All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
January 2, 2014
Guests: Jack Finlaw, Ethan Nadelmann, Vinita Gupta, Michael Mann, Sam Seder, Eric Boehlert, Phil Schiliro
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York and happy New Year.
I`m Chris Hayes.
As a winter storm bears down on much of the country this evening, we begin
with some very good news from the coldest place on Earth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first of the helicopters to take us home!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, everyone!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This incredible rescue today of 52 scientists, journalists, and
tourists, all part of a month-long research trip to study changes in
Antarctica`s environment over the last hundred years, including what role
global warming has played over that time period.
Because of a blizzard, their ship had been stuck in what is basically a sea
of ice since Christmas Eve.
Now, for anyone with any sense, you think, fantastic. I`m so glad they
But for the American right wing, you instead think it`s a great opportunity
to point and laugh about the hoax called global warming because -- you
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ship sent to the Antarctic to study climate change
that be stranded in the ice for ten days. Rescuers finally got through
using a whopping big helicopter that landed on the surprisingly thin ice.
They`re all out, OK? So it looks like we`re looking at global cooling.
HAYES (voice-over): The prospect of air quotes "global warming scientist"
defeated by too much ice was just too rich with mockable goodness for the
right`s leading intellectual likes.
Donald Trump tweeted, "This very expensive global warming bull (EXPLETIVE
DELETED) has got to stop! Our planet is freezing. Record low temps. And
our global warming scientists are stuck in ice."
The right wing had a field day, pointing and laughing at the global warming
believers, who just to be clear, are only a group of scientists risking
their lives for no monetary gain and little glory in order to help save the
It truly was a New Year`s gift of faux irony for the denialists, and that
it coincides perfectly with their annual tradition of snow-trolling makes
it all the better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s snowfall on the ground in all 50 states. It`s
tough to make an argument when the evidence is all around us with a snowy
white wonder in a crystal cathedral.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: You`ve got wind-chills below zero. You`re not
going to convince those people they`re in the middle of global warming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the most severe winter storm in years, which would
seem to contradict Al Gore`s hysterical global warming theories.
HAYES: Get it? It`s cold! Where`s your Al Gore now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s why I feel bad for Al Gore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sixty-three percent of the country is now covered in
snow. And it`s breaking Al Gore`s heart!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wonder where Al Gore is this morning? That global
warming is really taking the its toll, isn`t it?
HAYES: Of course, no one ever said t climate change meant it wouldn`t ever
be cold. Even in the most overdramatic climate change nightmare conceived
by liberal Hollywood, the end came not from hot, but from cold. A giant
snow hurricane, a snurricane. And yet, here we are.
But this willful stupidity is backed by a lot of money. A new report found
that conservative groups spent $1 billion a year to fight action on climate
change, $1 billion to cultivate a group of people who delight being on the
wrong side of history.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama promised
to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise
is to help you and your family.
HAYES: In 2006, 59 percent of Republicans believe that there is solid
evidence the earth is warming. Less than a decade later, that number has
dropped to just 50 percent.
There is an entire industry that exists to feed its viewers and readers
with contempt and ridicule for not only the basic science of climate
change, but even for the people who toil in obscurity, risking their lives
to avert genuine misery and disaster for millions of people. And that
industry controls one of our two parties.
HAYES: Joining me now is Michael Mann, professor of meteorology at Penn
State University. Also author of "The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars:
Dispatches From the Front Line."
And, Michael, you are someone who was targeted for destruction, because you
are a climate scientist, by this industry that includes big-money
activists, and also just this strange, bizarre, underworld of climate
trolls, which are the kind of people when Drudge links to an article, fill
the article with 5,000 comments about what a hoax it was. What was it like
to be in their crosshairs?
MICHAEL MANN, CLIMATE SCIENTIST: Well, you know, it isn`t what I signed up
for when I decided to get a degree in applied math and physics and go on to
study climate science. I didn`t realize that I would be at the center of a
widespread attack, an effort to undermine the credibility of not just me,
but my scientific colleagues in a cynical effort to discredit concern for
climate change. And so, unfortunately, it`s part of the job description,
if you`re a climate scientist today.
HAYES: And it wasn`t just in your case that they tried to discredit your
research funding. I mean, they tried to personally destroy you. They
tried to get you fired. They tried to end your career.
MANN: Well, that`s right. And if they hadn`t done all of that, I wouldn`t
have had a book to write about it, in which I describe these amazing
experiences that I`ve had as a completely, you know, accidental and
unintended public figure.
I`ve become a public figure in this larger debate over climate change,
because of this iconic graph that my colleagues and I published a decade
and a half ago. And that has put me at the center of the larger debate
about climate change, but it`s also given me an opportunity, hopefully, to
try to inform this increasingly poisonous discourse that we have over this
HAYES: Speaking of poisonous discourse, I`m going to stump you right here.
How can there be snow when there`s global warming?
MANN: Well, you know, we climate scientists actually have a technical term
for this phenomenon. It`s called winter. And you know, we`re going to
continue to have cold days in winter. That`s weather.
But if you take a step back and you look at the larger picture, which is
what climate change is, it`s the larger picture, you see that over the last
decade, we`ve had twice as much extreme heat as extreme cold here in the
U.S. If you go back a year, we have just set the warmest -- the record for
the warmest year ever here in the U.S. A month ago, we set the record for
the warmest November the globe has ever seen.
And as I speak to you today, and down under, in Australia, they`re
experiencing a record heat wave. They have just announced that they had
the warmest year that they`ve ever had.
So, it`s that larger context. That`s climate change. And that`s global
HAYES: Can you explain to me, finally, what this Antarctica expedition was
about, and what is going on with the ice in Antarctica? I`ve seen the
people that occupy this strange nether region of Internet climate hoax or
trolls talk about the fact that there`s actually more ice in Antarctica.
What`s going on down there?
MANN: Yes, it`s another amazing observation. It`s cold in Antarctica,
it`s cold down there.
And you know, there are some interesting scientific questions about what
happens to sea ice in the periphery of Antarctica. It`s actually a subtle
problem, because you can actually build up more sea ice when the oceans
warm up, and there`s more moisture in the air over the ocean, over the
overlying air, you can actually get more ice.
And the climate models actually predict more sea ice over Antarctica, was
that`s a small increase. And you contrast that with, you know, more than a
50 percent decline in arctic sea ice, which is the real problem, because
there`s a very large trend that`s taking us in a direction where we will
see the disappearance of the arctic sea ice environment in a matter of
decades, if we continue on this course.
HAYES: Although on the upside, we`ll be able to drill for oil there. So
everything`s coming out swimmingly.
Climate scientist Michael Mann, thank you very much.
Joining me now: Sam Seder, host of the online daily political talk show and
podcast "Majority Report", and Eric Boehlert, senior fellow at Media
I am -- I`m fascinated by the phenomenon of the fact that the right has
managed to take this big money, this infrastructure of an industry that
wants to destroy any attempt to deal with problem and inculcate this world
of people who are just, apparently, average Joes, who spend their time in
the comment section of every article every published.
What is the deal with this subculture on the right of global warming
paranoid conspiracy theories?
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS: Well, it`s using the media as a microphone -
- as a megaphone. I mean, Rush Limbaugh today talking about, you know, how
are the Packers going to play in Wisconsin in January, it`s so cold,
therefore, there`s no climate change or global warming. Again, as Mr. Mann
just said, we still have winter. It still gets cold in Wisconsin.
But, again, this is part of a larger movement, sort of anti-science. You
know, a recent poll came out, fewer and fewer conservatives believe in
evolution. You know, these are the people who said the polling from 2012
wasn`t going to be accurate, Mitt Romney was going to win in a landslide.
So, what we`re seeing the big money effort, the political effort, and then
the media effort, FOX News, Rush Limbaugh just repeating this over and
over, no matter how dopey it is that yes, we still have winter.
HAYES: But it has -- but it has been successful, Sam, in creating this
world. I mean, Drudge has been incredibly powerful, I think, in this.
Drudge has a thing about climate hoaxism. And he has been -- he has been
leading the charge.
SAM SEDER, MAJORITY REPORT: Well, I mean, part of -- all they have to do,
right, is add a question. And that is the strategy, the same strategy the
tobacco industry had when it came to the dangers of tobacco.
HAYES: And it worked for 30 years. They delayed about --
SEDER: Because that`s all you really need. Is there a question? Is this
something that is debatable? I mean, this plays into a bunch of sort of
different conservative, I guess, ideological strains. The idea that if the
notion that if each individual functions in their own best interests,
society and, theoretically, the environment will do better.
SEDER: And, of course, climate change debunks that. It also attacks the
notion that as a communal effort, we can do something. So, there`s a lot
of sort of strands to this, that the conservative movement does. And
ultimately, it is just, again, like a lot of other conservative issues,
just sort of rationalizations for corporate interests.
HAYES: Red State`s Erick Erickson got theological today. The difference
between -- this is his actual tweet. The difference between the people who
believe in the second coming of gee U.S. and those who believe in global
warming is that Jesus will return.
BOEHLERT: Right, right. And again, to tie it into the politics, the
important thing is, there are members of the Republican Party who aren`t
laughing about this, they regurgitate it.
HAYES: I would say a majority of the Republican caucus -- I mean, a
majority, if you take the House caucus -- and I`m not saying grandstanding
for gain. I think privately, actually believe this nonsense.
Here`s Congressman John Fleming from Louisiana. This is his tweet today,
"Global warming isn`t so warm these days." I think this is an actual
belief of these people. I don`t think they`re even putting it on for
BOEHLERT: So, my point -- yes, I think you`re right. So it would be kind
of funny if FOX News did this and Limbaugh did this, but it has real-life
BOEHLERT: And Darrell Issa last month, he wasn`t having a hearing on
global change, but he was saying someone who didn`t like the answer, you
need to watch more FOX News. That`s where you need to get your
SEDER: Right. You know, part of this project, too, is that there a
fundamental desire for conservatism to be anti-science. And this is a big
-- because if you get rid of science, all of a sudden, there`s a whole
cascading impact as to what government can do and based on what.
So, it allows everybody to have their own set of facts here. And I think
also, part of it is, if they think it gets liberals goats, on some level.
HAYES: That`s part of it too. Part of the Al Gore thing.
And part of the strange mural world of climate on the right, I think, is
that in some ways, I think they end up in right-wing outlets, covering the
issue more than we do in liberal outlets because there`s nothing -- it is
sexier and more fun to mock and to say, oh, look at this! Than to be like,
we are so screwed, America!
I don`t want to start the show that way.
SEDER: It`s much easier to have a conversation with somebody and saying,
look out your window, there`s no climate change. You need a bigger date to
set than a weekend.
HAYES: No. But I do think also that they are on this beat in a way that -
- I would say even the mainstream media isn`t, Eric. I mean, you guys
count this up over at Media Matters. And I think the numbers bear out the
fact that actually, in some ways, the mainstream media has been largely
absent from this while the right has devoted themselves to pushing this.
BOEHLERT: Yes. No, Media Matters detailed, particularly, "The New York
Times" has taken a rather dramatic step backwards. Just environmental
coverage, and this falls under that. So, right, this is one of the red
meat beats. When it snows, you make fun of global change. And it gets a
response and everyone laughs on FOX News.
And the beauty is, you know, unlike the election, where everyone knew the
next day they were wrong about the polling, this just goes on for decades
and decades, and they don`t have to be held accountable, other than common
HAYES: Right, that is exactly the problem.
Yes, it`s a freebie. It`s a freebie until it isn`t, though. I think one
of the things you see is the inversion of this, when summers do hit, right?
When you have the wildfires you have in Colorado, that there are more and
more weather events on the warm side that are -- that seem directly related
to the fact that the overall climate is warming. And it does, I think, get
harder and harder for people to, you know, not believe they`re lying on
SEDER: I think so, but the argument is one that is rather nuanced. I
mean, it`s statistical. You know, what are the chances that this is going
to happen that many more times. You know, it`s increased and it increases
more and more each year. That`s a much harder case to make, frankly, to a
layperson, then there`s snow there.
HAYES: And Al Gore.
Sam Seder from "Majority Report", Eric Boehlert from "Media Matters" --
thank you both.
Coming up, today was the first business day of historic big change in this
country, one that seemed as if President Obama may not be able to actually
pull off. What Obamacare looks like in living color, ahead.
HAYES: I spent a lot of time on this show, talking about poverty, and
about the throngs of folks who are being directly impacted by cuts to the
social safety net and a sustained assault by conservatives and our
political class. It`s important to hear from the Americans going through
it right now, the ones at the ground level.
Meet Sam Vance. Sam is a dedicated ALL IN viewer, frequent contributor on
Twitter. On Monday, just two days before the New Year, Sam received an
eviction notice. That eviction notice came right before his electricity
was almost shut off. Sam is sharing his experience on a site he`s called
Poor Blog, "Documenting my sad, strange, tragic odyssey as a poor person in
Check it out at samispoor.blogspot.com. There are literally tens of
millions of more stories like his.
Thanks. Stay tuned.
HAYES: One of my favorite political memes of recent years was this one.
Remember this one? I can`t remember when I first saw it, exactly. It
might have been when Scott Brown was elected to the Senate right in the
middle of the health reform debate. Suddenly, it looks like the Affordable
Care Act was dead. Or might have been after the president`s first
miserable debate performance of 2012 campaign, when suddenly everyone was
declaring his hopes for a second term dead. It`s hard to say -- because
President Obama in his relatively short career in politics has had his
political obituary written time and time again. From the early primary
analysis in 2007, when the pundit class saw just no way for him to beat
Hillary Clinton, to the Scott Brown special election, to the Tea Party
Congress in 2010, to that rough spell after the first debate in 2012.
But time and time again, when things have looked bleak, he has always
pulled off whatever it was nobody thought he`d be able to pull off.
Today, it`s starting to look like Obamacare is the ultimate example of that
pattern playing out.
Two months ago, Obamacare was a massive, flaming disaster. And not just in
that special FOX News hysteria way, it was actually a disaster. It`s a
completely broken, smoldering ruin, which you can learn about even on the
regular old lamestream media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Early reports show, in the first six months since
enrolment opened, only 110,000 Americans signed up.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Tonight, the numbers are finally out, and they
confirm the new health insurance program is in big trouble. Just 27,000
people have enrolled on the federal Web site, Healthcare.gov.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC: The numbers tell a grim story, frighteningly
enrollment. Barely enough people to fill one football stadium.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was the story of Obamacare in November. But now, it is
working. With enrollment in private plans up from about 100,000 in those
first dark days of implementation in October, to more than double that in
November, to more than 1.7 million in December.
Altogether, when you add in folks who are newly eligible for Medicaid and
the under 26 crowd, now covered on their parent`s plans, you get about 9
million plus people who have coverage today because of Obamacare. And as
of yesterday, that is a real, tangible thing for all of those 9 million
After a years-long political fight, after so many near-death experiences,
millions of people now have this thing called Obamacare. And they`re using
it, right now.
Like Kathy Hornbach of Tucson, her insurance of Obamacare took effect
yesterday and she`s already scheduled an appointment with a cardiologist.
She said, quote, "I`ve had some heart palpitations and my mom`s side has a
history of heart problems starting early. So it`s mostly just to double
check that everything is OK. This is a very happy day."
Joining me now, Phil Schiliro, White House advisor for health policy and
It`s great to have you on.
So, here is my read of the White House`s reaction right now. I would
expect you guys to be doing a victory lap, to be banging the drum about the
fact that you came back from what looked like a near-death experience, and
yet what I`ve heard from the White House seems muted. And it makes me
wonder what you guys are worried about happening next.
PHIL SCHILIRO, WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR FOR HEALTH POLICY AND REFORM: I worry
just listening to your interesting about the near-disaster. It was
sobering just to get a flashback on that.
Look, we`re very happy about the enrollment numbers. They`re terrific.
And that`s a great day for America. These are the kind of numbers that
make America a better place.
And so, the fact that so many people wanted insurance, not because they
faced a penalty, because no one did right now, but because they wanted
insurance, and more than 2 million people came to the exchange, is
terrific. What we`re focused on is to make every day as good as yesterday
and today have been.
There were a lot of apprehension about people having problems at doctor`s
office, at pharmacies, gaps with insurance companies. We had a very good
day yesterday. We had a very good day today.
Thanks to, basically, every pharmacy in the country, CVS, Walgreens,
Walmart, Rite Aid, Kroger`s, the small town, independent pharmacist,
they`re all working to make this transition as smooth as we can.
HAYES: So, just --
SCHILIRO: But, just to finish the thought, when we get to tomorrow, we
have no guarantee it will be like today. So, that`s our focus. We want to
make this transition go as well as it can for every American.
HAYES: I want to clear up, in case folks aren`t tracking this
particularly, right? The worry is specifically that people show up at a
doctor`s office or a pharmacy, saying, hey, I got Obamacare. I went to
Healthcare.gov, I signed up, I got confirmation, and they are not in the
And I think that worry is compounded, I would like to hear your thoughts on
this, by the fact that the right and Republicans and the mainstream media
so trumpeted the individual stories of a few canceled plans and created
such an absolute storm around that. You`re worried that the same thing
could be re-run with a few anecdotes of people having problems.
SCHILIRO: Absolutely, Chris. We prepared for yesterday, because as you
remember, just a week ago, there were a lot of stories talking about how
January 1st could be a disaster. Yesterday wasn`t a disaster thanks to the
insurance companies, thanks to the pharmacies, thanks to the hospitals,
thanks to doctors.
Today wasn`t a disaster. But every year, health plans go through this
transition, people switch. And every year, there are problems.
So, we`re working very hard to make sure it`s as smooth as possible, that
people don`t fall through the cracks. If somebody has a problem, they
don`t think they`re insured, they should call their insurer.
If that doesn`t work, we have an 800-number. We have people standing by,
24 hours a day. It`s 1-800-318-2596.
HAYES: Phil, you worked on this, you worked on this. You were one of the
chief architects of the legislative strategy to get this passed. You were
working, I imagine, hundred-hour weeks to get this passed.
You left the White House. You basically got pulled back in, like some sort
of gangster movie. You couldn`t get out. You`re back in the White House.
Do you ever wonder, like, I`m going to be 85 years old, defending the
freaking Affordable Care Act from the people who are trying to destroy it?
SCHILIRO: That`s not what`s going to happen, Chris.
Look, you remember, because you follow everything so closely. When civil
rights legislation was passed, it was very controversial. And we went
through a wrenching period in our history. Nobody looks back and says it
was the wrong thing to do.
That`s exactly what`s going to happen with the Affordable Care Act.
Millions of people are now in the program. And what people aren`t paying
much attention to is that the historic nature of yesterday.
Yesterday was the first day, going forward, women won`t be discriminated
against, because they`re women when they face premiums. If you`re a roofer
or a house painter, or anybody has a tough, physical job, you can no longer
being discriminated against, just because of your job. If you`re a cancer
patient, your insurance company can`t come to you and say they`re not going
to cover your cancer treatment.
Nobody can be discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions.
And nobody, going forward, can have a lifetime cap on benefits.
That is an enormous change in America, and it`s a change f the better. So
when I think about being 80 years old and having to defend this, I don`t
think that`s going to happen. Because I think, as more and more people
sign on, and that`s what we`re seeing, now that we`ve reached the point
where we have millions of Americans in the program, other people
understand, this is a good product. It`s something they should join in on.
HAYES: Phil Schiliro, the White House advisor for health policy and
reform, taking it one day at a time -- thanks very much. I really
appreciate your time.
SCHILIRO: It was a pleasure. Thanks so much and happy New Year.
HAYES: You too.
All right. Coming up, this is what`s going on right now in Colorado.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The shoppers like this better than the street dealer.
At times, it even looked a little like wine tasting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s kind of like a combination of dirty socks and
REPORTER: I did say, kind of like wine tasting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Shopping for marijuana, legally. Is this the second repeal of
prohibition in America? More on that, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: We were misled, that there were
supposedly protests and something sprang out of that, an assault sprang out
of that. And that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact. And
the American people could have known that within days. And they didn`t
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: With all due respect, the fact
is, we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it
because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they would go kill
some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our
job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from
ever happening again, Senator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifying before
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the September 11th, 2012
attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four
Americans. That exchange centered on the motivation of the attackers.
Now the year 2013 saw multiple congressional hearings on Benghazi and an
entire cottage industry of conspiracy-laden coverage, mostly, but not
exclusively, from FOX News. The Benghazi scandal industry grew so large
and self-perpetuating that unless you devoted yourself full time to it, you
could easily lose track of what the latest iteration of the scandal was.
But keep in mind, the beginning of the whole thing went like this. The
U.S. mission was attacked. The U.S. government initially said it was
essentially a spontaneous protest inspired by an American-made anti-Muslim
video. That was basically the story U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan
Rice, told when she appeared on five Sunday news shows.
And Rice, ultimately had to withdraw her name as a potential candidate for
secretary of state, because she had, according to the right wing, gone out
and lied to the American people. Never mind that she was reciting talking
points that had been created by the CIA without her input, as far as we can
Well, when the right started beating its drum over Benghazi and saying it
was a cover-up, the bedrock contention was this. The Obama administration
claimed the attack was in response to the anti-Muslim video, but really, it
was an attack by al Qaeda. Critics said the administration didn`t want us
to know that America was still under threat from al Qaeda terrorists
because the president is soft on terrorism.
And nothing would stop critics from saying the president misled the
American people, even this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You said in the Rose Garden,
the day after the attack, it was an act of terror. It was not a
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Please proceed.
ROMNEY: Is that what you`re saying?
OBAMA: Please proceed, Governor.
ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record. Because it took
the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of
OBAMA: Get the transcript.
CANDY CROWLEY, MODERATOR: He did, in fact, sir. So let me -- let me --
called it an act of terror.
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
CROWLEY: He did call it an act of terror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: They couldn`t take down President Obama, but the Benghazi industry
grew and sprouted new accusations and theories.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Before Benghazi, there were plenty of
calls for help that were unheeded by people at the highest levels of the
State Department. People that report directly to Hillary Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: C-110 had the ability to be there, in my opinion, in
four to six hours, from their European theater, to react.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They would have been there before the second attack?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They would have been there before the second attack.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK RADIO HOST: Doug Ross maintains here that Valerie
Jarrett gave the orders to stand down in Benghazi.
BRIAN KILMEAD, "FOX AND FRIENDS: I would like to know how -- did she pass
out and hit her head? Was she pushed? How did she hit her head and get a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I have obtained 12 different versions of those
talking points that shows that they were dramatically edited by the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He started walking towards me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And as he was coming closer --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I got closer, I just hit him with the butt of the
rifle in the face.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He went down, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He dropped?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, like a stone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And each of these, unless you`re a full-time expert covering this
day in and day out, have to be debunked, which they were, leading to
embarrassing moments for even mainstream journalists like ABC News Jonathan
Karl and CBS News Laura Logan.
But now, the end of the year, here comes David Kirkpatrick of the "New York
Times" in a stunning, multi-part piece, absolutely taking a sledgehammer to
the central cornerstone that the entire Benghazi cathedral of scandal is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, MSNBC ANCHOR: Months of investigation, you write, by "The
New York Times" centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi,
who had direct knowledge of the attack there, and its context, turned up no
evidence that al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role
in the assault.
The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from
NATO`s extensive air power and logistic support during the uprising against
Colonel Gadhafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it
was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video, denigrating
So the al Qaeda connection and the video, two key points. How do you know
it wasn`t al Qaeda?
DAVID KIRKPATRICK, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I don`t think I`m out on a limb
there. I think, honestly, if you asked anybody in the U.S. intelligence
business, they would tell you the same thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do you realize what he just said there? Do you realize what he
just said? The entire scandal that started, which was about this actually
being al Qaeda and then being covered up, and the idea that the spontaneous
reaction to a video was a ridiculous fib the president had concocted to
cover himself from the fact that he allowed Americans to be killed, that
both those things were true.
The Benghazi scandal industry has ruined people`s lives. It has wasted
untold government resources and attention. It has led news agencies to
chase themselves into ignominy. It has fed all kinds of ridiculous
posturing and hysteria. It has led to confusion about the actual problems
and solutions thereto. And now, finally, as we begin the new year of 2014,
now, finally, it is time to say good-bye, RIP, Benghazi scandal. There is
HAYES: Pot tourist. That is a thing now. How Colorado`s legalization of
marijuana will impact that state and the rest of the U.S. ahead.
But first, I want to share the three awesomest things on the Internet
today. We begin in the Netherlands where the Dutch are making fun of
Hollande. This collage of photos have recently printed in the Dutch
newspaper Volkskrant. The 2013 perspective of France`s prime minister,
Francois Hollande, pictured with other world leaders. And apparently none
of them want anything to do with him.
Never, ever, ever getting back together, like ever. No love, so sad. But,
alas, an investigation by the French version of "The Huffington Post", "Le
Huffington Post," reveals there was never any snubbing at all. They report
almost all of these images were, indeed, taken a split second before
contact, Francois Hollande grasped the hand that was held out to him.
As we see here with Iranian president, Rouhani, "Le Huffington Post" blew
up the Volkskrant. And now with that mystery solved, we eagerly await for
"Le Huffington Post" investigation of Tom Brady getting -- Tom Brady
getting iced by Julian Edelman.
The second awesomest thing to come to us from YouTube, and it is a stark
reminder of the real world danger faced every day by our nation`s delivery
people. This is a UPS man in Minnesota being chased around a FedEx truck
by a wild turkey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that. The turkey`s chasing the FedEx guy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK, so laugh it up, people, but after a while, we started to feel
bad for the guy and had to wonder just what kind of people would just point
and laugh at a person going through such a traumatic experience. Well, we
found out at the end of the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, there he goes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That guy has got the idea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn the tail on him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`d he do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chased him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Wait, what, a bunch of doctors? You guys leave a patient on the
surgery table to go make fun of that poor guy? Well, thanks, Obamacare.
And the third awesomest thing comes to us from Reddit.com. If you`re not
familiar with Reddit.com, it`s the one with 56 billion page views in 2013.
Why are so many people flocking to Reddit? Because there`s gold and not
their Web site. Case in point, this post. "My boss brings her dog to
work. Lately we`ve been reenacting scenes from movies. Romance only."
Yes, the images provided are exactly that. A guy with a little bit of
extra time on his hands remaking the greatest romantic moments in cinematic
history with his boss` dog. Apparently it started with the "Titanic." The
real winners were the "Mrs. Robinson" pose from "The Graduate," the
birthday cake on the table scene from "16 Candles," nobody puts beagle in
the corner from "Dirty Dancing," the pottery wheel scene from "Ghost."
The kiss scene from "Spider-Man." OK. That one took some doing. And this
tender image from "Brokeback Mountain" very well done but that noise you
just heard was Rick Santorum passing out. Ad this one from "The Notebook"
is where it starts to get -- well, OK, I think we`re done here.
You can find all the links for tonight`s "Click 3" on our Web site,
HAYES: Love it or hate it, history has been made. The world is watching,
and Colorado is officially America`s cannabis capital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like 1928 all over again, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In their eyes, prohibition is over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We really truly are making history today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. As far as we can tell, yesterday marked the first time
in the history of the world, the history of the world, that people were
table to walk into a store and buy marijuana that is 100 percent legal.
OK, well not 100 percent. Technically, marijuana is still rather illegal
under federal law.
But you would not know it from the scene yesterday in Colorado, where
people stood in long lines, in the cold, to be among the first to purchase
pot for recreational use, that was grown, supplied, and sold all in
accordance with state law.
The federal government has vowed not to challenge the law, so long as the
state prevents out-of-state distribution and use by minors, among other
factors. It amounts to the most liberal marijuana regime in the world,
And here`s how it works. State residents can walk into a licensed store
and buy up to an ounce, which incidentally, is a lot of marijuana, to
anyone over age 21. All they need to do is show an I.D. Out-of-state
residents can buy up to a quarter ounce, which they must consume in the
state, and that actually isn`t all that easy. It is illegal to smoke in
public and against the rules in many hotels, which has left some tourists
to, quote, "find a parking lot and roll up the car windows."
In general, though, the process of buying pot in Colorado isn`t all that
different than buying wine anywhere else. There are a lot of different
varieties for sale and knowledgeable employees on hand to explain them all.
And while there are still a lot of questions to be answered as Colorado
embarks on one of the most incredible social policy experiments of our
lifetime, this may be just the first domino to fall.
It will soon be legal to buy and use marijuana recreationally in Washington
state. And efforts to legalize it are underway around the country. And
major factor it will lead to $67 million that Colorado projects it will
take in tax revenue for marijuana sales just this year.
Yesterday marked a singular inflection point in the history of the war on
drugs and the rise of America as the nation in the world most intent on
imprisoning its own citizens. There`s everything that happened before
legalization and everything that will happen now. It`s the second day of
an entirely new era.
And joining me now to talk about it is Jack Finlaw, chief legal counsel to
Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper. He`s co-chair of the Amendment 64
And I imagine you are in really uncharted territory here. How have the
first two days gone?
JACK FINLAW, CHIEF LEGAL COUNSEL TO GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER: Well, Chris,
the first two days have been really excellent. We`ve had long lines.
We`ve had regulators out visiting the stores. We`ve had state and local
governments involved. We`ve got really responsible business owners, who
want to follow the rules. So it`s been a very responsible first two days.
HAYES: So -- who is selling this marijuana? I`m a little unclear as to
the -- who are the folks that have these businesses and how are they
FINLAW: These are folks are people that already have had really well-
established medical marijuana growth facilities and medical marijuana
dispensaries in Colorado over the past several years. These are the type
of people that I have gotten to know that will remind you of people you`ve
met when you`ve visited Napa wineries or craft breweries or local
These are young, entrepreneurial type folks who are trying to grow a
business and are trying to follow the rules and know that if they follow
the rules, they will be protected from federal intervention and hopefully
thrive. They are people that are hiring Coloradans, giving them jobs,
obviously, providing a product that some people in Colorado want to
HAYES: As someone overseeing the implementation of this entirely new
regulatory regime, what`s the thing you fear most? What keeps you up at
night? What don`t you want to see on your BlackBerry at 3:00 in the
FINLAW: You know, Colorado allows both this regulated market, the thing
that`s been the focus over the past few days, the grow operations that are
licensed, the infused product manufacturers, the retail stores. But we
also allow home grows. We allow people to grow up to six plants in their
home. And six plants produces a lot of marijuana.
And that is outside of our regulatory scheme. There`s no real regulatory
oversight of those plants. So there is a risk, I think, of those plants
being the source of black market marijuana, both in-state and out of state.
HAYES: Yes, is that -- is that -- that leakage issue, this is a tweet from
the Wyoming Highway Patrol that caught my eye today, all caps.
HAYES: So you know, you know they`re serious. "Do not bring your
Colorado-purchased marijuana into Wyoming." If you start to get that kind
of leakage, is that the kind of thing that you imagine would begin to
trigger federal intervention?
FINLAW: Yes, absolutely. I would hope that our neighboring states won`t
focus on the tourist who`s got a small of marijuana. But we will work
closely with our neighboring states to make sure that cars and trucks are
not packed with Colorado-grown marijuana for resale in other parts of the
HAYES: The restriction of the sellers to this group that have already kind
of been regulated and was doing this under the medical marijuana, at a
certain point, that`s going to be lifted. And you`re just going to have a
marijuana business in the state of Colorado, right?
FINLAW: Well, you know, it`s really going to be hard to enter into the
marijuana business. We have significant background check requirements,
significant licensing and other fees to get into the business. There`s
residency requirements. To own a business, you have to be a Colorado
resident for at least two years. And you`ve got to be a resident to work
in the businesses.
HAYES: Jack Finlaw, chief legal counsel to Colorado`s governor. Thank you
so much for your time.
FINLAW: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: All right. More on what this looks like and what it means for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: All throughout Denver, marijuana buyers stood in
long lines and happily waited hours for their first chance to legally buy,
over a counter, instead of in a back alley.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And nobody`s going to jail. That`s the cool part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Vanita Gupta, deputy legal director of the American
Civil Liberties Union and Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director
of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Ethan, you`ve been working for this day, toward this day, on this issue
for, if I am not mistaken, decades. Did you ever think you would see the
kind of footage that we`re seeing coming out of Colorado?
ETHAN NADELMANN, DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE: Well, of course. It was just a
matter of time. The question is, when was it actually going to happen?
But seeing what happened in Colorado these last couple of days. What`s
going to happen in Washington and Uruguay in the next few months, and
what`s going to happen a bunch more states, you know, I can`t say that it
was inevitable, but I think time was on our side and people eventually are
going to come to their senses about this.
HAYES: You know, there are a bunch of states that are targeted for this
campaign by 2017. Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont,
Alaska, Arizona, California, Maine and Nevada. Is this going to be like
gambling, where you had first one state and then two states and then
governors and state legislators start to look around and say, wow, they`re
raising revenue and they don`t have to raise people`s taxes. That seems
kind of nifty. And before you know it, basically, everyone has casinos.
NADELMANN: I mean, Chris, I think that`s exactly what`s going to happen.
I mean, this year, Oregon will go next, maybe Alaska. We`re going to
decide about California next month or so. 2016, a whole bunch more states
through the ballot initiative process, and then it`ll be the other half of
the states that don`t allow voters to change the law through the initiative
process, especially in New England.
So I think as people look around, as they see the tax revenue being
collected, as they see police being in the opportunity to focus on real
crime, you`ll see that shift. And not just in the U.S., also outside the
U.S. What Uruguay did by becoming the first country to decide to legalize
marijuana just a few weeks ago.
NADELMANN: That`s going to be replicated in other countries as well.
HAYES: All right. So, Vanita, there are two issues here. There is the
push for marijuana legalization, which is perceiving quite well, I think,
in public opinion and politically. There is the fact of our war on drugs
and mass incarceration. And there is some overlap, right? Do you see a
nexus between those two?
VANITA GUPTA, DEPUTY LEGAL DIRECTOR, ACLU: Absolutely. I mean, I think
what`s undercovered by the media right now is what`s happening in Colorado
and Washington are actually racial justice victories as well. Over 50
percent of drug arrests in 2010 were for marijuana-related offenses. That
means that a huge terrain in the war on drugs is being fought on our
Now is it the end-all, be-all, absolutely not.
HAYES: I want to show this chart, which is one of our favorites on the
program. And it comes from a great ACLU report. So this is -- the first
is, the racial disparity in marijuana use, and there is essentially no
racial disparity in marijuana use. Black and white people use marijuana at
around the same rates.
This is the racial disparity in marijuana arrests and all of a sudden you
see a massive racial disparity in marijuana arrests.
GUPTA: That`s right. In county to county, there was not a county in the
nation where the racial disparities were not very large. It`s large
county, small county, rural county, urban county. Our reports show that
all over the country, marijuana enforcement is grossly racially disparate.
And so that is why -- I mean, this is all coming in the general climate of
a changing attitude around the war on drugs.
You had the attorney general talking about the problems in the war on drugs
and how we`ve got too many low-level offenders serving too-long prison
sentences for these kinds of crimes. This is right now we are witnessing a
change across the country and states all over the country around drug
policy and marijuana policy specifically, but we have a lot of work to do
to truly kind of undo the war on drugs.
HAYES: Yes. That, I think, is the key point in terms of using this as a
wedge to do that.
GUPTA: Yes. Yes.
HAYES: And I wanted to read, for both of you, this David Simon quote. He
gave this interview and he had this kind of contrarian take on it. David
Simon, of course, the creator of "The Wire," who hates the war on drugs, as
I think as I do and as I think you both do. He said, "Having removed much
of the white, middle class interaction with drug enforcement from the
equation, those who are championing marijuana reform and ignoring the
overall disaster of the drug war will be perpetuating the fundamental and
Ethan, do you worry about that? Do you worry about a relatively powerful
constituency being removed from the fight to completely get rid of the war
NADELMANN: You know, it`s a minor concern, but if you look comparatively
around the world or elsewhere where there`s been reforms like this, I think
that the concern is going to be -- it`s overblowing. I think what we`re
going to see is that more and more focus on trying to address the problems
of mass incarceration in America.
I mean, we can`t continue having the highest prison rate in the world. You
see Democratic governors and Republican governors saying, it`s time for a
change. You saw Attorney General Holder actually going out in Colombia
last month and giving a speech to foreign security ministers, in which he
said, we can no longer sustain these U.S. policies. So I think we`re
seeing change ahead.
HAYES: Ethan Nadelmann from the Drug Policy Alliance and Vanita Gupta from
the ACLU, thank you both.
GUPTA: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. That is ALL IN for this evening. The "RACHEL MADDOW
SHOW" starts now.
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