All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
April 30, 2013
Guest: Tommy Vietor, Pardiss Kebriaei, Gary Rivlin, Rev. William Barber,
Myrna Perez, Ben Jealous
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening. From New York, I`m Chris Hayes.
Thank you for joining us.
Truly amazing stuff to cover tonight. How wild conspiracies are
causing an absolute gun frenzy in this country and how Washington
politicians are legitimizing them.
Also, a state where the legislature is so out of control, citizens are
willing to go to jail in protest of the state`s new laws.
All that and, of course, #click3.
But, first -- all right, you might remember this bit of comedy from
the White House Correspondents` Dinner on Saturday night when President
Obama joked about the criticism he receives over not working together more
with congressional Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Maureen Dowd said I
could solve all my problems if I were just more like Michael Douglas in
"The American President." I know Michael`s here tonight.
Michael, what`s your secret, man? Could it be that you were an actor
in an Aaron Sorkin liberal fantasy?
Some folks still don`t think I spend enough time with Congress. "Why
don`t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?" they ask. Really? Why don`t
you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, the president sent Washington reporters scrambling with
the surprise announcement of a press conference, his first since March, and
took a more serious tone, though the theme was familiar, repeatedly asked
about the first hundred days of his second term and his failure to avert
the sequester or passing gun bill, the president disabused reporters of
their continued insistence that he has some sort of magic power he is
refusing to use that will alter Republican behavior.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: You seem to suggest somehow these folks over there have no
responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That`s
The point is that there are common sense solutions to our problems
right now. I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common sense
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There was not a whole lot new about all that until an amazing
moment. The question turned to the issue of Guantanamo and this I where
the president made news today where he spoke the most passionately and
expressed the most palpable frustration with a status quo that he cannot
completely control, it cannot accept.
As we have reported on this program, there is a growing crisis in the
facility in the form of a hunger strike. And just yesterday, we learned it
is getting worse -- 100 of the 168 detainees or two third of the prison
population are now starving themselves according to Guantanamo officials.
Twenty-one of those detainees have lost so much weigh, they have been,
quote, "approved for feeding tubes." Liquid supplements provided by tubes
inserted to the nose and into the stomach. Detainees are strapped to
chairs and force-fed.
And now, 40 medical reinforcements have been sent to the facility
including nurses and medical specialists. The White House has not wanted
to talk about Guantanamo. Really, no one has. But those hunger strikers
have forced us all to pay attention.
The president`s response today was clear: Gitmo must be closed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It is not a surprise to me that we got problems in Guantanamo.
I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not
necessary to keep America safe, it is expensive, it is inefficient, it
hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation
with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for
extremists. It needs to be closed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After a follow-up question about force feeding the detainee,
the president said emphatically he did not want those people to die.
He repeatedly came back to the moral imperative to finally deal with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The idea that we would still maintain forever a group of
individuals who have not been tried, that is contrary to who we are. It is
contrary to our interests and it needs to stop. I think for a lot of
Americans, the notion is out of sight, out of mind.
All of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this? Why are we
doing this? We`ve got a whole bunch of individuals who have been tried who
are currently in maximum security prisons around the country. Nothing`s
happened to them. Justice has been served.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And so, if the president is going to take another run at
Guantanamo, then that is news because he has tried before. Congress
blocked President Obama`s official policy on Gitmo, which is to transfer
some detainees to maximum security facilities in the United States.
There are 86 detainees -- 86 of the 166 -- cleared for transfer to a
detention facility in another nation or cleared for conditional release in
a host nation.
Congress has restricted such transfers. However, Congress has also
granted the Pentagon the powers to waive such restriction, a power the
Pentagon has not yet used in a single case.
So, as the president called everyone on the carpet for their
complacency today, he also raised the question whether his administration
will try to do more within its power to get at least some of these
detainees out of Guantanamo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I`m going to go back at this. I`ve asked my team to review
everything that`s currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we
can do administratively and I`m going to reengage with Congress to try to
make the case that this is not something that`s in the best interests of
the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president may not have some ridiculous supernatural power
to impose his will on Congress, but when it comes to the moral and legal
crisis in Guantanamo, he is far from powerless.
Joining me tonight from Washington, Tommy Vietor, former National
Security Council spokesman for the Obama administration.
Here at the table: Howard Fineman, NBC News political analyst,
editorial director of "The Huffington Post" Media Group, and Pardiss
Kebriaei, senior attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who
recently visited Guantanamo and who represents several detainees there.
And, Pardiss, I want to begin with you. What was your reaction to
hearing this from the president today? Surprise? Frustration? Hope?
PARDISS KEBRIAEI, CTR. FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Chris, it was
encouraging. It was an important statement. But President Obama has made
important statements before.
And so, what we need now is action to follow those very principled
words. As he recognized, it is not sustainable to hold over 100 people
without charge in no man`s land in perpetuity, particularly as the United
States starts winding down the war in Afghanistan, talks of defeating al
Qaeda. What war are we talking about anymore?
So, it is not sustainable. It`s legally questionably. It`s morally
wrong. It is unjust.
As someone who has been down to the base and has seen what is
happening to these men right now, the answer is not we`re going to keep
people alive by strapping them into chairs and force feeding them. There
are steps that President Obama can take on his own starting now.
HAYES: So that is question, right? You talked to the White House
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON: Yes, I did.
HAYES: Did they give you a sense of what the content of what those
steps, those affirmative steps, might look like?
FINEMAN: Well, I asked them and got an explanation to the assistant
of the national security adviser. And what she said is, number one,
they`re going to reappoint an official at the State Department, or appoint
a new person at the State Department to take over the role of looking
through these cases. That`s something they had let lapsed.
HAYES: Yes. A man by the name of David Freed had overseen this.
He`d overseen deals to get about 40 or so folks transferred. He had left
and not been replaced.
FINEMAN: They had been replaced, which is significant, because the
fact that they hadn`t replaced them showed where their heart was or not,
where their actions were.
And, secondly, they said we admit that the Pentagon hasn`t done enough
to look through on a case-by-case basis for possible waivers that the
congress gave the administration power to do. And she said they`re going
to start doing that very actively.
So I think the proof is going to be in the administrative actions, and
the key word that the president used that caught your eye and mine was the
HAYES: That`s right.
FINEMAN: He complained the whole time he can`t get anything through
HAYES: But that`s a given. We know that.
FINEMAN: That`s a given. We know that there are things he can do
administratively. Let`s see who he picks because there`s a balance between
the risk of that and the risk that we`re losing the diplomatic war around
HAYES: Tommy, you were just nodding your head when Pardiss was giving
a litany of the moral crisis that was Guantanamo. You were spokesperson
for the NSC.
What is your sense of who bears responsibility for this and do you
think this is a stain on the U.S. at this point and on the administration?
TOMMY VIETOR, FORMER NSC SPOKESMAN: Short answer is yes. I mean, I
think that this talk of all these executive actions we may or may not be
able to take to close Guantanamo makes me a little bit nervous because the
provisions in the Defense Authorization Bill that made it impossible to use
funds to transfer individuals to the United States, that made it incredibly
difficult for the administration to transfer people overseas to other
countries -- and, by the way, those countries aren`t exactly wild about
having individuals transferred to them -- make this incredibly difficult.
I mean, the NDAA, the Defense Authorization Bill, all but made it
impossible to close Gitmo. And, you know, ironically, it rendered the
facility completely useless because we can never send anyone there again
because God forbid they`re innocent, there`s no way to get them out.
So, you know, at some point along the way, this went from an issue
where Republicans and Democrats seem to agree it was in our national
security interest to close this facility. Republicans started to see this
as a way to attack the president`s national security record and I actually
think it`s shameful. And it`s sad but Congress needs to move on this to
make any meaningful action.
HAYES: That`s the line is that Congress needs to move on it and it is
true there have been these restrictions put in place by the NDAA. I just
want to lay them out for a second, Pardiss, and then I want you to respond
The Defense Department, the secretary of defense, in consultation with
the head of the State Department can sign waiver, saying -- but they have
to stipulate to a whole variety of things, basically saying there`s a low
risk of this person, quote, "returning to the battlefield," of course,
returning assumes the person was on the battlefield to begin with, which in
many cases is probably not the case, right?
People in the White House will tell you, look, we cannot stipulate, we
don`t have the work product coming from the intelligence community that
will allow us to sign waiver to do this. It is on Congress` doorstep.
What`s your response to that?
KEBRIAEI: But there are also another provision that follows those
certifications that allows the secretary of defense to take another actions
to mitigate those risks and ultimately, to certify that the transfer is in
the national security interest of the United States. I have to say, before
these restrictions went into place, before the NDAA was enacted, the United
States transferred dozens of people to European countries. It sent six
people back it Yemen. The sky did not fall.
KEBRIAEI: There were security concerns at that time. There were
arrangements that the administration, with the secretary of state made in
consultation with host countries. Those arrangements were worked. There
are people, dozens of people, our clients included, who are living in
Portugal, in Albania, in Cape Verde, in France, in Germany --
KEBRIAEI: On and on, who are living there, rebuilding their lives
without incident. The administration knows how to do this. They`ve done
it before. The NDAA gotten away, but it is not insurmountable.
FINEMAN: Chris, can I say that we sent our justice reporter, Ryan
Riley (ph), down to Guantanamo twice in the last few months and I spoke
with him this afternoon. He said the conditions there are just awful.
They`ve closed every common facility. People are isolated. People are
dying or close to dying.
So, we need to remember that as we watch a game of political hot
potato here that both the administration and the Congress are complicit in.
I think the person I spoke to at the National Security Office this
afternoon was frank in saying that they hadn`t done enough, that the
administration had not done enough to push the envelope on the waivers.
They admit that.
They had to admit that once the president said he was going to look at
administrative measures again. Well, what are they? They got to do that.
KEBRIAEI: And it is absolutely not enough at this point to just look
at these cases again. There isn`t time for that, as Howard was saying.
There is a crisis at Guantanamo right now the administration spent from
2009 to 2010 reviewing those cases and making decisions and that resulted
FINEMAN: It`s almost as though -- it`s almost as though they made
those decisions on paper on the sure knowledge that they wouldn`t carry
them out. That`s the way it looks now.
HAYES: Here`s my question to Tommy.
My -- the read on this that I think people who want to see Guantanamo
closed and are sympathetic to the president, their read on it is if the
president could wave a magic wand, he would do that but he`s hemmed in by
both Congress and the politics -- crucially the politics. Is that -- is
that your read on it, which is that they are worried they`d send someone
back to Yemen and he gets captured on the battlefield and Lindsey Graham
takes to the microphone and it becomes a huge opportunity for everyone to
demagogue and the politics of this become terrible?
VIETOR: Yes. Well, first of all, you know, Lindsey Graham`s title
should be demagogue, not senator. That`s all he does these days, whether
it`s Benghazi or any other issue. It is awful and has no place in this
So, a couple of things -- yes, the administration did transfer a
number of individual to European countries. But in candor, that was some
of the lowest hanging fruit, the safest individuals, the Uyghur, some of
the people that you talked about, that were innocent, posed no threat.
Now, you talk about Yemen. Yemen, there was a self-imposed
restriction because of instability. And, you know, you`ve seen Yemen over
that year turned into a hotbed for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
because President Saleh lost control of the country. Now, the good news is
things are getting better under President Hadi. There`s more security,
we`re working better with their forces.
But it is a real concern, the idea of transferring 56 hardened
individuals, maybe some aren`t hardened but 56 individual from Gitmo back
to Yemen with that recidivism risk. It`s also a huge onerous provision on
the secretary of defense to sign a waiver provision basically saying, "I
have a magic eight ball and I can tell threw is no recidivism threat in the
Now, the president today was clearly angry. And he wants his
administration to do more and has a good thing. That`s a good sign for
HAYES: Pardiss, can you just respond to that? Because what it seems
like to me is when the dust is settled on this, the intelligence community
-- members inside the intelligence community, people that are inside the
White House, don`t want to let go of the fact that if you don`t have enough
to try someone, you cannot keep them. And, yes, there may be some risk.
We don`t know what people do in the future, but that is risk that you just
have to suck it up and take.
KEBRIAEI: I think that`s absolutely right. There is no one in the
administration who is going to be able to guarantee --
KEBRIAEI: -- that this people or anyone never commits an act that
threatens the United States, its citizens or allies, which is the
restriction that`s written in to the NDAA. No one is going to be able to
guarantee that and we are making the problem worse by keeping Guantanamo
VIETOR: For Congress, that means a lot.
KEBRIAEI: I just have to say, President Obama said himself, the costs
of keeping the prison open are greater than the complications of closing
it. I think with Yemen we`ve got to stop looking at that problem as sort
of a class of people and look at people individually and make case-by-case
determinations of who can be transferred.
FINEMAN: Howard Fineman of "The Huffington Post", Pardiss Kebriaei of
the Center for Constitutional Rights, and in Washington, Tommy Vietor --
thank you very much. I really appreciate it.
VIETOR: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. One of the guys leading the charge to gut
financial reform is also leading a cadre of Wall Street lobbyists down a
luxury ski slope in Park City, Utah. That`s next.
HAYES: We have quick update tour top story to last night`s program,
in which we brought you new polling that suggest there`s been a popular
against five Republican senators, including Jeff Flake of Arizona who voted
to kill the expansion of background checks for firearm purchases.
Today, here`s the senator`s Facebook page where he posts, "Nothing
like waking up to a poll saying you`re the nation`s least popular senator.
Given the public`s dim view of Congress in general, that probably puts me
somewhere just below pond scum. Now, notwithstanding the polling firm`s
leftist bent, I would assume that my poll numbers have indeed taken a
southerly turn since my vote against the Manchin/Toomey background
proposal. It was a popular amendment and I voted against it."
Yes, it was and yes, you did. It should be noted by the way that Jeff
Flake`s page has just under 20,000 likes, which is about 7,000 more than we
have at Facebook.com/AllinwithChris.
So if he`s just below pond scum, what does that make us? Help us out,
people, please. I`ll repay you with an amazing story of cronies on skis,
HAYES: One of the seemingly easiest no-brainer topics for political
consensus is that big banks have too much power and zero accountability.
It`s the subject that arguably won Elizabeth Warren her Senate seat in
November. It`s a target of new bipartisan bill by Democratic Senator
Sherrod Brown and Republican David Vitter looking to rein in the banks
labeled "too big too fail."
But, today, we got yet another example of the allure of political
power and Wall Street`s parasitic connection to it. Take Congressman Jeb
Hensarling of Texas, a politician who, when he was further from power, was
willing admirably to criticize the financial industry. He voted against
the 2008 bank bailout, railed against the too big too fail maxim.
And then a funny thing happened. Hensarling is now the chairman of
the House Financial Services Committee and here`s the result when one
migrates to the center of power. Hensarling moderated his tone, now saying
he opposes the idea of downsizing banks. The center of power is a soft
squishy place, the Bavarian cream in the congressional donut.
So, how does someone like Jeb Hensarling get to that place?
Well, here`s one point. In a great piece written by Justin Elliot
(ph) for "ProPublica", an examination of Hensarling`s campaign finance
filings show just six weeks after become financial services chair,
Hensarling was joined by representatives of the banking industry for a ski
vacation fund-raiser at a posh Park City, Utah, resort. A good time by all
at the St. Regis resort. More than a hundred people enjoyed the weekend,
paid for by Hensarling`s political action committee.
One lobbyist in the state of bliss over the resort`s mountain trim
Instagram this photo with a caption, "Putting the fun in funicular."
That lobbyist was from the Mortgage Bankers Association who donated
$5,000 to Hensarling in February.
Also in the trip, an official from the American Securitization Forum,
a $2,500 donor that month. Then, a representative from Visa, also a $5,000
Financial industries are by far the biggest contributors to
Hensarling`s political career. He received more than $1.3 million from big
finance in 2012. And keep in mind, none of this is, or appears to be
illegal, at no point is any evidence that`s been raised that Hensarling
broke any campaign final rules, or even any unwritten rules of Congress,
which is, of course, the precisely the problem.
This is the way business is done -- a routine manifestation of
Joining me right now, Gary Rivlin, investigative fellow of the Nation
Institute and author of the cover story in the upcoming edition of "The
Nation" about the assault on financial reform. I should note we`ve reached
out to Congressman Hensarling`s office and did not get a response. I`m not
very good at skiing, but would love to ski with the congressman, if that
were able available.
So, Gary, I want to read a quote from your piece, because there are so
many different ways after Dodd-Frank, which is the Wall Street financial
reform bill that was passed and signed by the president, that the banks
have made runs -- a bunch of different runs at trying to limit, curtail and
kneecap the reform. And the first place that start is in the House
Financial Services Committee itself, which, of course, became controlled by
the Republicans after the 2010 election.
You write, "Wall Street`s primary beachhead for fighting Dodd-Frank
has been the House Committee on Financial Services. Financial Services
various subcommittees held more than 65 hearings investigating various
elements of Dodd-Frank in just the first two years after Republicans took
control of the House."
Hensarling wasn`t the chairman until recently, but it looks like he is
going to continue in that mode.
GARY RIVLIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Right. So, you`ve got the --
House Financial Services Committee able to do is to introduce bills that
will undo parts of Dodd-Frank. You`ve got the regulatory front, let`s go
fight all the regulators, but you`ve got Congress and, like, OK, Congress
passed this bill, we don`t like it in 2010, let`s see if we can get some
bills, just technical correction, we just want to fix some this evenings,
which, by the way, would blow a huge hole, loophole into the law. Those
are being fed largely through his committee.
HAYES: Are those fights working their way out into legislation that
has a chance of stopping? Or has the committee played the kind of role of
a kind of theatrical source to get people to come in and rail against Dodd-
Frank and how it`s hurting people?
RIVLIN: Right. There are some who call the routine you`re talking
about just, you know, a fund-raiser bill. We`re going to put a bill that`s
going to make a bank happy. It`s not going to get anywhere but we`ll put
it out there.
But there is starting to be some concern. It`s almost three years
since Dodd-Frank. It`s almost five years since the meltdown. And so,
there`s a real worry among consumer advocates that with so much time
passed, that maybe they`ll pick off some Democrats.
I mean, who`s kidding who? I mean, the Democrats are getting a lot of
that money, too. They`re getting the $5,000, and $10,000, and $20,000
checks from Goldman Sachs.
HAYES: Yes, we should note -- big checks from the finance services
industry and even junkets and so forth are not at all limited along
RIVLIN: So, some of these bills won`t get anywhere but there are
bills that have Democratic co-sponsors and there is some concern among
advocates, lobbyists for the other side. I think what the Hensarling story
underscores for me is the inequity here. I added up the number of
lobbyists with the top five consumer advocate groups in D.C., I mean, from
AFSCME (ph), Center for Responsible Lending, et cetera, and it has 18.
Goldman Sachs alone has more than 50 lobbyists. JPMorgan Chase alone
has 60 lobbyists. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has 180 lobbyists. So,
we`re talking about unequal warfare here.
HAYES: And not only warfare, I think what`s so interesting about the
article and I would tell people to definitely check it out -- you know, we
talk about campaign finance as part of the problem. Obviously, we`re
highlighting this moment where there`s nexus of money and influence.
But the inequity is so massive that outmatch sense that you get in the
lobbying on Congress then carries over to things that happen in the
regulatory fashion, that happens in the courts as well.
RIVLIN: So, in this case, I wanted to find the one regulatory agency
where someone was really trying. So, Gary Gensler, the Commodity Futures
Trading Commission, CFTC, they`re right at the center of this, they`re
derivatives control. And so, I want to like, what`s he able to do?
So, he said, I`m going to have an open door. Anybody who wants to
come in and talk about derivative reform can come and see me. And what
happens? Goldman Sachs --
HAYES: Right. You know who`s at the door and who is not --
RIVLIN: They have the manpower. They have the people power. They`ve
got the 60 lobbyists. They have regulatory lawyers. They have the people.
They have a staff of 12 that could all fly down from New York, and
meanwhile, U.S. PIRG, they have two meetings over a three-year period.
HAYES: Gary Rivlin of the Nation Institute -- great piece in "The
Nation". Thank you very much.
RIVLIN: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Up next, a truly insane build introduced in Congress that the
ALL IN staff seriously did not believe was real. No, really, we were
convinced it was from "The Onion". That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I am a smart guy. Because I`m not saying the FBI blew up the
people at the Boston Marathon, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I don`t care if
people think I`m an (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I`m not saying the FBI blew up
innocent people. You`re saying that. That`s what makes you a dumb ass.
So there you. Now why you are you in my (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is how a normal, if slightly frustrated individual reacts
to the high level of conspiratorial nonsense that has been flowing forth,
both before and intensely since the horrible bombings of the Boston
Marathon. But it`s one thing when these false flag notions are kept to the
conspiracy-minded fringe. It`s another thing all together when these
theories are oozing into the Republican party and the halls of government.
Republican New Hampshire State Representative Stella Tremblay bought
into the conspiracies early on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STELLA TREMBLAY (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I was just
pointing out the fact that there is the possibility that the government is
involved. You know in history, top down, bottom up, this always happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- says you should probably apologize to your
TREMBLAY: What am I going to apologize for? For asking questions?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The old asking questions line. No, questions are fine, even
questions that lead people to think, what in God`s name are you talking
about? But Tremblay`s post on Glenn Beck`s Facebook page didn`t look like
a question to me. Quote "the Boston Marathon was a black ops terrorist
attack, drones and now terrorist attacks by our own government. Sad day,
but a wake up to all of us. First there was a suspect, then there wasn`t.
InfoWars broke the story, and they knew they had been found out."
State Representative Tremblay is not the only legislator parroting
conspiracy theories put forth by the like of InfoWars` Alex Jones. But a
state legislator is one thing. A United States senator is another. Which
is what makes the actions of Oklahoma`s Republican James Inhofe so
shocking. Inhofe has introduced a bill to fight a problem that does not
exist, which is the government has gone on an ammunition buying spree so
that there won`t be any bullets left for law abiding citizens.
Now, DHS wants to buy more than a billion rounds of ammunition in the
next four or five years, which the department says it will use for law
enforcement agents in training and on duty. And the reason the DHS says it
is stockpiling the ammunition, because like going to Costco, it`s just more
economical sometimes to buy in bulk. When this totally logical explanation
was challenged by Inhofe`s state colleague, Senator Tom Coburn, DHS
responded with a letter that read in part, "DHS routinely established
strategic sourcing contracts that combine the requirements of all its
components for commonly purchased goods and services, such as ammunition,
computer equipment, and information technology services. These strategic
sourcing contracts help leverage the purchasing power of DHS to efficiently
procure equipment and supplies at significantly lower costs.
Which makes sense, right, particularly for the fiscally-minded
conservative. Not for Senator Inhofe, who last week, along with Oklahoma
Congressman Frank Lucas, introduced, get this, the Ammunition Management
for More Obtainability, AMMO, Act of 2013, seriously, to put caps on the
amount of ammunition federal agencies could buy.
Now if you`re asking yourself, what`s the problem with the government
buying ammo in bulk to keep costs down, then you, my dear, have not been
spending enough time in the darker corners of right wing conspiratorial
troll sights, who have for the past year been peddling stories about the
government stockpiling ammo. The conspiracy theories of InfoWars` Alex
Jones claim the U.S. government is gearing up for an arms race against the
American people, and most recently this kind of talk has been all over the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX JONES, INFOWARS: What`s the government arm against? The
American people. Who do they say the terrorist threat are? Not al Qaeda
blowing up embassies and stuff in the Middle East. Conservatives,
libertarians, gun owners. Here`s our article. "Homeland Security
Purchases 200 Million More Rounds of Ammunition."
I want to thank the Drudge Report, DrudgeReport.com for posting it. I
want to thank all the talk show hosts that are covering it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And that`s what you get, Alex Jones to Drudge Report, and then
you get Representative Duncan asking DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano about
the numbers of rounds of ammunition that would be purchased by the
department, and the stockpiling conspiracy theory in a House hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JEFF DUNCAN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You know, when "Forbes
Magazine" or Drudge or some reputable news sources start to repeat the
JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I don`t know if I
would put "Forbes" and Drudge in the same sentence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Fair point. But if this local news coverage out of Duncan and
Inhofe`s state of Oklahoma is any indication of the mood there, their
attempts to rein in the government from stockpiling ammo seems perfectly
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why now? Ammunition is a hot item in the state.
But many people across the state the state can`t get their hands on it.
Two Oklahoma lawmakers think they have a solution to what they call a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Jim Inhofe and Congressman Frank Lucas
recently introduced a bill that would limit the amount of ammunition
federal agencies can buy. They`re hoping to increase the supply for the
rest of us.
There`s a two box limit for customers at Big Boy`s Gun and Ammo in
southwest Oklahoma City and at other gun shops. Many fear the government
could be stockpiling ammunition and preventing the public from doing the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I don`t live in Oklahoma. And it has been quite some time
since I tried to buy ammo there. But it`s possible there is genuine ammo
shortages. There might be some other reasons, though, than the government
stockpiling it. One, NRA cultivated paranoid hysteria. The introduction
of federal gun legislation sent gun buyers across the country running to
stores to stock up on ammo, afraid that Congress was going to try to keep
it out of their hands, thanks to a lot of fear mongering from the gun
So we get a perfectly closed loop in which the paranoid conspiracy
theories fuel an ammo shortage which fuel further conspiracy theories. Or
two, maybe ammo is in short supply in the state of Oklahoma because they
tend to use a lot of it at events like, well, the Oklahoma Full Auto Shoot
and Trade Show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. I am not going to front. That looks like a whole
lot of fun. What isn`t fun are United States congressmen using their
incredible privilege and power to craft legislation to cater to the
darkest, fringiest elements in American politics. If Senator Inhofe wants
to spread conspiracy theories, he should retire and send his golden years
sending email forwards, and leave actual legislating to people trying to
solve actual problems that actually exist. Lord knows, there are enough of
We`ll be right back with Click Three.
HAYES: These people were all arrested yesterday in an act of civil
disobedience. And it is the absolutely bonkers law making going on in this
state house that has people willing to go to jail in protest. That`s
But first, I want to share the three awesomest thing on the Internet
today, beginning with a seminal milestone 20 years in the making. Take
yourself back for a moment to 1993. The European Union was in its infancy.
Apartheid was in its final throws. Along the way, 1993 offered us cultural
guide posts ranging from "Beavis and Butthead" to Lorena Bobbitt. Look
that one up, kids. And it was on this day in 1993 the World Wide Web went
public for everyone to use for free.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: WWW dot This and www dot That. Let`s www dot
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Let`s. The concept of connecting computers around the world
came from a team of scientists at CERN, the European organization for
nuclear research. We now know the web as the platform that runs on the
Internet. Now the dream of the `90s is alive in its original format. CERN
had restored the first website. What a sight to behold. I think this
glimpse into history is incredibly cool. You should check it out, if you
can. As NBC News report, the relaunched site experienced connectivity
issues, crashing and reconnecting repeatedly, which seems somehow perfectly
The second awesomest thing on the Internet today comes from Twitter
fan Brian Podolsky, who tells us he stumbled upon this today to put it all
in perspective. He`s talking about an interactive website called
HereIsToday.com, as in here is today, April 30th, 2013. Here`s the month.
Here`s the century. Here`s the millennium. After you click through
epochs, periods and eras on the geologic time scale, that`s when things
start to get really wild. Can you see, for instance, where we are now
compared to when life first appeared over 3.5 billion years ago. You can
see when fish started popping up, insects, reptiles, mammals, birds and
humans. It`s an incredible and humbling look into the scope of our
universe and its originals. Or as Michele Bachmann likes to call it,
And the third awesomest thing on the Internet today, the saga of Mark
Sanford continues to unfold in South Carolina. Last night, viewers could
watch the debate between Sanford and his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth
Colbert Busch, stream online. It was the first and will be the only debate
of the race, even after Sanford recently demanded more debates. As you can
see, here he is sparring with a cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi. Well, he
might be rethinking that strategy following this jab from Colbert Busch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH COLBERT BUSCH (D), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: When we talk
about fiscal spending and we talk about protecting the taxpayers, it
doesn`t mean you take that money we save and leave the country for a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She went there, Governor Sanford.
GOV. MARK SANFORD (R), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: I couldn`t hear what
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As we say in the Bronx, "oh, no, she didn`t."
It gets even better for Sanford. Today, he got a ringing endorsement
from "Hustler" publisher Larry Flint, who says he is supporting Sanford
because no one has done more to expose the sexual hypocrisy of traditional
values in America today. No, that is not a joke. And yes, it is
You can find all the links for tonight`s Click Three on our website,
AllInWithChris.com. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: This morning Reverend William Barber, the president of the
North Carolina NAACP, woke up in jail after being arrested yesterday along
with 16 others, including this woman seen here in a wheelchair. The two
were arrested as part of a direct action civil disobedience on the steps of
the Capital in the state of North Carolina. If you are asking yourself why
a woman in a wheelchair and 16 others, including eight clergy members,
would get themselves arrested outside the state capital, then you, very
understandably, have not been paying attention to what`s going down right
now in North Carolina.
It`s a state that, to everyone`s surprise, went blue in 2008 and was
narrowly carried by Mitt Romney in 2012, a state viewed by many as an
emerging Democratic foothold in the south, as evidenced by the party
holding their convention in Charlotte in 2012, but a state that since the
election of Republican Governor Pat McRory in late 2012 to preside over
both a Republican House and a Senate, has started to turn into an insane
right wing dystopia, the gerrymandered right wing state house cranking out
legislation that looks like what you would expect if you handed over the
reins of state governance to RedState commenters.
Hundreds of millions in cuts to unemployment benefits, drug tests for
welfare recipients, a proposal to end public funding of judicial elections,
supported by the governor,, a proposal, also supported by the governor, to
eliminate the estate taxes of the 123 wealthiest families in the state, and
that`s after he already signed into law an end to the state`s Earned Income
Tax Credit, which will hike taxes on 900,000 working people.
There`s proposals to limit access to abortions and an ill-fated effort
to make Christianity the state religion. But perhaps the most nefarious of
all is the slew of voter suppression bills being churned out by state
Republicans, everything from a voter I.D. bill that has passed the House to
proposals as to cut early voting and same-day registration. The big
mistake that Republicans across the country made in 2012, while trying
desperately to rig the electorate in their favor, was attempting to get a
number of shady voting bills through their respective state houses in the
months before the election, when everyone was paying attention and the
media in full alert.
That attention transferred into a fierce backlash that turned into
higher black voter turnover than white for the first time in history.
Republicans, however, seem to have learned their lesson, and now realize
the very best time to go after people`s voting rights is the relatively
quiet months after the election, when everyone`s attention turns to other
This is precisely why the efforts in North Carolina to suppress the
votes are so important to pay attention to. And it`s also why, to their
great credit, groups like the NAACP and the Advancement Project are
mobilizing in North Carolina to fight back when it matter the most, when it
is the most dangerous, and when it is the hardest to get attention.
One of these people is North Carolina NAACP president, Reverend
William Barber. He was released from jail today and he joins me here next.
HAYES: North Carolina Republicans are going hard after state voting
rights. Joining to us talk about it from North Carolina is the Reverend
William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, who was arrested
yesterday at the statehouse. Here at the table, Myrna Perez of the Brennan
Center for Justice, and Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.
Reverend, I`ll begin with you. My first question for you is this: if
a skeptical person looks at what`s going on in North Carolina and says,
look, this why we had elections; we had elections; the Republicans won;
they won the governorship; they haven`t had it since 1988; they`ve got all
three branches of state government for the first time in over, I believe, a
century; and now you have to live with the consequences because that`s the
way democracy works -- what do you say to them?
REV. WILLIAM BARBER, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP PRESIDENT: First of all,
thank you, Chris. I would say, first of all, that the reality is that`s
not how government is supposed to work, because even when you have a
majority, you cannot violate the Constitution. And what we see in this
group of legislators is that they are acting like they are the George
Wallaces of the 21st century. They`re engaging in a southern strategy with
a 21st Century twist.
You gave the litany of all of the policies that they are in passing;
500,000 people will lose their Medicaid on January 1st, 2014; 165,000
unemployed workers will lose their unemployed benefits on July 1st of this
year. And then the slew of voting rights attacks, which not only violate,
we believe, the 15th Amendment, the 24th Amendment, but also violate our
state Constitution, which has been in place 145 years.
So a majority does not give you the authority to violate the
Constitution. So what they`re doing is they are passing unconstitutional
and uncivil laws. That`s why there`s so much passion, black and white and
Latino and young people, a woman in wheelchair, preachers who have been the
first wave of our continuing strategy. This is not a beginning of
mobilization for us. We brought 20,000 people to the legislature in
February, 500 activists on the floor in March. And now we`ve said we`re
also going to engage not only in a legal strategy with people like
Advancement Project and Southern Coalition, but also with a moral
strategists, civil disobedience.
That`s the first wave on Monday. There will be another wave next week
and another wave. Because we will dramatize the shameful, hurtful, cruel
and unusual public policy that`s going down in North Carolina.
HAYES: How much is North Carolina -- I mean, the more that I read
about North Carolina, the more I just couldn`t believe what was going on in
the state, in terms of how aggressive the Republicans in power have been.
It seems like --
BEN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NAACP: This is what we knew that Art
Pope would do.
HAYES: Explain who Art Pope is.
JEALOUS: Art Pope is the Koch Brother`s pope for the south. He is
the one who founded AFP North Carolina, the one southern state to have a
branch of the Koch Brother`s PAC. But he also owns Dollar Stores. And he
said, look, you cannot franchise my Dollar Store unless your community is
at least a quarter black and 50 percent poor. He takes that money and he
invests it right in right-wing think tanks. But the crazy part is that all
of that -- and then he becomes the budget director.
HAYES: Yes, Art Pope is -- has a lot of money. He seed as lot of
money into conservative think tanks and conservative causes. He is now the
budget director in the state of North Carolina for the governor. It would
be as if Scott Walker just turned and said to Charles Koch, hey, just come
work in my government.
JEALOUS: Precisely that, except for a Charles Koch who, frankly, had
a lot of free time on his hands. Because this is the guy who two years ago
Reverend Barber was fighting him because he -- he set the agenda for the
Republicans in the state. Number one was eviscerating the state law that
blocks the state from funding the resegregation of its schools. Number two
was voter I.D.
So you have this guy who is pulling all these things, who is also the
state budget director.
MYRNA PEREZ, BRENNAN CENTER FOR PEACE: Right, and I mean, what`s
really important to remember is how much North Carolina is, in fact, an
outlier and how much it is out of step. If you look at what state
legislatures across the country are doing, certainly there are some that
are introducing restrictive legislation, but the vast majority of the
voting bills that have been introduced are progressive.
HAYES: Is that true?
PEREZ: It is. There are more than 200 pieces -- close to 200 pieces
of legislation in more than 45 states that have been introduced. We`ve
already seen some of them pass, like in New Mexico. They`re debating a
very expansive bill in Colorado right at this moment. And when you have an
attack like what`s going on North Carolina, that is so expansive and is so
widespread -- it`s going to affect students. It`s going to affect people
of color. It`s going to affect poor people. It`s going to affect people
with criminal convictions. You have to ask what are people doing.
JEALOUS: But also, this is not -- let`s be really clear. There are
two very different currents happening at the same time in this country.
We`ve won huge victories that have pushed voting rights forward in recent
weeks. We`ve also had huge setbacks, like Virginia, who essentially killed
voter I.D. last year, adopting a very strict voter I.D. law this year.
This is a civil war of sorts that`s playing out in politics in this
PEREZ: But it`s one that we win, though.
BARBER: Can I step in for a second?
HAYES: Please, Reverend.
BARBER: Yes. Because what I think is important is you have to
understand that what we see happening in North Carolina is a reaction to
our success. We built a coalition over the last few years, and that
coalition of a hundred branches of NAACP, 147 coalition partners like
Southern Coalition, Democracy North Carolina and others, we built this
coalition and we won same-day registration, we won early vote, we won
Sunday voting, we pushed forward with more funding for education.
It`s almost as though that, for these people, represents a kind of a
third reconstruction. And they`re reacting to this now because they know
that with the dynamics in the state and the changing electorate, their
timeframe is limited. Black people represent 25 percent of the electorate;
70 percent of black people voted in 2012, even in losing, in some ways, and
69 percent of North Carolinians. With the changing electorate, the time of
ultra conservativism and the solid south is almost over. So this is a
tyrannical power grab to try to stop a future that they cannot stop.
HAYES: Is there a big regional difference that we`re seeing, in terms
of the ways that these voting laws are going?
PEREZ: That`s not the kind of difference that we see. What we do see
are where there are places on the ground where people have been able to be
successful in terms of using the courts. One thing that I think we should
all remember is that the kinds of laws that are being passed, especially
the voting laws, are not favored well under the Voting Rights Act. It
would be very, very difficult for a number of these laws to be able to
demonstrate that it`s not going to make minority voters worse off.
And I wonder if, cynically, perhaps some people are presuming that
there`s not going to be a Voting Rights Act to stop it.
BARBER: Of course in North Carolina they also have to understand --
and this is important for your national audience -- 145 years ago, there
were things placed in our state constitution. They a violating a state --
states rights people are violating the state Constitution.
HAYES: The state Constitution. Myrna Perez, Ben Jealous, and in
North Carolina, the Reverend William Barber. I`m glad you`re out of prison
today. That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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