All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 19, 2013
Guests: Luis Gutierrez, Frank VanderSloot, Ryan Grim, Barbara Lee, Lori
Silverbush, Joel Berg
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Thank
you for joining us.
Tonight on ALL IN:
If you think I`m the only one who believes that immigration reform is the
single biggest policy priority of President Obama`s second term, well, then
wait until I show you the circus on the Capitol lawn today.
Also, this 66-year-old man has been arrested and charged with drug
trafficking in South Carolina. His story is proof that criminalization of
marijuana is well passed ridiculous.
Plus, yes, right wingers, people are going hungry in America. And the
GOP`s jihad on those in need gets uglier every single day.
We begin tonight with House Speaker John Boehner`s ashtray. Now, this is
not an actual photo of John Boehner`s ashtray, but I`m guessing this is
what John Boehner`s ashtray looks like right now, because John Boehner has
a whole heck of a lot of reasons to chain smoke today.
Starting with the scene outside his Capitol window.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: We`re having this conference outside
the halls of Congress because as Congressman Steve King has said, we
haven`t had much of a discussion yet inside the halls of Congress.
GLENN BECK, RADIO HOST: John Boehner and everyone else, you`re the Whig
Party. If we stay together and hold true to true principles without regard
to party, the Republicans will go the way of the Whigs. And we win.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You know, there`s an old saying in Texas and a
lot of other places: fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on
REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: They lied to Ronald Reagan and they
have been lying for the last six months to the American people, but they`re
not going to get away with it this time, because we`ll give you a chance to
work. But we should not be giving a chance to be a taker.
DENNIS MICHAEL LYNCH, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: There are people who are
coming here who want to come to cut your lawn and have a better life. But
there are people who want to cut your throat.
BACHMANN: Amnesty costs a fortune. Amnesty could also something more than
just money. It could cost a nation.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: They want to cut your throat. Glenn Beck called you a Whig, John
Boehner. That is low.
That was just a highlight real from Steve King`s six hour anti-amnesty
rally on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. It is precisely the kind of the
thing we`ve been waiting to see in response to immigration reform.
The same type of backlash we saw back in 2007, which up until now, hasn`t
quite manifested itself. As we get closer to a vote, the vitriol is
ramping up, and even Republicans like Marco Rubio are not safe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT RECTOR, HERITAGE FOUNDATION SR. FELLOW: Now, you could ask what --
well, Senator Rubio says they`re going to have to pay --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That guy from the Heritage Foundation and the other activists and
lawmakers in the Capitol lawn today, they know that Marco Rubio is not the
point. This is why they`re making such a big stink today. They have a
different target. They understand that the entire thing of the immigration
bill now lies in the hands of one man. Not Marco Rubio, but John Boehner.
John Boehner is the reason Heritage Action, the political wing of the
Heritage Foundation, along with a number of other conservative groups, sent
a statement saying, quote, "Liberal Democrats control the White House and
the Senate. We should help their cause by handing them the keys of the
House as well. We encourage you to formally pass the Hastert Rule that
requires a majority of the majority to pass the legislation."
Hastert Rule named after former Speaker Dennis Hastert, is more of a
principle, really. It insures the House speaker will not bring legislation
to the floor that does not have support from the majority of his or her
party. That`s where this majority of the majority comes in.
As the pressure builds up, John Boehner finds himself with no way to
release it. He`s trapped and it`s all now falling on his shoulders,
because here`s what is going to happen: some form of the gang of eight
immigration bill from the senate is likely to pass. There`s simply no way,
no way that a majority of the House Republican Caucus is going to pass
anything that looks remotely like comprehensive immigration reform.
So, the only way immigration reform does pass is through John Boehner. And
to make that happen, he will have to break the Hastert Rule and bring the
immigration bill to the floor and pass it with mostly Democratic votes.
He`s done this several times before, most recently with the fiscal cliff
vote which House Republicans voted against, 151-85, and the Sandy relief
bill which passed with only 49 Republican votes.
Last week when asked in he would bring the immigration bill to the floor
without the majority of Republican support, Boehner left the door open a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don`t intend to bring an
immigration bill to the floor, that violates what I and members of my
party, what our principles are. And so, I continue to believe that you`ll
see strong bipartisan majorities for bills we bring to the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Notice he didn`t real it out really, but refers to principles and
bipartisan majorities. Yesterday, though, when asked almost the same
thing, well, the door seemed a lot more closed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: I don`t see anyway of bringing an immigration bill to the floor,
that doesn`t have a majority support of Republicans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, there you go, John Boehner, you have now painted yourself
into a corner, haven`t you? Because on one side, you`ve got the Republican
donor class, the party elites, Reince Priebus, Grover Norquist, Frank
Luntz, Karl Rove, Thomas Donohue of the Chamber of Commerce, and the
business interests that actually want this bill for economic reasons,
they`re all saying if you want a chance at a viable national party in the
future, Republicans cannot blow this opportunity at comprehensive
immigration reform. They cannot be seen as the party that killed it.
And at the same time, he`s got a House Caucus whose Judiciary Committee
members last night, with very little fanfare passed a bill out of
committee, that makes undocumented immigration a federal crime and allows
local police officers to act like immigration enforcers, and whose members
were outside the Capitol today for both anti-amnesty rally with Republican
voters holding up signs about the IRSS and Obama being a communist.
John Boehner already has two strikes against him with the caucus because of
past Hastert Rule indiscretions. And if he breaks it again, he`s probably
dead as speaker -- or in his own words it`s at the very least a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Speaker Boehner, Representative Rohrabacher said bringing
immigration reform to the floor without the support of the GOP Caucus, you
could lose your job. Do you think that`s accurate?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There was a lot of drama in that pause. John Boehner is spacing a
genuinely Shakespearean choice before him.
Does he do the morally and politically right thing that could cost him his
job, but will ensure huge benefits for millions of human beings and for the
party he leads? Or does he take the easy way out, self-destruct his party,
burn it all to the ground for another generation, so he can be speaker of
the House for just a little while longer?
Joining me now is Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Democrat from Illinois. He`s
a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and chair of their task force
And, Congressman, my understanding is, you met with the one and only
Speaker John Boehner today to talk to him about this issue. How did the
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: The meeting went very well. As you
probably suspect, Boehner is not much of an ideologue. He`s a practical
man. And in the past, he`s been very receptive to pro-immigration
positions. Much like Paul Ryan and other members of the Republican Party
that might not be noted for their pro-immigrant votes or better, I think
express they`re voting against other draconian measures in the past.
So, it was a very -- a good meeting. He welcomed us to his office. He was
very kind to us and very generous with his time.
And here`s essentially what he said to us. He said, he`s looking for a
majority of the Republican Party to pass comprehensive immigration, but
he`s also looking to work toward a majority of Democrats. In other words,
he said to us, he wants to meld a majority.
GUTIERREZ: But he was particular about the majority of his own party.
HAYES: I think it`s heartening and beautiful and inspiring that the
speaker thinks there`s a possibility of a majority of the Republican House
Caucus coming together around some kind of comprehensive immigration
reform. You`ve been working on this for years, Congressman.
HAYES: Am I wrong to think that is an absolute pipe dream, given the make-
up of the current Republican House Caucus?
GUTIERREZ: I don`t believe that there -- here`s what I believe. I believe
HAYES: Say the honest thing you were going to say first.
GUTIERREZ: Yes, here`s what I believe. I believe that the Chairman
Goodlatte and the Judiciary Committee can pass four or five different
bills. He can do it with help STEM industry, do border control. You know,
they can do a series of bills, they can do E-verify, here`s what they can`t
do. They can`t settle the problem of 11 million undocumented workers in
HAYES: That`s right.
GUTIERREZ: They can`t do that, unless they engage in a true bipartisan
conversation of which I`m ready to help them resolve and save themselves
from themselves. Not because that`s important, but because I want to do
what`s right for America and an immigrant community that really deserves
our help at the moment.
So, I don`t believe the majority of them exist for legalization.
HAYES: For the key thing which is path to citizenship. That seems to be
the problem because that -- Democrats are not going to vote for anything or
get behind anything that does not have that key cornerstone of path to
citizenship, and that`s exactly the sticking point for, I believe, a
majority of your colleagues in the House Republican Caucus.
GUTIERREZ: And, you know, they`re stuck between a rock and a hard place,
so I think here`s what he did. He kept his -- he was very nice, he was
congenial. He also kept his options open with us, to see how things are
going to play out. And I just want to say that I`m going to continue to
work with him.
Look, all of that we saw in front of the Capitol, somebody has to act like
HAYES: That`s right.
GUTIERREZ: And --
HAYES: And that`s the big question, is the speaker going to be that person
Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Democrat from Illinois, thank you so much for
your time tonight.
HAYES: Joining me now is Frank VanderSloot who sits on the board of
directors for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And he`s CEO of Melaleuca
Incorporated, a household consumer product company who`s named I may have
just butchered. There you go, Melaleuca. Thank you very much.
Frank, it`s wonderful to have you here.
You are someone who is quite influential in the Republican Party. You`re a
big donor. You`re a big Romney supporter. You`re a very outspoken
advocate of getting comprehensive immigration reform done.
Do you basically buy my analysis that it`s going to come down to John
Boehner making this gutsy bold choice to get this thing to the floor? Is
that how you understand it?
FRANK VANDERSLOOT, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Look, I don`t -- Chris, thank
you for having me today.
But I don`t know the make-up of the House specifically and personally. But
I will tell you that the polls that we`ve seen say that the vast majority
of Republicans, in Republican states are for immigration reform. And so
the -- this poll by the Public Policy Polling and Harper Polling, I don`t
know if you`re familiar with it, done by a bipartisan group. The SEUI,
Republicans for Immigration Reform and the National Immigration Forum, they
tell us that in Republican states, conservative states, poll of Republicans
only from -- depending on the state -- 61 percent to 78 percent of
Republicans are in favor of immigration reform.
So, if these congressmen are listening to their constituents, they will
pitch in and help us. You may have some special interests that they`re
afraid of, I`m not sure.
HAYES: Here`s the problem, though. That polling, I`ve seen polling that`s
similar. I think that polling is largely right. But there`s an intensity
gap which is to say, I`ve heard members of Congress, Republican Party
saying, our switchboards are getting lit up by people who are opposed to
"amnesty", quote-unquote. There are the rallies on the Capitol lawn.
Your job as I understand it, folks like you, who are committed, well-known
Republicans is to try to put a thumb on the other scale. So my question
is, when you`re inside a room with a member of Congress from the Republican
Party who`s on the fence on this, what are you telling them, how are you
trying to sell them on this?
VANDERSLOOT: Well, in the first place, I will tell you that every single
senator that I`ve talked to, and every congressman that I talked to is pro-
immigration reform. So, I`m not sure who the players are that you`re
But I will tell you this, I would appeal to just common sense and a little
bit of compassion. This is not a Democrat issue. It`s not a Republican
issue. This is a humanitarian issue.
And common sense would say that we solve this issue of 11 million
undocumented Hispanic only. There are others beside the Hispanic
community, 11 million. And they`re going to come. They`re going to be
here, and you can`t blame them for being here.
If you knew these people, I talked to many of them personally. I know many
of them personally, if you hear their stories you would have compassion on
them. And you would say they`re good people.
They just love their families. They want to be in a good country where
they`re going to have good jobs. Some of them want to come and work here
and go home, they want to do that legally, and we should give them the
HAYES: But, Frank, you`re saying that to me, and I completely agree with
you. But there was a rally on the Capitol lawn today where a guy got up
with a microphone saying, these people want to come and cut your throat.
That`s the rhetoric that a lot of the people that are in the base of the
Republican Party are hearing from their leadership.
VANDERSLOOT: I don`t think they`re hearing that from the leadership at
all. I don`t think that`s coming from the Republican leadership at all. I
certainly haven`t heard it, and I think I`m pretty well-connected.
You`re hearing that from radical groups that lack common sense, that are
drinking somebody`s Kool-Aid, certainly not the Kool-Aid from the
Republican Party. I do not believe the vast majority of the Republicans or
any leadership of the Republican Party believe that are saying that or
telling the truth to people. I have not heard it a single time.
HAYES: I hope that`s true, and I hope it manifests itself in the House of
Representatives. I`d love to have you back to talk about it again. I know
you`re a real key player on this.
Frank VanderSloot from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, real issue, thank you
for coming on tonight.
VANDERSLOOT: Thank you.
HAYES: A 66-year-old man cares for his sick wife of 40 years gets arrested
for it and faces 10 years in prison. That`s coming up.
HAYES: Why we need a cease-fire on the war on marijuana.
And as congressional Democrats try to actually live on food stamps, one
Republican says the average benefit of $4.50 per day is, quote, "cushy".
That`s coming up.
HAYES: As I was reading the news this morning, I was shocked by an article
someone posted. And it was story of a 66-year-old man who was arrested in
Beaufort County, South Carolinas, for drug trafficking, because he was
caught growing marijuana plants for his very sick wife. He says it helps
her eat and sleep better.
The story seemed like a classic case of how our laws have simply not caught
up with the society that now largely favors the legalization of marijuana,
especially for medicinal use. Then, we noticed that the suspect, Frank
Dennis Peters, whose mugshot you see here was busted after 137 plants were
confiscated from his property.
We thought, well, OK, wait a second, with those plants, maybe there was
something more to this drug trafficking charge. After all, 137 plants must
look like something like this, right? Or even something like this, lots
and lots of pot.
But the very helpful public information officer of the Beaufort County,
South Carolina, Sergeant Robert McIntosh, said, no, the 100 plus plants
were three pots, in various stages of development, so possibly three of,
Sergeant McIntosh informed us there was no evidence Mr. Peters was selling
the pot or making a profit. It looks like what Peters says it is, that he
was growing plants in order to provide comfort for his wife, who is
suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
But this dangerous criminal has been taken down. And here are the dramatic
details: after someone, maybe a guest or a neighbor alerted the sheriff`s
office about the plants, police went to the 66-year-old man`s residence and
conducted what they call a knock and talk, and Mr. Peters was immediately
cooperative and forthcoming. He invited the officers in and directed them
to the location of the marijuana.
Mr. Peters then served up coffee while the officers went through the motion
of confiscating the multiple plants of marijuana, you know, just like your
every day coffee klatch.
And, finally, a time was set whereby Mr. Peters would turn himself in which
he did, after arranging for a caregiver to come look after his sick wife.
Peters was booked for drug trafficking, because the number of plants
exceeded 100 and he was released the same day. Despite the implicit
acknowledge by police that Mr. Peters is, in fact, not a dangerous
criminal, Mr. Peters could face up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to
$25,000 or both.
And you have to wonder, why are we doing this? Look at the polling. Look
at this elderly man no one is hurting anyone, and there are literally
scores of other arrests like that of Mr. Peters who told a reporter, "I
have a moral obligation to make my wife as comfortable as possible."
Joining me now is Ryan Grim, reporter for "The Huffington Post" and author
of the fantastic book, "This is Your Country on Drugs."
And, Ryan, I thought -- was so taken to the story, because it seemed to
perfectly embody the madness of the war on drugs. This guy`s not doing
anything. Here`s the other twist to this, is that South Carolina has
medicinal marijuana, which they passed all the way back in 1980, you just
have to get it from the Department of Health and Environmental Control
which has never distributed the drug.
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, I wrote a book about this, and I
didn`t know that South Carolina had a medical marijuana law. It`s so
absurd, maybe what he should have done is donated his plants to the South
Carolina Department of Health and then had the Department of Health donate
them right back to him.
I mean, why people in South Carolina would want to use their tax dollars or
anyone in the United States would want to use their tax dollars to take
this man away from his sick wife and put him in prison. I mean, in
Michigan, a man was arrested who had a kidney and pancreas transplant. He
was growing medical marijuana for himself.
The government has now sent him to the same prison where Tsarnaev is,
because, you know --
HAYES: Is that really true?
GRIM: It is true. At first they weren`t going to do that, despite the
judge recommending that he go to a federal hospital instead of a prison.
They were going to put him in a regular prison. There was some press
inquiries and there was a protest held. So, they finally moved him and
he`ll literally be sent to the same prison as Dzhokhar, the Boston bomber.
And because he has two transplants, his health care is extremely expensive.
We calculated it will cost at least a million dollars to imprison this very
old, very sick man who was growing weed.
HAYES: This is Jerry Duvall who you`re talking about. I mean, we should
be clear here, these are not freak occurrences, there are 100,000 people
presently incarcerated for pot-only offenses.
And one of the questions I have for you is, as we have seen a real sea
change in the polling data, in public opinion, as we`ve seen the politics
change at the state level, are we seeing that filter down to the basic
street level in terms of cops? It seems there`s a growing disconnect
between where society is, what it thinks is wrong, and where the punishment
and where the law and law enforcement are.
GRIM: I think yes and no. You are seeing some change in the ground. I
think you are seeing some officers treated much less differently in
Colorado, for instance, after voters legalized marijuana, the D.A.`s
dropped all the pending pot charges they had against people. Even though,
because it was illegal when it was passed, they still could have gone
forward with that, but it`s still costing people their lives.
Even people who aren`t in prison for drugs are affected by it. So, let`s
say that you`re in prison for burglary. And then you get paroled, if you
show up and take a drug test and you test positive for marijuana, you`re
going right back into prison. So --
HAYES: You`re using tax resources on someone who presumably may not
actually be a recidivist, may actually have their life together, who`s
engaging in some recreational drug use. We`re putting them back in the
system. We`re going to spend all the tax resources on that?
GRIM: Right. And even people who aren`t in that situation, you know,
because -- they might not be able to get a job because of this, I mean,
they might get fired from their job. There are all kinds of repercussions
that continue to hit people.
And nearly a million people a year are still arrested to this day for
marijuana. Now, the statistics are that marijuana selling has increased 10
percent to 15 percent the last several years. So, with arrests flat, the
intensity of the arrests is going down. But, that`s a small comfort to
these nearly 1 million people whose lives are being disrupted by these
HAYES: Ryan Grim from "The Huffington Post" -- thank you so much.
GRIM: Thank you.
HAYES: Remember when Republicans wanted welfare recipients to undergo drug
tests? Now, they`re proposing the same requirement for people who get
food stamps. More on that coming up.
HAYES: As the father of an 18-month-old, I sometimes find myself sitting
in the sandbox watching my daughter. She`ll stomp over to some other
unsuspecting toddler and do something breathtakingly anti-social, snatching
a bucket from some boy`s hands or yoinking the toy out of a grass for the
kid she towers over.
And a big part of parenting is, you know, walking over and saying, calmly,
but firmly, no, we don`t do that. We don`t do that.
That`s the motto of the socialization process, and we all, from the time we
emerge from the womb, to our last breath on this earth, are ceaselessly
being taught in obvious and subtle ways the rules of society, of what is
and isn`t tolerated, what is and isn`t done. And this is, of course,
necessary and vital.
I mean, observing social taboos, wanting to be respected and liked by our
peers, in short caring what other people think is in some really deep sense
the cornerstone of civilization. It is our default setting and makes human
flourishing possible. But it`s a crucial but. There are many
circumstances in life when caring too much about the esteem of our peers,
about what just isn`t done is massively destructive. Think about it, I
mean, there were many executives inside Enron who probably would have
spoken up or called the feds if they weren`t so worried about destroying
their relationships with their co-workers.
And there were dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of bankers and
brokers during the housing bubble that went along with a massive Ponzi
scheme because pointing out that it was all a scam was something that well,
we don`t do. There are many reporters who have seen much more than they
will ever tell their readers because they do not want to invite (inaudible)
or sanctions from their peers or their sources.
They want to stay in everyone`s good graces. Certain people, though,
certain people are able somehow to transcend our deep socialization when
the circumstances call for it. They`re able to recognize corruption or
duplicity that others just accept in order to go along to get along.
I`ve always had a special admiration for those people, who when it matters
are willing to proclaim loudly, even rudely, this is f-ed up. Michael
Hastings was that kind of person. The 33-year-old reporter and author died
early Tuesday morning in a car wreck, a brutal tragic loss that has robbed
the world of an exemplary journalist and talented writer.
He wrote detailed diligent riveting pieces that made things uncomfortable
for politician, flacks and officials of all kind. His blockbuster "Rolling
Stone" article "Runaway General" about Stanley McChrystal painted a picture
of a senior military leader who rolled his commander-in-chief and grown
contentious of his civilian bosses. It led to McChrystal being canned.
I think it was a real turning point for the Obama administration from
doubling down in Afghanistan to getting out. Of course, there was a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was an interview heard around the world.
McChrystal and his aides disparaged President Obama, mocked Vice President
Biden, and called the National Security adviser a clown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S.-Afghan commander was brought down over a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Hastings, if you believe him, says there were
no ground rules laid out. To me, something doesn`t add up here, I don`t
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was Michael Hastings fair to the military men that
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to wonder what "Rolling Stone" did to win over
the general`s confidence because its reporter is certainly not somebody
with a track record.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have someone who`s making friends with you,
pretending to be sympathetic, pretending something that they are not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it will definitely have a chilling effect on
reporting on U.S. military.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is probably set back the reporting of quite a ways
because -- the trust between the military and the media has been shot out
of the water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Hastings has never served his country the way
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to have a pretty dire effect on relations
between the military and the media and the field.
HAYES: You see, Michael, we don`t do that. Now, some of those people who
are willing to yell out that the emperor has no clothes, some of them turn
out to be people you wouldn`t within to spend a lot of time with. Some are
just kind of jerks who are in the right place at the right time, people
whose natural anti-social inclinations turn out to be useful and adaptive
under certain circumstances, but make them pretty tiresome otherwise.
What was so amazing about Michael was that he wasn`t that way. He liked to
argue for sure. He could be difficult, but he was also kind, generous, and
charming and earnest, really earnest. And I got the sense in talking to
him, that he wanted to be liked, which is what makes his body of work all
that more remarkable.
Last night as I was sitting alone after the show at home processing his
death, I thought about him writing up the first draft of that McChrystal
article. Knowing that publishing it would mean that the very important
senior military officials he`d spent all that time with would hate him,
would feel betrayed, that the White House would never trust him. Others in
the press corps would view him as violating an unwritten code.
That future sources would be less likely to talk to him and I think of
charming likeable Michael sitting alone in the cold light of his laptop,
staring at his computer reading the draft one more time and knowing all of
that was about to happen. And then I picture him clicking send. We`ll be
right back with Click 3.
VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, MSNBC: I`m Veronica De La Cruz. An MSNBC news
update, Hollywood is mourning the loss of veteran actor James Gandolfini.
HBO representatives have confirmed he died while on vacation in Italy. The
Emmy Award winning actor is best known for his betrayal of mob boss Tony
Soprano in HBO`s hit series "The Sopranos." The New Jersey native also
appeared in "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Not Fade Away." Gandolfini leaves
behind a wife and children. He was 51 years old. And now back to ALL IN
with Chris Hayes.
HAYES: There`s a Republican jihad on food stamps of all things and it
affects millions of people. That is coming up.
But first I want to share the three awesomest things on the internet today,
beginning with a shocking termination of an iconic pitchman, I`m talking
about George Zimmer, who is not only the founder of the Men`s Warehouse
chain, but has been the face of the company delivering this signature line
in its ads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, apparently Men`s Warehouse did not like the way he looked, so
they canned him. They fired the guy who founded the company and what`s
worse they can still use him in commercials because as one retail analyst
tells BuzzFeed Men`s warehouse keeps legal rights and more than 500 hours
of footage of him.
However, the mega chain has recently been evaluating Zimmer`s effectiveness
as spokesman. Everyone knows he`s the guy selling affordable suits. I for
one don`t like where this is headed. Next thing you`ll tell me the hair
club for men pitch man was neither the president nor a client and
(inaudible) doesn`t even ranked as the second most interesting man in the
The second awesomest thing on the internet today, the next time you get a
lecture from the well meaning (inaudible) your wife about how no one writes
letters any more, dresses up at the airport. The folks at Web Comic XKCD
remind us people have been complaining about the creep of technology and
its perilous impact on our society for at least 140 years.
This includes quotes from old newspaper articles in which folks opine about
the world`s downhill spiral. From Sunday magazine in 1871, we fire off
rapid short notes instead of sitting down with a piece of paper. In 1890,
the age of leisure is dead and the art of conversation is dying.
In 1905, people talk as they ride bicycles without pausing to consider
their surroundings. Good thing these sensitive sounds weren`t around to
experience the dialup connection, the online melancholy of Friendster or
the inevitable tweet of a congressman`s junk.
And the third awesomest thing on the internet today what would our
Victorian foremothers think about our obsession with posting video on the
internet of our pets attempting to do human tasks. They probably would
find it strange but adorable. Perhaps the adorableness factor depends on
the type of pet.
This is Julius the snake. She will not only open your door, but haunt your
dreams. This video was uploaded (inaudible). In the year since it`s been
uploaded, it`s possible her owners have taught her to do all kinds of
things, like drive a car, look after Fido. What`s the last thing Julius
knows how to do? That`s right, scare the crap out of everyone she
encounters. You can find all the links for tonight`s Click 3 on our web
site, allinwithchris.com. We will be right back.
HAYES: Last night on ALL IN, I called out Republicans in the House for
wanting to cut $20 billion over 10 years from the federal food stamp
program. And if they get their way about 2 million people, 4 percent of
participants would lose their food stamp eligibility. My commentary got a
fair amount of response, including this tweet from my friend and
conservative writer, Tim Carnie.
Are you predicting that many Americans will now die of hunger, suffer
malnutrition? In all honesty, I think people have that reaction a lot and
not in a cynical way. I mean, this is the richest country in the world.
It`s true. We don`t have people literally dying of starvation, but that
also seems a rather low bar for a country as great as this one.
The truth of the matter is that in 2011, 50 million people in America could
not afford to provide adequate food for themselves or their families. And
according to the USFDA, of those 17 million often had to skip meals reduce
the size of their meals or even go without eating for an entire day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The assistance programs in the United States are very
hard to qualify for. It`s like either you`re starving or you don`t get any
help. What defines starving? If you don`t eat for a day, are you
starving? In their eyes, no, but in your eyes and the way you feel, of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There are still, though, hunger truthers out there like Texas
Republican Steve Stockman who believe that if you can`t survive off food
stamps and you`re, quote, "intentionally buying overpriced foods and
shopping at high priced chains." Most people don`t realize that the
average food stamp benefits amounts to $4.50 a day or $31.50 a week.
So this month, 26 members of Congress lived off a food stamp budget for a
week to draw attention to House Republicans cuts to the program. They
quickly discovered something about hunger that poor people have known for a
while. It sucks. So enter Congressman Stockton`s Communications Director,
His Twitter bio says his mind is so powerful he wears an 11 gallon hat. He
did about 12 gallons of trolling saying he took the food stamp challenge
and quote, based on my personal experience with snapped benefit limits, we
have room to cut about 12 percent more. See $4.50 a day was more than
enough for him to eat, he had a full belly with a few bucks to spare.
Let`s keep in mind here just who is actually eligible and benefiting from
snap. Food stamp eligibility is based on total gross household income. To
qualify a family of four cannot exceed $29,976 a year, which equals $2,498
a month. Subtract $949 for a typical two bedroom apartment. Subtract
another $1,066 in child care costs if you have one 4-year-old and one
school age child.
You`re left with $483 for everything for the month, car insurance, gas,
electric and phone bills, heat, clothes, incidentals and groceries. I`d
like to see Mr. Ferguson manage that challenge for a whole year and then
tell me how well he ate.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Democrat from California and
co-founder of the Out of Poverty Caucus. She is a former food stamp
recipient herself and organized the snap challenge to ask members of
Congress to pledge to eat on a budget of less than $5 a day, the average
food budget on the food stamp recipient.
Congresswoman, tell me about your personal experience with the program.
When in your life did you use it and what did it mean to you?
REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Chris. I`m glad you`re
covering this because this is so important to millions of people in our
country. In the early `70s, I had some difficult times. I was raising two
small children as a single mother. Of course, I wanted to get a good
paying job. I wanted to get through school. There was nowhere to turn,
but thank God for the food stamp program.
And I am deeply grateful to the American people for extending that helping
hand. Everyone has hard times every now and then. Let me tell you, Chris,
I know for a fact as a former public assistance recipient and a food stamp
recipient that no one wants to be on food stamps. Everyone wants a job.
They want a living wage so they can take care of their families and live
the American dream.
So it`s a very difficult period and let me tell you, right now going
through the food stamp challenge again. Really reminds me of what it
takes, the -- the weariness, the hassle, how do you do this on 450 a day.
I`m off of it tomorrow morning. Think of the millions of people who see no
end in sight and so that is the tragedy about this.
HAYES: What is your understanding of what the motivation is of your
colleagues who are trying to cut the program and have any been receptive
across the aisle to your arguments for just how vital and necessary this is
for the people that it helps?
LEE: Well, today we debated the McGovern amendment for example, and
Congressman McGovern for Massachusetts is the co-chair of our hunger
caucus, and he`s been a phenomenal leader in this. I wish you had heard
the debate when his amendment came up to restore the 20 billion. First,
many Republicans said that people are gaming the system.
Well, you know, the food stamps, the snap program, is one of the fewest
gamed government support programs ever, very little waste, fraud and abuse.
If you want to look at waste, fraud and abuse, you look at the Pentagon.
You look at the billions of dollars, the trillions of dollars that have
gone out in these useless and unnecessary wars.
And so when you look at waste, fraud and abuse, that`s part of their
argument that people are gaming the system. That is not the case.
HAYES: Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Democrat from California, thank you so
much for coming by tonight.
LEE: Thank you.
HAYES: We`ll be right back.
HAYES: We`re talking about the House Republicans desire to cut 2 billion a
year from food stamps, a proposal that would deny food assistance to
millions of people, many of them children. Joining me now is Joy Reid,
MSNBC contributor, managing editor for Phil Knicker, Lori Silverbush, co-
director of "A Place At The Table." We showed a clip of it just before.
And Joel Berg, the executive director of the New York City Coalition
Against Hunger. He is also author of the book, "All You Can Eat, How
Hungry Is America."
OK, so that`s the first question. You just did a documentary on this.
What does this program do, and how necessary is it? We`re not in a
developing world country. We`re not seeing images of swollen bellies and
insects buzzing around children, right. That`s what people think of when
you think of hunger starvation. What does it look like?
LORI SILVERBUSH, CO-DIRECTOR, "A PLACE AT THE TABLE": It looks like
somebody desperately trying to hold down one or two minimum wage jobs
usually without benefits and basically fulfilling their end of the social
contract and yet still unable to put food on the table. That`s what it
HAYES: To people that you work with, Joel, we have seen a huge expansion
in the program and that`s something that is empirically true. I mean, the
amount of people on SNAP has gone up. People look at this and say there`s
something wrong here. Why do we have this program that`s gotten so big,
$80 billion a year is not a small amount of money. What has happened and
what do you say to people who look at that and say this is a problem?
JOEL BERG, "ALL YOU CAN EAT, HOW HUNGRY IS AMERICA?" AUTHOR: I say the
reason we`re not Somalia or Haiti or North Korea, the program is working.
It`s counter cyclical. When the economy`s bad it increases, when the
economy`s good, it goes down. The reason we don`t have mass starvation is
this program is helping tens of millions of American families survive. The
facts are, before the 1970s, when we have the modern program we did have
third world style malnutrition. The facts prove that these programs almost
entirely ended hunger in America in the 1970s.
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: That used to be a bipartisan understanding.
Bob Dole who is in lot of ways one of the founding fathers of this program
and it also used to be understood as a way to help farmers and help
families. Ironically enough, there`s actually a business case for
continuing these programs because the biggest recipients of the money.
It`s all cycled back into the economy.
HAYES: No one`s saving --
REID: Companies like Kraft that make the boxed food that`s inexpensive to
buy, companies like Wal-Mart, supermarkets, all plow in the money from
these food stamp programs. We also had this interconnectedness of our
safety net programs that`s going to make this a double problem. Feeding
America that operates lots of food banks around the country sent out an
alert saying, you have kids who get free and reduced lunch because their
families are eligible for SNAP.
HAYES: So eligibility is a marker threshold that`s used across a variety
of government programs. If you kick people out of it, they are kicking
themselves out of the programs?
SILVERBUSH: I want to make an excellent case for this program. You or
your child may not benefit from the program, but she`s probably sitting
next to someone in school who is. You`re impacted by this whether you
personally are or not. And I think we all pay the bill for the fact that
we`re willing to -- we`re really being pennywise and pound foolish. We
have a massive obesity problem in this country. We`re not looking at food
policies that support the -- healthy foods. Make those ridiculously cheap
ingredients that someone on SNAP can afford.
BERG: Many of your viewers can`t grasp what $20 billion means. Every soup
kitchen in America provides about $5 billion worth of food. If the House
cuts go through, it`s as if every charity in America providing food, every
church, synagogue and mosque feeding their neighbors didn`t exist for four
REID: The other thing is, Republicans have this ideological belief that
charities should feed the poor not the government. What ends up happening
is you cut these programs and those food banks, the churches have to
provide more assistance.
HAYES: I want to play this sound because we focus on the house, but
there`s a Senate bill that`s way less draconian. I want to play sound of
him explaining what it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DAVID VITTED (R), LOUISIANA: My second amendment is very simple and
straightforward. It would establish a complete ban in the program for
anyone who`s committed a violent rain, rape or pedophilia. There would be
no opt out for states. I hope we can form a bipartisan consensus around
this basic idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Those are obviously horrific crimes, anyone who commits them should
be held to account and face justice. When that justice has been served and
they`ve gotten out of prison, it strikes me as strange that you would want
to not have them eat.
REID: The other thing, do you want their children not to eat.
HAYES: We`re talking about households.
SILVERBUSH: Most Americans are smart. It`s obvious of naked politicking.
We`re trying to equate food stamps and criminality. It`s no more
HAYES: That`s been a running theme of the Republican assault. You look at
the amendment list when we were going through them. It`s this idea that
there are people lining up the takers who are trying to sort of bilk this
program for all it`s worth, and we need to put these checks in front of
them to make sure they`re not going to --
REID: Remember too, there`s an ethnic continuing to it too. They`re
trying to imply that all of these people are black and brown people. In
fact, white women with kids are probably more prototypical of the program
than anyone else.
BERG: The hypocrisy of certain members of Congress who get millions of
farm subsidies themselves.
HAYES: Literally themselves, they have farms and get checks from the
government in farm subsidies. We`re going to talk about this again. They
just knocked down an amendment that would have stopped checks going to
government with subsidies who have farms. We have to stop.
MSNBC contributor Joy Reid, filmmaker Lori Silverbush and Joel Berg from
the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, thank you. That is ALL IN for
The "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right this second.
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