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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  May 22, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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thanks for being with us tonight. lawrence o'donnell will be here tonight by phone and we have some breaking news on the irs to discuss with him, but first, why did democrats decide to get onboard with these benghazi hearings? one name comes to mind, hillary clinton. >> new questions today about the benghazi select committee. >> another fight on capitol hill. >> yesterday, nancy pelosi appointed five dems to that committee. >> how much is about protecting hillary clinton? >> she is the presumptive nominee. >> democrats are going to do what they can. >> defense team to protect hillary clinton. >> everybody keeps warning might be a, quote, circus. >> no question this is going to evolve into a circus. >> we must not politicize it. >> this is not about politics. >> political side show. >> monumental waste of time and taxpayer dollars. >> red herring, waste of time.
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>> i stand by my statement of monumental waste and waste of time. >> probably a witch hunt. >> what will the republicans do? >> they do want to tie this to clinton as much as possible. >> secretary clinton can fend for herself. >> what difference at this point does it make? it is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prooent it from ever happening again. >> trust me, she can handle herself. >> good evening, i'm ari melber in for lawrence o'donnell. you have probably heard some of the numbers, eight investigations and reports into benghazi, 25,000 documents, and now, one new committee devoted entirely to that 2012 attack, which killed four americans. democrats just named their members to the house committee, and today, congressman elijah cummings began outlining his party's approach to the republicans' benghazi obsession. >> we needed to be in the room, because somebody has to be the
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defender of the truth, and somebody has to challenge the untruths in a very effective way, and so although it may -- we may not like the idea that it's going on, we have to be in the room. i'm still trying to figure out what the purpose of it is, this special committee, because we have had now an arb report, we've had two bipartisan senate reports, we've had the four reports coming out of the house, and even the armed services ranking member said, basically, enough is enough. >> the democrats' decision to engage here, certainly, is about patrolling the truth in the committee, but it's also about a potential debate that can spill into 2016, and lately it's become clear that republicans have their sights set on the person they believed is their biggest threat here, hillary clinton.
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politico reports that people close to hillary had urged democratic leadership to make sure the former secretary isn't openly exposed to partisan attacks in the investigation. just who and how close those sources really are to hillary is not known. here's what we do know, republican congressman trey gowdy, the chair of this new committee, has all but confirmed he's going to call hillary as a witness. "without specific reference to any individual, if someone has knowledge surrounding a relevant fact, i would expect the committee to talk to him, you're a smart guy, do you think she has knowledge surrounding any relevant facts?" you have to love those rhetorical questions on the hill. congressman cummings says hillary clinton doesn't need anybody's help. >> did you communicate with hillary clinton representatives or anyone from that team? >> no, no. i believe that -- let me be clear, i believe that secretary clinton can fend for herself.
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>> and let me be clear, before the select committee's investigation has even started here, republicans are already choosing to politicize the benghazi attacks. they are not allowing democrats to subpoena witnesses and by actively fundraising for the congressional campaign committee, a fact we will continue to report, they are endangering their legitimacy. in fact, according to a poll by, yes, fox news, 63% of voters already say republicans investigating these attacks are doing it for political reasons. joining me now to break it down is former vermont governor howard dean and joy reid, host of msnbc's "the reid report." welcome to you both. >> thank you. >> governor, i want to start with hillary clinton piece of this. you know, having run the party and having run for president, if you're running for president or near running for president, there's a lot of people that will say they are close to you and acting on your behalf, so we don't know from the reporting today just who may have talked to the house for hillary.
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what do you make, though, of the moment of unity here that we're hearing from everyone, which is however the democrats participate, hillary did just fine the time she testified? >> well, first of all, let's not forget the roots of politico in the right, it was financed by joe albright, who was a right wing texan before he passed away. second of all, this is the worst kind of washington story, it's completely unsourced. for all we know, they are making it up. not unprecedented. so i would discount the idea democrats are worried about this, because there's no evidence for that whatsoever. secondly, i -- you know, this is, obviously, political. who knows why boehner decided to do this. it's a great rallying cry for the republican base, but the average american, even as reported by fox, which is not exactly an unbiased source, believes this is a political investigation. so, i suppose they think they can get some mileage out of this. i don't see how they do it.
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i think it's mostly to fundraise and they are doing a lot of fundraising off four dead americans. >> they certainly are, and i think that is one of the more troubling parts of this, even though we have some, you know, we're somewhat accustomed, joy, to how ugly it can be, that's a particular ugly part of the republicans. i want to play that clinton testimony in a more full passage. take a listen to it from january. >> with all due respect, the fact is, we had four dead americans. was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some americans? what difference, at this point, does it make? it is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again. >> i got to tell you, that moment stands out, because the what difference does it make test applies to every weirdo conspiracy theory that has come up from the bowels of the right wing machine here, does it matter and when did you figure it out or what difference does
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it make if it was hillary or susan who went on a tv interview? >> the only part that gets played back over and over and the fever swamp territory on the right, and for the republicans around this committee, and i think the reason so many republicans in the house wanted to be on the committee, what they want and what they need to serve their base, to make their base happy, is to have a clip of them pointing at hillary clinton and saying, did you watch the benghazi attacks on a closed-circuit tv? absurd, already disproven, a fantasy, but that clip is valuable to each and every republican, or asking her, why didn't you send help? there was a military assist that actually went and engaged those terrorists who attacked the compound in benghazi, but they don't believe any military ever showed up and these fever conspiracies, which are consistent among the base of the republican party, republicans have value for themselves for their re-elections and for the party's sort of fundraising and also to keep the base engaged in
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saying, i demanded that hillary clinton answer these questions. >> right, and you're picking up on -- go ahead, governor. >> i'm not so sure i agree with all of that. i got to believe that this is going to hurt the republican party. i mean, you're going to have these guys, they are foaming at the mouth, carrying on. you know, already got darrell issa doing all this stuff. this does not make the republican party look statesmanlike. here's the dynamic, most people have a positive opinion of hillary clinton and admire, most admired woman in america, i think, four years in a row, so when you attack that person, and nobody knows who you are, and believe me, nobody knows who these republicans are on this committee, or the democrats, for that matter, except inside the beltway, it diminishes you. so i keep thinking the republicans are diminishing themselves by doing this, and i'm trying to figure out why. i'm sure it will help them in their home districts. this does not help the republican party get a majority. >> well, and that's, i think, what you're saying actually goes to the connection between the two points, governor. you're talking about whether this helps the republican party
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as a collective body, and its interests may be very far from, i think, what joy's eluding to, individual re-election, and john boehner who's always caught between those things and looks like a pretzel because of it is striking a little bit of a different tone. take a listen to him today here on the investigation. >> i wouldn't be expecting you're going to see a lot very soon. both democrats and republicans have to hire staff, the committees are required to turn over their committee records to the select committee. they are going to have to time -- they are going to have to have time to go through all of those documents. they are going to have to decide what do we know and what don't we know and then figure out how to go get it, and so it's -- it's going to be awhile, i think, before we see a whole lot here. >> so, joy, if you listen to frank wolf and darrell issa, this is the most exciting moment of truth to get hillary clinton ever.
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and if you listen to john boehner today, hey, you guys, this is pretty boring stuff. >> well, because john boehner understands what governor dean said is true, this is terrible writ large for the republican brand, make no mistake with middle of the road voters, moderates, independents, but john boehner, his whole career as speaker of the house has been trying to balance what is good for republicans as a brand and what this narrow, but very vocal, very animated part of his base, the fever swamp wing, now has incredible sway over the party and can make them do things that are terrible for their brand. this is just one example. >> governor? >> i would agree with that. i just -- i don't get this. i can't figure out john boehner. some days i think he's just fearful of the far right, of 80 people in his party, and some days he stands up to them. i just don't quite understand why he did this, especially after darrell issa made such a fool of himself.
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i don't get this at all. republicans are not dumb. they understand national politics, at least as well and maybe better sometimes than democrats do. this is exactly what they don't want, is more moderate. these guys running this thing are the people who thought obama was a muslim and was born in kenya. i just don't get it. i don't get it. >> yeah, there's an aspect of it i don't get, and i do think it goes to the collective of the party versus the individual, but it may turn out like the affordable care act and the so-called weakness in ukraine, you hear a lot about it until obama works it out, and then they want the topic to go away. harder to make the topic go away when you devote a standing committee to it. don't know if they've thought that far ahead. governor dean and joy reid, thank you both for your thoughts tonight. >> thank you. >> you can catch "the reid report" weekdays at 2:00 p.m. eastern here on msnbc. that show is name after joy reid. that's a fact. coming up, lawrence
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o'donnell joins me, because there's real news about the irs scandal, where they replaced the word exclusive, which led tea party group it is to think they were being attacked. he's here, that is next, and the legacy of harvey milk gets a big honor today from the u.s. government and his nephew, stuart milk, joins us for an exclusive discussion of that legacy as same-sex marriage bans are falling all around the country. and in the wake of the nba's push to get donald sterling out, a renewed call for the nfl to pressure the washington team to finally change its name. the nfl has responded. we have that all coming up. . captain: this is a tip. bellman: thanks, captain obvious. captain: and here's a tip. when you save money on hotel rooms, it's just like saving money on anything else that costs money. like shoes, textiles, foreign investments, spatulas, bounty hunters, javelins... marge: you know, there's a more enjoyable way to get your fiber.
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[ male announcer ] to celebrate, visit your local benjamin moore dealer today and get $50 off every $250 purchase. today las vegas and cincinnati pulled out of the running to be host cities for the 2016 republican convention. if you're counting, that leaves cleveland, dallas, denver, and kansas city. now, coming up we're going to talk about the real irs scandal with a very special guest, lawrence o'donnell.
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it's about people. we are volvo of sweden. and we turn to breaking news tonight on a story you may be familiar with. >> today, on day 197 of the fake irs scandal, the treasury department announced that it will clarify the regulation concerning political activity of tax exempt social welfare organizations. >> that will only very slightly improve the government's ability to clean up the political abuse that occurs within 501c4 organizations, but the only change that is actually needed
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in the irs regulation is the complete erasure of that regulation. even the obama version of the irs regulation will remain in stark conflict with the law as written. >> and during the debate over the law as written, the irs received a record breaking 150,000 comments from the public about its attempt to clarify just how much political activity a so-called 501c4 social welfare organization can engage in, including this one, "enforce the law as written, civic leagues or organizations operating exclusively for the promotion of social welfare." and today, we can report to you the irs announced given the diversity of views expressed, "we've concluded it would be more efficient and useful to hold political hearing after we publish a revised proposed regulation. treasury and the irs remain committed to providing updated
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standards of tax exemption that are fair, clear, and easier to administer." lawrence o'donnell joins me by phone right now. how are you? >> pretty good, ari. this is a good day for delaying doing a bad thing, which is what they might end up doing in the end anyway. >> yeah, lawrence, i was going to ask you, logic doesn't always prevail in these kind of rule making processes. what's happening here and what do you make of it? >> well, look, the law couldn't be simpler, and i comment -- they open up, when they are doing a new regulation, they open it up for comment, so i sent in a comment, which simply said, "enforce the law as written." that was my comment to the irs. i wasn't the only one who did that. i know there were some organizations in washington who are pushing in that direction, but most people are pushing in a direction of saying, let us continue to abuse this and let us decide how we should define who is allowed to abuse the
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501c4 status. and the crazy thing about it, ari, the only reason to use 501c4 status is to hide your donors. if you could not use 501c4 status for your political activities, you could set up another way of doing it that would financially work out exactly the same way, but it would reveal who's actually giving you the money, and so that's pretty much what it's about. you know, they've got 50 years now of interpreting this the wrong way, a 50-year-old regulation, which changed the meaning of the law from exclusively to primarily, and i think it's been very hard for the obama administration to basically steer against that 50-year momentum of doing the wrong thing. but ultimately, if they just took the position and forced the law as written, i would love to hear the republican argument against enforcing the law as written.
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>> yeah, and lawrence, you mention all these comments, 150,000, people sometimes forget that in this kind of rule making we still have this somewhat clunky, but fundamentally democratic process where people can, as you did, send in a comment. are you surprised at all that there's been, as the irs said, overwhelming interest in this issue? is it more about politics than taxes? >> it is about politics. i know a lot of the people who are working on this issue at the irs and treasury trying to get this right. they all know that this regulation is in direct conflict with the law. they know that the one they proposed is also in direct conflict with the law. it makes them sick. they hate doing this, going through this process. they would love to simply enforce the law as written, and it is one of the simplest irs code sentences in existence, it would be so easy to enforce it, and, you know, they are being tortured into the problem, the
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perception problem i think the obama administration thinks they have, if they suddenly said we're going to enforce the law as written, that would mean absolutely no tea party organizations are allowed to have this status, no political organizations, including liberal ones, but the coverage of this has always been tilted and is always suggested that the tea party is suffering uniquely, you know, a scrutiny under the 501c4 law, when, in fact, all the political organizations were. what happened after this scrutiny is every single one of them was approved, so they are getting away with this kind of tax larceny that's going on. >> to your point, irs commissioner john koskinen laid out the same distinction. let's take a listen to that real quick. >> as you know, the statute says that you should be exclusively a social welfare organization, regulation issued in 1959 by the irs said you should be primarily
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a social welfare organization. had somebody in 1959 said the statute says exclusively, so you can't do anything but social welfare activities, you know, life would have been different and we probably wouldn't have had this problem. >> so what point do you and the irs commissioner and the people who actually study and care about tax law prevail in the next round of this thing? >> look, i think you just heard where the irs commissioner's heart lies, which is let's just enforce the law as written, but the only thing that's preventing us from getting to there is a political perception on the democratic side that, oh, this will look -- this will look as though we're trying to shut down tea party operations if we do. and the funny thing is, it doesn't shut down anything, because you use different headings for your organization, you can still do all exactly the same stuff. but, you know, the good thing is, that today the irs announced, we are not going to go forward with another
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regulation, rewriting the regulation in a way that leaves it in violation of the law. so maybe in the next few months the irs and washington will come around and finally find their way to enforcing the law as written. >> well, lawrence, this was a big story and one we, obviously, needed you on. >> ari, it sounds like we're done, right? that's the tone. i know how these segments go. >> that is the tone. >> you know what, ari, this is my second time on the phone with you, and, you know, the last time i was on the phone i could barely walk at all. now i'm doing crutches up and down stairs. i'm really improving. would you let me do the tease again for what's coming up in the show? it's like batting practice for me. i need it. >> i will, but i was also going to say, although you did detect the tone perfectly, "the last word" audience relayed to me and other folks on the team all the questions they have for you, i hope you'll come back soon on the phone again. >> i'm going up and down the
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stairs on crutches. that's good. i actually know what's coming up on the show because i heard your previous tease. something about donald sterling and, oh, yeah, the senate now, you know, there's a big letter from 50 senators about the washington football team's name and maybe it's time to change that. so you've got something on that coming up, and i'm sure there's a lot of other great stuff in the show that i don't know about, but the important thing, america, is it's ari melber, the hardest working host, anchorman, in cable news. . of you for $175. our clients need a lot of attention. there's unlimited talk and text. we're working deals all day. you get 10 gigabytes of data to share. what about expansion potential? add a line anytime for 15 bucks a month. low dues... great terms... let's close. introducing at&t mobile share value plans... ...with our best-ever pricing for business.
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that corporate trial by fire when every slacker gets his due. and yet, there's someone around the office who hasn't had a performance review in a while. someone whose poor performance is slowing down the entire organization. i'm looking at you phone company dsl. check your speed. see how fast your internet can be. switch now and add voice and tv for $34.90. comcast business built for business. in the spotlight tonight, more progress in the call for equality. a new gallup poll finds support for marriage equality has now hit an all-time high. 55% of americans now say
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same-sex marriages should be legally valid with the same rights as traditional marriages. 42% think they should not be. and two big victories in court this week as judges overturned same-sex marriage bans in oregon and pennsylvania, marking the 14th legal victory in a row for marriage equality advocates at the state level. one man who inspired such progress was, of course, harvey milk, the politician and gay rights activist was gunned down in san francisco's city hall back in 1978. today, the white house celebrated harvey milk's legacy on what would have been his 84th birthday. you can see there, unveiling a harvey milk forever first class stamp. >> my uncle dreamed of the day that when we would have everyday heros changing the hearts and soul of humanity. >> standing here as a united states senator and a lesbian, it's incredible to look back upon a time when running for san
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francisco supervisor as an openly gay man seemed like a revolutionary act. >> thanks to harvey, our society is better forever. our laws forever fairer and our democracy forever stronger. >> we remember the honor and unforgettable man, harvey milk, who gave his life and ongoing struggle to build a nation and a world community at peace with itself. thank you, harvey milk. >> joining me tonight, stuart milk, harvey milk's nephew and founder of the harvey milk foundation. good evening. >> good evening, great to be with you. >> thank you. what is today and today's ceremony mean for you and your family? >> well, it means quite a bit. it is the culmination of the amount of time that has passed since my uncle gave the groundbreaking message that
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people should come out, that people should be authentic, and that the only way we will change societal values, not just the laws, but societal values, is by people being known, is people being authentic selves, so that message was really a pioneering message 35, 40 years ago. nobody was saying it. in fact, the message that society was saying was be quiet, stay in the closet, maybe people will leave you alone, and my uncle took that to a new level, and we are seeing historic times where we have, you know, where we have nfl draft picks who are out and giving same-sex kisses on television, and we are having mary lambert, people performing at the grammys, who are 25 years old and out and saying they are not going to cry on sundays anymore, they are not going to sit and listen to someone put them down, they are celebrating who they are. and we have seen folks that have been our foes in the senate, who
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have been turned around because their children have come out to them. so all of these things are really are progressing from my uncle's core message, which is that visibility is the answer, and when people know us and they know lgbt people in their lives, the lies, the myths, the innuendos get brought down and we move on towards acceptance. >> yeah, and you talk about your uncle's legacy and what it means when we think about whether people know someone who's guy, the research shows that that simple statistic, as you know, tracks with whether they are open to gay rights, gay equality. since, you know, your uncle's service in office around the world, 203 people have been elected to parliaments while having to be gay, yet in 77 countries, it is still a crime of some sort to be gay around the world. given that global context, i
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want to play some reporting from vocativ's matt golden in uganda and get your thoughts on that. take a look at this report. >> it is not genetic. it is not congenital. it is behavior. these people are not born like that. they just learn and they can unlearn what they have learned. ♪ >> these acts, it's about protecting our community, protecting the families, protecting the young generation. >> these youth are watching. >> you think the gays are rich? >> exactly. >> the parade funneled into this large airstrip. there's thousands of people here.
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we've been kicked out. basically inside it was just a lot of hate speech against gays. >> i came across this really interesting pamphlet, it cost about $2. ♪ >> our fixer just told us that there's actually some danger
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here. there's a possibility that one of the invitees to this ceremony could have reported this to the police for exchange for a small sum of money. if that happens, everyone here will be arrested, i will be implicated in participating fully in a gay wedding ceremony in uganda, which will give me a minimum of one year in prison. >> why should we have our people destroying their lives, ruining their lives? they are either forced or they are sedated or they are deceived.
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homosexuality is bad, it's dangerous, and i don't want it because of what it causes, hemorrhoids, prolapses, bowel damages, incontinence, gonorrhea. there are many complications. >> uganda is almost gen sigh dal. they can't tolerate people of different sexual orientation. >> what do you think of that report and the global aspect of this? >> well, i mean, the report is hard hitting, but it is something that we see not just in uganda, we see this happening in particular in africa, in asia, in eastern europe, and i will point out that some of this
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language that we haven't seen in this country since my uncle was opposing anita bryant and her crusade to change people, part of the responsibility lies with people like scott lively, who go over and spread this type of diminishment and hatred using really dogmatic tyranny on individuals, and the one important issue for us to message to ugandans is this doesn't stop with just lgbt people. if you have a message of diminishment, of judgment, of ridicule on minorities, that list of minorities will grow. that's one of the things that we have to do. but i do think it's important to point out that this time last year, one-sixth of the world's population from last year to this year became recriminalized because of who they love and who they are, has become criminal.
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that's over a billion people on the planet that have gone backwards, so it's important that we keep these type of journalistic reports out there and that we also put the blame on some of the folks that are exporting this type of hate. and it's being exported from this country because i think the american tolerance for it has gone down, but we have folks like scott lively who are taking these campaigns, not just to africa, to eastern europe, and beyond. >> you know, tmz has lately been in the candid camera game and they have new material on "duck dynasty's" phil robertson speaking out again about homosexuality as a sin. do you think we're in a place here where antigay remarks, at least in the u.s., are as racism or other types of bigotry? >> i think we're getting to the point where we as an american public are less tolerant of that type of bigotry.
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i don't think we're there yet. and one of the thing that comments like the "duck dynasty" comments is a reminder of the work we still have to do. we find, to be honest with you, lgbt homeless youth to be just enormously larger than their percentage of the population in major cities, which means we still have some of these type of thoughts going on in homes. maybe people aren't getting on tv and don't have reality shows like "duck dynasty," but it points to the work we still have to do. we still have to do education, we still have to do work to countermessage this type of intolerance. >> right, and some of that work is political, like your uncle's legacy, and some of it is social and in our everyday lives. stuart milk, thanks for joining us on a busy day for you. >> great to be here, thank you. and coming up, bobby jindal's plan to sign new abortion restrictions doesn't just affect louisiana, it could affect texas, mississippi, and even alabama. we're going to explain why and why it matters. and later, what the nfl is
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what do you think is the possibility of microbial life being found in the universe or intelligent life being found in the universe? >> the interesting question is, what do we do when we find the life on another planet? what's the plan? do we announce it to the world? >> the house space and technology committee heard from an american astronomer wednesday who defended the search for alien life out there. it turns out the house of representatives can care about science, as long as it isn't the science of climate change. the national journal looked into this, and in this session, house committees on energy and science have held about 19 hearings on space exploration, including discussions of extraterrestrial life but just seven hearings to discuss climate change. the record isn't any better in the senate, but a session on climate change probably wouldn't include this question from republican chris collins from new york. >> i think i might ask the
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question everyone in this room wants to ask, have you watched "ancient aliens" and what's your comment about that series? >> hard at work over there. up next, bobby jindal says he will sign a new republican bill in louisiana that will restrict women's health rights and affect more than just his state. that's straight ahead. . which is funny, because i still do it better than her. [ afi ] i do not like sweeping. it's a little frustrating. [ zach ] i can't help out as much as i used to. do you need help? let's open it up. [ afi ] it's a swiffer sweeper. [ zach ] it's a swiffer dusters. it can extend so i don't have to get on the step stool. ♪ it's like a dirt magnet -- just like my kids. [ afi ] this is a danger zone. voila! i am the queen of clean! [ zach ] yeah, this definitely beats hanging out on a step ladder. voila! i am the queen of clean! c'mon, you want heartburn? when your favorite food starts a fight, fight back fast, with tums. heartburn relief that neutralizes acid on contact.
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because not just any beef goes into it. only certain cuts of kosher beef. i guess they're pretty choosy. oh, honey! oh! here, have some of ours. oh! when your hot dog's kosher, that's a hot dog you can trust hebrew national. we turn to another big story today, how southern politicians are leading a new crackdown on the right to choose. on wednesday, louisiana became the latest of the gulf coast states to pass a new abortion law that could face three or maybe four of its five clinics to shut its door. in april, a lawyer argued, "there's nothing burdensome about crossing state lines." joining us now, irin carmon. welcome.
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>> thanks, ari. >> let's start with this. governor jindal talking about these rules, which add requirements about the kind of doctors and the admitting privileges they have when conducting abortions. governor jindal says, "this bill will give women the health and safety protections they deserve." >> it is absolutely a cover for restricting access. what we're looking at here is a coordinated assault on abortion access in this country. in the absence of being able to overturn roe v. wade or planned parenthood v. casey, they are basically coming up with these pretexts, they sound really reasonable, right, what's wrong with making a doctor have to jump through some extra hoops, but the reality is the hospitals on the ground are so hostile to abortion rights, many of these are doctors who are risking their lives to fly across the country, they are not going to get those admitting privileges. you've already seen a third of the clinics in texas close as a result of this law.
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in louisiana, if the law goes into effect, that's three of five clinics. in fact, what ends up happening is despite the fact that abortion is a very safe procedure, 14 times safer than child birth, the clinics that offer safe and legal abortion are going to be shut down, thus leaving women less safe. >> let's talk about the organizing around this, because one of the things that does motivate people is a feeling of crisis or a sense of things that have gotten so bad, it's time to step back up and do something, right? roe v. wade was a big victory for the women's movement and pro choice movement, obviously. are we nearing a point where it's accurate to say roe v. wade itself isn't a protection anymore? >> i think that the real issue is there has been a sense of complacency because there is still this federal guarantee and only in the last couple of years, basically since 2010 with republicans taking over state houses, do you have a situation where people can see how far you can go at state level.
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i think right now what they are doing is setting up a sort of game of chicken. the truth is, the supreme court is not so friendly to abortion rights anymore. pro choice advocates don't feel they can count on justice anthony kennedy and they are worried about bringing another case to the supreme court that might, you know, potentially chip away at the right even more. so you have these states where roe may as well not exist, but it could get worse. >> right, and you mention that. i do want to put up on the screen the graphics of the gulf coast states, 24 clinics in texas, a handful in some of these other states, and then in these laws go into effect, texas drops from 24 to six, louisiana, five to two, the others, mississippi, zero, the others, oklahoma, three to one. why do you think the supreme court would look at that particular result and not say, clearly, whether by intent or result you don't have the access to safe and legal abortion there?
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>> well, justice breyer did indicate there are four votes to take this, but again, they did not stop the texas law from going into effect, they did not think that would sufficiently be a burden on women, although some of that was procedural. you have a split in the circuit right now, the fifth circuit has held the laws, the seventh has said they are an undue burden on women. >> that's why it is on the knife's edge, to your point about, taking that all the way up, but it's going both ways. irin carmon, thanks for your reporting on this. >> thank you, ari. coming up, in the wake of the nba's actions on donald sterling, new calls for the nfl to change the name of washington's team. one of the senators leading that charge joins us. that's next. . scott: seems there's a wee bit of confusion out there when it comes to grass seed.
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you know that getting half the senate to agree on just about anything controversial is tough, but donald sterling may have actually helped change that. i'm going to interview my old boss, senator maria cantwell, about her new push for racial progress in the nfl. that's next. to a faraway place
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hey there can i help you? (whispering) sorry. (whispering) hi, uh we need a new family plan. (whispering) how about 10 gigs of data to share and unlimited talk and text. (whispering) oh ten gigs sounds pretty good. (whispering) yeah really good (whispering) yeah and for a family of 4 it's a $160 a month. what! get outta here! (whispering) i'm sorry are we still doing the whisper thing? or? (whispering) o! sorry! yes yes! (whispering) we'll take it. donald sterling may be dropping out of the news, but today democrats are leading a new charge against racism in professional sports, and they say it's imperative after the fallout over the l.a. clippers' racist rant. a new letter by senator maria cantwell, backed by 49 senators, takes the nfl to task for standing by the washington redskins name, citing the swift accountability for mr. sterling,
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the letter says, "we urge you and the nfl to send the same clear message as the nba did, that racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports. the letter continues, the comments by mr. sterling have opened up race conversation and this is an opportunity for the nfl to take action to remove the racial slur from the name of one of its marquee franchises." the nfl responded the intent of the name is to present a strong, positive, and respectful image. though we respect those that view it differently." senator maria cantwell has been leading the effort to end the use of the redskins' name, she's on the indian affairs committee and is my old boss. good evening. >> hi, ari, how are you? >> i'm good. let's start with this, your last letter about this had about two senators on this, you and republican tom cole, and he called that name they are using there very offensive.
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this one has 49. are you finding growing momentum here? >> absolutely. this is a historic day, and we're so proud of the members who are willing to stand up and join native americans across the united states, which there are millions of, who do find this racial slur an offensive. so we want to make sure that we keep the momentum building and that we make sure that people understand that the nfl, that the nba took very fast action, and we would hope that they would follow suit. >> and then, senator, i want to get your thoughts on this, several of your republican colleagues asked either they weren't asked to join the letter or hadn't heard about it, senator mccain responded he probably would have signed it if asked. are you going to ask them? >> we will certainly ask them. we're proud we were able to get to 50 and thought it would be something that would help our colleagues, so we're going to back and ask them to help us
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join this fight. >> yeah, you guys, obviously, explicitly invoke the clippers' controversy, and, you know, when you think about it, is the difference here sort of that mr. sterling basically got caught being racially insensitive in his remarks in private, or as dan snyder, the owner of the redskins has basically always been on the record with a racially insensitive team here? >> i don't know what else it takes, because we have everybody from the d.c. city council, all the way to the u.n. envoy on indigenous people saying that this is a harmful name and that it should be changed. you have the president of the united states and now you have 50 members of the congress and you have the u.s. patent office denying a patent using the term "redskin" based on the fact it was a derogatory term, so, you know, they might want to try to wade out the court battle, but american public opinion is just trying to say let's be a more
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tolerant, open society and not use a name that so many people find offensive, particularly the native american population. >> right. and you mention all the different pressures, and that was what was interesting, at least in the clippers context. if you look at, like, upcoming games, the seattle seahawks are playing washington on october 6th in the capital there. would you consider going to that game? do you think it's time that people boycott those games until there's a change? >> well, we've had a letter this week from the native american contractors and the u.s. black chambers of commerce, and they are saying that these words that are being used by the nfl team need to be changed, so we are hoping that businesspeople who now are partners with the nfl, that, you know, for us in the pacific northwest it's very different. the icon of the seahawks was designed by a native american.
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native american teams are partners in promoting the seahawks, they buy sweets, so they really don't want to go to the nfl where the other side of the country is using a derogatory term. and so i think the owners are on the wrong side of history and they are going to find that out. >> do you think that businesses, though, have as much an obligation to terminate sponsorships here as they did with the clippers? >> i hope the business community does get involved. i hope they do. if everybody would speak out, and there's a beautiful video that's done on a website called changethemascot.org, it's only a couple of minutes, but if you go and watch this, you see why this is so offensive to native americans, so i hope people will help by promoting that video and send as strong a message as they possibly can. >> yeah, no, it's such an important issue and it's been interesting seeing all of these discussions sort of in the sports context. senator, it is nice to see you again, even through the tv screen.
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>> well, you're doing a good job filling in, so thank you. >> thank you, senator maria cantwell gets tonight's last word, i am ari melber with "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." next. boomerang, let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. could the weapons the gop forces use to pummel democrats this year blow back in their faces come 2016? could the battle cries, obama care, benghazi and the outright rejection of immigration reform and a minimum wage hike be the very weapons that can be fired away at the republicans two years from now when the battlefield is wide and the american voters are looking, not for issues that ignite and anger, but for a leard in a cause that can truly unite the country.

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