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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  June 5, 2013 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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joe, hold up, don't worry, you're okay, we are holding it for lautenberg. >> joe biden really, really knows how to do that well. thanks for being with us tonight. now it is time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." have a great night. the president has given u.n. ambassador susan rice a promotion the republicans can't stop, and if you try to stop michelle obama from speaking, do not expect it to go so well. >> of all the jobs in government leading my national security team is certainly one of the most demanding, if not the most demanding. >> the president is making some changes to the official inner circle or foreign policy. >> today i am wisful to announce tom will step aside beginning of july. >> tom donolan made no bones he
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would be leaving at some point. it is a stressful job. >> i am announcing the new national security adviser. >> welcome back, susan rice. >> unfortunately for them, the powerful post of national security adviser doesn't require senate confirmation. >> an awesome lady is our u.n. ambassador, did an outstanding job. >> fast decision making, incredible experience. >> she is extremely smart, she's extremely experienced, and she's extremely tough. >> she's absolutely an excellent choice. >> uh-huh, what did i tell you. >> taking plenty of heat from congressional republicans. >> this is a defiant gesture by the president. >> michelle obama responded to a heckler in d.c. >> tried to put a button on that. >> one of the things that i don't do well is this. >> she said you know what, i'm walking off stage.
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it is either you or me. >> she just decided i'll let the audience decide. >> boom. i'll stop this car right now and turn around. today in the rose garden, president obama promoted u.n. ambassador susan rice. >> of all the jobs in government, leading my national security team is certainly one of the most demanding, if not the most demanding. >> i am proud that the work will be carried on by another exemplary public servant, ambassador susan rice. i am absolutely thrilled she will be back at my side, leading my national security team in my second term. susan is the consume at public servant. she's fearless, tough. >> and she does not have to be confirmed by the senate to become the president's national security adviser. that's because the job was not
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created by the senate, job of national security adviser was created by president eisenhower. he decided he would like to have someone working close to him, up to speed on everything the secretary of state and secretary of defense are working on, and instantly available to advise on national security matters. jobs like secretary of state, secretary of defense, secretary of treasury, and all of the cabinet posts were actually created by legislation passed by congress, and in that legislation congress gave the senate the power to confirm the president's choices for those jobs. but like white house chief of staff, press secretary, the national security adviser is one of many important jobs that the president does not have to submit to the senate for confirmation, and for the first time in history fox news suddenly has a big problem with that. >> keep in mind, national security didn't have to testify.
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>> isn't that shady? >> shady how? >> because she may be getting the appointment because she won't have to testify. >> maybe that's it exactly. >> isn't that shady? aren't we an open society, aren't we supposed to be transparent here? are we supposed to be shady? let's get back to the shady business. you hit on a couple of things. ambassador rice gets appointed national security adviser, doesn't have to testify. that seems to me a shady reason to do it. but let's get back to the shady factor. this is shady. >> i don't know what he was talking about. today ambassador rice who was confirmed by unanimous consent in the senate for her current position, unanimously confirmed for her current position, thanked the president for his support. >> mr. president, thank you so mu much. i am honored and humbled to serve as your national security
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adviser. i am proud to have worked so closely with you more than six years, and i am deeply grateful for your enduring confidence in me. >> so tonight, krystal ball, bill o'reilly has a big problem with dwight eisenhower for creating this very shady position, where you don't have to beg the senate for your job. >> how dare the president be able to hire people to advise him. shady. incredibly shady. only under the obama administration would we have this lack of transparency. one thing that's interesting here, this is being read as a defiant, aggressive move, which it is. i am sure the president has awareness that republicans aren't too into susan rice, and they're seething over the fact there's nothing they can do about him appointing her national security adviser, but it is also remarkable that appointing, hiring someone to advise you who is well qualified, who has been a trusted voice, who will be a
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fabulous addition to the team, that that should be seen as somehow controversial and aggressive. to me it is just logical and makes a lot of sense. >> i hope there's no defiance at all. i hope the president isn't doing it because the republicans criticizing her really bothered me and i want to defy them with this appointment. i hope he's choosing her because he thinks of all the people i can possibly have now as my national security adviser, she's the best person. >> i think of the top ten reasons the president chose susan rice as national security adviser, number 11 would be annoying republicans. >> and the reaction from bill o'reilly. >> that's a bonus. >> i recall looking at dick shane ee, openness and tra transparen transparency, didn't call him shady. when you look at his relationship with susan rice,
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how they act together in the first campaign, you know, they were close always, they do share a world view and she's feisty. that does appeal to this president. but i have to tell you, her reaction, her way of dealing with the onslaught from republicans was very classy, very well respected, and very much appreciated by this president. her natural desire would have been to lash out, and she tamed it, controlled herself, dealt with respect and in a totally open way. and for all of the criticism i am about to get for saying that, i do mean it. she responded in the most open way possible about a cia operation in benghazi, and that's i think also a plus for her. it is not about annoying republicans, but the way she dealt with them stepped her up in the president's view. >> look at how the president defended her when they were going after her. >> she made an appearance at the
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request of the white house in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. if senator mccain and gram and others want to go over somebody, they should go after me. i am happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence she had received and to smudge her reputation is outrages. >> krystal, it is kind of fascinating that they didn't go after him. here is the president of the united states, he lost an ambassador in benghazi. if you want to be outraged about this, why wouldn't they have gone straight at the president? why did they go after susan rice
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for things she said on sunday morning early in everyone's understanding of what happened there. >> it has always been very strange to me, not only the choice to go after susan rice but to fixate on talking points, when there were much more really legitimate questions about what happened in benghazi they could have drawn out, focused on, tried to tie to president obama, now they're sort of after the fact trying to tie them into former secretary of state hillary clinton, now that she's on the list for 2016, but that line of attack has never made sense to me. and the other aspect of her now being appointed national security adviser is it has been very interesting to see republican responses, because they're putting out there they're very unhappy about this, but they can't say why. she has been cleared of any sort of wrongdoing. there was no coverup. she was not involved in drafting of the talking points, she was
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just really being the team player, going out and sharing with american people the best understanding of intelligence that we had at that point. >> richard, she will be in a job that has little direct interaction with congress anyway. >> right. and dealing with a lot of classified material as well. even if she were testifying, sometimes national security adviser gives public speeches, they're extremely limited in what they can say of any interest or usefulness in the public realm anyway. so look, this is a personal adviser to the president and you're never going to hear what she will say to the president, let's be clear. >> the theory of the job is honest broker. there's a set of a bunch of flows of information, cia, intelligence, including military intelligence, all that stuff, defense department, state department, flowing through the one desk in the white house, it is the easy stop for the president on these subjects. so the real question is just will she be the honest broker in
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that job? >> that's exactly right. i think you were totally correct to point out the reason he selected her was not to get back at the republicans, it's because he has deep respect for her, as is obvious in the clip, defending her and her qualifications and her role in post benghazi. >> the ambassador to the u.n. is considered a cabinet level job. >> yep. >> allowed into cabinet meetings and stuff. he's surely had enough interaction with her over the years to evaluate will she honestly represent state, defense, cia, all the conflicting interests to me when i need her to. >> look, she was able to be the obama person in hillary clinton's world, that was not an easy thing to pull off. talk about needing diplomatic skills. >> technically her boss when she was secretary of state. >> republicans have gone after susan rice, john mccain and lindsey graham. one thing drives them crazy, the president doesn't intervene.
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who in that group were most vocal about libya, susan rice, and to some degree, got credit, and hillary clinton, too. that's the kind of person that john mccain should be supporting now, but of course he hates her because he wants to look good with fox news. >> who cares about the truth. richard wolff, krystal ball. you're not going to be with us, you're taking a maternity leave? >> i am due monday, i plan friday to be my last -- >> when you say due monday, we're sitting here on what is this, a wednesday? you are taking maternity leave to have a baby monday? >> yes. >> why not like two months ago to have a baby monday? >> if i was just sitting home, i would be going crazy, when is this baby coming. you're helping distract me being over being pregnant. >> i should have taken your maternity leave the last two
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months. anyway, so monday -- you'll be back tuesday. >> i might take a few more days than that, if you'll let me. >> take your time. take your time, krystal. we are thrilled for you. >> thank you. >> monday is a big day. okay. >> congratulations. >> thanks, richard. coming up, the first lady versus a protester, we will be joined by a woman in the room when the protester tried to shut down michelle obama. nice try. and chris christie and rush limbaugh have a very big problem. christie versus limbaugh coming up. (girl) what does that say? (guy) dive shop. (girl) diving lessons. (guy) we should totally do that. (girl ) yeah, right. (guy) i wannna catch a falcon! (girl) we should do that. (guy) i caught a falcon. (guy) you could eat a bug. let's do that.
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oh, boy. president obama has never had to face a flying shoe. but he has been rudely interrupted speaking from time to time. and yesterday it happened to michelle obama. we'll hear how she handled it from a woman that was in that room. and i just -- i can't get enough of this. great move. you have to admit, it was a great move. how can you get back pain relief that lasts up to 16 hours? with thermacare heatwraps. the only wrap with patented heat cells that penetrate deep to relax, soothe, and unlock tight muscles. and now, introducing reusable thermacare cold wraps. pain relief without the shock of ice.
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because all these whole grains aren't healthy unless you actually eat them ♪ multigrain cheerios. also available in delicious peanut butter. healthy never tasted so sweet. first lady michelle obama was speaking about the need to
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stay politically engaged when she was interrupted by someone very politically engaged at a fund-raiser in washington yesterday. a woman asked why president obama won't sign an order banning federal contractors from discriminating against lbgt employees and job applicants. >> right now today we have an obligation to stand up for those kids, and i don't care what you believe in. wait wait. one of the things i -- one of the things that i don't do well is this. one of the things -- >> well, i don't know, maybe she does do it well. the first lady told the woman listen to me or you can take the
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mike but i'm leaving. you all decide. you have one choice. the woman was then escorted out, continuing to shout, quote, i am a lesbian looking for federal equality before i die. the first lady was at the home of a married lesbian couple, speaking to a crowd that paid between 500 and $10,000 to attend. a spokesperson for the lbgt rights group get equal confirms the protester was ellen sterts, with the organization. she later told the huffington post i was asked by the first lady to be quiet and i can't be quiet any longer. i was surprised by how negative the crowd seemed to be. it was actually a little unsettling and disturbing. joining me, amanda tuerkel covering that. amanda, take us into the room as this unfolded.
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how quickly did you realize this woman wasn't a polite questioner? >> well, we were in the backyard of a private residence. it was a pretty small event. you expect these to be pretty friendly affairs, and michelle obama was behind the lectern, and this woman started yelling for this executive order. what surprised a lot of people, instead of addressing the woman from where she was standing, michelle obama left the lectern, came over to the crowd, close to the woman, gave the audience a choice. you can let her speak or you can let me speak, we are not going to both do it. that's when the crowd quickly turned on the protester and said you need to get out of here, you need to leave. she was taken out pretty quickly. >> she had paid $500 to be in there, right? >> yes, she had. and in the quote that you read that she gave to me about how she was surprised how negative the crowd was, she told me she expected it to be sort of a
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friend friendlier, prolbgt audience, and they might have been, maybe they protested because of the first lady. there were other activists of get equal and they also got in. >> did you get any essence she regretted what she did? >> not at all. she's relatively new to lbgt activism, now plans to get involved in it more, she's very concerned about this issue. she donated thousands of dollars to the democratic party to help get president obama elected in 2008, believing he would sort of end this workplace discrimination, and she would like to see him do it now. i think she's going to stay involved, i don't think she regrets it. >> jonathan capehart, what about the audience reaction? >> this is an audience that like the protester paid money to hear the first lady, and i think a lot of people at that event thought what she did was rude, that you know, interrupting the
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first lady who is spoking to the crowd, especially at that moment in her speech where she was speaking very passionately about children, i think they thought it was rude. i think they thought the venue was wrong and thought that the target was inappropriate. so i think that's why, i mean, i don't understand why ellen sterts thought the crowd was going to be friendly or friendlier to what she had done, but the crowd made i its allegiance clear, who they wanted to hear from. >> was the first lady going to take questions when she finished speaking, was there any indication of that? >> i didn't get that indication. after the speech was done, she shook some hands, took a few pictures, i was escorted out pretty quickly. it didn't seem like the type of forum where she was going to take questions. so i don't know if she would have gotten much chance to speak with her, maybe just exchange a couple words afterward. >> and how quickly did the first
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lady recover, getting back into her own remarks? >> she recovered very quickly. i mean, the crowd again i think was sort of on her side, so she went back to the lectern, resumed saying this is about our kids, about the next generation, it is not about your issue, whatever it may be. >> did she incorporate what happened into the remainder of her remarks the way we saw the president do that when he was interrupted on a speech recently, he took what happened and built it into his speech? >> no, she didn't. i think there was a big difference how the first lady and the president dealt with the protesters. the president i think sort of stayed where he was, i don't think he could have gone down into the crowd and addressed the protester, addressed her concern, said she had valid concerns and engaged with her a bit before she was taken out. michelle obama, you know, very different than her husband, probably not as used to protesters and hecklers, took a
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no nonsense approach to say i am not going to tolerate this. >> jonathan capehart, haven't seen something similar on the republican side at the presidential level where someone more conservative than the republican president on some issue interrupts the republican president, interrupts the republican first lady this way. this seems to be something unique to the democratic side. >> yeah, because you know, republicans don't do that. whatever arguments they have with each other, they're done in places that surely aren't in public. if someone were to do something like that, rebuke and retribution would be harsh. the democratic party is full of folks that care passionately about issues, so while i can knock ellen for doing what she did and where she did it and to whom she did it, i understand why she is so concerned about
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getting the president to sign this executive order. >> and the the democratic party is filled with people that have succeeded moving things forward through protest, from civil rights protest, through gay rights protest and many other kinds of protests. there's a much richer tradition of it on the democratic side. jonathan capehart, amanda terkel, thanks for joining us. up next, rush limbaugh, bound to happen, rush limbaugh versus chris christie. [ ship horn blows ] no, no, no! stop! humans. one day we're coming up with the theory of relativity, the next... not so much. but that's okay -- you're covered with great ideas like optional better car replacement from liberty mutual insurance. total your car and we give you the money to buy one a model year newer. learn about it at liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
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when 2016 rolls around and governor christie is seeking the presidency, i won't be surprised if he seeks the democrat party nomination. >> in the spotlight tonight, rush limbaugh versus chris christie. rush limbaugh and other republicans were hoping chris christie would fill frank lautenberg's seat with a republican, and postpone the election until 2014, but it wasn't clear he had the legal right to do that. >> what chris christie did deserves real scrutiny from the standpoint of the republicans. talk about a slap in the face, we need people in the republican party in positions are power voting against some of this stuff. we just had a chance to have another one in the senate,
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sorry. i am going to throw it to special election to show people how moderate and partisan and bipartisan, whatever i am. don't tell me that governor christie is a conservative. >> howard dean, you have been in that position. i think it probably goes through every governor's mind, you have that appoint power in event of a senator's death or loss of a seat somehow. what's your read on how chris christie handled this? >> well, the tradition in vermont, you appoint somebody from the party of the person who has deceased or is out of office. >> only in vermont. >> only in vermont. very bipartisan in vermont. so, you know, i think this is a screw up on governor christie's part. this is about a price tag of 10 million bucks to have the election on a day when large numbers of democratic voters aren't going to be energized.
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i think this is a screw up. as you know, i respect governor christie, but to put this thing three weeks before the election for his own benefit i think was a mistake. >> i want to get a legal ruling on this from the last word's law professor, ari melber. >> discount night. >> what is your legal reading of what christie's options were? >> my reading under new jersey law given the time line, he could have gone either way. had a strong argument for what he did today or yesterday and he could have also done the thing where rush limbaugh would have enjoyed having a year and a half of an appointed republican vote. we did learn from governor dean that people in vermont have nicer traditions than people in jersey. >> and also the third option was he could also have folded the senate election in with the governor's election. >> he absolutely could have done that, that goes without saying, that would be the most
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efficient, and goes to the cost, the governor mentioned cost. chris christie couldn't find it in the budget for 25 million for early voting, all studies show helps more people vote. said they couldn't afford that when jersey had to deliberate on that this year. but he did find the money to put himself above not only those kind of issues of democracy and constituency in jersey, but interestingly above the priorities of the republican national party, which upset rush. >> he said something i never heard an office holder say, no matter how tempted they might be in certain situations, especially emergency situations, about this special election, he actually said the words i don't care how much it costs. those are the words you're never supposed to be caught saying. >> yeah. i mean, look, $10 million is not chump change, isn't chump change in vermont, not really chump change in new jersey, given the budgetary problems people have
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had. i just don't -- i understand that there is a question of law, and i did have actually a debate inside my administration ov over replacing me, ascended to lieutenant governorship on death of the governor, the question was could you replace me, it was a complicated problem, they're not easy questions. most states have laws that aren't clear because we're not prepared for this kind of stuff. it was really clear he could have appointed, set the election date for election day when he was on the ballot and so were all the good many of the new jersey legislators, that's clearly what should have been done. then you only have the expense of adding one person on the big, long ballot. i can't -- i know why he didn't -- i think i know why he didn't do that, but i don't think that's a service to the taxpayers of new jersey. >> doesn't sound like there's any way to get rush limbaugh back. listen to more about what rush said about chris christie. >> really bipartisanship, obama
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has money, governor christie wants the money, governor christie needs the money so the people will be helped, so christie praises obama. it is a master servant relationship. >> ari, i have watched rush walk back his criticisms of republicans as they move closer to winning the presidential nomination, john mccain is an example, there are many examples. how he walks back master servant relationship with chris christie, i don't think that's going to happen. >> i don't have standards for rush limbaugh, there are no standards, not like he didn't meet them, there are none. i would advise him to leave master and servant out of the conversation. don't need that garbage. i disagree slightly with his analysis. i don't think it is about placating barack obama, i think it is what's good for chris christie, period. in the new nbc "the wall street journal" poll, chris christie has the highest favorable to unfavorable ratio of any national politician, 4-1. the question is why is that,
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because of things he is doing, because of his leadership, or is it because of decisions like this, that no matter what happens, chris christie puts chris christie first, and eventually i think that will catch up with him. it is happening on the right, they lost a vote they could have locked in. i don't think that would have been the best move for the state, but there's no doubt that down in washington, national republican party looked at him, wanted to lock in an extra vote, didn't get it because it is all about chris christie. >> governor howard dean, professor ari melber, thank you both for joining me. >> thank you very much. coming up, the history of sexual misconduct in the american military. in the "rewrite," the republican congressman pushing legislation for his own personal financial benefit, and pushing for cuts in food stamps, and citing the bible as his guide for why he wants to take food out of the mouths of children. frds
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later. and next in the "rewrite," another episode of the politics of religion. this time colliding with the worst kind of socialism. i want to make things more secure. [ whirring ] [ dog barks ] i want to treat more dogs. ♪ our business needs more cases. [ male announcer ] where do you want to take your business? i need help selling art. [ male announcer ] from broadband to web hosting to mobile apps, small business solutions from at&t have the security you need to get you there. call us. we can show you how at&t solutions can help you do what you do... even better.
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we help you shine every day of the week. imagine what the washington scandal police would do if they discovered a congressman pushed for a bill written for his own personal enrichment. imagine. imagine if this congressman was shown to have already made millions of dollars off of exactly this kind of legislation. darrell issa would have that congressman thrown in leg irons and dragged before his committee whereof course the culprit would take the fifth amendment as the ethics committee worked on his expulsion, and the fbi and u.s. attorney start to work on an indictment. but none of that would happen if it is a republican congressman we're talking about or if it's a democrat. even if the congressman was making sure that he gets a direct cash payoff from
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government funds in the most purely socialistic program this government has, agriculture subsidies. tennessee's republican socialism hating congressman, steven fincher has received over $3.5 million directly from the government in socialistic agriculture subsidies, which is of course the single stupidest form of socialism this country embraces. when steven fincher went to washington, all he wanted to do was get a seat on the agriculture committee because that's where his money is. he thinks it is his money. he thinks he deserves it. no one who takes money from the agriculture department thinks they don't deserve it. they believe they earn their money the old fashioned way, by lobbying for it, and simply taking it straight out of the united states treasury. you'd never know it if you heard steven fincher speaking in the
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agriculture committee markup of the farm bill from which he and his family have been living off millions and millions of dollars for generations. >> now we are all on this committee making decisions about other people's money. >> well, yes, you are, but you, steven fincher, are also making decisions about your money, what you think of as your money, but your money is actually my money, and all the people's money who pay taxes into the federal government and don't get any kind of subsidy from the federal government whatsoever. congressman steven fincher gets away with this socialistic thing for two reasons. one, republicans and democrats in congress love socialism much more than they understand or admit. no socialist program gets more
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unbridaled bipartisan support than agriculture socialism, the single worst, stupid, most inefficient form of socialism in this country and cruelist form of socialism in this country because agriculture is a global market, and we subsidize our farmers at the direct competitive expense of farmers in the third world, farmers in africa, then say to africa why are you having trouble with your agriculture? the other reason, there is no law against conflict of interest in the congress. no judge would be allowed to preside over a trial in which he had a financial interest in the outcome. there are conflict of interest trip wires all over the legal profession, but if you're in the agriculture business and get elected to congress, everyone understands why you want to get on the agriculture committee and everyone is cool with that. you want to get on the agriculture committee to pay yourself money in addition to
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your congressional salary. not long ago, the republican leader of the senate was a major owner of hospitals and medical facilities in this country and he never recused himself from a vote on legislation directly affecting his wealth and income. try to think back to the last time you heard about a senator or a member of the house reducing himself or herself because of a conflict of interest. it does not happen. they vote on tax provisions on real estate all the time, they're heavily invested in oil stocks or energy sources vote on bills that can personally enrich them all the time, and no one thinks anything of it, no reporter in washington uses the word scandal for that. it should be a crime. if you're in the agriculture
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business, elected to congress, one committee you should not be allowed to serve on is the agriculture committee. if you own banks and are elected to congress, you should not be allowed to serve on the banking committee. how hard is that to figure out? congress hasn't figured it out and the washington press corp hasn't figured it out, and there's no editorial campaign anywhere to get conflict of interest out of congress. so a socialistic looter of the people's money, taking it right out of the treasury, sticking it in his pocket, can get away with saying things like this in congress. >> we represent the people and we represent the people's money and we have to be good stewards of that. >> and he's allowed to say that without objection when voting on a bill to enrich himself and his family in order to continue to enrich himself, a bill he is voting for that will cut food
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stamps for the neediest people among us. but he has a justification for that, all criminals have a justification for their crimes. he finds his justification in the bible. >> i looked at second thes loanians, 3:10. even when we were with you, one unwilling to work shall not eat. >> he is quoting the bible to support cutting food stamps, the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat. 45% of the beneficiaries of food stamps are children. what work would the lying republican agriculture socialist have the children do for their food? the line he is using from the bible is actually irrelevant to his opponent. the admonishment about those not willing to work not eating was directed at misguided people who stopped working in order to sit and wait for the second coming of jesus christ.
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the biblical line was written to emphasize sitting and doing nothing while waiting for the second coming of jesus christ was not a good idea. as i've pointed out many times before, there's good socialism and bad socialism just as there's good capitalism and bad capitalism. the challenge of the modern world is to decide when socialism works better than capitalism and when capitalism works better than socialism. virtually all politicians in almost all the press corp have no idea what socialism is, they have no idea how much socialism they support, like social security and medicare, the crown jewel of good socialism. whenever my name is mentioned to bill o'reilly, he says that o'donnell is a socialist, not realizing he is, too. o'reilly and i differ in the degree of support for socialism. the worst enemy of good
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socialism is bad socialism, like agriculture socialism, and the worst socialists are the ones that push bad socialism for their own personal enrichment, like republican congressman steven fincher, who is willing to take food out of the mouths of children as long as he can still use government money to enrich himself. there should be a special place in the congressional hall of shame for steven fincher. there should be a place in federal prison for steven fincher, but congress has made sure that conflict of interests in congress is perfectly legal. and no one in washington thinks that's a scandal. [ male announcer ] i've seen incredible things. otherworldly things. but there are some things i've never seen before. this ge jet engine can understand 5,000 data samples per second.
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you don't get that very often. it seemed like it was more than happy to have us in his home. so beautiful. avo: more travel. more options. more personal. whatever you're looking for expedia has more ways to help you find yours. a retired member of the navy s.e.a.l.s team 6 has revealed he is transgender. warrior princess, now retired navy s.e.a.l., kristin beck writes most fellow s.e.a.l.s are supportive. beck retired from navy s.e.a.l.s team 6 in 2011, only months before the raid that killed osama bin laden. up next, a historian looks at the history of sex in the american military coming up.
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we cannot successfully address this problem without a culture change throughout the military. discipline is the heart of the military culture and trust is its soul. the plague of sexual assault erodes both the heart and the soul. >> yesterday, the senate armed services committee hearing, everyone agreed culture change throughout the military was necessary for dealing with what seems like an epidemic of sexual assault in our military. congress and we in the media have been treating sexual assault in the american military as a new phenomenon. in the new book "what soldiers do, sex and the american gi in
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world war ii france" this historian writes sex was fundamental to how the u.s. military framed, fought and won the war in europe, far from being a marginal release from pressures of combat, sexual behavior stood at the center of the story in the form of myth, symbol, and model of power. joining me now, professor from university of wisconsin, madison, mary louise roberts. i was fascinated seeing your book on the list for "the new york times," you talk in the book about how sex was actually used as part of incentivizing for troops, especially in the invasion of france. >> yes. thank you, lawrence, first of all, for allowing me to be on the show. it is a pleasure to be here. yes, i mean, for soldiers in the
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pacific, it was very easy to get them to fight because our country had been invaded by the japanese, but in the case of europe it was much more difficult because the american gis didn't know the french, didn't know france, so what i found when i looked in the military journals, stars and stripes, was a great deal of the way they motivated soldiers was the stereotype of france as a kind of sexy country where women were just waiting to kiss them and welcome them and be rescued and reward them for their efforts. >> and you come from a military family, your father was military, this was not something you were eager to be discovering, but you came across it in your french history research, and the book portrays after the american invasion of france some very powerful sexual aggression on the part of american troops to the point the french started to wonder how
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long they could bear this. >> yeah, that's absolutely true. there was a tsunami of male lust once the american gis arrived with the expectations, of course, that the french women would be happy to greet them, so there was a great deal of prostitution, some of it completely illegal, some of it more legal, and then unfortunately in the summer of 1944, there was one of two very serious waves of rape. >> and the book talks a little bit about the army corp waks, many fewer women in the minute then. what was their experience in relation to the sexual aggression of the troops? >> well, the waks were the only part of the army not given
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condoms when they went out on leave, and i think that the waks had their own problems in terms of sexuality. they were often accused of being lesbians, being sexually promiscuous, sexually immoral, that was one of the ways they were undermined, as part of the military. they in contrast to the men tried to keep it very clean. >> and do you see something connective to the warrior culture that a combat military actively engaged in combat that we have then and now to some extent, that there's something in that culture that contains the seeds for this? >> well, i can tell you what about the scandal today, which i follow closely. what looks familiar to me as historian of the 1940s, the u.s. military in the second world war
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had a complete double faced attitude towards sex. officially, prostitution was prohibited, according to the may act of 1941, >> the book is "what soldiers do. thank you very much for joining us tonight. chris hayes is up next. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes and thank you for joining us. coming up tonight, when president obama goes to the rose garden lately, he sure does make news.