PoliticsNation, Friday, November 7th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Friday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: November 7, 2014
Guest: Joan Walsh; Jason Johnson, Jack Jacobs, Zerlina Maxwell, Chris
Witherspoon, Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, George Clinton
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you for tuning in, I`m live
tonight in Las Vegas.
Breaking news tonight, the White House planning a new attempt to gut
Obamacare in the courts. Today, the Supreme Court announced it will rule
on a lawsuit, challenging a key part of the affordable care act. If
conservatives get their way, millions of people could lose their ability to
pay for insurance.
The White House ripped the lawsuit today, saying, quote, "the ACA is
working. These lawsuits won`t stand in the way of affordable care act and
the millions of Americans who can now afford health insurance because of
it. This lawsuit reflects just another partisan attempt to undermine the
affordable care act, and to strip millions of American families of tax
credits the Congress intended for them to have."
The courts` announcement came while President Obama while met with
congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle, and made it clear he`s
willing to work with members of Congress on key issues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we`ve seen now for a
number of cycles is the American people just want to see work done here in
Washington. I think they`re frustrated by the gridlock. They`d like to
see more cooperation, and I think all of us have a responsibility, me in
particular, to try to make that happen. And so, this gives us a good
opportunity to explore where we can make progress on behalf of the people
who sent us here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He knows the American people are sick of gridlock, but
Republicans still keep talking about how they`ll still try to get rid of
the health care law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Every one of my members thinks that
Obamacare was a huge legislative mistake.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And so the House, I`m
sure, at some point next year will move to repeal Obamacare.
MCCONNELL: The individual mandate, people hate it. So I think we will be
addressing that issue.
BOEHNER: The American people have made it clear, they`re not for
Obamacare. Ask all the Democrats who lost their elections Tuesday night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Except the American people weren`t making that point. Nearly 60
percent of the people who voted on Tuesday said their vote was not about
the law. In fact, less than one-third of them even saw ads about it
leading up to the election. The American people know this fight should be
over. It`s about time conservative law-makers and judges accept that.
Joining me now are Joan Walsh and E.J. Dionne, thank you both for being
E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you,
JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Joan, let me go to you first. They`re still talking about
repeal. And we`re seeing another fight at the Supreme Court. Do you get a
sense of deja vu?
WALSH: Well, they`re not going to give up on this, Reverend Al, we know
that. But on the other hand, I want to tell our viewers not to despair
about the Supreme Court. I could be wrong about this. But I do want to
say it is terrible if they took it. Lower courts had ruled against the
plaintiff. Lower court did not want this to go through. It was not a kind
of split-decision situation where you see the court get involved.
So it`s bad news that they got involved. But it only takes four justices
to take a case like this, OK? So it doesn`t mean there are going to be
five votes to strip the subsidies. It`s horrible because this is
essentially, there`s a typo, the equivalent of a typo in the law, and
that`s what these lawsuits have been about.
SHARPTON: But it`s horrendous they would even use a typo to even put
millions of people at risk.
SHARPTON: You know, E.J., this challenge to the health care law goes after
the subsidy for people who bought insurance in the federal marketplace.
Next year, 37 states will use the federal marketplace, and by 2016, 7.3
million people in those states will be getting subsidies. And you, E.J.,
have written that the law falls apart without the subsidies. I`m quoting
you to you, which go to its central purpose, providing insurance for those
who cannot afford it. So is this lawsuit go undermining the whole law,
DIONNE: Yes, this lawsuit is designed to gut the whole law. And the
reading of the law that this lawsuit is based on is absolutely non-sense
cal (ph). Because Congress could not possibly have intended to write a law
that says what these folks, who are trying to kill Obamacare, claim it
says. And very recently, principal authors of the law, senators Harkin and
(INAUDIBLE) and Congressman Levin and Miller and Waxman, wrote a long piece
in "the Washington Post" saying, no way, we intended the law to work the
way these guys climb it does. We intended those subsidies to be in there
whether states opted into Obamacare or not.
And so, I am a little more worried about the Supreme Court than Joan is, I
surely hope she`s right. But the fact that they took it suggests there
were already four votes on that court who want to throw it out, because
they didn`t have to take this case. And most of the judges who ruled on it
said, there`s no way you can read the law the way this lawsuit from the
conservatives claims you want to. So I`d hate to see conservative judges
usurp political system, the Democratic system and the Congress wouldn`t
even have to repeal it, because this would make a mess of the law.
SHARPTON: Joan, you know, there was the meeting today that we showed of
the president meeting with congressional leaders, saying that people want
to see the gridlock broke, and see people come together in some bipartisan
way on things that will help Americans. We`ve heard from the senator
McConnell in a sort of conciliatory tone and then right behind him, Boehner
yesterday, who was much more harsh in his tone. What`s the state now in
Washington as you read it around potential bipartisan cooperation when you
see the declaration of war again on the affordable care act?
WALSH: I`m very pessimistic. Excuse me, Rev. I`m really pessimistic.
And I really feel that if they wanted to do something in a bipartisan way,
they would actually take up, they could fix this reading error in the law.
That would be a great olive branch to give the president, excuse me, I`ve
got a cold. But they`re not going to do that. I think he`s saying all the
right things, but he`s not going to get cooperation.
SHARPTON: But, you know, E.J., and I`m going to talk about this more in my
next segment, but I mean, we`re talking about millions of people here that
need health care and Republicans seem to not understand that the definition
of compromise is not that you get everything you want. Compromise is not
do what I say. Compromise is, you give, I give, and let`s come to a
DIONNE: Right. That`s exactly right. And I`m afraid I share Joan`s view.
I think that we`re going to have the likelihood of comedy in Washington is
about as great as my beating either Michael Jordan or President Obama in
You know, the signals that are coming out here, especially from speaker
Boehner, but also, I think, when you really listen to him carefully, Mitch
McConnell, is that they want to fight the president. And on health care,
there are actually a lot of things that Democrats and the president would
be willing to do to make the affordable care act better. Some of which the
Republicans might even be able to support.
The good news here, I think, is that there are so many people now getting
coverage. There are so many new advantages to people, like, you know, no
preexisting conditions in this law, that if we really join the fight over
the ACA again, I think Americans will say, no, we don`t want to repeal
this. We want to make it better, but we don`t want it to go away. So if
the Republicans take on this fight, I think there`s a real chance they`ll
lose it, as long as the courts allow the democratic system to operate.
SHARPTON: You know, Joan, enough is enough. I mean, fine, they won an
election. It was a big win for them, but now you have to govern, and the
American people need health care. Yet a recent poll found 89 percent, 89
percent of people without health insurance didn`t know open enrollment
begins this month, November 15th, to be exact. I mean, what do Democrats
need to do to raise the awareness about the law?
WALSH: I don`t know that they can do it alone, Rev. This is the problem.
I mean, we talked about this when the law went into effect last year.
There was great enrollment. They surpassed their target. But they didn`t
-- imagine if more people had known and imagine if they hadn`t had the
Republican messages, this law is going fail, we are going to repeal it, it
doesn`t work. You really need both parties participating and you don`t
have it. So that`s my chief worry here is that there`s no way to counter -
- I shouldn`t say no way. But it`s very hard to counter this constant drum
beat that it`s not working.
DIONNE: When the prescription --
SHARPTON: E.J. --
DIONNE: What I was going to say is when the prescription drug benefit went
into effect under President Bush, a lot of Democrats didn`t like the form
it was in and voted against it, but they were actually encouraging people
to get this benefit. They knew it would be good even though they didn`t
think it was in the ideal form, it would help people out, and you wish that
for civic reasons, the Republicans would say, we didn`t vote for this law,
but it`s really good that people get health insurance.
SHARPTON: But E.J., how do you explain -- what is different about these
Republicans? I mean, explain what is different about this.
SHARPTON: Well, I think the Republican party has been on a journey right -
- toward the right where they threaten to fall off the cliff. I mean, you
know, think about Mitch McConnell. He started his political career working
for a Republican named John Sherman Cooper, who was an incredibly
progressive Republican, a real champion of civil rights. And that was
Mitch McConnell`s past. And Mitch McConnell himself has made this journey
over to the right. Boy, what I wish, that Mitch McConnell would give us a
great big surprise and go back to the John Sherman Cooper Mitch McConnell,
but I don`t think that`s what we`re going to see.
All those kinds of progressive and moderate Republicans have gone away, and
we`ve got a just fiercefully anti-government Republican party that really
would like the government to shrink down and stop giving the kinds of help
it gives to people.
SHARPTON: Voting for failure. I mean, it is no way to govern and no way
to move this country to where it needs to be.
Joan Walsh, E.J. Dionne, thank you both for your time tonight and have a
DIONNE: And you have a great weekend too, Reverend. Thanks.
WALSH: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, a developing story tonight. President Obama sending
1,500 more troops to Iraq to help fight ISIS.
Plus, who killed bin Laden? A controversy over who fired the deadly shot
is erupting within the heroic SEAL team 6. The Pentagon and other SEALs
are furious. Why is this happening?
And when it comes to the economy, Republicans have me wondering if they`re
on another planet. I`m taking them back to reality tonight.
And is feminist a bad word? It`s a growing trend with women celebrities.
We`ll debate that in "conversation nation." Please stay with us. Big show
SHARPTON: Breaking news. The White House announcing moments ago that
tomorrow President Obama will nominate Loretta Lynch as the next attorney
general of the United States. Lynch is currently the U.S. attorney in
Brooklyn, New York. She`ll succeed Eric Holder and has been confirmed by
the Senate twice already as a federal prosecutor.
Lynch would be the first African-American woman to be attorney general,
another historic nomination from this president. I know Miss lynch and
have seen her work. She`s fair and balanced. She has, in many cases,
operated in ways that we agree. Some she did not go in ways we wanted.
But she seemed to always be fair. An excellent choice to continue the work
of Eric Holder.
SHARPTON: I`ve been listening to these Republicans talk about jobs and
health care and immigration. And they seem totally divorced from reality.
Almost like they`re living on a different planet. Almost like they`re from
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re traveling to another dimension, a dimension
where facts have no meaning and rhetoric has no connection to the truth. A
journey into a strange land where politicians` claims are not bound by the
laws of reality. Your next stop, the Republican zone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s right, they`re in the Republican zone. And trust me,
it`s a weird place to be. It`s a place where a top GOP congressman can say
the president is holding back progress on immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If more executive actions are taken, that would make it
difficult for us to always work together. Why do executive orders when you
can legislate a process, which America expects to see?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A legislative process? Is he joking? It is now been 498 days
since the Senate passed immigration reform and the House GOP has blocked
the vote the whole time. But in the Republican zone, it doesn`t matter.
You can say anything you want. You can even pretend the president is
holding up the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: He needs to put politics aside and rebuild trust. This is the
best way to deliver solutions to get the economy going again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Get the economy going? What planet is he on? It is going.
Today, we learned the private sector has added jobs for 56 straight months.
The longest streak on record. And the stock market has gone up like
gangbusters raising 121 percent since the president took office. Only in
the GOP`s bizarre world do these claims even make sense.
Folks, we got to get out of the Republican zone. Because back here, on
planet earth, the GOP is in desperate need of a reality check.
Joining me now in the Republican zone is Jason Johnson. Thank you for
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Glad to be here, Rev.
SHARPTON: Jason, just how far from planet reality, let me put it that way.
Just how far some of these Republicans when it comes to things like jobs
JOHNSON: They`re very far off in the Republican zone now after Tuesday.
They think that even though they elected two African-Americans to Congress
who voted against things that matter to African-American voters that
they`re somehow making progress in diversity. They seem to think they`re
finally going to stop Barack Obama from the terrible things he`s done to
the job market. But unemployment is at its lowest rate in seven years.
The Republicans are stuck in a rhetorical nightmare of non-sense that
hopefully they will figure out in the next two years because they clearly
haven`t figured it out yet.
SHARPTON: You know, the head of the RNC talked about immigration reform in
2012. He said the GOP, quote, "must embrace and champion comprehensive
immigration reform." But this morning, he said, quote, "I don`t believe
most people are interested in comprehensive immigration reform, unless they
are convinced that the border is secure." Is there anywhere these two
statements make sense, besides the Republican zone?
JOHNSON: Yes. In the Republican zone, it makes perfect sense, because
they somehow think that stopping immigration reform is going to help them
finally win Latino voters. Look, it make no sense how many times the
Republicans have contradicted themselves because they always want to be on
the opposite side of whatever President Obama says. There had been more
than enough opportunity, new comprehensive immigration reform, the
Republicans have (INAUDIBLE) in every single time. But somehow, it`s
President Obama`s fault.
SHARPTON: I`ll give you another one. Today, Speaker Boehner responded to
the new jobs report, saying, quote, "wages remain stubbornly flat." But
the speaker refuses to take action on something that would actually address
that, raising the minimum wage. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: When it comes to the federal minimum wage, listen, I used to be
an employee. When you raise the cost of something, you get less of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, is there any chance Republicans will change their tune
on the minimum wage?
JOHNSON: Not likely. And it`s amazing because you just had four red
states vote to raise the minimum wage and then see send senators and
congressmen who say we are going to stop you from raising the minimum wage.
So I don`t understand and I don`t think anyone outside of someone in the
Republican zone can understand, how they can be not just at odds with basic
economics, but at odds with their own Republicans constituents when it
comes to something as simple as minimum wage.
SHARPTON: And in fact, that every time minimum wage has been on the
ballot, including red states this week, it`s passed, even in red states.
Check this out.
We`ve seen 56 straight months of private sector job growth under President
Obama, 56 straight months. And 55 votes targeting the affordable care act
under Speaker Boehner, that`s the Republican zone.
JOHNSON: Yes. You know, supposedly the affordable care act was going to
ruin everything. And yet people still seem to be getting jobs. Somehow
the president has had nothing to do with improving the economy one way or
another, but unemployment goes down.
I`ll give you another one. The Republicans say we can`t do anything about
gas prices until we make the keystone pipeline. I saw gas for $2.75
yesterday. I was amazed. So clearly, their version of events is not
making sense with the actual policies that have been passed.
SHARPTON: Well, I`m on planet reality and fantasy will not ever overrun
reality. You can have your fantasy for a minute, but reality will set in
in the long-term.
Jason Johnson, thank you for your time tonight. Have a great weekend.
JOHNSON: Thanks, Reverend, you too.
SHARPTON: Coming up, who killed bin Laden? The Navy seal claiming to be
the shooter is under fire from his former SEAL team 6 teammates. Why is
this happening now?
Also, we`ll tell you what the actress Selma Hayek said that has a lot of
people angry tonight. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: When did feminism become a dirty word? Selma Hayek is the
latest celebrity who`s made comments raising that very question. We`ll
talk about that.
And about a confession from Jerry Seinfeld that has a lot of people talking
tonight. It`s part of "conversation nation."
But first, who killed bin Laden? That military secret is spilling out into
a public fight. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Who killed Osama bin Laden? Last night we told you about Robert
O`Neil, a former Navy SEAL team 6 member, who is revealing his identity,
claiming he shot and killed Osama bin Laden in that 2011 raid in Pakistan.
But "The New York Times" reports today that, quote, "the other military
officials and SEALs question O`Neil`s account and credited the unidentified
point man with severely wounding or even killing Bin Laden before other
SEALs fired." And that O`Neil actually fired insurance rounds into Bin
Laden`s body after he was down. The man who commands the SEALs is lashing
out in a letter he wrote to all SEALs last week, warning, "A critical tenet
of our ethos is I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek
recognition for my actions. We do not abide willful or selfish disregard
for our core values in return for public notoriety and financial gain. So
why are these seals coming forward, and will we ever know who shot the
bullet that killed Osama bin Laden?
Joining me now is retired U.S. Army Colonel and Medal of Honor recipient
Jack Jacobs. Colonel Jacobs, first of all, thank you for being here.
COL. JACK JACOBS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: How surprised are you that these seals are coming forward to
give accounts of what happened that night at Bin Laden`s compound?
JACOBS: Well, on one level, very surprised. I`ve known lots of SEALs in
my life, and I can`t think of one of them who would come forward and claim
responsibility for having done anything except for having been a SEAL. So
it`s extremely surprising to see anybody do that. But on another level,
because there is a great deal of money involved in advertising this very
significant and important act and action, there are books to be made and
movies to be made in those circumstances. Unfortunately, I`m not surprised
to hear people claim that they were even involved let alone be the guy who
killed Bin Laden.
SHARPTON: You know, Colonel, another SEAL who wrote a book in 2012,
detailing the Bin Laden raid, spoke to "60 Minutes" that same year in
disguise and talked about when the team met President Obama. Listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Did the President ask you guys which ones of you had
shot Osama bin Laden?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. He asked who was the one, and we told him we
wouldn`t tell him.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You wouldn`t tell him, why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s not about who that one person was. You know, it`s
about the team, the helicopter pilots, or the intel folks that keyed this
whole thing up. Who cares who the one person is? Doesn`t matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So they wouldn`t even tell the President which one shot Bin
Laden. Why are they coming forward now?
JACOBS: Well, I think there is money in it. You know, it`s really
interesting, that comment, I think, goes to the heart of what Admiral Losey
just wrote in his public letter about this. It is a team. It`s called a
SEAL team for a reason. Nobody does anything by himself, particularly in
combat. You`re in it to defend the republic, but you`re in it together and
if you don`t act together and if you don`t take responsibility together, if
you don`t support each other together, then nothing gets accomplished. And
to take personal responsibility publicly for having done something that the
team did, that`s -- that indicates there`s something more at work and it`s
SHARPTON: Before we go, I had to ask you about the breaking news today.
President Obama has authorized 1,500 more troops to be sent to Iraq to
train Iraqi and Kurdish forces to fight ISIS. And the President is asking
Congress for $5.6 billion to fight ISIS. What do you make of this new
JACOBS: Well, it`s a slight increase in the troops we have there now. I
think now we have a little over 3,000. It`s not nearly enough. We have to
make a distinction all the time between advisers on the one hand, and
troops on the ground on the other. And I can tell you this, I was an
adviser in Vietnam twice, and I was in combat nearly every single minute
that I was in country. Every single day, to be sure. And you`re not out
of harm`s way just being an adviser. I was wounded myself because I was an
adviser. So trying to make a distinction, saying that, well, we don`t have
people who are going to be in harm`s way, because they`re advisers. I
mean, that`s a pipe dream. We have people who are going to be embedded
with Afghan -- with Iraqi troops, with Kurds. They`re going to be training
them and under realistic conditions, and that includes being on patrol and
being exposed to harm.
So if we think that these guys are not in harm`s way, we got another thing
coming. They are going to be there. The second thing that comes
immediately to mind is the notion of how many people we have there. We
have 1500 or so, we`ll have about 3,000. It`s not nearly enough. If all
we want to do is just to train troops, there are going to have to be troops
on the ground at some junction. They don`t have to be our troops. They
have to be maybe people from the region, but at the end of the day, just
advisers is not going to do the trick.
SHARPTON: Well, there`s going to be a lot of Americans that are going to
have deep concerns about this. Colonel Jacobs, thank you for your time
tonight. Have a nice weekend.
JACOBS: And you too.
SHARPTON: Coming up, we`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We`re back with "Conversation Nation."
Joining us tonight, MSNBC contributor Zerlina Maxwell, the Grio`s Chris
Witherspoon and HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. Thank you
all of you for being here.
CHRIS WITHERSPOON, THE GRIO: Thank you.
CAROLINE MODARRESSY-TEHRANI, HUFFPOST LIVE HOST: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: We start with the big story of the week. Can republican leaders
compromise with the President? We know the leaders had a lunch meeting
with the President today, but can they compromise?
Chris, you`re an expert at reading the real stories in Hollywood. How do
you read this one in Washington?
WITHERSPOON: I think it`s so important that they have to compromise.
Basically, you know, the republicans, you know, because they`re in a
majority right now, they have to come to a middle ground. Because, you
know, it`s just what has to be done.
SHARPTON: What do you think Zerlina?
ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that we saw in 2010 that
the Republican Party ran on creating jobs. Yet when they got into office,
the first thing they did were pass bills in order to restrict abortion
access and health care for women. So I want them to be able to compromise
and I think that they must compromise, because now they have responsibility
of governing the country, I don`t know that I have faith that they will do
it. But I think that, you know, they can no longer block everything that
the President is doing, and then blame him simultaneously for the
dysfunction. Now, they`re going to have to own that dysfunction
SHARPTON: Saying that, we don`t know if we have faith they will do it. I
mean, Caroline, what would give the American people faith? What do you
say? Do you have faith, or are you pessimistic?
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: I`m really pessimistic. I really am. Because look at
this week, I mean, we`ve just had the midterms, we`ve had Mitch McConnell
likely to be the senate majority leader coming out and saying, oh, yes,
we`re all going to work together for the good of the American people. And
what happened today? The Supreme Court is going to be hearing ObamaCare
yet again. I mean, come on! The American people are going to get sick and
tired of this if they keep going back to repeal laws that were passed in
2012, I`m just not that hopeful that bipartisanship is like in the air. It
just doesn`t seem on the cards to me.
SHARPTON: All right, next up, a hot one on our Facebook page, is feminist
a bad word now? Stars like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood,
have all publicly said they don`t consider themselves feminists, claiming
it has negative connotations. Now, you can add actress Selma Hayek to the
list. At the event this week, she said, quote, "I am not a feminist."
Caroline, how did feminism become a dirty word?
SHARPTON: Oh, I don`t know. I wish I did. Because in these situations I
want Gloria Steinem on speed dial.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Because I just don`t know where these celebrities are
getting this information from. I mean, feminism, women`s rights, equals
human rights. It`s really that simple. I don`t understand how it becomes
this kind of complicated political minefield to navigate. Is it that
simple feminism, women`s rights, equals human rights. That is it. It`s
about equality. They need an education about that.
WITHERSPOON: I think a lot of celebrities don`t really know what the word
feminism actually means and they`re still afraid of it because it kind of
comes across as us versus them.
WITHERSPOON: And ultimately I think whenever someone says they are
feminist, they`re judged more harshly. Like Beyonce, she`s kind of, in her
recent video or recent album, she talked about feminism in one of her first
songs. Suddenly, they were saying that she really didn`t uphold all the
feminist, you know, morals and that she was little bit too sexual or she
was twerking. So I guess you can`t twerk when you`re a feminist.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Oh, you can`t twerk when you`re a feminist.
MAXWELL: That is not a rule.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
SHARPTON: But Zerlina, a lot of people are offended.
MAXWELL: Well, I think that, you know, the bottom-line here is that,
feminism means that you think that women are people deserving of equal
rights and if you agree with what I just said, then you are a feminist.
And so the attacks on the word and sort of the misinterpretation of what it
actually means is deliberate. And it`s anti-feminist forces that want
everyone to believe that feminists just hate men, we`re very angry, you
know, we plan about things all the time. And that is strategic, so that it
undermines our voices when we`re trying to speak our feminist truth to
power and say, you know, women are deserving of equal rights. We should be
able to walk without being street harassed in public, we should be able to
go to college without being assaulted. All of these things are speaking
our truth to power and taking the word feminism and putting a negative
connotation on that is deliberate to undermine our voice.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: And it`s just really unfortunate, just to go off on
that point. It`s really unfortunate that we continue to have people in
high profile positions, where they could be doing so much good, so much
educate young women, young girls in this country that it`s okay to be a
woman who wants to stand up for your rights. Because just like anybody in
this country standing up for your rights, you can do that.
SHARPTON: I think if you give the history of what women have suffered in
the country, I mean, it`s like others that have challenged the status quo.
I mean, it just bothers me that there`s a negative connotation. I mean,
Chris, is there pressure from Hollywood? Because these are a-list
actresses and performers saying this. Is there pressure from the powers
that be in Hollywood? That they kind of divorce themselves from
identifying with feminism, even though they are benefiting from it?
WITHERSPOON: I think that ultimately feminism still comes across as kind
of an extreme term to some in Hollywood. And Hollywood folks are so afraid
of alienating any of their audience, making their audience fell as though
that they`re not really relatable. So, I think ultimately they`re just
afraid of kind of alienating their audience, and making them feel like they
SHARPTON: Well --
WITHERSPOON: And bottom line, Salma Hayek, she`s a great woman, she`s
involved in time and changed, and believes in equality, she`s said that.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Right, but in the beginning, she wasn`t a feminist.
So it`s a contradiction.
SHARPTON: Hollywood doesn`t seem to mind offending some of their audience
with misogynist portrayals. But let`s go to comedian Jerry Seinfeld. He
opened up in a candidate interview, the comedian spoke with Brian Williams
and revealed something very personal about himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In recent years, as he`s learned more about autism
spectrum disorders, he sees it in himself.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think, on a very drawn-out scale, I think I`m on the
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why? What are the markers, if I were sitting here
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Um, you`re never paying attention to the right things.
Basic social engagement is really a struggle. I`m very literal. When
people talk to me and they use expression, sometimes I don`t know what
they`re saying. But I don`t see it as dysfunctional. I just think of it
as an alternate mind-set.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Zerlina, he wasn`t joking. And this surprised a lot of people.
What`s your reaction?
MAXWELL: Well, I think this is a wonderful thing. I think that this goes
very far to destigmatize the mentally ill, or anyone that has any type of
mental disability. I think it`s really important, specifically with
autism, because so often with mass shootings and school shootings, autism
is thrown out as sort of this umbrella term, to say, that if a shooter was
autistic, then they must be violent. And so I think it`s very -- it does a
lot to help us understand what autism is and it does a lot to destigmatize
the term and also autism and also as a disorder and it helps us to
understand it more fully and I think humanizes it.
WITHERSPOON: So, oSo,Soften we put a Hollywood celebrities on a pedestal.
And I think that Jerry Seinfeld is an a-list Hollywood celebrity, he`s an
icon. He shows are brilliant. And it just proves that any young kid out
there who is watching or who is following this celebrity news, that
ultimately if they are battling autism, they are battling a learning
disability, that they can overcome it and be as great as Jerry Seinfeld.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Yes. And I think, you know, he does so much work for
autism speaks for example. It`s not like he`s speaking from a position
where he has no idea what he`s talking about. And lots of people are
pushing back today, it`s like, oh maybe he`s clouding the waters little
bit. But I really don`t think so. I mean, he`s put the work in. He
obviously knows a little bit about what he`s talking about. And I think,
you know, I agree with the -- it`s a great thing, destigmatizes, you know,
the idea of autism for a lot of people and there`s so much misinformation
out there. That even giving somebody a broad stroke understanding of hey,
this is kind of what it is, and also it`s a spectrum.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: You know, he was clear to paint this.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: It isn`t a black and white thing, it`s a spectrum, and
you know, I applaud him for doing that.
SHARPTON: Well, I join all of you in applauding him. I think it`s a great
thing and I think it gives a lot of strength to a lot of people and their
families that deal with this. I think it was a good thing. Zerlina,
Chris, and Caroline, thanks to all three of you, have a great weekend.
MAXWELL: Thanks, Rev.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, legendary George Clinton drops by to talk about his
new book and his fights for the rights to his own music.
And did you hear what the little league slugger said to the President? No,
that`s not an old joke. That`s part of Rev Al`s report card for the week.
SHARPTON: In the 1970s, the legendary George Clinton burst onto the funk
music scene like something from outer space. Literally landing a spaceship
on stage, and making an entrance like no one else.
But that was all in a day`s work for the mad scientist of funk, with his
groups Parliament and Funkadelic, Clinton redefined funk for a new
generation, creating a sound all his own.
Clinton`s music set the blueprint for generations of hip-hop and soul
artists. His tracks have been sampled more than just about anybody else.
I recently talked to him about how he`s fighting for all of his musical
rights as well.
Joining me now is the one and only George Clinton, who`s out with a new
memoir which may be the best title I`ve ever seen. Brothas Be, Yo, like
George Ain`t That Funkin Kinda Hard on You. It`s my pleasure to welcome
George Clinton to POLITICS NATION.
Thanks so much for being here tonight.
GEORGE CLINTON, MUSICIAN: How are you doing? Thank you, sir. Glad to be
SHARPTON: You know, parliament started, when you talk about that music, it
started with a doo wop group in the `50s, how did you go from that to
creating a sound no one had ever heard before with p-funk?
CLINTON: So, we did psychedelic Motown, turned it up real loud and called
it funkadelic. And to that, along come Bootsy and his brother, right out
of James Brown`s band. We were able to add horns to our other music we
had. And we couldn`t call it nothing else but p-funk, because now we got
pure funk, we got James Brown, Motown, Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, we got all
of that in one group.
SHARPTON: One of the other things that you know, mythical shows you
created, all the drama with costumes and characters, and of course the
spaceship, but people don`t know much about the music and culture back
then. What were you trying to create and why were you trying to create it?
CLINTON: I was trying to create what the Beatles had did with Sergeant
Pepper, the who had did with Tommy, what hair was on Broadway. I was
trying to create a funk opera. They had a rock opera, they had the concept
going, but I wanted to do the same thing with funk music.
SHARPTON: You said you used to have a drug habit. Now you have a lawyer
habit, that your focus is getting back the rights to your songs from the
record company so your grandchildren could one day benefit. I think it
would surprise a lot of people that George Clinton, the legend himself,
doesn`t own the rights to many of his own songs. How is that possible, and
what are you doing about it?
CLINTON: It`s possible because there`s some predators out there, that`s
preying on all of the artists in the last 30 years. These guys had stole
the stuff from me while I was getting high, while I was cracked out. They
stole and they manipulated, forged bankruptcies and did everything they
could. We`ve asked the Congress to look into it. You know, we`ve asked
the Attorney General to look into it. We`re going to fight this long as we
SHARPTON: Well, I want you to stay in touch with us. I want to keep some
spotlight on it.
CLINTON: Appreciate it.
SHARPTON: I know what happened with James Brown and Michael Jackson
personally and I certainly want to follow you opening this door for
generations it covers. It`s not just about you, George, but it`s about
CLINTON: Right, that`s what I`m talking about.
SHARPTON: The legendary George Clinton, thank you so much for your time,
for coming up and thanks for the memoir and being on POLITICS NATION
CLINTON: Thank you.
Again, his new memoir is called Brothas Be, Yo, like George Ain`t That
Funkin Kinda Hard on You. Make sure you pick it up.
Up next, Reverend Al`s report card for the week, starting with all the
democrats who ran away from President Obama.
SHARPTON: It`s time for Reverend Al`s report card and I`m just thrilled to
hand out grades for the week. My first grade tonight goes out to all those
democrats, who ran away from President Obama this midterm cycle. Guess
what? They lost. These donkeys get a C for lacking courage. Maybe I`ll
even throw in a "need improvement" too. My next grade tonight goes to the
Supreme Court. The Supremes are taking up the health care law again. Even
though it`s on its way to helping 25 million Americans. They get a b for
boo! And I may just flunk them next time. Finally, special visitors at
the White House, the Little League National Championship team, Jackie
Robinson West, from the President`s hometown of Chicago, one ballplayer
stole the show when he challenged President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I told the President, I wanted to play him in basketball
because I know he`s a real good basketball player and he plays a lot of
people that comes to the White House. And he said he wouldn`t play me
today because it was raining. But he said, the next time he comes to
Chicago he`ll find us and we`ll meet up and play basketball.
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: He pretty much told them -- the President told Marquis
that he would post him up and he needs to grow a little bit more before
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I say, give an A to Marquis Jackson, actually A-plus for
courage. More than those democrats showed this week. Thanks to all of our
students today, pass, fail, or somewhere in between. Reverend Al`s report
card is ready to make the grade.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Have a great weekend. "HARDBALL"
starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2014 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2014 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of
MORE FROM POLITICSNATION
Add PoliticsNation headlines to your news reader: