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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  December 27, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PST

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opposition. >> does it make sense for a country to borrow money from china to give it to the unemployed in america? >> i don't know. yes? aren't these programs exactly why we spend and borrow money, in order to help these very same americans? failing to extend unemployment insurance was just the icing on the cake for the worst congress ever. after just 58 laws passed, two-thirds of americans now think congress is the worst in their lifetime and 73% p say congress has done nothing to address the country's problems. joining me today, washington bureau chief at the huffington post ryan grim, michael eric dyson host of "disrupt," karen finney and ari. karen, this is the thing that really puzzles me. republicans are the ones who are facing a challenge in the midterms. they would like to take over the senate, for instance, hold on to the house. why is it there seems to be no political incentive there to
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let's say support something popular like extending unemployment benefits? >> they've done a great job in their gerrymandered districts especially in the house of convincing voters that really it is better if we don't give barack obama a victory, even if it means you don't get unemployment insurance, that's better for you. i'm not kidding. that is how much vitriol there is against this president. and everything is viewed as a success for the president. if you think about it, these guys are also getting pressured now while they're at home from people saying, hey, we need help. senators and members of congress. and they're still don't seem like there's enough room to budge. >> ari, to karen's point, the local news coverage of the loss of unemployment coverage in the district of republicans, paul ryan's districts, there are 99,000 people in his home state of wisconsin facing cuts to their long-term benefits. there's a public policy poll that shows in john boehner's district 63% favor extending unemployment district, 52% of republicans in his district
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favor it. why is it that that doesn't seem to matter to republicans who are running even when their own constituents may be facing unemployment? a loss of total income. >> i think it's because look who writes campaign checks, it's not the long-term unemployed. they're not the most mobilized political constituency. as is because of their economic status they're at the bottom of the ladder right now. yes, there's a lot of people out of work. it's a terrible situation. but they're not a mobilized constituency. if we were cutting off subsidies for the oil industry, for example, it would get done tomorrow and there would be a huge outcry. the problem is the unemployed don't have that voice in washington, particularly given the way washington is structured where those with the money speak the loutdest. >> that's interesting. i think it also is the mind-set, right? far be it from me to psycho analyze republicans. but the pew research did a poll. democrats have the reverse attitude, that 61% of democrats
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in that poll say it's circumstances, it's bad luck. and 24% lack of effort. even when they themselves face economic pain, isn't this mind-set part of what's holding republicans to this position? >> oh, yeah. it certainly is. but if this is such a popular issue, where were democrats on this a month ago? why didn't they force this? they had all of the leverage in the world because the republicans did not want another government shutdown. they just want to get it out of their own way and allow discontent with obama to wipe them into the senate in 2014. >> didn't they have leverage? >> are republicans going to shut down the government over unemployment insurance? why are these liberal groups out after the deal has been cut saying, boy, it would be nice to have unemployment insurance. >> there were groups out there before. >> not on the air. >> that's true. >> sending actual money. >> moik al, is the problem that now this is seen by democrats as let's face it a good political issue for them when republicans were trying to keep the focus on the affordable care act?
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this is an issue that could actually play well politically for democrats. that's cynical. >> yes but perhaps realistic. the fact is both sides are gaining traction by either supporting or failinging to support. ryan's point is right. where's the gumption, the backbone, the stand-up to republicans and to mobilize the dissent within your own party at least to the point that you make a visible articulation of the principle. >> backbone. >> there are a couple of things that play here. just pure politics, pure cynical polit politics, the expectation is you let this go because they had other -- they trying to get more money to deal with the sequester. they game it out, people are going to go home, get crap from their people. >> but the news coverage is
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brutal. >> right. they're going to come back and we're going to say put it up against tax breaks for big oil or helping the unemployed or pensions for our military or veterans. that's where i think the mrilt california claigs was, this is one where it is an easier battle to fight in january than it was before they left when they had so much on the table. i'm not saying i agree but that's typical. >> republicans are betting they can ride this obamacare wave for through 2014. democrats got a huge political gift when the government shut down. now we have the flip side, everybody blames obama for the screwup of obamacare. as long as the focus is really on obamacare and the screwups in the program, the republicans will feel like they have a pass on anything. >> that's partly how we choose to cover it. we can talk about the web site for ten months but there's an
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impact of people not having money to spend. the white house has a sort of lowest mat. they estimated in 2014, 240,000 jobs could be lost because people don't have the money to spend in the economy. the real world impact of this at some point has to be felt even by the most far right republican in their district. >> what you just said, the point is any gain you got by deferring these benefits to these people that you're going to argue about in january, that you cut them off, you're going knock them off because people don't have money to spend because they don't have jobs. we have people's ability to get together and become a voting bloc if they have money. it's a vicious style. i think it's the style of negotiation for the white house itself. look, they're in a very hard situation because they're damned if they do or don't. at what point do you say, looshgs i'm putting the chips on the table. i believe in this. this makes me hearken back to nostalgia for george w. bush. i'm the decider. you like it or you don't.
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>> since we're indulging in instances, i want to look at just where the long-term unemployed are. i think it also has to do with -- it's not happening in my backyard. the highest number of unemployed are in new jersey. the northeast blue urban states nevada. it really if you look at that map it's concentrated in urban -- which is logical. more people are there. since this is by and large a blue states problems could republicans make the calculation, in rural poverty may be high but long-term unemployment 98 not be my problem. >> it also coincides with business interest. business doesn't want people to have unemployment insurance because if you have unemployment you're getting $200 a week or so, it's easier to say i don't want that $9 an hour job. i want the $50,000 a year job i was making in 2008 and that i'm qualified for and have the education for. but if you don't have any income
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coming in, okay, i will sweep the floors. that's what drives wages down. >> or my children will sweep the floors. >> of course. take a look at new jersey, chris christie thinks he's going to run for president. taxes. there are current republican governors in some states that have high unemployment where you think to yourself, now, what's your argument going to be in terms of how you can stimulate the economy as you have unemployed people. those numbers are going to grow. >> gerrymandering was mentioned earlier. one thing after the 2010 election was the house republicans became more rural and white. all the people live in urban america but all the political power right now is in white rural america. >> they've created a midterm electorate -- >> geopolitical calculation. who lives in urban america. hmm, i wonder all you say is urban. who's urban radio? it's not miley cyrus. it's her twerking.
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the point is, who's twerking here and who's getting twerked? the reality is that we know, again, people of color are disproportionately aggregated in these areas, congregated. and the unemployment, that's the beauty of the biscotti example in "the washington post." let's put a white face on what is essentially a problem of american citizens that happens to disproportionately affect latinos and african-americans. it may start in those communities but it's creeping up the ibm ladder to you. >> while we're talking about republicans being seemingly impervious to reality, there is always the potential that despite what they think are big advantages that republicans could go in and nominate just people who are absolutely unelectable based on the things they say. let's look at karl rove. good old karl rove, the architect of george w. bush is now deciding he's going to raise money and have his pac from
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having republicans -- every representative challenged in a primary as insufficiently conservative will win rove says in reaction to obamacare. gop political divisions are giving way to unity. they're trying to stack their deck. >> the problem is for them there's a lot of money on the other side too. you have the kochs and other deep-pocketed enemies of rove who are willing to fight this out to the death of the party. >> they like the extreme talkers. >> sure. >> what was rove's record last election? >> i think he spent $300 million of rich people's money and got nothing for it. >> just checking if we should be listening to the great bush's brain. >> he's not going to win. >> i think our colleague -- edward snowden returns to the spotlight just in fierm
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christmas. we'll talk to barton gelman next on "now." well i drove grandpa to his speed dating this week, so i should probably get the last roll... yeah but i practiced my bassoon. [ mom ] and i listened. [ brother ] i can do this. [ imitates robot ] everyone deserves ooey, gooey, pillsbury cinnamon rolls. make the weekend pop.
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to the people of the uk. snowden was chosen by britain's channel 4 to broadcast its traditional alternative address to the queen's christmas day speech. >> a child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. they'll never know what it means to have a private moment to
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themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. and that's a problem because privacy matters. >> snowden also gave a lengthy interview to "the washington post's" barton gellman who was the recipient of a trove of leaked n st a documents from snowden earlier this year. he revealed his satisfaction with the way his leaks have been received by the public telling gellman, for me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already been accomplished. i already won. as soon as the journalists were able to work what i was trying to do was validated. remember, i didn't want to change society, wanted society to decide fw he it should change itself. >> the greatest fear that i have regarding the outcome for
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america of these disclosures is that nothing will change. >> the leak sparked a worldwide discussion about government surveillance. but whether things will change remains unclear. before leaving for hawaii, president obama said he was open to changes such as those recommended by a presidential task force impanelled to review the nsa programs but was noncommittal on the information gathering. >> the question we're going to have to ask is can we accomplish the same goals that this program is intended to accomplish in ways that give the public more confidence that in fact the nsa is doing what it's supposed to be doing. >> evidence that things may not be changing came within the last hour as new york federal judge william paulie has just discussed an aclu lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the phone records program saying the government had quote adapted to confront a new enemy. joining us is "washington post" contributor barton gellman. thanks for being here.
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barton, quickly let me get your reaction to the judge's ruling. what is your reaction to the phone program specifically being declared lawful? >> we now have within about ten days' time two federal judges ruling on this in opposite directions, slightly different facts, slightly different reasoning. but one says it is almost certainly unconstitutional, against the fourth amendment, one says it's just fine. it's very much ripe for supreme court consideration as time goes forward. >> so you are obviously one of three journalists who received the original leaks to snowden. your understanding, i want to get on the record, he has now given over all of the leaked documents to the "washington post" and to the guardian. he is no longer in positisessiof the material. >> he brought nothing with him to russia precisely because he didn't want to be forced to hand it over. he gave us documents a bit over six months ago. he has had no role in the story since then. he hasn't given out any more documents. >> barton, what do you suppose
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is the purpose of the sort of manifestos we're seeing coming out. if he's no longer supplying the information to the public what do you think he hopes to get out of doing like this christmas video in doing these sort of videos, what is the point of that? >> look, for about six months the global media has been beating down his door. i count myself among those. he has turned down millions of dollars in book contract offers, movie, tv. i convinced him at the end of the year it was time for his voice to be back in the conversation if i'm going to do a looking back, what have we learned, what does it all mean. i'd like him to be part of it. he went along. >> what do you think you learned new in this interview that we didn't know? >> i think he spoke much more deeply than before about the roots of his decision, why he thought it was okay for him to make that decision. and what he thinks has come of it. for a guy who worried about whether he'd have any impact to have six months of intensive
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global debate to have a federal judge rule that it's unconstitutional to have the president -- >> it may be unconstitutional. >> he said almost certainly. he hadn't reached the merits yet. have the president's own advisory panel say it needed to be scaled way back and 45 other recommendations to have silicon valley sort of rising up against what the nsa is doing in their own networks. he certainly has provehicoked a debate that a number of people think has a merit. >> it's sort of the opposite -- information about the same programs pre-court involvement when they were warrantless. the reaction was that democrats basically codified it into law. i want to point to one quote from your piece where snowden sort of reacts to the fact that within the national security agency his colleagues see him as a complete traitor, even though he was a contractor not a staffer. he says to you, i'm not trying to bring down the nsa. i'm working to improve the nsa.
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i'm still working for the nsa right now. they are the only ones who don't realize it. did he address the counter diagnose argument to what he's done, essentially people saying that part of what he did is -- >> he has a broad view, a debate that's happening right now, is that espionage ought to be targeted not on everybody because you can, not collecting millions, hundreds of millions, of internet address books as they flow across the pipes, billions of locations of cell phones around the world, every world leader just because you can. he says that's his view. he would like to debate that. he also said that part of the
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news worthiness is that if the u.s. government is denying spying on germans, saying we follow german law and then you find out literally two weeks later you're spying on the chancellor, that's worthy of a conversation. >> let's not get into the debate on spying thing. ryan, i'm curious, when you look at the sort of twin requests that we as citizens broadly, generalizing, make of the government, keep us totally safe and protect our privacy. we ask both of the government. what do people who absolutely want these programs done away with, not just changed but really done away with, including the met at thta the met at tht data collection, do they think or do they have ideas about how the nsa go about finding a needle in the haystack. how do people on the civil r liberties feel the nsa would
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proceed? >> i wouldn't agree with the naishl framework. we don't really demand things of our government. we are our government. >> that's true. >> that's what snowden is saying. in his interview with bart he said, i'm not trying to say the world needs to change. i just want to give the country the ability to change. you have to know what the country is doing. >> describe specifically what that change would look like. if in fact we're saying our -- then what is the proposal people in the civil liberties community want to see? >> the civil liberties folks can speak for themselves but we have a fourth amendment. if we want that fourth amendment to mean anything, then we have to abide by what it says, which is that you won't unreasonably seize and obtain, search citizens' property. it's pretty clear. >> but that doesn't get to the answer of what we're asking. the nsa started out as a single
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intelligence bureau searching electronic n electronic signals that go through the air. now they cross borders, internet connections cross borders. if you're looking for a specific contact that a foreign terror made with the united states, it's fine to say respect the fourth amendment. but what are the specifics? >> i think immediately about the boston bombing and immediately the question was, how did this happen? how did we miss that? what phone number, who called who? i guess we do have to put it to what you were saying, joy, in the realistic framework of there are dual responsibilities here. how do we keep ourselves safe so things like that don't happen because certainly for those who were injured on that day, i bet they would have been fine with a little more spying if it would have stopped what happened. at the same time, i think we all want to make sure that our government is proceeding in a way that we think is consistent with our values. i think it is very hard i think as americans, though, we have to be a lot more clear about what it is we're asking for. and it bothered me in his statement when he said children won't know privacy. kids are giving up their privacy
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every day on twitter and facebook more it information than they should be and in some instances parents are able to stop them. we give away information freel. if we're concerned about that, we need to be concerned about companies like target that just really blew it on people's privacy and data and what companies are doing with our data. >> bart, since you've been following this story, is there a concern and wired has a piece up that talks about the potential concern if the nsa recommendations are dopted. right now you have various companies that keep cellular date fa for time. it's very disparate. if the recommended reforms are adopted, it will become uniform and it could be really long, it could be seven to ten years of your data being held by a private company. to karen's point, target got hacked. would we be any more secure with a private entity holding the same data as opposed to us, the
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government? >> first of all, my view is why choose? i think you can be very much concerned about the amount of commercial surveillance going on, which had is unprecedented in world history. i'm certainly as a citizen, as a consumer, unhappy with it. a friend of mine just synchronized their smartphone with facebook. that means that fies book now knows my personal number and e-mail address i carefully chose not to give to facebook. it's not just that you're recklessly giving up your own data. these companies are collecting an enormous amount you don't know are happening. >> there are thoughtful critics of the nss. they don't want to abolish the program but give it more oversight. i think it's a false choice to say, either we're going to abolish the nsa and everything it stands for or we're going to be edward snowden. the question like oregon senator ron widen, can we get this thing out in the public, protect americans but also have legitimate oversight so there isn't entire secret operation.
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all the oversight was in secret, too. >> we should be doing that in a commercial setting as well. again, facebook has this information and datea and they sell it and make money. >> they're the ones being subpoenaed. >> one last question to you whaxt about the fact that now your news organization and the guardian and other news organizations with this data are essentially the ones classifying this data rather than the government. it's you guys determining what we get to see and don't get to see in the information that ed snowden gave you? is there any discomfort to you in that, you're the classifier? >> it's a strange role but not tiernly new. i've been a journalist for 25 years. a lot of that has been in the national security field. a lot has touched on classified material because almost everything to do with foreign policy and defense is classified. there's no one in government who would claim there's not a massive amount of overclassification. i've always been in the position of finding things out i'm not
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supposed to know and deciding how much to tell readers. sometimes there are clear, obvious harms that would come from publication and we don't do it. but we think our job is to push the line, tell people more about their own government than the government wants to say. otherwise, we're publishing press releases. >> there's a debate to have about that because the decisions are being made in a newsroom in a small setting not in the public space of government. you're doing a great job, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> coming up, an american contractor kidnapped by al qaeda, purportedly pleads help from president obama in a video. we'll give you details of warren weinstein's abduction, just ahead of.
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there are cameras,, police, guards...ds us. but who looks after us online, where we spend more than 200 billion dollars a year. american express can help protect you. with intelligent security that learns your spending patterns, and can alert you instantly to an unusual charge. so you can be a member of a more secure world. this is what membership is. this is what membership does.
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arsenault. a u.s. contractor taken hostage by al qaeda resurfaced
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yesterday in a video obtained by "the washington post." 72-year-old warren weinstein is purportedly are shown on the tape saying he is not in good health and urging president obama to negotiate for his release. weinstein has been held captive for two years and four months. today a yellow ribbon is tied outside weinstein's home in maryland, a suburb of d.c. he moved to pakistan nine years ago as part of a program to work with pakistani businesses to help the country's economic development. he speaks six languages and has a phd from columbia university in international law and economics. in august of 2011, weinstein was abducted from his home in a city in northeast pakistan. local police say his guards were neutralized and he was beaten and kidnapped all within a few minutes. the "new york times" reported at the time of his kidnapping that he was planning to leave pakistan within the week. the police officer who first investigated the abduction told nbc news he's now believed to be in one of the tribal areas of pakistan where police have
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little to no authority. a few months after weinstein's capture, one of the most wanted al qaeda leader, ayman al zawahiri relationed a set of demands. weinstein would only be released if the u.s. stopped air strikes in pakistan, afghanistan, somalia and yemen. additionally, all captured members of al qaeda and the taliban would have to be released. there are no signs the latest video allegedly featuring weinstein will change the government's policy not to negotiate with terrorists, which officials say would only encourage more kidnappings. the state department says it's working to authenticate the video and has reiterated calls for weinstein's release. after the break, it was a latentry in the sweepstakes for phrase of the year but "duck dynasty" of all things has raised new questions of where the soul of conservatism lies. we'll discuss next on "now."
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from paula deen to black santa, the year 2013 has been full of controversy. but none has stuck to the american psyche quite like duck dynasty. phil robertson, the 67-year-old professional duck hunter has unleashed a public debate about the first amendment, gay rights and race. since a & e decided to suspend robertson over his remarks, robertson supporters have come to his defense in a big way. over 250,000 people have signed a petition at i stand with demanding that a & e reinstate him on the show. two days after removing duck dynasty related items from its
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shelves, cracker barrel apologize and put the products back in their stores. now an alabama lawmaker is announcing plans to formally support mr. robertson on behalf of every alabaman, including presumably the lbgt and black residents in the state senate. phil robertson should not be penalized in any way tore practicing freedom of speech but should be celebrated as a hero for courageously revealing his self truth and christian ideals in a world that can be unkind toward those with a conservative mind-set. well, there you go. joining us is gregory t. angelo. thank you for being here. >> my pleasure. >> you have proposed a moon shine summit. >> that's right. >> with whom and how has your request been received? >> in the immediate aftermath of phil robertson's comments leaked by gq magazine there was a knee jerk reaction, many on the left,
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a lot of vitriol, people on the socially conservative right banging the evangelical christian drum and liberals coming in from los angeles wagging their finger trying to admonish him saying get this guy off television. what we did is decide, hey, there's no better people to make -- rather than come in from los angeles we decided to come in from the other l.a., louisiana, and make the case that we are strong conservatives. we're also strong christians, certainly many of our members are, and it's not a zero sum game when it comes to being a christian and a supporter of equal rights for gays and lesbians. i can think of no better family to make the case than the robertson house hoed. that's why in a kind of tongue-in-cheek way called in a moon shine debate. we're trying to meet you in the middle on this and let's start the conversation here. the thing is, this is really the
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final frontier as far as i'm concerneded when it comes to the gay equality debate in this country, that is a debate with the evangelical christian community, a community long ignored by gay advocates. we see this as a great opportunity to engage them. >> very eloquently state d. you're talking about meeting in the middle. let's talk about where this middle is. eric ericson of the red state blog posted in support of phil robertson. this is what he said. phil robertson did nothing wrong. he just did not shy away from the parts of accepting christ that make people uncomfortable. he loves people so much he's not willing to give people a fast pass to hell by not telling them they're not sinners. he did not judge. he just held up the yardstick. where is the middle on someone who believes that because you are gay you are going to hell, that you yourself are a sin, that your entire being is sinful? where do you find the middle on
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that. >> people are entitled to their opinions, beliefs, you can say what you like. >> you said meet them in the middle. >> we can meet them in the middle when it comes to kbal rights for gay and lesbians. >> what do you think about phil robertson? >> what's happened is people didn't ask, people didn't want to put the conversation out there. they immediately want to -- >> i think people tried to ask and say, what's going on here. part of what happened as to someone's own grandfather called me a sin because i'm mixed race, looking at his comments what bothered me is the right went so quickly to talking about freedom of religion and speech particularly around the lbgt comments and totally blew off the ridiculousness of picking cotton in the heat and singing you're happy and all good. that's a mythology that i know
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dr. dyson knows historically better than i do that has been perpetrated in this country for such a long time. what bothered me about it in both instances -- i'm very familiar with that kind of racism and bigotry and prejudice. at the same time, i would rather know how you feel, let's have that conversation. but a lot of what we saw, the backlash from the right was, you're race baiting, you're making this about christian values, rather than let's have that conversation. >> that's a great point. furthermore, what is the deal with the right wing? if you say it's about freedom of speech, why get mad if the left wing responds? more speech is called for. the persecution complex that the right bears seems to mitigate against any open dialogue that says we're going to challenge what we perceive to be your bigotry. what i'm interested in is, not only deal with issues of sexual itd. deal with race. if you talk about a log cabin -- we talk not simply about gender
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and sexuality, let's talk about race and how they come together. gay black republicans, where are they? and how do we talk about the fact that in american society the mythology that miss finney brilliantly spoke about has clouded the ability of sunshine of enlightenment to get through. how do we have that dialogue? >> the reason we have the name log cabin republicans, it's in homage of abe lincoln and reminder to republicans around the country that this is a party that has its roots in equality, emancipation, suffrage. we want to bring them to a place where they can be accepting and equal rights for gays and lez bens. everyone is open to freedom of speech, the left can say what they like, the right can too. the whole point of proposing what we're calling moon shine summit is saying we're getting to a dangerous point in this country where it is almost an us versus them culture. it's going to be the lgbt community versus the christian right. you name your special interest
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group versus the right. we have become such a gerrymandered nation. unless we have these conversations somehow meet in the middle, find common ground, we won't be in a great place. >> we are all created equal. the mythology is all interested parties should come to the table. but let's not pretend afric african-american people have had -- it there's not an equality of means of representing your interests or means of asserting oppression. when we have this mythology of all come to the table let's at least be honest about who has been provided opportunity to their viewpoint broadcast more broadly. and phil robertson and the duck dynasty is part of a majority white supremacist culture that consciously or unconsciously incubates hatred toward those who are different. >> i do want to ask you this. one of the important things about having you here is you are our republican at the table. but as a member of the lbgt community i think people might wonder why you're not more outraged. you can see the two afric
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african-american members of the panel. the idea is that why aren't you more outraged? look at cracker barrel, for instance. had to apologize to people for daring to react in the way that would have seemed the most culturally sensitive. that company itself back in 1991 instituted a policy of prohibiting the employment of gay and lesbian employees, fired 17 people as a result of that policy. it was a one-month policy. when they got rid of it no one got jobs back. 2004 justice department investigation cracker barrel mistreated african-american customers, segregating where they sat, allowing white servers to refuse to serve them. there is a history here and a risk of you guys co-signing that history by not saying, we're outraged by the comments themselves even against your community. >> i've been very vocal will in my criticisms of phil robertson's statement, by the way it wasn't just saying he
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felt home me sexuality is sin. he said, start with homosexuality and go from there. you're going to have this man sleeping with that man those men and those men and sleeping with the animals. >> and threw women in there, too. >> equal opportunity. but it was somehow that homosexuality is a gateway to all sin. it is the original sin in some respects. as a christian and conservative man, i want to be able to make that case and say, hey, i'm a conservative christian too and that is not a proper reading of the bible. but just being outraged doesn't mean you completely shut somebody off. if we do, we're in a dangerous place. >> gregory t. angelo, really appreciate you being here. and i hope you get your -- what is it? >> moonshine summit. >> the request is out there. >> have it at the cracker barrel. coming up, 2014 promises to
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be a pivotal otherfor the balance of power in congress. with the midterms on the horizon, efforts to block the vote are in full swing. we'll look at some of the hot spots, just ahead. ♪ ♪ i know they say you can't go home again ♪ ♪ ♪ i just had to come back one last time ♪ ♪
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♪ you leave home, you move on [ squeals ] ♪ and you do the best you can ♪ i got lost in this old world ♪ ♪ and forgot who i am
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the obama administration makes a big call to the bull pen in the fight against voter suppression. we'll discuss after the break.
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after a year in which the supreme court gutted the voting rights act and states moved one after the other to suppress the vote, the justice department's battle on voting rights just got a big boost when had it was announced that stn ford law professor pamela carlin would take over as deputy assistant
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general in charge of the civil rights division voting section. she is widely regarded as one of the top voting rights experts, a qualification that should come in handy as the justice department prepares to challenge some of the worst voter suppression laws in states like texas and north carolina. ari, this is your area of expertise. how, if she is, ais parm carlin a game changer? >> she will be helpful. the justice department will have difficult suits to deal with in texas and north carolina, two of the states would have had to clear their voting changes with the federal government to prove they were not discriminatory. texas did that last year. the courts found that the texas voter i.d. law was zrim na forebut after the supreme court decision that law went into effect. now the justice department is in the difficult position, they now have to prove these laws are discriminatory. the onus is on them. they need the smartest lawyers in here to figure out how to handle these very difficult cases under the voting rights
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act. >> basically, without section 4 of the voting rights act, the preclearance is sort of gone. it still exists in section 5 but there are no states in it. it's incumbent on justices to file lawsuits to get people's -- right. section 5 is basically a zombie. state that's were covered are no longer covered, texas, north carolina, georgia, the states with the worst history of discrimination. they don't have to do this anymore. they can just put these laws into effect now that are discriminatory and the laws have to be challenged after the fact. the onus is on the justice department is prove discrimination. that's a huge legal shift. that's why we're seeing laws passed in north carolina that are so blatantly discriminatory going into effect because they can't be stopped before the fact under section 5 anymore. >> ryan, is there any onus or any political pressure being put on the house? because the supreme court threw it back to congress and said, you fix this. is there any will at all to pass a fix that would actually reinstate section 4? >> republican former speaker of
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the house said they ought to do it. i think you'll continue to see the pressure. the irony here is chief justice roberts said, we don't really need this law anymore because there's no racism in the south. >> it's all gone. >> we're good. states would never do this. >> they were happy. >> the next day, before the inking had dried on his expression that there's no more racism in the south, two states are passing laws specifically to discriminate against minority voters. you're going to see a backlash at the polls. >> that's the question i was getting to. are we looking at potentially the same thing happening as did in 2012, i'm going to put up restrictions and people vote more. >> i hope so. i hope we both convict front it in terms of the legal challenges and we win there but people get so angry that they as we saw last time, i will stand in this line for eight hours. >> galvanize the vote and use section 2 as eric holder has done i think brilliantly. we know about numbers. >> thank you so much to ryan,
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michael, ari and karen. don't forget to watch karen this and every weekend on "disrupt" at 4:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. that's all for "now." i will see you back here monday at noon. andrea mitchell is up next, with alex witt in for andrea.
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports," a federal judge just ruled that the nsa phone surveillance is legal all but guaranteeing this fight is heading to the supreme court. out of work and out of time as president obama signs the bipartisan budget deal, more than a million americans will lose their federal unemployment benefits tomorrow. a new bipartisan push to get the benefits extended. >> i think from a moral perspective, from an economic perspective, we can't turn our backs on struggling people who just can't find work. and new hope today for an
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end to the deadly violence in south sudan as the united nations says its peacekeeping force there is overwhelmed. could u.s. troops be forced to step in? hourless. tens of thousands in maine and michigan still in dark. good day, everyone. i'm alex witt in work in for andrea mitchell today. over 1 million americans are facing a grim reality. tomorrow their unemployment benefits will run out, and a divided congress may not find a solution that can get to the president's desk. nbc white house correspondent peter alexander is join\ing us from honolulu. it's all very short term extension of these struggling americans but the president can't do this on his own. >> reporter: the president has said if the deal comes together back in congress he'll certainly sign this thing right away. he's been pushing for this. these are the emergency benefits part of a federal aid program set up during the great reio


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