IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/02/13

Guests: Rush Holt, Bryonn Bain

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, GUEST HOST: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. Now, this was the scene right around 3:00 this afternoon on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Everybody out! Everybody out! Time to go! You don`t have to go home but you got to live the heck out of here! Yes, there was a mass exodus out of Washington today as the House of Representative s officially adjourned for their August recess this afternoon. And like teenagers on the last day of school, members of Congress just bolted for the exits today once the final bell rang. Bye-bye, see you in a month. Washington is now heading off for its summer vacation, their August recess. What do you do when you`re heading off for vacation? Well, don`t you tend to take care of a few last-minute things? Maybe you run the dishwasher one last time. You take out the trash. You do all of these things in order to put your house in order before you leave. And you do that so that you`re not faced with a big, stinky mess when you get back home. That`s what people do when they`re heading out for vacation. Turns out Washington did the same thing. Now, contrary to what you may have heard, they actually did get some stuff accomplished before they skipped town today. For example, we now officially have a brand new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. That`s Vice President Joe Biden swearing in Samantha Power this morning as our new U.N. ambassador. Samantha power of course replaces Susan Rice who`s now President Obama`s national security adviser. A lot of people expected this to be a big, hairy confirmation fight. But Samantha Power ended up getting 87 votes in the Senate. So there you go. U.N. ambassador, confirmed. The Senate also confirmed one of President Obama`s top judicial nominees before leaving town. The Senate unanimously confirmed Raymond Chen to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the federal circuit. Now, that court deals with lot of important stuff, including trademarks, patents, as well as veterans` claims. We also now officially have an ATF director. The Senate confirmed B. Todd Jones to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This is the ATF`s first permanent director in seven years. They said it couldn`t be done. But it got done. Today we also got a look at the new jobs numbers for the month of July. The U.S. economy added 160,000 jobs for the month. The unemployment rate ticked down to its lowest level since before December of 2008. These numbers aren`t exactly something to throw a party about. But things are still moving in the right direction. After having let the interest rates for federal student loans double previously, Washington finally reached an agreement this week to bring those rates back down. Those rates skyrocketed back on July 1st. But Congress managed to fix that problem before they left for the summer. You might think that nothing is happening in Washington right now, that it`s just complete gridlock. But that`s not exactly true. Congress has gotten a few important things accomplished before taking off for that month of August. So that is the good news. What`s the not-so good news? Well, it`s that that sort of productivity is the exception, not the rule. The August recess is one of those dates on the calendar that you can lay down as a marker and see how we`re doing compared to previous years. This right here is every Congress since 1989. Those bars represent the number of bills passed by Congress before the August recess. As you can see, on average, Congress passes somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 bills before the August recess. The last bar that you see there, that was the first two years of President Obama`s first term. About 60 bills passed before the August recess. And then, the 2010 midterms happened. And congressional productivity plummeted. By that August recess, Congress only managed to pass 28 bills that ultimately turned out to be the least productive session of Congress ever. It was even worse than the go-nothing Congress of the 1940s. They passed 28 bills by the August recess. This Congress? Twenty-two. That`s it. As "The Washington Post" noted today, this session of Congress is on track to become even worse than the last session because they`ve been worse than the do-nothing Congress. So as much as it might look like there`s some incremental movement on some important things like student loans and Senate confirmations, this still might be the least-productive Congress that we have seen in our lifetimes. But maybe even worse than the possibility that this Congress is on track to beat out the infamous do-nothing Congress is the prospect that was raised today by the former House speaker and current minority leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: After more than six months in this congress, this Republican Congress, we still have no jobs bill. We have no budget bill. And we have the threat of shutting down government and not raising the debt ceiling. This was a do-nothing Congress. And now it is going to something worse. It`s an aimless Congress that is falling into chaos. It`s a make- matters-worse Congress. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Yikes! Nancy Pelosi christening this Congress the make-matters-worse congress. Make matters worse how, exactly? Now, I mentioned that this Congress did manage to get a few important things accomplished before they skipped town today. But they also left a few things rotting in the refrigerator. During that press conference today Nancy Pelosi predicted that Congress would not be able to pass a farm bill before the current farm bill expires on October 1st. Now, you may remember that Republican House Speaker John Boehner failed miserably to pass a farm bill earlier this summer, a farm bill that he supported was defeated by members of his own party. Democrats oppose that farm bill at the time because it gutted the food stamps program that low-income families across the country rely on every single day. Republicans at that time proposed cutting spending on food stamps by $20 billion. That`s right, $20 billion. Again, that bill was ultimately defeated. But before Republicans left for vacation today, they announced how they`re planning to deal with that bill when they get back from vacation. They don`t want to cut food stamps by $20 billion anymore. They now want to cut food stamps by $40 billion, double the amount that they proposed cutting it by just a few months ago. The top Democrat on the House agricultural committee said after that announcement, quote, "I don`t know what they`re doing." So cutting food stamps for the most vulnerable members of our society, that`s what Republicans announced they`re planning to do when they come back from vacation. But the last thing they did before they left? Voting to repeal Obamacare for the 40th time. House Republicans today, in their parting shot before skipping town, voted once again to turn back the clock on the reforms of health insurance industry that despite their efforts remained the law of the land. Republicans have spent the better part of the last month trying to figure out ways to sabotage the president`s landmark health care law as it goes into effect. But today, they took a 40th shot at just gutting the whole thing. As the great Steve Benen pointed out on "Maddow Blog" today, if we include the Senate, the total number of votes held by congressional Republicans to repeal all or part of the federal health care law is 68 -- 68 votes to repeal Obamacare. Wonder what`s in store for the health care reform law when they come back? So, it sort of seemed like Washington was trying to clean up the house and take out the trash before they left town. But they also clearly managed to leave a couple of pieces of rotting fish in their refrigerator. On the way out the door and all of that is just waiting for them when they come back. Joining us now is Congressman Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, who is also running for Senate. Congressman Holt, it`s so nice to have you here today. REP. RUSH HOLT (D), NEW JERSEY: Great to be with you, Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: So what is happening in the house? I mean, really. Like you look at the senate, there`s at least a little bit happening there. You`re getting some confirmations. But this -- wasn`t there once a time when House members went open in august to tell their constituents, here`s what we did. What are these folks going to say they`ve done? HOLT: Sure. Many members of Congress came to congress to make people`s lives better, with a belief that we can actually do something to help people. Speaker Boehner said recently that the Congress should be judged by the number of bills repealed, not by what`s accomplished. You know, by that -- HARRIS-PERRY: They`ve also repealed zero. HOLT: Well, actually, even by that measure they`re failing. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. HOLT: But the health care bill, as you said, today, this was the 40th attempt to stop it. You know, we can`t deal with this with platitudes about, let`s come together. We need adult leadership. We need -- how long are you going to negotiate on health care with somebody -- to improve health care, to bring more people into health care, to keep costs down. How are you going to negotiate to get legislation with people who have this obsession, an ideological obsession, to repeal? If it`s just like, how can you negotiate on science education with people who deny Evolution? How are you going to deny on health care quality of coverage for women with people who invent their own biology about women? HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. HOLT: How are you going to negotiate with people on energy with people who deny climate change? HARRIS-PERRY: So I think -- these are such great examples. The climate change question, the question of reproductive rights, and sort of just the biology of how women work and how we production operates. So it sounds to me like you`re diagnosing the problem as a kind of vocabulary problem. Is it personal animus? Is it ideological? Is it not sharing the same constructions of what problems are? I mean, what has happened in this Congress to make gridlock so prevalent? HOLT: It`s ideological. HARRIS-PERRY: OK. HOLT: And so we`ve got -- we`ve got these ideologues who are elected to Congress in 2010, so many of them, railing against government. They campaigned against government. And, lo and behold, they find they are government, and it`s a psychological disconnect they can`t deal with. And that tail is wagging the dog. HARRIS-PERRY: So talk to me on this question of ideology, talk about food subsidies. HOLT: Let me just say, as a scientist, of course, my background is in science, and so, I like to see policy rooted in evidence. And I actually think that if you start a debate by finding facts you can agree on, rather than starting in your ideological camp, you can get something done. I mean, I have in environmental matters and open space preservation, most recently in suicide prevention. I got $40 million for - - over the last two years, for suicide prevention for veterans and soldiers. You start with the facts. And then you can -- then you can find common ground that you can work toward constructive legislation. HARRIS-PERRY: So this is precisely where I wanted to go on this question of food subsidies, SNAP, the so-called food stamp program. Because the evidence, the basis here is we know that something like 95 percent of those who receive them, there`s very little corruption in the system. We know that it is majority of children that are using these. And we also know that they have a stimulative effect on our economy, that when people get food subsidies, they then have more money to spend in our economy. I mean, these are facts that are not in dispute. So how is it that this Republican aspect of the house can say, what we need to do is to cut $40 billion in food stamps? HOLT: But, in fact, people do make up their own facts. They say, for example, to justify this $20 billion cut in food stamps, in the SNAP program, they said, well, it`s being misused and so that`s why we`ve got to impose these conditions, you know, drug testing before people can get food stamps. It`s not because there`s a lot of drug abuse there. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. HOLT: I mean, I don`t hear them suggesting that we require drug testing for farmers to get crop insurance, or to get crop subsidies. By the way, some members of Congress who are voting against this bill were getting crop subsidies. And so, they were making up their own facts about what needed to be done to be fair to the taxpayer. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Can you imagine if all American homeowners had to undergo a drug test in order to get their mortgage interest deduction on their 1040s? HOLT: That`s comparable, yes. HARRIS-PERRY: Exactly. Democratic Congressman -- HOLT: There`s so much we`re not getting done. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. HOLT: You know, we need to deal with climate change. We need to break up the banks and continue to put cops on the beat on Wall Street. We need to, you know, stop spying on Americans -- HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. HOLT: -- on innocent Americans. And instead, we`re trying for the 40th time to repeal the Obamacare. HARRIS-PERRY: Which is, in fact, the law of the land. Democratic Congressman Rush Holt, so nice to have you here, thank you for taking a little time out of the campaign trail to spend some time here on Rachel`s show. HOLT: Thanks, Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Lots more ahead, including an intense weekend for Americans abroad; alarming news for women out of North Carolina. Plus, I try something I never thought I`d get to do on this show. Today`s the day I`ve been waiting. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Just about every year, the U.S. State Department`s Bureau of Diplomatic Security puts out a report with a scary-sounding title. It`s called, political violence against Americans. And this most recent version of the report with the scary-looking bullet hole/American flag on the cover summarizes major incidents of politically-motivated violence involving American interests abroad in 2011. In that year, there were 78 incidents that according to the bureau, quote, "are believed to have resulted from intentional targeting of Americans." Ranging from a gunman shouting anti-American statements, opening fire on the U.S. embassy compound in Sarajevo, to a diplomatic motorcade hit by a so-called vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, to a gunman in Frankfurt, Germany, killing two U.S. airmen on or near at an Air Force bus at the airport. Now, we don`t have a similar report for 2012 but presumably, that report would include the attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last September 11th, an attack in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed by heavily armed militants. The State Department also from time to time puts out other scary- sounding information like the worldwide travel alert that it issued today warning all U.S. citizens who may be traveling in the Middle East and North Africa that, quote, "current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August." The alert goes on to warn Americans that terrorists have in the past, quote, "targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services", and warns them to, quote, "take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings." Today`s warning comes after a whole slew of announcements from the State Department yesterday. See, here`s at MSNBC we get alerts from NBC reporters and producers around the world via something called the hot file. The hot file started burning up yesterday afternoon. We learned first that the embassy in Cairo, Egypt, would be closing this Sunday, quote, "out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others." Then we learned the same thing would be happening in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq. Then the flood gates opened. Until by NBC`s latest count, 22 embassies and consulates from North America, excuse me, North Africa, to the Middle East, to Central Asia, are planning to shut their doors on Sunday, August 4th, and potentially keep them closed in the days following. And today, the U.K. joined the U.S. in announcing the closure of its embassy in Yemen for at least two days. Why is this happening? What is the threat? No one is willing to say even anonymously what the threat is. Just that it comes from a credible source. But they do seem to be willing to say where it is likely to be coming from. As NBC`s Andrea Mitchell reported tonight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: The most likely place for an attack? The alert warned of attacks possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula. Officials told NBC that means Yemen, whose leader met with President Obama Thursday and where there have been at least three covert U.S. drone strikes this past week alone. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was NBC`s Andrea Mitchell latest reporting tonight on what may have precipitated the closing of all those embassies. And joining us now is Evan Kohlmann, NBC News terrorism analyst and senior partner at Flashpoint Global Partners. Nice to have you. EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: All right, Evan. I assume vulnerability is just part of the reality of embassies, that threats are probably relatively common. So what kind of intelligence would have led to this kind of action? KOHLMANN: What we`ve seen in the past were leaks like this have come out, or information like this has come out. It`s come out of the result of human sources within al Qaeda in that area. Within al Qaeda in Yemen, that usually have been recruited by the Saudi government and sometimes they`re simply providing information to us by proxy. These individuals usually have direct access within the organization, and I think it`s fair to presume if they`re ringing the alarm bells now, based on what we know in prior occasions, it`s very likely that once again, there`s a human source here that`s talking about something imminent. It`s not clear what the target is, it`s not clear exactly when it`s going to be but there`s something very specific apparently here again from a human source suggesting that there really is something in the works. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. I mean, when you look at that map and you sort of see that yellow band right across the top there, it`s clearly an enormous number of U.S. interests abroad. In practical terms what does it mean to have that many consulates and embassies closed for a day or maybe more? KOHLMANN: In practical terms I don`t think you can really protect that many embassies and that many consulates all together, all at once, for a period of a month and a half. I think the reality is that some of this concern and anxiety probably reflect the atmosphere in Washington, D.C., post-Benghazi. There`s been a lot of criticism on the Obama administration about what happened in Benghazi, whether you believe that`s legitimate or not, I think it`s fair to say there are a lot of people in the State Department and elsewhere who don`t want to be the person this time who ends up getting blamed by partisan hacks or by others for failing to put out that kind of alert. HARRIS-PERRY: You know, speaking of Benghazi, as I was preparing for our interview tonight I was digging through and I saw an interview that you did just two days before that on MSNBC with Alex Witt and you were talking on September 9th about your concern about the vulnerability of embassies. Why was that on your mind at that point? Was that just because we were coming up to the anniversary? KOHLMANN: Well, look, it`s something that continuously replays in al Qaeda propaganda. Unfortunately, as a result of what`s happened in Benghazi last year, it actually only got amplified, particularly al Qaeda in Yemen, the group that apparently is behind this latest threat. They`ve issued multiple different documents in the Arabic and English in the last year and they have been cheering what happened in Benghazi. And they`ve been saying, we need to do this again. We need to do this in Yemen. We need to do this all across the Middle East. And I think the reality is, is that some of us, we weren`t sure whether this was just rhetoric or whether that was actual real intent behind it. Based on the latest information, maybe there really is an intent behind them, to live up to this threat that they made. HARRIS-PERY: So if you are making this kind of decision about keeping these spaces safe and you just said trying to do it for a month, month and a half is probably impossible. So, you`re saying, OK, starting August 4th, at what point did you as a decision-maker sort of say, all right, the threat`s over? Because just -- you know, there`s always this kind of public-ness. Here we are sitting on television having this conversation. If it lifts on the 7th, or the 8th, or whenever, does that make a difference? KOHLMANN: Well, look -- I mean, there`s specific information from the same source that was the result of the initial warning that says, well, the threat has passed -- OK, fine, that`s acceptable. But once again, I think you`re not going to see people jumping to say the coast is clear because once again, given the political environment that exists right now, I don`t think anyone wants to be the person to say, it`s all good, the coast is clear, and then something bad to happen. Because again, whether or not it`s the responsibility of those who have made these decisions, they`re going to get blamed. And there`s even an argument to be said that right now, by putting out this warning, we`re giving al Qaeda ammunition. Because right now jihadists on the Internet, they`re thrilled. They`re going crazy over this. They`re jubilant. They`re very excited about this. HARRIS-PERRY: About the posture of -- KOHLMANN: About the fact that they have terrified the United States. So this is also something that needs to go into calculus about whether or not we want to shut down all our embassies, whether or note want to respond to these threats, understanding that they are trying to intimidate us and by falling into that, we hand them some sort of victory as well. HARRIS-PERRY: It`s interesting because it feels to me on the one hand there`s this political calculation you`re talking about, where you want to have been seen to take the protective measures for the domestic politics of it, but then taking those measures, is it different calculation on the foreign stage if in fact part of the goal is simply to terrorize? KOHLMANN: Yes, look. I mean, not to mention the fact that also some of the same people that are criticizing the efforts that have been made to protect embassies are the same people arguing that drone strikes in Yemen should not be happening, and that the people that are targeting our embassies should not be targeted in drone strikes. So, I think you can make those arguments, but it doesn`t make sense to be on both sides. You know, you have to decide, either there are people out there that are a threat to us or there are not. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, interesting. Evan Kohlmann, NBC News terrorism analyst, also senior partner of Flashpoint Global Partners -- I really appreciate you thinking through this with me this evening. KOHLMANN: Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: And ahead, it`s a Friday. It`s summer. And we have a salute to our vacationing Congress, although maybe salute is not exactly the word that I`m looking for here. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: There was a late Friday news flash regarding the state by state battle over women`s reproductive health rights. Nothing`s happening in Washington, D.C., but they are going at it hammer and tongs in the states. In Wisconsin, the new anti-abortion law requires that abortion providers working in clinics have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals. Now, this sort of requirement is not unique to Wisconsin`s anti-abortion tactics. In fact, anti-abortion lawmakers in Wisconsin did not invent it but they do know it makes it much more likely that clinics will have to shut down if and when their doctors do not get admitting privileges in those nearby hospitals. Abortion providers in the state filed suit claiming that a clinic in Appleton and one in Milwaukee would be shut down by the restriction. And tonight, a federal judge blocked that admitting privileges provision in the new state law until the matter could be adjudicated at trial, which is scheduled for November. So, for now, two clinics which say they would have to close will be able to stay open. And the fight is much more one-sided in the great state of North Carolina. And that story is coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: It was summer and Ronald Weekley was home from school. The 20-year-old college student enrolled at Xavier University in New Orleans was back out west in Venice, California. It was Saturday and he decided to go skateboarding in front of his home. This is what happened next. This is the cell phone video taken by someone on the street. It shows Ronald Weekley pinned to the ground by four LAPD officers. Then we see one of the officers punch Ronald Weekley in the head with his fists. Police say they stopped Mr. Weekley because he was riding his skateboard on the wrong side of the street, against the traffic. Ronald Weekley says he did not even know the officers were calling him, he was opening the door to his apartment when he was attacked from behind. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RONALD WEEKLEY: They grabbed my hands, they pulled them behind my back, they stretched them as far as they could so it would hurt me. They grabbed both of my legs and pinned them forward. At that time being, the cops had my hands and legs. My face was left in the open. And that is when the other cop jumped on my back and started punching me in my face. Four times in a row as I screamed and cried for help. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Ronald Weekley ended up with a broken nose, cheekbone, and a concussion. He was arrested outside his home for resisting arrest. The LAPD said Mr. Weekley also had three outstanding misdemeanor warrants from a few years back. They were for violating curfew, a bicycle-riding violation, and driving without a license. The officers that stopped Ronald Weekley were part of the LAPD`s violent crime task force which patrols target problem areas. About 20 officers make up this task force, and according to the LAPD, the officers in this unit are specifically chosen because they do not have complaints against them. The Wednesday following the incident, the LAPD`s union released a statement about the incident titled, "Police work is not always pretty." The statement read, quote, "While Mr. Weekley claims excessive use of force, it is important to remember that partially recorded police action can easily misrepresent what actually occurred. The law recognizes that some individuals will not comply with police officers and submit to arrest unless compelled to do so by the use of force." This happened last August, about a year ago. When the video was released it got a lot of play online and raised serious questions surrounding the LAPD`s use of force. In response, LAPD launched an internal investigation as to Mr. Weekly`s arrest. See the LAPD does have a history riddled with racial profiling and excessive force. From the very high-profile Rodney King beating that reverberated across the country into something much bigger, to the lesser-known case of this young man skateboarding on the wrong side of the road. Just this week the LAPD launched an experimental mediation program that would bring officers face to face with people who have accused them of racial profiling. But the program will be voluntary for both sides. Now, this is serious stuff. But it`s important to point out this is not just an L.A. problem or even a California matter. On the other side of the country, in New York, is the NYPD`s stop and frisk program. Started more than 10 years ago, stop and frisk allows police officers to randomly stop and frisk individuals if they have reasonable suspicion that a person is going to commit a crime. Reasonable suspicion -- well, what exactly does that translate to? According to the New York civil liberties union, between 2002 and 2011, black and Latino residents made up close to 90 percent of people stopped. And about 88 percent of those stopped were innocent New Yorkers. And in our nation`s capital, a report released this month found huge racial disparities in arrests. A report by the Washington lawyers committee found that even though African-Americans account for about half of Washington, D.C.`s population, a whopping 83 percent of people arrested in D.C. between 2009 and 2011 were African-American. Only 14 percent were white. Some other things to point out: 7 of 10 traffic arrests in D.C., African-Americans. Nine of 10 drug arrests in D.C., African-Americans. And while there is a disparity between white to African-Americans in drug arrests, the survey shows there is much less disparity in actual drug use between the two groups. This must be fixed. This is a problem that even former President George W. Bush was concerned about in his first address to a joint Congress. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Earlier today, I asked John Ashcroft, the attorney general, to develop specific recommendations to end racial profiling. It`s wrong and we will end it in America. (APPLAUSE) In so doing, we will not hinder the work of our nation`s brave police officers. They protect us every day, often at great risk. But by stopping -- but by stopping the abuses of a few, we will add to the public confidence our police officers earn and deserve. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Heeding the president`s call for action, Michigan Congressman John Conyers helped sponsor the End Racial Profiling Act back in 2001. The act, though, never made it out of committee for vote on the house floor. And since 2001, Congressman Conyers has been reintroducing the same bill each and every year. And each and every year, the same thing happens. Here he is earlier this week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JOHN CONYERS (D), MICHIGAN: I want to make one thing clear. We were working on the reintroduction before the Trayvon Martin tragedy, and the George Zimmerman acquittal, so that these things happened to reinforce one another. And so it`s in that spirit that I`m happy to join all of you today to legally in the federal code ban the prohibition on racial profiling. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was earlier this week. Congressman Conyers reintroducing the End Racial Profiling Act for the 12th year, 12 years. Nothing. Joining us now is prison activist Bryonn Bain. He was wrongfully arrested by NYPD in 1989, while studying at Harvard Law School. Today, he`s an author, artist and educator, dedicated to helping reform the so- called prison industrial complex. Mr. Bain, thank you for being here. BRYONN BAIN, PRISON ACTIVIST: Thank you for having me. HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So, I mean, first of all, George W. Bush with that statement -- BAIN: Who else do you need, right? You know? (LAUGHTER) BAIN: You won`t listen to me, at least you`ll listen to George Bush, right? HARRIS-PERRY: Right. One of the things I want to think about here is the extent to which this has come back into our conversation around the Zimmerman case. BAIN: Right. HARRIS-PERRY: But I feel like, for example, when the president stood and talked about his experiences of personal profiling, that maybe we started to lose -- the conversation has typically been about structural, institutional, and police profiling. BAIN: Right, right. I mean, human right watch back in 2000 was talking about this. They looked at seven states across the country that actually had these 80 percent to 90 percent numbers. Decade before that, we had studies in New York, they were looking at, and showing how Rikers Island and prisons across New York, it was the same seven neighborhoods, the Center for Leadership did the study back then. So, yes, we need to think about systemic and structural issues because it`s not something band-aids on cancer can fix. We need to look at how to look at this and correct the last 30 to 40 years of tough on crime and drug war rhetoric and policy that have completely failed and left us with the greatest prison crisis in American history. HARRIS-PERRY: It feels so difficult to me that on the one hand, this is a moment when so many African-Americans might feel empowered at part of their country with an African-American president, that they were such a big part of electing. But then that experience of being thrown up against the wall, of being frisked, when you`ve done nothing wrong, separates you from your country, separates you from your sense of connection to your community. BAIN: Absolutely. Obama, I was shocked he made the statement. I also, you know, want him to extend his concern about what`s happening with police and prisons here, to live up to his promise to close Guantanamo. I`d be very glad to see that happen because it needs to happen with the hunger strike happening and everything. But I also think that, you know, we need to look at -- we`re in the best of times and the worst of times in some way and I think that`s the reality. We -- you know, a black face on a white power structure is still a white power structure, and that`s the sad reality we need to come to terms with. The fact that I could be at the most elite law school in the country and be thrown in jail, and half a dozen times, pulled out of cabs. In Brooklyn, if you`re in Brooklyn, I can`t wear my resume on my forehead. Police don`t give a damn. So, we need to look at how do we change this culture of aggressive policing of black and brown communities and move towards public health as a strategy, safer communities, healthier communities, rather than being tough on crime and locking folks away, because the prison system as it exists right now is not doing anything effective at all. HARRIS-PERRY: Maybe it`s because you were at Harvard, because there`s that whole, Henry Louis Gates thing. I mean, maybe it`s you guys from Harvard. BAIN: You know, it`s been said that Harvard has ruined more Negros than bad whiskey. So -- (LAUGHTER) HARRIS-PERRY: One of the things as I was watching again your conversation about your experience in 1999 with New York City police, and there is an amazing film out right now, "Fruitvale Station," about Oscar Grant. In truth, you guys, down on the subway, you and your two friends, it`s very, very similar to that moment of Oscar Grant who ends up being shot by an Oakland Transit Authority police officer. Have you seen the film yet? BAIN: I`m seeing it tomorrow night actually. But I actually talked to Dolores Huerta who started the United Farm Workers Movement with Cesar Chavez. She talked about the film being powerful and significant right now because with Trayvon Martin and this new Oscar Grant film, big out to Forrest Whitaker for producing that, we have a national consciousness that`s moving to a place of urgency and we need to do something about this. It`s been here, it`s been with us. The grassroots movement that`s rising right now has the capacity to link with policy and to create the kind of structural change that we need to have happen in this country. HARRIS-PERRY: Maybe former President George W. Bush can come back and lead the movement. BAIN: Hey, you know, I think Bloomberg than give the Central Park jogger brothers what they need, the settlement that they`re deserving, you know? HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, the dreams we spin when we`re together. Bryonn Bain, author, artist and prison reform activist -- I thank you very much for being here this evening. For North Carolina lawmakers, their extreme conservative rampage has achieved a scary new milestone. And that is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: In mere minutes I, Melissa Harris-Perry, will attempt a vaunted and high at technical MADDOW SHOW ritual. Wish me luck. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The envelope arrived at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas City, Missouri, on a snowy day. And inside was a stained sheet of paper with a skull and cross bones on it, some brown powder, and the message, "Anthrax. Have a nice death." Not day, death. When the firefighters arrived, they quarantined the 20 people inside the clinic and set up a tent outside for decontamination. We`ve all had hard days at work. But now, imagine having to scrub down with bleach and soapy water in a tent outside during a blizzard. That`s a really bad day, even when the anthrax threat that prompted your decontamination turns out to be a hoax. That same week, a similar envelope, some suspicious powder, another death threat, was received by the Femcare Clinic in Asheville, North Carolina. In fact, Asheville and Kansas City were only two of more than 30 different women`s health clinics across the country to receive anthrax threats by mail that winter and spring. Although some would be temporarily closed and their staff members decontaminated, none of the letters were found to contain actual anthrax. That same winter, this also happened at the Asheville clinic. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In North Carolina tonight, federal agents are investigating a bomb that exploded today outside an Asheville clinic where abortions are performed. The bomb went off 30 minutes before the Femcare clinic opened this morning. No one was injured. Investigators on-scene found a second device hours later. It`s now being examined. The clinic was one of several across the nation that received suspicious packages in the last month. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: So, it wasn`t just anthrax threats but bombings too. The Asheville Clinic one of several across the others to be targeted that month. One of the bombs left outside the Asheville clinic only partially detonated, going off before the clinic was opened. The other one failed to go off. It could and probably should have been a lot, lot worse. This is a really bad time for women`s health clinics across the country. A man named Eric Rudolph was wanted on the FBI`s most wanted list. He was wanted not only for his suspected role in the bombings the summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, but he was also suspect in the bombing of a clinic of an Atlanta suburb a couple of months later, and at another clinic that performed abortions in Birmingham, Alabama, one year after that. When the police finally caught Eric Rudolph in 2003, after five years on the run, it was in a town not far from Asheville. Eric Rudolph had been camping out in the mountains there apparently for years. So, when the clinic in Asheville was bombed, it was feared that maybe Eric have been responsible for that, too. It turns out he wasn`t. But that was the fear -- a really, really scary time for women`s health care providers nationwide. But here is the thing: the providers to women never stopped. Despite the violence and threats of violence, only weeks after the bombing at the Femcare Clinic in Asheville, doctors were again seeing patients. Even as protesters harassed patients who are trying to enter, and that clinic has kept its doors open in the 14 years since, until now. On Wednesday, health officials closed the doors of Femcare in Asheville, citing 49 pages of health violations. Two days after Governor Pat McCrory signed North Carolina`s strict new abortion law, state officials succeeded in doing with paperwork what the anti-abortion protesters could not do with either threats, or fire hazard or with explosives. The clinic`s directors say they won`t be closed for long. Quote, "Standards that were accepted when we were last inspected have changed. And as soon as we were notified of them two weeks ago, we begin the process of meeting each one of them." North Carolina health officials closed a clinic in Durham last month, and another in Charlotte, that has since reopened in May. Three clinics in the past three months which may not seem like a lot, but that is more clinics that the state of North Carolina has closed in the last 14 years. It is not just the law that changed in North Carolina. The priorities there have changed too. If you want to close down clinics that perform abortions by targeting them with specific violations, you`re going to need to send out twice the number of inspectors that you had before. This is something that the Republican officials at the highest level of state government have made a priority. E-mails have sent, money has been budgeted, closing clinics is something that Republicans in North Carolina eagerly want to get done. Before the North Carolina general assembly started doing things like sneaking abortion legislation into a motorcycle safety bill, there were 16 facilities across the state that provide abortions. In the wake of a new law, it looks like the number of places where women in North Carolina can get an abortion will drop from 16 to just one. And that one place is -- wait, oh yes. You see it? That`s Asheville, North Carolina. It`s Femcare, the same clinic that survived a nationwide anthrax attack that was at least reported to be an anthrax attack, the same clinic that survived a double bombing. That clinic had its doors successfully closed by state officials, but Femcare reopened its doors after the anthrax threat, and it reopened its doors after the bomb went off, and the clinic says it will be back this time, too. If it does not re open, there might soon be nowhere left in North Carolina to get a procedure that is still legal in the United States, at least in theory. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: It is Friday night and sometimes reserved for the one and only Rachel Maddow for a cocktail moment. And for a long time, I thought that this was coolest segment going on -- and I kind of daydream that I would get to come on and make a cocktail. As a matter of fact, two years ago, in July of 2011, I had a privilege of sitting in for Rachel. I had a whole thing worked out. The script was written. Ingredients were purchased. The frozen drink had been designed to pay tribute to the political news of that day. See, here is what the script looked like in the handy dandy program that runs our lives. The theme of the evening was all about how noting, not even the debt ceiling increase, could get done by the silly 112th Congress. And then before I could actually live the dream and do a cocktail-ish moment, there was breaking news about the debt ceiling crisis -- and my dream was deferred, preempted actually, blown out. So, we went back and examined not only the recipe but the theme and idea. And here was a sobering revelation, a tribute to a feckless, do- nothing, obstructionist, maddening Congress, about to take a vacation in 2011, applied almost exactly to Congress on this very day two years later. So here we go -- a cocktail moment, a recipe and a tribute to the day`s events that has endured for two whole years. Except I can`t even have a drink, because even a half a glass of wine turns me into Dean Martin, and I have got to be really earning tomorrow morning because I have my own show here on MSNBC. So, rather than a traditional cocktail, I thought I`d share a tasty, healthy, alcohol-free drink that also symbolizes bipartisan cooperation we are sorely lacking in Washington, I present the stop the madness and work together smoothie complete with forced bipartisan. All right. So, the first thing we`re going to do is to take a banana, because the actions of our current congress are totally bananas -- unhinged from human reality, from sequester to ACA repeal vote, to the farm bill, it is completely bananas. Then, we`re going to take strawberries, because, you know, they`re red for the Republicans. In, they go, and blue, of course for the blue Democrats. Now, the parties may have trouble in real life mixing, but they got no choice here now. If we are going to get some bipartisanship done, we`re going to have cool nerves in order to ignore corporate spending and ideological extremism. So, in goes the ice. And, folks, this is going to be hard work. So, we`re going to need to make sure that we keep the interplay and cooperation bubbling. How about a little sparkling water to add to the mix? And, of course, because things have been stuck in Congress for a long time, how about a little mill`s flax seed, you know -- get the whole thing moving? And now, with the touch of a button, we force bipartisanship. Do it as long as it takes to make cooperation an appealing outcome. And there you have it. Oops. There you have it. The stop the madness and start things moving bipartisan smoothie. Hmmm, happy weekend, everyone. Rachel will be back on Monday. I know you`re happy to hear that. And I hope to see you tomorrow morning on my show at 10 a.m. Eastern, right here on MSNBC. Good night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END