'Up w/Chris Hayes' for Sunday, January 6th, 2013
Read the transcript to the Sunday show
UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
January 6, 2013
Guests: Fran O`Connor, Steve Ellis, Diane Savino, Hakeem Jeffries, Liza Goitein, Esther Armah, Ben Jealous, Keith Suber, Harold Pollack
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave his first speech since June this
morning blaming violence in the country on external forces, and the
National Hockey League and the Players League have reached a tentative
collective bargaining agreement, which would end the 113 day lockout.
Right now I`m joined by freshman Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of
New York, New York State Senator Diane Savino, a Democrat who represents
northern Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, Steve Ellis, vice president
of Taxpayers for Common Sense and Fran O`Connor, a resident of Sayreville,
New Jersey, who is still displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Great to have you
On Friday afternoon, the new 113th Congress including gentleman here at the
table, Hakeem Jeffries, approved $9.7 billion in immediate aid for victims
of Hurricane Sandy. The 9.7 billion is just a fraction of the $60 billion
aid package passed by the Senate that earlier this week without any
explanation whatsoever, House Speaker John Boehner decided not to vote on
before the 112th Congress ended. The decision occasioned a rare full-scale
full-spectrum mutiny from the New Jersey and New York Republicans. On
Wednesday, Republican Congressman Peter King of New York, attacked his
fellow Republicans on TV screens across the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: I`m saying right now, anyone from New York
or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out
of their mind. They wonder why they`re becoming a minority party, why
we`re going to be a party of the permanent minority. What they did last
night, it was so immoral, so disgraceful, so irresponsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie blamed not only his fellow
Republicans for what he described as a betrayal but specifically Speaker
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R ), NEW JERSEY: There`s only one group to blame for
the continued suffering of these innocent victims. The House majority and
their speaker, John Boehner. Americans are tired of the palace intrigue,
of political partisanship of this Congress which places one upsmanship
ahead of the lives of the citizens who sent these people to Washington,
D.C. in the first place. New Jerseyians and New Yorkers are tired of being
treated like second-class citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Speaker Boehner has responded to the fur by backtracking quickly
and thoroughly pledging to vote on the remaining $51 billion in aid passed
by the Senate on January 15th. If anything, his swift reversal just given
the country a look not only at the internal divisions within the Republican
caucus, but how woefully unprepared Republicans seemed to be for a future
where storms like Hurricane Sandy promised to hit more and more frequently.
New member of Congress, congressman Hakeem Jeffries, congratulations. You
took the oath this week.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: What the heck happened down there? I mean every - I - the weirdest
thing about it, I have to say was -- and we`ll get into this because I was
prepping for, you know, for this show and looking at the bill and actually
if you start to dig into the bill there`s a whole lot of things to object
to in it. And you could have made an argument about things in it to object
to, but no one ever made the argument against it, they just killed it. It
was really bizarre.
JEFFRIES: Well, the events of the last week certainly leave one to ponder
the question if there is such a thing as a four-ring circus ...
JEFFRIES: It`s especially - and by the way I`ve asked a lot during my time
in Albany in the most recent past. But what`s interesting is -- with the
election of the speaker hopefully we can see, you know, the shenanigans of
the last week or so put in the past and we can focus on the business of
doing the people`s business. What was interesting is that it really does
appear that the speaker concluded after the fiscal cliff vote on January
1st, that it was untenable for him to bring the $60 billion flood relief
bill to the floor, given the mood of a significant number of members of the
HAYES: Meaning he alienated members of Congress because they felt like he
caved. They felt like the White House had won, and then the very next
thing he`s going to do that week and the last thing they`re going to do
before they close up the lights is $60 billion - new dollars in spending.
JEFFRIES: Absolutely. Because, you know, there`s concern amongst many
members on the Republican side with the debt and the deficit and after
adding in at least the view of many of them, an additional $4 trillion ...
JEFFRIES: -- based on the package, that was passed to bring another $60
billion in this context was troublesome for them. The problem, though, is
that disaster relief has traditionally been immune from the poisonous stain
of partisan politics ...
JEFFRIES: Yet, for the first time in modern American history, it was
HAYES: Fran, you are - I want to get your perspective on this. Because
you are not - you`re no - you`re still not in your house, right?
FRAN O`CONNOR, HURRICANE SANDY VICTIM: I am not in my house.
HAYES: Your house flooded during Hurricane Sandy?
O`CONNOR: Yes, it did.
HAYES: You live in Jersey. How do you respond watching this whole thing
O`CONNOR: It`s very disheartening. You know, everyone in government
constantly tells us, reaches out to us, especially right after this storm
to say we`re there for you, we`re going to do everything we can to help you
and here we are at day 68, and we have not received anything from our
insurance companies. We`ve had all our adjusters come out. But now we`re
watching our government officials say -- it doesn`t matter if there`s not
enough money to pay your claims. It`s not important enough. So we`re
going to push this off. We`re at day 68, and everyone is displaced.
People cannot get back into their homes.
STEVE ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: Well, and I think that one is, it
was pure politics. There was no doubt about it. It was of another package
that was going to pass with a - a majority or a minority or the majority
and that was going to be an issue for Speaker Boehner, and that`s why it
Part of the problem is, it shouldn`t have taken this long. We should have
been debating this a lot earlier. The president didn`t submit his package
to the Congress until December 7th, so it was well after the storm, so we
were well along that area and then certainly, we - and then the Senate took
its time and actually, added in a lot of extraneous provisions and the
extraneous provisions are one of the things that delays it. When people
can pillory the bill because it has $150 million for fishery disasters in
Alaska and Mississippi, because it has extra money that`s added in for
other disasters that are not Sandy-related, it slows the progress of the
bill and absolutely, the $9.7 billion, the - which was to basically, to
fund the -- allow the National Fund Insurance Program to borrow from the
Treasury an additional amount had to be done.
ELLIS: I mean we had to keep, just like - just like the debt ceiling, we
have to keep the full faith and credit of the U.S. government and we have
to make sure that we pay our bills. People bought flood insurance
policies, paid their premiums ...
ELLIS: We need to pay off those.
HAYES: I want to tell you - Diane, I want to talk about flood insurance in
a second, so hold that thought.
STATE SEN. DIANE SAVINO (D) NEW YORK: So, let me go back to what happened
with Speaker Boehner. I think what we saw on display that day was the
worst kind of politics, and it was the kind of thing that really turns
people off to government in general and particularly - and to the Congress
John Boehner was not so much concerned about the vote on the Sandy relief
package. He was concerned about the vote on his leadership. He was more
interested in being leader than he was in actually leading on an issue
that`s affecting thousands of people that I represent and Congressman
Jeffries does, people like Fran. And what`s even more distressing is, in
this whole discussion it`s not whether this bill was larded up with pork
and what pork actually means, you know, one man`s pork is another man`s
necessity. What was really distressing is there seems to be this narrative
now that says -- in order for us to provide relief to someone like Fran,
someone else has to suffer first. That is a very dangerous precedent.
HAYES: You know, let me play this bit of sound. This is in the wake of
Hurricane Irene, right, and this is in 2011 when again, every time one of
these things happens we`re going to have some sort of emergency
supplemental as we should, right? Things get destroyed, the government -
it`s one of the core roles of government. You said that we hadn`t seen
this kind of partisanship before, but here is - here is Eric Cantor in 2011
basically just stipulating as a general principle, emergency supplemental
has got to come out of someone`s pocket. We can`t spend over above what
the baseline is. Here he is. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You believe that any federal money that comes out for
Hurricane Irene needs to be met dollar-for-dollar with spending cuts? Is
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R -VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, yeah. And with the
House has already acted and it has already funded over $1 billion for
additional disaster relief money, that money has been offset by savings
elsewhere. Again, just like any family would operate when it`s struck with
disaster. It finds the money it needs to take care of a sick loved one or
what have you, and then goes without trying to buy a new car or put an
addition on to the house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELLIS: I`ll just point out ...
ELLIS: Hurricane Irene hit Eric Cantor`s constituents.
ELLIS: Like he wasn`t just talking - I mean it was - he was talking about
HAYES: No, I mean that was a remarkable thing. I mean ...
HAYES: To say what you will about that as a principle, he was putting his
money where his mouth was.
ELLIS: Right. No, exactly. And I`ll just point out, Senator - I never
said "pork." I mean - and I`ll just be clear, I mean there are things in
here that are nice to have, would like to have, they are important. I mean
I know that from ...
HAYES: Or like tofu or, you know, something - something - something
ELLIS: Well, yes, there you go. But let`s hope that we necessarily have
to have right now and it should be done as an emergency because the key
thing is, is that when you designate something as an emergency, it means it
doesn`t count against the budget caps. It means - but it does add to our
$1 trillion deficit.
ELLIS: It does add to our ...
HAYES: It also means - it also means - it`s hard to vote for without
getting killed on programs such as these or by Chris Christie, and finally
JEFFRIES: Well, I think that, you know, the difference - a couple of
differences here. First of all, in this particular instance you had the
Senate that passed a bill, $60 billion, the speaker promised a vote on the
bill to several people as well as publicly prior to the close of 112th
Congress and then he went back on his word as Peter King indicated it was a
knife stab in the back. The other thing that`s interesting here is that
the states of New York and New Jersey, along with a few other states,
California and Illinois, but New York and New Jersey which were hit hard
are donor states. These are states that regularly send tens of billions of
dollars more to the federal government than we get back in return. We
consistently step up for America and in this particular instance we`ve
asked America to step up for us and the Congress to date, has failed.
SAVINO: And ...
ELLIS: I`m not -- I`m not defending what happened on the floor and the way
it transpired. I would have much rather - I am all for debate, I am all
for amendments. That is what - that is the American process, that is a
wonderful process. I would like to see some of that funding stripped out
and often, you see one chamber or the other jam the other chamber, which is
what happened here at this time. I think that they should have done the
$9.7 billion, I think we need to debate the rest of this package, because
there`s stuff in here and quite frankly, just I worked on the Senate bill.
I`ve read the Senate bill many times. I read it just recently after it was
enacted and -- or passed.
In between, sometime on the floor that I missed, they re-designated some of
the Corps of Engineers construction funding to -- it wouldn`t just go to
Sandy reconstruction, but it would also deal with Hurricane Isaac in
portions - states that were affected - that are in the Mississippi Valley
Division of the Corps of Engineers. What are those two states? Where is
that at? Louisiana and Mississippi. Who are those people behind that?
Probably the ranking member of the Appropriation`s Committee, Senator
Cochran and probably senior Democrat on the committee, Senator Landrieu.
And so that, to me is part of the problem in the system that I don`t want
it to get jammed.
SAVINO: But why do you think that they would be interested in putting that
money in there? I mean let`s look at this. You know I said earlier today
that, you know, the year of the flood seems to come every other year now.
Now, as Congressman Jeffries said, New York and New Jersey are donor
states. If we just got back what we gave to Washington we wouldn`t be
having a discussion about federal aid. We wouldn`t need it. We`d be able
to take care of ourselves, but we don`t. What we - what we do know,
though, is, the likelihood is that places like Mississippi and Louisiana
and Florida and the Gulf Coast states, they are going to get hit again a
lot faster than we are.
HAYES: And this is - yes.
SAVINO: And what`s going to happen now is you`re going to have members of
Congress from New York and New Jersey and Connecticut and the northeast
states who may look at them and say, you know what? We`re going to parcel
out aid to you a little bit more slowly than you gave it to us.
HAYES: So - so this is something I learned this week in preparation and
following this. Our flood policy is a total disaster?
HAYES: It`s totally disastrous. And you`ve known the experience of this
firsthand. I want to talk about this, because it`s really important. It
may sound remote to you, I`ve never flooded, I`m not going to get flooded,
but listen to me, we`re going to have more floods so we need to get this
figured out. More on this after break.
HAYES: All right, flood policy may sound remote and abstract, but Fran
O`Connor of Sayreville, New Jersey, you`re living flood policy, living
through it and -- tell me what the experience has been. You`re in an area
that is part of the National Flood Insurance Program. You have to buy that
government insurance in order to get a loan on your house in your area
because it`s part of this flood plain. What`s happened to you over the
last 32 months?
O`CONNOR: Well, in March of 2010, our area suffered a very devastating and
catastrophic flood. Our basements filled with water. Our -- the water
spilled over into our living space, you know, up to four feet in most
homes. And so after that flood, we ripped out our walls, our flooring and
we had to dispose of all of our possessions and there was previously an
ongoing Army Corps study and so we requested the status of that Army Corps
project and unfortunately, we were told at that point that the Army Corps
project, which had been going on for 20 years, was still probably decades
away from completion.
HAYES: 20--year-old project, decades away from completion? And if anyone
- the Army Corps of Engineers is really, we could do a whole show on the
Army Corps of Engineers, but continue.
O`CONNOR: So, we attempted to find alternative methods to protect our home
and our goal was to save our neighborhood and save our home. And so, we
researched the feasibility of buyouts, flood protection, such as an interim
wall and any kind of flood mitigation projects that we can research. And
at the end of the day we determined through the help of our borough
engineer that the most economical way to save our home was to build an
interim sheet pile wall that would follow the alignment of the Army Corps
project that already is in the design stage. And that was, you know, at
that time the most economical avenue that we attempted to take. And so we
were researching it and we were working on it and unfortunately, after --
it took us about six months to put our houses back together and after less
than - or just about a year, after that, we were slammed by Hurricane
Sandy. And our homes were hit with a flood to the same catastrophic area
that we had just gotten hit prior. And so, our brand new appliances and
our furnaces and our air conditioners ...
HAYES: Everything that had been rebuilt.
O`CONNOR: Everything that ...
HAYES: ... got out and replaced.
O`CONNOR: And, you know, the unfortunate part about it is your insurance
never covers everything that you need to replace your home and so, we`re a
group of homeowners that had to go out and talk loans out. We had to take
SBA loans and second mortgages and those loans were not even paid off when
we lost everything all over again.
HAYES: So, listening to this, there are people who are going to say, well,
maybe people shouldn`t be living in this. I mean if - if you`re living in
a place, and it`s easy for me to say. It`s not my home, it doesn`t have
all the connection that someone has to their home, but if this is a place
that`s going to flood three times in 32 months and as the climate changes
there`s going to be more floods, is there a feasible future?
O`CONNOR: Well, at this point I think we`ve all resigned to the fact that
after we got hit for the third time and we just can`t keep doing this. You
can`t -- our homes are no longer safe to live in and so now we understand
the only alternative that would be available to us would be for our homes
to be bought out.
ELLIS: And that`s absolutely -- I mean, that`s something that`s started
being pioneered after the `93 floods, is doing these buyouts, and you had
to take the town of Arnold, Missouri, the town of Valmeyer in Illinois,
which granted or not, is property values are not quite the same ...
ELLIS: But they bought out those towns, floodwaters returned to exact same
area two years later and they were flooded.
HAYES: So the national - the National Flood Insurance Program works like
this, after Hurricane Betsy, basically, the private market wasn`t offering
flood insurance because it`s very hard to assess the risk, and it`s
extremely expensive, right? So the government came in, they created this
flood insurance program. You pay the premium, it`s purchased through the
private insurer, but it`s backstopped by the government ...
HAYES: And what we have had is after Katrina, right, it blew a $17 billion
HAYES: ... in the budget of the thing. Now we`re going to have Sandy blow
another huge hole in it, and it doesn`t seem to me like the program is
effectively -- it seems to me the program is having perverse incentives
insofar as it seems to be incentivizing building in areas that we shouldn`t
ELLIS: Absolutely. And actually, the program, just to put it in
perspective, and so after all these claims are paid, that`s $9.7 billion,
additional or not, there`ll be about $30 billion in the hole to the
Treasury. Before Sandy, the program took in $3.5 billion a year in premium
revenues. So it is severely, no pun intended, underwater as far as --
SAVINO: And, you know, and on the state side, in the Senate, we`ve created
a bipartisan task force to study the effect of Hurricane Sandy. Because,
you know, Sandy didn`t seem to discriminate across senate districts so the
entire coastal community from the east end of Long Island to the south
shore of Staten Island has been, you know, hit including lower Manhattan.
You know, we don`t talk a lot about what happened in lower Manhattan, but
lower Manhattan was offline for quite a while.
SAVINO: That`s not to neglect also the effect on our transportation system
SAVINO: ... the Battery Tunnel flooded for almost two weeks. What we`re
trying to do is look at what role state and local governments will play in
future hazard mitigation. Including things like, you know, rezoning areas
so that people won`t be able to rebuild there. How do we adequately
compensate people for the value of their properties pre-storm, not post
storm. One of the immediate effects of Sandy is - she has driven down
property values across coastal communities by at least 25 percent and that
could affect the real estate markets in those areas for another 20 years.
JEFFRIES: I think - and I think - Chris, to that point, there are two
questions that have to be asked. One, are there areas where it`s not
feasible, based on the probability of extreme weather events continuing to
occur that we shouldn`t rebuild. Fran has indicated that herself, her
family and perhaps some of her neighbors have concluded that her instance
it`s not feasible. The other question and this was part of the package
that had been submitted by Governor Cuomo, Governor Christie and others, is
are there areas where with restructuring that`s done, to greater protect,
against the possibility of extreme weather events, people can build, but
the government in partnership with the private sector can create an
infrastructure where we can better protect folks ....
JEFFRIES: From future events?
HAYES: And one of the trends we`ve seen - is - there are two trends
happening here. One is that a greater share of disasters funding has been
coming from federal government as close to state level government we have.
I think we have some data on that pre-Katrina and post-Katrina. Katrina is
really the inflection point. And somewhat understandably. Again, I mean,
the point is, this is a risk-pooling enterprise, and if you have one area
of the country, you see the share between insurance and federal aid has
really - has really flipped.
Also, the number of weather events per year that have cost over $1 billion
in damages from 1980 to 2012 has spiked. I mean, now, the question there
is -- there`s two things going on there. There is more concentration of
value in areas that are flood-prone and there are worse weather events.
And the question I want to ask and the question I think we need to get to
is, re re-conceptualizing federal policy and state policy in the face of
climate disaster. Because no one is talking about that. And what we`re
going to do, we are going to keep passing supplementals and keep putting
Band-Aids on stuff, and we`re going to keep programs that were put in place
in 1968 when you had a completely different climate up into the future, and
it`s going to be penny-wise and pound foolish. I want to talk about that
after this quick break.
HAYES: Steve Ellis.
ELLIS: What - so - you were talking about the flood insurance program and
some of the problems with the flood insurance program and more on
development. One of the things that I find interesting when you look at
the Senate bill is that - it for Sandy relief is that it requires that the
Corps review its existing projects that were built to provide flood
protection and storm damage reduction, and in six months come back and tell
them how they performed, but in three months they`re supposed to already
start building new projects so we`re essentially, most likely going to put
back into place spending billions of dollars, virtually the same structure.
We`re going to build - rebuild in a very similar manner with, you know,
beach replenishment projects, berms and dunes that are really going to keep
people in harm`s way and encourage people to remain in harms way. And
that has been the problem with our flood plain policy, and then even with
the flood insurance program, one of the things is - is that the only time
you have a mandatory purchase requirement is if you`re in the 100-year
flood plain. Which isn`t - it doesn`t mean--
HAYES: Explain that sentence.
ELLIS: Exactly. It doesn`t mean that it only floods once every 100 years.
It means there`s a one percent chance every single year ...
HAYES: Every year.
ELLIS: That you will flood. That means that it`ll be -- in a 30-year
mortgage you will flood at least once.
ELLIS: Basically, the way it works out to. And so what we found is that
that has dumbed-down our nation`s flood control policy because in a lot of
places in the country and I`m not necessarily saying in your town but in a
lot of places in the country it`s been - get 100-year protection and then
you`re perfectly fine.
ELLIS: And you don`t have to buy flood insurance, but, you know what?
There`s a 200-year event, which has a half of percent chance of happening
every year that`s going to flood you.
HAYES: Well, and the point is that those are moving figures - right, I
mean that`s so what a 100-year storm was 20 years from now is different
than what a 100-year storm is now because ...
ELLIS: Some people in subdivision up the stream from you ...
ELLIS: All of a sudden, you`re now much more likely to flood because that
water is running off through that subdivision a lot faster. And that`s
what happened. It`s a dynamic environment and we`re not arming people with
the information and we`re not arming people with the facts about that they
need to be purchasing this flood insurance.
SAVINO: And the other problem we have particularly with respect to
insurance, and not just flood insurance. We`ve had homeowners all across
this region who are fighting with their insurance companies right now, what
we`re finding is people who have insurance, who think that they have the
coverage to protect their home, forget about the flood insurance, just in
general thing, wind damage or hurricane damage or content are finding that
they either don`t have -- their insurance company is not responding to
them. That`s a chronic problem. But most people are underinsured. And
when you think about insurance, it`s really an industry that`s predicated
on people betting against themselves.
SAVINO: You hope that you`re never going to need it ...
SAVINO: And the insurance companies are not in the business of paying out
claims. Their whole goal is to keep the money that you gave them.
SAVINO: They don`t want to pay it out. What we`re finding a lot, is
people think they have a particular level of coverage, but when you delve
into their insurance policy, they may not necessarily have it. We see with
flood insurance people have flood insurance for structure, but not for
SAVINO: But then what the insurance companies ...
HAYES: Or you have wind damage, but as soon as the wind goes over 74 miles
an hour, you don`t have hurricane coverage.
SAVINO: The insurance industries thing is structure of a house is not
necessarily what the local buildings department says its structure.
SAVINO: So they say structure is your foundation and your roof. You know,
what makes the house habitable. But it doesn`t include sheetrock,
insulation, floors. Now, we would not allow you to live in a house, we
wouldn`t get (INAUDIBLE) to live in that house with those things, but the
insurance companies says, well, that`s not structure.
HAYES: But the broader problem here, right, is that - is that insurance is
a way of dealing with the risk of catastrophe ...
HAYES: And it has been since the dawn of, you know, civilization,
ELLIS: And informing people of that risk.
HAYES: And informing people of that risk. But the point is the risks are
changing. We, I mean, this is a thing that I think the policy apparatus
and the United States Congress, of which you`re now a member is completely
in the dark about, which is that we`re entering the era of climate
disaster. It is already here, it`s only going to get worse. And that
means that the what the risks are, and if you go look at the reports being
written by the reinsurance companies like Munich Re and Swiss Re, they see
it, they see the writing on the wall ...
HAYES: They`re putting it into all of their balance sheets, but it`s not
happening in the United States Congress.
JEFFRIES: Well, we clearly have to re-evaluate the manner in which the
National Flood Insurance Program is put into place and implemented. And
have that policy discussion moving forward. We obviously, hopefully, on
the 15th, have to take care of the remaining $51 billion in aid, perhaps
minus some of the extraneous items like 150 million for Alaska ...
HAYES: Alaskan fisheries.
JEFFRIES: But ...
HAYES: Which I`m sure are important, and ...
JEFFRIES: But we have to move forward to provide the relief to people like
Fran and to people in the communities that Senator Savino and I represent,
and Seagate in Coney Island, Brighton Beach, but the existence of the
National Flood Insurance Program is a necessity ...
JEFFRIES: ... for the very reasons that we`ve discussed. That the private
market will not step into this situation. It didn`t in 1968, moving
forward which is why we created a program, it certainly will not now given
the extreme nature and the increased risk with severe weather events.
ELLIS: Well, yeah. I mean - well, no. I mean, clearly there was a market
failure or lack of a market in 1968 when they created the program and then
they tried to write a program that actually was done in a risk-based rates
and nobody bought it.
ELLIS: So then in the early `70s we jacked up subsidies to the program and
that`s what started our whole -- some of our problem in the fact that we
had underpriced insurance, which has created some of the problem in our
balance sheet. And it`s also induced people to build in harm`s way because
it hasn`t really informed them of the risk, it hasn`t really provide --
HAYES: I just want to be clear. Here -- you guys are saying opposite
things. You`re saying the insurance is underpriced and you`re saying it`s
overpriced? Just two - these were clear that you two are disagreeing about
whether the price is right? And I have to mention ...
O`CONNOR: I paid $3,000 a year in flood insurance. I don`t think it`s
ELLIS: Well, part of the problem is, is that - because of the way the
system is and because we just have a flood insurance program it is what
they call adverse selection. The only people who buy flood insurance are
the people who are the most likely to need it ...
HAYES: Right. Right.
ELLIS: And so, because that`s all we require.
SAVINO: It`s actually --
ELLIS: Exactly. So we don`t have whereas when you have, you know, you
have reinsurance for homeowners, I mean they`re selling policies all over
the country ...
HAYES: Right. Right.
ELLIS: And so we don`t have that in the flood insurance program, so it`s
kind of intensified this problem that is there.
HAYES: And one of the things we`re seeing, I mean one of the things you`re
looking at flood insurance program -- and again, this is going to be the
problem, right? Flood plains zones are going to expand, areas exposed to
extreme weather are going to expand. Extreme weather events are going to
become more common, weather-related damage and catastrophe will become more
common, right? Everything that`s conceptualized around what the roll of
the dice is has to change, because the snake eyes are going to come up more
and more and more and right now federal policy is absolutely totally and
completely blind to that basic fact. And the irony of it all as we are
talking about dollars and cents, is that it will cost more money, right?
Unless we get it right and unless we put in policy that mitigate floods
that encourage people not to build in flood plains. We`re going to produce
not only more disaster and more human suffering and more misery and more
being out of that - out of your home and having to deal with the
consequences of that. But we`re also going to deal with a situation, in
which we`re spending billions and billions and billions of dollars, more in
Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, New York State Senator Diane Savino
and Fran O`Connor, resident of Sayreville, New Jersey, thank you all for
being here. I really enjoyed that conversation.
O`CONNOR: Thank you.
SAVINO: Thank you.
HAYES: The 112th Congress untold story of bipartisanship. That`s next.
HAYES: Congratulations to Kanye on his news. All right, the standard
story you`ll hear about the 112th Congress is that they were a do-nothing
Congress. A Congress that was so paralyzed by the implacable opposition of
the House Tea Party and the Republican abuse of the filibuster in the
Senate, that they let even traditionally non-controversial bipartisan bills
like the Violence Against Women Act expire.
But that is only half the story of the last Congress, because over the past
two years the 112th Congress has managed to get a lot of stuff done. For
instance, in mid 2011 they renewed the Patriot Act for another four years.
That same year they passed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, a
$662 billion bill that codified indefinite military detention for the first
time and barred the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the United
Last month they passed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, a $633
billion bill that includes the same indefinite detention in Guantanamo Bay
provisions as the 2012 version, and a new round of Iran sanctions among
other things. And just last week they renewed the once controversial FISA
wire-tapping act which allows the government to spy on Americans` e-mail
and phone communications for another five years.
All of these bills passed both the Senate and the House with very broad
bipartisan majorities. As Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne
Feinstein pointed out last week on the floor, the intelligence committee is
a place where she`s been able to work in a truly bipartisan manner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: One of the best experiences of my
Senate career has been the ability to work in a bipartisan way in this
committee. To really put things together between both sides. To have
staffs working together on both sides. Sometimes, that isn`t possible.
But most of the time, it is and I think it`s the way the intelligence
committee was supposed to function and the fact that it does function that
way, I think is real testimony to Vice Chairman Chambliss and the work that
we have done together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Vicious partisanship of the 112th Congress on basically anything
domestic often overshadowed the broad consensus seen on matters of national
security, and that very clear split complicates not only the story of the
112th Congress, but also our conception of bipartisanship and its value as
Joining us now is the Lisa Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National
Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. Ben Jealous back at
the table, president and CEO of the NAACP and the one and only Esther
Armah, host of WBAI-FM "Wake Up Call," Steve Ellis is still here. Great to
have all of you here.
Liza, what is your - if you had to sort of sum up from the perspective of
the policies that you`re keeping an eye on, sum up what this Congress, was
it a do-nothing Congress? Was it a Congress that was driven by partisan
division or was it actually a very productive bipartisan enterprise?
LIZA GOITEIN, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE: You summarized it very well, I`m
afraid. I mean the story of national security legislation in this Congress
was really not a story of, you know, trying to get valuable legislation
through and getting blocked by this de facto 60-vote threshold. Forget
about the 60-vote thresholds, I mean Congress charged -- that is in the
Senate obviously, the Senate charged past that threshold on a number of
national security provisions that had some very, very disturbing
implications for civil liberties.
HAYES: For instance?
GOITEIN: Well, and you did name some of them and I`ll go into a little
more detail. The National Defense Authorization Act. It`s the most recent
one. You know, that is an act, it was also passed the year before in 2011
that codifies indefinite detention for a group of people that`s very, very,
very broad in the current war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban and
associated forces. So that not only ...
HAYES: Associated doing a lot of work there?
GOITEIN: It is doing a lot of work. And the other thing that`s doing a
lot of work is substantially supported. So, anybody who substantially
supported these forces is subject to indefinite detention, which is not
something that you would get if you went back and you read the
Authorization for Use of Military Force, back from 2001, which describes a
narrower set of people, frankly.
HAYES: So we`ve actually expanded?
GOITEIN: Legislatively, yes. Now, legislatively, in some ways, this bill
was basically codifying what the lower courts have been doing anyway.
HAYES: Have allowed.
GOITEIN: Have allowed. Now, the Supreme Court hasn`t really weighed in on
whether this is OK. And will it? I don`t know.
HAYES: Ben, can I ask you this ...
BEN JEALOUS, NAACP: Sure.
HAYES: You know, obviously, the NAACP is not an institution that is
particularly focused on national security issues, for understandable
reasons, some are, some aren`t. But I do wonder sometimes and I`m not
someone who - I don`t myself, that`s not the thing that I spend most of my
time reading about, but I do wonder if when you think about this stuff, the
role of an organization like NAACP to weigh in on this stuff partly because
of the history ...
HAYES: ... of what the civil rights movement faced in terms of
JEALOUS: Yes (INAUDIBLE). You know, I mean, look, we`re not a national
security group. We`re a freedom group and this is about freedom at the end
of the day. This country, we used to be completely opposed to the
government spying on your mail, but now it`s online and we`re apparently
cool with, you can read all my e-mail ...
JEALOUS: You can listen to all my cell phone conversations.
JEALOUS: That`s a big problem. Then we have ...
GOITEIN: Although that`s one thing that Congress did right, but I`ll get
back to that.
JEALOUS: But, you know, the - and as far as we know, right?
HAYES: Right, right, right.
JEALOUS: I live a few miles from the National Security Agency, who knows
JEALOUS: But, you know, but with the USA Patriot Act, right? I mean, its
definition of terrorism says, if you break a law while putting lives in
danger, seeking to influence policy in the United States, you`ve violated
the Patriot Act. That`s kind of like everything Martin Luther King did in
public. Right? You know what I`m saying? Like ...
HAYES: Breaking laws? Plausibly, who knows. You can make ...
JEALOUS: Birmingham, the Children`s March, right?
HAYES: Right, right.
JEALOUS: The March on Washington, the (INAUDIBLE) march we had -- every
JEALOUS: But any time you`re in the street ...
JEALOUS: You put people in danger.
JEALOUS: And you`re often breaking a law. So you know, again, we should
all be up in arms about this stuff, and yet, you know.
GOITEIN: And frankly, you don`t have to have broken a law or be suspected
of breaking a law to come within what the Patriot Act allows the government
to do in terms of getting information about you.
HAYES: I want to ask you guys what this means for our conception of
bipartisanship. Because that`s part of what the core is here, right? It`s
like - it`s always the story is, we had bipartisanship and then we lost it
and that`s bad and I - that doesn`t seem to me at all a complete picture of
what this Congress was. Let`s talk about that right after we take this
HAYES: Esther Armah, bipartisanship, yay or nay?
ESTHER ARMAH, WBAI.ORG: How - I mean how disturbing is it that the success
of the 112th Congress is to pass legislation that essentially criminalizes
elements of democracy?
ARMAH: Like the place where Democrat and Republican come together, is in
the erosion of civil liberties, such that you are literally turning back on
enshrined elements of American history, and that that is how we define
HAYES: And that happened - I mean the thing to me that was so
crystallizing about it and the one - the reason I wanted to have this
specific conversation was that we had this week where we`re watching the
fiscal cliff "countdown" and the contentiousness and then the Sandy vote
and then it was like, oh yeah, by the way, the FISA extension just sailed
through. The FISA extension. The FISA extension was the thing. Let me
just - just so people remember how controversial this was back in 2008.
This is Harry Reid in 2008 talking about this bill. And then - and then -
and then him talking about it four years later. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: FISA, the president`s favorite.
His ability to spy. That`s what he wants. The problem is, that he wants
to do it not in keeping with the Constitution, which raises some concern
with us. And the American people.
FISA, Mr. President, this is an important piece of legislation imperfect as
it is, is what is necessary to help us be protected from the evil that`s in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just for people at home watching this, exact same bill. Literally.
Nothing was changed between the reauthorization.
ELLIS: Except for who happened to be in the White House.
HAYES: That`s right.
ELLIS: Which is a big part of the reason why Senator Reid, a Democrat, was
arguing against this for -- not saying it is right, but there was--
JEALOUS: But freedom should be the bipartisan thing in our country, right?
ELLIS: I`m not disagreeing. I`m not disagreeing. I`m just pointing out
the pure politics and the pure theater of this. So that`s what a lot of
this Congress was. Was a lot of theater and a lot of bombast, which did
not produce a lot of legislation, and was the least productive Congress
since World War II.
ARMAH: Except that it did specify as its agenda to block President Obama
from doing anything, and insofar as that was the agenda from the election
of 2008, it has arguably certainly been successful.
HAYES: But here is the weird thing, here is the weird thing. It doesn`t
work in both directions. And this is what I think is key, right? So yes,
Harry Reid in the opposition opposed the warrantless wiretapping, his
president from his party gets in, and all of the sudden he wants to give
him due deference. But the opposite does not happen. The Republicans
remain in lockstep, and the Republicans say they want to block everything
the president does. Like you just said, Sandy, whatever, don`t want to
JEALOUS: So it sort of begs the question where is the Tea Party and what
is it about, right? Because the Boston Tea Party would have violated the
U.S. Patriot Act.
ELLIS: But some members did in the Senate, they did --
HAYES: And Rand Paul particularly.
ELLIS: Right. So I think there was some of that tension, but it just
wasn`t enough, it wasn`t--
ELLIS: Right. Because there is this sort of -- whether it`s true or not,
there is this sort of security vein that runs through the Republican Party
(INAUDIBLE) that`s supportive of that, and so you peel off just a small
portion, not the whole party to move --
ELLIS: But -- I`m not defending it.
JEALOUS: This is the part that really hurts.
HAYES: Wait. Hold that thought, we`ll take a quick break.
HAYES: Ben Jealous, I cut you off.
JEALOUS: So what really hurts is that we`ve been willing to give up what
we wouldn`t let the Russians take from us during the Cold War, we are
willing to give up freedom after freedom after freedom, to subject
ourselves to things that we used to call fascist. And this is why we
needed a real kind of frank, bipartisan conversation amongst the public in
the country, but what type of country do we actually want to live in?
HAYES: But that`s part of the issue here, right, is that there isn`t - the
public opinion appetite on these issues is really low. Both in interest
and also, look at public opinion. This is bipartisan support for the
president`s war on terror policy. Support for keeping Gitmo open is now 62
percent among Democrats. 62 percent among Democrats for keeping Gitmo
open. Closing Gitmo was like the throw-away red meat line you would do at
any Democratic event.
ARMAH: But I think you have two issues there. Because when it comes to
national security, the underlying policy specifically around fear, informs
so clearly how little rigorous discussion there is on the one hand. And on
the other hand, when it comes to security and the American identity, that
becomes this kind of broad support for throwing all forms of terror and
torture, whoever you think is the bad guy that did you wrong, and so
politically, the Democrats capitulate to that particular philosophy.
GOITEIN: And there as I said, that`s understandable. We underwent an
absolutely horrific attack on 9/11, it makes us - and historically, when
there are these crises, when there are these emergencies, there are broad
crisis response powers.
GOITEIN: That are granted. And then what happens after a period of time
is there`s retrenchment.
GOITEIN: And this is what we`re not seeing here.
HAYES: And that`s the question. And this gets to the fear thing. And
this is why I think the 112th Congress is interesting this way. Is that we
get further and further away from the event that was so horrifying, and
traumatic and fear-inducing, for absolutely rational reasons. The further
we get, and we`re arguably more safe, and the further we get from it the
more entrenched it seems to be. Listen to Dianne Feinstein basically
marshaling exactly this kind of language against her fellow Senate
Democrats who are threatening amendments to vote against the bill in
defending the program.
(BEGN VIDEO CLIP)
FEINSTEIN: I guess if you believe that there is no one that`s going to
attack us, then maybe it`s fine to do this. I know that there are people
trying to attack this country all the time. This is an effort to make that
material public. And I think it`s a mistake at this particular time.
Because I think it will chill the program. I know where this goes, and
where it goes is to destroy the program. I don`t want to see it destroyed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ARMAH: That`s what I have an issue with is these -- they always invoke
fear, terror, threat. And then that silence is --
HAYES: There`s not an argument about that. She basically says people want
to attack, unless you think people don`t want to attack us.
ARMAH: Exactly. And this is - the interesting thing is Dianne Feinstein
of course is the same person advocating gun safety legislation.
(INAUDIBLE). But it`s just intriguing. And then you have bipartisan
support around the absence of rigorous discussion, the absence of exploring
how many years after 9/11, how valid is the Patriot Act, how valid is
passing the NDAA. And then the silence from the public is because we have
bought into the idea that this is about quote/unquote, keeping us safe.
ELLIS: But one thing I will say that one of the things that ties into this
is part of what happened legislatively in this case was that the House was
jamming the Senate. Part of the argument here was we can`t amend the FISA,
because it has to go back to the House, and then all of a sudden we are not
going to be able to get it done in time, and it won`t move, which is
exactly what we hear about Sandy relief, going back to the last segment, is
you have to take it up as it is. And there`s some of this legislative --
HAYES: -- point you want to make, I want you to hold it though or one
GOITEIN: OK, no problem.
HAYES: We`re going to take one more break. Come back, keep talking about
this after that.
HAYES: Hello from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. With me this morning I
have Lisa Goitein of the Brennan Center for Justice, Ben Jealous of the
NAACP, Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense and Esther Armah of WBAI-
FM "Wake Up Call."
We`re talking about bipartisanship and partisanship in the 112th Congress.
And particularly, the layer of the story about the level of partisanship in
this Congress that I think didn`t get enough attention, which is we focused
on all the places, in which it was extremely partisan and all the data
shows increasing polarization, unprecedented obstruction as in the debt
ceiling fight, everything around the budget and domestic policy, the
Violence Against Women Act totally bipartisan pieces -- piece of
legislation that`s been left to die basically over partisan obstruction.
But once you turn your attention to the national security area and civil
liberties and things like that there`s been -- it`s been a tremendously
bipartisan enterprise. Basically, a lot of legislation has come out of
this Congress, it`s been -- it`s passed not by 61 or 62, but 80 -- 85 90
vote majorities in the Senate. And this is an area, there was something
you were going to say right before we got to break and I rudely interrupted
you. I apologize.
GOITEIN: Yeah, and I kind of respond to this point that fear is sort of
used as a way to kind of push these things through and I mean I think that,
yes, I think sometimes fear is used as a way to sort of get what people in
the executive or people in Congress want to do anyway. But I actually, I
take them at their word. I think, you know, I think Dianne Feinstein is
very worried about another terrorist attack. I genuinely believe that. I
think it comes on -- from both of Republicans and the Democrats. It often
comes from a place of genuine concern about security. What`s missing from
this picture ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
GOITEIN: Well, what I`m saying -- what I was going to say is what`s
missing from this picture is any sense of the history in terms of how these
powers are actually used.
GOITEIN: And they`re not actually used to keep us safe, at least not that
we can tell. But historically, if you look at what the Church committee
found in the 1970s, these over brought surveillance powers, very, very
quickly get turned against ...
JEALOUS: But also -- but I disagree with this.
GOITEIN: ... unpopular political and social and racial minorities.
JEALOUS: Yes. We`ve seen somebody ...
GOITEIN: Yeah. And apparently, absolutely.
JEALOUS: You know, coming out of Denver and such.
GOITEIN: Absolutely. Absolutely. It`s still my point.
ARMAH: So my point is they just -- Senator Dianne Feinstein, I mean you`re
saying that there`s a genuine concern. Well, I disagree. I think it`s
deploying this universally-accepted policy around fear and threat to pass
what would otherwise be absolutely problematic for the majority of people.
GOITEIN: Those two things ...
I think there`s a --
HAYES: Yeah, I think they can both be true, also, right?
ARMAH: What I`m saying where is the evidence for her concern?
GOITEIN: But it`s genuine ...
ARMAH: But she`s not using it.
HAYES: But isn`t the genuineness part -- to me the genuineness is part of
the problem. Right? If you go back and you read the one percent doctrine,
if you read the Suskind book on Dick Cheney, Dick Cheney wasn`t like faking
it. Like he seriously was a super paranoid dude. And you know what? He
went through 9/11 and like that messes people up in some ways and he
thought, I mean, the point is that you ...
ARMAH: But the point is you`re saying that they -- they don`t then use it
for the concern that they`ve expressed.
JEALOUS: It`s extremely broad.
ARMAH: They are using it, using it for ...
JEALOUS: It`s extremely broad. It`s extremely broad. And the problem is
we`re supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. With
all due respect we`re not like every other country on earth. We have this
notion of ourselves as defenders of freedom and people who are willing to
take a risk for freedom who have done that again and again and when you
inject fear into that and you don`t have any public conversation about it,
JEALOUS: ... and we change in ways that are profound and, yet, profoundly
HAYES: But I think what`s happening here is ...
ARMAH: And I agree with this.
HAYES: But I actually think what`s happening here more than fear is the
bureaucratization of this process.
JEALOUS: But it`s the bureaucratization of fear.
HAYES: Right, no, I agree. It`s the bureaucratization of fear, right.
ELLIS: But it`s the way policy works. Is that ...
GOITEIN: But it doesn`t work. That`s the point.
ELLIS: No, no, but I`m saying is -- is that ....
ELLIS: Exactly. It continues and the policy is at stake. One small
national security benefit, though, that did happen was the whistle blower
protections were extended to contractors, defense contractors or
contractors, and so that`s a tiny -- it was the significant ...
GOITEIN: But not to the intelligence community, those protections were
stripped from the House bill, so that -- so people who work in national
security still don`t have any protections for blowing the whistle. That
wasn`t a coincidence.
HAYES: But you`ve seen -- you`ve seen this, Steven, I`m curious, because
what we`re saying, here is there`s something unique and distinct about the
way partisan politics operate under the conditions of a kind of war on
terror model, of fear-based models ...
HAYES: And what you are saying, and you -- the stuff that you guys spend a
lot of time at and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the work you
do and the work your organization does, because I think you really like
play it fair and straight across the board ideologically. But what I`m
hearing from you a little bit is that actually it`s not that different from
the way Congress operates in a lot of other areas.
ELLIS: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, there`s a lot of log rolling and things
that -- you know, it is inertia. You know, so things that are in motion,
you know, and generally continued to be in motion, and so, that`s certainly
what we`ll see. The other dynamic that`s playing here is that the
Republicans have always tried to portray themselves as the party of
national security, the Democrats have always felt a little vulnerable on
that, and so it`s sort of ends up being the sort of perfect storm that
looses legislation forward.
It`s not surprising that in the House, it`s Sandy supplemental bill that
they actually have put together, not a dime was taken out of any of the
veterans` funding, for instance, in that thing. Everything else got at
least a little bit of the nick but cemetery funding or facilities
construction for veterans all was held sacrosanct, and that was the only
part of that that was held sacrosanct.
GOITEIN: And the missing link there was President Obama. Because as you
said, the Democrats feel a little vulnerable here. If you go back and you
look at the voting record back in the 110th Congress, when FISA amendment
act was passed, it was actually passed with a bipartisan majority, with 69
votes in the Senate. So the Democrats were voting for it back then too ...
HAYES: That`s a good point.
GOITEIN: There was a window here and the window was, they were waiting for
leadership and they were waiting for President Obama to back them up. And
without him getting in there fighting -- and he had that opportunity,
because even though national security legislation is usually a one-way
GOITEIN: ... the last administration overreached so far ...
GOITEIN: ... that he could have said, this is different. We have to go
back. But the Democrats aren`t going to stick their necks out on this if
the president isn`t with them.
ELLIS: Well, and the one thing that they all seem to agree on, on
sequestration, the across the board cuts that were part of the fiscal cliff
was, let`s not do it to defense.
ELLIS: Half of it was going to defense. The domestic side, let`s cut it,
but let`s not cut the defense, despite the fact that even if you did
sequestration, the across the board cuts, it would have taken the Defense
Department budget back to the level it was in 2006.
HAYES: Right. I mean, people I think don`t get just how much defense has
grown in the last ten or 12 years. One of the questions that I have and we
-- could you throw that polling up again, the support for keeping Gitmo
open, also the endorse the use of -- endorse the use of drones. 79 percent
of Democrats and 91 percent of Republicans.
This is amazing.
GOITEIN: 79 percent of Democrats.
HAYES: ... endorse the use of drones. And my question here is. And I`m
curious to hear your thoughts on this, Liza, the cause and effect here.
Which is to say -- do people informing their public opinion take their cues
from their partisan representatives? And say, my -- the party that I`m
part of, the people that -- and I think party affiliation is a really
rational and actually pretty efficient way to go about navigating a complex
The party I`m part of says this is fine and I kind of trust them because I
trust them on things like the Sandy supplemental and defending Medicare, et
cetera. And so my opinion gets formed by the cues I`m taking off my
partisan leadership or is it the other way around? Is it the fact that
there`s a bipartisan consensus in Congress around national security issues
because there`s solid public opinion, bipartisan consensus and actually the
representatives are reflecting that?
GOITEIN: I think you`re assuming a better sort of conduit between the
people and their representatives in either direction than actually exists.
I mean, I think what happens ...
HAYES: Well, that`s the assumption of democracy.
GOITEIN: Yeah, on drones, but let`s be honest, this is a multi-billion
dollar industry. There`s a drone caucus in the House, they get a lot of
money. So it`s not ...
HAYES: They are not called the drone caucus, it`s the unmanned aerial
GOITEIN: Or whatever, yes. Now.
GOITEIN: So they -- and so, you know, it`s not surprising that we see
Congress supporting drones. I mean, one of the untold bipartisan stories
of this Congress was legislation to open the domestic sky to surveillance
drones, right? So it`s not ...
HAYES: Another bipartisan victory in the 112th.
GOITEIN: That`s happened. Exactly. And so then, then there`s the spin,
then there`s the media, there`s the fact that there`s -- that most of the
information about the drone program, certainly the targeted killing
program, is not available. And so it becomes very easy for public opinion.
HAYES: Do you think this is an interest group issue, basically? Is what
I`m hearing from you?
GOITEIN: It`s a lot -- it`s a lot of things, but I think you always have
to follow the money. So ...
JEALOUS: A big part of this is silence. A big part of this is just simply
JEALOUS: It`s not being discussed much. In politics, you have -- you have
instinct and you have insight.
JEALOUS: And insight can actually trump instinct. But you got to have
debate and discussion. And in silence, you just have instinct and fear is
a powerful instinct and that`s what this is playing out.
HAYES: Fear or trust, right? Or basically -- look, I mean, I think a lot
of it is I trust Barack Obama, I`d voted for him, I think he is someone
endowed with passion and empathy and good judgment, and he thinks this is
ARMAH: But then if you pick up on the point and go back to the beginning
of 2008, just after the president was elected, one of the first things he
said is, I want to close Guantanamo. Why? Because we`re just not that
ARMAH: So where was -- where was the rest of the Democrats holding him to
his word when you`re seeing the passage of legislation that goes against
so-called the leadership that you argued?
HAYES: They jammed him up -- they jammed him up on the authorization
GOITEIN: And he didn`t say a word after about Guantanamo.
ARMAH: He didn`t say a word.
GOITEIN: He was silent.
HAYES: But this suggests -- so, this suggests and I think this to bring us
around to those what the causal story we`re telling you here about this
particular kind of bipartisan consensus. I mean, I think if you look at
the -- if you look at the trajectory of civil liberties under the Obama
administration, the fact that they really did -- do a bunch of stuff in the
beginning that was in keeping with their promises, right? He signed the
executive order on the first day, they released the OLC memos, there was
this movement in all those directions, and then they got hammered in
Congress. They got hammered on the Sunday shows, they got hammered all
over the place -- and then they retreated. And I mean that`s part of the
story, particularly in the early stages.
That says something about either interest groups or just something about
our public opinion, right? It says something about being responsive to
essentially where the median voter is on this issue and being worried that
the median voter in the median congressional swing district is thinking
that you`re going to bring, you know, Zawahiri to his house, basically, and
put him in your basement.
ARMAH: But that`s there -- but then one of the things President Obama says
the part of leadership is the willing to do what you think needs to be done
even despite what the public wants you to do. Being willing to at least
fight the fight, and then go to the public and articulate why it`s
important to continue that fight. And I think with President Obama, two
issues. It is not just about compromise. It`s the consistent perception
that he capitulates.
ARMAH: That is not even the rigorous discussion, but at least explore all
the issues on the table, that silence has become his policy and philosophy.
HAYES: But we should be clear here on the FISA. He wasn`t capitulating.
He was leading.
GOITEIN: He was leading.
HAYES: He wanted, and they led very strongly.
JEALOUS: Like I`m perfectly comfortable with ...
HAYES: Rules of democracy. Lisa Goitein, the Brennan Center for Justice
and Steve Ellis of Taxpayer for Common Sense. Thank you both for being
ELLIS: Thank you.
GOITEIN: Thank you .
HAYES: What we can learn from the country`s newest murder capital. That`s
HAYES: Counting up the year`s murders is an annual grim statistical
necessity for America`s cities. In 2012, it was Chicago the top of the
list, with 506 murders, more than any other city in the country. The total
also eclipsed its 2011 homicide total of 433 and finished just six murders
shy of the 512 murders it recorded in 2008.
For years, Chicago murder`s rate has increased and decreased under various
mayors, but last year`s glut of murders was particularly embarrassing for
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, considering he listed safer streets as one of
his top priorities when he took office a year ago.
In New York, on the other hand, a city with almost three times as many
people as Chicago, homicides are down about 18 percent in the last year
under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. New York finished the year with 418
murders, the lowest number in any year since reliable records were kept
beginning in 1963.
Now, Washington, D.C., a place once so plagued with killings, people used
to say D.C. stood for Dodge City recorded just 88 homicides last year,
according to the Metro Police Department, so what we`ve seen over the last
20 years is a remarkable drop in the crime nationwide, including many big
cities, but persistently high levels of violence in impoverished
communities and some extremely worrying localized upticks in the last two
The divergence between, say, Chicago and New York forces us to re-examine
notions of what exactly causes crime and violence and what causes it to go
To get at that question, I`m pleased to welcome Keith Suber, founder of the
Suber Foundation, which mentors troubled youth and gang members in Brooklyn
by focusing on job training intervention. He`s a former member of the
Crips Gang. He served ten years in federal prison. His story of
reformation was captured in the 2011 documentary "The Last Immortal."
And Harold Pollack, a professor at the University of Chicago and co-
director for the University of Chicago crime lab. Great to have you both
KEITH SUBER, FOUNDER, SUBER FOUNDATION: Good morning.
HAYES: Maybe let`s start on the criminology side, Harold, with you.
What`s going on in Chicago? I guess it`s the first thing to ask. Because
it`s getting national attention. Monica Davey had a great piece in "The
New York Times." Monica Davey, by the way, a great reporter, if you`re
just -- if you`re out there, journalism gods, show a little of love to
Monica Davey -- but she had a really good piece about the homicide problem.
And she made this point, more than 80 percent of the city`s homicides took
place last year in only about half of Chicago`s 23 police directs.
So half of the districts are producing 80 percent of the homicides, largely
on the city`s south and west sides, along with streets downtown and
neighborhoods on the north side not far from Lake Michigan, some residents
acknowledge they heard about a rise in the city`s homicide rate, but said
it`s not affected their own sense of safety. It`s an incredibly localized
HAROLD POLLACK, THE UNIV. OF CHICAGO: By the way, I loved half of that
story. And I hated the headline, which was that homicides are soaring.
We`re actually quite low compared to ten years ago, you know. Overall,
this story is not as bad as people might think.
JEALOUS: But that does not sell papers.
POLLACK: Well, I thought -- but I thought she captured very well the human
dimension and the disparity. I think it is certainly the case that many
people in Chicago live at a level of personal safety that`s comparable to a
Western European city. If you live in Lincoln Park, if you live in the
Near North Side, you`re quite safe. And yet if you live in the far South
Side or the West Side of Chicago, young people there, you know, face a very
high homicide rate, and as the rates have come down in so much of the city,
the disparity is very glaring.
And so I don`t know that it`s any different from Cleveland, Detroit, many
other places, but we clearly have a challenge there that needs to be
HAYES: Keith, you were nodding your head when I was talking about the New
York data, and as someone who was been around violence in Coney Island
neighborhood, but Coney Island is being repped hard today on the show. We
had Hakeem Jeffries here, Diane Savino represents it, and you`re from Coney
HAYES: What do you -- when you look at this data, how does it line up with
your personal experience, and what is your understanding of why homicides
have come down in the city so much?
SUBER: I think basically, what`s happened is the spike of jobs. The
economy coming back to New York City.
I think the fact that people now are starting to understand that murder is
something serious. Crime is something serious. People out there selling
drugs. People getting involved in that lifestyle, people want to change
their life nowadays. So basically, what we`re seeing is a turnaround,
especially in my community out in Coney Island. There`s a spike of jobs,
there is a promise of jobs. They`re building and building and building. A
lot of these senators, Senator Savino, Hakeem Jeffries, Dominic Recchia,
they`ve put funding in place so we can train these individuals, because
they don`t want Coney Island to be known as a gang-plagued community as
HAYES: But are you saying that people`s understanding of how acceptable
violence is in dealing with rival gang members, or beefs that arrive, that
that`s changed over time?
SUBER: Yes, I think so. It really has. You know why? Because there`s no
more structure in gangs. When I was involved in gangs, there was
structures. There was structures. My brothers were the original members
of the Seven Immortals, which the movie "The Warriors," was made from, and
there`s always the president, the vice president, the warlord.
HAYES: A hierarchy.
SUBER: A hierarchy. And now what`s happened is that a lot of youth, they
are just doing things to prove themselves to other individuals in the
JEALOUS: That`s right. Look, we -- we`ve gone after the heads of these
gangs. We`ve got a lot of them in prison. And what happens is that, you
know, you cut off the head, and you get 100 heads. Everybody is their own
head of the gang, they have their own set.
We have a real problem of a culture of violence in many of our communities,
and we have to deal with that head on, but we also have to admit that that
has been created by a broader context, a context of failed criminal justice
policies, a context of a gun drenched nation, and a context of poverty.
The reality is that in places like this, there`s never a job for you, but
the gang always has a job for you.
JEALOUS: And so that`s why, you know, when Mayor Bloomberg last year --
think about where we were this time last year. We were saying, look, stop
and frisk has to go down, he said if we do that, murders will go up. Well,
stop and frisk went down, and murders went down, right?
JEALOUS: But jobs went up, and that`s why murder went down.
HAYES: But is that, from a social science perspective, one of the things
that I think is really fascinating when you start to dive into the
literature on crime, is how little we understand it. Basically, here is
what happened. There was a massive boom in crime, particularly violent
crime in this country, beginning around the late 1960s, early `70s, peaking
around the early 90s. It has then declined, massively and rapidly, and
this is -- these are the sort of big national statistics. And it`s
declined in different communities across racial barriers, across income
barriers, across urban and rural, and we don`t understand why it happened.
Is that basically the -- where we are?
POLLACK: I think there`s a lot of truth to that. And my colleague Les
Ludwig (ph) likes to say, there were all these police chiefs who were total
idiots in the `80s, and then there were all these other chiefs who were
chiefs who were brilliant in the `90s. And they were the same people.
It`s like the stock market. It goes up and everyone has got a theory about
I think there are -- we know -- we know way less than we should about
what`s effective to bring the crime rate down, but I think we do know some
things, and I think we do have some good ideas--
HAYES: I want to know what we know right after we take this break.
HAYES: Harold Pollack, co-director of the crime lab at the University of
Chicago. So we were saying before the break, what do we know, what do we
know about why -- about this decline in crime that we have seen, broadly,
in the last 20 years across the country?
POLLACK: Well, I would say first of all, there`s no one thing that
explains it. But I think policing is better, and I think there`s no
question that sort of the New York City innovative cops on the dot process,
with the comstat (ph) process--
HAYES: Explain that what means. What changed about policing? Because
this is the dominant story I think that gets told, and then, Ben, I want
you to respond to it.
POLLACK: So New York City enlarged its police department and improved the
management of it, and really focused on every week, we want to understand,
where are the crimes happening? And if we put a bunch of dots across the
city, where are the crimes, and now where are the police officers and what
are they doing relating to those dots? And one of the things that that
does is it brings the police to the places where the crime is happening.
If you take a place like Chicago or New York, the way the politics works is
you`re going to get tremendous law enforcement where yuppies live, where
influential people are. That`s not where people are getting killed, so you
have to have some counterweight to that, and that`s something that was done
HAYES: Does that resonate with you, Keith? That the presence of police in
a neighborhood does succeed in this basic bringing violence down or does
SUBER: It comes down to the how. Exactly. Exactly. Because what happens
is, a lot of times the youth out on the street, if, say if a murder took
place and the presence comes because now they`re looking for people to
cooperate. But where was this presence before this murder took place?
That`s a lot of things where a lot of times in the community where the
people choose not to trust the police, choose not to deal with them.
But what happens -- what I`ve come to see, from being a former gang member,
is that it`s OK. It`s OK to live in your community and do the right thing
in your community. I`m not saying that you should tell the police -- let
me -- let me (INAUDIBLE). I`m not saying you should tell the police every
little detail of what goes on in your community. But if someone gets
murdered or if someone is unjustifiably killed, if there`s a crime that
POLLACK: Somebody`s raped.
SUBER: Somebody`s raped, those types of crime need to be reported.
HAYES: This is an interesting point, right, because one of the things, one
of the focuses in policing that happened was prevention as opposed to
prosecution, this sort of emphasis of preventing crime from happening as
opposed to catching people who did crime. And one of the issues in Chicago
right now isn`t just the high murder rate, but the amount of unsolved
murders, it`s colossal. And that gets to precisely the point you`re
making, Keith, which is that you go into a community, and you know, most
cases are made at the local level by basically, someone informing.
JEALOUS: There`s a number that every citizen should know about their city
and most don`t. We focus on the homicide rate. Did it go up? Did it go
down? We don`t talk about the homicide solve rate. And the FBI releases
it every year, and we really should have it down to the zip code, because
what you see when you look at it at the zip code level is the impact of
segregation on our law enforcement.
In any segregated society, the way it has worked, whether it was South
Africa, whether it was here, if a crime happens in the ghetto, that`s a
problem fixing itself. We don`t investigate. If you kill somebody outside
of Soweto, you kill somebody outside of South Central, then you got a
problem. If you kill somebody in, that`s OK. And that was with us until
very, very recently, so part of what happened here, right, with cops on the
dot and comstat was a good thing. It was saying, look, we`re going to be
transparent about where the murders are happening, we`re going to be
transparent about how we respond to them.
But you have to go one step further. Because the other legacy of
segregation is that the cops fear the people in the neighborhood. And when
you actually put cops on the beat, when you require them to be part of that
neighborhood, when you do what Bill Bratton has done in Los Angeles and
say, and you`re going to respect the people in the neighborhood, and you`re
going to get to know them, crime falls further faster.
ARMAH: And the point is -- I want to say, the point is that philosophy is
not revolutionary. But insofar as it is not being used--
JEALOUS: It`s common sense.
ARMAH: -- as a method in urban areas, it`s a problem. And so what it
creates specifically with the unsolved rate -- it makes me think about two
things. One is the intimate relationship with violence that young people
have as a result of the numbers of unsolved murders and unsolved crimes.
HAYES: Right, because they don`t think the state is ever going to provide
ARMAH: It`s not a question of think, they know it for a fact.
SUBER: They know that.
ARMAH: They know that the brother they`ve lost or the father they`ve lost,
no one is coming to investigate that murder. And it reminds me, there was
a wonderful activist in New York called Erica Ford, who runs an
organization called LIFE Camp.
SUBER: LIFE Camp.
ARMAH: And specifically, what she charts is that there is a direct link
between those young people who have been victims of crimes before they
become perpetrators of crime.
ARMAH: -- correlation.
HAYES: This gets to this kind of epidemiological model, this thinking
about crime and violence particularly spreading in a kind of public health
POLLACK: Absolutely, and by the way, I think we need to talk about how
young people think about violence, and how we can help young people deal
more effectively with each other when they often have scars from being
exposed to violence, either being victims or being perpetrators in various
ways. And I think --
JEALOUS: Part of that is the great work that we`re doing in the schools,
part of that is actually making sure that people actually have access to a
psychologist. Look, we have neighborhoods in this country where kids are
twice as likely to suffer from PTSD than soldiers coming back from the
front. And we have to deal with it the same way.
POLLACK: And we have to deal with the stigma around those issues as well.
A lot of people in low-income communities just will not -- there`s
tremendous stigma about seeking out, acknowledging that you have issues,
and coming forward and using the resources that are there.
ARMAH: But I want to really point back to that intimate relationship with
violence, because I come from -- I come out of that. When I was young, my
father happened to be a politician. The fact that he was a politician
didn`t change the reality that soldiers rolled up to our home, with guns in
their hand, smashed open my parents door, smashed everything in the house,
put a gun to my mother`s head and tried to kill her in front of her kids
and my sisters, and then two years -- for two years after that, we lived
under house arrest with armed soldiers.
So what that does is it turns your neighborhood and your home into a
domestic battleground. So I absolutely, because I`ve mentored young girls
who have been the absolute victims of that kind of crime, it specifically
affects your relationship with the notion of safety. And what you
understand intimately is that you`re on your own.
HAYES: I want to ask you, Keith, about the way that you think -- have
thought about violence then and think about it now, right after we take a
HAYES: Esther, you just mentioned the intimate relationship to violence
and exposure to it, and there`s this 1993 article in the Washington Post
that got a lot of attention when it was published, and this was really at
the kind of high, the peak level of violence. "Getting ready to die young,
children in violent D.C. neighborhood plan their own funerals." Children
as young as 10 have told friends how they want to be buried, what they want
to wear, and what songs they want played at their funerals. Some young
people dictate what they want their mourners to wear, and say they want
their funeral floral arrangements to spell out the names of their favorite
brands of clothing.
And this just gets to being drenched in a universe in which people are
dying, people are subject to violence. And, Keith, I wonder, like, what
did that do to you, how you thought about violence, seeing that around you?
SUBER: Well, growing up on Coney Island, I`ve been surrounded by violence.
And growing up in the projects, and it`s projects all over -- Chicago, D.C.
-- when you live in that environment, you become a product of that
environment. It becomes cliche to stand in front of the building every day
with your home boys, drinking, smoke a blunt. This is the reality of it.
This is what our youth think is the way of life right now. A lot of them
don`t have the initiative to get out and go find employment, and this is
why we`re trying to bring this abroad.
HAYES: But violence, specifically, what did you think about it as a way of
dealing with someone, either doing something to someone you loved or --
SUBER: Well, I mean, there was a time when I was a very violent individual
at one time. And a lot of times, you don`t think about what you`re doing
to someone to hurt them when the thought is in process. It`s just like if
it happens, there`s a reaction. This is the mentality, and now it`s even
more so with the video games, the kids that sit there all day, they play
video games, and it becomes easy to pull the trigger in the video game.
And in real life, people think that it`s the same thing, but it`s not,
because you`re actually dealing with the flesh of a human life.
JEALOUS: I think it`s important. I think there`s a risk here that we put
it all on these kids. And we the actual grownups that run society don`t
take responsibility for our--
JEALOUS: If you take sort of race (INAUDIBLE) for a second, if you go
back, say, to Prohibition. If we were sitting here, say, with a reformed
member of Al Capone`s gang during Prohibition, and you say, well, how can
we stop violence in our neighborhood? Somewhere somebody would say, we
ought to end Prohibition. I mean, we ought to be willing to have
courageous conversations about what works and what does not work.
HAYES: And here`s the most macro version of this is there`s an article
that`s out in Mother Jones, Kevin Drum wrote this sort of remarkable
article, that basically just looks at the crime -- the sort of peak and
falloff -- in the context of lead. We started putting a lot of lead, you
know, the post World War II boom, lead levels in the environment go up
because of the lead in the gasoline, and then we introduce EPA regulations
and catalytic converters, and the lead comes down. And basically, those
two curves, OK, of the amount of lead that`s in gas and the amount of
violent crime per 100,000 people match each other with about a 23-year gap,
which means, when we start putting lead in the air, we start getting more
crime 23 years later, and we start taking it out, we get less crime.
That`s the most -- that`s like at the human individual level of why is
someone reacting to violence or trauma, and then the most diffuse molecular
environmental level, and my question to you is -- how plausible is this as
a theory of what`s happened?
POLLACK: Well, I think that -- there is no one thing that explains a huge
fraction of what`s going on, but I think it`s very plausible that lead is a
serious problem, and we know anything that lowers people`s cognitive
abilities and challenges people`s executive function is a real problem, and
this has been for decades we`ve known that we`ve had some serious lead
problems. We haven`t dealt with it as aggressively as we need to, and it`s
If you look at the numbers that Kevin mentions in that article, we would
need $400 billion to deal with this problem in sort of one shot. I don`t
know if that`s a good policy or a bad policy in and of itself. But it
striking, when the financial system was under stress, we came up with that
level of money because we all understood, we cannot survive as a society if
our financial sector is threatened.
When I look at these problems that we`re facing in urban America, that we
faced for decades, I don`t see that same sense of urgency that says -- hey,
we really need that level of commitment to deal with it. And it`s
certainly plausible that lead is an important issue that we need to deal
HAYES: And here`s where the politics gets tricky, and it gets to what you
were saying, Ben, about the kind of ways in which the comstat model alone,
the new policing both was a good thing and then also has precipitated a lot
of backlash, right? Which is we want -- we should be paying attention to
violence in these neighborhoods, and we should be addressing it as a huge
pressing social crisis and concern, but the ways that we tend to address it
in our political system can often produce a lot of perverse reactions. I
want to talk about that right after this.
HAYES: We`re talking about violence and crime and the kind of twin
realities I think of violent crime in America right now, which is that
we`ve seen this sort of remarkable drop-off in lots of cities and across
the nation, and yet at the same time, the intimate experience of violence
in certain very specific localized places does not -- is still horrible and
unacceptable by any standard.
And talking about ways of continuing to try to push that rate down and
reduce violence and different methods.
And one of them is this interrupter`s model, which has been used in
Chicago, and it gets to what you were just saying, Keith. You talked about
it in terms of an action, an action and then a reaction, right?
HAYES: There`s not -- that loop is something is done, and violence is a
response. And this is about literally, interrupting that loop. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We actually got an incident right out here.
AMEENA MATTHEWS, VIOLENCE INTERRUPTER: By the time we got out there, the
fight had just ended. One group of guys said the young man threatened that
he had a gun, and that he was going to kill them. So he started fighting
and ended up getting his teeth knocked out.
When Kobe (ph) got him off location, I asked Kobe to take him to the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to pop them! Watch this!
MATTHEWS: The story about sticks and stones may break your bones but words
can never hurt you? Words will get you killed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The model there is basically, when there is -- when there is an
incident, is going to people and basically trying to counsel them away from
the reaction, right?
POLLACK: To diffuse it.
HAYES: How effective has this been, and is this something that has promise
for a way of thinking about those continuing to push the level of violence
down in these communities that have been resistant to some of the other
POLLACK: I think it`s helpful. I don`t think we know in a rigorous way
exactly how helpful it`s been, but it`s definitely been helpful. And it
changes the tone, that you don`t -- I think that we have to create an
environment where violence is the last resort rather than the first resort,
and I`ve been out on that corner with the interrupters. And there is no
question, if you just talk to people in those communities, they believe
that those interrupters are really being very helpful, and people will tell
those interrupters things that they won`t tell other people.
SUBER: That`s right.
POLLACK: A lot of times, people don`t actually want to retaliate, but they
need a dignified path not to retaliate, and the interrupters can be very
helpful in doing it. I don`t think it`s a cure-all, but I think it`s an
essential element, and I think this prevention focus, and also this idea
that we think of the world as having white hats and black hats, and that`s
not the way the world actually unfolds.
HAYES: What do you mean by white hats and black hats? Good guys and bad
POLLACK: Violence -- when a young person commits an act of violence, he`s
a bad person. He has done that because of some deeply-rooted criminal
identity that he`s got. And that`s just not the way violence unfolds.
ARMAH: I just really want to interject something as well, because I really
want to quote Erica Ford here, who runs LIFE Camp Inc. in New York, because
when she works with young people who have become perpetrators, it`s from
the standpoint that they were initially victims and there was no process
between them being victims to becoming perpetrators that the state
So in other words, it`s the point that you made. This notion that the
unsolved murders is where you have to deal with the culture of violence.
Because if you`re only talking about (INAUDIBLE) crime, you`re never
tackling the culture in which violence absolutely rages.
And I know this from experience. I know from living in a space in a home
where there`s soldiers and guns, that what it does to your humanity and
your psyche is just dangerous. And at 12, you`re not equipped to make your
family safe, but that`s what you feel. And you`re asking children to adopt
policy and actions that an adult is responsible for.
And so whilst you have the interrupters, you have different interventions
that work, what we`re talking about and what we need is a policy that
respects the humanity of these children as America`s children and doesn`t
create this kind of apartheid of neighborhood, a geographical apartheid,
and then criminalizes those who adopt violence into the culture in which
HAYES: And I actually think the political problems for Rahm Emanuel are a
good sign about the health of that kind of democratic accountability in
Chicago. Because I remember when I lived in Chicago, murders were much
higher, and frankly, no one cared. And by no one, I mean the small group
of white elites that ran the city of Chicago, because it wasn`t happening
HAYES: It wasn`t happening in those neighborhoods.
ARMAH: -- you criminalize the mothers who are grieving because of what they
might do because they lost their kids. No one is going to suggest that.
JEALOUS: Caring is important. And the courage that we`ve been talking
about, folks actually going out there and getting in between two men, one
who may have a gun, is critical. But we actually have to have the courage
as a society to make that enough.
SUBER: That`s right.
JEALOUS: Because right now, that`s not enough.
JEALOUS: Because we drenched that area with guns, right? That`s not
enough because that area doesn`t have jobs. You can train for all the jobs
you want, but if there`s no job, you can`t find a job.
And so we actually have -- and because, quite frankly, too few of our
chiefs have the courage to tell their cops, get out of your car. Walk that
neighborhood. Know that neighborhood.
In San Francisco, we had two very dangerous places. And one of them we
brought crime down very fast, because the cops got out of their cars.
HAYES: What you should know for the news week ahead coming up next.
HAYES: So, what should you know for the week coming up? Well, thanks to
the most comprehensive study ever of its kind, published in the "Journal of
the American Medical Association," you should know that being officially
overweight is actually correlated with higher life expectancy than being
quote, normal weight. We know that those with a body mass index over 30,
which is at the highest end of the distribution, did have a higher risk of
death, but that those with BMIs between 25 and 30, which is officially
overweight, had a lower risk of death than those with the normal BMI
between 18.5 and 25.
You should know, of course, correlation is not causation, and there`s a
whole lot we don`t know about the relationship between weight and health.
The metric used to determine whether someone is the appropriate weight, the
body mass index, declares more than one third of U.S. adults, or 35.7
percent, as obese. And we know that it may be time to question whether
that metric itself is a useful one for facilitating a healthier population.
You should know that Transocean, the corporation responsible for the
infamous Gulf oil spill at their Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010 is pleading
guilty to violating the Clean Water Act and will pay a total of $1.4
billion in civil and criminal fines and penalties. You should know we are
still drilling in very deep water in the Gulf and in the Arctic, and
extracting oil from deep horizontal drilling in North Dakota. And you
should know that each new technology of fossil fuel extraction brings with
it risks over and above the risk to the climate of continued carbon
And finally, you should know that the FBI ran an all-time record number of
backgrounds checks for gun purchases in December, suggesting many rush to
buy guns in the wake of the horrific gun massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
You should know that while there are no official statistics for gun
purchases, the majority of these purchases require a background check,
which means the FBI data serves as a rough proxy for sales. The FBI
reports it recorded nearly 2.8 million background checks during the month
of December, up from the 2 million checks they ran in November -- a 39
percent increase -- and up 49 percent of December 2011, which itself was a
record high at the time.
You should also know that while gun sales have been spiking up and setting
records, the percentage of American households that have a gun has been
declining for quite some time, which means, barring some legislative or
cultural changes, we are increasingly headed towards an America in which a
smaller and smaller number of people have a larger and larger number of
I want to find out what my guests think you should know for the week ahead.
I`ll begin with you, Mr. Pollack.
POLLACK: That BMI news wasn`t good for me. You should know that evidence-
HAYES: That`s bragging. That`s bragging. That`s a humble brag right
HAYES: All right, continue.
JEALOUS: How do we feel, huh?
POLLACK: You should know that evidence-based interventions can reduce
crime. An analysis led by my colleague Sarah Heller (ph) of something
called BAM Sports (ph) Edition -- Becoming a Man -- reduced crime
significantly among young people and helped young people stay in school by
helping them deal more safely with each other, and also with adult
SUBER: You should know that if you see a crime, if you see a beef
happening in your community, as men in the community, get in the middle of
it. Step in. Talk to the young brothers. Talk to the young sisters.
Tell them this is not the way. Offer them some sense, offer them some
hope, offer them something where they can feel comfortable of opening up to
us adults. A lot of time the youth don`t like to open up to us. So I
think you should know that standing in the middle sometimes can be a good
HAYES: Ben Jealous.
JEALOUS: We should all know that not only do we have a do-nothing Congress
the last two years, but we will have one the next two years if Harry Reid
doesn`t reform the filibuster. And if you haven`t called him yet, you
should call him right now.
HAYES: The filibuster -- there`s some plans on the table. It looked
promising, then it looked like it was being essentially gutted from the
inside out. We are going to talk about that in the weeks to come. January
22nd, I think, looks like the kind of D-day for this reform, whether it`s
going to happen or not.
And one of the things I think we saw was that when pressure arose over it,
Mitch McConnell changed his behavior a little bit. So pressure does work,
I mean pressure from actual--
JEALOUS: It`s hugely important, because we think the filibuster is Mr.
Smith, right? You got to put on your Depends and stand there. That`s not
what it is. That`s what we want it to be. You know? If you are going to
block democracy, we need to see your face.
HAYES: Esther Armah.
ARMAH: You should know that whether you are on the West Side of Chicago,
or the South Side of Chicago or Sandytown (ph), that you are America`s
children and you are entitled to emotional justice. So that means that you
should not have to be shaped by the legacy of untreated trauma as a result
of a culture of violence that we sanction and accept.
You should also know that in one week`s time, on Saturday, the TSA, that`s
the Temporary Shelter Assistance that was part of Sandy, runs out. So the
fact that they have not passed the formal legislation means that once
again, you are leaving millions of people who have already been made
homeless, homeless again. We are having that discussion 7:00 tomorrow
morning on "Wakeup Call."
HAYES: "Wakeup Call."
HAYES: I want to thank my guests tonight, Harold Pollack from the
University of Chicago. Keith Suber from the Suber Foundation. Ben Jealous
of the NAACP, and Esther Armah from WBAI FM. Thank you all. Thank you for
joining us. We`ll be back next weekend Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 Eastern
time. Our guests will include writer Michael Chabon.
Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY." On today`s "MHP," the politics
behind the weight loss industry. I think that`s going to be a really
fascinating conversation. Plus, Kevin Drum, the article about that
fascinating lead study I just talked about, he will be there as well.
All that on "MHP," and we`ll see you next week here on UP.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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