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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  July 29, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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over the past week, it's been called a failed strategy, shenanigans, the dumbest idea i've ever heard of, and a plan destined to fail. and yet the strategy to shut down the government over obama care still seems like a good idea to certain members of the gop. so far the plan has mostly succeeded in exposing faultlines within the party. moderates versus wacko birds. last week appearing on fox news, deputy majority whip tom cole offered perhaps the sharpest criticism of the hostage plan yet. >> seems to me there is appropriate ways to change the law but shutting down the government to get your way over an unrelated piece of legislation is a political equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum. >> cole was not alone in his criticism. senators john mccain, john cornyn, roy blunt and ron johnson have all come forward to oppose the take-no-prisoners approach warning that it amounts to political suicide. according to senator tom coburn,
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it is dishonest. the president is never going to sign a bill defunding obama care. i'm getting phone calls from oklahoma saying support mike lee and i'm ramming right back, support him in destroying the republican party? yesterday new york congressman peter king joined the chorus. >> we should not be closing down the government under any circumstances. that doesn't work. it is wrong. >> but utah senator mike lee, the general leading the charge in the upper chamber, is not letting the critics mess with his plans no matter how hairbrained they may be. yesterday on fox news senator lee remained defiant. >> look, i understand that there are some in the washington establishment, some from both political parties, who weren't happy with me over this. in this instance i'm going to take that as a compliment, an indication that i'm doing something right. >> doing something right or possibly something terribly, terribly wrong. over the weekend, self-avowed wacko bird senator tim cruz doubled down on the shutdown effort and presenting an online petition to eliminate funding
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for the affordable care act on september 30th. the name of website, www.don'tfundobamacare. 10 of the 12 senators were not part of the shutdown in 1995 and 1996. when that happened nearly twice as many americans blamed republicans over president clinton. something republicans paid for in the 1996 elections and something that certain senators remember well. at the end of the day, even senator lee seems to sense that a shutdown can't really happen. it is just unclear how he plans to avoid it. >> we all know that the government's going to get funded. the only question is whether the government gets funded with obama care or without it. >> joining me today, founder and president of the center for social inclusion, maya wiley. chairman of the slate group, jacob wiseberg and "new york" magazine contributing editor jennifer senior. joining us now from capitol hill, the republican representative from oklahoma's
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fourth district and the gop's deputy majority whip, tom cole. congressman, thank you so much for joining us today. >> alex, thanks for having me. >> so listen, my question -- i'm so happy to have you on this program because you come out, largely in support of what would seem to be sanity. my question to you is, are the new kids on the block, which is to say marco rubio, ted cruz, rand paul, mike lee, are they eventually going to capitulate to the sort of wisdom of the elders, if you will, or do you think you this are going to succeed in this strategy? >> gosh, i hate to be an old day already. >> hey, no ageism implied at all. >> i've been called a lot worse in the last few days so that's fine. seriously. look, i agree with what they are trying to do, they are just going about it the wrong way i oppose the creation of obama care. i voted multiple times to reveal it. we've actually modified it in some ways that eliminate regulations and some of the costs in a bipartisan basis so we should keep up the fight but shutting down the government is
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a suicidal political tactic. eventually it will be re-opened but the president will not have capitulated and you will discredit yourself and along the way you would have hurt the american people. lot of workers furloughed. who's going to man veterans hospitals? who's going to make sure defense work gets done? who's going to take care of indian reservation health care and schools? i mean that's -- those are federal responsibilities and shutting down the government for a goal that you can't achieve that way is just counterproductive. >> what do you think of the reporting that we're getting saying that republicans intend on using the august recess to pressure reluctant lawmakers on this strategy? i mean i guess as a republican, how devastating, how destructive in this infighting for the party on the whole? >> oh, i never mind debates. look, i think that's part of what politics is about and people advance ideas. again, remember, this is a difference over tab tix, not objectives. none of us are supporting obama
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care. in that sense i think we take our eye off the ball and if you again adopt a strategy that can't work -- this one just simply will not work -- you falsely raise the hoech your own supporters that it might succeed and you're going to be pretty devastated when you fail. so again this is just not a viable political strategy. it is an admirable goal but it is not -- we're not going to achieve it this way. >> setting aside whether defunding the affordable care act is an admirable goal because i think we do differ on that, congressman -- >> i suspect we do. >> in terms of political strategy -- are you saying you don't think this is sound political strategy -- do you think that this strategy would work better during the debt ceiling debate? is this just the continuing resolution that you are opposed to or is this idea of holding the government hostage, holding the american economy hostage something that you oppose wholesale? >> look. i don't think it is a good idea to default on the debt. i don't think it is a good idea to shut down the government. that doesn't mean that you don't use opportunities to change things. look, we've been on an
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unsustainable debt march for quite some time. republicans have done a lot to reverse that. the deficit's about half of what it was when the republican house came in to the majority in 2011. we've moved in the right direction. we ought to congratulate ourselves from that but we ought to continue to pressure. now i think the big fight, the real leverage here for republicans is the sequester. that's a matter of law. that's something the president advocated for and signed. that's something that democrats voted for in the senate, now seem to want to abandon without offering offsetting cuts in other areas, moving in really to the nondiscretionary side of the budget. i think that's where the real fight will be but again, at the end of the day, defaulting on our obligations or shutting down the government to me are not viable political options. >> congressman, i just want to open this up to our panel here in new york. jake, there is a lot of strategy or strategery depending on your assessment of it, afoot here.
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t ted cruz is suggesting that the house pass a continuing resolution that funds the government except for obama care. and then basically kick that up to the senate and make it look at if democrats are resistant to the idea of passing a cr without the funding for the affordable care act which is settled law of the land and somehow in that way implicate the democrats in the government shutdown. i really doubt that that works. >> i don't think, alex, it is a question of whether it will work. i think this draws a bright line under what is wrong with washington right now. the problem you have is that a significant faction of the republicans in the house and a faction in the senate do not accept the democratic legitimacy of winning elections and passing bills as the last word. then what the congressman said is exactly right. it is a question of tactics. if you go nuclear, you use every means at your disposal to oppose the other side. when you've lost, when a bill has been passed and signed into
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law, that is to my mind not a legitimate tactic. you sort of can't do business with these people. i mean it is like the hostage taking -- >> this is truly the nuclear option. >> you've reached a very peculiar pass in american politics when tom coburn is the voice of reason in the senate, when he is the one who's actually saying, i don't know, these tactics, they're a little excessive for my taste. that to me is what's so interesting. we're now at the point that i think in about five years' time we're going to be pining for the days of the moderate likes of karl rove. >> and look, carl roekarl rove someone who has objected to this strategy. >> i think also what we have to remember, these are issues that involve real people. it is not just an issue of will the tactic fail or not. it is how many americans get crushed in the process. we're talking about 22% of americans now saying they've been significantly harmed by the
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sequester compared to 6% in april. that's a substantial increase even in the past few months. this isn't an abstract issue. this is about whether people are able to see a doctor when they're sick. i would say that if we're going to let the political process play out, we'd see whether it is going to produce the gains that the obama administration has said it will. there are already some indications in some states like new york that premiums are going to be down 50% here. let it play out. if it is good policy and it works, support it. if as it plays out as bad policy, congress can always revisit legislation to make improvements. >> congressman, i want to ask you about the broader implications here. from members from you, congress, there seems to be a will to answer the criticism that republicans are irascible obstructionists and to prove to the american public, no, no, that's not necessarily true. but i ask you as someone who he's on capitol hill, i have this strategy being launched by some of the stars of the senate,
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the younger generation. then you also have comments by steve king about illegal immigrants and dreamers and commentary that many people think is racist and beyond irascible but really simply unacceptable. where do you see your party going at what seems to be a crossroads? >> well, frankly, i have a lot of optimism. we went through a tough election cycle, held the house, we hold 30 governorships. i don't have any doubt we'll pick up senate seats. it's on the margin as to whether we actually give control. the idea that we're somehow imploding or not moving forward is simply not true. i have to add, there are advisors to the president who have recommended that he shut down the government if the sequester isn't repealed. now sequester was his suggestion, his idea, it is in law. the house is actually appropriating to the legal appropriations specified in the sequester. so there is a lot of this on both sides. it is not somehow unique.
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there's just a lot at stake and a lot of intensity on each side to try and get a rise. >> congressman, i would agree that there is some debate on the left over what policies should be pursued over earned benefit reform and so on and so forth. but if you look at schisms, public schisms, have you heritage, the have karl rove on the opposite side of republican leadership on capitol hill. that seems to be much more profoundly public and deeply divisive than any debate that's happening on the left. >> well, actually i think my friend carl is probably on the side of the leadership, not on the other side. but again, when you lose an election -- we lost the presidential election. though i always like to point out this president was re-elected with a lower popular vote, lower electoral, smaller percentage of the vote. first time that's ever happened. he was also not given the kind of congressional power he had in '09 and '10. he basically got the run of capitol hill. he's got a majority of the house
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blocking majority in the senate. we just sit to need down, engage constructively where we can. we've passed seven bills that saved about $62 billion out of obama care. got rid of the 1040s. probably ought to focus on the medical it was tax which isn't going to be popular. howard dean is on friday saying the big component is not going to work. the administration has backed off their businessman date. this is a program that's collapsing. i think we ought to keep the pressure on it but it would be a mistake again to use a tactic that ultimately will not work, the president would not concede, and do it at the expense of the american people. it would put a lot of people out to work. shouldn't do it. >> congressman, you're a reasonable man. you would like to see a smaller government but you also recognize the federal government has important functions. you mention veterans benefits and putting out fires. but isn't the fire here that there are a lot of republicans
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who don't think the federal government does anything useful and they think if they close it down it is win-win for them because people will see we don't really need it and we won't miss it? >> i think some people believe there are certain functions. look, i think most republicans recognize there is a defense function that's absolutely critical to the country. there's other programs that again we can debate their size and their merits but there is appropriate ways to do it. there are ways to reduce the size of government. there are ways to make it more efficient and better, that don't involve again inconveniencing and really harming tens of millions of americans. i don't think that's the intention of people that are recommending this strategy at all. i think they haven't thought through what the the real life consequences of it on the ground are for individual americans. >> congressman, we talk frequently on the show about the difficult position, almost untenable position that speaker boehner is in with a raucous caucus in the house. i just got to ask you, in moments like this when you hear mike lee say what he said on
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sunday, do you get a headache thinking about what you have to deal with on capitol hill? >> no. look, these are my friends and my colleagues. we probably agree on about 95% of the issues. but the reality is, in this case we have a fundamental disagreement on tactics. again, this card's been played before, it didn't work very well the last time it was played. i think it will work even worse this time because we'd actually funded a lot of the government back in '95 and '96. defense bill had already passed. this would be a total and complete shutdown of the federal government. there is no way that the party that precipitates that is going to gain favor by the american people so we shouldn't do it. >> congressman tom cole from oklahoma's 4th district, thanks so much for your time. coming up, is president obama moving the goal post back to the left-hand side of the playing field? we will discuss his latest case for bridging the inequality gap and fixing america's fraying social fabric just ahead. (announcer) at scottrade, our clients trade and invest
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in a major speech on the economy last week, president obama returned to a theme from his most recent state of the union, increasing the minimum wage. >> i am going to keep making the case that we need to raise the minimum wage because it's lower right now than it was when ronald reagan took office. it's time for the minimum wage to go up. >> we'll discuss middling out and an honest day's wage next on "now." ♪ i'm a hard, hard worker every day. ♪
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thanks to the grit and resilience of the the american people we've dug out of the crisis and begun to create a durable, economic growth but as any middle class family will tell you, we are not yet where we need to be. trends eroding middle class security for decades, technology that makes some jobs obsolete, global competition that makes others movable, growing inequality and the policies that perpetuate it, all those things still exist and in some ways the recession may have been worse. reversing these trends must be washington's highest priority. it sure is mine. >> while the republican party's occupied with its own crisis, president obama is trying to focus the nation's attentions on the economy, jobs and the middle class. in a rare interview with the "new york times" this weekend, president obama signaled that progressive politics could be coming back to center stage saying i want to make sure that all of us in washington are investing as much time as much
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energy, as much debate on how we growth economy and grow the middle class as we've spent on the last two to three years arguing about how we reduce the deficits. the president also told the times that the country's income gap had frayed the american social compact, asserting that upward mobility was part and parcel of who we are as americans and that's what's been eroding over the last 20, 30 years. that degradation was re-affirmed yesterday when the ap released a report showing that 4 in 5 american adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare or at least parts of their lives. 4 in 5, which amounts to 80% of u.s. adults. in the meantime, as workers' wages stagnate, income for top executives has risen steady. when asked why his workers were asked to take a pay freeze at the same time his own salary has increased more than 80%, caterpillar chief executive told bloomberg business week, i always try to communicate to our people that we can never make enough money. we can never make enough profit.
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maya, as we sit here on this set, there are protests that are going to be happening in seven cities across the country -- detroit, new york, milwaukee, kansas city, protesting i think subliving wages and asking for more. this has become an incendiary topic in certain economic circles but i believe the conversation in and around minimum wage is long overdue given the disparity between the very, very rich and the rest of the country. >> absolutely. when you look at what the average american worker in the low-end and minimum wage job has to do, essentially if that person works eight hours a day they aren't able to buy groceries by the end of the month so work does not pay. at the same time that we're asking this discussion about whether or not work should pay, congress has actually just cut food stamps out of the farm bill which could affect 2 million to 3 million americans and the one thing that we aren't talking about is most of those folks work. if they don't work, it's because
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they're elderly or they're children or they're disabled. what that's really telling us, what the president is really saying, a working economy is one in which people who work can take care of their families. that's not what's happening right now. >> the president has been accused of being some sort of socialist and trying to redistribute economics. but if you look at what has happened, the average ceo earns 273 times the average -- what the average worker makes. in 1960 that ratio was 20-1, as opposed to 273-1. in 2010, 93% of income gains went to the top 3%. any economist would say that's not a sustainable model. >> you have growing social inequality. my view is it makes everybody unhappy including the rich. even conservative republicans when you get them in some kind of reasonable conversation -- >> in a quiet back room. >> -- in a quiet back room, tend
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to agree this is a problem for the country. the difference is republicans, as a matter of policy, don't actually want to do anything about it but i think democrats on the other side have very limited ideas about what to do about it. so raising the minimum wage, the minimum wage should keep pace with inflation. it is an issue of dignity. i agree. but really what you need is a more robust policy to expand something like the earned income tax credit which isn't even on the table because it is better if the private economy creates as many jobs as possible, including ones that would pay below a higher minimum wage and the government makes up the difference so you have higher employment but a living wage. >> jennifer, what's interesting to me is the fact that we are -- thankfully, i will say, having a conversation about the minimum wage, having a conversation about progressive values. because that quote from the president's rare "new york times" appearance -- >> he took the words right out of my mouth. >> the fact that he is even acknowledging we've been preoccupied with the deficit
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debate and it is time to revisit the question of how to grow the economy and how to create jobs i think for a lot of people feels way overdue. >> to hear him talking, to not be speaking in this vocabulary of austerity for the first time is really exciting. i feel like democrats have been doing that since clinton. they've sort of had to keep doing that. they haven't been able to say could we talk about spending? let's talk about spending. it was so refreshing to hear him start that conversation. even if he can't finish it. to just plant the seed that maybe we should be -- stop the belt tightening kind of metaphors. i'm so tired of them. >> i wish he had said the "p" word. poor. alex, when you are raising the point about the minimum wage workers who are protesting, they're workers and they're poor. they're not middle class. so actually we are talking about making an economy that works so that we have people who work not being poor. but at the same time, the sequester conversation where the
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cbo just produced a report that said, if we dealt -- if we actually took those cuts off the table we create 1.6 million jobs. >> and that was -- and that i thought was like the most hypocritical part of the sequester. there's so much hypocrisy in and around the sequester. the notion that the president somehow wanted the sequester to go through and because it at one point was on his drafting table, it was his policy that he was pushing. he is now pushing for an alternative to the sequester in the next round of negotiations. but broadly speaking, in terms of the goal posts maybe moving a little bit further left, i think when we have these budgets that were coming down from the senate, paul ryan obviously has his budget, i think it is a testament to the efficacy of the far right. they've effectively planted -- i mean the republican conversation is in and around the paul ryan budget. the democratic budget conversation is not happening around the house progressive conditions budget. it is happening around -- if it is, the senate democrats' budget
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which is infinitely more conservative than the house progressive caucus. if you know anything from i think deal making, you each start at the midway point should be midway between the extreme ends of the field and i think a lot of democrats have felt like we've been starting from far right or middle right rather than actually on the left. >> i think there is a lot of blame to be shared with democrats here. if you look at the position democrats have taken on entitlement spending, essentially you touch it and we'll kill you. but what's happening with demographic change is that government is becoming a check writing machine transferring the entire budget to middle class retirees through medicare and social security. it is crowding out everything that a progressive should want government to do in terms of taking on the problems of the poor. just the reality is, the money is not going to be there unless we rein in these programs and redirect some of this money. >> i guess i would take issue with whether the democrats have
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participated in that conversation enough. because the put has put a plan forward for reforming earned benefit programs like medicare and social security on whitehouse.gov. then the complaint is he's not done enough. well, the republicans can barely agree on whether they want the government to keep functioning in september and october. it is really hard to bargain with people when there's no consensus and no one to bargain with. >> but that's not the view of the progressive caucus and that's not the view of democrats running for re-election for the most part. >> well -- okay. maya, take the floor. >> one of the things that i think is important to recognize is that there are proposals around social security, for example, that recognize actually if we capped social security when we were talking about the income disparities and wealth disparities where a very few percent of the population has most of the nation's wealth. 40% of the nation's wealth. and yet have absolutely no cap on the amount of social security that they're going to receive even though they don't need it and even though they stopped paying into the system.
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so i actually think that democrats have been very willing to talk about those kinds of reforms and those are reforms that also drive more money into the system. >> i would say -- i would also say -- it's funny because we're saying we are not going to get shanghaied by this, not get drawn in to this deficit conversation and somehow i think i've led the charge of us getting drawn into a conversation about the deficit. because independent of earned benefit programs, the president's also talking about investment in infrastructure, in education, and these parts of the conversation we haven't had these parts of the conversation. >> if you term them pro-growth. we just haven't heard that language. that said, part of me really agrees with jake. if we could see more courage coming out of both parties -- >> i agree exactly about means testing with benefits. democrats are not for the most part pushing that idea. maybe some of them would go along with it as part of a grand
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bargain. i think the progressive position should be we want to invest in the short term. the deficit is not an issue this year but over 10 years, 20 years it is because government growth over the long term has to have some kind of fiscal belt. >> i just wonder, the thing that seems to appeal to republicans is the notion of the american dream and the pulling one's self up by the boot straps. thing the president is also shining the light on is economic mobility and the fact that if you are born in a certain sector, bottom run of the american economy, your chances to reach the top are forever shrinking. the american dream is becoming just that -- which is to say -- a dream, something that is only in waking hours few actually realize. >> becoming the american fantasy. >> it is true. i think that goes to the heart of these sort of republican ideas about like if you're -- if you can make it here -- no,
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that's new york. but the idea that this is -- this is the promise of america. >> well, if you look at -- i think one of the things that the president had said that we talked about a week ago, alex, which was the fact that he was talking about the context in which african-americans have taken the george zimmerman verdict. part of that context is that, if you're black, there's a really great study out there -- it is a horrible study but it is great because of what it shows us. if you're black and you have an advanced degree, you're less likely to get a job than someone who's white with a criminal record. so i just wanted to throw that out there. even boot straps doesn't even always mean a degree for people of color. so we have to do two things. we have to understand that we want a mobility society. we've always believed in that. it has always included investment that comes from government in infrastructure, in education, in health care. and at the same time, the biggest wedge that we have on this conversation is often race.
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at the same time people of color often the least likely to benefit from any opportunities that exist. >> it will be interesting to see now that the president has dipped his toes more decidedly in the waters of race and social issues, whether at some point that conversation dovetails with the economic one because they do in reality. we have to take a break, but coming up, it is the trial of the centerry that almost nobody is talking about. while congress and much of the country debate the snowden effect, the man who laid the groundwork for the nsa looker awaits his fate in a maryland army base. we'll discuss the bradley manning case with an artist and activist who witnessed the secretive proceedings when he joins us just ahead. with the spark miles card from capital one, bjorn earns unlimited rewards for his small business. take these bags to room 12 please. [ garth ] bjorn's small business earns double miles on every purchase every day. produce delivery. [ bjorn ] just put it on my spark card. [ garth ] why settle for less? ahh, oh! [ garth ] great businesses deserve unlimited rewards.
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from dedicated, professional financial consultants. it's guidance on your terms, not ours. that's how our system works. e-trade. less for us. more for you. edward snowden may be in the spotlight, but according to multiple sources, at 1:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow, army judge denise lind is expected to deliver her verdict in the military trial of bradley manning. the army private accused of giving 700,000 classified documents to wikileaks. in closing arguments, the defense lawyer, david koons, said manning was a naive but brave and conscientious objector to the war time conduct of the united states. the defense made its case after the prosecution argued that manning had willingly given classified information to al qaeda and other enemies by posting the documents on the internet for all to see. aiding the enemy is the most serious of the 21 charges manning faces and carries with it a life sentence. the army private has already
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pleaded guilty to ten lesser offenses. ones that could put him in prison for 20 years. the outcome of manning's trial is sure to have repercussions for edward snowden. both men have ties to wikileaks whose founder, julian assange, published manning's leaks in 2010 and has aided snoweden in his flight from justice. while snowden's leaks triggered a massive debate over government sae surveillance, manning's military trial has commanded relatively little attention. the video are you about to see is graphic. >> line them all up. >> come on. fire! >> i think i just drove over a body. >> more to go? you can bring the rest of mine. >> that's their fault for bringing their kids to battle. >> that showed the killing of
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two reuters journalists in 2007 came to light as a result of manning's leaks after the military refused reuters' request to access it. in similar fashion, manning's trial has been subject to tight media restrictions. no cameras or electronic devices allowed in court and no official transcript has been made available. reporters are being subject to intensive searches upon entering the courtroom and are watched over by armed military police officer in the media filing center. joining us now from denver is salon columnist and best selling author, david ceroda, and clark stek ley. clark, are you one of the very few people that's been in the room as the manning trial has unfolded. can you tell us about the climate inside the courtroom and what you've seen so far? >> well, it is a very tense climate in the courtroom right now. we just saw the wrapping up of closing arguments on thursday and friday. the prosecution took the
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entirety of thursday to make their arguments over seven hours. ashton fine repeated himself over and over to basically filibuster the courtroom and the press attention on thursday. so that the stories coming out were essentially just the arguments of the prosecution. and those arguments didn't really add up. he was trying to say that bradley was an anarchist, that he was trying to gain notoriety and fame, but the logic there doesn't add up as to why he would do this anonymously. the following day on friday we saw bradley's civilian lawyer present a very heartfelt case from the heart with no paper, not standing behind the podium, going directly up to denise lind and showing her the collateral murder video which we just saw there and telling her not to
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detach herself from what she's seeing like the gunners and the pilots in that video did on july 12th, 2007. >> clark, i want to ask you, you were removed from the courtroom on friday. we know you are an activist. you had media credentials. there seemed to be a mix of media folks and activists in the courtroom. tell us about the dynamic there and why you were asked to leave the courtroom. >> well, i'm not able to comment on that. i agreed to come on this show understanding that we would discuss manning and not my banning from the courtroom. but i can tell you this. i have written a letter to denise lind. i gave that to david coombs and he submitted that to her and she submitted that to the garrison commander. i am waiting to see whether i will be allowed back. >> we have a tweet from "the new
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york times" reporter who's covering the manning trial. he says, in his tweet, creepy -- having armed military place in camo patrolling behind each row of reporters and looking over shoulders as we take notes on the manning trial today. is that the atmosphere in the courtroom? >> well, i think this trial has had unprecedented case of censorship starting with the fact that no legal filings and no transcripts, official transcripts, were coming from the court. and this is very shocking. this is a trial about secrecy and they've emphasized the fact that they are keeping track of all social media. the messages coming out and we've had, yeah, actually armed mps standing behind us while we're tweeting, posting our stories, and it is definitely an environment that is very tense
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and it bobbles my mind that they would be so clamped down on free speech when this is a trial all about free speech. >> yeah. david, i want to get your thoughts on the manning trial. because certainly the implications of this verdict are broad. the notion that manning could be convicted of aiding the enemy because he gave documents to an organization that then posted them to the internet. the interlinkage between the internet and aiding the enemy has vast repercussions for journalists in the future, whistle blowers, and people concerned about civil liberties. >> absolutely. i mean the conflags of the idea that if you put something on the internet, that means you're giving it to the terrorists. you're essentially publishing it for the world to see. yes, there are some terrorists nft world. but the government's case is a case that's essentially would, i think, create a situation where journalists would have to worry, activists would have to worry, whistle blowers would have to worry, the average citizen would
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have to worry that if they put something on the internet the government can turn around and say if the government doesn't like it that putting -- the act of putting it on the internet is an act of aiding al qaeda. it is a ludicrous -- it sounds ludicrous but you are right, it has a potential legal ramifications to criminalize the act of blowing the whistle and the act of journalism. >> david, you've been writing about national security concerns and sort of where we are at this moment in time with both snowden and obviously the manning trial in the background. you've talk about james clapper and his behavior, if you will, on the stand. i'll read an excerpt by james bamford in the new york review of books. "of course the u.s. is not a totalitarian society and no equivalent of big brother runs it. still the u.s. intelligence agencies seemed to have adopted yore well's idea of double think. clapper said that his previous answer was not a lie. he just chose to respond had in the "least untruthful manner." you think about that wording and
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you hear what clark is telling us about military personnel standing over media at a trial that's been largely blocked from american eyes and ears, or global eyes and ears and there is an yore wellian sort of strain here. >> absolutely. it is classic news speak. clapper is allowed to go before congress and to lie, blatantly lie to lawmakers who are trying to oversee the nsa. when he is asked a question about whether master surveillance is happening. there's no punishment for him or the government move to charge pergly for him. but they pursue bradley manning and edward snowden so there is a complete double standard here. this old saying that says, they're public officials. that means we're supposed to know as much as possible about what they're doing and that's exactly what the obama administration i think is trying to prevent. >> clark, there is a lot of debate over what sort of punishment both bradley manning and edward snowden should receive but the public editor of the "new york times," margaret
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sullivan, reminds us back in march of what we have gotten in terms of information from these leaks. i will read her word. imagine if americans citizens never learned about the abuse of prisoners at abu ghraib. imagine not knowing about the brutal treatment of terror suspects and u.s. government black sites or about the drone program that's expanding under president obama or the bush administration's warrantless wiretapping of americans. this is a world without leaks. there is a lot that we are debating right now that we wouldn't even have on the table to debate were it not for these leakers. do you think in the courtroom at least there is a successful attempt to paint manning as having done some sort of service in terms of the national conversation? >> well, it's been very obviously sitting in this courtroom listening to the prosecution there's been no evidence of any harm whatsoever caused by these leaks. i have seen, however, great things come out of them. more accurate body counts.
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we have an idea of who in guantanamo is innocent and why we've been holding them for so long. arab spring, i believe, is a direct result from the state department cable leaks. none of these things have caused the u.s. security any harm whatsoever. as david coombs said, the government is saying the sky is falling. the sky is falling. but the fact is, the sky is not falling. he also used the analogy of the emperor has no clothes. what of i've seen in five years of the obama administration is a complete reversal of his 2008 campaign promises to protect whistle blowers where in fact obama has gone after more whistle blowers. i believe we're up to eight, maybe possibly nine now. that's triple of all other presidents combined. >> david, i want to bring you in on the subject of the administration and how they are moving and/or responding to all
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of this that's happening. we know attorney general eric holder outlined some new guidance for obtaining records of -- press records. we know that there is news that we are transferring two detainees in gitmo. there is just an amendment that failed in the house but certainly did not divide along classic party lines. you had nancy pelosi and michele bachmann voting against it. you had other sort of strange coalitions. is that evidence that this conversation is taking hold in american society, that we are debating and trying to perhaps reform some of these policies? >> absolutely. i'm very encouraged by the bipartisan nature of the criticism of all of this that's happening right now. i think clark really alludes to what's really going on here. the obama administration is prosecuting people who are a political problem for the obama administration. they are not prosecuting people on the basis of national security concerns. the political problem that's what's raised by the snowden and by manning is the fact that the national security state is out
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of control and that embarrasses the obama administration. >> well, it is certainly a conversation that we will continue to have. the verdict is expected tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. thank you both for your time. we will have more when we return after the break. ♪ boo! i am the ghost of meals past. when you don't use pam, this is what you get. residue. [ female announcer ] bargain brand cooking spray leaves annoying residue. that's why there's pam. if you have high cholesterol, here's some information that may be worth looking into. in a clinical trial versus lipitor, crestor got more high-risk patients' bad cholesterol to a goal of under 100. getting to goal is important, especially if you have high cholesterol plus any of these risk factors because you could be at increased risk for plaque buildup in your arteries over time. and that's why when diet and exercise alone aren't enough to lower cholesterol i prescribe crestor. [ female announcer ] crestor is not right for everyone.
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thanks to jacob, maya and jennifer. that's all for me. "andrea mitchell reports" is next.
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the secretary of state says if it were easy, it would have happened a long time ago. >> i know the negotiations are going to be tough. but i also mow that the consequences of not trying could be worse. anthony weiner says today he won't be scared off by pundits or apparently by that retired schoolteacher who read him the riot act on the campaign trail. >> had i conducted myself in the manner in which you conducted yours, my job would have been gone. >> after that, wiener's weekend went from bad to worse. his campaign manager quit and the criticism piles on. >> but at this point it's absurd. he is not going to be the next mayor of new york. he is wasting time and space. >> he may still be in the race wi when this campaign is over. >> he disqualified himself though not just because of these scandals -- though that certainly has. he didn't have the qualifications when he was in

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