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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  December 10, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm PST

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kind idealogical that as long as it's not me, i'm kind of okay for it to be you. but the problem is -- >> there but for the grace of god. >> there go i. >> thank you all. that is all in for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts now. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. watch. >> i cherish the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and equal opportunities. it is an ideal which i hope to live for and to achieve, but if needs be, it is an ideal for which i am prepared to die. >> president obama today in johannsberg quoting the words of nelson mandela in his extended eulogy at mr. mandela's memorial today held in a huge soccer
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stadium that had been built for the world cup in johannsberg. one of the others was raul castro, brother of fidel castro and lately the president of cuba. president obama's handshake with raul castro at this memorial service today does not seem to have been intended to have any diplomatic consequence other than being polite at a funeral. but it nevertheless caused a significant portion of the beltway and the american political right to get very, very excited today and not in a good way. senator john mccain went so far as to say today that the handshake with raul castro today was just like hitler. yes, that hitler, seriously, that's what he said. here at home tonight, the big news out of washington was the rather unexpected announced from republican congressman paul ryan and democratic senator patty murray that the two of them have come to an agreement. it's a bipartisan budget deal. if their deal does pass the house and does pass the senate
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by the end of this week, their plan would undo some of the pain of the sequester and make sure we don't have another government shutdown sometime in mid january. some washington conservative groups already said they were against this deal even before they knew what was in it today so who knows if the republicans in the house are going to be able to whip the votes necessary to get this thing passed. but unexpectedly tonight, it is at least on the table. in the senate said they took their votes to -- since the republicans lost the ability to block nominees with only a minority of votes. by winning majority votes in the senate, patricia millett was confirmed today to be a federal appeals court judge, and congressman mel watts was confirmed for a federal housing position. getting confirmed because a majority of senators voted for you didn't used to be a newsworthy thing in this country, but today that was big news in washington because it has not been that way for a
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along time now. but now that democrats have killed republicans' ability to filibuster nominations they're actually getting people through. and in massachusetts, voters have just chosen their newest member of congress. when john kerry was made secretary of state, his senate seat opened up. tonight massachusetts voters chose democrat catherine clark to take ed markey's old seat. didn't hurt that that district is pretty close to 100% democratic. and her republican opponent doesn't even live in the district. but congratulations are still in order, congresswoman catherine clark, democrat of massachusetts is due to be sworn in day after tomorrow. but today on the east coast, the snowstorm that was expected to snarl commutes and workdays and school days, ended up not being as big a storm as was feared.
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though it did dump snow and slush and cold wetness on scenes like this. it is the street out in front of the federal immigration facility in elizabeth, new jersey. elizabeth is a working class town about 15 minutes south of newark. and in elizabeth, new jersey today, in the very cold, very early morning, several dozen people gathered outside the immigration facility and they started chanting, not one more, not one more, meaning not one more deportation, not one more family separated by the way that we run immigration policy in this country. yesterday before they went out there this morning, eight of the protesters posted a video explaining why they were doing this, why they intended to head out into the street and get themselves arrested for this cause today. and then with the snow falling and the slush piling up, the activists laid themselves down in the freezing wet street
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outside the building that holds people before driving them away in a bus for deportation. we have been following protests like this one in other parts of the country for the last few months now, young people, usually young people, putting themselves in the way, physically in the way of these busses filled with their mothers on their way to being forced out of the country. in elizabeth today, they formed a human chain and they laid down in the snow covered street, the activists chained themselves together, but they put their arms inside these big pvc pipes when they did it so the authorities would have to be very careful. make the protests take longer so they would have a longer time to make their point. so in the end, firefighters and city police officers used small buzz saws to cut the pipes apart and then cut the chains apart and cut the activists apart, it took them about 20 minutes to cut all the locks and remove all the pipes and take those eight protesters off to jail. those activists today are trying
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to persuade congress to pass immigration reform, specifically they're trying to persuade republicans in the house. that was this summer, and now it's cold and month after month has drained away since the senate acted. house republicans have never brought it up for a vote and now there's almost no time left. the house leaves town for the year on friday. which means that speaker boehner has to bring up immigration reform tomorrow if he is going to bring it up this session at all. supporters have been fasting for a month now on the national mall in washington, d.c., they've gone without food, they have been talking to everybody who stops by about what they are fasting for. they have been visited by the
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president, by members of congress from both sides of the aisle, democrats and republicans, they say they have twice rain to house speaker john boehner personally but they have not heard back from him. yesterday they posted this picture of the activists trying to talk to speaker boehner, asking him to please allow a vote in the house before the session is over. dana milbank at "the washington post" reports that unless john boehner surprises everybody and agrees to bring the bill up for a vote, those people who have been fasting on the mall in d.c. are planning to announce that they will be folding up their tents there and they will be moving to on to new strategies. it would be one thing if immigration reform was just a democratic priority that republicans were against and since they hold the house, they can stop it. but that's not actually true about immigration reform. republicans say they want it too. republicans began this political season saying that immigration reform was something they wanted to do for their own party's interests.
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i mean the tears had scarcely dried on mitt romney's headquarters in november when republicans in the media started saying that his anti-immigration stance had been wrong in the campaign and was a mistake in both policy and politics. it was not long after this election before the republican party said, you know what? we ought to be calling for immigration reform now too. mitt romney was wrong, we need to move on. >> immigration? >> it's an important issue that i think ought to be dealt with. i think a comprehensive approach is long overdue. and i'm confident that the president, myself, others, can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all. >> we not only need phds in science and technology, we need skilled workers and we need unskilled workers and we need to have an immigration policy that is good economic policy. >> he we got to get rid of the
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immigration policy all together. aye sit simple for me to fix it. you control the border first, you create a pathway for those people that are here. >> all november 8, those are all immediately after the election. in the aftermath of losing that last election, losing seats in it house, losing seats in the senate, republicans have continued calling for immigration reform on republicans' own terms. congressman paul ryan who had been mitt romney's running mate. he started speaking in moving terms the immigration reforms being absolutely in keeping with republican conservative principles. these are not immigrant activists sitting in a tent on the mall, these are the leaders of the republican party saying that want to get it done, and they have had all year, and they haven't done anything. neither have they done anything else.
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the congress, the one now limping to a close, has passed fewer laws than any congress in modern history. they have made history for doing less than anyone, ever. in legislative temples. they have made such little forward progress it can't be seen with the naked eye. if you're one of those people who has wanted this congress to do something this year, you have been out of luck, congress had not done anything it wanted to do. this congress right now is just now in the business of doing things. so if you wanted them to do something, they haven't done it. now, on the other hand, there are also people who have been hoping that congress would not suddenly wake from its long slumber, who have been hoping that congress should just snooze along for a new more days. last month president obama announced a historic deal with iran. it reached an agreement in which the u.s. and other countries
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would ease up on sanctions in iran. iran would either stop or slow down much of its nuclear program for six months while also allowing international inspectors to visit their nuclear facilities every day for six months. and during those six months negotiations would continue for a longer term. it was a historic deal to work on a deal. essentially a first step, but a really important first step that was really hard to get to. inspectors were there on the ground in iran this weekend. their work has already started, the deal is already in effect. the only problem is congress. lawmakers in both houses on both sides of the aisle have been saying, forget this deal, we hate this deal, we want more sanctions on iran now. if they succeeded, if they passed new sanctions, the new agreement with iran would be off immediately. iran has been very clear on that.
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if new sanctions passed, the entire thing would be lost as soon as they passed. everybody who likes that there's this deal with iran, a potential diplomatic solution to this vexing problem, everybody's been saying, hey, congress, don't screw this up. secretary of state john kerry was trying to persuade congress not to mess this up. and it appears, maybe, and maybe just for now, that john kerry has won that argument. at least for now. or at least it appears that congress can't get its act together enough to pass the sanctions. after a year of record futility, congress's inability to do anything might have saved them their best efforts to screw up and undo a huge diplomatic achievement. so congratulations, they have failed to fail. this congress has set new benchmarks for incompetence and inability and do nothingness and obstruction, nobody has ever been worse than this congress in the history of there willing congress.
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and if you wanted this congress to act for your cause like say immigration reform, it is undoubtedly been a very frustrating year. but if you wanted them to not act, for their own cause, that you thought was a bad idea, well then, that's the bright side. their ineptitude and fundamental incompetence may finally have done you some good, they may have failed at their worst idea. joining us now is a member of the council on foreign relations. he is the author of the new book "nuclear nightmares: securing the world." >> i am thrilled to be here. >> my sense is that congress
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really does want to pass these sanctions on iran, they might very well have enough support in both houses to do it. and that if they had done it, this deal with iran, this fragile first step deal with iran would have been kaput immediately. is that true? >> the deal explicitly rules out any new sanctions, it's a deal negotiated between the u.n. security council and germany and iran, so it's a seven-nation deal. so if the congress patches new sanctions it would kill the deal. one of the benefits of a do nothing congress is those times where you really don't want them to do anything. do no harm, thankfully it looks like they won't get a chance. >> you are the nation's -- i think most a articulate advocate for the idea of downscaling nuclear weapons to the point of disappearance and taking care of both the nuclear threats and proliferation threats as they exist around the world. how impressed are you by the terms of the deal in iran that
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now has not been screwed up? is it an important first step? is it possible that it will fail after six months and congress might want to revisit the issue of sanctions? >> it's absolutely possible it might fail. the president himself gave this a 50/50 chance of success. this is just phase one of the deal. it freezes the iranian program in place, so that while you negotiate they're not -- they can't turn on any of the centrifuges that are operating. this does what netanyahu wanted a year ago. he warned that if they continue to enrich uranium they could continue to cross lines. it pushes them further away from the ability to bolt. so now that your sanctions that the congress passed and the executive actions that the president has taken have worked, you have iran at the table, you've stopped the table, you're working on a long-term deal
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don't screw it up by adding more sanctions by thinking that you can coerce iran go into even better terms of a deal. >> if the point of sanctions was to get them to the table, now they're at the table. it doesn't seem that complicated. if the u.s. does succeed with this deal, and as you said, it remains to be seen, but if progress is made down this path, the other vexing nuclear problem in the world in terms of -- would be rogue states would be north korea. if we can make progress by these means, does it potentially open up any doors to north korea? >> you often hear people talk about states like iran and north korea. if you can solve iran, if six months from now you can get a final agreement that dismantles large portions of the program that puts it under excruciating inspections that you can be assured that they're not going
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to get a bomb, you have already solved half the problem, and that might serve as an incentive for north korea to negotiate a deal and for those countries around it to try this same combinations, and if you can do that, if you can solve north korea, you're really looking at the end of proliferation, this wave that has spread over the last 68 years since hiroshima it might actually have crested and come to a full halt, that is historic. >> could be done with diplomacy, as long as congress can't get its act together to screw it up. i love that we're dependent on that at this point. keep tripping. the new book is called "nuclear nightmares: securing the world before it is too late." i blurbed it and i usually don't do that. >> thanks for having me on. >> all right, we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] here's a question for you:
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subject to public records request. that's why you can hear on local news in wisconsin today. it's why we get to gawk at 911 -- calls to the emergency services in most cases end all being in the public domain. and when the mass shootings happened almost a year ago now in newtown, connecticut, there were two types of 911 calls that were made that way, people calling on cell phones, they had their called routed to state police. people calling from land lines were largely routed to the local police and it was those calls that were subject to public record. newtown did not want the audio of those calls to be released. the stayed tried to shield those calls from the media. the state investigator went to court to try to keep the sound
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of those calls from being publicly released. last week over the objections of many of the victims families and the town and the investigators, those tapes were released and every media outlet had its own choice to make about whether or not to air them and most organizations did not air those tapes. some did, including incredibly to air the tapes essentially because of their entertainment value. because there was essentially nothing that the public learned. that was not only already known about the incident or could not be discerned from transcripts. including the sounds of the gunshots that were fired at those kids and toads teachers. why did we need to hear that?
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every news outlet -- for and its executives can live with when they wake up in the morning and look at those in the mirror. but on the day the tapes were released this sign was put up, vulture media, you got your tapes, are you happy? obviously it is nothing official and whoever put this up on the day the 911 tapes were played is not speaking but you get the whole point. in newtown, connecticut, over the last year, the town has taken pretty extraordinary measures to try to take care of itself as a community, not just in terms of handling their own grief for what they went through, but also handling the additional burden, the additional pain that has been caused by the intense national interest, the intense national concern for that town and for it's families and those kids. as we have been approaching december 14, which will mark one year since the massacre at
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newtown, the public officials have twice now organized events for the media to say, in essence, set up your cameras now, get whatever it is you need to meet the demand for information about newtown and this anniversary, but let us do this on our own terms so we have some control over our inundated we are with media requests a and with the physical presence of thea and with the emotional toll that it takes on the town and the survivors. >> we truly are hoping that we have provided enough opportunity with the print media and the tv media and particularly the local media, to answer questions and give the media the story that i know that the world's going to want to hear on the first anniversary. >> we went through this at the
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end of the last school year. we went through it when we reopened the sandy hook school last january. we went through it when we opened the school year this year. we went through it when there was an interest in the demolition of sandy hook school, and people we went through it after one of the reports was released that people are looking for background footage. we went through it even at halloween, people were trying to come up to one of our schools to get pictures of the kids from sandy hook school in their halloween costumes. >> there's many of you and not so many of us so we pay that emotional and economic toll and really we were hurt very badly last year as you all know, we don't need to be reminded, we don't need to relive it. we live it every day, we carry it with us, which are fully aware of our tragedy. so we're trying to say to the world, please give us a chance to grow into that really happy healthy place that loves children and families, who have
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great schools. we need you to help us get there by please staying away. >> do you feel like -- >> newtown, connecticut, does not have a mayor, they have a board of selectmen and the first selectman is the highest ranking official in the town. that's the woman speaking there. she has tried to absorb the public's interest, tried to shield the town from the media so they can be left alone to mark one year since the shooting in their own way. so as the media and all of us try to figure out how to do right by that community, which has been through so much and who we all feel so much for, there's also the question of the families themselves. if you want to support the families of the kids in the school staff members who were killed at sandy hook, there's nothing wrong with that feeling, if you want to reach out to them, if you want in some small way to try to help them, is there a right way to do that that isn't going cause more harm
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than you intend? if all you want to do is help without hurting, is there a way to do that? on the same day that city officials held that media event that we just showed, the families who lost their kids or their mom or their sister or their wife at sandy hook elementary, they also spoke in newtown, connecticut, yesterday and they tried to answer the question of the right way to help, to express your feels and your interest for them and your questions. if you want to know about each individual person lost that day, if you want to help them honor the memory that is constructive for the people who love them, this website which they unveiled yesterday is one way that the families say you can do that in a way that help and not hurt. it's called my sandy hook family.org. the site is a way the families feel comfortable about for people to learn about their loved ones and their children who were killed. like that jessica rico loved killer whales or that dylan
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hockley thought that lightning was beautiful and he called it beautiful. the website directs you to the foundations and the causes that the families are supporting or that they have set up themselves to honor their lost child or their lost family member. one of the 6-year-olds lost, ben he loved beetles songs, his parents never let him skip a page when they were reading a book and he was anxiously awaiting the loss of his first tooth. the goal is simply to help the kids of newtown heal from what happened in their town last year. the families of the victims are doing what they can to not only mediate their own interaction with the world that is so intensively concerned and interested and full of feeling about what happened but also to speak authoritatively with their own voice on their own terms in a way that nobody else can claim
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to speak for them because they are speaking themselves on their own terms in their own way, my sandy hook family.org. [ male announcer ] at his current pace, bob will retire when he's 153, which would be fine if bob were a vampire. but he's not. ♪ he's an architect with two kids and a mortgage. luckily, he found someone who gave him a fresh perspective on his portfolio. and with some planning and effort, hopefully bob can retire at a more appropriate age. it's not rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. hmm. mm-hmm. [ engine revs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] oh what fun it is to ride. get the mercedes-benz on your wish list at the winter event going on now --
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congestion, for the smog. but there are a lot of people that do ride the bus. and now that the buses are running on natural gas, they don't throw out as much pollution into the air. so i feel good. i feel like i'm doing my part to help out the environment.
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my name is francine wheeler. my husband is with me. we live in sandy hook. our older son nate, soon to be ten years old is a fourth grader
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at sandy hook elementary school. our younger son, ben, age 6, was murdered in his first grade classroom on december 14th. >> we're never going to stop being ben's parents and that's complemented and made difficult by being the best parents we can be for nate, who has his own journey. >> yeah, he -- nate said right after ben died, he said, this is tough. but he said, you promised you would protect us. >> yeah. >> and i did promise him that. >> sure. >> you know? so what do i say to him? i can't change what happened. i know it wasn't our fault. we just sent him to school, but i'll do whatever i can to help protect nate and protect ben's spirit.
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>> david and francine wheeler. david and francine, thank you both for being here. thank you both for being here. we are coming up on one year since it happened, and i can't imagine that it was an easy decision to make yourselves publicly available again to talk about this as we come up on one year. how did you make that decision and how do you feel about that one-year anniversary? >> we don't exactly now how we're going to feel on that day. i am -- i'm all over the map about it. we have decided to focus on nate and decided to spend time together as a family. we have decided to distract ourselves a little bit, see some things we might not otherwise see. but, you know, as has happened
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so often in the past 11 months, we don't really know what's going to happen. so we're just going to try and stay open and be kind and be loving and do our best. >> i think what david is saying is that we can't really plan, we just sort of go with our feeling in the moment, you know? >> yeah. >> so if we plan to do something special, we can always cancel that or do it later or -- so how we're feeling, like how i'm feeling right now is sad and angry, but that's a usual feeling. >> do you feel like looking back at the last year as time has passed there's any advice that you would have given yourselves on how to survive, how to be kind to each other, how -- >> i would tell myself certainly just take it easy and don't always, you know -- don't always believe yourself right away.
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take a second and take a step back and see what exactly is going on and if that's a good thing or not a good thing. see how you can direct things in that way. >> feel your instincts but not necessarily follow them always? >> that's a good way to put it, sure. >> being gentle with yourself. >> with everyone. >> the decision to be part of the my sandy hook family.org project, the thing that really strikes me about this is that it is on your own terms, putting out the information that you want to put out, that you want to be known, and it is speaking authoritatively in your own voice, nobody can say that they're speaking for you. what is valuable to you about this way of moving forward? >> it's an honest way to share with the public, and if your family, for example, who's very
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private but you want to honor your child or your mom or your wife, this is an opportunity for you to do that in a safe place. we get all the information. we are in control of the information that is released to the public. if the public wants to know what the families are thinking about something, if there's an answer, and sometimes we don't have one, but if we have an answer, that's a very accurate place for you to find it. where, you know, this is a group of people who respect one another and have come to realize that we can lean on each other. because we understand how the other people feel. >> in a way that nobody else really does? >> that's right. >> that is a separate initiative, this website, done by some of the sandy hook promise. and sandy hook promise, they've been doing parent together, to try to turn things in a constructive way that could help
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other communities. that work is also informed by some of the families at least a and it seems like everybody's working together hand in hand but doing different things going in some different directions. >> the creation of my sandy hook family.org website was a very healing experience for me and i think it was very healing for a number of the people involved so that's been good. and it is a separate and completely distinct initiative from the families alone. some of the things we talked about in january are ideas that have been put forward by the parent together program from sandy hook promise. but they certainly reason -- resonate with what i believe and some of the things we talked about. the idea being the parent or grandparent, their love for
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their children is such a strong area of common ground that we can actually put aside political division and we can actually put aside this inability to make any progress and talk about something that everyone can agree on. it's a terrific place to start, i think it's really important. >> david, one of the things that you said in january, i went back and i read the full transcripts of our whole conversations that day. one of the things you said struck me in that you were talking about policy changes and if there's going to be any policy changes in reaction to the nation's grief. you said the kind of policy changes we need is going to take longer than the careers of any legislators in office right now. we need to do things that are going to get us on course right now. >> the legislative part of it is really important. it still is, and april was a disappointment when we were in washington and things didn't go the way we hoped they might. this is a bigger matter than that, this is a matter of parents talking together and communicating together in a way that supercedes any particular
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ideological boundary. you know, one of the things that the promise did recently was to talk to parents of all ideologies and many, many different faiths all over the country and it's not surprising that when they started talking about parents desire to make the country safer for their children, everyone is in agreement. it's a very simple, common place to start. >> we have got links to my sand sandy hook family.org and also to the sandy hook family promise and some of what they're doing posted on our website tonight. and i just want to thank you personally for having these conversations with me. whenever you want to talk with me, open door and it's an honor that you guys are willing to be here. [ male announcer ] if you suffer from a dry mouth then you'll know how uncomfortable it can be. [ crickets chirping ] but did you know that the lack of saliva can also lead to tooth decay and bad breath? [ exhales deeply ] [ male announcer ] well there is biotene. specially formulated with moisturizers and lubricants,
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in the middle of the financial meltdown in 2008 and 2009, it looked like general motors was going to go kaput. as part of the overall rescue effort, the federal government decided to try to save gm with a bailout. and conservatives knew at the time, they just knew that it was going to be a total disaster. there was no way that the government could save gm. >> it's just postponing the inevitable. this is a dead end, it's a road to nowhere. >> you can't call it a bailout, because that might be too honest a statement to our citizens, so we call it a bridge loan. it's a bridge loan to nowhere.
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do we really think the federal government knows anything about the car business? >> you know what's going to happen. congressmen are going to be causing the president of general motors to drive his hybrid car to washington to talk about hiring your grandmother, what kind of car you're going to have, they're not going to be having time to making any cars. >> despite his worries about you lobbying for your grandmother to get hired down at the auto plant. senator lamar alexander and the other doomsayers republicans back then were wrong. the government has now sold off the last of its shares in gm is to the bailout is actually over. the taxpayer cost was about 10.5 billion to save gm. the center for automotive research has now reported that if the government had decided not to bail out gm in 2009, it would have cost the u.s. economy
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almost 1.9 million jobs that year and the next. lost tax revenues, unemployment revenues for those 2 million unemployed people would have add another $40 billion in costs to the taxpayers, so we can see now this retrospect that this was the choice, don't bail out gm and it will cost you $40 billion or do bailout gm but it will cost $10.5 billion. since since the bailout, gm has now been profitable for 15 straight quarters, and it's thinking about paying a dividend to it's stockholders because of it's strong growth and because it sitting on so much cash from selling so many cars that people like. bailout done, bailout worked. and to add a little historic icing to the cake, gm today just
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named their new ceo, her name is mary berra and she's been with general motors for 33 years. not only did she work her way up from the bottom rungs of the company, she is the first woman head of an automaker in the world. her retirement now coincides with that government bailout wrapping up as being a success. one other note, though, of course nobody who got bailed out in the financial crisis did nearly as well as the big banks and the wall street firms that caused the crisis in the first place. but today those interests did finally lose a round in washington. all the key regulatory agencies in washington today voted to enact something called the volcker rule. the rule essentially aims to
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re-establish the old rules that had been put in place after the great depression that said banks can't gamble with your money. today's decision will start to put the wall back up between banks which are supposed to be safe and the kind of wall street wheeling and dealing that crashed the global economy in 2008. banks hate the volcker rule, and they spent millions of dollars lobbying against it but they lost. more to come, stay with us. [ woman ] too weak. wears off. [ female announcer ] stop searching and start repairing. eucerin professional repair moisturizes while actually repairing very dry skin. the end of trial and error has arrived. try a free sample at eucerinus.com.
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at nelson mandela's memorial, president obama was one of five heads of state to speak today, and he was greeted with a huge ovation. >> we would like to now welcome to the stage and to the podium and ask him to address, president barack obama! [ cheers and applause ] >> that cheering, foot stomping
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take the energy quiz. energy lives here. we will never see the likes of nelson mandela again. but let me say to the young people of africa, and the young people around the world, you too can make his life's work your own. >> president obama today at the memorial service for former south african president nelson mandela. the political reaction in the country to mr. mandela's death has been one of universal praise for him and the example he set throughout his life. and as nice as that reaction feels, it would be weird and wrong if that reaction obscured the fact that support for mandela's political cause, support even for nelson mandela's personal freedom in his lifetime was no sure bet in
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america especially on the america right. this is something that sort of disappeared down the memory hole. if you needed to be reminded of it, look no further than the american far right today. here is the cover of this week's edition of the world net daily magazine. they have one. this is their commemorative nelson mandela edition. see. icon. get it, nelson mandela was a con man. a communist wolf in sheep's clothing who managed to fool the world. he was a con artist. world net daily ran a poll last week after mr. mandela passed, asking their readers how do you assess the life and work of nelson mandela? the leading response was this one, he was a violent communist revolutionary who never should have been released from prison. in the mid-1980s, as the american political world was rallying to mandela's side and uniting against the south african government, the
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political right was in the midst of a big civil war on this issue. the republican president ronald reagan was opposed to sanctions against the apartheid government, and had backup from the religious right which found itself in solidarity with south africa's racist government. democratic members of congress were drawing up sanctions against south africa's racist apartheid government, and there was the reverend jerry falwell arm in arm with south africa's president. >> falwell will return to the united states urging american companies to invest in south africa and urging the senate to vote against economic sanctions next month. >> urging investment in south africa, not divestment, but investment. nelson mandela had been in jail more than 20 years. american conservatives on the religious right were leading the charge against him and his african national congress, leading the charge in support of the apartheid government.
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it was pat robertson taking of the anti-mandela cause. and i don't thinning they understand what they're dealing with. the religious right was joined by their allies in congress. among them, republican senator jesse helms of north carolina who filibustered a bill in the senate to impose sanctions against south africa. they were also joined by their ally, future vice president, dick cheney, then just a back bench republican congressman from wyoming one willing to take a stand against sanctions and divestment. the conservative heritage foundation argued in the 1980s, the u.s. should stop advocating for the release of mandela. eventually his veto was overturned. the sanctions did put extraordinary pressure on the south african government and nelson mandela was released from prison after 27 years. though mate seem that opposing nelson mandela, something that couldn't have happened in this country. it did.
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it didn't go away. when nelson mandela came to the u.s. in 1994 to deliver a joint address to congress, one republican congressman from california called the invitation to mandela, a national disgrace, >> some right-wing groups are already opposing the bipartisan budget deal that was announced at the capitol tonight. but that doesn't mean it is a good deal. we could have the details of a budget deal as early as today. >> hap to report. >> senator murray and i have reached an agreement. >> something that almost never happens. >> congress hasn't passed a budget in foea

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