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tv   The Week With Joshua Johnson  MSNBC  August 21, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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night. grace has since died out but drenching rains caused land slides and flooding. authorities say at least eight people died and three remain missing. if only that water was falling where we needed it most particularly in western states. on monday the federal government declared the first ever water shortage for the colorado river and for lake meade. that's east of las vegas. this unprecedented move triggers mandatory water cuts. this first series of cut backs mainly effects farmers and the agriculture industry. but if the situation gets worse water cuts could affect major cities like vegas, phoenix, and some cities in parts of california. it is the top of the hour and it's great to be with you tonight. the white house has responded to nbc's reporting on threats from isis against the u.s. embassy in kabul. an official says there is a, quote, not insignificant terror threat in afghanistan. the clock is ticking in florida. school boards in two counties have 48 hours to reverse mask
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mandates for students. will they comply or risk losing some funding? and for the first time we heard testimony from one of r. kelly's abusers. we'll break down the arguments in this high profile criminal trial. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, i'm joshua johnson. welcome to "the week." we are ten days from the negotiated deadline to remove all u.s. troops from afghanistan. the situation in kabul remains chaotic. thousands of people are still rushing the airport trying to flee the country. more than 20,000 people have been evacuated so far, and that includes approximately 2,500 americans. this morning president biden met with his national security team. they discussed the security situation in afghanistan, evacuation efforts and counter terrorism operations. the pentagon says that the kabul airport remains secure.
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nearly 6,000 american troops are currently stationed there. however, two defense officials have told nbc news that the u.s. is tracking specific threats from isis against americans and others who are trying to reach the airport in kabul. as a result, the military has begun executing an alternate path to get people to the airport safely. despite the challenges on the ground, president biden made this promise yesterday. >> let me be clear. any american who wants to come home we will get you home. >> meanwhile a bipartisan group of governors has committed to taking in afghan civilians who are fleeing the taliban. utah's republican governor spencer cox wrote to president biden on tuesday. he offered to assist with the resettlement of those fleeing afghanistan. in a tweet governor cox added, quote, utah was settled by refugees fleeing religious persecution. we understand the pain caused by forced migration and appreciate
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the contributions of refugees in our communities, unquote. let's get into all of it with our saturday night panel. ana nevaz is the chief correspondent for the pbs news hour, deano badala, and a columnist with the daily beast. let me start with you and the latest we know about the evacuation particularly if this effort to get people out safely seem tuesday be mostly succeeding. >> well, i think so far what we know the u.s. recognize there's a problem, which if you look back over the events over the last few days a lot of people argue they were slow to see that. as you've all seen images outside the kabul airport, chaos. thousands of people swarming those gates rather create an insecurity situation those
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soldiers positioned on the wall have been trying very hard to contain and making it difficult for afghan citizens and allies cleared on the evacuation list to make it to the airport. i've been talking to families on ground some of them cleared for evacuation have been given vague instructions to make their way to the airport and try to flag down a soldier and get someone's attention with their documents. many tried for hours on end, overnight in some cases with children in tow and just couldn't even get close enough to the airport. so there has been an absolute backlog there outside the airport. the recognition and i think the constant question the white house has faced over the last few days about why more plans weren't put into place, what can be done with the u.s. presence just from the airport to get people inside has forced them to try as you mentioned in the introduction take on some new steps and figure out what they can do. but that situation isn't going to clear itself overnight. my sources on the ground are telling me right now a lot of people are scared to move
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through the city. they're frightened about going through taliban check points. they don't trust the government when they say we'll do everything possible to get you out because of what they're seeing unfold on the ground. i think this is one of situations where time will tell, but time is something people on the ground just don't have. >> what's our sense of what we can expect from the taliban now? they've been trying to convince the world they are the kinder, jeptler taliban and they're going to respect womens rights, they're going to have a different kind of relationship with the international community. they claim to be ready to govern now. we know that one of the taliban's cofounders has come to afghanistan presumably to talk about the formation of a government. but i don't buy it. i mean it seems like the taliban are what we're going to have to deal with going forward, but what are you expecting from them in the weeks to come? >> i mean, if there's a face eating leopard that eats faces for 20 years and goes i'm going to stop eating faces would you
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trust it? i would not. we've already seen in reports in early july they committed massacres. we've already seen them use force against those protesters. we've already seen reports of them trying to hunt down those they see as collaborators with the u.s. and nato allies. and so the taliban will be like the taliban have always been, following a very archaic form of extreme sharia that is rejected by the vast majority of muslims worldwide. and they're going to implement these laws. they're going to be brutal against women, brutal against minorities. and they're going to give haven to violent extremist groups and individual who are their allies including splintered members of al-qaeda and isis. so i do not really see them being enlightened in any way, shape or form. they waited out 20 years came back flush with opium money, by the way. they have more diplomatic strength because qatar, uae
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acknowledge themmed and china and russia have their embassies in place. it's going to be a lot of barbarity and the people who have always suffered and will continue suffering are the afghan civilians who are never, ever the priority of u.s. or nato in this endless, disastrous war on terror. >> what's your sense how the administration is handling this? he's gotten a lot of criticism across the aisle in terms of the way the troop withdrawal and the arab lift evacuations have taken place tonight. she'll release a letter urging the president to go past the august 31st deadline to keep the military on the ground a bit longer to make sure this operation is successful. what's your read on how the biden administration is doing and how it's messaging on this to the american people? >> first of all, josh can i say
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thanks for having three muslims on. this is the muslim power hour. actually we're here to help recruit you to islam. turkey bacon is so much better for you. >> why do we have to have this conversation right now? >> look, how's this going from the biden administration messaging point of view? perfect if perfect is really bad. let's be blunt what has happened in the last few days and what we saw on tv has been stunning. it's been jaw dropping. it's something you see in a movie or from decades ago. how did the biden administration not go what was going to happen after the taliban was sweeping across the country and didn't have plans in place to get our american citizens out and our allies, people who risked their lives is beyond me. but also and i think it's so important to look at the bigger picture here. this is a trump peace deal. this was the trump stakes of peace deals. we got nothing out of it. i've had experts on my radio
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show. i go what did the u.s. get out of this deal that trump agreed to? and they tell me nothing, but we gave them 5,000 prisoners they wanted. we pressured -- the u.s. government under trump pressured the afghan government to release 5,000 prisoners. the co-founder of the taliban was in prison in 2010 because the obama administration wanted him in there for killing troops. trump got him out in 2018 i guess in good faith for making a deal with the terrorists. we can't look at this in a vacuum. it was a horrific peace deal by donald trump and this was not executed well. i really fear for the democrats, people on the ground but for the democrats politically. this could really hurt the democrats in the mid-term election. i know we're far from it, but it really feels like a traumatic moment. >> with regard to the long lens view of this, and by the way we received note the president is going to meet with the national security team tomorrow and he's
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expected to provide another update. the president is expected to provide another update tomorrow around 4:00 p.m. eastern not only the evacuation out of afghanistan but also on hurricane henri. so we hope you'll join us on msnbc to watch the president's remarks. amna, in the long lens view of the war in afghanistan, i understand in your trajectory as a journalist one of the earliest stories you covered and the first wars you covered. what do you reflect now on what we're seeing today and the war in afghanistan compared to what we saw then, what we expected then, what we said to ourselves then about why we were there and what we were going to do? >> it's almost hard to remember. it does feel like a different world, but, you know, i became a journalist in august 2001. and the very first big story i covered were the attacks of "nfl live" and the first big war was the war in afghanistan. and i spent years in afghanistan
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and all parts of the country talking with people on the ground and vetting with u.s. troops and understanding the war and the administration and the starts and stops of the war over the years. it wasn't just one long war. it was many different wars with shifting strategies and shifting plans. and the distraction was a new war in iraq and a failure to hold pakistan accountable for fomenting and spewing some of that terrorism within afghanistan. i think we are at this 20-year mark in absolute full circle moment, which is to say the u.s. went in there to unseat a terrorist power and to try to protect itself from a national security perspective. and in the last 20 years the u.s. is leaving, negotiating with the same people they've been fighting for the last 20 years, that same power they unseated is back in power. and i think it's causing a lot of people to look back and say what was accomplished? for all the gains that were made, the women on the ground, for infrastructure projects and so on, the u.s. did not succeed in the nation building. it did not succeed in putting
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into place an army that could actually sustain itself over time. there are a lot of steps along the way that didn't get done. so for me personally it's full circle. i think certainly for the country, for the world it's full circle. but you have to look at it and think what is it that we're leaving behind. >> and we have to pause in a second, but in terms of the people i love your sense of this particularly since we mentioned there are a number of governors, a bipartisan group of them who say they're committed to taking in afghans who are fleeing afghanistan. i did not know until today you're from the bay area. you're from fremont which is north of san jose which has a large afghan population, little kabul they call it. i wonder what your perspective is with the people themselves affected by this who may soon be coming foothe u.s. before we pause. >> the least the united states can do is offer our homeland, our country as refuge to these refugees that our wars have made. and i'm from fremont, california.
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sometimes we call it fremont i knew up next to fremont which is affectionately known as little kabul. if you welcome these afghan refugees you'll be greeted. but what we've seen refugees and immigrants in the long run are great for business. in the long run foreign individuals commit less crimes, and the least the united states can do for this disastrous war on terror. it was disastrous, chaotic and bloody is to welcome these women and children to our shores in a country we've lot 600,000 people and as we've seen refugees and immigrants are a long-term boom and benefit for local economies and commit less crime. the least we can do is rise up to our better angels, reflect on that statue of liberty show that
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beacon and invite them to our home. the least we can do. >> panel, please tick it around. we've got a lot more to talk about this evening. still to come, we'll get into the showdown over masks in florida. the state passed 3 million confirmed covid cases today. also one airline says no booze on its planes until next year. stick around for that. but first vuneta nier is here with the headlines. >> stories we're watching this hour, the university of virginia disenrolled more than 200 students who didn't meet the vaccine mandate. 49 of those students were enrolled in fall courses starting in person on monday. the students have until wednesday to get the vaccine or file an exemption. a judge ruled a california ride hailing lawsuit as unconstitutional on friday. the ballot measure exempted uber other app based ride hailing and delivery services from requiring drivers to be classified as employees eligible for benefits and job protections. and general motors announced a voluntary recall on all 2019
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and newer chevrolet bolts. a battery defect in the vehicle could lead to fires. this extends the recall of the electric vehicle to its first model year in 2017. more of "the week" with joshua johnson after the break. more of "the week" with joshua johnson after the break. tide pods child-guard pack helps keep your laundry pacs in a safe place and your child safer. to close, twist until it clicks. tide pods child-guard packaging. we did it again. verizon has been named america's most reliable network by rootmetrics. and our customers rated us #1 for network quality in america according to j.d. power. number one in reliability, 16 times in a row. most awarded for network quality, 27 times in a row. proving once again that nobody builds networks like verizon. that's why we're building 5g right, that's why there's only one best network. seeing blood when you brush
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a showdown over masks in schools is heating up in florida. covid cases are surging in that state. six of florida's biggest school districts have imposed mask requirements for students. that is in defiance of last month's executive order from governor ron desantis. the order limits the power of local governments to issue such mandates. florida's board of education issued a 48-hour warning to school boards in broward and those are the fort lauderdale and gainsville areas respectively. the state says if they do not walk back their mandates it'll with hold funding equal to the salaries of school board members who voted for the mandates.
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the battle over masks in schools comes as florida reaches 3 million confirmed covid case. by our count the state added a half million cases in 25 days. vaccinations have been holding steady this month at about 60,000 to 70,000 a day, but hospitalizations are way up. more than 17,000 people are hospitalized in florida right now according to john hopkins. 94% of the state's icu beds are occupied. if you have yet to get vaccinated it's not too late. you can get the info you need online at back now with our saturday night panel. first of all, dean, i want you to know i already like turkey bacon so you're going to have to work harder on that. as a native floridian i'm stunned by it. but officials in orlando are
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asking residents to cut back on watering their lawns, and the reason is because of the chemical that is used to treat the water that that is also needed to produce liquid oxygen for hospitalized covid patients. so to make sure there's enough liquid oxygen for covid patients in icus they're asking people who use orlando's utility to cut back on their water usage particularly lawn watering. dean, that is just such a gut punch. dean, i don't even know what to say. >> is this the united states of america? i mean literally this is where we are right now? and ron desantis has both threatened to defund schools and is actually doing that when the schools want kids to wear a mask to protect the kids based on this thing called science. the american academy of pediatrics said kids should wear a mask if you're 2 and older to protect the kids and students. and what does ron desantis say,
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rise against it? . and i'm not exaggerating, he said freedom. freedom. that's not science. this is ridiculous. the teachers just wants to help the kids. ron desantis just wants to run for president in 2024 and doesn't care who gets hurt. to think about how heart breaking it is for the people of florida to see this now, the spike in hospitalizations, kids are at risk now and they're going to defund schools. i wrote about this in msnbc. there should be a special place in hell or prison for elected officials who put their political careers over the health of our children, period. that's it. >> amna, what about the fact this is playing out in schools? you had a piece on the pbs news hour not too long ago about the debate in louden county, virginia, a suburb outside of washington, d.c. and the fight over critical race theory which for those of you playing the home game is not being taught in your schools because it is a graduate level law school theory
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so take that with you. so i wonder what your sense is of just the fact schools particularly are the battleground for so many of these cultural fights right now. >> the thing is that in louden county school i was reporting on most of it was around critical race theory which you mentioned and i cannot say enough and is not being taught in those schools but also about a host of other issues really dividing the american public right now. one was about whether a recently suspended schoolteacher had to call trans students by their preferred pronouns. that was dividing the community and there was also a mask fight in that community. and there were the same groups on those same sides of the fight. and what's happening we're having as a country what should be a public health conversation in kind of a culture war gauge match. and everything now is seen as a political issue when the public health experts have been saying from the beginning this is about science, this is about facts. this is about protecting the
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american people. but, unfortunately, as we saw under the previous administration a lot of these issues became politicized and they're continuing to be political issues so now people feel they have to make a choice between exercising what they feel to be their personal freedoms and exercising their freedoms for the sake of the general and aggregate good. we all know if there was more masking and vaccination rates were higher we'd be through the pandemic soon. that is what science is telling us. schools right now are one of the battlegrounds but it's playing out in the communities. you see the divides in the military, even among health care workers. there are still a number who have not yet been vaccinated. i don't think it's surprising, though, that the same places where a lot of emotions come out, people care about their kids, right, they think that they, parents should have the right to say what happens to their children and emotions can run very high. that is where you see the battle
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right now. >> so how do we move forward from here? first of all i have to apologize. i don't think i gave you your due when you said it when you made that crack about the face eating leopard who went vegan. i didn't know until i saw the tweet. oh, my god, yeah he said that. i need more coffee on a saturday night. i'm sorry i missed giving you credit for it. i apologize. but i did want to ask you how we move forward from here. new york, for example, has begun setting up its vaccine mandate for a number of indoor venues, indoor dining, gyms, some entertainment venues. they're going to start a fourth one in september. i wonder how you feel about easing people into it. it seems like the debate is kind of over in terms of vaccines and masks in a lot of places and now it's a matter of ushering everyone in the same direction. >> i'm not interested in easing anyone into anything. it's been a year and half. over 600,000 people have died. that's a low estimate.
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likely 900,000 americans. it's not like we just discovered covid. and a majority of the polls are for vaccines and masks. i'm not interested in coddling those individuals who unfortunately have been radicalized by the anti-vax and disinformation network including the right wing media ecosystem, and the hypocrisy here is all these individuals are vaccinated. they don't even have the courage of their convictions to follow through. tucker is vaccinated. ted cruz was against all mandates and sending his children to a private school where there's mask mandates. but they're willing to make our children canaries in the covid coal mine just to placate their base and like ron desantis to get on fox news and to win the election. so i'm tired of it, done with it. you need vaccine mandates. if you bring in vaccine mandates, kaiser did a study that showed what are the three top reasons that convinced individuals who are vaccine
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skeptics to become vaccinated? number one, if they see other people in their communities doing it, right? number two, if they're seeing people get vaccinated without any side effects. and number three, is if they lose privileges to do things they wanted to do. you implement vaccine mandates in schools, corporations, at football stadiums, basketball stadiums, i guarantee you people who have the freedom to either take the vaccine or to choose cow and horse medication and poison themselves, i think we're going to get enough of them there. but the last thing i'll say is i'm afraid we have lost a significant minority in this country that has been radical liesed by the right wing movement. no matter how much death hovers literally in their home, they're going to choose death. because the majority has to move forward bhch. >> if you're watching right now and you're on the fence about getting vaccinated. i've been vaccinated. got the pfizer vaccine, had zero side effects. i think the first night i was extra sleepy. that's about as far as it went for me. and you don't have to tell a
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soul if you're getting vaccinated. you can go to, plan your, ask your doctor. you can hang onto the convictions you tell other people. do it for yourself. not a soul needs to know. every single one of us. it's been a pleasure being alive and well and live on television. everyone, good to see you. thanks very much. coming up, r. kelly has faced sexual abuse allegations for two decades. now one of his accusers has become the first to ever take the stand against him. what we learn from the first week of his trial next. arn fromt week of his trial next i've got moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. now, there's skyrizi. ♪ things are getting clearer. ♪ ♪ i feel free to bare my skin yeah, that's all me. ♪ ♪ nothing and me go hand in hand nothing on my skin, ♪ ♪ that's my new plan. ♪ ♪ nothing is everything. ♪ achieve clearer skin with skyrizi. 3 out of 4 people achieved 90% clearer skin at 4 months.
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the federal trial against r&b icon r. kelly began this week in brook00. prosecutors laid out the decades of allegations against kelly. their goal is to portray the singers a predator who abused and controlled his victims for years. on wednesday the first of mr.
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kelly's accusers took the stand. she described their relationship from 2010 when she was just 16 years old. r. kelly is facing five federal charges in new york including racketeering and the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. he denies any wrongdoing and is pleading not guilty. this is the second prosecution of r. kelly. he was acquitted of child pornography charges back in 2008. joining us now is trial lawyer katey fang. i wonder if we can start talking about the charges specifically racketeering and this violations of the mann act, m-a-n-n act. what does that involve? >> interestingly we see the prosecution in this case using this charge of racketeering. now, usually when you hear racketeering, joshua, we think about the mafia. that's usually what you think of, the idea of this mob.
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it's actually appropro when you think about r. kelly. it involves his business managers, body guards, personal assistants. the criminal enterprise was this idea of basically trafficking in underage girls tee be able to further the purpose of r. kelly's sexual interactions and sexual conduct with these young girls. now, the mann act as you said spelled m-a-n-n is a federal statute. we've heard it recently when we're talking about joel greenberg and matt gates, the idea of transporting someone across state lines for purposes of prostitution. and those are also charges r. kelly is facing in federal court in brooklyn right now. but they're also similar charges r. kelly is facing in federal court in illinois, and he's also facing state charges in illinois and also charges in minnesota. joshua, it's not just brooklyn. you actually have to get through
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other jurisdictions as well after this trial has concluded. >> so early in the trial, but what do you make of the arguments the prosecution and defense have laid out? >> so the prosecution is going to call a parade of witnesses all of whom were underage or very close to being under age when they had interactions sexual in nature with r. kelly. and the first witness last week was a girl who was 16 years old which she had a six month sexual relationship with r. kelly. and she did sue civilly, and the defense in this case are saying these people are grifters. they want to make money and say they're basically disgruntled fans, like crazy super fans of r. kelly. but, you know, as a former prosecutor myself, though, there is some truth to the old adage, joshua, where there's smoke there's fire. and we're going to hear from at least 14 victims against r. kelly when it comes to the similar conduct, the similar kind of m.o.s that were at play with r. kelly. we also heard from one of r.
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kelly's managers. he testified under immunity, and he basically told the jury that he bribed an official in cooke county, illinois, to be able to forge the marriage licenses for aliyah who was married while she was underage at the age of 15 to r. kelly. and i don't know if people know this but r. kelly was the first executive producer for the debut album for her, and the title of that album was age ain't nothing but a number. but i don't know, joshua. in this case age is certainly a number and, and the number may be very high if he ends up getting convicted. >> i was wondering about when number of years he can face if convicted. i wonder why that's prosecutors are attempting to go after r. kelly with something as broad as racketeering as opposed to just say putting him away on one count of, you know, having sex with a minor. it sounds like they're trying to make the case that there is a much larger literally criminal
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conspiracy going on that merits him being in prison for longer as opposed to bringing up one young woman who can prove they had an illicit relationship. >> well, to some extent they tried that before. so when r. kelly was acquitted in 2008 it was for basically one victim. she refused to testify and he was acquitted. now there's not only going to be again like the parade of victims in this case. so there's some strength in numbers in terms of that prosecution but also the presentation of a lot of video evidence, graphic video evidence. i would be stunned if r. kelly was able to pull off an acquitp in this case. as we noted in the segment he's got other trials in other jurisdictions on other counts. i don't think he's going to be able to get away with it this time, and it's been a long time coming. the day of reckoning for someone like r. kelly has been decades in the making. so let's see what happens in
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this trial. >> one aspect "the new york times" reported in terms of the prosecution strategy that they might try to go after r. kelly partly by having a number of his -- of the people testifying against him, his accusers say they had unprotected sex with him and he did not warn them that he was positive for a sexually transmitted infection specifically that he had herpes. how might that factor into this? >> well, the jury in illinois and federal court has already heard from r. kelly's physician. he testified r. kelly had been diagnosed with herpes a number of years ago. that is the same sexually transmitted disease a number of r. kelly victims are claiming that they did not know they had, and it only happened -- they were diagnosed after they had sexual intercourse with r. kelly. again, it's this idea there's this causal effect. r. kelly caused this. if you're the prosecution part of what you're trying to do though is convince this jury r. kelly is a bad guy, and that
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includes stuff like him giving a sexually transmitted disease to a young, underage girl without her knowledge. and how do we know? because these women ended up being diagnosed with an std. and that definitely is a theory and kind of a barb in the prosecution's case right now. >> before i have to let you know what about the possible strategy for the defense? do you think r. kelly might take the stand? >> no. we saw he did that interview and i apologize i'm forgetting her -- >> where she kept saying robert, robert, robert -- >> and he did not want to listen. we've seen he can't even compose himself or handle himself in that type of interview. there's no way as a defense attorney you put somebody like that on the stand. there's no guarantees he'll be able to come across in a way that a jury would like. he's already got a lot of that and i was definitely as a criminal defense attorney i
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would never put him on the stand if he was my client. >> we appreciate you talking us through tis. coming up, flight attendants have put up with a lot of bad behavior during the pandemic, but some are preparing to handle these incidents in more assertive ways. that's just ahead. stay close. e ways that's just ahead. stay close without frequent heartburn waking her up. now, that dream... . her reality. nexium 24hr stops acid before it starts, for all-day, all-night protection. can you imagine 24 hours without heartburn? age-related macular degeneration may lead to severe vision loss, so the national eye institute did 20 years of clinical studies on a formula found in preservision. if it were my vision, i'd ask my doctor about preservision.
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we gave new zzzquil pure zzzs restorative herbal sleep to people who were tired of being tired. i've never slept like this before. i've never woken up like this before. crafted with clinically studied plant-based ingredients that work naturally with your body. for restorative sleep like never before. forget about ordering alcohol on american airlines at least for now. american's passengers will have to wait until next year before alcohol sales resume in the main cabin. this week the company announced its extending its suspension to create a safer environment for the crew and customers. on the same day the faa announced that fines for unruly passengers have topped $1 million just this year. no wonder some flight attendants have decided to take matters into their own hands. here's nbc aviation correspondent tom costello. >> reporter: it's gotten so bad
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in the nation's skies it's come to this. flight attendants volunteering for an 8:00 a.m. self-defense course. >> so from here i can strangle you. i promise you that's going to hurt. >> reporter: the trainers air marshals who are not always onboard a flight teaching flight crews to target an attacker's face, chest and groin as the faa now reports a stunning 3,900 cases of unruly sometimes dangerous behavior onboard passenger planes just this year. passengers often drunk or angry about the now extended mask mandates attacking and injuring crew members and facing fines up to $45,000 each totaling a million dollars already this year. >> this is pervasive. this is really an epidemic at this point and something that we have to take very seriously and use every single tool to tamp it down. >> d.c. based flight attendant linda balmstead came for the training. you know most people who sign-up to be flight attendants dine don't sign-up to go to the
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police academy. are you surprised you're in this situation? >> well, the world has gone a little crazy so i'm not absolutely surprised, but i guess i want to be able to protect myself. >> reporter: the course taught since 9/11 but suspended during the pandemic now in high demand. air marshal in charge ron fifer helps teach the class. >> certainly we teach block techniques, very simple block techniques to protect face and vital organs of the body. >> so hands in self-defense just as this, step, pivot, bring it back, turn, making sure you bring that hand back to your face. >> protecting themselves at 30,000 feet. >> sadly, i cannot say that i blame them. that was nbc's tom costello reporting. it's easy to look at the taliban surge as a win for them and a loss for us. but are you sure you know what game we're playing?
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another way to think of this fight for freedom before we go. thi fight for freedom before we go [engine revs] now let's go borrow a boat and make some bad decisions. [engine revs] time to go incognito. [zippers fasten] [engine revs] i love you, ricky! i love you, cal! what's the next stop? it's time for your extracurriculars. ¡vámanos, amigos! woo-hoo! you're clearly someone who takes care of yourself. so why wait to screen for colon cancer? because when caught in early stages, it's more treatable. i'm cologuard. i'm noninvasive and detect altered dna in your stool to find 92% of colon cancers even in early stages. tell me more. it's for people 45 plus at average risk for colon cancer, not high risk. false positive and negative results may occur. ask your prescriber or an online prescriber if cologuard is right for you. i'm on it. sounds like a plan.
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the key might lie in chathichg of our approach. i thought about it this week after i saw a video clip that really startled me. all i'll tell you is this video is real. it's not a trick. take a look at what we can do these days with robots. if that made you feel a little bit impressed and a little bit unnerved then you and and have something in common. these robots are the latest ineration from boston dynamics. the robot's name is atlas, 5 feet tall, with 2,800 hydraulic joints. boston dynamicsed this week was the first time atlas nailed this parkour routine after lots of
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trial and error. last year p's the company's various robots danced to the motown classic do you love me. personally i think the choreography proves some people need more black friends. but that's not inpoint. the point is seeing machines act in such complex ways can be pretty jarring and we know why. it kind of makes you wonder what the future holds and whether you and i have any say in what happens next. but listen to one of the researchers on the atlas team explain why this project appeals to him. >> it's extremely hard but it's also very rewarding, you know? it's like i wouldn't want to be somewhere where i'm not working on like a super hard problem that nobody else is working on. so, you know, it's just that's the opportunity we get to do here every day. >> he makes a good point. there's something fulfilling and energizing about a long-term challenge rather than a task with a clear ending. the trick is to see it the way it really is. ever heard of infinite gains?
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the term may sound like nonsense but it's one you should know. take basketball. you know how many players will take the court, the shape of the court and the rules of the game. you know how long the game will last and you know how to determine who won at the end. that all makes basketball a finite game. known players, known rules, clear outcome. winners and losers. then there are infinite games. they could have unknown players. the rules could change if anyone agrees on them at all and the objective is to stay in the game, to keep going. there are many kind of infinite games. business is an infinite game. you can't win business. advanced robotics is an infinite game, too. and so is war. and if there's one thing we know about the various militia movements in afghanistan it is that they absolutely play with an infinite mind-set. how could they do anything else?
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controlling peoples lives through a religious government is not something you cross off a to-do list. that is a way of life. that is why they were determined to outlast the u.s. not just because we agreed to leave but because they were determined to stay and fight whether we left or not. the u.s. war in afghanistan was a finite endeavor. stop al-qaeda, prevent terror attacks, come home. the taliban's war in afghanistan is an infinite endeavor. and when you pit a finite player against an infinite player, the finite player tends to get frustrated and drops out. if it feels like the u.s. had won the war before it lost the war then you just explained to yourself why wars are not finite. now perhaps the united states needs to change its game, to adopt a more infinite mind-set, but that's the good news. we already have that mind-set. and we have for a very long time even if we don't always act like it. democracy, building a more
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perfect union, that is our infinite game. remember the gettysburg address where president lincoln explained when about the point of the civil war was? you remember it. quote, four score and seven years ago our forefathers brother forth upon this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition all men are created equal. now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure, unquote. did you catch that? the war was about proving that the united states could endure. president lincoln said that was the way to truly honor those who died at gettysburg. a government by the people, for the people shall not perish on earth unquote. that is the infinite game in a nutshell. there are many ways to fight the taliban, but the surest way to lose is to play the wrong game. and to be clear, i'm not saying we should have boots on the ground fighting in afghanistan
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with no end in sight. because advancing freedom is not just the military's job. their departure is not the last chapter of this story. there is no last chapter. there's much more to write and many ways to write it, which brings me back to those robots. they are learning how to imitate humans, but that does not mean we humans are obsolete. in fact, we might be more necessary than ever especially to this little guy. have you seen him yet? this is groot from the marvel series guardians of the galaxy. this week "the new york times" reported on its up close look on disney's innovation, robots that can maintain a motion and interact with people. groot could represent the future of the art form, but the technology means nothing unless people apply their creativity and persistence for as long as it takes. look, we may not be able to predict the future but we can produce that future. even if it's a future we do not
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live to see. america is in the infinite game by design founded on an idea we've been playing long before the taliban. and we know what we're playing for. let's see what we as a nation learn from all this that helps keep us in the game and forces them to drop out. and with that said, we'd love to hear from you. what infinite game are you playing to help shape the future? e-mail us be sure to include your name and where you live and we'll share some of your stories tomorrow night. we hope you come on back at 9:00 p.m. eastern. but until we meet again, i'm joshua johnson. thanks for making time for us. good night. making time for us. good night fresh for weeks? now they can! this towel has already been used and it still smells fresh. pour a cap of downy unstopables into your washing machine before each load and enjoy fresher smelling laundry for up to 12-weeks.
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