Guest Host: Melissa Harris-Perry
Guests: Frank Pallone, Dean Baker, Kelly Hart
LAWRENCE O`DONELL, "THE LAST WORD" HOST: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW is up
next. And filling in again tonight, Melissa Harris-Perry.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, GUEST HOST: Hi, Lawrence. Thanks.
And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
Rachel has the night off. And we`re going to be coming to you tonight live
from the great city of New Orleans -- a city which at this moment is being
physically consumed by this.
No, despite all the outward appearances, that is not, in fact, a
haboob, although it`s sort of a New Orleans version of a haboob. That
right there, that big, ominous-looking, grayish-brownish cloud, that`s the
result of a giant marsh fire that`s been burning in east New Orleans for
three days now.
It`s literally swampland that`s caught on fire and is blanketing the
rest of the city in this lovely, choke-inducing, smoke-filled haze.
Now, if you have the fortune to be walking around New Orleans right
now, this is what you`re breathing in, a thick smoky stew of chinaberry,
peat moss and willow trees. Now, I know that sounds sort of organic, nice,
maybe even Southern, but this big plume of smoke is actually a big old
First off, it`s really dangerous for anyone who has serious breathing
conditions. Those folks have been warned to stay inside. And second of
all, officials here in Louisiana can`t quite figure out how to put the darn
Marsh fires are sort of a fact of life for people who live in marshy
areas like New Orleans. I mean, they happen. The problem is that marshes,
by their very nature, are sort of remote areas. They are difficult to get
to. So, your options are limited when a fire breaks out there.
Now, here`s one option. This is called a marsh buggy. A marsh buggy
is basically a big tractor-like vehicle that can maneuver in and around
these hard to reach swamps. Some models have these long retractable arms
that essentially turn over soil that`s burning and help stamp out the fire.
Louisiana, unfortunately, doesn`t own any marsh buggies. The
Department of Agriculture wanted two of them. They requested two of them,
but they were cut out of this year`s budget. The state just couldn`t
So, here`s another option, big airplanes that can fly over the fire
and dump thousands of gallons of water on the flames to help put it out.
The problem right now for residents of New Orleans as reported by WDSU, the
local NBC affiliate down here, the New Orleans Fire Department said several
airplanes would be need and they are costly. Big water-dumping airplanes
are just too expensive. The state can`t afford it right now.
And so, welcome to New Orleans -- a city currently being strangled by
a thick layer of smoke and ash that you can taste in the back of your
throat. It`s not gumbo.
The National Guard has begun to send helicopters in, to dump small
amount of water on the fire. But the real end game here was acknowledged
by a state legislator today who represents New Orleans. Quote, "We`re
going to reach out to the federal government to see if they can bring in
States like Louisiana are so strapped for cash right now that a local
emergency situation like this one in New Orleans, a marsh fire, may
ultimately require federal help.
Here was a scene today in the state of Vermont. Hurricane Irene left
in her wake the worst flooding in that state in nearly a century, and today
officials began airlifting food and water to 13 towns in Vermont that were
left unreachable by vehicle as a result of the flooding Irene left behind.
And like officials here in New Orleans, Vermont is also looking to the
federal government for help. The head of FEMA, Craig Fugate, toured the
damage by helicopter with Vermont`s governor today.
And here was the scene in the state of New York -- a handful of towns
remain cut off tonight as a result of roads and bridges that had been
flooded there by Irene. And today, that state`s governor, Andrew Cuomo,
wrote personally to President Obama to ask for federal assistance to help
clean up the mess.
Today, North Carolina`s governor, Bev Perdue, reported that hurricane
Irene destroyed more than 1,000 homes in her state and caused at least $70
million worth of damage. Notably, she made that announcement while
standing alongside Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whose
department oversees FEMA.
So, the federal government, in this case FEMA, is a lifeline for a
number of these states right now. You as a state can`t predict when a
disaster is going to strike. You can, of course, set aside money in a
But often the scale of the disaster is more than a state can handle.
That`s where federal government comes in, what`s where FEMA comes in. And
right now, as states all across the country attempt to pick up the pieces
from a 2011 that has essentially been one disaster after another from
wildfires out West, to floods and tornadoes in the heartland, to hurricanes
on the East Coast -- right now, we learned that FEMA, the agency all of
those states rely on, is running out of money. It has less than $1 billion
left to help those states rebuild.
And why is FEMA all of a sudden broke? Well, in part, thank you,
The ongoing disputes over deficit reduction and spending cuts have
threatened what is a routine annual exercise to replenish FEMA`s coffers.
As NPR noted today, quote, "In the past, emergency aid funds has been
treated as, well, emergencies. No more says, House Majority Leader Eric
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: In instances like this,
yes, there`s a federal role, yes, we`re going to find the money. We`re
just going to need to make sure that there are savings else where to
continue to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: As much of the East Coast sits paralyzed by hurricane
Irene, house Republicans are now threatening no additional funding for FEMA
unless more budget cuts are made else where. Sorry.
At this hour, mandatory evacuation order is in effect for the town of
Wallington, New Jersey. A town councilman there said that the town, quote,
"looks like a third world country."
Now, Wallington sits alongside the flooded Passaic River which is due
to crest tonight between 10:00 p.m. and midnight. Four thousand residents
in nearby Paterson, New Jersey, have been ordered to leave in what`s being
called tonight as an unprecedented evacuation.
And as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and governors all across the
Eastern Seaboard go to the government for help, will the help be there?
To help me answer the question, Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone
of New Jersey.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us tonight. I know it`s been
a rough week.
REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW JERSEY: Thanks.
HARRIS-PERRY: Now, what`s the latest on the ground there in New
Jersey concerning the flooding? What are you seeing?
PALLONE: Well, there is still a lot of flooding and certainly a lot
of damage. As you know, it was not so much from the ocean, which is what
we expected during the hurricane, but rather from the flooding of the
rivers, and whether it`s the Raritan or the Delaware, or some of the
tributaries that run into those, it has been a tremendous amount of
flooding -- as you can see from some of these pictures. In some cases,
it`s getting worse even though it`s a few days after the hurricane.
HARRIS-PERRY: Look, I`m pretty distressed as someone sitting in a
city that is currently being, you know, overcome by basically a marsh cloud
that Eric Cantor is basically making federal disaster relief funds part of
political gamesmanship. Shouldn`t emergencies be separate from politics?
PALLONE: Absolutely, Melissa. This is outrageous on the part of
Cantor and the House Republican leaders. I mean, the fact of the matter
is, traditionally, I`ve been in congress for 24 years now. Emergency
supplemental appropriation bills were exactly for that, emergencies. And
the reason is, the reason they bypassed, if you will, the budget process is
because we wanted to get the money to the states and the towns and to the
people quickly because they were in distress.
So, to suggest that somehow now, you know, we`re going to wait around
for months or even a year while we can find funding cuts elsewhere and have
this debate, and, you know, horse trading, if you will, for a long period
of time and everyone`s going to wait when they are in distress, I think, is
outrageous. I mean, basic government function is to help people in
distress. If the government doesn`t do that, what is its function?
So I really resent the fact Cantor and other House Republican leaders
are trying to make this into some policy or political fray. It`s
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s been said that disasters do not discriminate. You
know, ultimately when that flood water comes, it doesn`t care if you`re a
Democrat or a Republican, whether your house is red or blue. So, given we
have people obviously on both sides of the aisle suffering in these states
from disasters, how is this going to play out for Republicans politically,
given they`ve made it political? Do you think that Eric Cantor and House
Republicans are going to reap a kind of political whirlwind behind this?
PALLONE: Well, I hope that they recant. In other words, you know,
Cantor has made this statement. I know he`s repeated it again or his staff
said that he means it, but I`m hoping that both Republicans and Democrats
from the areas impacted by hurricane Irene will simply step up and say this
is not acceptable.
Again, it`s a question of not getting the relief out, because if you
don`t do this quickly and do some kind of emergency appropriations bill,
which we`ve done for as long as I can remember, then it`s going to be
distressful for the states and towns and the people. I mean, you`re
talking FEMA, grants and loans that go to individuals and small businesses.
You`re talking about money that goes to localities to pay for police and
fire and rescue workers.
I mean, it just doesn`t make any sense to treat this as, you know, as
if you would treat something that you can, you know, sit around and argue
over for months and years. That`s not the way we do business. That`s not
what the federal government`s role is, so I`m hopeful that cooler heads
prevail, I guess, is the best way to put it.
HARRIS-PERRY: Sure. And, Representative Pallone, you`re on the
Democratic side of the aisle. But your Republican Governor Chris Christie
has had an awful lot of praise for FEMA in response and FEMA`s response in
the past couple of days. What are your thoughts on the ground there about
how FEMA is in fact responding in the state of New Jersey?
PALLONE: Well, I think the cooperation with the federal government,
with FEMA, with the state, with the governor, with the local governments,
has been unbelievable. I mean, I`ve never seen such preparedness. And,
you know, you mention you`re from New Orleans -- I couldn`t help but think
that because of Katrina and some of the other hurricanes that we`ve
experienced, that when people were forewarned and said you have to take
preparations, you have to take this seriously, they did take it seriously.
I think in part because they remembered Katrina and they remembered what
happened in New Orleans and they believed that this was real.
But certainly, the governor, the president, and the local mayors all
re-enforced that and made sure people got out and were evacuated so that we
didn`t have even more damage or loss of life than we had.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, certainly all of us in New Orleans are happy to
see that things are operating better at the federal level this time than
they did in 2005.
So, Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey -- thank you so
much for your time tonight.
PALLONE: Thank you, Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: There is one story that matters above all these days in
America, jobs. And in job news tonight, the story is coming up -- yes, as
in coming up on this show and also coming up as in we know a lot more about
what`s coming up from the Republicans and the president about the biggest
crisis in the country -- and that`s coming up next.
HARRIS-PERRY: I admit it, while watching former Vice President Dick
Cheney making the media rounds plugging his new memoir, I kept yelling at
the screen, "You`ve got to be kidding me. This is not the way that it
happened!" Luckily, this show has a section devoted to debunking public
And tonight, Mr. Cheney, Debunktion Junction is all yours. Stick
HARRIS: We`ve been pretty critical on this show of the job`s plan
that was put forth by House Republicans this spring -- 10 pages, clip art,
gigantic type. But the unemployment situation right now, particularly
long-term unemployment, is so dire that I want to put all that criticism
Let me say right now that if the Republican plan is the plan, with the
greatest chance of creating jobs for American citizens, then I am onboard.
I am more interested in knowing what the consequences of these job creation
proposals are than how they impact anyone`s political futures.
House Republicans have expanded their jobs plan this week,
specifically the section they want to get rid of, quote, "burdensome
The House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told members in a memo yesterday
that when Congress returns, Republicans will be seeking the repeal of job-
destroying regulations to create middle class jobs. Environmental
regulations, union rules, health care plans -- House Republicans say those
are the things that are impeding the creation of new jobs in this country.
And for that reason, they want them gone. It`s a radically different
approach than the plan being put forth by progressive members of the House.
Democratic Congressman George Miller says he wants to offset job
losses, especially all the public jobs that have been lost by giving local
governments and states $61 billion to rehire public workers.
Remember, public workers are teachers, policemen, firefighters, who
have lost their jobs due to budget cuts, which sounds a lot like something
the president said in a radio interview today.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve got the capacity
right now to help local school districts make sure that they`re not laying
off more teachers. We haven`t been as aggressive as we need to, both at
the state and federal level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The president added that he predicts the jobs proposal
he is planning to unveil next week could create an additional 1 million
jobs in the U.S. But according to one report, the broad strokes of the
plan are still up in the air.
President Obama is reportedly torn between going big and proposing
sweeping stimulus ideas to draw contrast with the GOP who are unlikely to
actually pass these proposals in the House -- or a more modest and narrow
agenda that has a better chance of getting passed by Republicans.
To help me sort through these plans, joining me now is economist Dean
Baker, co-director for the Center of Economic and Policy Research.
Dr. Baker, thank you for your time tonight.
DEAN BAKER, CENTER OF ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH: Thanks for having
me on, Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: Listen, I like clean air. I like clean water. But if
you`re telling me, if you tell right now in this moment, in this segment,
that at this point, cutting the EPA will, in fact, create more jobs, the
situation seems desperate enough that I`m literally prepared to give up
clean air and water.
I mean, is that -- is that realistic? Is that something that can have
a marginal impact on job creation?
BAKER: No. I mean, this just really isn`t serious. It`s almost as
though we`ve gone into an alternative universe, because I`m saying this in
very seriousness. I mean, the `90s were not that long ago. So, you go
back to the late `90s. We were creating 3 million jobs a year. We haven`t
instituted a whole set of stupid regulations that suddenly brought the
economy to a halt.
I mean, in fact, the job growth stopped under President Bush. Again,
not all his fault, but that`s when the economy stopped creating jobs. And
President Obama, you know, I would like to see more regulations in many
areas. You can find the big stupid regulations. You could find some
stupid ones. But they are not big.
HARRIS-PERRY: You know, we`re often criticized in media for not
giving information, for just giving ideas or opinions. So, I`m asking
right now an informational question -- what do you see as the bottom line
for what we must do to get the unemployment rate down?
BAKER: Well, there`s a couple of things, the basic story is we`ve
lost about $1.4 trillion in demand because of the collapse of the housing
bubble. That was in construction. That was in consumption. You have to
The obvious way to do that is with federal stimulus. President Obama
went a little bit of the way. The stimulus package was $300 billion a
year. That`s not enough to replace $1.4 trillion, and that`s ended now.
So, you could go the route of a much bigger stimulus.
The other route that if we can`t go that way, this might be a
politically viable route, because I know there are some Republicans like
this. Kevin Hassett (ph) is a prominent Republican economist -- work
sharing. Let`s divide up the work that we have and keep people employed.
Instead of having firms layoff 10 people, how about they have 50 people
work, 20 percent fewer hours? Incredibly successful in Germany, their
unemployment is lower today than the start of the downturn even though
their growth has been no better than the United States.
So, there are ways to do it but it requires thinking a little
HARRIS-PERRY: So you`ve offered two different options, a really big
stimulus or smaller, more modest plan on job sharing.
What do you think the president should do in his upcoming speech?
Should he go big or should he become something more modest that Republicans
might actually be willing to get onboard to do?
BAKER: Well, I`ll tell you, I like the big thing, because I hate to
see us waste potential. But the worst potential is having people out of
work for long periods of time -- and if you can talk to Republicans, if you
can get some of them on board. Again, I know some of them are interested,
I`ve talked to people. I don`t know -- I mean, I`m not sitting there
cutting the deals, he`s the one who`s going to cut the deal. But if you
think you can pull the Republicans onboard on that, I think you`d be
absolutely crazy not to go that route.
HARRIS-PERRY: Speaking of getting the Republicans onboard, do you
think that there`s anything the president can do to achieve job creation if
the Republican Congress won`t, in fact, come along, even with modest
BAKER: Well, it`s very difficult. I mean, it`s -- you need to spend
money. Absence of spending money, it`s pretty hard to see how you do that.
I mean, there`s things you could talk about if the Fed were more
aggressive, that would help, but that`s going to be difficult, given the
structure of the Fed right now.
If the dollar were to come down, that would help. You know, there are
things the president could try to do to bring the dollar down. But absent
Congress is going along, it is very difficult.
HARRIS-PERRY: This is a tough situation. I appreciate you taking the
time to think through it with us.
Dean Baker, co-director for the Center of Economic and Policy Research
-- thank you for your time.
BAKER: Thanks for having me on.
HARRIS-PERRY: Texas Governor Rick Perry loves smaller government.
And what is small enough? Perry likes government just the right size to
squeeze into the most personal corners of your life and your body. Texas`
jaw-dropping disregard for your rights and your privacy is just ahead.
HARRIS-PERRY: This week, we learned that disposable personal income
in the United States increased in July, even more than it did in the month
Now, disposable personal income, that`s the money you have left to pay
your bills and buy other stuff you want after you pay your taxes. So, when
we`re looking for any signs of life in this sluggish economy, an increase
of income is great news, right? Maybe not so much.
This week`s news got an economic analysis -- excuse me, analyst, Doug
Short, thinking about a presentation he put together based on data from the
U.S. Census Bureau. The question is who exactly is getting that increase
As Mr. Short so colorfully illustrates, in 2009, the top 20 percent of
households took in half of the income earned in America. The middle fifth
took in 15 percent, that`s the red slice on this graph, and the bottom
fifth took home in the green slice, just 3 percent of the income in this
Proof positive of the ever-increasing gaps among the rich, the middle
class, and the poor in the U.S., further erosion of the American Dream.
And it`s not like this is some new economic phenomenon. In fact, over the
past 42 years while the average household income from the top 5 percent has
increased dramatically, the average household income for the middle class
and the poor has remained virtually flat.
And when adjusted for inflation, the visual is just staggering if not
more so. So, the erosion of the American Dream did not begin with the
Obama administration. It began a long time ago, but as president, Mr.
Obama`s greatest legacy or defeat will be the extent to which his is an
administration that does something to halt this erosion.
President Obama has limited unilateral power. He must govern with a
hostile Republican majority in the House and a filibuster crazy Republican
minority in the Senate. The only basis by which we should judge the
effectiveness of this Congress is the extent to which they work to reverse
Now, of course, it`s impossible to fix it quickly. But the work that
matters is the work that directly responds to the growing gap in declining
incomes. Anything else, the deficit, abortion, so-called "protecting
marriage," is a distraction from what is actually happening in this
So while the rich are getting richer, everyone else is left to fend
for themselves, and our lawmakers continue to argue over less pressing
issues, Rome burns.
Those flat lines that you see there at the bottom, that`s the base of
the Democratic Party.
The Tea Party often claims to represent those red and green lines.
They claim to be the voice of ordinary Americans. But those Americans need
relief. They need the Congress and the president to do something about the
economy, about jobs, and to do something quick.
Philosophical debates about the size of government are irrelevant when
the size of the income gap is growing. Sure, getting the ball rolling on
creating jobs is key for President Obama to ensure his base turns out for
him next year. But the issue is bigger than who secures the White House in
Maybe this graph is enough to doom the president`s reelection hopes,
but our bigger concern should be if it spells doom for the American Dream.
HARRIS-PERRY: Tonight, the Congressional Black Caucus is holding a
town hall meeting before its final jobs fair in the morning. It`s part of
a series of such affairs across the country. In the past month, some
members of the caucus have expressed anger and frustration about what they
perceived to be President Obama`s lack of a specific racial agenda -- none
more clearly than the host of tonight`s final affair, Democratic
Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California.
Now, Waters is right when she points out the disparate impact of
unemployment in black communities, which now stands stubbornly at an
unthinkable, unacceptable, unbelievable 16 percent.
But while she`s right about the economic suffering felt in black
communities, Waters` decision to lay the responsibility for that pain at
the president`s feet is more puzzling. Puzzling for two reasons: First,
because double digit unemployment in black communities is hardly a new
problem. Representative Waters knows that this has been a tenacious issue
for decades, but also puzzling for the obvious reason that Waters is a
member of the Democratic Party -- the president, also a member of the
party, is not facing a primary challenge in the upcoming election.
And common wisdom tells us that fierce criticism from inside the party
could harm the president`s reelection campaign and weaken his position in
the coming months as he negotiates with Republican opposition. The damage
is already apparent. A president without a base is on a shifting sands and
this criticism has led many to ask whether President Obama has a problem
with his base.
After all, no group of voters supported the president with a higher
proportion of their votes than African-Americans. Other than his immediate
family, the black vote was the most reliable constituency for President
Obama in 2008. In fact, 95 percent of all African-Americans who voted for
a president in 2008 voted for Barack Obama.
So, the Congressional Black Caucus is sometimes called the "Conscience
of Congress," but they are able to take tough public stances on
But let`s be clear, the CBC ability to be the national conscience is
not so much the result of their personal courage, although many have it.
It`s a side effect of their electoral security.
Congressional Black Caucus seats are some of the safest seats in the
House of Representatives. Many members of the CBC have held the office for
decades and face few strong challengers. Their security is the result of
powerful, racial solidarity operating in their districts. In fact, some
CBC members have been accused of crime and fraud and still earned
reelection by enthusiastic black constituencies.
Indeed, African-American voters have showed them extraordinary
loyalty, even when their incumbency seemed to deliver little in the way of
The Congressional Black Caucus is in fact an abject lesson in the
importance of another kind of representation, descriptive representation.
Their ability to speak up and speak out is made possible by voters who have
affirmed for decades the importance of having representatives who share
their cultural and emotional ties to black communities.
And on that score, President Obama has shown as much commitment to
African-Americans as most members of that caucus.
Remember when Hillary Clinton held a significant lead among black
voters during the primary and media outlets regularly questioned if Obama
was black enough to earn African-American electoral support? Remember when
Reverend Jeremiah Wright dominated the news cycle and the question shifted
to whether Obama was too black to garner white votes? And later, when
President Obama`s opponents charged that he was a non-citizen, a Muslim,
and a terrorist?
But no matter what the media cycle said about him, President Obama
always identifies as a black American.
President Obama`s self-identification, his public recognition of the
role of black people in American history, his embrace of black culture all
are readily identifiable aspects of this sense of solidarity. In fact,
today, the president went on "The Tom Joyner Radio Show." I know many of
these viewers may not know who Joyner is.
But in some ways, Joyner`s show has eclipsed the NCAAP, the Urban
League, maybe even the black church as a primary mobilizing agent among
African-Americans. If you want to talk to black folks, Joyner`s show is a
good place to do it. And today, while talking with Joyner, the president
discussed how he personally draws strength from the history of racial
struggle in America.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OBAMA: That famous Norman Rockwell painting right outside the Oval
Office of Ruby Bridges walking to school. And we passed that every single
day. You know, she was little 6-year-old girl surrounded by marshals,
going into that schoolhouse all by herself. A friend of mine framed the
original program from the March on Washington. So, they are reminders as
we go through the day and we`re working hard here to make sure we`re
putting people back to work and getting the economy going again, that, you
know, we stand on the shoulders of a lot of people who made a lot of
sacrifices. And it`s important to make sure we`re following through on
those commitments, even if it`s slow and frustrating sometimes.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So, despite the claim of critics, President Obama
embraces blackness, despite the media discourse, public opinion polls
continue to show the vast majority of African-Americans embrace him in
This does not mean that President Obama should be given a free pass.
He has a responsibility to work aggressively to address the economic crisis
in black communities.
But the responsibility is not his alone. Members of the Congressional
Black Caucus must also be held accountable for the conditions in their
districts. Taking the right position is not enough for the president or
the members. Creating tangible results is a relevant test.
But even more important, all members of the U.S. Congress, no matter
their race or party, have a responsibility to labor tirelessly to create
jobs, reduce inequality, and create more just outcomes. The challenges
facing black Americans are the challenges facing all Americans. Our
struggle requires all of us, together, to do the work.
HARRIS-PERRY: A quick programming note: "Day of Destruction: Decade
of War," a new documentary exploring the decade following the attacks of
September 11th, 2001, reported by our own Rachel Maddow and Richard Engel
debuts this Thursday night at 9:00 p.m., right here on MSNBC. Rachel is
very proud of it and so are we. So, please tune in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s time to believe
again in the potential of private enterprise, set free from the shackles of
overbearing federal government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That, of course, was Texas Governor Rick Perry,
announcing his presidential candidacy earlier this month and pushing his
particular brand of small government conservatism, the kind that wants to
free us all from the shackles of federal government, shackles like, say,
Social Security and Medicare.
And Governor Perry makes it very clear in his new book, "Fed Up!" --
that he thinks programs like Social Security and Medicare are
unconstitutional. He wrote it in capital letters, just like those super
serious Internet commentators, so you know he means business.
He wants the government to be so small that it doesn`t provide a
social safety net, that it doesn`t support you when you grow old and retire
and need health care. That`s big government and he wants to set us free
from those shackles.
He`s also been helping free Texans from governmental shackles by way
of thousands of public school teachers who are losing their jobs this fall
under Governor Perry and Texas Republican small government budget cutting -
- you know, the shackles of a paycheck and productive work life that
contributes to society.
So, Rick Perry`s version of small government conservatism means
government so small it`s not there to help you. It`s not there as a social
safety net when you need it. It might not be there to make sure your child
is getting a good education.
Rick Perry is so steadfast in his belief in small government he seems
to believe that government shouldn`t be there for you at all. It should
just back off, because freedom, according to Rick Perry, is more important.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: I work every day to try to make Washington, D.C. as
inconsequential in your life as I can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Rick Perry wants to make the government so small you
don`t even notice it, you don`t even know it`s there. Government, what
government? I don`t see any government. It`s so small, unless you`re a
In which case, Rick Perry wants to make government so big that it can
control the pregnancy of any given woman in Texas. On nearly every other
issue, Rick Perry wants government to be non-existent. He wants government
to be nowhere near you as a citizen -- not even if you want it or need it.
But on this one issue, the issue of abortion, he wants government to
be right there with you, handing your doctor a script, whispering in your
ear you should be ashamed of yourself. Rick Perry wants to get all up in
your uterus and take a picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: We have actively worked against the Roe vs. Wade decision.
And I`m pleased to announce I am designating the sonogram bill an emergency
item for the 87th legislative session.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Back in January, Governor Perry put the mandatory
sonogram bill on an emergency list to help it along in the state
legislature. And the bill requires women seeking abortions in Texas to get
a sonogram at least 24 hours before an abortion.
Actually, why don`t I let the author and one of the co-authors of the
bill explain it to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s true. I`m a country boy.
UNDIENTIFIED MALE: If there`s any medical professionals out there,
they may get hung up on our terminology before they get through.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll get through it. We`ll get through it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Explain to us what the sonogram bill does.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically what this bill does, it`s not so much
about abortions or sonograms, but it`s about the woman being fully
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, it`s a procedure that will inform the lady,
the girl, whoever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What this bill does would require that the
sonogram be presented to the woman, she have at least 24 hours to go home,
think about it, pray about it, make sure she`s -- what she`s doing --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That creepy piece of video there.
The bill doesn`t just require a 24-hour waiting period between the
mandatory sonogram and the procedure. It also requires doctors to describe
the fetus to the woman, to make sure she can hear the heart beat if there
The Center for Reproductive Rights sued over Rick Perry`s new "I want
to get up in your uterus" law saying the law intrudes on the practice of
medicine, forces physicians to deliver ideological speech to patients and
treats women as less than fully competent adults.
That new law was set to take effect on Thursday. But today, a federal
judge blocked enforcement of key parts of it as the lawsuit goes forward,
ruling that requiring a doctor to show women pictures from a sonogram and
sounds from a fetal heart beat violates the doctor`s First Amendment
If Rick Perry wants his Texas state government with a view of every
uterus in Texas, he`s going to have to fight for it. Here to talk with me
about this is Kelly Hart, director of public affairs at Planned Parenthood
of north Texas.
Kelly, thanks for joining me tonight.
KELLY HART, PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF NORTH TEXAS: Thank you for inviting
HARRIS-PERRY: This injunction, the ruling against the Texas sonogram
law, it just came down today. Can you tell me how it might affect your
operations there in Texas?
HART: As you say, it came down late this afternoon and we haven`t had
the opportunity to look at it in detail. I can say that we are pleased
that the more onerous parts of the bill have been enjoined.
But we are displeased -- we`re disappointed that women are still going
to have to make an unnecessary trip to our health center in order to
receive the care that they need.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Tell me a little bit about that. Help us to
understand what does the sonogram law actually mean for women in practical
terms who are seeking medical care in your facility?
HART: In practical terms, it means they are going to be subject to
unnecessary medical requirements to receive a safe, constitutional, legal
procedure. Today, if a woman wants an abortion, she thinks about it, she
makes her decision, she calls us for an appointment, she has to wait 24
hours from making that appointment to come to a health center to receive an
As a result of this law, she`s now going to have to come to the health
center to receive the sonogram and whatever information the government
deems necessary, in addition to the medical work that we`ll do, and then
she has to wait another 24 hours and make an unnecessary trip before she
can have the procedure.
When you consider that 60 percent of women in the state of Texas
already have a child at home, that`s much more work for a woman who wants
to have an abortion. She`s going to have to get off work two days in a
row. She`s going to have to arrange full child care most likely two days
in a row.
If she`s coming from less than 100 miles away, she`s going to have to
figure out where she`s going to stay the night, and that`s going to add to
the cost of the procedure for her and to the logistics of it. It`s a way
to demean and shame women --
HARRIS-PERRY: No, I`m sorry. I didn`t mean to interrupt you there,
because I appreciate where you were going on the question of demeaning and
shaming. I wanted to ask you, what are the assumptions about women and
about women seeking termination services that a re assumed by a law like
this, assumed by these ladies or these girls, as we heard, needing to hear
this kind of forced narrated sonogram.
HART: Well, there`s the assumption that women don`t know what it
means to be pregnant. There is an assumption that they haven`t thought
about the decision perhaps to talk to other medical professionals before
they called to make an appointment with us.
There is also an assumption that all women who are seeking an abortion
are alone, young, without children already, that they don`t know what it
means to be pregnant. And that`s just demeaning, and it`s insulting to
women to think that they haven`t thought about this and they don`t know
what`s going on inside them until, you know, some legislator makes them be
told whether they want to know all the little details or not.
HARRIS-PERRY: Indeed. Kelly Hart, director of public affairs for
Planned Parenthood of North Texas -- thank you so much for joining us
tonight and keep up the good work in Texas.
HART: Thank you so much, Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: Remember the story about Mitt Romney quadrupling the
size of his ocean-front mansion in California? Mr. Romney would like
everyone to know the renovation isn`t nearly as millionaire-y as it sounds.
Ed Schultz will have the details right after this show.
And here, a very special edition of "Debunktion Junction," starring
the imminently debunkable Dick Cheney. Sound effects are at the ready,
HARRIS-PERRY: Debunktion Junction, what`s my function?
This is the Dick Cheney edition with special guest star tonight, my
daughter, Parker, doing sounds.
So, first up. Is this true or false?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT (via telephone): We had an
Iraq Survey Group that went in and looked at everything, and they are the
ones that did not find any stockpiles. Obviously, that had been falsely
On the other hand, what they did find was that Saddam had retained the
capability to go back into production on relatively short notice. He had
the technology and the people able to resume his program as soon as the
sanctions were lifted and the inspectors disappeared from the scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The Iraq Survey Group found that Saddam Hussein had the
capability and raw materials and the technology and the people to be able
to resume his program as soon as sanctions were lifted and the inspectors
disappeared? Is that true or false?
False. The Iraq Survey Report actually found, quote, "Hussein`s
ability to produce nuclear weapons had progressively decayed since 1991.
Inspectors, he said, found no evidence of concerted efforts to restart the
program. The findings were similar on biological and chemical weapons.
While Hussein had long dreamed of developing an arsenal of biological
agents, his stockpiles had been destroyed and research stopped years before
the United States led the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Hussein hoped
someday to resume a chemicals weapons effort after U.N. sanctions ended,
but had no stock and had not researched making weapons for a dozen years."
In other words, he had no capability to start producing WMD on short
notice at all.
Next up, also about the Iraq war. Is this true or false?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: I don`t think that it damaged our reputation around the
world. I just don`t believe that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That the Iraq war did not damage the reputation of the
United States around the world, is that true or false?
False! Back at the start of the millennium, we were looking pretty
popular -- 83 percent favorability from Britain, 62 percent from France, 78
percent from Germany, 75 percent from Indonesia, 52 percent from Turkey.
Five years later, two years after the start of that war, the numbers
had tanked -- 55 percent of Britain had a favorable opinion of the U.S., 43
percent of France, 41 percent of Germany, 38 percent of Indonesia and
dismal 23 percent of Turkey.
By 2006, a BBC poll of more than 26,000 people in 25 different
countries found three in four disapproved of U.S. dealings in Iraq. There
was even a congressional report trying to find out why America`s reputation
was in the gutter, why 83 percent of countries liked us back in 2002 but
only 23 percent liked us in 2006.
One of the reasons they found? Specific opposition to the Iraq war.
The world`s opinion of us only begins to start to rise again with the
election of President Obama. You can look it up.
OK. Finally, true or false? In his new memoir, former Vice President
Cheney reveals the answer to one of the big mysteries of the pro-September
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
ANN CURRY, NBC NEWS: Another sign of heightened security in this
country, Vice President Dick Cheney spent the night at an undisclosed
location as a precaution.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cheney at his undisclosed secret location.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMAEL: Vice President Cheney was taken last night to an
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The Secret Service added more agents
around the White House, and Vice President Cheney has been sent to a
secure, undisclosed location.
DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS: We should mention also that Vice President
Dick Cheney, David, is said to be in an undisclosed location.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HARRIS-PERRY: So Dick Cheney discloses in his new book the location
of that previously undisclosed location. Is that true or false?
Yes. That one is true. We now know where Dick Cheney was the night
after terrorists struck New York City and the Pentagon. And it was not a
high-tech bunker hidden in the mountains somewhere. Vice President Cheney
says he spent the night of September 11th at Camp David. Yes, not that
As for all the other undisclosed locations where he stayed at various
times throughout his vice presidency, he showed NBC`s Jamie Gangel around
one of them. His Wyoming ranch. Another one, the vice president`s
residence in Washington, D.C.
Seriously, it would have been way better if the man had left that a
mystery. So much more fun to imagine Vice President Cheney in a field, in
a super secret lair, maybe something with a laser. Oh, well.
That does it for us tonight. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry, sitting next
to my daughter Parker, in for Rachel Maddow.
We`ll see you tomorrow night.
Now, it`s time for "THE ED SHOW."
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