'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
July 24, 2014
Guest: Robert Greenstein, Kimberly Marten, Bruce Ottley, Anthony Roman
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Today in Washington, Paul Ryan became the
Republican`s official leader on poverty policy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama is wrapping up his three-day trip to
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why isn`t Congress doing
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We`ve got a president
OBAMA: Congress is just not real productive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don`t want to see the government do anything good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They make sure it doesn`t do anything.
OBAMA: On raising the minimum wage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The minimum wage has been a poverty wage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got to raise the minimum wage.
OBAMA: States that have increased the minimum wage had seen higher job
growth that those who didn`t raise the minimum wage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it would pass. If Mr. Boehner would ever bring
BOEHNER: The worst economic recovery in the president`s own lifetime.
OBAMA: They had trouble getting stuff done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Ryan is playing the role of the anti-poverty
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We`re calling a discussion trap.
OBAMA: Even when they say they want to do something.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ryan unveiled his latest poverty fighting initiative.
RYAN: This new simplified stream of funding would become the Opportunity
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: This idea of block granting is not a
RYAN: Washington is just simply getting in the way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Policy or politics?
RYAN: Federal aid is fragmented formulaic.
OBAMA: They`re going in the wrong direction.
VAN HOLLEN: Watch what they do, not what they say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to make a movement for the GOP to rebrand
themselves as the Jack Kemp Republican Party.
O`DONNELL: Paul Ryan already has a place in our political history, as all
vice presidential candidates do. In his case, as the losing vice
presidential candidate in the last presidential election, and he already
has a clearly defined turf in the Republican House of Representatives.
He is the Republican`s serious man, the Republican`s big, bold thinker on
matters of the budget. It has never been easier to claim the image of
serious thinker among Republican members of Congress, since we have never
had so many unserious thinkers among them. Today, Paul Ryan reached for
something big, something important, and something no other Republican is
trying to do. In fact, no Republican among earlier generations of so-
called serious Republicans has really tried to do this.
Paul Ryan wants to be the Republican`s serious thinker about poverty. He
has no rivals in this. There are no Republicans wishing they could elbow
Paul Ryan out of the poverty spotlight.
And unfortunately, he has no real counterpart on the Democratic side of
Congress now. There is no Senator Kennedy to welcome him to this cause.
There is no Senator Moynihan who worked on improving the welfare system for
There is no authority on the subject in the House or the Senate chambers
that members turn to now.
But now, here comes Paul Ryan. Today, he issued a 73-page discussion draft
of his thoughts on poverty entitled expanding opportunity in America. It
is the product of a series of hearings he launched a year ago, entitled
"The War on Poverty: A Progress Report."
Chairman Ryan took testimony from Sister Simone Campbell and from Robert
Greenstein, who has been testifying to Congress with authority on the
effectiveness of the social safety net for decades. And thanks to the
Democratic members of his committee, Chairman Ryan also heard from a real
live person struggling at the bottom end of the American pay scale, Tianna
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIANNA GAINES-TURNER, WORKING MOTHER: My husband gets paid every week, and
he makes $8.25 an hour. After taxes, he clears about maybe $170 a week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hundred seventy dollars --
GAINES-TURNER: A hundred seventy dollars a week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
GAINES-TURNER: I get paid $10.80 an hour. Just recently in June, my hours
were cut down to 12 hours a week due to the budget.
You just broke down my everything. Could anyone live off that amount of
money like I do and the amount has been everyday, every month, every week?
It`s difficult. It`s not something that we choose to do.
Of course we want to get a full-time job. Of course my husband wants to go
back to school. He has a masonry degree. Of course, I want to go back to
school. I`m a very smart, intellectual, independent person.
But, unfortunately, my circumstances don`t allow me to go to school and to
also work and to juggle our family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today, Paul Ryan finally revealed the first draft of his plan
in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: I would start a pilot program called an Opportunity Grant. It would
consolidate up to 11 federal programs into one stream of funding to
participating states. Right now, you`ve got to go to a bunch of different
offices to enroll in a bunch of different programs, each with all different
rules. Under this opportunity grant, you could go to one office and work
with one person for all of your needs. That person would give you
financial assistance and would also act as a personal resource.
Take one example, let`s call her Andrea. She`s 24. She has two kids.
They`re 2 and 4 years old. Her husband left the family six months ago.
She doesn`t know how to contact him.
Andrea graduated from high school, but her only work experience was a two-
year stint in retail. She and her kids now live with her parents in a two-
bedroom mobile home. Her parents can`t support her over the long haul.
She`s been trying to find work for the last five months.
She doesn`t have a car. She can`t afford child care. And her dream is
ultimately one day to become a teacher under this plan.
Andrea would go to a local service provider. She would sit down with her
case manager and develop an opportunity plan. That plan would pinpoint her
strengths, her opportunities for growth, her short, medium and long-term
The two of them would sign a contract. Andrea would meet specific
benchmarks for success. She`d establish a time line for meeting them.
Consequences for missing them and rewards for exceeding them.
Andrea`s shorter term goal is to find a job, but her long-term goal is to
find the right job, to become a teacher. So, she might find a job in
retail to pay the bills. Meanwhile, her case manager would help pay for
transportation and child care to take classes at night.
Over time, Andrea could go to school, get her certification and find a
teaching job. The point is, with someone involved there to help coordinate
her aid, Andrea would not just find a job, she would start a career.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Robert Greenstein, founder and president of the
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And Joy Reid, host of MSNBC`s "THE
I want to begin by welcoming Paul Ryan to this discussion. I mean it, Bob
and Joy, because the way legislators do this in Washington is if you put
out a 73-page report and there`s two pages in here I like, I call you up
and I say, Paul, that`s great, I love that thing on the earned income tax
credit, and then I slowly try to work out some kind of thing where we can
So, I would like to begin with some of the things in here that I think we
might all agree are good things. I think for example, it`s very useful,
Joy, that he includes in here a discussion of the criminal justice system.
He`s looking at poverty in America and wants to do something about
sentencing reform, like Rand Paul does, prison reform, recidivism
This is the kind of stuff to be encouraged and an area -- one area were
you`d think there`d be some bipartisan progress.
JOY REID, THE REID REPORT: Yes, you heard people like Senator Rand Paul
talk about some of the same things and this criminal justice reform issue.
It`s definitely a bipartisan point of agreement.
I think there are other things in the Paul Ryan plan that could be starting
points, something like the earned income tax credit, which has become
something of a bold (ph) among conservatives, to try to expand it and make
it available for instance to people without children. I think that`s
something you can see Democrats getting on board with.
That said, there`s a lot of problematic in that plan, but I think --
O`DONNELL: We have plenty of time with that.
REID: Those things I think let`s give him credit for those things.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and he also some things in here about education. A
certain amount of this stuff reads to me as things you`ve got to put in
there for other Republicans who need to see that.
And just technically, a lot of these things occur in many different
committees, so there will never be one bill that has education, you know,
criminal justice and these welfare programs.
You mentioned the ITC, the earned income tax credit. Let`s listen to what
Paul Ryan said about that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: First, we should make sure that in this country it always pays to
work. I would do that by increasing the earned income tax credit for
childless workers. So I`d roughly double the maximum credit for childless
workers to $1,000, and I would lower the minimum eligibility from 25 to 21
years old. This is similar to what the president has proposed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Bob Greenstein, what is your reaction?
ROBERT GREENSTEIN, CENTER ON BUDGET AND POLICY PRIORITIES: This earned tax
credit reform is very good, as he said, it`s very similar to the
president`s. People like myself and many others have been calling for it
But there are two caveats there are. The way that he pays for his earned
income credit expansion is, in part, by ripping away the child tax credit
for several million low income children in immigrant working families.
Many of them are citizen children, some of them are DREAMers. There are
other ways to pay for it.
And he completely eliminates another program, the social services block
grant to help pay for his EITC increase, which provides the very kind of
services that he said someone like Andrea needs. The other thing, of
course, is that he said that the increase in the earned income credit was
instead of raising the minimum wage. We really need to do both.
But having said that, it is a real positive that Paul Ryan has now
embraced. The same kind of increase in the earned income credit for
workers not raising children. That the president has embraced and a number
of thinkers, both conservative and progressive, have been calling for, for
a few years.
O`DONNELL: Well, yes, but that`s what I think is very important what he
said about the EITC. I have no real concerns at this stage about the pay-
fors, because we`re not there, and those are done in committee
legislatively and they`re negotiated. And again, not to get too technical,
the pay-fors he`s talking about are not under the jurisdiction of the same
committees that have the earned income tax credit. So, they wouldn`t use
them anyway. They would go somewhere else for the money.
GREENSTEIN: Actually, Lawrence, they are under the same committee.
O`DONNELL: But the earned income tax credit, it does not have some of the
-- some of those same things he`s using are not in finance on the Senate
side. Some of those elements he`s using.
GREENSTEIN: Most of them are. The key ones are.
O`DONNELL: But the real money is going to be in taxation.
But now you have, Joy, you can say now from this point forward, you know,
Paul Ryan agrees with us on the earned income tax credit, agrees with us on
how it works, agrees with what should be done with it in the future. And
that to me is a very big moment.
I don`t expect Democrats to embrace it because they`re in a campaign year,
but this is the kind of thing where once you get somebody like that into
this discussion over the normal legislative period of time, you end up with
something that might work.
REID: Yes, and I think the important thing, too, is that conservative
economists, like people who are politically conservative, who worked in
this field, have been talking about this concept of expanding the earned
income tax credit for a long time, this idea of giving people more cash is
the solution to people`s economic problems. You know, the one slight
problem I would have with this approach is it a one-time a year infusion of
income for people who have a 12-month a year income issue.
So, I would agree that if you don`t address wages and you don`t address the
day-to-day income, the week to week income, it`s fine to give people a one-
time credit. But anyone who has ever been poor understands if you get that
one-time tax credit, you`re going to have to spend all of that catching up
on your bills and the things that have fallen behind.
But it is a good start and I think, you know what, it is an election year,
but Democrats should embrace parts of the plan that could actually become
legislation because they`re positive.
O`DONNELL: And, Bob, now, let`s get to the big, the real big idea in there
is to take a bunch of programs and put them all kind of together in a one-
shot -- one stop shopping in a state. He`s suggesting that if a state
wants to, he`s not suggesting every state do this, but if a state wants to
do it, they could, in fact, take all this money, put it in one big pot and
then try to make more sense of it.
What`s your reaction to that part of it?
GREENSTEIN: This part is deeply disturbing, Lawrence. I think over time,
it would increase poverty, hunger and probably homelessness.
Here`s why -- he has a bunch of small programs and a few big ones and only
one program that is now an entitlement, that`s food stamps. When need goes
up, if you`re eligible, you get food stamps. If you lose your job in a
recession, the amount of resources provided increases to accommodate the
increased number of poor people.
What he does in this plan is he ends, he terminates, destroys the
entitlement status of food stamps and simply lets there be money on the
stump for state and local officials to use in a very broad way of purposes.
They could use it for certain services that may be good services, and then
withdraw some of the state and local money currently being spent on those
services so they can use that elsewhere in their budgets.
This happens all the time in broad block grants of this sort. The amount
of funding wouldn`t have a mechanism to automatically go up right away when
the economy goes down. What I think you would see is he talked about
Andrea. Where would he get all the additional resources to give Andrea,
that case manager and all that counseling?
When you look at his plan, you realize what would happen is that states
would get their hands on money that is now going for basic food stamp
benefits to avoid homelessness and they could use it for a whole array of
purposes. At its worst, he puts in there some programs that are really
developer programs so that at a local level, local officials could take
some of the food stamp money and they could actually use it to make deals
with local real estate and commercial developers to do things like build
shopping centers on the end of low income areas.
Yes, it may be useful to do pilot projects and experiment. But as far as
I`m concerned, one of the greatest social achievements of this country in
the last half century, has been the near elimination of severe child hunger
and malnutrition, largely attributable to the food stamp program and its
entitlement status of automatic response to need.
And any plan that blows that up, something Paul Ryan has been trying to do
in his budgets for years, is not a path we should go down. Now, if he`s
willing to take out of this plan food stamps and let that be as the core
nutrition safety net for poor families and kids and seniors, and to find
some protection, we could look at some of these ideas. But that`s not what
the plan is.
One last point here, he combines all of these things into a mega block
grant and says it would be the same amount of resources under the law of
today. Well, that`s not true for two reasons I think. Number one, you
wouldn`t get the automatic increases in real time when need goes up like in
But number two, we have a 30-year history, Lawrence, you know this from
your days in the Senate, that when we take all kinds of disparate programs
and throw them together, it always starts with the same amount of money as
you had before.
GREENSTEIN: But these block grants are so disparate and diverse and
amorphous that the history is clear, they end up with big reductions in
funding over the decades. They don`t compete well with other kinds of
O`DONNELL: Yes, this is where all the problems are.
Now, the other part is, it`s just the first draft, OK? And he`s just
asking for a pilot program. And so, I think what Bob said about maybe a
pilot program that doesn`t include food stamps, maybe there`s something in
REID: Yes, but there`s not going to be.
O`DONNELL: No, we know that.
REID: Yes, this is where we get a peek, you know? I want to give Paul
Ryan credit for trying to correct some of the problems in the campaign that
he was part of, the 47 percenter campaign. This is where you get a peek at
the real Paul Ryan, because number one, this idea of turning things into
block grants has been in fashion among conservatives since the `90s, when
explicitly, the idea of block grants and privatizations were to, quote,
"defund the left."
It was the idea of defunding the New Deal and the Great Society, by taking
all these programs, which they saw as unfairly favoring things like unions
and Head Start and PBS, because they think public broadcasting is sort of
the propagandist for socialism. So, they want to take away the sort of
positive muppet filled world where the government is good.
The idea of block granting plays into federalism because who do you think
is going to take the optional option of getting rid of food stamps and
making it into block grants? The same states that don`t want to expand
Medicaid. The same states that would rather see their poor go uninsured
and hungry that give them a dime of Obama`s tainted money.
So, the problem is that you`ve got Paul Ryan playing into a very age-old
conservative plan, to take away guarantied entitlements and turn them into
state specific programs. Then, you`ve got the other piece of it where
Andrea, unlike anyone else, has to sing to for her supper. She`s got to
sign the contract. If she doesn`t meet the contract, she has penalties.
So, now, you`re penalizing Andrea`s two kids that he seems concerned about
because she didn`t meet the specified social engineering standards that
these hands off, government hands off my life conservatives want to apply
O`DONNELL: Before we go, let`s be fair. Bill Clinton went along with that
concept in welfare reform. That`s why we have it. That`s why it`s --
REID: It`s a conservative idea when he did it, too.
O`DONNELL: Sorry, Bob, we have to leave it there for tonight. This is a
good first start o the first draft of the Ryan plan. There will be more,
Bob Greenstein and Joy Reid, thank you both very much for joining me
REID: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, after thee airliner disasters this week, the United
Nations is meeting next week on air safety.
And in the rewrite tonight, the gang at "Funny or Die" helps with the
debate on minimum wage.
O`DONNELL: The State Department says that Vladimir Putin is still sending
missiles and other weapons to Ukraine. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: It has been one week since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot
down by pro-Russian separatists over Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers
and 15 crew members on board. Today, 74 more bodies of victims arrived in
the Netherlands, 189 of the passengers on Flight MH17 were Dutch.
The international outrage over the downing of Flight MH17 has apparently
not done much to slow the flow of heavy weapons from Russian President
Vladimir Putin to the separatists in Ukraine, according to the State
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIE HARF, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We have new evidence that the
Russians intended to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket
launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine and have evidence that Russia
is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The State Department said that the Russian military fired
artillery rounds into Ukraine today and what the Pentagon is calling a
clear escalation of hostilities there. European officials are considering
broader sanctions on Russia that would limit the country`s access to
European financial markets. Today, Canada announced that it would also
impose sanctions on Russian banks and energy companies.
And adding to the unrest in Ukraine, the country`s prime minister and his
cabinet abruptly resigned today after the ruling coalition in parliaments
Joining me now is Kimberly Marten, professor of political science at
Barnard College and Columbia University, and an expert in Russian studies.
And Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and an MSNBC
Professor Marten, the notion that Vladimir Putin, the notion that Vladimir
Putin would be escalating involvement in this situation, after what
happened with the airliner seemed impossible days ago. This is just
KIMBERLY MARTEN, BARNARD COLLEGE: I think it`s predictable, because when
the airliner was shot down, it proved Putin made a mistake by trusting in
the rebels. So, he has to do a quick turn around to make sure he maintains
his domestic popularity, not only with the Russian people as a whole, but
especially in the ruling coalition. He`s got to always be carefully
balancing the interests that are involved and the hard liners and the
ethnic nationalists and the people moving towards fascism are just looking
for any excuse to say that Putin is too weak and he can`t stay in power
O`DONNELL: So, Ambassador McFaul, any kind of reasonable response by Putin
would have been disastrous for him within Russia?
MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Well, I don`t think
disastrous. He has an 83 percent approval rating. Most people are
beholden to him. I think he could have used this as an opportunity to say,
enough is enough.
But I didn`t predict it and Kim`s absolutely right, the other response was
to double down and to increase escalation. Now the west has to make good
on its commitment.
You remember when the G7 leaders got together several weeks ago when the
president was in Europe, they said if the status quo continues, there will
be new sanctions. Well, it`s not the status quo. He`s actually escalated.
He`s gone beyond the status quo, and the West now has to respond.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the president said about this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There`s no doubt that the economies of Russia and Europe are
intertwined, primarily around the energy sector, and it makes some
Europeans more concerned about a robust response to the violations of
sovereignty and territorial integrity that Russia has been conducting when
it comes to Ukraine. Sadly, tragically, the shooting down of this
Malaysian Airlines airliner and the recognition that it is likely it was
shot down and it is also likely that it was conducted by non-state actors
that were provided incredibly powerful weapons by the Russian government,
all that I think may stiffen the spine of our European partners moving
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Professor, what is your guess about stiffening spines in
MARTEN: Well, it`s a difficult situation obviously because of their
economic interdependence with Russia, that`s much stronger than ours.
But one thing to think about is that the United States could be probably
doing more to help the Ukrainian regime, as well. One thing we might want
to think about is providing some additional non-lethal military assistance
that would help their electronics systems to avoid Russian attempts to
track what they`re doing because they cannot at the Soviet system. That`s
a real problem for them at the moment.
O`DONNELL: And, Ambassador McFaul, what about the politics within Ukraine?
We`re seeing the coalition cannot hold together in the parliament there.
MCFAUL: Yes, I think this was inevitable. Remember, this parliament was
formed well before this crisis, well before President Poroshenko was
elected. And as the prime minister said in a statement today, he couldn`t
get through basic legislation to pay the troops, to pay the soldiers.
I hope this happens quickly. I hope the election -- they`re talking about
October. I don`t see this as a terrible tragedy. I think it`s a necessity
to have the voice of Ukrainians represented in the parliament. That after
all was elected a long time ago.
O`DONNELL: How -- when we see that kind of disarray within the government,
and yet you`re suggesting we maybe should be supply thing government with
more military help, nonlethal, what is an example of that? That this
government could actually use?
MARTEN: Well, I mentioned, the electron anti-jamming equipment would be
very helpful to them, because their systems are old soviet systems that the
Russians know how to use. But I think we have to be careful not to give
them lethal military assistance, not to send them weapons, simply because
the Ukrainian military is not as highly professional as we would like.
They`ve certainly improved a lot in the last several months, but they`ve
had a tendency sometimes to -- for example, shoot at civilians. We know
that they have regular militias fighting alongside them, just as the
Russians have been supporting irregular militias fighting on the other
And today, the difficulties with keeping the coalition together in the
Ukrainian government provide further difficulties for the whole sake of
command and control over the Ukrainian military forces.
O`DONNELL: Ambassador McFaul, what is your sense of what that government
in Ukraine could effectively use by way of more assistance from the U.S.?
MCFAUL: Well, first of all, I don`t think that the disillusion of the
parliament is a sign of array. That`s how parliamentary democracies work.
Two members of the coalition pulled out. There have to be new elections.
The president is in charge. He`s the commander in chief. He has an
electoral mandate and he`ll be there irrespective of who is in the
To the question of what they can and cannot use, I would broaden the
aperture of the discussion, to say that as we were discussing earlier, we
can do a lot to support the Ukrainians and not just focus on trying to
change Putin`s mind, to change Putin`s behavior.
And well before we talk about military assistance, we can talk about
economic assistance, which they desperately need. We can talk about
information assistance. The Russians have launched an incredibly effective
propaganda war. We should be engaged in that, as well.
O`DONNELL: Professor Kimberly Marten and former Ambassador Michael McFaul
-- thank you both for joining me tonight.
MARTEN: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, it has been a terrible week in air travel. More
fatalities this week than all of last year, and the United Nations wants to
do something about it.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Coming up, it has been a terrible week
in air travel. More fatalities this week than all of last year and the
United Nations wants to do something about it.
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, a very bad week for air travel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We start today with some breaking news. That is
beginning to feel like Bermuda drumbeat in another plane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: A commercial jetliner flying Burkina Faso to
Algiers with 116 people on board crashes in western Africa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: In the Middle East, the ban on U.S. airliners
into Israel has been lifted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: In Taiwan, officials are blaming bad weather
for the Tran Asia airways plane crash that killed at least 48 people on
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Two more planes carrying the victims of
Malaysian flight 17 have just arrived back in the Netherlands this morning.
The safety board has given crews permission to moving wreckage from the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: With all 116 passengers aboard to the Air Algerie airplane
presumed dead, a total of 462 people have now died aboard commercial
airliners in the last seven days. There were 210 commercial air travel
deaths in all of 2013. The United Nations International civil aviation
organization has called a meeting for next week.
Joining me now is Bruce Ottley, co-director of the international aviation
law institute at DePaul university and Anthony Roman, a former commercial
pilot and flight instructor and president of Roman and Associates, a global
Anthony, these two jet crashes this week, which were crashes, there`s
nothing particularly new about those. The issue of the week is, airline
security over embattled regions.
What have we learned this week based on what we saw happen in Ukraine?
What adjustments should be made internationally about that?
ANTHONY ROMAN, PRESIDENT, ROMAN AND ASSOCIATES: Lawrence, it`s a wonderful
question, because there has been a long, relatively unknown history of
airline shoot-downs since 1970. Approximately 18 major airliners and
commuter planes have been shot down through the present day since then.
Most of them have occurred over areas of rebel activity, war zones,
military sensitive areas, or air space where sovereign countries feel that
the air space is of a sensitive nature. We should have learned our lesson
long ago, that these areas should be avoid. The airlines, the FAA, the
NTSB, the international body which sets regulations for global uniform
regulations in aviation, they should have some intelligence relative to who
has the capability over these conflict zones to shoot down aircraft. And
there`s no question that this should be avoided.
O`DONNELL: Bruce Ottley, what have we learned this week in terms when you
factor in what happened at Ben Gurion airport where we have that temporary
hold on activity for American airliners there and what we saw in Ukraine?
BRUCE OTTLEY, DEPAUL UNIVERSITY: Well, I`m not sure that we learned a
whole lot. We don`t have a uniform system worldwide for making
determinations about when planes should fly or not. As you know, the FAA -
O`DONNELL: Bruce, do you think it`s possible to have a worldwide system
OTTLEY: Well, I don`t think it`s possible. I think it would be desirable.
I mean, a lot of things are desirable. But I think given the reality of
nation states and the reluctance of states to allow that sort of
regulation, I don`t think you`re going to find an international body able
to do it.
I think what you`re going to continue to have are individual countries like
the FAA and the international civic organization issuing recommendations
that airlines not fly in certain areas.
But in the case of the Malaysian plane, both the Ukraine and Russia had to
approve the flight paths over the Ukraine. And so, there was a certain
assumption that it would be safe to fly. So I don`t think there`s much
chance of there being an international body that could actually issue
binding prohibitions on flying over certain areas.
O`DONNELL: Anthony, I think what a lot of the flying public assumes is, if
the pilot is doing this, the pilot must know this is safe, this is a safe
route, or what we`re doing is safe. How well placed is that confidence or
how misplaced is that confidence?
ROMAN: Well, the pilot doesn`t always know if they`re flying over a zone
of conflict. In this particular instance, it`s a well known area of
conflict, and I`m sure the pilots knew. There was some question about who
was controlling that air space? Russia several months before announced
that it was going to exercise control over that region`s air space when, in
fact, that is Ukrainian air space and should have been controlled by them.
The European aviation authority issued warnings back in April of this year
to its member aircraft to avoid the air space in and about the region of
Crimea. The FAA in the following month issued several warnings to U.S.
carriers. So it was known that this was going to be an area of risk. And
really, it would take five to seven minutes to overfly a new route and
bypass Ukraine and Crimea towards Kuala Lumpur.
O`DONNELL: And Bruce, what we saw at Ben Gurion airport, it was the FAA
saying to American carriers, we`re not going to allow you to nigh into
there. The carriers themselves could make that same judgment prior to the
FAA issuing that order if they wanted to. What is your reaction to that
whole episode with the FAA and Ben Gurion airport?
OTTLEY: Well, the FAA has the power to issue statements saying that
airlines, American airlines. But the FAA has control only over the
American airlines and so, you know, that`s limited to them. So the U.S.
has some control over where the U.S. airlines can fly, but that`s only one
piece of the puzzle. There are many other countries that don`t issue is
such regulations, and airlines are free to fly where they want unless a
country actually closes its air space to airlines.
O`DONNELL: Anthony, quickly before we go, what do you make of the way the
ban was imposed and the way it was lifted? What is your sense of how that
ROMAN: Well, I think that in terms of the ban being imposed, it was
prudent. In terms of it being lifted is a re-evaluation of the security
measures that are being taken, more offensive action is taken in terms to
protect the air space. Much of that information, I`m sure, is classified.
And as the FAA makes that decision, I think it`s a prudent one.
O`DONNELL: Bruce Ottley and Anthony Roman, thank you both very much for
joining me tonight.
Coming up, it is finally time for some good news.
O`DONNELL: And now for the good news. Chicago`s south side may someday be
responsible for reducing the scientists who unlocked the cure to colon
19-year-old Kevin Stonewall started research while he was still in high
school and discovered that age mattered when it came to the effectiveness
of experimental vaccines for colon treatments. Researchers at the
university now credit him with helping them develop more effective
treatments. He`s already won several awards for his work, and he was a
finalist in the Intel science and engineer fair in 2013.
Kevin is currently attending the university of Wisconsin. He credits his
parents, both public teachers, for motivating him and his family for giving
him four microscopes for Christmas in the fifth grade.
The rewrite is next, starring Barack Obama and Mary Poppins.
O`DONNELL: In tonight`s rewrite, how much is Mary Poppins worth?
When Republicans oppose increases in the minimum wage, which is all the
time, they don`t like to stand on principle. The principle being
opposition to the government setting a minimum wage of any level. There
are some Republicans now who don`t mind appearing to be heartless, and they
do make that point that they oppose the minimum wage in principle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we want to have minimum wage, we ought to have it.
I don`t believe there ought to be a national minimum wage. That`s my
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: But most couch their argument in sympathy to the working poor
and the way they do that is saying that if you raise the minimum wage, you
reduce jobs available to the working poor. And so, that obviously increase
in wages will kill jobs.
So you see Republican opposition to the minimum wage increase is phrased
that way is simply the Republicans trying to do what`s best for the working
poor. States can set their own minimum wages, though, which is really
great for social scientists and economists because it gives us a national
minimum wage laboratory in which to study the effects.
If one state raises the minimum wage and neighboring states don`t,
obviously, job creators will be driven over to the out of the higher wage
state and over to the lower wage state and employment will go up in the
states that have not raised the minimum wage and employment goes down in
the states that have so foolishly raise the minimum wage.
If Republican theory holds, that is, this year 13 states have raised the
minimum wage since January, and the experiment is not going well for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Since the first time I asked
Congress to raise the minimum wage, 13 states and D.C. have raised theirs.
And here`s something interesting, states that have increased the minimum
wage this year have seen higher job growth than those who didn`t raise the
minimum wage. America deserves a raise. It will be good for those workers
and good for business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The president now has a new voice, helping him make the
argument to raise the minimum wage, thanks to the good people at funny or
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mary Poppins?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m afraid I`m living for good this time, children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold this. I`m only paid the federal minimum wage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do your magical powers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think that would entitle me to more than $7.25 an
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please don`t leave this. We will die of malnutrition.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jane, don`t be dramatic. In every job that must be
done, you must be paid in more than cents. And you get your paycheck and
snap, federal and state income tax, Medicare and Social Security. Why,
you`re living below the poverty line.
And every job you start to do can quickly go away. The pay is too low, I
can`t live on this dough a $3 increase can make a living wage, it makes a
living wage, it makes a living wage just a $3 increase can make a living
wage. I don`t get these birds for free. A penguin hop and hop toward his
feeling like a stupid jerk. He can`t even buy some fish to feed his kids.
He took a second job at night, the penguin pair starts to fight they`re
broke, their college fund is a joke.
Just a $3 increase can make a living wage. It makes a living wage. It
makes a living wage. Just a $3 makes a living wage. I still don`t get
these birds for free forget. The CEOs in fancy suits each giving their own
trumpet hood, so get how hard it is to work a shift. They don`t like to
break a sweat, they prefer to just collect they pay, they give, a lot, it`s
really got to stop.
Are you a Republican? I do love a good tea party. Cheeky. Just a $3
increase can make a living wage. I get my purse from Mexico.
Well, isn`t that just supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And now for some relief from the summer heat, the best of the
late night comedians this week.
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: As you know, this world is a perilous place.
Recent events beg real answers from our nation`s leader.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE COLBERT REPORT: Our nation, if you`re anything
like me, you get all your news from me.
STEWART: You know what? (Bleep) it. Why don`t we just talk about
something lighter. Like --
JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: I saw that Hillary Clinton visited the
headquarters of Twitter and Facebook yesterday.
DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: You know, Hillary Clinton is going to run for
president, stuff like that.
FALLON: That`s right. Hillary visited the headquarters of Twitter and
facebook while Bill visited the headquarters of Tinder and Snap Jack.
LETTERMAN: A college roommate of Hillary said that she really liked
smoking that weed.
FALLON: Tonight we`re going to look at the pros and cons of Washington,
D.C. decriminalizing marijuana.
LETTERMAN: Don`t make the mistake of getting yourself been weed and
Hillary Clinton because she just get trembled.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Presidential meetings will still take place at the
LETTERMAN: Weed, weed, weed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Presidential meals will take mace at the white castle.
LETTERMAN: How about that White House vegetable garden now, ladies and
STEWART: We begin tonight with Obamacare, which after a number of setbacks
appears to be operating as it was intended.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news, this time it concerns Obamacare and a
dramatic blow by a federal appeals court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Such a big blow to Obamacare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huge blow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huge blow to the administration.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bad blow. A major blow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tough blow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Serious blow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Devastating blow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enormous blow.
STEWART: A lot of blowing!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to blow your minds, America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What choice do we have but to take him to court? Obama
can always countersue. Everyone in Washington can get locked up with
lawyers and judge Judy can decide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Boehner is blaming President Obama for the border
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you going to use? Do you have naked photos of
John Boehner doing something? That`s impossible to get because the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boehner is also blaming Obama for global warming,
tensions in the Middle East and the latest transformers movie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s get to the heat of the meat. Do you believe we
should impeach President Obama?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I have a step by step plan to impeach President
Obama. It`s all in my new book, "Look Out, Obama, you`re being impeached."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s pretend for a second that I don`t want to impeach
the president. Is there anything I can do to stop it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Buy my book. "look out, Obama, you`re being
O`DONNELL: The late night comedians get tonight`s "Last Word."
Chris Hayes is up next.
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