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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  July 4, 2019 4:00am-6:00am PDT

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good morning and welcome to a special july 4th edition of "morning joe." we are on tape this morning, allowing our team to have a holiday and enjoy the holiday weekend, so that means we're on tape. we don't say, oh, how was that holiday? >> i'm very excited about the fireworks tonight. >> they're going to be great. >> no, they really are. and can you believe, can you believe what happened on july the 3rd? nobody saw -- >> you see what happens when we joke. we are on tape. >> shocked the conscious of a nation. >> we have a great two hours
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here for you. >> a pack of wolves. >> along with joe, willy, and me -- >> can i ask you this question -- >> i'm going to kick him off the set. >> how did the wolves get to gerald ford? that was an old "snl" skit. where brokaw was gone on vacation and he did all of these -- >> and all of these scenarios and it ended up, the brokaw character stopped him and said, is that really going to happen? do i have to read this? >> okay, along with joe, willy and me, we have msnbc contributor mike barnicle, former aide to the george w. bush white house and state departments, elise jordan, and historian and rogers professor of the presidency at vanderbilt university, jon meacham. he is an nbc news and msnbc contributor. >> and of late, tim mcgraw's partner. faith, step aside. >> yeah, how's that going? >> it's gone very well, thank you for asking. i was -- i actually did it under
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false pretenses. i thought it was a project with faith and mcgraw showed up. so it was kind of like when mika shows up -- when mika doesn't show up and joe does, it's awful. >> we have that -- >> seriously -- >> -- too. we'll be showing next hour. >> jon, is your tour bus parked outside the studio right now or how does it work? >> basically, my fans, they get up early -- >> you have fans?! >> -- because they go to bed early. and we have a special handicap section for the parking for my bus. >> brought to you by milk of magnesia and bengay. >> you know, willy's jealousy about this, because he was a vanderbilt guy, is painful. >> willy just wants to live in nashville, let's be honest. >> that's the real story here. >> so jon, let's talk about the fourth of july. let's talk about where america stands on this birthday. mika and i have an ongoing
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debate on whether american institutions are holding firm against the stress that they've been under over the past several years. and i'm curious where you are right now on this birthday. >> well, arguably, the most important sentence ever rendered in english was the sentence that was ratified today. we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, which the seneca falls later added, all men and women are created equal. and i would add in many ways, and this is not a partisan point, the story of the country is defined to the extent to which, the generosity to which we have applied that sentence. have we opened access to the mainstream or have we contradicted it? and as recently as 30 years ago, ronald reagan could say that all the pilgrims from all the lost places are hurtling towards the darkness towards home had to have this shining city on a
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hill. and for all of our derelictions, for all of our faults, we have ultimately applied that sentence for generously. for right now, i think that the institutions are holding, if by their fingernails, and i think that if i were in elective office right now or thinking about elective office, i would really be thinking really hard about what i wanted posterity to say about me. do i have the guts to stand up and say, this will not stand, when it comes to much of what the president is trying to do. >> jon, is it possible -- and perhaps this is -- i mean, republican leaders in washington, d.c., republican politicians in washington, d.c. may say, oh, well, this is a question asked by an msnbc host. i think it's a fair question, considering i spent my lifetime as a conservative, a small government skprve, thconservati believed in nato, that believed in pushing back against russia,
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russian aggression, that believed in all the things that my father and my mother and my family believed, that conservatives across the nation believed in. believing that for presidents, character matters. i just wonder, do you -- do you foresee a time when the republican party, because of what they've been doing during the age of trump and because of the demographic changes that will make obama's coalition in 2018 the coalition of the future, do you foresee the republican party going away as is, the same way as the wigs? >> the wigs. you know, i do think -- you and i have talked about this before -- i do think, we've had these two parties with this particular set of interests for a long time. and they don't make a heck of a lot of sense when you look at them in terms of how these interests coalesced. i do think that -- i think and slash hope that the elements of
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the trump coalition, and, you know, trump is basically -- he hijacked the republican party and the party sided with him, right? that's basically what happened. certainly, the base did. and now the elected class has capitulated in many ways. i think that we're at a moment that's very ripe for one of the two parties, and in this case, it's going to be the republicans, will be reconstituted. i think it's very hard to have three parties, just because of the electoral college, you know, our friend, mayor bloomberg has polled on this forever, but there's nothing written in stone that says that the republican party has to be that set of interests. and this republican party makes -- to your point, makes no historical sense. it was a party of free trade, it was a party of free movement of people and ideas. it was a party that was about projecting power against agreed
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upon foes and rivals. and if russia is not an commonly agreed upon foe or rival, than who is? >> jon, your book "soul of america," which it pains me to remind viewers, because of our personal animosity towards each other is a runaway best seller and still on the list, made the point very well, i think, to a lot of people that we're no in great times right now, but, man, we've had worse times. and i think that's an important thing to say on the fourth of july, which is that, when you live in the moment and in the crucible and looking at twitter every five seconds or watching the news, it feels like we are in as bad a place as we've been and i can't imagine a way out of it. so what are some of the lessons that you think we can apply today to give a little hope on the fourth of july? >> i think that basically, what has always kept us going is the sense that altruism is not just a personal virtue, it's a civic
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necessity. the idea that we would reach out and help somebody else is in our self-interest. and that's one of the fundamental elements of a republican, lower-case "r" government, is that i pay taxes for you today, you pay them for me tomorrow. we make, what jefferson called, mutual concessions of opinion. because i may need you tomorrow. winston churchill always refused to carry lifelong grudges as a parliamenttarian, because this morning's enemy might be this afternoon's ally. that's fundamental in the life of a republic, which is what was established today in philadelphia in 1776, was this idea that in fact, if we were going to -- amongst the powers of the earth, we had the capacity to defend these rights. and to pursue happiness. and what happiness meant in -- when jefferson wrote it, wasn't just, let's pall be cheerful, although that's great.
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but it was a civic idea of happiness, a civic idea. that, in fact, it was in our mutual self-interest to be about the common interest. and i think if you look back, to go directly to your question, if you look back at moments that we want to emulate and that we tend to commemorate, you find that these were moments where people were willing to change their minds if the fact s warranted i. so you have a dwight eisenhower in 1953 saying, i'm not going to rip up the new deal, it's part of the fabric of the country. that sets up an amazing run of prosperity, it helps set up the work of the civil rights movement. it helps set up our posture in the cold war. and a peaceable posture. not a single soldier died in combat under dwight eisenhower. and that is where he was asking a republican party to change its orthodoxy. and they didn't like it, but they did it. and that's an era we could go back to -- that we can learn a lot from. >> but looking at today, i'll put the question to joe, because
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just in the past few weeks, especially when you were talking about character mattering, the law matters, our national security matters. i think we can universally agree on those three things. and in the past few weeks, we have had a president who has said publicly that he would sell out our country for dirt on his opponent and and i haven't heard like a huge reaction from republicans on this. we have a president who says that if a woman was his type, he might rape her, in response to being accused of rape, saying "she's not my type." i put these two together, because i wonder how institutions can hold when the president of the united states isn't held accountable for things that are so clearly against who we are and what we're made of as a country. >> well, i think this year has been an important year, as we separate the political sins of donald trump from figuring out
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what causes permanent damage. i was always under the impression that the firing of robert mueller, which he threatened to do repeatedly, which i thought he was going to do, that would have launched a constitutional crisis. people would have been in the street. it would have been ugly. even republicans would have jumped in and considered impeachment. he did not do that. and so we've actually moved to a new phase of the trump presidency where we've gone from a constitutional crisis, a potential constitutional crisis, which donald trump did not trigger, did not fire mueller, to now a political crisis. and there have been battles and jon can talk about this far better than me. there have been battles, jon, between the executive branch and the legislative branch for years. it gets ten wous constitutiuousy
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when those battles are between the judicial branch and the executive branch. so aren't we really at a place where there is hyperpartisanship and hyperintergovernmental warfare now between congress and the presidency? and that is not a constitutional crisis. that is, in fact, a political crisis. >> and it's that great question about whether or not the word "crisis "is right. you know, "crisis" comes from the greek term for "health." it was the moment of decision in the case of a patient. it's really interesting that in the 18th century, we spoke about the body politic. we talked about crisis, because that was a medical term. it was our political life, our common life was as vital to us as our personal health. it wasn't a spectator sport. it wasn't something that was just for partisan gain or what you call the media political
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entertainment complex, through the years. it was a real thing. i think that in some ways, this is what the founders in many ways expected. it would have stunned them that it took 243 years to get a demagogue as president. they would have been incredibly pleased with themselves. now, they were thinking about patrick henry. they were thinking about aaron burr. but when people say, oh, the founders never anticipated donald trump, the hell they didn't. it's just wrong. >> yeah. >> now, maybe they didn't see "the apprentice" coming, but the basic view is they're there. and so they understood divided sovereignty. and so having these battles, they tended to expect. and they knew that there had to be this mix of democratic elements, lower case "d" and republican, lower case "r," to try to get us through these particular moments. but even that analogy, even that term is a little tricky, because
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we think about getting through moments, as though we're going to get to something where, oh, everything's fine. has there ever been a moment in the history of the world where people said, oh, everything's fine, nothing has to change? no. >> no. no. >> and during bill clinton's impeachment, everyone said, it's a constitutional crisis. no, it's not. it's in the constitution. read the constitution, let people vote. >> they didn't plan for a complicit congress, as you pointed out, but go ahead. >> listening to jon meacham, whom i share willy's contempt for. >> y'all are so mean. >> he's earned it. >> jealousy. >> it strikes me that we have, some of us, and as a nation, we are losing our sense of history to twitter and texting and everything like that. you can't tweet history. and listening to meacham, i mean, the value of today, hopefully would be that we would be reminded of our history. >> well, part of the problem of
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this political moment is that it is so transient. and if donald trump is driving the news cycle and creating a crisis after a crisis, in order to drive headlines and to deflect, we aren't having any deeper contemplation over the pressing policy issues of our own day, let alone history. and so, i can't help but to wonder, and jon kind of opened this up, but i think i'll throw it back to him to conclude, who of the founding fathers do you think would be most horrified by donald trump? >> probably aaron burr, because he would think, why couldn't i have done that? might be part of it. you know, i think that it's a great question. you know, madison was a quiet intellectual guy. he let his words speak. he worked behind the scenes. he was more self-effacing than most, so he would certainly but
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there. washington himself, because washington's whole ambient reality -- and he was a ferociously political guy, remember. he almost didn't want to go to the constitutional convention, not because everything was great, but because if it failed, he didn't want to get blamed. so let's remember, to go to my enemy, mike barnicle's point, the -- let's remember that the founders weren't these -- they didn't come out of a john trumbull painting, right? they aren't olympians. they were incredibly difficult, flawed, imperfect men. the great thing about them is that as imperfect people, they gave us a more perfect union. and so if they can, then surely to god we can. >> okay. well, president trump is scheduled to deliver a july 4th speech at the lincoln memorial, which is likely to drive up security costs, but he still has not fully paid for his last
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address to a massive crowd, his inauguration in 2017. according to federal and city financial records, the trump administration and congress owe more than $7 million in expenses from his four-day inaugural celebration, which i don't think had massive crowds in relation to others. the total cost was $27.3 million. as a result, the district has been forced to dip into a special fund that covers security costs in the case of terrorist threats or for other events such as demonstrations, state funerals, and the visits of foreign dignitaries, although the fund is typically replenished by federal money, records show it is now on track to enter the red by this fall. he doesn't pay for anything. still ahead, as we mark this independence day, we've got a special look at the songs of america. jon meacham teamed up with
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country star, tim mcgraw, if you can believe it. why did tim do this? you'll find out. we'll break down the music that shaped the nation p. plus, discussions with authors of some great summer food and how climate change is changing the way we eat. you're watching "morning joe" on this july 4th. we'll be right back. we'll be right back. make fitness routine with pure protein. high protein. low sugar. tastes great! high protein. low sugar. so good! high protein. low sugar. mmmm, birthday cake! pure protein. the best combination for every fitness routine. a lot will happen in your life. wrinkles just won't. neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair's derm-proven retinol works so fast, it takes only one week to reveal younger looking skin. making wrinkles look so last week. rapid wrinkle repair®
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better, faster. i mean sign me up. comcast business. beyond fast. amid president trump's calls to pull back the u.s. military for multiple foreign deployments, a new book argues that one war is what changed america's thinking about sending troops abroad. with us now, deputy op-ed editor at "the new york times," clay risen. he's the author of the new book "the crowded hour." theodore roosevelt, the rough
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riders and the dawn of the american century. thank you so much, clay, for being with us. talk about how this war influenced the way the united states looked at foreign policy. >> you know, it's funny to think back. in the 19th century, particularly towards the end, america was really, we were anti-military, we were just trying to figure ow who we were as a country. and the spanish/america war comes along and sort of raised a bunch of questions and answered them at the same time. what kind of force would we deploy abroad? what was our relationship to the military going to be like? and i think one of the things that comes out of this war that i think is sometimes underappreciated is how much -- how moralistic we were about the war and how much the deployment of force, the invasion of cuba was about humanitarian intervention. and it's funny, reading some of the talk around this intervention, it's so similar to what people were saying at the beginning of vietnam, at the beginning of the iraq war, you know, the need to go in and assert american values.
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>> so, was it t.r.'s experience in that war that turned him into the interventionist that he would be for the rest of his life? >> i think it sharpened his thinking. a lot of his writing in the 1890s was sort of -- you know, he was on that track, but it was very kind of all over the place, really not very formulated. and i think that that experience in war helped him really narrow and focus that thinking. >> he was a man out of time, though. again, you talked about the united states being anti-military, anti-interventionist. what was it in t.r.'s background that set him apart from other leaders of his day? >> you know, he was the -- let's say, the leading figure of a new generati generation. so mckinley was the last civil war president. every president from grant to mckinley had served in the civil war and were of a generation. roosevelt comes along and represent a new generation of leaders, who were not scarred by the civil war, who looked at the civil war as in some ways a
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positive experience. they saw the role of the military in a different way. and roosevelt always understood, i think, earlier than most, and he advocated for it louder than most. >> the book spends a lot of time on the rough riders, which were only in existence for a few months, as arguably the most famous military unit this nation has ever seen. why do you think they have captured america's imagination here a century later? and what lessons -- what experience did the rough riders shape teddy roosevelt going into the white house zb? >> the rough riders were famous at the time. it's not a reflected glory because roosevelt became president. at the time they were celebrated. people loved them. newspaper reporters -- >> why? >> some of them were celebrities. the first and second ranked tennis players in the country quit tennis to become rough riders and they were all of these -- and they were characters. it was like the dirty dozen -- but there were a thousand of them. it captured the imagination of the country. and so people loved to follow them. but i think that they brought
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home what the war generally was about. it was about volunteering to go over, you know, go to a foreign country, to sacrifice ourselves, to help the cuban people. some of that's propaganda, of course, but it's what people believed. and i think that's why the rough riders really sort of just brought that down to sort of a diamond density for people. at the time and ever since. >> i'm so fascinated by this book and the topic, because it really covers such a formative period in teddy roosevelt's career. and how did it influence going forward everything that tr did, but also, what do you think tr would make of the current-day republican party? >> oh, those are easy question/hard question. i mean, one of the things about roosevelt is, you know, he had had all of these achievements up to the time he went to war. he was 38 years old and had been a politician and a rancher and an historian and all of these things, but he had never really
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been a leader. and we think of t.r. as this great leader. but it was really that experience during the war that showed him what it meant to persuade people to do something they otherwise didn't want to do. all of these qualities of leadership that come out very soon afterward, when he became governor of new york and then vice president and president. you know, what he would make of the republican party today, i mean, one of the things that i think is also fascinating about this time is that there are a lot of similarities between then and now. both immigration, rewriting the face of the country, technology, globalization, all of these themes that people recognized and grappled with at the time. the breakdown of the parties was also something that was very sort of present at that time. like i said, you had a generation of leaders in a civil war republican party that had really dominated the scene, starting to clash. and roosevelt is part of that. he ended up breaking with the republicans in 1912. and so i think in some ways, he would, you know, find
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similarities today. i think, you know, all the technology and everything aside, i think so many of the politics and the questions we have today are resonant with the things he grappled with at the time. >> so the spanish american war is really the period that dawn's america's reluctant embrace of empire. and it was very disconcerting for the political experience in america, which has in its dna such an anti-colonial nature to it. do you get the sense that t.r. had the understanding of the moral hazards associated with empire at this point? >> i think that he was like a lot of people caught unawares by the extent of sort of this overnight empire. no one expected america to capture the philippines. no one expected us to remain in puerto rico. it really wasn't part of the plan. and to see him then have to grapple with particularly the war in the philippines, which was a brutal, terrible conflict where we did a lot of the things
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that we accused the spanish of doing in cuba. a lot of the war crimes, very specifically, things that we had denounced. and so he was right there grappling with it. i think at the same time, he was working through, in his mind, what these things were going to look like going forward. i don't think he had a good answer, but i don't think that puts him at a disadvantage to anyone else at the time, because no one really knew what was going on. >> tell me about "the crowded hour." why did you call it "the crowded hour"? >> it's a line from a military poem or a poem from the seven year's war that was famous at the time, it's sort of been forgotten, but roosevelt knew. and it was, you know, something -- it goes along the lines of one crowded hour of glorious strife is wort an age without a name. and roosevelt had that in mind. and he called specifically his charge, what was actually kettle hill during the battle of san juan hill and they went up
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kettle hill and over san juan hill, but he called just that moment his crowded hour. but for him, it was not just really an exciting moment, it was also a transformative moment. it was for him the moment that his life, his previous life kind of stopped and everything afghan. and i think for the country, it was in a way that same sort of thing. that brief experience of of the spanish/american war, not only answered a lot of questions that america had about itself in the late 19th century, but it also opened all kinds of new questions that honestly we're still dealing with today. >> all right. thank you so much. we greatly appreciate it. the new book "the crowded hour: theodore roosevelt, the rough riders, and the dawn of the american century." clay risen, thank you so much. we need to buy about 20 of these for steve schmidt and send them to him. all right. we'll be right back with more "morning joe." t. we'll be right back with more "morning joe." [ giggling ] let's play dress-up.
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professional monitoring backing you up. awarded "top pick" by cnet. demo at an xfinity store, call or go online today. xfinity home. simple. easy. awesome. joining us now, environmental journalist and professor, amanda little. she's the author of the new book "the fate of food: what we will eat in a bigger, hotter, smarter world." great to have you on the show. let's start with what you hope readers will take away from this book, amanda. >> well, this book was a five-year journey into the lands and minds and machines working on the future of food. and i was really addressing the central paradox of our food future, which is that we're expected to have a pretty significant rise in population to about 9.5 billion people by about midcentury. but climate pressures are putting, you know, a lot of
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farmers at risk and the ipcc critics that we could have 2 to 6% decline in crop yields every decade going forward. so really big increase in demand, potentially big decrease in supply. how do we deal with this problem, while also sort of addressing the existing problems in our food system. and that really interested me. >> i want to point out, we introduced you as a professor. you're not just any professor. you're a professor at the vanderbilt university. >> go, commodorcommodores. >> which increases your status exponentially. so what interventions are beginning to take place in this problem that we're seeing, if any? and if not, what we should be thinking about, even as consumers? >> i was looking at old and new approaches to food production. and there are some really pretty radical new approaches coming online. i mean, ai and robotics are really big. we've heard about crispr and genetic breeding of crops, big
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data, farm scrapers, vertical farms. there's a lot of sort of sci-fi stuff. and we've heard a lot recently about plant-based proteins and alternative meats. beyond meat, the massive ipo, has been getting a lot of attention recently. and i also looked at traditional approaches to permaculture and what they call agro ecology, ancient insects and edible plants. there's an interesting blend of old and new solutions that can address a lot of these problems. >> barnicle, you love a good chocolate-covered contradiricket you? >> one of my favorites. >> the fate of food, after 1991, this city, specifically the cities like detroit transformed america by retooling their industries to build a war machine. we are under attack from climate
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change. and it deeply affects as you just pointed out food. food growth, food production. what do we do about the inertia in terms of people not realizing the perils that we are facing right now? >> that's a great question, and that was really one of the things that motivated me in this story. i think food -- it was coming at the food issue sort of from the side. i'm not a foodie or a food activist, but it is such an intimate frame for a story that's becoming, you know, more and more real for people. climate change is becoming something you can taste. it is, you know, quite literally a kitchen table issue. we're seeing in the midwest right now corn and soy farmers who are having trouble getting their crops in the ground because of the storms out there. there are, you know, impacts on all manner -- you know, the full range of foods, vineyards and olive groves, peach and citrus orchards and grains, coffee,
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cacao. this is something that really people care about. when suddenly, you know, strawberries and chardonnay are on the line, people may start actually thinking about and really engaging in this issue. and it's also, you know, there's a lot of fear about, you know, technology as applied to food. so, you know, a lot of the topics that i take on in this book are, you know, a little controversial. we have -- we hear from sustainable food advocates. we want our food de-invented. thank you very much. please get your technology out of my food. i want to go back to pre-industrial agriculture. and we hear from folks in silicon valley. now is the time to reinvent meat. and reinvent. so it's very emotional and very intense. and it's very direct lly tied ta topic that's hard for people to relate to, climate change. and all of that made for a very interesting story and this very interesting sort of investigative process for me.
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>> i'm curious, what do you think about the inevitability of the end of factory farming, as we know it? i personally feel like we're going to look back at the way that we house and treat animals and industrial-scale production and we should be judged, history should judge us. but do you see that ending in our lifetime because of the technological advances that you were pointing out are happening in silicon valley? >> i do think we're going to see pretty significant changes in industrial agriculture, both as crop production and as livestock farming. i think, you know, the changes that are going on right now in meat, you know, disruptions from, again, these new plant-based products, i investigated what's called cell-based meats and lab-based meats, which are essentially growing the meat without the animal in a laboratory. i ate a lab-grown duck breast
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that was really quite convincing, actually. it tasted pretty meaty and ducky. and it's very early stages, right? so where these technologies are in ten years or 15 years is, you know, going to be pretty i think evolved compared to where they are today. but what's important is that the traditional meat industry is informsi i investing in these technologies. beyond meat, impossible foods, and even some of these new lab-based technologies are getting a lot of investment from the industry itself. they are talking about sort of sel self-disruption. and in the advances that are going on in industrial agriculture, row crops and mass-scale farming are also pretty significant. and have, you know, real advantages for those companies. it's more efficient, it's better for the environment, it's better for people. so i do think that, yes, 10, 20
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years from now, we're going to look back and think, the way we were doing industrial agriculture was really flawed and sort of unsophisticated in our lifetimes. >> there's a lot to think about in this book. it's called the fate of food. what we'll eat in a bigger, hotter, smarter world. amanda little, thank you so much. see you in nashville. we'll be right back with more "morning joe." ashville we'll be right back with more "morning joe." this is anne marie peebles. her saturdays are a never- ending montage of comfort. [tv sfx]: where have you been all my life? but then anne laid on a serta perfect sleeper. and realized her life was only just sorta comfortable. not just sorta comfortable. serta comfortable.
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across the globe, people seem more divided than ever on a multitude of issues. and our next guest argues that we can't escape our genetic blueprint, which favors a good society over mob rules. fascinating. joining us now, physician, sociologist, and sterling professor of social and natural science at yale university. dr. nicholas christakis. he's the author of "blueprint: the evolution origins of a good society." welcome to the show. it's good to have you. >> let's start by asking about the evolutionary origins of some of the characteristics that we value. like, for instance, what are the evolutionary origins of, say, virtue? >> the qualities that i focus on are not just things like virtue that we might express within ourselves, but things that we express between each other. for example, friendship. humans are innately prewired to
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make friends. and one of the interesting attributes of this is that it's seen worldwide. cultures all around the world make friends with each other, people in those societies. and this is uncommon in the animal kingdom. other animals don't do this. we do it, elephants do it, certain other primates do it and certain whales do it. and it's sort of an interesting feature that human beings everywhere have evolved to be friendly with each other. >> so how do cultures, how do society -- you talk about in the book, how do they actually temper some natural desires that may be more destructive for the society as a whole? >> yeah. so, it's very tempting to look around the world and think that people are no darned good. but as far as i'm concerned, scientists and citizens have been overly foxed on the dark side of our nature. and actually, the bright side has been denied attention it deserves. there's a set of features that we humans have evolved to
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express between ourselves like love and friendship and cooperation and teaching. and these qualities must have outweighed the bad qualities. look, if every time i came near you, you killed me or you filled me with useless information or fake news or you were mean to me, then i would be better off not affiliating with you. actually, we would have evolved to be solitary animals. so the benefits of a connected life must have outweighed the costs. and so although it's the case that people can be very bad, actually, the good qualities are much stronger and more powerful, is what i argue. >> i'm going to jump on what you just said and say, are you saying that in this political world that we're living in, if a negative force is beaming out toward us over the airwaves and on twitter and everywhere else, over and over again that the science tells you that good will prevail? >> yes, i would say exactly that. i would say, there are lots of ascendant historical and cultural forces right now, as you mentioned in the introduction. sort of tending towards tribalism and nationalism and
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inequality around the world. and i'm not being like a dr. pangloss. i understand. you can pick any century is replete with horrors, any millennium. clearly, there's a lot of awful things in the world. but equally, there are a lot of good things in the world. and those forces underlay all of these other historical and cultural forces. in essence, my argument is that the arc of our evolution is gone, but it bends towards goodness. >> professor, this is willie geist, this is such a good and important book. i can't wait to get through it. i want to ask you about the current mechanisms of which we can amplify these expressions of evil and ugliness and darkness that we see. and sometimes, and maybe you'll agree in this culture, in fact, often in our culture, the biggest extremes on both sides of an argument are the ones that are played and amplified. and there's an awful big space in the middle that's not presented in our public discussion, or at least the way it's portrayed? >> the way i would describe that is the following kind of idea. if you want to use a metaphor of
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the human body for a moment, we have bodies that are pre-wired to be in particular ways. you have a kidney that works in a certain way, and a pancreas that works in a certain way. it is the case that we could apply external pressures on your body to redirect it. you know, we could starve you when you were young, for example. or give you toxins that would make your kidneys not work properly. but that doesn't mean your pancreas and kidneys aren't genetically -- haven't evolved to function in specific ways. and what has happened with our species, over hundreds of thousands of years, we have evolved to function in specific ways. for example, we have evolved to love our mates. we didn't need to have this capacity, we could just have sex with each other. but we don't just have sex with our mates, we form a sentimental attachment to them, most of the time, with most people. so we take this for grant that love is universal. everywhere you go, people love their mates, whether it's a
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hete heterosexual or homosexual, this is a very deep and fundamental quality in human beings. so the point is this quality like love and friendship which we've talked about and many others are always there. as you're suggesting, we living in a moment when there are other forces that seem to be pushing against that. but you could think of those like the starvation or toxin example i gave you before. those are just external forces. within us, we still have this blueprint to be good. >> so dr. christakis, you have spoken eloquently about the dangers we all confront on the internet, twitter, the negative aspects of all the things like that, but how do we get to where you would like to see us get as a culture, as a society? how do we combat loneliness. the loneliness that exists in this country today? and i'm not talking about, geez, i'm feeling lonely today. i'm talking about how we separate ourselves from neighbors, from our churches, from things like that? >> you can think of the modern technologies that alienate us from each other and maybe
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contributing to increasing loneliness in modern societies, a kind of way in which we lose face-to-face connection for each other, you can think of those as a kind of toxin, a kind of external force, which is deranging us deranging us from an otherwise more natural and i would say more wholesome way of living together. >> all right. the book is "blueprint," evolutionary origins of a good society. absolutely fascinating. dr. nicholas crosckas, thank you very much. it's good to have i on the show. we'll be right back with much more "morning joe." "morning jo. we're reporters from the new york times.
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this melting pot of impacted species. everywhere is going to get touched by climate change.
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♪ >> what are you doing? buddy, are you okay? hey, this guy has been shot. >> i had him! agent peggy carter may have been a supporting character in captain america's marvel movie webs but the real women she was based on were front and center. spying behind enemy lines to win world war ii for the allies by any means necessary.
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three of those women are profiled in the new book d-day girls. the spies who arm the resistance sabotaged the nazis and helped win world war ii. joining us now, the book's author "sara rose." i want to ask you first of all to name them, who were these women, and then i want to hear why you decided to focus on their stories in particular. >> thanks for having me. so the women are odett samson and lisa bezak and andrea baril. each of them in their way helped contribute to the allied success in normandy in world war ii. odette was the mother of three little girls and she left them behind to help the allies went. andre baril was 22 when she parachuted into france. and bezak was in command of troops in normandy on june 5th,
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1944, when the french resistance were there to resist the allies. >> the first women to be deployed in close combat. the first women para troopers to infiltrate enemy territory and the first women in active duty special forces. it's incredible when you look at it that way. and the timing of it. what were some of the constituents they went to to get the job done? >> so the allies had run out of men when these women were recruited. all the men were already on the front lines. so on june 5th, 1944, the french resistance stepped up. they made 950 cuts on railways, roads and bridges and isolated all of normandy, a trip that should have taken hitler's tank three days took three weeks and they brought down telephone wires and underground telecommunications cables which
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forced the nazis to broadcast on the air. we had already decrypted the code which meant we could anticipate hitler's movements. it was critical to the ally's success. >> we're talking about an age, a time in the 1940s when women were not at the forefront. in terms of recruitment of women to serve in war, to fight in war, who recruited them and why? how did this start? >> so this was a special agency within britain. it didn't answer to the civil service, it didn't answer to the military. it was called the special operations executive. and they needed french speakers. they needed fluent french speakers. and the only ones they could get three years into a war were women. >> this is an important story to tell in this moment. right? there is always a kind of undertoe to these sorts of works. what should we learn? what does this story tell us
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about today? >> well, each of these women, andre, beliz and odette were motivated by the beliefs that their political beliefs ought to be put into practice, that they could change the world. and they did. i think we're seeing a lot of that now with women leading the resistance. >> were they british or french when they were recruited? highways a very good question. they had to be a little bit of each. charles degall wouldn't allow french citizens to join up. so the allies had to -- >> why not? >> he thought it was historically abhorrent that he would have to refight the battle of hastings to have french trips answer to the british. >> sounds like degall. >> what more should be done to patriotate what they have done sghp. >> women's work tends to get classified as clerical or housekeeping when, in fact, they were doing combat duty and combat support. they were doing exactly the same
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work as men. they were using arms and they get written off as kind of helpers. and assistants. when, in fact, lisa was second in command of resistance troops behind the summer of summer 1944. when the american breakout happened at the peninsula, she was there in command. so part of what we need to do is recognize that she wasn't just a helper. she was a commander. >> did the three women you focused on, did they survive the war? >> they didn't all make it. odette sampson, however, was captured and she spent the rest of the war in robins brook. when she escaped, she brought out evidence with her that helped put the commander of the largest women's prison in history behind bars and condemned him to death. >> and the other two? >> lisa bezak lived into old age, which is wonderful for us. she lived past the moment of declassification. when the file was opened, she was there and we could interview
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her. andrea didn't make it. she died on french soil. >> how incredible. the book is "dy-day girls." sarah rose, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> and we continue with our special july 4th edition of "morning joe." on tape this morning for the national holiday. on this fourth of july, it's a good time to take a look at the songs of america and what we can learn from our musical past. it's the project by an unlikely duo, historian john meachum and country music star tim mcgraw. here is our conversation with the two for their new project. they are coauthors of the new book "songs of american, patriotism, protests and the music that made a nation." mike barnacle is with us for this conversation along with two sons of south, walter isaacson and eddie glaw junior.
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and the biggest country music fan at the table is kurt bardella. tim. >> this -- mika, do you remember -- >> he's so sweet. >> he is so great. >> he sent that birthday greeting to you. he seems like a nice guy. >> my wife is sweeter than i am, for sure. >> faith, my god, of course. so but why would she let you do this with -- what's with meachum? >> she likes meachum better than she likes me. >> i was misinformed. i thought this is a project with faith and then he showed up. and another true story is bush 43 asked me what i was working on next and i said well, i'm doing this thing with tim mcgraw. i said, mcgraw, i like the wife. >> the story of my married life right there. >> here we are. >> and here you are. and you have a story you're going to be telling all about the folks at shay's rebellion. >> no, the musical shay's
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rebellion, joe. >> of course. you cannot understand the story of america without understanding the music at shay's rebellion. so why don't you guys tell us, first of all, how this unlikely partnership came together. >> yeah. and tim, you start so we stay awake. >> i'm done. >> wow. >> go ahead. thank you, darling. >> john and i met each other six or seven years ago at a dinner party. and i was a big fan of john's for a long time. so when he moved into our neighborhood, i used to drive by his house going john meachum lives there. maybe one day i'll be invited to have dinner with john. and sure enough, lo and behold, faith and i get an invitation to have doirn with john. we ended up at a dinner party and ended up late at night talking and hanging out. >> jan's library talking about history and current events. i fell in love with john and this is how it all happened. >> so let me ask you, john, in
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that first meeting when he came to your house, did you take the freezer off the the front porch? >> the good news was, because mcgraw likes to flop tires over for exercise, he could do that in the front yard. so it was like a gym and a house. >> usually that's what happens because he doesn't let me in. >> that's true. >> so he came over. did you guys started talking about it. how did it -- what was the genesis of the project? >> honestly, it hate to give tim credit. it was tim's idea. the soul of the country, the soul of america and it felt like this, mccarthy, wallace, all the way back to reconstruction. and tim said, have you ever thought about the role music played in these moments? and honestly, i hadn't. like a lot of great questions, it led to wanting to answer it. david halpersan once say agreed nonfiction should be like a
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liberal arts degree. you should learn something. it should be illuminating. what was so fun about this is realizing that the music of each era has shown both the tensions, battle hymn of the republic versus dixie, brother can you spare a dime versus happy days are here again, blowing in the wind versus ballot of the green berets. the tension of the country could be illustrated by a song. also, you can listen to a song, the content with which you disagree, more easily than you can hear a speech or read an article about it. >> and for me, it's -- music makes an emotional attachment to history. heart and brain, especially with a song that has something to do with inflexion points in our history. and jon and i's partnership, i'm the brain and he's the heart, which is kind of odd.
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but the first song that we speak of in the book, one of the first songs we speak of is a song john dickinson wrote is called "the liberty song." to me, what is so special is there's a verse in that song that says our children shall inherent the fruits of our pain. ♪ for our children shall gather the fruits of our pain ♪ >> this was written in 1768, eight years before the declaration of independence. and it makes you think -- there was such a view of what our country and what they thought about our country could lead to for future generations. and i thought that was incredible to have that vision that early on. and it speaks to what was going on that led up to that time, right? and music has such a way of reflecting the moments of the time and reflecting and pushing forward the moments of the time. >> so i'm curious, as this project developed and nurtured between the two of you you -- >> well, nurtures, that is different. >> what did you learn from him
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and what did you learn from him? >> well, i think for me, we all grew up studying american history in high school and in college. and as we get older, those facts start to drift away and those time periods start to merge. and it's fascinating to sit and listen to john talk about history and his recollection of dates. not only dates and years -- >> you have to have a lot of time. >> you've got nothing else to do, right? but when he says the days of the week, it's one of the coolest things you can do in your conversation. this happened july 22nd, 1782, on a monday. >> it's a limited skill. is it's rainman. >> that's true. >> i watch people's court and do that. what i learned from tim was the emotional content of the artistic expressions in the moment. i would think of things, of course, as this is what franklin roosevelt did, this was
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lincoln's emancipation decision. and he pushed me to say, okay, but what's the history of "st battle hymn of the republic." ♪ your eyes can see the glory of the coming of the lord ♪ >> it's not just something that emerged from the sky and became this hymn. it was written in one night, took john brown's body as the melody and has totally shaped us ever since in a way that -- and this is against my interests -- but in a way prose doesn't, right? >> right. >> emotion. >> emotion. and what's interesting about this is -- and this is what we spent all of our time talking about is how do we get out of this moment? even if you're for the president, you're under constant siege. if you're against him, you set your hair on fire three times
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today. so what are the tools here? what is the way out of this? and it's not impossible that listening to music that has been about the search for a more perfect union could help us. because you can listen to a song, again, that you disagree with more easily. >> one of the things that unique about this tandem here, you have this great recollection and knowledge base to talk about the history of these songs, but what tim brings, and i thought the sam cook part of the book, you know, i read it a couple of days ago. the instant you offered as an artist, he's in his prime here. and you, better than anyone, understands what it's like. you understand humble and kind which turned out to be one of your biggest songs of your career, but at the time you may not have known that. and taking that artistic risk to make a statement about where we are in society at this moment in time and bringing that into the story about sam cook in this case, that shows and illustrates
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how great this tandem is going to be as you read the book. >> i think it's a theme that we found throughout, throughout the book. even the songs of protest, there was always hope involved. >> the fruits of our pain, that's about hope. >> we should overcome. >> we shall overcome. we go through all the pushes and ulg s and inflexion points of our country. and you realize, look, we're still pretty great. we had issues all the way along and we will continue to have issues. in order to form a more perfect union means we're always working there. >> there is a wonderful definition of the blues by ralph
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ellison. there is something about this personal dimension of music. there is something profoundly tragic in some ways about the music out of which i come. so i can tell a story of the black tradition from, run, robert johnson to listen to al green to, you know, to today. and hip hop. so talk about the contradictions and how you sign there. >> one of the most intellectual roles for me was the role of masking, particularly at antebellum. "swing low sweet chariot," yeah, it was about god coming, but it was also about the underground
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railroad. it was about heaven, but frederick douglas writes in the narrative that they sang these songs to brief each other on their plans. for them, home was north of the mason dixon. and that was rivetling to me. heart tubman using those songs as signals in the underground railroad. douglas having the jubilee singers coming to call on him in washington and sing jesus save me from danger. he said this is what we sang. you know, it's a lot of folks that have said the purist american expression was the music of african-americans. that was -- and duke ellington, brown, black and beige. the fell of ben barnes who was going to play tae meeting last night, he was on his way right before the bullet comes.
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he said play pressurcious lord my hand. sing it real pretty for me. and she sings it at his funeral. ♪ take my hand and there's just this -- you're right. it's not just comic. it's incredibly tragic. yet here we are. >> and something about my great grand daddy on the coast of mississippi who loved country music. that definition of the blues that ralph ellison offered isn't limited just to the blues. >> well, country music and bliss are cousins in a lot of ways. you go back to some of the songs. it's great music and great music has a way. when we look back at history, including martin luther king, including our founding fathers,
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we tend to look at historical figures in a founding way. what it does is allows you to have that third dimension and connect it. we tend to look at these figures as somebody in our past as opposed to somebody struggling in their present. and i think that is what music puts you to. >> the vietnam war was one of those devicive periods that has, for a lot of us, a truly great sound track. and we think of the role of johnny cash, spshlg "that old ragged flag." and i wonder if you could talk about how johnny cash's songs play to you. >> i grew up in the 70s in the south, in the early 70s in the south when i first, i guess, became aware of music. and my stepdad drove an 18 wheeler hauling cotton seed
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across louisiana and texas. so my earliest memories are 4 and 5 and 6 years old in an 18 wheeler hauling cotton across the south listening to johnny cash and merl haggard. it's the first time that johnny cash and peetder paul and mary, the first time as you're listening to songs as a music and as a child, i understood that music was more than just entertainment. it crossed my mind because you're still hearing those songs of the 60s and the early 70s. and it's the first time that i put together that music can mean more than entertainment. that it has something to say and it causes you to reflect and it causes you to think about what's going on in your society. >> you write about it in that section and that memory of in the cotton. but you have the in my heart. when i hear that song today, i think one thing. but then my mind kicks in and then it takes on a whole different context. >> absolutely.
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people don't -- john can speak to it probably more eloquently than i can. but people don't realize that song was written here in new york city for black face performers. and it was written for white people in black face to talk about how black folks wish they were still slaves in the south. and people don't realize that. being a white southern kid from louisiana and hearing that song and growing up in the middle of the cotton fields, at first, it's an emotional reaction for me to hear that song. but then my head kick necessary and i realize what that song is and what it's saying. and it's a clearly a song that makes you think that it's not exactly what it's about. >> tim, let me ask you a question that -- >> uh-oh. >> no, no, i think you can answer this one. and, in fact, since we have so many southerners around the table, including mike barnacle who is from south boston who can all answer this. i've always said people ask me, i've always been fascinated by
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it. but anything that knows anything about music, most of it originated in the south. the blues created on the mississippi delta and across the deep south. rock and roll created in large by by a guy from st. louis called chuck barry. why is it, why is it that most forms of american music did start in the deep south and in those forms of music, most of those forms of music were started by black americans, by black musicians and by black singers? >> i think expression. a chance to express yourself in a way that maybe you couldn't any other way. and i think that was probably the impetus of all of this. starting on country music, it comes 5u89 way from the welsh coal mines in ireland and into appalachia and down into the
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south into tennessee. and it was about how do you overcome your struggle and what are the ways that you can cathartically get it out of your system. i think that's where that music came from all the way around. >> eddie, what do you think, eddie? >> i think the south is a metaphor for america. there's something about that region, its soil, its air, right, that speaks to the contradiction that cuts to the heart of who we are. so it makes sense that its most soulful sound would find its expression there. >> absolutely. well said, for sure. >> the new book is "songs of america, patrioticist, protests and the music that made a nation." jon meacham and tim mcgraw, thank you so much. we appreciate it. ♪ on second thought i do like to brag because i am mighty proud of that ragged old flag. old flagng. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream.
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when i started out performing in college. i played basketball. very little. coach, can i play now? in a minute man. my favorite sport, though, is boxing. anyone see the tyson fight monday? that's a scary brother, man. i saw one of the tyson fights where he literally hit this man so hard, the blood splattered on my face and i was watching the fight in my living room. he beat this brother to the point that after the bout when a loser was asked what his future plans were, all he could say was, well, as far as i'm concerned, mike tyson is the greatest fighter of all time. but hey, you know, i'm coming back. i'm going to take the next year and a half to basically concentrate on breathing. >> that appearance on "the tonight show" with johnny carson marked the relation of a childhood dream and the sign of a promising career for xheedzan anthony griffith.
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but outside of the spotlight was his personal reckoning with an ultimate fatal reckoning with a diagnosis of cancer for his 2-year-old daughter. he and his wife are coauthors of a new book entitled "behind the laughter," a comedian's tail of tragedy and hope. thank you both for being on and sharing your story. bridget, i'd like to start with you because i think it's impossible to talk about the story without talking about brittany and what happened to her. when did you know something was wrong? >> i knew something was wrong when anthony -- when we returned from the star search competition which was many years ago and my grandmother was concerned about her lethargy and her peakidness. that's when we decided to
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consult with her pediatrician and we got additional information which led to her diagnosis, which was acute nonlimb foe settic leukemia. >> so this led to so many challenges for all three of you. >> yes. >> you had to make a decision to put her in a medically induced coma. you went through chemotherapy treatments. and at the same time, your husband is being invited to perform on "the tonight show" and his career is taking off. it's like this incredible parallel of unbelievable success and the worst that could ever happen to a couple. >> absolutely. it's like how do you think of a happy situation and have that situation related to your personal life and not want to share it with others. so we were somewhat culturally bilingual in that we cold switched. so our private lives lived one
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life and then when we were in the public arena, we lived another life. it's somewhat of a suicide due to lack of support. we didn't have a community while we were in california so that was a challenge for us. and we were young. we didn't know how to navigate that. >> anthony, a friend sent me a video on youtube of you. and i think it was aspen comedy festival, but it was at a festival where you got up and just poured your heart out. >> you're not prepared for this. there's no books, there's no home ed class to teach you how to deal with this. and i can't go to a therapist because in the black world, a therapist is taboo. it is reserved for rich, white people. so you're trying to figure it out. what did i do? maybe it's something i did.
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maybe it's something my wife did. maybe my doctor diagnosed it erroneously, something. but at night, i still have to be a comic. i have to work on "the tonight show" because that's what i'm going to do. i'm a clown. i am a clown whose medical bills are raising, who is one step from being evicted, who is one step from getting his car repoed and i have to come out and make you laugh because no one wants to hear the clown in pain because that's not funny. >> and it was so gripping and so moving, i watched the video and then called back. i said oh, my gosh, what happened? what happened to him? what -- after the little girl you died, did they get divorced? what happened? he said oh, no, they're still together. which is extraordinary because most people going through this
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could not have survived it with the public pressures and everything else pulling at you and pulling you two apart. talk about that part of this story, that happy part of this sad, tragic story. well, as you said at the aspen festival, it was a session that the powers that be simply said, tell us a story. and my daughter whispered in my ear, tell my story. because up to this day, i had not told anyone that we had a daughter that had passed. and to honor her, i said -- i told my story and that's why all of my emotions, all my raw emotions came out because i had never told anyone the story before.
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and i told it two more times and then i never told it again. but everything was at its infancy, the internet, youtube, and the story took legs and people kept hearing it and seeing it. people would email me and just say how they had been touched by it. especially the fathers that they were listening to the story and driving and they had to pull over and maybe parents may hug their kids a little closer that night. >> you know, bridget, as anthony describes that moment in aspen, that was 12, 13 years after brittany passed. it took that long to get out and talk about it. >> yes. >> i can understand why you wouldn't want to be out publicly talking about it. but how difficult was it for the two of you to sort of keep that within you and not share it with others? >> it was partly culturally
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based. so some of it was not difficult because you in certain cultures, you don't share your secrets. but there was that contrast, that kind of like a -- you know, there was that confusion for us because we were in hollywood and we also had to keep up appearances because you can't be perceived asphalty. so it really reinforced a lot of the secrecy, the culture of secrecy in the black community. and there was no written rule. you know, this was all inferred by hollywood that if you are perceived as broken, if you're perceived as having a challenge -- now, things are different now. things are different now. the human interest part of sharing your story is that which we really admire and we honest. but back then, no, no, no, no. so part of me was reinforced and comfortable and the other part really wanted to have a community to share that.
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but we were not willing to take that risk. >> yeah. >> a hard question to ask, but i think so many would benefit because part of your story is the challenge on your marriage, on your relationship. >> yes. >> given the career versus the imminent death of your daughter and all the aftermath of that. how did you come back together? how did you make it to the other side? >> well, come back together, i think we never left each other. although we -- you know, we had our different perceptions, once other people read the book, they will appreciate how couples can bring into a relationship their baggage of distorted perceptions. solo we were in the same household, anthony had a different impression of how i was dealing with these transitions and i, too, had an
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impression of anthony, which was he had the benefit of going out on the road and making people laugh and i had -- you know, i had given up. i had relegated my mom. in essence, once a mom, always a mom. but i had these distorted perceptions of what it was like for anthony. i don't think he had any idea of what it was like for me to deal with brittany's sickness and her eventual passing on. he had no idea until the book was written, believe it or not. >> yeah. because i did not know that she contemplated suicide. that was totally different. when i read the book, i was like, wow. >> and a lot of people who know me can appreciate that i'm just
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basically an an trough veteran trolling in an ex troutrovert's. i'll put on a happy face, but i'm excited at the end. so i was continually exhausted in what we call the zombie state for years. >> yeah. i think i was in shock, yeah, and for ten years i was just in shock trying to figure out what happened because i was a good dad and i went to all the la maz classes. >> yeah. you put in your work, didn't you? >> yes. >> we have barely scratched the surface here. the book is "behind the laughter," a comedian's tale of tragedy and hope. it is out now. anthony griffith and bridget travis griffin, thank you so much for sharing this story. >> thank you for having us. we really appreciate it. >> and "morning joe" is back in just a moment. >> and "morning joe" is back in just a moment. you've tried so many moisturizers...
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mrooecan you please repeat word. koinonia. >> k-o-i-n-o-n-i-a. >> that is krshth. >> each year, over 112 milli mi participate in over 600 spelling bees across the country. our next guest believes there are very few spectacles that capital excava capacity excavate viewers worldwide and suggest this reveals a great deal about our culture & future of generation z. joining us now, professor of an thon polling and asian studies
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at northwestern university, shelanie sanchor. she's the title of new book "beeline," what spelling bees reveal about generations path to success. what do we learn about the next generation and beyond through these competitions? >> so we learned generation z is the most diverse and spelling bees offer a way for us to consider how childhood competition has increased tremendously and how poised and camera ready kids have to be to compete on a stage like the national spelling bee. >> and you talk, professor, about the change sort of from the everybody gets a trophy generation generation, which looks like a thing of the past at this point. when i was growing up, yes, you could play little league, but if you wanted to be good, you had to be on the travel team and play in the off season.
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same thing with basketball. that extends to music and academic pursuits. why is this different than it's been in the past, if it is? >> the difficulty level of the spelling bee has gone up every year. what you have to do to win as the winner of your show just did is spend pretty much every waking moment that you're not in school focussing on spelling. so it's a very intense undertaking. it's what they calling spelling careers during the ages of 6 to 14. >> so how much of this pressure is coming not from the kids, but from the parents? if gen z is more difficult than x and those before it, where is that intensity coming from? >> some of the intensity is a peer driven intensity. i think kids see there's a travel version of everything, there's a reality show version of everything for kids. so the stakes are much higher than they were, i think, a
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generation ago. so i think some of it is coming from them. the parents are certainly enablers, but they can only do so much. you can't get a kid to spell a word right on stage if they don't want to. >> as an anthropologyist, studying how these children are a more competitive generation, how do you think that compares to, say, millennials or generation x? do you think that this is -- there is something about this generation responding to maybe the participation culture trophy era that this is in response to? >> yeah, certainly. i think again ragz z, perhaps through their largely generation x parents have watched millennials and the rocky road they've had to travel in terms of being an outsized cohort and having to face so much more
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competition for collection admissions and the job market. so they see the general level of competition for everything that has gone up tremendously and so rather than simply lament that, they are doing all they can to prepare for it as and when they can as children. >> you have a great line in the book, professor, that reads this way. the question shifts from what do you want to be when you grow up to simply what do you want to be like right now? who are you going to be when you're a child? what are the implications of when you're writing about here for who these kids grow up to become? what does our society look like as they get jobs, as they enter all the different fields that would be served products of the intensity that they've had in these spelling bees and sports and music and everything else? >> i think some of it is that they bring a vast republic twar republic twor repertoire of wha they're doing. in high school or college, a lot
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of these kids will have started cultivating at a much more intense level than childhood. we can see those who have embarked on things like spelling careers might have a better sense of time management. they might be more project oriented. and have more marketable skills that might gel well with the new economy. >> do you see any tie to what the where you by in the book and the varsity blues scandal which is to say in order to get into a college that the student wants to, not just the student, but the family of the student will go to great sometimes illegal lengths to fake participation and activities like rowing to get scores changed, to cross all these ethical boundaries because of the competition you write about here. >> i think that they know what that competition is and they know people are going to great measure. but i think that this remains a very earnest, honest competition from what i've seen and i think kids are the vast majority of
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kids who don't have that kind of pipeline of privilege are very invested in doing all they can on their own to get into college. and they certainly lean on their parents heavily and hope that they'll get the kind of support that they need. but i think it's all aboveground. >> the book is "beeline," what spelling bees reveal about generation z's new path to success. thank you so much for being on with us this morning. >> thank you so much. and "morning joe" will be back in just a moment. and "morning joe" will be back in just a moment. make fitness routine with pure protein. high protein. low sugar. tastes great! high protein. low sugar. so good! high protein. low sugar. mmmm, birthday cake! pure protein. the best combination for every fitness routine.
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i just got another person at d.h.s. to confirm this. i have this number. we're going to publish the story.
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joining us now, former army ranger steven elliott out with a new memoir "war story, sometimes
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the real fight starts after the battle" for which all of his proceeds are being donated to organizations serving the mental health needs of active duty and veteran community. thank you so much for joining us. and thank you so much for writing this book. tell me a little bit about your personal story and why you took this on. >> yeah. i mean, if you had told me 15 years ago that i would be writing about it let alone talking about it, i would never have believed that. really, it was a long journey in the aftermath of what happened that day in 2004 and when we first had the opportunity to speak about this five years ago, to the media, really, it became evident that our story was in no way unique. it was incredibly ordinary. the only unique aspect about it was that there was an individual who had played in the nfl previously before joining the military. but it became clear with a lot of folks who approached us afterwards thanking me for just talking about the issues of
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mental health and talking about the unseen wounds of war that are not confined though those that have served in the military. so it became evident that if just telling the story is helpful to people and if it helps perhaps tear down walls that are otherwise existing between folks that are struggling with some of these issues, then we will keep telling it in any way that we can. >> well, i mean, these issues are beyond real. they are -- as devastating i think as physical injuries. and if you look at the suicide rate among veterans who have served, and the fact that it's not going down at a rapid pace, we have not done enough, have we? >> no, we haven't. and we're blaming a lot of that -- we're placing a lot of the blame at this point on at least my estimation on the va, which is kind of an easy target because it's a large government
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bureaucracy. but the fact of the matter is, one thing that -- i say this somewhat dryly because i'm from kansas and that's my humor. but one thing that every veteran has in common is that they were once on active every unseen wound that the va is trying to sort out was incurred while they were in uniform. in my estimation and the estimation of those we partnered with, it doesn't mean there is no one focal point for change, but if we don't start focusing at how do we reform culture and policy, at the point of woundedness, not five years or 10 years after the fact when they have duis and they're losing jobs. we have to get to the wounds while people are in uniform. my story illustrates that as far as what happens when you ignore the wounds and pretend a wound
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doesn't exist. not surprisingly, it doesn't get better. >> the title of your memoire is war story. sometimes the real fight starts after the battle. this is about the death of pat tillman, an nfl star who became glorified after he died. he was killed by friendly fire. >> yes. >> no one other than people like you have an understanding of the chaos, the noise, the misdirection, confusion that occurs in the heat of a firefight. >> yes. >> how long did you live with the guilt that came from this episode? are you still living with it and has it changed at all? >> it changed a lot. it has been a journey, but pretty much from when pat was kill and i was one of the suspected shooters in that
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incident as one of his comrades and believing they were the enemy in 2004 and that fall i began when the shock wore off began experiencing post traumatic stress disorder and lived with that for a good 12 years until a few years ago experienced -- there has been healing moments along the way, but as a 12-year journey of healing for me from 2004 to about 2016. >> you write in the book that it was perhaps your darkest moment in dealing with the aftermath of this. you can tell us where you were emotionally and what you consider and how you did find your way out? >> yeah, i had basically decided when i left the military in 2007, the whole point was to put as much roadway and hopefully accomplishment between what happened on april 22nd, 2004 and
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where i was at. if i did that well enough, maybe i could balance the ledger for the guilt and the shame i felt for possibly pat's death and wounded and other combats in my unit. i was guilt-ridden and shame ridden and hiding and believe figure people knew who i was and knew what i did, they wouldn't accept me and love me. that was not true. i was nursing a very inward wound i felt no one could understand. the best course of action i saw at the time was just to kind of deal with it. the key -- there is obviously i wrote a book on it and there is a story that is longer than we have this morning. the key for me is i had to get to a place where i was willing to invite other people into the
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conversation. my pride and my ego had to be obliterated so i could be the scare iest thing in the world for me which was to raise my hand and say i'm not okay and not strong enough to fix this on my own. what that looks like for everyone is different. we are not made to live in isolation and given our own internal equipment to heal ourselves that. requires community in various ways. that was the beginning of healing for me. >> as you bear the cost of water and hidden wounds of the soul as you put it, what are you hearing about the drumbeats of war. we are hearing about the deployment of soldiers and here and there. how do you make sense of what you hear around war given what you know about the cost of war? >> i'm tired of it. very tired of it. we need a strong robust military
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given the world in which we live and being pro military and antiwar are two sides of the same coin. if we use that military well, we have to understand how precious that resource is and not banter it about cheaply, which sometimes feeling that that is the case. >> the memoire is war story. sometimes the real fight starts after the battle. steven elliott, thank you very much. >> thank you so much. >> and that does it for us this morning. stay with us for all your breaking news and political analysis. have a happy and safe fourth of july. on a john deere x300 series mower. because seasons change but true character doesn't. wow, you've outdone yourself this time. hey, what're neighbors for? it's beautiful. run with us. search "john deere x300" for more. i have one kid in each branch of the military,
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. good morning and happy fourth of july live from msnbc world headquarters in new york. on this already very busy independence day, we are keeping an eye on the controversy touched off by the president headlining his own fourth of july spectacle with your tax dollars at least partially footing the bill. we have two breaking stories unfolding this morning. a congressman who is on this july 4th is declaring independence from the republican party he no longer recognize says and the controversial citizenship to the census. in just the last


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