UP, Transcript 10/13/2015
Date: December 13, 2015
Guest: Robert Costa, Tara Dowdell, O`Brien Murray, Elahe Izadi, Darsh
Singh, Eric Milgram, Carolyn Maloney, John Feal, Dr. Michael Crane, Bradley
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC HOST: A big shakeup in the race for the Republican
nomination. Very good morning to you. Thanks for getting up with us this
Sunday morning. We have got some new polls that show, well, one
individual, Ted Cruz, pulling ahead in Iowa. Is he the new GOP
frontrunner? The new data out this hour that`s giving credence to those
reported warnings of a contested Republican convention. On the Democratic
side, why did the Bernie Sanders campaign tell journalists not to ask him
Also, this hour, three years after Sandy Hook, the fight continues for
significant gun reform in this country. We`ll be joined by one of the
Newtown fathers pushing for change.
Plus, taking care of the people who worked at ground zero. Our special
panel of lawmakers, doctors and 9/11 first responders fighting for
recognition so many years later.
We`ll also be joined by the first turban Sikh to play college basketball,
to find out how a racist Internet meme of him in action became a rallying
cry for understanding and tolerance. That`s coming up, too.
But we begin this hour with brand new numbers in the race for the White
House. Just moments ago, NBC News and the “Wall Street Journal” releasing
the latest poll on the fight for the Republican nomination nationwide, and
it`s a huge shift in the race. Donald Trump has retaken his place in the
lead from Ben Carson, he`s now at 27 percent, but just as striking, Ted
Cruz has surged to second place with a gain of 12 points. He`s now just
five points back from Trump. Cruz has taken support from Ben Carson, who
has plummeted 18 points from the October survey with Marco Rubio in third
at 15 percent, up 4. Could this be evidence of an emerging three-way race?
At the same time, we`re seeing a major shakeup in Iowa. New polling from
“The Des Moines Register” and Bloomberg overnight showing a record breaking
21-point gain for Cruz in Iowa. 21. He`s now taken the lead in the hawk-
eye state with support of nearly a third of the Iowa GOP. Trump trails
Cruz by ten points. Carson is in third, followed by Rubio and Bush. Trump
has sparred, as you know, with “The Des Moines Register” the entire
campaign, excuse me, and had this to say the day before the poll`s release.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: “The Des Moines Register”
is the worst.
TRUMP: They are the worst. The worst. You know, they`re very dishonest.
Every time “The Des Moines Register” does a poll, I always do badly, but I
believe, and I may be wrong, in fact I`ll say I`m sure I`m wrong, but it`s
my opinion that they don`t do it properly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: Joining me now “Washington Post” political reporter Robert Costa,
also an NBC News/MSNBC political analyst. Robert, you`ve been watching
what`s happening so closely here at the top, and we got some new numbers
for you to now add into your machine here. You`ve been talking about this
contested potential convention, and now we have some new numbers out of
Iowa, we have the new NBC “Wall Street Journal” poll as well. But I want
to start in Iowa. What do you make of Cruz making a really big move here,
21 percentage points?
ROBERT COSTA: Richard, what we usually watch in Republican politics in
terms of fault lines is the establishment versus an outsider, a grassroots
favorite. This election it`s totally different. We`re now seeing a battle
among the outsiders and the establishment candidates, they are struggling
for political oxygen. You have Cruz, Carson, Trump, all battling in Iowa,
and nationally, but I think Iowa captures what`s happening in the GOP.
Cruz is on the rise. A favorite of movement conservatives. Trump`s still
a favorite of populist Republicans, those who are - as ideological, and
Carson is hanging around.
LUI: What does it tell you about who might be the establishment candidate
COSTA: It`s still very unclear. New Hampshire is, perhaps, the best
launching pad for an establishment candidate, for Kasich, Bush, Rubio.
They have to decide, the establishment has to decide who is its candidate.
LUI: What was interesting, if you put the first and second choice numbers
here, Cruz came out at over 51 percent.
COSTA: Cruz is seen as someone, the right wants to perhaps rally around
because he`s already an elected official. He has deep roots within the
movement. So if you`re uncomfortable with Trump, but you still want a
conservative outsider it seems like Cruz is your pick.
LUI: So, when you look at Jeb and Rubio together, though, their numbers,
if those are to be the establishment candidates in Iowa looking very, very
COSTA: Iowa is just not going to be a place likely for an establishment
candidate, a mainstream Republican to break out. That`s why a broker
convention is being talked about. If you have multiple candidates, three,
four, five coming out of the early states with delegates, it could be a
long, long race.
LUI: I got some of your friends here, Robert, I want to bring in our panel
here at this morning, at 9:00 a.m. “The Washington Post” Elahe Izadi,
Republican strategist O`Brien Murray, Democratic strategist Tara Dowdell.
So, what`s also interesting about this conversation is we have the new
numbers coming out of NBC News and the “Wall Street Journal” and we see
Trump moving ahead in a decisive way, yet it`s very different than what
we`re seeing in Iowa for the reasons that Robert was describing. The
thought here about who might be that individual, who might be the non-
evangelical candidate, who might be the establishment candidate as Robert
is saying. We`ll find that out in New Hampshire. What is your thought
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, if Donald Trump
was a televangelist, he would be Ted Cruz.
DOWDELL: So, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump like Robert alluded to are very
similar creatures. The notion that Ted Cruz hasn`t said the same extreme
things that Donald Trump has said is just a false notion. He said even
more extreme things, it`s just that Donald Trump is getting most of the
publicity, but I do think there`s a greater comfort level from many on the
right with Ted Cruz because he is a senator, because he does have very
strong evangelical ties that are consistent.
LUI: Because Trump now appears more extreme?
O`BRIEN MURRAY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think when you look at the
Cruz numbers really what you`re seeing now possibly is the organization
everyone`s been talking about. He has got a lot of credit over the past
few months for being at better organized than any candidate and even though
we talk about Trump now surpassing Carson in these surveys what you really
have is movement by Cruz and I think there`s solidifying behind him. What
you`re going to see now on the other side of the ledger is as you find
other candidates dropping out they`ll start unifying behind somebody,
whether that is Christi or whether that is Rubio at this point, Kasich or
Bush, time will tell. But I think that`s what you are really having here.
Carson`s numbers are dropping down, that side of the ledger is moving
toward Cruz at this point.
LUI: Yeah, and Elahe, what was interesting is how Cruz has not decided to
engage Trump, even though Trump came out with a very, I would say,
controversial comment what he said, there are not many evangelicals coming
out of Cuba.
ELAHE IZADI, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, and this is part of the strategy,
right? By going after Trump the way some of the other candidates have,
he`s possibly alienating some Trump supporters who he`s still trying to
pick off, right, and the other interesting thing about this, is that
Trump`s supporters also include a block of people who are not typically
super political engaged. I mean he`s attracted and politicized people who
aren`t as involved at this point in the process, so if something happens to
Trump, if he drops out, where are those voters going to go? Maybe they
won`t go to anyone.
LUI: OK, so, when you know, Politico is reporting that Clinton, the
campaign chair John Podesta said in a private fund-raiser on Thursday that
he believes Cruz is the likeliest nominee. And so, if that is true where
does the money go, right? Because as we look at the current energy, it is
Cruz. On the other side we have some funders sitting on the sidelines,
saying, OK, if it`s not Cruz –
MURRAY: But I don`t think Republican donors are taking advice from Podesta
at this point. They`re going to let the chips fall where they may, they
are going to be behind a Cruz, behind a Rubio at this point. See, where
they want to go. What Podesta says about who that nominee is going to be,
is just smoke and mirrors at this point.
DOWDELL: But I do think, though, that Podesta raises a good point. First
of all, Ted Cruz has been raising a lot of money. That`s something that
hasn`t gotten a lot of attention. He`s raised a lot of money, he`s
consistently raised a lot of money even when he wasn`t polling as high.
So, that`s number one. But many of the people who were on the sidelines
are more moderate Republicans, that is exactly why they`re on the sidelines
because they are uncomfortable with what they`re hearing from all of the
candidates. That`s why you hear this talk about Romney and some coming
bark, a resurrection.
LUI: I want to get back to Robert here, so, Robert, one - it`s an
interesting part of this “Des Moines” poll is where is Carson?
COSTA: Carson struggled on foreign policy. He still has a grassroots
network in Iowa and he`s pulling a strong percentage of the Republican
electorate. But he hasn`t had a spark in the campaign. That`s why this
debate next week, next Tuesday is going to be very important for him.
LUI: What do you think is going to happen on Tuesday? And how crucial?
We`ll see a couple of dropping to the wayside, leaving the campaign trail
COSTA: Well, if you don`t get on that stage if you`re Senator Paul and you
don`t find a way to get a lectern in Las Vegas, it`s going to be very tough
for your campaign, because it`s a long slog between mid-December and the
end of January when the voting starts, and you have to have the money to
survive. I think you may see some drop off between now and Iowa.
LUI: Last work to Elahe.
IZADI: Yeah, I mean - go ahead.
MURRAY: It`s not the win, it`s the spin and momentum. I think as Robert
is talking about there right now, Carson is on the downward spin at this
point, but what you have also is, Rubio moving up and Cruz moving up at the
LUI: Thank you all. I appreciate that. “The Washington Post” Robert
Costa doing some great reporting as usual, thank you, Robert.
COSTA: Thank you.
LUI: Still ahead, does Bernie Sanders want to talk about ISIS? We`ll take
a look at his campaign`s conflicting message about that topic, but first,
three years after Sandy Hook, the fight for meaningful gun reform
continues. We`ll be joined by a Newtown father pushing for change.
LUI: Today marks one month since the terror attacks in Paris and British
Prime Minister David Cameron is calling for the European Union to enact
stricter gun controls there. Here`s what we know. Cameron will lay out
his proposals to E.U. members this week in Brussels. He will call for a
ban on the trade of high-powered semiautomatic weapons from the western
Balkans and greater sharing of intelligence among member states. Officials
say hundreds of military weapons used during the Balkans war have ended up
on the black market and many of those weapons have been linked recently to
attacks including Paris.
And tomorrow marks three years since a gunman opened fire as well on Sandy
Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 young students
and six of their teachers. The anniversary marked this weekend with
marches against gun violence in places like San Francisco, Denver, Boston,
amongst many others, in the snow, in the rain, in all that weather. In
2012 only days after the Sandy Hook shooting President Obama traveled to
Newtown and promised to seek gun reform legislation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We can`t tolerate
this anymore. These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change.
We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is
true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or
prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can`t be
an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: A handful of states including Connecticut have been able to
strengthen their gun safety laws in the years since, but in Congress, the
conversation was and remains a nonstarter. This is a map for you right
here of all the mass shootings that have taken place in the U.S. in the
three years since Sandy Hook, more than 1,000 of them with more than 1,300
people killed. Joining us here is Eric Milgram, whose two children
survived the attack on Sandy Hook. And Eric, thanks for being here today.
Tuesday marks the day. It is the first time that the anniversary falls on
a school day and as we listen and we talk about some of the details from
three years ago, I cannot help but think how emotional this must be for
ERIC MILGRAM, NEWTOWN ACTION ALLIANCE: Well, actually Monday, tomorrow is
the third year anniversary, and every year it gets a little easier, and
what we`ve learned, you know, those of us who experience this in Sandy Hook
and Newtown, the perspectives from people who survive shootings like in
Columbine or Virginia Tech were very helpful, they gave us the sense of
what they experienced. Not every shooting is the same, not every
individual is the same, but one of the things that they made clear was the
first year is the hardest, the day of the shooting - the first anniversary
is going to be very difficult, you make it through that and then things
come in waves and they`re absolutely right, but every anniversary it gets a
little bit easier, although with the San Bernardino shooting occurring so
close to this one, it really enflamed what was already a sore spot.
LUI: You no doubt have talked to your two children about this topic. How
do you talk about it with them and what do they say to you?
MILGRAM: You know, my son asked me the day of the shooting or it was
either the day of or the next day, why would someone no matter how angry,
no matter how disturbed they were, come in and shoot first graders? And I
still don`t have an answer for him. But what I did tell him is, we`re the
only industrialized country where people no matter how disturbed they are
can do this. You know, it doesn`t matter how disturbed an individual is.
The guns are a factor.
LUI: And talking about the guns, the unfortunate similarity with San
Bernardino and Sandy Hook was an AR-15 was used, an assault rifle. And as
those details come out and you look for solutions, yourself and your state
looks for solutions, what has, from your view, been something that gives
MILGRAM: What gives me hope is that we`re still talking about Sandy Hook
three years later. The shock is gone. We`ve had so many shootings in
between, I can`t even keep up with them all and this is something I pay
very close attention to. You know that you have a problem when you say
hey, did you hear about the school shooting and people say “which one?”
But at the same time, what`s happening is it`s no longer the radical pro-
gun rights extremists, the people who in the wake of a shooting will call
their senator or their congressional representative ten times. Now people
before who never owned guns, never cared about guns are saying what can I
do to help? And, you know, social media has been a powerful force. I`m
connected with folks like Andy Parker whose daughter Alison was killed on
air, connected with folks like Richard Martinez. We are people who are
bound by tragedy, but we are coming together to say hey, I thought this
couldn`t happen in my community or wouldn`t happen to me. Every other
community in the United States, you better have a disaster plan in place
for something like this happens, what you`re going to do.
LUI: O`Brien, as you watch Congress what do you think might be a better
way to move forward, because as I was mentioning the polarity that exists
MURRAY: Sure. I think the first thing it addresses these are tragedies
and never should happen in our country or any other country, for that
matter. Especially when you mentioned first graders and so forth, and I
think, you know, every incident is extremely different, but there is a
common bond and I think it`s mental illness at this point, which has been
sorely addressed by any government, whether it be state or federal. It
needs to be fixed and I think that`s the first step. And even Marco Rubio
LUI: Well, actually, Connecticut has done a pretty good job in terms of
comparison to other states and moving forward and addressing the health
care system, at least those who`ve been watching this space.
MURRAY: But Andrew Cuomo`s answer was, let`s get seven round clips instead
of ten round clips. It`s a bumper sticker. They don`t even make those,
but yet they passed the law and do that kind of thing. The laws that you
are talking about passing right now would not have done anything in these
tragedies. Marco Rubio said that and “The Washington Post” verified what
he said when they looked at each of the incidents and what the laws are
being proposed. So we need to take a broader look at this and again, if we
addressed the mental illness in this country and what`s not being done I
think that`s the major first step at this point.
DOWDELL: I have to disagree with that, because when you look at mental
illness, yes, is there a problem with mental illness in this country and
people receiving the treatment that they need, that is true. But to say
that, Jeff, because someone committed one of these heinous acts as they`re
mentally ill, that`s a way of dismissing some of the other issues that can
be addressed. So, yes, I agree, certainly we need to do more to help
people who need that, but we don`t want to stigmatize people who are
mentally ill to say that they will be violent. But I think the issue here
is when you look at what`s happening there is a blatant attempt in this
country by the NRA, by its supporters to stop, to basically freeze any
policy, any initiative that looks to address this issue, and when you look
at there are things that can be done to the point where people say that
DOWDELL: Exactly. But also, when you look at domestic violence. That`s
actually a precursor for violent crime. And many men who commit domestic
violence who get their guns initially are able to keep those guns, that is
something that could have saved many lives.
LUI: Final word to Eric here and Tara was bringing up the NRA and she was
saying that it almost seems like they cannot be addressed in terms of their
concerns. What is your view in terms of how that possibility may have
evolved over recent years?
MILGRAM: Well, if you look at Gabby Giffords political action committee
and the NRA is over 100 years old. Gabby Giffords Political Action
Committee is probably four years old, five years old at that. If you look
at the amount of money they`ve been able to raise to counter-spend against
the NRA on congressional lobbying. The NRA is scared, they are very scared
and that`s why they oppose universal background checks, they oppose any
common sense legislation because any of these things it makes it more
difficult for that black market to exist, and they thrive on those black
LUI: Eric, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing with us your
feelings on the topic. Eric Milgram joining us today from Newtown Action
Committee, if I`ve got that correct. Is that right?
MILGRAM: Newtown Action Alliance.
LUI: Action Alliance. Thank you so much.
Still ahead, new details that firebombing of a mosque in southern
California. What we know about the man arrested for the attack that`s
being called a hate crime. And that - is this a single issue election? And
is Bernie Sanders avoiding that issue?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE SANDERS (D): What about ISIS guys? How often are these people
talking about the issues that we talk about today? Of course I`ll talk
about ISIS, but today what we`re talking about is a community in which half
of the people don`t have jobs, we`re talking about a community in which
there are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: That was Bernie Sanders in Baltimore last week, sort of taking a
question from a reporter about ISIS that question came in response to a
directive to reporters from his campaign spokesman not to ask the Vermont
senator about the Islamic State. Sanders, for the most part, has avoided
taking, talking about terrorism, an issue that`s dominated the campaign
trail in the wake of attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. After all, new
poll, a new poll, shows terrorism is now the number one priority to
Americans even over the economy and that`s a dramatic change from just one
month ago as you can see there. And while Hillary Clinton`s campaign is
reportedly confident this will benefit her. A new CNBC survey has found
concerns over a major attack in the U.S. have not increased nearly as much
for Democrats as for Republicans.
Now we get to the Sanders` message in a race that has become pretty much a
single issue election then. Let`s take a listen to what he has to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: All right, let`s get back to our panel, and as we look at
Sanders, and his campaign staffers reportedly saying don`t ask him about
ISIS, this is perhaps similar to Ben Carson, and his dynamic, will this
hurt as we look at Bernie Sanders, his initial forays and especially
because New Hampshire is so important to him?
IZADI: Well, I think there is a distinction here between Bernie Sanders
and Ben Carson on this issue in particular. I believe a month or two ago
Sanders did articulate some sort of plan that he would enact to address
ISIS and it kind of tracks more with President Obama, but the distinction
here is that Bernie Sanders has been consistent over decades in his
political career that he wants to focus on domestic issues. When it comes
to foreign policy, his stance has always been for the most part anti-
interventionist versus being a hawk, right, and he believes that this money
spent on defense spending and on fighting foreign wars could be better
spent at home. And he`s kind of articulating that sentiment. The question
will be is whether these concerns over terrorism remain consistent
throughout the election cycle, if people continue to be as worried about
another terrorist attack, those poll numbers you showed that`s the highest
it`s been since the wake of 9/11.
LUI: While the answer might be yes, because the economy is so good, right?
The economy at the moment is second, but we`re looking at very low
employment numbers, the Dow is not diving, so if it remains to be this
issue, will he get Ben Carsoned as we saw in Des Moines on the numbers here
because Ben Carson had the appearance of not being able to handle such an
MURRAY: “Meet the Press” on Sundays where he takes the numbers and the
issues that comes up. And one of the weekends he did the debate in the
previous weeks and what words were mentioned. National defense and
security, national security has always been a major issue for Republicans,
less so for Democrats. So, I think that`s one reason, too, Bernie is
trying to avoid it. The other thing is, he`s going against the Secretary
of State who has international experience and international travel. We`ll
blame her for it. There`s no question about it. The Republicans blame
Hillary Clinton for it. He won`t even blame Hillary Clinton for her e-
mails. He will step away like he did in the debate. He will not engage
and attack her. Therefore, when this issue comes up, I don`t see any way
he can win that argument against Hillary Clinton.
LUI: And there was reportedly an ad that was put out by the Sanders
campaign that was critical of Hillary Clinton here, Tara, but what happened
is it was pulled at the last moment, it was aiming or looking at where is
the money coming from for Hillary Clinton?
DOWDELL: Well, I think that Senator Sanders and to your point, he has been
extremely consistent. So I think that`s number one.
LUI: About not throwing punches?
DOWDELL: About yes, he has said specifically that he does not want to
engage in sort of a dirty attack campaign, that he wants to focus on what
he cares about, and that is the economy, that`s his message. But I do
think, remember, Sanders is running in the Democratic primary, and you saw
the distinction in that poll between how Democrats feel about national
security versus Republicans. Republicans are far, it`s a far bigger issue
for Republicans. For Democrats, the economic issues still are very
important, so I think that Bernie Sanders` strategy isn`t necessarily a bad
one. He`s gotten this far by being himself. This is Bernie Sanders being
LUI: All right, I thank our panel today. Thank you so much, Tara, O`Brien
as well, and Elahe, I appreciate your time today and being with us this
Still ahead, how long will 9/11 first responders be able to count on
receiving health benefits from the federal government? And next, the
Internet wanted to use his basketball picture to send a message of hate.
But what happened after is inspiring.
LUI: We are following developments out in California where police have
made an arrest in the firebombing of a mosque about 75 miles outside of San
Bernardino. 23-year-old Carl Dial is being held at the Riverside county
jail, charged with a hate crime in connection with the bombing of an
Islamic center in Coachella, California, Friday afternoon. While
investigators have not announced a motive, Dial`s father tells NBC News his
son was a loner who “might be suffering from a psychiatric ailment” and had
become consumed by what he`s been reading on social media. Dial is now
being held on $150,000 bond.
Now, to a history-making NCAA basketball player who just became the subject
of a racist anti-Muslim internet meme. Now, he and his supporters are
fighting back. The viral meme was on Facebook and Twitter feeds, a
turbaned basketball player. The racist caption read “Nobody at school
wants to guard Muhammad. He`s too explosive.” The probable intimation,
Muslim means terrorist attacks. As it turns out, this player, this NCAA
player is not even Muslim. He`s Sikh. His name is not Muhammad. It`s
Darsh Singh. Many were outraged including a friend of Singh`s. Greg
Worthington wrote online “People need to understand this stuff hurts
people. You might think it`s funny, but that`s mainly because you don`t
know the guy. Perhaps if you did, then you would see this differently.”
Worthington explained not only was Darsh co-captain of the Trinity
University basketball team.” This post has almost 40,000 likes as a
result. In addition, Worthington says his jersey currently hangs in the
Smithsonian. He, Darsh Singh was the first turban Sikh ever to play in the
NCAA. The meme to support Darsh Singh now in Worthington`s view, the
hashtag “Be like Darsh.”
Joining us this morning from Dallas, Texas, Darsh Singh. Thanks for
getting up, Darsh, and you know, when you first heard about this post, you
dismissed it I heard and if you did, why did you dismiss it at the start?
DARSH SINGH, UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL PLAYER: Well, as a Sikh and as an
American I believe that love is the most powerful force in the world, and
this story reinforced that for me. You know, this person who posted the
meme didn`t know me. They wanted to post something out of ignorance. And
I had nothing to say to that. It doesn`t affect who I am and my character,
but I was really moved by Greg`s action. He was compelled by his Christian
values of radical love and he wanted to speak out against hate and he spoke
out on Facebook. And what was amazing to me is, it went viral, his love
went viral as just by one person acting, so many other people wanted to
express love whether it`s because of their faith, whether it`s their values
or just human decency, whatever it was, they were compelled to do so. And
that is what`s so inspirational to me.
LUI: Inspirational, you wrote in an op-ed in “The Dallas Morning News”
many things, one of which is this, hope. And the response, and I was just
mentioning, close to 40,000 likes to his comments, and as well as can`t
count how many comments coming out in support of you. What does that tell
you about the way people understand what is now unfortunately trending
Islamophobia, but as well as what it means to be Sikh and to have a Sikh
way of life, because those are different.
DARSH SINGH: Right, well, in the Sikh tradition, we believe that every
individual has the potential to embody divine love, and what this showed me
was, I think people are recognizing that there are no bystanders when you
see hate violence. Hate, and when you reach out to people and connect with
them, it means something. Silence in the face of prejudice is an act of
hate, and so a lot of people are recognizing that and they`re speaking up
and that`s what`s been really so meaningful to me, is they`ve gotten so
many messages, I thought, this is the good news, people reaching out and
saying in the past I`ve seen things, I`ve been silent, I pledge to you that
I`m going to speak up from now on. That`s really powerful to me.
LUI: Darsh, that`s powerful. That`s also inspirational as you`re saying.
And that is the good news. The bad news might be some of the comments that
you`ve heard recently from Donald Trump and other public figures that are
potentially here fueling a wave of as was mentioned earlier, Islamophobia
and then, this is what will affect you personally and SALDEF, the Sikh
American Legal Defense and Education Fund did an investigation into this,
and their report shows that about half of the public associate the turban,
which you are wearing with Islam and that they believe, and I`m just
reading straight from the report here that Sikhism is a sect of Islam. So,
you were saying silence should not be used. How might you work towards
alleviating that misperception?
DARSH SINGH: Well, you`re absolutely right. When we hear this increase of
rhetoric of hate on the airwaves, it results in hate on the ground, right?
We`re seeing houses of worship being vandalized, bombed, we`re seeing
people being bullied, we`re seeing folks being beaten up. This is not the
America that I grew up in. I was born and bred here in Texas. This is not
the America I love. It really breaks my heart, there`s a story of a young
sixth grader in New York who had her hijab ripped off, she was beaten up in
the playground, people calling her ISIS. It really breaks my heart to see
that. What are we teaching our kids? What values are we really imparting
when we have this rhetoric floating around? And so, my humble request to
my fellow Americans is to recognize that hate comes from fear and ignorance
and it`s the ideology of terrorism, and we have to combat that. Those who
are truly faithful and those who really care about each other as Americans
have to step up and say if I believe in love, if I believe in compassion, I
have to live into it, right? I have to take my thoughts and move it into
words and move it into action and that`s what we can do together to build a
more resilient community.
LUI: I look forward to what you might be doing as a history making NCAA
basketball player, no doubt I`m looking forward to seeing what other
history you might be making, especially on this very issue that you`re
pushing forward today. Darsh Singh, former player at Trinity University,
thank you for stopping by today and talking about this topic.
DARSH SINGH: Thanks to you, I love you, too.
Still ahead an update on yesterday`s historical elections in Saudi Arabia.
And next, 9/11 first responders make a final push for health benefits as a
congressional deadline looms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FEAL, DEMOLITION SUPERVISOR AT GROUND ZERO: We have gone eight, eight
Christmases without federal assistance. We have gone eight years not
knowing what the following year would bring to us on New Year`s. You can
have rest and peace of mind knowing that help is on its way in 2011, and to
me that`s better than opening any Christmas present this year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: John Feal, a former Ground Zero demolition supervisor speaking after
the Zadroga Act passed in December 2010. Five years later as Congress
prepares to wrap up its legislative session this week, medical treatment
and compensation ensured by that law, hinge on one piece of unfinished
business, the Zedroga Act established the World Trade Center health program
offering health services for 9/11 first responders, recovery workers and
survivors, who lived, worked or went to school near Ground Zero and for
those who responded to the Pentagon, the crash site in Shanksville,
Pennsylvania. There are now more than 72,000 patients enrolled in the
World Trade Center health program. But this fall the Zadroga Act expired.
Funding for the laws expected to run out by earlier next year.
House Speaker Paul Ryan saying this week that the Zadroga Act will be
renewed as part of a comprehensive spending bill meant to fund the
government and avoid the shutdown. And after weeks of criticism from
comedian Jon Stewart, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also assured
the legislation would be approved in the omnibus bill. But as we wait for
the vote next week, some questions remain. For how long will the law be
extended? How much money are we talking about? And how is it going to be
Joining us right now, Democratic Congressman from New York Carolyn Maloney,
John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation, and he was a demolition
supervisor as I mentioned at Ground Zero. Dr. Michael Crane is the
director of the World Trade Center health program at Mt. Sinai hospital
here in New York.
Congresswoman, if you can tell us, how does it look? Do you believe that
this will go through? One of your colleagues who you know quite well, Pete
King, saying yes, this will work. This is going to happen.
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY, (D) NEW YORK: Well, all - we have momentum and it`s
not over `til it`s over and the president signed it into law, but it looks
very good that the $8.1 billion health and compensation program will be
part of the omnibus must pass bill, $3.5 billion will be for a permanent
health care program, which is so very important, the cancers are not going
to go away. The men are sick. We need to be there for them, and then we
have the rest of the money will be for the compensation program that will
expire in 2021.
LUI: Is it enough?
MALONEY: It is enough. It is what we agreed to. It`s what we believe we
need, and we would like a permanent for the compensation, but we`ll be back
in five years for that, but the heroes should not have to go home for the
holidays without their health care and knowing that they have it. They
were there for us, this grateful nation has to be there for them.
LUI: John Feal, we were playing what you had said five years ago, and
clearly this is an emotional issue for you and to your heart. You were
there. With this now and it looks like based on what the representative
was telling us, it looks like it may happen, but there`s still the
possibility before the president signs this that it may not.
JOHN FEAL, FOUNDER FEALGOOD FOUNDATION: Yes, sure, listen. The fat lady
didn`t sing yet, but she`s warming up. Five years ago we knew we would be
here today. We`re not shocked, we are not surprised and we`re not taken
back by what Congress has done over the last year to stall this bill. Our
bill is the sexiest bill in Congress and everybody wanted to attach
themselves to it. Democrats knew this was a must pass bill, Republicans
knew it was a must pass bill and they used it as a political football and
every time we got to the one yard line they continued to move the goal post
back but we`re close, we are inches away, but anything can happen, so we`re
not taking anything for granted.
LUI: What would you say to Congress?
FEAL: Shame on you for playing politics with human life.
MALONEY: It`s a national scandal that it hasn`t passed and it was allowed
LUI: Doctor, to you on this. You understand the program, you understand
why the money is needed. And we can certainly see that there`s a little
bit of concern about how this was used. Has this affected at all your
level of service, the way you`re planning for service to those who need the
DR. MICHAEL CRANE, DIRECTOR WTC HEALTH PROGRAM AT MT. SINAI: Thankfully
not yet. I tend to be an optimist about these things. I think that the
right thing will happen, which is to take care of these folks, take care of
their illnesses and bring this bill forward and get it done.
LUI: John Feal, what are you hearing from all of those who you know? You
talk to them every day, who were there, part of the group that I was
discussing, that would benefit from this bill, what are they telling you?
FEAL: Well, listen, there is a cloud of uncertainty in the 9/11 community,
but there`s also a cloud of uncertainty into those who work under Dr.
Crane. You know, how ironic, the doctors that fight to keep us alive and
treat us, we`re fighting to keep their jobs. We`re paying them back by
continuing to go to D.C., and great champions like Carolyn Maloney and
Kirsten Gillibrand continue to fight for us. You know, again, we`re close,
but we are not popping the cork yet. We still have to monitor over the
next 72, 96 hours but we`re in a better place than we were last week and
LUI: Representative, I want you to finish. But I want to go to the doctor
very quickly here. What sorts of patients are you seeing right now, what
are some of the afflictions?
CRANE: At the very beginning early on we saw the patients who had the sort
of inflammatory irritative conditions, sinusitis, asthma, irritation of the
stomach, but now we`re in a real chronic disease phase. We`re seeing many
more people with cancer. I`m at Mt. Sinai and we have 22,000 patients and
I`m over 1,000 of them are now experiencing cancer. So this is now a far
more ill population than those healthy folks.
LUI: They are getting sicker and sicker.
CRANE: Absolutely. And, you know, age also taking its toll. They were 39
at the time of World Trade. They are in their mid-50s now, so the normal
things are happening, but all that exposure is probably making every single
normal thing that happens to a person worse. And the greatest worry, of
course, is the cancer, but also there is significant mental health
conditions, very similar to what the Afghan war veterans have.
LUI: John Feal, how many people - how many friends have you lost?
FEAL: I`ve been to 149 funerals, each one gets harder.
MALONEY: We lost almost 3,000 people on 9/11, but we`ve lost hundreds and
hundreds since, more police officers have died since 9/11 from exposure to
the toxic air than died on 9/11, so this is a very serious and important
bill and we are saying no more excuses, no more delays, no more political
games. It`s time to pass this bill, and turn it into a law that provides
support to people for their life, for their health care. It`s the least
that we can do for those who ran into fire while others were running out,
and I`m wearing a hero`s jacket tonight, a present from the firefighters
and officers and we are hopeful, you have to be hopeful. The leaders have
said they`re going to get it done. I trust they`ll get it done. It`s the
right thing to do.
MALONEY: It`s the patriotic thing to do, it`s the American thing to do.
LUI: That`s right, and no doubt the police detective from the New York
Police Department, Zadroga would be very glad to hear all three of you to
say what you had to say today. So, good luck in what you are doing.
MALONEY: Thank you so much.
LUI: Thank you so much to John. Thank you, doctor, so much for your time
We want to update you on a story we first brought you yesterday. Here`s
what we know at this hour on it, and we can tell you that at least three
Saudi women have won seats on municipal councils. Yesterday`s elections
were the first in the country`s history, in which women could run for
office and the first time that women could vote. At this point we can tell
you that nearly 1,000 women were competing for 2,100 seats. There were
about 7,000 candidates all together. Election officials are still counting
ballots in many races. Stay with MSNBC and msnbc.com throughout the day
for more on that. We`ll be right back.
LUI: A sex trafficking ring has been busted in Peru. And authorities
believe an American citizen is at the center of it. 65-year-old New
Hampshire resident Joshua Brown was arrested along with five others as part
of a joint U.S.-Peruvian operation to get to the heart of a child sex
trafficking ring that authorities say has been operating in the country for
the past decade. Police were able to rescue 11 victims. The youngest
being four years old. Joining me to talk about this case from Washington
is Bradley Myles, chief executive officer of Polaris Project, a nonprofit
organization combating modern day slavery and human trafficking as well.
Brad, thanks for joining us here today. And when we talk about sex
tourism, which is what this case is about, it is a term that many of us are
not familiar with. How big of a problem is this and what is it?
BRADLEY MYLES, POLARIS PROJECT: Well, it`s a disgusting term. I mean it`s
the concept of somebody traveling to another country, especially when you
refer to child sex tourism, I think it should be referred to as child
sexual abuse and rape. It`s someone traveling to another country because
they believe they can exploit children in that other country for sex, and
sounds like in this case, that`s what was happening here as this ring was
trying to advertise child sex tourists.
LUI: And in this detail coming from ICE, they are saying there was a four-
year old, 1 of those 11 minors that was being charged - was being sold for
$7,000 to have sex with an adult. Are we talking about Americans as part
of the potential customers of this sex tourism industry?
MYLES: Well, we need to learn more about it as this case unfolds who all
the customers were. When we hear about sex tourism and child sex tourism
around the world, we do hear about Americans traveling abroad to places
like Cambodia, the Philippines, here in this case in this example in Peru.
People traveling to other countries to have sex with children in those
other countries. It is the reason why the U.S. passed this act called the
Protect Act, which is specifically to address you travel to another country
to exploit a child, you can be prosecuted in the U.S. for that crime. So,
it sounds like that`s what was happening here.
LUI: Yes, because Brad, when I was doing a story out of Southeast Asia,
that was exactly what they were doing, they were traveling to another
countries to try to skirt laws.
MYLES: Absolutely. They think that in the other country there might not
be as strong of a law enforcement response, they think there might not be
as strong in a victim service response. And it is the reason you got to
think about why do traffickers do this? They`re always thinking about
profit and risk and what is the blend between profit and risk? Is it high
profit enough and is it low risk enough? So, when you have a case like
this alleged case, you`ve got someone who believed I can make high profits
in this country selling this service for low risk.
LUI: So 30 seconds here, Brad. This is an American operation that`s
trying to stop this. How successful are we?
MYLES: Well, I`m glad to see this take-down happened. This case is
allegedly happening for ten years, so this is progress. This is a step
forward. But there is so much more to do. I mean this is a great
international cooperation here between ICE and the Peruvian national police
and the Peruvian attorney general`s office and child victim services. So
much more to do that I think this is a step, but we need to really change
that equation of addressing the profit and risk and we haven`t gotten quite
LUI: Brad Myles from Polaris Project, thank you so much for joining us on
this Sunday morning.
MYLES: Richard, good to see you.
LUI: And thank you for getting up with us today on this Sunday.
Up next is Melissa Harris-Perry. We`ll see you next weekend, have a great
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