ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
September 11, 2013
Guests: Barbara Lee; Keith Ellison; Megan Twohey, Josh Barrel, Bertha Lewis, Joseph Stiglitz
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York, I am Chris
Hayes. Tonight on "ALL IN," 12 years later, on the day we remember
September 11th, the country appears at a turning point. War-weary and
ready to embrace diplomacy. Also tonight, a mind-blowing story about what
happens when families who adopted children decide they don`t want them
anymore. Plus, the two lawmakers who were voted out of office yesterday
after recall elections in Colorado. I will tell you why they should be
celebrated for their courage. Those stories are ahead.
But we begin tonight with the 12th anniversary of the attacks of
September 11th, what has become a national ritual of mourning and
remembrance of vast and growing country which more than 46 million children
and entire generation that has been born since that day.
President Obama, along with the rest of the nation marked the moment;
the first tower was struck with a moment of silence. And later, the
president paid tribute at the Pentagon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They left this earth,
slipped from our grasp, but it is written, what the heart has once owned
and had, it shall never lose?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president continued his effort to make 9/11 a day of
service but spent time at food friends, brown bagging meals for people
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We have to remember the incredible outpouring of neighbors
helping neighbors, all Americans looking out for each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And what has become another annual right, the names of the
nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks were read by family members at
the National September 11th memorial. But Grace was not universally in
sight today as some corporate brands struggled to mark often with awkward,
if not downright crash attempts, from a Marriott offering free mini muffins
and coffee from 8:45 a.m. to 9:15 quote "in remembrance of those we lost"
to AT&T using a 9/11 tribute as a brand replacement opportunity for which
they later apologized.
But of course, this anniversary, the beginning of our long 12 years of
war comes at a moment when the country engages once again in a feverish
debate over America`s role the world and the use of military might. It
comes at a moment when Americans are saying we are tired of war.
And in a poll taken prior to the president`s address last night, 58
percent of Americans said their member of Congress should oppose military
action against Syria. And instant poll after the speech given by President
Obama, gave him at least temporary boost on the subject, with 61 percent
saying they favored his approach.
The president`s approach had morphed by last night`s address as he
announced he has supported a delay in the congressional vote authorizing
him to intervene in Syria, a vote that it looked like he was very likely
going to lose.
The once seemingly imminent Syria intervention has scrambled our
politics, both Republican Speaker John Boehner and Democratic leader with
Nancy Pelosi supporting military action, while Democrat Barbara Lee and
Republican Jason Chaffetz are against it.
It is a complicated situation that doesn`t lend itself to the black
and white, good/good, bad/guy way of thinking we have become so accustomed
to since 9/11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every nation,
every country, has a decision to make either you are with us or you with
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, we contemplate intervening in a war in which Al-Qaeda
would be on the same sides as our bombers at the target. America is
finding it increasingly difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
Perhaps because those categories were never buries good ways for adults to
be thinking about the world to begin with.
Some politicians have made strong and principal cases for or against
intervention while others have just put their finger to the wind. Senate
minority leader Mitch McConnell, not only delayed coming out with the
position until it was absolutely politically safe to take a position. He
then immediately tried to raise money off of it, sending out a fundraising
letter soon after President Obama`s speech.
Congressman and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan announced
after the vote had been postponed, that he would vote no. The same Paul
Ryan, who during the campaign said that said he and Mitt Romney agreed
absolutely with the White House`s red line Syria using chemical weapons.
An entire Republican party which built their political messaging and
their policy, in foreign policy about finding and fighting the bad guys now
seems thoroughly confused. Because when your foreign policy position are
based on childlike determinations of good guys and bad guys, a mess like
Syria where photos like this one depict the behavior of those who would
extensively be on our side will tend to be utterly confusing.
In Syria, a secular, accused were criminal is desperately ruthlessly
barbarically fighting a broad series of rebels, including, as Assad would
be the first to tell you, the terrorists like Jihadi (INAUDIBLE) front,
many of whose fighters are exported from Iraq. The side of our last was
against the quote "bad guy" ended up creating a whole lot more quote "bad
guys" for us to fight.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Democrat from California.
She was just nominated by President Obama to be a representative on the
United States to the United Nations general assembly. She opposes military
involvement in Syria.
Congresswoman, as someone who has the lone member of Congress to vote
against the authorization the use of military force, who has served in the
Capitol to trajectory of the days after 9/11 until now, do you think this
latest chapter of public debate and congressional involvement in our
contemplation of military force in Syria is a turning point?
REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: I certainly do, Chris. And thank
you very for giving me the chance to be with you tonight. It is a turning
point because I believe right now the public and the entire country is
engaged in the debate in terms of the proper terms of the use of military
force in our country, what the constitutional prerogatives are of the
president. And also, what in fact, we do to achieve what we want to
achieve, and that is global peace and security.
With regard to Syria, I do not believe that military strikes and
actions will lead to what Secretary Kerry and the president have called for
and that is a political settlement. And so, I`m very proud and pleased
that the president, one, came to Congress to debate this and to ask for a
vote. But secondly, has really you know, begun to walk through a
diplomatic process that hopefully will work. And that we will not have to
at least in the near future decide whether or not we should put our votes
up or down in terms of using military force.
HAYES: Diplomacy, as it strikes me as we watch members of Congress
and the president in kind of an amazing moment in the trajectory of
American politics since 9/11, a moment in which members of Congress across
the aisle, the president himself, have all expressed, embraced openness to
diplomacy, to a diplomatic solution, possibly work for Syria, Russia, the
United Nations Security Council, that moment also is a tough one because
diplomacy maybe very difficult. Do you think it is possible to continue
Americans` political investment in diplomacy even when it gets hard?
LEE: I absolutely think so Chris. Diplomacy is hard. It is slow,
and it is very tough to bring the entire world together. But I`m confident
that our president can bring this world together because that is what he
absolutely has to do. Bring the international community together, one, to
make sure that chemical weapons are either put under international control
and/or destroyed. Two, that we really come to grips with the fact that
weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, have no
place in the civilized world.
And so, we have got to do this. The Assad regime needs to be held
accountable. I think all of us, even those that do not support a military
strike, want to insist that the regime to be held accountable for the
horrific death and destruction that has taken place. And so, we have that
all opening now.
HAYES: And that to me strikes me as really the issue here, which is
when we say words like held accountable, we have been so conditioned to
think of those in terms of force and to think of them in terms of American
Now, when we are talking about held accountable means that U.N.
Security Council resolution, I think there is a lot of Americans who say
that is a meaningless body. How do you make the case to them that it is
LEE: It is not a meaningless body. The United Nations was founded in
1946, and believe you me, it has prevented many, many wars. It is a body
that, of course, is very diverse. We have every country -- most countries
in the world which belong to the United Nations, and in fact, different
And so, we have to -- if we can`t work within the United Nations
framework, how in the world do we lead the world in the name of human
rights and democracy? And so, we can`t be cynical about this. The world
is very small. We`re part of a global family. If we don`t work within the
global body, we become isolated. And then we become a country which really
only cares about our own internal and domestic politics and policies. And
we are part of a larger global family that America should be proud to lead
and proud to lead in the United Nations.
And I think this is a critical, defining moment for this country. And
our president certainly knows what he is doing in terms of bringing to the
international body, a process that could lead to a possible political
settlement. But it is not going to be very difficult. No one says it is
easy. But I am very pleased with the fact that it is moving slowly
HAYES: Congresswoman Barbara Lee, thank you so much for joining us.
LEE: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now is Congressman Keith Ellison, Democrat from
Minnesota, co-chair of the congressional progressive caucus who was against
the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but is supporting President Obama`s call
for military action in Syria. He is one of several Democrats who came out
and declared their support for military action in Syria, including his
colleague Nancy Pelosi.
And Congressman, I`m curious to hear what your racial is. Why have
you decided to support the president on this?
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: Because I believe that there is a
responsibility in the world community to protect civilian populations from
mass atrocities, genocide, ethnic cleansing. And I also believe that when
countries are perpetrating these things on their own populations, the world
has a duty to step in and protect those civilian populations.
Now, I don`t think that the military operations are the first step. I
think it is absolutely the last step. But you know, if diplomacy has not
been able to be successful, economic sense says have not, public
combination has not, then I think at some point, it is a live threat, an
active live threat against the population than civilian and are protected,
the world just can`t steps back and say, you know, there is nothing we can
I mean, we have president. You know, we Dark Four, we have Kosovo, we
have Rwanda, 800,000 people killed in Rwanda, and you know, even the threat
of force may have brought that to an end. But the world thought we were
war weary, we were tired and we didn`t feel like being involved so we
worked. So Kosovo, 100,000 people died before the world got involved in
HAYES: How do you make the argument to your constituents, who, I`m
guessing are not quite interested in military action in Syria just based on
the polling broadly and base on the makeup of your district?
ELLISON: Well, quite frankly, you know, it has not been easy, you
know. But I believe that my constituents agree with me that when a group
of civilians are being attacked with a deadly neurotoxin like sarin, that
we, you know, can`t just say it is not our problem.
You know, of course, there are people who say it is not our problem.
We don`t really care. It is small lace and half a world away. But the
fact is, that you know, we are connected in this global networks. What
happens abroad has effects here. And by the way, I don`t prefer military
strikes in Syria, I hate this. I wish we were not here. I wish you know
we were never in this situation where this had to be contemplated. But I
doubt that we would be talking about a serious negotiated settlement in
Syria with regard to sarin, but for the president saying you know, I`m not
going to tolerate you doing that.
And so look, you know, I mean -- this is nothing joyful for me. This
is not a happy moment. This is a very sad moment. But you know, 1400
people were or hundreds of people were gassed with a deadly neurotoxin that
has been banned since 1925. They tried it before. And it has got to stop.
And I`m glad the president stepped up and said no.
HAYES: So Congressman, how do you think through this? I mean, this
is -- what is interesting to me, we`re having this debate, people are
having it around their kitchen tables, people are thinking about this,
members of Congress are.
When you are confronted about this, what is the way you start to try
to think through? The president, by dint of his being elected commander-
in-chief has to formulate a pretty comprehensive foreign policy and a
doctrine and be working on this all the time. Members of Congress get
pulled into this crisis. What is the way you think your way through this?
ELLISON: Well, first of all, you know, I have been neck deep in
hearing all about this stuff for at least two and a half years, ever since
the Arab Spring began. Constituents of mine, many of Syrian Heritage have
let me know that they -- friends and relatives and loved ones have been
terrorized, that they have been tortured, disappearances. A few -- I have
got some close friends of mine who have gone as medical professionals to
the Turkish border and administered aides. One of them explained how he
treated someone who had his eyeball plucked out with a spoon. Others have
told me how, you know, have the bodies of the slain people that have given
back to their families after being tortured, including children.
And so, you know, I have heard all of these horrific things, and never
until this gas situation did I say that the United States should intervene.
But I said we should intervene on humanitarian grounds. We should try to
administer medical aide, food, water. We should do things like that.
But when the gas situation came up, it just was a red line for me, not
just Obama. And of course, you ask me how I think through these things.
It is by trying to get the firsthand information. I`m not re lying on the
NSA or even U.S. intelligence for all the information that I have. I`m
relying for people who have relatives directly reporting to me from the
region. So, that is how I think through it.
And as a better principle, I`m like almost always against the war. I
was against Iraq. I am against -- Iraq, thank you. Afghanistan, but I
think that there is a duty and a responsibility to protect. But I`m so
glad that we have a diplomatic opportunity right here. Maybe we can get a
HAYES: Congressman Keith Ellison, thank you for wrestling that out
ELLISON: Thank you, sir.
HAYES: Coming up next, the story that absolutely (INAUDIBLE) and
underground operation on the Internet that re-homes adopted children whose
parents have decided they want to get rid of them. You will not believe
what this Special Investigated Report uncovered.
HAYES: All right, you can looked at what happen last night in
Colorado`s recall election in one of two ways, either be depressed by the
results or be inspired by what happened. I will explain what triumph
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: 26-year-old Nora Gately had polio as a
child. She was living in a Chinese orphanage. At 13, an American couple
adopted her, but within a year, Nora says, things fell apart. One day, her
mother told her she was going on a road trips with her father. He drove
her to Tennessee, to the home of the Schmidt family.
NORA GATELY, 26-YEAR-OLD: He said we will comeback in a couple of
years and pick you up. I did not believe it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Did you ever see him again?
GATELY: No. Never. Not after two years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Not to this day?
GATELY: Not to this day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What you just heard being described is an underground practice
called re-homing. Parents adopt a child, often from abroad, and when
things start to go wrong, those same parents go online and agree to give
that child away to a total stranger. No attorneys involved. No child
welfare official present. This hidden and widespread subculture is a
subject of an unbelievable series of reports from Reuters and NBC News.
In a moment, I will talk with the reporter who spent 18 months
uncovering it. Desperate adopted parents looking to re-home kids will take
to online message boards and chat rooms. Reuters examined over 5,000
messages that were re-posted over a five-year period on one Yahoo! site
alone. On average, a child was advertised for re-homing there once a week.
Most of the children ranged in age from six to 14, the youngest was 10-
At least 70 percent of children offered on the Yahoo! boards and
bulletins were advertised as foreign-born. More than half were described
as having sort of special need. About 18 percent were said to have history
that included sexual or physical abuse. Many posts adopting similar
language owners used when looking to find a new home for their pet. Born
in October of 2000, this handsome boy, Rick, was placed from India a year
ago and is obedient and eager to please, one ad for a child read.
Since adoption laws vary from state to state, the practice of re-
homing often circumvents the government. The vetting of a new home is
conducted by the very people who want to get rid of their child. A child
is transferred with minimum documentation, and sometimes are loaded at a
neutral place like a truck stop.
As you can imagine, the process gives way for a possibility of
children falling into the hands of pedophiles or abusers. A young woman we
heard from earlier, Nora Gately, since the family she was given to would
take away her leg braces as punishment. And she was told more than once to
go dig her own grave in the family`s back yard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GATELY: She said get out and go dig your own grave. I don`t care if
you die. Nobody care if -- nobody will find you. You were not here in the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Megan Twohey, investigative reporter for
Reuters who did the 18 months investigation that uncovered this. And I
just want to say first off, this is one of the best pieces of journalism I
have seen in recent memory and every price that it is out there, Pulitzer,
everything, It is unbelievably well-done, so.
MEGAN TWOHEY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, REUTERS: Thanks so much.
HAYES: Thank you for your work.
How did you find the story? Like how did the yard unraveled?
TWOHEY: Well, two things happened. One, there has been coverage in
recent years about the problems that have happened on the foreign and
international adoptions. There has been, you know, it has been revealed
that there has been child trafficking and fraud going on in some of these
foreign countries that open themselves up to have their children adopted by
Americans over the last 15 years. And so, I figured if there were problems
on the foreign end there were probably ripple effects and re-precautions
playing out here in the United States.
So I went online and started to research what was going on with
children who had been adopted from overseas. And I basically stumbled on
to these Yahoo! groups and other online forums where adopted parents were
going to basically solicit new homes for those children.
HAYES: And this -- what`s so shocking about the reporting, is this is
a whole new universe. I mean, there is a group, there are people who are
going to these places and they are almost the kind of subterranean place.
I mean, there is not money changing hands, but it is almost -- it is like
Craig`s list for unwanted kids.
TWOHEY: Sure. You know, there -- I spoke to people to a lot of
adopted parents who re-homed a child from my 18-months project, and the
adoptive parents themselves have described it as an underground network.
Just these clusters of Yahoo! groups, facebook groups where people go to
basically offer their kids and people go to raise their hands and say hey,
I will take your kids.
HAYES: So what happens? Typically, we are talking about parents who
adopted child from abroad, and often these postings where people can read
on the Web site where the articles are posted. You know, at first, you
kind of want to view these parents as villains. I mean, I think what is
amazing about your reporting here is, at first you think oh, my God, this
is a story about horrible people giving up their kids. And then, you read
these posts and they`re dealing with children who have very deep trauma,
psychological abuse often in their past or sexual abuse, and are really
just struggling to figure out what to do.
TWOHEY: That is correct. I think there are variety of motivations
for why people seek to go to re-home their adopted children. And I would
point out that there were people who, you know, we came across posts of
people who had had the child for no more than five days. In one case, a
family had adopted the child from China and said we have home for five days
and basically can`t deal with her so we are looking for a new home.
Now, it is that, you know, with certain, that there are common themes.
You talk, you know, you read these posts, you talk to the adoptive
families. And they really said that they feel like they were just
desperate and they had nowhere else to turn. They felt like they received
kids who, you know, came with emotional and behavioral problems that they
were not informed about. You know, they felt like when things started to
go south, the adoption agencies were not helping them.
HAYES: This one quote that jumped out of me from one parents posted,
I would have given her away to a serial killer I was so desperate, a mother
wrote in Marchi (ph) 2012 posted about her 12-year-old daughter. Who is on
the other end of these transactions?
TWOHEY: Well, that is a good question. You know, oftentimes, because
so much of this is happening outside of the view of child welfare
authorities there is no regulation of this. I mean, there is no law in the
United States that recognizes that re-homing is going on, let alone
So, for the most part, this is happening out of the view of the
government authorities and the only vetting that is taking place by the
people who are giving away the child. And so, often times, you know, they
are just taking the word for it, that they are who they claim to be. I
spent months tracking down this particular one couple who had obtained at
least six kids through the underground network. Well, I point out, there
are good people that have been stepped in to try to, you know, who want to
help, you know. This is among society`s most vulnerable people, you know,
demographic, these kids who are orphan in their foreign countries brought
here. Oftentimes, do have history of abuse or neglect.
So I do think that there is, you know, a segment of people who want to
-- good people who want to give them loving homes. This is also a world
where people who wouldn`t be able obtain children through the normal
government sanctions adoption or foster care systems can easily obtain
access to children.
So I looked at one particular couple who had, you know, the woman had
had her own biological kids from her custody by social service officials
who had determined that she was abusive and had neglected the kids. And
that she has severe psychiatric problems. She has been accused of sexual
abuse of kids she was baby-sitting, for, and then, you know, a couple of
years later, stumbled into this re-homing network and took six kids.
HAYES: It is an incredible piece of reporting. You have been sort
rolling it out there, still some more stories to come, I understand.
Megan Twohey from Reuters, thank you. Thank you for your work.
TWOHEY: My pleasure.
HAYES: We will be right back with click3.
HAYES: Coming up, why millions of dollars were pumped into an
election in Colorado that was never even supposed to happen. And, a little
trivia question for you viewers out there. How many cents on the dollar
have the richest people in this country captured in the recovery? The
answer is astounding.
But, first, I want to share the three awesome things on the internet
today, and boy do we need it. We begin with the rebirth of a modern
marble. There are many stunning images memorializing the World Trade
Center Tower including the lower Manhattan tribute in light seen in this AP
photo, from an amazing vantage point looking skyward from the base of
Now, thanks to live webcam network EarthCam. We have this hypnotic
time lapse video showing the creation of the new World Trade Center. This
video shows nine years of construction in under two minutes, starting in
October 2004 and progressing through the present.
It is not everyday. You can witness the piece by piece construction
of the tallest building in the western hemisphere. And, it is obvious from
the hundreds of thousands of images from this video that neither time nor
the elements prevented its completion. Capped off by the installation of
the spire at the very top, 1,776 feet layer. An iconic sky line has been
The second awesomest thing on the internet today, mouth-watering
patriotism. National pride is easily stoked around the world from the
simple site of a flag flapping in the breeze. But, what if it is a flag of
Brazil, made with banana leaf lines, pineapple and passion fruit. While
the Chinese flag made from Dragon fruit and Star fruit.
Created for a food festival in Australia, these edible emblems are
comprised of foods associated with the country of each flags. There are 18
food flags in total. Of all summer easily recognizable. Others are more
conceptualize like the French flag made Blue cheese, brie, and grapes;
where the flag of Thailand with sweet chili sauce, shredded coconut, and
blue crab, or the white Lychee fruit-laden Vietnamese flag.
Whatever the ingredients happened to be, the flag simultaneously
supernaturalism and appreciation of the food traditions of our global
neighbors, because no matter how enticing this hotdog version of the stars,
it is easy for us to all admit that India, for example, looks delicious.
And, the third most awesome thing brings us the answer to the
question, what does the fox say? Last week we brought you the latest music
video from the Norwegian talk show host, Bard and Vegard Ylvisaker. And,
these brothers are -- as they are known have melted the interwebs with
their theatrical song with the fox noises. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VEGARD YLVISAKER, YLVIS MEMBER: Ducks say quack and fish go blub and
the seal goes ow, ow, ow. But, there`s a sound that no one knows. What
does the fox say? Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding -- Ding, ding, ding,
ding, ding, ding -- Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding -- Ding, ding, ding,
ding, ding, ding. What`s the fox say? Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow --
Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow -- Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. What`s the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: 18 million views on Youtube. Later, we`re finding out what
the fox actually does say. Folks over wire did a little digging in the
sound archives of the Macaulay library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
It turns out the arctic fox -- Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow is not that far
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YLVISAKER: Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow --
FOX: Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow --
YLVISAKER: Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow -
FOX: Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow -
YLVISAKER: Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow -
FOX: Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow --
YLVISAKER: What the fox say?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, the Ylvis brothers know their fox noises. And, there is
more evidence you can listen to over at wired. The #Click3 staff did a
little digging of their own. It turns out some foxes speak perfect cussing
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BADGER, CHARACTER IN FANTASTIC MR. FOX, VOICE OF BILL MURRAY: Cuss
MR. FOX, CHARACTER IN FANTASTIC MR. FOX, VOICE OF GEORGE CLOONEY: You
cuss am I. Are you cussing with me?
BADGER: No. Are you cussing with me?
MR. FOX: Don`t cussing point at me.
BADGER: You are cussing with me, you little cusser --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You can find all of our links for tonight`s #Click3 on our
website, allinwithchris.com. We will be right back.
HAYES: Last night was election night, not just in New York, but in
Colorado. A fascinating political battle that drew in millions of interest
groups money around the country. Rallied activist that got national
attention all for an election that was never scheduled to take place.
This past March, still fresh from the memory of the Aurora theater
massacre in the wake of Newtown. Colorado democratic state legislators
pushed forward a series of bills that would among other things restrict the
size of any mission magazines like the ones that James Holmes use to murder
12 people and 70 others inside that theater in Aurora.
Naturally, the NRA went apoplectic and poured money into the state,
advertising and lobbying against the bill. And, Colorado may have gone for
Barack Obama twice; but, it is a western mountain state, steeped in gun
culture. The fight over that bill was a pitched one. Even the Democratic
Governor Hickenlooper was squirrely about whether he would sign it.
The activist and democratic lawmakers stuck to their proverbial guns
and pushed it through by a vote of 18-17. Not a single republican voter
for the bill and two democrats even sided with the republicans. After the
bill passed, the NRA vowed revenge, and used a provision of Colorado law
that allows for recall of elected officials with a sufficient number of
Aiming to take down two state senators in swing districts. President
John Morse and state senator Angela Giron, who represent part of Colorado
springs in Pueblo, Colorado. Two districts, President Obama won last cycle
in the `50s and those `60s. N RA mobilize its activists started writing
checks to make the recall happen.
They won that round and they got the first recall election for state
senator in Colorado history. The scheduled for yesterday and the results
are in. State Senator Angela Giron recalled with 56 percent of the vote.
State Senate President John Morse was voted out with just barely over 50
percent. He lost by 343 votes.
There was no voting by mail and turnout was incredible low in both
districts. Turnout was more than 20 points lower in 2012 turnout. This
recall election told us something we kind of already knew that in the any
run of low turnout recall election. The people most likely were motivated
to vote are almost certainly those most pissed off.
And, this is a broader truth about gun politics in this country.
There are more people intently, consumingly obsessed with keeping
government away from their guns than they are people so consumed with
increasing gun safety. And, that equation, that gap in intensity has to
change before the laws do.
But, at last, there is good news out of Colorado. And, that is if the
laws these two state senators helped pass will stay in place. So, you can
view yesterday as a defeat and a bomber or you can view it as a triumphant
episode, because progress comes from battle. Occasional defeat and even
sacrifice. Nothing worth doing is without political risk. And the public
service at its best requires not just catering the public opinion but
attempting to step out in front and lead it, shape it, move it in the right
In other words, we want to elect politicians who are going to take
votes that might cost them their jobs. Votes like Barbara Lee`s brave
decision to oppose the authorization for use of military force just a few
days after 9/11. And, Paul Wellstone`s vote against the Iraq war in an
And, those are votes casting defeat. It is even more important to
cast important whiskey righteous votes when they are the margin of victory,
because the point of electoral politics is not to get the politicians
elected, as an end up of itself. The point is to win actual tangible
improvements in people`s lives.
Progressive victories only come when we push the system right up to
the edge of what it can take. And, the risky one when you do that is some
people will lose some elections. And, you know what? That is OK. Life
goes on. Victories, the right kinds of victories, those endure.
LBJ, famously warned as he was about to sign the civil rights act that
he was, in that moment, handing the south to the Republican Party for a
generation. And, he was right and thank God he did it anyway. He has got
a Nobel prize and he has literally written the book on inequality. He
joins me to talk about it, next.
HAYES: A truly astounding statistic is making the rounds today, and
rightly so. All right, listen to this, during the economic recovery, the
top 1 percent of incomers captured almost 95 percent of all the income
gains during that time. Just think about this for a second. $0.95 cents
of every dollar that the recovering economy has generated into people`s
pockets has gone into the deep pockets of the top 1 percent.
That is crazy. And, if you look at the recovery specifically from
2009 to 2012, you will notice that the top 1 percent saw their incomes grow
by more than 30 percent of the bottom 99 percent income barely moved at
all, recouping less than 0.4 percent or in other words, the top 1 percent
incomes are close to full recovery while the bottom 99 percent income has
been hardly started to recover.
Add this, yesterday`s associated press report that says the richest
Americans earned more than 19 percent of the country`s household total
income last year. Their biggest share since 1928. All this data paints a
crystal clear picture of the rich getting richer, very much like we saw in
the years that preceded the great depression and in the run-up to the big
This latest trend of concentrated wealth began in the Clinton recovery
years, but disparity has only grown worse. Economically, speaking this
national trends make the richest country on a planet look more like a
banana republic. In the Petri dish, the incubator for of these, a place
where all of these grows out of is this city, New York.
This is the city that is home to the industry that generates a lot of
that inequality and that just about laid waste to the world`s economy.
And, although New York, rebounded from the recession faster than the rest
of the country, it`s growth has been rather uneven. In 2011, New York
ranked highest in equality among large cities.
None of this matters, though, to New York`s cities top 1 percent. You
see they convinced themselves that their fellow 1 percenter, Michael
Bloomberg governed primarily for them. While others had come to see
Bloomberg as someone who symbolize city`s inequality, which is why last
night, Bill De Blazio, New York City`s public advocate, a man who waged war
on equality has a specific campaign topped on the city`s frustrations over
its uneven wealth to pull off an apparent ups and win the democratic
primary top be mayor. The question now is do last night`s results point to
a political shift underway for the country at large? And, at what point
does the economic recovery tear the country apart.
Joining me now is Bertha Lewis, founder and president of the Black
Institute Think Tank, former CEO of the Association for Community
Organizations of Reform, otherwise known as ACORN. Josh Barrel, politics
editor at Business Insider and Joseph Stiglitz, a noble laureate in
economics, professor at Columbia and author of the book "The Price of
Inequality." How today divided society endangers our future.
OK. How should we understand? We know this is the 30 year trend,
global trend, maybe even longer depending on when you date it inequality
rising, inequality rising a lot of the rich economies in the world and some
of the developed economies, very intense here in the U.S. The last three
years, how do we make sense of this recovery giving so many of the gains to
JOSEPH STIGLITZ, NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING ECONOMIST: Well, there are a
couple of factors, when you have as deep a downturn as we have had,
unemployment going way up. And, the numbers, you know, a little over 7
percent disguise the real devastation to the labor market. The numbers
coming that came out last Friday pointed out that the labor force
participation is the lowest it has been in the 30 some years.
So, the labor market is not working like it is supposed to. So, what
happens, you have a lot of people without jobs. You have that, downward
pressure on wages. Meanwhile, we didn`t really fix the financial system.
We didn`t curb it the way we were supposed to. Indict Franken was
supposed to put in provisions called say and pay. That is to say,
corporations are owned by people. The people who own it ought to have a
say in the pay of the people who work for them.
STIGLITZ: And, we passed a law saying very mild law. They ought to
have a non-binding say --
HAYES: I think you shouldn`t make 20 million this year because we
lost a lot of money.
STIGLITZ: And, even that weak provision has been stalled.
HAYES: Josh, how do you understand it?
JOSH BARREL, POLITICS EDITOR AT "BUSINESS INSIDER": Well, I think
there is a short-term trend and a long-term trend here. The reason that
substantially all the income gains have gone to the 1 percent over this
period is that there have been essentially zero income gains for the rest
of the country --
BARREL: -- this wage issue. And, so to fix that, you need a tighter
labor market, the government should have been doing things like running a
larger budget deficits over the last couple of years. We should have had a
more accommodative monetary policy. There should have been more aggressive
action on housing.
All this things would have supported the job market and gotten us back
to the longer term trend where there is still this growth inequality, but
not something so drastic as that 90 percent number. The long-term trend, I
think, is much more difficult to figure out how you address that policy.
HAYES: Right. And, that I agree. But, that is what so remarkable as
the recovery is a long-term item, right?
HAYES: I mean like the long-term structural things. There are things
that economist call stilt skills by its technological change and
globalization, all this stuff. But, in the short term, I mean whether that
stuff is true or not, we have got this issue where like working people are
just getting hammered.
BERTHA LEWIS, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF THE BLACK INSTITUTE THINK TANK:
My pain is my pain is my pain, whether it is short-term pain or long-term.
The Bush tax cuts. Congress managed to make sure that those stayed in
there. Let`s talk about all of this activity that is going on right now.
You have low wage workers rising up, organizing across many different
And, so people are saying, "Wait a minute. You cannot have a
corporation who we think now is a person." And, so we have people owning
people. I think that was an institution that we did away with. But, you
have people willing to talk about a redistribution of the bulk of the
HAYES: OK. But, that is the question. That is the question about
when you talk about redistribution, which sounds like a very dangerous idea
HAYES: -- when you are talking about low wage workers organizing.
The question is why isn`t this producing bigger political change? I mean
that is what so remarkable to me in some ways about the recovery. The
recovery has not been in equal and yet it hasn`t kind of produced more
STIGLITZ: What is interesting, there is a beginning of certain
issues. Take the minimum wage, for instance, that is a level that in real
terms back to the 1950s.
LEWIS: Exactly, exactly.
STIGLITZ: We`re supposed to be having a growing economy. The people
at the bottom have not participated in this growth for more than half a
HAYES: And, the Republican Party, you have been someone who talks
about the needs of the republican party to speak to this --
HAYES: -- But the play of the devils advocated, well, it seems like
this has become part of the furniture of American life, that like we`re
unequal, so like why should they speak to it.
LEWIS: That is right.
BARREL: Well, I think they need to speak to it, because I think the
middle class is looking at the last few years and saying, "My income is not
rising. Why isn`t my income rising?" And, I think it is unsustainable to
not have a policy set and addresses that. That said, I think the
electorate and most people in Washington don`t have a good concept on what
would actually work to put upward pressure on wages.
HAYES: I want to talk about what would work, because there are
solutions out there right after we take this break.
HAYES: Back with Bertha Lewis, Josh Barrel, and Joseph Stiglitz. We
are talking about inequality, and amazing inequality in this recovery, just
in the last three years in terms of who has gotten the gains, 95 percent of
income gains to the top 1 percent. The question we left on the table, was
OK -- what do we do with rest -- what policy mechanisms are there in place
to stop having this recovery look so cockeyed?
STIGLITZ: Well, the first thing is the short run as you said and it
has stimulate the economy, the fiscal policy -- we don`t talk about it,
but we have had austerity. We have had 5,000 fewer republican employees
than we did in the beginning of the recession.
If we had a normal growth we would have had about 200 more. Where the
gap is around 2.5 million. Monetary policy, big issue right now because,
the share of the FED is up for discussion. There is one candidate, Janet
Yellen, really understands the labor market, really committed to making
sure the country goes back to full employment. Other candidates would have
been in the pocket of Wall Street, more worried about inflation.
BARREL: Larry Summers.
LEWIS: That is right.
HAYES: So, those are two very clear things that --
STIGLITZ: As I would point again, it would have made a big
HAYES: Right. And, that is something that is directly in the
president`s control. I mean the administration, when they talk about why
there has not more robust economic economy response to weak economy, they
always point to congress and congress is dysfunctional.
But, nobody is making the president the point about Larry Summers.
Now, we don`t know exactly what kind of monetary policy summers would
pursue. It might be that they would be similar --
BARREL: But, Yellen at least seems like the sacred pick and it is
something that you know, the White House is going to have to pick a bigger
fight to get a candidate, who is probably worse, or at least no better than
LEWIS: I think, you know, what Larry Summers would do. And, I think
all women know what Larry Summers would do. Here are other policies, also.
You know, wouldn`t the number, over 100 millionaires in congress -- do you
really expect to get any legislation or public policy that is going to
directly affect their pocketbook? That is number one.
So, this may be really long-term, but if you don`t have public
financing of campaigns. So, that we can blunt the citizens united, also --
using our tax policy -- when you talk about overhauling the tax code, we
have to incentivize folks to pay living wages, or else --
HAYES: Right. But, I want to talk about the politics of inequality,
and how they sort of affect the political system. Because here in New York
we just ran the experiment. And, this is the thing that you have not
heard, dear viewer, about Bill De Blasio, is that part of what allowed him
to win was the fact that New York has a very robust campaign system.
And, in fact, he was able to kind of take on the 1 percent of the
message because he was not drowned out by wave of donations against him,
because we have a very robust public financing scheme that essentially put
everyone on the level of playing field. And, whether you think he had a
good message or not, it wasn`t drowned out --
LEWIS: Exactly, because you have independent -- these people can get
around, but, you are basically right you can have poor candidates,
candidates of color, more women candidates, and dare we say the word more
left candidates, because of that public fight.
HAYES: And, also an endorsement from Joe Staplin --
BARREL: We have public financing in New York, Bill De Blasio also
raised a lot of money from the real estate industry.
HAYES: Yes. Right, now, he did. Yes.
BARREL: So, I think we over-stated it a little bit the extend to,
which this is a matter about getting a money out of politics. I think at
the federal level, the reason we have had this really unequal recovery is
that it has been weak recovery with the weak labor market. In the long-
term that is not good for anybody.
HAYES: And, let me also just say this. It has been a weak recovery
in no small part because in 2010, a bunch of people got elected to congress
are just who are just committed to austerity and committed to a weak
recovery as a matter of principle and they have been very effective in
implementing that policy. Bertha Lewis, Black Institute, Josh Barrel from
Business Insider, and Nobel prize-winning Economist, Joseph Stiglitz, thank
you very much.
STIGLITZ: Thank you.
HAYES: All right that is "All In" for this evening. "The Rachel
Maddow Show" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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