tv The Colbert Report Comedy Central July 4, 2013 11:30pm-12:01am PDT
>> john: that's our show. join us tomorrow night at 11:00. here it is your moment of zen. >> the supreme court now pronounces you man and man, wife and wife or man and wife. onight, political unrest in south america or they're happy. i don't speak spanish. then controversy in a florida courtroom. apparently you can't sue your grand kids for not calling. and my guest tufts history professor peniel joseph will discuss controversial changes to the voting rights act. i hope it doesn't affect "so you think you can dance." italy's president was convicted of paying for sex with an underaged prostitute which means it could be months before he's re-elected prime minister. this is the colbert report. captioning sponsored by comedy central
( theme song playing ) ( cheers and applause ) >> stephen: hello, everybody. welcome to the report. thank you for joining us. [ cheers and applause ] >> stephen, stephen, stephen! [ cheers and applause ] >> stephen: thank you, ladies and gentlemen. welcome to the report. good to have you with us. nation, thank you. i couldn't do it without them. i'm but one man. thank you, folks. please, sit down. folks, you know, i could not do this show without you. i am but one man. you are the nation.
and folks, you know, if you watch this show you know i believe in america's judicial system whenever anybody asks i say, "our courts are the best." unless they're asking me to serve jury duty in which case i say, "hitler had some good ideas ." that usually gets me sent home mach schnell. so i've been paying pretty close attention to the supreme court which just today overturned a key provision of the voting rights act of 1965 which required the jim crow states to get federal permission before changing any of their voting laws. thankfully, chief justice john roberts, old blue eyes, knows that the south doesn't need to be baby sat anymore saying, quote, nearly 50 years later things have changed dramatically. yes, for some reason since the voting rights act was passedded, things have changed
dramatically. therefore, we can get rid of it now. it's just like those outdated labor law that prohibit children from threading bobbins on a loom. a kid hasn't been suckd into one of those machines in year. let's stop playing nanny here. i'll have more on this important decision later in the show with my guest professor peniel joseph. i hear he's black. nation, i don't pay attention to south america any more than i care about east america or west america or upsidedown america. but even i cannot help but notice that brazil is going through a major political upheaval or as they call it futbol. jim? >> nearly a million people spilled into the streets in major cities across the country in the biggest protest brazil has seen in decades. protestors went head to head with riot police and were met
with tear gas. >> more than one million people hitting the streets in at least 80 cities. >> stephen: folks, i don't get it. this is brazil, the most joyful place on earth. the only thing brazillians ever get mad at is their pubic hair. i don't... i have never heard. i don't know what it did to them but they are merciless down there. no prisoners. so just what is it that upset them? did pele put one of those carmen miranda hats on the giant statue of jesus? because that's all i know about brazil. jim? anything else? >> the bigger anger behind this movement is a sense that this nation is trying to show itself on the world stage spending billions of dollars on stadiums ahead of the olympics and ordinary people feeling they're not getting enough attention from their own government. >> they're angry over the billions of dollar spent on the
2014 world cup. >> stephen: nation, stand with the people of brazil because i too think soccer is a huge waste of money. a billion dollar stadium for a game that can end zero-zero? i mean, god dam it. just use your hands. they're super helpful. i mean, look... [ cheers and applause ] look, look, look. look, hey, look, guess what. i didn't die. gooooal! for more on this situation way south of the border, joining me now is my latin american colleague, esteban colberto. >> esteban: hola, stephen, y bienvenidos a colberto reporto giante! >> stephen esteban, thank you for joining us. >> esteban: chicas, chicas! >> stephen: what can you tell us about the situation in brazil?
>> esteban: [no audio] >> stephen: nothing? >> esteban: nada. soy mexicano. ellos son brasileros. es como comparar manzanas, y naranjas calvas, locas por el sexo. >> stephen: come on. it's all the same culture down there. >> esteban: no, no, no. en mexico, hablamos el hermosos idioma espanol. en brazil, hablan portugues, que suena como una gaita violando un perro. >> stephen so do you know anything about why they're rioting? >> esteban supongo, es porque pele le puso uno de esos somberors de carmen mirand a la estatua giante de jesus. >> stephen: you're no help.
>> esteban: es un placer. >> stephen: esteban colberto, everyone! [ cheers and applause ] all right, jimmy, that's enough. jimmy, cut the feed. jimmy, that's enough. well, i didn't know he could move that well. well, folks, if esteban can't help us understand the situation in brazil, i guess i'll just have to settle for an expert who understands the situation in brazil. please welcome the former brazil bureau chief from the "new york times" and author of "brazil on the rise," larry rohter. thank you so much, mr. rohter. thanks for being here. [ cheers and applause ] here's the book. here you go. brazil on the rise. okay. sir, how did this start? y kay. you've got riots in the street. you have hundreds of thousands of peel, millions on some days.
what is it? did they get upset by corruption? was there a killing? did they give all the amazon away to macdonald's for beef? what started it? >> corruption. as you mentioned, the money being spent on the world cup and the olympics. the feeling that a good chunk of that money is going to go into the hands of, you know, politicians and, you know, businessmen taking a cut. concerns that the money that's going there is money better spent on health care, education, public security. >> stephen: so they're asking for government handouts? okay. gimme, welcome to obama's latin america. what was the triggering point? what started this. >> the trigger was something pretty innocuous really, a ten-cent increase in bus fares. >> stephen: what? a ten-cent increase in bus fares. >> stephen: people took to the
streets for a ten-cent increase in bus fare? how good are these buses? what is the government doing too try to calm this down? are they saying we'll give you something or are they saying pull yourselves up by your own bat straps if they ever wore boots or pants there? >> this is so different from the arab spring or china because you have a democratic government that's trying in essence to stop this movement. they are saying roll back the bus fare increase. >> stephen: we'll give you your ten cents back. >> okay. and today the president saying, well, you know, maybe we should have a plebiscite to determine what kinds of changes in the political system we should make. you know, we need to bring the people into the process more. >> stephen: who are these people in the streets? are these just poor people in the streets? >> no. the thing about brazil is that in the last two decades, the country has grown enormously so
that, you know, they've zoomed past italy, russia, india, even great britain, and they're zeroing in on france. the sixth largest economy in the world. and unlike some other places, a lot of that wealth is now being distributed among people who were formerly poor but, you know, 50 million people have moved into the middle class. >> do you think we don't have ryate ons here in the united states because we've gotten rid of our middle class? [ cheers and applause ] thank you so much for joining me. larry rohter, "brazil on the rise." we'll be right back.
the festivities kicked off yesterday in florida. now, we all remember how zimmerman shot unarmed teenager trayvon martin in what was either a senseless tragedy or a sensible response to aggravated hoodie. this story, folks, has torn this nation apart but luckily zimmerman's lawyer don west in his opening remarks started the healing with humor. >> sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. so let me, at considerable risk, let me say, i'd like to tell you a little joke. i know how that may sound a bit weird in this context under these circumstances. but i think you're the perfect audience for it. as long as you... if you don't like it or you don't think it's funny or it's inappropriate that you don't hold it against
mr. zimmerman. you can hold it against me if you want. but i have your assurance you won't. here's how it goes. knock, knock. who's there? george zimmerman. george zimmerman who? all right. good. you're on the jury. nothing? that's funny. >> stephen: come on. that is some grade-a, light-hearted murder trial humor. i think this is a shrewd move by zimmerman's lawyer. america has a long history of murder humor. i mean, who can forget during the o.j. trial when johnnie cochran blew up that glove and put it over his head? "if the glove fit on my head, he didn't make her dead." you know it. i know it. he knows it. she knows it.
>> welcome back, everybody. my guest tonight is a professor of american history at tufts. we're honored to have him here the night that african-american history ended. please welcome peniel joseph. [ cheers and applause ] hey, good to have you with me. you are a professor of history at tufts and the author of "dark days, bright nights: from black power to barack obama" recently released in paperback. now, sir, congratulations on
being here the night that racism was officially declared over. in america. did you read the decision that justice roberts handed down today? >> i read the decision, steve. that's exactly wrong. racism is alive and well in america. in a way this decision... >> stephen: not according to john roberts. we have evidently passed the magic moment at which we no longer have to worry about the jim crow states that used to prohibit minors from going to the polls. they're not going to do that anymore because they haven't done it since the voting rights act was passed. >> that's the irony of this decision. >> stephen: or the magic. the voting rights act actually has prevented racial discrimination in these states that used to basically outlaw african-american citizenship and voting rights so today's decision is really terrible for our democracy. >> stephen: let's tell the folks exactly what the decision says because it affects section 4 of the voting rights act of 1965.
>> basically section 4 provided certain states had to have preclearance before changing any of their voting laws, any of their polling places. >> stephen: i'm texas and i want to change something about my voting like where i change my polling stations or what my criteria is, what the hours are in certain parts of my state. they would have to go to the justice department and say is this okay with you? and eric holier would take out his pen and say yeah or nay and texas could or could not do that, right? >> exactly. one provision we have to remember, stephen, if you were not discriminating for ten years you could apply for an opt out. certain states actually did and were successful. so this is really about whether or not states want to allow african-american citizenship. when we think about voter suppression in the last election, florida, ohio. >> stephen: i don't think about voter suppression in the last election no. that's a big if. >> i do. stephen: okay. what are you so different from me on that one?
>> i believe in democracy and citizenship and... >> stephen: so do i. listen, john roberts, one of the things he said in this is that data is 40 years old. 1972. why should we use that criteria from '72 when they didn't even have cell phones then? you know, if you're an african-american, are you an african-american? >> yes, i am. stephen: i don't see race. i have movedded beyond that. i don't even see my own race. people tell me i'm white and i believe them because i agree with john roberts. >> here's the thing. something called color blind racism. >> stephen: what? color blind racism. >> what that is, you don't see race. >> stephen: i don't. but there's racial disparities and outcomes from mass incarceration to disparity. >> stephen: if i don't see race and there's disparity in outcomes isn't it is the fault of the whose outcome is different? >> no, it's the fault of institutions. >> stephen: why? i didn't do what i did because you are or are not a black person.
i don't care about that. >> stephen, let me speak for a second. a brief history lesson. >> stephen: okay. all right. >> this country is founded on racial slavery. this country is founded 1619 even when we were a colony in british north america we were founded on racial slavery. 1776 we have another almost 200 years of slavery and jim crow. >> stephen: i understand. 500 years of racial segregation and oppression of african-americans. but we've had 40 years of be grudging, you know, tolerance. don't that cover it? >> no, it doesn't. not at all. not by a long stretch. so there is no end of racism. if anything, we need a national conversation about race and democracy. >> stephen: if we keep talking about this national conversation that we're talking about, doesn't that make racism worse because it keeps reinforcing what race everybody is? case in point. this voting rights act itself discriminated against the ability of certain states to change their voting laws.
based solely on the color of the people that these states tried to disenfranchise. who is a racist now? >> here's a good point, stephen. when we think about race and democracy in this country and race relations, if white people are tired of talking about race, imagine how black people feel. they're exhausted. they're exhausted after hundreds of years of having to talk about this. but discrimination continues. discrimination continues. so a great example. texas today decided that their voter i.d. laws, which justice department had overruled last fall, they're going to implement them. >> stephen: wait a second. eric holder last fall said you can't go ahead with your new voter i.d. laws because those violate the voting rights act but today the first day of the voting rights act has been struck down, texas said, ta-da. >> exactly. stephen: that's kind of nice. i'll tell you why.
it's easier to find racism this way. it's like if you don't have your prostate checked, by the time it's like a cantelope, the doctor can find it right away. if we remove all the protections at the polls, let racism go nuts for a few years. and then we can go, you know what? we did need it. you know what i mean? it's kind of the best possible answer. >> that would be a great point... >> stephen: it is a great point. no, it would be a great point except for the fact for 350 years we did let racism go nuts. it was so swollen and so cancerous that we had to do civil rights act, voting rights act. >> stephen: fine. then we'll just have a new voting rights act. it wasn't that hard to pass the first time, was it? >> very, very difficult to pass. stephen: congress can get stuff done, sir. >> here's a great, a mini-history lesson about the civil rights movement. >> stephen: i'll try to stay awake. >> 1954 to 1965, the brown
public school desegregation decision civil rights act of '64 voting rights act of '65, crown jewel is the voting rights act of '65. martin luther king, jr., selma, congressman john lewis got his skull fractured trying to demonstrate. >> stephen: hey, baby i was at the march on washington. you don't have to tell me. i was at the "i have a dream speech." don't play that back people went on marches card. i was at the marches. were you? >> i was not. stephen: you were not at the marches. >> i was not born in 1965. stephen: i could be madder than you. oh, i wasn't born that. that's a convenient excuse. thank you so much for joining us me. dark days, bright nights. we'll be right