tv Lockup San Quentin MSNBC August 11, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PDT
wonderful and complete analyses can be done this way. >> when are we going to put an american on mars, do you think? >> not soon enough i think is the answer it that. it looks like it's probably not going to be until 2030 or so. if it could happen sooner, that would bring us that much closer to figuring out that question, that age-old question about life somewhere else out there. >>age-old question about life somewhere out there. >> derek, great to have you on "the ed show" tonight. i'm ed schultz. happy friday. if you want to buy a political ad on tv, legally speaking the station that you want to buy the ad on, they have to give you their lowest advertising rate for airing you out. advertising rates on good stations in big tv markets are still not cheap. you are getting the cheapest rate, but by law you have to get the lowest rate for airing a political ad. that's because there is a public interest in making sure political speech can compete with commercial speech. we can all learn about the
issues and the candidates in the elections. because there is a public interest at stake, because political advertising is regulated in a different way than commercial advertising, information about political ad buys on tv is public information. you have a right to know. you have a right to know who is spending how much money to put what ads on your local tv station. until recently though if you wanted to get that information you had to physically go down to the office of your local tv station and ask them to see the physical papers in something called the public file. you could then copy that information down and then presumably go to all the other tv stations in your tv market to get that same information and you could aggragate the information at home and try to understand what was going on in your media market in terms of political advertising for that day. i mean, technically the information is publicly available and you have a right to know it, but realistically there was no real way to get your hands on it in a useful
way. after very effective prodding on this issue from the investigative news out of pro publica, the fcc decided to fix that problem this year, which is kind of great if you're interested in getting your hands on this data. now in the top 50 u.s. media markets, all of the affiliates of all the major networks have to post online basic information about who is paying how much money to put political ads on those stations. so for example, now we know without having to drive to wsyx in columbus, ohio, and sweet talk the receptionist there and have a lot of dimes ready for the copy machine. now we know over the course of one week the coke brothers right-wing group americans for prosperity, they bought 40 separate ads to run on just that one station in just that one week. neat. for that one week on that one station in that one media market in columbus, ohio, in that one swing state, the coke brothers
group dropped $23,000 running those ads. that makes you appreciate, when you learn that, you appreciate where all the millions go in politics. however much it costs you to make a political ad, it is really the cost of putting it on tv and all the media markets in all the different states all across the country. that is where the bills really add up. so if you want to know who lempbed the best week in presidential campaigning this week, who made the biggest political impact while spending the least amount of money to do it, it is definitely no contest. it's the pro-obama super pac priorities usa. it is not just the romney campaign outraising the obama campaign, which they are doing month after month now, the super pac on the right is swamping the amount of super pac money on the left. when we looked at it on this show a month ago, republican versus democratic super pac money looked sort of like this. that was the ratio in terms of money on both sides.
my hunch is that it has gotten worse since we looked at it last month, but priorities the usa, the proobama super pac, they are a very small fish in the big money pot. and this week they are nevertheless able to be the small fish that ate everything else in the pond. they won the week. because their ad showing a laid off steel worker from a plant shut down by mitt romney's bain capital not only dominated the political discussion but it earned a furious right wing freakout reaction. if romney campaign is seeding the press with multiple stories about how upset the ad is and how horrible the ad is. the romney spokesman is doing his typical high hyperboyle, he accused the president and his allies of diminishing the office of president and insulting the american people.
the romney campaign even put out their own rebuttal advertisement saying this super pac ad on the other side was a terrible, terrible ad. even the karl rove cross roads super pac put out their own ad calling it terrible, terrible, terrible. here's the amazing thing, though, about this full scale code red all personnel freakout over this all usa priorities ad dominating this week in politics. prior politics usa did not air that ad anywhere. it is not airing on television. sure, it cost them something to make this ad, but this is how much it cost to run it. zero. zero, while that means the chronically pro-underfunded obama super pac is getting its bang for its buck, bang in no bucks in this case, in context the freakout on the right about this ad is weirder. while the romney campaign and all the pro romney groups are
lighting their hair on fire trying to get as much media attention as they can criticizing this, priorities usa, this third party outside group noncam pan ad about this steel worker and his wife dying of cancer after they lost their health insurance, the right is losing its mind about this ad, that is not running anywhere, so far there's not been a peep from the right about an actual obama campaign ad that is not only out at the same time but is actually running on television. in florida and in ohio and in virginia and in north carolina, all swing states, where mitt romney is due to visit next week. the official obama campaign ad actually running on actual tv in those four swing states effectively poisoning the ground for mitt romney before he gets there on his next big campaign trip. and that ad makes a rather outrageous assertion. or at least it asks a rather outrageous question. >> was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9%?
>> i haven't calculated that. i'm happy to go back and look. >> did romney pay 10% in taxes? 5%? zero? we don't know. >> right. you don't know. but you are suggesting that he paid nothing in taxes anyway. in an official campaign ad that is running in four wing states on tv you're paying a lot of money to get this message out there. no reaction from the romney campaign so far. just as senate majority leader harry reid offers no evidence other than hearsay for the allegation that mitt romney paid zero in taxes for a decade, the obama campaign is offering zero evidence for at least implying the exact thing by asking that question in this ad. or go on to say this. >> did romney pay 10%? taxes? 5%? zero, we don't know. but we do know romney personally approved over 70 million
generated by the tax handle, one of the largest tax issues of the history. >> son of boss. son of boss was in fact a tax avoid dance scheme that the marriott corporation used to avoid tens of millions of dollars in taxes while mitt romney was on the board of the marriott corporation. in fact, he was on the audit board of the boss corporation meaning he had plenty to do with how the company tried to avoid paying its taxes. marriott participated in this son of boss scheme to avoid taxes. they and a lot of other companies got caught doing it. for that and for other tax avoid tans schemes while mitt romney was on the board and responsible for exercising oversight over the company paying its taxes, the company ended up paying hundreds of millions in fines to the government for what it got caught doing. all of that is in the new ad from the obama campaign that is running on television in the swing states.
that apparently the romney campaign does not want to talk about. they are trying to raise a stink and attract attention instead to this other thing they found on the internet. it should be noted that what the obama campaign is alleging in the new ad but putting this son of boss thing in this ad, it's not about mr. romney personally. it is not about mr. romney enriching himself at least. it's not about him personally avoiding paying his personal taxes it is about whether or not he ethically released his responsibilities as a member of the corporate board when the corporation was avoiding taxes. by raising that issue in this ad, the obama campaign is adding to the evidence that mitt romney has spent his whole life dodging taxes. in his business life at bain, his business and other companies he was involved in and yes in his personal life. that's why they are trying to do this. they are creating the political impression that romney's life has been one scheme after another to dodge taxes. that's the impact of the
marriott corporation son of boss thing that is in the new obama campaign ad that the romney campaign is trying to avoid from by talking about a web ad from a super pac instead. that same issue, the idea of mitt romney as a tax avoider, is also the importance of the front page story about mr. romney's finances that runs in "the new york times" today. this is information, this story is based on information not from his tax returns, which we have not seen, but instead from investment disclosures, financial disclosures that he legally had to make as a candidate. among all the other sources of income mr. romney has declared, among all of those other things he's done to make money is, there's this house that you see right there. a house in missouri city, texas. and the missouri city, texas, couple who lives in this house on gentle bend drive in missouri city, every month they write mitt romney personally a check for $600. they don't have their mortgage on this house through a bank. their mortgage is with mitt
romney personally. he is their mortgage provider. he's like fannie mitt. as recently as two months ago, they refinanced with him. and they didn't refinance with a bank, they refinanced with mitt romney. personally. while he was running for president. they send their personal checks written out to him as a person. why is mitt romney this one couple's mortgage lender? well, apparently it dates back to an investment scheme that he got involved with five rental homes in texas back in the 1980s. why would a high-flying boston future private equity financeer end up mortgaging rental homes in texas? it was a tax avoidance scheme. the guy who set up this deal for him with these houses in texas describes it as a, quote,
marvelous scheme. a scheme allowing investors to write off depreciation and mortgage interest on their taxes without risking their own money. this is a weird little detail in his finances. a couple that he does not know in texas sends their monthly mortgage check to him. because of the tax avoidance scheme he got involved in in the 1980s. the son of boss thing for the corporation that mitt romney was on the board of that turns up in the new obama campaign ad, that, too, was a tax avoidance scheme. a tax avoidance chemowas at the heart at mitt romney's residency when he ran for governor as massachusetts, which we have reported on a lot over the last couple weeks. mr. romney desperately wanted to be seen as a massachusetts resident, even though his taxes showed him declaring his primary residence in deer valley, utah. in what he described to the diseaseeret deseret news as a
tax scheme. his financial background, for a guy running on that, we know next to nothing about mr. romney's financial background, but what we do know about his financial background is essentially just a string of tax avoidance schemes. the olympics then, with the olympics winding down the next few days, we are left to ponder the fate of poor rafalka, yes, rafalka, the horse that did not medal in the olympics but rafalka's fame will be an attempted $77,000 tax writeoff on mitt rom northeast romney's tax returns. even his family multi-million horse ballet turns up as a tax avoidance scheme. this stuff adds up. i mean financially i'm sure it adds up. if you talk to really, really rich people about other really rich people, the rich people they envy, they say read the tax code for fun. that's how you get really rich. i'm sure financially pursuing
this is a lifelong habts adds up, but politically it issed aing up, too, harry reid offered no evidence for his hearsay accusation that mr. romney found ways to avoid paying taxes at all for ten years and that's why he won't release his tax returns, but why the unsupported accusation lingers in the political atmosphere, it is also true all the real evidence we do have about mr. romney's financial history is evidence of him using exotic, aggressive and in the case of this son of boss thing, occasionally illegal tactics to avoid taxes. tax avoidance as a lifelong hobby. since harry reid first made his unsupported hearsay allegation about mr. romney not paying taxes for a decade, no evidence has emerged to disprove that allegation. and the only evidence that has emerged frankly points the other way. and so the issue is not going away. and harry reid is making sure that it's not going away. one of his staffers last night continuing to stoke the fire by
asserting and then partially retracting more tantalizing details about the supposed source of the hearsay. nate silver on the new york times tweeted today about the fact that all of these questions and the few pieces of evidence we have about mitt romney's taxes and finances are in a quantitative way leading people in general to ask more questions about mitt romney's taxes, to wonder about i, to try to find out more. the red line that you see there, the red line represents google searches over the past few months about romney and bain capital. as the red line drops, the searches have tailed off in receipt weeks, but look what has taken its place. the blue line, searches of romney and taxes skyrocketed since the end of july. that sort of entrance is translating into political pressure. even on the republican side. in an interview with greg sergeant at "the washington post" today, jon huntsman's dad, one of mitt rom northeast
romney's longsupporters, he swatted down rumors he was harry reid's source on the mitt romney didn't pay taxes for ten year allegations. but mr. huntsman nevertheless told greg sergeant this, quote, i feel very badly mitt won't release his taxes and won't be fair with the american people. mr. romney aught to square with the american people and release his taxes like any other candidate. i've supported mitt all along and wish him well, but i do think he should release his income taxes. so says one of mr. romney's biggest supporters. the romney campaign may not want to talk about it. they may want to talk about anything other than this, but the story just keeps getting bigger not smaller. chris hayes joins us in just a moment.
was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9%? >> i haven't calculated that. i'll be happy to go back and look. >> did romney pay 10% in taxes, 5%, zero? we don't know. >> right, you don't know. nevertheless, that's the new ad from the obama campaign that is running in four swing states right now. it suggest that is mr. romney may have paid zero percent in taxes at some unspecified point. you would expect the romney campaign to set its hair on fire over an ad like that, but the romney campaign curiously is not making much of a peep at all about the ad, even as it runs on tv in four important states and as they raise holy heck complaining of other unrelated
anti-romney ads. joining me now is the host of "up with chris hayes" and author of "the twilight of the elites." mr. hayes, good to see you. our friend chuck todd has an interview with mitt romney today in which mr. romney said he wanted his business record to be off limits in the campaign. how did this happen? >> the entire argument, he got up in the primary, at primary debate after primary debate in terms of his comparative advantage against other people in the republican field, when he was trying to distinguish himself against the lifelong politician of rick perry and other folks he was competing with, newt gingrich, et cetera, that was his comparative advantage there. then when he got in the general election his comparative advantage was barack obama has never been in the private sector, don't know how to create job,s, i'm in the private sector
and know how to create jobs. it is preposterous to say the entire justification of why you're running for president of the united states was you had the private sector experience now out of bounds. >> do you think that it is fair to relate his personal financial history in terms of tax avoidance and other issues raised by the obama campaign very directly now to his experience as a business leader who threw his business experience can lead the country into a brighter economic future? are those things closely related enough that the obama campaign can rebut this assertion from mitt romney that his business career, at least his tax returns are relevant to his political future? >> look, here's what i think is fair. the fact that what mitt romney is doing, this is the key point here. mitt rom northeast' experience with the american tax system isn't just about mitt romney. it is a deep and profound point, not just about tax policy in this country, not just about whether the rich pay taxes and how they do or don't pay taxes,
but about the entire rigged game that is the american social system right now in which people with a lot of money are able to subvert the rules to benefit themselves in ways that people making $40,000 and $60,000, $80,000 or $100,000 or $10,000 a year are not available to. mitt romney has thrown in his lot with the fellow crats in policy, in how he defended his policies and actual behavior such that he has revealed. that's a deep substantive point. it's a profound point about whether the wealthy are going to be taxed, how they are going to be taxed, whether we have a state that is extracting revenue from those at the top. that is all fair game and substantive. so yes, i think it is fair. >> and he put hines in an ideological spot to indicate a difference of republicans that came before him, specifically his father. we have talked about this before on our show and feel like it
hasn't really spread as a broader idea in terms of the discussion about his taxes but i think it is really important. mitt romney's dad not only put out a lot of years of tax return and said one aught to and you can't put out one year, it could be out just for show. his son putting out one for a year is a direct parallel, but when mr. romney's taxes, the senior romney's taxes were released, the reporter who wrote a book about the experience noted there are a lot of places where he could have taken tax breaks that he did not take. and he didn't do it because he didn't like the way it would look when running for president. mr. romney the younger now says if i paid a dollar more in taxes than i legally had to, that should disqualify me from being president. >> right. that is profound about -- that says two things. there are two aspects to romney's tax return that is are fascinating. one is the individual taxes he could have taken that he could have, and that the tax rate was 90%. the amount he paid was 35%, 36%.
we are talking about 14% or 15% nor for mitt romney. those rules changed the norms of how reeats report themselves and there's a connection between those two things. in that sense mitt romney is remarkably representative, not just of who mitt romney is as a person, but actually of an entire class that has loosed itself from the bounds of a kind of norm of good conduct of following the law in its intent and spirit. >> in the seeing of their own behavior is nationally related to the health of the country. >> absolute. >> i would like this discussion, those things in the discussion we had, to be the rebuttal to anybody who says the tax returns discussion is not substantive, it is distraction. it is about the essential issues of the campaign. >> that's right. >> chris hayes, we are back tomorrow? >> back tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. >> his new book is called "the twilight of the elites." get some sleep, sir. appreciate it.
checking to see if america's major news gathering organizations have assigned someone to do surveillance of you. there's someone being paid by all the networks to politely watch with paul ryan and rob port minute and tim pawlenty right now to watch what they're doing every single minute of the day and night, just in case. i'm not kidding. at least in the case of governor pawlenty, you, too, can join in the fun surveillance very easily. this sunday, governor t-paw will be on the vp short list again, and he'll be on "meet the press" on nbc this sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. eastern. in between various olympics broadcasts, and i'll be among those monitoring his activity because i'm excited to be appearing on "meet the press" also. sunday morning, 9:00 eastern, tim pawlenty on "meet the press" along with that person with the bad hair. we'll be right back.
50 consecutive elections. quote, the voter hall of fame inductees hold a special place in pennsylvania history. for 50 years, they have placed their responsibilities as citizens of this commonwealth first. we're grateful to democracy and we proudly induct them into the pennsylvania voter hall of fame. in pennsylvania, they like to say they take voting seriously. they take their civic responsibility seriously. as participants in a democracy seriously. here is this year's voter hall of fame ceremony where 100 new super voters were inducted into the hall of fame. here's the ceremony from wayne county, 19 new hall of famers inducted. here's the elk county induction from last year. 200 new hall of fame super voters in elk county last year. awesome. the pennsylvania voter hall of fame has been around since 1982. right now, there are almost 6,000 registered voters who are hall of fame super voters, whose
vote in this year's election would represent more than their 50th consecutive ballot cast. but if the pennsylvania hall of fame super voters thought they were going to be able to waltz into their precinct and cast a ballot like they have in the last 50 years, this year they would be wrong. that's because back in march, pennsylvania's republican-led legislature passed and its republican governor tom corbett signed a strict new voter id law that requires voters to present up to date government issued photo id they never had to show to vote before before they're allowed to vote this year. it's documentation that a substantial number of pennsylvania voters do not have. last month, the state released data showing that more than three quarters of a million of pennsylvania voters, almost 10% of the state's registered voters, do not have photo id from the state. they are legal voters, they just don't have this thing that they say you now have to show that you never had to show before if you want to vote. and it turns out there are a lot of hall of fame pennsylvania super voters who are among them. according to an analysis by the
pennsylvania aflcio, nearly a quarter of the pennsylvania super voters who are in the hall of fame, who have cast ballots in the last 50 elections in a row, they do not have valid state issued id and therefore could be prevented from voting in november. one of the super voters, a 91-year-old whose expired driver's license is not considered valid because it's expired told talking points, i wouldn't be able to vote if i don't get some form of id. i wondered why it was, what was the problem they passed something like that. it's awful funny. a 90-year-old who gave up her driver's license three months ago told tpm, quote, i don't know why, for what reason the voter id was passed. i couldn't tell you. zachary roth, a senior writer and editor at msnbc.com went to pennsylvania and talked to 101-year-old pennsylvanian who doesn't have the proper id to vote in november. >> how would you feel if you weren't able to vote? >> i would feel very badly because i know we have come a
long ways when we could not vote. see, i remember when we black folks didn't have a vote. >> this is a state that takes the civic duty of voting so seriously that it has a voting hall of fame. but this year the state of pennsylvania is going to disenfranchise many of its dedicated voters where they voted in 50 elections straight? congratulations. here's a spot in our hall of fame forever. now no more voting for you. that's pennsylvania. and the great state of iowa, while republicans tried for it, there is no new iowa voter id law for this year's election. that doesn't mean that nobody gets disenfranchised. the republican secretary of state in iowa has suddenly moved to start a purge of the iowa voter roles. the secretary of state used an emergency procedure that allowed him to issue the new purge rule without ving notice to or taking input from the public.
he tells "the des moines register" that the usual notice and input are contrary to the public interest because they had to be in effect before the november 6 presidential election. so he's trying really quick like with no public oversight to purge the voter roll three months before the election. what could possibly go wrong? that's iowa. as long as we're talking shady new republican election rules in the wing states before election day, we need to make a quick stop in ohio. for the past couple nights, we have been talking about a new partisan disaster in voting rights in ohio. now, the big news beltway controversy in ohio right now, is the republicans moving to cut off the three days of early voting. it's the change that was credited with the hours long voter lines in '04 into something resembling a functioning election day in 2008, but that relatively trouble-free election in 2008 resulted in barack obama winning the state. so coincidentally this year republicans in ohio would like
to have fewer early voting days. ohio's republican of state john houston has been trying to defend that move, trying to get fewer people to the polls, trying to explain why the point is not to get fewer people to the polls, not to have longer lines on election day, why it would be so important to cut off early voting three days early. >> i don't think the bar is too high there for anybody who really cares about the future of the country and wants to have their voice heard by voting. we try to make it easy, but we can't -- i say we're not 7-eleven. we can't stay open 24/7 and let anybody vote by any rule they want to. we have standards. >> that's ohio's republican secretary of state explanation for cutting off the last three days of early voting in the state, including the sunday before election day which is when african-american churches typically mobilize their congregations to go early vote on mass. you can't go around voting whenever you want. we have standards. the fact that those standards are likely to result in longer lines in the big cities where democrats are favored, i'm
guessing the secretary of state would say that's just a coincidence, but i would love a chance to ask him. even as questions remain about the cutoff of the last three days of early voting in ohio, so far john houston has not answered questions about the other election scandal in ohio for this year, the one i find hard to believe is not front page news all over the country. the bigger election scandal in ohio right now is on a county by county basis, election boards are deciding whether to allow early voting on nights and weekends. each country's election board is split between republicans and democrats. equal numbers. in counties that tend to vote for the republican candidate, like warren and butler, where john mccain won in '08, by big marges, the republicans and democrats are voting together to allow early voting on nights and weekends, so that means more voting in republican counties. but in the counties that tend to
go democratic like cuyahoga and summit, the republicans on those county election boards are voting against early voting on nights and weekends. and guess who gets the break? in the tie votes in those counties, guess who gets to break those ties? this guy, republican secretary of state john housted who is voting, intervening to make sure there are fewer early voting hours on nights and weekends in democratic counties while there are more early voting hours on nights and weekends in republican counties. former ohio governor ted strickland who is a co-chair of president obama' recollection re-election effort joins us on this next.
we're not 7-eleven, we can't stay open 24/7 and let anyone vote by any rule that they want to. we have standards. the debate about voting this year in the state of ohio continues mostly with the republicans' effort to cut off the last three days of early voting. but what no one in power in ohio has yet answered for is the republican effort in ohio to allow people to vote early on nights and weekends. in republican leaning counties, but to not make the night and weekend early voting hours available for voters in democratic counties. joining us now for an interview
is former ohio governor ted strickland, who is co chair of obama's re-election effort. governor strickland, thank you for being here. i appreciate your time. >> good to be with you, rachel. i'm happy to talk about this issue. it's very important to my state. >> in ohio, obviously, when ohioans go out to vote, it matters to the whole country because ohio is such a crucial swing state in every modern presidential election. this one is no exception. on this issue about different early voting hours and republican leaning counties and democratic leaning counties, is this a story of national significance? and is this a done deal or is this something that might yet be fixed and normalized across the state? >> well, it could be fixed. i don't know that it will be. but the fact is, rachel, i think it's become very clear as we have watched what has happened here in ohio and pennsylvania and florida and iowa and elsewhere, that the national leadership of the republican party is afraid of the american voter. and they are doing whatever they
can do to limit voting among those who are the most vulnerable. what i'm talking about is the minority population, our older citizens, our student population. and you know, when the secretary of state says we have standards, those standards ought to be consistent standards. but you have just mentioned something that is of great importance. some counties are going to allow expanded voting hours, and other counties will not be able to have that privilege. and as it turns out, as it turns out, in the democratic-leaning counties, those hours will be restricted. and in the republican-leaning counties, those hours will be expanded. and that is unfair. and it's something that could, it could possibly affect the outcome of the election in ohio. >> in terms of the last three days of early voting being cut off, we know that has been the subject of a lawsuit by the obama campaign in ohio and there's been some -- a little
bit of political wrangling over that, but a lawsuit has been filed. that's not specifically about that issue, about the desperate voting hours between different voting counties in ohio. do you anticipate that the obama campaign, which you're a co chair, do you anticipate that the campaign may also take some sort of legal action or attempt to intervene in some other way about the different hours county by county? >> well, rachel, this issue has just recently surfaced. "the cincinnati inquirer" has done some stories about it, and i think ohioans are only now becoming aware that this disparity is going to exist. and we all know about obviously the prohibition on voting in the last weekend days before the election. and four years ago, rachel, about 95,000 people voted during those three days. and so they have limited that, and the obama administration
with the ohio democratic party has brought suit to try to get that changed. but this issue about having inconsistent voting hours and opportunities from one county to another has only recently, i think, entered the public awareness. we'll have to see how this plays out as more and more people become aware of this really terrible situation. >> with the restrictions on early voting, with the disparate hours between different counties in the state, are you confident that the obama campaign, that the democratic party, that the other pro-obama forces in the state are going to be able to counter, essentially, those measures from the republicans with a strong enough get out the vote effort that they are going to be able to carry the state? >> well, i can tell you the obama campaign is alive and well in ohio. it's a robust campaign. there are more than 70 field offices open across our state, and work is being done from daylight to way past dark. and the fact is that it's showing in the polls. the president is looking very
strong in ohio. in all of the polls, and that lead seems to be increasing. but it will be a close race in ohio. you pointed out accurately, rachel, that ohio is always at the tip of the spear when it comes to deciding who the president is going to be. and i think that is also going to be the case this year. i think that this disparity among voting counties, republican counties versus county that is are democratic counties is so troubling to us. >> former ohio governor ted strickland, democrat, co-chairman of the president's re-election effort, thank you for being here. >> all right. we have something important to explain and something important and undercover in today's news. big finish tonight on the show. please stay with us.
okay. for those of us who are civilians, it can sometimes be hard to keep straight what a career path is like, what the different ranks mean, for example n the american military. yeah, we get to know what the basics are. we know what a general is, right? and for a general the more stars the better. even we civilians just know some of these things equally. we know that "saving private ryan" was about saving a relatively low ranking soldier and maybe know that the two bars on tom hanks' helmet means he's
not the private in question. he in fact is a captain. some of the stuff we just absorb even if we're civilians, we just absorb it through the news and movies and culture. it is worth appreciating though one important distinction about personnel in the u.s. army that we civilians i think don't always get. it took me awhile to learn it. there are two separate career paths in the u.s. army. this shows the officer career path for commissioned officers through officer candidate school or rotc or the service academy at west point for the army. you can start on the officer career path that starts at 2nd lieutenant, then 1st lieutenant, then captain, then major, then lieutenant colonel and a full bird colonel and then you're a general, one star and two star and so on. that's the career path. there is also a separate career path with different ranks for what they call enlisted personnel. this means you don't start at officer candidate school or rotc or west point. you enlist as a private. and then from there, the ranks rise through private first class and then specialist and then sergeant and staff sergeant, then sergeant first class, master sergeant, first sergeant, sergeant major and then command sergeant major. technically, there is one rank above command sergeant major but it's sergeant major of the army. there's only one person who holds that rank in the entire u.s. army at any one time.
only one person. so really command sergeant major is it. the way the army describes it, "enlisted soldiers who attain the distinction of being select by the department of the army for participation in the command sergeants major program are the epitome of success in their chosen field in this profession of arms. there is no higher grade of rank and there is no greater honor perhaps slightly wiser and more experienced than the first sergeant, the csm is, command sergeant major is expected to be calm, settled and unequivocally accurate but with an energy and enthusiasm that never wanes even in the worst of times. so we are all familiar even us civilians are all familiar with the packet that being a general is a really big deal in the army, right? being a command sergeant major is way less familiar to us just in terms of its terminology but in important ways it is just as big a deal. it is the top of the heap. it is the apex of the career army personnel status to which very few people ever hope to ascend on the enlisted side of
the army ranks. this is a picture of the leadership of the fourth combat brigade of the army's fourth infantry division based in fort carson, colorado. it's between 3500 and 3800 soldiers not counting a lot of support personnel. on the left, you see here the brigade's commander, colonel james mingus on the right is the command sergeant major. the rank i just explained. command saturday major, in this case, it is kevin j. griffin. both of these two men specifically, the leaders of the entire 4th brigade combat team were targets of a suicide attack in kunar province in afghanistan. two suicide bombers reportedly detonated explosive vests as these two soldiers walked to a meeting with afghan officials and tribal chiefs. the brigade commander colonel mingus was not injured in the attack but command sergeant major griffin was killed. that makes him the most senior
enlisted soldier from fort carson to die in the wars in iraq or afghanistan. the defense department is not saying this officially but based on our review of high profile casualties in both the wars in iraq and afghanistan, we think that command sergeant major xwrif griffin may be among the most senior u.s. service members killed in either war, period. major thomas kennedy and air force major walter gray were also killed in that same attack along with a state department official. of that attack as i said happened wednesday in evident eastern afghanistan. and then the next day on thursday, three marines were killed in southern afghanistan. and the latest so-called green on blue attack which is what the military calls attacks by people we thought were supposed to be allies. the three marines were reportedly shot and killed after they were invited to a meeting to discuss security. another u.s. service member was injured in that same incident. the gunman in that case escaped. that all happened after another
green on blue attack earlier this week, this one in eastern afghanistan in which a u.s. soldier was killed and two others were wounded again by a gunman described as wearing afghan army uniforms. nato says there have been 24 green on blue attacks in afghanistan since january which have killed 28 people. today a nato spokesman tried to put that number into perspective. >> however, we must not forget that for the time being, as we speak actually, we have 500,000 soldiers and policemen working side by side, building trust, building confidence, actually, many of them building friendship. fighting together, tighting the insurgency and bringing peace to this country. >> we are approaching the 11th anniversary of the war in afghanistan. starting this fall, we will be starting year 12.