ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
September 12, 2013
Guests: Kenneth Roth, Julia Ioffe, Alexis Goldstein, Neil Barofsky, Joshua Green
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight on ALL IN:
The Russians have invaded the editorial page of "The New York Times,"
and wow, is it getting a reaction? Vladimir Putin`s letter to America
coming up in a moment.
And speaking of reactions, do you remember U.S. Senator Jesse Helms?
Would you say we need more or less people like him in Washington? Ted Cruz
leans towards more -- 100 more, to be exact. We`ll get some reaction to
that, coming up.
Plus, Pope Francis, best pope ever? I`m totally serious and I`ll tell
you why, ahead.
But tonight, we start with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has
gleefully jumped into the international spotlight with an op-ed published
last night by "The New York Times." The piece is simply put, one of the
most masterful trolling operations in history and certainly the most
discussed op-ed I have ever seen.
A lecture to the American people, peppered with an artful rewriting of
history, Putin writes, "From the outset, Russian has advocated peaceful
dialogue, enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own
future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international
law. The law is still the law and we must follow it whether we like it or
Putin then claims without any supporting evidence and in direct
opposition to the United Nations, the U.S. intelligence and Human Rights
Watch, to name a few, that it was rebels who used chemical weapons last
month. Writing, quote, "No one doubts that poison gas was in used in
Syria, but there is every reason to believe that it was not used by the
Syrian army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their
powerful foreign patron."
And he ends with a rebuttal to the president`s assertion the other
night that America is, quote, "exceptional", saying, quote, "I would rather
disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the
United States` policy is what makes America different. So, it make makes
us exceptional. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord`s
blessings, we must not forget that God created us all equal."
The op-ed sparked extremely harsh reactions from politicians in the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), DEMOCRATIC LEADER: He says that we are all
God`s children. I think that`s great. I hope that applies to gays and
lesbians in Russia as well.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I was insulted.
SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN (D), WISCONSIN: This is really a lot of bluster.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I think he`s looking for an
excuse to show off his Super Bowl ring.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sickened me that we would have to sit there and
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: I almost wanted to vomit.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: And this, this is the context for Secretary of State John
Kerry touching down in Geneva today, to begin very delicate, fraught talks
with -- drum roll -- his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. Kerry avoided
mention of the Putin op-ed but made sure to lay the ultimate responsibility
of the success or failure for the negotiations at the feet of the Russians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Expectations are high. They are high
for the United States, perhaps even more so for Russia to deliver on the
promise of this moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated the same
theme, that for now, this is on Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Russia, as we saw just now
in Geneva, has put its prestigious and credibility on the line in backing
this proposal, to have Syria, the Assad regime, give up the chemical
weapons that until two days ago, it claimed it did not have. Turn them
over to international supervision, with the purpose of eventually
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This week, the president talked to the country about the
burdens he saw in global leadership, that we as Americans must bear.
Perhaps today he is taking a small amount of solace in placing some of that
on the shirtless shoulders of Vladimir Putin.
Joining me now is Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights
Your organization has been very critical of the Putin government.
But let me ask you this. The line in the op-ed, the law is the law,
we can`t ignore it. That is a true statement, isn`t it?
KENNETH ROTH, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: I love that line. What he was
obviously talking about is the law that says that the United Nations can`t
do anything important without the agreement of the five permanent members,
including Russia. He`s upholding his veto.
What he`s ignoring is the law against indiscriminately targeting
civilians in Syria, the law against torturing prisoners in Syria, the law
that says you don`t bomb bread lines, you don`t bomb clinics. You don`t
send incendiary weapons on schools. That`s the law, too.
HAYES: That`s international law.
ROTH: Same international law that says that you can`t -- that the
U.N. Security Council can`t act without Russia`s approval.
HAYES: OK. So, isn`t this precisely the paradox? Because when he is
talking in that op-ed about what international law is, he is basically
rebuking the U.S. for threatening to use force outside of the two
situations that are lawful under the U.N. charter, which is a Security
Council resolution, even with all five vetoing members going along with it,
or in self-defense.
He is correct about that, isn`t he?
ROTH: I mean, this is the problem with the current state of
HAYES: Thank you, yes.
ROTH: In the sense that if you happen to be a friend of one of the
permanent members of the Security Council, you don`t really have to worry
about the law against mass murdering of your civilians being enforced.
That`s what Assad is profiting from, because Putin is saying, no, no, no,
whenever the Security Council wants to investigate Assad`s atrocities,
whenever it wants to send the atrocities to the International Criminal
Court, when it even wants to condemn the atrocities, Putin says no.
That`s the law that`s in perfect state of the law, as it exists today.
HAYES: Do you think the American reaction to the Putin op-ed shows --
I`m curious as someone who has to deal with the sort of international view
of human rights, how you interpret Americans` reaction to the Putin`s op-
ROTH: Well, frankly, I was happy that "The Times" published it. I
wished that "The Times" counterpart in Russia would publish something from
Human Rights Watch that Putin raiding our office in Moscow, which is the
way it tends to go these days.
But I think it was important for the American people to see his logic.
Both his rationale, the reference to a very partial view of the law, the
fact that he ignored Assad`s atrocities. He ignored the fact that Russian
has been the principle weapons supplier of Assad, as he runs around killing
his people. He`s even in denial about the fact that the chemical weapon
attack on October 21st, was all the evidence points to the Syrian
HAYES: Yes, for those who have been skeptical of intelligence only
presented by the U.S. or presented by the U.S. and allies, Human Rights
Watch has actually conducted an independent investigation. What have you
ROTH: Human Rights Watch actually put out our report this past
Monday. We did not use secret CIA intelligence. We used our own
investigation. And what we found is that all the evidence points to the
In fact, it doesn`t even make sense. If you look at the particular
rockets used, these are rockets that were specially constructed, made from
materials and elements that only the government has. There`s no evidence
of the rebels having it.
The rockets only came from government-controlled areas, only went into
rebel-held areas or contested areas. All the evidence -- even the quantity
of sarin used, the only people known to have that are the government
HAYES: And today, we got news that the Assad regime is signing on to
the chemical weapons ban. And in some ways, that`s a triumph for
international law, but, again, ends us up in a similar cul-de-sac to the
one you just enunciated. Which is, well, who`s going to enforce it?
ROTH: Yes, look, I`m very happy he`s going to sign the convention,
it`s about time. But, of course, he`s already ratified the Geneva
Convention, which says you don`t indiscriminately slaughter your people.
And it`s important to keep in mind that, you know, 1,400, approximately,
civilians died with this particular chemical attack. There probably are
40,000 civilians that have died as a result of the conflict, most of them
by conventional weapons. We`ve got to focus on that.
We`ve seen that Putin can get Assad to act. He said, you know, hand
over your chemical weapons and like that it happened. How about using that
same influence to stop the killing of other civilians?
HAYES: Joining us now is Julia Ioffe, senior editor at "The New
Republic", who`s been covering this story.
OK, what was Putin`s play here? How do you understand this in the
mind of Putin and his advisers, what generated this op-ed?
JULIA IOFFE, THE NEW REPUBLIC: Well, I think in the mind of -- I
won`t speak for Ketchum, who planted this op-ed in "The New York Times,"
but I think in Putin`s mind, this goes perfectly with his world view, that
he`s a counterweight and a foil to the U.S. that he has to be reckoned
with, that he is an important world leader who is as important if not more
important than President Barack Obama.
And the fact that he`s now presented this plan, the fact that
Secretary Kerry has to fly to Geneva and meet with Putin`s foreign
minister, the fact that Jay Carney is talking about -- the fact that we`re
having this conversation about Putin --
HAYES: It`s the A-block. Putin is the A-block tonight!
IOFFE: That`s right. He made us do it.
HAYES: Right. So, that`s my question, though, actually. Do you
think the absolute reaction that I think a lot of Americans and certainly
American political class had to reading this was the intended reaction or
did he just completely misjudge his rhetoric? That`s what I can`t get
about this text.
IOFFE: Well, I don`t think -- maybe the political class had this
reaction, but I saw on the social networks, a lot of people were saying,
you know, he makes a good point. Also, look at the other, the other half
of the political class and what`s being said on, you know, on FOX or in
conservative circles. You know, this is exactly their logic.
Why do we get involved in a messy, exotic situation where al Qaeda is
involved? Are these really the people we`re going to support? Are we
going to topple a regime that`s protected Christians?
So he has found some -- he has struck a chord with some people, I
think, it`s just not the people that you`ve shown tonight.
HAYES: Pat Buchanan, I think, last night called it masterful, if I`m
IOFFE: It is masterful. It`s quite masterful. I mean, he, yes.
HAYES: Why is it masterful? Explain that.
IOFFE: I think he -- first of all, he re-appropriated the language of
President Obama on international law and the importance of enforcing
international norms. He`s just talking about different international
He succeeds in muddying the waters. I think most people don`t have an
intimate knowledge of Russia. They don`t understand that this is double
speak, hat a lot of the stuff that he`s -- that Putin laid out in his op-ed
does not apply at home in Russia. That one of the reasons that we`re
having such a bad time with the Russians right now is because of the very
heated anti-American rhetoric that`s been turned on in Russia for the last
But it does, you know, it re-appropriates a lot of American language,
a lot of Western language, which, you know, international --
HAYES: And we were allies and defeated the Nazis.
IOFFE: That`s right.
HAYES: A little bit of nostalgia.
IOFFE: And it`s telling a country that for most of its history has
been pretty isolationist and has not wanted to get involved in such things.
And people who are -- a country that`s pretty war weary after the last 10
years and the last two wars, he`s telling them what they want to hear. I
mean, the people who are already confused and reluctant to get involved in
Syria, he`s telling them what they want to hear, over the heads of their
own president, who spoke 24 hours before that. And Putin makes an allusion
to the speak, says, I --
HAYES: I studied it carefully.
IOFFE: Yes, I studied it carefully, and it`s a bunch of, you know?
Kenneth, as someone who works for Human Rights Watch, and you`ve been
critical of the Bush administration`s torture record, on the drone program.
I mean, you`ve been critical of human rights violations across the globe.
How do you sit down -- because you get into these arguments where
people say, you cannot separate what someone says from their record. And
people throw that back at you and y, well, the U.S. tortured people and the
U.S. goes around lecturing to other countries and the U.S. violated these
How do you, as the head of Human Rights Watch, read a document like
that in context with the human rights record of the person that voted?
ROTH: Well, firstly, you`ve got to hold everybody to the same
standards. You`ve got to look at the facts. You`ve got to get past the
So I mean, I think that Putin has been masterful in terms of making
himself important again, because Russia`s a fading power, but suddenly,
he`s diplomatically important. But it`s very double edged. Because he`s
showing that he has this influence with this guy, Assad, who has been
killing tens of thousands of civilians.
He`s been the principle weaponer for this guy, who clearly he can turn
on and off like that.
HAYES: Right. And in fact, showing that card in the next play by the
White House that you`re seeing now is to put it on him. Basically saying,
the credibility of Vladimir Putin and Russia in the community of nations
now rests upon them, managing to bring Assad along.
HAYES: Kenneth Roth from Human Rights Watch, and Julia Ioffe from
"The New Republic" -- thank you both.
ROTH: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, I`ll tell you which moral cretin Senator Ted Cruz
idolizes. Why that`s everything wrong with the Republican Party.
And former RNC chairman Michael Steele will be here right at this
table to respond.
Stay with us.
HAYES: Coming up next on ALL IN: Ted Cruz hearts a famous bigot.
But first, after Vladimir Putin took to "The New York Times" to speak
directly to the American people on war, peace, and American exceptionalism,
I got to thinking it would be pretty awesome if world leaders, present and
past, regularly addressed the day`s biggest issue in op-eds. So, I want to
know your thoughts on our Facebook page, answers to tonight`s question --
if you could pick any leader living or dead to write an op-ed on any issue,
who would be and on what. You`re the assignment editor.
Head over to Facebook.com/allin and post your answer. I`ll share my
favorites later on in this very show. And be sure to like us while you`re
We`ll be right back.
HAYES: One of the GOP`s rising stars thinks the problem with the
party is that it doesn`t have enough racists. Tea Party darling, Senator
Ted Cruz of Texas, gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation`s Jesse Helms
lecture series. He relayed a story in which a young Jesse Helms was first
running for Senate and is talking to the actor John Wayne.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Apparently, John Wayne said, oh, yes,
you`re that guy saying all those crazy things. We need a hundred more like
The willingness to say all those crazy things is a rare, rare
characteristic in this town. And you know what, it`s every bit as true now
as it was then and we need a hundred more, like Jesse Helms in the U.S.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That line grabbed a few headlines, because it`s a provocative
statement and it`s Ted Cruz doing what he does best. But there was no real
uproar. And I couldn`t help but remember another Republican senator from
the South celebrating another notorious Republican senator just a few years
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted
for him. We`re proud of him. And if the rest of the country had followed
our lead, we wouldn`t have had all these problems over all these years,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You will recall, that was followed by total outrage and
rightly so, because Strom Thurmond ran for president on an explicitly
Well, Jesse Helms, I guess to his credit, never ran on an explicitly
segregated ticket, but this is who Jesse Helms really was. Helms is
elected to the Senate in 1972, opposing interracial marriage and
integration. He was against the Civil Rights Act, and called it, quote,
"The single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the
Helms supported an appropriations bill, co-sponsored by none other
than Strom Thurmond, appropriately, that would have gutted the Justice
Department`s ability to enforce busing. Helms described the University of
North Carolina-Chapel Hill as the university of Negroes and communists.
In 1982, the Voting Rights Act was reauthorized, despite a Helms`
filibuster. In 1983, he led a 16-day filibuster against -- get this -- the
creation of the Martin Luther King national holiday, which obviously
ultimately overcame his racism.
In 1990, Helms ran the infamous hands ad against an African-American
challenger, Harvey Gant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: You needed that job and you were the best qualified, but
they had to give it to a minority, because of a racial quota.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In 1990, Helms stayed away in protest when Nelson Mandela
addressed a joint session of Congress. And just in case you think this was
posturing, no, this was Jesse Helms to the bone.
Carol Moseley Braun, the only African-American woman ever elected to
the United States Senate offered this anecdote. She got into an elevator
with Senator Helms and he started singing "Dixie," as in, "I wish I was in
the land of cotton" -- and Helms says to Senator Orrin Hatch, "I`m going to
make her cry. I`m going to sing `Dixie` until she cries."
And just for good measure, Helms was also a notorious nasty, brutish
homophobe. This is who this guy was. Jesse Helms was a racist and a
scoundrel. And that is who Ted Cruz is saying there should be 100 of. And
the GOP wonders why they have such a hard time broadening their appeal.
Joining me now is Michael Steele, former chairman of the RNC and MSNBC
For real, should Ted Cruz apologize?
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: And with that, Michael Steele.
HAYES: Yes. No, really, I am genuinely, in good faith curious what
you think of this.
STEELE: I don`t know. I mean, apologize for what? I mean, I think
you need to explain it. I mean, because I think -- I understand being at
the Jesse Helms, you know, center of program and want to say something nice
about Jesse Helms, who lest we forget was, you know, a good Southern
Democrat for many, many years before he became a good Southern Republican,
holding those same views.
But I think there are so many other individuals that Ted Cruz and many
others in this party can speak to. Everett Dickerson, the conservative
from Illinois who championed the civil rights act. Edward brooks, the
first African-American elected --
HAYES: But, Michael, this is the problem. There are no Everett Dirks
in big events at Heritage, and there`s no Edward --
HAYES: That`s not where the base is at.
STEELE: Understood. And I think that`s where the party needs to
recognize it is and where it needs to move to. It needs to understand its
history and put it in the proper context. You know, a hundred Jesse Helms
or Strom Thurmonds in the United States Senate does not broadening the
STEELE: Does not send the kind of message to just, you know, folks
who aren`t inclusion make. Does not send the kind of message to not just
folks who aren`t in the tent with us, but to those who are already inside
the tent, that you`re not really understanding where this party needs to
HAYES: And part of this, though, is that the incentives are for Ted
Cruz to say things like this because the kind -- this is where I think the
rubber hits the road, right? Because I understand conservative friends of
mine, conservative interlocutors of mine, colleagues of mine who say, don`t
call us racist, don`t call the Tea Party racist, don`t call the
conservatives racist, and I say, yes, that`s painting with a broad brush.
But when someone gets up and praises someone who just was a very
avowed racist, he was a white supremacist.
STEELE: That is one man`s opinion about who he wishes to praise.
That is not representative of who I would recommend in a situation like
HAYES: But you could -- but what you are not doing right now is
trying to win over primary voters in the Republican Party for 2015 and
2016. And Ted Cruz is. And Ted Cruz is making a calculation about what
those folks want to hear. My question to you is, is that the wrong
calculation? He`s wrong.
STEELE: It is the wrong calculation and it`s a sad state for the
party, if that`s the only appeal that we could have, is to go out and to
make those types of statements. Now, you know, again, he can idolize
whoever he wants. He say nice things about whoever he wants. But again,
it`s not reflective of where the party is or where the party needs to go.
And individuals like Ted and others need to make sure they understand
that when they get on -- you`re not just speaking to the folks in the room.
When I was RNC chairman --
HAYES: That`s the most dangerous thing for a politician. That is.
STEELE: It is. Let me tell you how you get into trouble, and I
understand trouble very well, but when I was RNC chairman, I remember
saying to some members, why do you think every time I open my mouth I`m
talking to you. There`s a broader audience.
If you`re really serious about broadening this tent and making this
party responsive to people, you`ve got to begin to communicate with them.
So not every utterance, it has to be this hard-right core base and say --
you know, if they don`t understand you`re with them by now, they`re not
going to get that message.
So, learn how to pivot off of that and have a conversation where you
bring them along, but you`re also looking to bring others into it.
HAYES: You just said a second ago, that`s not where the party is and
it`s not where it should be. It was sort of descriptive moment and
narrative point about where it should have.
Just convince me that`s the case. That`s not where the party is.
STEELE: Because I`m looking at individuals like Susana Martinez, the
governor of New Mexico, who`s going phenomenal work. Chris Christie in New
Jersey Raul Labrador, who`s doing tremendous work in states.
Even those who have been in the news that you`ve talked about, you
know, whether you`re talking Ohio or Wisconsin, those governors, that`s
where they`re doing some things, yeah, some of it is hot spot stuff.
HAYES: We don`t like it.
STEELE: You may not like it, but the people do. And you look at
their numbers and look at how they`ve grown through the rust patches in
their polls. Their policies are beginning to click with people, their
messages are beginning to click with people. And that`s where we need to
concentrate our firepower and our energy to get those examples of good
Republican leadership in the states.
HAYES: Does it handicap the Republican Party that it is now governing
from the House and it`s governing from the South in the House?
STEELE: Yes, absolutely it does. And it is the one thing I did not
want to have happen as national chairman, was to have everything
concentrated in Washington, at a federal level, at a congressional level.
I wanted to push the resources, the messaging, the energy out into the
states, because that`s the best laboratory.
HAYES: Right. And that`s where you`re more likely to get a Susana
Martinez in New Mexico than you are --
STEELE: Absolutely, absolutely.
HAYES: -- in the Republican primary.
HAYES: MSNBC contributor, Michael Steele, thanks so much.
STEELE: Thank you.
HAYES: We`ll be right back with #click3.
HAYES: Coming up, I have a confession to make about the Catholic
Church. Something I never, ever thought I`d say.
And Senator Elizabeth Warren rips into Congress for failing to get
their act together five years after the financial collapse.
Those stories are ahead.
But first, I want to show you the three awesomest things on the
Internet today. We begin on the east coast of England, where drunken
revelry in the streets at 3:00 in the morning led to something getting
fixed instead of smashed pieces. A group of dude bros happened across a
damaged metal bike rack in the wee hours of the morning.
A car accident left the bike rack bent in half, but these lads
couldn`t stand to see their beloved city in disrepair. After a drink or
two or twelve, these guys decided to make things right. It`s a rough going
at first, but they would not be deterred, not even by the aroma of 3:00
a.m. street meat. The group mustered its civic pride and put their backs
into it, and no thank to the guy in the hoodie on the left, (INAUDIBLE) on
that assist, buddy, mission accomplished.
Credit where it`s due. They fixed the hell out of that thing. Look
at how straight it is. One borough councilman called the video very
positive and praise the young men for being publicly (INAUDIBLE). This
round of high fives and man shakes is well deserved.
Hats off to you, fellas. Glad you didn`t have to puke in them.
The second awesomest thing on the Internet today -- love in the time
of Instagram. This is Andre Drummond, the 6-foot 10-inche center for
Detroit Pistons, 20-year-old NBA player recently revealed his crush on
Nickelodeon actress Jeannette McCurdy, famous for the show "iCarly" and a
bunch of other things that are on your DVR, for when your kids need quiet
Drummond used his Instagram account to announce its infatuation with
the TV star over the course of several weeks, using the #wcw or woman crush
Wednesday. His persistence paid off as the starlet giving him a shout-out,
admitting that she had no idea who he was. Drummond kept the pressure on,
sending things like a giant teddy bear, until the courtship was no longer
digital. The two were going on real-life date, doing early 20-something
activities like cosmic bowling.
They got so much attention, McCurdy wrote an essay from "The Wall
Street Journal," praising the ability to connect with others on social
media and share adorable videos like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANNETTE MCCURDY, ACTRESS: The cutest thing I`ve ever seen in my
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Thanks for reminding us Janet all that love still rules. And,
the third awesomest thing on the internet today, is one of the great photo
bomb images of all time. In a scene familiar to anyone who spent time
playing the frog bog game at the boardwalk this summer.
Today, NASA released this image from last week`s launch of the LADEE
Spacecraft in Virginia. And, you can see as we enhance the image, NASA
says it is a real frog, spread eagle, getting tossed in the air by LADEE`s
rocket. I can see my lily pad from here!
Unfortunately, there is only one still photo of what was likely be
this amphibian`s highest and final jump. NASA officially says the frog`s
condition is uncertain and there really is no way to tell where he came
down. We do know one thing for sure, Mr. Toads isn`t alone taking wild
rides in front rocket ships. The people of Gizmodo have compiled the best
of the best, including this bat as it clinged to the space shuttle
discovery in 2009.
Also, the turkey vulture that had a ticket to ride space shuttle
"Discovery" in 2005. The killer spider that attacked a NASA cameraman`s
lens before "Atlantis" blasted off in 2007, or how about the herd of cattle
who got freaked out when the SpaceX Grasshopper lifted off next to a dairy
farm. Gizmodo`s list of animal photobombs goes on and on and on.
Unfortunately, our friend the frog will not. Just in case you`re still fee
feeling bad, here`s the greatest video ever of a dog riding on a roomba.
HAYES: You can find all the links for tonight`s #Click3 on our
website, allinwithchris.com. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: A huge and enthusiastic welcome for Pope
Francis` weekly audience. In the six months he`s been Pope, crowds have
quadrupled, drawn by his warm and welcoming style and a new openness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You know what I freaking love? This new pope. Pope Francis.
You know who I`m talking about, right? The Pope? Are you guys watching
this guy? Because you should be. It`s early, but I`m thinking, best pope
ever? Now, I have a confession to make; like millions of other people in
this country and around the world, I was raised catholic, but stopped going
to mass my freshman year at Brown, to be exact.
And, while I still have affection for the church of my childhood, the
smell of incense, the saying of the "Our Father" and all the rituals. I
haven`t felt very warmly about the institutional Catholic Church to say the
least in the years since.
But, somehow this guy, Pope Francis, is turning me around. I liked
him from the beginning, because he, like my father, was a Jesuit. A
liberal order that promotes social justice and teaching and I love me some
Jesuits. Right out of the gate, Francis offered up a few gestures to
demonstrate a break from his predecessor, Benedict.
Rather than living in the grand papal apartment, Francis resides in
the modest Vatican guest house. The Vatican`s garbage collectors are the
first employees he invited to morning masses. And, instead of watching the
feet of 12 priests during an Easter week ritual, as tradition would have
dictated, Francis washed the feet of 12 young inmates, including two women
and two Muslims.
I thought to myself at the time, well, that`s cool. But, he`s new at
the job. He will probably start becoming more pope like as time goes on.
But, no! He just keeps being awesome. He showed up to World Youth Day in
Rio De Janeiro, not in the imported pope mobile but in the back of a rental
He is not bothered taking a selfie with the kids. He plans on driving
a used car around town and he has urged others to do the same. It hurts me
when I see a priest or a none with a latest model car. A car is necessary
to do a lot of work, but, please, choose a more humble one. If you like
the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in
If you don`t quite understand the concept of Catholic guilt, I am
pretty sure that`s it. Perhaps most amazing of all, the pope is now
picking up the phone and calling people who write to him for advice and
prayers, earning him the nickname, "The Cold-Call Pope." He phoned a woman
who had been raped by a police officer in Argentina, telling her she was
not alone and to have faith in the justice system.
He comforted a pregnant woman whose married boyfriend tried to
pressure her into an abortion. Francis offering to personally baptize her
baby. Now, all of that, while incredibly awesome, is symbolism. But,
Francis has also shown he has pretty good substantially as well.
On the subject of homosexuality, Francis told reporters, if someone is
gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge. On
the subject of atheism, Francis says nonbelievers should obey their
conscience and that God`s mercy has no limits. He has even suggesting that
he has open to a debate on married priests.
His second in command telling a Valenzuela newspaper that celibacy is
not dogma, therefore the concept of priestly celibacy should, quote,
"Reflect the democratic spirit of the times." Now, I don`t have a whole
lot of hope the church itself is going to come around and change its
tenants or official positions on things that I deeply oppose. Things like
it`s used towards gay marriage; a woman`s in a priesthood; a woman`s
autonomy over her own body. I just don`t see that happening anytime soon.
But, given the constraints of what being pope is, you can operate in
one of two ways. You can be a jerk about it or you can be awesome. And,
this guy is choosing to be awesome. And, not only is that great for the
church, it`s great for the world, to have a pope talking about what this
pope is talking about, grace, humility, peace, and compassion for others.
Because that is the church at its best. And it`s the one that some small
part of me still loves. Amen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): The tsunami began this weekend.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: One of the worst days ever for the
American financial system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): As Lehman brothers filed for
bankruptcy protection just after midnight with $613 billion in debt on its
books. Lehman is by far the largest bankruptcy ever in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (1): While Merrill Lynch, the giant
brokerage firm, sold itself to Bank of America in order to save its own
As the Merrill Lynch deal was hammered out, word came late that
insurance giant AIG was also struggling to raise $40 billion to stay
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (3): Good evening and even congratulations.
You are now the proud owner of a massive insurance company.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (4): The federal government steps in to
rescue insurance giant AIG to the tune of $85 billion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (2): So many people within the industry,
within the banking industry tell me they have never seen anything like
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was almost five years ago to the day, September 15, 2008,
the beginning of the financial disaster, a by-product of decades of
deregulation and malfeasance that threw the country and the world into
And, as Americans began to grow increasingly anxious about their
finances, President Bush famously told treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, in
his inimitable way, "If money isn`t loosened up, this sucker could go
I still can remember like it was yesterday, the weird, a terrifying
panicked tension of those days, like we were sitting on the precipice of an
apocalypse. We are losing more than 800,000 jobs a month. When the
President Obama took office, the crater in the housing market got a whole
The U.S. economy was contracting at close to 9 percent quarterly. The
Dow Jones industrial took a swan dive. Unemployment reached double digits
for the first time in 20 years. And, five years later, things are a lot
better than they were in the depths of the crisis. There is no question.
We`re adding jobs, slowly but consistently.
GDP growth has expanded to more than 2.5 percent in the second quarter
of 2013. Housing prices are on the rise, so as retail spending. Possibly,
a sign that spending might help sustain economic growth in the second half
of the year.
And, in the intervening years, the president signed into law against
tooth and nail opposition Dodd/Frank, the most sweeping financial reform
since the great depression, prompting the president to say this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The American people
will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street`s mistakes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But, after three years since Dodd/Frank, there`s still a
pretty long to-do list. Only 40 percent of the rules in the bill have been
implemented, and more than 60 percent of their deadlines have been missed.
In an eye-opening speech today, Senator Elizabeth Warren, who made her
political career off of seeing the financial crisis coming and holding the
banks accountable in its wake, says she fails to understand how this state
of affairs is tolerable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS REPRESENTATIVE: Since when
does congress set deadlines, watch regulators miss most of them, and then
take that failure to meet the deadlines as a reason for congress not to
act? I thought that if the regulators failed, it was time for congress to
That`s what oversight means. And, it`s certainly a principle that
would have served our country well prior to the last crisis. What I want
to know is how much longer should congress wait for regulators to fix this
problem? Do we wait another three months, another three years, until the
next big bank comes crashing down and threatens the entire economy?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Alexis Goldstein, who used to work on Wall
Street, now a member of Occupy Wall Street. Neil Barofsky, former special
inspector general, in charge of oversight of T.A.R.P., and author of the
"Bailout: An Inside Account Of How Washington Abandoned Main Street while
rescuing Wall Street." And, Joshua Green, national correspondent from
"Bloomberg Business Week," where he just wrote a big new feature on where
the Lehman Brothers CEO is five years later. Great to have you all here.
OK. I want to play this clip from Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman on his
use on the probability of another big bank collapse. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES GORMAN, CEO OF MORGAN STANLEY COMPANY: I would say the
probability of it happening again in our lifetime is as close to zero as I
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: And, you say that because?
GORMAN: The way these firms are managed, the amount of capital that
they have, the amount of liquidity that they have, the changes in their
business mix, it`s dramatic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s just from September 5th. That`s recently. And, I feel
comforted. You guys -- that`s right, right? That`s correct?
ALEXIS GOLDSTEIN, MEMBER OF OCCUPY WALL STREET: This is the policy of
the Obama administration, is the same policy is that of Wall Street, is
extend and pretend or fake it until you make it. If we say that everything
is OK, if we tell everyone that everything really is OK, but it has been OK
for five years.
HAYES: But, it has been OK for five years. But, here is where the
White House will come back, if you know what I mean.
GOLDSTEIN: Tell that to someone who`s making less than $30,000 a
HAYES: No. No. No, forget that -- all of that I agree with. But, I
am saying we`re talking about the stability of the financial system, right?
So, take away, for a second, the question of the fact that we have this
massively unequal recovery. We have lots of people out of work, all that
In terms of the stability of the financial system and also the
comparative recovery versus other places digging their way out of financial
crisis, right? The argument is -- yes, extend for 10, fake it until you
make it. You muddle through. You kind of paper over the losses, and loan
the hole. What you have are healthy banks.
And, all of those people, who talked about zombie banks and a lost
decade in Japan, they were wrong, wrong, wrong, and look we were right,
right, right, and we`re never going to have another crisis again, end of
NEIL BAROFSKY, AUTHOR OF THE "BAILOUT": I think there`s a confusion
between safer and safe. And, look, we`re safer than we were in 2008 and we
are safer, probably, than in Europe and then severely undercapitalized
banks. But, that is far cry from being safe and then a stable environment.
We`re still two undercapitalized. Our banks are still opaque. There
still hasn`t been the necessary regulatory reform. They are 30 percent
bigger now than they were going into the last crisis, which means they are
going to need a 30 percent bigger bailout.
All the perverse incentives that drove abuts into the crisis are still
in place and perhaps even worse. So, it`s not that we`re safe. It is that
we`re to some degree safer, but when this -- this sucker could go again --
HAYES: Sucker could go down?
BAROFSKY: Sucker could go down again from a shock in Europe, from
something here. We`re still in a potentially very fragile system.
HAYES: People -- what you`ve been interviewing people on Wall Street
-- You had this great sort of retrospective of where Dick Fuld is, who is
the head of Lehman when it went under at the time the largest bankruptcy in
American history. They think we`re safer, right? I mean Wall Street has
convinced itself like that is a representative view.
JOSHUA GREEN, BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK: And, Wall Street is furious. I
mean, you know, I live in the sort of weird universe where I`m kind of
split between Washington, where people don`t think these laws are strong
enough, and Wall Street, where they think this Dodd/Frank is the most
terrible thing has ever happened.
HAYES: Burdensome --
GREEN: Absolutely. And, the socialist, I mean keep going. You know?
GOLDSTEIN: But, watch how fast they praise Dodd/Frank when you start
talking about eminent domain. And, watch how fast they praise Dodd/Frank
when you talking about Elizabeth Warren saying that student loans should be
given out at 0.75 percent --
GREEN: As long as it is used to --
GOLDSTEIN: -- so they will say whatever they need to say in order to
get to their outcome, right? They`re always measuring and calculating
BAROFSKEY: The problem is they are both right, right? Because
Dodd/Frank is an onerous, burdensome, regulatory morass that puts
unnecessary inexpensive burdens on Wall Street, but it also doesn`t go
nearly far enough in achieving its objective of getting g financial
stability and ending the threat to the next financial crisis.
HAYES: Wait, so everyone -- stop that thought. I want you to explain
that. And, I want to sort of get a sense of what the obstacle is, like why
do we have all these deadlines that are blown through? Why is it 40
percent of the deadlines of, you know, the regulations haven`t been
implemented. I want to get a sense of that right after we take this break.
HAYES: Back with Alexis Goldstein, Neil Barofsky, and Josh Green. We
are talking about the economic collapse, upon which we are coming on the
fifth anniversary. And, you just said something interesting Dodd/Frank
signature piece of regulatory reform for "Wall Street" is both onerous and
burdensome and also doesn`t go far enough. How is that possible?
GOLDSTEIN: You think about what happened with the great depression.
You had Glass-Steagall, which was 30 pages long and now you have
Dodd/Frank, which is 2,200 in counting if you -- you know think of all the
regulations. And -- So rather than going with a simple fix that was easy
to follow and easy to understand, that was a level playing field for all
participants and which would accomplish the goal of what Glass-Steagall
did, which is truly ending too big to fail by splitting up the banks.
But, what we have is this regulatory death by a thousand cuts, which
nibbles around the edges and has exceptions and wavers and loopholes to the
exceptions of the wavers, which gives the regulators and the lawyers plenty
of stuff to work on.
HAYES: Which is part of what happened, right?
GOLDSTEIN: Dodd/Frank has the potential to end too big to fail, but
we haven`t done it yet, because it gives all the power to the regulators.
For example, living wills were also coming up on the third-year anniversary
of that whole process, there is so much power in section 165. They can
institute Glass-Steagal --
HAYES: OK --
GOLDSTEIN: -- They could raise capital requirements --
HAYES: The living wills, for those some people to understand --
GOLDSTEIN: Yes. Please.
HAYES: Living wills are banks actually have to write a document
saying, if I blow up, here`s how you get rid of me without endangering the
GOLDSTEIN: And, here`s how you take me through bankruptcy.
GOLDSTEIN: You don`t have to bail me out --
HAYES: You don`t have to bail me out. Here is my living will.
HAYES: And, so -- but to your point, right? When people criticize
this, I feel like it`s criticizing the symptom rather than the cause. In
the sense that the legislation is that way because of the bank`s power,
right? The legislation was crafted around the bank`s power to get it
passed, right? The bank`s power is still the fundamental issue --
BAROFSKY: This is intentionally designed to fail, to be this morass.
Because, look --
GOLDSTEIN: I think that`s unfair, though. There is potential within
Dodd/Frank to be helpful, if the regulators could get a backbone and the
wave of this massive populism that`s taken hold in this country.
BAROFSKY: But, when you have these hundreds and hundreds of rules,
who do you think is staying up at night? --
HAYES: It`s the massive imbalance, right --
BAROFSKY: No. It is the lawyer --
BAROFSKY: -- the lobbyists and that`s what this was designed to do.
GREEN: But, even so, you had the kind of late-breaking Volcker rule
put in there because there is still a way that people, if they`re outraged
enough, can have some effect. The Volcker still needs to be written and
there are 22 regulators fighting over it, but you know --
HAYES: So, what -- to me, the elements of the collapse are about --
are fundamentally about power, more than they`re about technical -- about
regulations, about like too much power and wealth concentrated and also
psychology. Like one of the fascinating things about reading the crisis
literature is the way in which this kind of crazy, ego maniacal thinking
Iranian got all these banks into thinking they could take whatever risks
they wanted to. And, you wrote this amazing piece about Dick Fuld, who`s
the kind most chastened of these folks and what did you learned about how
much the psychology on "Wall Street?"
GREEN: The phenomenal thing is most people on "Wall Street" have
forgotten about Dick Fuld, but one group of people who haven`t are
management scholars like professors who study management. And, there`s a
big paper in the journal of management inquiry, the current issue on Dick
And, it is her job that scholars think there are two kinds of
narcissism. And, it`s rampant on the "Wall Street." It can be a force for
good, as it was originally when Fuld was building up Lehman, and then a
force for bad when he stuck around too much and it basically had no breaks
on the company and drove it in the bankruptcy.
GOLDSTEIN: But, I think that same narcissism exists in the Obama
Administration, who has the audacity to consider Larry Summers the
architect of the deregulation that led to the financial crisis to run the
And, this is a man, who lost $1 billion making a bad bet on interest
rates and now we`re like, "Well, I think you should be in charge of
interest rates. That`s a really good idea because you have a demonstrated
history of failing to do that.
HAYES: Because the only people who have been sanctioned -- I mean
this is the big thing, right? Where is the accountability and where is the
sanction? Like Dick Fuld with sort of fascinating -- It`s not like where
did Dick Fuld has been the fall guy? It`s not like he`s like poor or in
prison or screwed over like tens of millions of Americans have been. But,
he has kind of like weirdly fallen out of favor. But it`s as if it was
just the problem of Dick Fuld and Lehman.
GREEN: Exactly. And, that`s the real kind of tragedy of Dick Fuld`s
tragedy that other Wall Street CEOs that I spoke to don`t look at him and
think, "Geez, we`ve got to clean up our act, so we don`t wind up like Dick.
They think, that guy was a loser.
HAYES: Right, that guy was a loser.
GREEN: Right and we`re smarter.
GOLDSTEIN: But, no one has internalized the lesson of this crisis,
the administration has it, the people on Wall Street has it, like the only
people who have internalize are the American people who knows that there
are two Americans. One where people have to play by the rules --
GOLDSTEIN: And, one where people don`t.
BAROFSKY: But, the reason why Dick Fuld is a loser is because he`s
the only one who wasn`t bailed out.
HAYES: That`s right! That is the only reason.
BAROFSKY: He was the wrong bank at the wrong time.
GREEN: That is exactly what Dick Fuld said.
BAROFSKY: -- It`s just not true. You know, a lot of those suckers
would have gone down. But he`s the --
HAYES: That is such a great point. Like, he`s the loser, because he
wasn`t the one who got the welfare check from the government. He was just
like, allowed to fail on his own.
BAROFSKY: Yes. I mean -- it`s such a myth. Josh, when you say that
they don`t internalize him and just think it was Dick Fuld`s fault -- I
mean there`s no reason for them to believe that other than this rampant
GOLDSTEIN: They also don`t internalize it like there`s this economic
victim blaming. Where not only are they not like mea culpa, sorry, we
ruined the economy. They`re like, you know who ruin the economy, the
people we gave predatory loans to, who own their house outright, but we
conned into taking out you know like doing a cash refire or something like
HAYES: I actually think this lack of being chastened -- I mean maybe
this is sort of a strange theory of the case. But, in my way, I think,
actually, the lack of change in psychology is the most scary thing to me.
When you talk about whether we`re safe or safer, which is that like --
there has to be a cultural change.
And, that cultural change has not come about. And, whatever kind of
underlying technical writing of the law there is, like, that`s the thing
that I worry about the most. Alexis Goldstein from Occupy Wall Street,
Neil Barofsky, Author of "Bailout," and Joshua Green from "Bloomberg
Businessweek." Thank you all. All right, that is "All In" for this
evening. The "Rachel Maddow Show" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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