'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
September 9, 2014
Guest: Mike Wise, Jon Terbush, Karen Desoto, Natalie Sokoloff, Tanya
Lovelace, Natalie Sokoloff, Zach Beauchamp, Charlie Warzel
RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: We`ll see you again tomorrow night at a
special time, 8:00 Eastern for our special coverage of President Obama`s
primetime address to the nation on the issue of fighting ISIS.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, Apple just called. They would
like to use that line of yours in their advertising -- wild and creepy.
O`DONNELL: Can they do that?
MADDOW: They can do that if they pay me millions of Apple dollars.
O`DONNELL: All right.
MADDOW: Yes, thanks.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.
Well, we have a new full disclosure statement tonight from the owner of the
NFL team that fired Ray Rice yesterday and the NFL commissioner is clinging
to his job tonight by pretending he had no idea what happened in that
elevator until the video of what happened was released yesterday.
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: We didn`t get this right. That`s my
responsibility, and I`m accountable for that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The pressure builds on the NFL and Commissioner Roger
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: National outrage over the handling of Ray Rice and
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s been cut by the Ravens, suspended indefinitely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are questions and accusations and denials.
GOODELL: What we saw yesterday was extremely clear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could they not have known?
GOODELL: It`s extremely graphic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s broad and deep skepticism.
GOODELL: And it was sickening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This latest video comes as the White House marks the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The scourge of violence against
women, it`s something that needs to be aggressively combated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You now get a real sense that the league here --
GOODELL: We didn`t get this right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Baltimore Ravens here --
JOHN HARBAUGH, RAVENS HEAD COACH: It`s something we saw for the first time
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps the Atlantic County prosecutor`s office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The D.A. just seemed to have put him in a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- is now really chasing this story.
O`DONNELL: "Seeing that video changed everything", those are the words of
the owner of the Baltimore Ravens tonight in a statement that he says is
Steven Bisciotti, the owner of the team that fired Ray Rice yesterday,
admitted in his statement, we did not do all we should have done and no
amount of explanation can remedy that.
Bisciotti`s statement goes on to say, "On the morning of February 15th, we
learned that Ray and his then-fiancee Janay had been arrested at an
Atlantic City casino and both had been charged with simple assault
resulting from an altercation with each other. A number of Ravens
representatives talked with Ray during the course of that day. His
explanation was that after he and Janay had consumed a great deal of
alcohol, they had had an argument and that they struck each other."
Bisciotti says the team then began their own investigation by talking to
the police who arrested the couple and talking to the prosecutor in the
case. Bisciotti`s full disclosure statement does not say what the police
or prosecutor told the team.
Then, as Bisciotti put it, soon after the video of Janay and Ray coming out
of the elevator became public, they conducted more of an investigation.
Here is the silent video footage of what Bisciotti calls Janay and Ray
coming out of the elevator.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
O`DONNELL: TMZ Sports labeled that video Ray Rice dragging unconscious
So, that is what the owner of the team tonight describes as Janay and Ray
coming out of the elevator. Not Ray dragging an obviously unconscious
Janay out of the elevator and leaving her on the floor without in any way
trying to assist her. That`s not the way they put it.
According to the team owner`s statement, no one involved with the team went
back to Ray after seeing that video and asked him, hey, how hard did you
hit Janay in that elevator? Did you throw a knockout punch in that
elevator? Nothing about watching Ray dragged the unconscious Janay out of
that elevator made anyone at the Baltimore Ravens ask Ray a single follow-
up question about the story he had told them, that the couple had had an
argument and struck each other.
Instead, according to the statement released tonight, the team contacted
the casino to ask if there was video of the incident inside the elevator,
but the casino would not share that video. The team asked the police and
the prosecutor, and they refused to share the video.
And then, there is this line in the owner`s statement: "It was our
understanding at that time that Ray`s attorney had not yet seen the video."
Now we know, of course, that Ray`s attorney indeed has a copy of that video
and that he has never shared that with the team. The owner`s statement
clearly wants responsibility for Ray Rice`s punishment-free legal outcome
to rest with the police, prosecutor and the judge.
The statement says, "The police had seen video from inside the elevator,
the prosecutor and the judge who had also seen such video allowed Ray into
the program that would eventually clear him of the assault charge."
Tonight, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, in an interview with CBS News,
used what now seems to be the same official NFL talking points as the owner
of the Ravens used in claiming that TMZ`s release of the video inside the
elevator changed everything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOODELL: Yesterday morning, I got into the office and our staff comes to
me and say there`s new evidence, there`s video that you need to seem, and I
watched it then.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you know a second tape existed?
GOODELL: Well, we had not seen any videotape of what occurred in the
elevator. We assumed there was a video. We asked for video, but we were
never granted that opportunity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, did anyone in the NFL see the second videotape
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one in the NFL?
GOODELL: No one in the NFL to my knowledge, and I asked that same
question, and the answer to that is no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is "Washington Post" sports columnist Mike Wise,
associate editor at theweek.com, Jon Terbush, and former defense attorney
and prosecutor in New Jersey, Karen Desoto.
First to you, Mike Wise, you called for Roger Goodell`s resignation.
What`s your reaction to his interview tonight?
MIKE WISE, THE WASHINGTON POST: I still am perplexed, and the same thing
with the team as well, Lawrence, that you can not look at the first video
that was released where, in fact, Janay was dragged out of there, moved
aside and she`s clearly unconscious -- I can`t get it through my skull that
neither the commissioner of the NFL nor the owner Steve Bisciotti of the
Ravens could think, how did this woman become unconscious?
There`s only one way, and as far as I`m concerned, we know what happened in
that elevator before we saw the TMZ video. We didn`t know exactly how he
hit her. We knew that he knocked her unconscious. I don`t understand how
anybody else did not come to that conclusion including -- and this is
shameful -- including the prosecutor`s office.
O`DONNELL: Roger Goodell added this in the interview tonight. Let`s
listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOODELL: Well, we certainly didn`t know what was on the tape, but we have
been very open and honest, and I have also, from two weeks ago when I
acknowledged that we didn`t get this right. That`s my responsibility. And
I`m accountable for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jon Terbush, so the official NFL talking point is that tape
from inside the elevator changed everything.
JON TERBUSH, THEWEEK.COM: Yes. It`s very hard to take them seriously at
this point. There`s numerous reports months ago about what was on the
tape. Now that the full footage has come out, it backed them up.
There are reports out there that the league would have had to have read.
It`s very hard to believe that the league wouldn`t have gone to some sort
of extreme measures to see a copy themselves. TMZ came out this morning
and said they contacted the hotel. The hotel said they were never
contacted by the NFL for a tape. The police was the only source the NFL
And it`s hard to believe the NFL would not have asked everyone possible,
the attorney, the hotel, whoever they can get it.
O`DONNELL: Well, the owner statement tonight, he`s saying we did ask the
hotel. So, he`s in direct conflict with TMZ`s sourcing that says no one
asked the hotel.
TERBUSH: And again, that gets to a point that someone is not telling the
truth here. I think the NFL`s statement was very unequivocal. They said
the only people that we contacted were the police.
O`DONNELL: Karen Desoto, to the point made in the owner`s statement, which
is to the legal case, the police officers who arrested Janay say that they
made their arrests that night after watching the surveillance tapes. They
watched the surveillance tapes. And it was their judgment, this officer,
Cuong Sam, who signs the report here, it was his judgment to arrest Janay.
And so, they then all see the video and they all come to the conclusion,
prosecutor, judge participates in that conclusion that there`s no
punishment that`s due here.
KAREN DESOTO, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, it`s ultimately the judgment of the
prosecutor here, OK? So he is making that determination. He is looking at
that tape and he is reviewing it. It`s not necessarily the judge because
the judge is not in a position where he`s going to be reviewing tapes.
O`DONNELL: This is according to the New Jersey procedure. It`s rally the
prosecutor evaluates the evidence and make this --
DESOTO: Yes, full discretion.
O`DONNELL: Yes, makes this choice. And the judge can only -- as I
understand it -- can only overrule it in extraordinary circumstances.
DESOTO: Well, no, I`ve had it overruled quite a few times.
O`DONNELL: Oh, really?
DESOTO: It`s usually only in a specific incidence where the judge has a
specific knowledge of the defendant. Meaning that my plea is not going to
reject it unless he looks at the client and goes, haven`t you been here
So, he needs to have any specific knowledge. In any other case, he`s going
to rely on the prosecutor for his information. I doubt very much had he
saw the tape.
Had he, I doubt very much that he would have allowed that to go forward.
He would have asked them, maybe you should continue investigating. I have
had judges in domestic violence cases say get the victim in here, I don`t
care if she testifies or doesn`t cooperate, get her on the stand and we`re
going to try this.
O`DONNELL: Yes, just to clarify, Karen, the notion that hey, first
offender, he absolutely qualifies for this, no matter what, and nothing in
the video disqualifies him from getting this lenient treatment.
DESOTO: It`s a judgment call and the call of the prosecutor. If he did
not want to do PTI, he did not have to.
And I can tell you that in domestic violence cases, as a prosecutor, I
would not have entered PTI. I would have tried the case, if I lost, that`s
fine. This is domestic violence. This is a serious notion, and it`s a
It`s a judgment call and policy on the prosecutor`s office and perhaps
Atlantic County needs to take a look at their policies and procedures, and,
you know, maybe have some directives that they don`t give PTI to domestic
O`DONNELL: And, Jon, a point you raised, one of the issues is there`s all
this talk about Goodell and the NFL and all this stuff and what did they
right and wrong, and the luckiest people in the world right now for that
particular dialogue is this district attorney who failed to bring these
charges and these police officers who arrested Janay. There`s no focus on
them in the public review of what`s going on, because the NFL and the team
is getting all the focus.
TERBUSH: That`s absolutely right. And that`s what the league wants right
now, is to look like they`re the arbiter of moral justice here, that
they`re laying down a lot because the legal system failed, when in fact
they had multiple chances before for a stronger punishment. They repeated
failed to do so. It was only when there`s such a vocal public backlash,
and then again, the morning the video comes out, immediately, he`s cut from
the team, he`s suspended indefinitely.
WISE: I`m still --
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Mike.
WISE: Yes, I`m still perplexed how the NFL did not use all its resources to
obtain this obvious, especially after you see Janay hauled out of the
elevator unconscious in the first video. This is a league, mind you, that
actually has FBI and other law enforcement people on their payroll who go
through prospective draftees` trash before the actual NFL drafts them, and
who asks things like, do you like girls and is your mother a prostitute to
This is not a hands-off league in any way, shape or form. And so, it`s
mind-boggling, not that they should have paid for it or done something
unethical, but it`s mind-boggling to me that they could not have procured
I would just like for my own sake to ask Karen, if someone had brought this
case to trial, would you have eventually just had to get a plea deal for
your client after seeing that video? I think that`s so damning that he
would either go to jail or have a heck of a probation sentence.
DESOTO: Well, listen, you know, Michael Vick went to jail and he`s still
playing football. Yes, I would probably wind up pleaing out if I was the
defense attorney only because I would be so frightened if he went to the
jury, that there would be an expert witness, OK, saying about the cycle of
domestic violence, number one.
And also, listen, he`s a professional athlete and what juries do is that
they hold you to a higher standard. So, his fists are like Mack trucks and
she`s like a tricycle.
So, the jury is not going to buy a defense she provoked him or spit at him
or even if she hit him, because he`s a professional athlete. And they`re
going to hold him to a much different standard. You can say that you don`t
want to do that, but if I`m the prosecutor I`m going to make that point and
I`m probably going to do it very well and at the end of it, the jury is
going to see it my way, hopefully. But if I`m the defense attorney I`m
going to say, he spit at her.
But, really, when you see the video it`s so powerful. Video is such a
powerful evidentiary tool and I don`t think there`s a jury that`s going to
say "wow" after seeing something like that.
O`DONNELL: And one of the sources that, you know, we`ve been stressing for
the last 24 hours that the NFL had for this video was Ray Rice`s own
lawyer, who we know had a copy of this video through criminal discovery
process or otherwise. He had it. And so, here`s the way he`s dealt with,
in the owner`s statement tonight. It`s simply one line and it simply says,
it was our understanding at the time that Ray`s attorney had not yet seen
Jon, take me -- a passive voice sentence there, to kind of point to him and
basically say, the implication is there, that that lawyer lied to us and
said he didn`t have the video when, in fact, he did. So we couldn`t have
gotten it from him because he lied to us.
TERBUSH: I mean, I have to go back to, but I`m fairly certain that the
video actually said at some point he had the video. He made some statement
where he spoke in hypothetical terms, hypothetically speaking if there was
an altercation, hypothetically she spit on him, hypothetically he hit back.
So, it was pretty clear that he`d seen the tape. I don`t know how they can
put out a statement saying nobody knew.
DESOTO: There`s one thing you need to be aware of -- in New Jersey,
there`s a two-tiered system. So, when there`s a domestic violence case,
within 10 days to two weeks, you go in for a hearing, a domestic violence
hearing on whether or not you`re going to have a no-contact order with that
All of the evidence at that time is public record. You can go to the
courtroom and listen to what`s going on. If the charges are dropped,
there`s, you know, a lot of evidence that could be presented. So,
everybody has a copy of everything at that time.
It`s really kind of hard to believe that the NFL, billions of dollars,
didn`t have access to that, or maybe they should have gotten a tape from
TMZ or perhaps the employee who had the elevator tape who sold it to TMZ.
O`DONNELL: Well, according to the owner statement tonight, after they see
the first TMZ video, they very willfully never go back to Ray and say, hey,
this videotape doesn`t make any sense with the story that you told us.
But, Karen, quickly, before we go, this D.A., James McClain, he`s not
officially the D.A. in place yet in this county because Chris Christie has
appointed him to be the D.A. but he has not yet been confirmed, by the
Do you expect the legislature that he will get questions about this
DESOTO: Absolutely. They have committees and you have to go and talk to
each one of the senators and I`m sure he`s going to get questions from each
Democratic senator on this issue.
And this has been a problem in New Jersey. There are a lot of county
prosecutors who are sitting, waiting that are interim, and it`s
problematic. And especially in cases like this, because there`s no
stability. There`s no directives and no procedure.
Look, this is a domestic violence issue. There needs to be some stability
and somebody needs to step up -- the same thing with the DUI cases and
Mothers Against Drunk Driver.
Domestic violence is a serious problem, and this is not something that
should just be shuffled off just because somebody has millions of dollars.
WISE: Especially in a league --
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Mike.
WISE: Yes, especially in a league in which almost half the offenses,
arresting offenses are domestic violence. I know Roger Goodell didn`t
commit those, but while Ray Rice is paying for his actions, this is Roger
Goodell`s league and he failed, the system failed him, the judge system
failed the NFL, and the Ravens also failed Janay Rice.
O`DONNELL: Mike Wise, Jon Terbush and Karen Desoto -- thank you all very
much for joining me tonight.
Coming up, Janay Rice in her own words. She said something very important
today about what she is going through now.
And October 20th is a very, very important date for some of you. That is
the day that Philadelphia is expected to decriminalize marijuana. Put it
in your calendars, October 20.
O`DONNELL: Janay Rice spoke today in the form of a posting on Instagram.
The points she made make it very clear how difficult it is to deal with the
aftermath of domestic violence. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Janay Palmer met Ray Rice when they were in high school in a
suburb north of New York City. They stayed in touch and apparently started
dating towards the end of Ray`s college years. Janay Palmer became Janay
Rice when she married Ray the day after he was indicted for what he did to
her in an elevator in Atlantic City earlier this year.
Here is the painful silence video of what happened in that elevator.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
O`DONNELL: Janay Rice has made two public statements about what happened
in that elevator. The first was at a press conference on May 23rd when
Janay and Ray each made short statements and took no questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANAY RICE: First, I want to say thank you for all to those who have
supported us throughout this situation. I do deeply regret the role that I
played in the incident that night, but I can say that I am happy that we
continue to work through it together, and we are continuing to strengthen
our relationship and our marriage and do what we have to do for not only
ourselves collectively, even individually, working on being better for
Rayven and continue to be good role models for the community like we were
doing before this.
I love Ray and I know he will continue to prove himself to not only you
all, but the community. And I know he will gain your respect back in due
time. So, thank you, guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is the entirety of what Janay had to say.
And this morning, Janay Rice posted this on Instagram, "I woke up this
morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I`m mourning
the death of my closest friend, but to have to accept the fact that it`s
reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media and
unwanted options from the public has caused my family to make us relive a
moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take
something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all
his life just to gain ratings is horrific.
This is our life. What don`t you all get? If your intentions were to hurt
us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you`ve
succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow and show
the world what real love is. Ravensnation, we love you."
Joining me now, Natalie Sokoloff, professor emirata at John Jay College of
Criminal Justice, and the author of "Domestic Violence at the Margins:
Readings on Race, Class, Gender and Culture." And Tanya Lovelace, the
senior director of Women of Color Network, a project of the National
Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
Tonya, I`d like to get your reactions to both of those statements that we
just heard from Janay.
TANYA LOVELACE, WOMEN OF COLOR NETWORK: Yes. So listening to -- you know,
I do want to be respectful and call her Mrs. Rice and respect her, you
know, her recent change in life with her partner.
But, you know, in listening to her voice and really, truly see her as
somebody who is dedicated to her relationship. She`s dedicated to her
partner, and I certainly want to again also be respectful of that.
I do understand that this has been difficult for her, and I think that that
is a challenge. And in the work that we do, my goal is really to support
women in the paths that they choose, recognize them as being the experts in
their own lives, and supporting them in whatever strides they choose to
And so, that`s what my initial thought is as I`m seeing that.
O`DONNELL: Professor Sokoloff, this raises a horrible agony of talking
about this. It is impossible to talk about it the way we`ve been doing
this on television without hurting Mrs. Rice this way. The hurt she`s
expressing about what it`s like to have this going on in the media is
obviously real and obviously completely understandable, and there`s no way
to cover this story without adding to her hurt.
NATALIE SOKOLOFF, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Well, I think that
the continual showing of the video, continually adds to her hurt, and I`m
not sure that we would want to do this, say, if a woman is raped, we
wouldn`t keep showing it over and over again. And watching a woman go
through what she`s gone through is really very, very difficult.
And you know what, women go through this every day. We have many women
across the country who go through this experience. So, the goal is not to
show one woman and what she has gone through, and it is a way of, as David
Zirin indicated, really disrespecting her on some levels.
What we need to figure out then is what are the ways in which we can
prevent this kind of behavior from happening in the first place. And
looking at the broader structures of the society, including sports, which
is very violent -- football is a violent game. And it`s really hard to
take away the skills that somebody learns on their job and just have them
put it aside when they go home.
O`DONNELL: You know, I`m very sympathetic to this view of not showing the
video, and the rule I imposed here last night which got broken actually,
because I didn`t make it clear enough, but we`re using tonight is, we
aren`t just showing the video as we talk.
We have shown -- when we show the video, we show it once. We show it in
the silence it was recorded in, the eerie, horrible silence.
And my case for showing it includes the fact that so many people have never
seen domestic violence. Then you add to the news component of this that
the NFL and the team inside this elevator changed everything about this
And, Tanya, if you`re one of the people out there lucky enough to live a
life and as a child never seen domestic violence, and as an adult you`ve
never seen domestic violence, this kind of video, I think, shows you and
tells you something about this that you could not have understood before.
LOVELACE: That`s absolutely. And I do think that the video I think the
imagery is one that definitely does bring the seriousness of this matter
truly to attention.
I do think that it does make people stop and really look. At the same
time, I do recognize that this is a continuous process that in my mind, I`m
seeing this as a woman of color`s body that`s continuing to be shown being
hit and laying on the ground in that way. And so, I think that what would
be a greater concern to me or I guess what I would like to see more is that
we have a greater concern about this issue without having to show the
imagery over and over again.
I wish that we were in a place now where people would understand the
importance of this violence, the important impact of this violence, to
recognize that the numbers are of great concern and to really have a
national outrage about this without having to see or to demonstrate this
video over and over again.
Because in some ways there are some form of doing violence over and over
again when you`re actually, having to demonstrate that violence over and
O`DONNELL: I want to read something from Baltimore Sun`s editorial today,
which they say, "Ms. Rice was victimized when her then Fianc‚ punched her.
She was victimized when she became the object of a public dissection, and
she was victimized indirectly as a result of the punishment her now husband
Professor Sokoloff, I think that tightly summarizes the difficult dilemmas
in dealing with one of these cases publicly is that it does extract a price
from the victim. And in many cases, especially, you know, lower income
cases than this kind of case. When the perpetrator of the crime then loses
their job as a result of this or not, you`ve also devastated this woman`s
financial structure of life. And so the punishment of the perpetrator
indirectly includes in some cases a punishment of a victim.
SOKOLOFF: In many cases, of course, it does. It makes it very difficult.
And domestic violence isn`t one size fits all. And I think that your
comments about the women who don`t have the kind of economic security but
need those jobs for themselves and their partners, their husbands and
partners, that`s really crucial for us to be thinking about.
But it also impacts well-off women, because there`s status involved with
their lives. They don`t have access often to income that their husbands
have access to. So it`s really something that we have to understand not
only what happens to poor women, what happens to well-off women. Race and
class are very much interconnected. For immigrant women, it all has the
same kind of issue. You need to pull them together and really figure out
how can you best understand this.
O`DONNELL: Tonya, quickly before we go, to the complexity of dealing with
this. It is so complex, both in the public discussion of it as we`ve been
mentioning, but also in the particular remedies, the particular penalties
that are imposed on the man who does this. We see how those penalties can
end up being -- include being a penalty on the woman herself.
LOVELACE: I do, I hear you on that, and would agree that certainly the
impacts are great for her as well. And I do think that that means then
that there needs to be a greater community based and national approach and
really trying to ensure that economic factors are improved for communities
of color and for all underserved populations so that people can be in a
better place. And so that we can ensure that if remedies have to happen
then it does create a better opportunity for her.
O`DONNELL: Natalie Sokoloff and Tonya Lovelace, thank you both very much
for joining me tonight. I really appreciate it.
SOKOLOFF: Thank you.
LOVELACE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Islamic State and what President Obama will tell
the American people about how he plans to go after the Islamic State
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight the Islamic State, President Obama
will explain his plan for dealing with the Islamic Sate a Prime Time speech
tomorrow night. Late this afternoon, the President met with party leaders
from both the Senate and the House Representatives and explained his plan.
Here is how the White House Press Secretary previewed the plan today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President does not envision
a scenario where we would send American combat boot - combat troops to be
on the ground in Syria. The President also does not envision a scenario
where the United States is acting alone to support the -- these elements of
the moderate Syrian opposition. There`s a very important role for other
regional governments to play, and we`ve been encouraged by the reaction
that we`ve gotten from the last -- over the course of the last couple of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Zach Beauchamp, Global Correspondent for
vox.com and has written extensively about the Islamic State.
Zach, how big of force is the Islamic State?
ZACH BEAUCHAMP, GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT, VOX.COM: Well, they`re bigger than
they used to be. But it`s hard to say precisely estimates range between
10,000 and 50,000, depending on who you talk to, which means that they`re
an incredibly large organization as far as transnational jihadist troops
go. And that means they post a serious threat to regional stability.
O`DONNELL: Given the limits that we know the President is including in
what he`s going to say tomorrow night about no American soldiers involved
in Syria and so forth, what do you -- what is your sense tactically about
what can be accomplished with American military might?
BEAUCHAMP: Look, it is going to be much less limited than what the
President is likely to say tomorrow. The U.S. can support regional actors
in dealing with ISIS.
What it can`t do is destroy ISIS using bombs on its own and it probably
couldn`t even do it if it sent troops on the ground. I mean ISIS became
really strong in its first incarnation al-Qaeda in Iraq. Fighting US
troops and while American troops helped sort of dismantle it the first
time, that was only with local cooperation from forces on the ground.
Bombs can help create the space for local groups to try to take the
initiative and to essentially deal with the political crises that are
fuelling ISIS. But on the whole, we can`t stop or solve the ISIS crisis
O`DONNELL: Josh, what about just a relentless targeting of drones and
bombs in this situation. I mean, why can`t bombs do more in this
BEAUCHAMP: So, the big problem in Iraq is that ISIS depends on support
that it gets from the Sunni minority, the government is Shia. And the Shia
government has treated the Sunni minority is very badly. The thing it`s
needs to do is to create more inclusive policies to pull that popular
support away. So long as the Sunni in Iraq support ISIS, it would be very,
very difficult to dislodge from these territories and the more you bomb
them, the more you risk killing innocent civilians which is bad on it on
right. And also turns the population back towards ISIS. And in Syria,
it`s even worst.
O`DONNELL: Zach Beauchamp, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
BEAUCHAMP: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: You can watch special coverage of the President`s speech
tomorrow night starting at 8:00 here on MSNBC.
Coming up, what Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake have to say about the
O`DONNELL: Supporting yourself on a minimum wage has never been easy, but
it keeps getting harder as the economic value of the minimum wage continues
to decline due to inflation. If the minimum wage that I earned in my first
jobs had been adjusted for inflation in the decades since then, today`s
minimum wage would be $22 an hour.
In fact, today`s minimum wage, which is not automatically adjusted for
inflation is stuck at $7.25 an hour. It`s been stuck there for five year
since the minimum wage can only go up when Congress legislates an increase.
Last week many minimum wage fast food workers went on strike in a about 150
cities across America asking for an increase to $15, $7 less than it would
be today if it was automatically adjusted for inflation the way for example
the social security benefits are.
While those fast food workers were on strike, Rush Limbaugh was on vacation
and sitting in for him was Erik Erickson, who does not have to live on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERICK ERICKSON, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: More than 95 percent of
Americans make more than the minimum wage. You should know that.
The minimum wage is mostly people who failed at life and high school kids.
Seriously, look, I don`t mean to be ugly with you people. What? So my
producer from my show is here. And he is just staring at me, (he) can`t
believe I said this.
If you`re making -- if you`re a 30-something-year-old person and you`re
making minimum wage, you`ve probably failed at life. It is not that life
dealt you a bad hand. Life does not deal you cards. It`s that you failed
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It`s been a long time since I was a minimum wage worker, so I
don`t want to speak for the minimum wage workers today who are making $7.25
an hour. I want you to do that.
Tell me about your experience working for the minimum wage on video and
upload it then send us the link by email to email@example.com or Tweet
that link to @thelastword using #notafailure. We will use your videos to
let you have your say here on the show and also on our website. To see
those instructions again, we will have it all posted on our site,
O`DONNELL: The city of Philadelphia is rewriting its laws on pot. Right
now, if you are caught tonight with an ounce of marijuana in Philadelphia,
you could be arrested, jailed and have a criminal record following you
around for the rest of your life.
This week, the city council and Mayor Michael Nutter agreed on legislation
that would change that. The city council is expected to pass a bill that
will allow police to issue a $25 fine for possessing a small amount of
marijuana and a $100 fine for smoking pot in public. The new ordinance is
expected to go into effect -- get this date down -- October 20th.
Joining me now, the sponsor of the bill, Philadelphia Councilman at large,
Jim this -- does this law in any way contradict Pennsylvania State law?
JIM KENNEY (D), PHILADELPHIA COUNCILMAN: No, it doesn`t. The Pennsylvania
state law is a may provision. They say you may arrest someone for the
possession of a small amount of marijuana, but you don`t have to do it.
In Philadelphia on average, we arrested over 4,200 folks a year, 83 percent
of them are African-American, mostly young people. They are handcuffed,
they are transported, put into a cell, they are booked, photographed,
fingerprinted and they are given an arrest record that follows them again
for the rest of their life. Makes it difficult, if not impossible to find
a job, to keep a job, to get assistance in college for tuition assistance
or serving the military.
In addition to that, we take 17,000 hours of police work off of our streets
processing these people for the minimums (ph) activity which resulted about
2,800 -- 108 hour shifts lost for real crime fighting in Philadelphia. So
it`s a win-win-win for everyone and it will save the city and court system
about $7 million a year. And it will also create a new social attitude
where some of our community people will not be adverse with the police.
An arrest is a traumatic experience. You`re handcuffed. Anything can
happen in an arrest situation. And if people know they`re not going to get
arrested, the interaction is much more calm and peaceful.
O`DONNELL: And is so, this will an affect this something like a parking
KENNEY: It a little more than that. I mean, if you`re smoking in public,
which gives people a lot of angst, you can get a $100 fine, but you can
work of that as a community service, directed by the court for a small
And usually, the people who have arrested for small possession, usually was
about $10 worth of marijuana, usually two or three joints. And actually
stop and frisk that policy, which I think is an unfortunate policy in
Philadelphia, causes a lot of these interaction where people are forced to
empty their pockets, and marijuana is discovered and they`re arrested.
O`DONNELL: How long did it take you to get this done?
KENNEY: We started nine months ago, when I saw the racial disparity figures
on arrests it was appalling, which made us try to do this as quickly as we
could possibly do it. We had some, you know, interactions with the police,
the court, the D.A. with the mayor.
And there were some consternation back and forth. It`s a big change, it`s
a cultural change. But we are the only county in Pennsylvania that
custodially arrest people for small amount of marijuana. And we are
supposed to be --- and we are progressive city and I think this change will
make us even more progressive and start bringing this whole issue towards
O`DONNELL: Councilman Jim Kenney County of Philadelphia, thank you very
much for joining us.
KENNEY: My pleasure.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and the new Iphones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the Iphone 6.
And this is the Iphone 6-plus. They come with a thing called help so they
can help you track a lot of stuff. Like today I walked 3.8 miles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I ran 4.2 miles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I climbed 11 flights of stairs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I drank a smoothie that had 362 calories in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon are the voices of the new
Apple commercials you`re going to be seeing everywhere for two new Iphones,
the 6 and the bigger 6 plus, which Apple said today are, like, way better
than the iphone 5s released less than a year ago.
Apple also launched the new Apple Watch, which Apple calls the most
personal device they have ever created.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN LYNCH, VICE PRESIDENT, APPLE: This is one of my favorite ones. This
is called the astronomy face. And it shows you where you are on earth. So
if you wake up and forget where you are, you can just look here. And you
can go fly to the moon. If you tap on the bottom left here, it will
actually fly me over to the moon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeed`s tech editor.
Charlie, I can show you where I am on the earth on Google maps right here
on this wicked old Iphone 5s, which I believe is, you know, about 10 months
CHARLIE WARZEL, TECHNICAL EDITOR, BUZZFEED: About 11 month, yes.
O`DONNELL: And so who is the person who can pay $350 for a watch and
doesn`t know where he or she is on the earth.
WARZEL: Well, if you`re asking Apple, that`s hopefully everyone. You know,
what this is for Apple, this watch is the first big product under the CEO
Tim Cook who`s take --
O`DONNELL: Is the watch a bigger deal than the new phones?
WARZEL: Yes, I think so. I mean, when they say it`s their most personal
device ever, mean, it is very intimate.
O`DONNELL: Their first strap on.
WARZEL: That`s right. That`s right. There you go.
You can send people -- ostensibly, you can record your heart beat and then
send it to someone else and they can feel that on the back of their wrist.
There`s a four touch sensors. I mean, it`s a little creepy. It`s
certainly invasive, but it`s also new. And people have been dying for
something new. We haven`t had something since 2010 with the Ipad.
O`DONNELL: But almost everything -- everything I`ve heard them say, you
can do on these phones. There are all these things that will tell you how
many steps you`re taking in a day and what you`re eating and all that
stuff. So they`re just kind of taking all that and that stuff that`s on
their by app creator outside of their system and just kind of internalizing
it to their own phones now?
WARZEL: They would tell you what --- what exactly what they`re not doing
is just shrinking that device and putting it on there. But for the
layperson, it`s a lot of similar things. What it`s really going to do is
act sort of as a remote control and a -- like an alert the function for a
lot of the stuff that happens on your phone. It is really, I mean, there`s
a new payments thing that they rolled out.
O`DONNELL: They want all your money in the phone at all times so they can
have access to it and you can use that instead of the credit card.
WARZEL: And as we know, everything is very secure all the time.
O`DONNELL: Yes, totally secure. Because it`s Apple, right? What could
possibly go wrong?
O`DONNELL: Charlie Warzel, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Chris Hayes is up next.
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