'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Saturday, October 4th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Saturday show
Show: MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY
Date: October 4, 2014
Guest: Nina Turner, Dennis Johnson, Peter Suderman, Dale Ho, Peter
Carstensen, Lisa Cillessen, Ashlyn Moher, Laurie Garrett, Frankie Edozien,
Michael Corkery, Rebecca Vallas, Peter Suderman, Irin Cameron
DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning my question, will the Roberts
court determine the fate of the U.S. Senate? Plus, the new subprime
And the women of Texas, their health and jeopardy, but first, the Ebola
outbreak gone global.
Good morning from New York. I`m Dorian Warren in for Melissa Harris-Perry.
We have a lot to get to you this morning, including two major development
news stories. The militant extremists known as ISIS have beheaded a fourth
Western hostage in retaliation for airstrikes by the U.S. and its allies.
ISIS released video Friday showing the execution of British aid worker Alan
Henning who was taken hostage in Syria in December. ISIS is now also
threatening the life of an American who was captured in Syria last year.
President Obama condemned the killing of Henning. And promised the U.S.
Senate allies would bring those responsible to justice.
The Obama administration is also taking action on another international
crisis. The Ebola epidemic. According to the World Health Organization,
more than 3300 people have died of the disease. Friday the Pentagon
announced it is now preparing to send up to 3,600 military personnel into
West Africa. Five Americans have now been diagnosed with Ebola. White
House officials stressed that Ebola is not easily spread and that the
current outbreak can be brought under control.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every Ebola outbreak over the past 40 years has been
stopped. We know how to do this and we will do it again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: A freelance photographer for NBC News, Ashoka Mukpo, is the latest
American diagnosed with Ebola. He was working in Liberia this week NBC
News chief medical correspondent Nancy Snyderman and is expected to be
flown to the United States for treatment. Dr. Snyderman and the other
members of her team have shown no symptoms. They are also being flown back
to the U.S. where they will be quarantined for 21 days as a precaution.
All this comes as officials in Texas try to determine how many people may
be at risk from an Ebola patient now in isolation at a Dallas hospital.
Thomas Duncan was diagnosed after arriving in Dallas from Liberia on
September 20th. And there are new questions this morning about how health
officials in Dallas have handled the case.
NBC`s Charles Hadlock joins us from Dallas with the latest. Charles, what
can you tell us about the latest information from the hospital where Duncan
is being treated?
CHARLES HADLOCK, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Dorian. The
hospital earlier in the week had said that the reason that the doctors and
nurses let this patient go last Friday when he came into the hospital, even
though he said he was a patient from West Africa is because the software
problem in the hospital`s intake system. They said the nurses and doctors
used separate different systems and they didn`t communicate well with each
other. Last night the hospital put out a statement saying there was no
flaw in the software. That the doctors and nurses had the same information
about Eric Duncan`s travel history. Why it wasn`t taken into account, we
WARREN: Charles, what can you tell us about the family that was staying in
that Dallas apartment with Duncan?
HADLOCK: Well, Duncan was staying with family and friends in an apartment
about a mile from the hospital. He was taken out of that house on Sunday,
a week ago. And the family stayed there for another four or five days
until yesterday when clean-up crews arrived to clean out everything that
the man had touched. The bed sheets, the towels, other items in the house
were all taken away, they will be disposed of and incinerated in the next
few days or so. The family itself has moved to a new location here in
Dallas. An undisclosed location. It`s not a medical facility, but a house
in a gated community. The county judge, the country administrator here
says that they will stay there for the next 20 days until the incubation
period is clear to make sure everyone is safe. They have shown no signs of
being ill. But they will be tested twice a day during this time. Dorian.
WARREN: Thank you, NBC`s Charles Hadlock in Dallas, Texas. We will have
much more on the Ebola epidemic later in the show. But right now we turn
to the coming November elections and the small group that could impact
their results. This November nine people could determine the outcome of
the midterm elections. Nine people could decide whether Wisconsin governor
and union buster Scott Walker stays in office. Nine people could decide
whether North Carolina`s government continues to be dominated by budget
slashing conservatives. These nine people could determine control of the
United States Senate. These nine people sit on the Supreme Court.
A year ago the court gutted the Voting Rights Act and unleashed a flood of
new voter restrictions. Now the same nine justices will be deciding on
whether restrictions like photo I.D. requirements and cuts to early voting
will come into play in this year`s crucial midterm elections, and it`s all
coming to ahead right now. On Thursday the ACLU asked the Supreme Court to
block Wisconsin`s strict photo I.D. law from going into effect for this
year`s election. The same day the Republican governor of North Carolina
asked the Supreme Court to stop same day voter registration for the mid-
terms. And on Monday the Supreme Court stepped into Ohio`s fierce battle
over early voting. Early voting was supposed to begin this past Tuesday.
This would have been what they called golden week in Ohio. A week where
you can register and cast your ballot all at once. But 18 hours before
election offices would have opened, the Supreme Court stepped in. In a 5-4
decision, the court ruled that the Ohio legislature and the Secretary of
State`s cuts to early voting can go into effect for this election, despite
legal challenges from the NAACP and others. That means no golden week. It
also means no evening, after workday hours doing early voting. And one
fewer Sunday for early voting when African-American voters head straight
from churches to the polls.
In 2012, according to the ACLU, 157,000 people voted on the days that have
now been cut. But Republicans who advocated for the cuts including the
chief elections officer Secretary of State Jon Husted said that the state
has more than enough early voting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON HUSTED, OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: It`s in Ohio we vote for a month. We
have Sunday voting. None of those states have Sunday voting. We have
Saturday voting. They don`t. We are doing a great job of making it easy
to vote and hard to cheat here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Now, let`s go back in time for a moment to the reason Ohio even
has early voting in the first place. Let`s go back to 2004. The
presidential election that year went again to George W. Bush. And it all
came down to Ohio. The Kerry-Edwards campaign waited until the next day to
concede because of Ohio. Because polling places in Ohio looked like this.
Lines stretched for ten or more hours. The last in line didn`t get to vote
until nearly 4:00 in the morning. One estimate is that three percent of
voters who went to the polls gave up because of the long lines. That means
that more than 175,000 people may have been disenfranchised by a bottleneck
at the polls. Ultimately, Ohio went for President Bush, clinching the
Electoral College. In Ohio, it was a difference of 118,000 votes. The
debacle was an embarrassment for Ohio officials, and so things quickly
changed. In 2005 the Ohio state legislature approved no fault absentee
voting, allowing any voter to cast a ballot either by mail or in person at
their local election board, up to 35 days before Election Day. That vote
happened along party lines. All of the legislatures, Republicans, voted to
approve the early voting. All its Democrats voted no. Nearly ten years
later Republicans say Ohio doesn`t really need early voting anymore. We`ve
been here before. And it didn`t look like democracy. At the table this
morning, Dale Ho, director of the ACLU`s voting rights project and Zach
Roth, MSNBC reporter and joining me now from Cleveland is Ohio State
Senator Nina Turner. Candidate for Ohio`s secretary of state. Good
morning to all of you.
STATE SEN. NINA TURNER (D) OHIO: Good morning, Dorian.
WARREN: Nina, what will these cuts do to voters in Ohio?
TURNER: Well, these cuts will cause lots of confusion, and I really
appreciate the fact that you gave the history as to why we have all of the
requisite hours that we have in the first place, and to have Mr. Husted at
the last minute ask for an emergency stay of the United States Supreme
Court and cause more confusion, I would argue in the 21st century that
voter confusion is another form of voter suppression. You laid out the
numbers of voters that have voted. It will definitely cause a
disproportionately negative impact on African-Americans, low-income voters,
and homeless voters and the plaintiffs argue that, and I`m glad that Dale
is here very successfully through the courts until this current secretary
of state that did what he did. And I would like to add also, Dorian, that
when he asked for the emergency stay of the United States Supreme Court, he
said that this was about states` rights. And all of us know what that buzz
word means when people talk about states` rights and the ugly history
attached to this country with that.
WARREN: Nina, I want to clarify something you said. So, you said voter
confusion is another form of voter suppression.
TURNER: Form of voter suppression. Absolutely.
WARREN: And let`s be very clear about this. Which voters are being hurt
by this voter confusion and the cuts to early voting?
TURNER: Well, disproportionally African-American, low income voters,
homeless voters. And in the case, in the case, the studies that were
presented to the judge show very clearly that all ethnic groups who are
socially and economically challenged will have more barriers with the
removal of golden week, with the removal of evening hours. There are
evening hours, so working class women and men in the state of Ohio who have
to string together two or three jobs will not have the same access to the
ballot box that they once had. And for Mr. Husted to argue about what
other states have, it is a faulty premise. The cure that was presented
post 2004 was a cure for the state of Ohio, and what we should be doing is
encouraging other states to rise to our level and not attempting to
disenfranchise voters just because you think they will lean a certain way.
This is un-American, Dorian. And it`s happening all across this country in
different ways, but all across this country.
WARREN: Nina, the court decided this less than 24 hours before voting was
supposed to begin. Is that fair to the voters?
TURNER: No, absolutely not. I mean I went to vote, you know, there were
people who were going to vote on that Tuesday. I went there instead of
voting with a group of folks, we held a press conference instead with faith
leaders, with locally elected officials, with state elected officials to
say that this was wrong. I talked to a woman who lives in my county, in
Cuyahoga County. Her husband is going away for ten weeks with students to
Honduras. He was going to vote that particular week. But now that
opportunity has been taken from him. So again when you have folks who are
using their political might, and this is at the hands of Republicans, to
suppress, regress and oppress the vote, something is wrong with that. We
are going backwards. And this is really about what the voters in the great
state of Ohio deserved. He is causing confusion. The current attorney
general that helped argue the case confusion. And that is why we need a
different secretary of state. And I`m running for that. And in terms of
David Pepper who is running for Attorney General, different elected
officials who believe in expanding and protecting access to the ballot box
for all people. And it shouldn`t matter how people want to lean. They
could be red or blue. We want people in somewhere in between, but people
should have access to the ballot box. And we should not disproportionally
disenfranchise any group. Judge economists was very clear that this was a
violation of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution and also
a violation of the section two of the Voting Rights Act, which I`m sure
Dale can go into.
WARREN: State Senator Nina Turner in Cleveland, Ohio, thank you very much.
WARREN: I`ll bring Dale and Zach in after the break. How the Supreme
Court is impacting voting rights as far from Ohio only issue? Who else has
their rights at risk, when we come back?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: After President
Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he immediately moved onto what he
called the meat in the coconut. A Voting Rights Act. And some of his
administration argued that`s too much, it`s too soon. Movement - but the
movement knew that if we rested after the Civil Rights Act, then all we
could do was pray that somebody would enforce those rights.
OBAMA: So whenever I hear somebody say they`re praying for me, I say thank
you. Thank you. I believe in the power of prayer. But we need more than
prayer. We need to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HK: That was President Obama speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus
foundation last week. OK, Dale, I`m going to turn to you here. This is
your case. How did the other side convince the Supreme Court to allow
DALE HO, DIR., ACLU`S VOTING RIGHTS PROJECT: I mean actually, we don`t
really know. Because the Supreme Court issued a one-sentence opinion
saying that they were going to stop early voting from starting in Ohio 18
hours later. If I have to guess, here`s what I think. The other side has
been arguing that there`s a sovereign prerogative of a state. To decide
how it`s elections are going to be run. But I think what that misses is
that state sovereignty derives its legitimacy from the elector itself. So
when politicians try to game the system that calls into question the very
legitimacy of the rules that they`re trying to enforce.
WARREN: So, are we going to see long lines in Ohio like we did in 2004?
What do you think that`s going to happen?
HO: I think lines are always something that we have to be concerned about.
But what we are really concerned about in this case, wasn`t so much a
return to 2004, but the targeted illumination of the very early voting
opportunities that low-income people need. Right? Golden week was an
opportunity for people to register to vote and cast a ballot at the same
time. And thousands of people have done that in Ohio since it`s been
established. Right? These voters aren`t going to have that opportunity
anymore. It was lost this week.
WARREN: Zach, let me bring you in the court is now weighing two other
requests for it to respond on voter I.D., voter suppression laws. Tell us
what`s happening in North Carolina.
ZACHARY ROTH, MSNBC REPORTER: Well, in North Carolina we already know that
much of North Carolina`s very sweeping and restrictive voting laws that
they passed last year is going to be in effect. And that`s maybe the
strictest voting law we`ve seen so far. What`s at issue is two provisions,
which North Carolina officials are now asking the Supreme Court to also put
into effect. One of those is the cuts to same day registration. Just like
in Ohio where you can show up and register and vote on the same day. The
other is a ban on counting ballots that were cast in the wrong precinct.
And again, both of those things disproportionally affect minority voters.
And so, the North Carolina is really going to the map for every piece of
this restrictive voter I.D. law.
WARREN: As you say that. I`m just thinking in my head. We live in a
democracy, right? Don`t we want to encourage people to vote? This is -
it`s really mind blowing what`s happening - So Wisconsin. That`s North
Carolina. What`s happening in Wisconsin?
HO: So in Wisconsin, I was here a few weeks ago and I told you about the
decision of the panel of the seventh circuit made where they allowed
Wisconsin to implement its voter I.D. law for November. We asked the full
court of the seventh circuit ten judges to reconsider that decision. And
they deadlocked five to five. It was a tie vote, which meant that the
original decision stands. So, on Thursday we went to the United States
Supreme Court asking them to stop this. Right? This idea law, it changes
the rules of the game during an election that`s already under way. There
are hundreds of people who have already cast absentee ballots before the
I.D. law was put into effect. They`re essentially going to be
disenfranchised. Their ballots are going to be thrown in the garbage right
now because they - just because they obeyed the rules that were existing at
the time that they cast their ballots.
WARREN: There`re lower level cases happening as we speak. There is Texas,
and there`s Arkansas. And what I find fascinating about Arkansas, there`s
a Republican candidate for attorney general who has been purged from the
voter rules under Arkansas`s strict laws and there`s outrage by the
Republican Party about this. Will it take Republicans being hurt by these
laws for them to change their mind? So, tell us about Arkansas, Texas, is
there an opportunity here for in this case, an Arkansas the GOP to possibly
rethink these efforts?
HO: You know, I`m not sure. I think you pointed out that in Ohio, the GOP
used to be in favor of early voting. And then now ten years later they`ve
turned against it. I think that`s partly because some politicians have
seen the demographics shifts, in terms of it uses early voting. Before
2008 your average early voter was older than the median voter, was more
conservative than the median voter, was wealthier than the median voter.
2008 flipped the script. And since that time the average early - the early
voting pool has become more diverse, has become younger. It`s become more
people of color. More low-income people have been using it. And then all
of the sudden these politicians who had no problem with early voting ..
WARREN: All of a sudden.
HO: All of a sudden it`s too expensive. All of a sudden it`s recipe for
fraud. You know, nothing changed between 2005 and 2014 about early voting
other than who is using it.
WARREN: Zach, will minds change on this?
ROTH: I don`t think so. I mean I think Dale is right. And all of the
sudden, the other thing is, all of a sudden, they find this rational that
every county has to have exactly the same hours of early voting no matter
the differences in population. So, I don`t think so. I think the bigger
picture here, though, is, and it`s easier for me to say than Dale, because
I`m not litigating these cases. The current protections we have to protect
voting rights are just not strong enough or may be agile enough to do the
job. And that`s not only because of the Shelby county decision last year.
Ohio wasn`t covered under section five. Wisconsin wasn`t covered under
section five. This was a law that was designed 50 years ago to stop
certain things. It really hasn`t had a lot of experience on these big
state wide voter I.D. or cuts to early voting. And we`re finding that it`s
not always perfect to do that job. Because judges will have different
interpretations of what`s racial discrimination. What`s a burden on
voters? So, in a big picture, we need other protections.
WARREN: Great. Thank you so much again to Dale Ho and Zach Roth.
Up next, they call it the everything store. Jeff Bezos is Amazon.com. And
the authors who don`t like the way the company story is being written.
WARREN: From a distance, the standoff between mega-retailer, Amazon.com
and publishing giant HashSet, looks like one of those fights way above most
of our pay grades. Another clash of powerful corporations. And while
literary big wigs turn up the heat by demanding the Justice Department
investigate Amazon`s business practices, some insiders say the consequences
of this high stakes game of chicken could trigger a seismic shift in
American culture for generations to come. And it all stands from a spat
over eBooks. Amazon and HashSet are deadlocked over the price of digital
books and how to slice up the profits. Amazon wants to cap most eBooks at
$9.99 and take 30 percent of the cut. Leaving the rest of the pie for
authors and publishers to split.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says lower prices will mean higher sales, which
will benefit everyone, including the customer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF BEZOS, AMAZON.COM FOUNDER: You know, the customers want low prices.
And I know it`s going to be true ten years from now. They want fast
delivery. They want fast selection. It`s impossible to imagine a future
ten years from now where a customer comes up to me and says Jeff, I love
Amazon, I just wish the prices were a little higher.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: HashSet and many others have voiced complaints over Amazon`s
pricing plan, but it also may be one they can`t refuse. Amazon reportedly
accounts for an astounding 40 percent of all new book sales and more than
60 percent of eBook sales. And while other publishing houses wait to see
if HashSet will be the first to blink, Amazon is accused of playing
hardball with HashSet authors in order to get them to cave. And authors`
group says Amazon has eliminated preorders, jacked up prices and delayed
shipping to a snail`s pace on a number of HashSet titles. It`s a tactic
that caught the attention of former vice-presidential candidate and HashSet
author, Congressman Paul Ryan when promoting his new book this summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN: It`s a very frustrating thing. I wish this dispute got settled
on, clearly Amazon is making kind of a power play here, in my opinion. And
I think for the sake .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very hard to buy your book, by the way, right now.
RYAN: No, I know, because that`s what Amazon is doing with HashSet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do they have monopoly power?
RYAN: I don`t know the answer to that question. You can go to Barnes and
Noble and get it easily at a discount.
WARREN: But Ryan is one of the few powerful voices to take Amazon to task
so publicly. And it may not just be fair retribution from Amazon that is
keeping publishers from making waves. In 2012 the literary world received
a costly smack down when the Department of Justice accused five industry
leaders for a price-fixing scheme with Apple to raise the cost of books.
All five settled, rather than go to trial costing them millions. And
resulting in a big win for the Amazon pricing model. Joining me now is
Heather McGhee, MSNBC contributor and the president of Demos, Peter
Suderman, senior editor of Reason magazine and Reason.com and Dennis
Johnson, cofounder and co-publisher at the Brooklyn publishing company
OK, so both sides are waiting for the other to blink, what happens if they
HashSet blinks first? Dennis?
DENNIS JOHNSON, CO-FOUNDER, MELVILLE HOUSE: What happens if HashSet blinks
first would mean that the other companies coming up next, which seem to be
Simon and Shuster followed by Harper Collins, would also have to blink.
And then we would see a total victory for Amazon. And that`s the idea.
That`s why they did what they did, which is hoping, you know, it`s a very
drastic response. To poll the ability to sell this bestsellers. The books
that people want. Thousand of titles. That was a very drastic move. And
it was meant to tell those publishers who are up next you better play ball.
WARREN: So, if HashSet does fall, will the others big houses cave right
HEATHER MCGHEE, DEMOS: Well, I think the interesting question zooming back
a little bit what is at stake here and why this is so important to Amazon`s
business model? Amazon which actually, you know, has not embraced profits
as its goal, right? Which is actually quite .
WARREN: Understand .
MCGHEE: . rare to see from big corporations or any of its competitors
actually have to drive for profits. What is important to Jeff Bezos` view
of victory is that he has increasing market share. In other words, it is a
monopolous view of what is the goal of their company. And so that`s pretty
troubling. And I think we see that, and I think for a lot of people, in
fact, that it`s in the idea of - in the realm of ideas and books, actually
a little bit scary in terms of what is going to be the marketplace when one
powerful retailer can say no to certain publishers and certain titles.
It`s really quite scary. I don`t think we`ve had a conversation about what
kind of market we want where Amazon actually sells everything and can
control the distribution up the pipeline of so many products.
DENNIS JOHNSON, CO-PUBLISHER, MELVILLE HOUSE: And if I can emphasize, that
some of the numbers you cited earlier contest. I mean "The New York Times"
reports that Amazon actually controls about 50 percent of the American book
market, not 40. And for eBook sales, I`d contest those numbers as well. I
know with my own company, Amazon is about 90 percent of our digital sales.
WARREN: That`s huge. And I want - and Amazon defense, and then I want to
give you and Peter.
So Amazon has released a statement in its defense. "If we want a healthy
reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are
competitive against these other media types and a big part of that is
working hard to make sure books are less expensive. We recognize - we
recognize that writers recently want to be left out of the dispute between
large companies. Amazon has made three separate offers to HashSet to take
authors out of the middle. HashSet and their parent company, LaGardere,
have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers." So, Peter, are
publishers just overreacting to what is the 21 century shift to digital?
PETER SUDERMAN, SR. EDITOR, REASON MAGAZINE: This is business negotiation
between two big companies. And I think what`s at stake here is pricing for
books and pricing for readers. And it`s how much it costs to access books,
and that`s what Bezos is clearly focused on. But he`s also focused on, and
this is something that gets overlooked, allowing opportunity for offers.
And he has created a huge opportunity for people who want to write books
and publish books outside of the traditional publishing structure. People
who do self-publishing and people who are making tens, hundreds of
thousands of dollars. Not everyone, obviously. But there are instances,
in which people are making hundreds of thousands of dollars, making a
living writing self-published books. And what`s interesting that doesn`t
get talked about very much here, is that those books are in most cases not
carried in book and - brick and mortar stores. And brick and mortar stores
don`t want to carry Amazon published books. They have taken a hard line
against books that publishers do deals with Amazon where the price is
relatively low. Because brick and mortar publishers don`t like low eBook
prices. Because they view it as a threat to their bottom line. And so,
this is just sort of a battle of industry titans, and it`s what happens.
WARREN: OK, but look, Amazon was delaying the books from HashSet. Paul
Ryan made that statement on CNBC and then all of a sudden, 180 and Amazon
starts promoting his books.
JOHNSON: Within hours.
WARREN: Within hours. I mean isn`t that - It seems to me not to pass the
WARREN: There`s obviously a (INAUDIBLE) game going on here. There`s no
question, right? On both sides.
JOHNSON: But I`ll also point out that every layer of the publishing
industry, not just the publishers, has come out against Amazon in this
fight, including the authors in question, that Amazon is charged being, you
know, you this cannon farther - I think they actually called them
collateral damage. The authors said no. They`ve united together with a
bunch of other authors to stand up against this agreement. That`s the
authors` united organization that`s been taking out full page ads in "The
New York Times" and other papers to say stand up to Amazon.
WARREN: OK, we have a lot more, everybody hang on. We have a lot more,
especially to get to the author statement, after the break. Pure and
simple, is Amazon a monopoly? I`ll bring in just the right expert to
answer that question.
WARREN: As the standoff over prices and profits drags on between
Amazon.com and publishing powerhouse, HashSet, now some of the literary
world`s biggest names are ringing alarm bells about Amazon`s power over the
market place. Hundreds of authors including household names like John
Grisham, Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen King and Elizabeth Gilbert added their
names to this letter sent to Amazon board members urging them to end the
dispute. Meanwhile, members of the authors guild met with anti-trust
officials at the Justice Department in August urging them to investigate
Amazon`s business practices. As both sides dig in their heels, there`re
growing questions about whether Amazon`s massive control over book sales is
indeed a monopoly.
Our panel is back. And joining us from Madison, Wisconsin, Peter
Carstensen Emeritus professor of law at the University of Wisconsin Law
School and senior fellow of the American Antitrust Institute. Thank you,
Mr. Carstensen for joining us. And I want to start with you and ask you,
in your opinion, is Amazon actually a monopoly, and if it is, why isn`t the
government stepping in?
PETER CARSTENSEN, EMERITUS PROF., UNIV. OS WISCONSIN LAW SCHOOL: Well, I
think most of the evidence points towards Amazon being either a monopoly or
a near monopoly in the book publishing or book distribution area. If you
separate out of electric - electronic books, definitely a monopoly.
Probably on the distribution of print books, with a 50 percent share of
their clothes, assuming that data holds up on closer examination that would
certainly make them a monopoly. Under American law, possession of a
monopoly is not in it of itself a violation of the Sherman Act. It is
monopolization that is unlawful. And so one needs to find the willful
acquisition or retention of a monopoly position. And current thinking is
that those acts of willfulness need to also - to be unlawful acts. So,
that`s where the problem resides in terms of finding a violation, whether
it could be established under American anti-trust rules, that Amazon`s
pricing strategy, Amazon`s marketing strategies constitute unlawful
conduct. There`s a second problem in terms of an anti-trust enforcement
plan. Which is what is your remedy? What are you going to tell Amazon to
do that does not wind up being just a profound regulatory regime setting
prices and output? So finally in terms of American anti-trust, our current
enforcement programs are pretty .
WARREN: So let me - let me .
CARSTENSEN: So it is hard to get them to do anything.
WARREN: Let me hold you right there. Because it sounds like you`re
dubious about Amazon violating antitrust laws. And Dennis, you accuse
Amazon of violating antitrust laws, but you raise a bigger point about
Amazon being a threat to our democracy. What is that argument?
JOHNSON: Well, first of all, I try to resonate with what the professor was
saying by saying if it walks like a duck, it talks like a duck, it might be
a duck. I mean, you know, a company that controls 50 percent of the market
place or 90 percent of another market place, I think we have to take this
question more seriously. As for how it impacts with democracy, as you were
saying earlier, this book publishers are all about the stuff of democracy.
We`re the champions of free speech. It`s kind of shocking to me that my
colleagues running the really big publishing houses are not speaking out,
particularly the head of HashSet and the publishers up next, such as Simon
and Schuster and HarperCollins. I don`t know why they`re not speaking out
more bluntly than they are to talk about the fact that the real issue here
is the control of the marketplace of ideas.
WARREN: But we were having a conversation in the break, and both of you, I
thought, were arguing, Heather and Peter that actually Amazon increases
access to books, and therefore in some ways it`s helping democracy
SUDERMAN: I certainly would agree with that. I mean think about what book
buying was like in a pre-Amazon world. You couldn`t get -- not only could
you not get books delivered to your house easily, if you did, it took
weeks. You often would go to even a big box books - you know, one of these
big book retailers and you would not be able to find what you wanted. You
would have to get it ordered. It would take weeks to come in. That`s
actually where the HashSet books, they are supposedly very hard to get
Or - and the other thing that I would note is that Amazon has actually
created a space for independent booksellers to do better than they have
before over the last couple of years, four or five years. Over the last
four or five years, we have seen a rise in the number of independent book
WARREN: OK. OK. Hold that thought.
WARREN: I know you want to jump in. Thank you to Peter Carstensen in
Madison, Wisconsin. And here in New York thank you to Dennis Johnson.
Heather and Peter will be back in the next hour. We have much, much more
show for you.
Up next, the political revolution under way in Ferguson, Missouri.
WARREN: "The St. Louis Dispatch" reports Susan Nichols of St. Louis County
says her Twitter account was hacked. A reporter from the paper approached
Ms. Nichols at her apartment Thursday to ask about a tweet from her account
that read "I know someone sitting on the grand jury of this case. There
isn`t enough at this point to warrant an arrest." The case that tweet is
in reference to, of course, is that of Officer Darren Wilson and his
shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9 in Ferguson,
Missouri. But Nichols tells the local paper it wasn`t her. Asked by "The
Post-Dispatch" if she was hacked, she answered, yes, I was before closing
She again declined a comment in a subsequent phone call. Nichols also told
NBC News that her account was hacked. So, right now we don`t know where
the tweet came from. We don`t know if the grand jury has been compromised.
We do know that an investigation into whether anyone on the grand jury
leaked information is ongoing. We do know that Darren Wilson, nearly two
months after shooting Michael Brown has not been arrested. We do not know
where Officer Darren Wilson is at this point. Though, with his absence, as
MSNBC`s Trymaine Lee reports, as many as ten criminal cases in which Wilson
is a witness are now in limbo. And we do know this, the people of Ferguson
are continuing plans to protest, and in more ways than one. Not just on
the streets, but also in the voting booth. Just look at this report from
the "Christian Science Monitor." Since the August 9 shooting more than
3,000 people in the Missouri City of 21,000 have registered to vote. That
represents an increase of more than 25 percent in voter registration in
just two months. Total voters registered in Ferguson are now 14,428 as of
midday Thursday and still rising, according to the St. Louis County board
That means that in Ferguson, Missouri, more than 90 percent of the voting
age population is now registered to vote.
WARREN: It may have been a while since you took history in high school.
But the debate over how today students learn about America`s past is
becoming a cultural flash point. At the epicenter of the controversy, the
community of Jefferson County, Colorado, the state`s second largest school
district. Last week, high school students across the district walked out
of classes to protest the proposal calling for a committee to review
materials for advance placement history. The reason for the review, to
make sure the course promoted things like citizenship and patriotism, but
not civil disorder. Monday two high schools had to cancel classes
completely after dozens of teachers staged the sick-out in support of the
students and to protest plans to tie teacher raises to student performance.
Thursday night the debate over the AP history course, which is supposed to
help students prepare for college, came to ahead as hundreds packed the
contentious school board meeting. Julie Williams, the school board member
who introduced the proposal defended her intentions, but many students were
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIE WILLIAMS, JEFFERSON COLORADO SCHOOL BOARD: A proposal was in to
increase community engagement, and transparency so people do know what is
being taught to their children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me say to Ms. Williams. Thank you for your lesson
in civil disobedience. And what I learned from you is that there is a time
and place for civil disobedience. And that time is right now if you don`t
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The best of the society to this day, including the
American Revolution, women suffrage and civil rights movement were
undertaken by people causing social disorder. The yearning to improve this
country out of love and respect I call patriotic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: The school board voted three to two, passing our compromised
measure in the cost for more student and the teacher input in the
curriculum review and dropped the controversial section about promoting
patriotism and discouraging civil disorder. But that was not enough to
satisfy many angry students and teachers who once again hit the streets
Friday in a protest they called boots on the boulevard. And they`re vowing
to keep the pressure on.
Joining me now is Sarah Garland, executive director of the Hachinger
report, which covers education issues in America and joining me now from
Denver, Lisa Sillessen, a teacher who has participated in the protest and
Ashlyn Maher, one of the students who spoke out at Thursday`s school board
meeting. Thank all of you for joining me. Ashlyn, I want to begin with.
The school board passed a compromise that doesn`t I include the language
about promoting patriotism, but I have a sense you don`t think that`s
enough. Why not?
ASHLYN MAHER, STUDENT CHATFIELD SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL: I don`t think it`s
enough because if you look at the actual proposal in what was passed, they
are still able to do everything that the original proposal stated. They
say it`s a compromise, but it`s not.
WARREN: So do students plan more protests next week as a result?
MAHER: We do. On October 11th we are planning a district wide protest,
and we are inviting all students and parents from all over the district to
join us at Clement Park. And we are going to show that we are not done and
that we are still here and caring about our education.
WARREN: So, Lisa, this - was about was being taught in the A.P. history
course. But you teach English. So, why are you involved in this? Why are
you taking a stand on this curriculum review?
LISA CILLESSEN, TEACHER, STANLEY LAKE HIGH SCHOOL: Well, there`s multiple
things going on with this board beyond the curriculum review. So, teachers
are very fired up for multiple reasons. One of the things in the original
document that Julie Williams posted was that this committee formation was
to report to the board any objectionable materials. And as a high school
English teacher I can`t think of a single piece of literature that I teach
that doesn`t have something objectionable to someone in it. So, it seemed
like a call for this sort of broad based censorship. I mean that`s what we
really think it`s coming down the pike with this.
WARREN: So, this isn`t just an issue in Colorado. I want to come out to
you, Sarah. In August the Republican National Committee passed a
resolution asserting among other things that "the A.P. history curriculum
reflects a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes
negative aspects of our nation`s history while omitting or minimizing
positive aspects." Tell us more about how this is playing on in other
parts of the country.
SARAH GARLAND, EXEC. EDITOR, HECHINGER REPORT: Yeah, so this has become a
national controversy around this new A.P. curriculum. You`ve had
conservatives around the country raise alarms that it`s omitting certain
things and emphasizing negative things about American history. And the new
curriculum is very different from the old curriculum. And they`re very
right about that. So, for example, the old curriculum, I was looking at
one from 2010, it`s less than 40 pages. And you have a sort of a list of
about 28 time periods during American history and then three, or four, or
five, in some cases sub topics. The new version is more than 140 pages.
It goes into great detail, and the idea was actually to make it easier for
teachers to know what was coming on the test. So, you didn`t have kids
just trying to memorize everything that ever happened in American history.
Instead, you had it focused in on certain areas and certain questions and
the idea was to really increase critical thinking. So what I think you see
right now is a very different view of history education. On the one hand,
I think what conservatives and what the RNC resolution said was that
parents want and then kids want to know the true American history. And on
the flipside, what you`re seeing is the A.P course and what, you know, is
preparing kids for college history where what you`re doing is talking about
claims in history and finding evidence to support arguments around history.
So it`s just a different view of what history should be.
WARREN: So Lisa and Ashlyn, and I want to get you to respond to this.
There`s a member of the Colorado board of education who essentially said
that we should give the U.S. credit for voluntarily ending slavery. Do you
agree with her read of history? And especially considering she`s in a
position of power over the curriculum in the state?
MAHER: I do not agree with her view of history. She actually came out and
said that she was not knowledgeable in the subject and that`s why she was
asking for a committee to review the curriculum, because she did not know
it. And I do believe that she does not know American history well enough
to make those statements.
CILLESSEN: I also think, at least from my perspective, I`m almost thankful
for her having said it because it really highlights the importance of
paying attention to school board elections. Both at the very, you know,
community level like in Jefferson County and also the state level. Because
you sometimes see these people put into places of power of educators who
clearly don`t fully have enough education on certain topics.
WARREN: Thank you to Lisa Cillessen and Ashlyn Moher in Denver, Colorado.
Thank you to Sarah Garland here in New York. The latest on the cases of
Ebola here in America and the outbreak growing at an alarming rate in
Western Africa at the top of the hour.
WARREN: Good morning again from New York. I`m Dorian Warren in for
Melissa Harris-Perry. We begin with this hour with the latest on the U.S.
response to the Ebola crisis. Friday the Pentagon announced it`s preparing
to send up to 3,600 military personnel to West Africa. According to the
World Health Organization, more than 3,300 people have now died of the
disease. Five Americans have now been diagnosed with Ebola. But White
House are urging calm and say the U.S. is well equipped to stop the disease
A freelance photographer working for NBC news, Ashoka Mukpo is the latest
American to be diagnosed. He was working in Liberia this week with NBC
News chief medical correspondent, Nancy Snyderman, and is expected to be
flown to the United States for treatment.
Dr. Snyderman and the other members of her team have not shown any
symptoms. They are also being thrown back to the U.S. where they will be
quarantined for 21 days as a precaution.
Meanwhile in Texas, the first person diagnosed after arriving in the U.S.
remains in isolation at a Dallas hospital. Thomas Duncan arrived in Dallas
from Liberia on September 20th, but didn`t report any illness until four
The hospital treating him mistakenly sent him home when he first came to
the emergency room. Last night hazmat teams cleaned out the apartment
where he was staying and officials relocated four people who have been
NBC news correspondent, Mark Potter, joins us from Dallas with the latest.
Mark, what`s the latest you can report from the ground there.
MARK POTTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Dorian, well, officially the
patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, is listed as being in serious condition, but
there`s been a development involving his family.
His family members are telling NBC News that they believe based on what
they have heard that his condition may be deteriorating. Again, his
nephew, Joseph Weeks, has told NBC that he spoke with in-charge nurse in
the isolation unit after calling to speak to Mr. Duncan and was told that
could not happen because Mr. Duncan is incubated now.
He`s on a ventilator and cannot speak. The family sees that has as a
downward turn and is quite upset at this time. We do not have official
confirmation of that. That is what the family is telling us now.
Meantime, there are still questioning -- there are questions out there
about how the hospital initially handled his arrival to the hospital a week
ago yesterday, a week ago Friday, where he arrived. He presented himself
with some symptoms, but then he was not admitted.
He was sent away with antibiotics. And first the hospital sent out a
statement saying that because of a computer problem, information that he
had given about traveling to Africa did not get from the nurse to the
But now in a statement issued last night all that changed. The hospital
said no, there was no computer problem and that everyone along the chain
should have had that information available. So we still don`t know what
happened at that point. We do know the original story changed in the
statement that was issued subsequently -- Dorian.
WARREN: NBC`s Mark Potter, thank you very much. As Americans process the
news about an American fellow journalist contracting Ebola and the reality
that the disease had made its way to our shores undetected, there is one
question that almost everyone wants answered. Do we have any reason to be
The answer is yes, we should be afraid, but not about Ebola coming here.
We should be afraid of it staying in West Africa. Scientists are openly
worrying about the possibility that Ebola in West Africa will now simply be
an epidemic, but could become endemic in the region.
Epidemics are the things we are used to hearing about on the news.
Outbreaks that spring up suddenly disrupts societies and attract a lot of
media attention for a month or two.
Endemic diseases on the other hand are not often the subject of sensational
news coverage. That`s not necessarily because they are less severe.
Rather endemic diseases are often the kind of permanent plagues that can
devastate entire populations for generations.
Endemic diseases don`t get as much media attention because the death and
damage they reek is so severe and sustained that they become morbidly
normal. Consider a disease like malaria, which is endemic in parts of
Now this current Ebola outbreak, the worst in history, has already killed
more than 3,300 people. The malaria kills about 1 million people every
year. You may look at those numbers and think the Ebola situation isn`t
that bad yet.
But the CDC has warned that without significant intervention, the number of
new cases could double every 20 days and a new report from an international
charity organization says we might be close to that point with five people
being infected every hour just in Sierra Leone.
Right now, this disease has the potential to quickly become so severe that
it cannot be fully stopped. In other words, unless we take serious action
right now, Ebola may soon join the list of diseases that never go away.
Earlier this week, Dr. Nancy Synderman filed this report from the region,
which now serves as a stark illustration of the reality that could become
the new normal.
DR. NANCY SNYDERMAN, NBC CHIEF MEDICAL EDITOR (voice-over): Today we
watched as a 17-year-old girl named Jane was brought to Redemption Hospital
and left in a wheelbarrow looking near death.
(on camera): This used to be the labor board, but now it`s being used as a
(voice-over): After walking through the hospital halls, we find the young
girl and her mother.
(on camera): This is the young woman we brought in earlier who tried to
(voice-over): Still on the sidewalk being questioned and screened. The
mother is now considered at risk for Ebola, and she`ll be evaluated, too.
Doctors here say they are fighting a war against a deadly and unpredictable
WARREN: Joining me now is Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for Global Health
for the Council on Foreign Relations. She received the 1996 Pulitzer Prize
for her coverage of the Ebola epidemic and what was then Zire. Details of
her coverage can be found in her book, "Betrayal of Trust."
And Frankie Edozien, journalist and director of the Reporting Africa
Program at NYU`s journalism school. So Laurie, I want to start with you
and play a sound bite that we played at the top of the show.
It`s of U.S. Homeland Security adviser, Lisa Monaco, at the White House
press conference yesterday. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA MONACO, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: Every Ebola outbreak over the
past 40 years has been stopped. We know how to do this and we will do it
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Laurie, how much should we read into this idea that Ebola may
become endemic in West Africa?
LAURIE GARRETT, SENIOR FELLOW FOR GLOBAL HEALTH, CFR: I`m deeply concerned
about it. I`m deeply concerned that the way the world is now responding to
the West African outbreak is shifting more and more towards the let`s
isolate them. Let`s not let them come to America. Not let them go to
Europe. Keep them there where the virus will simply keep circulating and
circulating and circulating.
If it becomes endemic, it`s hard to understand how it can do so without
going to a lower virulence because endemic for something that killed 70
percent of its victims, which is the accurate number in this outbreak,
would be a very hard thing to imagine.
But nevertheless we are looking at a carnage that is wiping every single
forecast out. Just four weeks ago I was on the show and we were talking
about a WHO hideous forecast by sometime in November there could be 20,000
We`re now at 22,000. If you adjust for the underreporting factor the CDC
has identified of 2.5. You know, barring some massive escalation in the
international effort, we could very well hit Christmas looking at more than
WARREN: Again, staggering numbers, which you always are -- you`re a profit
on this, so to speak. Frankie, I want to bring you in on this and ask you,
in what way may this Ebola epidemic alter the development of West Africa?
FRANKIE EDOZIEN, JOURNALIST: It already has. The three countries we`re
looking at, the health care system is virtually shut down except for Ebola.
And we talked about this a couple of weeks ago. That if nothing happens,
all they`ll be doing is treating Ebola while other people will continue to
And just yesterday I think Bill Gates was the one who pointed out that if
we don`t continue to send more legislations to these countries so that they
can build what American soldiers are doing now, makeshift hospitals and
build roads to actually get doctors to treat Ebola on its own.
And let the rest of the health care system come up, the rest of these
countries cannot do well. I do want to point out, though, that even among
all of this bad news there are some spots of hopes. It`s not that West
African countries are not doing anything.
You know, Senegal took care of its Ebola situation. They had a person.
They took care of him. They did tracing. He did not die. Nigeria, on
October 20th, if all goes well, will be completely Ebola free.
So there are some bright ways of halting. There are people who doing
something. On Thursday, in the United Kingdom, there was a huge conference
with all of these stakeholders saying what are we going to do?
Not only can we pump money and raise money, but we can also try our best to
do things that money cannot buy, which is to get more doctors to go.
WARREN: I want to touch on the response. You mentioned the international
conference in the U.K. on Thursday. I want to talk about the U.S. response
and ask both of you if the U.S. had acted sooner, would we be seeing not
only this case in Dallas.
But to go back to West Africa, let me read you this quote from "The New
York Times" from a couple of days ago. "Two weeks after President Obama
announced that time was running out in the fight the stem the epidemic, the
American treatment center planned here in the center of West Africa Ebola
crisis are still a long way off.
The beds for the first field hospital remained in the hangar at Liberia`s
main international airport, wrapped in plastic alongside the tents,
generators and the medical equipment needed to set up the facility.
Military planners say it will probably be another ten days before even the
first 25-bed treatment center is up and running. Is the U.S. military
capable of moving fast enough to end this crisis off?
GARRETT: They`re capable of moving very fast. The problem is, we should
have been doing all this back in July. We can sit here and do would have,
should have, could have for an hour. It`s not going to get us anywhere.
Now we have to ask ourselves is how can we, you know, do what the world has
never done before? A disaster humanitarian response on the scale of the
tsunami response, but for a long term and committed disease effort.
Now here`s the big problems I`m seeing right now. Almost every NGO and
responder agency I know of is searching everywhere for health care workers
willing to commit to a month or two months on the ground in these
I`ve had a heart wrenching e-mail from one just the other day saying we`ve
figured we need 300. We`ve had seven volunteers. In the U.K., they have
tried desperately to get volunteers to line up. They`re not making it.
The German military did an informal survey. How many members of the German
military would now put their hands up and say I`m ready to go into the
field? They got 2,000, which blew their minds.
But then when they started trying to fly supplies, not one of three German
jets could actually make it off the European continent because they`re in
such bad shape. And that`s Germany.
France, all they`ve committed to poor Guinea is $100 million and 20 French
citizens. That`s it.
WARREN: Stay with me. We`re going to come back. There`s much more to
talk about on here. We`ll be back after the break.
WARREN: Where we left off in the Ebola conversation, I wanted to bring
Frankie back into the conversation. You had a concern about the capacity
to deal with the crisis in West Africa.
EDOZIEN: Yes. One of the big problems with getting volunteers to go is
that they are very concerned about if they do get sick, how will they come
back. Now I travel a lot internationally for work, but wherever I got, if
I do get sick, I can be medevacked back home.
There`s not enough air ambulances to do this. This is a place where
private industry companies can say, you know, we will fund medevac air
ambulances so if these volunteers do get sick, they can be brought back
home to be treated.
WARREN: That reminds me of this issue of capacity actually in the U.S. and
Laurie, just from watching the coverage of what`s happened in Dallas,
there`s of hysteria on the one hand and yet not enough worry it seems on
GARRETT: I was on Capitol Hill yesterday. I spoke to lot of the political
leadership of the United States. I have to say I was stunned by how many
felt the solution was to completely cut off Africa. No visas. No travel.
Keep them out.
And this is completely missing the point. The hysteria should not be about
one person in Dallas. What the world should be hysterical about is that
Africa is facing its greatest catastrophic crisis arguably since the days
of slavery. This could turn into carnage across a whole region if the
world does not assist immediately.
EDOZIEN: That will never work. Keeping them out would not work and the
idea that you can keep out a whole group of people who are America`s
partners whether we like it or not West African nations are partners with
GARRETT: And trying to do that is racist. Let`s be frank about it.
EDOZIEN: Exactly. It is borderline racism and fear, and what we should be
saying is that these are our partners. We want to help them. We want to
contain the epidemic. So that the whole world is in better --
GARRETT: We`re safer if they are safer.
WARREN: In 30 seconds, what needs to be done?
GARRETT: We need about 30,000 health care workers on the ground in this
region. We need to make sure that every neighboring nation in Africa is
ready and that they can all do what Senegal did. Find one case, isolate it
and stop it. The last thing we need is to have this spread beyond the
WARREN: Thank you so much to Laurie Garrett and Frankie Edozien. Up next,
the new subprime lending crisis. Here we go all over again.
WARREN: Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor statistics released its monthly
jobs report, and the news was good better, in fact, than it`s been in the
last six years. The unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent, the first time
since July of 2008 that unemployment was below 6 percent and it continues a
trend of declining unemployment from a high of 10 percent during the
Adding to the good news, following a hiring slowdown in August,
corporations made a robust comeback in hiring last month with 248,000 jobs
added for September. President Obama acknowledged that progress during an
address at Northwestern University in Chicago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We`re on pace for
the strongest job growth since the 1990s. Over the past 55 months, our
businesses have now created 10.3 million new jobs. Now, that happens to be
the longest uninterrupted stretch of job growth in the private sector in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: But a report released on Thursday from the Center for American
Progress tempered the good news about the recovery with this dose of
reality. We have not seen an increase in the labor force participation
rate that is usually indicative of a healthy economy.
In fact, the number of people entering the labor market and being hired for
newly available jobs has declined since the recession ended. And according
to the CAP report, it is as low today as it was in the late 1970s.
What`s worse, that decline can`t be blamed on retiring baby boomers because
we see the same trend in low labor force participation among 25 to 54-year-
old Americans still in their prime working years. And census data released
last month revealed the same mixed news about the recovery.
In 2013 has the first drop in the poverty rates since 2006, a change the
census attributed to an increase in the number of people working full time
year round. And in particular an increase in employment in earnings for
parents with dependent children.
But there`s been no improvement in incomes for middle class households. No
change in income equality and poverty rates basically remain at
Now many of these financially distressed Americans are finding themselves
nearly vulnerable to one of the original drivers of the recession subprime
Only as a recent "New York Times" report revealed, subprime lenders are
reaching into the pockets of poor Americans desperately in need, not of a
house, but of transportation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The process works like this. They target the people
struggling financially the most. They have the lowest credit scores and
they use that as an excuse to charge them loan shark rates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: And a new technology not only lets those lenders track the
movements of drivers, but also cut off access to their cars at any time and
any place if they are behind on payments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like they control my life. If an emergency
happens, my daughter got really sick with a fever, I have no way of taking
her to this the doctor. So for them to control it, and someone have
control over my life, it feels just absolutely helpless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Joining me now is Heather McGhee, MSNBC contributor, Peter
Suderman, senior editor of "Reason" magazine and reason.com, Rebecca
Vallas, associate director for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the
Center for American Progress.
And one of the people who put together that story on subprime auto loans,
"New York Times" reporter, Michael Corkery. Thanks all of you for joining
Michael, I want to start with you because the story was so fascinating
about the role of subprime loans in auto industry. We know that there were
settlements with a few of the big banks, Citigroup, Wells Fargo for their
role in the bad mortgages that caused the recession. Should we be worried
about this new practice in the -- of loans in the industry of cars?
MICHAEL CORKERY, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": It certainly has great echoes of
the mortgage boom. It`s not as big of a market. But the tactics, the
interest rates, the profits that are being made on these loans to some of
the most desperate people in the country who need a car to get to work.
It has very, very similar to what happened in the mortgage crisis and it`s
something my colleague, Jessica and I at "The New York Times" were looking
at all year. And I think regulators are starting to get worried. But
they`re coming late to this. This has been going on since 2009.
Banks, private equity firms are part-time piling in as the private market
for mortgages and shut down. This is kind of the new thing in town.
WARREN: I want you to tell us about the lives of people involved. How
does this interrupt technology work? If someone is driving their car or
they`re at work or picking up their kids, how does this affect the
technology itself? How does this affect the lives of these folks you talk
CORKERY: Well, it`s incredible. I mean, this is, you know, this is where
sort of Wall Street and Silicon Valley meet. This is -- these devices are
installed in as many as one in four cars with a subprime auto loan are
reporting found to have these devices.
They`re called starter interrupt devices. So what happens is, you know,
over the course of a month, you`re driving in your car, it starts to beep.
The first week it`s a friendly beep. On the second week it gets more
invasive and louder.
And as you get closer to your payment, there`s a beeping sound that`s
supposed to remind you, this is the week you owe your payment. If you miss
the payment, sometimes if you`re a disable or three days late --
WARREN: And it`s supposed to be 30 days.
WARREN: In this case, it`s often, one, two, three days.
CORKERY: A lot of people we spoke to said that these devices and the
lenders that use them ignore state laws that require that you`re supposed
to give a person 30 days to be late before you effectively repossess their
In many of these cases, when they`re three days late, they are interrupting
the starter, the ignition. When families we spoke to went to go start
their car, in one case one woman who needed to take her daughter to the
She was having an asthma attack. She went to start her car. She couldn`t.
Her lender called and said well, I`ll turn it back on. But you`re going to
need to pay upwards of $300 to turn it back on.
The amount of control this is giving to the lender is something I don`t
think we, in our reporting, have ever seen in sort of the subprime lending
space. And again, it`s what technology has allowed -- has allowed Wall
Street to achieve.
WARREN: So I want to back up out of this compelling story that you
reported on and Heather, come to you and ask you about the job numbers. So
good news, right? In terms of the economy, unemployment is very low. This
story is one example. It seems lower income and poor Americans are left
behind. Tell us in terms of policy, what we`re doing wrong?
HEATHER MCGHEE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Boy. That`s big. Well, fundamentally
if we just zero in on wages, the ability to meet your basic needs, the cost
of housing, transportation, education, child care, food. That basket of
goods is becoming more and more out of reach for working families.
So we need to raise minimum wage and strengthen the ability of them to have
a voice on the job. We need it to make it easier to form unions
particularly in those low power, low control industries.
Just one thing that is so frustrating about the story you tell is on the
other side, the reason why theoretically lenders should be rewarded with
high interest rates, incredibly profitable loans is because they`re taking
But if I have basically zero risk because I can shut down the car and
immediately repossess it with a click of a button, what risk am I actually
being overcompensated for by making this loan?
So it`s not a question of am I being compensated for my risk anymore? It`s
a question of I can actually just charge this person more because I can,
because they have no other choice.
And given that, that`s coming to be the majority of Americans who are in
that subprime place because of the economic decisions that we`re making to
not have working families` livelihoods and wages be a priority of our
economic policy, I think we have to ask really big questions about the
system that we`re setting up.
WARREN: So Rebecca, I want to get you in on this conversation because the
Center for American Progress looks at not only unemployment, but the long
term unemployed. How does -- looking at the long term unemployed
complicate our narrative about our economic rebound?
REBECCA VALLAS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: That`s exactly right. So,
as you noted, I mean, this is very much a good news job report. I don`t
want to say it`s not. There`s a couple things we need to keep in h mind
before we get out the balloons.
I mean, for starters as you know, the official unemployment rate doesn`t
take into account all the people who have given up looking for work, right?
WARREN: That`s right.
VALLAS: We can`t count how many people those are. It`s certainly not just
the baby boomers retiring accounting for a percentage of people who have
dropped out of the labor force.
But secondly something we can`t forget about is that we still have
3 million Americans who are long-term unemployed. And despite this fact,
and that`s a level I should say that`s 50 percent higher than the previous
record before the recession.
So this is really high levels of long-term unemployment, being out of work
for six months or more. But despite that fact, Congress let federal
jobless benefits expire at the end of 2013, leaving more than a million
Americans and their families high and dry.
That also has an impact on job growth, right? If unemployment insurance
had been extended at the end of 2013, we would have seen an estimated
200,000 jobs added doing the course of 2014. So it isn`t just hurting
individuals and families, but it`s also actually hurting our economic
WARREN: Don`t go anywhere, Peter. I`m going to get you in after the
break. Up next, just how many ordinary Americans does it take to match the
wealth of the heirs of the Walmart fortune?
WARREN: This week the Economic Policy Institute took a look at just how
much richer America`s richest family is than all the rest of us. Just six
members of the Walton family, the heirs to the Walmart empire are
collectively worth about $145 billion.
And it would take 1.7 million American families each holding the U.S.
median wealth of around $81,200 to equal the holdings of those six Waltons.
According to EPI, the gap between us and them has only grown wider over
time, an indication of the falling wealth of the median family and the
steadily rising wealth at the top, including the Waltons.
And now the family is looking to line their pockets with more of discount
shoppers` money as it makes a move to become not only their retailer but
also their bank. This month, Walmart will beginning offering low cost
checking accounts to customers.
Targeting low-income customers who conduct their financial business outside
of the traditional banking system. The fees attached to the banking
products can mean it will pay off big for Walmart. Especially since the
potential customers will be paying those fees are among the 10 million
Americans who the FDIC estimates do not use a bank.
So Peter, I want to come to you first. Because, I tend to think of
Walmart`s relationship between low-income and poor people in terms of how
Walmart treat its workers.
In fact, recently they`ve been visible because of low-wage protests, but
also requiring -- it`s now company policy for workers to purchase their own
On the other hand, I actually don`t know how I feel about this. Why should
we encourage someone to provide banking services for low-income and poor
people who actually need to put their money somewhere?
PETER SUDERMAN, SENIOR EDITOR, "REASON" MAGAZINE: Free checking accounts,
inexpensive banking accounts for people who don`t have them, that`s a good
thing. Walmart is going after a base that banks have found hard to serve,
have shown themselves to be uninterested in serving in a lot of cases.
It`s especially difficult to get a cheap bank account, a cheap checking
account these days now that interchange fees have made the free checking
accounts that used to be pretty common, have basically made them a thing of
The other thing that I would say is that Walmart, you can look at Walmart`s
wealth and the riches it has created for a very, very small number of
people, its founders. You can also look at the benefits that Walmart has
provided, especially when it comes to food prices for the poor.
In 2005, they estimated Walmart saved about $50 billion a year in food
prices for the poor. Now we spent about $73 billion a year on food stamps.
So this is a food stamp sized program that is being run privately. Yes, it
creates huge wealth for a few people, but it`s also creating huge benefits.
WARREN: But you start by saying free checking accounts. I want to fact
check that for a minute. According to "The New York Times" article, the
new accounts from Green Dot will cost $8.95 a month if they have direct
deposit totalling less than $500. They have to put in $500 a month or else
they`ll be charged $8.95.
SUDERMAN: It`s not totally free. It`s free if you put in if $500.
There`s no overdraft. You`re not getting hit with fees you`re hit with at
traditional banks. This is a much better deal.
MCGHEE: Which then raises the question why Walmart is doing this.
Certainly just not out of their benevolent, but you mentioned interchange
fees. Part of the reason why Walmart is doing it, one, they want to get
the data into all of these low income potential customers` bank accounts.
To see when in the month things ebb and flow.
WARREN: It`s a $45 billion untapped market to put that in perspective.
MCGHEE: They`re actually because of Green Dot are not going to -- Green
Dot and American Express are not going to charge them Walmart swipe fees,
which is a big cut out of retailers` pockets. It`s actually benefitting
Walmart in a couple of ways that actually have very little to do with the
fees to the consumer.
I`m definitely one that tends to highlight how they squeeze suppliers and
put local businesses that create more jobs out of business. How incredibly
abusive it has been to its own workers. But I think given the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau`s eye on banking practices, this is a wait and
VALLAS: I think something maybe worth pointing out that further connects
the dots so to speak, since we`re talking ability Green Dot, right, is
other factors that might be influencing Walmart`s decision, which shouldn`t
be that surprising.
I think actually Ned Resicoff had a really smart article on msnbc.com
taking a look at Walmart`s decision. He identifies a number of factors,
one of which is market saturation. They are trying to figure out how to
come into the 21st Century.
Is it going into urban areas? It making their store smaller? But it also
connects to the previous segment. If we have stagnant and declining wages,
then Walmart`s very customer based, which is low-income families, has less
money to spend.
WARREN: Especially when food stamps are cut, which Walmart pays close
attention to, yes.
VALLAS: Their bottom line was hit by the two rounds of snap cuts that we
saw in 2013 and 2014. They`re trying to figure out where to make up the
losses. When there`s 41 million U.S. adults in unbanked or underbanked
households. They`ve seized on a strategy to not only bring more customers
to the stores, but to offer them a product that their competitors can`t
MCGHEE: I have another way that Walmart could do something different and
actually help the economy overall. We have to recognize we`re not just
picking on them because we like to. They are the number one private
employer and they set the trends for large retailers, which is a huge
So we have done research to show with just the money that Walmart spends
buying back its own shares in the market, a completely unproductive thing,
that`s really about inflating the share price, they could actually raise
the wages of their lowest paid workers by over $5 an hour.
We need to be seeing low-wage workers at places like Walmart as the job
creators who need more money to be able to stimulate their local economies.
WARREN: I want to get Michael on this really quickly because Senator
Elizabeth Warren has a very interesting proposal that she`s talked about.
There are 4,000 Walmart stores in America.
But she argues that maybe the post office should be offering banking
services, which they used to do until 1946. There`s 31,000 post offices
around the country, only 4,000 Walmart stores. The question to you,
because you have covered this. Does this raise red flags for you in terms
of the financial services industry?
CORKERY: I think what`s happened after the financial crisis is the
mainstream banks, the ones that we, you know, the government has the most
regulation since the Citigroups, the Bank of America, the JPMorgans.
The profits they can earn from banking low income people don`t compute.
They`re pulling out for the most part. Now what that is doing is forcing
people to the margins. Walmart is trying to meet them in the middle.
They`re not a bank full service.
But they`re not a payday lender. I think it`s too bad on these banks that
bailed out, they are basically abandoning low income people entirely.
WARREN: So much more to talk about. We`ll have you back. Heather McGhee,
Peter Suderman, Rebecca Vallas, and Michael Corkery, thank you for being
here this morning.
Up next, how this week millions of Texas women were put at risk.
WARREN: Just one month ago we told you about a victory in the fight for
reproductive rights in Texas when an Austin district judge issued a
decision preventing the closure of most abortion providers in the state,
and allowing one, the Whole Women`s Health Clinic in McAllen, Texas to
reopen its doors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA FERRIGNO, CORPORATE VICE PRESIDENT, WHOLE WOMEN`S HEALTH: This team
has gone through a lot of difficult times, a lot of negativity, a lot of
saying no to the people that we love. We love this community. We are from
the valley. We love doing what we do and offering services and for many
months we`ve had to say no and so now we get to say yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: That was put in jeopardy when shortly after the state of the Texas
asked the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the
District Court`s finding. And this week the Fifth Circuit responded.
On Thursday, the Appeals Court gave Texas the go ahead to enforce the
sweeping abortion law signed by Governor Rick Perry, which will in effect
close more than half of Texas` abortion facilities including Whole Women`s
Health in McAllen.
That will leave eight clinics to serve the second most populous state in
the country. In a report for msnbc.com, reporter, Erin Carmone writes the
law is now poised to have the most devastating impact on abortion access of
any such restriction across the country.
MSNBC reporter, Irin Carmon, has been covering the story in detail and at
great length, and joins me now. Irin, please help us understand how does
this affect women and in particular poor women in Texas?
IRIN CARMON, MNSBC NATIONAL REPORTER: For anybody who cares about
reproductive justice, anybody who cares about human rights, public health,
the rights of women, this should be a deeply disturbing turn of events.
Basically what has happened is the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has said
you can create impossible burdens on people who need abortions.
There is no law so far that they have said that Texas can put a burden on
women for, even if that law has no basis in medical evidence. They didn`t
even look at the medical evidence so Texas could come tomorrow and say, you
know, this is something a legal expert said to me could say all abortions
have to take place in golden castles.
And claim that`s better for women`s rights. In reality, the women the most
vulnerable, particularly low-income women, women of color, predominantly
Latina women being affected by this, particularly on the border areas, as
of this decision, there will be no abortion clinic for 300-mile round trip.
WARREN: That`s be clear about that.
CARMON: For 900,000 women in Texas of reproductive age, nothing south of
San Antonio or west of it. At this point, the Fifth Circuit Court of
Appeals has said that Texas can put these burdens on women and that`s fine.
It makes a mockery of women`s constitutional rights.
WARREN: So how does this reverberate beyond Texas?
CARMON: Well, essentially since 1992 where Planned Parenthood was decided
by the Supreme Court, it opened the door to say you can`t ban abortion, but
you can put regulations on it. And states have been trying to test the
boundaries of that ever since.
So other states have basically followed in the path of what Texas has done.
Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, which has tried to shut down the last
clinic in that state. They already have many of the similar medically
unnecessary restrictions that Texas passed in place, but they`ve been
blocked by other courts.
If the Supreme Court says the way that the Fifth Circuit ruled in the case
is OK. That you can essentially wipe out abortion clinics and make only a
right on paper, then that opens the door to clinics being shut across the
WARREN: So much more to talk about. Please follow Irin Carmon on
msnbc.com and on Twitter. Thank you so much for covering the story in
CARMON: Thank you, Dorian.
WARREN: You can see much more of Irin`s reporting online right now at
Up next, our foot soldier of the week has news to share on the
unaccompanied children risking life and limb to enter the United States.
WARREN: News can be a fickle business. What`s a front-page headline one
day doesn`t even make it the next. So it is with the border crisis and the
unaccompanied minors who are still crossing over the United States`
southern border with Mexico. Only now, there are fewer.
In August, more than 3,000 unaccompanied minors were detained, which is the
lowest numbers since February 2013. With the White House announcing on
September 6th that executive action on immigration reform is off the table
until after the election, suddenly it seems that images like these are gone
from our collective radar.
This is the image from Brownsville, Texas, that back in June captured the
nation`s attention and propelled the story into news program leads and onto
newspaper front pages. The pictures show a refugee center with children,
children traveling alone without resources, without anywhere to go, laying
on makeshift cots under foil blankets.
At a peak back in June, more than 10,000 unaccompanied minors were
streaming across the border on a monthly basis coming mainly from Honduras,
Guatemala and El Salvador. They told stories of needing to escape
violence, robberies, muggings and drug gangs.
And then it seems suddenly their stories were gone. We saw new headlines
like, number of unaccompanied children crossing Texas border dropped
sharply in July. And the child migrant crisis seems to be over. Gone were
the front-page stories and the news page leads.
Not gone by any stretch, of course, the children. That`s where our foot
soldier of the week comes in. Thomas Ayuso is a field investigator for
Noria Research. He is risking his very life to keep us aware that the
story of unaccompanied child migrants is still very much with us and he has
the images to prove it.
Thomas has been reporting for months, documenting the stories of these
children every step of the way. He`s shown us the slums of Tegucigalpa,
Honduras, where young men are given the choice of joining a gang or losing
their lives, like Donnie.
Donnie was stopped by gang members in his community and asked to join.
When he refused, he was told to leave the country or they would kill him
and his entire family. Donnie wants to come to the U.S. so he can become a
doctor and what he calls a good man.
Tomas has shown us the shelters in Mexico where psychiatric professionals
volunteer their time to offer counseling for the wounds that one feels but
cannot see. He also has shown us the wounds we can see, like Walter from
El Salvador who says gang members came into his house in the middle of the
night, shot him 16 times in front of his wife and baby.
Walter left his home country as soon as he was able to walk again. Tomas
has shown us how the migrants travel by jumping on top of a train they call
the beast where travelers frequently lose limbs when trying to board.
He`s shown us the faces of the young people who are pursuing a safe and
free life. For those who survived the violence, the gangs, the rough
terrain, the element, the ride on that dangerous beast of a train, Tomas
has shown us what they face.
In addition to Mexican and American authorities, they face a heavily armed
militia on the American side of the border. And he has shown us those who
have made it like Saul, who nearly died under the hot Texan sun with
swollen tonsils that made drinking water impossible.
After spending time in and out of detention centers, Saul was one of the
lucky ones who became a U.S. citizen. Tomas has made this treacherous
journey to bare to bear witness because even though the news cycle has
moved on for now, the story has not.
Today thousands continue to suffer through this journey and it`s a story we
can`t afford to lose sight of. Tomas certainly hasn`t. His work continues
to this day. So for his dedication to journalism, to the plight of those
left with no good options and for staying focused while so many others have
turned away, Tomas is our foot soldier of the week.
You can see much more of Tomas` reporting on noria-research.com. That`s
our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I will see you
tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Now it`s time for a preview with
"WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT." Alex.
ALEX WITT: We are waiting right now for a news conference to begin at any
minute with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the Ebola
case in Texas. We`ll bring that to you.
Plus, the new questions about how the Dallas hospital handled that case.
Also, yes means yes on college campuses, the new law in California that re-
examines what consent really means. I`ll talk with a student to see if she
thinks it will prevent sexual assaults.
And what the Olive Garden can tell us about the middle class. Don`t go
anywhere. I`ll be right back.
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