tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC March 4, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm PST
primary electric rat in texas. this is the guy who had a campaign bumper sticker saying something like if babies had guns then they wouldn't be aborted. he may literally be the good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. and at this hour, tensions remain extremely high in ukraine. russian soldiers continue to blockade and occupy ukrainian military facilities in crimea.
firing warning shots in the air as unarmed ukrainian soldiers sought to regain control of a contested airfield. ukrainian soldiers and their russian counterparts stared each other down in tense standoffs, russian president vladimir putin finally broke his silence on the unfolding situation. accusing the u.s. of treating ukrainians like lab rats and insisting russian troops in crimea wearing unmarked uniforms are local defense forces. what happens now is anyone's guess. >> man, what's going on? >> the first shots fired today, luckily just warning shots as an extraordinary moment unfolded in crimea this morning when troops
finally, the ukrainians backed down. >> the order is given. return to barracks. great dignity and showing great military discipline, they decided enough is enough and march off back to their base. >> the standoff was an incredible scene in itself, but it also revealed how quickly geopolitical stakes are escalated in this crisis. listen to this moment, again, as ukrainian troops marched toward the russians. "america is with us." it's hard to argue with that statement as secretary of state john kerry arrived in kiev today laying flowers at a tribute for those who died in last month's protest and to help the new you ukrainian government. as well as an ongoing attempt to isolate russia. >> if russia does not choose to deescalate, our partners will
have absolutely no choice but to join us to continue to expand upon steps we have taken in recent days in order to isolate russia politically, diplomatically, and economically. >> and as the u.s. picked its side, russian president vladimir putin finally broke his silence on ukraine. >> "what can be the reason to use our armed forces," he asked? this is, of course, the last resort. the audience was by invitation and russian only, and each reassurance came laced with a threat. "if we see lawlessness in the east of ukraine, and we are asked for help," he said, "we reserve the right to use all options at our disposal to protect those citizens." >> this afternoon, president obama dismissed that. >> what's happening there is not based on actual concern for russian nationals or russian speakers inside ukraine but based on russia seeking through
force to exert influence on a neighboring country. >> meanwhile, at the bases in crimea, the standoff continue. joining me now on the phone from sevastopol in crimea is simon ostrovsky. filed an amazing report yesterday. simon, what's the situation where you are in crimea like right now? >> hi. well, i'm in sevastopol, and there is a ukrainian naval base here. it's the high command for the whole of the ukrainian navy, and it's been under siege for the last three days or so. that's the base that i managed to get into yesterday by climbing over the wall because it's surrounded by pro-russia protesters as well as russian troops and some of the russian troops are actually inside. but the sailors inside of the base haven't yet sort of laid down their arms or switched sides which is what the russian
troops and the sort of pro-russia supporters are trying to get them to do and what russians are trying to get ukrainian military officers across the crimean peninsula to do and essentially what their strategy so far has been a war of attrition, trying to wait them out and make it difficult for them to get food and other stuff into the bases and put pressure on them and ask them to pledge allegiance. they've been pledging allegiance to the people of crimea instead of to russia, itself, when they do give up, and i think that's part of a strategy where russia is trying to stay arm's length from what's happening here while being at the same time very involved. >> you said russian troops, and today vladimir putin contended that they are not, in fact, russian troops. is there any doubt on the ground where you are that these are, in fact, russian troops? >> well, not to me, and not to anybody who's in crimea, i
think, because first of all, a lot of the trucks that they arrive on have russian license plates on them. russian official military license plates. and then a lot of the soldiers, themselves, they've already been here for a few days now have started talking to locals because they've been standing outside of the space and openly admitted to people that they're from russia and are russian soldiers. the ukrainian military officials they've been negotiating with and put pressure on to lay down their arms have been speaking to people saying these are representatives of the military, the russian federation. and, you know, off the record, some of the soldiers that i've spoken to outside of a ukrainian base told me they were russian. >> you mentioned before local civilians, russian-speaking citizens of crimea who are there.
every time i've been seeing images and file footage and reports out of there, there are people standing around who are not uniformed. who are these folks, and what are they doing? >> well, there's a number of different groups. i think probably some of the people standing outside of the bases are genuinely just concerned local citizens who support the fact that russia has brought troops to the crimean peninsula because traditionally there are a lot of russians who live here and who support russia, but also there's sort of a thuggish element to it. it seems like there's supporters of political parties that are aligned with russia. local political parties that are aligned with russia who've been brought out in force to stand outside the bases and blockade their gates. i spoke to the leader of a party called russian bloc earlier today who's got groups of people outside of the naval high command as well, and, you know,
they're explaining their presence by saying that they're trying to prevent what they're calling provocations or i suppose, you know, surprise attacks from what they're calling extreme nationalist and fascist elements from kiev, but there's not really been any evidence that such an attack is being planned and i think they're just sort of setting that up as the excuse for having the russian presence here now. >> simon ostrovsky, thank you for the excellent reporting from vice news. joining me, michael cohen, a columnist for "the garden." it was interesting today vladimir putin explaining this. on one level, this is an old school brazen grab, he sent his troops into a place, his troops have surrounded and laid siege to other countries' troops. at the same time, he's been careful about keeping this arm's length distance and justifying the actions in these humanitarian terms. this is him talking about this as a humanitarian mission at his press conference today. take a listen.
>> translator: this is a humanitarian mission. it is not our goal to conquer somebody, to dictate to somebody, no. but of course we will not remain indifferent if we see those people are being destroyed, humiliated, killed. >> it's almost a through-the-looking-glass version of things we've heard from the west about humanitarian intervention before. >> absolutely. there's nothing humanitarian about this. this basically is old-fashioned power politics. it's pro-western at this point, not on terms with russia. let's not go too far in the direction away from russia. >> from putin's perspective, this is not the correct evaluation of the facts, but from his perspective, the libyan intervention by nato, sort of
adversarial relationship to, was sold as a responsibility to protect. humanitarian reason to stop these people from being slaughtered and resulted in bombs and regime change and he says, you in the west, this is how you do it. use your power of politics and guise of military intervention, so i'm doing -- >> absolutely. the difference of, there, you had u.n. security council authorization for that intervention. >> genuinely threat of a massacre, i would suppose, as posed to zero reports as far as i can tell of actual cleansing or violence. >> except for shots being fired at people's heads, appears to be very little violence so far. in libya, the u.s. went in on this idea of protecting benghazi from the massacre and ended up pursuing a policy regime change. this upset the russians. >> there's a report that putin is obsessed with this, obsessed with gadhafi's demise. >> i don't blame them for feeling tricked in supporting this, they didn't support regime change and ended up happening. having said that, what happened here is nothing to do with this. this is old-fashioned power
politics. putin trying to influence the government in kiev. >> the big question i think everyone is focusing on in the white house has been sort of consistently sending this message about deescalation, deescalation. you're looking at deescalation, you're looking for an off road, there's also turning the ratchet of pressure. john kerry flying to kiev today. how do you deescalate here? >> i mean, this may come from kiev. as opposed to coming from washington. it may come from the government in kiev offering conciliatory gestures toward russia. putin did this in large measure because he saw his ally in kiev forced out of power. he saw pro-western government. ukrainian nationalist government take over. >> he saw essentially a revolution on his doorstep. >> exactly. >> that was an elected government. it had, i think, in many ways forfeited the legitimacy of the state by firing on its own people. >> shooting your own people. >> yes, absolutely. but from his perspective, this was a revolution on his
doorstep. >> absolutely. the leadership change is one that's not good for russia. this is an effort, my perspective, seems an effort of coercive diplomacy. and trying to sort of, you know, get the ukrainian government to be conciliatory to russia, not go along with the eu pact at the center of the controversy. i don't see what the u.s. and the west can do really to sort of force putin's hand on it. you've seen this already, where the european governments have basically said they don't want to go along with sanctions. >> yes, getting resistance from the british government, resistance from the germans. a sanctions push seems to not necessarily seem like a sure bet. >> you have very few levers to change their opinion. >> michael cohen from "the guardian." the weird, uncomfortable thing that some conservatives have for russian president vladimir putin, coming up. to think about where their electricity comes from. they flip the switch-- and the light comes on. it's our job to make sure that it does. using natural gas this power plant can produce enough energy for about 600,000 homes. generating electricity that's cleaner and reliable, with fewer emissions--
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have you noticed the way certain prominent conservatives have been talking about russian president vladimir putin? there's something a little off about it. sure, they condemn him and see him as a foe, the united states' biggest geopolitical foe. they're talking about a new cold war. underneath that condemnation, there's something, i can't quite put my finger on it, something that sounds oddly like admiration. >> putin decides what he wants to do and he does it in half a day. right? he decided he had to go to their parliament, he went to their parliament. he got permission in 15 minutes. he makes a decision and executes it. quickly. then everybody reacts. that's what you call a leader. president obama, got to think about it, he's got to go over it again. he's got to talk to more people about it. going through the whole, like, syria thing, again, right? >> that's what you call a leader. it's strange it almost sounds as
if they would make the obama/putin trade if they had a world leader fantasy team. >> look it, people are looking at putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. they look at our president as one who wears mom jeans. we are not exercising that peace through strength that only can be brought to you courtesy of the red, white and blue. >> there's a reason we don't play a lot of sarah palin's analysis on the show, but to listen to senator john mccain today, it's almost as if president obama is too weak to even recognize the strength and the provocation of a president the caliber of vladimir putin. >> this president does not understand vladimir putin. he does not understand his ambitions. he does not understand that vladimir putin is an old kgb colonel bent on restoration of the soviet of the russian empire. >> the ideological lines here don't break down in any clear way. liberal/conservative, reactionaries/radicals. saying putin is misunderstand, to putin is a monster. those three examples i just
played suggest an understanding of foreign policy and geopolitics in which strength is a supreme virtue and weakness is the supreme vice and the winner is the one who exhibits the most strength. that framework is one vladimir putin seems to have, and it's a framework that too many prominent people on the right seem to share. joining me now, charlie pierce, writer at large for "esquire" magazine and political blogger for esquire.com. everything i've been hearing for the last 48 hours from the right has resolved around feckless, feckless, weak, indecisive, feckless, weak and indecisive. >> yeah, the conservative right seems to be confused as to whether vladimir putin is the new stalin or a guy they want to ask to the prom. i'm not exactly sure. the shirtless horseback riding photos have won him an audience, though. >> i think there is a case to be
made that folks in the american media, and i would include myself in this, and i think liberal and conservative, that part of what is misguiding i think the way we're talking about this crisis is how much we have inflated the personage of vladimir putin because he's such a compelling character that everything seems to revolve around the psychodrama of vladimir putin, himself, and sets up the easy strength/weakness cold war kind of drama. >> he's a lot more compelling than the communists i remember from my youth. khrushchev was a rolly polly guy. >> it's part of the rare authoritarian charisma that seems to be, you know, i don't know, appealing to certain people that are observing this. i think also tend to see this as a square-off between the personality of barack obama and vladimir putin as opposed to a complex set of geopolitical calculations being made on both size.
>> i think you right, because we're a bit -- because the media in this country, mostly the corporate media has cut back so much on foreign coverage, we don't really know what's going on over there so we set up a nice trope to understand it through the prism of our president and their president. rudy giuliani is impatient with democracy because he was bad about it when he ran for president. >> i imagine the management tips from vladimir putin, how to get your war authorization through the duma in 15 minutes. >> he would have been smart enough not to make bernie kerik secretary. it's already on somebody's story board.
>> someone is pitching that as we speak. i also think -- i want to shout out dana rohrabacher who i rarely have occasion to do that for. this is what he had to say about putin yesterday. he said that while he doesn't support russia taking military action in ukraine, that doesn't mean putin and pro-russia forces in ukraine are in the wrong. we were going to play rohrabacher as someone else falling sway to this admiration impulse, but i actually think what he's saying is distinct. there are people who are saying there are interests of the russians to be recognized in evaluating this and that's very different than affection for the strength and virility of vladimir putin. >> yes. as much as he would like to think he is, vladimir putin is not russia, okay? as much as he wants to personify the nation, and got to do it for two weeks while people were skiing all around him, he really isn't. as you said, there are serious
geopolitical issues and longstanding strife in this particular part of the world. my god, we're going to have a -- you know, we're on the verge of having another crimean war. half a league onward. >> and one of the things i think that's driven a lot of this before this crisis and part of the sochi coverage is the fact for a certain generational cohort, there is this impulse toward cold war frames. you're seeing everyone, it's like the dam has burst. people have been holding back for 20 years for being able to run through their red dawn scripts. this comes out and you start seeing it everywhere. >> for people, i think i'm probably at the low end of the age thing as far as that particular generation, but it's probably the only group of that generation i am at the low edge of. but i think that, you know, it's very easy to understand the world that way. it was very easy to understand the world. we were good, they were bad. we had nukes, they had nukes. you know, we're all standing off and we didn't do anything when the tanks rolled into prague in 1968 or budapest in 1956 because
we all knew better. now we're not sure. >> charlie pierce from "esquire." always a pleasure. thanks a lot. 2014 election season begins today, people. right now, people are voting in the great state of texas and, whew, boy, are there some characters on the ballot down there. i will tell you about some of them, next. ♪
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he understands that god gave us all individual rights and that we wrote them down in the constitution of the bill of rights. i have a feeling there's some undercover agents here somewhere. we welcome you, too, because we love sharing the truth with those that don't get it. >> that is how voting season in texas began this year. with the man who once referred to president obama as a, "subhuman mongrel" campaigning alongside the front-runner for the republican nomination for governor in that state. today was election day in texas. and as hard as this might be to believe, ted nugent's cameo was one of the least nutty parts of the lone star state's primary season. despite causing a minor controversy in appearing alongside america's rockingest political control, greg abbott appears set to sail to an easy primary victory. also looking to catch an easy win today, two-term republican senator john cornyn who seemed
for a sliver of a moment like he just might have a serious tea party insurgency on his hands when congressman steve stockman declared he would challenge cornyn in this year's primary. oh, yeah, steve stockman of "if babies had guns they wouldn't be aborted" bumper sticker fame. steve stockman among the loosest cannons in the u.s. house which is saying something. stockman did not run a heck of a campaign. and that is a grave understatement. tea party activist from his very own state called it, "lazy and unethical." things started looking bad very early on when texas officials shut down his campaign headquarters which was actually a former motorcycle shop left to ruin and disrepair. check out the hot tubs. where, "various campaign staffers and volunteers were working and sleeping." things got worse when stockman disappeared for about two weeks missing 17 consecutive house votes, doing no campaign events, informing no one in the press about his whereabouts. eventually stockman was kind enough to clarify, where am i?
find out monday. he'd been in egypt, israel and russia. that's not all. he's now embroiled in a dispute with opposition groups and media outlets over publishing a more than 30-year-old mugshot and arrest report. stockman says he was never convicted of any charge and the documents were supposed to have been destroyed in 1978. now he's threatening to file criminal complaints against anyone who publishes the record. to paraphrase karl rove, when your candidate is threatening to sue reporters over his mugshot, he's losing. but, no, seriously, steve stockman isn't even the biggest train wreck in the texas elections today. that award goes to kesha rogers who's not an electoral train wreck it appears. she's been leading in the democratic senate primary but she's a train wreck for national democrats because her views which she draws from perennial fringe provocateur lyndon larouche are outside the mainstream.
for example, at a tea party event last month, she said this. >> what we're looking at with the fact that you have a puppet in the white house, president barack obama, who is a stooge of a wall street british empire who is about to take the nation to the brink of thermal nuclear war. >> joining me now, evan smith, ceo and editor in chief of "texas tribune." evan, where do i want to start in let's start with the bizarre spectacle of the steve stockman campaign which i gather even folks in texas are having a real hard time making heads or tails of. >> right, well, we know stockman as well as anybody. he's been elected two different times. nonconsecutive terms to the congress from texas. we've watched him up close and have a sense of who he is. i don't even think those of us who know who stockman is, how bizarre relatively speaking his behavior has been in the past expected anything like this. when he got into this race on the last day of filing, in the
last second of the last hour of filing day, we thought, wow, cornyn may actually have a legitimate tea party challenge. there had been some discussion of whether cornyn was adequately loyal to ted cruz, whether he embraced the ted cruz view of the world. stockman might be the one to exploit that and separate some conservatives from the cornyn campaign. not only did it never happen, i think everybody began to wonder whether the stockman campaign, as i've said before, was a prank. it seemed like something that the cornyn campaign created just to make him look awesome. >> yeah. >> because the fact is, stockman campaign was one of the most bizarre periods i think we've seen in modern texas political history. >> i've heard it referred to as an andy kaufman-esque conference art piece, referred to as a straight-up griff, a con meant to essentially create a kind of exit into, i don't know, some sort of tea party lecture circuit in the future. everybody seems to be scratching their head. what should be noted, though,
the fact ted cruz refused to endorse in the senate primary. he said, i'm not supporting any from my party or their opponents. i imagine relationships with him and john cornyn are not super awesome right now. >> i can tell you a lot of cornyn supporters in texas cannot figure out what ted cruz is up to. it wouldn't have killed ted cruz, they say, to say a few nice words about john cornyn, to endorse him, senatorial courtesy, tradition and all that. he didn't do it. it looks like cornyn, as you said in the setup piece, is going to win without a runoff, will return steve stockman to the private sector and the period of time we witnessed in the last couple months will go down in the history books. it will be fondly remembered but not very relevant to texas right now. >> on the democratic side, kesha rogers. polling in these kinds of situations i think can be a little -- >> very fluid. >> very fluid and a little unsteady. i mean, the ground condition here, right, it does not appear democrats recruited anyone into
this race sufficiently big enough to command a lead such that this eventuality was foreclosed upon. >> right. this is a red state, chris. you know that. no democrat has been elected statewide in 20 years. the numbers and the turnout really not there except in the case of some precipitating event for a democrat to be truly competitive in a race like this, a whole lot of high-profile democrats decided not to get into the race and were left with people willing to run as opposed to people who should run. there is one candidate who has a fair amount of personal wealth who's played in politics as a donor, run before unsuccessfully. a dentist named david alomele from the dallas area who may ultimately win this nomination. he may come in first or second today. >> he's been endorsed by wendy davis, of course, at the top of the ticket. >> he has. >> spent somewhere around $3 million of his own money or pledged to spend that. >> he does. >> the problem, though, if no one clears 50%, there's going to be a runoff and the runoff could include this candidate, kesha rogers, who we played sound of
earlier. >> you'll have a much lower turnout and runoff relative to primary day. the fact is not many democrats turn out on primary day. you're talking about a subset of the subset that would turn out and decide this race. kesha rogers, you hear, does she have a good ballot name? is that why she's rising to the top of the polls? i doubt it's on the strength of her views as you played earlier. the ones you've articulated, we're going to impeach president obama. that's not a popular position, at least in the democratic party in dallas. maybe people are voting for keyshia, the singer. >> i should note she does not spell her name with a dollar sign. evan smith from the "texas tribune." thank you so much. coming up, you'd think after all the insanity the stand your ground law in florida has caused the state legislature would think seriously about repealing it. but it's the florida state legislature. not so much. i'll explain, ahead. pay my bill. phone: your account is already paid in full. oh, well in that case, back to vacation mode.
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released. while there was early speculation a bad batch of heroin is what killed him, official cause of death is described as an accidental "acute mixed drug intoxication." in other words, a bunch of stuff, not just heroin was found in his system. according to data from the drug abuse warning network, this is typical of deaths attributed to heroin. the day after hoffman died, i had a neuroscientist on the show studying drugs for more than 20 years and we talked a bit about heroin overdoses. >> if we just focus on our public health information education campaign, just tell people if you're going to use opioids, don't combine it with another sedative like alcohol. if we do that and we really get that message home, we can save a lot more people. >> after that night's program, i ran into the hallway to continue my conversation with that guest, dr. carl hart, because i felt like he was just blowing my mind. about the way i think about drugs and chemicals and the
brain. and so i asked him in the hallway to set down with me again. i wanted him to come back. this time around, he blew my mind even more. this is so anathema to the way we think about this. it doesn't jive with what we've seen. there's part of me, that cannot possibly be true. well, it is true. really looking forward tomorrow to bring you more of that interview. ♪ ♪ ♪
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today, the florida state legislature is back in session, and you will never guess what's one of their top items on their agenda. >> can't take it no more! >> today, people gathered in front of the florida state capitol for the second day in a row protesting the legislature's conservative agenda on this, the first day of the state's legislative session. >> since stand your ground was put if place back in 2005, 26 states have adopted stand your ground laws or doctrine. >> but it looks like for now stand your ground is here to stay. last year, lawmakers voted down a bill that would have repealed stand your ground, and florida governor rick scott has reiterated his support for the law. >> i'm not going to call a special session. i believe in our stand your
ground and self-defense statutes. >> and now in their new session, legislators are poised to pass not a repeal of the law, but an expansion of it. or as some lawmakers would tell you, a clarification. it's been nicknamed the so-called warning shot bill. today it was voted out of the senate's judiciary committee unanimously. it passed out of the house committee earlier this year. the bill would empower a judge to grant immunity from florida's mandatory minimum gun law to someone who displays a gun or fires a warning shot in self-defense. >> a person with a firearm, a citizen, a person without a firearm is a victim. >> and the so-called warning shot bill was not brought forth to address trayvon martin's killing or george zimmerman's acquittal or jordan davis' slaying or even to address the jury's deadlock of the first-degree murder charge of the man who killed davis, michael dunn. no, the bill gained momentum in
response to a third stand your ground case out of florida. that of marissa alexander, a woman with no criminal record who fired what she says was a warning shot near her allegedly abusive husband and his children in 2010. but alexander was charged by the florida state attorney angela corey with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. her lawyers mounted a stand your ground defense insisting alexander thought her life was in danger. a judge rejected that defense and she was sentenced to 20 years in prison. alexander had since been granted a retrial, after a court found the judge gave the jury improper instructions. now angela corey's office is looking to put her away for 60 years. marissa alexander's case is being used to still florida's expansion of stand your ground, but stand your ground didn't provide justice to marissa
alexander the first time, what makes us think a small legislative fix will make any difference the next time? joining me now, my colleague the reverend al sharpton from florida this evening. rev, it's good to have you. >> thank you, chris. good to be with you. >> so you're going to be participating in a rally, i believe, on march 10th around some of these issues having to do with stand your ground. you spent a lot of time in florida since the trayvon martin killing. what's your response to the florida legislature's moves? >> well, i think that it is a very cynical move because what they are doing is using marissa alexander's case, which many of us feel is an egregious case, but they're using it to continue to use the fact that people can fire weapons, can have guns, and it's an unusual alliance of the nra and some members of the legislature. let's not forget, chris, when governor jeb bush who was then-governor in 2005 when the
stand your ground law was signed by him, standing behind him was a representative of the nra. this, in many of our opinions that want to see self-defense laws changed or repealed is a shrewd way of trying to act like you're doing something because of one case but in effect not changing the basic problem and that is guns and shoot first and ask questions later and just throwing in a little caveat saying, oh, do a warning shot first but then the rest of it is the same and that is unacceptable. >> one of parts of the legislation that's proposed which would sort of get rid of the mandatory minimums, 10, 20, life for people who were in the situation of firing a warning shot, connects to the idea that one of the ways we have ratcheted up gun laws in this country, those of uses like you and i who want to see less gun violence, want to see more gun safety, is through mandatory
minimums attached to the use of guns which tend to fall disproportionately on young men of color when they get into the criminal justice system. >> no doubt about it. any number of studies say that no question that young blacks are disproportionately the ones that get involved in the system. again, it is a trojan horse kind of legislation. it is being sponsored by the people and supported by the people that gave us stand your ground in the first place. so it is adding in many ways insult to injury. yes, many of us want to see what happened to marissa alexander addressed, but we don't want to see it in a way that is cynical and manipulative and doesn't help all people, not only in florida, but in over 20 other states now that have stand your ground laws. >> the prosecutor in florida who oversaw the prosecution of george zimmerman which was unsuccessful, the prosecution of michael dunn who killed jordan
davis which was successful on several counts but not on first-degree murder is also the same prosecutor in the case of marissa alexander and signaled she's going to go hard at her in the retrial. they're going to retry her and she might be facing 60 years. what is your sense of what angela corey is up to here? >> it's interesting to me that angela corey and this county is the county we had the jordan davis case that failed to get a conviction or an acquittal. didn't get any decision on the first count. she did get that against marissa alexander. she was a special prosecutor that went to sanford on the george zimmerman case. one has to wonder when you're looking at a scorecard like this whether angela corey is really, really aggressive and competent, or is there something else going on here, as lisa bloom raises in her book? i'm more concerned about changing the legislation and dealing with the legislators, but i must say that i'm more
than curious about how miss corey seems to have a perfect batting average of zero on these cases. >> reverend al sharpton, thank you so much. catch the reverend's show at 6:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. coming up, i'll talk to a member of the florida state legislature who supports this controversial law. buster's been busy. man: yeah, scott. i was just about to use t uh... scott: that's a bunch of ground-up paper, lad! scotts ez seed uses the finest seed, fertilizer, and natural mulch that holds water so you can grow grass anywhere! looking good, lad! man: thanks, scott. ez seed really works! so, how come haggis is so well behaved? scott: 'cause he's a scotty. man: oh. scott: get scotts ez seed. it's guaranteed. seed your lawn. seed it!
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joining me now is florida state democratic representative mia jones who represents jacksonville and niaz kasravi, director of the naacp justice system. you do support the proposed legislation that would expand stand your ground to include warning shots. >> yes, i do. i support that legislation mainly for the reason that, and marissa alexander's case, marissa, if found guilty again would be able to apply for
clemency to the executive branch and have the opportunity to not serve the 20 years she was previously given. >> do you worry about the unintended consequences of expanding this legislation? we know there are already racial disparities in states with stand your ground laws when the shooter is white, the victim is black, the justifiable homicide rate is 35%. when it's reversed, shootings are ruled to be justifiable, only slightly more than 3% of cases. so does this statutory change address what seems to be a structural injustice in how the laws are applied? >> i'd have to say, no, it doesn't address that. that's why i filed house bill 103 which would have done what we really need to be doing in the state of florida which is removing mandatory minimums and lowing judges to do what they've been placed on the bench to do and that's to listen to the facts of each case, look at what took place and make a decision based on those facts.
>> nia, i imagine you agree about mandatory minimums. where are you on the stand your ground legislation? >> i don't support -- >> sorry, niaz, go ahead. >> that's okay. the problem with the marissa alexander case isn't so much it's the mandatory minimums. >> right. >> so absolutely that piece has to be removed. i don't think there's a way to begin to address how to see justice done in the alexander case without repealing the mandatory minimums. this law, in theory, might be good, have to worry about the potential -- which are systemic of a larger problem of institutional racism in the criminal justice system. so that's one thing we have to be wary of. and, you know, this law i think is in no way compromise or a solution to stand your ground laws which have problems
including fact they provide no duty to retreat for people who can safely do so from a situation before firing their weapon and often they provide automatic immunity even for people who are the initial aggressors. so those are the problems we need to address and this law has really nothing to do with any of those problems. >> the nra is, also, pushing for this legislation. what's your response to people who say, look who's on the same side as you, how can you possibly be in alliance on this? >> one of the things i would say is when you're dealing with putting laws on the books, we oftentimes say it's like making sausage. you have to accept the small steps that you can take and then continue to fight in order to make sure that you get to where you need to get to and to get across that finish line. so we as a democratic party, we are committed and we stand
firmly on the fact that we believe that stand your ground should be repealed. we recognize that the legislature isn't in a position to accept that and to move forward on that. and they've made that very clear. just as they've made it very clear that they don't want to give judges the ability to make the decisions that are necessary. >> i think we are all in agreement about mandatory minimums and the evils of mandatory minimums. niaz, quickly, one of the things this highlights is the ways in which gun legislation, particularly sentences attached to gun crimes can have the perverse effect of essentially increasing the incarceration rates of young men of color. >> absolutely. you know, like all other mandatory minimums in this country, there is racial disparity to be found in the way that they are applied because they do take the discretion out of the hands of judges to look at cases and make decisions based on the merits of the case
and put discretion in the hands of the prosecutors which we're seeing happen here in florida with the marissa alexander case. >> mia jones and niaz kasravi from the naacp. that's "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. i'm about to do something that's controversial to cable news. it shouldn't be controversial but in this business it is. i have to start with this warning. ready? i'm about to praise a rival cable news network. i know. shriek. horror. right? cnn today is not what it used to be. once upon a time, cnn really was the only cable news network. and they really did have a singular role in keeping people informed about what was going on not only around the country but around the world. at that time in cnn's history, that reputation that they had