All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 21, 2013
Guests: Clint Murphy, Gary Young, Josh Barrell, Bertha Lewis, Robert Woodward
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight on ALL IN:
A former GOP staffer is diagnosed with cancer and converts to become an
Obamacare believer. He will be here with his story.
Also tonight, all that fear-mongering by the National Rifle Association
about a vast gun registry when all of the information about gun owners is
collected and stored in a secret database. It turns out that wasn`t so
crazy after all. We found out there is one, and we`ll tell you the
surprising answer to who set it up. That is coming up.
Plus, the apartment building plan for New York City that has separate
entrance, one for rich residents and one around the back for the poor
people in the affordable housing units. Pretty stark example of the
fracturing of America along lines of class. My guest tonight thinks it`s a
great idea. Stay tuned for that.
But we begin tonight with incredible, shocking news out of Syria. A
possible chemical weapons massacre with the government of President Bashar
al-Assad with casualty estimates ranging from more than 100 to more than
1,200. The latter figure, if confirmed, would amount to one of the
greatest war crimes of the past several decades.
NBC News cannot verify the authenticity of the amateur video we are about
to show you. It purports to show victims of the attacks and it contains
images of injured adults and children that may be considered disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: This morning, Syrian
rebels tell us there was a series of what they claim were chemical weapons
attacks. Ten villages at least to the east and north of Damascus, hit by
what rebels say were surface-to-surface missiles fired by the regime and
tipped with chemical weapons. The death toll well over 1,000.
Symptoms before death, witnesses tell us, were shortness of breath,
constricted pupils, foaming at the mouth. We`ve seen videos posted online
showing many women and children among the dead. The Syrian government has
denied categorically that it was responsible for this attack, denied that
it used chemical weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel
reporting, who will join us in a moment.
It should be noted that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which
operates out of Britain, but employs a number of contacts inside Syria, so
far confirms 136 deaths as a result of this morning`s attacks. This as the
massacre stands as the most violent military assault of that particular
area since the beginning of the uprising.
As we continue to show you this amateur video, it should be note that had
much of it we choose not to show because it contains uncovered bodies, many
of them children.
But this still photo captures a sliver of the horror. Syrian citizens
trying to identify the dead bodies of children in the town of Arbin in
Damascus. We`ve blurred the faces in this picture.
More amateur video captures smoke rising in the aftermath of the bombings.
Meanwhile, the stance of the major powers in regard to this conflict seems
largely unchanged. The Russian government accuses the rebels of unleashing
the attack themselves, the pretext for incurring favor with the U.N.
Security Council. The United States says the Syrian government should
facilitate the United Nation`s team of inspectors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Suffice it to say,
though, that the use of chemical weapons is something that the United
States finds totally deplorable and completely unacceptable. And those who
are responsible for the use of chemical weapons -- if it`s determined if
that`s what happened -- will be held accountable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A United Nations chemical investigations team arrived in Syria just
days ago, part of the 14-day mission to investigate claims of chemical
weapons in other prior attacks. And today, the U.N. Security Council today
held an emergency meeting -- all this, all of this, amid a whirlwind of
news out of Egypt already in a state of tremendous tumult and on
tenterhooks, with its former President Hosni Mubarak set to be released
from prison ahead of a retrial, there are worries about further violence in
a country that is, of course, has seen recent crackdowns against pro-Morsi
rebels and awful reprisals against Egyptian police and Christian civilians
in places of worship.
Joining me now is NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel.
Richard, what do we know? What can be confirmed about the awful, awful,
awful images we are seeing out of Syria today?
ENGEL: We`ve spoken to medical personnel. We`ve spoken to Syrian
activists in these areas where the attacks allegedly took place. Clearly,
something happened. They believe it was a chemical gas attack that around
2:30 in the morning there began a barrage of surface-to-surface rockets,
first firing into the eastern suburbs just outside of Damascus. That
lasted for about an hour with apartment buildings being hit.
Initially, people thought that it was just more of the standard shelling
that is very common place in the war in Syria as we`ve been seeing it.
Then, casualties started showing up in the field hospitals. People started
talking about chemical weapons attacks. Then, the casualties started
flooding in -- civilians, women, children, people who had been in those
After about an hour, the attacks shifted to the north, northern suburbs
just outside of Damascus, and a very similar pattern unfolding in those
same areas. We don`t exactly know the death toll. They range from
hundreds to well over 1,000.
But the kinds of stories, the kind of injuries, the kind of deaths that
were suffered are fairly consistent in the videos. We can`t authenticate
the videos because they were posted independently by people who are
supporting the revolution in Syria, but they seem quite -- they seem very
difficult to fake.
We`ve also shown them to independent experts, chemical weapons experts, who
thought they were consistent with a nonconventional weapons attack.
HAYES: So, what does this mean? The president has talked about a red line
and he`s been careful (INAUDIBLE) when discussing a red line to talk about
mass casualty events, to talk about systemic deployment. If we are seeing
something like this, if it is confirmed, it seems to me is the most
systemic mass attack, deployment of chemical weapons.
What does that mean for the red line the president has noted?
ENGEL: This would be a totally different scale of events. In the past,
we`ve talked about chemical weapons being used to kill one, two, five
people in numerous attacks. That always struck observers as a bit strange,
more of a terror tactic than a tactic of war -- using a limited amount of
chemical weapon to scare your enemy instead of creating mass casualties.
If this, in fact, is confirmed, this would be a different kind of attack.
Some of the rebels we`re talking about well over 1,000 killed. As you
mentioned in your intro, if that`s confirmed it`s one of the worst war
crimes, one of the worst atrocities carried out anywhere in decades.
The president talked about having a red line. If this is confirmed not
only is it crossed, that red line has been jumped over.
HAYES: NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, thank you.
Joining me now is author, journalist and MSNBC contributor, Rula Jebreal.
Rula, you`ve spent some time with the rebels. We`ve talked about this
You and I have both been, I think it`s fair to say, skeptical of the
efficacy of U.S. intervention. What is your reaction to the images coming
out of Syria today?
RULA JEBREAL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: This more than a red line. Richard Engel
is right. This is a moment we need to show the regime that something will
be done if he will continue. If he used these weapons, he has to be held
This guy has to, not only leave. He has to relinquish power and he has to
actually give the U.N. access to all of these sites, because God knows who
can access these sites further. I mean, if it`s a failed state, you can
have anybody and we were -- as you said -- skeptical because there`s within
the Free Syrian Army there is an element that is very Islamist.
What if in case of failed state, there are these sites who have access to
these sites are this kind of Islamists. We need to intervene more now than
HAYES: What does -- OK, what does -- here is where I watch this and I
think two things, what we see today, again, if confirmed we have to say we
cannot verify the video but it does -- these circumstantial picture
certainly looks like something truly horrific.
JEBREAL: It looks like Iraq. It looks like Saddam Hussein did in Iraq to
the Kurds. Let`s remember, when -- and to the Iranians. When there`s a
civil war between Iran and Iraq, Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons and
these are similar image to what we used to see coming from Iraq from the
Kurdish area and from the Iranian area.
HAYES: This is the incident Halabja in 1980 --
HAYES: -- in which Saddam Hussein used chemical agents against the Kurds.
Now, you know, he`s gaining in the battlefield he`s gaining ground.
JEBREAL: Sorry, Assad. And his allies in the region are helping him.
Iran, Hezbollah from other hand.
And he`s looking at Egypt and he`s thinking, you know what, they toppled
the president. We had Islamists winning. It didn`t succeed and now back
to the old regime. Even Mubarak is coming back. So, why I shouldn`t fight
in all kind of ways?
HAYES: So, you think Assad is making the calculation he looks at the
regional picture saying actually this Arab spring, this wave of revolution,
we`re now seeing retrenchment, I can hold on to this. I can stick this
JEBREAL: Exactly. Also, because he sees confusion by the West. We
weren`t able to call a coup a real coup for days. Until now, we`re not
even cutting the aid from the Egyptians after they killed thousands of
Look, Assad is the most Machiavellian dictator in the region and he`s
looking around him and he`s making a very hard calculation saying, OK, I
will -- I tested the chemical weapons. Nobody protested. Now I`m testing
it in a bigger scale.
HAYES: OK, so let`s say that is the case. Let`s say those initial reports
which were very small scale and baffling in their deployment we now see
something, again, if confirmed, a mass attack, a war crime.
JEBREAL: A war crime.
HAYES: A war crime. What is the response? Because you and I have both
talked about the dangers and unintended consequences of arming rebels. We
talk about the fractious situation on the ground there, about the al Qaeda
affiliate elements that are part of the rebel group, the Free Syrian Army.
We talked about the possibility of blowback, the difficulty of control.
So what does any kind of escalating U.S. intervention or accountability or
punishment for crossing the red line look like?
JEBREAL: Look, we have to think about it this way. What is the least
worst option that we have today? To leave the situation like this, this is
not an option.
The real option today is really to push and not to leave before things are
fixed, to push on the international community, convince the Russians. The
Russians will not stand up to this. The Israelis will not stand up to
this. Before we intervene, the Israelis might step in and try to intervene
themselves because this is, you know, threatening their areas, threatening
the Golan Heights and other areas. And there`s already communication
between the rebels and the Israelis.
HAYES: The thing I worry about the most is, is the idea that there is a
sequence of testing here, about how far and what he can get away with and
if this is allowed. At the same time I just -- it is an absolute no good
JEBREAL: No. Look, if Assad will leave, we know from now that this war
will carry o for maybe -- for many years. Let`s put it this way because we
know that there will be retaliation. There will be a failed state and
there will be an Islamist element within it.
But we have to understand that there`s no solution until the Syrians, all
of them, write a social contract where everybody is included, minorities
especially, women, Alawites, Kurds, everybody inside that deal. That has
to be done now before we enter the region.
HAYES: We are very, very far from that.
MSNBC contributor Rula Jebreal, thank you very much.
JEBREAL: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Republicans won`t give up on trying to get rid of Obamacare. But
one of their own who survived cancer is now a believer. He`ll be here,
HAYES: "I understand that my actions violated a law and I regret if my
actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. When I chose to disclose
classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense
of duty to others. If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my
time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free
Those are the words of Private Bradley Manning today after he was sentenced
to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified U.S.
documents. He`ll be eligible for parole in seven years, according to his
lawyer. And his sentence is exactly 11 years longer than the sentence for
Army Specialist Jeremy N. Morlock who pled guilty in 2007 to three counts
of premeditated murder after he admitted to taking part in the killing of
three Afghan civilians for sport.
Bradley manning will in all likelihood do more time for leaking documents.
We`ll be right back.
HAYES: When it comes to Obamacare, it seems there is no amount of
encouraging or even downright good news about the law that will pop the
bubble of rage, discontent and rooting for failure on the right.
Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans are, quote, "looking
at all options to reach our ultimate goal of repealing this law that is
causing premiums to soar."
That`s the leader of the Republican Party saying Republicans want to repeal
Obamacare because health care premiums are soaring. This week, we found
out that is not true. In fact, quite the opposite -- according to a survey
released yesterday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual
premium for a family of four rose 4 percent in 2013. Now that 4 percent is
still a lot, still more than the 1.8 percent increase in wages and the 1.1
percent rate of inflation.
But it is also historically speaking a very small increase, way lower than
growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In other words, the trend of
premiums is that they are doing the opposite of soaring. They are landing.
So far, Republicans are not letting that reality interrupt their war
against the law and something tells me they won`t let a new report from
"USA Today" get in the way either.
The report found that estimates from the 19 states operating health
exchanges for the uninsured show that at least 8.5 million people will use
the exchanges to buy insurance -- a number that would far outstrip the
federal government`s estimate of 7 million new customers for all 50 states
under the 2010 health care law.
Health exchanges for the uninsured are actually working. Republicans are
Last night, we actually did see something out of the ordinary. A little
dose of reality injected into the hermetically sealed world of Ted Cruz and
Heritage`s defund Obamacare campaign, when a woman in the crowd asked Cruz
a pointed question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Hold on. Ma`am, feel free to speak.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I recently lost my health coverage, as anyone else in
this room could easily do.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Did you vote for Obama?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I had to go to Mexico to get my diabetic medication
because I could not afford it in the States. I just want to know what you
are going to do to take care of the 6 million people who can`t afford
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We can take care of ourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As it turns out not every Republican is impervious to the basic
reality of what the president`s health care law does and could do.
Clint Murphy, a 30-year-old man, has spent much of his life working in the
Republican Party. At one point working for the National Republican
Congressional Committee, the Bush administration, and even running a
campaign against Barack Obama with John McCain in 2008. But today, after
surviving testicular cancer and years of battling insurance companies over
pre-existing condition, he`s seen the light and now supports the
president`s health care law. At this moment, he does not have health
And so, Clint Murphy joins me right now.
What was the moment when you --
CLINT MURPHY, FORMER GOP STAFFER: Hi, Chris.
HAYES: Hey, Clint. What was the moment when you changed your mind on
MURPHY: I mean, it was an evolving process. Definitely not -- you know,
in 2010, I figured after 10 years, I should be good to get health insurance
on the individual market and was turned down again. This time, instead of
it being cancer it ended up being the -- I was taking a drug for anxiety.
They cited that as a pre-existing condition and sleep apnea as a pre-
existing condition. And so, I was straight up denied by two different
HAYES: So, obviously, that`s exactly the kind of denial that would be
outlawed under the new Affordable Care Act -- that is outlawed under the
new Affordable Care Act.
I don`t want to be uncharitable here. But for people that are watching
this and saying, OK, I see what happens, this guy, when it happens to him,
decides the law is good but why can`t he and his fellow Republicans just
have a little bit of empathetic imagination, extend out the barriers of
their thinking a little bit to imagine their fellow citizens finding
themselves in a similar situation?
MURPHY: Yes, and I think that`s a fair question to ask. You know, since I
was diagnosed in 2000, I`ve fought every day a part of my life to help
improve those who survive cancer, to help fund a cure and see an end to
cancer in our lifetime.
As we started going into the 2008 race, I was really optimistic about the
dialogue that was taking place and after the president was elected, the
spirit of bipartisanship quickly faded away and everyone retreated to their
HAYES: OK. What do you think when you watch -- this many years on, when
you watch Republicans wanting to defund the law, wanting to get rid of a
law that has already given people coverage, that would actually take
coverage away from people, would take coverage away from you? What do you
think about that?
MURPHY: It`s gotten to the point where it`s something that I cannot
support and will not support anybody with that position. We`re talking
about something that affects my life and affects a lot of the people that I
love and care about. And it`s not right. It`s not fair and it`s pure
blind partisanship that is drawing this rain of thought.
And at the risk of destroying this country, it seems like the Republican
Party is really obsessed with being against anything that Barack Obama is
for, whether it was their idea to begin with or whose idea.
I mean, at some point, we need to set aside our partisanship and focus on
what`s good for the people of this country and, you know, when you`re not
even participating in the process the way the Republicans have refused to
participate in it, you`re not -- you`re not really doing public service.
You`re not serving from a certificate servant`s heart anymore and, really,
you need to get out of the way and let other people do the job. That`s how
HAYES: You worked in the past for Karen Handel, who is running for Senate
in Georgia. She worked on her gubernatorial campaign in 2010. You were
supporting her in her Senate run and then you learned that she, herself,
wants to defund Obamacare.
What do you make of that?
MURPHY: That was a really big shot. I must say that I was really taken
aback by that position because I definitely expected a more nuanced
position that would, you know, talk about the parts of the law -- obviously
the one that affects me the most, affects a lot of people the most, the
But, you know, blanket defund, blanket repeal, those aren`t realistic
policies because they`re never going to go anywhere. They`re going to go
anywhere. And so, the people out there talking that are doing nothing but
scaring people. They are preying on the lowest common denominator
politics, and it`s really a disgrace, in my opinion.
I`m really -- I think it`s unfortunate that that`s the position that her
campaign has decided to take and I wish them all the well, but it`s just a
bridge too far for me to go on.
HAYES: Former GOP staffer Clint Murphy, thank you very much for your time
MURPHY: Thank you.
HAYES: We will be right back with #click3.
HAYES: While warning about the dangers of having gun owners` information
stored in a national database, you`ll never guess who is building one of
their own without gun owners` consent. And this exists, plans for building
that would have an actual corridor -- you heard me right. Those stories
are coming up.
But, first, I want to share the three awesomest things on the Internet
today -- beginning with an Internet puzzler from "Slate" that doubles as a
reminder of how terrible our Congress is. Gerrymandering, of course, is
the manipulation of the boundaries of voting districts in order to gain
partisan advantage. "Slate`s" Web site asks to you to solve their
gerrymandering jigsaw puzzles and times you as you reconstruct
congressional districts into a whole state.
Iowa with four big districts is a no-brainer. Michigan`s 14 districts is a
little funnier but it`s not a killer. But beginning in North Carolina,
this happy little online civics lesson starts to get somewhat difficult.
And by the time you get to the Jackson painting that is Pennsylvania, you
may want to quit.
"Slate" says the average time to complete the whole puzzle is 10 minutes,
but it`s rigged to help Republicans win it in six.
The second awesomest thing on the Internet today is a twofer from Mother
Russia. Beginning with casual day at the beach in the city of Kaliningrad
that was interrupted by a 550-ton military hovercraft. This video was
uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday. None of the beachgoers were injured when
the massive amphibious vehicle made its slow motion landing. They don`t
even seem that (INAUDIBLE).
The ministry of defense said this was a routine drill. They also say this
is their freaking beach. Quote, "Docking at the beach is a regular
practice. We don`t know what people were doing at the beach which is
within the military firing range."
But that is only the second craziest Russian video of the day. This is a
motorist on a highway following a dump truck hauling what appears to be a
giant deer. And if you can`t predict what happens next, you need your
wacky viral video card rebuked.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
HAYES: Do not worry, folks. That was not a real deer.
Our condolences go out to the dump truck driver who either misjudged that
over (INAUDIBLE) or just plain forgot about the 40-foot deer statue in the
back. And the two locals who had the common sense to record the event and
post it online.
And the third awesomest thing on the Internet today is the epic speech
given earlier this week at Georgia Tech by sophomore Nicholas Selby. It
was freshman convocation day and so, Selby speech to welcome the incoming
students was all about the awesomeness of Georgia Tech.
Let me tell you, this dude loves Georgia Tech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I am telling you if you want to change the world,
you`re at Georgia Tech. You can do that.
If you want to build the Iron Man suit, you`re at Georgia Tech. You can do
If you want to play theme music during your convocation speech like a bad
(EXPLETIVE DELETED), we`re at Georgia Tech. We can do that.
I am doing that!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, OK. Now that was pretty good. We thank FB Nation for the
best (ph), Nicholas Selby motivational nerd god.
You can find all the links for tonight`s #click3 on our Web site,
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: The Adama Lanzas, the
shooters in Aurora, the shooters in Newtown. They`re unrecognizable.
They`re not going to be in the system. Who is going to be in the system?
You and me. And, our names are gong to be in the system. There is going
to be a list created. That list will be abused. Some newspaper will print
it all. Somebody will hack it. There will be a registry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association raising
the terrifying specter of a national gun registry earlier this year. It
turns out there is a sophisticated damn will near comprehensive database
about gun owners already in existence.
But, it doesn`t belong to the federal government. It belongs to the NRA.
An explosive new report from "BuzzFeed" reveals that for years, the
organization has secretly collected information on one from an estimates as
tens of millions of people.
You`d expect the NRA to have a database of its members, of course, but
this, this is a database of current, former, and prospective gun owners.
And, it has been put together largely without people`s knowledge or
consent. Precisely, the type of vast and secretive registry, the NRA has so
successfully fear mongered over for years.
As "BuzzFeed" reports the database has, quote, "Been built through years of
acquiring gun permit registration lists from state and county offices,
gathering names of new owners from the thousands of gun safety classes
taught by NRA-certified instructors, and by buying lists of attendees of
gun shows, subscribers to gun magazines and more."
E-mails obtained by "BuzzFeed" through the freedom of information act
request show NRA representatives offering payment to state agencies in
exchange for names of concealed carry permit holders. One lobbyist writing
to an Iowa public safety official, "If the NRA wanted to collect data from
permit holder files, is there a specific process or many rules for us to
require the records? Can we pay to have the files copied or sent to us?"
Meanwhile, NRA-certified trainer, Mike Weisser, admits teaching gun safety
classes do not only helps beef up the database, it`s also a great way to
get the boss` attention. After people take a class, then you as an
instructor can send all their names to Washington and you get credit for
If you can show you have taught enough classes, you can move up in the
hierarchy as an NRA trainer. When asked what the NRA does with those gun
safety class rosters turned in by it`s nearly 100,000 certified
instructors. An NRA spokesman told "BuzzFeed," "That`s not any of your
But, it is the NRA`s business to know your business. Quite literally, the
database has helped the group raise tens of millions of dollars, maintain
its political supremacy, and enormous influence in Washington and beyond.
What about those people who are told by Wayne LaPierre, the Ted Cruzes, the
Rand Pauls of the world to fear the collection of names in a supposed
national gun registry?
Well, knowledge of the NRA`s own registry prompts some kind of a revolt?
As a former NRA lobbyist, Richard Feldman, puts it, "It probably won`t
care, because the NRA is not part of the government."
Joining me now is Gary Young, a columnist for "The Guardian" newspaper.
Gary, they play devil`s advocate. There are folks who might look at this
and say, "Hey look, this is not any different than what big retailers like
Target does. What the Obama campaign famously does. We`re in the era of
big data. You`re grabbing as much data as you can; assembling information
about your prospective targets." What`s wrong with this kind of thing?
GARY YOUNG, COLUMNIST OF "THE GUARDIAN" NEWSPAPER: Well, There is
something to that. There is something to the idea that this is a form of
marketing and it`s about an organization knowing its members and so on and
so forth. And, that the difference would be between, for example, "The
Nation" magazine where I have a column where you used to work, between
"The Nation" magazine knowing who signed on to an anti-war --
YOUNG: -- petition or something like that and therefore targets members
and the Bush administration.
HAYES: Right. So -- I agree. So, there`s a distinction between what the
government has and what private entities have. And, I think that`s a fair
distinction. But, what to me is crucial here are two things. One, it
shows that -- you talked -- you use the term marketing. It showed how much
the NRA is ultimately a marketing vessel.
The degree to which it is a creature of the gun industry, and it also shows
the degree to which they are doing this without anyone`s knowledge. I
mean, people don`t know when they sign up for a class. They are turning
information over. People don`t know when they get a concealed carry
permit. They are turning the information over.
YOUNG: Well, right. I mean, the bottom line And Feldman kind of has it
right. The man you quoted in the end by "The Former Lobbyist." You say --
The real issue here was that, the NRA doesn`t -- or a large stock of NRA
members, and I went to the NRA convention last year and I have done some
polling on this, they don`t fear the NRA.
YOUNG: They do fear the -- they do fear the government. The NRA, they
would say, is not trying to take my gun away. And, whereas they believe
the government is. The fact is, however, that at the end of the day this
is a national registry of gun owners.
YOUNG: I mean, that`s precisely what it is. You can -- you can call it
what you want but at the end of the day, it walks and it quacks like a
duck. The NRA is the organization that collects information on gun owners.
And, it`s the list is the problem. If the collection of the list is a
problem, then they have --
HAYES: Right, they have the database.
YOUNG: -- They have created a very big problem.
HAYES: And, Lord knows what national security letter or what national
agency wanted to acquire it. As we know the porous line between the
government and private data that`s collected, which grows ever more porous
by the day. Gary Young from "The Guardian," thanks so much for your time.
YOUNG: Thank you.
HAYES: Right now there exists a perfect physical example of just how our
society is being divided up piece by piece, class by class. I`ll tell you
what it is next.
HAYES: Have you noticed what`s been going on in commercial air travel
recently? Like when you go to buy a ticket. For a long time, it used to
be you would only have first class for people with lots of money and then
coach for everyone else. But, over time the airlines have invented close
to a dozen of these narrowly tailored new classes in between.
So, now we have coach, coach plus, premium coach, the not quite premium
coach; but, isn`t quite business class either, pay more for an exit row,
pay more for leg room, business class, business first and, finally, first
class. And, this proliferation of new narrow classes and fine green
distinctions is for me the perfect metaphor for what seems to be happening
in every single sector of American society.
It is getting ever more thinly sliced every day into paper thin categories
of service and access and comfort and dignity based on what you can pay.
And, people, all of us, are being channeled into these different classes,
separated from each other and constantly forced to think about our own
If you want a particularly high definition example of what this looks like,
check out the rendering for this building. Construction is being planned
on the upper west side of Manhattan for a 33-floor condo building that will
include five floors of affordable housing for low-income families. But,
the thing is the building will have a separate entrance, a so-called "Poor
door" for the low income residents.
Adding affordable housing to a market-rate building allows the developer,
in this case, the company called Extell, to get a tax break worth millions
of dollars. The irony here is that the people living in those affordable
apartments, whose homes are designed to integrate the neighborhood will for
all intents and purposes be physically segregated from their rich
neighbors, who live right there in the same building.
Joining me now is Josh Barrel, politics editor at "Business Insider" and
Bertha Lewis, the former CEO of the Association for Community Organization
for Reform, otherwise known as A.C.O.R.N. with remnant United States for a
period of years and, founder and president of the black institute. Josh,
everyone is outraged about the poor door and you say the poor door is a
JOSH BARRELL, "BUSINESS INSIDER" POLITICS EDITOR: Well, at least I don`t
think it`s a problem. I mean this policy we have where you try to get some
luxury apartments for. In this case those who are fairly are poor.
Actually, often under this program, you can qualify for one of these
middle-income apartments if you make as much as $180,000 a year.
But, in any case, they have a lottery and so a handful of people get one of
these wonderful apartments with a river view. The city actually has rules
when the apartments are in the same building. You have to make sure that
you distribute the views all the same. So, if 20 percent of the apartments
are affordable, then they have to get a proportionate share of the river
It creates a handful of lucky people who get these. I`ve heard statistics
as many as 15,000 people applying for 200 units that are available. It`s a
crazy way to give out affordable using. And, so what they are doing here
with the so-called poor door is they are taking the parts of the building
that don`t face the Hudson River. They face the back, and so you can get
an apartment on the upper west side. A one bedroom would be between $900
and $1,000, which is about a third of the market rent.
HAYES: People are like, that`s affordable?
BARRELL: No. If you know, on the upper west side of Manhattan, north of
$3,000 for a new construction, one-bedroom apartment. So, I don`t
understand what`s so terrible about giving this very deeply discounted
apartment in a very desirable neighborhood.
HAYES: And, you have to go through a separate entrance.
BARRELL: Right. And, we are trying to integrate the neighborhood. You
integrate the neighborhood when you create this building right there.
BERTHA LEWIS, FORMER CEO OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION FOR
REFORM: For trash. This is a Jim Crowe building. You have a colored
entrance and --
HAYES: Well, we should say it is not technically segregated by race.
LEWIS: Here is what -- Here is what -- Don`t tell me that it won`t. Here
is why. Number one, people of color are the folks who apply for this. I`m
a developer. I`ve built apartments. I know that you do not have to
segregate people in this way, and you certainly don`t have them around the
Also, because of this minuscule 20 percent, that`s the reason why this
building even goes. That`s the reason why the finances even work. I mean
I live in Brooklyn and people know I support the Atlantic yards 50/50
program. And, that housing, which got through HPD, half of the apartments
are affordable, half --
BARRELL: Let me --
LEWIS: -- and yet they`re not segregated. The elevator goes up for the
rich as well as the poor. There`s no segregation of services. The way
that Extell has done this, that is total segregation by race and class.
HAYES: Let me just -- For folks that are watching, Atlantic Yards is one
of the most controversial built in the last decade, it was fought tooth and
HAYES: A.C.O.R.N. challenged it first, ended signing on to endorsed the
development of it, only after concessions were made --
HAYES: -- on precisely this issue, which is how much of the housing being
developed on this site, which could be very expensive and in some sense is
subsidized isn`t going to get, you know, to be affordable for folks? So,
what you are saying -- Josh, your response.
BARRELL: And, when we get developments like this, you get big towers that
go up and you get to have members of the city council come can out and say,
"Look at these affordable apartments I built." But, this inclusionary
zoning program that is so called, "Porter Building" is being built under.
It`s been around for eight years. They have only managed the building less
than 3,000 apartments because this is an extremely expensive way to provide
We don`t do any other income support programs like this. It is like if we
took food stamps and said instead of having food stamps, we are going to
make steak houses and set aside 15 of their meals. Sell them below cost to
poor people or middle income people. And, then we say -- you know -- well,
it`s so that we don`t have this classist system where only rich people eat
in fancy restaurants. It would be a crazy way to do nutrition support and
it is crazy way to --
LEWIS: You say --
HAYES: Please, bertha?
LEWIS: Really: You know, this is a bit insulting to say and make those
kinds of comparisons. This is a very serious subject.
HAYES: It is.
LEWIS: I fought for 421, A program, because at first they were getting
these 421A tax breaks in abatements --
HAYES: 421 --
LEWIS: -- with nothing.
LEWIS: That is the name of --
HAYES: Let me just--
LEWIS: -- with nothing.
HAYES: Let me explain the policy involved. 421 here is basically -- It`s
-- if you want to up zone, I want to build a big new development --
HAYES: You are basically accessing this incredibly, incredibley powerful
and ruminative resource, which is the airspace, right? It used to be you
just applied for it and you got it. And, then what is happening was the
city said, "Wait that`s a valuable resource. We`re only going to give it
if you willed affordable housing." Right?
LEWIS: Well, of course, not just for airspace but if you want to build and
you want to get some sort of subsidy or tax abatement, you know? -- In
order to make your project go financially, you have to set aside 20
HAYES: And, let me just say --
LEWIS: But, here is the thing, prior to folks like myself fighting to
reform that, developers used to be able to get all of these tax breaks for
doing nothing. And, so we cannot use taxpayer dollars in order to further
segregation and any kind of discrimination and I`m happy that Robert
Jackson and the council actually has put together a bill that will, in
fact, address this. And, you know just because it is on the upper west
side, we have a right to walk on the upper west side too.
HAYES: I want to get your response to that because I think you have a
vision of how this could work that would be better and more efficient.
But, I also want to sort of talk about a version of this story to me that
struck all of us when I am reading it. I am going to tell you a story
similar to the one that you just heard, but with vastly different stakes.
And, it is about a new study that shows what your odds are of getting a
kidney transplant if you`re unemployed. Stick around.
HAYES: A new study out of the University of New Hampshire shows just how
deeply inequality is sewn into the fabric of American Life. The study says
that there is a strong negative association between a patient`s
unemployment and the likelihood of being placed on a waiting list for a
And, once on the waiting list the likelihood of receiving a transplant,
meaning that if you need a kidney, you don`t have a job, then you`re
probably out of luck. Oh, well. Still with me are Josh Barrel from
"Business Insider," Bertha Lewis, former CEO of A.C.O.R.N.
And, joining me now is Bob Woodward, not that Bob Woodward, the other Bob
Woodward who is the Chair in Health Economics at the University of New
Hampshire and who helped conduct the research for the study. This study
brought me up short and made me say how could this possibly be? Walk me
through the results.
ROBERT WOODWARD, CHAIR IN HEALTH ECONOMICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW
HAMPSHIRE: OK. So 2.2 times is the probability of getting on to the
waiting list or getting a transplant if you have a job when you compare to
not having a job.
So, if people have a job, have 120 percent greater chance of getting on the
transplant and getting on the waiting list and having the transplant. The
question is whether this really makes sense or not. The trouble is that
they are about 90,000 people on the waiting list waiting for the transplant
whose kidneys have already failed.
At the same time, we are only able to transplant. We can only procure from
cadaveric donors and from living donor, something in the neighborhood of
18,000 each year. That means there`s a tremendous shortage. And, the
question becomes who gets the kidneys.
And, the issue that this correlation shows when you actually don`t have a
job, the fact of the matter is -- and you`re young, you don`t have me
Medicare because you`re only 65. The fact of the matter is that after
three years Medicare, which covers the transplant, stops paying for the
WOODWARD: So, the docs are in a quandary. They say, "Hey, wait a minute.
On the one hand, we want to give these kidneys to people who are going to
use them for the longest time possible." On the other hand, you have the
ethical question of whether unemployment should be a criteria for
allocating the kidneys --
HAYES: I just want to --
WOODWARD: -- Let me say on behalf of the --
HAYES: I just want to emphasize -- because everyone tracks that because
there`s a lot of information, right? What is key here is that, the actual
causal mechanism here is actually a judgment made by doctors that the fact
of unemployment, which they know about the patient is more likely to mean
that they cannot afford the necessary drugs three years down the line and
that the kidney doesn`t take or provides more complications. So, it
actually have an affirmative decision being made by doctors as they`re
weighing life-and-death choices that unemployment is a mark against you.
WOODWARD: Right, but there`s no easy answer. Right. It`s not so much a
mark against it. I think there`s no kidney center that I know about that
would consider employment or unemployment explicitly. What they do
consider is the prediction of compliance.
WOODWARD: And, the trouble is that Medicare`s current laws say that if you
are not eligible for Medicare because of age, that is if you`re eligible
for Medicare for the failure of your kidneys, Medicare will pay for the
transplant. Medicare will pay for immune-suppression medications. That is
about $12,000 a year for three years and then you`re on your own --
LEWIS: I heard the story --
WOODWARD: -- Which means the likelihood of -- go ahead.
HAYES: You go ahead.
WOODWARD: -- likelihood of noncompliance goes way up.
LEWIS: I hear this --
WOODWARD: If you can`t pay for the Immune-suppression medication.
HAYES: I hear this story, Josh --
HAYES: -- and I think to myself, this is precisely the issue that I have,
which is that, look -- yes, we live in a capital society in which price is
going to mean and wealth is going to mean different people can afford
different things, right? And, we`re not going to live in a society in
which everyone got $70,000 car --
HAYES: And, people can`t live in a $5,000 apartment and there are all
sorts of ways that works its way through a market system.
HAYES: My fear is that those inequalities are like a drop of ink in a
glass of water and they just end up blotting everything.
BARRELL: Yes. Thank you.
HAYES: And, so, it`s one thing to say to me, look, not everyone can live
in a neighborhood that`s expensive and I am actually -- I have kind of
understand that, right? That`s market segregation. Not everyone can fly
first class. But, then I see this and I think to myself this is poison.
This is poison for society if those inequalities start to bleed into
everything in this way. Josh.
BARRELL: Well, you need a mix of marketing government solutions here. I
mean the government has created much of this problem by setting a price
control on kidneys. They are not allowed to compensate somebody living or
dead for giving away their kidney and for that reason a lot of people
aren`t organ donors.
And, if you made it possible to pay somebody for a kidney, we wouldn`t have
this kidney shortage. People wouldn`t be waiting five years and we
wouldn`t have to decide who gets a kidney. Now, that said, you also need
to make sure that people can afford --
WOODWARD: It`s just not supporting the fact that the people that are able
to sell their kidneys are then able to use that money wisely. The short --
the problem is you`ve got a great discrepancy. The people that end up
giving kidneys that do so illegally now in Iran or in China are doing so
and getting far less than the market value. The history of places that
have done kidneys for money is one of disaster.
HAYES: This is an important point, though. But, I like the fact that you
double down and say need to further marketize this. Josh Barrel from
"Business Insider," Bertha Lewis from the Black Institute, Bob Woodward
from the University of New Hampshire. Thank you.
And, before we go tonight we want to introduce you to the newest member of
the ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES team. Editorial meeting since the beginning
and now she is here in the world, meet Lucille Dryden Bailey, the brand-new
daughter of our senior producer Rebecca Dryden and her husband, Jason
Bailey born today. We are ecstatic. Welcome to the world, Lucille.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right
now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. I have to say since you
got Rebecca Dryden from "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" we assert as much
ownership and pride over little Lucille as you get.
HAYES: I almost thought it was trash talking to do this right in between
the throw because Rebecca is so great.
MADDOW: Oh, your baby you`re proud of -- that`s my baby you were saying,
exactly! We are all proud. Thanks, man. Thank you.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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