tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC October 5, 2014 7:00am-9:01am PDT
this morning my question, what does china want with all that new zealand farmland? plus, corporations that take the money and run. and, the secret service mission to secure and seclude. but first, the latest on the deadly ebola disease here at home. good morning, i'm dorian warren in for melissa harris-perry. we have a lot of news to cover this morning, including the
tense standoff unfolding in hong kong and the latest on the secret service investigation. but we begin with growing concern over the first ebola patient diagnosed in the u.s. according to dallas hospital officials, thomas duncan's condition has been downgraded to critical. we'll go live to dallas for the latest in just a moment. also, the american free lance photographer who contracted ebola in liberia is expected to arrive in nebraska tomorrow for treatment. he was working for nbc when he was diagnosed. he is the fifth american known to have contracted the disease. right now in this country, the focus remains on thomas duncan. the cdc says at least nine people had close contact with duncan and none of them has displayed any symptoms. as many as 40 other people who may have had contact with duncan are also being monitored just to be safe. this case has raised questions about the united states' ability to control the spread of ebola, but the head of the cdc says health officials are on top of the situation. >> everything we've seen until
now reinforces what we've known for the past 40 years. we know how to stop outbreaks of ebola. in this country we have health care infection control and public health systems that are tried and true and will stop before there's any widespread transmission. >> now for the latest. nbc's mark potter joins us from dallas. mark, what more can you tell us about thomas duncan's condition? >> reporter: well, dorian, it clearly has worsened. putting him on the critical list is a change from what he was on friday when he was listed in serious condition. the hospital is not saying much about that, but family members in north carolina talking to medical officials here in dallas tell us that he is on a ventilator. he is on a dialysis machine. he is being treated with highly experimental anti-viral drugs, all suggesting that he's in a very tough shape right now. a nephew tells us -- tells nbc news that they were actually
able to talk to him from tuesday through friday morning by phone, calling the isolation unit, but when they called on saturday, they were told that things had changed, that duncan could not talk to them, that he had been intubated and so that started causing very great concern on the part of the family. now, a medical source for our affiliated tv station here in dallas, kxas, says that while he is on life support, the fact that he is young, 42 years old, does give officials some hope that he can survive this. but on the "today" show this morning, the cdc director was asked if sometimes conditions get worse before they start to get better again and his answer was just flat out that he is very concerned about this patient. so it's -- i don't want to say touch and go, but it seems to be that when you talk to the various people who are watching it closely. >> what more can you tell us about the family that was evacuated from the apartment where duncan was staying? >> reporter: well, they're currently in an undisclosed
location in a gated community that's isolated within that community that has been donated by somebody in the faith-based community for them to use now. it's a woman and her three -- and three family members. a local minister here said that actually duncan was coming here to join her and to try to become married to her. they had a relationship in liberia that broke apart years ago. he came here for that but now of course he is in the hospital and the family is being monitored very closely to see if any of them contracted ebola. nobody here in dallas has done that yet, but officials say if it happens, they will be ready, dorian. >> nbc's mark potter in dallas, thank you. turning now to another developing story. in hong kong, where a deadline has been set and the clock is ticking. the next 12 hours are critical to hong kong's future. the threat from the city's leader to protesters is clear, get out of the streets by monday morning or all necessary actions will be taken to restore social
order. and the last few hours we've learned that some protesters have pulled back. pulled back in a sit-in outside the offices of hong kong's leader. the handshake deal between a pro-democracy protester and a police officer appeared to stem the threat of immediate confrontation but thousands remain in the streets protesting the chinese government's decision to vet candidates for an upcoming election. the country's attempt to tighten control of hong kong's political process is viewed as a broken promise. a promise made in 1997 to allow hong kong to elect its own leader in 2017. >> this is not a revolution, this is only a movement of people to strive for democracy to get back the rights that should be enjoyed by all the people. >> the protest's first week was mostly peaceful, a snapshot of successful civil disobedience.
the protesters who were mostly students and young professionals were observed as polite as they picked up trash and sorted for recycling. but in the last few days, pro-beijing demonstrators have tried to forcibly shut down the rallies. the counter demonstrators provoked bloody scuffles and women have reported being sexually assaulted and harassed. the city's police force is present but failing to protect peaceful protesters. when hong kong, the former british colony was returned to china, it created a unique arrangement commonly referred to as one country, two systems. that structure encouraged the free flow of western capital to continue and much to hong kong and china's economic benefit. at the time of the handover, hong kong made up 16% of china's gdp, but now it's a meager 3%. many say that's part of the reason china has decided to flex its muscle. it's not that simple. hong kong remains relevant as a critical and stable hub for international investment.
joining me now, peter goodman, editor in chief of the international business times, jillian melcher, a writer for national review as a fellow for the franklin center and independent women's forum. christina greer at fordham university and gordon chang, columnist at forbes.com and author of "the coming collapse of china." thank you all for joining me. >> thank you. >> eso, gordon, tell us first what should we make of these protests and what's going to happen? >> i think on monday morning we're going to know a lot more because i don't think the protesters are going to leave the streets which is really what c.y. long, the chief executive of hong kong, in other words, the new governor, is basically going to say get out. now, i think it's a hollow threat. we have seen them use force before on sunday. we saw the use of the triads on friday. >> can you tell us what the triads? >> they're basically gangsters or goons. we have seen them very active in hong kong this year.
there was a near fatal beating of a journalist at the end of february and we've seen other incidents they have been involved in. of course we saw them on friday as they attacked protesters in both two locations coordinated, same time, same tactics, really was directed by somebody, probably beijing. >> peter, how is this different from the response to china in 1989, and we all have images of tiananmen square in our head. >> we don't know yet. one of the dynamics that makes this very volatile, this goes back to '97 and the handover of hong kong, which was then a british colony, back to china and the creation of this one country, two systems scenario. well, there's part of this movement that says we just want that promise of what we got in '97. we want democracy here. we want to be able to directly elect our leadership. but there are a lot of young people who barely remember '97, let alone 1989 when beijing opened fire on protesters in tiananmen square in beijing who are essentially saying we don't want one country, two systems,
we want our own country. we don't want china. we don't want to have to compete with an influx of mainland students for slots at university. we don't want the pollution that they have in china. we don't want the sense of dysfunction that pervades in a lot of major chinese cities. at the same time, for the leadership in beijing and the proxy leadership in hong kong, it's a highly volatile situation because they have now dug in. they have essentially said you've got to get out. for the party in beijing, their legitimacy today rests on their ability to improve living standards across china and nationalism. and let's not forget this flexing of muscles that you're talking about, it's not just hong kong. i mean there's been a crackdown on the weagers. there's a loosening in terms of relationships with tibet. but the nationalism that we see playing out in terms of confrontation with japan and the east china sea, many southeastern asia countries in the south china sea, this is them saying we're done worrying about public opinion.
we're now a strong superpower and we want to do what we want to do. so you have students on the one hand really dug in saying we're not going to accept anything less than the chief executive leaving and direct suffrage as promised in '97. and you have a leadership in beijing saying, you know, we're not playing around here. it's time to get on with business. >> christina, in terms of social movements and civil disobedience, peter just mentioned that beijing is not as concerned about public opinion as maybe other leaders in democracies are, how do you think this protest might play itself out? >> well, we know that it's already affected global markets tremendously, right, because a peaceful hong kong essentially makes global markets feel very safe, but when we see this unrest, because we know that many people can't necessarily rely on chinese judicial systems and there is a lack of trust when it comes to china in many ways, so we're looking at hong kong as stability, right, not just because of geographic locale. so when we think about social movements and how this could
sort of catch fire in other issues that we're talking about, say tibet, say different provinces across china, this is very concerning for, i think, the larger chinese government to really think about young people as the future of making movements happen. >> jillian, in terms of -- christina just mentioned this issue of stability and financial markets. is the world watching? >> yeah action i think the world is absolutely watching. i think inside of china is watching to. what hong kongers are basically saying is they have had economic liberty. but economic liberty isn't enough. you look at that model in mainland china and it's resulted in rampant corruption and extreme materialism that plays out in horrible ways. they don't want that. so i think for china this has become existential. if hong kongers can push and get it, mainland china will want to get it too. >> more on the unrest in hong kong and suspicion of government sanctioned gang violence when we come back. asy like mday morning"
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some people get paid by mainlanders and have been trying to cause trouble around here. they're trying to take away the barricades. a lot of people went over to stop them from causing trouble. as a result, they cause trouble and make an excuse for the police to intervene. >> that was a pro-democracy protester in hong kong describing the counterdemonstrations and what many are saying are coordinated attacks between the police, local government and even the local mafia there known as the triad. gordon, we talked about this in the last segment. tell us more about the triad and tell us also about how this might indication a division between the people who are protesting and others that are pro-beijing. >> triads have existed for hundreds of years but they have become especially prominent in
hong kong after china took over hong kong in 1997 because a prior chinese leader talked about the triads in hong kong, some of them being patriotic so therefore, they have gotten unofficial support but they have gotten a lot of support. that's why they have been using the triads to have things that they can't have their fingerprints on, the government can't have its fingerprints on. so essentially the triads have attacked the pro-democracy demonstrators. it was coordinated from all that we can tell. there's only one party that would do this and that, of course, is the chinese government. the hong kong government won't do anything without consulting beijing first. this was really counter productive because the crowds were pretty small where they were attacked, under 100. after the triad attack, they went to over a thousand so this is clearly showing the hong kong government and the chinese government can't influence events on the streets. every time they use their tools like violence, the crowds just get bigger. >> peter, you spent some time in
china. >> yeah. >> tell us more about how can the balance between these two systems be sustained, if at all? >> well, i think that's very much up in the air now. i mean at this point you have both sides dug in on two very different conceptions and two sides is misleading in that within hong kong you have different conceptions about what the future ought to be. whether hong kong ought to be a testing ground for democracy for greater china or whether hong kong ought to be much like independence advocates in taiwan see things, its own place that can be culturally chinese and separately hong kong with its own system. that's very much in dispute. but one of the things that i think remains mysterious at this moment is the violence. these thugs who went in and attacked the demonstrators. i think gordon is correct to say that nothing happens in hong kong from the government's standpoint without some coordination from beijing, but how granular. personally, i'd really like to
know. i mean did beijing order these thugs in or did the foolish hong kong government decide of its own accord to send the thugs out or did the shop owners or nathan road who are losing sales during a national holiday with a lot of mainland tourists in town wanting to buy handbags and iphones, did they send the thugs in. before the silence broke out, the student movement was beginning to splinter. there was a sense that we're in danger of becoming a nuisance in the eyes of people who make their living in hong kong and things were quieting down. that violence has really reinvigorated this movement and that's why we're so dug in now. it's back fired on beijing. >> you mentioned handbags and iphones and i want to move to shoes and dresses. hong kong's executive leader's daughter upset many of the protesters with a facebook post, christina, that said thanks for all my beautiful shoes and dresses. that, i'm sure, must be stw
infuriating on the protesters. how should the u.s. respond, if at all? >> it's interesting because my students saw this facebook post before i did, which really does speak to the power of social media. and so it puts hong kong protesters in a very interesting position, right, because now they have essentially seen from the leadership what a small percentage or maybe a representative sample really feels about them, right? essentially you all are paying for our lifestyle. and so this puts the united states in even more precarious position because we know that we're obviously building relationships with china, some more stable than others, but if this movement, as jillian said, really does sort of take hold into the larger chinese populous, right, and people start to see that is this how our leadership not only thinks about us but treats us ultimately, it really does put not necessarily barack obama, but the future leadership of
this country in a really interesting position as to how are we going to move forward with some substantive relationships in these global markets when there's a growing distrust and corruption essentially in hong kong and mainland china. >> jillian, i want to get you in really quickly. you lived in china as well. dresses and shoes, is this very tone deaf from the daughter of the leader of hong kong? >> it's incredibly tone deaf and i think it's a dangerous game. i've seen a lot of comparisons between what's happening in hong kong and what happened in ukraine. you've got the same sort of triggers, this very conspicuous corrupt consumption. you've got protesters that are getting government sponsored thugs essentially cracking down on them and in ukraine, they waited it out and they got what they wanted. i think if i were beijing, rather than take a play out of putin's book i'd be looking at that with caution. >> up next, stay with me. china is on a buying spree of an essential and very limited resource.
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many of the protesters fighting for democracy in hong kong are middle class, members of china's fastest growing income group. by 2025, 520 million people are expected to make up china's emerging middle class. that's more than half of the country's anticipated population. just for some perspective, the united states' entire population stands at about 319 million people today. as income rises, families tends to spend more on small luxuries and a smaller percentage of money is spent on the basics. one of the biggest basics, food consumption, will continue to grow in absolute spending as the overall economy expands. china is one of the fastest growing food markets in the world. it comprises 20% of the world's population but only 9% of its farmable land. the farmable land that does exist is worsened by water pollution and poor soil conditions.
making a headline like this no surprise. a chinese company is awaiting approval to buy one of new zealand's prize farms where sheep and cattle are raised on pristine, green pastures. the land is valued at more than $70 million for 34,000 acres. it's a controversial deal but new zealand farmers worried about the repercussions of selling off their precious real estate. new zealand's government created stricter rules for land buys in which the purchaser had to demonstrate how the local economy would benefit. it's the most recent development in a trend. chinese companies already control farmland in other countries, including ukraine, cambodia, australia, chile and the united states. so, gordon, how concerned should we be about china buying up land not only in new zealand but in other parts of the world? >> i don't think people in new zealand at the end of the day are going to be that upset. at least they're not as upset as people in central asian countries because to china's
best the country had been buying up big farm tracts. this is a question of sovereignty because china has just recently settled its territory disputes with these countries but the countries are worried about the chinese moving into there and beijing later on claiming this should be part of china. so these farm buys in central asia are extremely controversial. they could even bring down governments, which they did in one of them. so this is something which is going to be very closely watched. new zealand, yeah, that's a problem, but central asia, much more so. >> so, peter, bringing it back to the u.s., we know that a chinese company bought smithfield, which is one of the largest pork processors in the country and the world. >> right. >> what should we think in terms of the u.s., china buying up u.s. companies? >> i think, frankly, we should welcome it. we have a regulatory process and we should scrutinize each deal and make sure there's no national security issue, there's no food safety issue. i mean we have rules that apply to the people who produce our
food. if a chinese company wants to come and take dollars and invest them in the united states and employ people and create demand for chinese-made goods and services in china, that's generally a good thing. let's remember that right now china is sitting on a multi trillion dollar stack of american debt. they could sell that debt with the push of a button. i mean that wouldn't be a logical move to make, but if they decided, for instance, that the saudis, who also own a lot of our debt, were under pressure from jihadists to unload the american debt, it could suddenly become rational to unload a lot of u.s. dollars. they could do that with a computer mouse and that would have tremendously destabilizing consequences. when you own something like a factory, a food processor, you can't just unload it. you're actually invested. and so i also think, frankly, that there's a racial dimension to a lot of this. when dutch companies, when german companies come in and they buy up american companies, we don't tend to get all
agitated. now, we have to be concerned about chinese government implications, given that this is still a largely authoritarian society, but in terms of the flow of dollars, that's to be welcomed. we need people to create jobs in america. >> gordon, i want to come back to you for a minute and talk about the middle class. 520 million people. that's a staggering number. what should we make of china's growing middle class? in fact we know from a few weeks ago, alibaba went public and created new millionaires in china. what should we make of the increasing growth of the middle class and new millionaires in china? >> that's a good thing but it's creating fear on the part of the communist party. when you look back and the party looks back at all of this, many of these revolutions that we've seen in the last two decades have been created by the middle class, which is an historical trend. so when you get people that have a stake in society, they don't necessarily buy into the notion that a one-party system is appropriate for a modernizing
china. that's why we've seen a lot of protests in china, including two wednesdays ago when a number of middle class chinese in the center of shanghai demonstrated in support of the hong kong students. they not only did that, but they also asked for the vote for themselves in china. and in addition, they listed their names on a social media posting, basically saying to the chinese government, come and get me. this is very, very serious. that's going to change chinese society. >> so, jillian, and christina mentioned this earlier, in terms of the role of social media, shanghai protests, people asking for the vote in an authoritarian regime, how well is china doing in terms of censoring what's happening in hong kong? >> one of the things i was really intrigued with when i was in china is the creativity with which the chinese get around censors. so, for example, tiananmen square protests, what was it, may 35th? they couldn't get it blocked that way. so i think as much as the
government tries, you've got people that want freedom. they're willing to take to the internet and do it and they're going to do it more creative way than the awe authoritarian government. >> i know you want to get in here, chris, but we've got to get a break. thank you, gordon chang. the rest of the panel is sticking around. still to come, the secret service and the president, a very complicated relationship. but first, where is all that iphone money going? ♪ ♪ introducing a pm pain reliever that dares to work all the way until the am. new aleve pm the only one with a sleep aid. plus the 12 hour strength of aleve.
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united kingdom. by the end of the year, new iphones will be on sale in 115 countries. yes, the company that started in a modest california home is most certainly now global. at an average price point of $350, apple's new iphones in just three days brought in somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.5 billion in revenue. that's more than a billion dollars of revenue a day, just from the phones. the money is no doubt a boon to the computer company, a reason to smile for shareholders and you might think very exciting to the united states treasury department, eager to get its cut of an american company's good fortune. but much of that revenue generated around the world doesn't come back here to the united states, it goes to ireland, where apple is subject to a lower corporate tax rate and in a global economy, that kind of corporate practice has become pretty much standard practice. but buying a foreign company so that your american company can be subject to friendlier tax codes in that country, that's a
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sure made grandma proud. mr. clean liquid muscle. nerdland, stay with me here for a moment because this one is important. be honest. when someone utters the term "tax inversion" do you hear this? that may just be what big corporations are counting on because those two words that sent most of us into something resembling the matrix will cost the u.s. an estimated $20 billion in tax revenue over the next decade. think of it like a corporate dine and dash. your rich friend invites you to dinner, enjoys your charm and good looks, orders widely from the menu and then bolts when someone has to pay the check. and someone does have to pay the check. everybody else. namely in this case small businesses and consumers. now, imagine that on an international scale that check paying. a u.s.-based company with american employees selling goods
and services in america taking advantage of american infrastructure buys a smaller company in another country, like, say, ireland or the bahamas or the caymans and then nominally relocates, there by being able to take advantage of that other country's lower tax rate. earlier this year, burger king left many of its loyal u.s. customers feeling flame broiled when it announced plans to buy canadian coffee and doughnut chain tim horton's and moving its headquarters north of the border. burger king says the move isn't a tax dodge, rather just a part of long-term global expansion plan. but you don't have to be warren buffett to see the whopper-sized benefits of the king relocating. canada's corporate tax rate is about 15%. the u.s. clocks in at 35%. the effective corporate tax rate is substantially lower. we'll get to more on that later. when you consider that unlike most developed countries, the u.s. taxes companies based on
their global profits, not just the money they make at home. it's not hard to do the math. president obama says corporate deserters need to be stopped. >> what we're trying to do is to say that if you simply acquire a small company in ireland or some other country to take advantage of the low tax rate, you start saying we're now magically an irish company, despite the fact that you may only have 100 employees there and you've got 10,000 employees in the united states. you're just gaming the system. >> the president isn't waiting for congress to take action. late last month the treasury department announced new rules that reduce the appeal of u.s. companies saying bye to their tax burden. still with me, peter goodman from the international business times, jillian melchior, christina greer, and now frank clemente, executive director of americans for tax fairness. peter, i want to come to you. by the way, i have my iphone 6
here. >> the people of ireland should be thanking you. >> but, i'm a little incensed about the tax inversions. on the other hand, this is the american way. everybody is trying to reduce their taxes. why should we be upset about this? >> for a lot of regular people, it does offend their sense of fair play that you take a company like apple, which has benefitted from american military technology and a public-private partnership with stanford and the university of california at berkeley that gave us this great thing called the worldwide web which is essential to a lot of their products, that has exploited the notion of being an american company, which around the world still has great branding appeal. we are educating the children of their employees and protecting them from fire and crime and mowing lawns of public parks and yet when it comes time to pay the tax bill, oh, actually we're an irish company. we have, you know, several hundred employees, if that.
in fact ask siri why apple is in ireland and she won't be able to tell you. so i think -- not to make light of it, it offends our basic sense of fairness in the political conversation. >> now, frank, so you just brought up a good point here and i want frank to help us understand this. tell us the difference between tax avoidance and inversions. >> well, massive tax avoidance is happening already, and you brought up apple. they avoid tens of billions of dollars in taxes every year because of the shell game they play, right. they're basically making it look like their profits are being earned in ireland rather than here in america and they pay a much lower tax rate. i also want to say parenthetically about apple, 95% of its research and development occurs here in america. that's what is so outrageous about it. that's how they generate their profits off of their technology and yet they're making it look like their technology and profits are being generated abroad. >> in apple's defense, i just want to get tim cook here, i
want to listen to some sound because he has a response to this question. let's take a listen. >> we pay all the taxes we owe every single dollar. we not only comply with the laws, but we comply with the spirit of the laws. we don't depend on tax gimmicks. we don't move intellectual property offshore and use it to sell our products back to the united states to avoid taxes. >> okay. so that's tim cook testifying in 2013 in front of a senate subcommittee. so come on. >> his company was being grilled. a major report was put out by the committee that he testified before that said they're avoiding tens of billions of dollars a year in taxes. but straight up, he was just -- you know, he was doing a testimonial dodge just like the company does tax dodges. you asked before about what's the difference between an inversion and normal tax avoidance. in an inversion, you have the u.s. company which is the big
fish here, right, and they're buying a small company in ireland but they're actually becoming a subsidiary of that small company. >> of that smaller company. >> exactly right. so their address changes. their headquarters doesn't change. medtronic, a big medical device company here in america, they're going to stay in minimum, all their employees, all their headquarters, they're just going to buy this smaller company over in ireland which actually has its headquarters in massachusetts, if you can believe that. but by having that presence on paper in ireland, it gets to pay the irish tax ralt rather than the american tax rate and the rest of us pick up the tab for that. >> so i want to ask the question about why the treasury department is cracking down now. let's put up this shot here of the inversion crackdown by the obama administration. it has three elements. eliminate hopscotch loans, no more premerger slimming and no fattening of foreign partners.
frank, can you translate that into english for us? >> the hopscotch loans is the biggest factor here. take a company like pfizer, right. we've all heard that pfizer was trying to buy astra zeneca. they have $69 billion sitting offshore right now in profits that are u.s. profits, but the way our tax law is structured, they don't have to pay taxes on those profits until they are brought back to the united states. under an inversion, those profits can get loaned to the new foreign parent company and then through that it can then get brought back to america and not be taxed at all. so they would avoid taxes say they 30%, 35% rate on $69 billion. we're talking big bucks. >> jillian, so we're talking about avoidance of taxes, tax inversions. the official corporate tax rate is 35%, but we know corporations don't pay 35%.
the effective rate is much lower. what is all the hoopla? they don't even pay the 35%. >> i think it is pretty legitimate hoopla. if you factor in state taxes, it's actually closer to 40%. that's a problem because -- >> well, some estimates so as low as 13, 14%. >> we do have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. and with the inversion thing, we tax profits earned abroad. there are only like five other industrial countries in the world that do that. so i think we really need to be asking ourselves here not how do we game the system, how do we change the tax system, it's how do we change the tax system so that they want to be here so that there's not that incentive for them to do it. with apple, like it or not, they weren't doing anything illegal. they were things -- submitting -- i've heard of two feet of paperwork for the irs every year. this has been a long-term thing. i think this needs to be about systematic change not about calling companies out.
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it looks like nul rules imposed by the treasury department has stopped at least one merger. salix pharmaceuticals announced it has thrown in a planned $2.7 million deal to join forces with italian drug maker cosmo. bloomberg reports it's the first time a u.s. company has cited the obama administration's tougher rules to give up on plans to move overseas for the sake of lower taxes. frank, i want to come to you first. does this decision mean that these new rules are working? >> it seems to be so, at least in the margins, given that the companies themselves are saying this is what did it, but i think until there's congressional action, we're still not going to
have a wholesale change here that a lot of people are calling for and like virtually everything else in congress, where largely at a stand still. nobody at congress has an appetite or the republicans in congress don't have an appetite for handing a victory to the obama administration even though, strangely enough, this is one of the issues on which both sides in terms of the largest talking points, like let's close loopholes, they all rhetorically agree. >> and sorry, peter. i meant to say peter. >> that's okay. >> frank, you say the government can put an end to these. what more can we be doing? >> well, the public has to get outraged about this. this has been a fairly obscure battle. the business pages have tremendous number of news stories about this but until it really gets out there to the public, because fundamentally this is about power in washington and who controls the agenda. and what we see is -- i mean there's a lot of rhetoric about wanting to close corporate
loopholes, including wanting to close this inversion loophole so these companies can't do it, but we can't get over the hump. the reason we can't get over the hump is these companies are very big. they dole out a lot of campaign contributions. they have a lot of lobbyists walking around the hill. and they also exist out in the states. they do employ folks out in the states. they have some big operations out in some of the states so they're very influential. and until congress feels enough pressure to change the law to stop these inversions and beyond, the much bigger -- inversions are relatively small compared to the larger tax avoidance. we're avoiding -- not we, corporations are avoiding about $100 billion a year in taxes through all these offshore loopholes. >> i'm glad you said we because i want to make the point that the tax burden has increased for individuals, meaning we, and decreased over time for corporations. and christina, in terms of changing the law to really deal with this declining contribution, frankly, of corporations, i want to play sound again from tim cook who's
basically arguing here that we haven't caught up to the digital age. let's take a listen. >> unfortunately, the tax code has not kept up with the digital age. the tax system handicaps american corporations in relation to our foreign competitors who don't have such constraints on the free movement of capital. >> okay. so how do we catch up in the digital age? >> i'm not buying it. >> why not? >> because we have growing inequality, right? so much so that it's greater than apartheid south africa, right? i wouldn't be so outraged if we didn't have crumbling infrastructure, if we had solid public schools, if we had job security, if we had some sort of future prospects that wouldn't further increase the incredibly rich getting richer because of these loopholes and working class americans who used to be middle class americans but now they're working class, working poor americans not benefitting from, you know, what tim cook is saying.
oh, it's just a technological glitch. it is not. these are -- the beauty and the curse of american democracy is that you can always find your way around the law. yes, it has helped certain groups over time, but this is one of those instances where we're seeing wealthy corporations benefitting from their ability to hire lawyers and lobbyists and essentially buy off members of congress to make themselves even more wealthy. >> you said buy off members of congress, wealthy corporations. jillian, i want to play some sound of a chamber of commerce ad and get your response to the question about how difficult it might be to change our tax code. let's take a listen. >> there are some who want american employers and their workers to go backwards. they want to go back in time and retroactively rewrite the tax laws so they can impose taxes that weren't owed in the first place on american businesses. it sounds crazy, but it's true. >> it sounds crazy, but it's true. i mean these poor corporations. >> well, i think here's the
deal. so i wouldn't argue that there needs to be tax reform. our tax policy is so complicated, i think it's bad that companies have to hire that many attorneys to be able to negotiate it. that said, this is something that congress needs to change. president obama has tried to change it by executive action. i don't think that's really fair. i think it needs to be something that's con congressionally that follows the system and that's not how it's being done. you've got jack lew saying at first that he didn't think he had the legal authority to do it and then turning around and doing it. i've tried to find office of legal counsel memos for it so i want to know what the legal basis of doing this through executive action is compared to congress. if congress needs to do it, they just got to man up. >> and woman up too maybe? >> and woman up too. >> frank, how hard is this going to be -- look, this congress -- it's gridlocked. what can we do really to change the tax code? >> we've got to elect the right folks to office and they're the ones who are going to have to change the tax code. but people out there, your listeners, your viewers have got
to get incensed and enraged and engaged. >> i think to come full circle, you asked should there be moral outrage. we're having a conversation about innovation in the tax code sneddon vags where apple is supposed to be giving us innovation. where starbucks is supposed to be giving us innovation, giving us great products and services that excite us. instead they're spending a lot of time with their lobbyists and accountants gaming the system. that's the political conversation that we're having now. >> so much more to say about this but i want to thank all of you. thank you to peter, jillian and frank. christina will be back in the next hour. coming up next, protecting the president. a former secret service agent joins us with an inside look at the scandal rocking the agency. plus the latest on the ebola disease here within u.s. borders. more nerdland at the top of the hour. t from alaska, they think salmon and energy. but the energy bp produces up here creates something else as well: jobs all over america. engineering and innovation jobs.
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harris-perry. we begin this hour with new details on the first ebola patient to be diagnosed in the united states. thomas eric duncan, a liberian national, is now in critical condition in a dallas hospital. we'll go live to dallas in a moment for the latest. also the nbc free lance photographer diagnosed with ebola is expected to depart liberia in a few hours. he is expected to arrive in nebraska tomorrow for treatment. highs the fifth american known to have the disease. another american patient, dr. rick sacra is back in the hospital. health officials suspect he has pneumonia and say it's highly unlikely he has a relapse of ebola but he is being kept in isolation as a precaution. in the case of thomas duncan, the focus is on those who may have had contact with him after he became symptomatic. when he first visited texas health presbyterian hospital he was sent home, even though he was ill and told a nurse he had recently arrived from liberia. he was back in the hospital two days later.
officials with the cdc say at least nine people had close contact with duncan, but none of them have shown any symptoms of ebola. another 40 people are also being monitored as a precaution. as the attention on this case grows, the cdc says reports of possible cases are also growing. >> we have already gotten well over 100 inquiries of possible patients. we've assessed every one of those with state and local health departments, with local health departments and hospitals, and just this one patient has tested positive. we expect that we will see more rumors or concerns or possibilities of cases. until there is a positive laboratory test, that is what they are. >> for the latest on the situation, nbc news correspondent mark potter joins us from dallas. what more can you tell us, mark, about how thomas con dduncan isg this morning? >> reporter: well, unfortunately it appears that his condition has worsened. as noted earlier, he is now listed in critical condition. that's a downward turn from
where he was friday when he was listed in serious condition. this morning on the "today" show, the cdc director was asked if sometimes you get worse before you get better, and his answer had nothing to do with that. he said simply i'm very worried about this patient and it was very clear that he is concerned. family members in north carolina also share that concern. they say they have been told by doctors here that he's on a ventilator, he's on a dialysis machine and they are using an experimental anti-viral drug that has not been used before to try to see if they can turn this around. a nephew tells nbc news that they had been able to talk to him on tuesday through friday when they would call on the phone to the isolation unit. they could talk to him, but on saturday they were told that was no longer the case, he couldn't talk because he had been intubated. of course that deeply concerned the family. a medical source has told our affiliate here, kxas, that while he is on life support, the fact that he is relatively young, 42
years old, does give him -- gives doctors hope for his survivability, but again the tone this morning from the cdc director was that there is -- there is deep concern. we hope to hear more about that at a news conference to come within -- in about an hour from the cdc devoted to this issue here in dallas. so we'll hear about it. but right now, you know, things are certainly not as positive as they were on friday. >> nbc's mark potter in dallas, texas. thank you very much. so now we turn to another story we watched develop throughout the week, the growing list of recent failures attributed to the secret service. one of the prime directives for an agent of the secret service is to stay out of the spotlight and blend into the background. but as the constant companions of one of the most recognizable and photographed people on the planet, well, we can't help but take notice. in fact for an institution that prides itself on the ability of its members to be inconspicuous,
ironically many americans will instantly recognize the iconic image of the secret service. wherever you see a u.s. president, there they are, just off to the left or right, maybe trailing at a close distance behind or a few steps ahead. the guy in the dark suit, eyes constantly moving behind his sunglasses, talking into his sleeve and listening to the voice in his ear, with a don't even think about breathing in the president's general direction expression on his face. or maybe the image you best associate with the secret service is this, agent clint hill, moments after president john f. kennedy was hit by an assassin's bullet, leaping atop the president's car to protect first lady jackie kennedy. perhaps it's secret service agents turning themselves into human shields for wounded president reagan and rushing him into a limo and to the hospital after he was shot by john hinckley in march of 1981. whatever the context, the image of the secret service has long reflected its reputation for quietly but effectively doing the work that has been its singular mission for more than a century, constant vigilance over the president of the united
states. agents ready at a moment's notice to defend against a threat to his life and, if necessary, sacrifice their own in the course of duty. but last week, that image of the secret service was shattered and replaced with this. a man outside the white house jumping the fence, running across the front lawn, through an unlocked door into the executive mansion, all while carrying a knife. with nary a secret service agent in sight. as we'd later find out, the intruder, army veteran omar gonzalez, overpowered the first secret service officer he encountered before running even further into the white house, making it as far as the east room before he was tackled by a counter assault agent who was off duty at the time. although the first family wasn't home during the incident, this spectacular breach of white house security exposed both the vulnerability of the secret service and the american presidency. and that impression of vulnerability was only deepened in the days following the white house intrusion by a string of revelations of previous lapses in the secret service's
protection of the president. a "washington post" report last week revealed the bungled security response to a shooter who fired bullets into the white house in november of 2011 while sasha obama was home with her grandmother, marian robinson, and malia obama on her way back home from an outing with friends. just days later, another revelation that during a trip to atlanta on september 16th, an armed security contractor made his way onto an elevator with president obama. the man didn't come to the attention of agents until he disobeyed their orders to stop recording the president with a cell phone camera. nor did they realize he was armed until after his elevator encounter with president obama. the revelation of security failures ultimately led to the resignation of secret service director julia peierson and a launch of a full-scale review of the agency. and it's left the secret service, which has so long been the silent presence in the lingering shadows exposed to the spotlight of public scrutiny. here with me now is rich
starpoli who was in the secret service for 23 years, including as a position as assistant special agent in charge of the secret service's new york office and six years assigned to the presidential detail under appellates bill clinton and george w. bush. and here is mark -- also here is mark amender contributing editor at gq and author of "deep state, inside the government secrecy agency." mark gained unprecedented access to the secret service when he wrote a 2011 story on the agency for "the atlantic." thank you both for joining us. rich, i want to start with you. what are you thinking as you've been watching all of these revelations about these secret service security lapses? >> i've got to tell you speaking on behalf of myself and my fellow agents, we are not happy with what we've seen. it's quite the embarrassment and pretty disgusted with what's happened. it's a culmination of a number of years worth of hiring practices where we've hired, to put it nicely, nice people. the public has a certain perception of how a secret service agent should present himself and how he should act. basically he should do his job.
what we've hired now and gotten away from that. we've hired people that are afraid to put hands on people, that are greatly constrained by senior management that have become more concerned about operating within the bureaucracy and possibly about their next job down the road and have handcuffed the working populous from doing their job and what they're paid to do. you know, i love how everyone mentions clint hill and of course the actions of tim mccarthy at the reagan shooting. some would argue that those guys, what they did is heroic. i would counter with, no, those guys did their job. when omar gonzalez jumped over that fence last week, we saw a complete breakdown. uniformed officers simply did not do their job and that's the basic problem with the secret service right now. >> okay. so this isn't -- these aren't isolated or recent incidents. you said part of the problem has been the hiring of nice people. so we might remember, some of us might remember the secret service prostitution scandal. >> exactly. >> from a few years back. nice people but also people that like to party apparently.
>> that's right. >> these failures aren't a recent development. so why now are they coming to public notice? has this been a long-term systemic failure within the organization? >> i think it has been a long term and it's a long time coming. this is not -- i use the example, this is not the new york city police department where you've got 60,000 employees. you get one or two bad apples or people that don't meet the standards, you can bury them somewhere. this is a very small organization with an incredibly complex and important job to do. you cannot continually hire people who don't meet the standards and are not up to the task of doing this job. hiring people that have never had a job before, secret service agent or uniformed division officer, should not and cannot be the first-time job for someone. yet we're starting to see more and more of that and it works fine when nothing happens. >> okay. so what should be done now and then i want to bring you in on this, mark. what do you think should happen to prevent these mistakes. >> i think in the bigger picture we have to get back to the standards of hiring that were instituted years and years ago. somewhere along the line, maybe during the clinton
administration, we've gotten away from hiring people that could actually do the job. i would start with the cleansing of the house at headquarters. up got too much of a bureaucracy there. you've got a chain of command that works, if this was the u.s. army, not for an agency that prides itself on doing things in the immediacy with the sense of urgency that the secret service needs to do. the chain of command is way too complicated here. and a lot of that i attribute to the creation of positions solely so these bureaucrats at headquarters can continually promote their friends and nepotism is running rampant here and it's killing the secret service. >> mark, i want to bring you in on this. you have a very unique perspective as the first journalist to get an inside look at how the secret service operates. what can you tell us about these recent revelations and what should be done? >> there's no question that collectively they sap morale. the week that all this came out, agents, as anyone who was in new york knows, were here putting together the united nations general assembly and that was the event that i went behind the scenes with a few years ago.
you have two-thirds of the world's leaders come to new york, a city that's been attacked by terrorists multiple times, and it goes off without a hitch. and it's a testament to what the secret service can do when it's performing at its highest levels. so you've seen this fascinating dichotomy over the past couple of weeks. you've seen them perform amazingly as an organization and then you've seen these bewildering failures, which suggest indemic problems. >> so jill clancy, who we should say was formerly director of corporate security for nbc universal, which is the parent company of comcast, has taken over as temporary director. rich, you worked with joe, what can you tell us about him. >> big fan of joe clancy. i think there isn't anyone that i can think of that would embody the model of the secret service worthy of trust and confidence more than joe clancy. that is a man of honor and integrity and also a man who's not afraid to lay hands on people and take care of business
and carry out what the public thinks a secret service agent should be doing when the job needs to be done. but joe cannot do this job alone. it will be interesting to see who he brings along with him to clean up this mess and get things straightened out. this isn't something that can linger for five years. we're not looking to reinvent general motors here. this is a job that needs to be -- these actions have to be taken now, in the immediacy. >> rich starpoli, thank you very much. mark is going to stick around. up next, the trade-off for sq r securing the president usually means secluding the president and why the members of the white house often think of it more of a jailhouse. first, "saturday night live's" take on the secret service story last night. >> mr. president, some of what you said tonight is a little worrisome. that combined with the recent security breaches at the white house. >> steve, steve, steve, we had problems with our secret service, but i promise you, we've taken care of them. >> excuse me, mr. president.
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once upon a time the american presidency was not surrounded by the rarefied air we have come to associate with the office. in fact the white house was once an open house. after president thomas jefferson began a tradition of allowing public access to the presidential mansion during the inauguration. that tradition was most famously celebrated after the swearing in of president andrew jackson when, a rowdy crowd of more than 20,000 members of the public invaded the white house. in fact, the secret service didn't even come into existence until nine presidents later. on april 14th, 1865, president
abraham lincoln established the agency not to protect the american president but to defend american currency against rampant financial fraud. now if that date seems a little familiar to you, it's because ironically president lincoln was assassinated later that same day. it would take congress another 36 years and the assassination of two more presidents to decide creating a protective fence around the president might be a good idea. teddy roosevelt became the first president to have the full protection. secret service and the first but not the last president guarded by the agency to view the gleaming white columns on the white house more like the bars of a prison cell. roosevelt's dislike of the constant surveillance that came along with the presidency would be echoed. president truman famously called the white house the great white jail and the glamorous prison. president reagan referred to himself as a bird in a gilded cage. president clinton who called his presidential home the crown jewel of the federal
penitentiary system. and of course president obama, who seemed just a little too happy for a rare moment of freedom when during the early summer jaunt across the national mall made this gleeful declaration. >> the bear is loose. >> joining me now is jillian, professor of history and public affairs of princeton university. mark ambinder, christina greer, assistant professor of political science at fordham university and syndicated columnist bob franken. thank you call for joining us for this conversation. that video of the president got a little shaky but i want to put up some images of the president going to shake shack with the vice president as well as we know president obama likes to shop at the gap, right? so how much of a strain does the secret service put on agents -- how much of a strain do agents
put on the president's ability to basically go to the gap, to get a shake shack burger, bob? >> i've often wondered if an agent tells his wife that he's going to the gap, does she say to him can you pick up a couple pairs of jeans or something like that. what is so interesting, and this is sympathetic to the secret service, is that for a little trip to the gap or when the bear was loose, that was a huge operation. even if it was something that was accomplished immediately, and mark can speak more effectively to that, but the fact of the matter is that there are preparations where just about everybody has his slot, all that kind of thing. i think it's fair to argue that the secret service is very good at the things that it has under its control. but what we witnessed at the white house, what we apparently witnessed in atlanta with that security guard is that if they have to ad lib, they haven't really been trained well enough, at least today, to act spontaneously. only if they have it drilled into their heads the stuff they have to remember by rote. >> mark, i want to bring you back in because you're the first
journalist to have access to the secret service. for president, the secret service protection has felt like a prison. president clinton said this is sort of the crown jewel of the federal penitentiary system. this is not just an issue of security for the president but a sense of security for the public as well. so when there are threats to the president that we have seen play out in the last couple of weeks, what does that mean for how we as american citizens view our own protection and sense of security? >> well, i think generally at a time when our faith and institutions has declined significantly, the margin of error for such things is razor thin. the first african-american president, a lot of very different threats, the type of threats to him are very different than the type of threats to president bush. and, frankly, there is a symbolism attached to the idea of an agency where most of the president's detail are white men protecting an african-american
and all these lapses. i can guarantee you that everyone on the president's detail, everyone would take a bullet for president obama. but the perception matters. and it really -- it really, really does. and i think that's playing into this a little bit. >> i want to bring you in and just read a quote from "the l.a. times" this week about what happened to president obama when he spoke at an event in l.a. over the summer. the president had just begun a new campaign style speech when a man in the crowd interrupted with loud cries, anti-christ the man yelled, you'll be destroyed. less than an hour later, however, offstage and surrounded again by security and staff member, the president was no longer laughing. that man would kill me, he told them flatly. is the president aware of the threats on his life? >> i think he is aware. i think there's a balance between being aware of this, being aware of being the first african-american president but also the desire to get out, the desire to be political. lyndon johnson used tol always hate the secret service because
he wanted to shake hands and they wouldn't let him shake hands. we've had since 9/11 this ongoing battle about the national security system versus civil liberties. i think when americans see this after all they have given up, they wonder why can't we just protect the white house. >> let me follow up on this with you, though. after 9/11 the secret service was moved out of the treasury department and into homeland security. one could argue that that's been part of the problem in terms of this different oversight. should it be an independent agency in some way? >> yeah, i think one proposal is to make it independent. another proposal is to eliminate some of its older functions, such as dealing with counterfeiting, credit card fraud, which is from 1865 when it was created, not credit cards but counterfeiting. so both to make it independent but also narrow its mission, protect the president. there was an age when john quincy adams could kwauk around every morning on a morning stroll or morning swim and no one protected him. martin van buren walked to
church. we're no longer in that era so we need a secret service totally focused on the president. >> chris, i know you want to jump in on this. you've remarked before about the president and his dad jeans. i don't think the gap sells those anymore. >> i think when he's also realized we're in an intense moment in this country in extreme bipolar politics, right? we also have an increase in mental illness, which we miraculously have no money to support, right, so we know that as a nation, we're broke. so there's certain things that we can't afford to assist people with, right. but then at the same time, we find money for all these other endeavors. this is something that we must find the time, the resources and the absolute money, whether we create a brand new department or not, where when we feel threatened by external forces, we need stability. we need to know that we're not going to have a traumatic situation that so many americans did witness with john f. kennedy, right. and especially because we have our first african-american president, we know the types of threats have been extremely specific with this type of
racialized politics. >> so the first african-american president, hold that thought, bob. up next, more on the perceived particular risk for this president. keeping a billion customers a year flying, means keeping seven billion transactions flowing. and when weather hits, it's data mayhem. but airlines running hp end-to-end solutions are always calm during a storm. so if your business deals with the unexpected, hp big data and cloud solutions make sure you always know what's coming - and are ready for it. make it matter.
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rushes relief to eight symptoms of a full blown cold including your stuffy nose. (breath of relief) oh, what a relief it is. thanks. anytime. i want to take you back for a moment to january of 2009 during the inaugural parade at the beginning of president obama's first term. we see a car in the presidential motorcade slow to a stop. a secret service agent opening the door and the emergence of president obama and later first lady michelle obama, who takes some time to stroll along the parade route out in the open before returning to their car. many americans watched with a sense of pride and excitement at this historic moment, but for some, those feelings were also mixed with fear. that emotion was based on the recognition that what made the obamas so singular in history also may have made them singularly vulnerable to a threat in a way that no other president and first lady have felt before. because what they were seeing wasn't just the first family, but the first african-american first family.
and as "the new york times" reported this week, there are some for whom that difference magnifies the failures of the secret service to protect this president in particular. u.s. representatives elijah cummings and emanual cleaver told "the times" they don't believe the security lapses had anything to do with the president's race but they have as of late had to disspell the notion among their constituents. said cleaver, it is something that is widespread in black circles. i've been hearing this for some time. well, the secret service, they're trying to expose the president. you hear a lot of that from african-americans in particular. so, mark, having been embedded with the secret service, how vulnerable is the president because of his race? and let me just put up a screen of jolani cobb who wrote an article for "the new yorker" this week who basically said one of the least openly discussed elements was the legitimate fears about his protection. >> and you'll remember that he got secret service protection very early. >> earliest in history.
>> earliest in history precisely because of those threats, and the threats were real. the secret service when assessing the type of threats that obama received versus the type of threats that president bush received, president bush was much more vulnerable to a coordinated assault by terrorists. president obama much more vulnerable to lone wolfs egged on by white supremacists. in some cases, that scenario is even more scary for the secret service because lone wolfs are lone and they don't plan. they don't leave the paper trail. so from the context of an absolute threat, it absolutely is a concern that is magnified for president obama. >> this side of the table is eager to jump in. bob first and then i'll get you, chris and julian. >> well, it's easy to be dismissive of that concern. i don't know if you notice that i'm white, so it would be easy for those of us who share that color to say that's ridiculous. however, particularly for the black experience, you witness what happens in ferguson, missouri, you witness all the
instances that are probably credibly have to do between the police and african-americans, you realize that the secret service is perceived as a police organization. it's easy to understand why people would feel that way. >> so i want to -- before you jump in, chris, i want to play some sound of first lady michelle obama on "60 minutes" in february of 2007. so during the primaries. and get you to respond. let's take a listen. >> this is a tough question to ask, but a number of years ago colin powell was thinking about running for president. his wife really did not want him to run, she was worried about some crazy person with a gun. has that been a factor? have you talked about that? is that something that you think about? >> i don't lose sleep over it. because the realities are that, you know, as a black man, barack can get shot going to the gas station. >> okay, chrissie, this is to bob's point on some level.
hey, police could have shot barack, some lone wolf could have shot barack, what should we make of this? >> these are rational fears. when black americans talk about their distrust in the secret service, this is a highly rational fear because we know there are many white americans who are stockpiling guns that have an irrational fear of black people. what michelle obama was saying and most people are saying now is that this particular president is highly vulnerable to people within his own country, right, across the country and not just lone wolves, but some coordinated efforts on various levels. we do know there has been a resurgence of the kkk and hate groups specifically targeted to people of color. we do know there's a resurgence of hatred in this bipolarized fashion and not just coming from right wing politics but actually from center and left wing politics. so when we think about the rational versus irrational, it is very rational for
african-americans to worry about this president because we have seen historically what can happen to an african-american individual, man, woman or child in this particular country. >> and every school child learns about martin luther king and the hopes that were shattered when a great leader was assassinated. so i think it's contemporary but it's also historical. you know, the tragedy, though, of presidential protection is a lot of the reforms come after mistakes. after john f. kennedy was killed, the secret service revamps and expands itself. we don't really protect the president until lincoln, garfield and mckinley assassinations take place. so we have this history, which is a little frightening, that the best and most important reforms take a little time and take bad things to happen. >> after the break, it's not just the physical isolation, but it's also political isolation, we might argue. just imagine if the president and congress behaved more like britain's parliament. that's next. ring ring! progresso! you soup people have my kids loving vegetables. well vegetables... shh! taste better in our savory broth.
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they're regular watchers of c-span, are like lie unfamiliar with the british tradition of the prime minister's questions. since 1997, each week at noon, the british prime minister goes before the house of commons where he must endure response to half an hour of rapid fire and oftentimes hostile questions. this is just a typical day at the office for british prime minister david cameron squaring off against a member of parliament. >> and we know who's responsible for the great economic recession, because extraordinarily they're still in their jobs. >> mr. speaker, he's in his fifth year as prime minister and all he can do is try and blame someone else. and he just -- and he just doesn't get it. >> subjecting the head of state to that degree of direct scrutiny from congress would be unthinkable for most americans who are accustomed to the protection of not only the president, but the office of the u.s. presidency. not only does the president rarely have to encounter a room
full of legislators shouting at him, but it was a major scandal when president obama was verbally assaulted by just one member of congress in this moment during an address in 2009 to a joint session of congress. >> the reforms i'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. >> you lie! >> that's not true. >> it seems as though it would have hardly registered across the pond, but here in the united states we have a president who is both physically and in many ways politically secluded. bob, i want to come to you first. why not a u.k. style prime minister's questions here. is this about the respect for the office? >> well, first of all, that question period sounds no more raucous than the daily network television editorial meeting. but in truth, we can't do that because we're not structured the same way. the prime minister is a member of parliament. he is in effect the chief member of parliament. and under that system, he is allowed or has to endure this
question period every week. we have the separation of powers now. the closest we come to it is the state of the union message, and every once in a while a congressman yelling. >> but at this point you said we're -- on this point we're not structured to do that, but i want to play sound from a moment that we probably have all forgotten and that's in 2010, the president goes to the lion's den of sorts and it's the closest that we've seen of a u.k.-style prime minister interaction with parliament. let's take a look. >> and so rest assured the summary document you received is backed up by precisely the kind of detailed legislation that speaker pelosi and your administration have been busy ignoring for 12 months. >> mike, hold on a second. you know, mike, i've read your legislation. i mean i take a look at this stuff. and the good ideas we take. here's the thing i guess that all of us have to be mindful of. it can't be all or nothing one
way or the other. >> now, that happened just once and i want to also put up a tweet for you to respond, to julian, from luke russert who tweeted out after that encounter, gop aides telling me it was a mistake to allow cameras into obama's qa with gop members. allowed bo to refute gop for 1.5 hours on tv. they didn't want to do that again, but we could do it if we wanted to. >> we could do it and there's part of me as a spectator that would enjoy to see the questions and answers and speaker boehner and the president interacting. i'm not sure that would solve the kind of polarization we have and the problems that exist between the parties. they are much more deeply rooted than golf games -- >> but couldn't that actually solve some of the policy stagnation and gridlock if we had much more of those televised exchanges between the president and congress. >> it could be or it could be as c-span ended up being, just another platform for performance often and for fueling the kind of partisan interaction that
might be softened if it wasn't in front of the cameras. >> but if it moved public opinion, if exchanges like that were to change people's minds, widely magnified on cable and where everyone else gets their news, in that way it could be -- it could be useful. but obama -- both obama and the house gop both concluded after that, that there was no utility to it. obama would love to do it again. >> chrissie? >> i think it depends on the president. we do know there are certain president that say would enjoy it. but the issue is we have not only voter apathy but voter fatigue. i think many voters feel like are all we're seeing are these same debates that are consistently surfaced. the gop has pinky sworn to never work with this president. >> pinky sworn? >> pinky swore in january, 2009. and so the issue then is we have this separation of powers where the institution of the presidency that continues to
expand consistently buttresses against a very polarized congress. we're not going to see substantive change because many voters are asked to vote three times a year and they're not seeing the needle move. >> bob, i want to get you in on this. i was excited, that was great political theater to watch that. maybe voters would be excited. >> it was great tv. are you ready for some controversy? to be honest, i quite frankly think the parliament looks buff onnish when they do that and i think we have enough buffoonery in the political process. >> jillian, give us some historical perspective. wasn't congress much more rank russ in the 19th century and early 20th century than it is now? >> they used to get in fist fights, gun fights. >> people stabbed ond floor of congress. >> senator joseph mccarthy was talking about treason in the white house, so this is an institution that's always very bitter, very conflicted. it changes, the kind of
obstacles the president faces. but the nostalgia that we had this year of great civil debate i think is often misplaced. >> mark, you said something really interesting. you had those kind of debates could move public opinion, right? >> if they could move public opinion, they would be worthwhile. if they could move public opinion, cable news wouldn't need to exist because those are the types of debates. controversial. but people watch what they want to watch now too, so there's an enormous sorting of everything in terms of how we get our information, who we listen to, the arguments that we're receptive to. so i am pessimistic as well, but if it could, if one side or the other gave such a smash bang performance that the public collectively looked at it and said that argument is just stupid that the other side is giving, then it would be worth it. >> 30 seconds, bob. >> let me take another stab at controversy. i happen to believe that public opinion in this day and age is immovable. that people have pretty much dug
in in their point of view and their hate reds and their ignorance and there's nothing that we could do that could change that except maybe on the edge. >> so much to say about this. thank you very much to julian, mark. christina and bob are sticking around. a developing story we'll be updating for the next 29 years. this third shift is rough... it's just a few more weeks max! what are you doing up? it's late. i just wanted to have breakast wih you.
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2043 nonwhite citizens will comprise the majority of the american population but no one ethnic group will become the majority. 50% of those born since have been people of color. the shifting demographics could have a lasting impact on the nation's cultural and political landscapes as population changes translate to new voting blocks that have an influence on elections. and a new tv series is devoted to breaking down this historic trend number by number. america by the numbers, which launched on world channel and pbs last week is hosted be award winning reporter maria hinohosa. takes a close look at what the ever evolving census numbers mean for various regions of the country. clarkston, georgia, where there 40 nationalities in one square mile. or guam, the u.s. territory in the pacific. it's home to many citizens but they don't have access to a v.a. hospital in the island. the coverage goes beyond the
numbers as the series models states behind every number there's a story. and keeping with the model, documents the underreported stories of the americans leading the historic demographic transformation. >> baby benjamin is a brand new american. his parents fled the repression of a burmese military and moved to clarkston in 2008. today, they celebrate their second child born in the usa. >> what do you dream about benjamin's future? as an american? >> joining the table now to discuss america by the numbers is maria. host of npr's latino usa and hosts and executive producer of america by the numbers. and still with me is christina greer and syndicated columnist bob franken. thank you for joining us. this was an amazing documentary to watch. i want to start by asking you. what inspired you to do this project? and what are your hopes for it? >> let's see, what inspired me
to do this project? a couple of things. i worked in the mainstream, bob at cnn. in many mainstream news organizations. and sometimes when i would want to talk about this change that i was a part of because i was born in mexico, raised in chicago and i'm an american citizen now. you know, you kind of get the, oh, we did that story already. or isn't that going to happen in the future? or that. so i wanted to create my own television series. and i wanted to change the narrative, right? how we approach change and demographic change. i don't approach this story from a perspective of fear of change, right? because i am that change. so having a different kind of journalist making the editorial decisions. we wanted to base it on data. it's irrefutable. this country is changing by the numbers. >> you traveled all over the country. and i was just captivated by idaho, by guam. but i want to show our viewers a little bit from clarkston, georgia. it's a fascinating story with political implications. let's take a look. >> it's a surprising turn of
events for a city that lies in the heart of the deep south and was almost 90% white just 30 years ago. now, whites make up less than 20% of the population and the majority of the city's residents are black. when i first came here in 2012, the city council was all white. even though the population is more than 80% nonwhite. one year later, for the first time ever, three former refugees are running for office in local elections. >> okay, maria. three former refugees, what was the outcome of that election? >> well, first of all, it was historic and we were there to document it. and part of what happened is that when they saw -- because they were our pilot show and we went back to do eight half hours. when they saw themselves on television on a national level talking about politics, the constitution, then they said, wait, we can do this. and three former refugees decided to run.
the first ever butanese american ran. somali american won. and a young white man named ted terry replaced the first african-american appointed mayor. you never know with politics. >> i want to show our viewers the stark population change in clarkston. in 1980, it was 89% white, but 2012, it was 18.2% white. but as you said, clarkston had an all white city council in 2012. and it's sort of, when i saw that, crissy, it resinated with me in terms of ferguson, missouri, and the all white political establishment there. it's 60% black. but one of, i think, i'm sorry, one of the six city council members is black, but 94% of the police force is white. what does clarkston tell us about the potential for a place like ferguson? >> well, i think clarkston tells
us it's a microcosm for many things. obviously in my book black ethni ethnics, i talk about populations and their voting capacities, right? but we also see people coming from countries that are not necessarily beholden to one party or the other. that doesn't necessarily mean you'll be a democrat. i also think looping it back to what we talked about earlier with sort of the rise of the middle class in china. as we see so many chinese moving to the united states. they may not necessarily have the same political identities as abcs, which are american born chinese, right? because of socioeconomic statuses or the geographic locales in which they plan to reside. >> so -- >> so, for example, our family, they were the first to be settled in clarkston, georgia. the father who ran and lost by about 12 votes is a conservative republican. his youngest son who is a
hipster rapper liked ron paul. and the two daughters liked -- like clinton, no, liked obama. i don't know if they still do. but liked obama. so in one family of new voters, you can't predict how they're going to vote. >> as a matter of fact, you're seeing this manifested among republicans, some of whom are saying, hey, folks, we've got this demography that we have to try and convince them that we're not unfriendly to them. unfortunately, they're running into the reality that many of the republicans are unfriendly to them. but they're recognizing that the white guy's party isn't going to be one that can dominate the political scene very long. >> and you know what the problem is? if the republicans don't connect with this new electorate, the republican party has a very dismal future by the numbers. the problem also is that the democratic party right now is having a very hard time connecting with these voters, too. particularly with latinos. >> can i -- >> we got to end there,
unfortunately, but this is a good tease for the documentary. thank you, again. again, the pbs series is america by the numbers. thank you also, christina greer and bob franken. that is our show today. thank you at home for watching. melissa harris-perry will be back here next saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. coming up next, "weekends with alex witt." but the energy bp produces up here creates something else as well: jobs all over america. engineering and innovation jobs. advanced safety systems & technology. shipping and manufacturing. across the united states, bp supports more than a quarter million jobs. when we set up operation in one part of the country, people in other parts go to work. that's not a coincidence. it's one more part of our commitment to america.
[ woman ] got me to 70 years old. i'm going to have to rethink this thing. it's hard to imagine how much we'll need for a retirement that could last 30 years or more. so maybe we need to approach things differently, if we want to be ready for a longer retirement. ♪ the fight against isis. britain may be ready to directly taken o the man who beheaded those hostages. safer skies, well, some say the u.s. should stop flights from ebola plagued countries. i'll talk to someone who says that's exactly the wrong way to go. a new term the supreme court is expected to tackle some monumental cases starting tomorrow. will they choose to pass on key ones. strange but true, a man in a bubble in the middle of the ocean is rescued by the coast guard. the question, what was he doing there?