Guests: Melissa Harris-Perry, Kim Barker, Chrystia Freeland, Alexis Goldstein, Bhaskar Sunkara,
Steve Coll, Lena Taylor
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris
Hayes. I have with me here Kim Barker from Propublica, Bhaskar Sunkara who
is editor-in-chief and founder of "Jacobin" magazine, also, Alexis
Goldstein from Occupy Wall Street, and Steve Coll who is author of a new
book called "Private Empire: Exxon Mobil and American Power." It`s great
to have you all here.
I want to start with the big story that was on the front page of the
"New York Times." We got a brief glimpse of what the shadowy world of
post-citizens united dark money is like, when a preliminary plan for a $10
million campaign of vicious ads linking President Obama to his former
pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, was leaked to the "New York Times."
The plan was apparently a sales pitch by Republican operatives to
conservative billionaire, Joe Ricketts, the founder and former chairman of
the online brokerage, TD Ameritrade. Among other things, a proposal called
for a barrage of TV ads that would, according to its authors, show the
world how Barack Obama`s opinions of American and the world were formed
Almost immediately after the plan surfaced this week, Ricketts
denounced it. Brian Baker, the president of Ricketts` political action
committee, the End Spending Action Fund said, quote, "Joe Ricketts is a
registered independence, is a fiscal conservative, and an out spoken critic
of the Obama administration."
But he is not the author nor the funder of the so-called Ricketts plan
to defeat Mr. Obama. Not only was his plan merely a proposal one of
several submitted to be Ending Spending Action Fund by third party vendors,
but it reflects and approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects that was
never plan to be accepted but only a suggestion progression to take.
It should be noted, however, that on page 46 of the proposal, the
authors wrote, "With your preliminary approval at the New York meeting."
So, Ricketts, apparently, authorized some kind of preliminary proposal.
We`ve asked the Ending Spending Action Fund for comment but have not yet
received a response.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney also publicly denounced the plan after a
campaign event in Florida on Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to make it very clear
I repudiate that effort. I think it`s the wrong course for a pact or a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, here`s what I find fascinating about this. I find it
fascinating for a number of reasons. The first reason I find it
interesting is that what we saw during the primary was one of the
unintended consequences of Citizens United, which I found really
interesting was that, all of a sudden, you`ve got all these billionaires
everywhere freelancing and post freeze (ph) who was the, you know -- I
guess, he said he wasn`t a billionaire, a very wealthy backer.
Rick Santorum is going on Andrea Mitchell saying that women should
press (INAUDIBLE) as birth control. And it`s a bit of a nightmare for a
campaign to have, you know, your crankish billionaire sponsor running
around, doing things off message saying things like that. And it strikes
me that this is this little window into this world that must be happening.
There must be all of these meetings right now. There are so many
people in this country with lots of money who hate, hate, hate the
president. Like really hate him. And there are also, like, get their
politics from, like, reading "World Net Daily" and things like that are
real hard core, you know, right-wing true believers. And Kim, you`ve been
doing some reporting on this.
KIM BARKER, PROPUBLICA.COM: Right.
HAYES: This strikes me just kind of the tip of the iceberg.
BARKER: Well, and let`s be clear. This has been going on not just
this election. It`s been going on for a number of years. These groups
always try to find a way to do an end run around FEC rules regarding
disclosure and regarding spending.
It`s called independent expenditures, which means you can make this
sort of spending without coordinating with the campaign. You saw it back
in 2004 with the whole idea of the swift boat attacks. And a lot of the
same people keep coming back.
Super PACs are merely the latest where you can do this, and you can do
it if in a very big kind of form. You can do it and report to the FEC.
You can get a bunch of different billionaires to come together and report
it, but it`s not necessarily the kind of dark bunny that you had mentioned
They have to say who their donors. The dark money is more coming from
these non-profits, which are groups like another Ricketts group which is
just called ending spending. And it`s up to people to try to keep this
straight who is ending spending versus who is the Ending Spending Action
HAYES: So, the point is that there are some of these that are
constituted under the old rules of disclosure and some constituted under
the new rules of dark money?
BARKER: No. I mean, it`s all fall out from Citizens United. But
you`ve got groups such as cross roads GPS, and then, you got American
Crossroads. Now, these are sister groups.
BARKER: They`ve said they`re going to spend up to $300 million on
HAYES: -- run by Karl Rove. He`s the one --
BARKER: Yes. He`s the founder, but it`s got a lot of GOP
heavyweights that are behind it. And you`ve got, in fact, crossroads GPS,
that as of last count, had actually raised more money. And that`s the dark
money, 501 C-4 social welfare non-profit group.
HAYES: Social welfare.
BARKER: Exactly. They`re doing social welfare. That`s their primary
purpose. And then, they will give you a lot of evidence as that is
actually what they`re doing. And then, you`ve got the Super PAC that has
to disclose their donors. And I think that`s the big difference here. The
501 C-4 is like Crossroads GPS do not have to disclose their donors.
ALEXIS GOLDSTEIN, OCCUPY WALL STREET: But if their donor is the 501
C-4, they don`t have to disclose where that money came from --
BARKER: Sure, but you`re not seeing that nearly as much as people had
HAYES: Right. Right. That`s interesting. Why -- I mean, one of the
things I thought was interesting here is that when Citizens United got --
the thing that we all seized on, particularly, liberals after Citizens
United was the idea of corporate, unlimited corporate spending.
Corporate had a very specific connotation people`s imagination which
was Exxon Mobil, for instance, which we`ll get into a second. One of the
things we`ve seen is that there hasn`t been as much spending out of
corporate treasuries as perhaps the most isotopic (ph) worries were, and
partly, that`s because of what the reaction was to this Ricketts news.
So, we had Tom Ricketts who`s the Chicago Cubs chairman, and he`s the
son of Joe Ricketts saying, "As chairman of the Chicago Cubs, I repudiate
any returns, the racially divisive issues in this year`s presidential
campaign or any setting like my father. My focus is on one of the great
American past times, baseball."
Let`s just stay in business here, folks. We actually talked to an up
viewer named David Marshall (ph) who was formerly CEO of a realty company,
had a lot of money with TD Ameritrade, called to cancel his account after
this. They called him back and said, you know, he`s not on our board
anymore. What can we do to bring you back?
And marshal says, and I think this is an important point, the more
these people, meaning folks like Ricketts identify themselves and
(INAUDIBLE) are going to alienate their stock holders, they`re going to
So, there`s this interesting needle they have to thread, right, which
is they want to play in the political system, but they don`t want the fall
out that they`re going to get.
BARKER: And this is what happened with target, as well, in the race
for governor in Michigan, I believe, where the candidate that the target
decided to back had said some anti-gay comments. And those came out, and
people were opposed to his beliefs, organized the boycott against target.
And this is the argument a lot of folks use to say, hey, for freedom
of speech, and they use the freedom of speech argument. You should not
have to disclose your donors. And, these 501 C-4 groups have become a way
where corporations who might feel a particular way about a candidate or
race or an issue can donate money, but nobody knows that they`re the ones
who are donating.
STEVE COLL, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: And you know, there`s another
side of this argument, which is that they`ve now socialized this issue in
an indirect way and they`ve created conditions -- this is going to be a
racialized election, for example. We know that in the efforts to limit
voter access whether I.D. laws across the south and swing states.
And so now, this issue has been introduced, and Romney is in that
position to say, I`ve never said that my opponent beats his wife. I
condemn people for saying it. But I would just only add that under my
opponent`s presidency, funding for, you know, wife beaters has gone up 30
HAYES: That`s right.
COLL: So, he`s introduced the subject, and now, it`s in play. And
whether that`s -- I assume that`s not a conscious design, but it`s
ineffective, and so we should -- even though the pressure on corporations
and executives is substantial and is a constraint, I feel like we`ve seen
this movie before with the swift voters in 2004.
BHASKAR SUNKARA, JACOBINMAG.COM: Well, I would also just add that,
you know, I would sort of reject this idea that Citizen United represents a
real paradigm shift, money-dominated politics in 2008 and 2004 and, you
know, every four years before that.
But even beyond just money dominating politics, it sort of goes to the
basic fundamental point which is, if you have a society that`s unequal, if
you have rich people that has more money than poor people, then you`re
going to have these rich people find ways to disproportionately influence
our public debate.
HAYES: But that, -- I mean, that to me is a really interesting point
is how much did Citizens United change things, because we are constantly
talking about that as we follow the money race, you know? And one of the
things Stevie write about in this book is person (ph) united, Exxon sure as
heck found ways to influence a political system with a lot of money.
So, I want to zero in on that. Really, how different are things the
day before Citizens United the day after? We`re going to take this break.
HAYES: So, we`re talking about Citizens United and money in politics,
particularly, given the news this week about Joe Ricketts who`s the founder
of TD Ameritrade who had solicited plans for, you know, a set of negative
ads against the president and the one that was linking your times (ph) was
the one -- linking him to Jeremiah Wright.
But people, I think, didn`t overlook the fact that Ricketts actually
had a really good week, politically, because on Tuesday, the candidate that
he backed in the Nebraska Republican primary, a woman by the name of Deb
Fischer, essentially came out of nowhere to win that primary.
It`s for the seat that is being vacated by Ben Nelson who`s retiring.
Here`s just a quick ad that was produced and put on the air by the Ending
Spending Action Fund, which is Joe Ricketts` operation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could there be a surprise in Tuesday`s vote for
the Senate? The Republican politician everyone assumed would win is
sinking. And the conservative outsider, a Nebraska rancher is arising
fast. Deb Fischer, one of us. Many agree, former governor Kay Orr,
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, Sarah Palin. This Tuesday, surprise the
world. Vote for Deb Fischer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ending Spending Action Fund is responsible for
the content of this advertising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I thought it would have been cute if they put an S in rancher,
just if there`s a little call back to the Fischer spelling. Here`s numbers
-- here are numbers on outside group spending, because Bhaskar you made, I
thought, a provocative point, which is basically the problem isn`t the way
that we regulate the system. The problem is just basically the amount of
And if you have the level of inequality we have in a society, there`s
a fundamental tension between the basic egalitarian commitment of one
person-one vote of a Democratic enterprise and the extremely skewed
distribution of wealth that will then channel into that democratic
enterprise. But, that`s it. And I think that`s fair. It does -- there`s
-- it matters at the margins. It matters how the system is regulated.
This is presidential add spending by outside groups between just the
difference between 2008 and 2012.
It was six million in 2008. It`s already 77.5 million in 2012. We
haven`t even gotten into the general in any big way. So, there is, I feel,
a flood gate effect. And I think that flood gate effect does -- I wonder
sometimes if it will sort of finish off -- it has finished off our old
system of trying to solve this problem. It was began in the wake of
Watergate and forced us to think radically about what comes after it.
GOLDSTEIN: Well, and I also think that this is affecting the
candidates, themselves, and the people on the Hill. Lawrence Lessig did
talk with Chris Hedges (ph) back in January for a thing that Occupy Wall
Street did call occupy the courts.
And Lessig, basically, said that the people who are used to being the
top dog, the people on the Hill are used to feeling so powerful are now
feeling sort of tossed about by these billionaires who sort of are the ones
-- it`s become very clear even to the people in power that they are
actually just these puppets of these larger groups who are donating all
this money to the Super PACs there than running ads for them, which I think
is -- I think the point that you made is really important.
I don`t think that Citizens United is as big of a shift as we like to
think that it was, but I do think that that is one by-product of it.
BARKER: It is a shift. I mean, what Citizens United did was
essentially say that corporations -- it`s always boiled down to
corporations are people. But it means that corporations, unions, and non-
profits can spend directly on campaigns, on federal campaigns, which was
not allowed before.
HAYES: And they can spend in the 30-day window that used to be banned
by McCain- Feingold, which is a key window, because if someone comes in
late, you know, if you`re running for Congress, and all of a sudden, three
weeks before Election Day, someone goes a $400,000 ad buy in a small world
district in Mississippi, you`re in trouble.
BARKER: It could make a difference. And it was, basically, along
free speech lines. Although, the Supreme Court also said that disclosure
was paramount. A couple months later, then established speech now, another
decision -- actually, it was, what, the established Super PAC.
HAYES: Super PACs. Right.
BARKER: So, then you have the whole idea that you can organize
together, you can come together under one particular name and buy ads and
spend unlimited amounts of money. And you`ve got into the state where
you`re not supposed to coordinate.
And coordination is the thing that Romney ran up against with this
particular group, Ricketts group, which I think was going to be called
something like character matters. They were going to do a new Super PAC
called that, where you`ve got candidates who are essentially out there
running their own campaigns, and then, you`ve got these other groups --
BARKER: Freelancing. And you don`t have control over those ads,
which can be a good thing. If they go negative, then you could say oh,
that doesn`t represent me.
HAYES: Right. Well, that`s Steve`s point.
COLL: And, also, this money, I think so for that chart that you show,
that huge surge and elimination of the 30-day window, together, what we`ve
seen is it`s an accelerant in an electorate where insurgency is already in
the land. So, if you have already kind of an angry and dislocated and
insurgent electorate and then you pour this accelerant into it, you get
volatility. That`s what we saw in Nebraska.
HAYES: Yes. And the reason the Nebraska example to me is important
is because we are thinking of all this in the context of presidential
campaign. Presidential campaigns are so big and we have such a dominant
two-party system that there`s roughly a kind of net equilibrium that will
You know, once I will get outspent than the other and maybe by a fair
amount, but the place where this can really have a massive impact is on an
individual Congressional level. I mean, the Ending Spending Action Fund, I
think, spend about $300,000 in support of Deb Fischer in a Republican
primary in the state of Nebraska where media time doesn`t cost that much
And the point you made, Alexis, and the terrifying thing to me is
every congressperson casting votes with the thought of what billionaire is
on the other side of this vote --
GOLDSTEIN: That`s going to come in 30 days --
HAYES: Who will come in 30 days before the election and just
completely hammer me. And that will never show up in any (INAUDIBLE)
disclosure. That effect is invisible, right, to any disclosure requirement
we have. No one says, oh, you`ve got all of this money from Exxon. It`s
just the actual fear that hangs over them.
COLL: And the impact in the presidential is going to be on the
narrative, not in the same way that you`ve been describing these local
races. It`s going to be like -- both sides already have an outside-the-
lines negative narrative that they`ve developed. On the left, it`s Bain
(ph), and on the right, it`s race, basically. And they`re going to press
it through these outside groups, I think.
HAYES: I don`t think that`s right, though. I mean, let me push back
on that for a second, because I think the Bain is inside the lines in the
sense that Joe Biden talked about Bain, we`re going to talk about this
tomorrow. You know, Joe Biden talked about Bain, the campaign itself cut a
Bain ad. I think they`re much more comfortable going after Bain and
putting their name behind it than, for instance, the Romney campaign is
cutting a Jeremiah Wright.
BARKER: I mean, I think the right is focusing on the economy. You
see some outside groups baiting with race, but the mainstream groups,
including Crossroads, American Crossroads and most of the Super PACs are
focusing in on the economy more than anything else.
COLL: If there`s a subtext in both cases. I mean, I take your point
about Bain. It`s definitely different, but at the same time, both sides
are setting up to basically run these ads, create a narrative in 12 swing
states, 12, 14 states. They already know where they`re buying the ads.
They`ve already purchased the time, and they`re essentially looking
for gradations of narrative including things that are impermissible for the
candidates and his surrogate to speak. And that`s where these groups will
figure in the presidential distinct from the state presence (ph).
HAYES: I want to ask the question of what can be done about it since
nothing is going to happening constitutionally, or I think, statutorily
between now and November, what the course is there? What kind of
accountability is that? We`ll get to that right after this.
HAYES: What can be done about this situation? Bhaskar, I want to ask
you because I think you have a fairly radical analysis that (INAUDIBLE) is
just the inequality, right, if you have less the billionaires, the
billionaire is going to manipulate the system.
So, what -- what can be done -- are there ways of producing any kind
of accountability or mitigating effects on this distopic world we`re headed
towards in which billionaires have candidates that they, essentially, are
like horses in the Kentucky derby. They hired jockeys to ride and them and
race them down the track.
SUNKARA: Well, of course, it`s truly radicalized that is we already
live in that world. We have lived in it. But, I do think that, you know,
it does matter two degrees. This is, to me, it`s getting worse when it
comes to finance. But, we basically just have to adapt to the neutral
reign while we create these movements to reduce the amount of money and
There`s a lot of intelligent conservative commentators who are
actually worried about what Citizens United means for the labor movement as
far as labor having certain restrictions taken off them, labor being able
to knock on more doors in Ohio and Wisconsin, and what that means for
conservative agendas, austerity agendas.
So, we can sort of find ways to use this horrible situation and, you
know, fight from the new train.
GOLDSTEIN: And I think one of the things that we can do is there`s a
huge movement to amend the constitution. There`s a move to amend.org.
There`s been 17 constitutional amendments proposed as of January of this
year. And I do think of large part of that.
HAYES: How to deal (ph) with this issue?
GOLDSTEIN: This is to be about Citizens United.
HAYES: I think we should unite on one just --
GOLDSTEIN: But I mean, a lot of this has come from people who are
naming the occupy movement as a reason that they are putting this forth,
and I don`t think that this is a conversation that was coming about before
September of last year.
So, I do think that we are seeing -- we`ve state legislatures coming
out in favor of this. You have Lawrence Lessig (ph) talking about having a
convention in order to sort of force an amendment. So, I do think that
that is one of the things that people are talking about doing.
BARKER: I don`t think those have much of a chance of succeeding. I
mean, I think it`s a nice idea, but given who`s going to eventually pass
those, I just don`t see them succeeding. I think what you have seen that
can have incremental differences is when you`ve got competitors such as
Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown in Massachusetts who decide we`re not
going to take this outside money.
BARKER: You know? And we`re going to make a pact that we`re not
going to take it from these groups that are spending dark money there. And
you can have these packs that happen, and then, also, recently, there was a
court decision that said that election year in communications, that these
are these ads that run within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general
election that don`t really say vote for or against the candidate, but kind
HAYES: -- who kills puppies.
BARKER: Call Barack Obama and tell him to stop killing puppies. Yes.
Yes. It says that they`ve got to actually disclose who`s giving them
money, this 501 C-4 groups, if they`re spending more than a thousand
dollars, which I think is really interesting and it`s going to have
implications that haven`t really been talked about.
HAYES: And you made this point that one of the things in the Kennedy
decision in Citizens United rights for the majority is disclosure, right?
And he says, clearly, disclosure is within the four squares of the
constitution. And clearly, that will happen.
BARKER: Right. Right.
HAYES: Although, of course, that has not happened. That actually has
created this huge amount of money. So, when the court revisits it, they`re
going to have to wrestle with the fact that they`ve created something that
they, themselves, in the majority opinion explicitly says is problematic.
On the constitutional amendment, I agree in the short term. It`s hard
to imagine the process by which that happens, particularly, under the
conditions of pluralization, but we should remember. I mean, there`s all
sorts of -- I mean, prohibition must have, you know, looked totally
preposterous when it was first proposed.
And they worked on that for 60 years or something before they finally
got -- and the income tax on women`s suffrage direct election of senators.
You know, every amendment, I think, looks unlikely when --
COLL: This is a long struggle. I mean, it`s been going on since the
Gilded Age. And I think one aspect of it is to get back to plausible
discourse about public financing and to demonstrate at a state level that
there is a public financing system that could survive this onslaught of
But I don`t know whether, in New York or elsewhere, you see plausible,
revival of a public financing campaign that would be robust and strong
enough to provide an alternative.
BARKER: I mean, Arizona had a really interesting case. It recently
kind of got eviscerated a bit where they were doing public financing in a
way that kind of made sense that you had an idea that this could actually
work. It was trying to, you know, equal the playing field between
challengers and incumbents.
But then, again, it`s no longer there. But people who were involved
in it felt like this actually works. And, you had both Republicans and
Democrats supporting it.
HAYES: Yes. One of the things that`s been interesting in places
where public, public campaigns, and public financing have been placed.
There tends to -- a consensus forms in favor of it once it`s put in place.
Partly that`s because incumbents, by definition, like the status quo
because that was the system they got them elected.
HAYES: But it does say that there`s a possibility of something more
durable after we get through whatever disruptions that this continues to
Kim Barker, thanks so much for coming on.
BARKER: Thanks very much for having me.
HAYES: How Exxon Mobil has used its power and money to influence the
U.S. government? That`s up next.
HAYES: Joining us now is Chrystia Freeland, editor of Thomson Reuters
Digital. Steve, I want to talk about this book. It`s a remarkably
ambitious under taking. And I`m about three chapters in and it`s
COLL: Thank you.
HAYES: It`s called "Private Empire: Exxon Mobile and American Power."
And it`s essentially a corporate biography of the company, which -- it is
in execution far more interesting than that may sound as a sort of genre.
It takes a look at the company`s history over the last 25 years or so.
It goes back to standard oil when standard oil was broken up. It was
one of the baby standard oils. And one of the themes in the book is the
ways in which it uses its power and money to bend the political system to
And I think it`s remain in a very important whether the conversation
precisely because we`re having this debate about Citizens United is a
tipping point or not and much -- essentially all the reporting of the book
is about the pre-Citizens United era. How effective has Exxon been in
leveraging as power and being an influential plan of the political system?
COLL: Very effective. And I think, though in a way, different from
what we were talking about before. You made the point that these Fortune
500 corporations don`t generally throw their official PAC money at the
presidential campaign, trying to pick a winner, but there`s a reason for
And Exxon Mobil is a pretty good case study. Their durable interests
in Washington are really not about who wins the election. It`s about
control of Congress, capture of regulatory agencies, the management of the
legislative sessions, and in some sense, they really don`t care who`s
president except, you know, broadly that it creates different challenges of
the regulatory agency depending on which party is in power.
But, they invest in 30, 40-year cycles, their strategy of lobbying and
Political Action Committee spending in the Congress is mostly a blocking
strategy to just bottle up the Congress and make sure nothing bad happens
to them, and then, outlast whatever noise happens in the four-year
HAYES: Do you think -- you have this quote here that I find really
provocative. It`s early in the book. And you say, "The cold wars end
signaled a coming era when non-governmental actors, corporations,
philanthropies, terror sells and media networks all gain relative power.
Exxon`s size insularity and ideology made its position distinct."
I thought this was a really provocative idea that the relative power
of sovereigns in the proposed co-era (ph) has declined relative to these
other ways of organizing human behavior, and Exxon is one of the most
powerful of those alternatives.
COLL: Yes, its numbers make it just of a different scale than some of
the other groups, but not only did their relative power grow over the last
20 years, but they also became un-tabard (ph) from national systems as a
result of the end of cold war. So, during the 1960s and 1950s, America`s
largest corporations really were aligned with the American system and
competition with the adversary as it was conceived done.
Now, they`re really free to be independent sovereigns and to see
themselves as a globalized entity that is only coincidentally had courted
the United States. I mean, that`s maybe a bit much, but essentially true.
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, THOMSON REUTERS DIGITAL EDITOR: But not much. I
mean, I think that that`s one of the essential points and actually one of
the essential points of this sort of post-cold war, plutocratic era is that
they -- you know, they`re not. And actually, -- I mean, I thought one of
these things -- I can do have Lee Raymond (ph) and talking about how -- he
doesn`t see himself as unpatriotic.
But, he has a fiduciary duty to his shareholders. And he really does.
These guys -- if you`re playing to be an American, you`re not being a good
CEO. And I don`t think that that`s something that voters and national
governments have really figured out.
HAYES: You quote Raymond on page 71 of the book. You say that he was
at a meeting and another executive, I think, had said, you know, you should
build more refineries in the U.S., right?
COLL: Because we need them for security in case there`s disruptions
to oil supply, and he says I`m not a U.S. company. I don`t do what`s in
the interest of the United States. And that`s not -- I mean, that was a
bit direct. He`s kind of a direct person. But, structurally, it`s the
reality of the way they actually operate.
And they`re very self-conscious about it. And it`s not just the
United States that they feel independent. It`s all government. They
construct their own foreign economic and security policies on a global
basis because that`s the way they`re organized, and they`re remarkably
self-conscious about their independent sovereignty, I think.
HAYES: Is there something -- how distinct -- how distinct is oil as a
category? Because I think when I look at -- when I was in Washington
covering Congress, I mean, the two things you never bet against were the
banks or the oil companies. I mean, you just never bet against the banks
or the oil companies in any fight.
HAYES: Other entities, you know, retail might lose here or there.
HAYES: Technology, sometimes.
COLL: Always defied (ph) it against itself in some way --
HAYES: I should also say Hollywood you would never met against either
HAYES: But what is distinct --
COLL: A couple of things. One is that on a global basis, their
business model is different from retailers or technology or banks. They go
out in the world and they drill holes in the ground and then they sit on
top of them for 40 years at a time in order to revalue out of them.
That puts them in contact with politics on the ground in every country
in ways -- including in the United States where they`re the leading
producer of unconventional and natural gas now and fracking.
So, that`s one thing. The other thing is that the structure of the
oil industry has driven them on stable countries and weak states because
that`s where they can own oil and gas.
So, not only are they out there in the world drilling long-term holes
in the ground, but they`re doing it in places that are unstable and where
there are own wealth creation often exacerbates instability because it
creates a prize in a poor country that is worth fighting over if you`re
guerilla (ph) organization or a potential (INAUDIBLE).
GOLDSTEIN: And it seems they also go into these countries, and they
don`t do any sort of community development. I always think of shell in
Nigeria and the things they did with the activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was
sort of hung by the government, essentially, for his actions against the
company`s activism against Shell.
But then you have sort of people who aren`t educated in the community.
You have these pipelines when they go (ph) and trying steal oil from the
pipelines and then get killed.
COLL: You know, we`re all complicit in that. And I`ve been out
talking about this, and people say what should be done. And, I think we
had the conversation earlier about the sort of constraints on America
corporations when they go outside the lines and delivering racialized
advertising in a political campaign.
But, who is holding American corporations to account for their
activities in West Africa? Who`s creating a narrative of social
responsibility, a corporate responsibility that will challenge this sort of
fiduciary responsibility that is enshrined in law and in so much of
FREELAND: And who`s willing to pay more money for their gas in
exchange of that, right?
Hayes: Well, that`s -- I mean, this first question, I think, is
important because I think it relates back to the discussion we`re having
about Ricketts, which is, in some ways, the individual cranked billionaire
-- I don`t know if Joe Ricketts is a crank or not. I`m sort of using crank
billionaire because it`s like humorous thing to say. I don`t know what to
-- you know, maybe he`s not a crank.
But, the individual, eccentric billionaire, I guess, is the
euphemistic term, you know, there are ways in which that person can be held
to account for even to shame, right? I mean, you can -- I don`t think Joe
Ricketts likes having his name in the paper.
I don`t think TD Ameritrade doesn`t likes that the Chicago Cubs who
are trying to get a massive public subsidy, lots of public money to get
renovations and Wrigley Field (ph) doesn`t like it.
An entity like Exxon seems much more insulated from that basic sort of
naming and shaming dynamic.
COLL: Right. They`ll respond to shareholder activist. And after
all, they are very broadly held in the United States. Who are the owners
of Exxon Mobil? Their pension funds of school teachers in the state of New
York, their pension funds of government workers in the state of California,
and when those owners turn up at shareholder meetings and say you must
change your behavior on X, Y or Z, they won`t immediately turn left, but
they will listen.
And the issue about corporate responsibility overseas, especially in
troubled countries in Africa and elsewhere, is that nobody is showing up to
those meetings to demand that they really change --
GOLDSTEIN: But it seems even here, I mean, we have, you know, the
gulf oil spill, and we weren`t able to really seem to do much against BP in
spite of the fact that that happened in the United States. So, I almost
feel like you`re really right that they are essentially sovereigns, but
they are the sort of super sovereigns that are even more powerful, it
seems, that, United States government.
HAYES: And then, the Transocean, Deep Water Horizon, I mean, what`s
so fascinating there to me is the fact that, you know, they`re going to pay
through the nose. I mean, they`re going to pay a lot of money. They`ve
already paid out, and there will be billions more.
But, again, when you`re talking about the kind of -- I mean, that`s
what`s so fascinating about -- the time scale of this, it`s like we`re
operating on human time and they`re operating on geological time.
HAYES: Well, we`re going to pay out a few billion in these two
quarters, but we will be here until the year 3000.
FREELAND: BP has some various exits. I mean, BP has really been
shaken up. The CEO lost his job. You know, there is huge implications for
corporate strategy. I would like Chris, though, to push back against your
sort of starting point which was sort of billionaire political power is
less of an issue and more containable than corporate political power?
FREELAND: I think it`s the other way around, because I think that
corporations are very trammelled. They`re trammelled by the power of their
investors. They`re trammelled by, you know, all of the legal ways that
they are contained. And, also, they have their own corporate bureaucracy.
FREELAND: You know, they are living through generations.
HAYES: They`re big steam ships --
FREELAND: Yes. They`re big steam ships that are part of this
institutional network. The individual billionaire is one guy with a lot of
money. And we are actually seeing these people able to influence politics,
I would, say in kind of more daring and more striking ways than Exxon would
ever dare. I mean, OK, in a small country, sure. But not in a big one.
HAYES: Right. And they could give a flying frog if, you know, if --
FREELAND: Foster Friess.
HAYES: Right. Foster Friess is a perfect example. Bhaskar, what do
you think about that? I want you to answer right after we take a quick
HAYES: The eternal debate. More dangerous to American Democracy, a
mass of corporate influence or crank billionaires? Does someone have an
iPhone on? Oh, that. Do you mind if you turn that off.
FREELAND: I will turn it off, sorry.
HAYES: Bhaskar, you said you had a response to this?
SUNKARA: Well, I mean, in the longer term, when it comes to this
debate of the influence corporations and our political system, ideally, in
the ideal world, not to be a rationalist, but corporations have a clear
incentive, which is to make money. Ideology, sometimes, gets in the way of
Now, individual billionaires who are already billionaires, they have
license to be a bit more eccentric.
But I would go further in saying that talking about corporate
responsibility in this context considering corporations have this one
incentive to make profit, I don`t think that`s the right kind of language
to be using, because corporations need regulation. You can`t expect
corporations to be good citizens because they`re not designed to be good
They`re design today be good to their shareholders and good to their
bottom line, and that`s the way our whole society operates.
FREELAND: I agree with that so strongly. You know, I think the whole
corporate social responsibility dialogue has been a free pass for the
corporations. And, actually, I think you should say fine. Be Exxon Mobil.
Be a totally efficient, brutal extractor. And the job of the government is
to ring you in and to tell you what the rules are.
COLL: -- corporations have captured the government. So, if you don`t
have citizen`s movement to challenge their capture of regulatory agencies,
they`ll just continue --
FREELAND: Right, but shouldn`t the job of citizens be to capture the
government back rather than --
COLL: Yes, but they`re not really mutually exclusive strategy.
HAYES: Do you think, though, I think the point there, Bhaskar, also,
for me is like the way that norms interact on those two sides of the coin.
I mean, I think that one of the things that Citizens United has done, to
me, the most important thing is it has changed the norms of involvement.
It changed the legal structures, but the legal structures have not
changed the norms. I feel like if you`re a billionaire sitting around
listening to Rush Limbaugh angry at the president, the norm has changed
that you`re going to -- it`s like, you know what, maybe I can go write a
check and make this change whereas the norms don`t seem to have the same
COLL: And, also, the relative ability of citizens to mobilize is much
greater than the relative ability of government regulators to fight back
against corporations that are more influential than they have been since
the Gilded Age. Look at SOPA. How did Hollywood get turned on its head?
Because of online organizing and basically a bottom up --
FREELAND: But they pushed on the legislative front. That was a
legislative push. It wasn`t trying to get companies of their own --
COLL: All I`m saying is that came out of a social movement that was
related to hold incorporations accountable.
SUNKARA: I would actually disagree with that. It came -- there was a
grass roots resistance on the internet. And there was people signing
petitions, but there was also a real dispute between two different --
COLL: Of course. Yes, that`s the way politics works. Sure. That`s
the way politics works.
SUNKARA: And the more dynamic, the fresher, you know, new technology.
Google beat, you know, Hollywood and other interests.
COLL: Yes. But if you don`t think there was also a kind of a free
speech movement that was genuinely grassroots that buoyed that corporate
fight, then I think that`s actually the record of what --
HAYES: Well, it was both. But you just said a statement that`s
really radical, which is that citizens organizing have more power than
regulators. I mean, regulators have -- I mean, in theory, are backed up by
the force --
COLL: I`m just saying that the dynamic of relative games is favoring
citizens over regulators.
HAYES: Yes, yes, yes. Can you regulate in an environment in which
you have this sort of level of capture. I`m going to get your thoughts on
that right after this break.
HAYES: I can note that we, yesterday, invited a representative from
Exxon Mobil to speak with us about the book. Their media relations
advisers told they couldn`t because we didn`t give them enough notice, and
then, they actually gave us a long statement that was fairly complimentary
towards the book.
COLL: Well, they`ve changed that position --
COLL: I only hear indirectly. I haven`t heard directly from them.
HAYES: How possible is to under the current conditions? I mean, I
was guess sort of saying for Rachel Maddow Show a few weeks ago when the
bill to get rid of the oil subsidies failed. And, I was, like, I`m pretty
sure I guest hosted (ph) the last time this bill failed. I think this is
happening a whole bunch.
And obviously, it`s a relatively -- in the grand scheme of the budget,
a relatively small amount of money, but it`s a lot of money for the oil
companies, which again, that asymmetry is the case in a lot of things,
foreign subsidies, et cetera. How possible is it to genuinely exert
regulatory control over an entity like this that adds the power of a
COLL: Virtually impossible in Congress to get something like that
through. If you were going to really go after some of these issues, you
have to do it through the federal regulatory structure. We`ll talk about
Exxon Mobil, however, has so many investments in United States
Congress, especially in the House Republican party that they can pretty
much veto any proposal of the sort that you correct me to remember, comes
off every three to four years like sort of moon cycle.
HAYES: They gave -- they`ve given hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Now, here`s an interesting thing to me because we`re talking about the way
in which big money plays on both sides. They`re Congressional that`s been
almost entirely on one side of the aisle.
COLL: And you know that`s an important distinction in their strategy.
They gave 90 percent of their Political Action Committee spending to
Republicans in the 2010, even more in 2012. And when you look at the data,
I assume that a lot of corporations would mean Republican, but Wal-Mart,
Dow Chemical, almost everybody else splits their money about 50/50 under
the theory of sort of durable access --
HAYES: Right. And hedging, which we`ll talk about in the next hour.
FREELAND: Political hedging.
HAYES: Exxon Mobile is long Republican.
COLL: Long republican. And it`s part of their timeline. You know,
we want long-term friends who we know can prevent bad things from happening
to us and anything good that we can create for ourselves is bonus.
FREELAND: How did this shift to North American energy resources
COLL: That`s a great question, because they are now in a much more
invested position in the United States than they`ve been in a generation.
They bought into the unconventional gas story a big way in 2010. They`re
now the leading producer of the kind of gas that is produced through
fracking techniques that are increasingly controversial and are going to be
resistant not just by environmentalists but by state governments and local
And they`re going to need a durable political strategy to realize this
investment. And I don`t think that their historical approach to aligning
with one party, investing in a deep way in -- actually, the right-wing of
the Republican Party in the House is going to get them where they need to
FREELAND: So, good news for Democratic fundraisers.
COLL: Exxon Mobil needs to first agreed that they need to change
their strategy and they`re quite slow to accept that their direction is --
HAYES: One of the things that I think you`re highlighting here and I
think is an important thing to understand about the way money works is
that, you know, everyone in Congress will say I never change my mind on a
vote over money.
And I think in most cases, except for a real small issues that -- and
small issues, like, you know, there`s a fight between the banks and the
retailers over swipe fees and then you may just say, well, whoever really
is giving me the most money. I`ll go with them on that because who cares.
HAYES: But the way that it tends to operate as a massive subsidy to
people who are already align with you, right? I mean, that is what we`re
seeing -- that`s what we see -- Exxon is giving -- Joe Barton who is --
COLL: Leading recipient of Exxon Mobil --
HAYES: Leading recipient and runs the Energy and Commerce Committee
for the Republicans.
HAYES: Joe Barton has his, excuse me, crankish ideas about energy and
typically towards environmentalism and (INAUDIBLE). Independent of Exxon.
He just happened to get a lot of money from them because they understand
he`s an --
COLL: And at key moments, you can call on him.
COLL: And there`s you know -- and he will be aware that this is part
of a long-term alliance and if it`s -- yes, if it`s important enough, then
you make the call, but not every day.
HAYES: I said that when you`re covering Capitol Hill, you never bet
against oil and you never bet against the banks. And that brings us to the
real story. The fascinating bizarre and also terrifying story of what
JPMorgan Chase did this week. Right after this.
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
My story of the week today is dark markets. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie
Dimon has spent nearly all of this past week alternately apologizing,
explaining himself, and artfully dodging specific questions about his
company`s $3 billion loss this quarter on a single trade made out of their
Let`s be honest. It provokes a certain inevitable shouting Freud
watching someone as imperious and self regarding as Jamie Dimon have to say
things like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMIE DIMON, JPMORGAN CHASE CEO: We made a terrible, egregious
mistake. We were sloppy. We were stupid. We hurt ourselves and our
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I can watch it all day.
So much of the argument that Wall Street makes about its role on the
economy is that it is repository of the smartest people on the planet, the
brilliant minds who see farther and think quicker than us mere mortals in
media and government. And, in fact, this is why they cannot and should not
be regulated, because only they understand what they are doing.
Except, of course, when they don`t understand what they`re doing and
end up with a new exposure of $150 billion and $3 billion in losses in five
weeks and counting.
Dimon himself is well aware of how this looks and has been whining
that this episode, quote, "plays right into the hands of a whole bunch of
pundits out there." He`s right.
JPMorgan Chase has been one of the most strenuous opponents of the
Volcker Rule, a component of the proponent of the Dodd-Frank bill, that
will make big, federally insured, too big to fail banks like JPMorgan Chase
stop engaging in risking trading of the sort that blew a $3 billion hole in
their balance sheet.
Now, JPMorgan Chase`s balance sheet is enormous and they can loss a
whole lot more than $3 billion.
This was basically the point Mitt Romney tried to make in minimizing
the entire episode.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is, in the normal
course of business, a large loss, but certainly not one which is crippling
or threatening to the institution.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: But that misses the point, through a combination of
sloppiness, ego and zealous pursuit of returns, a bank celebrated for its
prudence and risk management, ended up with a huge directional bet and
massive exposure. If say, Greece, had default in the last few weeks or
there had been some other shock to the system, JPMorgan Chase could have
been Lehman Brothers all over again, and Lord knows how much would have
fallen once those dominoes started toppling.
There`s a reason that Jamie Dimon reportedly got nauseous and
couldn`t breath when he first saw the details about the size of the
There`s a crucial lesson here about transparency and financial
capitalism and the danger and allure of dark markets. You see, you maybe
just finding out about all this now. But starting in January, the
existence of the so-called "London whale" became the focus of obsessive
gossip and rumor among hedge fund traders. Someone in JPMorgan Chase`s
London office turned out to be a trader named Bruno Iksil, was buying up
ungodly amounts of a certain kind of credit derivative, so much of it that
he was singlehandedly moving the price and various traders who were on the
other side of these trades were losing money. And they were unhappy about
Eventually, a number of them unanimously talked to a "Bloomberg"
reporter -- a "Bloomberg" reporter who just happens to be married to a
credit derivates trader, we should note.
And once the London whale had been exposed in the press, he responded
by doubling down, trying to intimidate the traders by buying even more with
the security. But now that they knew what he was doing and he was more or
less out on a limb, they could call his bluff and force him to retreat and
charge a very, very steep price to climb back down to safety. Hence, the
massive losses that are now at $3 billion and climbing.
Now, here`s what`s so weird about this story. The secrecy, the
shadows and rumor, the incompleteness of the information both from market
participants and for regulators and for the public. And the fundamental
reason for this, is that the financial instrument in question, a credit
derivative, is traded over the counter. Trading over the counter means it
isn`t listed on the exchange like, say, Apple stock. It`s sold between
traders over e-mail with no central intermediary and no public pricing
Maybe you remember that during the run up to the financial crisis, a
small unit of insurer AIG in London bought and sold $446 billion of a
certain kind of this derivative, a credit default swap, ultimately blowing
up the company and almost the world economy. That`s why Dodd-Frank calls
for many of these securities to be moved to an exchange, where market
participants and regulators would have access to clear and steady data
about supply and demand and prices.
Those regulations are being formulated right at this moment, and the
banks are fighting a savage battle to weaken and resisting. They are doing
this because: (a), they think they`re smarter than the idiots that were
presumed to regulate them, and, (b), it`s a lot harder to make a killing in
a transparent market.
Think about how much easier it used to be for used call dealerships
to rip people off. In fact, the used car market is quite literally our
model for sketchy business, full of predators and the con artists. The
problem in the used car market was that while the seller had a sense of a
good price for a vehicle was, the buyer didn`t.
But then, along came the Kelley Blue Book, which made prices more or
less transparent. And now, a variety of Internet tools that allow buyers
to look up a vehicles entire history. It is now a whole heck of a lot
harder to rip people off, which is great for consumers, but inevitably
sucks for shady dealers.
Transparency is a necessary precondition of well-functioning markets.
But it is also the enemy of profits. It`s not that Wall Street is smarter
than us or the government. It`s that they literally know so much that we
do not. It is dangerous, valuable knowledge they hoard and it is quite
literally why they make the big bucks.
So, what are the threats we don`t know about and what we can do about
I want to bring back our panel:
Alexis Goldstein, a former Wall Street vice president herself, now a
member of Occupy Wall Street.
And Steve Coll, author of "Private Empire: Exxon Mobil and American
Power," and president of the New America Foundation, which once briefly
gave me a bit of an institutional home, which I`m grateful for.
Chrystia Freeland from Thomson Reuters Digital.
And, Bhaskar Sunkara, founder and editor of an amazing magazine
called "Jacobin," which I want to -- can we show this for a second? This
is the cover of the latest issue. This is issue number six, right?
"Jacobin" magazine founded by Bhaskar, who if I`m not mistaken, graduating
tomorrow, is that right?
BHASKAR SUNKARA, JACOBIN MAGAZINE: Today and tomorrow.
HAYES: He`s here rather than receiving his degree. You know what
Gore Vidal said about television.
All right. This --
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, THOMSON REUTERS DIGITAL: Congratulations.
HAYES: Yes. This -- sorry, I didn`t mean to blow up your spot. I
want to call you out for being so young, but you are so young.
This Dimon story I find fascinating because -- for a whole variety of
reasons, because of the context of Dimon`s vociferous antipathy towards
Dodd-Frank, because of Dimon`s reputation -- I mean, the reason that he had
the reputation. He was the most prudent of all the bankers. He steered
JPMorgan Chase through the crisis, relatively unscathed compared to other
firms. They have more capital that other firms, they got out earlier of
the most dodgiest and toxic securities earlier than other firms did. And
then this gave them this reputation of tremendous risk management.
And now we have the situation in which this massive exposed bet right
under his nose and he`s got to go around apologizing. And I wonder the
degree to which -- what are the lessons of this episode? Because I think -
- you know, you have Mitt Romney -- here`s Mitt Romney`s take on it which I
think is not that different from bankers would say about this.
Here he is talking about this loss.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ROMNEY: This was not a loss to the taxpayer.
ROMNEY: This was a loss to shareholders and owners of JPMorgan and
that`s the way America works. Some people experience a loss in this case
because of a bad decision. By the way, there was someone who made a gain,
the $2 billion JPMorgan lost, someone else gained.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: You know, there`s always someone else on the other side of
the bet, so why -- why shouldn`t we just shrug our shoulders?
FREELAND: I would be totally cool with that if JPMorgan was a hedge
FREELAND: Totally, totally cool. And I think all of that part of
the analysis is right. And it`s also -- you know, I don`t buy that this
proves that Jamie Dimon is an idiot. What this shows to me is the big
banks are still having to put on very, very massive bets to deliver the
kind of profits that their shareholders and their senior executives expect.
And 2008 should have taught us we don`t want systemic banking
institutions to do that. We want them to be utilities, not to be casinos.
And it shows that Dodd-Frank and the Volcker Rule have not imposed
upon discipline on them partly because of the highly effective law being of
Jamie Dimon himself. And I think the only answer actually is even not
pushing the Volcker Rule harder, although that would be a good idea. I
just think it`s incredibly hard to distinguish between prompt trading and
FREELAND: So, I think what you have do is push-up the capital
requirements, which is you have that quote about Jamie saying this was
anti-American? That was his fight against Basel III, which he hates it
because it would increase his capital requirements.
And Larry Summers, who was not a pinko, leftie, said to me this week
that he now believes capital requirements have to be higher. So --
HAYES: Let me just explain some of the terminology because I think
we can get in the weeds. Proprietary trading and hedging and the thing at
issue in the Volcker Rule is basically we want to say, there are some
entities that are inside the safety net, the safety net being basically
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Government backing, yes.
HAYES: Implicit government banking, sometimes explicit on the
deposits for the FDIC. But also implicit in the sense that we`re not just
going to sit idly by and watch one of these too big to fail banks go under
because it would take down the whole system.
If you`re operating inside the safety net, if you`re JPMorgan Chase,
inside the safety net, then you can`t be doing all sorts of risky things
like making these big directional bets known as proprietary trading. Now,
the reason they want to do proprietary trading and want to make the risky
directional bets is because if you win a big, risk, directional bets at the
beginning of the NBA season, if you said I think the Spurs are going to win
the championship, and they do, in fact, you make a whole lot of money. So,
it`s fun to make big bets when you win them.
When you lose them, and when you lose a whole bunch of them at the
same time because the housing bubble blows up or there`s some crisis in
Europe, well, then all of a sudden you`re hemorrhaging money and you`re one
of these financial institutions that we`ve decided in the safety net, the
taxpayer has to it.
So we say the idea behind the Volcker Rule is you hedge funds, you go
make as many bets as you want. Your freelancer is essentially you big
banks that are inside the system.
And one of the issues here is the fact that they`re saying, right,
JPMorgan Chase is saying, oh, this isn`t a bet. We weren`t betting. We
weren`t trying to make money. We were hedging our risk.
You see, we have this big portfolio, we`ve got loans to dry cleaners
in Spain and restaurants in Athens, and if it all blows up, well, then, we
have to hedge it. So this wasn`t -- we weren`t trying to make money.
ALEXIS GOLDSTEIN, OCCUPY WALL STREET ACTIVIST: And I think, though,
we should take a step back, because there`s a lot of attention on the
Volcker Rule right now. And I think it`s important to realize that Volcker
Rule is not in effect yet.
GOLDSTEIN: And, in fact, Ben Bernanke came out and said that the
banks have until 2014 to comply with it. So the jury is still out about
what the final Volcker Rule would look like. So we have a huge opportunity
right now. JPMorgan was like the chosen one to go around because they had
the best reputation to fight tooth and now against the Volcker Rule.
And one of the things that he complained about back in February when
he was on FOX News, in addition to calling Paul Volcker basically an idiot,
who didn`t understand the financial market, is he said listen, we`re just
like a super market. We`re just like Walmart. We sell you polka dot
GOLDSTEIN: This was not a trade for customers.
HAYES: In fact, this was the first thing Jamie Dimon said on his
phone call, this has nothing to do with our customers.
GOLDSTEIN: This has nothing to do with clients. And this highlights
a couple of problems with the current draft of the Volcker Rule, one of
which is that you`re allowed to hedge at the portfolio level. The statute,
and by the statute, I mean the law written into Dodd-Frank said that you
can hedge an aggregate.
And what just means is you can add up all your trade and hedge them
together. That`s the different than hedging at the portfolio level.
Aggregate hedging is just I`m a single trader. I add up on my positions
and I hedge them because I`m a trader that understands my book.
GOLDSTEIN: Hedging at the portfolio level is we add up all of the
traders positions and try to define some hedge for them at a macro level.
And that usually doesn`t make sense, except in a couple of rare cases.
So this gives Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan cover to say, yes, this wasn`t
a hundred billion dollar pot trade, this was a hedge.
GOLDSTEIN: And there`s a huge number of things wrong with that, one
of which is if you have a hedge and you lose $2 billion over here, you
generally make money over there, and it balances out. And that`s not --
FREELAND: This is really the essential point, because that sort of
provision of hedging at the portfolio level. I think, at that level, it
becomes impossible for anyone -- for a regulator, maybe even Jamie Dimon.
HAYES: Can we ask where the regulators were on this? And also, if
it`s too big to fail, JPMorgan Chase, is actually just too big to regulate,
is the problem no amount of Volcker Rule and fine print is going to
actually restrain them. Right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIMON: My grandmother could earn risky assets and hold them, you
know, and see what happen, and earn a nice bread. That`s not a business.
We do some of that, so don`t get me wrong. But carefully.
But if you want to be a trader, you`re going to have to have a lawyer
and a psychiatrist sitting next to you to determine what was your intent
every time you did something.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you mean by some of the global
regulations being un-American? Was that a quote or a misquote?
DIMON: No, what I said was some were anti-American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I have that written down on my rundown as the Dimon bravado
montage. That`s Jamie Dimon being, you know, uber man, smartest guy in the
room, the general projection of impeccable Wall Street competence that is
part of the social emanation of the banker class.
Here`s something Sheila Bair said. Sheila Bair was part of the FDIC.
And we`re talking about JPMorgan Chase fighting these regulations along
with other banks. And Dodd-Frank was the big bill passed in the wake of
this big crisis. So, there`s an open question about how effective it`s
been and you make a very good point -- which is people are saying, weren`t
Dodd-Frank supposed to fix this?
And the fact is Dodd-Frank has not been fully implemented. There is
right now at this moment no Volcker Rule implementation complete, right?
HAYES: Exactly. They keep extending, they keep missing deadlines,
they keep pushing back. But Sheila Bair said this. She said -- take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEILA BAIR, FORMER FDIC CHAIRWOMAN: I think it does underscore that
even with very good management, these institutions are just too big to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And this, to me, is the big question, you know, when you have
the market share of the four largest banks is larger now than before the
crisis, right? One of the weird thing happening, is the crisis happens
with these too big fail institutions, the way that we manage through it in
an ad hoc fashion is to conglomerate a lot more of them, because it was a
way to keep small entities from going under, was to be absorbed in the
larger ones. So we have bigger -- too bigger to fail institutions.
Do you think Sheila Bair is right? Are these -- do they just need to
be broken up?
GOLDSTEIN: I do.
HAYES: Can you actually restrain at this size?
GOLDSTEIN: I do and I think this is sort of a multipart effort,
right? We do need a Volcker Rule to make sure that the big banks aren`t
playing casino, and getting the government banking back in. But we also
need something like the face banking on, which is something that wasn`t
initially part of Dodd-Frank. It was the Brown Kaufman Amendment.
So, it has been reintroduced by Senator Sherrod Brown office and it
basically says you can`t have more than 10 percent of all deposits in the
United States. Bank of America right now has 14 percent. You can`t have
liabilities exceeding basically I think 2 percent of GDP, which works out
to $1.3 trillion. JPMorgan has $2 trillion right now on liabilities. And
you can`t have more than 10 percent in leverage.
So, I think --
HAYES: Hard cap on bank size --
GOLDSTEIN: And what essentially forced the top four to break up
somewhat. And I think we need, you know, higher capital requirements.
So, I think all of those pieces need to work together to fix the
HAYES: You just wrote a book on a company that was the result of the
government coming in and breaking up an entity that was too vague. What do
you think of that?
STEVE COLL, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: Well, I think the problem is
structure. These banks are too large to manage. They`re too large to
regulate. They have too much influence in Washington to be even in a post-
Dodd/Frank implementation world, does anyone think that the SEC is going to
be able to police every notional hedge trade that is potentially putting
big banks at risk? They can`t.
I think the only realistic strategy is the one that these amendments
outline, which is to narrow the scope of the public interest, define
clearly, and hold that ground.
And the public interest is basically systemic risk to the economy of
the United States. And, you know, in the perfect world, we would do more
than that, but we haven`t been able to get to that, historically,
especially with banks speeding up their trading and the amount of
computerized trading and volatility that`s in the system.
FREELAND: And I think there`s another element that comes into this
that also ties toward, especially about Steve`s book, which is, these are
now global institutions.
HAYES: Totally. And in London, we should remember.
FREELAND: Right. And I think we haven`t focused on that enough. I
don`t think it`s an accident that this happened in London. And the problem
with global regulation is each regulator is going to do what Steve says and
focus on the risk to his or her country.
So the British regulators actually are getting very tough.
(INAUDIBLE) is a great guy. But his focus has to be on, is this going to
hurt structurally the British economy?
SUNKARA: Going back to that wonderful Jamie Dimon bravado montage,
he`s cocky and arrogant. But he`s cocky for a reason. He`s also a very
A lot of these bankers, not to break the populist narrative, but a
lot of these bankers area actually smart guys.
HAYES: Sure, yes.
SUNKARA: And they`re going to find a way to make money. They`re
going to find a way to circumvent rules, incorporate regulations and work
around them. So, it`s not really a matter of stopping bad behavior as much
as compartmentalizing so that when they do make mistakes or when they do
completely fail, it just really implodes them, or really small sector of
the financially economy.
GOLDSTEIN: In your intro, you mention transparency and I think
that`s sort of the unifying thing here, right? We don`t have transparency
to where they`re shifting all around to different countries. We also don`t
have transparency into the market that this trade was in, the over the
counter derivatives market that don`t trade on exchanges.
And I think one of the key lessons of this mistake is that that
market is actually really fragile because we don`t have price or volume
information. And once someone finds out your position, it`s over.
FREELAND: There`s a report of your position as happened here.
HAYES: We`re going to take a quick break. Be right back.
HAYES: Bhaskar, you just made a point that I think is really
important and something that, Alexis, you wrote about in a really great
essay about your time on Wall Street. The first line of which was, "Before
I occupied Wall Street, Wall Street occupied me," which I really like. I
like that line a lot.
And it`s about the sense of smartness and superiority that fuses Wall
Street. And I think -- my own personal theory on this, having spent a lot
of time reporting and thinking about this on my book, is that it is part of
the culture that produces outside risk, outside risk and destructiveness.
And our stuff caught a really interesting counterpoint between these two
different people talking about smartness on Wall Street.
Here`s the president talking about Jamie Dimon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: JPMorgan is one of the
best banks there is. Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest
bankers that we have. And they still loss $2 billions and counting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And I think it`s a really good point because it doesn`t
matter how much you are, you can still lose a lot of money. But I thought
it was interesting that he specifically said, Jamie Dimon is one of the
smartest bankers we have.
During the same week, this is Joe Biden talking in his very fiery
speech in Youngstown, Ohio, about how Republicans view the smart guys.
Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We just don`t think
the guys at the top are the smart guys and if they get it right, everything
else will work. We think this works the other way around. That`s the
history of the valley, man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m sorry, I`m wrong. That`s not Youngstown, Ohio. That was
This cult of smartness that surrounds Wall Street, how much do you
think that does play a role in ending in this position?
GOLDSTEIN: It plays a huge role because there are regulators and I
heard from sources in Congress that there was a briefing this week where
there was a banking regulator where they said taking Jamie Dimon`s
position, and, yes, this was a risk-reducing hedge. And some of the
staffers there pushed back and said, listen, if this was a hedge, why don`t
we see it offset? If they were stretch credit, why did they long credit?
It doesn`t make any sense. The regulator had no answer.
So it`s almost as if some of our regulators take it face value
everything the banks tell them because they think that they`re maybe
smarter than them or who knows?
HAYES: Or they project this air of they know what they`re talking
about. The whole argument that Jamie Dimon has been and the banks has made
throughout Dodd-Frank and people make to me, in my reporting is, you don`t
get it. You don`t understand. You`re not sitting at the terminal that I`m
sitting at and no one who is sitting in my terminal I`m sitting at and
making $10 million a year because I`m so GD smart can ever stand over my
shoulder and tell me what.
FREELAND: Isn`t there also a real economic imbalance? You know, if
JPMorgan is able to pay its bankers $15 million a year, as a woman who run
this whole operation was paid, versus a regulator who`s making $150,000 a
year. I mean, are you going to get a talent mismatch? And are those
regulators going to want to be kind of friendly with the bankers that
they`re regulation, so maybe after years, they can go and work there? And
isn`t this how regulatory capture works?
COLL: I think there`s a talent mismatch even between the banks --
this to Sheila Bair`s point.
I mean, Jamie Dimon, let`s stipulate, is a very smart guy. But there
are people out on his floor writing computer algorithms that are shaping
his portfolio hedges that he can`t understand. They assert to him what
affect they have and a volatile interconnected market and what risk
portfolio. But he needs people who understand those algorithms to then
inform him what his actual exposure.
And people are going to make mistake in that environment. And that`s
--we may discover that`s what happened here.
GOLDSTEIN: But I also think there`s more that the government can do.
This isn`t like a game where the banks are always going to win and always
going to outrun regulations, even though they`re always going to try.
The Volcker Rule is hugely complex because the banking law made it
complex, right? If we were to go back to a Glass-Steagall, I think the
regulators would be happy because that would be a very clear line, right?
HAYES: Glass-Steagall is a hard line between being an investment
banker and a commercial bank. You got to take deposits or you can be an
investment bank, but you can`t be both.
GOLDSTEIN: And the history of JPMorgan is a little bit interesting
there, because they were both back in the `20s.
HAYES: They were broken up by Glass-Steagall.
HAYES: Like those little droplets in "Terminator 2," they come back
to form the bad guy after it gets broken into a thousand pieces.
Big money is also flooding Wisconsin for Governor Scott Walker, will
the Democratic Party fight back or sit this one out? That`s up next.
HAYES: All right. In less than three weeks, Wisconsin`s Republican
Governor Scott Walker will face a recall election against Milwaukee`s
Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett. This is a rerun of the election that
happened just two years ago. Despite the huge outcry and national
attention generated by Walker`s attempt to break the backs of the public
sector union workers there, the latest polling suggests that Barrett is
headed towards the losing end of what the "Wall Street Journal" has called
the most important nonpresidential election of the decade.
Walker`s lead in the latest polls should not be that surprising
however considering he`s outspending Barrett 25:1. Some of that comes from
people like Joe Ricketts who we talked about earlier, billionaire Chicago
Cubs owner we talked about who based on state campaign finance record,
spent $245,000 helping Walker defend against a recall.
According to an unnamed top Wisconsin Democrat that talked to
"Washington Post`s" Greg Sargent, the DNC is failing to match the RNC
support from their candidate. From "The Washington Post": "The party has
asked the DNC for half a million dollars to help with its massive field
operation. While the DNC has made generally supportive noises, the money
has not been forthcoming, the official says with less than a month until
the June 5 recall election. The DNC did not immediately respond to a
request for comment."
That was Monday. On Thursday, the DNC shot back, saying they, quote,
"are completely committed to electing Tom Barrett." Now there`s a petition
up on MoveOn.org`s Web site calling for the DNC to put their money where
their mouth is. So far, they have almost 120,000 signatures. The DNC did
not respond to our request for someone to join us.
Bhaskar, you`ve been covering this for "In These Times" magazine
where you`re now writing. I should give a shout-out to "In These Times"
magazine because they were the first media outlet that ever hired me. I
have a lot of love for them. We should check out there.
So what`s your sense of the state of play of this race?
SUNKARA: Well, this polling has been really worrying. A couple
weeks ago, some right leaning polls came out saying Walker was ahead and
people kind of dismissed it, and recently "The Daily Kos" poll, that they
would be from the right, and came up with the same conclusions.
So a big, liberal narrative of the past week or so has been about
this 25:1 out spending. And a lot of this focus has been on Walker and who
the cosponsor comes from, the Koch brothers, other elite billionaires,
But I feel like this is sort of the narrative. It sort of makes it
seem like Walker has no legitimate base of support. That it`s an Astroturf
movement like a lot of liberals used to claim the Tea Party was.
SUNKARA: But Walker clearly has a real social base. And he`s
tapping with real resentments against unions. So when people non-unionize
workers and middle class people see union privilege, see things like health
care, pensions, things people deserve -- instead of saying, well, why not
me, they say why them.
And this is sort of what the left needs to do. They need to sort of
win the battle of ideas and change the narrative.
HAYES: From that question. I think that`s a very good point. And
one of the things that you see is a vicious cycle, right? As you then see
the private work force decline, this down around 7 percent, people have
less firsthand appreciation of what unions can do. They also see these
benefits as privileges essentially, these things that used to be much more
standard parts of a middle class life.
A defined benefit pension for instance is now seen as some gilded,
ridiculous extravagance. And --
FREELAND: And there is a difference in a different attitude to
public sector and private sector unions, right? I think people, especially
Americans, have gotten this to the idea that that`s my money. I am paying
that out of my pocket, especially if you`re not unionized yourself.
HAYES: Let me also, that was a certain point where, during the whole
look Wisconsin uprising, I suddenly all these conservatives being like, we
love private unions. That makes total sense. But public sector unions --
of course, they weren`t saying that for the last 50 years. It`s unions as
a whole because they opposed them political.
FREELAND: But it`s a wedge that you can --
HAYES: It is. And it`s effective one. I want to bring in Lena
Taylor, Wisconsin Democratic state senator, who is on the ground and has
been very involved in this effort from the beginning.
Senator, it`s great to have you.
STATE SEN. LENA TAYLOR (D), WISCONSIN: It`s great to be with you,
Chris. Thanks for having me.
HAYES: So what is your sense of the way this election is headed and
how much do you think this will end up on the heads of the DNC if they do
not pony up money?
TAYLOR: Well, let me first go to the states that you guys were
making in regards to really what I would argue as the divide and conquer
strategy that our governor is using. And it`s true that they`ve kind of
demonized public sector unions.
But he has been clear, based on the legislation he`s done before and
based on what he`s said to one of his largest donors in Wisconsin, that the
divide and conquer mentality is what he is working with. First, he`s going
for the public sector unions and then he`s going to go for the private
sector unions. He wants this to be a right-to-work state. That`s what
it`s been about for him and he`s not been honest.
And I think the DNC and anybody out there who cares about the
direction of this nation, because this is more than Tom Barrett, that
anybody out there who cares about the direction of this nation and who
cares about whether or not the people will have voices over the
corporations, need to be helping, you know, bear it for Wisconsin. You
know, dot com.
TAYLOR: That was where we need to do it.
HAYES: Here I want to actually, because you mentioned this, I think
this is a very important sound that the idea that going after the public
sector unions first is part of the larger plan to make Wisconsin a right-
This is Scott Walker and billionaire Diane Hendricks having exactly
that conversation from a forthcoming documentary called "As Goes
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE HENDRICKS, HENDRICKS HOLDING COMPANY CEO: Any chance we`ll
ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions and become a
right to work?
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Well, what in fact --
HENDRICKS: What can we do to help you?
WALKER: Well, we`re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget
adjustment. But the first step is we`re going to deal with collective
bargaining for all public employees unions, because you use divide and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Use divide and conquer is the first thing -- is the final
thing he says there.
Lena, one of the narratives is that the Democrats seem to be making
an argument that Scott Walker is trying to divide Wisconsin, that he`s
being divisive, divide and conquer, he`s pitting people against each other.
But it also seems to me that that division, that polarization is
real. And that -- the way this election is going to be won which, again,
is happening in a strange time, it`s not going to have a predictable level
turn out is that it`s going to be a polarize base kind of election as
oppose to an election in which you`re trying to persuade the middle.
TAYLOR: Well, I will say that we are divided, you know? We are
definitely a blue state with a lot of red polka dots in it, you know? Or a
red state with a lot of blue polka dots. However you want to look and it`s
But right in the middle, you have individuals who often don`t come
out to vote, or you have individuals who are independents or people on both
sides who really, let`s say, listen to, you know, the candidates, so to
say. But walker has truly pushed the issues of divisiveness in every way,
whether it`s you don`t want to be like Milwaukee, or whether it`s public
sector unions, or whether it`s the fire and police carved out compared to
the others. So, that is their way.
The issue is what is the ground campaign going to look like? And I
would argue that we have the momentum based on the May 8th election, that
people came out without any help from the Democratic Party because we were
training people, you know, for this June 5th election at that time for the
However, this is the time to put all hands on deck. This isn`t about
Tom Barrett. This is a nation issue.
And I would say that the DNC has been helpful. However, the RNC,
they`ve decided that they`re going with Walker all the way to the wall.
And -- exactly.
And so, my question is we`ve done a lot -- DNC and Democratic Party
and individuals. But the question is will you feel like on June 6th, that
you did all you could. And I would argue that we need to go to the map.
We need to put it all on the table.
I remember seeing this when he ran for county executive. We didn`t
have anybody going to the map the way they needed to, and he then, he
actually won that county executive, right, he became the governor. So I`m
saying we need to be all in.
HAYES: State Senator Lena Taylor, we`re going to be talking with you
right after we take a quick break.
HAYES: We have State Senator Lena Taylor from Wisconsin.
I want to ask you, what specific level of support do folks in
Wisconsin, what do you want from the DNC? What have you asked for? What
have you heard from them?
TAYLOR: Well, you know, I`ll say this -- any help that will put more
money on the ground so that we can make sure that we have individuals out
there in every capacity, there aren`t enough people on the ground, from my
perspective, enough movement on the ground. And even though there are huge
efforts, the problem is, is that there are still people, believe it or not,
who don`t know that the election is June 5th and that that`s the day that
And so, you know, I don`t think there could be enough people. If
you, Chris, if you or any of your panelists or anybody want to come to
Wisconsin and help, just come on. I`m certain that we can put you to work.
HAYES: Why is it -- I mean, one of the things that I`ve heard raised
by folks around the DNC is, look, why should we take money that`s raised
under federal hard money requirements, right, with caps, which is harder
money to raise because you can only raise it in certain amounts, and funnel
it to a state where there are no contribution limits. In fact, the reason
that Barrett is getting so massively outspent is precisely because you
couldn`t wake up on a Wednesday morning and write a million dollar check to
Scott Walker, if you wanted to, under Wisconsin law.
Why is there such an imbalance in the money that`s falling into this
TAYLOR: Well, actually, the em balance piece that you speak about
happened only during the window of the recall petition process, you know,
so to say. So walker did a huge job of making sure that during that time
that the window was open, of making sure that he got massive fund raising
But I think the reason is because this is not just about a state in a
gubernatorial seat or about Tom Barrett. This is really about, you know,
are we going to support the concept, as I said before, of people over
corporations and that concept is what Europe and other nations, the people
are rising up and pushing back.
And I think that we need to also realize that this is a state that
matters for President Obama. I mean, this is a state that`s a swing state
that Obama -- you know, President Obama needs. And I personally believe
that Joe Biden, President Obama and anybody else, the DNC -- I know that
the DNC chair will be here doing a campaign fundraiser.
But I`m suggesting we`ve done a lot as a Democratic Party, but
there`s more that needs to be done. There`s more that needs to be done in
order for us to make sure that we do this, because we have the numbers to
win this. The dean of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Dave Obey,
doesn`t normally get it wrong. And he stated that this is winnable.
TAYLOR: It`s going to take us going to the mat.
So, you know, that $500,000 that`s been request, I think do that or
do more. And if you`ve done that, do more, because this is the race that
matters in the nation. The world is watching.
HAYES: If Scott Walker wins this, Scott Walker is Charlie Peirce on
the piece on "Esquire" --
TAYLOR: Oh, no.
HAYES: He made the point that if Scott Walker wins this, forget it.
He`s going to be, you know, spending a lot of time in Ohio and New
Hampshire. The big front runner in 2016 and a huge star in the Republican
Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor -- thank you so much for your
time. I really appreciate it.
So, what do we do know that we didn`t --
TAYLOR: Thank you so much. They may not get that Senate.
HAYES: What do we know now that we didn`t know when the week began?
HAYES: So what do we know now that we didn`t know last week?
Well, we now know that Joe Ricketts, conservative billionaire and
patriarch of the family that owns my beloved Chicago Cubs, is distancing
himself from the proposal leaked to "The New York Times" to run a campaign
ad against President Obama, focusing on slimy, racial innuendo and
We know that the ranks of the billionaire super PAC donors are
proliferating, creating a bonanza of political consultants and inevitably,
a nasty and most likely unprecedented barrage of attack ads. And we know
that in the post-Citizens United world, there is no way to hold plutocrats
accountable other than publicity and transparency.
We know that Joe Ricketts of the world don`t much like to have their
names in newspapers or cable news, and we know that if they are going to be
writing multimillion dollar checks, that`s exactly where they belong.
We now know in politics, money cannot buy excitement. Americans
Elect, an organization with a $35 million budget funded by a small group of
wealthy donors, created with the dream, but if you build it, they will
come. The plan was to create an alternate nominating procedure for a
presidential candidate to represent the great, restive moderate middle
alienated by the increasing polarization of the two main political parties.
But at the end of their official nominating process, no one has
crossed the relatively low threshold they set for a nomination. The
closest candidate is UP guest candidate Buddy Roemer, who has a little over
6,000 declared supporters, well shy of the 10,000 Americans Elect
We know money in politics is like a gun. It makes those who have it
much more powerful, but it can`t do anything by itself. We know there`s
got to be someone to actually pull the trigger.
We now know that Americans have just lived through the warmest 12
months ever recorded. According to new data reported by the national
oceanic and atmospheric administration on Tuesday, the nationally average
temperature over the past 12 months was 50.75 degrees, a whopping 2.8
degrees higher than the 20th century average.
We now know that the national average temperature for April was 55
degrees, which is 3.6 degrees above average. We know the evidence of
climate change is all around us if we are willing to simply look.
We now know that drinking coffee is good for you and thank the Lord.
The biggest longitudinal study of the health effects of coffee consumption
was published this week. It looked at over 400,000 American adults between
1995 and 2008 and found that after controlling to the fact that those who
drank the most coffee also tended to smoke more, there is a significant
inverse association between coffee consumption and mortality. Given the
fact I consume somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 cups a day, I know I`m
going to make it to at least 150.
I want to find out what my guests know now they didn`t know when the
week began. Let`s begin with you Chrystia Freeland.
FREELAND: I know that I have to be very, very worried about Europe
and all of us do. I`m really worried about what`s happening in Greece and
I`m particularly worried about the Greek/German negotiation. I really
think that we are all underrating the possibility of real disaster both
financially and economic and also ultimately political, because remember
that the E.U was founded because the Europeans fought two world wars in the
last century and they decided we`re not going to do it again.
HAYES: I agree with you entirely on this. We`re going to do a lot
of our show tomorrow about this. And I think that the most blood soaked
continent in the history of human civilization, and the site of the
greatest evil and mass slaughter in history of human civilization and in
the historical sense in fairly recent memory, we shouldn`t just be so
sanguine about this amazing project they put together just coming
untethered before us.
FREELAND: And they didn`t have a plan on how to undo it. So --
HAYES: Yes. Bhaskar?
SUNKARA: Well, I had a hunch, but I know that Jamie Dimon is a bad
man. But I already knew that he was also a Democrat and not just a
lifelong Democratic voter, but a Democratic donor and a guy who has brunch
with Obama. And this sort of just shows us that even though there is a
sharp difference between the two parties on many key issues, even though
the Democrats are a lot less odious than the Republicans on certain key
issues like financial regulations, the Democrats and the Republicans, this
huge swings of the parties that just completely overlap.
In an election year, when Obama needs funding and he needs donors,
it`s not going to be the time to be really tough on the financial
regulation like we need him to be.
HAYES: Alexis Goldstein, what do you now know?
GOLDSTEIN: So, the NYPD had a really bad week this week. We saw the
first two Occupy Wall Street trials go to work. One resulted in an
acquittal, the other in a dismissal, because livestream video footage
contradicted what the NYPD`s case was.
We also saw a federal judge grant class action lawsuit status to the
suit against stop frisk, which is the NYPD`s program that allows them to
stop and frisk anyone they find suspicious, and it sort of alleges that
it`s racially motivated and by the NYPD`s numbers, almost 90 percent of the
people that are stopped and frisked are black and Latino.
HAYES: Steve Coll, what you now know?
COLL: Well, I`m all about Greece this week, took, but I think the
road to the White House runs through Athens, and the Greek democracy, which
gave us our democracy in some sense is in crisis. There`s a big election
in June. And if it doesn`t create a government that can negotiate with
Germany and prevent a disaster, Obama is at risk.
HAYES: My thanks to Chrystia Freeland from Thomson Reuters Digital,
Bhaskar Sunkara, "Jacobin Magazine", Alexis Goldstein from Occupy Wall
Street, and Steve Coll, author of "Private Empire: Exxon Mobil and American
Power" -- thank you for getting UP.
Thank you for joining us today for UP. Join us tomorrow Sunday
morning at 8:00. We`ll have MSNBC policy analyst Ezra Klein. You can find
out more about tomorrow`s program on Facebook at Up with Chris, and you go
to "Twilight of the Elites" on Facebook. You can find out where I`ll be
showing up near you to talk about my upcoming new book in the next few
Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY".
Melissa, what have you got for us today?
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: Well, I`ve got coffee. I`m trying
to get up to anywhere near your number. But we`re going to dig into the
resurrection, as one might say, of Jeremiah Wright, and the black church
really as a political weapon with none other than Reverend Otis Moss, the
current senior pastor of the United Church of Christ in Chicago, and also
with the renowned theologian Dwight Hopkins. I actually attended Jeremiah
Wright`s church for several years while I live in Chicago, and I have a lot
to say about this.
We`re also going to keep our eye on the eurozone and ask whether or
not apocalypse is in fact near.
HAYES: That`s Melissa Harris-Perry coming up next. We`ll see you
next right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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