Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: December 10, 2015 Guest: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sam Stein, Maria Teresa Kumar, Nafees Hamid, Scott Atran, Cal Perry
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening Rachel. I`m joining you from Washington tonight, so don`t try to run across the hall and be my first guest, although I would love that if you could do it --
MADDOW: I could run across your hall and take all your stuff since you`re not here to defend it.
O`DONNELL: This is the night, this is the night to do it.
MADDOW: Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Yes, thanks Rachel. A "Time Magazine" columnist says that Donald Trump has more in common with the Islamic State than he does with America.
And the author of that column is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and he will be my first guest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORT: We`ve had a pretty interesting couple of days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Teflon Donald Trump showing no sign of slowing down despite all the controversy, his numbers have still either remained the same or gone up a little bit.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I don`t see how it stops. I mean, the energy is with him right now.
TRUMP: We have people talking, I will tell you that.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: This has put a scare into the Republican establishment who now fear Trump may have enough gas politically to get to the convention next Summer.
CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Now, preparing for a brokered convention --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officially, the party is preparing for chaos and that`s telling in and of itself --
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He`s destroying the party. There would be a generation before we can overcome this -- maybe never.
TRUMP: Big deal --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is an extremist leader who came out of nowhere, attracts his followers with a radical ideology to take over the world and is actively trying to promote a war between Islam and the west.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God, Hasan, he`s white ISIS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The terrorist campaign against American ideals is winning. Fear is rampant, gun sales are soaring, hate crimes are increasing, bearded hipsters are being mistaken for Muslims and 83 percent of voters believe a large scale terrorist attack is likely here in the near future.
Some Americans are now so afraid that they are willing to trade in the sacred believes that define America for some vague promises of security from the very people who are spreading the terror.
Go ahead and burn the constitution, just don`t hurt me at the mall. That`s how effective this terrorism is. I`m not talking about ISIS.
I`m talking about Donald Trump. Those are not my words. Everything that I just said was written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in "Time Magazine".
And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, "Time" columnist, six-time NBA champion and the NBA`s all-time leading scorer joins us now for an exclusive interview.
Kareem, thank you very much for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it.
KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: Happy to talk to you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: I wanted to get to many of the things that you`ve said in this very provocative piece at "Time".
And you make the point that using the definition of terrorism, that we -- we aren`t being careful enough in understanding all the ways in which it emerges.
You note in your piece, "Webster defines terrorism as the use of violent acts to frighten people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal, the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion."
And you say that definition fits what Donald Trump is doing. Explain that.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, what I`m trying to say is that although Mr. Trump isn`t committing the violence, when the violence happens, he exploits it.
OK, so instead of offering a practical and a realistic solution, he`s exploiting people`s fear and he`s doing ISIS` work for them. And that is something that we can`t -- we can`t let him keep doing that.
We have to say something about it at least in order to maybe somehow impact it.
O`DONNELL: You go on to say in the piece that, according -- yet again now, "Trump is ISIS` greatest triumph, the perfect Manchurian candidate who instead of offering specific and realistic policies preys on the fears of the public, doing ISIS` job for them."
And I`ve got to say, there are times when you see it and you just think, if he had an ISIS campaign adviser in the room, that`s what ISIS would have advised him to say today.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Absolutely. And, you know, because of this, you know, we can`t do anything about it because for one reason, you know, nothing about his campaign is, let`s say, illegal, because in our country, candidates aren`t required to tell the truth.
So he can lie to his supporters and then just take them -- take advantage of their gullibility and I think that`s what`s happened up to this point.
O`DONNELL: Your piece is really exhausting. You come up with several examples of what`s going on in that campaign.
One of the very troubling parts of it here, you mentioned, "Trump enjoys the endorsement of several white supremacist groups.
One of which proclaimed on their website, heil Donald Trump, the ultimate savior, and called for him to make America white again."
It`s -- you know, Donald Trump has said when he was asked, does it bother him to be compared to Hitler? He said no.
And so I`m not sure whether it bothers him to be the white supremacists` favorite candidate. What do you think?
ABDUL-JABBAR: I think that Mr. Trump is trying to take advantage of all of the gullibility that he can and get elected. And that seems to be what he`s doing and he`s doing a pretty good job of it.
He`s buffaloed a lot of people, and the problem is we don`t have enough people challenging him on the basis of the factual reality of what he`s saying.
So people who don`t agree with him, they don`t do the fact-checking and call him out on the lies that he`s telling, and people keep buying it.
So, this is going to continue until somebody has enough nerve to get in there and do something about that and challenge the lack of fact that is really -- I would say that`s the touch stone of his campaign.
O`DONNELL: You talk about Muslim Americans, and this is something you`ve been trying to bridge the gulf on this issue for decades now and trying to explain to people what Muslims are, what they aren`t, what they believe, what they don`t believe.
And very personally in your own case, what you believe and what you don`t believe. There`s this passage that -- in your article, where you refer to something that happened where President Obama talked about Muslims and Donald Trump tweeted about that.
Let`s first listen to what the President said.
ABDUL-JABBAR: OK --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes.
And yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And Kareem, obviously, you know, when I heard him say that, you`re the first name I thought of that he was talking about obviously, Muhammad Ali, you can go on and on.
It was real easy, but not for --
ABDUL-JABBAR: Yes --
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump. He saw that and he tweeted as you know -- Donald Trump tweeted, "Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes.
What sport is he talking about and who?" So of course, he apparently, Kareem, had no memory of ever meeting you or knowing that you played basketball.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Right, and we published a picture of us together that was taken in 2004. And he says that it`s photo-shopped and it was taken at an event that we were both at.
O`DONNELL: So, he`s denying that he`s -- that that`s him in the picture?
ABDUL-JABBAH: Yes, he`s denying that that`s him in the picture --
O`DONNELL: Oh, wow --
ABDUL-JABBAH: He says it was photo-shopped. And you know, it`s just another one of his many fictional stories that he`s -- that that`s part and parcel of his campaign.
O`DONNELL: But were you surprised in that moment we discovered that Donald Trump actually could not imagine Muslims succeeding in any American sport on any level?
ABDUL-JABBAH: Yes, I was very surprised at that, because Muslims have competed on many different sports here in America and done very well, along with a whole lot of other athletes, American athletes, so --
O`DONNELL: But doesn`t it -- I mean --
ABDUL-JABBAH: Very healthy --
O`DONNELL: I felt that it said something much bigger about his bigotry and his compartmentalization of people, they`re just inconceivable to him that President Obama was actually telling the truth about that when he said it.
ABDUL-JABBAH: Well, you know, it seems to me that he does not want to say anything positive about a person of color.
Just like at the beginning of this idiotic campaign of his where he started to say that President Obama was not an American citizen and had been born in Kenya, something that is obviously a lie and a -- and a fiction.
But he will persist with it and hold on to it as long as he can because it exploits the fears of the people that he wants to influence and get to support him.
So he`s counting on his support and he doesn`t mind what lie he tells in order to get that support.
O`DONNELL: You`ve written on Facebook extensively about your religion. And you make the point that if you go into the old texts of all of the major religions, you`re going to find death penalties for very minor things, not observing the Sabbath, you get the death penalty in the Old Testament, that sort of thing.
And that it`s the job of modern religion to mature out of those things and understand that the fundamental message of that is try to keep the Sabbath holy, it`s to forget the death penalty part.
And that Islam in certain places in the world is facing a struggle over that kind of transition, that kind of editing out of that -- those old notions that still can be found in certain spots in the books.
What would you say about how to basically speed that process worldwide in the current environment?
ABDUL-JABBAH: I think that it has to be an outreach campaign to just communicate with Muslims on a realistic basis as to what can be done.
You know, because we have things to do to make it so that Muslims don`t have any grievances. Just like all the other different factions of our society that may or may not have a grievance, you try to find those things out and make the world better for them.
I think Muslims, they seem to be the last group on earth that have had the opportunity to improve their life. And this is something that`s very important to them.
And I think that as long as they don`t have anything to hope for, nothing to live for, they don`t mind dying for these really tragic and vicious causes that they invent.
And, you know, we`ve got to do something to mitigate that and get them back to the path of growth. And you know, if we can do that, it will definitely change the template, absolutely.
O`DONNELL: You wrote something about your experience as a Muslim-American. And I got to say, this was really quite shocking to me about how some of your fans even treat you.
You wrote, "some fans still call me Lew."
ABDUL-JABBAH: Yes --
O`DONNELL: And then seem annoyed when I ignore them. They don`t understand that their lack of respect for my spiritual choices is insulting.
It`s as if they want me to exist only as an idea of who they want me to be to decorate their world rather than as an individual, like a toy action figure."
And Kareem, you and I know you got to be over 60 years old to know that your birth name was Lew Alcindor.
Is that it`s not a lot of people -- I mean it stunned me that some -- that people would be out there clinging to that, and how can they not know that that`s an offensive thing to do with you?
ABDUL-JABBAR: I don`t know how that`s possible. Because, you know, change is part of our existence.
You know, things change, people evolve, situations take a different turn and this is what has happened in my life, and it happens in everyone`s life.
O`DONNELL: Kareem, we`re going to take a quick break and we`re going to come back with more, please, stay with us, really appreciate you being here.
ABDUL-JABBAR: No problem --
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump offers another unconstitutional, impossible, illegal proposal tonight about the death penalty and a New England police union audience completely falls for it.
And the war on ISIS, hackers are planning a big attack on the Islamic State tomorrow. And later, the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy gets tonight`s last word.
O`DONNELL: Here is a very ugly result for the new poll. A new poll of 18 to 29-year-olds by the Harvard Institute of Politics.
Sixty percent of them polled say that they support sending U.S. combat troops to fight the Islamic State.
And even more of them, 62 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds say they would never join that fight themselves. They just want to send other 18 to 29- year-olds over there to fight this war for them.
The arm chair generals, the cowardly 18 to 29-year-old group happy to urge war but refusing to participate in it themselves.
Coming up later, why the Islamic State wants to see U.S. ground troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq. Why that actually fulfills a prophecy for them.
O`DONNELL: A new Nbc News "Wall Street Journal" poll out tonight shows America clinging to its sanity with 57 percent of Americans opposing Donald Trump`s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Twenty five percent of Americans have lost their minds and go along with Trump on that. Among Republicans, 42 percent support Donald Trump`s proposal while 36 percent of Republicans oppose the idea.
Tonight, at a campaign event in New Hampshire, Donald Trump said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When I talked about what I said the other day, all of a sudden I`m watching the shows this morning and I`m watching the shows tonight.
Well, you know, Trump has a point. The visa system is not working. We`ve got to get down to the problems. We can`t worry about being politically correct.
We just can`t afford anymore to be so politically correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Back with us, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, also with us Sam Stein, the senior politics editor at "Huffington Post" and an Msnbc contributor.
Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino and host of "CHANGING AMERICA" on shift by Msnbc. He`s with us here in Washington.
And so, Sam Stein, you were laughing when Donald Trump said that he saw everybody in the morning shows --
SAM STEIN, SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR, HUFFINGTON POST: I just don`t know how he can --
O`DONNELL: Now agrees with him --
STEIN: Watch so much --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
STEIN: TV --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
STEIN: I mean, I --
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, VOTO LATINO: Because he`s calling into all of them --
STEIN: Yes, right --
KUMAR: That`s why --
STEIN: He`s like getting slated.
O`DONNELL: Well, you know, he -- Kareem, I want to go back to the point you were talking about, this stream of lying that he does publicly all the time.
He did this the other day, I was watching him do an interview with Barbara Walters, with other people and he said, you know, when I came out and said what I said about the southern border and the Mexicans coming over the border, everybody attacked me.
And then in a few weeks everyone agreed with me. And he just kept repeating, everyone agrees with me.
And this is just a lie, but it`s in Trump world such a small lie compared to the other lies he`s telling in the same sentences. That no one interviewing him can keep up with those lies.
ABDUL-JABBAR: He has them all lined up and one comes right after the other. And it -- they all totally support his objective view of what`s happening.
Which everybody knows is not realistic. He`s saying things that aren`t there and talking about things that aren`t there. But this is what we have.
O`DONNELL: All right, let`s listen to his latest, absolutely crazy, unconstitutional, legally impossible idea about the death penalty that he had suggested tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: One of the first things I do in terms of executive order if I win will be to sign a strong statement that will go out to the country, out to the world that anybody killing a policeman, policewoman, police officer, anybody killing a police officer -- death penalty.
It`s going to happen, OK? We can`t go -- we can`t let this go.
We can`t let this go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, Maria Teresa, he`s doing that in front of an audience of police, police union who obviously know nothing about law in America.
All death penalties must be legislated by Congress. We do have federal death penalties, we do have some federal death penalties for killing law enforcement officers already.
No one in that room seems to know it. Impossible for the president to institute a new death penalty. He gets applause from it. Total lie. Lies are his applause lines.
KUMAR: Well, I mean, unfortunately, he -- this is actually something that he`s been doing from the very beginning.
Do you remember when he was talking about this idea that he was going to implement attacks on people that basically took their jobs offshore? And --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
KUMAR: He`s going to give people --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
KUMAR: Money when they --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
KUMAR: Give back, I mean, it`s one thing after the another. And the fact for a long time, folks have been complicit and basically laughed at him.
But now he`s actually getting traction, he`s getting traction in places where people are not only saying -- not only can he not do this legislatively, people are starting to actually get hurt.
STEIN: My question for you is it a lie if he doesn`t know?
O`DONNELL: No, that`s right.
KUMAR: No --
O`DONNELL: He`s an ignoramus, so let`s get this straight --
STEIN: But also --
O`DONNELL: He`s an utter buffoon and ignoramus --
KUMAR: But the media is not -- but the media doesn`t call -- they don`t fact-check him all the time. They --
O`DONNELL: No, they don`t.
KUMAR: They`re not --
O`DONNELL: Certainly don`t --
KUMAR: Right --
STEIN: As Lawrence said, there`s just so much to fact-check at any given time. And so, I actually thought the more nuanced criticism of what he just said is that it`s inherently not conservative.
I mean, the conservative stance is to let the states decide these things to your federalist essentially.
And what he`s saying is, no, this is going to be the purview of the federal government, we`re going to take all the power along this legislative lines and we`re going to dictate to the states what they can and cannot do.
KUMAR: Well, certainly federal, doesn`t it? It`s actually the president is going to dictate.
STEIN: Yes, exactly. And my -- and my point is that, if you step back for a second, if you`re a conservative and you look at the totality of what Donald Trump proposes, at least a good chunk of it is just not conservative.
But it`s the -- it`s the style with which he does it, it`s the flair with which he does it that draws these people.
So he can say things like, I`m going to uphold the Iran deal which is something that no Republican lawmaker would do, which he has done.
And you poll that stuff and you attach it to his name and Republicans actually support it.
O`DONNELL: All right, Kareem, do you -- do you have any suggestions for the media? You`ve been watching his interviews --
No, seriously, because I think a lot of people want to be heard on this.
Because people are sitting at home in America, they`re watching Donald Trump do Sunday morning interviews, during these interviews that he phones in and he calls in, he gets away with 13 lies in a row and a host might try to slow him down on one of the lies.
But never call it a lie because if you do, Trump will never come back on your TV show. And then a lot of these hosts are taking, you know, selfie pictures with Trump and tweeting them to show they did interviews with them and all that kind of stuff.
Some of them begging him to come back for their next interview while this one is still going on. I mean, what is that like to watch as a viewer out there?
ABDUL-JABBAR: It`s really frustrating to watch it because you can see the lies coming out. And until here in America, we require that our candidates tell the truth, we`re going to have to deal with this issue.
Because unless somebody is fact-checking them right there and printing it on a crawl below the screen or some way to counteract the attempt to just snowball the American public, we`re going to have to do something.
So, we`re going to have to change the way that we have our elections in order to make sure that the American people get the facts or understand that somebody is trying to lie to them.
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, "Washington Post" reporting that the panicked Republican Party meeting in Washington here last night, and an urgent meeting is about what are we going to do with this convention?
They fear Donald Trump is going to go into the convention, probably with more delegates than anyone else. Probably not the nomination they`re hoping.
What do we do? Brokered convention -- who do we pull out of the hut?
KUMAR: Well, he has a shot that -- and he has a shot because if he still stays with 35 percent of the polls where he is and everybody else basically splits the difference.
He actually has a shot of being the nominee and I think that`s what scares them. But they are the ones that breathed life into him.
O`DONNELL: Yes --
KUMAR: They are the ones that basically said if he is the nominee, we`re going to, you know, lined up behind him.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Of course --
KUMAR: So, well, you can`t -- yes, the pledge -- you can`t have it both ways.
And I don`t think a lot of us -- I`m not surprised -- I`m not surprised that he`s so popular because he`s really tapping into a group of Americans that don`t realize how quickly their country is changing.
And there hasn`t been leadership saying, look, we have demographic changes happening in your neighborhood, not just in urban areas, but in your rural areas.
And no one has been stepping up to having have this conversation. So, sure, if you`re a neighbor (INAUDIBLE) -- all of us changing and no one is explaining it to you and you`re a little upset and you`re angry.
And then all of a sudden Donald Trump comes up and says, you know what? You`re absolutely right there, the problem, this is going to happen.
O`DONNELL: Sam, I`ve been wanting to see a brokered convention --
STEIN: Yes --
O`DONNELL: So, finally something would actually --
KUMAR: Doesn`t mean --
O`DONNELL: Happen at a convention, actually, I remember, "New York Magazine" asked me to do -- to write a fictional version of a brokered convention in 2008 when people thought, oh, maybe Hillary and Obama --
STEIN: Yes --
O`DONNELL: Will go into it. But this could really be it.
STEIN: You think so?
O`DONNELL: It could be I said.
STEIN: Yes, I mean, you`re -- I sense -- hoping --
O`DONNELL: No, I`m hedging my bet. I`m not --
STEIN: Yes --
O`DONNELL: Betting anything anymore --
STEIN: I think --
O`DONNELL: I just heard you might --
KUMAR: So, if you`re --
STEIN: But I think --
KUMAR: If not him, then who?
STEIN: Well, because I think these processes have a way of working themselves out, even at the nader(ph) for the Republican Party.
It still seems like once you get down to a race where it`s Donald Trump and maybe one or two alternatives, which it eventually will become, that that 30 percent in which he`s basically been hovering around will be a ceiling and not a floor.
And then you get to a point where you have a more establishment candidate come in.
KUMAR: Kareem, you wrote in "Time Magazine" that Trump is a James Bond super villain and like those villains, he is doomed to failure. Do you believe --
STEIN: That`s not bad, Kareem --
O`DONNELL: Do you believe --
STEIN: That is not bad, Kareem --
ABDUL-JABBAR: Do I believe what?
O`DONNELL: Do you believe Trump is doomed to failure as you said in the "Time Magazine" piece.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, that`s got to be where I`m hoping for because we don`t need that -- we don`t need that style of leadership in our country. We get -- we have a lot of work to do.
And we`ve got to get it done and Trump isn`t going to get us there.
O`DONNELL: And at this point, the polling is against his ideas and certainly when you have taken out the polling out beyond Republicans, Kareem, he does not do well at all.
The good news is, outside of the Republican Party, his ideas are not getting traction and acceptance.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, that is good news and I hope we hear more of it.
O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, Maria Teresa Kumar and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, thank you very much for joining us from L.A. tonight, Kareem, really appreciate it.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Great talking to you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Sam, Maria Teresa, thank you for joining us.
STEIN: Two of the top 50 NBA players of all time.
O`DONNELL: Yes --
KUMAR: Oh, yes --
STEIN: You got to be careful --
KUMAR: He inspired me to play basketball, you have no idea --
KUMAR: That`s -- yes! He did. I was awkward, lanky, young, you know, little girl --
STEIN: Yes --
KUMAR: And I would watch Kareem and I was like, I can do that, but not as well as you, obviously, Kareem -- but oh, my goodness.
STEIN: I modeled my JCC game after Kareem, yes. Kareem, you`re an inspiration --
O`DONNELL: Your inspiration continues, thank you again --
ABDUL-JABBAR: You all skinny --
O`DONNELL: Very much --
ABDUL-JABBAR: People -- skinny people on the rise.
O`DONNELL: Thanks again. Coming up, the authors of the "War ISIS Wants"; an article -- could entitle the war ISIS wants.
They will join me to discuss why the Islamic State wants -- they say they want the United States to send ground troops to Syria and Iraq.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via phone): OK. Here is what I do. I would knock out the capital and I would knock it out big and strong. I take over the oil and I keep the oil. That is what I do.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST OF "MORNING JOE" PROGRAM: All right. So, when you do that -- you need ground troops to do that --
TRUMP: And, I have been saying that for three years.
SCARBOROUGH: Right, but you need ground troops to do that?
TRUMP: Yes. You will need some ground troops, yeah. You need ground troops.
SCARBOROUGH: So, how many troops? 10,000 maybe? Would you support 10,000 ground troops?
TRUMP: I would. Yes, I would.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST OF "LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL" PROGRAM: Joining us now, our Nafees Hamid. He is a research fellow at Artis International and Scott Atran, director of research at Francis National Center for Scientific Research and a senior fellow at Artis International.
They are both the authors of the piece "The War ISIS Wants." That is a New York review of books. What was your reaction -- What has been your general reaction, Nafees Hamid, to Donald Trump`s rhetoric and especially his rhetoric lately about banning all Muslims coming into the United States.
NAFEES HAMID, ARTIS INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH FELLOW: I mean this is falling perfectly within the ISIS trap. Earlier this year, under English language magazine "Dabiq" they wrote an article called "The Extinction of the Gray Zone." And, for them, the gray zone is where most Muslims and most people, even non-Muslims if they are willing to budge a little bit sit. And, that is you have the infidels on one end and you have people like ISIS on the other end.
And, the goal is to try to extinguish that gray zone. And, the way they want to do it is to create chaos in western societies. Basically, to convince Muslims where they are in Europe or in the United States. They are not welcome there, that you cannot live in the land of infidels. You will never be treated fairly. They will persecute you.
And, so they want to carry out attacks. There is a tacit alliance between certain more nationalist right wing groups, especially in Europe, and these jihadist fighters, specifically ISIS. And, as these groups get more popularity and they tighten up their borders and the anti-Muslim rhetoric increases, this increases the marginalization that Muslims feel. And, what ISIS hopes is that they will come and join the caliphate.
O`DONNELL: Let me just explore what you meant by the gray zone. Let me see if I got it. It is that area of religious life, where someone does not accept every little thing in the most extreme orthodox interpretation of it and yet is not an opponent of the religion.
I mean to put it in Catholic term, we see in America, in polling that Catholics in America poll equally in favor of abortion as the rest of the population, which is to say most Catholics in America are ignoring the Catholic teachings on abortion and they still consider themselves Catholics. Is that serves the gray zone of religion you are talking about?
HAMID: Yes. Exactly. They are not really necessarily for everything that the west stands for. But, they are all -- they are also not necessarily jihadist, salafist like ISIS. They are somewhere in between the sort of this moral ambiguous area that they are in. And, the goal is to kind of make them get off the fence and to fall on to the side of the jihadist.
O`DONNELL: Let us listen to what Ted Cruz said about how he would approach ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will utterly destroy ISIS.
(AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING)
CRUZ: We will carpet bomb them into oblivion.
(AUDIENCE CHEERING AND APPLAUDING)
CRUZ: I do not know if sand can glow in the dark, but we are going to find out.
(AUDIENCE LAUGHING AND APPLAUDING)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, I do not think Ted Cruz knows that carpet bombing is a war crime, but even if he did, I think he would still say it. Because, Scott, he does not want to be caught saying he is going to send in a lot of ground troops over there. He wants to tell audiences, we can just carpet bomb this whole problem away.
SCOTT ATRAN, ARTIS INTERNATIONAL SENIOR FELLOW: Yes. Well, that is sort of moronic response. I mean, if you look at the history of aerial bombardments, it usually moves populations to support the regime, whatever it is. And, ISIS is very peculiar to semi-nomadic regime. It has no real infrastructure. So, who are you going to bomb?
You are going to bomb the people, who would like to get away from ISIS and now must seek their protection or you are going to bomb the people, who could possibly help us in these urban areas to fight ISIS. So, the whole idea that you are going to bomb, you know -- Basically, what you will do is send a missile up a camel`s ass and get nowhere except to increase support for the Islamic state.
O`DONNELL: I want to read something that you wrote in your piece. You said that the group bases its ideology on prophetic texts, stating that Islamic will be victorious after an apocalyptic battle to be set off once western armies come to the region.
Should that invasion happen, the Islamic state not only would be able to declare its prophesy fulfilled but it could also turn as a part of a new recruiting drive. I am sorry, and this is from "the New York times" actually.
It is not from your piece. But, you have been saying exactly this kind of thing about the prophetic text. Scott, what about if the ground troops go in there and they were to succeed, would not that prove the prophetic texts wrong.
ATRAN: Yes, if they were to succeed, but look what we did in Iraq. Look, in Iraq, we had this precursor al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia. We got rid of 70 to 80 percent of their foot soldiers and knocked off 10-15 high valued targets every month for 15 consecutive months.
They moved into Syria. They easily took over, basically, the rebellion there. They would invest organized group and they came back with a vengeance. And, besides, even if we get rid of them in Iraq and Syria, they are now in the Sahel in Sahara. That is 3 million to 4 million square miles, where they are running around, trying to organize and with quite a bit of success that no one is really paying attention to.
O`DONNELL: Nafees Hamid, so what is the smart war on ISIS?
HAMID: I mean, first of all, the existence of the caliphate. The fact that they have control over that land does give them an incredible degree of attraction to people who want to join them.
So, the idea of removing that land, removing their ability to control that area is not only a good thing in terms of freeing up those people, who currently living in that territory and removing one of their basis from which they can plan attacks on us, but it would go a long way in terms of reducing their attraction .
But, it cannot be western soldiers on the ground. That would just be playing into ISIS hands. They want to frame this as a war against as west versus Islam. And, so, far they have not been as successful at that at bringing western troops into the ground.
And, so militias, Syrian rebel force forces need to do the fighting. Kurdish fighters need to do the fighting. If they can get Sunni Muslim countries to go into those territories, that would work as well with the western nation`s providing intelligence and air fighter and financing as well.
O`DONNEL: Well, one of the newer --
HAMID: That is in the short run. In the long run --
O`DONNELL: We are going to take a quick break right here. We are going to come back and finish that point and also talk about the Islamic state`s new smart phone app. We will be right back.
O`DONNELL: We all know that ISIS relies heavily on social media to spread its message and recruit people, but we did not know until now that ISIS has a phone app. Joining us now is the Cal Perry, MSNBC Senior Editor for digital and video content. Scott Atran and Nafees Hamid are also still with us. Cal, tell us about this app?
CAL PERRY, MSNBC SENIOR EDITOR, VIDEO AND DIGITAL CONTENT: Well, Lawrence, it is really, you know, all the trappings of a state without actually being a state. So, it is not the most interactive app, and you have to already be on an encrypted communication server that is run out of Russia to even get an invitation to get on it.
It is really just a better delivery system, a quicker delivery system for some of these gruesome videos. And, it is meant for just followers of the quote, unquote, "Caliphate." When you speak to U.S. military officials about this app and some of the twitter handles for that matter, they will tell you that it is often times better to leave these things in place while it is good to send a message to knock them down.
This is a way to track people. The ultimate goal is to give a drone a target. And, if you can find the people who are on this app and we are showing our viewers now a screenshot of that app. You can use it as actionable intelligence. So, sometimes it is better that these things are out there, believe it or not.
And, this is something that groups like anonymous are interested in knocking off the air. In fact anonymous tomorrow is going to spend the day waging global war on the internet. You can already find on Twitter, for example, pictures of ISIS fighters, and their faces have been replaced with cartoon ducks.
There you have it. So, it should be an entertaining day. But, it is just you know, Lawrence, it is more of this, you know, ISIS is trying to be a state, presenting itself to the world and certainly its followers and something legitimate. And, this is becoming quickly a tech war.
O`DONNELL: Nafees Hamid, what would be ISIS` reaction to that hacking and, you know, turning their warriors into ducks?
HAMID: Well, they are very clever. They will probably find a way around to it. They are still very active on Twitter, but they are much less responsive. At one point they had 50,000 Twitter handle handlers with about 1,000 followers each. I was communicating with them over Twitter for a while.
And, then they switched to telegram, which is an app that they used -- that they have been using for a while now, which is almost impossible to -- even telegram itself cannot unencrypt its own messages. This is what a lot of the Paris attackers were using to communicate.
But, the important thing to understand about the role of the internet and radicalization in general is the Canadian department of public health just last month finished a year-long study on how the internet works in radicalization. And, they found two main things.
One is that it is not just the messages alone, the video, the magazines, the radicalized people, it is the back and forth social interaction. So, the internet or messaging app just provides a way to expand people`s social networks and you cannot understand the role of the internet on radicalization without taking into account their offline social networks.
As members of researchers, artists have found three out of four people are radicalized by a friend, one out of five by a family member, very few by strangers. You have to look at the offline social network to really get an insight into who is radicalizing and how they are radicalizing.
O`DONNELL: Let us listen to what Hillary Clinton said about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The threat from radical jihadist has metastasized and become more complex and challenging. We are seeing the results of radicalization not just in far-off lands but right here at home, fuelled by the internet.
It is the nexus of terrorism and technology. And, we have a lot of work to do to end it. It is time for an urgent dialogue between the government and not just our government, government and the high-tech community to confront this problem together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Scott, that sounds like a real departure from the Edward Snowden view of the world. This is a very post Snowden comment to say government and the high-tech community should get together and work on this.
ATRAN: Well, I think they should, but I do not think that is going to be the main way we get to ISIS. I think Nafees was exactly right. I mean it is a very intimate, personalized social communication, where a young woman from Syria will text another young woman from Chicago or Seattle and say, "Look, I know how hard it is to leave your mother and brother and sister. And, let me try to help you explain why there is something more important in life so you can explain it to them."
It is that intimate personal contact. And, that is where we have to target. I mean, right now, we are trying to hit the technology and we are doing mass repetitive negative messaging with almost no effect whatsoever. So, I think if we are going to do something, it is got to be at that personal and intimate level, and it is got to be a message that appears to the glory, the joy of ISIS.
I mean, people do not realize it. It is a joyful movement. Our propaganda, it is vicious. It is brutal. It is cruel. Yes, all of that is right. But, for the people who join it, it is a glorious adventure. It is joyful and it is bonded in blood.
O`DONNELL: All right, we are going to have to leave it there for tonight. Cal Perry, Scott Atran, Nafees Hamid, thank you all very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
ATRAN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Up next, first lady, Michelle Obama raps with a pal about -- well, you will find out what it is about. It is coming up.
And, later tonight, bobby Kennedy gets tonight`s "Last Word" with something he said 47 years ago.
O`DONNELL: Today, the website college humor released a video encouraging high school kids to apply to college and go to college. It is features a rapping first lady Michelle Obama and SNL`s impersonator in chief, Jay Pharoah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: What are you going to do after high school?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I do not know, just hang out, I guess.
JAY PHAROAH, SNL`S IMPERSONATOR IN CHIEF (rapping): Hang out?! Your future is hazy trying to figure it out. Asking why I am here, so you crashing in doubt. It is your choice, so voice it.
Whole world your oyster. Cannot keep dropping the ball when your future is nothing to toy with, telescope and stay focused. Make a mark and get noticed. Get the degree, thermostat. Help me out, FLOTUS!
PHAROAH AND MICHELLE OBAMA: If you want to fly jets, you should go to college. Reach high and cash checks, fill your head with knowledge. If you want watch paint, do not go to college. But for everything else, you should go to college.
PHAROAH: You could study engineering, they be building robots. Build bridges, commute, you can get your walk on. Be a math major. Hop a moon crater. Be an astronaut. Be up in the sky like Vader. Finance is not science but you still need a degree. Archaeology, astronomy, but no astrology. No, no, no.
MICHELLE OBAMA: FLOTUS on the track. South side, Chicago, we all know we had to do overtime every night to make it tomorrow. And , everyone could really make their dream true. Hey, kid listening in Michigan, that could be you.
PHAROAH: But a dream is just a dream unless you go hard. Einstein put in time, here is a flow chart. Naturally, it won`t happen magically, but you can change fantasy into reality so dramatically.
PHAROAH AND MICHELLE OBAMA: If you want to fight crime, you should go to college. If you want to write rhymes, fill your head with knowledge. If you want to stare at grass, do not go to college. But, for everything else, you should go to college.
PHAROAH: Better make room! Better make room! We coming! We applying! That paper is not getting thrown in the garbage! You go to college!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ali Van Zee tweeted last night, "Dear Lawrence, this year I was able to get ten kids off the floor instead of the whole class. I am grateful to you for the K.I.N.D. Fund." An entire classroom of desks cost over a $1000 with the K.I.N.D. Fund. And, the fact the very first classroom we did was paid for with cash out of my pocket. Since then, you have been incredibly generous.
You can contribute anything, anything and that will help us get a desk in a classroom, $5, $10, it all adds up. I am going to continue reading your tweets about the K.I.N.D. Fund and featuring them on the show. I wish I could reply to every one of you directly who has contributed. And, I wish you could all come with me to Malawi to see their kindness in action, to see the kid`s faces on the day that their desks arrived.
It is always the same thing, these kids who have never seen a school desk before, never expected to see one, when that desk arrives, it is always like Christmas morning. And, in this season of giving, I thank every one of you once again for going to lastworddesks.msnbc.com and helping to improve the classroom experience for these students.
Finishing high school in Malawi is more difficult and rare than finishing college in the United States. But, your help has made it just a little bit easier for thousands and thousands of students. And, when I was there last month, they all wanted to say thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GROUP OF MALAWI STUDENTS: Thank you!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: IF you think this is the wildest presidential election campaign that we have ever seen, then you were not watching in 1968. The presumptive nominee for the democrats, the certain nominee was incumbent President Lyndon Johnson, who was actually then knocked out of the race by a Bernie Sanders like insurgency led by democratic Senator Eugene McCarthy.
That alone was bigger and more important than anything that has happened in this campaign. Robert Kennedy, the brother our then recently assassinated president joined the race on the democratic side late and was knocked out of it early in the worst possible way, with an assassin`s bullet. That alone was a bigger historical event and more important event than anything that has happened in this campaign.
George Wallace, a southern democrat bolted the party and ran as an independent on a segregationist platform. And, in April of the election year in the thick of the campaign, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. That alone was a bigger and more important historical event than anything that has happened in this campaign.
The day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated with the country on edge, Bobby Kennedy rose to speak in Cleveland. What Bobby Kennedy said that day to a country still reeling from the assassination of his brother, and now again from the assassination of a moral leader, the likes of which this country had never seen before, what he said that day is tonight`s "Last Word."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT FRANCIS "BOBBY" KENNEDY, JOHN F. KENNEDY`S BROTHER: When you teach a man to hate and to fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his believes or the policies that he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your home or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies.
We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions. The false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in search for the advancement of all. We must admit to ourselves that our children`s future cannot be built on the misfortune of another`s. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or by revenge.