Show: MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY
Date: September 27, 2014
Guest: Amaney Jamal, Michael Singh, Dean Obeidallah, Negin Farsad, Seth
Berkley, Hugh Evans, Wade Henderson, Dafna Linzer, Alexandra Brodsky, Seema
Iyer, Richard Lui, Aaron Schock, Stephen Sobhani, Alex Wagner, Chris Hayes
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning my question. Who will
continue the work of Eric Holder? Plus, naming names to get a sense of
justice. And Muppets in Nerdland. But first, will we ever stop being at
Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. And we are going to get to the
U.S. war on ISIS in just a moment. But first I want to bring you the
latest developments on a tragic story from late last night in Oklahoma.
Four college softball players are dead. At least 12 more students are
injured, all because of the scene you are seeing here north of Ardmore,
Oklahoma. At approximately 9 p.m. local time, a truck crossed a median
into oncoming traffic and collided with a bus carrying members of the North
Central Texas college softball team. The women`s team of 20 is made up of
freshmen and sophomores. Nearly all of them from Texas. The National
Transportation Safety Board is launching an investigation into the crash.
This morning, we are awaiting a statement from North Central Texas College.
And we will bring you developments on this story as we have them.
This morning, we also have a little bit of happier news to report. It is
the news belonging to Chelsea Clinton and her husband Marc Mezvinsky. At
12:32 a.m. Mrs. Clinton announced the news via Twitter. "Marc and I are
full of love and gratitude as we celebrate the birth of our daughter,
Charlotte Clinton- Mezvinsky. Congratulations from all of us here at
"Nerdland" to both families.
We now turn to the latest news in the U.S. - led war on the Islamic State
in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Yesterday, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and
Denmark all voted to join the coalition, and send the spider jets to
participate in airstrikes. The votes came after a week of focus on ISIS at
the United Nations General Assembly, during which President Obama sought to
rally more international support for the war. The president framed this
war as part of the strategy to ultimately end all war, but a lasting peace
could only be achieved, the president said, if many nations stand together
against religious extremism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Belief in
permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot
build or create anything and therefore pedal only fanaticism and hate. And
it is no exaggeration to say that humanity`s future depends on us uniting
against those who divide us along the fault lines of tribe or sect. Race
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The war this week expended beyond Iraq and beyond ISIS. On
Monday U.S. officials announced airstrikes against targets in Syria held by
both ISIS and another group, an al Qaeda affiliate known as the Khorasan,
that officials say wants to attack the United States directly. More than
50 countries have already joined the U.S. coalition against ISIS and
several have participated directly in air strikes including Jordan,
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
At the U.N. the president argued that the war on terror could help make the
world safer. But in a month when the prime minister of Iraq claimed that
there was a plot to attack the New York City subway system, a threat that
U.S. officials discredited, but still sparked a terror scare, and beefed up
security throughout the city. When we learned of another terror group more
focused than ISIS on attacking the United States, when we learned that hate
crimes against both Muslim and Jewish people have gone up in New York City
amid a summer of news about war in the Middle East doesn`t exactly feel
safer. In fact, as of early September Americans felt less safe than in any
time since September 11, 2011.
According to an NBC News poll 47 percent of Americans believe the country
is less safe now, than before September 11 2001 terrorists attacks. That`s
a significant increase from even a year after the twin towers fell.
Joining me now Amaney Jamal, associate professor of politics at Princeton
University and author of "Empires and Citizens: Pro-American Democracy or
no Democracy at All." Dafna Linzer, managing editor of msnbc.com. And in
Washington, D.C. Michael Singh, senior fellow and managing director of the
Washington Institute and former senior director for Middle East Affairs at
the National Security Council from 2005 to 2008. So nice to have you all
Mike, I want to start with you, Michael. And this idea that the president
at this moment went to sort of the American people and made a claim about a
very specific set of air strikes but then immediately once the airstrikes
began it was a larger population, it was different targets than we had
originally seen. What does that say to you?
MICHAEL SINGH, SR. FELLOW, THE WASHINGTON INST.: Well, it says to me that
we need to be I think clear about what are the objectives for this current
operation and what is the strategy that we are pursuing and why. You know,
in fact, the threat that we are addressing in Syria and Iraq is in many
ways not so much a terrorist threat although there is a significant I think
terrorist threat there, but it`s a threat to the stability and the security
of the region. You have seen this group ISIS really disregard borders.
You have seen them try to take territory, you have seen them terrorize
populations in the region, threaten the security of our allies. And the
president has clearly decided that that requires the sort of defeat of this
group and that requires action in both Syria and Iraq. But I think it is
clear that it will require more than that. And this is where I think
people have been uncomfortable. Because even if you defeat ISIS, you still
won`t have fully stabilized Syria or a stabilized Iraq.
HARRIS-PERRY: And that I think for me is in part - this kind of central
question. Can you be in a war against terror or terrorism when terrorism
is a tactic? I mean to talk about being in a war against a tactic is like
being in a war against tanks or I mean it is a way in which -- it`s a
strategy for making war, it`s a strategy for making foreign policy if we
take it to the broadest extent. But I am so distressed that they want to
attack rather than they have in fact done something.
DAFNA LINZER: Right. Exactly. And, you know, I had two thoughts sort of
that took me away from the president`s speech. One was the country that is
in a forever war is Iraq.
HARRIS-PERRY: Because it is happening --
LINZER: Yes. Right, exactly. I mean President Obama went there 12 years
after President Bush went there to talk about Iraq. There is a line in
President Bush`s speech from 2002 that talks about 12 years ago during Gulf
War I when Iraq invaded Kuwait, I feel like that is a country that`s been
experiencing a forever war for about 25 years. And they have experienced
the war as opposed to kind of the terrorism and the way we have experienced
it. The other thing that stood out for me with the president in this sort
of constant search for what is Obama`s doctrine, what is his philosophical
approach was actually the very last line of the speech where he said join
us. In other words, you know, I feel like the president after many
different international kind of efforts we saw and different things as you
have talked about a lot, I mean drone strikes, which is something kind of a
goad alone. Libya, which is go with the group. And then here, you know,
trying to build a coalition. I feel like a president six years in, a
president who came in wanting to end war, a president who went to the U.N.
a year ago to say we are done with Iraq has gotten to a place where his
theory, his position is join us.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, OK, so I want on exactly that money I want to play a
little bit of sound of the president this week and have you respond to it.
So this is the president talking about civilized people and what they
should be in fact working against or at war against. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It is time for a
new compact among civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its
most fundamental source, and that is the corruption of young minds by
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So, it`s the claim here about being at war, civilized people
being at war against violent ideology? At the same time I just - I want to
put in context that Iran`s president Rouhani earlier this week said that
certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hands of mad men who
now spare no one. So on the one hand you have a president saying this is
about ideology that must be rooted out and then you have an Iranian
president saying maybe you should stop arming people.
AMANEY JAMAL, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Right, right. No, this is absolutely
true, Melissa. There are a few things going on, right? I mean again,
reducing this war to a war about the civilized versus uncivilized nations
of the world, bringing back colonial discourse is not going to be useful to
winning the hearts and minds that we need to win to fight this war on
terror effectively. And so, we often forget about the other side of this.
So, yes, take out the perpetrators of violence, but you want to also make
sure that the audience, the people who you are targeting are not finding
these discourses attractive. And we forget about that when we go to war.
What you want to ensure is that the war itself, the way you conduct your
war, the way you basically target these people is not going to create an
atmosphere where the younger recruits are going to find this ideology
attractive. And we forget about this. Every time we go to war, Melissa,
especially in the last decade, whether it`s in Iraq or Afghanistan or now
in Syria we forget about how our policies become the reason why these
discourses become so attractive in the first place.
HARRIS-PERRY: OK, so I want you to just say that. Michael, let me come to
you - because that - that is I think a place where many progressives are
critiqued, this notion that in any way the U.S. and our - and the West more
broadly, that our actions in this part of the world actually end up making
us less safe because we are implicated in this violence. So, how do we
talk about that in a way that is useful?
SINGH: Well, you know, Melissa, I think it is erroneous to think that if
somehow we were to simply disengage or simply stay out of this region that
that would make us safer, or make the region safer. I think in many ways
what is happening in Syria now was fuelled in sort of embedded by the fact
that the Western world in general the United States didn`t engage with
Syria sooner. I mean you could argue that had we been involved in Syria
sooner, had we tried to seriously - to end the conflict there sooner that
perhaps the sort of rise of ISIS would have at least been sort of .
HARRIS-PERRY: OK, but just - I want to break in with you on that for just
one second because this has been maybe one of the hardest things for me as
an observer to understand over the course of the past year. What we just
in the circumstance where ISIS would have been among the groups who we
would have been helping had we intervened in Syria and now we are
intervening with some of the groups that we would have initially been
against a year ago?
SINGH: Well, I don`t think you can make that conclusion, Melissa. Because
I think that the absence of sort of Western assistance actually helped the
most extreme elements in Syria because they were the ones who were able to
gather sort of funding, they were the ones who were able to thrive in this
environment where you really didn`t have a sort of active Western
engagement. And so, I think that often times these conflicts are arising
from local conditions. You know, in Iraq, for example, you had a lot of
sort of feelings among the Sunni population there of disenfranchisement and
disgruntlement towards the government in Baghdad and therefore the Sunnis
were in the sense willing to support extremist groups like ISIS because
they were seen as somehow leading the charge against this government in
HARRIS-PERRY: All right, Michael. Michael, stay with me. I also want to
get in indefinitely on exactly that point as soon as we come back. So,
stick with me.
But up next the administration is increasingly giving indication of just
how long this latest military campaign is going to last.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: This will not be an easy or brief
effort. We are at the beginning, not the end. We are at the beginning and
not the end of our effort to degrade and destroy ISIL.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: In his second term the president has repeatedly called for
an end to in his words, "perpetual war." He did it in his second inaugural
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: A decade of war is now ending. Enduring security and lasting peace
do not require perpetual war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: He did it in a major policy speech on counterterrorism last
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must
continue. But this war like all wars must end. That`s what history
advises. That`s what our democracy demands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: When President Obama spoke of ending war he was referring in
particular to the war in Afghanistan. Even called for the repeal of the
legislation that first authorized that war in September of 2001, but it is
worth noting that it is that very authorization the president is now using
to legally justify his war against ISIS. He claims that he doesn`t need
Congress to authorize this war because in essence it is part of the same
war that we have been fighting since 2001, a war that the president and his
advisers now say will not end anytime soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: More specifically White House officials say the mission
could take three years, well past the end of President Obama`s
administration. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says defeating
ISIS will be "generational." 13 years since 911 with no end in sight for
military engagement. Is this a perpetual war?
JAMAL: It is becoming a perpetual war. And the reason is, is that we
often think of war or strategy of intervention as only either military or
non-military. I think that what happened during the years where we were
engaged in Iraq in terms of how we lost the support of the Sunni minority
there in terms of again, like bringing Michael back in this conversation,
it is how we intervene that matters. Eight years of Maliki alienating his
Sunni population did not help win this fight on terror. In fact, it
created support for terrorism in these disenfranchised pockets of Iraq.
Especially in the north. These were mistakes. So, this is what I`m
talking about a two tiered strategy about eradicating terrorism. It is not
only about confronting them militarily, it`s how you ensure that the
population does not find these messages attractive, does not find that
these messages resonate with them and that the only savior that they find
themselves having are groups like ISIS. This is what happened. So, in
many ways, we are intervening whether it`s militarily or not, we are
supporting a lot of these regimes in the region. We are monitoring the
situation in Syria. It is not because we did not want to intervene. But
we also need to ensure that these terrorist groups don`t gain the upper
hand, and they don`t gain the upper hand by policies that we are directing
towards corrupt leaderships, corrupt governments and we are not giving
citizens opportunities of political expression and representation.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, on that question of sort of communities having the right
for political representation, Dafna, one of the things that I found both
most heartening and most surprising about the president`s speech at the
U.N. was that he invoked Ferguson and he invoked the recognition that the
U.S. for all of our shining city on the hill status, doesn`t always get it
right in terms of even our own relationships with our own population. And
I guess part of what I`m wondering is as we look at the mistakes as Amaney
thinks that we have made, is it for lack of information, lack of
understanding about the complexity? So, I`m thinking his own intervening
in the U.S. I didn`t understand the relationship of African-Americans to
the U.S. State they could get it wrong. Does it makes sense? I am
wondering, if we didn`t fully understand what we were engaging in 13 years
LINZER: Such an interesting take. You know, when the president was
standing there at the podium, you know, going into sort of the night before
the speech when the U.S. strikes started inside Syria there was also
renewed unrest in Ferguson.
LINZER: And there were sort of two images that we had sort of the U.S.
acting overseas, you know, bombing targets in Syria and we had, you know,
continued unrest in Ferguson through the morning actually into the speech.
And I was quite impressed, frankly, that that was not lost on the president
and that he chose to talk about Ferguson as well and you`re right. I mean
if you had just sort of descended on America what would you think of that
situation. But, you know, I think to the earlier point, you know, one of
the things the president then said later in the week is he actually talked
about the recognition that we have allies with human rights records, with
political regimes that do not meet our standards as not representative of
the kinds of things he talked about in the speech. And I think, you know,
that recognition, I think, if you take it to another step, you know, and -
and Michael could talk about this, too, about what it is like to be in the
White House knowing that you are working with leaders like this, you know,
is there a cost? I mean is there a cost? I mean can you really stand up
there and say we are going ahead with Saudi Arabia here?
LINZER: We are all in together on this.
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s a great - Michael, let me bring you in on exactly that
question. So, what it means to be standing there. Obviously, on the one
hand we have the president with an Obama doctrine, with his own doctrine
and world view, but then he`s also in the real politic of actually
governing with these real things occurring in the world.
SINGH: Well, Melissa, you are right. I`m going to put aside the Ferguson
analogy which I disagree with. But we`ll put that aside. And say that
look, when you are dealing with parts of the world like this or frankly,
any part of the world you deal with the partners that you have. And, you
know, you need to have a long term strategy, I think in this region to help
build institutions, to help address economic stagnation and so forth. But
you also have to deal with the short term problems, you have to understand
that some of those long term changes are, in fact, going to take a very
long time. But I think that we also have to be careful, Melissa, when we
talk about this notion of perpetual war. But look, terrorism is a tactic,
and we need to understand that it arises in lots of different situations
that we need to deal with on their own sort of individual merits as it were
You know, there are conflicts and terrorism can come out of conflicts.
There are ungoverned spaces, which can provide safe haven for terrorists
groups and be a source of terrorism. There are state sponsors of terrorism
like Iran or other states. And each one of those really demands a
different sort of response. And so, we have to be careful not to just sort
of lump all of this together as sort of one problem with some sort of
unified or boilerplate solution, but be careful that we are analyzing each
problem by itself. And that`s, I think what folks in the White House are
trying to do, and if you look at that May 2013 speech that President Obama
gave I think that is what he was trying to do, as well. And it is a
thoughtful speech that I think folks should go read.
HARRIS-PERRY: Michael Singh, in Washington D.C., I will just invite you if
you want to write your disagreement about the Ferguson piece on the MHP
site. We love to have it. I`m deeply interested, but this have to go to
our commercial. Amaney is sticking around and Dafna will be back in the
next hour. Still to come this morning the latest on missing UVA student,
And up next, why a horrific workplace murder in Oklahoma is being discussed
in the context of our new war on terror.
HARRIS-PERRY: Starting Monday anti-Muslim messages will run on the sides
of 100 New York City buses and on two subway stations. One of these ads
says "Hatred of Jews is mandated by the Quran, the holy book of Islam" and
includes a picture of Adolf Hitler with the Muslim ally. Another includes
a still from an ISIS video showing the beheading of American journalist
James Foley, and the words "Yesterday`s moderate is today`s extremists.
It`s not Islamophobia, it`s Islamorealism." The ads were paid for by the
American Freedom Defense Initiative, an anti-Islam hate group. Some of the
ads call for an end to all U.S. aid to predominantly Muslim countries. The
New York transit system says it cannot reject the ads. Because they are
protected under the First Amendment. But there is another way to fight the
hate. What our guest Dean Obeidallah calls a comedy jihad. Back with us
now Princeton University`s Amaney Jamal and joining the table columnist for
"The Daily Beast" Dean Obeidallah and social justice comedian and filmmaker
Negin Farsad. So nice to have you all here.
NEGIN FARSAD: Thanks.
HARRIS-PERRY: Negin, what is it you are trying to do?
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, Negin and I are trying to use
comedy to counter some of the hate of these ads. You know, we made a
documentary called "The Muslims are coming," which uses humor.
OBEIDALLAH: To break down stereotypes about Muslims, try to build bridges.
So, now we are doing the next step which is our ads.
NEGIN FARSAD, SOCIAL JUSTICE COMEDIAN FILMMAKER: And we decided to launch
the fighting bigotry with delightful posters campaign.
FARSAD: So, you are not going to see the kind of ads that you just show,
you are going to see fun hilarious ads that are .
HARRIS-PERRY: But these are sort of - I mean they are horrifying .
HARRIS-PERRY: . but also sort of hilarious. I mean the one where he is
like a rapper and then an ISIS fighter is so .
FARSAD: It`s the natural progression between a rapper and ISIS fighter.
Absolutely. Yeah, they are so appalling that you laugh at them. We
actually just want people to ironically laugh with us at our fighting
bigotry with delightful posters campaign.
FARSAD: So, that`s what we are - we have been trying to raise about
HARRIS-PERRY: And you are close?
FARSAD: We are very close to making it. So, I think this is absolutely
going to happen. And that is what we have been trying to do. Because we
thought what do we do? Do we get angry?
FARSAD: Do we deface the ads? No, that`s not the right thing to do. What
we do is we tell jokes. And that`s what the plan is.
HARRIS-PERRY: And I love that, because it is - excuse the phrase,
HARRIS-PERRY: In an important way, but it is - it`s also worth taking
seriously what it means to put that sort of hate out into the world. I
want to listen for a moment to what President Obama said this week. And
the ways in which it actually created a response in social media that was
humorous but also representative of some distress about what President
Obama said. So, I just - a moment of the president here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It is time for the world especially in Muslim communities to
explicitly, forcefully and consistently reject the ideology of
organizations like al Qaeda and ISIS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: And so was that, especially in Muslim communities prompted
this hashtag Muslim apologies, all over Twitter, people begin apologizing
for math and all kinds of - you know, right, I love this, "I`m sorry. It`s
- I`m a grade designated driver but a bad flying buddy." Right? This sort
of - why should the Muslim community in particular have to apologize for
JAMAL: Right. And we`ve been seeing this over and over. If you look at
any of the mainstream Muslim organizations in the United States or in
Europe or elsewhere, even from - even in the Muslim world, you see a lot of
denunciation, a lot of renouncing of ISIS. But again, if you think about
ISIS. ISIS, you have no more than 30, maybe 40,000 individuals of a
population of 1.7 billion Muslims. Right? Does it mean that every Muslim
and their child and their daughter, and their sister and their mother have
to apologize for the crazy work of these radical terrorists? I mean, I
don`t know them. And I don`t want to apologize for just heinous crimes. I
want to be able to live my life. I certainly, though, also don`t want to
walk in the New York City subway station for my children to see how we are
being reduced as - we are being dehumanized .
JAMAL: In the name of freedom of speech. This is also appalling. This is
not only a Muslim problem, it becomes an American problem.
HARRIS-PERRY: And it is appalling, it is also - it`s also quite dangerous
from my perspective. So, I would be remised not to bring up the story out
of Oklahoma. It is a story that I read as a work place violence story.
But I want to play just a little bit of the sound from the press conference
that followed a gentleman who beheaded a woman in the context of his having
been fired, then he goes back to the plant, he stabs several people. One
of the women, her head is severed. But then this gets said at the
conference. Let`s just listen for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. JEREMY LEWIS, MOORE, OK. POLICE: After conducting interviews with
coworkers of Nolen, information was obtained that he recently tried to -
started trying to convert some of his coworkers to the Muslim religion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: And then that`s it. And now this is somehow about Islam.
OBEIDALLAH: That`s it. You know, it`s funny. Just so it is clear - There
is nothing in the Koran that says if you get fired go back to your
workplace and kill people.
OBEIDALLAH: I wonder who would have known - no, it is not in the Quran.
You know, anything that is bad, a bad crime, I don`t know about you, but my
reaction is please don`t let them be Muslim. That`s all I think, please.
So, this guy`s name wasn`t Muslim, already converted, and I knew instantly
it will be used. And we said gruesome crime. And you have to feel for the
family of the woman who was killed. But the idea to turn this into - and
we are seeing right wing media use this continuing a narrative. Look,
Muslims are here at America, they are committing Jihad. Just last year,
there were over 500 (ph) workplace killings last year. We don`t know about
the religion of any of those murderers. When someone is Muslim it`s got to
be a terrorist.
HARRIS-PERRY: Right. Right. The idea that that is the relevant piece of
information. So, I mean it may be that some ideology, right wing, left
wing is taking this. But, you know, at that moment in that press
conference I don`t think someone is like representing right wing. They
literally just believe. Right?
HARRIS-PERRY: And I think this to me is the most - there is a belief that
at the core. This is something like - so I can also probably have
breakfast that morning. But we don`t think any of this was relevant, what
we do think that his conversion, his jail house conversion, by the way, is
what is relevant.
FARSAD: And that I think is the biggest problem. There should be a
cultural paradigm shift in which it is not OK to create that linkage
FARSAD: We already know that it is not OK to equate all white men with the
school shootings. We can`t do that. It`s not OK.
FARSAD: And so .
HARRIS-PERRY: Because it`s just - happening in anyone`s mind, it doesn`t
have to .
FARSAD: Yes. Exactly. But we have on and on, creating this language
between Muslims and violence. And we need to have a counter-narrative -
and we don`t. So, what we need - and that is what we are trying to do.
HARRIS-PERRY: Muslims are funny.
FARSAD: Muslims .
FARSAD: That is the new stereotype.
FARSAD: Pass it around Muslims are hilarious.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, and yet, like so on I love it, but then until you have
said my children and then a little sick place happened inside of me because
there is one thing for adults. But I - you know, again, to come back to
Ferguson and to think about the ways in which the criminalization of our
children is a life or death matter in this country.
JAMAL: Absolutely. I mean again where you want to implicate any Muslim
for being Muslim, born Muslim, practicing Muslim, not practicing Muslim,
all Muslims are basically on this conspiracy course to destroy in their
path is just unacceptable. And what the problem is, Melissa, what we - I
mean this is what Dean and Negin and doing, it`s brilliant and great. And
I`m their huge supporter.
JAMAL: But I don`t - I have come to the pessimistic realization. And
again, I don`t want to be pessimistic but I am going to be pessimistic. We
can - we the Muslim community are not going to be able to win this
propaganda war on our own.
JAMAL: We need - We need - We need Americans committed to the basic
principles of civil liberties and civil rights to say, this is wrong.
HARRIS-PERRY: Black folks cannot fall (ph) racism .
HARRIS-PERRY: And Muslims cannot fall (ph) Islamophobia.
HARRIS-PERRY: You can resist it. You can push back against it, you can
identify it, but it is in fact - it`s in fact - those who perpetrate it who
must stop it.
JAMAL: People are making money off of this propaganda to victimize us as a
notorious faith and as a notorious community. And it`s really - and we`ve
seen the hate crimes up, we are seeing our children suffer from this in the
public schools. The community is suffering in America and if you want to
link this back to winning hearts and minds what message are we sending to
the world where we consistently discriminate against our own people.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Dean Obeidallah and to Negin Farsad and your
work is amazing. And I`m - so happy for what you are doing. Amaney is
going to be back with us in the next hour, but still to come this morning,
Wade Henderson on the legacy of Attorney General Eric Holder. But first,
my letter of the week is all about why you ought to disobey.
HARRIS-PERRY: Last Sunday hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched
through the heart of New York ?ity to affect change on an issue that
impacts each and every living thing, our planet. These activists march the
demand global policymakers take seriously that imminent threat to human
survival calls by drastic and documents changes in climate. The response
of those of us in media was a resounding because the climate change march
didn`t quite have the right combination of factors that garner breathless
captivating 24 hour coverage. Yes, the police were present, but they were
just managing traffic. Not lobbying tear gas at the crowds. Yes, the
issue is important, but because we are all implicated in climate change
there isn`t any one villain to focus on defeating and yes, we must do
something. But there are so many things that need to be done by so many
different people the whole effort can feel exhausting and confusing.
The success of the global environmental movement like all mass social
movements will depend on just how well it learns to adjust and innovate,
which is part of the argument for robust intellectual engagement with the
histories of protest. And the strategy of collective action. And why that
history belongs in our school curriculum. But that is not how one Colorado
school board member sees it. And that is why my letter this week goes to
Dear Julie Williams, it`s me, Melissa. It seems you want to revert to an
older model of AP United States history for high school that has been as
you say, "essential" to understanding American history for generations
instead of the current course with its emphasis on race, gender, class,
ethnicity, grievance and American bashing. Now, if you were alone on the
fringe of some far flung school district then your Facebook angst about the
AP history curriculum would not warrant a response, but you are at the
center of an entire movement. As the school year kicked off in August the
Republican National Committee made the same argument calling the AP
curriculum "a radically revisionist view of American history that
emphasizes negative aspects of our nation`s history while omitting or
minimizing positive aspects."
So Ms. Williams, you are in good company with conservative lawmakers in
your desire to make sure the curriculum promotes "citizenship, patriotism,
essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for
authority and respect for individual rights" while discouraging the study
of "civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."
HARRIS-PERRY: You`re kidding, right? You plan to teach United States
history without mentioning civil disorder, social strife and disregard of
the law? What exactly are you planning to teach to explain that turbulent
decade of massive resistance to law, collective organizing against
authority and armed civil disorder? No, not the 1960s, I mean the 1770s. I
mean you do know that the 1773 Boston Tea Party was an act of civil
disobedience and disrespect for the law, right? And surely, you have not
forgotten that in 1775 Patrick Henry was so unpatriotic to the British
crown, so determined to break the law and resist authority, that he
declared give me liberty or give me death. And exactly how will you
account for that little document penned in 1776 that barely clearly states
the responsibility of the people to challenge authority? That whenever any
form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of
the people to alter or abolish it and institute new government? You see,
Ms. Williams, it is impossible to teach American history without teaching
civil disobedience because civil disobedience is the very foundation on
which our nation is built. To dissent is to be an American patriot.
Steeped in a deep understanding of our history and emboldened by our yet
Happily, Ms. Williams, your students understand this even if you don`t.
This week they walked out by the hundreds to protest the proposed
curriculum changes. So, congratulations because as it turns out the
biggest lesson the students learned this year about the importance of civil
disorder was taught to them by you.
HARRIS-PERRY: Preparations are underway on the great lawn in New York
City`s Central Park where just hours from now the Third Annual Global
Citizen Festival will kick off, the mission to end extreme poverty by 2030.
Some of the artists playing the festival for a crowd of 60,000 will be The
Roots, Fun, Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys, no doubt, and the headliner,
Beyonce`s husband also known as Jay-Z. Coverage of the concert will be
anchored by Chris Hayes and Alex Wagner. And it begins at 3:00 p.m. right
here on MSNBC.
HARRIS-PERRY: This week the Centers for Disease Control forecast Ebola
could potentially infect 1.4 million people by the end of January. I just
want to repeat that. 1.4 million people. Now, less than one month ago we
reported on the dire prediction from the World`s Health Organization that
the infection rate could potentially reach 20,000 before the infection is
under control. So this new number comes from different assessments done by
different organizations and it should be noted that this new CDC projection
does not take into account some of the new efforts to combat the disease
undertaken by the U.S. since August. But 20,000 to 1.4 million in less
than a month is still a startling disparity. The reason? The virus is
spreading at an exponential rate. Now, exponential growth is dramatically
different than additive or linear growth, where increase just happened at a
constant rate. You see, the CDC since the number of cases is doubling
every 20 days. So, that means one person infects two people who each
infect two additional people who then each infect two more people and the
numbers swiftly become insurmountable. Ebola is now an exponential crisis.
Now, experts still maintain that there is little risk of Ebola spreading
across the globe beyond Western Africa, and that`s because as far as
infectious diseases are concerned, Ebola is actually not very easy to
spread. So, the rapid acceleration of the virus in western Africa can only
be understood by taking into account the extreme poverty and willfully
inadequate health care systems that plague western Africa. Joining me now
is Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project. And Seth Berkley, CEO of
GAVI, the vaccine alliance. So I want to start with you about the vaccine
piece, in part, I think because Americans have a sort of medicinal or
pharmaceutical approach to thinking about public health. So, what is the
vaccine possibility? And is it on a timeline that makes sense given this
SETH BERKLEY, CEO, GAVI, THE VACCINE ALLIANCE: Well, first of all, going
back to your numbers, we don`t exactly know how fast that`s going to go up.
And one of the problems with it, we don`t have good surveillance systems.
So, the estimate is, for every case we actually know about there is 2.5 -
three, four more. So, how we bend that curve and get the data to
understand what is happening on the ground it is an important priority.
These countries are post conflict fragile states, we at GAVI have invested
more than $15 million in improving the health systems in those countries,
but it obviously isn`t enough to get the resilient health systems we want.
Now, traditionally we haven`t thought about vaccines for this epidemic,
because as you rightfully said, it doesn`t spread very easily and
containment works. But we are in a completely new situation now that it is
in urban centers and is spreading like this. So, there actually are some
vaccines, then one that`s in humans now, one that has had one time in
humans both look promising in animal models. There`s other research -
traditionally we would say this is a three, four, five year project.
BERKLEY: But this is unprecedented. And what the world is doing now is
trying to drive forward as quick as possible to get safety information and
then in a rolling trial design begin to get data. Does it work? And with
that data then maybe under an emergency, you know, edict they will go ahead
and use it. Timeline still mid-next year at its best for rollout. And
that is assuming that everything falls in place.
HARRIS-PERRY: And in the meantime while we are looking at potentially
exponential growth, we don`t really know whether it`s going to grow a
little faster or slower, what does it mean to say that poverty is a key
player here? I mean when I show a chart of that kind of exponential
growth, then again, I think for Americans, you think this was the highly
contagious. Only the flu, right, moves at that kind of speed. But it`s
actually not. So, what is it that poverty is doing that is spreading this
HUGH EVANS, CEO, THE GLOBAL POVERTY PROJECT: Well, as Seth rightly pointed
out, many of the regions that - where Ebola is spreading out of control,
fragile states, post conflict regions, there are also regions where the
majority of the population live in extreme poverty, i.e. less than U.S.
$1.25 per day. And so, they lack access to basic, even community health
worker services let alone nurses or doctors or a broader health system.
This is the challenge in rural and remote Africa. And so, this is why
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the president of Liberia has made such an urgent
plea and said that we have to respond and we have to respond immediately.
HARRIS-PERRY: And the president of Sierra Leone saying this week that it
is - that Ebola is a greater danger than terrorism. In a week in which
Western states are kind of ramping up against ISIS, saying actually, this
is a greater danger to us.
BERKLEY: Just to come in on that, I mean we have to remember here in the
U.S. if you get sick you go to a hospital. There is food, there is nursing
staff, there is allied staff. Your family can visit you in isolation. In
these countries there isn`t that type of setup. So, when you go to a
hospital you know, you are expected to bring your family with you, they are
expected to feed you, they are expected to clothe you and take care of you.
And if you can`t do that then you are dying alone. And so .
HARRIS-PERRY: And on this question of family I just- I wanted to play this
just for a moment. This is CDC Director Tom Frieden talking about one of
the most tragic things I`ve heard relative to family in this context.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: One of our staff described on the street seeing
babies left by parents who were afraid of infecting them so to try to save
their child`s life were abandoning their child hoping someone else would
pick them up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So, that is heartbreaking and you are organizing around
exactly these kinds of questions. Later today right here on MSNBC we are
going to see a concert which seems, you know, out of - but is, in fact,
exactly on these kinds of questions.
EVANS: Absolutely. You know, we decided earlier this year strategically
that the issue of vaccines and immunizations was crucial for global child
survival. Exactly what Thomas talking about in that piece. And so we
worked together with our partners at the Global Alliance of Vaccines and
Immunizations, GAVI, the vaccine alliance, and working to really ensure
that in the future through their replenishment process we want to see that
they raise the full $7.5 billion necessary to immunize 300 million children
and ultimately work to save between 5 million and 6 million lives between
2017 and 2020.
HARRIS-PERRY: 7..5 billion sounds to me like - sort of beyond the NGO
status level and like where states have to start contributing.
EVANS: Absolutely. And that is exactly why we are so delighted that the
prime minister of Norway Erna Solberg is coming to the Global Citizen
Festival this afternoon. We are hoping for a very significant announcement
and we also hope that will spur others major countries to also step up and
support GAVI in their crucially important work. This is the time for us to
not, you know, say that, you know, you know, we have done our bit. This is
the time for us to say we have got to put our foot on the accelerator and
do everything we can to support GAVI to achieve that crucial mission.
HARRIS-PERRY: It is always the challenge of capacity when you`re dealing
with the immediate crisis to keep the big picture in mind. But it is so
critical, clearly, based on what you both are saying.
Thank you so much for joining us. Hugh Evans and Seth Barkley and good
luck this afternoon with the concert. I am very excited about it, it`s the
third annual Global Citizens Festival in Central Park with the Roots, no
doubt, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z and so many more.
It is going to be a great show.
Still to come this morning, one concert goer who is particularly excited to
have a VIP back stage pass for tonight, and only six years old. Raya, one
of the newest Muppets from sesame. And up next, the legacy of the man we
in Nerdland call the mighty duck. Attorney General Eric Holder. With more
Nerdland at the top of the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I want to thank you Mr. President for
the opportunity that you gave me to serve and for giving me the greatest
honor of my professional life. We have been great colleagues, but the
bonds between us are much deeper than that. In good times and in bad and
things personal and things professional you have been there for me. I am
proud to call you my friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry and we are expecting a
news conference right now out of breaking news out of Oklahoma. We will
bring that to you if that becomes available.
But first, over the course of his nearly six years as attorney general we
have seen Eric Holder make news and even history with little fanfare that
usually accompanies both.
Here in nerdland we`ve compared him to one of the stealthiest of aquatic
creatures the duck. All calm and cool on the surface, but beneath the
waves paddling furiously moving ever closer to his goal.
On the surface, the attorney general strikes a measured, practical even
boring tone coasting along in speech until suddenly you notice the big
In 2011, in a statement about the section of the Defense of Marriage Act
that define marriage between a man and a woman, the attorney general wrote,
"While both the wisdom and legality of Section 3 of DOMAN will continue to
be the subject of both litigation and public debate, this administration
will no longer assert its constitutionality in court."
So hidden in that legal jargon a seismic shift in the Justice Department`s
stance of same-sex marriage that set the stage for a landmark Supreme Court
ruling striking down that section of DOMA in 2013.
When the Supreme Court declared a key part of the voting rights act
unconstitutional last year, the attorney general threw the weight of the
Justice Department behind lawsuits challenging voter restrictions in North
Carolina and Texas, a bold, in your face move, announced in almost still
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: These action prove that whenever
warranted by facts in the law this department will not hesitate to use
tools and legal authorities at our disposal to fight against racial
discrimination and stand against disenfranchisement and to safe guard the
right of every eligible American to cast a ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: And on the issue of sentencing reform even bolder action among
other things Holder has pushed for a reduction in mandatory minimums and
harsh sentences for low level drug offenders. And this week a sign that
his work is working. The first drop in federal prison population in 34
years and this time the attorney general was able to crow a little.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: Over the past year, the federal prison population declined by
roughly 4,800 inmates, the first decrease we have seen in many decades.
This is nothing less than historic and to put these numbers in perspective
10,000 inmates is the rough equivalent of the combined population of six
federal prisons each one of which was filled to capacity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: But perhaps the biggest signs that the attorney general was ready
to go big before going home, his increasing willingness to tackle boldly
and personally the issue of race, a subject on which he once declared
America a nation of crowds.
After the police shooting of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson,
Missouri sparked protest and clashes with the police in riot gear, Holder
personally volunteered to go to Ferguson on the administration`s behalf.
He met with beleaguered city officials as well as frustrated residents
making it clear he understood both sides telling them, quote, "I am the
attorney general of the United States, but I am also a black man."
And it is that kind of forth rightness, that kind of recognition that as
the first African-American attorney general, he may be able to do and say
things that even our first black president cannot.
That kind of steadfast support for social justice issues that will make Mr.
Holder a tough man to replace. When he announced his resignation Thursday,
he was mindful of the work he and the president have done and the work
still left to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: I often think of those early talks between us about our belief
that we might help to craft a more perfect union. Work remains to be
done, but our list of accomplishments is real. In the months ahead I will
leave the Department of Justice, but I will never leave the work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: Mr. Holder will stay in office until his successor is confirmed.
He is already one of the longest serving attorney generals and one of the
most influential. As the mighty duck prepares for his swan song, the
question of who will tests the waters after him is key.
Joining me now, Jamal, politics professor at Princeton University, Dafna
Linzer, managing editor of msnbc.com and from Washington, Wade Henderson,
president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Human Rights. Wade, what
is our mighty duck Holder`s legacy going to be?
WADE HENDERSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: Well, good
morning, Melissa. You have captured the essence of Eric Holder perfectly.
Eric Holder is really the most visionary, most forward looking attorney
general of his generation. He joined a distinguished group of colleagues
like Bobby Kennedy or Herbert Brown who was under Eisenhower.
His legacy is going to be profound. He put forth ground breaking reforms
of our nation`s criminal justice system. He has defended voting rights
act and the affordable care act. He has expanded the rights of LGBT
Americans as you`ve described and those will have lasting impact on the
But his willingness to tackle issues of race, issues that the president
himself often found difficult to give voice to in my judgment makes him
also someone who has had profound impact in helping to create the more
perfect union that he and the president once discussed.
PERRY: And precisely on that issue, Wade, I want to come to you on this
because those things, that list, a kind of progressive joyland menu that
Wade just gave us has prompted great angst from the right. So David
Vitter, a senator from Louisiana, tweeted this week.
"Anyone sad to see Eric Holder stepping down as AG, not me? I can`t think
of any AG in history who has attacked Louisiana more than Holder." And so
as we think about that legacy, is there a possibility that it will be
rewritten by the right as a divisive awful person?
DAFNA LINZER, MANAGING EDITOR, MSNBC.COM: What is so extraordinary about
Eric Holder`s accomplishments is that he was able to do anything under the
kind of pressure and attack that he was under from the Republicans. It
was extraordinary and just as unprecedented as much of his accomplishments
and work were.
Which I think it should be very much front and center in both Holder`s
legacy and this administration`s legacy. I would throw in the list the
fact that they were so successful in the courts in defending the health
care act, which was not a sure thing.
I mean, the health care act survived many legal challenges all the way up
to the Supreme Court. That is also an accomplishment from Eric Holder.
When Eric Holder came in to the Justice Department, he had a pardon`s
office and a pardon`s process that was preventing African-Americans from
being pardoned, from seeking commendations. He changed that radically.
People as you know like Clarence Aaron who were released from prison. That
is part of remaking the criminal justice system. He talked about that all
the time. You know, to me, one of the things that was impressive was
despite the pressure he was under in the attacks, you know, the subpoenas,
hearings, it war relentless, I mean, fast and furious.
PERRY: Held in contempt around that.
LINZER: No end to this that he continued to talk about the things that
were important to him and they made enormous inroads. For me, I think, you
know, his legacy for sure is going to be in the area of voting rights.
PERRY: I want to come to you on this question of legacy and particularly
voting rights and the go big or before going home how intense. I want to
listen for a second to Eric Holder talking about RFK just for a second
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: I have loved the Department of Justice ever since as a young boy.
I`ve watched Robert Kennedy prove during the civil rights movement how the
department can and must always be a force for that which is right. I hope
that I have done honor to the faith you have placed in me, Mr. President,
and to the legacy of all of those who have served before me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: I both love that and it worries me because I wonder like -- who
comes after Holder? Right. Not so much because I want to do the palace
entry, but so he is going to bear -- he sees himself in the legacy of RFK.
Who can carry on the RKF Holder legacy?
AMANEY JAMAL, AUTHOR, "OF EMPIRES AND CITIZENS": That is a really good
question right now. In many ways Holder had the empathy of president that
was backing him up. He had the expectation that he was going to push the
boundaries on, let`s say, these civil liberties and on race issues.
It is not clear to me if we are in a political climate where that anybody
steps in is going to be able to continue with that legacy. So for example,
take Ferguson, Ferguson is still unresolved.
Holder is leaving a great legacy. It would have been even I think greater
had he resolved Ferguson before we moved on to a successor. So this is
going to be something to watch moving forward.
HARRIS: I want to play for you, my colleague, Joy Reid, had an opportunity
to speak with AG Holder for a moment in Washington, D.C. at the
Congressional Black Caucus. I want to listen to what he said to my
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: People have to understand something. Barack Obama is still the
president of the United States. All right, he and I share a world view. I
did the things that he wanted me to do. We are partners. My departure
will not have any impact on this administration`s commitment to the civil
rights issue that has been the life of this president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: Wade, it just can`t be true that his departure will have no impact.
I mean, the mighty duck has been the voice of this.
HENDERSON: He has been the voice of it. Truthfully, he has also often
been the surrogate for President Obama including attracting opposition
because of his closeness to the president. But having said that I think he
and the president do share a deep commitment for and respect for protecting
the civil rights of all persons in this country.
I think the president`s successor for Eric Holder will in fact pursue those
policies aggressively. Now don`t anticipate, of course, that Congress will
simply roll over particularly House Republicans.
PERRY: That is the understatement of the century, Wade. I was thinking
about you know the attorney general saying he will stand up until successor
is not just named but confirmed. That may mean he is with us until like
2022 at this point.
HENDERSON: Well, it may, and also may mean that those who would otherwise
oppose him might be anxious for him to leave. I think the operative time
to get the new attorney general, of course, will be in the lame duck
session after the elections when the Senate returns and has an opportunity
to review the president`s nominee.
But having said that because of the attorney general`s commitment to be
there until his successor is confirmed I at least feel assured that we will
have respect for civil rights protection of those efforts that the Justice
Department has directed towards and I think that`s a positive thing.
PERRY: It certainly has been an extraordinary run watching this attorney
general and this president together. I also appreciate you adding to our
metaphor with the lame duck and the mighty duck. We have the whole duck
situation now happening.
Thank you to Wade Henderson in Washington, D.C. and also thank you here to
Amaney Jamal and Dafna Linzer. Coming up we have a very sensitive story to
discuss. I will offer a trigger warning here. It`s a controversial
approach some college students are taking to pushback against sexual
But first an arrest is made in the case, but there is still no sign of the
missing UVA student, Hannah Graham. That is next.
PERRY: The search for missing University of Virginia sophomore, Hannah
Graham is expanding to rural areas surrounding Charlottesville. The man
accused of abducting Graham, 32-year-old, Jesse Matthews is back in
Virginia this morning being held without bond.
Matthew was taken into custody Wednesday night after he was found in
Galveston County, Texas. Matthew was charged with felony abduction
following a law enforcement search of his apartment and car.
Several pieces of evidence were removed including articles of clothing.
Law enforcement is conducting tests on the clothing, but officials here
have declined to offer any more specifics about the evidence.
The 18-year-old college student, Hannah Graham, was last seen two weeks ago
after a night out with friends. Police say the teen went to dinner before
attending two parties at off campus apartments. She left alone and at some
point, texted a friend to say she was lost.
This surveillance video shows according to detectives Matthew with his arms
around Graham just about 1:00 a.m. on Charlottesville`s downtown mall, a
busy strip of bars and restaurants. Now what happened in the moments to
follow is part of the timeline detectives are still trying to piece
together in hopes of finding Hannah.
When we come back college students facing a threat of a very different kind
gender based violence on campus and a controversial way of fighting back.
PERRY: Hannah Graham`s case brings renewed attention to vulnerability of
women on college campuses. This week, Graham`s school, the University of
Virginia sent a letter to students reminding them of safe transportation
options and encourage walking in groups and speaking up of a situation
It`s sound advice. The stranger abduction is not the most imminent threat
to students on college campuses. The biggest danger is more often from an
acquaintance. Studies estimate one in five women is sexually assaulted in
college and usually by someone she knows.
Fifty five colleges are currently under federal investigation for their
handling of sex assaults on campus. One of those colleges is the
University of Chicago where an anonymous source recently posted on Tumblr a
color coded list of men either current or former students accused of gender
The post dubbed the high park list reportedly included this note of intent.
Quote, "Keeping the community safe since the university won`t." The list
has since been taken down, which leaves us asking, are colleges doing
enough? And if not, is it OK to start naming names?
Joining me now Seema Iyer, a criminal defense attorney and former
prosecutor, and Alexandra Brodski, co-founder of and an editor at
So I want to start with you. Thinking about this strategy, do you think it
is one that is effective and does it depend on what we mean by effective?
Let me start with the big effective that it will limit or reduce sexual
assault on campus?
ALEXANDRA BRODSKY, CO-FOUNDER, "KNOW YOUR IX": I think that this is a
really radical act of self-preservation for a community that has been let
down by the university and criminal justice system and Department of
Education. It is really wonderful to see students looking out for each
other and taking incredible personal risks to do so.
With that being said, it is not really their job. The only way to see a
big shift is for the university to start complying with Title Nine and
taking serious allegations against these men and getting off of the campus.
PERRY: This is at the University of Chicago. I just wanted to read
quickly because they see this differently. I want to get into a little bit
of this. They say the university is committed to sustaining an academic
community in which all members can participate freely and fully.
Part of that is owning and defending one`s ideas, anonymous accusations and
commentary do not live up to those values and undermine full participation.
Any threats to personal safety are unacceptable.
Depending on the facts of a case, anonymous or unsupported accusations,
threats or damaging commentary made by one student or students against
another student could rise to disciplinary issues.
In this case when they are talking about disciplinary issue they are not
talking about the cases of sexual assault, per se, they are talking about
the naming of names as the thing that would constitute a need for
SEEMA IYER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They are turning the victim into
the defendant. Let me just start off with I am all about taking justice
into your own hands.
PERRY: Whoa! You don`t mean in a vigilante sense?
IYER: I do but that is a different show. In this case it is legally
permissible for these people to put up this list. It is freedom of speech.
They are allowed to do it. It is being published by Tumblr even it was
So they are not committing an illegal act. The only problem is that these
men, rapists, they may have an action, a defamation suit against the people
who publish the list.
PERRY: Because they haven`t been found guilty.
IYER: So if it is published that is one element and is there injury? Yes.
Whether it is false is where the crux lays.
PERRY: This is raw for me. On the one hand you have the university saying
we see this potential defamation here. We also see there is a bad act by
our students, but so help folks understand Title IX because even though
we`ve done it on the show a few times.
When I say it people presume we are talking about women`s basketball.
Women`s sports are part of it. Why do you say they are in violation of
Title IX in this case?
BRODSKY: I think it is absolutely true that everybody thinks about women`s
sports and that is why we started this organization "Know Your IX" to make
sure that students are aware that Title IX protects against all forms of
gender discrimination including harassment and violence.
And that means that universities have to take steps to prevent violence,
which includes getting rapists off your campus. And then they also have to
respond appropriately to survivors when they come forward.
And we know that University of Chicago is feeling on both accounts. Right
now they are under federal investigation for a whole host of reasons
including the fact that when students are coming to them and saying I was
assaulted or abused or harassed.
They are being told let`s just have a conversation about this. Let`s have
an informal mediation rather than actually disciplinary action against the
PERRY: What they said because I want to keep them in the loop here saying
university efforts have included the creation of a student support system,
such as Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call, the Bias Response Team and RSVP
(Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention.
The growth of confidential resources offered by Student Counseling Service
and special training to university police officers in responding to acts of
sexual violence. Is that what you mean by let`s talk about it? They don`t
say it includes the arrest of sexual predators.
IYER: Title IX, if the sexual assault interferes with your ability to get
an education, Title IX kicks in.
PERRY: I barely want universities managing the NCAA. Why does it matter
if I was raped on campus versus raped off campus. Why isn`t the university
doing it as opposed to local law enforcement?
IYER: You are a professor, right. So if I as a student come to you and
say I have been assaulted, you are required, you have a duty to report that
to the authorities. You have both areas of law enforcement involved.
BRODSKY: So you don`t necessarily as a professor have to report to the
criminal justice system for a couple of reasons. One of the issues is that
the police deal with rape as a crime, right. And universities are required
to deal with sexual harassment and violence as a civil rights issue.
Because when students are facing violence it is really hard to go to class
with your rapist. It is really hard to study when your abuser lives next
door. And I think it is so important that we preserve this university
option rather than pushing it off to the police because honestly survivors
don`t trust the criminal justice system.
PERRY: I am so glad you that put it in that context. It was a legitimate
question, but also one trying to prompt a little bit because there is also
a different standard, right, for civil versus criminal action. We know
just in terms of -- it means the civil rights violation, one may not be
found guilty of a criminal action in the courts for it.
Please be willing to come back and talk more about this. In terms of being
back on college campus as a professor, it is critically important. Thank
you to Seema Iyer and to Alexandra Brodsky.
Still ahead a muppet with an important message who is coming to nerdland.
First the crisis behind a billion missed school days.
PERRY: Preparations are underway for the third Annual Global Citizens
Festival here in New York City. You are looking at a live shot of the
great lawn in Central Park where up to 60,000 are expected today to hear
acts like The Roots, Fun and Jay-z.
The goal of the concert, raise awareness and to push to end extreme poverty
by 2030. Themes of today`s event include vaccination, education and water
Even today one third of the world lacks access to basic sanitation. In
fact, more people have access to mobile phones than to toilets. MSNBC`s
Richard Lui travelled to New Delhi, India and filed this report.
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPODENT (voice-over): It is hard to believe when
you don`t have this you have this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think four days.
LUI: Jodi says it`s because of poor water supply and sewerage. In fact
the WHO estimates 1.8 billion school days worldwide are lost because of
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes there were mosquitos.
LUI: The bites.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Arms, legs and face.
LUI: Resulting in illnesses like malaria and dengue fever, which is why
few want their daughters walking into girls` toilet like these.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No water, no hand wash or soaps.
LUI: That is why girls stay home while boys more easily work around the
filth. But it`s this education video show using the bathroom in the open
as some 1 billion people do says the U.N. It also means girls get sick
more often than boys.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not just toilets. It`s also about menstrual
LUI: And polluted drinking water, which again sets girls back further.
(on camera): To get clean water walking farther down road sides like this
and falls on girls and women. That`s 40 billion hours a year that girls
and women lose.
(voice-over): The solutions can be seen in this school. It starts with
this says the vice principal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hygiene is important. Toilets should be neat and
LUI: Just installed new sinks and toilets. Four of them designed so girls
accustomed going in the open don`t feel claustrophobic. Hand washing
stations with running water with murals reinforcing hand sanitation best
In addition rain water collectors, they rough filter and resupply ground
water that was polluted or over pumped. Judithe Registre has experience
with girls` health programs in over 25 countries.
JUDITHE REGISTRE, DIRECTOR, PLAN INTERNATIONAL USA: Hard to think
something as simple as water can get in the way of a girl`s future, but it
is that simple. Somehow communities and the girls bounce back.
PERRY: Joining me now just back from New Delhi is MNSBC`s Richard Louis.
Thank you for filing the report for us. How big of a problem is this? How
many people does it effect?
LUI: One in three in the entire world does not have access to clean water
and are affected by sanitation. That was a very startling statistic that
I discovered as I was looking into the story that you began.
Another number that might strike you, 800,000 children die every year. It
is estimated by the CDC because of not getting clean water. Those are
just some of the numbers behind it.
You saw how we were inside that bathroom there for a little bit there. In
the amount of time I was there I got six mosquito bites so you can see how
quickly -- when these girls use the bathrooms that are not well irrigated
that they can be affected by mosquito-born diseases.
PERRY: As I was reading in on this and watching the terrific piece you put
together I was thinking how do we create public education without creating
stigma, without generating a notion that there is a part of the world does
not practice basic hygiene? How do we do that?
LUI: You know, the stigma that might be attached with different countries,
third world countries, countries that were used to seeing and that
experience this sort of problem, I think the key to look at this is to
understand that it is a lot like what we are used to, but we don`t
associate with very well.
Startling to the expert is that it came down to something so simple as
water yet it is tough to put those two things together because of the way
we are accustomed to operating here. I think very easily that we can start
to understand without touching stigma.
Become involved in NGOs, CBOs that happened to be in your community and
education and awareness is the first step. Just one last number for you
here, Melissa. When we look at the way to fix this it is estimated some
$60 billion to $80 billion is lost every year because of this.
But the solution is only $80 billion. You can recover the cost by
investing in good sanitation and water supply in one year and fixes it
PERRY: I also love the idea that a gender issue, issue of girl safety is
just water. It`s just water.
Up next, thank you, Richard, so much for doing that work for us. Up next,
what if a member of U.S. Congress and a muppet came to the table together
to put forward a solution to the world water sanitation problem? We`re
going to find out (inaudible).
PERRY: In the year 2000, the United Nations included sanitation and access
to clean water among its money and development goals. It`s a list of
international development benchmarks that the assembly hopes to meet by
But most recent data from 2012 shows 748 million people still lack access
to improved drinking water and 2.5 billion people do not have access to
adequate sewerage systems.
Regionally Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have the fewest accessible
sanitation facilities. In India, the lack of accessible toilets has
created a national public health issue.
Sixty percent of all people who use open fields rather than private toilets
live in India. The practice is widespread largely because there are too
few sanitation facilities in the country`s rural areas and no adequate
As a result about half of the households in India drink from contaminated
water supplies. Such contamination can cause digestive illnesses that
result in malnutrition.
In fact almost one-half of children in India show signs of malnutrition.
Water sanitation is one of the key areas at the third Annual Global Citizen
Festival in Central Park.
To help focus us on what can be done to create improvement around the world
are 6-year-old Raya, one of the newest members of the Sesame family and
also Steven Sevani, vice president of Sesame Workshop International, and
Representative Aaron Schock, a Republican from Illinois who has co-
sponsored Senator Paul Simon`s water for the world act of 2013. So nice to
have you all here.
RAYA, SESAME STREET: Thank you for having us.
PERRY: I am very excited to have you here in part because I know a lot of
kids watch the show in particular my own daughters. As a 6-year-old what
would you tell my daughters about how to stay safe and clean?
RAYA: I think the most important thing is to make sure you have clean
water access whether it is using clean toilet and being able to wash your
hands in clean water and making sure you do so for 30 seconds. It really
comes down to clean water. That is the fundamental part.
PERRY: In 30 seconds. How long is that exactly?
RAYA: Well, it is usually the length of a song. Sometimes kids sing the
alphabet song. I sing wash my hands with soap and water while I sing this
song don`t forget to scrub my fingers and scrub them in between rinse until
the song is over and now my hands are clean.
PERRY: That is a fabulous song. Congressman, while we are singing our
song and washing our hands and doing what we have to do tell me about the
legislation that you are co-sponsoring and how it can help to meet the
goals Raya talks about.
REPRESENTATIVE AARON SCHOCK (R), ILLINOIS: It increases goals providing to
developing countries but villages in Africa and India that have basic lack
of necessity of clean water. It is surprising to most people that folks
who live in rural villages have access to cell phones but not toilets.
More people have access to a cell phone than a toilet.
As important as the porcelain is what is equally as important is the
movement. What is equally important is changing the mindset about the
importance of sanitation and why Raya is important and global poverty
project today is important.
We have to change the mindset of people around the world. In India where I
was earlier this year with Global Poverty Project, the prime minister says
it is more than just the porcelain. I need help convincing people of my
country that it is not OK for open defecation.
It is not cleaner to go out in the fields as generations have done. We
take for granted as Americans that practice of potty training and telling
them what is right and wrong. That is what this festival is about not just
raising resources and getting financial commitments, but creating the
movement, the global movement to change the mindset and behavior.
PERRY: One is only 7-1/2 months old. Let me ask you in part because we
have a 6 year old and a congressman both thinking about the importance of -
SCHOCK: Are you comparing the two?
PERRY: You got to learn to work together and sing songs and that kind of
RAYA: I am going to vote someday.
PERRY: Good. Vote early and often as we say in Illinois. I am distracted
by the muppet. I am wondering in part about what the congressman was
saying about the idea of caring and changing the conversation part of what
Sesame has been great about for generations is getting us to care about
something beyond our own front stoop and wondering how 6-year-old Raya and
Sesame help us to care about a world beyond our own.
STEPHEN SOBHANI, VP INTERNATIONAL, SESAME WORKSHOP: Sesame is snow
stranger to engaging. We introduced the first HIV positive puppet to talk
about de-stigmatizing the epidemic for those children who are going to
school and in our Cookie Monster in the states he is eating healthier.
Cookies are now his sometimes food.
PERRY: It appalls my husband. My husband has a lot of anxiety about the
vegetable eating Cookie Monster.
SOBHANI: You have to eat your colors before you get to the cookie. It is
not just a hardware question, not a matter of building the toilets. It is
a software question. How do you encourage the right behaviors and improve
the knowledge and the attitude.
So that when the hardware is there and the toilets are built and the water
mains are put in or the water becomes available people know how to use them
and most importantly know related to their behaviors and Raya is
exceptionally good at doing it.
PERRY: We have talked about your hands and how you wash your hands and in
between. But I notice you also wear your sandals everywhere you go. Why
is that important?
RAYA: It`s very important. You have to keep your feet clean when using
the toilet so you don`t get germs on them. Do you know about germs? They
are bugs that can make you sick. So it is important to keep your feet
clean because germs are everywhere and you have to protect against them and
that is what my sandals do. Here they are. See.
PERRY: That is a good looking foot, girlfriend.
RAYA: Thank you.
PERRY: Part of what is nice about having a 6-year-old here and talking
about working together is this idea of whether or not we can get bipartisan
efforts and global efforts together on these kinds of questions. This is
not a partisan question. This is a global effort. How do you go about
building those kinds of coalitions?
SCHOCK: Well, first, you have to make the case for why an elected official
in the United States should care about this issue. Some people believe in
the power of America`s force around the world for good and social
responsibility of helping lift people out of poverty.
Other people it is a matter of national security. We know that people who
have hope and opportunity in villages don`t seek to destroy their
neighborhoods and go to war. There is an economic component. We are only
5 percent of the world`s population.
To the degree other countries are developing and growing and reaching the
middle class and beyond are to the degree they buy our wheat and corn and
our manufactured products. It is good for America`s economy to have a
So whether it is social responsibility, the right thing to do, national
security, we have to go after members of Congress from the far left to the
far right and people in between to say this makes sense for America on so
many levels and it`s why the water for the world act has gotten strong
It`s why earlier this year, the electrify Africa, which was about reaching
rural villages in Africa with electricity passed the House and the Senate.
It was signed into law by the president.
There is a will in Congress to do something with the water for the world
act. Hopefully with global poverty project`s help we will get it done this
PERRY: I want to ask about the role of ordinary citizens. We have elected
officials. What do ordinary citizens they learn something they didn`t
know about water and sanitation being part of the story. What do they do?
SOBHANI: I think they learn more about the issues and find ways to engage.
This is an individual effort but also a global effort. There are
behaviors people can impart to their children and themselves and children
to them friends to improve upon conditions in developing worlds.
I think to what the congressman said, talk to our governments. See if we
might be able to improve resources, awareness. That is why the water for
the world act is such an impressive effort to revisit because it can change
the lives of billions of people around the world.
PERRY: We are going to talk more about this, but I also want to talk about
how the hottest ticket in town, the one with Jay-z, Alicia Keys and so many
more preparing to take the stage in Central Park. We go behind the scenes
of the Global Citizens Festival when we come back. Raya is only 6 and she
gets to go and stay up until 10:00 I heard.
PERRY: The third Annual Global Citizen Festival gets under way in New York
City`s Central Park in just a few hours. I`ve already taken my hair down
because Raya, the muppet, got me excited, 60,000 music lovers are expected
to be out on the great lawn to see performers like Jay-z, Carrie Underwood,
Alicia Keys, The Roots and more.
Two of my colleagues here at MSNBC will have the best seats of all. Live
coverage of the event and broadcasting of the concert itself begins right
here on MSNBC at 3:00 p.m. Eastern with your host, Chris Hayes and Alex
Joining me now from Central Park is Alex, host of MSNBC`s "NOW WITH ALEX
WAGNER" and Chris Hayes, host of "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes. Guys, has
there been a Blue Ivy spotting yet?
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: Not as of yet, but not like I`m a crazy stalker. My
understanding is Blue Ivy`s nap hour happens right now until about 1:45.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC: I`ve seen lots of --
HAYES: I`ve never read about this or looked for them on a playground in
Brooklyn ever. It`s one of these things, I`m a chill guy. If we run into
them, we run into them.
WAGNER: Melissa, we`ve seen no Blue Ivy but lots of red oak. I`ve been
working on that joke for the entire time Chris has been talking. Haven`t
seen Blue Ivy yet.
PERRY: You guys are really going to have a good time. This is different
from what you all do.
WAGNER: Look at our headsets.
HAYES: We`re excited about the headsets.
WAGNER: It`s like we`re on the moon. Only the moon is Central Park.
HAYES: I cannot overstate how loud it is here, but it`s an absolutely
amazing set-up. It`s gorgeous.
WAGNER: We`re still overwhelmed.
PERRY: You`re talking about it being loud and your excitement. My biggest
excitement today is with one of my guests. I have on set with me a 6-year-
old named Raya. She lives in Sesame -- she`s from Sesame. She`s going to
be there tonight. Raya, are you planning to go to the concert? Are you
RAYA: I sure am. I`m so excited. Getting to hear these incredible
performers including two of my favorite letters, Jay-z.
PERRY: Those are great letters. Let me ask you this, are you planning to
have fun at the concert?
RAYA: You bet! It`s going to be the best time ever. Yes.
PERRY: Let me ask this -- how valuable -- let me ask you this to you,
Chris and Alex. How valuable is this cultural, have fun moment to bringing
a focus to something that is important, to something that is maybe not so
fun, Alex, Chris? Can you hear me?
WAGNER: Can you repeat that, Melissa? It is incredibly loud here.
HAYES: How important is what?
WAGNER: I will say, I know you`re talking to Raya. It is amazing the
contributions of cultural ambassadors like Sesame Street characters, like
Carrie Underwood, like Gwen Stefani and the folks who are going to be here.
They`re fun and amusing and bring us joy.
But they make a huge difference in terms of changing the globe and actually
educating people and making things better for billions of people on planet
earth. While Chris and I are psyched to have fun, it`s incredibly
meaningful for us to have a concert on the lawn --
PERRY: Hold on for a second. Congressman?
SCHOCK: They said it well. When Raya speaks, children of the world
listen. When Carrie Underwood and those stars speak, it`s key to the
movement in changing the hearts and the minds of the world about
sanitation, drawing the public in America`s focus on the issue of global
poverty and as an elected official, I`m a function of who I represent.
If my people care about these issues, if my people put pressure on me and
other elected officials to care about these issues, then the U.S. Congress
and our elected leaders will care about these issues. So the festivals
like tonight are extremely important for the overall good.
PERRY: Do you listen to The Roots?
SCHOCK: Absolutely. I listened to The Roots whether my people do or not.
PERRY: Chris, let me come to you.
HAYES: I`m here.
PERRY: Go ahead, dear.
WAGNER: There is a break.
HAYES: So I think that -- there`s two things that I think are central
here. What the congressman just said is key. If you poll people and you
say, what is one of the biggest expenditures in the American budget? They
will reliantly say foreign aid despite the fact that we are at the bottom
of overseeing aid in these countries.
Having citizens understand just how little we are doing and then pressuring
your representatives is key. In terms of Raya, I think it`s an amazing
lesson that we`ve learned over the last 20 years in global development.
Which is the power of culture to change behavior whether it`s in Africa and
South America or muppets. That is the thing that works better than
anything in getting people to change behaviors.
WAGNER: We need more muppets on set with us.
PERRY: We need more muppets. Thank you to MSNBC`s Alex Wagner and Chris
Hayes in Central Park. I will specifically say we need more muppets with
braids like Raya who is wearing my hairstyle.
Coverage of the concert begins at 3:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC. Thank you
to Raya, to Stephen Sobhani and to Congressman Aaron Schock. That`s our
show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching.
See you tomorrow morning, 10:00 a.m. Eastern. We`ll dive deep into this
crucial development of the week, Olivia Pope is back. Coming up, "WEEKENDS
WITH ALEX WITT."
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copyright 2014 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
WATCH 'THE MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY SHOW' SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AT 10:00 A.M. ET ON MSNBC.