'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Sunday, May 17th, 2015
Read the transcript to the Sunday show
Show: MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY
Date: May 17, 2015
Guest: Zephyr Teachout, Daniel Denvir, Dave Zirin, Jessica Disu, Alan
Light, Elysa Gardner, Christopher John Farley, Noah Shachtman, Earl
Catagnus Jr., Adam Reiss, Gordon Chang, David Adelman, Dorian Warren,
HARRIS-PERRY: This morning my question -- what`s on your play list,
rock or hip hop?
Plus, President Obama settles on Chicago.
And billions to build stadiums that are now just parking garages.
But first, the U.S. military strike against ISIS inside Syria`s borders.
Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. We begin this morning with the
latest on the U.S. special operations forces entering Eastern Syria late
Friday night with the intention of capturing an ISIS leader and his
That senior leader known as Abu Sayyaf was shot and killed when he
engaged with Army Delta Force commandos. Abu Sayyaf`s wife, an Iraqi,
known as Um Sayyaf was captured and is now in detention.
Along with Abu Sayyaf, about a dozen ISIS fighters were killed. Now
just as crucial as who was killed with how, this was a boots on the
ground, cross border operation inside Syria, the first successful raid
by American ground troops since the military campaign against the
Islamic State began last year.
The operation came three months after three unsuccessful raids by
American commandos in Syria and Yemen to free American hostages. The
decision to put U.S. boots on the ground this weekend highlights several
One, that on the ground intelligence from within Syria seems to be
increasing and improving. Also, that the administration will continue
to send in ground troops in order to capture and kill suspected
Now the debate around U.S. counter terror operations especially in Syria
and Iraq tends to focus on the U.S. military reliance on drones.
Aggressive U.S. drone use has faced mounting criticism, especially due
to evidence that the military tactic has resulted in innocent civilian
Among those innocent are our own. Last month, the U.S. government
disclosed that two men held hostage by al Qaeda, one American and one
Italian, were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan in January.
The death of an American by a U.S. drone was met with a personal apology
by President Obama. The president did not sign off on that specific
strike because he has authorized the CIA and military to carry out drone
attacks on their own if those attacks meet certain criteria.
For the latest on Friday night`s raid, we go now to NBC News
correspondent, White House correspondent, Kristen Welker at the White
House. Kristen, what was -- how involved exactly was President Obama in
this particular operation?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He was very
involved, Melissa. He`s the one who authorized it at the recommendation
of his national security team. This weekend he has praised the success
of those who carried it out.
As you underscored it was incredibly risky. Now we are learning more
about how it all went down. U.S. officials say American Delta Force
commandos took off from Northern Iraq in Blackhawk helicopters and
Osprey plane helicopter hybrids and they flew into an ISIS strong hold
in Eastern Syria.
The target of the mission, as you say was Abu Sayyaf. He is not really
known to most Americans, but U.S. officials say he was a top ISIS
operator, who managed ISIS` oil and gas income. That is incredibly
He was also close to ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but taking him
down wasn`t easy. There was a gun fight as you also said, Melissa,
there was a hand to hand fight.
Abu Sayyaf was killed along with 12 other ISIS fighters. Now no U.S.
forces were killed. That is significant. They did take Abu Sayyaf`s
wife into custody. She is known as Um Sayyaf. She is apparently
talking to her interrogators.
Now the mission is significant for a couple of reasons. First, it shows
the U.S. is willing to take on ISIS in its safe havens. The mission was
incredibly risky as we`ve been pointing out.
And if any of those commandos have been captured, they would have almost
certainly been tortured and killed as we have seen with other ISIS
It could potentially yield new intelligence about where other ISIS
fighters are and about where other hostages are. Again that interview
being conducted and the interrogation is being conducted with Um Sayyaf,
the wife of that ISIS leader. Melissa, back to you.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Kristen Welker at the White House.
Joining me now, Earl Catagnus Jr., founding director of the Valley Forge
Military College`s Center for the advancement of securities studies and
an Iraq war veteran, and Noah Shachtman, who is executive editor of "The
It`s so nice to have you both here. OK, how important is the raid? Is
this the administration and media excited because it feels that we have
a clean win or is this actually important in the battle against ISIS?
NOAH SHACHTMAN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE DAILY BEAST": I don`t think we
know yet to be honest. I think that this guy`s position hasn`t been
entirely clear, you know, judging on the reports yesterday he was either
super senior or he was kind of mid-level. He was either controlling all
their finances or maybe just some.
I don`t think we quite know yet about this individual raid. I think
we`ll know if there is a series of raids that there is a series of
cascading intelligence successes. That may be a big deal.
But I think the other thing to point out is that while this raid was
going on and while we were killing this guy, no matter how essential or
not he was, one of Iraq`s key cities fell to ISIS, Ramadi.
EARL CATAGNUS JR., FOUNDING DIRECTOR, VALLEY FORGE MILITARY COLLEGE:
That`s really not true. Ramadi, there was a series of attacks on the
police and what`s the key in the language of the reporting in Ramadi is
that there were police engaging the insurgents. There wasn`t -- the
Iraqi military just sent three regiments to them. But the Iraqi
military, the actual government forces pushed in.
So there is -- it`s tenuous. It could fall, but who is in control? Who
knows? The reporting has said that ISIS as pulled back from the
government buildings. It looks like it was a raid. They pulled back.
There is no doubt that Ramadi is contested space.
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s so interesting, Earl, that you bring it up in part
because from the moment that I heard the reporting on Ramadi, I thought,
I really wanted to talk to Earl about this.
We talked before particularly as a vet as well as a scholar of these
questions. What that space in Iraq means for you. I was wondering
whether or not what was happening in Iraq and what happened here, how
closely connected they are in the administration`s decision-making.
CATAGNUS: I think the administration looked at this isolated raid as
the raid. The planning and preparation that took place and there was
already a precedence. Even though there were three failed attempts, it
wasn`t that they weren`t failed in the operational part of it. They
were failed that they didn`t secure the hostages.
What happened here was a completely different situation. You had a
target that you were going to capture or kill. Whatever the situation
was there, but he was going to be there, generally speaking.
If not him, the information they were going after. There is a huge
electronic footprint that they saw and they know that they had to go
there and get it. That`s why they didn`t use a drone strike.
Now with the other raids there were hostages. That`s a crap shoot
whether or not they are actually there. They were right on the heels of
all them. They were all successful in the fact that they were able to
insert, conduct the raid and then extract without any major casualties,
HARRIS-PERRY: So let me --
SHACHTMAN: Well, except for the hostages eventually getting killed.
That`s a major American casualty.
CATAGNUS: That, again, is one of those things when you go on hostage
rescue there is actually calculus that we are going to take this risk.
They actually do an assessment whether or not they can negotiate, this.
What`s the immediate danger and will that immediate danger if they are
successful override the long-term danger.
HARRIS-PERRY: And so part --
SHACHTMAN: I just have to say I don`t think it`s clear that Abu Sayyaf,
this guy we are talking about, was the target of the raid. We are
hearing at "The Daily Beast" and I think our sources on this are really
good, that there were many other ISIS types that were targeted but had
fled the area before U.S. forces --
HARRIS-PERRY: So do you think this is post hoc advertising?
SHACHTMAN: I`m not saying it definitely is. I don`t think it`s clear
to me at this moment, that Abu Sayyaf, the guy that is now being
trumpeted at this major win was necessarily the target.
HARRIS-PERRY: So part of what I want -- I`m interested in is sort of
the difference in tone and tenner of this than the conversations that
were happening around drones.
You know, for me, sort of the instruments of war, the technology of it,
are amoral, and the question of the morality or ethics of them have to
do with how they get deployed one way or another.
But it does feel like drones have taken on their own sort of discourse
and I guess I`m surprised at what feels like almost celebratory mood
about boots on the ground in the way that we have been so critical
generally of drones. If you think there is something to that in this
CATAGNUS: No. I honestly think that the drones -- I don`t think this
was a political decision. I think it was an actual tactical or an
operational decision by the president.
There are certain targets that drone strikes -- they know that they can
effectively engage and kill. There is no reason to endanger American
lives. Again this was the planning part of this.
I honestly believe because Americans are very good at signal
intelligence that there was a huge electronic footprint there. I also
think that there might be some merit actually that there were other
people in play there. There could have been a meeting. Timing is off.
Timing in all of these raids are very critical if you`re off by 5
minutes or a minute.
HARRIS-PERRY: It can make all the difference. You say electronic
footprint. You said that to us earlier. If you`re the finance guy you
might have more of an electronic footprint because of the ways that you
are managing --
CATAGNUS: As opposed to a battlefield commander where you can actually
engage with troops on the ground.
HARRIS-PERRY: On the face to face. Earl Catagnus Jr. and Noah
Shachtman, thank you so much for being here. I will be interested to
continue to follow what`s going on with who we think the targets were.
Stay right there.
Up next, new developments in the Amtrak train derailment. We are going
to live to Philadelphia for the latest.
HARRIS-PERRY: As the investigation into the cause of this week`s deadly
Amtrak train derailment deepens, more evidence of projectiles hitting
trains on that route have surfaced.
A passenger traveling along the same route the same night of the
derailment, but on another train now says an object hit his train
shattering the window.
Justin Landis, a Johns Hopkins student snapped this photo of the damage
and Landis said the incident happened about 20 minutes away from the
Philadelphia station. This development came just one day after the NTSB
announced its investigators had spoken to the staff of the derailed
train including the engineer, Brandon Bostian.
An assistant conductor told investigators she heard Bostian say an
object had hit the train. Meantime, another engineer on a different
train said his train was hit.
When the train derailed Tuesday night, eight people were killed. More
than 200 people were injured. Friday, the youngest victim, 20-year-old
Justin Zemser was laid to rest.
The U.S. Naval Academy midshipman had been traveling home to Rockaway
Beach in New York on leave. Hundreds of people attended his funeral
which included full military honors.
Yesterday afternoon, the Federal Railroad Administration ordered Amtrak
to take measures to improve safety on the northeast corridor. Joining
me from Philadelphia, MSNBC correspondent, Adam Reiss. Adam, what are
the orders that were issued by the administration?
ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Melissa. Three orders,
one is to assess curves, one is to assess speed and also to install ATC,
automatic train control. That would alert the engineer if the train is
going too fast. If the engineer doesn`t slow it down, the system will
I also want to tell you about the FBI investigation looking into a
pattern. Is there a link between three trains getting hit by
projectiles? Let`s look at them.
First, we have the Acela at 9:05 Tuesday night. Then the Septa train
claiming it was hit at 9:10 and then, of course, Amtrak 188 at 9:28.
NTSB officials say it was a fist-sized projectile that went through the
front windshield killing eight people.
It`s possible criminal charges could come from this investigation.
Engineers along the route call it getting rocked. Actually happening so
often along the northeast corridor, they have to protect themselves by
putting grills in the front windshield -- Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to MSNBC`s Adam Reiss in Philadelphia. We`ll
continue to follow this story.
Up next, the president wants it. Republicans want it. The private
sector wants it. What`s the debate all about?
HARRIS-PERRY: She endured brutality and bondage. She escaped from
slavery in 1849. She spent years liberating other enslaved people and
she is probably America`s best known abolitionist. Now Harriet Tubman
just might end up on the $20 bill.
No, it`s not imminent, but the grassroots group "Women on the 20" has
been petitioning for months to retire the current bill that features the
face of President Andrew Jackson and is advocating for Harriet Tubman to
be the face of the next 20.
The decision to make the new bills ultimately lies in the hands of
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and his department and if the treasury
decides to print new Harriet Tubman bills, it would still take years for
its partner, the Federal Reserve to distribute all of the redesigned
This week, the Federal Reserve and its bill distributing power at the
center of another money story, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
The agreement which has been in the works for almost ten years would
update the terms of the trade between the United States and 11 countries
bordering the Pacific Ocean.
As the largest trade agreement in decades the deal would be a major part
of President Obama`s legacy. If you think the idea of putting Harriet
Tubman on the 20 is controversial it has nothing on how contentious the
proposed trade deal has been.
Big business interest like tech and pharmaceutical companies favor the
pact for its potential to spur economic growth while many progressives
and labor groups voice concern for American workers.
The deal has been so fraught that the Senate initially voted against
debating the president`s authority to speed trade pacts through
Congress, which would give the lawmakers power to either vote for or
against the deal, not to alter it.
But in a reversal, the Senate voted two days later to consider the
legislation that would let President Obama complete trade negotiations
and fast track the trade deal through Congress.
The president applauded this decision Thursday and continued to make his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I want to
thank all the senators who voted to provide that authority. At least
begin the debate on moving the process forward, those who didn`t vote
for it. I want to keep on trying to make the case.
The approach we are taking here, I think, is the right one, not just for
big U.S. businesses, but also for small U.S. businesses and medium-sized
U.S. businesses and most importantly ultimately American workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The Senate`s change of heart happened only after senators
passed partner legislation to prevent any of the 11 countries involved
in the trade deal from engaging in currency manipulation.
Now opponents worry about the macro economic effects of countries that
stock pile U.S. dollars in order to take them out of circulation and
artificially increase the value of the dollar while decreasing the value
of that country`s currency.
Proponents of the trade deal are less concerned about currency
manipulation, arguing that such artificial manipulation of currency`s
value begins to stall the economy the fed would step in and pump more
bills, Washington`s Jacksons or Tubmans in the future into the system.
Currency manipulation is not the only pressure point in the debate.
Opponents like Senator Elizabeth Warren have voiced concerns about the
deal easing the displacement of jobs overseas and hindering competition
President Obama and supporters of the agreement balk at the idea that
the deal would help big business at the expense of the American worker.
Let`s be clear. I`m no expert in trade deals, but I have invited
experts to join me this morning to talk about it.
Joining me now is Zephyr Teachout, a former candidate for the governor
of New York and a former at Fordham Law, Gordon Chang, columnist at
forbes.com, Dorian Warren, MSNBC contributor and host of "Nerding Out"
by MSNBC, and Ambassador David Adelman, who is a former U.S. ambassador
to Singapore and a partner at Reid-Smith.
Thank you all for being here. So let me just ask why this deal now, why
this array of nations at this moment?
GORDON CHANG, FORBES.COM: I think it`s largely because there is a
concern about China in the region. Got to remember that President Obama
announced this in November 2011, which was really the heart of the
This was the idea that we would spend much more of our diplomatic and
military attention towards the Pacific and people were concerned about
China`s predatory trade behavior. So this is a response to what was
going on in Asia.
HARRIS-PERRY: OK, so this idea that this part of the world is our new
critical space -- right? I guess part then of what I`m interested in is
since China is in certain ways the nation, why China then isn`t part of
this at the same time it is clearly part of it.
AMBASSADOR DAVID ADELMAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SINGAPORE: This is
really not just about China. It`s about growth in all of the Asia-
Pacific. You know, something happened in March of 2010 that`s a little
bit obscure but was very significant.
For the first time in history, American exports to Asia exceeded
American exports to Europe. In some ways this trade negotiation is
following the explosive growth in Asia. It`s very important --
HARRIS-PERRY: So is that about population or is that about buying
capacity within those nations?
ADELMAN: It`s about the growth and economic strength of many of the
economies that are participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.
Hundreds of millions of people are clawing their way to the middle
class. They are very interested in American goods and services. They
are the safest and highest quality goods and services in the world.
HARRIS-PERRY: So your point about them being the safest is also
underlying this. The idea in part that this kind of trade agreement
would actually raise the level of not only pay, but also safety,
security, not only for the goods we would be importing as Americans, but
for the circumstances under which workers would be operating in these
Yet, a lot of progressives on this the side say, that`s not our worry.
Our worry is what will happen to American workers and American jobs.
DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It should be our worry because
whatever happens to those workers, if we raise the global floor for
workers in developing countries, it actually could potentially influence
and help American workers.
Because the issue now is the worry about the threat of American jobs
going to places like Bangladesh or Vietnam, say apparel. If that`s the
case, why not lift the global floor using our trade policy?
In fact, under our current trades policy the president and the U.S.
trade representative have the authority to threaten or issue sanctions
for countries that don`t enforce their labor rights. We could be making
a progressive case to lift the global floor using trade policy which
might end up benefitting American workers.
HARRIS-PERRY: But in a very long run.
ADELMAN: Dorian is right. You know, in many ways the trade floor has
already been lifted. Most of the apparel and footwear we are wearing
today on the streets in the United States were manufactured in Vietnam,
Bangladesh and other markets in Asia.
WARREN: But we still haven`t -- we haven`t used our trade authority to
the extent that we could. It`s uncomfortable position for progressives.
It`s about imperial hegemonic power.
It`s about state power of saying to countries we are not going to trade
with you unless you have this minimal standard. We refuse to do it.
That should be the call to action around this trade policy and all our
ZEPHYR TEACHOUT, FORDHAM LAW: What`s interesting and helpful, the three
different stories we are told. I happen to agree with Gordon that I
actually suspect that the real reason that President Obama, who I agree
with on a lot of things -- not this thing is pushing this and has really
actually taken some political risks on this --
TEACHOUT: -- is because he believes -- not the reasons you`re giving,
but that he is motivated by this concern about China.
HARRIS-PERRY: He`s being competitive from the beginning.
TEACHOUT: Yes -- and his own sense of legacy is tied to that. The
reason I think it`s important, I know the TPP is very complicated and
unknown is that when we are debating it, these are three different
If you believe the core reason is China then we should be measuring it
along those terms and deciding whether the real risks that come along to
our domestic sovereignty are worth it.
If we think the real reason is American jobs, I actually find the
evidence weak on that. Let`s debate on that front. If we think the
real debate is about raising the floor, that`s what the "New York Times"
sort of suggested when it endorsed the basic premise of the TPP.
But I find it implausible that`s the current thrust and the process
through which we are negotiating this deal does not make sense if that`s
the goal. Another trade deal could serve those goals.
HARRIS-PERRY: Those three different stories then give us different
standards on which we would measure whether or not we think this deal is
good or not. On the China piece, is it a good deal? I mean, is it a
reasonable decision to make?
CHANG: Yes, it`s very important for us to do that because as the
president said -- and he`s absolutely correct -- you know, who writes
trade rules? Is it us or is it China? When you write the trade rules,
you write trade flows.
You know, the question is, are we going to have trade among these 12
countries with each other or are 11 countries going to trade with China
and then China takes the end products and sells to us?
This is a really important issue that will go on and I know that the
trade deal is imperfect. There are a lot of things wrong with it. When
you look at the geopolitical aspects of it, this is important for the
United States and for leadership in the region which is a volatile
We want to make sure that the U.S. is the one that guarantees security
and the one that trades with all these countries.
HARRIS-PERRY: I will let you back in when we come back. I do want to
ask this question. Why does big pharma love the trade deal so much?
HARRIS-PERRY: Making a case for the Trans-Pacific Trade deal, the
office of the U.S. trade representative, writes that the TPP deal aims
to set high standard rules for trade and address vital 21st Century
issues within the global community.
One of those vital 21st Century issues is the distribution of affordable
generic medicine to low income nations. People with illnesses like
cancer, tuberculosis, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, who live in impoverished
nations rely on the trade of affordable generic drugs to treat
As an organization that provides affordable medications to people in low
income regions, Doctors Without Borders has launch a campaign to inform
people the damage that the patent provisions of the TPP could do to
global public health.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The TPP is slated to become the most harmful trade
agreement ever for access to medicines. The TPP could impose new rules
that will extend monopoly protection for medicines, keeping prices sky
high for longer and blocking generic drugs from entering the market.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Could these intellectual property provisions create a
widespread public health problem? I like Doctors Without Borders. They
say things and I`m generally like OK. You know, I also like
intellectual property protection.
TEACHOUT: OK, well, I actually think it is a great example. I want to
step back because my concern about the TPP is as an American
constitutional scholar. My concern has to do with a locus of decision-
making, who has authority to make decisions and then who has the
authority to adjudicate those decisions. Patents is one area where the
TPP would change both the locus of the decision-making authority and the
place of judicial arbitration.
HARRIS-PERRY: So moving towards the administrative?
TEACHOUT: Well, first of all, it is moving into the trade area. We are
calling this a trade deal. As Elizabeth Warren frequently reminds us,
you know, of the 29 alleged chapters in this unknown deal, really only
five of them have to do with traditional trade elements with tariffs.
The rest of them are really forms of law-making, legislation through the
secret practice that 600 lobbyists are engaged in as something of a
Patriot and anti-monopolist, I just want to point out Thomas Jefferson
wanted an anti-monopoly clause in the constitution because of concerns
about extended patents.
Patents have always actually been a quasi-democratic threat because they
give monopoly quasi governing power over whole areas. To have extensive
patent protection which we believe exists in this secret trade deal is
actually quite concerning.
It`s concerning for the other countries and for people in those other
countries but it`s also concerning for us. There is a growing anti-
monopoly movement inner our country. If we wanted to reduce the length
of our patents, it would actually be somewhat foreclosed by the TPP
ADELMAN: The point is important, but it`s really not what Doctors
Without Borders is talking about. America invests more in medical and
pharmaceutical research and development than any other country on the
globe. The reason we do that is because we have strong patent
Our patent system encourages further research and development investment
by protecting that investment and what the TPP will do is take those
protections overseas to some of the markets, which are most important
This is one of the difficult places, Melissa, where opponents of the TPP
want it both ways. They want labor and environmental standards
American-style in the Asia-Pacific, but they are concerned with an
American style patent regime in the Asia-Pacific.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, so is there a way -- to slice this that then allows
for a recognition of certain kinds of needs and a kind of hierarchy that
says -- all right. I get the point. Research and development comes
from a kind of profit motivation that says because you have patents you
can protect intellectual property.
So investment in intellectual goods, is it actual value that that rises
here and it doesn`t -- if you don`t have those patents, those
protections around intellectual property.
On the other hand -- I mean, I get the argument. I`m not saying I
agree. I get the argument, right? But part of what I`m saying is once
we start talking about what that cost is relative to a basket of goods
in another nation that there actually are ways -- the best way I can say
this in TV moment is a sliding scale.
What you can charge in a nation where median income is $50,000 is
different from what you can charge in a nation where median income is
CHANG: You can have a work around though. The point is there are
really important concerns that Doctors Without Borders talk about. The
way you do it is not to reduce patent protections. You`re absolutely
right on that.
The way to do it is direct government assistance to groups like Doctors
Without Borders. You sort of help the generics that way. You don`t do
it by taking the patent protections and breaking them down because then
you are just not going to get drugs in the first place.
HARRIS-PERRY: I promise I will let you back in. You had the
constitutional point about the question of the fundamental process as
well. After the break, we are going to talk about the spectre of NAFTA
and the giant sucking sound that we still may be asking about the TPP.
HARRIS-PERRY: Helping big businesses at the expense of American workers
is a claim we have heard before long before the Transportation-Pacific
Partnership negotiations were under way.
Well, before President Obama was even a senator. The argument took
center stage in 1993 during a televised debate between Texas
billionaire, Ross Perot and Vice President Al Gore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is this is not good for the people in
either country. If this is true why is corporate America downsizing?
If this is all true, why do we have the largest number of college
granule watts unable to find jobs since any time in the 40s?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Ross Perot, jobs, jobs. During the debate about the
North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the
United States, Perot frequently articulated his belief that NAFTA could
create more U.S. jobs and massage the economy.
Much like their current concern about TPP deal, many trade unions were
concerned that NAFTA could result in a loss of manufacturing jobs in the
Still President Clinton signed the agreement in December of 1993 of
after facing congressional opposition and the deal was a major policy
victory for his administration.
Joining in the celebration, of course then was then First Lady Hillary
Clinton and a Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton called the TPP the,
quote, "gold standard" in trade agreements.
But as a presidential candidate, Clinton has been pretty vague and
general about the TPP, unlike likely Democratic candidate, Martin
O`Malley, who has been a vocal opponent of the deal. In fact, during
the April campaign stop in New Hampshire, Clinton restrained her
comments to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Any trade deal has to
produce jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our
security. We have to do our part in making sure we have the
capabilities and skills to be competitive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So what will the trade deal mean for the politics of
where we are right now?
WARREN: Former Secretary Clinton was right. Any trade deal has to
produce jobs. NAFTA produced lots of jobs in Mexico, Canada and not the
U.S. So the evidence on that is pretty clear. You don`t hear people
pushing back against that because the studies are pretty unequivocal
about the effect of NAFTA on American workers.
HARRIS-PERRY: I need you to pause. You just underlined one of the
great moments in American politics. I want you to listen to Ross Perot
talking about the giant sucking sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will you do as president to open foreign
markets to fair competition from American business and to stop unfair
competition here at home from foreign countries?
ROSS PEROT: That`s right at the top of oh my agenda. We have shipped
millions of jobs overseas. We have a strange situation. You don`t care
about anything, but making money there will be a giant sucking sound
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: I`m sorry. You may go on.
WARREN: He was prophetic in the case of NAFTA. For trade deals going
forward, what are the trade-offs between the loss of American jobs and
increased jobs in people in poverty in other places of the world. Can
we have that debate about the trade-offs for the American workers
standard of living versus those around the rest of the world?
That`s the debate I want to have and if we go there then the question
is, again, what kind of protections can we put in place for American
workers, but especially for those workers in Vietnam and other
countries? Will we demand that those countries enforce a robust regime
of workers` rights? We have not done that.
HARRIS-PERRY: So Dorian wants to have an argument about both U.S. jobs
as well as the standard of quality of jobs overseas. Zephyr wants a
conversation about what all of this means in terms of the process and
health of American democracy.
We are thinking a little bit here around the questions both of our
relationship with China and I have heard you say, Zephyr, a question of
national security as well as these long-term relationships.
Of course also what it means not only for jobs when we think about
manufacturing, but also the intellectual property rights, the thing the
U.S. still has. That seems complicated. Zephyr, your point was
therefore we ought to have a big open debate about it. Not have it
happen behind closed doors.
ADELMAN: The debate is about protectionism. Protectionism is the close
cousin to isolationism. That`s what you heard in the campaign.
Candidate Buchannan and Perot were really promoting isolationism which
is at odds with the increasingly interconnected economies of the world.
Those interconnected economies have served America well. The other part
of NAFTA that`s not disputed is the trade flows between Canada, the
United States and Mexico have increased. This has been a good 20 years
for the American economy.
WARREN: The protectionism for whom. In this case, it`s protectionism
for the profits of pharmaceutical companies that will result in millions
of deaths for people that don`t have access to generic drugs.
That`s in plain language, it`s like which protectionism do we want to
argue for? It`s OK for companies but not for workers. When we want to
protect workers around labor rights that`s bad, but we want to protect
intellectual property, we place that higher in the moral scale than we
do around workers` rights.
HARRIS-PERRY: Zephyr will be back in the next hour. I want to say
thank you to Gordon Chang, Dorian Warren and Ambassador Adelman. We are
going to be still talking about this. Coming up next, when is the last
time people were this excited about a new library?
HARRIS-PERRY: On Tuesday, President and First Lady Obama made it
official. The Obama Presidential Library will be located on the south
side of Chicago. The first couple explained that the decision was an
extremely personal one for them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Every value, every memory, every important
relationship to me exists in Chicago. I consider myself a south sider.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: All the strands of my life came together and I became
a man when I moved to Chicago. That`s where I was able to apply that
early idealism to try to work in communities, in public service. That`s
where I met my wife. That`s where with my children were born.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The library sighting decision is a reminder of how novel
it is to have an urban first family. Not since FDR has an American
president so fully and readily rooted his identity in one of our
nation`s great cities. Living in D.C. and vacationing Hawaii or
Martha`s Vineyard, we haven`t have much of a chance to see the Obamas as
Not since the days of trick or treating just before the 2008 election.
But with the announcement that the Obama Presidential Library and
Foundation will live near the University of Chicago near the Woodlawn
and Washington Park neighborhoods, we are reminded once again of the
Obamas unique connection to the city.
The economic impact of the library could be significant. Granted a
presidential library isn`t like opening a new factory and there is
little evidence from previous presidential libraries of sustained direct
economic effects except for the Clinton Library, which according to one
analysis has brought $2.5 billion in investment to Little Rock,
Arkansas, since 1997.
This is not just any library in any community. This is the library of
the nation`s first black president who made history and then made it
again through both of those elections that he won. His archives may be
an academic destination for decades.
He`s chosen to place those archives in a community that`s rich in
tradition and history, but is also predominantly African-American by
enormous margins and also home to substantial levels of poverty.
And while the murder rate has declined in Chicago overall since 2012 the
city`s economically disadvantaged south side is still burdened by a
crime gap that leaves its residents vulnerable to violence.
So the choice to locate the Obama library in a community that`s largely
poor, mostly black and actively struggling is a meaningful one. It`s
worth asking what difference will it make.
Here to talk about this with me is Khalil Muhammad, director of the
research center for research in black culture which will receive the
National Medal for Museum and Library Service at the White House
tomorrow. It`s so nice to see you.
KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD, DIRECTOR, SCHOMBURG CENTER: Thank you so much.
HARRIS-PERRY: You`re also a Chicagoan. What do you think? Is it
MUHAMMAD: Yes, of course it is. Chicago is one of the most important
destinations and historical landmarks of this country`s great industrial
history. Unlike New York as a finance capital, unlike Los Angeles as
the capital of entertainment, Chicago is the capital of industry and big
In this sense, this presidential library has a chance to tell the
Chicago story on a national and global stage in ways that it`s really
never been told before.
HARRIS-PERRY: Khalil, it`s also the city of black politics and some
really important ways. I mean, to remember that Martin Luther King
Chicago campaign was a crucial part of his legacy to remember Jesse
Jackson in `84 and `88 making the first presidential bids is coming out
of there. Harold Washington, Carol Mosley Brawn, Ida Wells, I mean,
right, Chicago is specifically that south side like home to black
MUHAMMAD: It is. Drawing on history it tells a story that`s often over
looked. It is the first place to send a black representative to
Congress after reconstruction in 1928 with Oscar Depriest, which
precedes Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the more powerful and well known
congressman from New York City in 1944.
So you`re right. That`s the question. In some ways it`s the million
dollar question or the billion dollar question in presidential library
terms. How much of that story will be front and center in an Obama
The same way the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History
has to wrestle with the question of how to attract as many tourists as
possible with an ecumenical story of America`s greatness with black
people at the center of it, how much do you deal with slavery?
How much is it an ongoing legacy? The truth is how much will the story
be able to tell black politics or black Chicago story in order to meet
its economic goals?
HARRIS-PERRY: So the other piece of potential critique and concern
here, when I say it will be located near the University of Chicago, for
folks in the know about the south side, there is angst about the
University of Chicago`s relationship with that south side community
sometimes described as imperial in the way it pushes into African-
American communities and now we are talking about pushing south into
I wonder if this idea of, this is an exciting sighting might be one that
has property owners, communities a little bit worried about who and how
those influences are potentially gentrification could move in.
MUHAMMAD: Right, but this is a question that every major city wrestles
with generation after generation in terms of economic development. The
pattern doesn`t look good in terms of what gen really happens, whether
it is a stadium, whether it is Olympic development in communities all
across the world.
You get these beautiful buildings. You have the promise and the
optimism and inspiration that they bring with them. Then the question
is who is coming? Who`s paying for it? What`s the vision of the
Those are questions that one hopes, given the president`s commitments to
Chicago, given the first lady`s attachments as a native daughter of that
community will be answered differently and some of the economic
development questions will be answered with a kind of thoughtfulness for
residents, which often are left at the table.
There is often a lot of window dressing. We are going to have town
halls. We are going to get community involved and then when all the
dust settles the question remains like who does this really benefit?
HARRIS-PERRY: I could imagine it though. I don`t know what it will be
called. We`ll have the community event at the Obama library. We`re
having Woodlawn kwanza at the Obama library. I can imagine those things
and they seem not surprising to me.
MUHAMMAD: But Melissa, can I jump on that, so this is really important.
There is already an African-American history museum.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right.
MUHAMMAD: So there is a question here about --
HARRIS-PERRY: Does it eat that one?
MUHAMMAD: Right, an existing infrastructure to tell the black history
of Chicago founded by a black man. I think that`s an important
opportunity. With the leadership of the library is a trickledown effect
where there are more people in the community -- more people in the area,
more tourists, more dollars and Desavo is lifted up or does it draw
down? That`s the question that has to be answered.
HARRIS-PERRY: It could potentially link to Desavo, link back to science
and industry and create a park space not unlike what happens on the lake
front or it could eat Desavo.
MUHAMMAD: That`s right and we don`t want that to happen. Let`s be
HARRIS-PERRY: No, we do not want that to happen. I keep being reminded
of how young they both are, both President and First Lady Obama have a
long future in front of them in public life. Watching not only the
physical space of the library but their public work will be fascinating.
Thank you to Khalil Muhammad for coming in and talk south side and to
Schomburg for its terrific award tomorrow at the White House.
Still to come this morning, Dave Ziren on Brazil`s most expensive
parking lot. The mayor`s race is being influenced by outside millions
and the shared legacy of rock and roll and hip-hop. More nerdland at
the top of the hour.
HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. We are we
learning new details about the raid inside Syria in which U.S. special
operation forces killed a senior ISIS leader. Abu Sayyaf was killed
after a team of Army Delta commandos flew from Iraq into Eastern Syria
in an effort to capture him. Heavy firefight ensued after he resisted
capture and was killed. According to U.S. defense officials Abu Sayyaf
was involved in ISIS military operations and also helped direct the
terrorist organization`s oil, gas and financial operations. His wife,
an Iraq national was captured and is now in detention. No U.S. forces
were killed and injured during the operation.
Joining me now is NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.
Kristen, talk to me about the significance of this operation.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Melissa, the
mission is significant for a couple of reasons. Really, first of all it
sends a message to ISIS that the United States is willing to take them
on in their safe havens. On their own turf. So, that`s significant.
This was incredibly risky and if any of those U.S. commandos had been
captured they would have almost certainly been tortured and killed as we
have seen with those other ISIS hostages. Now, it is also significant
because while the ISIS Leader Abu Sayyaf was killed his wife Umm Sayyaf
as you point out was taken into custody and is talking to her
interrogators. That could yield new intelligence about whether other is
fighters are and where other hostages are being held potentially.
We are also learning new details about that operation this morning.
U.S. officials say American Delta Force commandos took off from Northern
Iraq in Black Hawk helicopters and osprey plane helicopter hybrids and
they flew into an ISIS stronghold in Eastern Syria. The target of the
mission was Abu Sayyaf. He`s not really known to most Americans but
U.S. officials say he was a top ISIS operator. He managed ISIS` oil and
gas income. Taking him down was not easy though, Melissa. There was a
gun fight and there was even a hand to hand fighting. Abu Sayyaf was
killed along with 12 other ISIS fighters. The operation is being hailed
as a victory but it does comes against the backdrop of Ramadi falling to
ISIS this past week which really underscores the fact that the campaign
against ISIS will be protracted and has been predicted -- Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to NBC`s Kristen Welker at the White House. We
are going to turn now to a critical time for the city of Philadelphia.
In the immediate aftermath of the Amtrak train derailment, Philadelphia
Mayor Michael Nutter was front and center practically from the moment
the accident happened late Tuesday fight. He was seeking and providing
answers day after day Nutter was there on the scene fielding questions
from reporters providing the latest on the devastating crash that
claimed eight lives and injured more than 200 passengers. The train
derailment has put Philadelphia at the center of a renewed debate over
the safety of our nation`s infrastructure and underscores a significance
of the nation`s fifth largest city and the people who lead it.
Nutter is in his second and because of term limits his final term as
mayor. Because of those term limits in Philadelphia, he`s not eligible
to run again so he`s not on the ballot for the city`s mayoral democratic
primary this Tuesday. A race that even before the derailment was seen
as noteworthy in the national debate over several key issues. The
Amtrak tragedy did forced the candidates to curtail some campaigning in
the home stretch of the race. But before the events of this week took
over the headlines, the candidates were sending much of their time
talking about another issue that has put Philadelphia in the spotlight
in recent years. Its troubled school system. In a poll taken just days
ago improving education was far and away the top concern of likely
voters and for good reason.
Right now the school system is facing a projected $85 million short
fall. And a May 30th deadline to adopt a budget, a deadline the
district is likely to miss for the second year in a row. In 2013
Philadelphia made national headlines when it closed 23 schools and laid
off thousands of workers in the face of a deficit that topped $300
million. That spring thousands of students walked out of classes to
protest proposals to eliminate after school sports, extracurricular
activities and counselors. That May, we spoke to one of the student
organizers in the 2013 protests about her concerns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And classes going to be over crowded. The teacher
won`t be able to teach and school will be hectic. We don`t have the
right resources, like the books, computers and stuff like that. We
don`t have that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: This education issue has been the driving story line
between the two top candidates in Tuesday`s democratic mayoral primary.
And each has a distinct approach. Listen, in a heavily democratic city
like Philadelphia winning the democratic primary typically means you
will going to be the next mayor. So, where these candidates stand is
likely where Philly policy will go. Former City Councilman Jim Kenney,
and advocate of traditional public schools currently has the backing of
the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and a commanding lead in the
latest polls. Which is significant considering the big money behind his
main opponent. State Senator Anthony Williams, who is a strong
proponent of charger schools and vouchers and who speaks passionately
about education in his campaign commercials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I have no use for the tired old practice of pitting
some parents and some schools against other parents in other schools.
We should be lifting up all Philadelphia school students.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Williams has an enormous financial edge. Thanks to the
backing of three wealthy suburban investors who, through their Super
Pac, have spent nearly $7 million on Williams` behalf. As of May 4th,
that was nearly equal to all of the other candidates and Super Pac
fundraising combined. And it is part of a trend of a growing national
trend of Super Pac donations in local elections being used to support
proposals like the privatization of public schools. Right now, all that
money does not appear to be deciding Philadelphia`s mayoral race but it
is a sign of things to come, maybe in your next local election.
Joining me now is Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham and former
New York gubernatorial candidate. And from Philadelphia, Dan Denvir, a
contributor for The Nation and a contributing writer at CityLab. Nice
to see you, Dan.
DANIEL DENVIR, CONTRIBUTOR, THE NATION: Hey, thanks for having me.
HARRIS-PERRY: Help people around the country understand just how
empowered the Philadelphia mayor is relative to education. Why does it
matter who the mayor is.
DENVIR: So the schools in Philadelphia have been under funded and
segregated off from the more affluent suburban schools for a long time.
And in 2001 the state took over the school district and then imposed a
school reform commission. So, the mayor controls two out of five seats.
The governor, the other three seats on the SRC. So, those two sits are
critical. And the city`s contribution to city public schools which is
decided by the mayor and city council through the city budget process is
also really important. So, this race has been about a lot of things but
most of all about education and the candidates with starkly different
visions of how to solve the Philly public schools crisis.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, stick with us Dan, don`t go away. But Zephyr, I want
to come out to you on this, because one way to tell the story is, okay.
Here you have a major city debating education as a central concern, big
money coming in on one side. But it doesn`t seem to be mattering. The
people are choosing this kind of education. Isn`t that an indication
that Citizens United doesn`t matter. The big money doesn`t matter.
What matters is the democratic process and people voting their
ZEPHYR TEACHOUT (D), FORMER CANDIDATE FOR NY GOVERNOR: That`s right.
HARRIS-PERRY: Okay. That wasn`t the answer I was expecting.
TEACHOUT: You know, actually but there is a point that is actually
really important. Is that outside money can have a huge, huge, huge
impact when people aren`t paying attention. And a lot of times they`re
not, a lot of different issues. But there is recent research, Jeff
Smith just came out with a paper. Sort of looking at when there is a
high level of attention. Big money matters a lot less.
HARRIS-PERRY: Democracy can push back against the big money.
TEACHOUT: Right. But I think is concerning -- this is exciting.
What`s concerning is how few people in New York, a few hedge funders
really driving education policy with millions of dollars of investment
in Chicago and Philadelphia. There is this new trend of the billionaire
behind privatization of public education. And they are really out for
undermining, you know, what I see as the infrastructure of democracy and
the theory that, you know, trains are going to figure out their own
safety systems and schools are going to figure out their own funding as
opposed to -- this is something we actually really need to invest in,
really need to fund. And I think we should continue to call it out for
what it is.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, Dan, when you talk about folks calling it out for
what it is. Part of what was impressive to us over the past couple of
years has been the extent to which students have been the ones calling
it out. And you know, we talk about the Black Lives Matter movement.
You know, over the course of the past year largely around police
violence that I always think of it as beginning in part in students
saying student lives matter. Particularly students of color, students
from communities that are under resourced. Are they the ones who
ultimately are making, you know, kind of change the discourse for this
DENVIR: And indeed they have been connecting the dots between those
issues and talking about how the disinvestment and marginalization of
Philadelphia public school`s systems is part and partial of building the
school to prison pipeline. And that`s why I think that the big money
matters but it`s really backfired in Philadelphia. Because you can`t
really spin the crisis. Students know what they are going through.
Parents know what they`re going through. Teachers know what they are
going through. We lost thousands of teacher and staff positions.
Schools are just, you know, shells of their former selves. And you
can`t really spin that. Nearly $7 million can`t change the reality on
the ground. And transparency pushed by the media, I think, by
aggressive reporting in the city, you know, really highlighting these
three suburban financers pouring nearly $7 million into Williams`
campaign efforts, I think, that has backfired. I think that these three
libertarian suburbanites have in very little in common politically with
your average Philadelphian. And so I think that in many ways Williams`s
greatest campaign asset indeed up to be truly costly.
HARRIS-PERRY: Why do they care what happens to the Philadelphia public
DENVIR: I think, you know, you`d have to ask them. But to me it seems
more ideological. You know, I think there certainly are people with
direct financial interest in the privatization of public schools but I
think that at times that`s overplayed on the Left. I really do think
there is a strong ideological commitment among many of these people in
Silicon Valley and Wall Street to seeing an education system that
mirrors their own idea of how society should work and kind of flatters
their own idea of how they themselves achieve success.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Daniel Denvir in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
And here in New York, thank you to Zephyr Teachout. Dave Zirin is
coming up next for some Sunday morning sports talk. For starters, you
aren`t just not going to believe what is going on in Brazil with those
stadiums that they built the lives here for the World Cup.
HARRIS-PERRY: Deflate-gate continues to dominate headline in the sports
world but we have a story that has nothing to do with the firmest Tom
Brady`s footballs. Let`s take a visit to Brazil. It`s been a year
since the ultimate soccer carnival when Germany defeated Argentina at
the final world cup match-up in Rio de Janeiro. Now, behind the matches
the fans, the spectacle was the backdrop of civil unrest. The
tournament cost Brazil $15 billion and many of the people of Brazil
believe that those billions should have been invested in schools, health
care, transportation, sanitation, not sports. Under the rallying cry of
there will be no cup protesters argue that the World Cup money would end
up creating colossal shrines likely to become white elephants or
unfinished infrastructure projects.
Brazil spent more than three billion dollars on stadiums. A stadium
construction which was plagued by accidents over spending, and delays
also resulted in nine building related deaths. The most expensive World
Cup stadium located in Cup dole of Brasilia cost $550 million. And
today according to a new report by NPR, it is been used as a parking lot
for buses. Then there is the stadium in Cuiaba which cost more than
$200 billion to build and it was shut down for an emergency repair after
officials discovered structural problems. Meanwhile, the stadium in
natal has been hosting weddings and kids parties to increase revenue.
Right now it`s up for sale. Brazil`s own legend -- soccer legend
Romario who is now a congressman called the 2014 World Cup the biggest
heist in the history of Brazil. Brazil will also host the 2016 Olympics
in Rio. Spending is expected to top $15 billion.
Joining me now Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation Magazine and
author of the book "Brazil`s Dance With The Devil: The World Cup, The
Olympics and the Struggle For Democracy." So, you`re not supervised.
DAVE ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, THE NATION MAGAZINE: I am not surprised.
You mentioned some of the statistics. Other statistics. Two hundred
and fifty thousand people it is estimated displaced by stadium
construction. And, you know, there is an expression in Brazil that
statistics are like a man`s thong. They show so much but they hide the
most important parts. And in this case the most important parts are an
economic agenda of debt displacement and the militarization of public
space that allowed soccer and the World Cup to be used as a kind of neo
liberal Trojan horse to push through infrastructure projects that people
would otherwise have rejected.
The difference in Brazil though is that in 2013 millions of people took
to the streets to oppose this with a rather beautiful slogan. Because
FIFA, the organization that oversees international soccer, they always
say, we want FIFA-quality stadiums. That`s their expression. That
means it has to have all the amenities and people said, no, we want FIFA
quality schools. We want FIFA quality hospitals. We want FIFA quality
jobs. And they took to the streets in huge numbers. Unfortunately
their calls were not met with actual listening and change. What they
were met with was actual, a brutal kind of counter offensive by the
police, by the military and now the Olympics are coming in 2016.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, explain to me why the stadiums built for the World
Cup can`t just be repurposed? I mean, why isn`t this like exactly how
shouldn`t always be, World Cup and then Olympics and then it all works
ZIRIN: Because the World Cup and the Olympics really, they don`t
exactly go together like peanut butter and jelly. They more go together
like nuts and gum. Because the World Cup is a national event. Brazil
is a country that`s bigger than the continental United States in terms
of land. The Olympics is just in a city -- in Rio. So, everything is
Rio-centric for the Olympics. And all of the stadiums that were built
all over the country in 2014 are going to be like bystanders, looking on
at the Olympics wondering, I mean, if the stadiums could think and talk,
they would be like, why are you building now with even more stadiums and
structures in Rio when we are right here collecting dust.
HARRIS-PERRY: And buses.
ZIRIN: Yes. And in Manaus, which is the famous amazon stadium they
were talking about converting it into an open air prison to deal with
prison shortages in Brazil. A politician has put that forward in
Brazil. It`s obviously meeting with great deal of protest. But it is a
stunning connection. People talk about the school to prison pipeline.
What about the stadium to prison pipeline?
HARRIS-PERRY: Okay. That said, for all of what we now about how these
big events -- Olympics, World Cup, there is a game on right now to bring
the Olympics to Boston.
ZIRIN: To Boston.
HARRIS-PERRY: Think about that.
ZIRIN: And there is a lot of resistance in Boston. I think that the
people who are pushing the Boston 2024 bid have not been honest with the
people of Boston. The people of Boston are organizing and protesting.
Because what they`re doing and I`m actually going up to Boston, June 2nd
to speak about this. Because people are saying, you know what, we see
what`s happened in other places. We see the debt displacement and
militarization. Do we really need more that in Boston? Because in
Boston which is a city which has seen a lot of displacement, a lot of
gentrification. I mean, for them that displacement, militarization,
they might call that a Tuesday. And so, the idea of bringing the
Olympics there, it`s like supersizing the actual urban issues that
people are dealing with in Boston. And we have to --
HARRIS-PERRY: Making it Super Tuesday.
ZIRIN: Exactly. Super Tuesday. And you think about like, we have
discussions about Baltimore and the idea of using the building and
stadiums, football and baseball stadiums as a substitute for urban
policy. You see that in postindustrial cities or de-industrializing
cities all over the United States. The Olympics and world cup is the
same economic agenda. With the same lies, the same nefarious tactics
except its supersized.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, is there a way to do it ethically? I mean, people
love the World Cup.
HARRIS-PERRY: People love the Olympics. They have to be somewhere.
ZIRIN: Yes. I think there is some ethical way to do it. I think the
best way to do it would be if you had permanent locales that could
perhaps rotate between three different spots on the planet. We could
think of very nice politically correct areas where it could be. One in
South Africa, one Europe, one South America.
ZIRIN: Yes. And if you were able to rotate them to these different
areas, then you could justify actually spending for upkeep on the
stadiums. The problem though is go to Beijing and you see the famous
bird`s nest for that was the host of the 2008 Olympics, one of the most
beautiful stadiums I have ever seen. It`s now imploding, it`s falling
it onto itself. Still lapidated or in Greece which shows for the 2004,
Olympics is now being used to squatter housing for the homeless in
HARRIS-PERRY: Because we don`t come back around.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, that said, if Boston did in fact get the Olympics
and you got a big new stadium then Tom Brady have, you know, a new place
to deflate his balls.
HARRIS-PERRY: Dave Zirin, thank you so much for joining us and talking
sports. You have to come back. Because I do have a lot to ask about
Preakness and Kentucky Derby and all that stuff.
ZIRIN: Oh, yes.
HARRIS-PERRY: Many of those that stuck up as well. Up next, stumbles
and tumbles of 2016. And still to come this morning, a special
performance by hip-hop artist FM Supreme.
HARRIS-PERRY: Last night in Des Moines, Iowa, the GOP, state party
provided 11 White House hopefuls with ten minutes each to make their
case at the annual Lincoln dinner. For the pleasure of hearing those
speeches and mingling with the political big wigs and the subsequent
reception, Iowans could pay $100 for a place in general seating, there`s
a bearable bargain when you consider the night`s bill included among the
ever growing field of official and potential candidates, Ben Carson and
Carley Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Rand Paul,
Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump and Scott Walker. When you
break it down for a single seat, that is ten speeches for $10 apiece.
With each speech at ten minutes, seats at last night`s event really cost
just $1 a minute. But wait. There`s more. I said there were 11 GOP
hopefuls. That`s right. This deal got even better because after the
week this man had, what political observer wouldn`t want to see what he
had to say, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: Look, many of you all know me as
George and Barbara`s boy, for which I`m proud. Some of you may know
that W is my brother. I`m proud of that, too. Whether people don`t
like that or not they`re just going to have to get used to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: And that is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, how he
capped off what has been the worst week of his running/not running/non-
official campaign for president so far. It`s worth noting that nothing
happened to Governor Bush this week. By that, I mean, there is no news
story that turned the political cycle against him. There was no
opposition research unearthed that cast a shadow over his non-candidacy
candidacy. There was no big race changing endorsement for one of his
many opponents. No. That`s just old fashion, stumbles and tumbles that
came from littler more than speaking out loud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I`m running for president in 2016 and the focus is going to be
about how we -- if I run -- how do you create high sustained economic
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Whoops. The hashtag running, not running Mr. Bush is not
supposed to say, quote, "I`m running for president." Now, forget the
fact that Speaker John Boehner`s press secretary just quit his job to
move to Miami and work for Jeb Bush`s PAC. We are still supposed to be
pretending that the former Florida governor is just thinking about
running. Because if he says that he is running, well, there would be
major restrictions on the fund-raising that he can do. So, Mr. Bush
quickly cleaned up the "I`m running" comment but that was far from the
biggest talking out damage control that Jeb Bush had to do this week.
Here he is talking about the war in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Knowing what he know now would you have
authorized the invasion?
BUSH: I would have. So would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind
everybody. And so would have almost everybody that was confronted with
the intelligence they got.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Oops. I mean, sure. I mean, it was his brother`s war
and all but in 2015 even on the republican side that`s just not the
right answer. That was Monday. Here`s Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: So in other words if in 2020 hindsight,
you would make a different decision?
BUSH: Yes. I don`t know what that decision would have been. That`s a
hypothetical. But the simple fact is that mistakes were made, as they
always are in life. This is not an informed policy. And so, we need to
learn from the past to make sure that we are strong and secure going
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Nope, nope, nope. That didn`t fix it. Acknowledging
mistakes were made in the Iraq war at this point is basically
politically akin to saying we want a better future for our children. I
mean, it`s not exactly a bold stance. On Wednesday, Governor Bush took
one more shot at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: When I was governor, I got to -- I felt a duty -- I didn`t have
to -- to call all of the family members of people who lost their lives.
So, going back in time in talking about hypothetical what would have
happened, what could have happened I think does a disservice for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, can we get one more pass of this? Let`s look at
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: If we are all supposed to answer hypothetical questions, knowing
what we know now, what would you have done, I would have not engaged, I
would not have gone into Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, there it is. Knowing what we know now I would not
have engaged. One question, four days, four answers. But we finally
got there, even if Governor Bush had to stumble and tumble his way
there. In the process, he also learned one of the most important
lessons of running for president. It`s hard. You have to answer hard
questions. And you are expected to have the answers. Real answers that
show us that you think about them. Not just that you have practiced
lines droned out to do damage control. Because if you want to be our
president, you should not be getting anointed. You have to win. Of
course Mr. Bush is still only thinking about it. Maybe this week gave
him some more thinking to do.
HARRIS-PERRY: A new study from a team of London researchers is the most
comprehensive analysis ever attempted for American pop music. They ran
nearly every single that charted on the bill board 100 over the last 50
years to a computer program to search for a recurring trend and the
songs musical properties. What they found is that American pop music`s
evolution has been defined by distinct moments of musical revolution and
that America`s most influential revolution, a music eclipsed even the
1960s British rock and roll invasion led by bands like the Beatles and
the Rolling Stones. According to the researchers the explosion in
popularity of hip-hop music in 1991 was the single most important event
that has shaped the musical structure of the American charts. Of course
that`s probably old news to long-time hip-hop heads but what makes the
study unusual is that it relied on digital analysis of the songs musical
properties rather than kind of stories and history to uncover the
cultural influences of pop music.
Here in Nerdland there are few things that we love more than a study
with some meaty quantitative analysis. But also cultural revolutions
aren`t necessarily built on chord patterns and tone characteristics. In
the case of both rock and roll and hip hop the shifts at American pop
music were driven by young people who heard in those songs their own
counter cultural sound track. Sex, drugs and rock and roll were
embraced by 1960s youth who chafed against the norms and standards of
the generation that came before. In the next decade hip-hop emerge from
New York`s South Bronx neighborhood as a sub-culture that gave voice,
and the lived experience of Black and Latino youth. But today both
genres and their fans have reached small little age and come a long way
from their anti-establishment beginnings. So, what happens to
revolutionary music when it becomes the music of the main stream?
Joining me now Jessica Disu who`s a humanitarian rap artist better known
as FM Supreme. Alan Light, a contributor for "The New York Times" and
"Rolling Stone" magazine. Elysa Gardner, who is a critic and reporter
for "USA Today." And Christopher John Farley, senior editorial director
for Features at the Wall Street Journal and author of Game World. So, I
want to talk about the research for one second. Because it`s
fascinating to me this idea of like the sonic influence being the way
that you would measure influence. What do we think about that as just
kind of a strategy?
ALAN LIGHT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I think it`s, you know, I think
it demonstrates both the desire and the limitations and fallacy of using
data analysis to deal with technical and cultural history. I mean, so
much of the impact of something like the Beatles -- and let`s start with
these are both revolutionary phenomenon that absolutely transformed the
world. There is not a question. But when you are talking about the
Beatles, you are talking about a group that introduced the idea of being
a band to the world. The idea of writing your own songs to the world.
The idea that you would change and evolve as a pop artist album to
album. You know, none of that is going to show up in any kind of
quantifiable statistical analysis. And these are things that transform
the very way that music is made.
HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, maybe laughable but because of the, you know, all
the controversy around Robin Thicke and the Marvin Gaye which basically
got adjudicated on this similar kind of like looking at the actual
patterns of the music rather than the point that Marvin Gaye`s music is
in fact influential in the ways we normally think of influence. So,
what does it mean to say that hip-hop is somehow more influential than
even the London invasion?
CHRISTOPHER JOHN FARLEY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, we have to talk
about it a little bit because we have to acknowledge that comparing
these kinds of apples and oranges things is a little bit ridiculous.
Impressionism better than surrealism?
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, right.
FARLEY: I don`t know. But I think it is important and interesting that
we are acknowledging that hip-hop is now on that level. That wasn`t
more influential than rock? We`re going to have a serious discussion
about that. We should also talk about the methodology here of the
study. And looking at the billboard 100, is that the best
representation about what`s going on in American music or world music?
Probably not. I mean, obviously that`s the stuff that`s selling. But
we all know by their very natures underground art forms. The real stuff
that`s changing things, changing the world, changing the game is often
the underground stuff. The mixed tapes, the alternative stuff. Before
it bubbles up to the main stream.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s actually part of what I was wondering if this is
indicative of the failure of hip-hop. Right? The idea of hip-hop being
influential in the top 100 when I think about the kind of authenticity
claims initially made around hip-hop being we don`t ever want to be in
the top 100. That`s not who we are. We are not here to sell music.
ELYSA GARDNER, USA TODAY: Yes. But on the other hand, I mean, I can`t
think of a modern rock equivalent for somebody like Jay-Z, for example,
you know, who is so aspirational and ambitious. And the Beatles really
were, I think they transcended genre. And I think when you`re dealing
with a lot of artists who have come up since, certainly artist in the
`80s, the biggest artists when you define them, you know, Madonna,
Prince, Michael Jackson. You wouldn`t define them as new wave, I don`t
know if you define them all as rock and roll or pop. In the hip-hop
right now we have artists with strong individual voices who represent --
who are cultural icon in ways that I can`t think of a single rock and
roll artist who would means that much individually.
FARLEY: There are also millionaires and billionaires, too. I mean,
hip-hop has been about almost from the very beginning, these folks
wanted to not just -- it wasn`t about selling out. It was about buying
in. About people like Kanye West, and Jay-Z and --
HARRIS-PERRY: But Kanye West and Jay-Z aren`t the beginning of hip-hop.
HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, I guess, part of what`s interesting to me is the
idea of that millionaire when, in fact, initially part of the
authenticity of it was rooted in communities of poverty.
JESSICA DISU, FM SUPREME: Right. Absolutely. I want to say that I
think the study -- you asked how the study was created with the whole
sonic peace or whatever. And I think that the study shows what we
already knew. In the words of Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, it went from
intuition to empirical evidence. Right? And so, I think it`s great
that the study shows that. But as she said, when I think about hip hop
and its cultural influence as you know, from Jay-Z to whomever, to Sean
Combs, you know, like Jay-Z when he was, and I got Obama on the text,
right? Now we have an executive office. Right? It was started in the
late `70s, you know, with D.J. Hollywood, Africa, Cool Herb, it`s now
still here. And it`s only about 44, 45-years-old. So, I think that`s -
HARRIS-PERRY: Less 40. No, 41. Because I was born the same year as
hip-hop. But the idea of hip- hop being 40. Right? The very fact that
you point to Jay-Z, right? Who ain`t 20, right? No matter what the
lyrics are. Right?
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Yes. But young only, not in the sense of music.
Right? Elderly in the sense of that kind of underground musical.
LIGHT: I think that`s a thing that we wait for in a lot of ways. I
think when you look at, you know, hip-hop being around, depending 35
years on the pop charts. Doing rock and roll was around 35 years on the
pop charts it was it, you know, 1990. There was no sense that this was
oppositional. That this was, you know, that this was mass culture, this
was now a generation. There is no question around that. I think that
one of the --
HARRIS-PERRY: The boomers are not opposition anymore.
LIGHT: One of the things that I think speaks, you know, to the great
power of hip-hop is that it has retained some sense of oppositional
culture, some sense of, you know, of not just sub cultural but counter
cultural. And I think that, you know, this many years in the game.
That`s an amazing thing to think about. At the same time what we are
waiting for is, you know, what`s going to be the punk rock for hip-hop?
What`s going to be the thing that looks at how big and how mass this has
grown and shakes it up -- we need to get back to some of the, you know,
the things that it came from.
HARRIS-PERRY: Is it Kendrick Lamar?
LIGHT: There are still great artists. But what`s going to transform at
this mature stage?
HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with us. We can keep talking more about this.
About, like this idea of transformation. I wondering if part of the
transformation is in the synergy between rock and hip-hop when we come
HARRIS-PERRY: So we have just been talking about how in their movement
from the margins to the main stream both hip hop and rock and roll have
softened to maybe some of their counter cultural edges. Perhaps no one
best exemplified how to bring music to the masses about sacrificing its
great authenticity than the American musical who we lost this week.
Blues legend B.B. King who died Thursday at the age of 89 has over the
course of his six decade-long career reigned as America`s king of the
blues. And along with his beloved electric guitar, Lucille brought main
stream acceptance and international prominence to the blues sound his
native Mississippi Delta. President Obama underscored the reach of
king`s influence in a statement this week saying, "No one worked harder
No one inspired more up and coming artists, and no one did more to
spread the gospel of the blues." And so, by invoking both gospel and
blues and the memory of course the rock influences, I mean, I guess part
of it is really that question. So, what now comes next out of the thing
that is hip-hop? And I`m wondering if some of it is the fusion. Like,
again, I`m original hip-hop. So like, I love run DMC and Aerosmith as
like sort of the first moment. And Lincoln Park and Jay-Z. And I mean,
these for me were moments like I love seeing them come together.
LIGHT: Well, it`s quite interesting now, I mean, there have been a
bunch of those where it`s kind of like you have a big beat, I have a big
beat. We can do that together. I think I don`t love the stuff
necessarily that we have heard, you know, Kanye and Paul McCartney have
been working on together. But I think it is interesting that they are
working on something that is more nuanced, that is more about bringing,
you know, these approaches together. Not just kind of piling one on top
of the other and doing a different sort of emotion around that. I think
there is an interesting thing happening with country music and hip-hop.
You know, both sort of working class based music that we have seen
either Jason Aldean and Ludacris or have seen some country artists who
clearly grew up listing their hip-hop and really using beeps and that
delivery in structure --
HARRIS-PERRY: Right. To the extent that hip hop is increasingly
southern, right. It`s going to have the country --
LIGHT: That feels much more organic. Like my question is, you know,
just to go back to the beginning of this is, if we are talking about
hip-hop and the Beatles, you know, it`s 50 years later and we are still
listening to Beatles songs. It`s 65 years later and we are still
listening to early B.B. King songs. Are there hip-hop songs, are there
artists that we`re still going to care about 30, 40 years down the line.
DISU: I think artists like emcee. I mean, his time, period, I mean,
he`s amazing. But I want to say speaking of the Paul McCartney and
Kanye West, hip hop`s influence like is so strong that, yes, you know,
Paul McCartney is a Beatle but you have people like who is the old white
guy like the Kanye West. Like, they have no idea. So, it`s just like
it shows how fame -- everything is for a time. See more signs -- intern
at Warner Music group, and Warner Brothers and he talks about how hip-
hop, it documents time, hip-hop, the music that comes out is very
relevant, it has to come out really fast because it`s documenting what`s
happening. Speaking up, I`m from Chicago. Drew music, rock is
revolutionary. Hip-hop is evolutionary. We don`t know really where it
is going. Because this Drew music in Chicago is actually really gang
infested. Like drugs and violence type of music. But you know, the
King Louis, you know, from Chirac (ph), right? These titles came out of
what they are seeing, what they witnessed. And so, when I went to
London for the International Peace Movement there, I went there by
myself. And I was, you know, nervous, I`m on the train headed to
HARRIS-PERRY: And you heard the music.
DISU: And I heard the music. You know, he`s listening to Chief Keef.
He said what do you know about Chief Keef? He`s like, what do you know
about him? I`m from Chicago. Like he`s from Chirac. It just shows you
how the music and people in the hoods are connected.
HARRIS-PERRY: I have to say, when I first started traveling, that was
the thing, what was most stunning to me was to be standing in a South
African club in Cape Town and here. And what I will say -- what I heard
was hip-hop. Like, I guess, part of what I would be interested in is
maybe I`m in the wrong clubs. But are they spinning rock still in
GARDNER: Well, I think that`s a good question. We are talking about,
you know, country-western, we`re talking about hip-hop, pop. We`re not
really talking about, you know, rock and roll as much these days. I
mean, and I think that that has something to do with the fact that, you
know, who is the modern rock star? Who was the equivalent of the Paul
McCartney? Do we have one right now?
HARRIS-PERRY: Do we?
GARDNER: I don`t know. Because we went through this period in the late
`80s and `90s with the emergence of Indy rock and a big commercial way.
Where there was almost this idea that it was gauche to be a pop star.
And I don`t know if rock has ever really fully recovered from that. You
have, you know --
HARRIS-PERRY: Because the very idea of being a rock star, I mean, like
in certain ways hip-hop stars are performing the thing that is being a
rock star. Right?
GARDNER: They are ambitious. Aspirational. You can be cool and
establishment at the same time.
FARLEY: And what I find interesting is that at the very beginning of
hip-hop people, thought this was a fad, it won`t last. But we have seen
people last for a long time, over time and still have tremendous
cultural influence. Think of L.L. Cool J., I mean, he`s still doing it.
On TV, huge influence. You know, Kanye West, Jay-Z. The list keeps
going on and on. Dr. Dre is 50 years old, you know, people are still
waiting to see what he`s going to produce next.
HARRIS-PERRY: And they evolved into other things.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, ice cube becomes -- like, you know, my kid knows ice
cube from like fun family, family movie. And Latifah. So, they also
turned into things other than.
FARLEY: That`s also fascinating. If hip-hop has had a huge influence
on Hollywood in a way rock and roll hasn`t. On the sound tracks maybe.
But it`s hard to name more than one or two rock stars who have become
actors we respect. But you can name about hundred actors -- even Marky
Mark is a great actor. And that`s the power of hip-hop.
LIGHT: I think that speaks to what Elysa was saying. I also think
that, you know, hip-hop, today came in as characters. And they came in
even with other names.
LIGHT: If they were going to transform into a movie star, a TV host, a
billionaire, you know, technology mogul, you can see them shape shift.
The fact was, when Mick Jagger was on screen playing a part you could
never get past, that`s Mick Jagger up there.
HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So, right, as opposed to come, you always came
with a separate identity. In fact one of our identities FM Supreme is
going to do something a little some amazing for us next. But I do want
to say thank you to Alan Light, Elysa Gardner and to Christopher John
Farley. Like we could go on and on about this. FM Supreme is sticking
around after the break. You are not going to want to miss her
HARRIS-PERRY: Back in December of 2013, the Anna Julia Cooper Center,
the academic center I direct hosted a symposium on gender, sexuality and
hip-hop. That dynamic event with many terrific presenters but one of
the most compelling voices belonged to Chicago artist and activist
Jessica Disu also known as FM Supreme. Now, Jessica is organizing a
major conference of her own in her hometown of Chicago, the conference
is a call to action for young people in Chicago throughout the United
States and across the world to craft communities rooted in more peaceful
and just ways of being. To call together a new generation for mentoring
and movement building, FM Supreme wrote this original piece and she here
to share with us this morning.
DISU: In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the
Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Chicago, your
bridges were built on backs of men who adored you. The Sauk Tribe named
you "Chicagou." Metaphorical for great strength. Allured by your scent
of wild onions. Du Sable embraced and claimed you. In 1832, your Chief
was defeated. Black Hawk who wrote profuse love letters. He refuse his
reign break, his break over his losses. He wrote profuse love letters
to fellow tribesmen, apologies for failure. You see my mother had me in
the late `80s. Chicago birthed me like her baby. Our city has been
divided since 1919 after white men drowned Williams Eugene for crossing
that invisible colored line at the beach. Our children see more
cemeteries than graduations, more prison bars than convocations. More
police arrests and government occupations and they wonder why our youth
express rage and violence across this nation.
My brother Philip Agnew asked this in 2013, that`s the word in 2013, can
we dream together, can we dream together? Now I ask the same thing.
Our sons dream dreams not in words but kings in words, daughters give
birth to things like vision. Chicago that be my mission. The light
keeps giving. Speaking life not death or you shall leave and not die,
you shall live and not die. Hold your head up black boy, hold your head
up brown boy, hold your head up brown girl, hold your head up brown boy.
We need you strong. We need you to survive. The term Chirac is
genocide. It`s suicide. A generational -- the term Chirac is suicide.
A generational genocide. A cultural divide. Spike Lee. And what we
need is a cultural shift. And I still believe and we still believe and
we know that education is key. Chicago, you peps need your help in our
streets. It takes a village for a village has raised me. I`m grateful
for women like MHP. She is raising the powers of young women like me.
HARRIS-PERRY: FM. So tell us a little bit more, when is the event?
DISU: Absolutely. So, our conference is June 4th through the 6th, it`s
happening in Chicago at the Chicago Theological Seminary, we`re
organizing 300 young people from Chicago public schools, we`re gathering
15 global millennial leaders from across the country. Philip Agnew,
Jamir Birdie (ph), Caress Hughs, Ashley Ellis, myself amongst others.
And our global millennial leaders who will be serving as a leadership
training committee to train our young people. We were inspired to
create a leadership train committee after reading Dr. King`s why we
DISU: Where he wrote in Birmingham -- and him and Andy Young and his
comrades and colleagues were organized and had a teams. And so, we
decided to bring these leaders to Chicago who traveled around the world
who are at the forefront of the social justice movement, to empower,
motivate, and show skills and to help our young people organize
themselves for peace in Chicago.
HARRIS-PERRY: Dr. King used to talk about the importance of being
creatively maladjusted, not being adjusted to racism, not being adjusted
to sexism, not being adjusted to the violence of police and that
creative maladjustment always has a sound track. What`s your sound
DISU: Absolutely. Sound track that we`re listening to is just
different. Honestly it`s the youth. I make music but I`m really more
about pushing the positive music coming out of our cities. So, I`m very
inspired by just the young artists on the underground who are pushing
for peace. And I believe that we can change, reframe the narrative
about violence in Chicago, we can change the narrative from Chirac to
Chicago youth peace. And I believe that this conference was his been
vision since 2012. He is coming to pass June 4th through the 6th in
Chicago and I. And we need help, we need people to support. And we
believe that this is going to be it.
HARRIS-PERRY: I`ve been following you for one. I love that you have
been traveling internationally, that you see this as a global effort and
national one. And of course, it`s also all rooted back home in Chicago.
That`s our show for today.
Thanks to you at home for joining us. Coming up next, "WEEKENDS WITH
Hmm. I love it.
DISU: I love you.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND
MAY BE UPDATED.
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