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Government Shutdown Continues; JetBlue Launches Family Flyer Miles Program; Malala Yousafzai Win European Parliament's Prize; Rabbis Accused of Kidnappings; Wall Street Rebounds; Debt Ceiling Default Not Strictly Accurate

Aired October 11, 2013 - 15:30   ET


CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I mean, the notion that somehow Democrats are supposed to sit down and negotiate with a party or leadership that can't even figure out amongst itself what its tactics are, what its positions are, and that seemingly change on a day-to-day basis.

It's a sad statement, but it's pretty easy to understand why we are in the position we are.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I see you want to respond.

S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, look, the predictions about how this would go, I mean, most people understood that President Obama would have absolutely no problem allowing the government to shut down because he knew it would be bad for Republicans.

KOFINIS: That is not true. That's just false.

CUPP: It's 100 percent true.

KOFINIS: No, it's not. It's absolutely false.

LEMON: Hold on, hold on. Let me moderate here.

CUPP: Let me finish.

LEMON: I'm going to let you finish, but why did you say it's not true, and then S.E. can continue.

KOFINIS: Why does anyone think the president of the United States would get some joy out of the fact the government would shut down?

CUPP: I didn't say that.

KOFINIS: No, you said it was part of his strategy, that he was more than happy --

CUPP: I didn't say that either.

KOFINIS: He was more than willing to let the government shut down.

CUPP: I'm perfectly capable of explaining my point of view, I don't need either of you to put words in my mouth, if you would just let me finish.

LEMON: I'm not putting words in your mouth. I just want you to make one clear point. I want him to respond and then I'll let you continue to make a point and he'll respond.

CUPP: I'm trying.

LEMON: I'm not putting words in your mouth, S.E.

CUPP: Republican strategists, from the beginning, predicted that President Obama would allow a government shutdown because, internally, he understood, rightly, that it would be bad for Republicans.

He's right about that. It's been bad for Republicans.

KOFINIS: False, once again false.

CUPP: Where Republicans have been right is that the president will not allow a debt ceiling default. So that's where I think people like Paul Ryan -

KOFINIS: Absolutely -

CUPP: -- are trying to steer the negotiations --

LEMON: Let her finish. Go ahead.

CUPP: -- toward that end.

Because the debt ceiling, whoever gets the short-term blame for a debt ceiling default, President Obama does not want to preside over that moment in American history. He's too smart for that.

So some Republicans like Paul Ryan have been trying to steer the focus toward that.

LEMON: OK, good.

Go ahead Chris.

KOFINIS: This notion that President Obama wanted or allowed or was more than happy with the shutdown is nonsense. It's absolute nonsense.

Understand that the position that the president was put in by the Republicans, in particular by the speaker, and actually in defense of Speaker Boehner, who actually I feel sorry for because he can't control about 30 to 40 of his own members, the reality here is he's put in the position where first they want to defund ObamaCare.

Then they want to delay ObamaCare. Then they're not sure what they want to do. They just want some respect out of something.

So the notion of putting responsibility on the president or the president wanting to do this is nonsense.

In terms of the debt ceiling, again, here we are once again talking about something if both sides were willing to sit down, in particular, I would say the Republicans were reasonable with the fact that you want to talk about the deficit and debt, yes, serious problems, and we should address them.

But maybe we should sit down and address them when the government is not shut down and we face a default.

LEMON: S.E., he has a point. That's what most Americans think. People have a point about ObamaCare. If you don't like it, then you can work it out. If you're upset over the debt ceiling, then you can work it out.

But don't shut down the government. That's why the Republicans are losing traction and the latest polls show it.

CUPP: I'm not going to argue, and I said the shutdown is being pinned mostly on the Republicans. I think that was a predictable outcome.

But I would remind you that most Americans also think that the debt ceiling should be attached to spending cuts. That is a feasible thing most Americans understand that.

So you can play polls against each other. They don't like ObamaCare, but they don't like the shutdown. They want the debt ceiling attached to the spending cuts

I mean, there's a lot of sort of reaction that you could look at here, but I think the takeaway is that Republicans are divided on the tactics over how to achieve all the same things.

All Republicans want entitlement reform, tax reform, spending cuts, deficit cuts, and to end ObamaCare.

We're absolutely divided, and I'm not saying this is a good thing, we're absolutely divided on how to achieve those things and in what order.

LEMON: Chris, we've got to run. If you can do it in two seconds.

KOFINIS: The takeaway is that the Republicans are wrong about the positions, not the tactics.

LEMON: All right, that was five seconds, but I'll led it slide.

Thank you, Chris Kofinis. Thank you, S.E. Cupp. Appreciate it.

Catch S.E. on "CROSSFIRE" tonight, 6:30 Eastern on CNN.

Coming up, one of the most bizarre stories I have heard in a long time, a plot to kidnap and torture men to force them to divorce their wives.

You will not believe who police say was behind it.

And JetBlue has a new plan that wants customers to jump in the family pool. What's that? We're breaking it down for you, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: If you ever wished you could pool your frequent flyer miles with someone else, guess what. Now you can.

Zain Asher is here to tell us about a new program from JetBlue. What is it?


JetBlue says they're keeping it in the family. They've just launched a brand-new program allowing friends and family members to pool together their frequent flyer miles.

So here's how it works. You can have up to seven people on the account. You designate a head of household. That person's job is to monitor the account, to redeem the points, that kind of thing.

You don't have to share all of your points with your family members if you don't want to. You can share 10 percent or all of it, if you choose to. That's up to you.

What's interesting here is how they define family. You have to have two adults over the age of 21. The other five can be younger than that, but you don't have to be related.

That's what I find really cool about this. It can be coworkers. It can be friends. It can be a couple.

LEMON: You can gift someone.

ASHER: Exactly.

But what's interesting here is JetBlue actually told us they were the first U.S. airline to actually launch a program like this.

It's not 100 percent true. There is a small airline, Sun Country, in Minneapolis, that does have a similar program.

And, by the way, with United and Delta, you can actually transfer points between friends and family members as well.

But JetBlue is trying to step up their game, so they're trying to compete with the heavy-hitters.

LEMON: I was going to say, I did that before. Because I dated someone and they took all my miles. I'm like, wait a minute. I can't even take a trip, you've taken all of my air miles.

OK, thank you, appreciate it.

Next, the government shutdown takes to the high seas, and we'll tell you how the political dispute is affecting the guys on the show "Deadliest Catch." You don't want to miss that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for working to promote education for girls, she's just been given the European Parliament's Prize honoring freedom of thought.

Congratulations to her. And she spoke with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.


MALALA YOUSAFZAI, EDUCATION ACTIVIST: The thing is, they can kill me. They can only kill Malala. But it does not mean that they can kill my cause as well.

My cause of education, my cause of peace, and my cause of human rights, my cause of equality will still be surviving. They cannot kill my cause.


LEMON: Christiane Amanpour's full interview with Malala airs Sunday night, 7:00 Eastern, only here on CNN.

And to learn more about Malala and her new nonprofit organization for girls, make sure you go to

And "The Bravest Girl in the World" airs Sunday night, 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

We're 11 days into the government shutdown with no immediate end in sight.

CNN's Jake Tapper and "THE LEAD," coming up next, focusing on the industry that could lose millions.

Jake, crab fishing season starts soon, and they can't get permits. You've got the captain from the "Deadliest Catch" on today. You wouldn't think it has anything to do with it, but it does. Everybody's affected by this. I bet he's not happy.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": That's right, Don, because one of the things about the government shutdown, we know there are 800,000 furloughed workers.

We also know there are hundreds of thousands of workers who are working without paychecks. And then there all the residual effects from all those individuals not being able to buy things, and also from government bureaucracies and national parks and all sorts of things being closed, thus affecting, for instance, the people who run stores near national parks.

But Keith Colburn, who you may know from Discovery Channel's the "Deadliest Catch," is -- he came in earlier today, and we're going to run the interview in a few minutes, to talk to me about the effect of the shutdown on the crabbing industry. Their season is very short and it's about to happen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEITH COLBURN, CAPTAIN, THE WIZARD: Right now, there's already a hint that the Japanese buyers are a little bit jumpy about getting the Alaskan crab, so they're turning to alternatives.

The alternative is to buy Russian crab. It's putting Americans out of work and putting Russians to work. How does that figure?


TAPPER: Very, very strong views, Don, about what this effect of not being able to get permits for his crabbing vessels and the effect it's going to have in Washington state and in Alaska. We'll be running that interview.

Also, of course, getting the latest on the shutdown from two senators, one Democrat, one Republican. Negotiations are going on, as you know, right now, Don.

LEMON: Fourteen minutes and 15 seconds. Jake Tapper will be --

TAPPER: We'll put up another clock.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you. Appreciate it, Jake. We'll be watching.

Coming up, you have heard some conservatives brush off the debt ceiling deadline, saying it wouldn't be chaos if it happens.

Erin Burnett joins me live. She has a fact check and you'll be surprised at the result.

Plus this, a story you might not believe. A group of rabbis kidnapping men to force them to divorce their wives, but these plots, they didn't stop there.


LEMON: Unbelievable story, a group of rabbis accused of charging desperate Orthodox Jewish wives tens of thousands of dollars to force their husbands to grant them divorces.

Federal prosecutors say the alleged divorce service involved kidnapping, beatings and torture with cattle prods.

CNN's Rosa Flores is here to tell us about the supposed plot and how it was uncovered.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let me tell you this, it sounds like a movie plot. A wife wants a divorce. The husband doesn't want to grant it, so she talks to her rabbi, who helps her hire a few, quote, "tough guys" to get the job done.

Unfortunately, folks, this is real and it was well described in court documents that reveal 10 people are involved and facing kidnapping charges.

Now, here's a peek and a window into how this all went down. And I'm going to quote here. This is, quote, "You need to get him to New York where someone either can harass him or nail him, plain and simple."

The curtain fell, folks, when FBI agents raided two New York locations Wednesday night, exposing what undercover FBI agents had been working on for months.

One of those agents posed as an Orthodox Jewish wife who wanted a divorce. According to court documents, the conversation with one of the rabbis went something like this.

Quote, "Basically, what we are going to do -- be doing is kidnapping a guy for a couple hours and beating him up and torturing him, and then getting him to give the get."

Now, according to Jewish law, a get is a document that a husband must provide his wife to obtain a divorce and the price for getting this forced get? It was pretty high.

According to court documents, $10,000 for the rabbi to approve the kidnapping, and then an additional $50,000 to pay the tough guys who were willing to beat the man and obtain that get, something the complaint says the rabbis did every 12 to 18 months.


AARON FORD, FBI SPECIAL AGENT, NEWARK OFFICE: This is just an unspeakable crime, any time you have individuals who go against other legal, lawful people who are just living their lives and violence is committed.


FLORES: The attorney for one of the defendants tells us that this is obviously a very difficult situation for the 10 defendants involved. They all pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges.

Now, if convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life in prison. And we should add that they are being held without bond pending a bail hearing next week.


LEMON: Rosa Flores, thank you for that.

I want to bring in now Blu Greenberg. She's the founder of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance and the author of "On Women and Judaism."

I mean, explain -- I'm shocked that this actually happens. You said it does. Why is a get so crucial?

BLU GREENBERG, AUTHOR, "ON WOMEN AND JUDAISM": Because that is the way one divorces in Jewish law, and a husband is authorized to give his wife a get. That's what ends the marriage.

And most husbands in a situation of divorce give their wives the get, or have it written and give it to them, but in some cases, these recalcitrant husbands withhold the get for spite or blackmail and tie their wives up for years.

LEMON: Does a woman have any other option short of hiring someone for $10,000 to convince him? Does she have any other alternative?

GREENBERG: The bottom line is she has some alternatives, which is for the community to pressure the husband, sanctions against the husband, but in some cases, that doesn't work.

And the man disappears or he refuses, and she's left chained to a marriage that has failed and a husband that is abusing her.

LEMON: Should something change here?

GREENBERG: Yes, it definitely should, as painful as this is, because the Orthodox community is a law-abiding community, and this casts a very negative appearance or feeling about the orthodox community because this is part of traditional Jewish law.

But, yes, this is a systemic problem that a recalcitrant husband can abuse the privilege and the responsibility, and the law has to undergo change.

LEMON: Do you see it changing?

GREENBERG: I think examples such as this that are so embarrassing and so flagrant I think will help. The rabbis who hold the interpretive keys to the tradition have to step forward.

LEMON: Thank you, Blu.

GREENBERG: Thank you.

LEMON: Up next, just minutes away from the closing bell. I'm going to talk with Erin Burnett, who has been doing fact-checking on the so- called debt ceiling deniers.


LEMON: We are just moments now from the closing bell, and there you see it.

People have been talking about the possible disconnect between Washington and Wall Street and the Dow soared yesterday at news of a possible deal.

And right now, there's the Dow trading at plus 87. You see it, right? Am I right, Erin Burnett?


LEMON: Apparently Wall Street not freaking out. I'm talking to Erin Burnett.

Wall Street not freaking out on this political stalemate.

Erin is the host of "Erin Burnett OutFront," EBOF, as we call it. I walked by your pod and go hello, EBOF. How you guys doing today?

So tell me, is there a disconnect between Washington and Wall Street?

BURNETT: I would say yes and no. In a sense, Wall Street doesn't really take Washington seriously most of the time because hey don't expect Washington to do much of use and they like gridlock.

But when it reaches these points where you're about to go off the fiscal cliff, or you're having a sequester deadline, or a debt ceiling deadline, then they do take it very seriously.

They know that Washington matters, but they think that Washington won't let it get to the point of something crashing.

You may remember there was a time when there was almost going to be a deal, then there was no deal. The market tanked.

They believe that if that happens, then Washington will do something. And it does seem that this time, it was fear of Wall Street that got Washington to act.

LEMON: Do you think, this week they talked about the so-called debt ceiling deniers, experts who believe that, you know, if you can go past the debt ceiling or whatever, we don't have to worry about all of this.

BURNETT: You know, yes and no. It's complicated. But let me just explain it simply to you.

OK, first of all, yes, of course the debt ceiling matters. The United States has to keep its full faith and credit. All right? So if you deny that, then yes, that's a crazy thing to do.

But within that, there's nuance. Number one, there's not a hard, fast date for when the U.S. government's going to really run out of money. October 17th is not actually the real date. They would have a little bit more time than that.

And the second thing is really, really important. And that is people actually pay their taxes at all times of the year. There's revenue always coming into the federal government.

We don't borrow every dollar we spend. We borrow some of the dollars we spend. So that money comes in. Could you pay veterans? Could you pay Social Security? Could you pay the interest on the debt to people around the world who are lending money? Yes, right, so it's a matter of prioritizing.

You don't want to be in that situation. That's not a good thing. But it's not as if suddenly you're not going to be able to pay the interest.

So I think if people are being nuanced and thoughtful they could have that conversation. But it's turned into an either "it doesn't matter" or "the sky is falling," you know which is -

LEMON: It's amazing because -

BURNETT: -- sort of a false debate.

LEMON: No matter what I say here on television, if someone says, oh, my gosh, I can't believe you are toeing the line for Obama. Oh, my gosh, you're toeing the line for Republicans.

BURNETT: I get the same thing every day.

LEMON: Are you watching the show?

You've done this before. You did a pretty good job of explaining that. Maybe you should do financial reporting for a living.

BURNETT: I mean, it's, you know -- people do get very passionate about it and they should. It's a very serious issue.

LEMON: But I want to ask you, because you have particular expertise in this, talking about the politics of it.

People around the world are looking at us and we don't look very -- we don't look good in the eyes of the world when we get to this point.

BURNETT: No, we don't. You know what's funny, I see that all over the place and not just in terms of our financial situation but how we handle foreign policy things, how involved we are in countries saying the United States needs to set the agenda.

You see that frustration on a lot of levels, but I got one e-mail this week that really surprised me from somebody who said, you know what, this actually shows to some people in places like China how divided government can work.

You can't just railroad something through because you're the boss and you're the president. You have to figure it out together. I actually was like, wow, they see a positive to this?

LEMON: I have to go. And we'll continue this -- thank you.

BURNETT: Thank you. Good to see you.

LEMON: Good to see you.

LEMON: We have taken up a little bit too much time here because we have to go to Jake Tapper and "THE LEAD."

See you tomorrow.