tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC February 24, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
thank you so much for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. we are grateful. "the beat" with ari melber starts right now. hi, ari. >> hi, nicolle. thank you so much. welcome to "the beat." i am ari melber. tonight we're tracking the demands for accountability and the process for getting it. congress probing not only the maga insurrection, but the wider evidence of mounting hate in america. from the auschwitz shirts, the confederate flags displayed on january 6th to a growing white supremacist threat that at times has been minimized for little reasons, which house judiciary committee members probed you see here at a hearing today. officials stating that most idealogically motivated killings
are now tied to far right extremists like white supremacists and recounting the warning signs that were there before the insurrection. >> the threat of white nationalist violence has been weaponized. >> the 2016 election of president donald trump gave them a tribal chieftain they can all rally behind. >> the fbi chooses not to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of white supremacists and far right violence. the failure to prepare for the january 6 attack on the capitol is an indictment of the counterterrorism intelligence enterprise built since 9/11. >> we can see future attacks that make oklahoma city bombing pale in comparison. >> you can see the intelligence experts there zooming in, like you might for any other pandemic era discussion, but it was of course deadly serious as they tried to implore the congress to really take this all the way, to do what past administrations sometimes haven't. for their part, republicans used
their time today to divert from that topic to periods when racial justice protests last year involved some reported looting. >> antifa laid siege to some of our cities much of last year. >> violence that took place across our country in major urban areas throughout the summer of last year. democrats looked the other way. some encouraged the violence. >> left wing domestic terrorism exists. >> violence, whether in washington, d.c. or portland, oregon or any other place in this country should be condemned. >> so that was one angle from some politicians, but even as they try to divert the focus away from the stated topic, it was actually a law enforcement witness this week, former capitol police chief steven sund who has emphasized a point that needs to be understood during this series of accountability hearings. he said what we saw on january 6 to him was the worst attack he has ever seen in his career.
>> the events i witnessed on january 6 was the worst attack on law enforcement and our democracy that iowa seen in my entire career. these criminals came prepared for war. >> that is -- that's from one of the other hearings this week about that very day. the former chief saying he viewed the maga rioters as being on a, quote, warpath. basically out for blood. multiple officials also recounting that police were overwhelmed by the armed insurrectionists breaking into that building with what they called a battle plan. this is an important story about accountability and what congress is doing, and i want to get right to it with congresswoman karen bass of california. she chairs the judiciary subcommittee on terror and homeland security. we're also joined by pulitzer prize winner gene robinson. congresswoman, there is more than one hearing, as i mentioned. what do you see as the purpose and the accomplishments thus far of this set of investigative hearings? >> well, first of all, in terms of our subcommittee hearing today, one of the goalsis to
begin to entertain legislation to address domestic terrorism. i am concerned about that, however, because i think with the best of all intentions, i am concerned that we pass laws on domestic terrorism and then they get enforced on african american activists. just like over the last few years we were fighting the fbi's categorization of black identity extremists which i don't even believe exists. but what you saw in the hearing, though, is that you saw my colleagues on the other side of the aisle just outright lie. how you could make a comparison to rioting to the attempted overthrow of the government is just absolutely no comparison. and so because for the last four years we had a liar in chief who has essentially normalized lying, i'm now seeing my republican colleagues essentially adopt that behavior as well. they always did to a little extent, but now the wholesale
mischaracterization of what happened on january 6 is extremely dangerous, because in the last four years, white supremacists organizations have mushroomed. and if we don't get a handle on it, i agree with malcolm nance, more to come is going to be much worse. >> yeah, and bringing gene in. we're discussing facts that have been under assault and hate. and when you have those two things together, it's a real problem. jon stewart used to joke about reality having a well-known liberal bias, and there are larger pockets of the country that when they hear certain facts like what i just mentioned officials saying what the threat is, right, there was a time when there was a larger foreign threat related to isis and al qaeda terrorists. that was a larger threat. but right now they hear that oh, white supremacists and other white hate groups are the threat, and they feel, wrongly, like that's a bias when indeed
it's the reality. for that point, gene, in your analysis, we did want to show something we've put together briefly that will be familiar to the congresswoman as well which is every living fbi director speaking to this point lk. >> much of our history is not pretty. law enforcement enforced the status quo, a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups. >> domestic terrorism is almost as important an issue as domestic terrorism. a sovereign citizen extremist. >> a huge chunk of those domestic terrorism investigations involve racially motivated violent extremists fueled by some kind of white supremacy. and i would say that the most lethal activity over the last few years has been committed by those type of attackers. >> gene, all violent hate is wrong, but there are fbi directors emphasizing the larger problem with violent height
haiti in the united states today from white thugs, killers, terrorists. >> yeah, that's just a fact. but you see the developing republican narrative. i know you'll be shocked at this, but they seem to be ready to try to gas light the nation into believing that what happened at the capitol was actually equivalent to what happened last summer and nothing all that special. they seem to want to ignore the fact that it was in fact in many ways an attempted coup. it was an attempt to overthrow the government, to stop a government's functioning and the orderly transfer of power. it's a very serious thing. they're ignoring the fact that these people came prepared for war, prepared for combat and battle, and that they are organized in groups that have been around for a long time. and as merrick garland said at his hearing, you can draw the
line straight back from what happened at the capitol to the oklahoma city bombing. you can draw the line right back from there to the birth of the ku klux klan after reconstruction. it's there. it's happening. it's the truth. but they're going try to obscure the truth with the fog of lies. >> yeah. and congresswoman, there are surely leaders in government, yourself, maxine waters who we've discussed this before who have been sounding the alarm about many of these issue, including the racial disparities for a long time. we also have covered the fact that other leaders not exclusively, but often black leaders in america have been warning about this outside of politics for a long time and recounting stories and documenting what's happening in their community. dave chappelle is known to many for many things, but he's got a brand-new series that i guess you could call the comedy piece, but boy is it serious at times.
i want to play a little bit of it for your reaction because it's his reaction, his take on january 6. here it is. >> i'm from washington, d.c. a lot of my friends have grown up capitol hill police officers. i say what did you do that day? what did we do? we were kicking cracker downs the steps like [ bleep ] carried a [ bleep ] confederate flag to the rotunda. the confederate army didn't even do that. [ bleep ]. he went very far. >> he is a washingtonian. he is upset to some we can't air on a family broadcast. yet that raw emotion is what we heard from other officers and people around the country. i'm just curious your reaction. >> well, absolutely the same. i mean, the raw emotion, the anger, the idea that this would actually take place and people were allowed to run amok here, and we were not prepared. and the idea that the fbi sent notification but the capitol
police didn't get it, well, why the heck didn't they pick up the phone when someone didn't respond to their email? it is absolutely inexcusable. i know that malcolm nance said that this was known for a long time. as a matter of fact, he was writing a book, and he waited until after january 6 to finish the book because he was waiting to see what was going to happen. so this was widely known. it's just inexcusable. and if you want to talk about white racial terror, you have to go back many, many, many years. as a matter of fact, a couple hundred years. this kind of white supremacist behavior is nothing new in our communities. and what i am hoping now since it was on the display for the world to see is that maybe we will finally begin to address this problem. >> yeah. congresswoman, i want to thank you for joining us. gene, i have one more political item for you. congresswoman, thank you on a busy day. >> thank you. >> gene, take a look at this moment between these two republican leaders today, a real
fisher. take a look. >> do you believe president trump should be speaking -- or former president trump should be speaking at cpap this weekend? >> yes, he should. >> that's up to cpap. i've been clear of my views of president trump and the extent to which january 6 i don't believe that he should be playing the role in the future of the party for our country. >> on that high note, thank you all very much. >> quite a fissure. gene? >> yeah, on that high note. there you see, there you have today's republican party. that's the situation right now. and sadly, liz cheney is in the minority in the republican party on this issue with the continued involvement of donald trump, the continued leadership and domination by donald trump. and so we're going see this play
out for indefinitely, for some time. it is ridiculous. the party has a chance or had a chance to rid itself of this scourge and did not take that chance. and so now they're stuck with this fissure, this division going forward at least until the next election, probably until the next two or three. >> yeah, it was a striking moment. almost complete personification of those wings, as you say, the chaney wings smaller as they literally divert out of the press conference. we want to get that in as well. gene robinson, always good to have you, sir. >> good to be here, ari. >> thank you. we have our shortest break coming up. stay with us. on the program tonight, why more people are preparing for the end of the world. plus, president obama's revelation about punching someone over a racist word. and next, how the law is catching up with the big lie. my report when we're back in
just 30 seconds. report when wen just 30 seconds. including boise... ...and even bakersfield. yeah, we're exhausted. whew! so, tonight... i'll be eating the gyro quesadilla from...al quick stop...in... hyde park. (doorbell) excellent. and, tonight... i'll be eating the chicken pot pie from...founding farmers...in... foggy bottom. (doorbell) (giggle) oh, they're excellent. i had so many beignets i thought i was going to hurl. do ya think they bought it? oh yeah. congress has been bearing down on the danger of election lies, many of which grew from coverage online and on tv. now apart from what we were just covering in the program tonight, congress also held a whole different hearing today on this kind of propaganda and its media
amplification. >> we also saw the rise of the stop the steal movement fomented by former president trump and propagated by members of the media. >> there was months of disinformation about the presidential election results that helped flame that attack. >> the rampant disinformation and the conspiracy theories that we witnessed to overturn the election results led to the insurrection on the united states capitol. >> you have that big lie we're all familiar with. donald trump pushed it to the end. but it also had many different ingredients, many smaller lies throughout. and that included a very pernicious and false series of attacks on voting machines themselves. >> we all went in and vote using hardware. the hardware that we vote on was called dominion. we've had countless efforts and everybody has shown there is irrefutable proof of voter fraud. >> dominion voting systems used in 28 states across the country,
including battleground states. >> you infiltrated an ant that conference this past september and accidentally came upon a top dominion votes systems executive. >> because we have all the election problems with the dominion machines. >> because everything is on the line here. everything is on the line. our freedoms, my american dream that i've lived. everybody's american dream. you can't have the biggest crime in history just let it go and nobody is doing anything about it. >> much of that was false, provably so, rejected by fact checkers and courts alike. and some of trump's allies were mocked for it, like my pillow ceo mike lindell getting roasted on "snl." >> so mike, you were just banned from twitter for spreading all this voter fraud lies that inspired the insurrectionists. >> well, hold on there, bucko. i just suggested the military overthrow the government. and look, if that's not democracy, i don't know what is. >> yeah, i think you might just not know what it is.
>> wow! my pillow said dominion overranning the voting machine algorithms. >> what? >> yeah. he might note what it is. and while some of the claims about voting machines were laughable, this problem is also serious. so much so that dominion reached out to those very critics at the time warning that dominion employees were getting death threats because of the lies. but lindell was not concerned about that or the fact that his claims were false with judges rejecting trump cases based on those and other election objections. instead he was defiant. lindell said in january "dominion threatened to sue me and i said bring it on, but they won't do it, and you know why they won't do it? because they know all the evidence will come out." "they won't do it." well, count that up as another lindell claim that's proven to be completely false because the
news now is dominion is suing him. it's investing its money and energy in this fight because they say it's important to not only defend their business, but to protect the truth. it's part of dominion's wider legal strategy with lawsuit against trump allies like rudy giuliani and sydney powell, and those are political lawyers who may have crossed lines while this my pillow suit is especially interesting because it uses the legal process and pressure to lift the lid further on these propaganda efforts. we all know about giuliani's many lies for donald trump. and as those 2020 legal losses piled up, we all watched his increasingly desperate and at times downright baroque flailing efforts. but less may be known about the evolving business of this propaganda. with new outlets online and on air that are not only to the right of fox news, but maybe even shouldn't be categorized on any ideological spectrum according to these legal
challenges because the larger complaint is they just lie. newsmax has seen its audience not only double or triple. no, we actually checked. it's quadrupled in the first month after the election, while other sites which are not traditionally journalistic, aon, they saw their traffic double in 2020. there may be plenty of free speech from those outlets as well, but there is mounting legal pressure here on where the big lie becomes big business. now the traditional press has plenty of shortcomings. i bet you can think of some. we discuss some. but real journalistic outlets won't run with a completely false story just for traffic or ratings. they don't report trump won when he lost. but that's exactly what some places were suggesting for weeks after the election. as for the business part, this brings us into the juicy details
in the new dominion lawsuit, which argues that mike lindell is not some businessman dabbling in maga politics as his side hobby, but rather it argues that profiting off false stories online like these other groups, his whole business model has increasingly relied on exploding the political energy to make money, that he is just another grifter. dominion is filing a cert, quote, he sells the lie to this day because the lie sells pillows. and they offer evidence in this new suit that my pillow uses a defamatory marketing campaign to sell pillows to perhaps even unsuspecting maga fans with explicit promotional codes like qanon. does it work? is this just some wild weird idea run amok? well, again, we're learning now things because of this suit that mr. lindell so defiantly said
would never happen. the suit asserts in its evidence that those campaigns i just told you about, type in qanon actually grew sales by up to 40%, that lindell is benefitting in profits from the lies and a circle of influence they say will also endorse any future political campaign by lindell. for their part, these defendants, lindell, giuliani and others have expressed they're expressing their free speech rights and that they have them, that they have in the sense the right to be wrong. we're walking through this tonight amidst these other hearings and this call for accountability because election lies, when they are false, provably so, demonstrably, knowingly false, they don't just raise the issues of libel and defamation. they raise questions of whether we're going to be able to hold on to a democracy when the very facts of our election results are put into tremendous doubt.
it's an important story, and i'm thrilled to tell you we're going get into all of this live with "new york times" legal writer emily bazelon, right after this. . ♪ ♪ (kids talking) pnc bank believes that if an app can help you track your pizza... come on cody, where are you buddy? ...then your bank should have the technology to help you track your spending. virtual wallet® was designed to change what people expect from their bank. easily see what's free to spend... ...and where you can save, so you can budget even better. ok, he's gotta be close. six blocks in the other direction. make a left, make a left, make a left! he made a right again.
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of the propaganda, specifically lawsuit over election lies. there is layers. but what do you think of the dominion argument that some of this is really bad faith grifting? >> well, i think that dominion has a problem in the sense that they -- mike lindell -- sorry, three, two, one, let me start over. i think that mike lindell has a problem. >> take your time. >> thank you. we're trying to get the fax right tonight. inglin del and mypillow have a problem, because they have been repeating facts about dominion which dim dominion put them on notice were false. we all make mistakes. you go on the air, you screw something up, but you don't have the right to lie over and over again. once you know something is not true, and particularly if you're damaging the reputation of a company or an individual, that's when you start to get into the terrain of defamation. and that's what this suit is about. it's really hard to win a
defamation suit in the united states. we have a high barrier for that because we want to give people a lot of freedom of speech, a lot of right to make mistakes. but this knowing and repeated spreading of the lie about a company that damaged their business, that's a classic defamation suit. >> yeah. and you have a lot of echoing that's going on which is outside of what we might call the conventional civic space. it has blurred lines of entities that are sort of media or some of them say hey, we're a blog. we're not doing journalistic fact check, and then you have the qanon code i mentioned. you're typing in qanon to get a codis count. it has blurred in a way where the unsuspecting citizen, viewer or consumer might think they're getting something that they're not. might think they're getting news when they're not. i want to play a little bit of tucker carlson on all this. take a look. >> it's worth finding out where
the public is getting all this false information, this disinformation as we'll call it. so we checked. we spent all day trying to locate the famous qanon, which in the end we learned is not even a website. if it's out there, we could not find. then we checked marjorie taylor green's network, we're told she traffics in information, but nothing there. >> this is sort of a trolling question approach to try to give comfort to these conspiracy theories which are on the internet, which are on chat rooms which are on parler, which are on chats. do you think is primarily a problem of politics or business or both? >> well, i think that it is odd for tucker carlson to say that because he can't find a website called qanon or a person called qanon that there is no such thing as this dangerous, you know, violent conspiracy theory that lots of people have been
talking about, joining, taking part in online. there is no question that this conspiracy theory has been growing. in terms of whether this is politics or business, i mean, i think for people who want the support of qanon backers and who are willing to join up with them and really welcoming them into the republic party, and there are some republicans like that, this is about politics. it's about a really loyal base. it's about playing to people who you want as your supporters. you know, for someone like mike lindell at mypillow who is using qanon as a promotional code, it starts to be about business. it's really interesting that his use of that code increased sales at mypillow. i would not have necessarily known that would happen, but he seems to have a knack for realizing the business potential here. >> yeah, that's a fascinating aspect of it. it helps us understand some of what might be afoot, even amidst
the political backdrop as people are out there trying to find their voters. emily bazelon, always good to see you. >> thank you so much for having me. >> absolutely. coming up, i want to tell you we have something very special that involves this. >> the comets are still headed for earth. >> come on, come on! >> if it feels like we face more disasters than ever, whether you're talking about movies or real life, it's because increasingly we do. so up next we have one of our very special reports that we want to share with you about the threats and how to prepare. tg night and day... ...and delegating to an experienced live bookkeeper for peace of mind. your books are all set. so you can finally give john some attention. trusted experts. guaranteed accurate books. intuit quickbooks live. before we talk about tax-smart investing, what's new? -audrey's expecting... -twins! ♪♪
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people, and then four, and then 16. in three months, it's a billion. that's where we're headed. >> a natural disaster that upends life as we know it. a virus that spreads faster than humans can hope to contain it. these apocalyptic scenarios may feel like a feature of hyperbolic movie plots, not regular life. but these days they're part of our increasingly connected world. human life has always been fragile, but the earth is getting hotter than ever. from the recent deadly storms in texas to the dangerously extreme weather patterns we see to wildfires to the coronavirus pandemic. >> in california, an epic battle against fire and wind. >> millions of texans do not have safe drinking water. >> growing and severe shornls of critical medical supplies. >> they had no heat. they're running out of food, water, and gas.
>> flames threatening homes, forcing the evacuation of almost 100,000 people. >> the u.s. now leading the world in coronavirus cases. >> as individuals, we can't prevent most of these disasters. we know that. we can try to prepare for some of them. texas saw last-minute runs on supermarkets, shortages of food and water, a situation that compounds the original problems. and while texas storms and covid don't have much in common, that rush to get supplies, some necessary, some not, the barren schells echoes the pandemic, with long lines for food and supplies and toilet paper. others reflected a panic or hoarding, which can affect others who are trying to prepare logically. these shocks to the system force us to consider some tangible questions these days.
how long can you survive in your home without new purchases of food? what's your plan if the water shuts off and you have to stay home for safety? in a security emergency, how can you protect your home from entry? and what is your plan if people breach your home in an emergency looking to harm you or your family? these aren't the kind of questions that most people like to ponder. they do feel more relevant these days. all of this is also the preoccupation of one group of people, people who think about and actively prep for some of the worst possible disasters. we're speaking of course about doomsday preppers. >> survival is the goal. it's into the spider hole. >> i'm preparing for an electromagnetic pulse that will disable the transportation system. >> i'm going to survive a genocidal siege by building a tunnel that will lead my family to safety. >> when the economy fails, anybody that could find the trail could be a potential threat. i need to be able to hide my
family, and that's why i'm building an invisible tree house. >> some of this looks extreme, even deliberately entertainingly so, but some preppers are pretty practical, and they have straight forward reasons for their approach. >> it's like getting car insurance. >> i grew up in hurricane country. >> prepper is what i am. i am preparing for disaster. >> all we can do is help the person next to us and our neighbors. >> so there is dramatization. the extreme examples do get more attention. but this approach to be clear is not reserved to a small group of alarmists. one in five americans have tended to say they spend their own money prefaring for disasters as of 2019. but it's more than doubled to half of americans since the pandemic. and that's in line with what the federal government recommends which is having at least 72 hours worth of food, water and basic supplies if you were stranded at home. now some preparation is prudent given unavoidable disasters like a pandemic.
let's be clear is there also other trends at work. despite the wealth of the united states, despite its mighty military, our government's faltered in several big disasters from the bush administration's epic failure after katrina to the foreseeable breakdown we've been covering in texas from letting private corporations put their own profits above basic disaster prep and winterizing. there are also the structural problems with america's aging infrastructure and a food supply chain that can leave a city going hungry within as soon as four days if there are shutdowns. there is also america's broader libertarian streak towards the government, which can feed attacks and basically stem political investments that might make the government more effective at this stuff. just as america is a richer country than say germany, its approach to public health care and government debt have left it with more than double the rate of covid deaths compared to that country. and disaster preparedness
experts stress this american problem stretches across different disaster events. >> the u.s. is one of the top five countries in the world in terms of the number and severity of disaster events. fema is getting stretched, really stretched. and now they've said be prepared to be on your own for 72 hours. >> be prepared to be on your own. the government's emergency advice is prep to be on your own. so people are prepping, which makes sense when fema is basically sounding a little bit like they're quoting the grateful dead's bob weir saying history's page will be neatly carved in stone. the future is here. we are it. we are on our own, on our own, on our own. there is a fear down here we can't forget, hasn't got a name just yet. weir may have been talking about the fear and pain on a planet that can look so peaceful from afar and what we as people do
with fear. this is deep stuff. too much fear can be debilitating. too little can be dangerous to ourselves. take a look back, say, at 2012. americans weren't thinking about pandemics. the big health care news was the supreme court upholding obamacare, not covid. people were debating a presidential election. there was a scandal at penn state. and amidst all that in 2012, let me tell you what donna nash was doing. she was afraid of something else, a pandemic. specifically, she was concerned a flu-like pandemic would spread easily. the government couldn't curb it, and that initially the best safety measures would be what individual people did on their own, getting masks, sanitizing, not anything that might happen later at a policy level. and she was right. >> i am most afraid of the flu because it's so common. if someone on one side of the country had the disease and they
flew across the country, by the time they get to the other side, people are taking it home, they're taking it to work. in my kit i have isolation gowns, antiviral tissues, exam gloves, n95 masks. my worst fear is that i would somehow contract the pandemic. we've been outside, so let's make sure that we are clean, okay? >> and bring it home to my family and then have one of my family members die. when the pandemic comes, those who are prepared will survive. >> donna nash was prepared. we checked in with her this week, and she stands by her work. she passed on joining us tonight. like most things, prepping operates on a spectrum from prudent planning to rigorous emergency preparation to more extreme plots to go and get completely off the grid. but in a world of mounting
disaster and these recurring government breakdowns, it is worth asking what do we want to be prepared for. we turn to two special guests, max brooks spent years studying some worst case scenario events. he is the author of the acclaimed "world war z" about a fictional deadly pandemic. he has lectured at the war college, at the nuclear response facilities. general barry mccaffrey is the four-star general who is the director of plans and policy for joint chiefs of staff. good to have you both here. general, we just went through the whole spectrum. your thoughts from a real military level precision about what people can do on their own, what they should do, and what they probably shouldn't try. >> look, i always tell people the good news is the end of the world only happens once. and you ought to take it in that. by the way, my son and i are absolutely with our families
prepared to survive two weeks on our own. seattle, we're all waiting for richter scale 9 armageddon to hit us. it will happen some time in the next 300 years. you simply have to check off the blocks of water, nutrition, first aid, trauma measure, security. people ought to do that. ialways admired the lds mormon family interested of families being able to survive. i wrote the book the bigger concept, if you want to survive you, have to have an organization. you have to have a community prepared. there need to be block captains. the fire department is absolutely essential. the emergency medical system is on generators have. you retrofitted buildings? do you know how an evacuation scheme works? so if the community is organized and you personally could go 72
hours to two weeks, this is a gift to your family and your community. and americans, one of my principle problems with u.s. combat soldiers is it's very tough to scare an american and have them stay scared. it's an attribute that i do have. so i think community leadership, political leadership has to not just have rehearsals of fema and state emergency associations, they immediate to have community wide planning rehearsals and investment. >> max? >> i couldn't agree more. i think the general has hit the nail on the head. i think everyone should have 72 hours worth of emergency supplies for whatever geographic disaster you are facing. but as a long-term way of life, retreating from the community actually causes the very disaster that you're trying to
prevent. you just saw clips of people who are building invisible tree houses and tunnels. that time would be much better spent running for city council and making sure that your local emergency services are up to snuff. you know, ari, since world war i, our grandparents invested very heavily in creating an emergency network of infrastructure -- running water, vaccines, of the electric grid, everything that kept us all safe and alive for generations. since the cold war, we've dismantled that emergency network in the name of efficiency. and you see that, especially when it comes to emergency supplies. fema used to be able to pull on warehouses all around the country. and now the model is that they have to draw from the big box stores at the 11th hour. but guess what? those big box stores, they don't have warehouses either because it's not efficient. so what we need to do instead of digging spider holes and hiding
under the bed with beans, bandages and bullets is understand that our best survival tools is the knowledge of the systems that keep us alive and use our ballots and our taxes to keep that network operating. . >> but max, that's a little long-term. i think it's a great point and the general -- the general kind of teed it up. but that also is long-term change. and what we saw in texas, whether you call it doomsday prepping or just having more than 72 hours showed that the breakdown of what you're calling that preparation and political planning meant that you would be wiser to assume the worst at the local level, right, max? and also what did you think about adonna nash and her approach to pandemics? >> i think when we're talking about pandemics, that is a long-term solution. and you don't want to hunker
down with emergency supplies because the best way to stop a pandemic is to invest in good public health. because, you know, ari, the general will agree with me on this, there is a much bigger picture that we're facing now, which is national security. and since desert storm, our enemies have been investing in asymmetric warfare. they've been learning how to leapfrog over the military and hit the home front with economic warfare, information warfare, bio-warfare and cyber warfare. and you can't tell me that there is some very smart people in beijing and tehran, in moscow who are not taking very careful notes about what just happened in texas. so we need to get back to the notion our grandparents had that public health and infrastructure also keep us safe as well as healthy. >> well, general, you could see why dystopia novelist might get along with some of your joint
chiefs war planner friends, because he's got a dark mind for hopefully the right security solution. i want to play a little bit of the old day since you both brought it up. we pulled this up, civil defense mobilization and what the psas used to look like. take a look. >> well, folks, i'm glad you can come down to see my fallout shelter. just finished painting it last night. >> looks like a nice job. >> we figure we'd rather be prepared than sorry. >> say, isn't this nice? >> i can certainly live in here very comfortably for at least two weeks. >> general, it sounds like you both think that those days are over for good reason, because you're not going live through that nuclear winter? >> oh, i don't think they're over at all. but when you start looking at the potential nonstate actor hostile threats, bio-warfare, threshold entry is extremely
low. we've got high school kids doing gene splicing and using -- -- >> let me correct my question, general. i'm sorry. what i mean, though, should people be all trying to have bunkers in their house for those threats? >> oh, no. but again, the nuclear threat with dirty bombs to go to a dozen hospitals and pick up fissile materials and contaminate a city center, these are all active possibilities. the individual can't protect himself. this is where you need organizational skills. and by and large, i think we have attenuated public health to almost nonexistence. fema, domestic law enforcement by the way is extremely thin on the ground. so that when you have a major problem, the only organization that has the muscle to move large events are the 2 point million men and women of the armed forces. so i think we haven't thought
through it, and it's not just extreme weather events and earthquakes, but also terrorism, emerging biothreats. we have to think through this as a society more than we have. and unfortunately, it requires investment. you simply can't make it up once you've got the situation ongoing. it's going to get worse i think over time, particularly the weather events. >> you know, if i can just jump in. >> a hard week. >> unfortunately, i've got to get a break. i didn't get to joy. but we did put aside a lot of time for doomsday. max, i hope to have you back because you've written so thoughtfully about this. general mccaffrey, always good to have you. i can imagine people getting ready for dinner on the east coast who are really glad we went so deep on this topic, gentlemen. thanks to both of you. when we come back, president obama tells bruce springsteen why he punched someone in the face. that's next.
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the former president making news revealing an altercation that he had back in school. >> i had a friend. we played basketball together and one time we got into a fight and he called me a coon. i popped him in the face and broke his nose. we were in the locker room, suddenly blood is pouring down. i was just reacting. i said what? and i popped him. >> you can see when a personal conversation is between people, it is not the kind of thing he brought up when he was running for office, but he went on to address how these types of racial slurs contribute to larger problems. >> what it comes down to is an assertion of status over the other, and that basic psychology that then gets institutionalized, is used to justify dehumanizing somebody.
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