All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, July 22nd, 2013
Read the transcript from the Monday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
July 22, 2013
Guests: Phillip Agnew, Michelle Alexander, Alan Grayson, Michael Brendan
Dougherty, Martin Bashir, Heather McGhee, Jamie Johnson
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight on ALL IN:
There are a few places in this world where when a baby is born that
child`s life path is all but predetermined. One of those places was behind
this door in London, and another is if in any of the dark areas of this
map. We`re going to talk about both of those places tonight.
Also coming up, if I gave you 435 guesses, I wonder if you could make
the congress person being called the most effective representative. That
representative will be my guest tonight.
Plus, breaking news about the 2011 National League most valuable
player who has been suspended tonight without pay for the rest of the year.
But most surprising is what he had to say about the suspension.
All that is ahead.
But we begin tonight with what is now a full-fledged nationwide,
social, cultural and political response to the injustice of Trayvon
Martin`s killing. In just one week`s time, what was at first the reactions
of a few individuals to a verdict has become a genuine moment -- one
channeled by the president on Friday, one that holds out the possibility of
This weekend ushered in 100 rallies across the country, including New
York, Chicago, Miami and Memphis, organized by the National Action Network,
pushing for a federal civil rights investigation against George Zimmerman
who was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the
killing of Trayvon Martin.
But the thrust of these rallies was hardly limited to one goal, as
described by the peaceful protesters, including Trayvon Martin`s parents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
PASTOR JEFFREY JOHNSON, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA: We love our children
in America, and we`re not going to just stand by and say nothing when one
of our children are being gunned down.
ZION GREEN, INDIANAPOLIS PROTESTER: When I look back, I`m going to
remember the tragic death of a young African-American teen and I`m going to
remember that I did something to try to help. You know, I was a part of a
protest to try to, you know, find justice.
KENYA SMITH, PROTESTER: To find a way to live together and not think
everyone is a suspect, and we have to find solutions to this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This verdict makes it very clear and gives a
green light to anyone that wants to shoot and kill a youth of color, and
you can get off and walk and two on and live your life and it`s OK.
TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FATHER: One of our biggest missions to
make sure that we advocate against senseless violence.
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: I want your voices to be
heard, but we have to make sure that we do it in a peaceful manner. I want
to lead by example.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: The National Action Network`s president, my colleague, the
Reverend Al Sharpton, got some support of the New York rally from Beyonce
and Jay-Z. At the top of the national conversation, of course, there was
President Obama, who placed himself squarely on the record with extended
remarks but we might as a nation choose to respond, as well as the context
of what it is like to be a black man in America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And that all
contributes, I thinks to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in
the same kind of scenario, that from top to bottom, both the outcome and
the aftermath might have been different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Those riveting, complex, extended surprise remarks succeeded
in elevating the unfolding conversation on social media and this network
about profiling and race and criminal justice into the national discussion
-- a national discussion now squarely focused on those rarely discussed and
now hotly debated themes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
TAVIS SMILEY, PBS: He was pushed to that podium. A week of protest
outside the White House, pressure building on him inside the White House.
CHARLES OGLETREE, HARVARD LAW: The reality is that he walked to the
podium. He wasn`t pushed to the podium. He walked to the podium.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we need to have a discussion on race but we
also need to have a discussion on how we`re treating poor and minority
people in this country.
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: As the president described, whether
as being followed around in a store or clutching bags in an elevator, those
are experiences that my son, our sons have had and it gave them that voice
and I thought it was really important for the president to validate and
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: In a far more intimate setting, no less important there is
this -- the Dream Defenders. We`ve been covering them ever since day
started occupying the offices of Florida`s Governor Rick Scott seven days
ago, vowing to remain there until the governor calls a special session to
reexamine Florida`s stand your ground law.
It was just last week the group`s executive director, Phillip Agnew,
who will join us in a moment was on this show telling us his group`s sit-in
had secured a meeting with the governor. That meeting was open, polite and
offered the Dream Defenders a chance to speak directly to the governor, but
didn`t move the governor to change his position.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP AGNEW, DREAM DEFENDERS: We plan on staying until you do call
that special session. I feel like it`s coming in a few minutes. And we`ll
continue to petition you, right? And I know you love people. We plan on
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I`m not going to call a special
session. I don`t believe right now that stand your ground should be
changed. But I tell you right now, I appreciate you and I look forward to
seeing you again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now from the capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, is
Phillip Agnew, the executive director of Dream Defenders.
Phillip, the last time you and I spoke was on television, before
you`re going into that meeting, I`ve seen some tape of the meeting. Did
you come away with a sense that was anything more than symbolic? Is there
a path forward to some of your demands here?
AGNEW: Thank you for having me again.
And I think it was symbolic. I think it was an opportunity, of
course, to open up a dialogue, but the governor the benefit of Monday or
Tuesday and Wednesday of last week to hear on a number of outlets what our
demands were. And so, a meeting to further discuss our demands and then to
tell us, no, must be symbolic and indicative of what he has determined to
be his plan of action moving forward.
So, yes, I do, I think it`s a way forward, a beginning of a way
forward, but as I said last week, our people and people from around the
country have encouraged us to stay. We`re determined to stay because we
believe that we have a plan to win.
HAYES: You have met with one of -- the head of juvenile justice in
state of Florida. Florida has a terrible record in terms of moving kids
from school to prison in the so-called school-to-prison pipeline. We`ve
covered one of those stories on this show, Kerry Wilmont (ph), 16-year-old,
arrested, charged with a felony for a small science experiment with a water
What came out of that meeting? What`s your proactive agenda to
address that crisis in the state of Florida?
AGNEW: You know, I think the governor this morning thought that it
would be important to dispatch his secretary and I think she came into the
room seeking to listen, as she said a number of times, and we had a number
of things to say, and it was also important that we gave her an opportunity
to speak on the record because the Dream Defenders and a number of other
groups, art of a coalition or juvenile justice where they`re on day one of
legislative session. We didn`t just sprout up out of anywhere.
And she didn`t support any of the bills that we were proposing to
proactively attack the school-to-prison pipeline, to eliminate arrests for
misdemeanors, to eliminate the zero tolerance policies in our schools that
allow for just minor offenses like the one you referenced with Keara (ph),
kids taken out of schools and put into prisons.
So, the opportunity was there months ago for her to act on these
things. I think today, once again, dialogue happened. But it`s the time
for action. When there`s a hurricane in Florida, there`s not a dialogue or
a task force that`s formed. There`s action.
And so, we feel like we`re in a state of crisis and it`s time for some
HAYES: So, you have been occupying, you and the Dream Defenders have
been occupying the capitol.
People watching this thinking -- well, you`ve gotten a meet with the
governor, you`ve gotten a meeting with the head of juvenile justice and the
governor told you he`s not going to call a special session, so maybe it`s
time for you to pack up and go home because you`ve made your position
clear. You`ve gotten some national television exposure. You`ve brought
some much-needed attention to these issues. Call it a day, mission
accomplished and go home.
What do you say to that?
AGNEW: I think that`s the short-sided view. We didn`t do this with
the intention of being here, though I`m honored every time I have the
opportunity to talk to you or anybody else about what we`re doing, but we
came there to win, and so even after folks have forgotten, as many people
do, we`ll be there with the objective of winning. Our demand has always
been for that special session.
So he can send another secretary tomorrow, he can send his chief of
staff later on this week. He can dispatch any of a number of people that
he thinks will listen to us, but right now, we`re calling on action, and
really, quite frankly, we think it`s important for young people around the
country, and in our state who have been acting and who have been moving to
know that there is somebody who won`t give up.
And we have a plan to win. It`s not just about the occupation. We`ve
got some local mobilization. We plan on petitioning local lawmakers to
send their support up to Tallahassee.
You saw with the president, he showed leadership. We`re just
expecting Governor Rick Scott to do the same.
HAYES: Phillip Agnew who will be leaving me now to go back to sleep
on the floor of the capitol tonight in the state of Florida, from the Dream
Defenders -- thank you so much. Appreciate it.
AGNEW: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Joining me now is civil rights attorney Michelle Alexander,
associate professor of law at the Ohio State University, author of the book
"The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness."
Michelle, you and I have spoken before and your book transformed the
way I think about race and criminal justice. Do you see an opening right
now in the very rare public conversation we`re having about race and
criminal justice to really get at the root of the problem here?
MICHELLE ALEXANDER, ASSOCIATE LAW PROFESSOR: Well, I`m hopeful in
part because of groups like the Dream Defenders, which have so inspired me
in the past week. You know, I think -- you know, immediately following the
verdict, there was great reason to be discouraged. There seemed to be a
media circus and a lot of punditry.
HAYES: I hate that.
ALEXANDER: But it wasn`t clear a meaningful movement might emerge.
But what we see with the Dream Defenders is young people standing up,
standing there ground courageously and nonviolently, taking matters in
their own hand, not trusting that politicians who have done so little in
the past decades to stand up for the rights of black and brown men, in
particular, and poor people of all colors, not trusting them to somehow
solve this problem but taking matters in their own hand and saying we`re
going to take over the state capitol until a special session is held.
It`s not sense of urgency and that level of commitment that is
required if we are going to ever move beyond these kind of episodic
explosions of fury and emotion when incidents like the Trayvon Martin
killing happen, or Gina 6 or the execution of Troy Davis. We`re going to
move beyond these episodic explosions of anger and then back to business as
HAYES: And business as usual --
ALEXANDER: And actually build a movement. It will require this kind
HAYES: Business as usual has, as you document in your book, and as
many who are working in the movement to reform our criminal justice system
-- I mean, what we`ve gotten a little bit what I think is interesting in
wake of the verdict is just peeling back curtain on what business as usual
in the American criminal justice system looks like.
For people that are just tuning into that, what would you tell them
the summary version of that? What is the problem that needs changing aside
from the fact that Trayvon Martin won`t live to see his 18th birthday?
ALEXANDER: The problem that needs to be changed is that some people
define largely by race and class, are viewed as a problem. A problem to be
managed, dealt with harshly, controlled.
You know, back in 1903, WEB DuBois wrote that the defining experience
of being black in America is constantly being viewed as a problem. A
problem to be managed, dealt with, but never solved.
And today more than 100 years later, black and brown men are viewed as
a problem to be dealt with harshly. They`re viewed that way in our
schools. They`re viewed that way on the street. They are treated like a
problem rather than a group that may have some problems like all people of
all colors have problems. It`s part of the human condition. But they`re
viewed as the embodiment of a problem.
In fact, I think one of the reasons why Trayvon Martin`s death
resonated so harshly -- I mean, resonated profoundly is because it was one
of these rare experiences in the so-called era of colorblindness, when
suddenly the curtain was pulled back and all of the usual justifications
and rationalizations for treating black and brown boys and men as a problem
and up to no good were revealed to not hold water. All you had was this,
you know, young boy, a teenager walking down the street, talking to a girl
on the phone, carrying Skittles and iced tea and he is viewed as a threat,
as a problem, someone to be dealt with, confronted, managed, controlled.
And the fact that his killer has been allowed to walk scot-free I
think has enraged so many was it suggests that this problem will never be
HAYES: That`s right.
ALEXANDER: That black and brown men will always be treated this way
and viewed this way with impunity.
HAYES: Unless something changes and unless people like the Dream
Defenders and others get to shaking up a political system that has grown
way too complacent and comfortable with the levels of incarceration,
targeting and profiling.
Civil rights attorney, Michelle Alexander, whose new book "The New Jim
Crow" everyone should read -- thank you so much.
There`s one member of Congress, by one objective, and pure call
metric, the most effective member of the House of Representatives -- and
you`ll be shocked to find out who he is. He joins me, next.
HAYES: Pentagon announced yesterday that 71 Guantanamo Bay detainees
will get parole board-style hearings that were ordered by President Obama
two years ago. The hearings aren`t going to decide whether the United
States is illegally imprisoning the detainees. Instead, the panels will
assess whether continued law of war detention is necessary to protect
against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United
It`s unclear when the panels will meet and whether the media will be
allowed to cover the hearings. Pentagon also did not announce which of the
detainees would go first. The news comes as detainees are on a five-month-
long hunger strike over the conditions of their detention.
We will continue to follow this story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Just don`t get sick. That`s what the
Republicans have in mind for you, America. That`s the Republicans` health
But I think that the Republicans understand that that plan isn`t
always going to work. It`s not a foolproof plan. So the Republicans have
a backup plan in case you do get sick. If you get sick in America, this is
what the Republicans want you to do.
If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die
That`s right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Congressman Alan Grayson, who was best known during
his first time in Congress for his blistering cable news-friendly attacks
on his political opponents. That didn`t go over too well in his home
districts when he was unseated by Republican challenger after one term by
18 points. Thanks to redistricting, Grayson was able to run in a much more
Democratic district outside Orlando in 2012. And he won, sending him back
to Congress for a second try.
In a fascinating new profile, "Slate`s" Dave Weigel pronounced Grayson
the most effective member of the House. What emerges is the picture of a
former firebrand who`s making his mark as a quiet, forceful and incredibly
Since returning to Congress, Grayson has launched dozens of under-the-
radar campaigns to win over his Republican colleagues. Grayson gets their
support on amendments to pieces of legislation accomplish small but
concrete progressive goals. He`s already passed 31 amendments in committee
this year. In one instance, Grayson attached a ban on funding for unmanned
aerial vehicles, also known as drones, to the homeland security bill. This
is kind of thing he`s getting Republican votes on.
Right now, Grayson is working the chamber trying to win support for an
amendment that would restrict NSA surveillance. He says he only needs four
It`s all pretty impressive. In the do-nothing Congress, the lawmaker
who is actually doing something is the last guy you`d expect.
Joining me now, Congressman Alan Grayson, Democrat from Florida.
And you`re chuckling at the last guy you expect I imagine, because you
thing you would expect that you would do thing.
Congressman, my question to you is, this really does see an Alan
Grayson 2.0, that you learn things from your first term in Congress and
that you are taking a different approach. Am I misreading it? Are you
just the same guy? Is the approach the same or did you learn something
from that first go-round?
GRAYSON: Well, remember that the only bipartisan accomplishment of
substance in the 111th Congress during my first term was when I joined with
Republican Ron Paul to pass a bill to audit the Federal Reserve, something
that had not been done independently for 100 years. He lined up the
Republicans. I lined up the Democrats. I picked up a bill that had
languished for 26 years, not even gone to committee hearing, and we got it
passed. So, this is a winning formula.
HAYES: So, you`ve been going through bills, looking at actually what
comes out of the majority, looking at amendments that passed before but
died along the way and going and talking to your Republican colleagues.
I want to play an interview with you, you did with Rachel Maddow in
2009 about the Republicans. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAYSON: The Republicans have nothing. They simply stick their heels
in, they dig their heels in. They won`t let anything get done, time and
time again. It`s not just the health bill. It`s everything. They simply
That`s not what America sent Congress to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s more or less my understanding of the current Republican
majority. Do I have it wrong?
GRAYSON: Well, the fact is that we`re able to win just by picking off
18 of them. And what we do is we frame things they find very difficult to
say no to. They don`t always look at it the same way that we do. You
know, for instance, I introduced an amendment recently that they consider
to be a state`s rights amendment, and Democrats consider to be an
So we picked off just enough Republicans to get to a tie vote. That`s
kind of thing you can do.
I think that most members of Congress look at legislation like the
blind men and the elephant. They think of the bill as whatever the part is
that they`re touching that they can`t see, and we take advantage of that.
We take advantage of that through framing it so that Republicans see
something good in our amendments and Democrats see something good in our
amendments, too, and therefore, we end up with practical results that
foster progressive goals.
HAYES: If you go and talk to your Republican colleagues when frying
to get these 18 members to come over and vote for an amendment you`re
proposing, do they look at you and said, that`s the guy who said our health
care plan was die quickly and saw him on MSNBC saying nasty things about
us? Is there a reputational gap you need to overcome?
GRAYSON: Listen, they could call me the guy who calls them callous,
bigoted tools. But the fact is that they vote their districts, they vote
what they regard in their self-interest and every once in a while, they
vote for what`s good for America as they see it. So, we can explain to
them why something is good for their districts, why something is good for
America, I have an audience.
HAYES: So, the big question here is, okay, getting some stuff into --
and some of these amendments are very interesting. No, Department of
Homeland Security cannot receive funds for programs that infringe on the
Constitution. It seems like a sensible amendment given that everyone is
sworn to uphold it. No government contract can be awarded to corporations
convicted of fraud which seems like a fantastic idea. Department of
defense must submit a report on vulnerabilities in the military supply
My question to you is, is there a way to transform the little model
that you found on these kind of discreet goals into something that can,
say, get the immigration bill through this House of Representatives? It
seems massively hostile to it.
GRAYSON: I think so. I think that the Republicans -- some of the
Republicans can look at immigration bill and they say, this is a bill that
makes our borders secure. Other Republicans can look at an immigration
bill and can say to themselves -- this is a bill that forces people who are
not paying taxes now, not paying their fair share of taxes to pay taxes.
I think this is a winning formula for getting things done in
Washington, and we badly need it. Many people now run successfully for
Congress by saying that nothing can get done in Washington. I think those
people personally, they shouldn`t run for Congress. But, in fact, the
public is convinced nothing can get done.
We have to show things can get done and that`s what we`re doing by
working this way and getting so many amendments passed that promote
HAYES: Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, a surprisingly can-do
kind of congressman -- thank you very much.
GRAYSON: Thank you, too.
HAYES: There is some big breaking news tonight in the world of sports
that has me thinking I`m an incorrigible sucker. I`ll explain, next.
HAYES: Major League Baseball has suspended Milwaukee Brewers
outfielder Ryan Braun after he admitted just a few hours ago to taking
performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension will take place immediately,
meaning Braun will miss the final 65 games of the season beginning with
tonight`s game in Milwaukee that started about 20 minutes ago.
Braun released a statement that reads in part, "As I have acknowledged
in the past, I am not perfect." Well, that`s according to him (ph). "I
realize now I have made some mistakes. I`m willing to accept the
consequence of those actions."
Major League Baseball has been after Braun for more than a year since
he first was linked to an anti-aging clinic in Miami that was the center of
a steroid investigation.
Braun was suspended for 50 games in 2011 for testing positive for
elevated testosterone. But the suspension was overturned in an arbitration
rule. The next season, the start of spring training, Braun repeatedly
strenuously denied using any performance-enhancing drugs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN BRAUN, MLB PLAYER: I`ve done this intentionally or
unintentionally, I`d be first one to step up and say I did it. By no means
am I perfect. But if I ever made any mistakes in my life, I`ve taken
responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart and I would bet
my life this substance never entered my body at any point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Bet me life.
Joining me now is Michael Brendan Dougherty, editor of "The Slurve," a
daily baseball newsletter.
Michael, here, you and I were talking about this before. So, here`s
what is nuts. Every time someone comes forward, it`s the same in all
doping scandals. Someone -- a person is accused and then he get up in
front of cameras, I`m such a sucker that I watch them lie through their
teeth into the cameras and I sit there starting to believe them. With Ryan
Braun, I said to myself -- nope, this time I will not be suckered into
this, I will not allow myself to be convinced. Clearly, the guy was
Then, it was thrown out on arbitration because they said the testing
protocol was breached. And, I thought, maybe the guy got a bum rap. I`m
sitting here being like, "You idiot! You idiot! You idiot! They are
always lying." Is that my takeaway?
MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY, EDITOR OF THE "SLUR": Yes. That is pretty
much your takeaway. I mean there is a -- Braun was not just lying on
behalf of himself. In some ways, he is lying on behalf of a culture of
cheating in the steroids scandal.
I mean, there are many more players who are implicated in the
biogenesis investigation and many more may come down to suspensions. In
fact, outside the line and ESPN is reporting that the evidence against Alex
Rodriguez is much worse and more plentiful than the evidence used in
suspending Ryan Braun for the rest of the season. So, the story is only
kind of just unfurling now into its final phase of suspensions.
HAYES: What is -- What is the play here by Major League Baseball? Is
this -- I mean, is this an attempt to clean up the sport or is this
essentially theater, right? Like they let him essentially, arbitration
overturned the suspension 2011. He actually went on and played quite well
in the playoffs that year. He was national league MVP.
HAYES: What is the play the league is making right now in going so
hard after these players that are associated with this lab?
DOUGHERTY: I mean everyone speculates about this. I think it is part
of Bud Selig`s legacy is that he doesn`t want to leave the game in a kind
of dirty shambles that may be it`s been over the past decade. Other`s
will say --
HAYES: But, I am feeling -- let me just say, I`m feeling dirty
shambles right now, right? I am feeling by just watching that tape of that
guy, listening to "I am innocent and the truth is on our side. I have been
an open book, willing to share details from every aspects of my life as
part of this investigation because I have nothing to hide." I am looking
at that and being like this is just an absolute fraudulent enterprise.
DOUGHERTY: Well, I mean, you could say that. But, I mean this is an
attempt to actually punish players, which wasn`t in force a decade ago
during the great home run chase with Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, when
baseball was just celebrating the accomplishments of guys that were
DOUGHERTY: So, this is an attempt to actually punish these players.
You know, some will tell you, commentators -- respected commentators like
Joe Sheen will say this is MOB exercising its powers over the players union
in order to make fans hate the players and get a better deal for owners in
the long run.
But, I think that this is a good-faith attempt, maybe not 100 percent
good-faith attempt but an attempt to impose the rules that the players
union signed on it and voted for overwhelmingly.
HAYES: OK. But, if this is the tip of the iceberg, is this -- I mean
it just seems to me that we are now in 2013. We have this, you know, there
is a testing regime that was agreed too by the players union. The owners a
few years back. It has now been in place. We have seen suspension of
high-profile athletes like Manny Ramirez.
This seems to me, like this, and whether it is the right thing or not,
could blow up the sport this year. I mean, this seems like it is the
potential here if all the players they are saying are going to be
implicated are going to be implicated, this is going to blow up this
DOUGHERTY: I mean it could. I mean people thought though that the
Black Sox Scandal in 1919 was going to destroy baseball forever and
baseball went into a period of renaissance after that was cleared up.
So, even if 20 players are suspended, even prominent players and the
pendant races are altered, baseball is going to survive this scandal. And,
in fact, I think it will be better off for it because I think this
strengthens the hand of those players who don`t want to have to resort to
illegal doctors, exotic drugs that they don`t understand just to stay even.
HAYES: I am a bleeding heart liberal, as you know Michael. But, I
have become a kind of a fire and brimstone old testament moralist on this
issue; because I don`t -- call me crazy, I hate being lied to. Michael
Brendan Dougherty, he writes -- he is the editor of "The Slur," which is
the liveliest best baseball writing you are going to find anywhere right
now. You have to check it out. Thank you very much. We will be right
back with #Click3.
HAYES: The newest royal isn`t the only one who is locked into his
place in society. A new study says in the U.S. where you are born has a
huge impact on your social mobility. And, it does not look as regal for
most of us, on that ahead.
But, first I want to share the three awesomest things on internet
today. At long last the wait is over. After months, years really of
anticipation, it has happened. Washington`s Corpse Flower has bloomed.
This, my friend, is America`s royal baby. You`re looking at it.
Titan Arum, a giant rainforest plant living in the U.S. botanic garden
right next to the capitol. In Layman`s terms it is a giant flower that
smells oddly like rotting flesh.
The last time, one of these things bloomed in America George W. Bush
was president. As the "Washington Post" reports experts have been
anticipating its bloom for more than a week, extending visiting hours.
The corpse flower is now at its peak smell. That`s a real thing.
And, it will remain open for the next few days. After that the flower will
begin to collapse in on itself embarking on a trajectory very similar to
Michele Bachmann`s congressional career.
The second awesomest thing on the internet today, you probably cannot
unsmell the stink of the corpse flower just like you cannot unsee this
photo of Geraldo Rivera. Fox News host tweeted this selfie out the weekend
offering this description, "70 is the new 50."
He has since deleted the tweet. But, I wish he hadn`t. Just like
putting it all out there. Geraldo was teaching America, but we have moved
beyond the shame of secret shirtless selfie. I mean we didn`t even know
this guy was a U.S. congressman until he admitted offering a woman on
craigslist two tickets to the gun show.
Glenn Beck for one believes a shirtless Geraldo should stayed up like
Al Capone`s vault tweeting this picture in response. But, I have to say, I
am on team Geraldo on this one. I mean if I look like this at 70, I will
be sure as heck tweeting out shirtless selfies every single day. That is a
promise America. Mission accomplished, bro.
And, the third awesomest thing on the internet today, unto us a child
is born. The prince formally known as baby has arrived. The royal
watchers and revelers flocked to Buckingham palace to delight in the news.
This point we don`t know very much about the future king, not even his
name. Despite the lack of information, the show must go on for the world`s
news media. And, prior to the announcement of the royal birth on the royal
easel, the media was going a bit stir crazy.
"The Guardian" offered ways to filter your news for those wishing to
avoid the royal madness. CNN of course embraced the waiting game reporting
from inside some random woman`s delivery room. But, we here at #Click3
salute BBC reporter, Simon McCoy. Mr. McCoy aired his and others`
misgivings about the coverage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON MCCOY, BBC NEWS REPORTER: Not everybody is enjoying the -- all
of the speculations, the endless speculation. A couple of texts coming in
to BBC. Come on, BBC, people do have babies. Stop saying the same thing
over and over, keep us the rest of the news.
Good morning. And, God help us if this ends up a long labor. That is
a view that I have heard expressed here by a couple of people. So, you
know, we`ll just wait and see. And, it could be tomorrow morning. Until
then, we`re going to be speculating about this royal birth with no facts to
hand at the moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Lighten up, pal. While royal baby watch may be no picnic, at
least you weren`t assigned to monitor the blooming of the corpse flower.
You can find all of the links for tonight`s #Click3 on our website,
allinwithchris.com. We will be right back.
HAYES: There are an average of about 11,000 babies born in this
country every day. So, if today is an average day by the end of the night,
there will be 11,000 brand new Americans living among us.
And, the great thing about all these American babies is that it is
possible, theoretically that any one of them could grow up to run this
country, which is why lots of people here in America, myself included, I
will admit, are watching what unfolded in Great Britain today with
something of a rye, mocking smile?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (1): You are hearing now in the distance,
people -- spectators, people who have come here just to support the -- Kate
and William, who are now applauding because they probably just heard that
it is a boy as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (2): It`s a boy. That`s got to be quite
significant. Obviously, a king is born.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The whole notion of hereditary rule, even the watered down
largely symbolic version of it. That is still being observed in Great
Britain is kind of ridiculous to many Americans, because in this country,
we believe that all men are created equal, that we are not simply fated to
our parents` lot, whether king or a janitor.
All those thousands of babies born in the U.S. today, their future was
not determined by whose womb they emerged from. That is the American
dream. But, the American reality doesn`t look nearly as dreamy as we hope.
New data parsed and published in a massive front page "New York Times"
piece today shows that not only are Americans` economic futures tied to who
their parents are. They are also tied to where in the country they grow
Check out this map. The blues and greens are areas where children
raised in the bottom 20 percent are most likely to be able to rise to the
top 20 percent. And, the red and orange areas show you where children
raised in the bottom 20 percent are least likely to be able to rise to the
As you can see, the southeast and the industrial Midwest are the worst
places to be raised poor. Even though we do not cast babies as future
figure heads in this country, the fact is that the accident of where and to
whom we are born determines a tremendous amount about our life outcomes
even here in the good old republic of the USA.
Joining me now is Heather McGhee, vice president of the progressive
policy group Demos, and my friend and colleague, Martin Bashir, host of his
own show that airs at 4:00 p.m. eastern, weekdays, on MSNBC. Martin, how
do you understand --
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: You are restraining your --
HAYES: No! I am not. No, no, no, no. I am not at all. Listen,
BASHIR: Let`s get to it.
HAYES: All cultures -- no, all cultures have a ritual and spectacle.
No, I`m not hating. I really am not. Like, there are people, "Hey, why to
we care about this baby?" You know, all this stuff is fun.
HAYES: My question to you is, you have in the UK -- and you and I
have actually discussed this before. One of the most kind of rigidly
class-bound societies and you also have this monarchy that continues to
thrive in a way that there are still monarchies in other European countries
but just doesn`t get the same kind of level of attention. Is there a
relationship between that do you think in British Culture?
BASHIR: There is. It is interesting having lived in the United
States for nine years. It feels to me as though Americans believe that
they have been inoculated from the aristocratic royal structure and class
structure by the constitution, which, of course, rules out barons,
baronets, duchesses, and kings.
And, then I read this book by someone, I can`t remember, a guy who
looked very like you, called "Twilight of the Uniques." And, I discovered
that America is not a class structure. It is a cash structure. Because
what you have here is parents who have a lot of liquidity who can fund
their little children, so the children can do things in the summer that
enable them to get into the best schools.
BASHIR: You then have people who could afford to send their children
to the best universities and having that liquid capital allows you to do
that. And, if you don`t have it, that is not possible.
BASHIR: Here is an interesting thing to think about for just a
moment. Infant mortality in the United States is the worst of any
developed nation in the world -- The world. It is three times worse than
it is in Japan.
69 percent of women in this country who have health insurance do not
have sufficient health care cover for maternity care. What does the
affordable care act do? It actually next year mandates that if you buy
into this system, your maternity care will expire --
HAYES: Care maternity care, right.
BASHIR: Guess what the republicans have tried to do for the last
three years? We have had the 67th attempt to vote down part or all of the
affordable care act. They say this is a meritocracy. What we have is a
system that has allowed exactly the same social divisions, widening of
disparities of wealth --
HAYES: That we threw off.
BASHIR: That you claim not to have in your constitution and yet it is
defined every single day in this nation.
HAYES: If you are telling me -- here`s the deal. Would you take the
monarchy if you got the national health service? That`s -- I`m serious.
BASHIR: Absolutely, yes.
HAYES: That`s a real question for progressives.
BASHIR: Absolutely, yes!
HAYES: If you -- yes, I think I would actually as well. Heather?
HEATHER MCGHEE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE PROGRESSIVE POLICY GROUP DEMOS:
Right. Because there is still actually -- the people who are actually
making the decisions on a day-to-day basis are elected officials in
Britain. Brits, right?
MCGHEE: So, that is really important. And, in fact, because they
don`t have extraordinarily expensive privately financed campaigns in
Britain the way that we do, they might actually have a much more
egalitarian access to the rules of our economy, which is actually the most
important determinant of, as this study shows, how the environment is, the
integration, how big the middle class is, the quality of the schools.
Civic engagement was one of the highest predictors of better mobility in
HAYES: Right. And, yet what`s fascinating -- here`s some interesting
data about social mobility across the AOC. Countries have basically
HAYES: The U.S. and the UK, this is a comparison of the strength of
the link between a father`s earnings and a son`s earnings. And, obviously
in this case, we have we have -- Well, William`s earnings are quite -- well
-- I don`t know if you`d call them earnings. I mean, he`s got lots of cash
and his son will have lots of cash, right?
So, when you look at -- actually, when you look at this and you rank
them, what you see is the UK all the way out there, where there is the most
connection between the father`s and son`s earnings.
And, the U.S., which is not on that chart is the one -- actually, it`s
right there next to Italy, right? So, it is the U.S. and UK are next to
each other. We share this kind of structure, even though we threw off the
monarchy and UK still has the monarch, underneath that are class systems
that are actually not that different.
And, I want to talk after we take a break to someone who is an heir
here in the states to a massive American corporate fortune about his
perspective on all this, after the break.
HAYES: I`m here with Heather McGhee from demos, MSNBC host Martin
Bashir. Joining us at the table, documentary filmmaker, Jamie Johnson, who
is a heir to the Johnson & Johnson.
His films include "Born Rich" children who are very rich and the 1
percent about the very rich. Both are available in Netflix. "Born Rich"
is a fascinating documentary. And, I just want to -- I`m still glad you
came to the table today. Because watching this spectacle unfold about
royalty in a literal sense, I mean, it`s a bloodline, but you have lived
your life among and made a film about what essentially is the American
approximation of that.
JAMIE JOHNSON, JOHNSON & JOHNSON HEIR: Indeed, yes. And, really, you
know, listening to your conversation earlier in the earlier segment in the
show. What`s most interesting about this topic to me is people`s
resistance to discuss inequality in this country. And, I think one of the
reasons and really the main reason why that occurs is because our
commitment to this motion of meritocracy is quite strong.
HAYES: The American dream, and we can all be the president if we
cannot all be the king.
JOHNSON: And, you know, although we`re that society, there are
exemptions to that and there are inconsistencies to that and that is
something we seem to struggle to reconcile certainly in conversation.
HAYES: Does it play some sort of important role, culturally, to have
a monarchy as a kind of, like, repository of people`s impulse to worship
their betters in some way? I mean -- no? Is there a counterintuitive --
BASHIR: Do you mean by that is the monarchy a British version of
celebrity in America?
HAYES: Yes. I mean -- right. And there is something --
BASHIR: To project upon them the mythology of your own expectations.
Maybe. But, I think you have to remember that there is a historical value,
because during the Second World War, the royal family played an incredibly
important part in galvanizing the nation.
Instead of running from London when it was being bombed during the
blitz, the royal family stayed in Buckingham palace and the queen mother
actually went to various sections of London, standing up with people whose
houses had been decimated. And, that produced a real effect --
BASHIR: And, also you have a queen in the middle of this who has
represented an utter commitment to duty and service to the nation. SO, as
exemplars of service, I think there is a sense in which people to look up
to the monarchy.
JOHNSON: Picking up on that point, if you don`t mind.
JOHNSON: It`s interesting here as well in the states, you see that
people, there is a love/hate relationship with wealth.
HAYES: Absolutely. That is what is fascinating about the spectacle
JOHNSON: People are fascinated by wealth and they`re drawn to
characters who are really extremely wealthy and who represent celebrity and
affluence, and yet at the same time, you see that there`s resentment and,
you know --
HAYES: And anger.
JOHNSON: And, all those things.
HAYES: I remember when I was growing up in the Bronx in the `80s and
I was in a very working class neighborhood, went to a public school, I was
amazed my friends` parents all loved Donald Trump.
Seriously. People were just, like, like, the Dominican ladies in the
Bronx were all about Donald Trump. It was like Donald Trump represented
something like he had made it even though he, himself, is an heir. He is
the son of a huge real estate fortune.
MCGHEE: That`s why it`s call the dream. People are waking up from it
now. the fact that young men today are making less than their fathers,
people are starting to understand, hopefully, that it`s no actually just
individual effort and merit, but, in fact, structures and the rules of the
game that we write together and things like trade policy, tax policy, and
wages matter. And that when we sort of outsourced making those rules to
very wealthy campaign donors and their friends in congress --
BASHIR: Our version of dukes, duchies, duchesses.
HAYES: Absolutely, who more or less are the people that make up what
is essentially the American ruling class increasingly.
MCGHEE: The senate is 50% millionaires.
HAYES: Right. And you have seen -- the American version of this,
there`s this cultural affinity. That`s what was interesting about the film
"Born Rich" that you made. These people that you know, they are basically
your homies because you grew up around them, because that`s who heirs hang
out with is other heirs.
JOHNSON: Yes. I mean there`s a tendency for everyone to tend to
stick with people that are familiar to them. And, I think that does
influence this discussion we`re having and trends we`re seeing toward
stratification of income and wealth. And, so people in elite jobs, elite
professions, high earners, they tend to want to bring in other people --
HAYES: Meet other people who went to those elite schools and fall in
love with them and get married.
JOHNSON: And, there is reinforced -- that network is consistently
HAYES: There has been for years a broiling debate in the UK about the
monarchy and republicanism. And, I saw polling today that showed that
support for republican system, getting rid of the monarchy, is actually
BASHIR: Oh, very low. The public polling is consistently between
about 77, which is a moment between 77 percent and 82 percent of commitment
to the monarchy by the entire population of the United Kingdom. So,
there`s a deep reluctance to let go of the monarchy.
HAYES: My question to you, is there, though, a conversation happening
there along the lines of the conversation we`ve been having in this country
about inequality, about this sort of yawning and about social mobility?
Because the UK and U.S. are in the same place in which your birth is such a
predictor of where you end up in the hierarchy.
BASHIR: There is, but one of the most disturbing facts of Britain at
the moment is that prime minister, the archbishop of Canterbury and the
mayor of London went to Eaton. Eaton being the boarding school where
Prince Harry and William both went.
And, so what we have is a period of post-war where there was
supposedly a welfare state and social mobility. What`s happened is the
nation has actually reverted to having these kings, dukes and duchesses in
positions of authority.
HAYES: Heather McGhee. My friend and MSNBC host, Martin Bashir, and
documentary film maker Jamie Johnson. Thank you all. That is "All In" for
this evening. The "Rachel Maddow Show" begins right now. Good evening,
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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