tv The Cycle MSNBC August 27, 2013 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
washington angling to host the olympics? if so, is obstructionism an olympic event? plus, krystal has two wards to say to the gop. thank you. wait, did you think she was going to say something else? ♪ the options are there. the united states department of defense is ready to carry out those options. >> you're ready to go like that. >> we're ready do go like that. >> the pentagon is ready if president obama decides to strike syria and top u.s. officials say those strikes could start as soon as thursday and will send a definitive message to assad. with syrian ally russia wheeling power on the veto council, this might happen without a u.n. mandate. it's happened before, like the 1999 nato op in the former youk
slav ya. the u.s. has four naval destroyers in the mediterranean. so far, they have no orders to prepare for action. doctors without borders puts the death toll from last week's poison gas attack over 350 with 3600 injured. p u.n. inspectors were kept out today because of security concerns, this amid new reports that assad forces launched a separate chemical attack money in aleppo, allegedly usining napalm. ayman, i want to the start by getting your response to something jay carney said today about the options they are considering in terms of a strike in syria. >> the options that we are considering are not about regime change. they are about responding to a clear violation of an international standard that prohibits the use of chemical
weapons. >> so ayman, if we do launch some sort of a strike, are we looking just to send a message, or are we looking to somehow shift the balance of the syrian civil war? >> reporter: well, that's certainly going to depend on the scope and intensity of the attacks and more importantly the targets. it may not be the intended objective of these operations to topple the regime, but no doubt about it, it may have that effect in the medium to short term. for example, let's say they take out command and control posts and that in itself begins to demoralize this syrian army from fighting once they know that the u.s. and its allies are willing to take measures that could be as punitive as military strikes. that may have an adverse effect on the ability of the country or at least the command and control structure of the military to remain as a cohesive fighting unit. it may also give the rebels momentum on the ground. it really depends on the initial targeting package of the u.s. and its allies, what they're going to go after, and the
ramifications of it. the second point is this could very well not be the intended target from day one. what happens if syria escalates? what happens if there's a response that then bleeds into turkey, israel, jordan, and that requires the u.s. to once again ratchet up its military operations against the regime to try and contain that spreading of the violence? there are a whole host of options that could end with the regime being toppled as a result of military strikes, even though it's not the stated objective on day one. >> chuck todd, i start every morning looking at first read. the line that jumped out at me, how do we deter syria from using more chemical weapons while not getting bogged down in a war most americans oppose? what is the answer to that, sir? >> well, that's the problem, right? that's a riddle. it's almost a riddle that's unsolvable. that's what the administration is trying. they're trying to say this is the line that they're walking, that they're not trying to get involved in the civil war, that
they're not trying, as much as they obviously would like to see the outcome of assad stepping down and there be a political solution. they want to be able to send a message that deters him from using chemical weapons while at the same time claiming that they're not arming the wrong people and getting too bogged down in the civil war. that seems to be what they're left debating. what does this look like after? can they do enough? it does feel to me a little bit they are doing everything they can to lower expectations for what this strike will do. that's why jay carney's out there. that's why john kerry and chuck hagel have all said similar language. this is not about regime change, but it could very well be about -- you start hearing the rumblings of what they want to do. can it weaken him enough to tip the balance, that it does put assad on the run a little bit and there is new momentum for the rebels and it leads to that. these guys don't want to talk
about that. they don't want to respond to it because there is this discomfort with we don't really have the best partner on the rebel side of things yet. but it does feel like that's -- they're hoping that's the case. but they've got to find a military strike, some sort of military strike that strikes that balance. that seems to be very difficult. >> so setting the bar low in terms of what we could expect but also reassuring people we're not going in looking for regime change. ayman and chuck, stick with us. i want to bring in former u.n. adviser george lopez. he is the professor of peace studies at the university of notre dame. george, we're focused on a military strike and what that could look like. but do we have any other options that aren't military options? >> i think we do. obviously, the administration has set up that it would like the security council. the discussion and its phrasing of a resolution is quite
important. does it include other options and demands of the syrian government? does it try to coax the russians into maybe now agreeing to sanctions or some other action? some of us have raised the possibility of forcing many assad, if he wants to avoid military strikes, to immediately accept conditions of international inspectors to surround all of those chemical sites and to make sure they're on lockdown. there may be very, very few options other than the missile strike, but i think one of the things we're hearing from the white house is whatever strike we find, let us see what happens diplomatically coming out of the white house they're after, that is the secretary of state saying we now call upon mr. assad, the russians, the rebels, and others to do the tofollowing. i think it's important to refocus, not just on where the strikes are bring to hit, but the diplomatic payoff and potential they have with the people we're targeting in a political way. >> well, george, you have china
and russia and others that are against military action, this missile strike. you also have our european allies that continue to push obama hard for an attack. what is going on behind the scenes at the u.n. in terms of maneuvering and pressuring? >> well, it's always about the language of the resolution and what exactly do we have a right, if there's definitive evidence of the syrian government involvement and use of chemical weapons, what do we have a right to do? collective action is certainly in the mix. i think the administration is correct in going to the council. but we're likely not to get the kind of vote to have this kind of strike. then it becomes a coalition of nato and maybe even partners in the region like the arab league endorsing this becomes very important politically. if you're taking action against an illegitimate action, there's
a lot of talk in the background. the other states feel very robust and committed on doing something on behalf of confirming the prohibition against chemical weapons. >> if we take action, it's almost certainly going to be without congressional action. chuck todd, you've done a lot of reporting on that. this administration has said it has the authority and taken action without congress in places like yemen and pakistan with targeted killings and in libya with the purpose of regime change. walk us through the context here of an administration that feels it can do military operations without congress. >> with yemen and pakistan, they believed that's the war resolution passed in 2001, they believe that loosely that gives them the right. on the issue of libya, because of nato's involvement and because of our signing that nato treaty, that gave them the authorization, if you will,
there. what the administration believes, ari, is that if it's something you have to do in a relatively short period of time and it's a quick military action, not something long term, not devoting mass resources over a lengthy period of time, say months rather than just days or weeks and how we would maneuver the military, they believe they're operating within their rights as far as the war powers act is concerned. what's been interesting to me, ari, is the language you're hearing out of members of congress. a lot of them would like their cake and eat it too. they want to be able to say the president is not keeping them informed. at the same time, they say, hey, you've got to make sure you're keeping us informed and consult us, but do they really want to vote on this issue? speaker boehner's statement was very carefully worded. he said it's important the president have a meaningful consultation with congress. that word consultation is a keyword.
he didn't use the word authorize. when you start using the word authorize, that means holding a vote. here's why. you want to know what that vote would look like? we've seen what that vote would look like. the nsa vote that we saw and how close that vote was, you know, this strain of sort of national security isolationists, some people would call them, both in the left and the right, it would be a tough vote. pelosi and boehner would have to be working together to drum up support for the president. oh, by the way, it would delay any potential action. if you believe you've got to do this in a certain period of time to save lives because you're trying to make sure he doesn't use chemical weapons again, then you're sort of defeating the purpose of the quick action. >> ayman, as george mentioned, the arab league has now officially blamed assad for the chemical weapons attack. this is the same arab league that suspended syria from the arab league in 2011. what impact, if any, is this
going to have? >> reporter: well, it's one of those statements that you kind of have the wiggle room to interpret the way you want. one, the statement that came out of the arab league was at the ambassadorial level. some of its closest allies, including lebanon, did not vote. it also provides diplomatic cover, enough for the u.s. and its allies to say there is a single regional voice speaking out against what is happening in syria. now, keep in mind that the statement that came out today not only condemned the syrian government for what it called the blatant violation and use of chemical weapons, but more importantly it called on the international community to hold the syrian government accountable. that could involve also not just the military option but also action at the criminal court,
the international criminal court to try and hold regime officials accountable. there are other options, but this is enough of a statement from the arab league, and it's probably as best of a statement as you're going to get from the arab league in such short notice. there are no scheduled meetings right now for a senior level meeting of the arab league until next tuesday. you'll expect that the divisions at that level will be even much more pronounced. >> right. and that kind of condemnation gives you a sense of how strong the view against chemical weapons usage are around the world. i want top go to george and ask you quite simply, why is it legally and morally that we do see such a stark distinction between what we might call the type of killing that's gone on throughout this conflict, 100,000 dead by some estimates, and the use of chemical weapons? >> inhumane weapon has always been an issue, even under the worst conditions of war fighting.
go back to world war i, go to hitler's decision not to use certain weapons, the controversies around nuclear weapons being prohibited, the use of napalm in vietnam. whatever the context historically, there's always been an international rejection of this type of killing, even though it seems a bitter and nasty irony that people can in war be killed other ways. >> all right ayman, chuck, and george. thank you all for your insights. up next, syria, egypt, fires and floods, immigration, the debt. it ain't easy being the president. the next two months could be the most important yet for president obama. we will spin as "the cycle" rolls on for tuesday, august 27th. [ male announcer ] this is brad.
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back now in the spin. syria's front and center for president obama right now. i wish i could say that's all he had to deal with, but there's a bruising political fight shaping up when congress returns two weeks from now, the debt ceiling, which treasury secretary jack lew says we'll hit by the end of october. >> the debt limit is just different. it's just different. there cannot be any question but that we're a country that pays our bills. it's not as if we get to go back and undo the commitments we made. these are old bills that have to be paid. >> the markets are already worried about syria and this latest war of words. obviously, as we heard in the previous segment, a fantastic
answer, inhumane weapons make us extremely uncomfortable. so it's a crucial moment. failure to respond here after using chemical weapons would erode, perhaps obliterate, the international taboo that's been placed on using chemical weapons since world war i. obama has to stand up to that international long-standing norm and keep that going. but assad is propped up by rush sharks china, and iran. we have a conflict where we can't simpley say, this is why we're going in. most americans don't even know where syria is on a map. this is not going to be easy. the law of unintended consequences goes over every military conflict. it will not be easy. we'll get sucked deeper and d p deeper into this quagmire. i'm extremely uncomfortable with this whole thing. >> it's always interesting when you see the foreign policy spotlight turn back on this
president. if i could start with a story. imagine i go over to your house, toure, and i see in the front yard amazing gardening, beautiful orange trees blossoming. it is beautiful. >> that's the way it is. >> then i walk into the house and it's falling apart. it's decrepit. i'm going to walk away from that experience not saying toure is a great gardener, but his house is all messed up. >> that's not very nice, ari. >> it's not even fair. >> why does it have to be toure's house? >> it always is. when you look at this, i don't think there's any doubt we have a jobs crisis, much of which predated him coming into office. it remains the fundamental issue, whatever your politics are. if you're a normal person living a normal life, that's what we're worried about, this economy. yet, i will say we have a president here who's had a tremendously successful run on foreign policy. we see it again in the fact that there's a basic bipartisan trust of him, even on syria, a difficult issue. if you run through the numbers, he caught bin laden, he managed
the arab spring quite effectively, he unwound two wars, which he promised to do. he's drastically improved global views of the united states. in many ways, he's brought detention policies and guantanamo back at least within the rule of law. i've talked about some of my criticisms there, but much better than his predecessor, who left him a mess. i see this as a tremendous foreign policy presidency that doesn't often get viewed that way because people are rightfully, understandably focused on jobs or the inside of your house, so to speak. >> i love how you brought that thing back together. >> you could learn a thing or two. >> 13 years later, you could say we are not in a better place, though. presidents aside, the american people are in no better place. we still have no sense of what our goals are in the middle east. you know, the next two months are going to be incredibly consequential for the president, as you both pointed out already. syria is a huge one. that's the most immediate. this is not a time for him to be cautious. this is not a time for him to be
methodical. >> of course this is a time to be cautious. what are you talking about? >> that's his nature. that also stops him from doing the right thing, i think, and acting as soon as he probably could. that aside, though, syria, then you have the budget battles, which is going to happen sooner rather than later. you have them coming up. both sides could not be further apart. republicans aren't willing to budge. president obama saying i'm not willing to budge. >> they won't budge on the budget. >> but the writing, unfortunately, is on the wall here. you see, you know, we're going to see the end of october. you could very well see a shut down in government if both sides can't come together. doesn't seem like with the congress we have today that anything is going to get done. >> good luck for the future of the republican party if they shut down the government again. >> i think if we did see a government shut down, as we know, the deck is stacked against democrats being able to take back a majority in the house. i think if republicans did shut down the government or even credibly threatened to do so, or
if they credibly, you know, take the country to the edge or over in terms of the debt ceiling and threaten our credit rating again, i think you really could see a dynamic where democrats could take back the majority in 2014, which again, the deck is very much stacked against democrats because of the way districts are jergerrymandered the way the population sorted itself out. for the president domestically, he doesn't have a lot of options here in terms of getting things passed with this congress. i think it's been made abunda abundantly clear that nothing is going to get through this particular congress. for me, the best thing he can do is upset a lot of liberalings by offering republicans deals that are too good for republicans. they're not good deals for democrats. and demonstrate as much as he can, as often as he can that he'll go above and beyond to extend his hand to him. they can't take yes for an answer. they cannot take him up on any
deal that doesn't give them 100% of his priorities. meanwhile, he needs to go out on the stump and make the case, as he has been, that this is not a congress that can get things done, that he cannot work with them, and make the case as forcefully as he can for 2014. that's the only way that anything is going to happen. >> it's definitely going to be really hard, as you point out, for democrats to win over the house. but the senate teeters in the balance. if republicans run the table in six or seven races, then they could take over the senate. this talk of government shut down and breaching the debt ceiling and other things like the immigration problem -- >> we haven't even mentioned immigration. >> i imagine we're going to see women come out because they're angry about the way the gun debate went. >> i don't think there's anything more powerful in driving turnout than republicans disenfranchising voters. >> absolutely. republicans are going to have a hard time taking the senate, which is obviously a goal they want. >> you guys forget that all of this at the end of the day does fall back on the president. if you can't get anything done in the next two months, you're going into lame duck session.
>> you can't get anything done because of. obstruction. >> that's fine. >> he's not a magician. he's a president. he has limited powers. he has to deal with the people that he has to deal with, but you can't say it all falls on the president. >> i'm not putting -- >> he's offered entitlement reform. >> i'm not putting all the blame on the president. i'm saying when you look back on this time, you're going to say, what was he able to get done? i'm the first to say republicans in congress right now, they are a huge part of the problem. i'm just saying he has a lot of work to do in the next two months if he wants to get some of these things done. >> is it about playing more golf? >> i wouldn't put it on the tee. i wouldn't put it on tee time. gardening, maybe. >> if only they were playing polo with republicans in congress. >> right now at the white house, preparation under way as the president gets set to welcome civil rights leaders to a reception tonight. up next, a preview of the big
the news cycle begins in washington where outgoing homeland security secretary janet napolitano delivered her farewell address. she's served the agency for four and a half years. she's leaving her post to become the next president of the university of california system. >> if there's one takeaway, one object, lesson, and core operating principal i've learned and embraced as secretary, it's this. in a world of evolving threats, the key to our success is the ability to be flexible and agile. being flexible and agile means acknowledging that we na not be able to stop all threats all the
time, but we can and must be prepared to address them quickly when they happen. minimize their consequences, draw pragmatic lessons, and emerge stronger and better. >> president obama has not yet nominated anyone to take over as the head of homeland security. now to connecticut where students of sandy hoom elementary return to school in another town. 20-year-old adam lanza shot the 26 victims, including students and teachers, before taking his own life. his motive still remains unclear. in fact, we may never know. snow could be falling over yosemite national park in northern california before officials can completely get a handle on that massive wildfire going on there now. ten days old and only 20% contained. nbc's tom costello is in the middle of the fire fight. >> reporter: fire commanders say if you go to a lowe's or home
depot and buy a 2x4, you're going to have 9% humidity in that wood, 9% moisture. whereas here in the area that they're fighting these fires, they've got 4% moisture in the wood, in everything that's burning. so this is just really tinderbox conditions. meanwhile, the nation's capital is making a push for the olympics in 2024. it would be the first time the u.s. gam games were held on u.s. soil since the atlanta games. organizers say only about ten are considered serious candidates. now we're going to turn to all the events around the march on washington anniversary with one of the nation's experts on the civil rights movement. the president and first lady are marking the anniversary at a white house reception tonight, and the president's big speech, as you may know, is tomorrow, when he'll be joined by former presidents clinton and carter. our next guest has done extensive research on the interplay between civil rights organizes, key core rulings on equality, and the tendency of
civil rights progress to often spark intense elite backlash. michael carmen is a harvard law professor and an author. it was actually one of my favorite books in law school. michael, it is an honor to have you here today. >> thanks very much for having me. >> talk to us about the way the supreme court has, by some accounts, really jackknifed from leading the nation on trying to get to a consensus on certain issues like banning separate schools, to now really entering areas where we thought we had a consensus like voting rights or disparate impact, which fights racism in an indirect way. that's on the docket next term. the supreme court is jumping in there and breaking up bipartisan consensus. talk to us about that. >> right. the supreme court for a fairly
brief period of time in the 1950s and 1960s was very progressive on race. then richard nixon was elected president in 1968. he appointed four justices to the court in his first term, and ever since then the court has been more conservative than not on race issues, which means it struck down affirmative action, it struck down a critical provision of the voting rights act, it struck down voluntary efforts by school districts to promote integration by taking race into account. so the court is a political institution. today there are five conservative republicans and four liberal democrats. they tend to divide on race issues by 5-4. >> professor, i think the bedrock example to your argument of the court being a foe to rights of black people is 1987 which upheld the death sentence of warren, despite data proving racial disparity in the application of the death
penalty. the court said, well, there's not conscious, deliberate bias to which justice lewis powell said, disparity in sentencing is an inevitable part of our justice system. sorry, guys. too bad. >> it's an extraordinary decision. it's also 5-4. again, the same usual split between the conservatives and the liberals. the court basically said that even though the state of georgia was conceitedly discriminating against people based on their race, there it was the race of the victims rather than the race of the defendant. so you're more likely to get the death penalty in georgia if you killed a white person than if you killed a black person. if you think it's supposed to be a deterrent to crime, the state of georgia was undervaluing the lives of its black citizens. nonetheless, the court said it's not a violation. they said if this sort of claim was vindicated, you'd have similar sorts of claims throughout the criminal justice system, that the race of the victim probably played a role in
whether people got punished in certain ways. it is kind of an extraordinary decision that somebody could be executed based on the race of the victim and the court would concede that and still not be willing to do anything about it. >> unbelievable. well, michael, you reference the fact that the supreme court invalidated section five of the voting rights act, the part that required preclearance for localities with a history of discrimination. texas responded by immediately passing a voter i.d. law. the administration now responded to texas by challenging their voter i.d. law based on section two of the voting rights act. how strong do you think the administration's case is, and do you think we'll see them taking similar action against other states like north carolina? >> well, the supreme court's already decided a voter i.d. case from about five or six years ago involving the state of indiana. the court hasn't gotten anymore liberal since then. the court rejected the challenge, so i think it's pretty unlikely that challenge is going to win. you're going to have to
demonstrate that this is having a significant effect on minority voters. you're going to have to prove, perhaps, this is intentionally motivated to have that effect. and the supreme court has already been pretty skeptical about the argument. so i don't think that claim is going to get vindicated in the court any time soon, unless there's a change in their composition of the court. striking down the preclearance provision is a big deal. before the supreme court decision last term, mostly southern states, had to go and get any changes in their voting practices approved in washington, d.c., either by the attorney general or by a court before they were put into place. that no doubt has some deterrent effect. now they don't have to do that. now the burden of proof has shifted so the people challenging it are going to have to prove that this does have a disparate effect on minorities or is racially motivated. it makes a difference who bears the burden of proof. >> and michael, when you look on average at a black person,
they're more likely to die earlier, drop out of high school. they're more likely to be unemployed. when we look at these stats, this is obviously where our focus needs to be. so how do we begin to make progress as a society without relying on institutions to do it for us? >> well, that's a great question. i think a lot of people wish they knew the answer to that. it's strikingly similar to the sorts of arguments that were made 50 years ago. "the new york times," right around the time of the march of washington, was asking people like king and roy wilkins of the naacp where are we at, what do we need to do to promote equality, and their argument was, you know, there are different forms of equality. if what you mean by equality is ending race discrimination by law, we could probably accomplish that in a couple years. but if you want to be in a truly equal society where people are, as king said, judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, you need to have substantive equality. in a society where
african-americans are more likely to be incarcerated, more likely to die early, more likely to live in poor conditions, you don't genuinely have equality of opportunity. they defined equality of opportunity as somebody having an equal chance to realize that person's potential regardless of race from the time of their birth. and we don't have that yet. we don't really have a civil rights movement now that is as energized and focused on trying to accomplish that. so the civil rights movement in the 1960s was an incredibly potent force. you had street demonstrations and marches on washington and freedom rides. you had all this going on. people were really motivated, and they got civil rights legislation and voting rights legislation, incredibly important laws passed. but the march on washington was a march not just for freedom, but it was a march for jobs. we still need a lot of that. we still need a lot of jobs and a lot of focus on better housing, better education, and more generous social support for people who are impoverished.
you don't see a lot of momentum for that these days. i wish i knew the answer. i think martin luther king was starting to focus on that the last few years of his life. i think he was finding it was harder to accomplish economic equality than racial injustice. >> i think you've gestured at some of the answers. it's an interesting question. thinking about tomorrow, on the one hand, people so proud we have an african-american president. yet, sometimes the desire to use that exceptionalism to claim we are over everything when it may be easier right now to be a black president than, say, a black voter in north carolina and a lot of other places. professor, thanks for spending time with us today. >> sure, my pleasure. thank you. >> to commemorate the 50th anniversary of mlk's speech, we are thinking about how to advance the dream. to tell us how you're advancing the dream, come over to the facebook page and join the conversation. you can hear the president's speech tomorrow from the mall live right here on "the cycle," all part of msnbc's special coverage. up next, an operating manual to life from the director of
blockbuster comedies "ace ventura," "liar, liar," and "the nutty professor." that's up next. >> to train the dolphin, you must think like the dolphin. you must get inside the dolphin's head. i'm saying to snowflake, okay, okay, okay. he's saying, okay, okay. he's up on the tail. then you can quote him. this is for you. ♪ [ male announcer ] bob's heart attack
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♪ now you can give yourself a kick in the rear! v8 v-fusion plus energy. natural energy from green tea plus fruits and veggies. need a little kick? ooh! could've had a v8. in the juice aisle. you fat. i'm muscle. >> oh, he's a little hercules. she me those muscles again. >> you can eat anything you want. go ahead. f knock yourself out. >> all right. i'm making a fool of myself. as you probably know, i am a kid of the '90s. comedies like "the nutty professor," "liar, liar," and
"ace ventura" are all movies i grew up on. a few years ago, he had a brush with death that prompted him to downsize his hollywood life in a major way and look at the world through a new lens. he writes about this transformation in "life's operating manual." let's welcome the guest spot film director. it's so great to have you here. i'm a huge fan of yours, huge fan of your films. i don't know what it's done to the huntsman family, but it's brought us together for years and years and years. >> thank you. >> this next project, you're known for being funny, it's a little more philosophical. there's a moment in the beginning of the book, there's this exchange between truth -- >> fear and truth. >> it's a conversation that we all have. really, we're our own worst enemy. >> right, good angel, bad angel. >> you see it in cartoons.
is that what you want people to take away from this, internalize conversations they're having with themselves? >> i want them to look at their fear. fear is -- cannot stand up when you actually examine it. so i want them to look at their fear. fear will bring you down a road, but if you question it, you'll quickly get off and get back on to what i would believe is truth, which is from your own heart, your own path. >> tom, in the book you talk about becoming extraordinarily successful. five of your first six films were huge hits. you made over $50 million. you had all kinds of artistic freedom in hollywood, which is very rare to find. but they create a lot of pressure and chaos in your life. it was sort of like the thing where success doesn't actually make you happier and is something that the great philosopher biggie smalls talked about, more money, more problems. you describe it as nature's economy is in diametric opposition to our own. what does that mean? >> our own economy tells us to take as much as we can get,
right? our own economy says, you're going to be the most successful graduate if you go into the business world and take as much you can get. that's not how nature works. nature has a much simpler economy. everything in nature takes what it needs. that's it. you don't see an oak tree gathering up all the resources. an oak tree takes what it needs to be the authentic oak tree it needs. it's giving to everything else around it. our economy is broken because of this. we're inside a paradigm that doesn't work. i know this is kind of shocking. i see the shocked looks. it's outside the paradigm. nature actually works through intense cooperation. there is competition in nature, but it thrives through cooperation. we don't teach this to our kids. it's actually a violent ideology. it's why kids go into school and bully each other and god forbid do things even worse. cooperation will become the marching orders of the human species or we're not going to make it. >> how did we end up in this place, where our economy is broken, where the focus is take, take, take? >> it's actually a really young
idea because we're a young species. we're only 175,000 years old. on the evolutionary scale, life on this planet is 4 billion years old. we're 175,000 years old. so we're trying something out. who wouldn't think it would be better to have the most stuff to take as much as you could? as we do that, we see why the moral prophets come along and say, don't even store into barns, right? so it's harder for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than a rich man to pass through the kingdom of heaven. we've seen we plunder nature. we plunder our neighbor. we create enemies because we're against each other. until we become for each other -- it's martin luther king's anniversary. he said, we have not learned to be brothers and sisters. we can fly the air like birds, but we cannot walk the planet as brothers and sisters. it's a very simple ideology. >> are you hopeful? >> it's already written. we're hard wired for love. that's why everybody is -- today we're prayerful and fearful of what might happen.
>> somebody call dylan. >> we know that we want a peaceful society. it's written in us. we're going to catch up -- we are catching up to it. >> i mentioned this brush with death that essentially changed your outlook on life. walk us through what happened and how you look at life differently today than you did when you were making these incredible films. >> the brush with death, because i had been changing my life for a long time. i had been changing it over the course of 10 to 15 years. as i, quote, won, i didn't feel the fruits of that. i felt the fruits when i served others, when i gave myself away in terms of my talent and whatnot. i'm sorry, the question just flew out of my head. >> your outlook now. what changed? >> what changed during my near-death experience was that i faced my fear. i was afraid to talk about the change that happened in my life. i simply -- i changed my life, i had moved to the mobile home park. i gave away most of my resources. >> you lived in a mobile home park? >> yeah, but a it's not what you think.
there's a stigma to mobile home parks. they create community. they create family. >> no, many choose -- doesn't matthew mcconaughey choose to live there? >> yeah, he was one of our neighbors for our while. it's a simpler life. when i lived in a mansion, i didn't know a single neighbor. now i know all my neighbors. i don't need any sitcom characters because they all live next door to me. i found it to be a sim simplicity. >> it's amazing when those moments hit you, when you realize the way you've been living and the way you have been doing things doesn't make sense and isn't making you happy. >> it's something many of us feel but sometimes we don't have the courage to make the adjustment. we've been told our whole lives this is what success looks like. when we get there, it feels -- when it feels vacuous, we don't have the energy or courage to shift. i've always seen my life as an experiment. i just want to go to what works. as i felt the charity aspect in my life, the giving aspect, i
felt a power and i've walked more into that. >> we have five seconds left. you going to make another movie? >> i am. i'm remaking "the untouchables." >> good luck. >> it's a fascinating book. we're huge fans of your work. thank you for joining us. up next, krystal's thank you to republicans. why do i have a feeling there's a catch? >> because there is. before they sat down, one more time, just for themselves...
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enormous credit to reverend sharpton and his organization, the national action network for a phenomenal job of organizing and inspiring. people don't spontaneously show up at an event like that. it takes a lot of work. there's another group that's been working overtime to get people engaged make sure they don't rest on their laurels. they aren't often given the credits they're due. it's high time we express our deep gratitude to the republican party. i'd like to thank the gop directly for making the march on washington such a success. after all, we're p were it not for your stand your ground loss and similar legislation pushed into passage in more than 30 states across the country, we map have taken a nap instead of marching. were it not for your back sliding on immigrationing with steve king immigrants drug mules, we may have gone to the beach instead of marching. and were it not for your blatent
attempts to keep young people and minorities from voting, efforts so thinly disguised and voter fraud prevention even your own people admit it's just about disenfranchisement, if it wasn't for that, we may have had a picnic instead of marching. it's impressive. getting people to vote has always been like pulling teeth. you have to beg them, get them to fill out postcards to themselves, pledging they'll do it. yet somehow you have almost effortlessly made voting cool, important, and worthy of sacrifice. it's a nice little bit of reverse schooling. nothing makes people want to vote more than telling them they can't. we're not just voting and marching and working to roll back back the gop's laws. you've inspired us to fix and standardize our long broken and disorganized election system. thanks, go . you've accomplished something that no well intentioned advocacy effort could have accomplished. i fully believe you're not going to stop there. why, if you keep it up, you could even up end historic midterm election trends and
overcome gerrymandered house districts to ensure a democratic majority in the house in 2014. you're that good. i had my doubts but who could have predicted you would toy with shutting down the government and ruining our nation's credit rating. you guys are going above and beyond. 50 years ago, and the march on washington focused on ending jim crow, a disgusting villain that hid behind the law to deprive people of their votes and sometimes their lives. 50 years later, we have no jim crow. without a villain to focus on, it's hard to get people fired you. .congratulations, republicans. you have taken the place of jim crow and are now the people conspiring to keep folks from voting. i'm amazed you're willing to destroy your party's brand, an the party of lincoln, teddy roosevelt, a party that fought to end jim crow. all just to help us get our folks onto the ballot box and then ted cruz in 2016? it's all too much. you really shouldn't have. all right. that does it for "the cycle."
joy reid is in for martin and picks up next. remember to tune in tomorrow for all day special coverage of let freedom ring, the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. we will hear from bill clinton, oprah winfrey, martin luther king jr.'s son and at around 3:00 eastern, from president obama. at 4:00, tamron hall has a special program that will have dr. king's speech from 1963 in sits entirety all here on msnbc tomorrow. we'll see you then. buildi ng a nimatronics buildi is all about
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. good afternoon. i'm joy reid in for martin bashir. the big question on syria may no longer be if but when. >> is america about to strike? >> officials here at the pentagoning are operating as if this is in fact a done deal. >> if you were to come, you're ready to go like that. >> like that. >> with small strikes. >> four u.s. navy destroyers and two submarines. >> the crisis has outpaced the world's response. >> what we saw in syria should shock the conscience of the world. >> we are supposed to be outraged by anyone using chemical weapons. >> they're trying to come up with an objective that punishes assad. >> if the syrians had oil, we would have been in there. >> how do we reconcile not wanting to get into this war. >> these people don't want american troops and for