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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Is the Government Essential?

Aired October 2, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But right now thanks for being with us here at "EVENING EXPRESS." We`ll join JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL in progress.

JENNIFER CRUMPTON, CONTRIBUTOR, "HUFFINGTON POST": And in essence what it says is that this type of crisis that we`re facing right now is a moral crisis. It is a moral crisis. And it`s indicative of a decline in civic virtue among the American political elite.

And I think the American public is really starting to catch onto the fact that that`s what`s happening here. But we don`t want to see political theatrics anymore. We don`t want to see important issues tied to bills that could shut down the government. What we want to see is a return to the actual virtues that we`re debating. We want to see the virtues that are -- that make the American people what we are. We`re supposed to be a leader in human rights around the world...

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Well, you know what, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, we talk a lot about crime, you and I. But it is a crime to be morally corrupt, even if you can do it legally. And I think that`s the heart of the problem. The idea of what it means to be in government has become "How do I keep the money? How do I keep the power?"

MURPHY: Especially a government pretending to be a democracy. I mean, some governments are openly corrupt. We actually claim to be not corrupt.

I am so proud of you for doing this show, Jane. Can I show you something?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sure.

MURPHY: Do you see what I said here? I vote -- I vote for you, my darling, because -- you know, you saying that we`re all becoming members of the Cynicism Party? I had that conversation the other night with a group of my friends. We all said, "I`m a nonpartisan because I believe in democracy."

I think what we`re watching here is, on the one hand, the Republicans are angry about Obama care, so they think they can hold the budget hostage? So they get what they want, which is deeply offensive to all of us.

On the other hand, the Republicans were angry when Obama care was enacted as a form of fascism, because the Democrats had so much power they didn`t particularly care if we, the people, all agreed it was a good way to spend money.

I mean, the bottom line is nobody in Washington is representing our collective interests. And you pointed out some of the key reasons, including the lobbying, the dollars that go right from expensive piles of dough straight to these Congress people, who then say, "Oh, you want to purchase a new law? OK, I can do that."

I don`t ever have that much money. I can`t own Congress. Even collectively, Jane, we can`t own Congress.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s why the people are angry, and we have to vote the bums out, all of the bums. We have to change the laws so that they`re not just getting in there and thinking how they can stay there and raise money to stay there.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Dana, New York, what are your thoughts on government turning into a joke?

CALLER: You know, Obama is like a rookie quarterback on an NFL team who doesn`t respect him. And you know, the Senate and Republicans have not allowed this man to do what he needs to do in office since the very beginning. Obama care or not. I understand he`s not a wartime consigliore, to quote "The Godfather." However, this is not just about egos. This is about the American people. Problems aren`t being resolved.

We have a mockery in the Senate right now with Ted Cruz, and we need to work together. Right now, shutdown or not, things aren`t getting done. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you 100 percent. But this is more than a shutdown. I mean, my gosh, in a couple of weeks we`re going to come up on another crisis, the debt ceiling crisis. And that is a huge crisis that`s going to make this look like a little Tea Party, and that happens exactly two weeks from now.

Let me give you some of the details on that. I mean, if you`ve got to ask yourself what does it mean? If Congress needs to agree on how much the government can borrow to pay its debts, it`s like the government`s hit its credit card limit, and it`s got to figure out how it`s going to pay all its bills. If that doesn`t happen, the U.S. government is not going to be able to spend money on its current debts. Will it make protests like the one that we saw today seem -- look really petty by comparison?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you. Welcome to your memorial.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den. Listen, Victoria Taft, radio talk show host from Portland, Oregon, my good friend. Here`s the bill Uncle Sam is facing coming up later this month: $12 billion in Social Security due October 23; $6 billion interest payments on the public debt due October 31. Then November 1, $18 billion due for Medicare, $25 billion due for Social Security, $12 billion for military pay and veterans benefits, $3 billion for SSI.

Victoria Taft, if these two parties remain at war, in a log jam, what the heck is going to happen to Social Security?

VICTORIA TAFT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: All of the entitlements are supposed to be being paid, regardless of whether or not there`s a shutdown or not. Only about 25 percent...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re not talking about a shutdown. I`m talking about the feeling on the debt ceiling.

TAFT: Yes, that`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In two weeks.

TAFT: Yes. I got you, Jane, and you`re absolutely right: We have bills to pay and we need to pay them. And the problem is, is that there is a pervasive belief that, for some reason, it`s extremism and people who want to hold the line on spending have been called extremists, suicide vest-wearing anarchists and that sort of thing by the Democrats honestly. And because of the fact that they don`t want to spend a lot more money.

That`s the problem we have here. We`ve got name-calling on both sides, and both sides want to get re-elected. And they`re playing games with us. And I highly resent it; I do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well...

TAFT: The debt ceiling will be passed. Those bills will be paid. That`s what`s going to happen. In the meantime people are freaking out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, with all due respect, Victoria, do you have a crystal ball? I mean, how do you know that? How do you know that? They can`t figure out how to fund the government, and they`re suddenly going to come up with hundreds of billions of dollars moving forward?

Stay right there. We`re just getting ready, and we`re going to take your calls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they need to do is take a pay cut themselves, OK, and leave us alone because we`re the ones running this country. OK? Because obviously they`re not doing it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can`t govern this country. You guys are worthless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rest of the country is fed up with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fire Congress. We want to work!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is angry. I mean angry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your act together or go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The government froze, and people arose and said, "We are tired. We`re sick of this government. It`s a joke. Politicians are greedy egomaniacs, and we need to change the system."

And I say let`s change the system by shutting down the lobbyists who have way too much influence over politicians. But how do we do that when, oh, yes, the politicians make the laws? And those politicians live in fear of the powerful lobbyists. It`s a catch 22.

Check out this clip from "The Distinguished Gentleman," starring Eddie Murphy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`d like to do more money for you, but first I`ve got to get your positions on a few issues. Where are you on sugar price reports?

EDDIE MURPHY, ACTOR: Sugar price reports?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about putting limits on malpractice awards?

MURPHY: You tell me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if you`re for them, I`ve got money from the doctors and insurance companies. If you`re against them, I`ve got money for the trial lawyers. Let`s put you down as against.

MURPHY: Yes, you know what? Put me down for against.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jumping into our Lion`s Den right now, Representative Ami Bera. And you are representative-elect from California. That means you`re elected, but you`re -- you`re not really a part of the system yet, as some of these folks who have been incumbents and gone through it many, many, many elections.

There is a general sense, sir, that the system is broken, that politicians are morally corrupt, that they`re out for just getting re- elected. Money, power, and they`re basically beholden to the lobbyists. They`re afraid of everything from big ag to big food to big pharma to the military contractors. You think you`re going to go in there and be different?

REP. AMI BERA (D), CALIFORNIA (via phone): You know what? There is a lot broken in Washington, D.C., and you touched on a lot there. Obviously, there`s way too much money in politics.

The first thing is we`ve got to actually lead by example, and that is what`s missing right now, is leadership by example. That`s why I`ve decided not to get paid during this. If we`re not doing our job, why should members of Congress get paid? We cut the budget from 8.2 percent. I give back 8.2 percent of my paycheck every month.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what would you say, Representative, to cynics who say that`s a PR move?

BERA: I`d say if we`re going to ask the public to sacrifice, we`ve got to make the sacrifice first.

We`ve got to get past this blame game of saying, oh, it`s the Democrats fault, it`s the Republicans fault, it`s the Senate`s fault. Why don`t we actually do our job? Why don`t we actually pass a budget and put the best ideas forward? That`s the problem in this town.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I`ve got to say this. I admire your words, sir, but those words sound like a lot of words that are being spoken on Capitol Hill right now. Everybody is saying the right words. They`re just not doing the right thing. Everybody knows the catch phrases and the slogans and the things to say, because it`s like a tired old script. We all know, like a bad soap opera, what the next plot point is going to be.

How do you get in there and how would you stand up to the powerful lobbies? I remember being in a congressman`s office once, and he was afraid to say anything because he might say something controversial that could upset somebody and they might find out about it. He was so timid, it shocked me.

BERA: How do you make this about the people of America first and not about the lobbyists? How do you put the people`s interests first?

At the end of the day, I work for the people back in Sacramento county, and that`s what this has to be about. How do we put the people first? And that`s the problem.

I mean, this is my first term here. I`m a doctor. I went into medicine, because I wanted to serve. I feel the same frustration everyone else feels, that Washington is broken. That`s why I ran. And you know what? We`re going to have to fix it from the bottom up, rank-and-file members coming together as Democrats and Republicans changing this. It`s not going to happen at the leadership level. Those in power want to stay in power. Those out of power want to get back in power. That isn`t what this can be about.

This has got to be about Democrats and Republicans coming together, and the change has got to start at the bottom.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, sir, I appreciate your words, and you are fresh and new and you haven`t been tainted. And I hope that you stay fresh and new and ethical and idealistic, and you don`t get dragged down by the game inside the Beltway.

Let`s go to the phone lines. Kelly, Texas, your question or thought. Kelly, Texas.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. Thank you so much. I`m a big fan. I just have a comment. And I`ve been hearing everybody, but it`s affected the people of this country.

I live in Dallas here, like you mentioned, and there`s thousands of people that work for homeland security, including my mother, that are uncertain of their jobs, how to pay their bills because of, you know, the repercussions of all of this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. And that`s the problem, is that this is affecting real people, yet it`s being treated on Capitol Hill like a game. And it`s all about ego. Nobody wants to lose face. Nobody wants to be considered the loser in this game. And that means that we all, taxpayers, are the big losers. We`re going to fix it.

Stay right there on the other side. We`re going to hear more from you at home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don`t understand how the greatest nation on the planet can have a Congress conducting in such a manner. It`s a shame.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys are worthless, in my opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last night at 11:30...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Worthless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know if you saw it, the Democratic leadership in the House had a press conference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t run this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They asked to go to conference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t get along. All you care about is getting reelected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They asked to sit down and talk. At 1 last night...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And making a lot of money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The government in a tailspin. It`s basically ceased to function. It`s gone off the rails. It`s a runaway freight train going nowhere, straight to hell.

Some politicians talk about how the government is trying to take down capitalism, but here`s my opinion. We all live in a capitalistic society. Big companies run our government. It`s corporate socialism.

The movie "The Campaign" made fun of corporations owning politicians. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taking money from big tobacco companies.

WILL FERRELL, COMEDIAN: No, not at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Campaign.

FERRELL: Were we talking about Coke Zero?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starts August 10.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den. Cenk Uygur, a radio talk show host. "Young Turks."

How can we, including young Turks, expect change when the very people writing the laws are beholden to corporate interests, and the Supreme Court certainly didn`t help when it gave corporations a big boost three years ago to use even more power and money.

And there`s a similar issue coming before the Supreme Court in a couple of days that could increase the amount that wealthy individuals give, giving more power to this elite?

CENK UYGUR, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Jane, you`re 100 percent right. It`s -- you`ve hit the issue right on the head. The problem is the money in politics and the corporate power.

But you know there`s all this loose talk about, oh, you know, if the Democrats and Republicans would get together and we just listen to the people. They say that all the time. You were right to say that to the congressman. I`ve heard that crap forever.

No, no, no, there is an answer. There`s an actual answer. It isn`t Kumbaya and all that stuff that`s never worked. The answer is a constitutional amendment saying that corporations are not people; they don`t have inalienable rights, endowed by their creator to give limitless money to our politicians. Now, why is the system broken? The problem is the system. The system is broken because we let them take legal bribes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes!

Uygur: Usually from corporations but also from incredibly large, rich donors. So then 95 percent of the time the guy with more money wins. So who do you think they listen to? They don`t listen to voters. they listen to the donors.

So you need an amendment saying the Supreme Court is full of it; we`re not going to take it anymore. Corporations aren`t people. AND You need to publicly finance the elections so that they`re beholden to us so they represent us and not their donors.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As somebody once said, I`m mad as hell, and I`m not going to take it anymore. And neither should you. We need to get together, rise up and say, "Enough!" Throw the bums out! Maybe we need a new party. We certainly need a new attitude in Washington.

Stay right there. More on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think of the government being shut down now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need to get their (EXPLETIVE DELETED) together. Don`t you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JIMMY KIMMEL, TALK SHOW HOST: I want the names of the idiots who elected these people. Oh, wait. Oh, it was us? Never mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call it budget hell-oween.

JIMMY FALLON, TALK SHOW HOST: Or, in other words --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To help insure all Americans.

FALLON: But what does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No (EXPLETIVE DELETED) clue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Our government circling the drain. We`re supposed to be the most powerful country in the world and now we`re basically frozen. Turn it off. The U.S. dollar is considered a benchmark currency. When you look at international transactions, they`re almost all done in dollars.

But listen to late night host David Letterman, who`s now comparing our government to a sinking ship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: The United States government, the most powerful country in a shutdown, not in business, no. Put the "Out of Business" sign right up there on the White House -- nothing happening here. I mean we are like a Carnival Cruise on land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If the U.S. government continues losing credibility, becoming more and more of a joke, could we lose our place as the world financial leader? In other words, could other countries like China take our place?

Straight out to Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor; you know, we talk about crimes all the time. What`s happening now is a crime against our reputation as a nation. Could this be the tipping point?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. I mean I thought you were going to say crime against humanity because it really does go that deep for most of us who believe in the goodness and the greatness of people, and especially people in this country. To watch our reputation sink and feel powerless about it I think is a very difficult sentiment to deal with.

And you know, you talk about the debt ceiling and I`m not an expert, but I do know that numbers are sort of fake, right? And so raising the ceiling, most of us won`t notice, things will go on as usual. But what it does is it subjugates us in terms of the global reputation that we once had. It subjugates us by rendering us more vulnerable to the power of other more corrupt nations.

And, you know, I want to be clear, I think Congress is fundamentally at the core of the problem. They are corporate America. I don`t even separate them anymore from big business. But the judicial branch of government and the executive branch should be held accountable too, even though we don`t elect them in the same way and often we don`t even elect judges at all. They`re not holding Congress accountable. They`re not reining any of this in.

Remember the Supreme Court of the United States is the one that decided corporations are people.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because they too are influenced by corporations. In the Supreme Court it`s ideological just like it is in Congress. It`s all part of the same game. The game has corrupted every institution.

VICTORIA TAFT, RADIO HOST: Jane, Jane --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who`s speaking? Go ahead.

MURPHY: Yes.

TAFT: This is Victoria Taft. And I just have to weigh in here. The reason that we have a problem with our currency is because we`ve been spending into oblivion for subsidies and stimulus and all sorts of things.

CENK UYGUR, RADIO HOST, THE YOUNG TURKS: Not true.

TAFT: The problem that we have -- I will tell you that the problem that we have right now, the chief problem is the fact that in four years, five months and five days, we have not had a budget. They have had one proffered by the U.S. House of Representatives as is constitutional and that has met a dead letter office at Harry Reid`s majority office in the U.S. Senate.

So in other words we haven`t had a budget in the United States of America --

UYGUR: A lot of that is not true.

TAFT: Since Chris Brown beat up Rihanna the first time. We haven`t had a budget in the country --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The facts don`t even matter anymore.

TAFT: -- since the octotuplets were two months old. We haven`t had a budget in this country since before the Salahis stormed the White House and broke in. We haven`t had a budget since the beer summit. We haven`t had a budget.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We get it, we get it.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right Jennifer, jump in for a second.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The problem has been we can`t even have a straightforward conversation about any of these issues or these narratives because all of our politicians have perfected the art of spin. There is more spin out there than a disco party right now and it`s horrible because nobody has any rhythm.

And it all kicked off with Ted Cruz and his show, which is definitely a show for a specific part of his constituency.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this. Let me say this. I think Victoria has a point. Sometimes we do need to look at where the government is spending too much and we need to do an inventory, ok. A store is in trouble, what`s the first thing they do? An inventory. We need to do an inventory of the U.S. government.

When the shutdown hit, the national zoo disconnected all of their animal live streams, including their popular panda cam. To fill that void, "Time" magazine created their own version of panda cam live screen starring a stuffed animal. Their stuffed panda switch poses and accessories every couple of minutes and featured that scary guy from the movie "Scream" right next to it.

But seriously "Lion`s Den", I think the government shutdown actually was putting a spotlight on institutions we don`t need anymore, to wit, zoos. Zoos are not essential. They`re cruel. They`re prisons for animals. We should send all animals stuffed in zoos to nonprofit sanctuaries where they can roam free and save taxpayers millions of dollars. You want to take your kids to see animals, go to those non-profit sanctuaries.

That is just one example, Cenk, of how we can completely inventory government and get rid of all these 20th century institutions that no longer serve us.

UYGUR: So, Jane, you`re right that there`s tremendous waste in government. So, for example, we give away $14 billion in oil subsidies every year. Those are the most profitable companies in the world. Why are we, the taxpayers, taking money out of our pocket and giving those guys subsidies. That`s insanity.

Right but when --

TAFT: I agree with that. We should stop corporate welfare.

UYGUR: Victoria tells us about -- yes. Definitely, stop corporate welfare. The problem is almost all of us have been saying the corporations have taken over Congress. So of course they`re giving themselves subsidies and you`re doing it out of our pocket. Now, the problem is --

(CROSSTALK)

MURPHY: Jane, I want to say one thing -- can I say one thing about the animals?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, of course.

MURPHY: You know, I`m so glad that you didn`t say I felt so bad for the animals not being watched in the zoo, because you were not manipulated. I think that whole zoo thing, just like the military establishments and the national monuments being closed down with the big signage was all meant to manipulate us. They`re playing us. They`re not caring about us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course.

MURPHY: So what I don`t like -- what I don`t like about this is we`re treating us like we`re stupid. I want people like the young Turks and the Internet itself to be the place where especially young people come together. Stop watching the crap -- the bought and paid for crap on most of the mainstream media. Come together on the Internet. Rise up and say this is unacceptable. That`s what I hope happens very soon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, you had --

UYGUR: Hear, hear.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Partiers and believe or not if you take a look at those two groups, a lot of them, they have a lot of commonalities. They both think the government is broken in one way or another. And I think that this could be an opportunity for an entirely new voice to rise up, talk about ethics in government, talk about taking the best of both parties and throwing away all the junkie ideology.

Let`s go out to the phone calls. Joyce, Georgia, your question or thought. Joyce? Oh, Joyce? All right. Well, Joyce, I guess, has also shut down.

But, you know, getting back to what we`re talking about, do you think there could be a new party to come out of this -- Jake?

UYGUR: Jane, I wanted to say one more thing.

Look, yes. There`s actually a great organization that`s already working on this. It`s called Wolfpack. You go to wolf-pack.com and they`re trying to get money out of politics, they`re trying to pass that constitutional amendment. Because we`re not going to have the parties rescue us. The parties are the problem.

We`re not going to have some hero like Barack Obama come in and give us change. He`s never going to give us change. He`s part of this system. You have to change this system. And that`s what Wolfpack is trying to do. So you have to look to overturn the whole system. Otherwise they`re going to keep doing all this to ad nauseum.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you know, historically --

MURPHY: But just getting a constitutional amendment -- just getting a constitutional amendment isn`t going to repair things because even that is a change within the system. We really do need a new party. Frankly we need multiple parties. It`s this notion that there can only be two that is so easily corrupted.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you what --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for us to reconsider our political --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Most of the people know, myself included, don`t really apply to either party. There`s some things I think, ok, conservatives are right, some things I think liberals are right, some things I think the Democrats are right, sometimes I think Republicans are right. Mostly they`re wrong on everything, all of them.

But what I`m trying to say is most people that I talk to feel the same way. They`re looking for something else. That`s why people are apathetic and they don`t vote because they say these labels are 20th century, they do not apply to us anymore. This is the 21st century, people.

TAFT: Jane, you know, one of the things -- Republicans are very upset today. Do you know why? Because the Democrats leaked a letter revealing that John Boehner was in on the deal with Harry Reid going to Obama`s office to not allow people in government -- to allow people in government to not be covered -- but the point is --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I say a pox on both your house. Let`s move forward. Let`s rise up and say -- well, historically it`s always been through a revolution but I don`t want to advocate that right here and right now.

MURPHY: The anti-corruption party.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I will say this, write to your member of congress and your senator and tell them, "We`re mad as hell and we don`t want this anymore."

Up next: stripper poles, thongs, cash falling from the ceiling -- Rihanna`s raunchy new video. Is it degrading to women? This from one of the most talked about victims of domestic abuse ever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The affidavit says Brown took his right hand and shoved her head against the passenger window, punched her in the left eye and continued to punch her in the face.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Next, does Rihanna`s latest video cross the line? You will not believe what this beautiful, talented, rich, famous woman seems to be advocating.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s known for her catchy lyrics, her provocative outfits and music videos.

RIHANNA, SINGER: I`m a tough girl.

We`ve played it safe before only because I had to until I didn`t have to take instructions anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Outrage today over Rihanna`s racy new music video.

RIHANNA: They really embraced the new Rihanna.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s rich, famous, incredibly beautiful, talented -- she`s got it all. But is Rihanna on a mission to send the wrong message to girls? A tease for her latest music video "Pour It Up" from Def Jam records has some outraged that bad gal Ri-Ri may once again be creating imagery that`s degrading to women.

See for yourself.

(MUSIC)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This just released music video on YouTube is so scandalous we can`t play all of it for you but it shows Rihanna in a skimpy outfit rolling around in money ala a stripper on a pole getting money stuck in her various skimpy outfit parts. Is it sending a dangerous message that we seem to be seeing repeatedly from Rihanna? Variations on woman as sex object, in this case strippers showing off their sexuality for cold, hard cash.

Should this singer, this superstar, know better, herself one of the most famous victims of domestic violence? We wouldn`t be talking about this if we didn`t have this infamous photo from TMZ that shows this star beaten to a pulp at the hands of her then boyfriend, Chris Brown.

Straight out to the "Lion`s Den", Dr. Tiffanie Davis-Henry -- Dr. Tiff, psychotherapist, is Rihanna just showing off her fabulous looks or is she sending a really bad message to young girls who look up to her?

DR. TIFFANIE DAVIS-HENRY, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I think I`m going to use your words against you, Jane. I hope you forgive me for this. But we wouldn`t be talking about this, had this situation with her and Chris Brown hadn`t happened before. Just asking that question feels like we`re blaming the victim. We wouldn`t be talking about this had she not had the domestic violence incident, and the domestic violence incident with women here, we can all say it, it was not her fault. So because she was involved in this, does that then mean she needs to censor herself and censor her sexuality from this point forward? No.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But she`s a rich woman.

DAVIS-HENRY: Yes sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s so, so rich and famous. She doesn`t have to make money by swinging her booty on a stripper pole and having guys stick change in her underwear.

DAVIS-HENRY: Sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why is that something that she`s going for in her video?

DAVIS-HENRY: Well, art imitates life, Jane. And there`s a lot going on in the song. Look, Ri-Ri had said many times she loves stripper clubs, she loves the woman`s body and she`s showing it off. This in and of itself does not mean that she is the worst role model for our young people. Quite frankly, I don`t think that any of these celebrities should be role models for our young people. I think their parents should be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let me go to Exhibit B. In many of Rihanna`s videos, women according to many and it seems that way to me, either get degraded or they get hurt and sometimes both. Check out her video for "S & M" from Def Jam.

(MUSIC)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, there seems to be a correlation between sex and violence in many of Rihanna`s videos. I mean if you look at these behind-the-scenes photos from "Pour It Up", they were posted, by the way, to Rihanna`s Instagram, they seem to be as we mentioned before glorifying strip clubs and you have the "S & M" song.

I mean is she depicting women as objects who are not in charge of their own sexuality?

MURPHY: Of course, but far more seriously what she`s doing that`s extremely harmful is exploiting violence for money. And making violence seem acceptable, normal and downright titillating and I disagree with the previous comments that we`re picking on her extra because she was a victim. Of course she was a victim, of course she didn`t deserve it and it was a vicious attack -- vicious.

But she`s making extra cash because she was a victim, because she`s using her status as a high-profile victim to get more dollars out of these videos because people are saying, wait a minute, I thought she didn`t like getting punched in the face, right?

DAVIS-HENRY: Yes. I don`t think that that`s what she`s saying, that`s what we`re saying.

(CROSSTALK)

MURPHY: Let me just make one more point, please. She is making life follow her art. She is not following life. Let`s be clear, she is creating social norms that make very good kids who look up to her think that violence is not only acceptable but exciting, and for that she should be locked up -- locked up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you have a response, Dr. Tiff?

DAVIS-HENRY: Please let me know what she`s doing that`s violent because as a sex therapist and you have the right one on today.

MURPHY: Normalizing it, eroticizing it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The S & M video.

DAVIS-HENRY: S & M is something that a lot of people do, that doesn`t have to be violent. For most people it is very much consensual.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She seemed to be hog tied in one of the videos.

MURPHY: Violence is wrong.

DAVIS-HENRY: You know what, did they agree to be hog-tied. And do they have a --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time, ladies. One at a time. Ok. One at a time. Dr. Tiff and then Wendy.

MURPHY: Shame on you for saying women should be ok consenting to violence.

DAVIS-HENRY: When did I say that? I never said that. Do not put words in my mouth.

MURPHY: No woman deserves to live in violence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time, ladies. Please.

MURPHY: Just because it`s exciting, doesn`t make you right.

DAVIS-HENRY: I never said --

MURPHY: No one deserves to be --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Tiff, finish your thoughts -- finish your thoughts, Dr. Tiff.

DAVIS-HENRY: I never said that women should be ok with violence but what you have to understand is everyone has different sexual preferences. And if that goes on in their bedroom and they both are consenting to it --

MURPHY: It`s still wrong.

DAVIS HENRY: You know what. I hate to know what`s going on in your bedroom.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to take a short break -- who`s the audience for these videos. That`s the key. It`s teenage girls and teenage boys -- that could be a problem.

Stay right there. More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to hlntv.com/jane. Zeus -- oh, you are a god. And Tux -0- you are very formal and I`d like to go out with you some time dancing after dinner preferably. And Penny Blossom -- you`re a country girl, a nature girl and you say I like to hang out right here in the grass. Marley and Lady -- look at those button noses. What a pair, I`ll take you anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That from YouTube, Def Jam -- Rihanna teasing the behind the scenes making of her new video "Pour It Up" from Def Jam Record. She`s calling the female strippers featured in her video the b-word -- another example of degrading to women.

And Dr. Tiff, let me say this, I`m a huge fan of Rihanna. I think she`s incredibly talented. I think she`s an incredible singer. I`ve loved every one of her performances at music awards that I`ve seen on TV. I just have to wonder, though, if you`re a victim of domestic violence and you`re famous, is this the message that you should be sending?

DAVIS-HENRY: Well, I think from my perspective as a sex therapist, as a sex educator, I don`t think that someone has to silence their sexuality because of something that happened to them. She was a victim of domestic violence. And I`ll say it again. Many women take pole dancing classes. Many women do flirty girl exercises and things like that. They pay money to take classes to do exactly what she`s doing in this video.

That`s their choice and that`s their right. And sometimes they`re doing it for exercise and to strengthen their core. And sometimes they`re doing it because they want to reclaim their sexuality and be proud of who they are sexually. There`s nothing wrong with that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. On the other side, what you can do next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you`re a victim of domestic violence, go to my web page, hlntv.com/Jane and I`ll link you up with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Don`t wait. Take action before it`s too late.

Nancy Grace is next.

END