PoliticsNation, Monday, November 17th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: November 17, 2014
Guest: Jason Johnson, Joan Walsh, Michael Kay, Kendall Coffey, Faith
Jenkins, Chris Witherspoon, Liz Plank
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, the leader of the GOP calls for a government shutdown.
That`s right. El Rushbo is calling on the GOP to defund the government and
trigger a shutdown over the president`s immigration plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: That`s an unwritten rule in
Washington, whatever the government gets shut down, no matter who is
responsible for it, the Republicans get the blame and as such the
Republicans take a giant weapon out of their arsenal of ammunition. It`s
time to man up and start dealing with this. They were not sent there to
govern and participate and compromise in advance a little bit up. They
were sent there to stop it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Rush Limbaugh sees the shutdown as a giant weapon. And he`s not
alone. The right-wing group Heritage Action which cheered on last year`s
shutdown is back at it.
Quote "a long-term funding bill is a little more than a blank check for
And many house Republicans also want to use government funding as a weapon.
Congressman Paul Gossa said quote "I am insisting on that."
Congressman Ted Yoho called it a great idea.
And congressman Steve King demanded Republicans uphold the constitution
come what may.
And here is what a top GOP senator said about the shutdown talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Very briefly you`re saying that you don`t
think that Republicans should take the bait, if you will, and do anything
to shut down the government?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it doesn`t sol of the problem, Chris. But look,
we`re having those discussions. We`re going to continue to meet about
this. The house leaders are talking about it. The Senate leaders are
talking about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: They`re having those discussions. They`re talking about it. So
far the threats aren`t scaring the president.
At a press conference in Australia before coming home, he said he will act
and prevent millions of deportations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I waited for over a year for
Speaker Boehner to call that bipartisan bill in the house. But, as I`ve
said before, I can`t wait in perpetuity when I have authority that can
improve the system. There is a very simple solution to this perception
that somehow I`m exercising too much executive authority. Pass a bill I
can sign on this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s now been 508 days since the Senate passed an immigration
bill, and the House has refused to even vote on it. The president is going
to do the right thing no matter what kind of threats we see from the right.
Joining me now is political science professor Jason Johnson and Joan Walsh
of salon.com. Thank you both for being here.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Glad to be here, Rev.
SHARPTON: Joan`s last article, the latest article is called McConnell`s
looming apocalypse, GOP conservatives plan budget show down.
Let me got o you first, Jason, I want to come back to you on that, Joan.
Could Republican, Jason, really shut the government down all over again? I
mean, would they really make the same mistake twice?
JOHNSON: Well, this is the problem, it didn`t turn out to be a mistake.
They ended up winning in 2014. The voters didn`t make the Republicans pay
for shutting down the government for no reason in 2013. So strategically
and symbolically, they have no reason to worry about it now. They can shut
it down two or three more times before Obama leaves office. They don`t
have to worry about getting reelected. So I think it is a 50/50 chance.
SHARPTON: You think it is a better than 50/50 chance.
JOHNSON: Yes, definitely.
SHARPTON: Joan, can the so-called grown-ups in the GOP really resist all
these calls for a shutdown and impeachment? I mean, are the grown folks
are going to take charge here?
JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: We`ve been waiting for the grown
folks to take charge since the president took office the first time, you
know. He want a mandate, he had an a amazing election. They were going to
have to soul search and come to the conclusion they were going to have to
reach out beyond their ageing white face. That never happened, Rev.
So I think people who are counting on them to do it now including some
sources in the White House who seem to think McConnell is the grown-up. I
think it`s a very vain hope. I think what happens when they do this, you
know, now McConnell promised he`s not going to let them shut down the
government again. OK, let`s say he wants to stand by that.
They still think that tolerating this talk in saying OK, what maybe we will
go along with the short-term budget deal. They think that that is going to
take some of the fire out of their base. They are going to dissipate their
anger somehow through caving in on them on these smaller things. But these
smaller things always lead to a bigger confrontation. It empowers the
right wing. It doesn`t let them blow off steam.
SHARPTON: But you know, Jason, senator Mitch McConnell who Joan mentioned,
he says he doesn`t want to shutdown as Joan has said, but over the summer
he openly talked about fighting fights with the president over spending
Quote "we`re going to pass spending bills and they`re going to have a lot
of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy." And quote "no money
can be spent to do it this or to do that. We are going to go after them on
health care, on financial services, on the environmental protection agency
across the board.:
I mean, isn`t this essentially daring the president to issue a veto,
possibly triggering a shutdown over issues that have nothing to do with
JOHNSON: Of course, Rev. You and Joan, you guys -- we`re all clear on
this. The Republican Party have been poking Obama in the chest for years
saying, hey, hey, we dare to you do something although we`re not really
going to do our jobs.
They want a shut down. They want to shut down the government. They want
to shut down this presidency. The problem is, this is not an issue that is
a winning issue for the Republican Party. It hurts you with Hispanic
voters, It hurts you with voters in the south. It hurts you with
millenials. And ultimately, for national security reasons and economic
reasons, if we don`t find something to do about the large number of
undocumented people in this country, it harms all of the United States. So
I think they still going to try something. I think they can do it but it`s
foolish and it`s a losing long -term strategy.
SHARPTON: I mean, I just maybe I am in another world. But all of the real
ordinary Americans that got hurt last time. I mean, government public
workers. They act like thy just of no consequence, like they are just the
collateral damage to our ambitious. And it`s frightening to think these
people are in charge and could care less about public servants working for
the government that would be put in dire straits because it is. We saw it
WALSH: We saw it last time. And we saw a $24 billion hit to the economy
in lost growth and productivity because of the shut down. There was
collateral damage I think a lot of major Republican donors do not want to
see a shutdown. They don`t want to see another fiscal cliff. They don`t
want these gains anymore.
SHARPTON: Wait a minute, I want -- because I want to ask you when you say
the fiscal cliff, because here is what you wrote about the pressure that
the GOP shutdown threats are putting on the leadership, Republican
This is Joan to Joan. Quote "with conservatives vowing to use their budget
powers to fight Obama`s promised executive action on immigration,
McConnell`s commitment to governing will be tested early and often."
Now, is this not a classic dilemma that you are talking about, the far
right keeps pulling the party off the political cliff?
WALSH: Yes, it is it is. And you know, and they abet them. They ask --
they tell their pay masters that they want to control them. And they tell
the country that they now want to govern and to say they are going to be
But at the same time they need the right wing of their party and they
placate them and they let them have -- they let them have little showdowns,
at least to bigger showdown. And by constantly saying, Rev., that this
president is lawless, he`s a tyrant, he`s the most dictatorial, they`re
inflaming their base. They are really making their base believe that when
this president does this, he`s doing something illegal. And that is if you
believe them, then, why wouldn`t you want to impeach him or minimum shut
down the government?
SHARPTON: But doing something illegal, Jason, the president made a point
that he`s taken fewer executive actions than past presidents. Listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: With respect to executive actions generally, the record will show
that I have actually taken fewer executive actions than my predecessors.
Nobody disputes that. What I think has changed is the reaction of my
friends in Congress exercising fairly typical exercises of authority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Other problems changed since President Obama`s take in office,
JOHNSON: I have no idea. Maybe the lighting on him is a little different.
Maybe there is somebody`s name. I mean, look, no one screamed when Reagan
did this back in 1987. You know, the president is attempting to do his
job. And I think what`s really important, Rev., to notice what the
president said in his comments is, he said look, as soon as Congress signs
a bill and gives me a bill I can sign, I`ll crumple up my executive order.
He said he wants to work with Congress.
SHARPTON: Jason Johnson and Joan Walsh, thank you for your time tonight.
I`m going to have to leave it there.
WALSH: Thanks, Rev.
JOHNSON: You thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, a gruesome ISIS video. Now the hunt is on for the
killers. Did they leave important clues?
And developing news out of Ferguson, Governor Jay Nixon declares a state of
emergency. Does it mean the grand jury decision is coming soon? That plus
a new video of officer Wilson moments after the Michael Brown shooting.
And Beyonce`s sister he puts a ring on it and everyone got along.
Conversation nation is ahead.
SHARPTON: The governor of Missouri declares a state of emergency in
Ferguson activating the National Guard. Why now? What does it tell us
about the grand jury? That`s ahead.
SHARPTON: Heartbreaking words today from the family of Peter Kassig.
Kassig was the latest American to be beheaded by the terror group ISIS. In
a video that`s different from all the other videos the terror group has
released. In the new tape, the execution appears to be the same man with
the British accent seen in other videos. But this time he`s seen with
buildings in the background and identifiable landmarks on the horizon. The
executioner even revealed the town he`s in making no attempt to conceal his
location. The video also shows unmasked ISIS fighters preparing to behead
16 Syrian prisoners.
It`s the first time we`ve seen the faces of the ISIS executions. And
today, the French government identifies one of them as a French citizen.
Right now, intelligence experts are analyzing the video trying to find
these killers and figure out if ISIS is becoming more careless or simply
more brazen in their attacks.
Joining me now is Michael Kay, retired senior British officer and military
strategist, now a foreign affairs correspondent.
Thank you for being here, Michael.
MICHAEL KAY, FORMER ADVISOR TO THE UK MILITARY OF DEFENSE: Good to see
you, Rev. Thanks very much.
SHARPTON: Why was this video different? Why would ISIS show where they
KAY: I think it`s a great question. And I think what we have to
understand is that up until now everything that ISIS has done has been
incredibly calculated. So as you pointed now, they highlighted the area
they were in (INAUDIBLE). They`ve done that for a reason.
And I think having spoken to sources already about this, I think what they
are doing is, is they`re really aligning themselves to more of a cult than
they are of a terror organization. (INAUDIBLE) is significant, I mean,
significant for a very good reason because that is where prophet Muhammad
said the day of judgment would occur after the four (ph). I mean, it was
SHARPTON: So they wanted to send a message by saying they were in Dabiq
KAY: Absolutely. Now, what the message is, is analysts and intelligence
official are pouring over. But what I think it does is every time one of
these videos comes out, Rev., it exposes them in a different way. It
releases a little bit more information. And I think what we`re seeing with
ISIS in the brutal nature in which they attack whether the Sunni, Shia,
Christians or Jews, what we are seeing is yes, it`s brutal. But what it
also does is it cements the nature of the perpetrators and what they are
doing. So it actually binds the perpetrators into this cult.
SHARPTON: Now, are they sending a message showing these other executioners
with their mask on?
KAY: I think what`s really interesting here this is the first time we`ve
seen a Syrian regime in the same video that we have had, a westerner. I
think what is also really interesting about this video is there was no
particular message from Peter Kassig or Abdul Rahman Kassig because he
converted to Islam. They weren`t interested in giving the message away.
But what also really interested in is they still have John Cantlie. John
Cantlie is the UK journalist, and they`re using him in a journalist`s role
to get across a western type message as they are John the jihadi, who is
the British man that has been leading the executions. So they`re kind of
using people as pawns in a number of different areas in a number of
different ways to get across a message that they seem to be wanting to
SHARPTON: How could the U.S. use this video to track down the ISIS killers
or for that matter, of hostages?
KAY: Well, I think ever since we saw the brutal video of James Foley being
executive and murdered John the jihadi, I think intelligence analysts have
been pouring all over these videos. The latest one, certainly the latest
information that we have. Rev, is the French have certainly identified the
catholic man from Normandy who was part of the beheading. American and UK
intelligence services will be doing exactly the same thing.
Now, identifying them is one thing because obviously they`ll be able to go
back, be able to track what their routes are, they will be able to go and
speak to family and friends and identify kind of what the motives were, if
you like, trying to get into the psychology of what turns someone from
being, you know, a good person on the streets of London or America or
Europe into converting, you know, through radical Islam what actually is
the process of being disenfranchised. How did that come about? Was it
through the imams, the mosques, what were the reasons for that?
SHARPTON: Given your expertise, do you think they`ll find something, the
KAY: I think the longer it goes on, I do. But the problem is at the
moment is when you`re looking at actually apprehending someone, you need
ground forces, you need boots on the ground. You need -- I used to
basically hunt Al-Qaeda in Baghdad for many years. I used to drop special
forces off on high value asset targets in the middle of Baghdad central.
Now, we were working on months if not years of intelligence. We would be
using various spiders of intelligence networks to identify who was
responsible for what and then through a process of listening to people over
mobile phone networks and following them through image intelligence, you
would identify and learn where they were, what their tracks were, called a
pattern of life. And over a period of time you`d understand what the
movements were so you would be able to apprehend and, you know, do what you
needed to do.
So I think these things do take time. And I think without boots on the
ground, we have boots on the ground in Afghanistan, we have it in Iraq. We
have done have it in Syria. And the reason, Rev., we don`t have it in
Syria is because the actual problem, the root of the problem, the source of
the problem to ISIS isn`t being address, and that unfortunately goes back
SHARPTON: Michael Kay, thank you for your time this evening. Very
Still ahead, state of emergency in Ferguson. The National Guard activated
ahead of the grand jury decision. Could it affect how those jurors
But first, it`s time for a little reality checkup when it comes to
Republicans and the affordable care act, we got you next.
SHARPTON: Grab the popcorn, America. After their last flap, Republicans
are getting ready to release a new movie. It`s called repeal the sequel.
And, believe it or not, all the same cast members from the first one are
back. You remember them. Here is a sneak peek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The house, I`m sure at
some point next year will move to repeal Obamacare.
SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: I do think a vote on a full repeal measure is
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Virtually all of us would like to see
it pulled out root and branch.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Now is the time to do everything humanly
possible to repeal Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Come on! At least try out some new dialogue. Couldn`t they
come up with something a little more original?
But we`ve seen how this movie ends. Over seven million people enrolled in
health care during the ACA`s first open enrollment period. And this
weekend the marketplace was open for business again, over 500,000 people
visited healthcare.gov and 100,000 people applied. Those are some
blockbuster numbers, but this isn`t about numbers. It`s about real people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m paying out of pocket now to go to the doctor and
to get medication, and it`s very expensive to do that. So that`s why I was
one of the first in line today to make sure I get coverage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least one niece applied for that. Now that she has
Obamacare, she is going to be able to have an operation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It made a difference. He had surgery before when we
didn`t have insurance and he had to pay for everything. Now, we are sure
that if we`ve an emergency we`re going to be covered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The affordable care act is working. Even if that doesn`t fit
the GOP script, they`ll keep coming and we`ll keep getting them. Do the
Republicans think we`d ignore another box office bust? Nice try but I give
this one-two thumbs down because we "got you."
SHARPTON: Developing news out of Missouri tonight, where Governor Jay
Nixon today declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.
He`s preparing to send them to the St. Louis area when a grand jury decides
whether to charge Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown.
That grand jury decision could come at any time and as we wait for it,
we`re seeing and hearing from Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson right
after he shot and killed Michael Brown. In the video, he`s seen leaving
the police station for the hospital, just two hours after Michael Brown was
killed. A second video shows him returning a few hours later. And in
another audio clip from Ferguson police, radios we hear his voice for the
first time. A dispatcher is heard saying, police are looking for two men
who stolen cigars from a market. At noon Officer Wilson asked if he could
help find them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARREN WILSON, FERGUSON POLICE: Twenty one to 25 or 22. You guys need me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Wilson then reportedly stopped Michael Brown at 12:02. He
radioed this in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILSON: Twenty one. Put me on Canfield with two and send me another car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The shooting happened just after that call. We learned the
entire interaction lasted 90 seconds and today as we wait for the grand
jury so many questions remain. Legal experts told "The New York Times" the
most likely charges range from everything from second-degree murder to
involuntary manslaughter in the second degree or he might not get charged
at all. So where is this going, and do these new videos have any impact on
Joining me now are former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey and former
prosecutor and host of "Judge Faith," Faith Jenkins. Thank you both for
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Sure.
FAITH JENKINS, HOST, "JUDGE FAITH": Thanks, Reverend.
COFFEY: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: We`ll get into the possible charges in a minute. But Kendall, I
want to ask about this new video. How are lawyers on both sides try to use
COFFEY: Well, I think lawyers for the prosecution`s side would say, look,
if there were a prosecution, there`s no evidence of injuries much less
injuries that indicate serious body injuries or somebody that thought they
might be facing death. So at least as far as those videos go, they do
nothing to exonerate Officer Wilson.
JENKINS: I think what Kendall is saying is right. When you -- this
reminds me of George Zimmerman, when they released the video of him walking
into the police station after all those reports had come out that he had a
broken nose and all those other things.
JENKINS: And basically, you can`t tell from a video how a person is
injured just based on video alone looking at that in a vacuum. Now the
grand jury has probably seen this video, but this is just a snapshot of
what we`re seeing. They`ve probably seen the full range and scope of all
of the evidence at this point if all the evidence has now been presented to
them. So you can`t just look at this video and decide whether or not a
person is injured but, yes, the argument could be made from the
prosecutor`s side that this is not someone who was in a life-and-death
struggle perhaps based on the video.
SHARPTON: If the prosecutor made that argument --
SHARPTON: But I want to hear from both of you on this, too. As I
mentioned "The New York Times" says, legal experts believe four crimes are
most likely to be considered in this grand jury. There are second-degree
murder which could mean 10 to 30 years in prison, voluntary manslaughter,
which has a penalty of five to 15 years in prison, involuntary manslaughter
in the first degree, up to seven years in prison, involuntary manslaughter
in the second degrees up to four years. What do you think?
JENKINS: Well --
COFFEY: Well, based on -- you go ahead. I`m sorry.
JENKINS: It depends on how the prosecutor presents this case to the grand
jury. In Manhattan, for example, when we present police shootings to grand
juries, we may ask them the first question after the evidence has been
presented, we may ask him the first question. Do you think this shooting
was justified? I`m talking about police shootings.
JENKINS: The first question, do you think the shooting was justified? If
the grand jurors return a vote of yes, then they may not get to the second
question of what charges should be considered based upon the death of
another person. So he it all depends on how the prosecutor decides to
present and charge the jurors on the law.
COFFEY: Well, and this isn`t being presented the usual way that
prosecutors deal with a grand jury. They`re getting all of the evidence
kind of thrown at them. The prosecutor is going to list the elements of
the different crimes, but that`s not the way it`s normally done.
Prosecutors typically with police investigate. They do an investigation
and then they structure a presentation to a grand jury based on their view
of the factual narrative that is compelling that can be proven. It`s a
matter of leadership with the grand jury and here all the prosecutors are
doing is basically standing back, giving them some legal generalities and
telling them to figure it out for themselves.
SHARPTON: Which is unusual because -- I want to bring something else on
that, Kendall, for your reaction. The grand jury itself isn`t operating
like a typical grand jury. "The New York Times" reports, quote, "Routinely
grand juries are virtual rubber stamps for prosecutors, approving the
proposed indictments at the hearing from a few witnesses. The Ferguson
proceedings have been prolonged and exhaustive and some ways more
resembling a criminal trial than a normal grand jury hearing," Kendall?
COFFEY: Very accurate. And most of us know the grand jury processes that
we know and love are heavily led by prosecutors. They do it ethically,
they`re honest about the evidence, but they pick the evidence that supports
their narrative. That wasn`t done here and instead what you have is an
approach to grand jury that seems to maximize cover for the prosecution
office and, frankly, minimize the risk that there will be serious charges -
SHARPTON: But it`s Faith -- it is a different use and some would say,
including me -- I wrote in my column today -- a misuse of the grand jury
because a grand jury is not there to determine guilt or innocence. Grand
juries there to raise the question saying --
JENKINS: Probable cause.
SHARPTON: There`s probable cause, we must proceed to a trial to find out
if there`s guilt or innocence.
JENKINS: Right. Police shootings can be a little different. But to what
Kendall was saying normally prosecutors go in, they make a decision. This
is why you hire the prosecution or you elect the ones that you elect
because you want people who have good judgment to make decisions on cases.
And here I think when you look at the grand jury and the way it`s being
presented to the grand jury, this is a prosecutor who has decided I`m not
taking a position. I`m not making a decision and probably what is the most
high-profile case of his entire career. He`s decided I am taking a step
back. I`m putting all of the evidence before these citizens and I`m
letting them decide. The problem is, you know, this is not a trial so you
don`t have lawyers arguing the evidence and analyzing the evidence and
presenting the evidence in such a way of making those legal arguments to
these non-legal experts. And that`s where people are concerned about the
grand jurors being confused about all of this. The volume of evidence
being submitted to them.
SHARPTON: Kendall, could they also be sending a subliminal message to them
that I`m not putting my weight behind this by recommending or leaning
toward any legal issue here?
COFFEY: Well, absolutely that`s the message. And that`s anything but the
message a grand jury ordinarily will receive from the prosecution.
SHARPTON: And that is the problem. Kendall mentioned, or I think you,
Faith, that the video of the grand jury probably has seen the scope of it.
But the lawyer for the family, Attorney Benjamin Crump says, he hopes
they`ve seen these videos at all because we don`t know what they`ve seen
because only the prosecutor controls that. Let me show you Ben Crump, the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: I would hope that they got to see
this video and they asked the same questions that everybody in America is
asking today. Where`s his blown-out orbital eye fracture, why are the
police two hours later walking around normally and the police department
and his lawyer -- why isn`t he at a hospital saying, I can`t see? You
don`t have any of that. And so, it`s troubling to Michael Brown`s family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But the question is we don`t even know if that video was shown
to the grand jury because you don`t know what is shown and not shown in a
grand jury proceeding.
JENKINS: But we do know what the prosecutor did say in the beginning, and
that was he was going to present all of the evidence to these jurors, put
it all in and let them make a decision. So, presumably if he did that then
this video was shown. The bottom-line is Rev, whatever happens in the
grand jury, they choose to indict or not to indict. The argument can be
made that this is not just a grand jury`s decision. It`s the prosecutor`s
JENKINS: Because it`s the way he presents the evidence in the case. And
so, the prosecutor can`t hide behind the grand jury completely saying,
well, this is their decision and we have to just go with that. This is
also his decision.
SHARPTON: Kendall, talking about decisions, the state of emergency
declared by the governor of Missouri today, how do you read that? How will
that impact the grand jury decision?
COFFEY: Well, I think the grand jury is being told to ignore all those
concerns. I think they probably will. Obviously there`s an assumption
that the community is not going to react well, and I think it confirms what
all of us have assumed, that the word inside that around that process is it
there isn`t going to be an indictment. And that`s why this concern is so
elevated. And, you know, if have to say, I never thought that the local
grand jury was going to return charges. I hope, even though we`re getting
some signals the feds aren`t going to indict either, but I hope that that
is seriously examined.
SHARPTON: Well, I think that there`s a lot of us that will call for --
continue to call for that examination I have because we need the truth out,
and we cannot do it in a secret Grand jury proceeding that isn`t even
behaving like a grand jury. Kendall Coffey and Faith Jenkins, thank you
both for your time tonight.
JENKINS: Thank you.
COFFEY: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, Jimmy Kimmel`s celebrates national unfriend day. Who
are you unfriending? A TV anchor wears the same suit every day for a year
to make a point about sexism. And Beyonce`s sister gets married.
"Conversation Nation" is ahead.
SHARPTON: We`re back with "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight
MSNBC`s Krystal Ball, The Grio`s Chris Witherspoon, and Liz Plank from
Mic.com. Thank you all for being here.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks for having us, Rev.
SHARPTON: We start off with politics. Tomorrow it will be two weeks since
the election. In the past we`ve seen presidents at this stage argue that
they are still relevant. I mean, that was the case with Bill Clinton. But
no one is saying that with President Obama. In fact, what`s different is
this seems like his moment from immigration to the environment to ISIS. It
seems like the GOP`s entire existence revolves around how President Obama
will act. Krystal, it seems a lot of mainstream press is surprised at how
consequential the President is it at this point. What`s your reaction?
BALL: Well, you have to keep in mind he still has the power of the
presidency. He still has the veto pen and republicans still don`t have a
60-vote filibuster proof majority in the Senate. So the President not only
still has a great ability to block bad legislation coming through and a
lot of leverage there in terms of deals that he can craft but he`s also
seeing that there`s very little that he`s actually going to be able to work
with republicans on. So, like on immigration reform, the fact that
republicans have been unwilling to act has actually put the ball in his
court. Look, I gave you all a chance. Now I have to do this alone. He`s
also over the past year really made climate change a huge priority in terms
of what his legacy will be brought in John Podesta (ph), something that he
really cares greatly about. He`s been working on this deal with China.
Major deal with China, major agreement really shifts the ground in terms of
climate change going forward. So he`s doing everything he can with the
great power that he really still has.
LIZ PLANK, MIC.COM: Yes. And I think we have to put this all into
context, right? In a lot of ways, this was a typical second term election.
So, the President`s party always loses a certain amount of seats. Yes,
this was a particular shellacking. But -- and more particularly voters
voted for very progressive policies, we saw it in a lot of ballot measures
even conservative people agree with things like the minimum wage.
SHARPTON: The minimum wage.
PLANK: So, I`m not surprised that the President is going ahead with his
SHARPTON: But are you surprise Chris that he`s still so relevant, that he
is the A, number one issue, discussion piece, all of that.
CHRIS WITHERSPOON, THE GRIO: Oh, totally I think, I mean --
SHARPTON: I mean, President Clinton say, I`m still relevant. He hasn`t
had to say that.
WITHERSPOON: I mean, Barack Obama translates his politics, he comes over
into the world of entertainment, into Hollywood. Everyone cares about this
nation and about the policies that are surrounding this nation. I think
it`s great to see him come back. So many folks thought that the Democratic
Party was -- it was the end of the world for the Democratic Party. But
it`s great to see Obama shaking it off like Taylor Swift says.
BALL: They must keep in mind, too. I mean, the entire republican strategy
has revolved around opposition to this president. So that gives him a
certain power as well.
SHARPTON: Let me go on to the next topic. They say clothes makes the man
but they also make a statement. After his female co-host was routinely
criticized by viewers about her on-air outfits and Australian TV anchor
decided to conduct an experiment. So, he`s been wearing the same blue suit
on his morning program for a year. And it was all to make a point about
how women are judge differently than men. Saying, quote, "No one has
noticed. No one gives a blank. But women are judged much more harshly for
what they do."
BALL: I love that.
SHARPTON: Liz, what a statement. I`d get tweets if I wear the same suit
in a month.
PLANK: You do? I actually have an anecdote to share. The last time I was
on your show, Rev. I got more tweets about the fact that I wore open-toed
shoes with tights than I did about the substance of what I was talking
SHARPTON: I have a fashion minded.
PLANK: Well, it`s the MSNBC fashion police. They`re really out there to
get me. Don`t wake up the beast. But women are generally judged more
harshly on their appearance.
BALL: Your socks notwithstanding.
BALL: You`re the exception to the rule. But it has real-life
consequences. Right? So, women past the age of 50 basically get pushed
out of broadcasting. There studies that show that actually if you look at
broadcasters over the age of 50, only a fifth of them are women. And so,
we have to treat this as a real issue.
SHARPTON: You`re the culture man, Chris.
WITHERSPOON: I mean, I think it`s amazing. And I interview so many
celebrities, a-list celebrities and I sit down with women. Women have a
team of folks that will bring in different outfits, different clothes to
see what pops on camera. Guys -- there`s -- wearing a black t-shirt, black
jeans and be fine.
WITHERSPOON: No one really cares what guys are wearing sometimes.
BALL: When I was running for Congress my staffers told me that the biggest
difference in working for a woman versus a man is the amount of time and
effort that goes into thinking about what the appropriate outfit is for the
SHARPTON: For the staff.
BALL: That`s right. For the staff. Because it`s a whole community
process because you have to think about, okay, what am I doing throughout
the day and logistically is this going to be appropriate for later on.
Whereas, with men there`s a uniform. I love that this guy made this point
too. I think it`s so cool that he`s supporting.
WITHERSPOON: It is women judging other women. Nothing --
SHARPTON: No, I think it`s a great statement and the reason I`ve gone into
happy socks is I`m trying to have a late show on MSNBC called sock it to
BALL: I love it.
SHARPTON: Up next, it`s national unfriend day. Who are you going to
unfriend and why?
SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Krystal, Chris and Liz, is the feud
over? Beyonce`s sister Solange got married in New Orleans over the weekend
and, yes, Jay-Z was there. It`s the first time they`ve been seen together
publicly since video surfaced of a fight between Solange and Jay-Z inside a
New York City elevator in May. We all remember Solange physically attacked
Jay-Z while Beyonce stayed off to the side.
Chris, you`re the celebrity expert, everybody is getting along now?
WITHERSPOON: Oh my God! I mean, this wedding is the wedding everyone was
talking about. And you know, Solange was kind of known as Beyonce`s baby
sister, she was known as Beyonce`s younger sister, and Solange -- the
elevator fighting --
WITHERSPOON: So it`s a great to see her move on. She looks so beautiful.
These photos, everyone is talking about them right now. It really was her
star is born moment. There are so many great photos, so many great
captions and hash tags on Instagram and this looks like a dynasty team,
it`s like, their own Knowles dynasty. I love it.
SHARPTON: You get so excited about this.
WITHERSPOON: I do. I mean, it`s Beyonce and Beyonce and Solange.
PLANK: It doesn`t get any better. I thought ty favorite thing about, the
fact that everyone was in white. I mean, that`s a pretty feminist
statement in itself. Usually you have, you know, the bride in white, sort
of speaking about this imagery of the virgin and I just love that everyone
was wearing white, everyone embraced it.
SHARPTON: It was kind of took away that whole --
SHARPTON: Yes. That was different.
PLANK: Yes, I mean, I love that -- we just did this whole conversation
about how we shouldn`t talk so much about women`s clothes. They look -- I
mean, she looks so gorgeous and a style in and of herself. It has got to
be tough to be Beyonce`s sister and know that on your wedding day you`re
going to have Beyonce right there. But she looks absolutely -- I also love
the pant suit that she wore on the bike on the way in.
SHARPTON: Finally, happy unfriend day. Everyone out there happy unfriend
day. It`s a day for Facebook users to get rid of their Facebook friends.
Jimmy Kimmel started the tradition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: One of your friends asked me to tell you you`re
getting dangerously close to being unfriended. Charged with one or more of
the following offenses. You post too much. You spell check too little.
You won`t shut up about politics. You won`t shut up about your kid. Too
many photos of your food, your body, your vacation, your feet on vacation,
your throw back Thursday makes me want to throw up on Thursday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: All right, rapid fire. Here, Krystal, who are you unfriending
BALL: Well, I don`t totally support this whole concept. It`s a little
mean. But I`m going to unfriend all the democrats who don`t stand for
anything. Grow a backbone. Stand up for what you believe in.
WITHERSPOON: You know, I follow celebrities for my job. But I`m going to
unfriend Kim Kardashian. I feel like she gives you so much on Instagram
and Facebook. And some of that is so unauthentic. It`s kind of like big
commercials so I`m going to unfriend her and then follow her again
I didn`t know you and Kim were working like that.
WITHERSPOON: I mean --
PLANK: I am going to unfriend "Time" magazine for saying that we should
ban my two favorite things feminism and kale. That was not okay.
SHARPTON: You`re unfriending them?
PLANK: I`m unfriending them until they take it back. I mean, they said
feminism was dead 20 years ago and now they`re saying we should ban the
word. Not cool.
SHARPTON: So you`re unfriending "Time" magazine. Well, I guess --
WITHERSPOON: Who are you unfriending?
SHARPTON: Well, the person knows.
WITHERSPOON: I love it.
SHARPTON: You are finished.
BALL: That`s it.
SHARPTON: Over with. You`ve been unfriended. And if you complain, I`m
going to tell it on national television. You know! Krystal, Chris, and
Liz, thank you for your time tonight.
WITHERSPOON: Thank you.
PLANK: Thank you.
BALL: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, remembering a life taken far too soon but not
in vain. The 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally beaten and killed
by white men for supposedly whistling at a white woman days earlier. The
murder shocked the nation, jump-starting the civil rights movement. And
today in the pouring rain, lawmakers and members of the Obama
administration planted a tree in Tulsana (ph) right outside the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Although Emmett Till died senselessly
and far too soon it can never be said that he tried in vain. His tragic
murder galvanized millions to action. And today we commemorate this legacy
by planting a tree in his honor, the tree that will become his living
memorial here at the heart of our republic, in the shadow of the United
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A living memorial to a life cut short. Two men were put on
trial for Till`s murder. Both were found not guilty. An all-white jury
deliberated just over an hour which included a break for soda pop. At the
funeral Till`s mother decided to have an open casket revealing his maimed
body to the world. Mourners were shocked by what they saw. Some collapsed
in grief and anger, photos of Till`s mutilated face were published in "Jet"
magazine, inspiring millions to join the civil rights movement. Years
later, Till`s mother explained her decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAMIE TILL MOBLEY, MOTHER OF EMMETT TILL: Mr. Rainer wanted to know, was I
going to have the casket opened. I said, oh, yes, we`re going to open the
casket. Let the people see what I see. I said, I want the world to see
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: She wanted the world to see what those men had done to her
little boy. I got to meet several times Mamie Till Mobley and she came to
headquarters in Harlem. She said to me, "Reverend, always remember that
one of the greatest things you can do for the country is expose things that
are hidden. Make people see that this is above politics and profiling.
This is about real pain. To many people this was an issue. To me, it was
my little boy. I don`t care how much we`re criticized and castigated.
People need to know when things happen in the margins, that people matter
no matter what station and part of the country they`re in."
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right the now.
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