'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Sunday, December 21st, 2014
Read the transcript to the Sunday show
December 21, 2014
Guest: Eugene O`Donnell, Hillary Mann Leverett, Lisa Cook, Dan Dicker,
Peter Goodman, Rashad Robinson, Whitney Dow, Cherrell Brown, Cristina
Beltran, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Danielle Moodie-Mills
DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question. Who had the
better question, President Obama or president Putin?
Plus, race touch straight from the White House briefing room.
And Politini (ph) with all that popped in 2014.
But first, assassination on the streets of New York City.
Good morning, I`m Dorian Warren in for Melissa Harris-Perry.
We begin with breaking from news overnight.
New York City is mourning the death of two police officers who were shot
and killed at point blank range as they sat in their patrol cars Saturday
night. The officers identified as Weijian Liu and Rafael Ramos where in
the (INAUDIBLE) community of Brooklyn when investigators say they were
Officer Liu, a newlywed, was a seven-year veteran of the NYPD. Officer
Ramos has been with the force since 2012. Neither had the chance to draw
their weapons to defend themselves.
Saturday marked the first time since 2011 that a New York City police
officer was killed by gunfire in the line of duty. According to police,
the suspect, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, fled down the street and into a nearby
subway station where he turned the gun on himself.
Investigators say they believe Brinsley made statements on social media
suggesting that he planned to kill officers in retaliation for the deaths
of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police. And before the
attack in Brooklyn, Brinsley is believed to have shot and wounded his ex-
girlfriend in Baltimore. The deadly attack were strongly condemned by
President Obama who issued a statement saying in part, the officers who
serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every
single day, and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day.
Last night New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and police Commissioner Bill
Bratton spoke about the shootings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK: Although we are still learning the
details, it`s clear this was an assassination. These officers were shot
execution style, particularly despicable act which goes at the very heart
of our society and our democracy when a police officer is murdered it tears
at the fabric of our society.
BILL BRATTON, NYPD COMMISSIONER: Tragically true, this is not the first
time this department has seen such violence. Seven times since 1972, we
have seen partners murdered together, often in an incident such as this,
mindless assassinations without warning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Joining me live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn is MSNBC
reporter Adam Reiss.
Adam, two questions for you this morning. What more do we know this
morning about this horrible violence? and has there been any community
ADAM REISS, MSNBC REPORTER: Good morning, Dorian.
As the mayor attends mass at St. Patrick`s cathedral, investigators are
here in the neighborhood. We`re seeing a heavy police presence as they
look for more eyewitnesses into what Commissioner Bratton is calling a
targeted assassination. These officers targeted for their uniform.
Behind me you can see a makeshift memorial, officers and residents bringing
by flowers and candles to mourn the two officers. One, married just two
months ago, the other leaving behind two young sons. Residents are
wondering why somebody would have come from Baltimore to invade their
neighborhood to kill two police officers.
Now investigators will be looking at Brinsley`s social media, his digital
footprint, if you will, to find out more what might have motivated him.
They`ve already seen some of his postings, but they`re going to be looking
Last night when the mayor arrived at the hospital to meet with the two
families of the slain officers, he was met by dozens of officers who turned
their back on him, turned their back in protest -- Dorian.
WARREN: Adam Reiss in Brooklyn, New York. Thank you.
Joining me now, Eugene O`Donnell, former NYPD police officer and professor
of law and police studies at John Jay College of criminal justice.
Eugene, all of our hearts go out to the officers who were lost yesterday.
Talk to us about how something like this affects fellow police officers.
EUGENE O`DONNELL, FORMER NYPD POLICE: Well, you`ll never see America at
its finest like you will in an emergency room at a hospital when a police
officer is shot because you`ll see people come together, cross racial-
ethnic-gender divides, so you see people at the hospital saluting. It`s
very mourning, so.
WARREN: I have to ask you to respond to Pat Lynch`s comments yesterday.
He is the head of the Patrolmen`s Benevolent Association, and strongly he
criticized Mayor De Blasio. Let`s take a listen first at what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT LYNCH, PATROLMEN`S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION: Those that in cited
violence on the street under the guise of protest that tried to bring down
what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn. It
must not go on. It cannot be tolerated. That blood on the hands starts on
the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: So Eugene, we know that relations between city hall and the police
are clearly strained, whether it`s over the Garner case, recent protests,
or even, frankly, a union contract agreement that hasn`t been signed yet.
How did both sides in this moment find common ground?
O`DONNELL: Well, there is common ground and that`s essential. So police,
at this point, are obviously very emotional about the topic and rightfully
so. It`s incumbent that everything be done now, that police officers feel
to protect themselves. I noticed that in Baltimore this past week said
that she was concern within the climate of police who are operating in it
and that they were hesitant to defend themselves. Obviously, if police
can`t defend themselves, they can`t defend the people in Bedford-
So, it is absolutely essential. And you have a police commissioner there
who is the best in America. And I`m sure he will do whatever he can to
make sure the cops can protect themselves so the residents in these
communities are calling the police all the time, they can be protected.
WARREN: So speaking of the commissioner, Commissioner Bratton was very
emotional at last night`s press conference. How does a department recover
from something like this?
O`DONNELL: Well, this is -- I mean, the police are justice workers. I
mean, these are people that make civil rights happen when they`re doing
their job right, and most of the time they are, whether we`re talking about
protests, domestic violence, hate crimes, this is where the police are on
the front of the line to take risks for us. So, no question they should
not stall legitimate reform where that`s legitimate. But some of the
reforms and some of the conversations actually could peril police and we
really have to. Things are important to people and know that police work
and there`s thousands of them in the city be heard now. Because they have
been silent and there`s been disinformation and half-truths and lives
repeated among other legitimate criticisms, but they arguably NYPD is the
KKK and that they`re killing people all the time.
This, we have to stop that conversation. That has to be stopped and it has
to be refuted, because it`s not true and it`s harmful.
WARREN: So what do you think is a conversation we can`t have in that
moment, I mean, could have in this moment?
O`DONNELL: Well, the conversation you could have, I teach in a school
where I have young people come up to me with childlike innocence about
becoming a police officer who are idealistic. So I want to see how we
capture that and keep it.
And I think what happens in these situations is the idealistic cops are
most, you know, wounded. So that, on that side of it, why did you become a
police officer? You know, why are you working in Bedford-Stuyvesant? What
is the reason you are out there? And there is tremendous number of police
officers that are out there for the right reasons and how we create an
infrastructure and supports system for them, and how do we acknowledge that
they are legacy -- it wasn`t their fault. They are inheriting a criminal
justice system that has a racial, gigantic racial component to it, and we
can`t ignore that, either.
And this is a diverse department, though. And it`s a department of young
people that have grown up in a diverse environment. So this depiction of
the NYPD was like 1950s heated a night (ph) organization is outrageous.
And more and more people are going to have, I think, (INAUDIBLE), I got to
stand up and say it. Those of us who know this organization are going to
have to stand up and say it.
WARREN: Thank you very much, Eugene O`Neal, who will be joining us again
in our next hour. We`ll have more on this developing story throughout the
After the break, President Obama`s year-end press conference on the
economic slugger on display, that`s next.
WARREN: We turn now to President Obama`s year-end press conference. But I
want to tee it up first with a little context.
Do you remember way back in the beginning of 2014 what the right wing`s
favorite criticism of President Obama was?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: I think Putin has
outperformed our president time and time again on the world stage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He makes a decision and he executes it quickly. Then
everybody reacts. That`s what you call a leader.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin is playing chess and I think we`re playing
marbles. And I don`t think it`s even close.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: People are looking at Putin as
one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as
one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: As the U.S. near for grappling with Vladimir Putin`s power
grabbing Crimea earlier this year, a chorus began to grow among
conservatives who suddenly became envious of Russia`s acquisitive and
masculine president. They need about President Putin`s manliness and
President Obama`s genes also penetrated the consciousness of prominent
"Time" magazine`s Michael Crowley Tweeted this picture to illustrate the
dynamic between the two world leaders saying it wasn`t a character
judgment, but that the images captured the moment. See Obama on the left
there in the jeans?
The analysis at play was President Obama`s cautious risk approach to the
current conflict to Putin`s slugger. President Obama chose economic
sanctions over a military response to Russia`s insurgence (ph) in Ukraine.
Putin for his part played the role that his admirers cast him in, callously
ignoring the west admonition with his trademark stoicism. But that was
This week, President Putin held his end of the year press conference with
the number one item on the agenda was Russia`s economy, and the Russians
president seemed to like his usual bravado.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We believe that a
lot has not been done by us of which we planned endeavors in our fine
economy for the last two decades. It was quite difficult to do everything.
It was quite difficult to rebuild the mechanism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Now, that sounds to you like a man way lot to answer for. That`s
because right now the Russian economy is near shambles. Here`s the gist of
Since the summer, Russia`s currency, the ruble, has been declining in value
in part due to those sanctions I mentioned earlier. That may thinks bad
for Russia but not necessarily dire. Then oil prices start to fall.
Russia`s economy is so dependent on the price of oil that the reason plunge
in oil prices has turned a slump into a full-blown crisis.
In the past few weeks, the ruble fell off a cliff. And just this week the
Russian government had to take drastic measures to prop it up by spending
billions of dollars to try to calm the markets and raining interest rates,
previously at 10.5 percent to an exorbitant 17 percent. That managed to
stop the fall but not re-coup massive losses, which is why Russia is
usually proud leader, found himself notably humbler at his end of the year
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, President Obama also held his
year-end conference, and like Russia, the first item on the agenda was the
economy, but in this case with a remarkably different tone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The steps that we took early
on to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make
2014 the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. Almost all the job
growth that we`ve seen have been in full-time positions. Much of the
recent pickup in job growth has been in higher paying industries. And in a
hopeful sign for middle class families, wages are on the rise again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Now, that`s not just White House spin. The U.S. economy really is
in better shape than it`s been in a really long time and that`s a reality
reflected in the stock market, in the job market, and for the first time in
a long while, in rising paychecks of average Americans.
So while president Putin found himself in the ironic position of explaining
to the Russian people why their country had all the lost its metaphorical
shirt, President Obama was basking in the vindication of both his domestic
and foreign policy agendas. But if that tail of two presidents sounds a
little too perfect, a little too parable (ph), well, you are right.
Because even as the U.S. economy continues to grow in the fasted rate in
years, the truth is that in the modern global economy, our fates are
inextricably linked with those of other countries. That means that
Vladimir Putin`s incredible experiment in how to mismanage a country could
soon become the problem of his more demure American counterpart.
Joining me now is Lisa Cook, associate professor of economics at
International relations at Michigan State University, Dan Dicker, president
of Merk Lock of both management firm and senior contributor at
thestreet.com, Peter Goodman, editor in-chief at the International Business
Time, and Aisha Moddie-Mills, senior fellow at the center for American
progress and co-host of "Politine. "
Thank you, panel, for joining us and helping us deconstruct what is
happening with Russia right now.
So that is the first question I have. How bad are things, really, in
Things are terrible in Russia. I mean, Russia is caught between the
proverbial rock and a hard place. I mean, they had to lift interest rates
to support the ruble which was plummeting. And yet, they did that knowing
that the economy was already in a recession, and when you raise interest
rates, you make the recession worse.
PETER GOODMAN, EDITOR IN-CHIEF, THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES: So they
are essentially sacrificing the economy which was already very week in
order to try to save the currency, and they`ll probably not be able to save
the currency. And they are probably not going to be able to save the
currency anyway, because as long as oil prices stay weak, you`re talking
about an economy that isn`t a real economy in the sense in which we
understand that word.
It`s a nation that`s been organized on the basis of strong oil prices. And
on that basis, Putin has been launching, you know, one foreign adventure
after another, confronting the planet, and the bill has come due.
Now oil prices are weak, he no longer has the where-with-all to run that
campaign, and the global financial system has lost confidence in that
economy at the same time that sanctions are making it hard for companies
and Russia at large to go outside for help.
WARREN: So, you mentioned something -- I want to get you in here, Lisa,
because Peter mentioned oil, but other oil-exporting countries are in
crisis. What makes Russia different?
LISA COOK, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: That`s right.
And I think that it is really bad. Just to answer your first question, I
think it`s really bad. When I was living there and writing any
dissertation in 1995 on Russian banks, it was even worse than it is now
because things haven`t been stabilized. The infrastructure wasn`t there.
The infrastructure is there now. But you see some parts of it that are
indeed somewhat worse.
So, the banks will be bailed out or have to be bailed, but in possibly
$16.5 billion, in the range of $16.5 billion. At that time Russia wasn`t
even thinking about bailing out any banks. And this was before. This was
in 1995, it was the precursor to the default in 1998.
So I think that things are inching in that direction. Certainly, we saw
interest rates that are between the banks, which should be the best and the
lowest interest rates, get up to rates that were higher than they were in
So I think it`s really bad. And if oil continues to stay below $60 a
barrel that means that the economy is going to contract between 4.5 percent
and 4.7 percent next year. And it`s all already sluggish, as Peter was
WARREN: Dan, I want to have you listen first to what the president said
about oil at his Friday press con.
DAN DICKER, SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR, THESTREET.COM: OK.
WARREN: So, let`s hear what the president said and get you to respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Our investments in American manufacturing have helped fuel its best
stretch of job growth also since the 1990s. America is now the number one
producer of oil, the number one producer of natural gas. We`re saving
drivers about 70 cents a gallon at the pump over last Christmas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: So Dan, what can the president do to insulate the U.S. from
DICKER: In fact, not much. And that`s really the scary part. That`s the
down side. Now, I don`t want to make a connection between Russia and the
United States in terms of them being a petro state. Russia clearly is not
nearly as developed as the United States in terms of their economy. It
isn`t the petro state to the degree that, in fact, Iran is or Saudi Arabia
is or Venezuela is. It looks prettier than those other states.
However, what is being lost in this is how much of a petro state the United
States has become. That`s not being discussed very much. We`ve had about
5.5 million jobs created in the last term. Million-and-a-half of those
jobs came from the oil and gas sector. Those jobs were created on the back
of a high-priced for oil and those who disappear.
There`s been a lot of growth in this country and clearly an employment
increase, and that`s come a lot to a large degree based upon an oil and gas
sector. And I`ve never seen an economy where hard assets like oil, grains,
copper and various other commodities really hit the skids to the degree
this has, and yet we all go skating away happily in terms of the rest of
our assets around.
So, this could be -- oil is a scary part of what we`re looking at in the
global economy, but also in the U.S. economy right now. How that plays out
over the next six to eight months, that`s really the question. In my view,
it`s a lot scarier than most people give it credit for.
WARREN: Aisha, I want to bring you on this. So, we know from the November
jobs report, this was a headline from "the Wall Street Journal." November
jobs report are wages finally snapping back? So they are bringing back to
the U.S. for a minute. Is that good news? Are wages finally snapping back
after 30 years?
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yes, of
course. That`s absolutely great news that wages are snapping back. And I
would like to see the president and the administration get a little bit
more credit for the fact all this is happening.
I mean, if you really juxtapose the attitudes of these two leaders and you
see that Obama said, wait a minute, we`re going to be smart and thoughtful
about how we grow our economy and you look at what happened to what Putin
who says, I`m going to go it alone, and look at me. I`m the big bad Wolf
alone in the room, right? You can see that those two leadership styles
produced two completely different results.
And so, I think that it`s high time that we started to get a little bit
credit where credit is due to the reserved, awful leader that President
WARREN: I want to go back to this interdependence theme and ask you, what
should we be doing to help Russia at this moment if our economies are
interdependent? What should we do?
GOODMAN: Because we should not get carried away with the sort of gloating
and cheerleading. I mean, direct American exposure to Russian
vulnerability is minimal in terms of direct financial connections.
But you know, a lot of bad things happen when a major economy goes up in
flames, and we`ve learned this time and again, that finance has a way of
being interconnected in retrospect that`s not obvious in the moment. I
mean, we already see nervousness in emerging markets around a debt that has
nothing to do with Russia. We`re talking about a nuclear armed power. I
mean, there is a lot of nervousness that can, in fact, you know, parts of
the global economy were not thinking about.
So we shouldn`t be cheering this. And at the same time, you know, lest we
sort of have a victory lap in the United States, most Americans don`t live
in an economy through a political lens. They live in a real economy. And
yes, this economy is in much better shape than it used to be. And that is
all to the good. And I do think we can say it`s a good thing we had
stimulus, it`s a good thing we didn`t go the route that Europe has gone
with this German-led austerity that we have a little bit too much of that
in the middle. And that is to the good.
But it`s still a very weak economy for an awful lot of working people.
There are a lot of people long-term unemployed people. The safety net we
had in the great recession isn`t there anymore. There are a lot of
struggling people in this economy.
WARREN: OK, don`t go anywhere. When it comes to the economy, she just
might be one of the most powerful people in the world. So what`s her next
move? That`s next.
WARREN: The big dueling press conferences this week, President Obama and
President Putin. But there is a third, even bigger and badder, by a person
who can move markets around the globe with just one word.
I`m talking, of course, about Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve
board, who will held her quarterly press conference on Wednesday. Markets
around the world waited nervously to see if she would (INAUDIBLE) moving
sooner than previously planned to raise interest rates now that the U.S.
economy is finally on a substantial uptick.
And the markets, it would seem, were seemingly happy with what Ms. Yellin
had to say, because when she spoke, the markets bounced. In two days the
Dow Jones industrial average gained 700 points, its best two-day rally
since 2008. And the S&P jumped 4.5 percent.
Now, I want why and what all of this means for the ongoing wealth and
income gap in the U.S. And we know that these are concerns of Janet
Yellen. But since I have Lisa Cook at the table, I will instead turn to
you and ask you, what exactly did Janet Yellen mean by being patient, and
why did the market react the way that it did?
COOK: So what the guidance has been in the past is that there will be a
considerable amount of time that interest rates will remain low. So she
gave the market confidence that this won`t happen any time soon. So this
is -- she said in the next two meetings, there will unlikely be a change in
So the next two meetings are in January and in March. So this gives
businesses time to do whatever they`re doing now and more time to see the
gains that they`ve seen and solidify the gains they`ve seen over the last
two or three years.
WARREN: And why is it a good thing that interest rates are staying low?
Can you explain that for us?
COOK: Businesses have more money to invest. The cost of borrowing is
lower. So that means there can be investments, small businesses, large
businesses, capital projects can get under way because you will have low
interest rates, low interest payments for a longer period of time.
So there is a lot of construction, for example, going on now because
interest rates are low. They`ll be paying these low interest rates for 10,
15, 20 years in the future. So, that`s why this is good news to the
WARREN: So then, people often are worried about the risk of inflation and
some are saying now we might have the opposite problem. So, what does that
mean for all of us?
DICKER: There`s a down side also. There has been a lot of good that has
come from a very easy monetary policy like Lisa speaks about. One of the
downsides that we`ve been seeing which plays into the Russian question as
well has been the rise of the dollar that has come from this easy policy as
everybody from Europe, Japan, China in many ways tries to out queue the
next country. And they are all Russian --
DICKER: That`s correct. And what you have in this country, at least, is a
tremendous trajectory of employment that`s going in the right direction, a
stock market that you say is going in the right direction, growth that is
going in the right direction, but a dollar that could be thought of as
going in the wrong direction because it puts at risk all these other
economies that we`re kind of looking at and we know are all interconnected
and that`s really the problem we`re faced with.
Can we survive, for example, a Russian economy that really tanks, that
really goes off lift? Can we survive a Chinese economy that`s been showing
much lower growth numbers over the course of the year and its stock market
is going off a cliff and looks to be head to do a recession?
WARREN: And is China a bigger worry for us since it was a greater economy
COOK: It is. It`s a major trading partner rather than being a minor
trading partner as Russia is. So that`s direct. But certainly, as Peter
was saying, confidence can be undermine, confidence in businesses, the
confidence in markets, the confidence in individuals, consumers can be
undermined by anything going awry.
And think about the economies that have started crises in the past. So
Mexico, Thailand, these are not huge economies. So we can`t say that
Russia is going off the rails --
DICKER: And the benefit is we have the IMF for help which the Russians
don`t have in this particular --.
GOODMAN: Yes. Well, similarly to both, though, is both Russia and China
have been running foreign policies that are highly confrontational, that
have involved stirring up the national sentiments at home to paper over
some of the economic weakness. And if both of these economies are slowing
-- and in Russia`s case, you know, we would have to dealing with a serious
crisis, you know, that can play in multiple ways. But one of the ways is
there`s actually more confrontation, not less than we are talking China
with Japan and Southeast Asia in the east China sea and south China sea and
Russia with its neighbors on the periphery. So there is a lot of
volatility that once major economies that are caught up in the global
economy start dealing with troubles.
WARREN: So much more to talk about and I really wanted to get to the
question of income inequality that Janet Yellen cares about, but we are out
of time at this moment.
My thanks to Aisha Moodie-Mills who will re-join us in the next hour.
Up next, the Uber economy.
WARREN: So we`ve been talking about the U.S. economic recovery, the recent
growth in jobs and wages, and the potential risk posed by crises overseas.
But you can`t talk about changes in the economy without acknowledging what
kind of economy we are changing into.
Where are new jobs coming from? What`s the quality of the jobs being
created? How will they affect the corporate culture and our interactions
in the job market? And what does that mean for the fundamental
relationship between labor and management and these two industries?
Nowhere are these questions more pertinent than in the newest and most
unknown part of our economy. That is the growing market of tech and
network based industries, sometimes referred to as the share economy, but
which might just as easily be identified as the Uber economy after the name
of its most prominent and controversial business.
With charges ranging from union busting to price gouging to mounting
aggressive pr taxing against journalists, Uber raises fears and concerns
about the direction our economy is headed.
Joining the table to discuss the new Uber economy is Rashad Robinson,
executive director of Color of Change.
And before we get to the Uber economy, I want to just play some sound from
Janet Yellen. I want to go back to income inequality because it`s relevant
for this conversation about the Uber economy. So let`s listen to Janet
Yellen and let me get you to respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET YELLEN, CHAIRWOMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: It is no secret that the past
two decades of widening and equality can be summed up as significant income
in wealth gains for those at the very top and stagnant living standards for
the majority. I think it`s appropriate to ask whether this trend is
compatible with values rooted in our nation`s history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: So Lisa, I want you come first on this. This was Janet Yellen
speaking at the Boston reserve meeting earlier, the Boston Federal Reserve
meeting earlier this year. What is the role of the fed share in terms of
COOK: So I think that was a fabulous quip. This is unheard of. This is
unprecedented. The fed chair never talks about, distribution issues,
distributional issues. So she was breaking a long precedent. And I
applaud her for doing that.
So the question is, how stable are our gains from the economy if people are
not benefiting? And we don`t have to benefit in the same way, but at least
in a way that is somewhat similar. So you have gains at the very top, huge
gains at the very top, and you have huge losses or very few gains at the
bottom and in the middle.
So this is why any fed chair of any central bank would be worried about
this, because you have no idea how stable your economy is, and certainly
with respect to social unrest if you don`t know how income and equality is
playing out. It`s not playing out in a desirable way.
WARREN: So you have that and then we have this new economy, Rashad, this
shared economy, this Uber economy, and people in Silicon Valley used the
word disrupt a lot. And in this case, you know, Uber disrupts in a good
way in terms of providing a service for consumers, but also it disrupts
what everyday people and I`m thinking what your taxi drivers have been
doing for a while. What are the implications of the Uber economy and
inequality for workers in this new economy?
RASHAD ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLOR OF CHANGE: I think what we`re
seeing with the share economy is really challenging because we`re moving
from this idea of jobs and careers to income streams where people are going
to constantly have to hustle day in and day out to sort of make ends meet.
And the idea of sort of all the benefits that we get from being able to
have a jobless economy, to be able to grow wealth, to be able to take
vacation, to be able to provide for our children and this sort of income
stream economy that Uber and some of these other platforms provide, they
have, I think, deep implications for people who are sort of at the bottom.
They seem like good opportunities on their face. But at the end of the
day, what is actually happening is once again, the wealth and the benefits
are really being consolidated at the very top where you see -- we see these
benign, you know, web sites that people sign onto, whether it`s an airb&b
or whether it`s an Uber, and we think we`re sort of helping someone out,
we`re engaging in a sharing type of situation, but really it is going to be
-- the winners are going to be these corporations in Silicon Valley which
are going to make huge, massive profits at really the expense of workers
that don`t have a lot of power.
WARREN: So Dan, I see you shaking your head there. And I want to turn --
so that`s the worker side of it. But I want to turn to the consumer side.
And so, I`m sure you`re aware of what happened with Uber in Sidney,
Australia with the recent crisis situation and the price gouging, right?
So Uber did a surge pricing in the midst of that crisis.
DICKER: Right. I mean, it is the ultimate capitalist model in many ways.
And when you see an episode like in Sidney where it charted hundreds of
dollars to get an Uber car to get me away from the, you know, the terrible
terrorist action that was going on there. I mean, you see the failures of
some of these ultimate capitalist systems in providing services.
You know, airb&b being another one where it`s entirely uncontrolled and
unregulated, it puts a lot of people in the hotel industry out of business
or at least lowers their standard of living. These are coming in, these
social media platforms where we have instantaneous communication between
like say this sort of short term contractual kinds of events, or have a
very, very deep down side for people who want to have full employment, want
to have it at a good wage. These are things that come of strip that out
without any kinds of government controls that are on them. And I don`t
really see how we put that back together. It`s an interesting question.
WARREN: Peter, quickly, is this a reflection of a new general business
GOODMAN: It`s a reflection of smart marketing, you know. I mean, the
sharing economy, that`s so adorable. It`s like out of preschool. Let`s
have everyone share together. It`s a euphemism of what we already have,
which is a profit motive determining what sorts of services we get and who
And to your question of about inequality, that`s a great thing if you have
money. I mean, if you can afford to pay surge pricing through Uber, things
are better than ever. You can get a car through an app. But if you can`t,
now you have a problem. You know, look at airb&b. I mean, this is a
(INAUDIBLE) perfectly. Here in New York, it turns out a handful of
commercial operators who suavely bought up apartments and they are now
renting them out through airb&b are extracting a lot of the profits. So
yes, hotels are hurting. And it is not as if ordinary people have an extra
bedroom -- I mean, some of that is going on, of course. And that is
probably to the good for their incomes here. But this is not about
creating quality jobs at fair wages to support middle class families, and
that`s the conversation we got to be having in America.
WARREN: So, we are going to continue this conversation one day.
But for now, thank you to Lisa Cook, Dan Dicker and Peter Goodman. Rashad
will be back later in the show.
Up next, the international tragedy that stunned the world this week.
WARREN: Pakistan continues to mourn the loss of 132 children who were
killed in a terrorist attack at their school in Peshawar along with several
of their teachers. Members of the Pakistani Taliban entered the school
Tuesday morning and gunned down students indiscriminately. Most victims
were between the ages of 12 and 16.
Children who survived told stories of stunning bravery by their teachers.
According to "the Telegraph," one student said, he quote, "would have
probably been killed if his teacher (INAUDIBLE) hadn`t stood in front of
the attackers as they entered their room and told them she would not allow
them in. She was so brave. Her last words to the terrorists were, you
must kill me first because I will not see my students` bodies lying in
front of me.
The attack brought condemnation from all corners of the world. Even from
the afghan Taliban across the border who said killing of innocent children
is against the basic tenets of Islam. The Pakistani Taliban claims that
attack on the school, which was run by Pakistan`s military, was retribution
from months long military assault on the tribal region of North Wasiratad
Aimed at raiding the area of terrorists, the Taliban accused Pakistan`s
military of killing innocent family members of Taliban fighters. As
families of Peshawar have buried their children, many Pakistanis have
called for the government to take a harder line against terrorists.
In response, Pakistan`s prime minister lifted a moratorium of the death
penalty that has been in place since 2008. And on Friday, the state hanged
two men previously convicted of acts of terrorism. Officials say there are
more executions to come.
Pakistan`s military also retaliated with airstrikes and fighting on the
ground and a tribal area close to Peshawar. Strikes of claims have killed
more than 60 militants.
The United States also conducted a drone strike in the area Saturday,
reportedly killing six militants.
Joining me now from Washington D.C. Hillary Mann Leverett, professor at
American University. She served on the national Security Council in both
the Clinton and Bush administrations as well as embassies throughout the
Middle East. She is also the author of "Going to Tehran, why America must
accept the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Good morning, Hillary.
HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, PROFESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Good morning. How
WARREN: Good, good. How did this happen and why did this happen?
LEVERETT: Well, it is part of, unfortunately, a vicious cycle which,
remarkably, in the past couple of weeks, Wiki-Leaks has released some
internal CIA memos warning of precisely this kind of vicious cycle
escalating. And in part, they attribute it to the very serious offensive
that the Pakistanis have undertaken that you referred to in your setup
piece. At the urging of the United States to really clamp down hard of
north Nuristan and the Pakistani Taliban there, both with Pakistani
military power and of course with U.S. drones.
And what this CIA internal memo warned about, and seems to now be coming to
fruition, is that while we comfort ourselves in these so-called targeted
assassinations of top Taliban operatives, what actually happens when you
take out these operatives is that it radicalizes the remaining leaders of
these groups, whether it`s the Taliban in Pakistan or whether it`s even in
Yemen or ISIS as we see in Iraq and Syria. That those that remain become
more radicalized and it drives recruitment to these organizations for much
more violent, much more committed people to the cause, serving to further
escalate these very vicious cycles.
And so, unfortunately, I think this is not going to be the end of the
story, that the Pakistani Taliban, like with ISIS, you know, Al-Qaeda
similarly has condemned ISIS. We are seeing a similar thing here with the
Pakistani Taliban because it has been the target of the drones and the
Pakistani military has become even more radical than the Afghan Taliban.
WARREN: So let me ask you on this point, what you make of the Pakistani
LEVERETT: Well, we see both the reverting to foreign in terms of vowing to
have an even more deadly response in terms of more military attacks,
reinstating the death penalty for this type of -- for these types of
activities, and at the same time, you see the prime minister of Pakistan
having a press conference, saying that there is going to be a plan, very
little given on the political side.
And that`s because in Pakistan, even though we see this outpouring of grief
that children were killed, there still is very deep and pretty widespread
support for the organizations that make up the Pakistani Taliban.
So, for example, when a governor of the Punjab province was killed a year
or so ago, when his assassin came into the court, all of the lawyers in the
courthouse streamed into courtroom to cheer him for killing the governor of
Punjab in Pakistan. We`ve also seen a significant majority of the cases
involving terrorists and the prosecution of cases resulting in acquittals
because the Pakistani population and the judges acquit those who are
responsible for these attacks.
So while we see an outpouring of grief over children killed, we should not
delude ourselves that in Pakistan this is really going to be the end of the
WARREN: Let`s listen to what secretary of state John Kerry had to say then
I`m going to get your response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Prime Minister Sharif said, these are my
children, it is my loss. Well, this morning, wherever you live, wherever
you are, those are our children. And this is the world`s loss. The
perpetrators must be brought to justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: So Hillary, you know, it is 13 years after 9/11 and we`re still
seeing killings of this magnitude. So I want to ask you, what is justice
in this case and what is the risk to the United States?
LEVERETT: Well, it`s hard to really say what could or would be justice in
this case. And while it`s important that while Prime Minister Sharif says
that these are his children and Secretary of state Kerry says that they`re
our children, we need to remember that the Pakistani government essentially
harbored Osama bin Laden right there in a Pakistani military controlled
area very close to the capital of Islamabad.
So we really should not delude ourselves that there is some sort of
commitment in Pakistan or even an international commitment to get at the
root of what`s happening here. And unfortunately, I think what we`re going
to do is we`re going to resort so even more drone attacks, to encouraging
the Pakistani government to be even tougher with these people, not taking
into account that that actually drives recruitment, drives support for
these insurgent groups.
So instead of justice, I think it`s going to just get a lot worse in the
WARREN: Hillary Mann Leverett in Washington, D.C. Thank you.
LEVERETT: Thank you.
WARREN: Up next, on this day in 1970.
WARREN: On this day in 1970, one of the most bizarre encounters between a
president and a king was captured on camera. And perhaps the only thing
odder than the now iconic picture of Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley in the
White House is the story behind the (INAUDIBLE).
How did the king of rock and roll, the man who rose the famous music`s head
shaking bad boy ended up meeting with a conservative president to discuss,
of all things, drugs.
The story begins that morning. After taking a red eye to Washington, Elvis
dropped off a handwritten note at the White House entrance gate. In the
note Elvis tells President Nixon he wants to help the president any way he
can. All he wants in return is a badge from the federal bureau of
narcotics and dangerous drugs. It turns out Elvis had a collection of
police badges and considered that one to be the ultimate prize.
In her memoir, his ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, writes, with the federal
narcotics badge, he believed he could legally enter any country both
wearing guns and carrying any drugs he wished. After receiving Elvis`
handwritten note, a Nixon aide helped arrange for Elvis, who was wearing
his purple velvet suit, to meet the president.
According to Nixon`s aides, during their conversation, the president blamed
the Beatles for inspiring anti-American sentiment. And President Nixon
said drug users are at the forefront of anti-American protests. Elvis told
the president, I`m on your side. And, of course, Elvis got his badge and a
thank you letter from the president.
There have been many famous entertainers who visited the White House
including, of course, Michael Jackson during the Reagan administration, and
even Beyonce who is practically a regular at the Obama White House. But
the National Archives says it gets more requests for a copy of that photo
of Elvis and President Nixon than anything else in their possession,
including the constitution. A snapshot just as riveting today as it was
the day it was taken December 21st, 1970.
Coming up next, the latest on the fatal shooting of two New York City
Much more at the top of the hour.
WARREN: Welcome back. I`m Dorian Warren in for Melissa Harris-Perry this
morning. We begin this hour with tragic news from right here in New York
City. Two New York City Police Department officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael
Ramos, both of 84th precinct were shot and killed yesterday afternoon by a
gunman who later took his own life. Officer Liu, a newly wed was a seven-
year veteran of the NYPD. Officer Ramos had been with the force since
2012. Both officers were shot in the head while sitting in their patrol
car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Neither had a
chance to draw their weapons to defend themselves. Both were transported
to the hospital where they were declared dead.
Saturday marked the first time since 2011 that a New York City police
officer was killed by gunfire in the line of duty. Police say the gunman,
identified as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, after firing on the officers,
ran down onto a nearby subway station platform and turned his weapon, a
.9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol, on himself. Brinsley reportedly also
shot a woman believed to be his former girlfriend in Baltimore before
coming to New York City. Both New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton spoke at a press conference in Brooklyn
hours after the shooting. Here`s Commissioner Bratton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRATTON: Today two of New York`s finest were shot and killed with no
warning, no provocation. They were, quite simply, assassinated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: And here`s Mayor De Blasio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DE BLASIO: It is an attack on all of us. It`s an attack on everything we
hold dear. We depend on our police to protect us against forces of
criminality and evil. They are a foundation of our society, and when they
are attacked, it is an attack on very concept of decency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: A preliminary assessment is that the gunman`s motive for shooting
the officers include hatred of an anger at police. An Instagram account
believed to belong to Brinsley shows in a post that went up three hours
before the shooting that was captured in a screen shot by NBC News, a
firearm with a caption quote, "I`m putting wings on pigs today. They took
one of ours, let`s take two of theirs." He hashtags RIPs for police
victims Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York and Michael Brown of
Ferguson, Missouri. Before signing off his quote, "this maybe my final
post, I`m putting pigs in a blanket." A second Instagram post from that
account shows camouflage pants and shoes seemingly identical to those later
seen being worn by Brinsley as he was carried into an ambulance following
his self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Joining me now live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn is MSNBC reporter
Adam Reiss. Adam, clearly the shooting comes at a time when there is
already so much discussion here in New York City regarding the police, the
mayor and the community. What are you hearing on the ground in the
neighborhood where this attack occurred?
REISS: Dorian, good morning. As the mayor attends mass at St. Patrick`s
Cathedral at this hour, investigators are combing the neighborhood looking
to see if they can find more eyewitnesses to this shooting, a shooting that
they`re calling uncalled for. And they said that they were targeted for
their uniform and their uniform alone. Now, next to me is a makeshift
memorial, candles and flowers brought by residents and police officers to
mourn these two officers, one married just two months ago, the other
leaving behind two young boys. And now we can tell you that they`ll be
looking at the shooter`s social media, his digital footprint, if you will,
to find out if they can learn more about his motivation.
We`ve already seen some of his postings. They`ll be looking to see if they
can find more. Now, last night when the mayor showed up at the hospital on
the third floor to pay his respects to the families of the slain officers,
dozens of other officers turned their back on him. The head of the police
officers` union saying, blood on the hands starts at the steps of city
hall. Now, the neighborhood here, people are gathering, they`re coming to
pay their respects here at the scene of the shooting. They`re wondering
why someone would have come up from Baltimore, invade their neighborhood
and kill two police officers.
WARREN: Adam Reiss in Brooklyn, New York, thank you.
In the studio with me now are filmmaker Whitney Dow, director and producer
of the "Whiteness Project" an interacted investigation into how Americans
to identify as white, experience their ethnicity. Cherrell Brown, national
organizer for Equal Justice USA and community organizer for Justice League
NYC. Cristina Beltran, associate professor of Social and Cultural analysis
at New York University, and author of "The Trouble with Unity." And Rashad
Robinson, executive director of "Color of Change." Also joining us is
Eugene O`Donnell, former NYPD officer and professor of law and police
studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
And Eugene, I want to start with you. Because of course everyone here is
heartbroken over the loss of these two officers. And I want to ask you,
what kind of toll does this take on fellow officers in the department?
O`DONNELL: Well, obviously, I`m sure you join me with condolences to the
families of these brave police officers. It`s a devastating impact,
especially in light of the climate that the police have been operating
under, and hopefully as we move forward, a conversation about policing in
the city, we can remind ourselves that the police can only protect us if
they can protect themselves, and the department and the administration is
going to have to come out and do everything they possibly can to make sure
police officers who are surrogates doing our work in our name are
protected. And again, I hope there will be a recognition by elected
officials and leaders that police should not be abandoned, the police
should be supported, and it should be explained by those who know what the
police do what they actually do. And where there is disinformation and
where there is false information, that has to be rebutted.
WARREN: I want to ask you, Eugene, because as we heard from Adam Reiss,
what happened when the mayor and the commissioner went to the hospital last
night in terms of the turning of backs by police officers, I want to ask
you to respond to what union had, the police union, Pat Lynch, said
yesterday after the mayor and commissioner spoke. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNCH: There is blood on many hands tonight. Those that incited violence
on the street under the guise of protests that tried to tear down what New
York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn, it must not go
on, it cannot be tolerated. That blood on the hands starts on the steps of
city hall in the office of the mayor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Eugene, does Pat Lynch speak for all police officers in New York
City, and talk to us about how this discussion gets calmed down.
O`DONNELL: Sure. This is a very emotional time for the cops who really
see themselves as isolated. They see people talking about their job who
don`t understand their job, who have never done their job, who wouldn`t
take their job, who say I can do this job better. So they`re very raised
up about that, and those of us who do understand their job need to speak
with more clarity and we need to be out there more often, especially when
things are being said like the NYPD kills people on a regular basis, which
is so outrageous, or that they`re the KKK. All you have to do is look at
those scenes at the hospital last night to see the diversity of that
organization. So, the way you go forward is, the truth is, the reality is,
that the police continue to be on a very basic level, one of the most
esteemed professions in the country and the city.
And we can get past this if we can get the cops to recommit themselves for
reasons they took the job, in Bedford-Stuyvesant to protect people they
don`t even know, and again, if we can deal with the issues of what`s
perceived as abuse. It is in some cases abuse, disrespect of people, but
if we can get people on the same page, I would have high optimism. Again,
I think that you`ll find, as a former Brooklyn cop myself, there is an
unlimited supply of goodwill for the police out there if they can tap into
WARREN: So, I want to get the table involved here in the conversation, and
actually, Rashad, I`m going to come to you first and just ask you for your
first thoughts and response from what you heard about yesterday.
ROBINSON: I think it`s deeply sad and it`s troubling, and anyone who
fights for justice and fairness in society sees this as a tragedy. And I
think what`s really important for us as we look at sort of the future,
where do we want to be as a community five years from now? Where do we
want to be as a community five years from now? Where do you want to be as
a community 10 years from now? We do have a lot of work in our communities
to bring law enforcement and communities together, to build the type of
relationships that solve crime, that build the type of trust that make our
And some of the rhetoric that we`re seeing that is aligning the protest of
people raising their voices in our democracy of working to make their
communities better and safer, and aligning them with this tragedy that
started in Baltimore and started far outside of anything that had to do
with law enforcement and moved to New York and is incredibly tragic. At
the same time, you know, I hope that what we can look forward to five years
or 10 years down the line is we can look back at this moment, and after the
rhetoric comes down, we can look at this as we have a lot of work to do in
our communities to make our communities safe for all of us, and this
underscores that more than anything else.
WARREN: Whitney, what does that work look like and what kind of
conversations do we need to have in moments like this in particular?
WHITNEY DOW, DIRECTOR, "WHITENESS PROJECT": Well, it`s interesting,
because the next phase of my project, I`m actually been looking at police
and I`ve been talking to a lot of police officers over the last couple of
weeks about, you know, in the context of whiteness is what I was thinking
about, so this really hit home with me. I think that the conversation with
police is between the community and the police at a lot of times, it`s a
lot like the conversation between white people and people with color. And
if you`re attacking people, you can`t have that conversation. People can`t
hear you when you`re yelling at them. And I went to the rally for -- in
support of the police the other day, and it was interesting.
Of course, there were people screaming and where can I can -- but I talked
to one wife of a police officer, and her wife was a rock war veteran, Ivy
League graduate. She`s an atheist police officer, and I sit here and watch
people chanting, what do we want, dead cops now, what we want now, and it
completely freaks me out. I don`t know what to do, and how do we begin to
have the conversation with how things can be changed? And I think that
this is the ultimate attack on police officers, and I think it`s going to
be very hard to bring them into the conversation about how we move forward
if the rhetoric like this continues.
WARREN: Cherrell, I want to get you in here really quickly and just note
that Justice League mic sent a tweet after the shooting. "We are deeply
saddened by the murders today in Brooklyn. Any act of violence is a crime
against humanity." How do we move forward from this moment and how do you
as activists and your colleagues move forward trying to accomplish your
goals in a moment of crisis?
CHERRELL BROWN, NATIONAL ORGANIZER, EQUAL JUSTICE USA: Well, first of all,
the community right now is hurting, and we need to collect the feeling
right now. What happened yesterday was tragic. Our hearts go out to the
families who now don`t have their fathers, their brothers, their sons this
holiday season. And we can and should mourn that without taking on this
collective responsibility for what happened, right? There is still work to
be done, and we can still have conversations around police violence and
police accountability as well as what happened yesterday. The two aren`t
mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, we know that this tragedy is going to
be falsely placed around anti-black state violence around protests. You
know, we`ll going to be missing context from a lot of media stories.
The black woman who was shot yesterday by this guy is already being erased
from a lot of the story, right, and so we have to be honest about the
context of what happened yesterday. This wasn`t at all related to the
protest. This wasn`t some revolutionary act, it was a senseless murder.
And so just remembering that in trying not to polarize pain right now, we
need this collective healing. And tonight we`ll going to be doing a vigil,
actually, in Harlem where we`re going to talk to community and come
together and talk about how we move forward after this tragedy.
WARREN: Eugene, one more question to you really quickly. How do we move
forward, and particularly, how does Pat Lynch, along with Commissioner
Bratton and the mayor move forward in this moment?
O`DONNELL: Again, I think really, the community literally should be
listened to here. And I think when you go into the community and you
listen to them and you look at the fact that this is a department that gets
five million 911 calls a year, and an accountable number of other contacts,
there is an extraordinary demand for police, service police protection,
police engagement, and I`m absolutely convinced the deepest part of my
fiber, there is a tremendous respect for the police. If we can get people
on the same page, and I would think that could be done. I mean, I hope
people will look at this New York City Police Department which looks like
the city now, these are cops that grew up with people that look different
than them, think different than them. So at least initially right out of
the gate, we need to put to rest this idea that there is some sort of
monolithic or 1950s style, you know, sudden Police Department which has
been floating around out there and has been really irresponsible.
WARREN: Thank you, Eugene O`Donnell. We`ll going to get to Christina
right after the break.
Up next, the broader national conversation about race under way right now,
and we`ll have the result of a new poll when we come back.
WARREN: The fatal shooting of two New York City Police Department officers
in Brooklyn yesterday occurred near the end of the year in which race,
policing and violence have been at the forefront of the American
consciousness. An NBC News Wall Street journal poll released Wednesday
indicated that 57 percent of Americans now say that race relations in the
United States are bad. That is the most pessimistic assessment of racial
issues since October 1995, the same month O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the
murders of his ex-wife Nicole and Ronald Goldman. On Friday, President
Obama took questions from White House reporters for his year-end press
conference, side note he took questions exclusively from women White House
reporters. And he was about to wrap up but then he took one last question.
And the question he took was about the state of black America. In
response, President Obama offered this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The gap between income and wealth of white and black America
persists. And we`ve got more work to do on that front. I`ve been
consistent in saying that, you know, this is a legacy of a troubled racial
past of Jim Crowe and slavery. That`s not an excuse for black folks, and I
think the overall majority of black people understand it`s not an excuse.
They`re working hard, they`re out there hustling and trying to get an
education, trying to send their kids to college, but now they`re starting
behind oftentimes in the race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: So Cristina, I want to come to you first on this and ask you, in
lieu of this moment and those poll results, what role does President Obama
have to play in proving race relations in this country?
CRISTINA BELTRAN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Right. A
somewhat impossible role in some ways, right? I mean, I think he has to
find a way to simultaneously share his views --
WARREN: He doesn`t have a magic wand.
BELTRAN: Yes. And he can`t just fix it. I don`t know. It`s crazy that
he can`t do that. But I mean, I do think that it`s an incredibly difficult
line to walk where he`s trying to sort of simultaneously allow African-
Americans to see that he feels their pain, and that he understand their
concerns and issues and also educate white Americans about the structure
and equality and the experiences, and so it`s this constant effort at
translation and speaking at sort of multiple levels. And I think it`s a
tough one because he`s always going to be accused of talking too much about
race or not talking enough about race. Right? So, he`s constantly in this
really troubled double bind. But the one thing I was thinking about
regarding -- I think one thing he`s tried to do and I think we might want
to think more about is, how do we think about the binding power of grief in
this situation? Because I think what you see happening with the police and
with the protests is two communities saying lives matter. The lives of our
You know, and it`s really a shame that I think, you know, Pat Lynch really
is exploiting this line right now, about you know, trying to affiliate an
emotionally troubled man who did something really tragic with the
democratic right of protesters to raise their concerns about the fact that
they feel simultaneously over policed and under policed. You know, none of
these communities are advocating no police. Or, you know, during these
periods of protest people get angry, they get emotional, they say things
that are heated on both sides, but what really everybody is talking about
is good policing, fair policing, safe policing, right? And that gets
forgotten in this debate.
WARREN: Well, on this front I want to come to you for a minute, Whitney,
and ask you about the work that you`re doing because you`ve been looking at
race relations from the perspective of white people, and I want to get your
take on how you imagine white Americans participating in this discussion
and dialogue on race at the national level.
DOW: Well, I mean, there is two things that I think need to happen. One
is I think the white people, what I`ve been trying to do for my part is to
recognize that they`re a race just like anybody else, and I think that so
many times, especially the most intentioned white people, think of race as
something outside themselves, not something that they experience every
moment of every day. But I think until you get that into your head that as
a white person, you have an ethnicity, that that is something you can`t
really have a discussion about it. I think that the other thing that needs
to happen is that black people have to give, and people of color have to
give people who aren`t used to talking about it some space to say stupid
things. Because they`re going to say stupid things. That`s the reality of
it, that this is a really hard conversation and we white people aren`t used
to talking about it so much.
WARREN: So, I want to bring Cherrell and Rashad into this and actually get
a respond to what Cristina just said because I think I was really profound
in terms of the binding of the grief. I can`t put exactly how you`ve
talked about it. But what do you think it would take to really have
transformative change when it comes to structural racism in this country?
ROBINSON: Well, I mean, you know --
WARREN: Small question.
ROBINSON: Small question. And the big question of this country, right,
it`s part of the ongoing experiment of opening up the corridors of power
and opportunity as our country has moved forward. And I do think that, you
know, it`s going to take a number of things. You know, on a small piece,
you know, as I`ve been out to some of the protests and as I`ve talked to
many of the white and non-black allies, by allies and non-black allies who
have been out at the protesting, and the big conversation I`ve had from
many of them is they`re heading home this holiday season. This gets back
to your point about white people sometimes not having to experience race.
It`s great to be at the protests, please come. But are you going to have a
conversation around this with your Aunt Edna about what you`ve been doing
over the past couple of weeks, how you feel about this.
When the news coverage of Ferguson comes on, are folks around the table
still going to have the conversation? And if black lives matter to you,
are you going to have those conversations at home? And so the power of
what it means to be an ally, the power for those folks who are maybe more
enlightened, who are thinking about these things more, what are they doing
to open up these conversations in the spaces where someone like me or
Cherrell won`t be? How are they opening up these conversations and being
the type of powerful advocates that can start moving the dialogue forward?
BROWN: Yes. So, really good points, Rashad, and I also want to talk about
in terms of space and white privilege. Because I think what`s powerful
when we talk about black lives matter for me is that white people use their
privilege to go back into their communities where he don`t have access and
talk about this and talk about their white privilege and talk about white
supremacy. A space that I don`t have access too. What has been largely
triggering from me sometimes its protests about black lives matter, you
know, things that directing impact on our communities is sometimes to have
those who have called themselves allies and be on the front line with the
megaphones taking up a lot of space. And it`s very triggering for when we
have the cops telling us what to do and we have people who call themselves
allies telling us what to do, so I`m always a little -- I`m still
navigating what it means to be an ally and that we`re an ally.
Now, to talk about transformation as far as the race relations and
dialogue, nothing is historical without context, right? And we need to
understand that being black in America means experiencing trauma compounded
on trauma compounded on trauma, not just this year, not just this decade,
not just my grandmother but my great-grandmother. From slavery to
lynching, to stop and frisk, and it`s becomes so normalize, right? It`s
become almost this stitch in our cultural fabric that we don`t understand
that our discomfort is what the default. So, we`re talking about white
comfort. I want to name that being uncomfortable as a white person does
not mean you`re not safe. Because as a black person in America, the
default is our discomfort, right, and we are often unsafe. And it`s an
interesting year of being both visible and hyper visible right now, you
WARREN: Cristina, I want to come to you really quickly and then we have to
break and then come back, but we`ve been talking a lot in this conversation
of black and white, right? And that`s not the American racial disorder,
exactly. So what are the path forward for transformative change in this
country for everyone?
BELTRAN: Yes. I think it`s a really interesting, hard conversation.
Because one thing I was thinking about is I think that statement black
lives matter is profoundly important and a really useful phrase. It also
erases like, you know, brown lives matter and thinking about afro-Latinos
and trying to understand the complexity of race. And it`s interesting
these two cops who were killed were Latino and Asian America, right? And
so the complexity of our, the increase diversity of our police force which
is also still enmeshed in the culture of hyper-criminalization and policing
that needs to change not just the color of the police but the culture of
the police needs to be changed. So, I think at the same time standing as
an ally, standing in political movements where you can say Jim Crowe and
slavery have a particular history. Conquest and colonialism has a
particular history. Stolen lands and indigenous rights have a particular
history. Like, how do we, you know, talk about and groups these thing
together in a way that acknowledging one particular moment doesn`t mean
erasing all the other communities. I think that`s a constant struggle for
these movements to build real alliances and real coalition. That is how
WARREN: More to come on this. Up next, a day of continued protest in an
WARREN: Demonstrations were held across the country yesterday, continuing
the rally cry, black lives matter. On one of the busiest shopping days of
the year, hundreds of protesters converge inside Minnesota small of America
rotunda. Only minutes into the stage, a warning was issued over
loudspeakers asking protesters to disperse from the private property. Some
left them all voluntarily while others were taken into custody. In
Philadelphia, several protests were held. And the one you see here, dozens
of children, along with their caregivers, staged a die-in. Police cordoned
off a busy intersection for 20 minutes as the children laid themselves on
the ground. Some were as young as eight years old. And in Cleveland, a
rally was held near the community center where a 12-year-old Tamir Rice was
shot and killed by a police officer.
Local protesters there were joined by dozens of demonstrators who travel
from North East, Ohio, and Ferguson, Missouri. Now, it`s important to note
these demonstrations happened prior to last night`s news that two NYPD
officers had been shot and killed. But we still have to ask what these
ongoing protests mean for the movement going forward and how does this
senseless double killing in Brooklyn factor in? So what is the path
forward in lieu of the senselessness that occurred yesterday?
DOW: But I want to talk a little of what Cherrell said about allies and
how to be an ally, how to be an ally is that I think white people have to
come to the table and you`re not doing it for somebody else. You`re not
doing it for Cherrell, you`re not doing it for -- you`re doing it for
yourself, because making a more just society benefits you. So I think
that`s like the hardest mindset, I think, for white people to get too again
because they see race and injustice outside themselves, especially the most
privileged. I think something you were talking earlier about, you know,
people taking a megaphone.
ROBINSON: I think moving forward, we`re going to continue to see these
moments. Until we have some real accountability around this, so we`re
going to continue to see moments where people in black and brown
communities are hurt and harmed by police and there`s no sense of
accountability and police and community will continue to drive further and
further apart. What we`re seeing in these new movement of young black
largely lead by young black and brown people raising their voices standing
up in this democracy, we often times here about the apathy from young
people, and now what we`re seeing is people want to participate and stand
up. We are seeing something really new here and we`re driving on agenda
right now that we`re seeing federal demands being listened to, we`re seeing
state and local folks listening to demands, and I hope over this next year,
we will be able to have some real change around these issues.
BELTRAN: One thing I was thinking about though is that, you know, we`re
upset with these stats right now say that Americans are unhappy about race.
But people think racial relations. I think actually what we want to think
about is a good thing happening at this moment. That actually when you`re
in denial, that they will say like in therapy like if you can`t even
address the problem if you won`t recognize there is a problem. You know,
Jays Bolderman (ph) talked about America`s problem with racial innocence.
This is a moment where this die-ins represent a moment of saying, wake up,
think about this, and so it`s actually forcing all of us to sort of being
mature about having a conversation that I think is going to go on, and I
hope that people can talk about lives mattering after some of these
protests in a way that can actually allow people to talk together about the
senselessness of so many deaths in this country.
WARREN: Cherrell, 15 seconds.
BROWN: Okay. Quickly, my sister Linda says, the movement has already left
the station. We continue to protests, we continue to be in the streets.
This is a raucous uprising. We will take to social media and we are
WARREN: Intersectional. That`s a great place to live in. Thank you to
Whitney Dow, Cherrell Brown, Cristina Beltran, Rashad Robinson.
Still to come this morning, the year of Beyonce. Stay with us.
WARREN: Okay, attention Nerdland viewers, 2014 is coming to a close and
we`re about to take a look back on one very important category, pop
culture. From the weddings that had tongues wagging, to the black actors
who bedazzled, to the dairy airs that had everyone debating. The segments
begin in just three minutes. So, tweet and tweet really fast. The most
important popular popped culture moment of the year according to you. Use
#Nerdland, ready, set, go.
WARREN: 2014 comes to an end in just 10 days, and on this program we have
discussed news of all kinds, but this segment is where we get to let our
hair down a little bit, and of course they told me to say that, and we`re
going to talk about the big and important news in pop culture. All right,
Nerdland, not everything can be professorial. It`s time for some year and
So, Aisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills, co-host of the Politini podcast are
here with me now to talk about all the stories that popped this year,
starting with the wedding of the year. Now, there were a lot of big ones.
I want each of you to hit me with what you think is the favorite of each of
you, and then what you have agreed as the best wedding of the year.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: As the winner?
WARREN: As the winner.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: So, you have Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got
married. She wears a Versace dress. Obviously beautiful, elegant of
Angelina Jolie. Children decorated the veil and the entire back of it.
Gorgeous or --
WARREN: Gorgeous. Aisha?
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: And you have George Clooney in a mall who got married
and what`s really, really, really dope about this wedding is that it seems
like we finally moved on from this idea of having a trophy wife, right?
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Everyone is wondering, who actually married up here.
I think George Clooney was the one who married up.
WARREN: This is why this is my favorite wedding. Okay, Danielle, what is
the big one?
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: Solange Knowles. I mean, we have white cape, five
changes, a son and mother dance to No Flex.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: And she broke the internet.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: And she broke the internet.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: I think that we should get remarried just so that we
WARREN: Okay, a Moodie-Mills wedding in 2015, another one.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: Another one.
WARREN: Let`s talk TV, and the biggest TV moment of the year, pop culture,
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Well, you had blackish debut which is really like a
fantastic opportunity to have real talk about race with a little bit of,
you know, sugar.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: But the biggest thing? Shonda. Shondaland TGIT,
thank God it`s --
WARREN: I love it.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: I mean, people are actually watching live TV these
days and not just their DVR or --
WARREN: Right. Tweeting and everything.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: I have to be in the tweets for that show.
WARREN: All right. All right. Aisha, give me what you think is the
biggest though singular moment on the small screen.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Well, clearly it would been Viola Davis and her
unmasking and how to get away with murder.
WARREN: Yes. Yes.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: I mean, this is the first time we saw a powerful black
woman character really bare all and show her soul on television. And for,
you know, there`s been a lot of controversy, a lot of conversation about
it. I had my own mixed feelings, but you cannot deny that that was a
powerful moment in television.
WARREN: All right. Let`s move to a category of -- obsession.
When you look at pop culture this year, what did you notice became the
ongoing obsession of 2014, Danielle?
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: The derriere, the -- the butt. Let`s just be real.
Everywhere we turned, whether it was J.Lo`s butt, it was a Nikki Minaj in
Anaconda, Beyonce started it, I`d like to say, because, you know, she`s the
Queen B, Kim Kardashian started it, but it was the butt.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: There had been so many pieces written about booty this
year. That it is just so fascinating to be Kim Kardashian, obviously.
WARREN: Okay, see more about them. By the way, Melissa did not want me to
say tushie on air.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: You just said it.
WARREN: Okay. So, the Kim Kardashian photos, right? And it`s not just
what was on the surface here, it`s a much more complicated discussion we
had about women`s bodies, precisely because in particularly black women`s
bodies precisely because of the photo and because, you know, a book called
jungle fever is where that original photo came from.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: When we talk about pop culture and the unfortunate
undertone, a lot of times is this cultural appropriation. Right? And so,
you have this photo-shoot that was reenacted with Kim Kardashian which
began as exploitation of black women and the modification of black women`s
bodies, and here she is the mother now of a black girl who is going to grow
up to be a black woman who is putting her behind out there for all to see
in a way that I just thought was very salacious. I still think it`s photo
shopped but --
WARREN: Oh, all right. So, this would not be MHP if we did not have a
category called intersectionality. All right. Aisha, talk to me.
Intersectionality moment of the year.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Laverne Cox on the cover of Time Magazine.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: Yes.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: So powerful, first of all, Laverne Cox being the first
transgender person who is nominated as Time person of the year. Secondly,
this is coming off the heels of that horrible Katie Couric interview that
was pretty, you know, offensive and tone deaf that she did with Laverne.
Also Janet Mock who had just been in this crazy confrontational interview
with Piers Morgan.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: And then you have Time Magazine putting these
conversations about transgender people`s live --
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: For the first time ever, I mean, it was amazing.
And it`s an amazing time to be having these conversations. Five years ago,
ten years ago, people would not have uttered the word transgender in the
mainstream, let alone be on the cover for magazine.
WARREN: Great. Let`s gears really quickly and give me your take on the
most incredible sports moment of the year.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: Okay. So the first one, obviously, that everyone
has been talking about, Ray Rice, Janay Rice, the knockout in the elevator.
It spurned too many conversations.
WARREN: Yep. Aisha?
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend. Enough said, the
optics or everything.
WARREN: And Danielle, what`s the biggest, biggest sports moment of the
year. What could be done?
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: Richard Sherman, his post-game interview where he`s
yelling, he`s passionate, he is angry, he`s frustrated --
WARREN: Let`s take a second and listen to it if we can.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD SHERMAN, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Just because you hear Compton, you hear
watts, you hear cities like that, you just think thug, he`s a gangster,
he`s this, that and the other. And then you hear Stanford and you`re like,
oh mean, that doesn`t even make sense. That`s an oxymoron. And you fight
it for so long. And to have it, you know, come right back up and people
start using it again. It`s really, it`s frustrating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: All right. So, just to clarify. That was his response to the
criticism that he received.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Yes.
WARREN: Okay. Retort of the year. The public response where everybody
had to go, whoa! Aisha.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Jennifer Lawrence. Jennifer Lawrence in Vanity Fair
reclaiming her body after those images were stolen of her body and put out
there for all to see. And it was so powerful because she called out the
perpetrators and said, you know what, you guys are perpetrating a sex crime
here, all of those who are looking in my pictures are perpetrating a sex
crime, and this is my body and I can show it however I want.
WARREN: I want to go to celebrity power play and it`s really hard to talk
about pop culture in 2014 without talking about Taylor Swift. As you know,
she was everywhere, whether it was magazine covers, Spotify -- you agree?
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: I mean, Taylor Swift did a big power move this year
by deciding to take her entire catalog off of Spotify. And the reason
being is that she believes, and many artists have said, that when they put
their music on there, they don`t reap the benefits that they would because
people are able to listen to it without having to buy it for free, and the
musicians only receive a small portion of those funds. She sold a million
copies of "1989" in her first week, breaking sales records, so this is a
smart move for artists moving forward, and especially a young woman like
WARREN: Last but not least, feminist moment of the year. Aisha.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Oh, so, let`s see. Harry Potter girl Emma Watson, who
is all grown up now, had a wonderful speech at the U.N. where she did two
things. One, she reclaimed feminism, the word and the language feminism
and said, this doesn`t mean that I hate men because I`m a feminist. And
then she also really told men that you guys need to step up to the plate
and you need to do all that you can do, men and boys, to support
deliberation if you will women and girls around the world. So, that was
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: Lupita Nyong`o, the Essence Magazine`s black women
in Hollywood speech brought Oprah to tears. When she is standing up there,
this beautiful, dark-skinned woman, talking about finally seeing herself
being beautiful, being seen and being heard and reading the letter that she
received from a young girl who also is dark-skinned, I mean, it was moving.
And, I mean, obviously she`s an Oscar winner now. So this is just changing
the perception of what beauty looks like, what intelligence looks like.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: But we can`t talk about feminism without talking about
WARREN: All right. All right. I have to stop you right there, because
here in Nerdland, as you know, when we talk Beyonce, we give her a segment
all to herself.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: Yes.
WARREN: So, let`s take a quick break, and when we come back, Beyonce 2014
WARREN: After dropping her eponymously named album at the end of 2013,
Beyonce kicked 2014 off with a bang. Whether you were "drunk in love" with
the singles flawless vocals, impressed by Queen B`s ability to successfully
skirt music industry conventions or generally indifferent to the pop star,
there was no escaping her musical superpower. Beyonce`s singles seemed to
be everywhere in early 2014, whether you were listening to your car radio,
flipping through Pandora or enjoying a night out with friends. Odds are,
Beyonce was playing. Maybe you can thank the Beygency for that. And sure,
there was a bit of drama, too. The altercation with her sister`s husband
in an elevator in May. But B kept calm and carried on in more ways than
one. She completed her international on the run tour with Jay-Z over the
summer, taking a brief break in August to pick up three moon men and a
video vanguard award at the MTV Video Music Awards. And of course she
couldn`t even leave without delivering an unforgettable performance and
making this image of feminism go viral.
And let`s not forget "7/11," the music video selfie that gave us life in
mid-November and Queen B`s quirky side a very memorable foot phone. All of
this begs the question, what does Beyonce have in store for us next? Aisha
and Danielle Moodie-Mills are going to shift gears with me to reflect on
the year of B.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: I`m exhausted just looking at the list of all she
accomplished. I don`t know how she does it.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: Feminism. Beyonce comes out. Not only this year
did she stand up in front of the word feminism, she puts -- in her song
"flawless" and she writes an essay in the Shriver report. I mean, Beyonce
killing the game from policy to pop culture.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Changing the game.
WARREN: Changing the game. I might argue.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Yes, she`s changing the game. And she`s smacking back
against the people who have a very narrow idea of what it means to be a
feminist. And I think that`s what most excites me about her. She`s like,
yes, you know, I`m not maybe this textbook feminist that you want me to be.
But I`m doing as much as I can for the empowerment of women in my life
reflects that and that`s --
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: And she`s allowed more women to come into the
frame, claim their feminism, claim their womanism, claim their bodies. I
mean, this year alone. How many people do you know have had a million
think pieces done about their butts, done about their sexuality, done about
their relationship? Everything.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: Everything.
WARREN: I mean, scholars are going to be writing about Beyonce for years,
hundreds of years. Okay. Okay, we`ve got to talk about the elevator.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Yes.
WARREN: Significance of that in 2014?
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: I think that the fact that we are the ones who are
sitting around and talking about the elevator, right?
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: And she said pretty much nothing about the elevator
except for one liner is epic in telling in and of itself. I mean, clearly,
you know, Beyonce brought us everything this year, including a little bit
of drama that keeps you attached. Right? It can`t be all -- and roses.
And so, I think that, you know, the fact that she is so graceful and chose
not to address it and chose not to like hit it head on is just, again,
showing how dope a woman she is.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: Look, it makes her more human. It makes us
understand. Every family has drama. Right?
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: They come out, they make a collective statement
saying, look, we`ve moved past it and you should, too. And so, they
stopped talking about. They shut it down and then on the heels of it
announced the on the run tour.
WARREN: Okay. Now, when I think of Jay and Beyonce or Beyonce and Jay, I
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Yes.
WARREN: I think of royalty. Talk to me about them meeting Kate and Will.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Was that not the sweetest thing?
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: It was amazing. I mean, get this, you`re royalty,
you`re coming to New York for the first time as a married couple, and what
is the thing you want the most? I don`t know, tickets to a game at the
Barclay`s Center and to meet American royalty, the Carters.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: But one of the things about them as a couple, too that
I just love so much, is that they don`t pretend to be perfect. But it is a
really wonderful example of how you have this powerful couple that has a
powerful marriage that seems to try to do what they can to present
themselves as a family and as a strong family and a positive model in a
climate where we don`t necessarily see a lot of that. So I appreciate
WARREN: All right. We`re running out of time. I wish we had another hour
to talk about Beyonce. But the question here, has Beyonce ever been
nominated or ever won in the general pop category? Not for urban or hip-
hop or something like that?
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS: No, and what`s happening right now with the
Grammy`s and the way that they`re doing these nominations these days is
that they`re squeezing black artists out. And we`ve had shows about this
on Politini, and talking about cultural appropriation. And the fact that
pretty much we don`t need black artists anymore. A fact that a Rihanna and
a Beyonce, two of the biggest female superstars whose awards are not even
being shown on television and you have to go online later to see about it.
Come on, Beyonce, urban contemporary, she`s pop star.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS: Exactly.
WARREN: That will have to be the last word. Thank you so much to Aisha
Moodie-Mills and Danielle Moodie-Mills. That is our show for today, and
thanks to you at home for watching on behalf of Melissa Harris-Perry and
everyone who works here at MHP in the Nerdland, I`m Dorian Warren wishing
everyone a very happy holiday season and a healthy New Year. Now it`s time
for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT."
ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT": And a happy holidays to
you, Dorian. Thank you so much.
Hey, everyone, we`re going to talk about the tragedy in New York City as
two police officers are gunned down while sitting in their patrol car by a
gunman who may have had a vendetta against police.
Huge delays expected this weekend as two massive storms are on the move as
tens of millions hit the road for the holiday.
Plus, what will happen to those classic cars with the new and improved
relations between Cuba and the U.S. Don`t go anywhere, I`ll be right back.
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.
Copyright 2014 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
WATCH 'THE MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY SHOW' SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AT 10:00 A.M. ET ON MSNBC.
MORE FROM MSNBC
Add msnbc headlines to your news reader: