tv Martin Bashir MSNBC May 2, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
>> three friends of dzhokhar tsarnaev behind bars. >> court documents say the men intended to slow down a major terrorist investigation. >> they need to make examples out of these guys. >> i'm not sure a 19-year-old college student understands the gravity of a situation like this. >> you were involved in terrorism? you, too, are a terrorist. >> bin laden is dead, but radical islam is on the rise. we need to up our game. >> funding radical islam, funding al qaeda and letting them attack. >> let's send a message to the obamas, the bloombergs, the second amendment will always be the people's first freedom. >> i'm just wondering why the burden of my mother, who was gunned down in the halls of her elementary school, isn't as important. >> i'm obviously so sorry. i took heats from even members of my own party. >> now we all look like a bunch of squishes.
it is a very busy news day. we're bringing you new developments on multiple fronts this afternoon. there's been a shooting at houston intercontinental airport. police say it is contained and over with no public danger at this time. after a man apparently opened fire then possibly shot himself. medical examiners confirm he is dead. authorities have just confirmed to nbc news that a suicide note was recovered. let's go straight to pete williams for the latest, and pete, as i understand it, this happened at around 1:35 local time. is that right? >> right. what we're told is that this all happened outside of the secure area of the airport. in other words, right inside the airport, not through, not beyond the security area. that this man walked in, apparently fired some shots into the air in the airport, with
what some witnesses described as an assault rifle. an ar-15 type rifle. he was then fired at by federal agents in the airport, by homeland security investigative agents. we're told they have an office right near where this happened in the airport. and at that point, the man took a handgun that he also had and shot himself. the fatal wound that he was carrying a backpack that had in it a suicide note. so it does not appear that he went into the airport, from everything we've heard, to shoot anyone. >> and this was -- this all happened in terminal "b" of this airport. as you say, this individual apparently had some kind of semiautomatic ar-15 type rifle, is that right? >> that's what we've been told by witnesses and by several federal officials. yes. so this would appear to be, martin, based on the very sketchy details we have right now, a planned suicide event is
way it's been described. >> pete williams, as ever, thanks so much, pete. >> you bet. >> we will keep you updated at that story unfolds. but right now, the president has just touched down in mexico city. where he'll be holding a press conference with the mexican president in the next hour. the two are expected to discuss trade, immigration, and security cooperation, among other issues. and down in texas, the national rifle association is getting its annual meeting under way as the rnc gloats about president obama's defeats with video of him consoling a newtown mother. >> 100 days into his second term, already faced a string of defeats in congress. >> yes, nothing like crowing over the defeat of gun reform legislation by using a mom who lost her 6-year-old child in a massacre. more on that just ahead. but we begin with the widening net of those involved in the boston marathon bombing. now including three college friends of dzhokhar tsarnaev.
under arrest for conspireing to cover up evidence. like fireworks emptied of their powder that linked dzhokhar to the deadly blasts. but far from clarifying the boston case, the new arrests only raise more questions. questions like, why one friend frightened on seeing materials that he thought tsarnaev used to make a bomb would then help to throw those materials out? a picture of young men utterly divorced from the very real danger and grief impacting the rest of boston. joining us now for more on this, here in new york, former federal prosecutor joe tacopina, and in boston, nbc news' national investigative correspondent michael isikoff. mike, it seems to me that there is a three-hour window that these three suspects will need to account for, because at 5:00 p.m., the fbi releases photographs of the zatsarnaev
brothers, but at 8:43 p.m., they are texting with them after realizing that their friends bore some kind of resemblance to the photographs. now, if these two students from kazakhstan had contacted police immediately, is it not possible, mike, that the life of that m.i.t. police officer might well have been spared? >> reporter: absolutely, martin. that timeline you lay out is pretty damning for these kids. this is, remember, this is the night everything sort of blew up in boston and in watertown. 5:00 p.m., the fbi releases the photos. 6:00 p.m., it's kadyrbayev, the student, sees the photograph, thinks it's tsarnaev. 8:43 p.m., there are the text messages with tsarnaev. then about 9:00, they go to the
room. they get -- the roommate lets them in. they take the backpack. they take the laptop. they go back to their newbedford apartment about 10:00. it's a little unclear exactly when they threw it away, but they're back there at 10:00 with the backpack with the explosives. then it's 10:30 when sean collier, police say, was shot by the tsarnaev brothers. it's about midnight that the mercedes suv is carjacked by the tsarnaev brothers. and it's about 12:45 that that horrific shootout takes place in watertown with the hurling of the ieds and the gunfire exchange between watertown police and the tsarnaev brothers. so if you go back, if those -- if these kazak students and their friend had decided instead of trying to protect tsarnaev, to alert the fbi, it's a reasonable question as to
whether or not all those terrible events of that night and the next morning could have been averted. that said, i just want to add one extra detail since we talked yesterday. i think we mentioned the laptop computer and the fact they had taken the laptop computer and the complaint, the fbi complaint is absent on what happened to it. >> right. >> reporter: we have talked to the lawyer for kadyrbayev. he says the laptop computer was turned over to the fbi, and if true, it only underscores if this was a cover-up, it was a pretty amateurish cover-up. because if you think of all the evidence that would have been in that room, the laptop would have been the one the fbi would have been most interested in. that's going to tell us, and would have told them, was tsarnaev in communication with others before the bombing? was he taking instructions from somebody? so their actions seem inexplicable, but pretty damning
when you look at that timeline. >> indeed. joe tacopina, how do you defend the actions of the brothers who were told by the tsarnaevs to take whatever they want from the dorm room and end up disposing of a backpack which contains fireworks which have been drained of their inflammatory powder? >> well, defending them, or how you defend them -- >> how do you explain that? >> here's what i think the defense teams would say. listen to this fact scenario. one thing that's missing is a confirmation from the bombers to their friends that, in fact, we were the ones who committed this crime. i mean, i hear that the response was, like, lol, or whatever that acronym is, laugh out loud or something. so i guess what they would say, the defense teams would say in this regard, is that he gave us permission to take whatever we wanted. i wanted his computer. my friend wanted his backpack. we took whatever we wanted out of the room. we didn't know we were obstructing a governmental investigation. >> but in the criminal complaint, it actually refers to
the fact that they saw the fireworks inside the backpack and they chose to take it. not only did they take it, they then wait for a dumpster and dump the bag in there. >> yeah. i mean, listen, martin, i am not saying this is a viable defense. i mean, these guys are getting convicted. i'm telling you right now. going out afternoonon a limb on. i'm making a prediction. they'll be convicted. the fact they've taken fireworks doesn't mean they've obstructing justice. the fact they're disposing of these items means they know these items are going to be of relevant interest to the federal law enforcement. >> absolutely. mike, you just referenced the laptop and there was mention of it, you say that counsel for one of the suspects has confirmed that it was voluntarily handed over to the police. how valuable do you think that laptop could prove in this investigation? >> reporter: look, i think that's a crucial piece of
evidence because as i said, the big question we've had from the beginning is were they in contact with others? either overseas or in the united states? were there accomplices in the bombing? we should be clear the fbi has made clear that none of these three students are charged with having advanced knowledge of the bombing or being accomplices in any way. but that does not mean there are others. you still have that six-month black hole where tamerlan tsarnaev went to russia and dagestan. and chechnya. who did he meet with? who did he talk to? >> right. >> reporter: is there anybody there that encouraged his radicalization that might have encouraged them to take an action like this? and the one way you'd find that is examine every computer, every cell phone, every form of communication they had to see who these two brothers were talking to. >> joe, final question. it's rather interesting to look at the lawyers for these young men. the two have hired a co-counsel
who defended those in the american embassy bombings in tanzania and nairobi. what does that tell you? >> well, that they're going to people who clearly have experience in anti-terrorism cases. perhaps, you know, one could say that they were alerted to these lawyers by family members who, you know, had a connection to the previous defendants. who knows what it tells you. what it tells you is that they're taking this seriously. maybe their parents have the withdraw wherewithal and means to hire good lawyers. the only guy who has a shot is the guy who took a computer and gave it back to the police because the message to him was, take what you want from your room. okay. i'll take your laptop. he didn't destroy it. he gave it back to the police. that being said, this is a mess, an uphill battle. obviously that city, this country is looking for retribution. so i think these guys have really walked themselves into a nice situation. they're going to spend a lot of time in federal prison. >> five and potentially eight years in their case.
joe tacopina, michael isikoff. thanks so much. coming up, it's the nra convention with 400 square feet of exhibit space. be sure to check out booth 38 to 34 for bushmaster international. the preferred choice of firearm in the newtown and aurora massacres. stay with us. i would stand in front of them, tell them, go to hell. >> finally, someone with the courage to tell off these newtown parents to their faces. and, folks, he would do it. in fact, when one sandy hook resident offered to pay to fly him out to connecticut, davis proved he not only talks the talk, he walks the hasn't respo responded. [ male announcer ] what?! investors could lose tens of thousands of dollars in hidden fees on their 401(k)s?! go to e-trade and roll over your old 401(k)s to a new e-trade retirement account. none of them charge annual fees
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you know what, look, there are a lot of depressing things happening, but let me tell you something that the media ain't telling you. we're winning. we are winning. >> if you listen to republicans, like senator ted cruz of texas, then you'd already know that the party is absolutely thriving. just in case you haven't visited planet republican recently, take a look at this video from the republican national committee. >> 100 days into his second term, the president was reminded that he hasn't had a whole lot of legislative success. >> you asked the president a question about his legislative agenda. >> it was the 100-day mark. he's already faced a string of defeat. >> only 100 days into his second term, already faced a string of defeats in congress. >> whoa. now hang on, jason. could you just show us that last
frame again, please? okay. that appears to be a picture of the president of the united states there and it looks as though he's consoling nicole hockle wher hockley, the mother of 6-year-old dylan hockley, one of the children at sandy hook elementary school. it's one thing for republicans -- to prevent children from being massacred by semiautomatic firearms. that's par for the course. to feature a grieving mother whose 6 -year-old has just been murdered? let's bring in representative elijah cummings who i'm delighted to stay joins me here. it's a democrat from maryland. congressman, rerea maman we rea the nnc this morning to ask why they decided to uncork the champagne on this grieving mother. they gave us a statement. it says this. "abc news did a segment on
obama's struggles during his first 100 days of his second term because whether it be numerous legislative defeats or low poll numbers on very important numbers including health care and the economy," this is their writing, "obama is not covering from a position of strength." now, i'm quite sure that jonathan carl, the reporter, who i've previously been a colleague of, did not intend for his reporting to be used as some kind of script for the republican party, but isn't that disgraceful? >> it's very, very sad, and when i saw that commercial, i must tell you that it made me wonder what america they live in. keep in mind, martin, that we just experienced a boston episode where we had two gentlemen, two men, who had guns and they shouldn't have had guns. but there was another piece to the boston episode. and that is americans came
together, they didn't care whether they were republican or democrat. they came together. because it was about the country. wasn't about a party. wasn't about an individual. it's about the country. and when i see things like that, i think it's very divisive. very sad. and very -- it's as if they celebrate -- they're trying to celebrate the defeat of a president who just won election, by the way, but really, it's not about balm obama. this is bigger than president obama. when i watched that, it made me go back to when i went to my nephew's bedroom after he had been shot and saw his blood and matter from his body splattered on the wall and i felt it was an insult, you know, and i remember the president called me back then and expressed his concerns about my family. matter of fact, called me twice. and so, you know, i don't know what -- how you even come up
with something like that. >> what is this celebration of obstructionism? what is the great achievement? we've still got vast numbers of people who are unemployed. we still have a need to repair the infrastructure of this nation. we still have members of congress like yourself trying to do something about gun legislation. and yet the rnc issues an ad, issues an ad, that celebrates the fact that nothing's being done. >> that's because it's about politics and not people. and that's sad. i think whenever you get so caught up in politics, that you allow it to dictate everything you do, and put aside the principles that this country is is about, i mean, that's a problem. and it does not help matters at all. and that's not the country i grew up in and that's not the country i fight for every day. >> is that the country you want to live? >> i got to tell you, i don't want -- i hate to see that. i think it's extremely zdivisiv.
i wonder, whoever made that ad, i wonder if they thought about those 20 parents who had to go to those funerals. i mean, they had to think about it. but that insensitivity is phenomenal. let me tell you something else, though, martin. when they don't -- they may not know it, but that kind of thing probably will fuel the passion and renew the passion of those people who are trying to get some type of reasonable common sense gun legislation through. because basically, as i've said many times, when i think about my nephew, killed at 21, i constantly mourn for what he could have been. when i think about mourning for what he could have been, then you see something like that, it makes me even more determined to address these issues. let's hope it doesn't happen to anybody else. >> let's pray so. i know you're trying to do something about people who have been forced out of their homes and the reaction of banks to
those very people. tell us a little bit about the constructive efforts you're making in relation to that. >> first of all, we've been trying for a good while to get the head of fhfa, mr. dimarco, who you're very familiar with -- >> of course. >> -- to do what we call principle reduction. he said over and over again he will not do it. although he has put out a report, martin, that said that's tt a good thing. at the end he comes to a conclusion he will not do it. then so recently we asked the cbo, independent agency, to take a look at the same issue. they looked at it and said that this reduction is important. number one, it's a winner for the taxpayer. it's a winner for the economy. and it's a winner for the homeowner. and by the way, part of mr. dimarco's duty in the law is
he's supposed to minimize foreclosures and help people who may be in distress. that is, homeowners. he's not doing that. and so now we've got a good recommendation coming, nomination coming from the president of mel wyatt from north carolina, distinguished member of congress. hopefully he'll be confirmed by the senate and bring about appropriate changes. >> we can only hope so. thank you for not being pessimistic in the face -- >> i'm never. no, no, no no. it's simply a distraction. we can to the not be distracted. we have things to do. >> congressman elijah cummings. next, mitt romney kicks off earnings season by saying money doesn't matter. he can say that, can't he? stay with us. i had enough of feeling embarrassed about my skin.
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it's that time of year when the senior class dons cap and road and students matriculate into the world. of course, one graduation tradition is the commencement address. outgoing words of wisdom to send students on their way. leave it to one mitt romney to kick start the season. the failed republican presidential nominee addressed the largely mormon graduates of southern virginia university saturday. he advised students to swim in the deep end of life, marry young, have a quiver full of children. while he urged students to follow his lead in those respects, here's what he said about the pursuit of personal wealth. >> on this topic of your career, i have some news that you may find disappointing. i don't think god cares whether you get rich. i don't think he hopes that your business will make a huge profit.
>> hmm, funny that, when it comes to funny, do as i do, when it comes to fortune, do as i say. the great mitt romney. stay with us. the day's top lines are just about to come up. [ engine sputters ] [ dennis ] allstate wants everyone to be protected on the road. whether you're an allstate customer or not. all you have to do is call. [ female announcer ] call and sign up for good hands roadside assistance today. [ dennis ] are you in good hands? for good hands roadside assistance today. everybody has different ideas, goals, appetite for risk. you can't say 'one size fits all'. it doesn't. that's crazy. we're all totally different. ishares core.
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foundational document with the constitution. >> i'm not a sixth grader. >> remind bristol what it's like to pull the trigger. >> i invited steve to come out and hunt. >> 26 million people in texas expect me to come here every day and represent. >> a reminder what happened after katrina, government came in, the city of new orleans, in all places, took away guns from law-abiding citizens leaving them defenseless at the time they needed their guns the most. >> it's noisy. >> i'm very concerned about incrementali incrementalism. >> is there a way to make our schools safe? >> none of these so-called solutions would have prevented what happened in newtown. >> have access to weapons in their school. >> that's like a tank in your hands. >> that is the ar-15. >> i want to see what you hit. >> just eating this pop tart, now it looks just like a gun. >> this is my second amendment vest. the right to bear arms.
>> dang it. >> missed is. >> nobody needs a gun in the inner city. >> the president when signing the executive orders, he has the kids, is that exploitation? >> i'm still standing unapologetic. >> you can never be too safe. >> is there any wonder there's such a run on guns and ammo? >> he's a piece of [ bleep ]. >> he's got the rifle, i've got the rack. >> barack obama becomes the president, i will either be dead or in jail by this time next year. i'm serious as a heart attack. >> and joining us now, men who are equally serious as a heart attack, steve kornacki, my serious colleague and host of "up with steve kornacki" and david corn, of "mother jones." in order to appear in today's top lines you had to appear at the 2013 convention that begins today in houston. i feel this year's convention might as well be called, democrats, you're welcome. because the polling that's come
out after the nra helped defeat the background checks legislation has been damning of republicans. >> it makes you wonder, you know, in the past when you think of in 2004 when assault weapons ban was up for reauthorization and, you know, basically the republicans in congress let it die and there was not a huge sort of public outcry after that that caused congress to revisit it. it's been a decade. we don't have an assault weapons ban. you start to wonder when polls come out for individual member, like kelly ayotte, and met with kind of reaction she was met with at her town hall, if maybe there's different this time, if there's a genuine, real grassroots ground swell against this that could force this issue back on to congress' plate before the end -- >> who knows. david, celebrities will be everywhere at this convention. i know you love them. stone cold steve austin who memorably fought brett "the hit man" hart at wrestlemania 13. >> i'll never forget that. >> he's scheduled to sign autographs. ted nugent will be there. let me play you something nugent
recently said about military suicides. you'll be interested in this. >> i'll tell you why more and more warrior-heroes of the military are killing themselves, bought they are in absolute frustration and heartbreak that their boss, their commander in chief, violates the constitution that he has made an oath to. >> military veterans are committing suicide because they believe the president is violating the constitution. >> you know, it just so happens on the way over here today, i passed a crazy person talk in the gutter and he said exactly the same thing. >> he did? >> we didn't put him on tv. this is is tthe amazing thing. >> that was radio. >> ted nugent can say stuff like this and still be invited to address the nra. >> he will be speaking. >> he will be speaking. you know, you showed half a clip on your top lines about him saying that barack obama is a piece of you know what and he
can go suck on my machine gun. the second half of the statement in 2007 was, hillary clinton can ride my machine guns into the sunset. she's a worthless rhymes with witch. now, i don't know when it becomes acceptable as we debate guns and other things to have people like that appear at conferences -- >> he's paid for by the nra. they fund him. they invite him. >> i always hate to say that the gold old days are actually better than they are now. i wonder when our national discourse took a turn when someone like that could say those things and stale ill be invited by presidential candidates like mitt romney and legitimate groups like nra. they're legitimate. even if we don't agree with them. to be main features of their efforts. we don't laugh them off the stage. >> answer that question. why is that? >> well, basically the incentive structure has to change. and that's what's so interesting about watching somebody like kelly ayotte go back to new hampshire, go back to her home
state and face what she's faced this week. watching dean heller from nevada suddenly get poll numbers that say, maybe there's a backlash to me about voting no on background checks. or jeff flake, potentially moving toward a swing state of arizona, where the same things happen. >> why is that a surprise when polls say 90% of people want this legislation? >> the key thing is, whether, you know, this is going to last in a couple months, in a couple of years. the key dynamic to the gunfight, and steve knows this, there's always been an intensity gap. the numbers have always been on the side of gun safety measures. but the people who care about that stuff, it's not the number one item on their list. the people who care about gun rights as they call it, you know, asked them what their priority list, and it's guns, first, second, third, fourth and fifth. so they come out and will make people pay. they'll make sure it's painful if you don't do what they want to do. cannot happen on the other side. particularly, you know, a year and a half from now, three years from now, the next elections.
that's the big political science question. >> okay. well, it's very impressive, i'm sure to all of us, that there is also a prayer breakfast at this weekend's conference. presumably to include the nra's version of the lord's prayer. thy kingdom come. help me keep my military style gun. and various other phrases like that. this is not a freak organization. you describe ted knew kbenugentf these speakers, yet they're paid to attend. there are large numbers who will be hearing this. yet they spew this venom about an issue that is as sadingly and shockingly disturbing to us all after what happened in newtown and the other massacres we reflect on. >> a lot of this is unwritten by the gun industry. people forget that. there's money to be made here so there's a lot of exploitation. and the nra which one was kind of legitimate in terms of its public policy positions
disagreed with them. within the realm of reality, now they get out there and it's delusional. it's conspiracy theories. president obama's coming to take all your guns, it's close to alex jones type of stuff. and this sort of lurch to the, not to the right, but to the crazy right, has not prevented them from still remaining a powerhouse within the republican cosmos. >> and steve, to david's point, the nra is exposed now, is not really representing gun owners. it represents an industry. it represents a business that makes money. and that's what it exists for. >> and the question is, when people start understanding -- because we have that statistic of 90% support background checks. >> even above that in some -- >> even when you poll nra members, that's what you get. you have two things that are sort of standing in the way. one is when you poll people, do we already have universal background checks? happily, we already do. when they hear the debate,
people lead busy lives. most people when they hear the discussion going on about guns they revert to political tribal attitudes. i'm a republican, i'm on the conservative side, i'm on the more, you know, pro gun side. when you ask the more philosophical question, at the same time you're asking people do you want universal background checks? they all say yes. they say, do you want restrictions on guns in the country? it becomes a 50/50 question at that point. the challenge for gun patrol proponents is to get people to focus on, engage in this issue in a way they haven't before. there are signs that's actually happenening now. >> let's hope so. david corn, steve kornacki. thanks so much. remember, obviously watch "up with steve kornacki" every weekend morning at 8:00 a.m. next, the president south of the border down mexico way. first a moment of resilience today. in lower manhattan. the final sections of the spire were lifted on top of number one world trade center. the spire was erected on a temporary work platform and will be installed in its permanent place in the coming weeks. once complete the freedom tower
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starts with ground beef, onions and peppers baked in a ketchup glaze with savory gravy and mashed russet potatoes. what makes stouffer's meatloaf best of all? that moment you enjoy it at home. stouffer's. made with care, for you or your family. have you seen the new cover of "national review" magazine? rubio's foley, it says, in reference we can only assume to the florida senator's attempt at fixing the nation's broken immigration system in a bipartisan manner. just goes to show conservatives are so obsessed with obstructing the president's agenda that they'll even attack one of their own just for doing his job. let's check in now with crikris welker traveling with the president in mexico. i'm a fan of yours but i hear a number of young people are screaming behind you welcoming you also which is great. i didn't realize you had a big following in mexico.
>> reporter: well you know what, martin, the truth is they're not cheering for me. they're cheering for this star, austin mahone. he's 17 years old. . he's staying at this hotel. not for me. not for the president, even. this guy, martin mahone who i met, who's very nice, by the way. >> i'm sure. there's going to be a press conference as i understand it in a very short amount of time. is this press conference going to focus on immigration as an issue in terms of it being the major topic? >> reporter: well, martin, i think that's certainly going to be one of the key topics. look, united states, washington, needs mexico as a partner as it tries to take on immigration reform. so some of the things president obama will be addressing this afternoon, when he sits down and meets with the new president, will be border security. of course, that's a key part of the proposal that was put forth by the gang of eight. and then also the temporary worker program. that is an important part of the immigration proposal. it is something that resonates with mexicans.
pertains to the pay that they might get if they were to come to the united states. and according to the latest pew poll, 35% of mexicans say that they would consider moving to the united states. 20% say that they would consider going illegally. this is still a big issue here. and, of course, it's all inextricably linked with the economy. the economy has been getting better steadily here in mexico, martin. in fact, it grew by 3.9% last year. so i can tell you, the economy is going to be another big topic of conversation, and, of course, trade. mexico one of the united states' biggest trade partners. martin? >> right. now, the current fpresident of mexico was only recently elected. are there concerns about his willingness to work with the united states as his predecessor did on issues like the drug war and intelligence sharing? >> reporter: there are concerns heading into this trip, martin. this new president seems to have a slightly different way of dealing with things.
particularly the drug war. he has limited u.s. intelligence sharing between the united states and mexico. so that has given some in the united states pause. u.s. officials yesterday, i should tell you, tried to tamp down concerns about that. but one of the questions is, to what extent will mexico be a partner with the united states moving forward? i guarantee you that will be under discussion when president obama sits down with pena nieto this afternoon, which, of course, they're actually doing as we speak, martin, and we'll hear about that in the joint press conference they're going to have. i've been speaking to experts in the region who say what president obama should do and the message he should send it to address the drug problem but also turn the page and really focus on things like the economy and trade. martin? >> kristen welker traveling with the president and a hoard of screaming fans. thank you so much, kristen. next, ceo to worker pay. 20-1 in 1950. today you won't believe it.
first, bertha coombs has a cnbc market wrap. >> we have a rally ahead of tomorrow's pral jobs report from the labor department. dow jones industrial average up 130 points. s&p 500 gaining 14. the nasdaq was up 41 points. strong earnings from facebook and visa, also better than expected weekly unemployment report. first-time claims last week fell to a five-year low. warren buffett is tweeting, it's official. he now has 150,000 followers in his first eight hours. not quite lady gaga numbers but certainly not bad. that's it from cnbc. we're first in business worldwide. martin, we'll be back right after the break. switch your car insurance to geico and we could help you save on boat and motorcycle insurance too. other insurance companies are green with envy. oh, no, no, no...i'm sorry, but this is all wrong? i would never say that. writer: well what would you say? gecko: well i'd probably emphasize the savings. ya know...lose that green with envy bit. rubbish.
is what we learn. >> what matters with mistakes is what we learn. i couldn't agree more with that new jcpenney's ad. what has corporate america learned from the disasters of recent past? has it learned not to pay its executives tens of millions while cutting more than 40,000 jobs? or not to reward ceos who are forced out after their company was found to be participating in a massive international rate rigging scam? most importantly, has corporate america learned the findings of a new report from "bloomberg news" which says that the pay gap between ceos and their workers has grown more than 900% over the past few decades? if not, it should heed the words of hope francis who tweeted today "my thoughts turn to all who are unemployed, often as a result of a self-centered mindset bent on profit at any
cost." joining us now is jared bernstein, a senior fellow at the center on budget and policy priorities. good afternoon, jared. >> good afternoon, martin. >> and the only reason we know about these numbers is because "bloomberg" did the math. ceos are trying to keep this figure, ceo to worker pay, they're trying to keep it secret, aren't they? much like they're trying to thwart a lot at dodd/frank. >> in fact, dodd/frank has a provision in it to make these numbers more visible so people can have a look at them. but that provision has not got into place yet in no small part because lobbyists for the various firms are working hard to make sure it stays out of the public light. you have to ask yourself, what are these executives afraid of? i think certainly there's a clear kind of a violation of a basic social contract, when you have ceos at the top of the scale making multiples of 200,
500, 1,000 time what lineworkers make, oftentimes with very little or no connection to their performance. >> indeed. now, "bloomberg" says j krrcpens ron johnson received total compensation worth 1,800 times that of the average department store worker. if more workers knew what their way was versus that of the ceo, how would that effect the push, for example, of the minimum wage which you and i discussed previously? >> i think that's the point. a couple things would happen. first of all, i think there are probably morale issues when you're scraping by at a minimum wage which, by the way, is $7.25 nationally, and when your executive is making, as we just said, almost 1,800 times more than you are. so "a" i think there's a morale issue, "b" i think it would
support more progressive policy like a higher minimum wage, but "c" there's this basic economical louse calculous henr understood years ago. if the guy at the top is walking away with tens of millions and the middle class is struggling, that's not a good business model. it's ultimately pretty self-defeating. one of the reasons it works at all is because there's so much globalization and you can see the firms kind of shopping across the globe for their customers. in the case of ron johnson, as you saw, it actually kind of backfired. >> indeed. how powerful an argument, a political argument, is it, when the president says he wants to raise the minimum wage by almost $2 an hour? >> i think it's an extremely resonant argument with not just a few people out 80% or 90% when you poll this thing. this is one of those issues that is in the stratosphere, and
people intuitively get numbers like the ones we're citing. people look around and see the kinds of struggles middle class families who are working hard, trying to play by the rules, just trying to get by to do a decent job and keep their family okay, relative to somebody who's earning, you know, $50 million, $100 million a year. as we said earlier, sometimes not even tied to the company's performance. and so it does feed back into public policy, whether it's the minimum wage or some of these kind of fair tax arguments you hear as well. >> jared bernstein, as ever, we're grateful for your expertise. thank you, jared. >> thank you, martin. >> and we'll be right back. of dollars on their 401(k) to hidden fees. thankfully e-trade has low cost investments and no hidden fees. but, you know, if you're still bent on blowing this fat stack of cash, there's a couple of ways you could do it. ♪ ♪
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strategy of doom. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. imagine being a member of a political party whose only initiative, whose only recent mission, whose only active purpose these days is to find ways to keep member of the other party, blacks, young people, the elderly, from voting? and oh yeah, keeping the president of the united states from getting anything done. meet the republican party of mitch mcconnell, john boehner, and, yes, reince priebus. look at its agenda on gun safety. do nothing, or should i say nutin at all? or should i say, nothing at all. leave it the way it is. getting bargain basement wages for people who businesses can make a lot of money? keep it up. government deficits in to deal. cut meals on wh,