: You get control.
Ronan Farrow. The "Last Word`s`" senior Harry Potter --
FARROW: I will take it.
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much. No. You know, this is great, because I
wanted somebody who could explain this to me with enthusiasm, and the first
call was Ronan. Thank you very much for doing this, Ronan. Really
You can watch "Ronan Farrow Daily" as I do. I wake up to this weekdays at
1:00 p.m. eastern. I wake up about a minute before.
FARROW: God bless you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, America`s longest running foreign policy mistake
just got a little cheaper today. That`s on the rewrite.
O`DONNELL: Ronan, quickly, (INAUDIBLE) our producer of this Harry Potter
segment insisted that we put her Harry Potter hat, whatever it is, what is
that doing here?
FARROW: The sorting hat tells you your existential fate, it tells you what
kind of person you are and where you go in the houses of Harry Potter,
which are modeled after the Oxford Colleges. Gryffindor is the one you
want. You do not want to find out you`re a slithering. If you find out
you are a slithering, it`s all over.
O`DONNELL: So this determines your fate, this thing?
FARROW: That`s it.
O`DONNELL: OK. Glad we could clear that up.
FARROW: I`m not putting it on. I don`t want to find out.
O`DONNELL: It is the biggest prop we`ve had on this desk.
FARROW: Good one.
O`DONNELL: Ronan, thank you very much. We`ll be back with the rewrite in
O`DONNELL: What would you say if the government created a television
Well, if you`re British, you would probably say the government did a pretty
good job, the BBC having delivered some brilliant programming, the high
points of which are of course Monty Python and David Brend`s (ph) office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The way that we would --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe I should play the hotel manager.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See if you can phase me, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, I wish to make a complaint.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not interested.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My room is a disgrace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t care. What room are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 362.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no 362 in this hotel. Sometimes the
complaints will be false.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: But most government-run television programming around the world
is quite dreadful.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
O`DONNELL: State-run television tends to be a relentlessly dreary
deliverer of the current regime`s dreary message. And state-run television
is about as un-American as you can get. And so what most of you Americans
would say if the United States government tried to create a television
network is, bad idea. What the tea party would say is, that`s proof that
President Obama intends to stay in office for the rest of his life, and
seizing control of television is his first step in suspending Presidential
And Republicans would say, that`s absolutely outrageous. The government
has no right to invade the television business.
But there is a magic word that can get pandering American politicians to
support the craziest governing ideas, including the creation of a
television network, and that magic word is -- Cuba.
Twenty four years ago, a Republican President urged the creation of a
government-run television network and Congress gave him what he wanted.
The network called TV Marti, which was designated to broadcast programs to
Cuba, which would presumably show Cubans how wonderful life is in the
And instead of putting them to sleep, it would provoke them to, after some
number of hours of watching TV, overthrow the Castro regime. This didn`t
seem like such a big step for Republicans at the time, because five years
earlier, Republican President Ronald Reagan had created a radio Marti, a
radio network with the same mission of undermining and hopefully
overthrowing the Castro regime.
Ask any member of Congress back then whether the American government should
create a radio network or a television network and the answer would be no.
Then ask them if the American government should create a radio or
television network to broadcast in Cuba and a majority said yes.
The successive Republican Presidents and members of Congress who wanted to
do this were untroubled by the obvious fact at the time that Cuba could
block these broadcast signals, because when it comes to the politics of
Cuba policy, a majority of politicians have always been in favor of doing
something, anything without the slightest regard to how effective that
something might be.
Our 54-year-old embargo of Cuba has been the least effective embargo in
history. Instead of leading to the overthrow of the Castro regime, it`s
always given the Castro brothers an excuse as to why economic development
in Cuba is not as strong as it should be and it has done nothing to loosen
the regime`s grip on power.
During the original congressional debate over TV Marti, supporters like
congressman (INAUDIBLE), Republican from Florida, herself a Cuban-American,
argued that even if the broadcasts do not reach any viewers, Castro must
spend valuable money to block the signal.
But blocking that transmission signal is an awful lot cheaper than the
creation of hours and hours of television programming and the transmission
of that signal to Cuba. Our government`s best estimates of how many Cubans
ever see TV Marti indicate it`s less than one percent of Cubans. An
absolutely crazy idea was hatched during George W. Bush`s presidency to
increase that viewership. It is one of those nutty ideas that would have
been rejected instantly if the word Cuba was not attached to the idea. .
The idea was, aero Marti, an airplane that would try to circumvent Havana`s
jamming of TV Marti signals by flying around Cuba and dropping TV Marti
signals from the sky meant to supplement the TV Marti signals already being
beamed across a much wider area by direct TV satellites.
The airplane signal cost ten times more than the direct TV signal. And
according to the government`s very best estimates again, picked up exactly
no more viewers. Radio Marti and TV Marti are complete and utter failures.
But in Cuba policy, failing means never having to say you`re sorry, and
never having to stop doing what is failing.
But aero Marti has taken failure and turned it into disaster, since it
increased broadcasting costs dramatically and did not pick up a single
viewer. And so, a small note of sanity has been struck in our Cuba policy
with the quiet collapse of aero Marti`s meaningless circling of the
Caribbean skies. After $35 .6 million has been wasted on our airplane in
the sky, aero Marti has been grounded without a whimper from its supporters
who have been happily wasting this money all these years.
The thing that eventually killed aero Marti was not some brave politician
standing up against the lunacy of the American government owning and
operating a television network and an airplane that was futilely trying to
deliver the broadcast signal of that network.
What killed our propaganda plane was sequestration. Those draconian
spending cuts that have done so much damage in so many sectors of our
government did at least one very good thing, sequestration made funding for
the propaganda plane`s fuel and pilots disappear.
But TV Marti and radio Marti have survived sequestration, and although
radio Marti and TV Marti have spent more than $500 million to reach less
than one percent to have Cuban population and as far as we can tell, change
their minds about nothing. No politician who seriously aspires to the
president who will dare to say a word about this wasted $500 million,
because when it comes to Cuba policy, the American governor is still crazy
after all these years.
O`DONNELL: It is almost 11:00 p.m. eastern. Do you know where your
President is? He`s shooting pool and drinking beer with the governor of
Colorado in Colorado.
O`DONNELL: Monday of next week is Malala day, a day that honors Malala
Yousafzai as they did the honors the 17th birthday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a story of strength.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once there was a girl who wanted to go to school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there were those who did not want her to learn.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were afraid education would give her power.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the girl did not let this stop her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She dreamed of learning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was not alone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Weakness, fear and helplessness died, strength, power
and courage was born.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was determined.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was stronger than violence. She was stronger
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was stronger than fear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you stronger than? Show it to the world on
this Malala day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Malala.org is adding spurs of Malala to share their photos and
messages using #stronger than to raise awareness for girls and boys
education. And nearly two dozen nonprofit groups will announce their own
initiatives including the Malala fund.
Joining me now is Shiza Shahid. She is the CEO and co-founder of the
Malala fund, which helps empower women around the world.
Shiza, what is this Malala fund doing? What are the main programs you are
SHIZA SHAHID, CEO, MALALA FUND: Well, the Malal fund is co-founded by
myself, Malala and her father. And it was really out of our desire to say,
yes, Malala was shot. Yes, she survived and that is a moment of hope.
However, there are millions across the world are denied an education. And
Malala`s attack and her survival should not just be a moment, but a
movement that changes the faith of girls in the most difficult
circumstances in the world.
We are currently working in four countries, Pakistan, Jordan, Kenya and
soon Nigeria. There we do grant making. And in addition, we do advocacy,
using Malala`s voice and amplifying the voices of other girls to try and
bring change globally on this issue.
O`DONNELL: Talk about this extraordinary 17-year-old. This is the kind of
person that the world sees once every 50 years, just truly extraordinary.
It`s hard to think of an example of someone who has had this kind of
worldwide impact by the age of 17.
SHAHID: She is truly remarkable. She has the bravery of no one we have
ever seen before, to go through what she did and wake up and say, you know
what, I`m not done, and I`m going to be louder and stronger than ever
before, is something that is truly magical and gives us hope that there is
a better tomorrow for all of those girls suffering unspeakable things
O`DONNELL: What kind of protection that she had not? Surely the people
that tried to kill her before very much still want to kill her.
SHAHID: Well, Malala is, and without exaggeration, the bravest girl and
the world. And as she says, before that date, I was a little bit afraid.
Now I know that even death does not want to stop my mission. And so, she
is moving forward. She is in school. She is spending her time on the
ground working for the projects of the Malala fund. She is raising her
voice and traveling to the developing world, to some of the toughest places
on Malala day. And we believe that death is on her side.
O`DONNELL: How does her father feel about this? I mean, you know, her
father almost lost his daughter. And one way to deal with this would to be
to simply maybe move to England or the United States or somewhere safer and
stay out of sight an just protect your life. And yet, that is not a choice
she is making, and he is supporting her in this choice.
SHAHID: Her father is a revolutionary. He has been one since he was very
young and is very much the person who inspired Malala and continues to lift
her up. He says, what I did to help empower Malala was that I did not cut
her wings. And that is his approach with her. He knows she is very
special. And they have made a choice that their mission is more important
than their lives.
O`DONNELL: And listen. Their feeling that if Malala did retreat and
basically go into hiding for her own safety, that would be a form of
victory for her opponents and for the people who want her dead?
SHAHID: I just think that they have always seen their lives as meant for a
purpose, and that purpose is so much bigger than the fear for their own
safety. They are incredibly spiritual, they are incredibly cause and
passion driven. And they just cannot imagine a life without themselves
being dedicated to the greater good.
O`DONNELL: And we talked a great deal on this program and Malala,
obviously, about girls` education. But there is a boys` component to this
too. We need to get the boys educated out of growing up into this attitude
of being threatened by girls` education.
SHAHID: Definitely. And if you, educated girls, and you have the man of
the community against that, you are putting that girl at risk. So
education interventions and girls` and women`s interventions must very much
engage the community while also and empowering that women. Because
ultimately, it`s those men who are their fathers, their brothers and their
O`DONNELL: Shiza Shahid gets tonight`s "Last Word." And there is just no
better good news story than we could do than Malala is striving and is 17
and facing a happy birthday coming up.
Thank you, Shiza, very much.
SHAHID: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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