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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  August 23, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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believe michelle bachmann has a plan to get gas below $2? 7% said yes. 93% of you said no. and a shoutout from me, ed shultz, to my friend reverend al sharpton being named the host of the 6:00 show. he's a great friend. he's a great talent and he'll bring a lot of personality and insight to this network.
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test test t so we can help the people who still don't have access to healthcare. >> i want to point out that the folks that come to the healthcare clinics, 83% of them have jobs. this isn't about homelessness. this is about people who have got one, maybe two jobs, part-time jobs that simply can't afford and have no access to healthcare whatsoever. many of the people that come to the starts now. there are now reports that just minutes ago moammar gadhafi spoke on the raid crow in libya. vowing victory or martyr come. stealing the attention back from the east coast quake. >> two big breaking stories. >> libya being the international story. >> i'm inside the town house. >> breaking news interrupted by breaking new it was very unsettling. south of atlanta. the only nuclear power plant that has been affected is the plant. the national cathedral has suffered quite severe damage. three of the pinnacles at the top of it collapsed. >> sounded like a freight train was going through. >> not only natural threat to the east coast bracing for hurricane irene. >> i'm not panicking. i just want to be ready. >> the shaking in tripoli is libyan rebels celebrating inside gadhafi's compound. >> breaking news we continue to watch extraordinary pictures out of tripoli. >> outside the -- fortress like compound.
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>> colonel gadhafi's whereabouts remain unknown. >> looting the compound. >> where is moammar gadhafi? smoke can be seen. >> thick black smoke. >> the golden statue brought down today. >> criticized president obama here. >> the president is being advised and attacked. >> the president trying to stay on top of these breaking situations. >> he gets rid of osama bin laden. potentially moammar gadhafi. u.s. troops out of iraq. pulldown in afghanistan. >> not giving a lot of praise to president obama. >> critical on the front end of libya. >> i want an experienced individual. >> get the american people on our side. good evening from new york. i'm melissa harris perry in for lawrence o'donnell. colonel moammar gadhafi's whereabouts are still unknown. moments ago, he addressed the libyan people in a radio
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address. he vowed martyrdom or victory. he said the withdrawal was a tactical move after his compound was leveled to the ground. that withdrawal preceded the invasion of rebel allies into the compound earlier today. some looted the compound x walking away with clothes, weapons and a gold plated rifle in one case. outside, rebel fighters climbed on a bronze statue of a fist clutching a u.s. f-16 fighter jet. something that was -- in 1986 u.s. bombing. inside the compound and throughout tripoli, pockets of loyalist forces continue to resist rebel advances. libyan rebels tell us that the battle in tripoli left more than 400 dead. last night, gadhafi's son was safe all along spoke at the luxury hotel where fighting continued outside and pro-gadhafi gunmen in the lobby refused to let the journalists
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leave from inside. >> he's in a secure location in tripoli. he claimed the loyalists are winning the bat am and said quote to held with the icc. there's a warrant for his arrest. nato spokesman to urge -- in italy today. >> we have to remain vigilant and to continue to partake the civilian -- protect the civilian population. tripoli is still the site of clashes between koe and anti-gadhafi forces and the tension is far from being over. very, very dynamic and complex. >> according to a rebel official, the national transitional council in libya will move operations from ben gaz toy tripoli within two days. they will begin to build a democratic government through the leadership of mustafa skra little. speaking in benghazi, he said my role will continue unless i lose
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control. joining me now, nbc news foreign affairs correspondent and host of the andrea mitchell reports, andrea mitchell. thank you for joining me. >> my pleasure. great to be with you. what a day. what developments in libya and of course here at home. most importantly in libya. >> it's stunning. what is your reaction to gadhafi's continued defines tonight? >> i think that that was somewhat predictable. but it certainly does not bode well. if he continues to be defiant, is a fugitive and is leading some pockets of resistance, this means there will be a lot more violence. it will be that much harder for gentleman bril and this transitional national council to exert real control. they say they're going to move to tliply, but they have to quiet the storm there first. they've managed to get his compound, military garrison but has other places to hide. the fact that islam, his son and heir is moving around tripoli so openly, brazenly, inviting
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journalists to follow him in his car and go to night spots and shouting to supporters, is certainly not a good sign either. >> this brings me to how many of us are feeling in the news rooms. this is certainly a good news and bad news situation. around noon we were watching all of these amazing reports with richardening he will, getting goose bumps about the notion of liberation. you told us some of the bad news. what is the other potential bad news about the dictatorship finally being over. >> it's the weaponry, the hidden stocks. they think they've got a handle, the u.s. and nato does, on where the chemical weapons are and that those sites have not been plun derred. that said, there's a lot of dangerous gas and mustard gas and other chemical weapons and nuclear components. he gave up most of the components to the u.s. back in 2006. whether or not he still has other weapons stockpiled remains
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to be seen. then there are the shoulder-fired missiles and rocket propelled grenades, the other weapons that he can use, particularly the weapons to bring down civilian aircraft. and an open question as to whether they have been plundered or moved out to other terror nations or terror groups. >> let me follow-up on this question a little bit of the control of the weapons. because even if everything goes at the very best, i mean, if tomorrow gadhafi were captured and this were over, the fact is that all the dictators are horrible and we're glad to see it fall. dictators can be good at keeping control over fractured countries. so what happens in a country where it doesn't -- at least to me, it's completely clear that the ntc is in control of this situation. i mean, you have named for us some real dangers. what should we be looking for in terms of the transition?
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>> nato and the u.n. and the state department have been working closely with the tnc for several month now and believe that they are at least committed to trying to exert control. and trying to control the weapons and create civil society. it's going to be tough. there's no question about that. these are tribal factions and a lot of them internal bickering. they have said the right things, made the right moves. we've been interviewing people who have been with them. the a.ba -- there will be a mee in istanbul in a couple of days and paris after that. the international community is working closely with them. can they exert control? is this a week-long process, a matter of 72 hours? there's a danger point here. i'm told they can either find gadhafi for quell the resistance. he could be on the lam the way saddam hussein was and there was that dangerous violent period
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before saddam was found when he was inciting more violence from loyalists. >> particularly with that comparison, what are the white house and nato thinking about how long this is going to take? i mean, is there any possibility here that the u.s. is going to end up with a higher level of involvement? >> i don't think we'll see boots on the ground as it were. you'll see a larger intelligence force, covert force, special ops on the ground to help. there will be nato and presumably british and french on the ground already. we've had more of a supportive role on the air strikes which we're critical in helping the rebel group make that movement and advance finally on tripoli. i think success is fairly predictable in a military context, but civil disorder is certainly something that is almost likely to happen. >> there is a moment of the son
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being out and about, almost challenging international law, challenging the journalists. is this sort of par for the course or is this an extraordinary moment? >> that was pretty extraordinary. he is an interesting character to say the least. because he was educated, he was always welcomed in capitals. he was the advance man for his father with the west and in advancing the normalization of relations with the u.s., with the bush administration. which was supported by the obama administration as well. they've decided, based on representations from him and he has met -- he goes to davos and meets with foreign journalists and pink tank people. he was pretty acceptable until the arab spring. until he repeated his father's bloodied threats against the people of benghazi when the protests erupted. up until that point, he was considered the good guy. he was then, i'm told, blamed by hard liners within the regime.
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because he persuaded his father to give up the nuclear equipment that could have led to nuclear weapons. and so they basically gave up their bargaining chips and the message that some fear this is going to deliver to iran and north korea to syria and is don't give up your weapons. that's your last bargaining chip to prevent nato air strikes. >> nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent and the survivor of the east coast earthquake today, andrea mitchell. >> yes, i was. >> thank you for joining me tonight. >> great to be with you. coming up, the story that dominated the afternoon. minor damage but major worry after the biggest earthquake to strike in 67 years in the east coast. highlighting a big problem with nuclear safety in this country. next. that's about 34 million pounds of mail every day. ever wonder what this costs you as a taxpayer? millions? tens of millions? hundreds of millions?
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the next natural disas toer worry about is churning through
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the sea. it's expected to become a major hurricane predicted for saturday in north carolina. it's expect today cause problems for most of the eastern seaboard. coming up, the quake that shook the east coast and why it should shake up republicans who don't want to fund earthquake safety. congressman ed markey joins me next. going on about the development of natural gas, whether it can be done safely and responsibly. at exxonmobil we know the answer is yes. when we design any well, the groundwater's protected by multiple layers of steel and cement. most wells are over a mile and a half deep so there's a tremendous amount of protective rock between the fracking operation and the groundwater. natural gas is critical to our future. at exxonmobil we recognize the challenges and how important it is to do this right. excuse me? my grandfather was born in this village. [ automated voice speaks foreign language ]
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[ male announcer ] in here, everyone speaks the same language. ♪ in here, forklifts drive themselves. no, he doesn't have it. yeah, we'll look on that. [ male announcer ] in here, friends leave you messages written in the air. that's it right there. [ male announcer ] it's the at&t network. and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say. for generations, this standard has protected -- >> oh, my gosh. >> okay, i've been through earthquakes in seattle. >> a revolution was occurring in real time in libya. as was a noteworthy rebound of the stock market. but news coverage shifted swiftly to a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that you just saw in that scene in new york city. at 1:15 eastern time this
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afternoon. it was a rare 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked millions of people as far west as illinois, as far to maine and canada. 40 miles northwest of richmond. why do we stop everything and turn everything to this east coast earthquake. natural disasters reveal our shared and very real vulnerability. when the leveeses fail and the earth moves under our feet, we're forced to question whether we're ready to respond individually and collectively. >> it's ready. >> what is that? >> i don't know. >> huh? >> it's a earthquake. >> when this building shook today, frankly, my first fear was terrorism. i joined the staff of this show as we made the 16-story trek to
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the ground floor of 30 rockefeller plaza. many were trying to connect via text to family and friends to figure out what was happening and the adrenaline was palpable. i was relieved to discover minutes after making it to the sidewalk that we were having an earthquake. just an earthquake. but that relief may have been misplaced because it never occurred to me that i was working in a location near nuclear reactors that should have been replaced 20 years ago. today i was reminded that when you are already in the stairwell, it's too late to make a family emergency plan. as we started to learn more about the potential catastrophe -- in the aftermath. the ground is shifting in virginia and feeling it in new york. it is too late to ask whether our nation's nuclear power plants are in good working condition. there are over 100 operating nuclear reactors in this country. in some cases some in the same sight. fukushima nuclear disaster which
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followed in japan, the associated press investigated oversight of u.s. plants. the ap's jeff don wrote this. commercial nuclear reactors in the united states were designed and licensed for 40 years. when the f. irs ones were being built in the 1960s and 1970s, it was expected they would be replaced with improved models long before those licenses expired. but that never happened. so far, there have been no reports of damage at any of the plants. but two reactors at the north anna power station that sit in the same county as the quake's epicenter were taken off line automatically. the plant is now being run on diesel-powered generators. learning this news made me want to talk with someone about our collective vulnerability. so with me now is massachusetts democrat ed markey, ranking member of the house natural resources committee. nice to see you congressman.
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>> good evening. earlier today you wrote this. earthquake epicenter 15 miles from north anna reactor, lost electricity, lessons to all nukes to check emergency power. what do you say to those who believe that the system worked today? >> the system worked to the extent to which the plant shut down. but there was a little glitch because one of the four diesel backup generators did not work at the plant. and that's something that we've known about backup diesel generators across our countries. i issued a report back in may after the accident in japan. in it is a blistering scalding indictment of the lack of attention which the nuclear regulatory commission is paying to the safety protections which should be built into the operation of theses nuclear power plants. we are very fortunate that
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nothing really catastrophic happened today with this nuclear power plant. but when one of the four generators does not work that provides the measure of safety, when a plant is shut down, we should just take it as a warning and shift our attention over to what we can do from a preventative perspective to make sure we never do see the kind of nuclear meltdown that we saw in japan. >> this issue of sort of preventative measures became very clear to me today as we were literally feeling 30 rock shaking. granted, it was a relatively minor set of quakes and aftershocks and all of that sort of thing. certainly, nothing like what we saw in japan. it was enough to get us questioning. what should we -- you put out this statement about the series of recommendations. tell me in lay mans terms what are some of the recommendations, what should the nrc be looking at right now to prevent this
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sort of thing from turning into a major catastrophe? >> well, the nuclear regulatory commission right now is in the process of approving a new ap 1000 reactor, which one of its own scientists, one of its own engineers says will actually shatter like a glass cup in the event of an earthquake. some of those plants are being planned to be build in earthquake-prone areas. in addition, the nuclear regulatory commission is extending the licenses of theses plants. as your report said, these plants were only meant to operate 20 years, 40 years. well the nuclear regulatory commission is now in the process of approving extension of the life of these plants out to 60 years even 15 to 20 years before they hit 40 years. so i just think that the nrc has turned into a lap dog and not a watchdog and i think that mother
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nature, once again, today gave us a warning that we should be humble and we should spend the extra money, take the extra time to make sure that a catastrophic nuclear meltdown cannot happen in this country. >> speaking of this being a warning, this warning came literally in the backyard. in the district of eric cantor. he was proposing cuts to the u.s. geological survey, the national weather service, which of course tracks tsunamis and the north anna reactor sits under his congressional district, where we saw the epicenter of this earthquake today. based on this, would you expect legislation to be able to move to congress more quickly that someone like congressman cantore will get it now that the earth was literally moving near his reactor. >> not at all. i think the greater likelihood is saying we'll move forward saying we must have long guarantees given to operators so
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they can build more power plants without incorporating the safety measures necessary in order to actually deal with what has happened at fukushima, what has happened in new zealand, ha is happening here today in virginia, in washington, d.c. there is something out there. when we prepare, we cannot prepare for an earthquake that happened only in the last ten or 20 years. we have to look at these areas. back a hundred years and even further and then build in the extra measure of safety. but the nuclear utility industry does not want to spend the extra money, but the risk runs to all of the people who live in the ten and 20 and 30-mile radius around these nuclear power plants. >> congressman ed markey, the natural resources committee and senior member of the commerce committee, reminding us there's no red and blue america when a disaster happens. we're all in it together.
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thank you. >> thank you. coming up, the lack of civility in politics. my opponent, not my enemy, michael spiel, joins me. right on the numbers! boom! get it! spin! oh, nice hands! chest bump. ugh! good job, man. nice! okay, halftime. now, this is my favorite play. oh! i'm wide open. oh, fumble. fumble. don't want to fumble any of these. [ male announcer ] share what you love, with who you love. kellogg's frosted flakes. it's up... and it's good! good?! they're grrreat! what if we designed an electric motorcycle? what if we turned trash into surfboards? whatever your what if is, the new sprint biz 360 has custom solutions to make it happen, including mobile payment processing, instant hot spots, and powerful devices like the motorola photon 4g. so let's all keep asking the big what ifs.
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makes our economy stronger and literally keeps america moving forward. this is what the cut spending crowd just doesn't get. >> the last word with lawrence o'donnell. weeknights at 8:00 on msnb c. still ahead in this hour, is the anonymity of the internet and the acceptability to fault information leetding down to discourse. michael steel joins me next. you guys come watch. the first decade after 9/11
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from the spotlight tonight, at that relative who forwards those e-mails and posts those jokes on facebook. in my family, it's uncle fred. i'm not making him up. he lets us know, often with a real sense of urgency that president obama is secretly a muslim, not a citizen and dangerous for america. in south carolina, the chairwoman of the sumter tea party took it further than that. on her public facebook page, she posted a joke about throwing president and first lady obama out of an airplane and making "256 million people very happy." pass it on. bill clinton was president when the internet and conspiracy theories changed the way we approached pol six. liberals used it to vent frustrations against president bush. there feels like there's something new happening here. the internet provides a shield of anonymity that allows people to publish mane spirited and unfact checked statements.
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racially inappropriate and lewd comments are, as negative comments about my hair. the e-mails from my uncle fred and the faithful post by the sumter tea party have a different feel. they feel like the consequence of no holds barred politics that assumes if we disagree with someone, they're not just our opponent, they're our enemy. have we gone so far we can't recognize interests, no longer imagine solidarity with those on the other side of the aisle. americans are pretty evenly divided between the parties. no party will have or sustain overwhelming majorities in the states or federal government. finding ways to work together without paranoia, threats and bigotry is not a hallmark card suggestion, it is the most basic requirement of our democracy. to demonstrate this in real time, joining me now is former rnc chair, michael steele, an
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msnbc con strib tore. i saw you ran into you at 30 rock and took a picture of you with my daughter and her good friends. >> yes. >> check that bipartisanship happening right here. >> there you go. >> in the halls of msnbc. >> i was trying to groom young republicans there. >> upg will fred will like that. but the he's of the friends may be filing for custody right now. but seriously, you and i for example disagree on most substantive political questions, but i don't think that i would, nor that you would be to me fundamentally nasty. >> no. >> is there something going on in terms of a kind of personal level nastiness when it comes to our politics? >> absolutely. i think there is. in fact, it's been going on for quite a while. a lot of folks didn't pay attention to the fact that when i rap fn for president in 2006, that the current members of the congress that i was a slave.
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one national publication referred to myself and several other black candidates running for office as lawn jockeys of the republican party. so this has been pretty much standard fare for those of us who are black republicans who have heard this panned experienced this. i know this from well over 20 years, occasionally from some within my own party. there is a sort of veil that cast itself over our politics through the internet that allows individuals and you touched on it, to sort of sit in basements in their underwear at 2:00 in the morning and spew out vial craziness thinking that they're being cute and hip or they're being relevant. when in fact, all they're doing is bringing down the dialog and what i do like what i see from time to time is when people on the internet, in the blogosphere
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and in the chat rooms push back and say, look, you know, this is not the place for that stupidity, that craziness, we're trying to have a serious discussion about healthcare, about the welfare of our country, about foreign affairs. i think the more we push back against the stupidity, i think the better off we will be in the long-term. if we succumb to it, i see our politics not getting better but getting far worse than anything we've experienced so far. >> let me suggest this. this is something for example in raising young children. we talk about why not to use profanity. you know what i always say, if you use profanity, people think that you don't have a real argument. they will think you don't have much to say. >> true. >> i study a lot on african-american political ideology. the fact is republicanism, conservativism is history of the black political thought. there's also something there when people are making this claim, for example, about being
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on the plantation as was said by a member of your party, about democrats and african-americans. it feels like we're trying to have a conversation about standing up for community interests. what does it mean whether you're talking about the community as your party or that community as your race. is there a way to legitimately have that conversation without degrading uncle tom by calling him a republican. >> i hope so. because the fact of the matter is, we as a nation, as individuals and certainly as communities of people are facing some major challenges over the next few years. and to the extent that you want to create this dialog between the right and the left, the conservative an the liberal, you're hoping to find some ground on which you can stand. i thought the way you opened up my introduction was the appropriate wayment i'm not going to agree with everything you say. nor should you. nor do i want you to. then you shouldn't expect the
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same from me. if we're hoping to advance the conversation -- then we've got to figure out that ground on which to stand together and move from there. i remember as chairman having conversations with individuals who were surprised, why would you want to talk to them or why would we want to engage in this conversation. they don't agree with us. how do you get them to agree with you unless you talk to them. >> the president is a particular kind of person to be saying these kind of things. that facebook message, whatever else it did suggested that killing in a joking way the president was acceptable. can we agree across the aisle that that is not good for our country. >> no, it's not good for the country. i resented it when it happened during the bush administration, i resfwlent it during the obama administration. there's nothing cute or profound or nothing important about that silliness.
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you know, the appropriate authority should look into those types of conversations because they are threatening the presidency and whether you agree or disagree with his policies, that is not a proper place for it in politics. >> former rnc chair and great holder of pictures with staff and young children, michael steele. thank for joining me. >> thank you very much. my best to the kids. thanks. >> i'm sending them literature. >> oh, gosh. could elizabeth warren's career of fighting for the common man actually hurt her in her quest for massachusetts bench seat? that's next. [ female announcer ] you have all this chicken.
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the song that shchaka khan made her own. written by ashford and simpson. nick ashford died yesterday of throat cancer. he and his wife met in 1963 at
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church. they started writing hit after hit with the newest biggest stars. marvin gaye, the sherrill's, chaka khan, all had hits thanks to them. they married in 1974 and had two daughters. while writing for others, recorded together as well. with solid being a big hit in the 1980s. >> i could keep talking about them, but to honor nick ashford, it's probably best to listen to his music beginning with one of his first big hits. a number one foray charles, co-written with joey arm stred. let's go get stoned. ♪ ♪ ain't no mountain high enough ♪ ain't no river wide enough
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to keep me from you ♪ ♪ ain't nothing like the real thing, baby ♪ ain't nothing like the real thing baby ♪ ♪ ain't nothing like the real thing ♪ ♪ there was no time to play we build it up ♪ ♪ and now it's solid, solid as a rock ♪ ♪ that's what this love is this summer put your family in an exceptionally engineered mercedes-benz now for an exceptional price during the summer event. but hurry, this offer ends august 31st.
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and so too is the summer event. now get an incredible offer on the powerful c300 sport sedan. but hurry before this opportunity...disappears. the mercedes-benz summer event ends august 31st. ♪ in the year 2000, one of the loudest voice this is america raging against wall street greed game from the lead singer of rage against the machine. 11 years later, argue pli the most recognizable voice now raging against the wall street greed machine is elizabeth
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warren. the former watchdog for the bailout and to launch the consumer financial protection bureau. over the past several years, america has come to know her for this. >> i just spent my entire adult professional life studying the economics of working families. and i watch year after year after year as we just get hammered, hammered harder and harder. we now live in an america where millions, tens of millions of families live one bad diagnosis, one pink slip, one terrible interest rate reset away from complete financial collapse. >> last thursday warren announced that she's starting an exploratory committee for a senate run in massachusetts. warren has loads of grassroots support on the left. that bodes well for her in a state like massachusetts. another thing about warren, i
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think she would be exactly the kind of candidate who would win the support of none other than thomas jefferson. even if he wasn't so much in favor of women's political equality and despite the fact that they likely disagreed politically, still this is a founding father who would have appreciated the kind of candidate warren is. let me explain. i'm taking off my tv guest hat and putting on my professor sorial hat. despite the tendnessee den -- te fact that the founding was a political process full of fierce battles over ideas. one of the most important battles was about the very nature of representative democracy. as the american studies program at the university of virginia explains, thomas jefferson had a particular affection for the so-called yeoman farmer of early american politics. "the federalist forces in government were divided in opinion following the revolution. the federalists led by hamilton
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were in favor of a strong central government. the republicans led by thomas jefferson, believed in the privacy of the local government and a national economy based on small independent farmers. the american yeoman farmer has become a symbol articulated by jefferson. in 19 lt century, greelly writes above all professions he would recommend farming to his son. among his reasons is that farming is the vocation which con dueses most directly to reverence for honesty and truth. in short, the yeoman farmer would look out for every man because he was the every man. jefferson believed that kind of person would make a great politician. she's not a farmer. but does that remind you of anyone? >> it's a lending industry that has changed its model. credit cards, though, are the ease quest ones to see. they have switched from the
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notion of i'll lend you money because i think you'll be able to repay and we'll find a reasonable rate for doing that over to a tricks and traps model. >> it's just growing people. tricking and screwing people. >> the job is to trick people and trap them. that's how -- >> she's not a farmer but warren has made the focus of her professional and political career the advocacy of ordinary people against powerful corporations. as she makes the move from unelected bureaucrat to likely candidate, the very advocacy for the common folk that made her a hero of the political left is likely to make it harder for her raise the funds she needs. keep in mind, president obama is expected to raise a billion dollars in his 2012 reelection campaign. that's billions with a b. as for warren's potential candidate, that would be senator scott brown. the hill did number crunching
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and found this. senator brown has been stockpiling campaign cash. if warren runs, she will have to decide whether to court the high rolling donors in the financial services community. an awkward choice both personally and politically given her carefully crafted image as an antagonist to big finance. without the support of heavy hitting donors in massachusetts, many of whom work at hedge funds and financial firms, warren might find it difficult to keep up with the juggernaut. as for senator scott brown, he was dubbed wall street's favorite congressman in a forbes article published in june of last year. having been quote the recipient of nearly $442,000 in campaign contributions from the financial industry in 2009. with that kind of uphill battle, it makes you wonder. the right might claim to have inherited jefferson's concern for localism, but the cozy
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relationship betray his relation -- who are primarily accountable to the people. who wha are the choices? how do we, the electorate tip the scales in this broken down money laced political system. how does an underemployed and unemployed compete with big business. in the post citizens united era is there any room left for people power? for jefferson's yeoman money's on elizabeth warren. if you were near a television shortly after noon naturals from delicious, real ingredients with no artificial flavors or preservatives. naturals from purina cat chow.
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if you were near a television shortly after noon eastern today, you got to see something extraordinary. rebels stormed and took control
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of gadhafi's compound, the place he had been launching attacks against his own people and where he once swore on stated-controlled television to cleanse libya house by house of citizens that were disloyal. richard engel was the first to report from inside the compound. he walked viewers throughout the scene of the important victory of a revolution 42 years in the making. it was truly must-see tv. so if you were at work or out to lunch and you missed it, here's your chance to see history. lean forward. >> i am inside gadhafi's compound, this compound was designed as a last-stand facility. it was full of weapons, it was full of food, it was full of fuel, and some of that fuel, apparently was burning. we are seeing rebels storming in. they have just found the bodies of some foreign fighters. this area had been filled at one stage with mercenaries, most of them from saharan african countries. they are looting the complex,
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they have gotten into a weapons depot, a man right in front of me has two machine guns, one in each hand, another two automatic rifles, one over his shoulder. there is another truck in front of him full of rebels, all of them carrying new weapons taken from inside. we saw people carrying television sets, towing out vehicles, so they are taking away an incredible amount of weaponry from inside the complex. they are also firing guns in the air. ambulance coming through now, mostly in celebration, this was a forbidden city, it was built as a fortress, i am looking at one of the walls surrounding it, it is 20-feet high approximately, perhaps 2-feet thick, and within every other panel of the wall is a small, cut-out window that fighters could use to defend it. you could put a rifle through the wall and fight as people tried to approach it, so it was
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clearly designed for a siege and a siege that took place today. this was the last remaining hold out in tripoli as gadhafi does have some supporters in other towns, but this armed compound, and it was very heavily armed was the thorn in the rebels' side, they have removed it, they now control all of tripoli. this is a real victory. this compound was firing shells on civilian areas up until a few hours ago. the rebels decided basically they would march on tripoli and by the thousands they walked into the city, drove into the city, there was resistance, but when this wave of civilians arrived at the city gates, resistance melted away, they were able to capture almost all of tripoli and today it seems they captured the rest. there are thousands of people
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who have come in to see what is inside, to loot the building. we are watching an incredible amount of looting right now. there has been looting here inside the compound but not been looting else where in tripoli, very minor incidents, but tripoli itself has not been a looted city, just gadhafi's compound and particularly -- as far as i can tell, his armory, one thing i'm seeing right now, someone carrying out a gold-plated, perhaps it's even solid gold, rifle from gadhafi. 42 years of single-party rule, of single-thought rule. there was a book here, "the green book," that was mandatory reading for all libyans, there was a society created called the society of the green book, his philosophy, views on democracy, sports, racial relations. this was a state based entirely on his thoughts, his
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philosophies, and yes, there will be some people who think that is a good idea, but the vast majority have probably had enough of gadhafi's 42 years. this was an intense battle. this compound is very large, it is about four miles in circumference, there was a funeral for three dead people in front of our broadcast location, three martyrs of the revolution, if they found gadhafi, very unlikely that cooler heads would have prevailed and thought it would be important to have him, i think he would have been torn to pieces. gadhafi has become a fugitive in this country. he's no longer considered president. he's been pushed out of his capital, he's been pushed out of his fortified compound. there is a man hunt across this country. libyans want to find him. they want to kill him. they want to put him on trial, but now they no longer believe
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that he's still in power. there has been a lot of celebratory gunfire. there will be more of that tonight. this is a fairly small streets i'm on right now, every time people have started to celebrate with gunfire, people have stopped them out of concern of injuries here, but i think once this is over and once news spreads all around this country, tonight we are going to be hearing gunfire ringing out throughout the city. >> nbc's richard engel reporting from gadhafi's compound gets the last word. you can have the last word online at our blog and follow my tweets @mharrisperry. shameless plug for my new book, "sister citizens," which is on my shelves, except this shelf where it fell off during the earthquake. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, and thanks to

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