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All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, January 3rd, 2014
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ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
January 3, 2014
Guests: John Nichols, Josh Barro, Cathleen London, Mike Pesca, Khary Lazarre-White, Jordan Carlos, Vanita Gupta
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
Lawmakers tonight are planning their return to Washington, D.C.,
amidst the blizzard that has covered much of the country. Congress is
back in session on Monday and when they return, there is one item of
business at the top of the priory list -- a three-month extension to
federal emergency long-term unemployment benefits.
Unconscionably, Republicans blocked Democrats` attempts to extend
federal emergency unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed in
the budget deal hammered out before Christmas break. As a result, 1.3
million people were cut off from their benefits three days after
Christmas and almost 2 million more could be cut off in the first six
months of 2014.
So, why, you might ask, are Republicans doing this?
Well, to be honest -- it`s a bit hard to answer because they
haven`t been exactly taking to the microphones to explain themselves.
It`s almost as if they`re ashamed of screwing over millions of people.
But here`s Rand Paul.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I do support unemployment benefits
for the 26 weeks that they`re paid for. If you extend it beyond that,
you do a disservice to these workers. You`re causing them to become
part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Paul is not to put too fine a point on it, full of it. You
only get federal unemployment benefits if you are actively seeking work
and the millions of Americans who are unemployed, they are by and large,
not choosing to be unemployed.
Right now, there are almost three unemployed people for every job
opening. Long-term unemployment is at its highest level in 30 years.
In fact, what congressional Republicans are doing right now is entirely
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GENE SPERLING, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: We as a country have
never cut off emergency unemployment benefits when long-term
unemployment was this high.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, the reason Congress has never failed to extend federal
emergency unemployment benefits with unemployment this high is that the
program actually keeps people in the labor force. How do we know?
Last year, North Carolina decided to run a little experiment.
Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill that sharply cut the state`s
unemployment benefits and as a result, North Carolina`s unemployment
rate dropped dramatically from 8.8 percent to 7.4 percent between July
But here`s the thing -- that drop came because the state`s labor
force shrank more than twice as much as the national average. In other
words, people just stopped looking for work. They gave up. They quit.
And it`s not just happening in North Carolina. Right now, hundreds
of thousands of people are dropping out of the workforce each month.
They are called in technical terms, "discouraged workers." They are
millions of Americans who our political class and especially Republican
Party, has chosen to discard, has chosen to take their talents and their
abilities and their possible contributions to our economy and toss them
into a national dumpster fire for no good reason.
So, when Congress returns on Monday, first item on Harry Reid`s
agenda is a three-month extension of federal emergency unemployment
insurance. The bill will give retroactive benefits to the 1.3 million
people who lost benefits three days after Christmas and extend them for
hundreds of thousands more whose benefits will expire in the first
months of 2014.
And the question is, who is stopping that from happening. Well,
the Republican Party, as I said.
Harry Reid plans to bring this bill up for a vote on Monday, and
because of a routine abuse of the filibuster, he will need 60 votes to
get it out of the Senate. Right now, it looks like he has all 55
Democrats. And he is one Republican, a cosponsor of the bill, Senator
Dean Heller of Nevada. Nevada`s unemployment rate is a whopping 9
percent, over 17,000 people in the state lost benefits on the 28th.
Over 20,000 more people will stop receiving their checks in the first
six months of 2014 if Congress does not act.
Dean Heller is one Republican. Democrats will need four more to
break the filibuster. Keep in mind, this is a filibuster of unemployed
people looking for work. The vote will likely come down to these four.
Republican Senator Mark Kirk whose state of Illinois has an
unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, where over 80,000 people lost benefits
in late December and where almost 90,000 more will lose benefits in the
first half of 2014.
Here`s Rob Portman of Ohio, with the state unemployment rate of 7.4
percent, almost 40,000 people lost benefits in his state in December,
with even more set to lose in 2014.
Susan Collins of Maine, who has voted for multiple extensions in
the past, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she would be open for
Well, tonight, we asked all four of those senators to join us here
on this program so they could tell the people of their states on where
they stand on letting their unemployment benefits disappear. After all,
those four senators stand between 1.3 million people getting back on
their feet, or being kicked to the curb. Two of them said no. Two did
Now, when you ask Republicans how they could possibly not vote for
an extension, they start to voice concerns, around 6.5 billion for the
3-month extension being voted on on Monday. Republicans are saying they
want to off set to pay.
Senator Rob Portman told us in a statement, "I`m willing to
consider any credible proposals, so long as those benefits address job
creation and are paid for so we don`t add to our nation`s burdensome
debt." Senator doesn`t mean the deficit is falling at its fastest rate
in 60 years, or that the cost of the extension could be off set by
ending our program, to subsidize wealthy farmers.
Or to illustrate visually, here`s the difference between the
current budget and the budget with the emergency unemployment benefits
extended. It`s hard to make out. But in human terms, that difference
looks like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrifying, devastating.
REPORTER: Overwhelming emotions of Dolores Ciriani (ph)( and Jeff
Schafer (ph) wake up without unemployment insurance benefits today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do I feed my four children? How do I
feed the dogs? My husband? Everything and it`s so overwhelming that
you don`t know where to start.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, Mark Kirk, Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski,
when you get back to Washington, D.C. on Monday, how about doing your
jobs so other folks can get back to work as well?
Joining me now, John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The
And, John, I wanted to talk to you because you are based in the
Midwest and cover the Midwest for a while. What do you think the
politics are like for Mark Kirk and Rob Portman of Ohio on this
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: I think they`re pretty intense. I do
think you identified the right folks. I might also throw Senator Toomey
from Pennsylvania into that mix as well.
One of the things that you have to understand and I think that most
of your viewers do, is that the Great Lake states and that`s what you`re
really talking about there, those states have suffered incredible de-
industrialization. So, in a number of cities, places that don`t get
covered much in national media, places like Lorraine, Ohio, Lackawanna,
and you start to western New York, head across all those Great Lakes.
They`ve had a lot of job losses and people have been put into very tough
Right now, it`s some of the coldest weather that we`ve had in
years. Lot of snow. This is not a time when businesses are putting on
NICHOLS: It`s not a time when it`s going to be easy to find jobs.
And so, it`s very, very clear to the voters in those states that these
benefits have to be extended. I think the pressure on those Republican
senators will be quite intense.
HAYES: You know, the interesting question to me is whether the
political power of this group of people who are in the broad sense of
the number of people that as they cast votes in a presidential election
are relatively small, whether the plight of those folks reverberates out
past the individuals who are directly affected. If people understand
that they`re next on chopping block or they have friends who might have
long-term unemployment. That they`re in household and extended families
that might be on long term unemployment and whether that creates enough
political power to put pressure on a Republican Party that is intent on
NICHOLS: Well, I think it does and this is the important thing for
Democrats to understand. You know, this is an unconscionable compromise
at the start. To pass this budget and not to get those jobless benefits
And so, Democrats made a promise. It was a commitment that when
they got back, they would go to the wall on this one. This would be an
Now, everybody knew they were going to have to get some Republicans
to make it happen, and the Republicans who are in play here, it`s clear
who they are, where they live. To my mind, the message has to be one
that`s very focused, very intense, I would hope, that groups engaged,
unions, community groups, engage on those issues, communicate to these
And one thing to understand, Chris, is that these votes are
concentrated in certain areas, and a lot of folks who aren`t looking for
an extension of benefits is because they have a job. They retired, they
understand the reality of jobless benefits. There are a lot of places
in this country where that have had a boom and bust economy and folks
have been through this. And so, this is not some sort of vague or
esoteric, theoretical discussion.
It`s very real for a lot of voters.
HAYES: John Nichols of "The Nation" -- thank you so much.
NICHOLS: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now, politics editor of "Business Insider." I
feel like there`s a bunch of things we point to in the Obama era as kind
of moments of kind of radical departure from what happened before, and
this long-term benefit extension is one of them, right? This was sort
of a routine thing and now, it`s not.
So, what is the explanation aside from anti-Obama animus?
JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: Well, I think there are two things
that have happened. One is that this recovery has just taken so long.
It`s unprecedented that we are more than four years after the end of the
recession and we still have a long-term unemployment problem that is --
BARRO: I mean, I think you have to go back to the Great
Depression, to see a similar place. So, I think while we have this
level of unemployment, long-term unemployment, it has not been routine
to extend them for so many years after the extension of benefits
started. So, I think that`s the political challenge.
And the other political challenge is just that I -- the Republicans
today view their defining challenge as being stopping us from turning
into a nation of takers. They are broadly energized about the idea that
people are living off government benefits. This is the root of the
objection of Obamacare, to food stamps and unemployment benefits have
gotten lumped into that.
HAYES: We stake our ground here on the ALL IN show as the pro
taker side of the equation.
I think -- I think the other issue here is there is, there`s this
austerity mindset, which continues to squeeze every office on that
capitol. Even Democratic and you`re starting to see the Democratic
Party, which I think joined the austerity caucus for a while, partly on
political expediency, partly because a bunch of Democratic elites
including the president, thought that had to be done. Break away from
it and say, OK -- and we have done our job here. We have cut this
deficit. We are not looking at a sea of red ink in the next year, two
years, three years, the way we work two years ago, we can afford $6
billion over three months to make sure these people stay in the labor
BARRO: Right. I think there`s that and I think also that
unemployment benefits more so than really any other government program
are designed to be a cyclical program. They are supposed to be
expensive and deficit inducing in a time of a weak labor market.
So you can worry about other programs are going astray if they`re
causing the deficit to rise, but that`s really how unemployment benefits
are supposed to work. One thing I`d like to see for future recessions
is all of this should really be rule based. Congress shouldn`t have to
come in every year and decide to extend the unemployment program. It
just be triggered automatically when you have a rise in the unemployment
HAYES: Which is one of the things people talk about, things that
are built into the policy. And it was really, Ben Bernanke talking
about fiscal policy and talking about what a disaster it`s been. This
is, you know, outgoing Fed chair and saying it in his kind of between
the lines economist ease, basically saying this has been a disaster.
Congress needs to get their act together.
And I`m really curious to see what the pressure looks like. The
White House is going to do an event on Tuesday, when people`s benefits
are cut off. Harry Reid is going to bring up his vote. And I think the
Democrats think they have a winning political issue here. And I am
inclined to think they are right. It`s going to be really interesting
to watch Mark Kirk and Rob Portman try to stand up to that.
BARRO: It`s going to be interesting to see and I`m interested to
see how the Republicans will play it, because even if they vote now for
this extension, we`re just going to have to come back on April 1st and
have to do this again. So, they need to come up with a longer term
policy as to where they stand on this issue.
I think the way out for them though -- you get these statements
like the one from Senator Portman saying it needs to be paid for. Pay-
fors are basically gimmicks, because they`re done over a ten-year
HAYES: Yes, they`re done over 10-year window, usually when talking
about small amounts of money in the relative terms of fiscal budget, you
can find some accounting change to something that will give you the pay-
BARRO: Right or, even just a very small policy change to get three
months of unemployment benefits with some government spending cuts
spread over a 10-year period, you can do a really small spending cut and
have to come back in three months and do another really small spending
cuts somewhere else in the federal budget.
But probably, hopefully, we only need maybe another 12 to 18 months
of this unemployment program extension.
HAYES: And that`s the big question, is pass that window, six
months and nine months. At some point, you look at the American labor
market and say, the thing is broken, right? I mean, at some point, you
start moving towards full employment, or there is some deep problem that
needs to be addressed as job number one, domestic, economic, macro
economic policy priority in this country, which is to get people back to
BARRO: Right. You say it`s broken or you say that the problems
with it now are just completely structural. There are problems that can
be dealt with throughout this macro economic mechanisms where you inject
money into the economy, like unemployment benefits. We`re not there
yet. The unemployment benefit extension will grow the economy and
create jobs, but in a normal economy, you have about two job applicants
for every job opening.
BARRO: So, at some point, we`re going to get down to that level.
We will need policies aimed at raising unemployment.
HAYES: I am to say, something structural, once the kitchen sink
has been hurled at the problem, but the kitchen sink is still firmly
grouted into the counter.
Josh Barro of "Business Insider".
BARRO: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. If you are a supporter of the Affordable Care
Act, what do you say about?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government says they`re not a religious
organization, but actions and their faith say they are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the people you care for look up at you,
they want to see Christ`s face. You look down at them, you have to find
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Most sympathetic plaintiffs in all of litigation history.
Little sisters of the poor versus Obamacare and the next battle in the
Obamacare wars, ahead.
HAYES: Some Republicans might need convincing. So, for tonight`s
question, I want to know this. What would you say to Republican
senators who are on the fence about voting for the unemployment
insurance extension? Tweet your answers @allinwithchris, or post it to
Facebook.com/allinwithchris. I`ll share a couple at the end of the
HAYES: Nine million. That is the estimated number of people who
have gotten health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. They are
now finishing up day three of people with Obamacare going to their
doctors and believe me, if it was going poorly, we`d be hearing about
it, because no amount of net increase in human welfare or care can turn
conservatives away from their obsession with destroying the Affordable
But now, that we`ve passed the Web site disaster stage and canceled
plan stage, we enter 2014 with a new set of battle lines being drawn.
This week, conservative group called the Beckett Fund for Religious
Liberty successfully got a Supreme Court injunction in hopes of
exempting their extremely sympathetic-sounding client, the little
sisters of the poor, from providing birth control coverage to their
The Obama administration has said the nuns who operate a series of
nursing homes could avoid having to offer contraception coverage by
signing in certification form offered by the government. The nuns say
that accommodation is unacceptable.
Today, in its filing with the Supreme Court, the Obama
administration urged the court to reject the lawsuit. In the meantime,
11 Republican attorneys general are claiming the administration is
breaking the law by making changes to the ACA without going through
Congress, calling those flatly illegal.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor meanwhile is raising the specter
of cyber attack, saying he will schedule a vote next week on a bill that
will place more security requirements on healthcare.gov.
And the Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity is
rolling out a number of anti-Obamacare ads, targeting three Democratic
senators who are up for re-election this year. This as conservative
activists continue to appear in sky is falling stories about canceled
Healthcare (INAUDIBLE) Maggie Mahar (ph) flagged one in the "Fort
Worth Star Telegram" that appeared too catastrophic to be true.
A profile of several quote Obamacare losers, including one 26-year-
old woman with multiple sclerosis who claimed new insurance under
Obamacare would cost her over $1,000 a month. Not true. Mahar found
the woman was eligible for a plan that would cost her about $332 a
And after Googling the names of people featured in the "Star
Telegram" story, Mahar also found that three of the four people
profiled, including the one with MS, were Tea Party activists.
And some of the more sophisticated opponents of Obamacare were
given an actual piece of verified data to use as ammunition in a new
study published in the "Journal Science". It found people that enrolled
in Medicaid were more likely to use the emergency room and not
necessarily for emergencies than their counterparts who weren`t on
Medicaid. The increase in ER use found that study is significant, about
40 percent. This didn`t come as a surprise to people who actually run
One Medicaid doctor telling NPR that most states are already
working on helping Medicaid recipients get care in more appropriate
settings. That has not stopped right wing Web sites from using the
study as fodder, New Year, same strategy, slightly different approach.
Joining me now, Dr. Cathleen London, assistant professor of
medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and family medicine physician.
Doctor, good to have you here.
CATHLEEN LONDON, FAMILY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: It`s a pleasure to be
HAYES: OK. The first question about the study is I really wanted
to talk about the study because I do not want us to be in a bubble of
denial about what evidence is saying about the benefits of insurance or
it`s not insurance. Or you`re going to have a situation in which they
have a limited amount of money to expand Medicaid, they determined
eligibility by lottery, which gave you the perfect circumstances for a
good, controlled experiment, and they`re looking at the outcomes now and
they`re showing that people who got covered under Medicaid were going to
the ER more.
Now, that cuts against I think the impulses and talking points and
arguments even, a lot of liberals and Democrats have made about
LONDON: So, you have to look at the timeline. This actually goes
against what happened in Massachusetts. You will initially have a blip.
You`re taking people who had no access to care under the old system
and they suddenly have a way of getting in. They have chronic medical
problems. They have sorts of -- they don`t have a doctor, they go to
LONDON: They get into that system that way. If you continue now
and look at what`s happened in Oregon since then, actually in this last
year, they decreased by 18 percent.
HAYES: So, this is a really important point. I mean, in the first
two years of the expansion, you`ve had people w haven`t had doctors and
who only know how to reliably get care from the ER. They get insurance
and they think, oh, I could go to the ER and will be covered.
Oregon then set benchmarks and said, OK, we don`t want people going
to the ER. That`s not the best place for people to get primary care.
They`ve changed their delivery system and even cost incentives and there
are different regional centers, to drive down the number of ER visits
and that`s been working.
LONDON: So, they did two things. They created these CCOs, or
coordinated care organizations, similar to PCOs that are being
developed. And they also really put a big emphasis on primary care and
patient centered medical homes.
That`s really the key to the long-term both decrease in cost and
improving health outcomes because that`s coordinated care. That is a
primary care physician driving it. That is a whole team of people with
chronic health conditions to make sure that you don`t run out of your
medications, that you`re keeping your numbers under control.
HAYES: Right. So, this to me is a key point here, because I think
there was an argument being made by people in the 2008 election in the
run-up to the Affordable Care Act, which is kind of magic wand theory of
health insurance coverage expansion.
And I think I -- if I`m honest, I think I probably admitted it
myself at certain times.
LONDON: But this is not access.
HAYES: The idea was that you get people coverage, they don`t have
to go to the emergency room. Even Republican Governor Rick Snyder was
making his when he was pushing for Medicaid expansion in his own state
over Republican opposition. It`s this idea when people get covered,
they don`t go to the ER, or they cost us all because the cost is being
LONDON: But they do to the ER, but now the ER gets paid. It`s not
longer that the ER is in disarray because they`re never getting paid and
they`re chasing people with no money.
HAYES: Or being forced to do collections and suing people. I
mean, I covered stories in Chicago when I was there of folks being, you
know, hounded to death`s door to recoup medical costs from ER visits.
LONDON: And they can be referred appropriately, or admitted and
have it covered. All those things work. Then the other thing that
happens is we can now expand, don`t forget that the ACA is not just
coverage. There`s $9 billion to expand community health centers, expand
You have to remember that this same population is a disenfranchised
population that has shift work, has trouble getting to a doctor, has
troubled getting childcare. They need expanded hours. They need
LONDON: These are all things that are being worked on.
HAYES: Are we working on those things? That I think is the
important thing to come out of this, is that coverage does not equal
care, right? Those are two distinct things. The Affordable Care Act
does stuff on the coverage side. And the question is, is there the
political will, or is there stuff that states do.
LONDON: So, Oregon did this. Massachusetts did this. We need to
learn what Oregon has done since. They have like beautiful data showing
what`s happened in the last two years. And so, if that study will keep
going, they`ll see that and that`s really the lesson we need, is that we
need to plan. We do need to create patient centered medical homes. We
need to expand primary care.
HAYES: And you need to have it as a political and policy objective
to get people the care they need in the place that actually they will be
accessible to them and that ends up having the side benefit of driving
Dr. Cathleen London, thank you so much.
LONDON: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: All right. Was an NFL player fired for being a gay rights
advocate? That explosive story ahead.
HAYES: All right. I`m about to say something very disturbing. We
should round up all the gays, send them to an island and then nuke it
until it blows. That is a statement allegedly made by this man.
Minnesota Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer who denies
saying such a thing because quote, "Personally, I have gay family
members." The accusation that Priefer said that comes in this
blockbuster tell all letter on Deadspin.com written by former Vikings
Punter Chris Kluwe.
Now, that name rings the bell because Kluwe made headlines last
summer when he came out against Minnesota`s gay marriage amendment,
which would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
This transformed Kluwe into something of a gay rights activists. Here
he is on our own network a couple of months before Minnesota voters
struck down that bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS KLUWE, FORMER MINNESOTA VIKINGS PUNTER: Gay people would
like to get married and I think that`s something when we look back 20,
25 years from now and you look at history, which side were you on?
We`re on the side, you know, that supported this or did you try and take
people`s rights away?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Kluwe who`s eight-year career punting for the Minnesota
Vikings came to an end in April writes, quote, "I honestly don`t know if
my activism was the reason I got fired, however, I`m pretty confident it
was. Kluwe went to say that he was fired by Mike Priefer, a bigot who
didn`t agree with the cost and two cowards, former head coach Leslie
Frazier and General Manager Rick Spielman who lacked the fortitude to
disagree with Mike Priefer on a touching subject matter.
Earlier today, the Vikings announced a former chief justice of the
Minnesota Supreme Court will help investigate Kluwe`s allegations,
saying in part it is extremely important for the Vikings organization to
react immediately and comprehensively with an independent review. Kluwe
feels that if he wasn`t so outspoken about this pro-gay advocacy, he
would still be in the league and at least one other NFL player agrees.
Would he probably be in the league today? Had he continued to go
speak at schools, you know, about education or about fitness or if he
continued to do hunger drivers or, you know, cancer awareness type of
stuff? Yes, he still probably in the NFL, he played the game as long as
he could. Now that he feels like his career is over, now he feels that
he can reveal and he can tell the truth.
HAYES: Joining me now, Mike Pesca, sports correspondent for NPR.
Mike, I`ve found this story fascinating. I mean, Kluwe is a fascinating
figure because he was so uncommonly outspoken professional athlete. In
a way I can`t real another professional athlete being as outspoken as he
was, and then this bombshell tell all thing gets 800,000 views in, you
know, a matter of a few hours. And then to me was the most interesting
revealing, the Vikings reacting as panicked and strongly as they appear
MIKE PESCA, NPR SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. As outspoken and in
the manner he was outspoken. I think that`s a big part of it. I agree
with Kluwe on the gay marriage issue. The way he said it was really --
he`s a provocateur, he`s a punter provocateur and he provoked a
reaction. And now what you just played about nuking gays on an island
absolutely ridiculous. I think he had to know that especially in these
button down NFL, that sort of thing is going to make some people
uncomfortable. They shouldn`t have to bend to him. He shouldn`t have
to bend to them.
HAYES: But this sounds like you`re saying basically he had it
PESCA: No, I don`t think he had it coming. I think it would be
wrong to think, wow, I`m surprised that this happened. It`s the NFL.
He`s the only one taking a stance show boldly. You know, he wrote an
article for dead spin. I can`t repeat the headline. I`m pro-profanity.
It didn`t offend me but it certainly offended people within the NFL to
the point where he kind of rewrote that article in the local Minnesota
paper. His own father said, Chris, tone it down. The language. And I
think that and there was even an incident where his GM said, Chris, tone
it down and he didn`t tone it down. Now, if he was a great punter he
would be in the NFL and if the thing he didn`t tone it down on was a
cause everyone agreed with, he`d be in the NFL.
HAYES: OK. But this is partly about the story of Kluwe, whose
career now looks like it might be over, who had a very belonging and
relatively successful career as a punter. There`s also the issue of the
future of this of Mike Priefer. And I think it`s a test case right for
the NFL, the -- culture about what is tolerated and what`s not. If he
said the kind of thing that Chris Kluwe said he said, if you said that
in this building at this organization or any other firm that I know,
that would be a fireable offense.
HAYES: You can`t say something like that. And it`s a rare test
case to me what happens to him if they -- didn`t fact say it.
PESCA: Everyone in the Vikings is circling the log, and that`s
what you would expect them to do. There was a team of brotherhood. You
know, it`s always us against them. Interestingly, the owner of the
Vikings even Kluwe -- that he won`t shook Kluwe`s hand and said, you
know, I admire your stance on this. But I think what Kluwe did by
saying Mike Priefer should never work again, I mean, who knows why or if
he said that. It seemed like a onetime utterance and here Priefer is
saying, it`s not a rich man. He`s a special teams coach in the NFL.
Wow! This is my whole life on the line. So, I think maybe there are --
again, Kluwe is a bomb thrower. Kluwe is a provocateur. This is what
he does. This is the reaction he kind of wanted, I think.
HAYES: How much do you think things have evolved in terms of these
two tracks? Locker room culture as it pertains to acceptance of gay
athletes and gay people in general and front office concern about
getting right on these issues.
PESCA: Yes, and also a concern of, you know, we have a
controversial ballot issue here in Minnesota. Wow, one of our guys is
so vocal on one stands. He could turn off half our audience. I read a
really good book by Nikki David (ph) wrote about the Jets, and he talked
and he got to really know them, and he talked to the defensive
coordinator Mike Patton and he said, Mike, this is the most anti-gay
environment I`ve ever been around. Like the gay jokes are out of
control. How would an NFL team ever accept this? And Patton
acknowledged that and he said, for a day, we`d worry about it, but we`re
a brotherhood and we`d come around. So, I think if there were a gay
person in the NFL, the fact that they`re a team would trump anything.
HAYES: Well, that`s going to be the big test case. Mike Pesca of
NPR, thanks so much.
PESCA: You`re welcome.
HAYES: High times and high dungeon over marijuana legalizations,
HAYES: Earlier in the show, we brought you a chart that show the
deference in the federal budget that would include emergency
unemployment insurance benefits in the current budget. The point is,
the bars are so close the difference is almost imperceptible. But the
rumors are not the same. It would cost $6 billion to provide this
relief to long-term unemployment for the next three months. Now,
completely unrelated to this, the time I was almost arrested for pot
possession, that`s coming up, next.
HAYES: Breaking news on this Friday evening. It turns out that
one of the New York Times most famous and widely -- columnists has a
confession to make. A shocking expose, conservative David Brooks cops
to having smoked weed with high school buddies before aging out of a
drug. "For a little on my teenage years, my friend and I smoke
marijuana, he writes it was fun. We had fond memories of us being
silly. I think those moments of uninhibited frolic deep in our
friendship." But then, Brooks writes he and his friends moved away from
it because well, you hear Brooks tell it, smoking pot made you a loser.
And instead, he and his homies quote, "Graduated to more satisfying
pleasures like love and literature." Brooks conclude that illegalizing
marijuana, the citizens of Colorado are nurturing a moral ecology in
which it is a bit harder to be the certain person most of us want to
Well, the one kind of person most people don`t want to be is a
person caught in the criminal justice system and while I`m aware that
other people`s drug stories are generally about as interesting as
hearing them recount a new show of my dreams -- the Brooks column has a
fruitful round of discussion of the obvious fact that lots and lots and
lots of people have and do smoke pot who are not people we consider
criminals. So let me add my own story to the mix which I think is
In the summer of 2000 as a 21-year-old college student, my then
girlfriend, now my wife and I thought it would be fascinating from a
kind of sociological perspective to check out the 2000 Republican
National Convention in Philadelphia. My father-in-law is a journalist
and had some credentials and so we went down there, fresh off the
Amtrak, we headed to the first union center and as we passed through the
first security check point, and I put my overnight bag through an x-ray
machine, I remembered to my horror that I had left a bag with about $30
worth of weed in there.
It was inside a case from my glasses. Why I was walking around
with a $30 of pot in my glass case? I don`t know. I forgot it was
there. I was 21. These things happen. But I breathed a sigh of relief
as the bag passed through unnoticed and as we skated through another
check point, I thought, well, that was a close call. But then we
reached the final check point and I quickly realized that at this
station, every single bag was being searched. I put my bag down and
watched with mounting dread and nausea as a Philadelphia police officer
went through one compartment, and then a second, finally, a third where
he withdrew my eyeglass case. He shook it, felt there was something
inside, then opened it, his head jerked back in surprise and he whirled
around, holding his back to me, and inspected the offending substance.
He called over two other cops and the three of them stood with their
backs to us, conferring for what felt like a very, very long time.
I thought about running, but then realized this was the most
heavily policed acre of land in the entire United States at that moment.
I told Kate what was happening, and then out of a sense of mounting
panic and impudence, I ran over to my father-in-law and blurted out, I
had some weed in my bag and I think the cops just found it. My father-
in-law was surprised. What? Why? And just as we were walking back
towards the cops, the one who found the weed, turned around, took the
overnight bag and put it down and looked at me. I reached out my hand
to claim it, figuring this would be the point he would slap cuffs on me
and I`d be under arrest. And to my shock, he just looked at me
impassively and I looked back at him and I picked up my bag with the
eyeglass case and weed inside and headed to the convention center.
My father-in-law shook his head in amazement at both my stupidity
and my luck. I`ve rerun that incident a countless time since and why I
have earthly idea why the cop not only didn`t arrest me but also decides
to give me my weed back, my best case seems to be that he looked at me
and figured, I could have been some senator or something and that
arresting me is going to be possibly cause a whole bunch of headaches
that he did not need on the night that he was mostly there to make sure
no one was bringing weapons or explosives into that building. And I can
tell you as sure as I am sitting here before you that if I was a black
kid with corn rows instead of a why kid with glasses, my ass would have
been in the back of a squad car faster than you could say George W.
Bush, so yes, David Brooks, smoking weed with our buddies had no
consequence for you and your crew. But that`s the entire point.
It has very rare consequence for lots of people. Black people and
white people use marijuana as roughly the same rates, and yet black
people are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana
possession. So while thousands of junior David Brooks` do bong hits in
dorm rooms, there are thousands of kids on the street of a south side of
Chicago and Harlem and Compton getting their first charge on marijuana
position, getting entered into the system with a record and court date
being marked early as a certain kind of person. Just one in a number
of insidious ways our laws are used to sort our society. Pushing some
people from certain backgrounds into one category. And the David Brooks
says, held Chris Hayes` of the world into the other.
You. You go to college. You. You go to court. I`m pretty damn
lucky I did not get arrested that night. I privilege the cop let me
free. I wish Brooks realizes how lucky he was, too. More on the open
secret of our drug laws double standard, ahead.
HAYES: Earlier in the show, we asked you what you would say to the
Republican senators on the fence about voting for unemployment insurance
extension. Got a ton of the answers posted on our Facebook, twitter
accounts like Winifred from Facebook who said, she would ask a
Republican lawmaker`s quote, "How`s that playing out in your home
state?" Tisha from Facebook says, "Someday, you`ll be up for the
election. Choose wisely." Thanks. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The White House this morning is geared up for
some damage control. Clarence Thomas the man the president has
nominated for the Supreme Court has smoked marijuana.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: On Capitol Hill this morning, Thomas
pronounced his drug use old news. The disclosure created hardly a
ripple in the Senate. One politician after another echoed the White
House`s claim that the fact that Thomas smoked pot a couple of times in
college was inconsequential.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: David Brooks isn`t the only famous conservative who smoke
pot. That was Clarence Thomas copping to it years ago during his
Joining me now, Khary Lazarre-White, co-founder, and co-executive
director of Brotherhood-Sister Sol, Youth Advocacy Organization,
comedian actor Jordan Carlos, and Vanita Gupta, deputy legal director at
So, here`s what I think is important about the national
conversation that has emerged about Colorado in the last few days and
the Brooks column, which has just been absolutely pillar read on the
internet. Is just the open secret of the fact of the use of marijuana
everywhere you look along all strata of society and the fact that
outside the context of being a cop with a number to hit on a corner in a
poor neighborhood, almost no one cares, and people view it as a joke
basically, it`s an open joke, it`s a thing you recall. And yet, it`s
not a joke when you are in -- right Khary?
KHARY LAZARRE-WHITE, BROTHERHOOD SISTER SOL: Yes, it`s not a joke
at all. This issue has its side, it`s comical and we`re all are
laughing here, but on the other side, you`ve had 15 million arrested in
the last 15 years. Ten million arrests, number one. Number two, you
have about 750,000 a year people arrested from marijuana use, right?
So, what that means is that, every year, we are arresting and
prosecuting more people for marijuana usage than for violent crimes.
And so, we`re using resources, we`re using police time, we`re using the
courts for something that people either consider comical or many people
don`t believe should be illegal and yet our resources are being put into
that space, and so it`s something that society has to look at because
we`re wasting resources, dollars and precious time.
JORDAN CARLOS, COMEDIAN ACTOR DIRECTOR: But doesn`t that, you
know, cops want to make their busts, right?
HAYES: Well, they`re told they have to.
CARLOS: Right and then the prison system, that has to run on
CARLOS: And for me, at least, I worry about that. If I ever did
hand to hand in the street, I mean, see, I can`t even pronounce it --
I`m just so excited that, you know, Washington and Colorado, I can go
there, no problem and buy. So --
HAYES: And a lot of people are precisely for that reason. I mean,
the look at the chart of the U.S. prison population. This is just a
really important graphic when you`re talking about like, what would the
-- look what happens. When you declare war on drugs, we start putting
more people as a percentage of the population in jail than any other
industrialize democracy. So, the question for you Vanita is from a
policy perspective since Colorado has initiated the national
conversation, don`t the Colorado policy address this problem? This kind
of double standard problem where it`s like OK, the people at University
of Boulder are getting high in the dorm rooms, they`re not getting
busted. Dealers in Denver are getting rolled up on the streets. Like,
does this address the problem?
VANITA GUPTA, ACLU DEPUTY LEGAL DIRECTOR: Well, what`s happening
right now in Colorado and Washington is way more than just allowing
recreational marijuana users to have access, it is about a fundamental
sea change in how we are approaching drug abuse, drugs in our country.
We are establishing a regulatory scheme in the way that we are doing
with tobacco and alcohol. And saying that the business as usual in the
-- has simply failed. We haven`t actually had a dent in the demand for
What we need to now do is just as Colorado and Washington are doing
are re-investing, re-prioritize in society`s dollars, taxpayer dollars,
into education, health care, particularly in communities that have been
essentially robbed of these kinds of dollars and where it`s been
diverted mostly exclusively to criminal justice. It simply hasn`t
worked. And we need a new paradigm and that means what Colorado and
Washington State are about, and it goes way beyond marijuana. And I
think it is --
HAYES: That is the key point.
GUPTA: I mean, it`s a mistake, right, for us to think oh, well,
you know, with marijuana legalization, we are solving all these
problems. That is simply not the case. We have a lot more work to do.
This is really about a shift in paradigm and understanding that we
cannot continue to invest in prisons -- as the only solution. It has
been a racial crisis and it has been a completely ineffective policy.
WHITE: And the hope in the progressive community is this can open
HAYES: Right. That`s right. It`s not like, job done.
WHITE: -- Across rights, more people than any other nation in the
world, but we want to look at is what is going on within the criminal
justice system. The racially dispute arrests, prosecution and
incarceration. The entire system needs to be rehabilitated and
transformed. And so, the hope is that this conversation is one that
will allow us to look at marijuana, but will then moved to the next stop
both other drugs but also, what does rehabilitation look like? What is
corrections look like? What are the laws look like that are
disproportionate putting so many people in our prison?
CARLOS: Because you criminalize -- it`s like you criminalize
people for being black or poor.
HAYES: For being young. Right? And you must see that all the
WHITE: All the time. All the time.
HAYES: So, here, this to me is the real deep point here. How much
of this is our societies going to find ways to do this sorting process
and the way it`s found is the war on drugs and how much of it is the
policy is actually driving. You see what I`m saying? We are doing
these markings, we`ve done another way. Michelle Alexander`s argument
in the new Jim Crow is that we`ve been doing marking in other ways, this
is the way we`ve chosen market now and you squeeze the balloon and you
get a stratified society. Vanita?
GUPTA: Yes, now, look, I think it is about both of those things.
I think we aren`t going to -- there are a lot of ways in which black and
brown people are victimize by our criminal justice with racially
disproportionate a raft that go way beyond kind of minor drug offenses.
GUPTA: We have to address kind of, you know, racial stereotypes
than attitudes and racial targeting in law enforcement, but I also think
we have to fundamentally rethink, you know, our criminal justice
priorities. We have allowed the criminal justice system to basically
become the catch all solution for too much in this country and his
prayed, we have been able, you know, as a society to basically use our
criminal justice system to prey upon black and brown communities to
great devastation. And not as what is, you know, and you know, we can
talk about, I mean, the war in drugs has been used not only to justify
this terrible causes in the criminal justice system, but even ones kind
of far beyond and you know, such as kind of Florida drug testing case.
But to me really is, fundamentally about the war on drugs and racial
stereotypes and -- yes?
HAYES: And that`s case was in Florida`s drug testing, and that`s a
perfect example of this kind of marking. Right? It`s like, oh, yes, we
all know the president smoked pot. He did a little blow, but it`s like,
oh, you want welfare, show me.
WHITE: That`s right. That`s part of the ramification for young
people. And it`s an entry into the criminal justice system. And the
conviction of the misdemeanor can mean you can have certain jobs. You
can lose public housing, you can lose benefits, there are serious
ramifications for law level drugs offenses.
CARLOS: I don`t think you`d ever have to like, take a drug test to
apply for a mortgage.
HAYES: That`s right. Exactly. Yes. Yes. Go introduce that or
run for Congress. Khary Lazarre-White, Jordan Carlos and Vanita Gupta,
thank you all. That`s ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW
SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Chris, that
was such a brilliant antidote to the David Brook`s column. I feel like
I`ve been cleanse.
HAYES: Thank you very much.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND
MAY BE UPDATED.
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