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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 08/02/15

Guests: Korey Johnson; Michelle Goldberg; Farai Chideya; Bonnie Watson-Coleman; Dave Zirin, Frankie Edozien, John Campbell, Elon James White,Billy Kolber, Evita Robinson, Adar Cohen

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning my question, why are we still upset over the killing of Cecil, the lion? Plus, the message of an empty chair. And the big news about Joe Biden. But we begin with the first debate of the 2016 campaign. Let "the hunger games" begin! Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. There are 17 candidates in the race for the Republican nomination. That`s right, 17. This guy, former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore declared this week. Now you see, you may have missed it, but with 17 declared candidates, the first Republican primary debate that will be held this week is already being described as a bloodbath, a multicandidate melee. And, you know, now that you mention it, it really does feel kind of like an all- out fight to the death battle Royale. All the candidates enter and only one leave. OK, they`re all leave but only one will win. You know what else is like that? "The hunger games." You see, you drop a couple dozen contenders in the ring and see which one makes it out alive. Really, stick with me now. Just like "the hunger games," you have the careers, the well-funded odds on favorites, the ones that have been training for this day their whole lives. Yes. And you have the ones that will probably go down in the first couple of minutes. Right. OK, and you see how it`s all about strategy? I mean, how does your campaign team get you ready for the spotlight? What is the persona that you will present to the public? What will you wear? That`s right, the skills and assets of the tributes are assessed before the games begin and assigned a point value, giving the audience a sense of who is the favorite. Kind of like these early polls that not only give us the lay of the land, but in the case of this first debate, determine who even makes it on stage. What do you do when the buzzer goes off and you`re in the arena? You can hide, you can try to blend in and survive and not make any ugly headlines. Try to get in one good kill. Or you can throw yourself head first into that multicandidate melee and risk losing your own head right away. You can create alliances, however tenuous. Team up with the others to attack the strongest and improve all your chances of living to see another debate. And then there are the threats. Vote for me or you`ll get stuck with this guy. You know, like Catness and Peta threatened to eat poison berries unless they were the victors. So who exactly are the poison berries in this scenario? Yes, right. And like "the hunger games," the candidates who are the most entertaining get the most help, right? In the games that shows little silver parachute gives the food and medicines in the primary, it`s funding, its media attention and you hope, its votes. Now, of course, there is one crucial difference between "the hunger games" and the Republican primary debates. Among the children competing in "the hunger games," there is a lot of racial and gender diversity, more than among the Republican presidential candidates. Joining me now is Robert Traynham, MSNBC contributor, former Bush-Cheney senior adviser and VP communication for the bipartisan policy center, Farai Chideya professor of journalism at New York University and Michelle Goldberg, senior contributing writer for "the Nation." Also joining me now from Baltimore is Korey Johnson, senior at the University, youth coordinator for leaders of a beautiful struggle and the 2014 cross examination debate association champion, which is the largest debate championship in the world. Korey, I actually want to start with you because is there something that actually makes a great debate in the space where you debate that might actually improve this madness we`re about to see on stage on Thursday? KOREY JOHNSON, LEADER, BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE: I definitely think that debate writ large, especially the cross examination debate association type of debate, the policy debate that we do, is very similar to the presidential debate, very similar to, I would say, to being in "the hunger games." I don`t think that there is anything different about it. I think it`s very cutthroat, I think that we`re in there to win, so I don`t think there are too many differences. I think that`s very unorganized, I think it`s kind of go with the flow. I think we stress a lot more communication theory, especially with this upcoming presidential debate, especially with the Republican Party. I think that there isn`t a lot of organization right now, but I think that`s maybe where we differ a little bit. HARRIS-PERRY: All right, Korey, stick with us. I want to come on and ask you, Robert. So, we are just kind of looking at the new polls, the new NBC polls showing Donald Trump at 19 percent, Scott Walker at 15 percent, Jeb at 14, Ben Carson at 10 and everybody else in single digits, just a crew of them. And I guess, part of what I am wondering is if I`m a single digit guy, right, so you know, so what is my strategy to build a coalition? Go after, you know, the guy on top? Do you all pretend that Donald trump isn`t there? What is the strategy in this case? ROBERT TRAYNHAM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: So remember, this is a FOX News debate, our competitor out there -- HARRIS-PERRY: Whose competitor? TRAYNHAM: And you`re talking about Republican voters. So you do what Mike Huckabee did, which you say something sensationalistic, Jews quote-unquote "going to the oven," in the context of President Obama`s Iran deal. You say something that is going to be provocative to stoke the Republican base and a FOX News debate. Now, obviously, it hasn`t worked for Huckabee, but that`s what you try to do. And what you also saw is Rick Santorum and saw the other people did not condone those remarks. So therefore, they`re trying to, if you will, stoke that debate to become relevant to rise up. HARRIS-PERRY: So I guess my concern there, Michelle, it then creates this per verse incentive. I mean, you know, Korey is talking about sort of the madness of debate, but at least I feel like in the academic debate, there is some substance goal. MICHELLE GOLDBERG, SENIOR CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE NATION: Right. And there is a sense of what it means if you have to win a point, right? To win a point doesn`t just mean kind of can you say something the loudest or say something the most outrageous. I mean, part of it is per verse incentives of the media and FOX News, but it`s also the per verse incentives of the Republican Party electorate, right? I mean, the way you appeal to a Republican Party electorate is you do what Donald Trump is doing, you do what Mike Huckabee is doing, you know. You kind of say that you might use federal troops to shut down Planned Parenthood. You kind of make a lot of racially, you know, kind of racial demagoguery. HARRIS-PERRY: So I`m with you. And I hear you. And there is nothing I would enjoy more than just like go in on FOX News and GOP, but I wonder like is it really that they are somehow bad or awful or so you simply have this incentive of 15 people on a stage, and you`ve got to make your voice the one that is heard? FARAI CHIDEYA, PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISM, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: You know, I just think that people in the Republican field made a huge tactical error with Donald Trump and they`re going to pay for it. I am forgetting who said this, but you may know. Someone made a remark that essentially said that preparing for this debate meant preparing for a NASCAR race where one of the drivers was drunk. And that to me describes what`s going to happen. I mean, if Donald Trump goes on the attack, what do you do? Do you attack him back or do you not? And I don`t paint all Republicans as the same. I have many Republicans in my family, and they have different opinions from each other, just as the democratic members of my family have different opinions from each other. But what I`m saying is, this debate is already going to be a cluster nutter because nobody neutralized the Donald. HARRIS-PERRY: A lot of weird things already happened in the first eight minutes of the show. So Korey, I want to come to you for a second. I want to play a moment from the 2012 debate. This is Governor Perry kind of making a moment that people remember as a great debate error. I want to get your response. Let`s take a listen to Governor Perry for a moment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The third agency of government I would do away with the education, commerce, and let`s see. The third one I can`t. I`m sorry. Oops. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So, Korey, just from a pure debate perspective, what happens when you have a brain freeze like that? When you are just like you can`t, you know, remember the third agency of government that you were going to shut down. Is there any way to survive to come back from a moment like that? JOHNSON: I think that there is a great moment to come back from that. We mess up a lot in debate, but I think that going back to, you know, Aristotle`s three proofs of persuasion within communication, maintaining your ethos and your pathos and your logos say continuing to make logical arguments, you know what I mean? So, if you are messing up, if you are stumbling, even just taking you breather and taking it is like and say, look -- maybe not even sorry, but that is not what I meant and kind of rebuilding your argumentation from there and remembering to stay firm in your standpoint because if you don`t, your entire argument could not be acceptable and you will convince no one. HARRIS-PERRY: If I had a Nerd Land trophy to give, you would have just won it with your Aristotelian of principles for debate. And so, I guess, I want do Robert, to come to you on this, because, you know, I think that`s our goal as Americans, right, is to imagine that in the context of debate, what we`re getting is some sort of substantive capacity to learn about and discern between these candidates, but like sort of where we end up going immediately as a media table is it`s just going to be, you know, a hot mess. TRAYNHAM: I disagree with Farai on this. Here`s why. Because every single debate that I`ve watched over the last 15 to 20 years, the frontrunner always has a big target behind his or her back. Because Donald Trump is the number one front-runner, if you will, I suspect that everyone on is that stage, including the moderators are going to press him on substantive issues. Hi, Mr. Trump. You know, if you are trying about immigration, walk us through your policy, walk as through infrastructure, walk us through Iran. And what we know about Donald Trump -- HARRIS-PERRY: Let`s watch the Republicans doing to Mitt Romney who was the big front-runner in the last election cycle. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A timid Massachusetts moderate who even "the Wall Street Journal" said had an economic plan to intimidate resembled Obama. RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mitt Romney`s plan is simply not bold. JON HUNTSMAN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He criticized me while he was out running money. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if has record was so great at governor of Massachusetts, why didn`t he run for reelection? GINGRICH: I realize the red light doesn`t mean anything to you because you`re the front-runner. PERRY: And Mitt, we need for you to release your income tax so the people of this country can see how you made your money. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So they all come for Mitt, but the reality is Mr. Romney goes on to become the nominee. It makes me wonder so do debates matter? CHIDEYA: Mr. Romney is not Donald Trump, right? HARRIS-PERRY: No! Only in the sense of being the front-runner. GOLDBERG: And isn`t he is not really? I mean, I think he`s the front- runner in terms of polls, but nobody actually thinks we live in such a dystopian house escapes that Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee. But I guess - and part of the difficulty is that Donald Trump`s following, who I think is not kind as sustainable as Romney`s, the core of it is very, very passionate. There was a really interesting story in Bloomberg recently about a focus group of Donald Trump supporters. And the more the other candidates attacked him, the more his followers soured on those other candidates. The more it convinced them that they were just kind of Washington insiders who couldn`t stand the challenge that Donald Trump presents. HARRIS-PERRY: So stick with us, everybody. We`ve got more on this. I want to say thank you again to Korey Johnson in Baltimore, Maryland. May the world look more like Korey, the world you just invoked for us on the big stage. And up next, the big news about Biden. But before we go, the victor of "the last hunger games" weighs in on this year`s tributes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve got some healthy competition in the Democratic Party, but I`ve lost count how many Republicans are running for this job. They`ll have enough for an actual hunger games. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: While the GOP field expanded to 17 Republican candidates this week, there are reports that the Democratic list might grow by one, vice president Joe Biden. Yesterday the "New York Times" reported that vice president`s advisers have been meeting with donors to explore a possible White House run. Joining me now, NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker. Kristen, how has the vice president`s decision here been potentially impacted by the recent loss of his son beau? KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think is that certainly one important factor, Melissa. And I will get to more on that in just a second. But first, a little bit of background, as you pointed out, the speculation first started with that "New York Times" report which basically stated that vice president Biden is taking what the paper is dubbing a new look at the potential run. The newspaper reporting and I`ll just read you a little bit, that Mr. Biden quote "advisers have started to reach out to Democratic leaders and donors who have not yet committed to Mrs. Clinton. Now, as you say, one of the big factors could be Biden`s late son Beau who passed away in May from brain cancer at age 46. He reportedly urged his father to run before he passed and had consistently urged his father to run. Now, the vice president`s press secretary, I was in contact with her yesterday, she sent me a statement which read in part, quote, "as the Biden family continues to go through this difficult time, the vice president is focused on his family and immersed in his work," so really downplaying the reports, Melissa. But look, here`s a little reality check. Some of Biden`s key aides have already been working with and helping Secretary Clinton now on her campaign. Clinton, as you know, has gotten widely reported, has brought support among Democrats and she`s polling really well. And Democratic sources say Biden would really likely only consider running seriously if Clinton would stumble in a big way, and of course that hasn`t happened. Having said all of that, though, Melissa, and this is the really interesting thing. If you talk to folks who know vice president Biden and know politics, one thing is certain. Once you run for president, you`re sort of bitten by that bug and it never goes away. You always have that inherent desire to run for president. So it is certainly true of vice president Biden as well. We understand he`s going to be taking a vacation with his family at the end of the summer, and then he will make a final decision. And look, he`s always said publicly that he will make a decision and announce his decision at the end of summer. So we`ll have to wait and see. But there is, of course, again that reality that Secretary Clinton has broad support among a lot of Democrats, Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, that was true in 2008, too. WELKER: That`s a fair point. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Kristen Welker at the White House. And up next, my panel is going to weigh in. And still to come, the new political battle over Planned Parenthood. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: One democratic donor from South Carolina explained why he wants to see vice president Biden run for the top job next year. He told the "New York Times," quote, "it`s not that we dislike Hillary, it`s that we want to win the White House, and we have a better chance of doing that with someone who is not going to have all the distractions of a Clinton campaign." Joining the table now, my colleague Steve Kornacki, host of "Up with Steve Kornacki." So when there is breaking electoral news overnight, I call on Steve Kornacki. Is that a fair assessment that Biden might be a better general election candidate than Hillary Clinton? STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI: Well, I think we have to be a little careful in assessing Biden`s political strength right now because his poll numbers are basically an all-time high for him as vice president. And a lot of that probably does have to do with the outpouring of goodwill and sympathy in the wake of his son`s death. I don`t think it`s a coincidence his poll numbers spike. In terms of what`s going on here right now, I think there is two ways to read it. I think it`s still very - it is highly unlikely at this moment that Joe Biden is actually about to jump in this race. I think there is two realistic possibilities there may be some overlap. Number one is that Joe Biden at a personal level in 2009, 2010, and 2011 endured how many stories saying Hillary Clinton is about to replace him as vice president, going to kick him out of the job that he really wants. And so, there may be a little bit of tweaking it here, a little bit of payback, a little bit of just pouring this out there and toying with it. In terms of the actually getting in the race, I think the scenario that gets Joe Biden in the race, it has to be a collapse on Hillary Clinton`s part. It has to be something more than we`ve seen so far. If you he played it out a few months, it could be this. Bernie Sanders wins Iowa, Bernie Sanders turns around and wins New Hampshire. She`s lost the first two states. Now Democrats are looking and they are saying Hillary Clinton is a goner -- HARRIS-PERRY: He can`t wait that late, though, can he? KORNACKI: That`s the thing. So it has to be something some other revelation between now and Iowa, something like that. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. Because he got to be in before Iowa. TRAYNHAM: It could be Benghazi. She`s going to testify before the House, I`m just saying. I mean, it could be that. HARRIS-PERRY: I can`t believe you said that word. TRAYNHAM: Well, I mean, she is going to testify this fall. It could be also be some acquaintance, the emails stuff. It also could be perhaps maybe some infidelities in her marriage. So, there`s some other things out there I`m hearing from Democrats -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What? I think that`s baked in, right? TRAYNHAM: Well, the question is -- HARRIS-PERRY: Well, we have to pause because I don`t really know that we can just say that on TV so -- not that there may be infidelities but that we just presume it to be. GOLDBERG: I think people have made peace with the fact that Bill Clinton might be having affairs, right? I mean, anybody who is going to be completely appalled by that and find that a deal breaker has already kind of turned their backs from. HARRIS-PERRY: But let me suggest this. So I hear you, but I think that this is precisely what that South Carolina operative is suggesting there, right? That needing to have this conversation is the thing that is the potential weakening, but that said, I actually - I want to stay away from that for a moment, because it does feel like there`s icky sexist residue sitting on that for me. And I guess part of what I find exciting about a possibility of a Biden run is just his proximity to President Obama. And whatever else we know, we know that this president has successfully won both of his campaigns, right, to run and win. So I just want to listen very, very briefly to President Obama speaking at Beau Biden`s funeral to Joe Biden, because it is a reminder of the close personal relationship between these two men. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Joe, you are my brother, and I`m grateful every day that you`ve got such a big heart and a big soul and those broad shoulders. I couldn`t admire you more. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So let me just say, yes, I know there is a thing between Hillary and Bill, whatever, but my more interesting thing is the ways in which there is a thing between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that goes back to a previous time. And that Joe Biden, that`s not -- he doesn`t carry that, he carries -- like, I`ve stood with this man through everything. KORNACKI: Well, if you think back to the very beginning, it`s so interesting that the evolution of the Obama-Biden relationship, the very beginning is -- HARRIS-PERRY: Clean and articulate. KORNACKI: My old newspaper, the observer, says that. See, he went from that to getting on the ticket. When they put him on the ticket it wasn`t necessary that much trust there. It was more we need someone who can appeal to the white working class voters, (INAUDIBLE) primary. But that relationship has really grown in the last six and a half years to that moment you just played at Beau Biden`s funeral a few months ago. HARRIS-PERRY: So Steve, I want to go back here. For me the moment when we shifted from Joe Biden says that Barack Obama is clean and articulate to like, I see, these two are down with each other. For me it was in the 2008 debate when I was asking first Sarah Palin about what happens if John McCain, for some reason, is no president, right, if they are elected. And then she asked it of Joe Biden and this was his response. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How would a Biden administration be different from an Obama administration if that were to happen? JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: God forbid that would ever happen. It would be a national tragedy of historic proportions if it were to happen. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And so, there was like, no, no, I am not trying to think about - no, no, I`m here for Obama. And I just feel like that will carry something. CHIDEYA: Yes, you know, it does. I mean, he`s someone who -- I mean, he has not stepped out in front very often during the two terms, you know, one and a half so far of the Obama presidency, and when he did, it was in a way which some people read as strategic and others read as off the cuff on gay marriage. And he actually helped President Obama lead. So he is someone who, when he has stepped out from the president, has done it to the president`s strategic advantage. So he`s proven himself a true ally and a true friend to the president. But I think that the strategic aspects of entering the race when money plays such an important part and the donors have already been pre-massaged to line up with their candidates, I don`t know that he can overcome that. HARRIS-PERRY: Money is real, but the fun thing is I`m sure Leslie Nope is sitting with great joy about the possibility of a Joe Biden run. Thank you to our very own, Steve Kornacki. He will stick around and talk to us. Up next, those Planned Parenthood videos and what they could mean for the organization`s future. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: A series of sting videos targeting Planned Parenthood has renewed the passion and debate around abortion, even helping to fast-track a Senate vote that seeks to defund the non-profit Planned Parenthood. The first video was released on July 14th, and since then three other videos have been released. All were secretly produced, filmed and edited by an anti-abortion group, and alleged that Planned Parenthood clinics is selling tissues from aborted fetuses for profit. The center for medical progress says it plan to release a dozen more videos in the coming weeks and months. All four of the covert videos show a similar format. Planned Parenthood doctors and officials are shown speaking to people posing as buyers from a firm procures tissues for medical research. In one video, Planned Parenthood official is talking about techniques aimed at preserving fetal parts, as well as the costs associated with sharing, collecting and transporting the tissue. We`re going to show you a clip from one of the videos now. I just want to warn you it does contain some graphic language. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I would throw a number out. I would say it`s probably anywhere from 30 to $100, depending on the facility, depending on the facility and what`s involved. . UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The $30 to $100 price range, that`s per specimen that we`re talking about? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Per specimen, yes. So then you`re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers. We`ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I`m going see if I can get it all intact. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Cecille Richards is the president of Planned Parenthood federation of America apologized for the tone of her stuff and the video that we just showed. She also asserts that Planned Parenthood did not break the law and to a larger issue is at stake. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CECILLE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA: We know the real agenda of organizations behind videos like this and they have never been concerned with protecting the health and safety of women. Their mission is to ban abortion completely and to cut women off from care and Planned Parenthood and the other health centers. And we will never let that happen. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Joining me now is Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman, a Democrat from New Jersey. Congresswoman, thank you for being here. Do you said that those are tough for those in the reproductive justice movement to address, and so I have really appreciate you being willing to be here and to address it. What do you see when you watch those videos? What is it that you think is the (INAUDIBLE) this is occurring? REP. BONNIE WATSON-COLEMAN (D), NEW JERSEY: First of all, I think this has been a whole environment of eliminating, reducing, making it more difficult for women to have access to a safe abortion. I think that Planned Parenthood has been a target and a deflection. First of all, Planned Parenthood, the majority of its patients have wellness, prevention, all kinds of other screenings, cancer screenings. They have sexually transmitted infections screenings and treatment, things of that nature. And all the federal money that Planned Parenthood gets goes to that kind of health care. And the people that Planned Parenthood takes care of are people who otherwise wouldn`t have access to health care. And so we`re not just talking about women and their access to a safe abortion. We`re just something that has been discussed, determined and stamped decades ago. We`re talking about actually having issues with access to health care. I think it`s a Republican deflection. I think it`s a right wing extremist deflection. HARRIS-PERRY: I want to be careful about putting - I mean, so we`ll talk as we go forward about the ways in which Republicans are now using, making use of these videos to talk about defunding Planned Parenthood. That said, it`s not the Republican Party that who sent out these folks to take these videos. And so, part of what I`ve been kind of battling with myself is everything you`ve said about Planned Parenthood here is true. The extent to which the medical services, the health care provision is the vast majority of what happens. But I also feel like, OK, we also must contend with what we are seeing here. So even if they are poorly edited -- so I`m wondering, is the issue here about the fact that a shaming has been used to talk about this medical procedure in a way that shaming is not used to talk about other kinds of medical procedures. I`m trying to figure out why we find it so difficult to just talk about this thing. WATSON-COLEMAN: Well, first of all, using a tissue specimen has been very helpful in research -- Alzheimer`s disease, HIV, other diseases. So we know that there is medical necessity in being able to examine and research and use tissue. So let`s put that aside. So what is the purpose of this? The purpose of this is to further the extremist`s perspective that they`re all pro-life, pro-life until the baby is born, then hello-goodbye, you know. So this is just really part of their sort of extreme views as it relates to a woman`s right to choose. And you know what? I think it`s also a reflection of the few women that exist in positions to be able to impact these policies and these decisions. HARRIS-PERRY: A California judge banned more of these videos from being released and yet they`re still releasing them. I wonder if there is -- and as they`re releasing them, you know, obviously there is kind of this growing anxiety around it. Some folks using black lives matter language to actually talk about reducing the capacity of women and women of color to have access to safe and legal abortions and using, again, sting videos in ways that we have almost come to think of like the body camera videos being used from police stops, and there does seem to be a kind of odd parallelism that is being described between black lives matter. It is fascinating to me to watch that happen in our public sphere. WATSON-COLEMAN: It`s fascinating to me that in this day and age, we are dealing with any of those issues. It`s fascinating to me that this is a very unique period of time, and I`m wondering what the historians are going to say about it 50 years from today, but it is a period of polarization, of hate, of extremism, my way or the highway. It is ideologically based without any logic, you know. It is a gotcha period. I got you, I will use whatever I can to perpetuate my myth as opposed to showing it as it truly is. There is nothing even in the videos that says that Planned Parenthood is doing anything illegal. Even some of the interviewees said, we are a non- profit. We`re not trying to profit from anything. But research has its value. HARRIS-PERRY: Up next, the politics of it all. There may be a lot more at stake here when we`re talking about the future of Planned Parenthood. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Republicans want to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding. Planned Parenthood receives about $500 million in public funding. But says the majority of it comes from Medicaid reimbursements for specific services which the Senate bill won`t affect. Planned Parenthood says the federal funds go to women`s health services such as contraception, surgical cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted infections. They do not fund abortion. On Friday, the White House threaten to veto on any bill that defunds Planned Parenthood. Back with me is Robert Traynham, Farai Chideya, Michelle Goldberg, and the congresswoman from New Jersey Bonnie Watson-Coleman. So Michelle, what is at stake in this moment of talking about the defunding of Planned Parenthood? GOLDBERG: Well, two different things. I mean, obviously, it`s hard for me to believe that Democrats will actually ever cave or Obama will actually ever cave. And then I guess you can imagine that they will shut down the government and kind of continue -- refuse to pass these continuing resolution -- HARRIS-PERRY: Is that a good strategy for Republicans right now to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood? GOLDBERG: It depends on where they`re thinking strategically. I mean, in terms of the primary, it might be very well be a good strategy, right? And there are a number of people in the Republican base who are absolutely demanding this and saying that they will rule out supporting anybody who doesn`t go along with it. And it`s another way in which the Republican Party is hostage to the extreme of their base. Because I don`t think it plays well in the general election. And then beyond that, where I think that you are going to have that Planned Parenthood has some real challenges is in the states when, you know, these Republican-dominated states that are already launching costly investigations that even if Planned Parenthood has done nothing wrong just to defend themselves in these investigations is going to take a lot of money and a lot of resources. HARRIS-PERRY: When you look at the Gumacher (ph) poll, I mean, the Gumacher (ph) information about the state restrictions, state level abortion restriction, you just see this huge spike that occurred. GOLDBERG: Right. And that`s already been happening. We`ve already seen a lot of defunding. My guess would be that we will see a lot more. And again, you know, once you kind of start being able to subpoena people, it becomes this fishing expedition that can just be used to kind of torment this organization for years and years and years to come. HARRIS-PERRY: So let me play some sound of Republicans responding to these videos that have emerged. And then I want to talk a little bit - get more about what`s really at stake here. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today, the U.S. department of justice should open a criminal investigation into whether Planned Parenthood nationally is a criminal enterprise breaking the law. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Planned Parenthood is in the business of providing abortion. And what we now know, they`re in the business of selling babies` body parts like the parts of a Buick. SEN. RAND PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve been fighting to defund Planned Parenthood. I don`t think they should get taxpayer dollars, and we got good news today. We are going to get a vote on this. The Senate will vote on Planned Parenthood before we leave in August. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So, this, Robert, does not feel like a good faith fight to me. And let me just say this. I think that there is a reasonable and meaningful, moral and ethical public conversation to be had between people about the thing that is abortion. I think that is an acceptable and reasonable thing in a democratic society where people disagree. I think it is different to say the department of justice should open a criminal investigation into one of the country`s largest women`s health providers. Like that feels like two very different kinds of things to me. And I guess I`m wondering again, in the long term, whether or not this actually constitutes reasonable public policy or political strategy for Republicans. TRAYNHAM: Well, a couple things. One, let me just push back slightly with Michelle. I don`t believe the government is going to shut down over this. Senator McConnell is On the Record of saying no more government shutdowns, if you will. However, I think this is a legitimate public policy discussion because what we saw is what we saw in reference to that undercover expose, whatever you want to call it, and that could be a rogue individual, and it sounds like that person probably is -- GOLDBERG: No, no, those are highly edited videos. They`re not selling -- TRAYNHAM: No, no. Yes, they`re highly edited, but she said what she said, regardless of whether it was edited or not. WATSON-COLEMAN: But she didn`t say anything illegal. TRAYNHAM: I didn`t say that. What I said was this is a conversation that I think generally we should ask. GOLDBERG: It is interesting that the conversation is not about fetal tissue donation, right? If you really find this disturbing and you say this is something that we have to put a stop to, then you have to kind of change the regulations around fetal tissue donation, but nobody wants to go there which to me is a sign that this is not good faith. WATSON-COLEMAN: This is an attack on women`s rights. This is an opportunity to weigh in on an issue that they can`t seem to let go. I`ve only been in Congress since January, and I have voted against bills to reduce a woman`s access to safe and secure and legal abortions ten times. And they`ve been -- these amendments have been attached to bills on the environment, bills on disappropriations, bills on something totally, totally unrelated. HARRIS-PERRY: Like the North California motorcycle law. WATSON-COLEMAN: Exactly. This is just sort of an illustration of they`re getting out of the way and dealing with things they need to deal with, like creating jobs, like education, like infrastructure, things that make this economy and this country move forward. TRAYNHAM: I don`t disagree with the congresswoman. Let me just say as the only male on the table, I`m slightly a little uncomfortable because obviously this is a woman`s issue. Now, as a pro-life individual, I have very strong opinions about life or death, something that you discussed a few moments ago. But let`s put this in context. We`re responding to something that happened not because the Republicans planted the story, not because Republicans were pushing this issue, not because Republicans want to talk about this issue, but the reality is -- GOLDBERG: They`re very much in concert with the center for medical progress. TRAYNHAM: What does that have to do with what you said? GOLDBERG: I`m just making the point that you said it is not because Republicans are pushing this issue. I`m saying actually Republicans were involve in kind of orchestrating the whole out of this issue because it`s exactly what they want to talk about. HARRIS-PERRY: So why? So let me pause for a second. My question is why? Why would this be the issue? I mean, so Michelle, is it because you`re suggesting that it`s a kind of a primary base issue? Because I do find it legitimately surprising that this is the issue that Republicans want to talk about, even, again, outside the policy in a fewer politics way. GOLDBERG: Here`s something I think is going on. Partly, there has been a sense that Republicans have lost the culture wars, right? They`ve been on the defensive on every single aspect of the culture wars. They`re increasingly kind of apologetic and resigned about their opposition to gay marriage. The one place where they are on the march on the ascendants where they still have some energy is the anti-abortion movement. And the anti-abortion movement has been key to Republican momentum since it rose in the 1970s. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Representative Bonnie Watson-Coleman. The rest of my panel will return in the next hour. Before we go to break, some other news this morning. A manhunt is under way for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a police officer in Memphis, Tennessee. 33-year-old officer Sean Bolton was shot during a traffic stop on Saturday night. He later died of multiple gunshot wounds. This is the third time a Memphis police officer has been killed in four years. Coming up, why are the winter Olympics going to a place where it barely even snows? We`ll tell you when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: This week we found out where the winter 2022 winter Olympics will be held -- Beijing, China! Where almost no snow falls ever, seriously. This is graphic made by the international Olympics committee showing the planned ski routes in the mountain (INAUDIBLE) Beijing. These pictures were taken in January. There`s no snow. Joining me now, Dave Zirin, sports editor at the nation magazine and author of Brazil`s "dance with the devil." So, what`s up with this? DAVE ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, NATION MAGAZINE: We are holding the winter games in a place where there is no snow. HARRIS-PERRY: Where there is no winter. ZIRIN: Where there is no winter. I mean, it`s like holding the rock the bells concert in Provo, Utah. It makes no sense whatsoever. And you know what? I thank them for doing this, because it is a perfect metaphor for the international Olympic committee in the Olympics in the 21st century, because they are the emperor without clothes. They are liars. And one of the things they lie about is the idea that for the Olympics to come to a place like China, which is an autocracy, the Olympics will automatically make that country more democratic. Yet the opposite is the case. When the Olympics go to democracies, they tend to make them more autocratic. And China is a beautiful test case in this. Wonderful. Because they just had the Olympics in 2008. So by that theory, China should be undergoing a democratic flowering. (INAUDIBLE) where should be a theme park of democracy at this point. But the opposite is the case. Two hundred human rights lawyers have been arrested in the last month in China. And in addition, the relentless oppression of Tibet has gone on without a word. First of all, without a word from the United States and the west because they want to do business in China. And second of all, without a word from the International Olympic committee. Now, the only reason the Olympics are even in Beijing, a place I shall say again, without snow, is because they really have nowhere else to go because more and more countries are looking at the snake oil the ISC is selling and saying, you know what? That`s not for us. HARRIS-PERRY: So, does that mean we should be pleased that Boston is rejecting their own 2024 summer Olympics bid? ZIRIN: Well, first of all, let`s be clear. The people rejected of Boston rejected the 2024 bid. Grassroots activists, people involved in the black lives matter movement, people standing up to debt displacement and militarization. People - viewers have never heard off. These are heroes to me. People like Robin Jack and Jonathan Kohn and Caid, people who took time off from their lives to do the grassroots work to make that necessary. The elites of Boston, they went on a full corps press. They spent a thousand to one to make sure the Olympics got pushed through. They got Larry Bird and David big Poppy Ortiz to tell Boston that these Olympics would be a good idea. And the people of Boston still said no. The percentage -- they couldn`t get below 50 percent disapproval for the games. And so, the mayor Marty Walsh underwent the most shameless about- face that we have seen I think in modern politics or ever in human history, to go from being someone who said, we have to have these Olympics to someone who is then saying, I`m shocked to find out that there might have to be public spending to hold these Olympic games. It`s like, OK, dude. Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: OK. So speaking of the Olympic games, what about the water in Brazil? ZIRIN: This is so painful to me, because the water -- let`s be clear for listeners. Brazil is one of the richest countries on the planet. The city of Rio is one of the wealthiest cities on the planet, and yet the government in Rio and Brazil has entirely failed the environment. Before we talk about the Olympics, that`s what we have to be clear about, is that there is an environmental catastrophe happening in the waters around Rio, and mainly it`s raw sewage that gets pumped into the ocean nonstop. Now, here`s another live foot forward by the Olympic planners in conjunction with the IOC and Brazilian officials. They said, hey, we`ve had this horrible sewage problem for decades, basically in 19th century sewage system in the 21st century city. Here`s what we`re going to do about it. We`re going to fix it for the Olympics. Now, someone might say, gee, why don`t we just take the billions of dollars and just fix it? Why do we have to fix it for the Olympics? And sure enough, they haven`t fixed it for the Olympics. People who have been training in these waters are already reporting vomiting, chills, fever. One scientist tested the water and said there is not one body of water for Olympic swimmers that is going to be clean in time for the Olympics. I mean, it is an absolute sewage zone of waste. And I was thinking about coming on the show and making a poop joke or two, but I just can`t do it because it`s just not funny. Because I was like, I wonder if I should make a poop joke, and then I looked at a picture with thousands of fish because they`re all dead, and they`re going to be swimming through dead fish. And I thought about our heroes and sheroes who are part of that 10k water race in the Olympics, and they`re going to be in that water for two hours swimming. It`s ridiculous. HARRIS-PERRY: Dave, you got 20 second, my friend. One piece of good news in sports this week. First woman coach in the NFL? What`s she doing, what`s her job? ZIRIN: Assistant like backer coach Jen Walter with the Cardinals, but I have to give a shout out because I`m a D.C. guy, to Natalie Randolph, the former head football coach at (INAUDIBLE) high school. Let`s remember the trailblazers. Let`s remember all the women who stood in front of group of very, very conditioned macho men and said, I am here to leave. And you know what? My buddy, Mike Freeman, great sports writer. He says Jen Welters is going to be an NFL head coach someday, and I`m inclined to believe him. HARRIS-PERRY: I would be absolutely down with that. We will go see the game together. Thank you, Dave Zirin, in Washington, D.C. And coming up next, the killing of Cecil the lion and why it makes so many of us so upset. Also the message behind the empty chair in "the New York" magazine cover story. There`s more Nerd Land at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. While visiting Zimbabwe in early July, Minnesota dentist and large game hunter Walter James Palmer shot and killed a 13-year-old lion named Cecil. When Cecil`s death was reported this week, the internet erupted. And while big game hunting is in some places including parts of Zimbabwe popular and legal, the specifics of this case have sparked international outrage. Cecil was a major tourist attraction and something of a mascot at the Hwange National Park with Zimbabwe`s largest game reserve. He was also part of an Oxford University study on lion conservation, and was wearing a GPS collar needed for research. Despite this, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority says, Palmer paid two local guides right around $50,000 to help lure Cecil away from the protection of the park where hunting is illegal. Once out of the park, Palmer shot the lion with a crossbow and stalked the wounded animal for two days before shooting him dead. Palmer and his guide then cut off Cecil`s head and skinned his body. Tuesday, Palmer issued this statement that read in part, "I had no idea that the lion I took was a known local favorite, was collared and was part of a study until the end of the hunt. I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion." The Zimbabwe government says, it will look to expedite Palmer. And Wednesday the two Zimbabwe men who helped him was charged of poaching the lion. People around the world have demanded that the dentist be held accountable. The yelp and Facebook pages that promote his dental businesses have been inundated with threats this week. And an online petition, Justice for Cecile has gained more than 900,000 signatures. Jimmy Kimmel even joined the outrage for the heartfelt call for donations to Oxford Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIMMY KIMMEL, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: The big question is, why are you shooting a lion in the first place? I`m honestly curious to know why a human being would feel compelled to do that. How is that fun? If you want to make this into a positive, you can -- sorry -- okay. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: But amid the rallying calls for wildlife protection, a reaction to compare the outrage of Cecil`s death to outrage over the loss of Black Lives Matter in the United States. That outrage over Cecil comes the same week that relatives of Cincinnati native Samuel Dubose buried their beloved after a University of Cincinnati police officer shot him to death on July 19th. The distress of Cecil`s fate came the same month that Sandra Bland`s name was added to the going list of black lives loss in police custody. So, for some drivers there seems to be a troubling empathy gap. In responses to the killing of the lion, and the deaths of unarmed black people. Capturing this concern, feminist author Roxane Gay wrote for the "New York Times" on Friday, "When people die in police custody or are killed by the police, there are always those who wonder what the fallen did to deserve what befell them. He shouldn`t have been walking down that street, she shouldn`t have been more polite with that police officer, he shouldn`t have been playing with that toy gun in the park. We don`t consider asking such questions of a lion. We don`t speculate as to why Cecil was roaming the savannah." Gay concludes her thoughtful peace saying this, "Human beings are majestic creatures, too. May we learn to see this majesty in all of us." It`s tempting to compare reactions to the suffering and death of animals and the suffering death of black people as though they are in competition with one another and a kind of zero some gained for public attention. But allow me to offer a somewhat different framing. The degradation of non- human animal life and the acceptance of suffering and violence against animals is deeply intertwined in the history of American racial violence. You see, recall that North American slavery in the 17th and 18th century is distinguished by its chattel element. New world slavery did not consider enslaves Africans to be conquered persons, it rendered them as chattel, beast of burden. And by defining black people as animals, as non-human animals, American slavery removed any requirement to regard black persons and bodies as within a framework of human rights. In this way the American slave system degraded both black people and animals. Equating black people to non-human animals was a practice that continued after emancipation. It is in a picture of an Alabama store here that you can see where the sign reads, "no negro or ape allowed in the building." When the abuse and oppression of an entire group of people is justified, as acceptable, because they are defined as animals, it stands to reason that the society believes the abuse and oppression are acceptable ways to treat the animals and implies that all subjugated person and all animals can be used in abuse at the will of those who are more powerful. The effects are pernicious for both black people and for non-human animals. With me at the table are Robert Traynham, MSNBC contributor and former Bush/Cheney senior advisor. Farai Chideya, professor of journalism at NYU. Frankie Edozien who is journalist and director of Reporting Africa program at New York University`s journalism school. And former Ambassador John Campbell, the Ralph Bunche, senior fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Thank you all for being here. So, let me just ask, are Americans actually more appalled by cruelty against non-human animals than they against a person? TRAYNHAM: Absolutely. You hear the outrage when a puppy dog was left in a hot, you know, a car for more than an hour and then the Facebook and Twitter just lit up in the whole nine yards. But to your point, when you hear about an African-American male being pulled over or female being pulled over because of a lane switch, there isn`t that sense about rage, if you will. And, you know, I don`t know why that`s the case, but it is the case, and clearly we need to have a critical thought process as to why that is the case, our thoughtful conversation as to why that is the case. FMR. AMBASSADOR JOHN CAMPBELL, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: It`s very deeply rooted. The so-called three fifths compromise at the time the constitution was ratified defined slaves as three-fifths of a person, in other words, not wholly a person. HARRIS-PERRY: And it`s feels to me like those, so I guess what I don`t want miss because I think, you know, it`s almost too easy to just say, where do you love dogs and lions more than people, rather than for me saying that if you are a dentist who can go and work to take an African lion out of its secure place to dominate and kill and do with it what you please, that that is not unrelated to a history of slavery and colonialism of black bodies also lured and then abused. FRANKIE EDOZIEN, JOURNALIST: You know, for me I feel that this outrage of American half to Cecil, I think it`s a great thing because it shows the pillage of Africa by rich Americans. I think people are saying, you know - - HARRIS-PERRY: By a dentist! EDOZIEN: By a dentist, by a dentist! You should know that I had enough money to help the Africans who live under pressure, attacked by these animals very often and have no medical care. I am all for the anger for Cecil because there is a deeper thing that we can be doing with this moment. Africa has been raped and pillaged by rich people, including American dentists, for a long time. For this guy to go over there and kill this lion and then disappear. He says he didn`t know it was collared, that`s fine, but he could have told the authorities, look, I did something bad, but he disappeared and he came home. If Americans want to be outraged of that, I am happy with that because now we can connect that to rape and pillage of my continent. CHIDEYA: Absolutely. And what I would say, my father who was deceased was from Zimbabwe. I was just there in May and the unemployment rate is staggering. So I understand why the men who were arrested for poaching would have an economic incentive to do what they do. I`m not justifying it -- HARRIS-PERRY: But you understand what the incentive structure is. CHIDEYA: You know, to give an example, many people in my family have gone four months without being paid for their work. They`re hanging on because they don`t want to be unemployed but there`s widespread delays in salary. And people are literally farming and doing other things to live because they cannot rely on being given the wages, you know, by public employers or private ones. And China -- HARRIS-PERRY: And they`ve been the once who are being arrested, right? CHIDEYA: Yes, the African men of course have been arrested, but China is investing heavily and taking the mineral wealth of Zimbabwe, the U.K. is also investing. Everyone is going after the deep wealth in Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans are seeing very little of it except those who control power. And you know what`s great about this? Is that this doctor was aware of the economic situation in Zimbabwe. This dentist knew when he flew into Victoria Falls that these people are really having trouble, there is more that he could do with his $50,000 other than leering a lion out and helping just two people to kill a trophy and bring back home. There is much more he could have done with his wealth and his expertise and his medical expertise. No one whoever goes to Zimbabwe just goes in there and not understand what`s going on around you. It`s not a paradise for people, people are struggling over there, and his money could have done a lot better than just going to kill Cecil. HARRIS-PERRY: Or so, is in that context in the extradition request a reasonable one? CAMPBELL: I mean, it`s absolutely a reasonable one. There is an extradition treaty between the United States and Zimbabwe. Presumably the Zimbabwean government will formally request extradition, though the Zimbabwe and embassy in Washington says that he`s not yet received instructions. When that happens, it`s going to pose a number of important difficulties for the United States. For one thing, it`s going to involve a judicial process. I would assume that the dentist`s lawyers will argue that conditions in Zimbabwe in jails are inhuman. And, indeed, there was a fairly recent report by a credible human rights organization to that effect. There is also the question about whether the court system in Zimbabwe can provide a fair trial. But if we do not do extradition, which finally will be up to the American courts, then one has to anticipate that Zimbabwe will be less than sympathetic to our requests for extradition of, say, drug traffickers. HARRIS-PERRY: So this becomes an actual question of international public policy as a result of this moment of so-called sport. Stick with us, because when we come back, I want to dig further into this and really ask not only about this connection between human suffering and non-human animal suffering, but why is it that we care more about the suffering of some kind of animals than others? Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The killing of Cecil the Lion has prompted a social media outpouring, sadness, anger, despair. From people across the world, Cecil`s name quickly became a Twitter friend as the uproar over the lion, stat became stronger. And when conflicting reports emerged alleging that Cecil`s brother Jericho was illegally shot and killed by another hunter at 4:00 p.m. local time yesterday, #Jericho begin trending on Twitter in the U.S. Sparking a new wave of emotion on social media. An Oxford University Research are tracking Jericho and the local wildlife conservation group confirmed that Jericho is at least as far as we know right now actually still alive and well based on GPS data. Still, the outpouring of emotion illustrates how attuned we are to the suffering and abuse of certain animals. So why visceral, emotional connections to lions like Cecil but not necessarily to other animals? So, this became quite a conversation at Nerdland yesterday as we talked about how we all feel about Aslan from Narnia, and how we all feel about the Lion King, and how even everyone`s in a while, a pig like, you know, Babe the pig can give us these feelings about, but, man, we will eat a chicken all day and step on an ant. I just wonder about this kind of antiphimore fizing (ph) that we do of some kinds of animals. TRAYNHAM: Well, contra does that, like if you go to a major theme park, there are some pandas or some lions and so forth that have their own personality, if you will, and it`s commercialized. And so therefore we have some type of an emotional connection to him or her. I mean, look at Miss Piggy. I`m serious. And look at Kermit the frog. And so, we feel like we know these people or they`re not people, but -- HARRIS-PERRY: Right. Right. But that`s exactly what we do, we turn them into people. So now Cecil is our guy, and Cecil has a brother, and we`re worried about Cecil`s family. TRAYNHAM: That`s right. That`s right. HARRIS-PERRY: And like they`re just, wait, and I guess part of what I`m trying to figure out is, is this a good that then allows us to transfer this empathy, this sense of humanity to, in fact, a broader humanity, or is it a bad that keeps us only interested in the morally neutral land of non- human animals because we don`t want to deal with the messiness of humanity. EDOZIEN: Well, I think in terms of the big game, this has been marketed for a very long time. In Southern Africa, they have five animals that poachers have given names to, and they have called them the big five, as you would know in Zimbabwe. It`s the rhinoceros, it`s the African elephant, it`s the leopard, it`s the buffalo, it`s all these animals that are so big. And we have to go kill them and now we`re trying to save them and we give them names. And the big five, we love the big five. We have to go to Africa and see the big five before we come home. And so, we feel like we`re doing something because these big animals have names, and they`re big and they`re scary, but if you kill them, you have them as a trophy. We don`t name the chickens that we eat, we don`t name the turkey at Thanksgiving, we don`t have that affinity for them. And so, this has been going on for a long time in terms of marketing these animals without marketing the social that comes with that, the responsibility that comes with the people that these animals live with. TRAYNHAM: And that we should co-exist with these animals. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. EDOZIEN: Exactly. And that is what`s happening in Africa, we co-exists with these animals. We don`t treat them as if they are better than us, but we don`t treat them particularly special. They`re there and we`re here. And so we don`t name them generally. I mean, the naming of Cecil has come from outside forces. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. EDOZIEN: You know, these are the big five so we`re going to call this one Cecil because he has a beautiful black mane which is quite lovely. HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-mm. EDOZIEN: But, you know, I have cats at home, I have names for them. But cats that live outside, I don`t name them. I don`t have a connection with them. HARRIS-PERRY: My director is Australian and was saying that Americans are just culture imperialists because we don`t like that they eat kangaroo. I say, how can you eat kanga and roo? And he`s like, no, it`s like, it`s not a big deal. We eat the kangaroo. They`re around everywhere. CAMPBELL: With particularly lions, outside Africa, lions are often taken as national symbols. The lion rampant of Scotland, the lion of flanders, the three lions that are on the coat of arms of England. They become the embodiment of national strength. HARRIS-PERRY: Of a big and majestic -- CAMPBELL: Big and majestic. In the middle ages, an entrepreneur, this is during the days of bare baiting, set up lion baiting. He was promptly arrested by the government because dogs attacking a lion was attacking the majesty of the crown of England. HARRIS-PERRY: So this is that extension that you hear from the animal to the person. I want to listen for a moment -- President Obama was, of course, on the continent of Africa in Kenya and was talking about one of the -- in this case, the elephants. I just want you to listen for a moment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Our country is also close partners in the fight against poachers and traffickers that threaten Kenya`s world famous wildlife. The United States has banned already on the commercial import of elephant ivory. I can announce that we`re proposing a new rule that bans the sale of virtually all ivory across our state lines which will eliminate the market for illegal ivory in the United States. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So this is coming in the context of the president being very critical of a variety of governing structures in Kenya and in other parts, and yet the animal piece became part of it. CHIDEYA: Yes, and recently in New York there was also an ivory destruction day where there were all of these, you know, trinkets made of ivory and the point was to destroy them because it`s very hard to distinguish. Because technically you can possess antique ivory but not new ivory, but it`s very hard to distinguish between it. But to return to, you know, your earlier point about what animals we pay attention to, I think we have to pay attention also to domesticated animals. HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-mm. CHIDEYA: And so John Oliver, on his HBO show, had a really great section on how agri-business is really destroying chicken farmers by manipulating them into treating the chickens badly. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. CHIDEYA: These farmers don`t necessarily want to treat the chickens badly, but they often have very restrictive contracts that say, you must keep the chickens indoor, in the dark 24 hours a day. And there are agri-business restrictions that are forcing farmers that ordinarily would prefer to have free rage chickens or at least a less restrictive environment. So, we have to look at -- HARRIS-PERRY: What we do to chickens in this country is really among the - - it`s just horrifying. CHIDEYA: It`s awful how horrible the situation is and our own complicity in that as well as in the global wildlife market. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. And if you get to know a chicken at all, you actually will care about chickens. They`re lovely find creatures and I keep trying to convince my husband James to let me keep chickens in the backyard. So that was my little pitch for that. Okay, thank you to former Ambassador John Campbell and the rest of my fave are going to return later in the program. Still to come, the continuing allegations against Bill Cosby and the empty chair. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: In the news this morning, a wing fragment believed to be part of a missing Malaysia Airlines jet is at a military an aviation lab in France for analysis. In the meantime, searchers continue to sift through the coastline of Reunion Island where that fragment was found looking for more debris. Earlier today, there was some police activity when an object was removed from the coastline for examination. A Malaysian official later told the Associated Press, it has been determined that the object is not related to the missing jet. And in other news, President Obama is wondering how astronaut Scott Kelly is handling life in space. The President tweeted, Hey @StationCDRKelly, loving the photos. Do you ever look out the window and just freak out? To which Kelly replied, "I don`t freak out about anything, Mr. President, except getting a Twitter question from you." Astronaut Kelly is spending about a year aboard the International Space Station. The long stay will be the first time scientists will compare a space traveler`s health with that of a person`s identical twin on earth. Up next, Nerdland friend Elon James White is back to talk about the empty chair. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: This week, New York magazine published an issue in which 35 women came forward to detail their allegations against Bill Cosby. NBC News has counted 36 allegations against the entertainer. And Cosby has consistently denied all allegations of sexual assault and hasn`t been charged with a crime. The woman`s accounts in New York Magazine`s spent across 30 years of accusations and they are remarkably similar in the details of what they say happened to them and how they survived after the encounters. New York magazine senior editor Noreen Malone writes of the women`s stories that they quote, "Function almost as a longitudinal study. Both for how an individual woman, on her own, deals with such trauma over the decades and for how the culture at large has grappled with rape over the same time period." Although, all of the women had come forward previously with their stories. New York Magazine we focused attention on the magnitude of the accusations with this. All 35 women together, each of them sitting in the same chair, staring straight out at the viewer from the cover of the magazine. The cover was posted online Sunday night, it captured the attention of so many people wanting to know the stories behind the faces of the New York magazine went down for several hours. The cover took on a life beyond the article when social media attention focused on a single empty chair in the photo. New York magazine editors explained, quote, "That chair signifies the 11 other women who have accused Cosby of assault but weren`t photographed for the magazine. But it also represents the countless other women who have been sexually assaulted but have been unable or unwilling to come forward." Shortly after the image went up on line, this week in blackness, CEO Elon James White took to Twitter to launch #TheEmptyChair prompting thousands to continue the conversation around sexual assault on social media and inspired some of them to contact Elon directly with survivor stories like this one. I can`t share my empty chair story because I signed an NDA, needed the money more than justice and he knew it. It was the first of many such tweets Elon received and shared from his account. And he joins me now from Berkeley, California. Nice to see you, Elon. ELON JAMES WHITE, CEO, THIS WEEK IN BLACKNESS: Indeed, ma`am. HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So talk to me about the #TheEmptyChair. What has surprised you about responses to it? WHITE: Well, it`s not so much that I was surprised by a lot of it. I mean, we know for a fact that a lot of women don`t come forward, a lot of people who are victims of sexual assault don`t come forward for various reasons, it`s not being believed because there are families will tell them they`re lying or just lots of different reasons. But what I was surprised by was when I opened up my direct messages for people to send a message in, I was surprised that hundreds of people wanted to share their stories anonymously, that they wanted to get this out, get this off of their chest. Some people would even send messages and saying that they didn`t need me to share it, they just wanted someone else to hear it and just to be able to say, like I admit it that this thing happened to me, and that was a lot. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. You know, I`ve read much of what you managed to repost, and some of it also even had to do with people saying, I`m not sure that at the time that it happened to me I could have defined it as such. I want to play for a moment, and it come out to my table, but I do want to play a little bit of sound here of Cosby`s lawyer talking with Thomas Roberts about actually the definition of rape. So, let`s take a moment and listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MONIQUE PRESSLEY, BILL COSBY`S LAWYER: I agree with the definition of rape and I also would say that as Mr. Cosby has said through his attorneys numerous times, that is not what happened with him. He has vehemently denied the allegation that he won without consent, gave anyone a drug, and that he, two, without consent had a relationship or had sexual interaction with another adult. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Okay, so let me come out to the table here for a second. So, Michelle, you hear Cosby`s lawyer there saying, I agree with the definition of rape and what Mr. Cosby did or didn`t do, and whatever we heard from the definitions doesn`t constitute rape. GOLDBERG: Right, and what`s amazing is that, you know, that may be what has at least been a plausible line of argumentation before the depositions were released in which he talks about giving women Quaaludes. I mean, at this point it`s not just these 35 women who kind of, whose stories echoes one another, he has basically confirmed it. I mean, you know, at this point there may be arguing about kind of small nuances of the law in terms of the sorts of punishment he`s facing, but the central kind of narrative that these women tell over and over and over again to sort of devastating effect, he doesn`t really -- isn`t really in a position to deny that anymore. TRAYNHAM: Well, in reality, he validates what these women have said over. He said, and I`m paraphrasing here, I have a certain way of reading people. I have a certain way of doing certain things. And the women kind of said that throughout the story in terms of him using his power, if you will, either subliminally or reactively just by saying, look, I`m Bill Cosby, I can help you. He goes on to say, is that he did certain things when it relates to drugs and so forth. In reality, he is the spokesperson here. In reality, he is the person that is basically saying, yes, I`m guilty here. HARRIS-PERRY: So Elon, I want to come back to this for a moment, because obviously Mr. Cosby has not said, I am guilty, Mr. Cosby has not been charged with a crime here. But there`s a thing I guess for me as a survivor in part, this empty chair designates. And it is part of this idea that 35 people across multiple decades could have such a similar story and we still have such doubt. And I don`t mean legal doubt, which is appropriate within the legal system, I`m talking about kind of the ways that we socially talk about, you know, sort of our moral and ethical capacity to believe so many people, and it reminds me that that chair is empty because even when you have 34 other people telling the same story, there is still so much doubt about it. WHITE: Exactly. And it`s not -- the big thing here that I learned from reading so much from people writing in was that, not only was it that they had this horrible thing, that this assault happened, not only did after the assault happened they were not believed by people around them, and they weren`t believed by the police. They were told literally at times not to say anything. They were told they would be betrayed by their family, their parents, their boyfriends. But in the end people just wanted to be believed. They wanted to be able to say this and be able to say like, this thing happened to me, this horrible trauma happened to me and then have people go, I believe you. HARRIS-PERRY: This isn`t your fault. You did not bring this down on you. And that`s what I believe a lot of the empty chair is about, it`s about the fact that like we live in a society that refuses to believe women or any type of sexual assaults, people who are victims of sexual assault. To the point where it takes 35 women, people to even pay attention to the fact that one man was accused of all this, and even in the midst of that, they`re still being called liars, they`re still being told that they`re being controlled by puppeteers and something like that, and at this point, women still can`t be believed and I`m not sure why that is. TRAYNHAM: Is it kind of maybe like you`re innocent until proven guilty? If you think about it -- HARRIS-PERRY: No, no -- TRAYNHAM: No, no, wait, whoa! HARRIS-PERRY: Let me be clear. I think the answer to that is, no. TRAYNHAM: Uh-mm. HARRIS-PERRY: And the reason I think the answer to that is no is because if you watch the social media feeds, the same people who have a very clear sense of the guilt of other people, who have even been exonerated within the criminal justice system. So, let me just take the example of Mr. Zimmerman who was tried and found not guilty and yet there is a sense that, well, Zimmerman is guilty of this crime against -- CHIDEYA: Yes. People were calling him a murder when he is not a murder. HARRIS-PERRY: When he is in fact not, as a legal definition, a murderer. It will be the same people who say, we can`t really say anything about Cosby because we don`t know. And I guess parts of what I`m saying is, there are two different weights of evidence. One weight of evidence is about the criminal justice system and we have to live with the realities of what that is. Mr. Cosby has not been found guilty there. But the idea that our public space can nonetheless adjudicate a certain kind of guilt and innocence believability and not and willingly do so all the time, good, bad or otherwise. And regularly fall on the side for women and particularly for women who are victims and survivors of sexual assault, that they are to be not believed, I think, is not actually about the criminal justice system. I think it`s about something quite different. CHIDEYA: Yes. I completely agree. And I think that there is many different reasons for it. They`re unfortunately on the side of some women is this idea of, if I believe it couldn`t have happened to her, then it will never happen to me. You know? HARRIS-PERRY: This for me is so powerful. I`ll come to you, I promise, Elon, but that idea that part of our disbelief is self-protected. CHIDEYA: Yes. HARRIS-PERRY: Because if you did something wrong to make it happen, then I feel less vulnerable. Elon, let me let you in here. WHITE: I want to be clear here. It`s not even about like people doing something that have allow this to happen to them, like this is somehow their fault. I believe a core aspect of this, especially around men, is that for them to acknowledge what women are saying, for them to acknowledge how women are explaining this situation about their assault. They would then have to acknowledge whether or not they might have played a role in someone`s rape in their own life, whether or not they didn`t listen when someone said no, whether they used alcohol or whatever to inebriate someone to the point where they couldn`t say no and then they could have their way with them. To be able to actually sit here and acknowledge what women are saying would be to acknowledge their own guilt in a lot of times within privileged folks all across, they can`t do that. HARRIS-PERRY: Elon James White in Berkeley, Iowa. You are my friend. It is nice to see you. Let me know when you`re back in New York. Here in New York, Farai Chideya sticking around. Thank you to Robert Traynham and to Michelle Goldberg. Up next, traveling while black. What it means to be an African-American outside of America. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Ninety-one-years ago today, American literary icon James Baldwin was born in Harlem, New York. Baldwin, an essayist, a playwright and novelist was a keen and critical observer of American, racial and social injustice. And to influential, I mean, during works like "Notes of a Native Son." In his collection of essays "The Fire Next Time," Baldwin offered an unflinching look at the realities of Black Lives in America. But in order to find the freedom in creative space to write his observations, Baldwin believed he needed to watch from a distance. He left the United States for the first time at age 24, arriving in Paris with just $40 to his name. In 1977 when he was returning from abroad to live once again in the United States, Baldwin spoke to "The New York Times" about his expatriation saying, "I had to leave. I needed to be in a place where I could breathe and not feel someone`s hand on my throat." Today, amid a national climate that is prompted a movement to declare that day two feel as though they can free the new generation of black travelers has found freedom and solace in escaping abroad. Recently, the "New York Times" profiled these travelers who have coalesced around social networks like the "Nomadness Travel Tribe" and Trouble Noar (ph), to share overseas adventures travel tips and the singular experience, the African-American being the boundaries of America. Joining my panel now, Billy Kolber, founder and creative director of Man About World Magazine. Frankie Edozien, journalist and director of the reporting Africa program at New York University`s Journalism School. And Evita Robinson, CEO and creator of "Nomadness Travel Tribe." So, let me start with you, what does it mean to be a black American abroad? EVITA ROBINSON, CEO, NOMADNESS TRAVEL TRIBE: Ah, it means that you have a chance to represent your people on a larger scale. I think there is a responsibility that comes along with it when you go abroad. I remember, you know, teaching when I was in Japan, I was the first black person I know a lot of my young students saw. So, it was all about my hair and playing in it during my lunch break, and I went there right as Obama was actually starting his first presidency. So, some of my sentence structures, the kids would yell out from the back of the room, yes, we can! And this is elementary school, so I`m sitting here like, they don`t even understand the capacity of what they were saying, and it really shows what we`re doing in house, in the country is really a projection that`s going out to the rest of the world, and right now, today we need to be careful because that`s scary. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. My niece is living in China and teaching English right now, and so some of your story reflects -- there she is, hey, Katherine. You know, it kind of reminding me of those moments. But part of what your site also does and part of why I wanted you at the table is look, James Baldwin was two things, he was at the intersection of queer identity and blackness. His need to breathe was about both of those things, and you know, there was always this kind of motorist travel book that helped black folks to just figure out where to go in the world within the U.S., and it`s also a space where like, there are parts of the country where identity -- excuse me, parts of the world where identities are policed, are criminalized, where it`s actually dangerous to be a person of color, to be a woman, to be gay. BILLY KOLBER, FOUNDER, MAN ABOUT WORLD MAGAZINE: Right. There are 76-plus countries today where it is illegal to be homosexual. And gay people face some of the same trouble that black people face in traveling, and I think they also compound themselves. So you talk about black gay people traveling, it`s an even broader conversation. But a lot of the themes, I think, that Evita brought up are really very similar. It`s the connection between identity and culture that you discover when you travel, not only about the people you are seeing but about yourselves. Baldwin said, I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself. EDOZIEN: That`s it, that`s it. HARRIS-PERRY: And yet I wonder if there is still a kind of American imperialism associated with, let me go use somebody else`s country to find myself. Right. And so, how do we do it in a way that doesn`t extract that resource as well? EDOZIEN: Excellent. I think that one way that we can do is to make space for our brothers and sisters who are African or other brown people around the world traveling. As a person of color who is traveling as an African, when I come into the west, which is Europe or America, I always have to bring a lot of documents, not just my passport, not just American, I can just fling, but Africans have to bring birth certificates, they have to bring letters from whoever is inviting them. If they go to conferences, they have to show that they`re not a terrorist and they`re actually here for an academic purpose. And so, when you see someone in land with a huge tack of paper shuffling, and you wondered, why isn`t this line going forward? It`s because he`s subject to different kinds of questions that Americans are subject to as Americans traveling on a blue pass. But what I would hope for is African- Americans traveling abroad to make space for their African brothers and sisters and other brown people in India whatever when they come to this part of the world, to assist us to come in here on legitimate business and also have a truly cultural exchange. So it doesn`t feel like, you`re coming in, you`re taking and you`re going. ROBINSON: It`s all reciprocity, anytime Nomadness goes to India and we went to South Africa as well, it was about the reciprocitym we leave a piece of ourselves of who we are in every single country and city that we go to. CHIDEYA: I try to get off the tourist path. And I love Nomadness. Like I had a great experience when I went to Mumbai. I was there in India and travel to six cities. And I started at a conference and we stayed at the four seasons, or one of the four seasons or more than one. And so, I was like, okay, I`m going to take a walk. And the guards, these heavily armed guards went, no, no, no, no, don`t take a walk. (LAUGHTER) And in this area, the only thing that separating a luxury hotel from a slum was a big tall wall and end with AKs. HARRIS-PERRY: Go over the wall. CHIDEYA: And so, I walked and a family took me in and served me lunch. I took all these pictures of the neighborhood. I mailed them to the family. We kept in correspondence, and it was literally one man in a whole neighborhood who spoke English and that was the man who I got information from. You can end up having powerful experiences. HARRIS-PERRY: What you just said there, I just want to pinpoint on for a moment because that idea about linguistic capacity. One of the things that is often troubling about Americans is that we often speak only English. ROBINSON: Yes. HARRIS-PERRY: And maybe one other European language. And I wonder how that limits us as world travelers. ROBINSON: Well, what I tell people all the time is if that if these other countries want to make money, there is somebody there that speaks English. Let`s just be real. That`s a universal language, so if you`re going to want to interact they`ll going to know a little bit of every language. I remember being literally like kind of ran after the first, when I went to India with just two of my girlfriends, and one of the girls with patient, was like I`m going to speak French and creole so that they leave us alone. They spoke French right back. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. They`re like roll down, that`s right. ROBINSON: Wait a minute! Plan B. KOLBER: English has become sort of the international language of travel. But, you know, with gay people -- HARRIS-PERRY: It does. It does. KOLBER: Well, it also gives us the ability, and with that comes the responsibility, to go out and talk to people. For gay people, that also comes with another set of responsibility because we travel with tourist privilege. Westerners, whether you`re black or white, travel with tourist privilege. When you`re staying at the four seasons hotel anywhere in the world, you`re staying with tourist privilege. CHIDEYA: Absolutely. KOLBER: And yet just by our actions, we can put local gay people, LGBT at risk. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. KOLBER: So for us, even meeting people comes with its own risk. And it`s something talk about a Man of the World Magazine all the time. EDOZIEN: If I can also lend a few words, when we go places, we don`t just come in with our western, we`re better than you, you only speak English. I mean, you go to Paris, people don`t talk to you if you only speak English. You know -- (TALKING OVER EACH OTHER) I want to learn a few words. It`s a reality to learn a few words. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Billy Kolber and Farai Chideya. Frankie Edozien and Evita Robinson. Man, the travel. We`re going to do more of this. Up next, two unsung martyrs of the civil rights movement. How their lives and deaths helped change history. The people of the world, we are down! Yes! (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: I want to read to you an interview that appears in a new book. "Do you think Reverend Reeb was aware of the full potential of violence, were you?" Yes, I`m sure he was aware of it. "What were some of the reasons he gave for wanting to come to Selma?" One of the reasons was the march that occurred Sunday. After he saw that he felt that he had to go, he couldn`t stay home and do nothing when he was so much needed there." Was the cause worth the risk of death? I don`t believe I could answer for myself, only for Jim. For him, any consequence that might occur would merit its coming." Those were the answers Marie Reeb gave to the media`s questions shortly before the death of her husband Minister James Reeb. He was killed by a group of racist vigilantes in Selma, Alabama, just days after the 1965 bloody Sunday march. And Reeb, along with slain civil rights activist, Jimmie Lee Jackson, it`s the subject of the new book "Jimmie Lee and James: Two Lives And The Movement That Changed America." Joining me now is one of the authors Adar Cohen. Tell us about James Reeb and who he was. ADAR COHEN, AUTHOR, "JIMMIE LEE AND JAMES": Reverend James Reeb was a Unitarian minister. He was working in Boston at the time of bloody Sunday. Organizing for fair housing for African-Americans. And did make the difficult decision to travel to Selma, at Dr. King`s request, to flood the city with support from all over the country. HARRIS-PERRY: And lost his life as a result. And that moment, for me, I had to pause it when I got to this in the book. His wife standing there, Reeb not yet gone, hospitalized, saying that for him it was worth the risk of death. COHEN: Well, at the time, the nation had just witnessed bloody Sunday on the Edmond Pettus Bridge. And this was a police action with deputized white citizens who were interested in hurting people that day, who executed horrible damage on nonviolent protesters. And the whole country watched. Actually, almost 15 million Americans are in their living rooms watching ironically judgment at Nuremberg. The film that famously grapples with the legacy of Nazism, and ABC makes the bold decision to cut from the film, away from those images to modern images of troopers on horseback firing tear gas grenades and leading nonviolent protesters fiercely. And that captured the moral imagination of the country in a way that hadn`t happened yet. HARRIS-PERRY: And so that`s the kind of part that brings so much of America in. But it is Jimmie Lee Jackson and his death that brings so much of the Selma movement itself up from the bottom. Tell us about Jimmie Lee. COHEN: That`s right. Jimmie Lee Jackson is a part of the nonviolent protest in Zion United, church in a small town called Marion, about 25 miles northwest of Selma. And he and other demonstrators were interested in staging a vigil outside of the jail where James Orange was being held, the SCLC organizer James Orange was being held on charges of disorderly conduct and contributing to the vagrancy of minors. He was an SCLC organizer, and he was organizing the youth. There was a rumor that he might be harmed in jail that night. And local activists wanted to show their support. As they exited the church to make a one-block march to the jail, the city lights went out. And the police and local whites created a horrible chaos, and caused a lot of harm. That night, Jimmie Lee Jackson, in the melee that followed, was shot in the stomach by a white state trooper and died eight days later from that injury. HARRIS-PERRY: We are reminded as we mark the 50th anniversary of the voting rights act, that this is an act bought in blood, including the blood of Jimmie Lee Jackson, and of Reverend James Reeb. The book is critical, everyone must read it. Jimmie Lee and James. It`s a reminder, I think again, of the moment we`re in right now, that we can`t allow the voting rights act to be gutted when it is bought with blood. Thank you, Adar Cohen. That`s our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I`m going to see you next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Coming up right now, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT." Don`t miss it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END