All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, March 7th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Friday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
March 7, 2014
Guests: Robert Reich, Laura Schroff, John Nichols, Rachel Denber, Pedro Noguera, Seppy Basili, Julie Cavanaugh
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
Hayes. And happy Friday.
The rich pageantry of the Republican Party was on full display at the
Gaylord International Hotel in Washington, D.C., today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: When the president says. "I can write
the laws, watch me," he`s got a pen, he`s got a phone, he doesn`t care what
the law is -- a tyranny will ensue and we must stop this president from
treading the Constitution.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER GOV. ARKANSAS: I know that life begins at
conception. I know that the IRS is a criminal enterprise. I also know
that four Americans were murdered in Benghazi and our government lied to us
as to what happened.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Get out of the education business. Stop
hammering industry. Let the sleeping giant of American enterprise create
prosperity again. You have the power to change America. You have the
power to speak to our newest hopes.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Hipster glasses for everyone. Day two of CPAC did not
But there`s something that happened on day one that you`ve got to hear
to believe and comes courtesy of Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin in what
appeared to be a touching story of a hungry child.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: The left is making a big mistake here.
What they`re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul.
HAYES (voice-over): Paul Ryan told an admiring crowd gathered at CPAC
yesterday that the left is offering the nation`s poor a terrible choice.
Some, Ryan argued, don`t want a free lunch.
RYAN: You know, this reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise
Anderson. She once met a young boy from a very poor family and every day
at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program.
He told Eloise, he didn`t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch,
one in a brown paper bag just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said,
because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him.
This is what the left does not understand.
HAYES: The source for Ryan`s story is a woman named Eloise Anderson,
a member of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker`s cabinet, she testified at a
hearing Ryan held on poverty last summer. Anderson questioned the
effectiveness of food stamps and free school lunches, offering this as
ELOISE ANDERSON: You know, a little boy told me once that what was
important to him is that he didn`t want a school lunch, he wanted a brown
bag because a brown bag that he brought with his lunch in it meant that his
mom cared about him.
Just think what we have done. If this kid tells me a brown bag was
more important than a free lunch, we`ve missed the whole notion of parents
being there for their children, because we`ve taken over that
HAYES: So, now we know where Ryan got his story from, but who is this
boy? A commenter on "Talking Points Memo" pointed something out.
Anderson`s story sounded an awful lot like an anecdote in Laura Schroff`s
"An Invisible Thread", which has nothing to do with the school lunch
program. It`s the story of the relationship between the author and Maurice
Mazyck, an 11-year-old homeless panhandler who told Schroff when she
offered to give him money for lunch, "When I see kids only to school with
their lunch in a paper bag, that means someone cares about them. Miss
Laura, can I please have my lunch in a paper bag?"
That real interaction happened more than 25 years ago. Mazyck is no
longer a boy but in his late 30s. He and Schroff have appeared together on
TV. Anderson`s office said she misspoke and intended to preface her story
with "once I heard someone say," referring to a television interview she
"The Washington Post" could find no interview in which he said that.
In other words, the story that Paul Ryan used to argue against a program
that provides food for children who cannot afford it is not true.
Yesterday, Ryan said, "I regret failing to verify the original source of
But stories like the one Paul Ryan told at CPAC, compelling tales of
an individual poor person meant to represent all of poverty, they are
fundamental to conservative mythology and Ryan`s story is actually an
improvement from the conservative staple of the lazy poor person story.
There`s Ronald Reagan who told stories about the strapping young buck
who used food stamps to buy a T-bone steak, then there`s the woman who
claims she got a free phone from Obama --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got Obama phone?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, everybody in Cleveland, all minorities, got
Obama phone, keep Obama in president, you know?
HAYES: Comments went viral on conservative media. Then there`s the
thick food stamp recipient.
REP. MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R), OKLAHOMA: There`s a couple beside me.
This guy was built like a brick house. I mean, he had muscles all over
him. They were both physically fit. And they go up in front of me and
they pay with that card. Fraud.
HAYES: And, of course, the FOX News favorite, the surfer on food
stamps who eats lobster.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meet Jason Greenslate, food stamp recipient. The
29-year-old has chosen the life of a beach bum in this seaside paradise.
He gets by with a little help from his friends, and you, the taxpayer.
HAYES: Paul Ryan finds himself with a problem. He`s trying to
convince people he really cares about the poor, despite voting to cut
nearly $40 billion from the food stamp program for the next 10 years. So
he came up with a solution. Tell a story about a poor person who just
happens to view the world the same way Paul Ryan does.
HAYES: Joining me now, former secretary of labor in the Clinton
administration, Robert Reich. He`s a public policy professor, University
of California at Berkeley.
Here`s what I think is crucial to understand about Paul Ryan. His
budgets that he is so renowned for when you talk about poverty, in 2013,
2/3 of the huge budget cuts according to the Center in Budget Policy and
Priorities, 2/3 come from programs for low-income Americans. He can say
whatever he wants and make up whatever stories he wants. That is in the
numbers where the priorities are.
ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Yes, but you see, Chris, that`s
exactly what he wants to hide. I mean, what he wants to create. And if it
requires a story that is made up, so much the better, I mean, if it makes
the point he wants to make, is that welfare dependence is welfare
dependence. That is nobody wants to take money from the government.
Well, it`s true. People don`t want to take money, but the fact is if
they didn`t have any alternative, these children would get paper bags
without food in the paper bags. I mean, what Paul Ryan is doing is
actually cutting the ability of so many millions of families to get out of
poverty, to actually make something of themselves.
It`s also cutting out women, infants and children. It`s cutting parts
of Head Start. It`s cutting education. It`s cutting job training. It`s
cutting all sorts after avenues of opportunity.
And what do you say? I mean, what can you possibly say to respond to
HAYES: Here`s the thing. There`s a structural reason this is over-
determined, in my humble opinion. The Republican Party is right now
committed to austerity and shrinking the amount of government spending.
That`s a commitment they`ve made.
They also recognize their demographic base are the recipients of the
two largest forms of social insurance, Social Security, Medicare. And so,
if they want to make good on all those promises, which is make sure they
deliver for their demographic base and also shrink the government, the
place to go, the place where the money is to go after programs for the
poor. There`s no way around it.
REICH: That`s right. In fact, that`s exactly what Paul Ryan and his
committee have decided and all the Republicans. Republicans basically have
decided domestic discretionary spending is where you go and those are
overwhelmingly poor people`s programs.
Now, what Ryan is not admitting is the logical implication of his
story, as apocryphal as it was and is, is to end all means-tested programs
and give out universal benefits like Social Security and Medicare.
HAYES: Right. Or here`s another thing. We`ve had Ron Unz, a
conservative millionaire out in California, he`s been on the program. You
know, he`s pushing from the right for a higher minimum wage.
He`s basically making this argument that, yes, people don`t like
government handouts and it would be far superior rather than the earned
income tax credit if we raise the minimum wage. People can earn that pay
themselves, put money in people`s pockets, that doesn`t show up on the
government ledger, that gives people this sense of having earned their
And, of course, there`s absolutely no Republican support for that,
REICH: Actually, if you concerned about dignity and concerned about
making sure work pays, you do want to raise the minimum wage. And also,
not incidentally, you want to increase the earned income tax credit which
incidentally is to that extent a universal program. There is no loss of
dignity with regard to the earned income tax credit, and Republicans
actually originated it. It comes out of Milton Friedman`s conservative
HAYES: The most cynical interpretation that I have about this kind of
poverty talk --
REICH: You can`t possibly be cynical about this.
HAYES: So there`s part of me, I`m divided. There`s part of me that
wants to believe this is a good faith effort on the part of Paul Ryan who`s
essentially boxed in by the budgetary constraints I said before. The prior
commitments mean he cannot do anything but this.
But the most cynical interpretation this is basically a rhetorical
show to middle class, upper middle class affluent voters as a branding
exercise that these aren`t people who are cruel and heartless. They care
about the poor in quotation marks. Let`s make a show of it.
But that is not showing up now on any of budgets or any of the votes.
REICH: No. And compassionate conservatism, we know, doesn`t work
because it`s a cruel hoax. It`s cruel because it`s not there. There`s no
money. There`s no benefit. And it`s a hoax because basically we have now
22 percent of Americans` children are under the poverty line. I mean, this
is something that you should not make stories up about. I mean, we have
enough terrible stories --
REICH: -- of people who are living in their cars. Children who are
living off -- on the streets and something has got to be done. I mean, it
is cruel and it is heartless for Republicans to turn their backs on it.
HAYES: Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich. Thank you so much.
REICH: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: His film "Inequality for All" is out now.
All right. Joining me now is Laura Schroff. She`s the author of "An
Invisible Thread", which is the genesis of what`s become this kind of
What is your reaction to watching this story move through a kind of
Internet game of telephone, into politics, into the story about the kid who
doesn`t want a free lunch from the government?
LAURA SCHROFF, AUTHOR, "AN INVISIBLE THREAT": Well, I have to say I
think the whole thing is really pretty interesting and it is an honor to be
here tonight. I thank you for that.
You know, our story, my story with Maurice, was really not about the
fact he did no want a free lunch. When I realized he was not eating, I
said, we can`t continue this way. I can`t see you every day. So I can
either give you money, which will then enable you to eat throughout the
week, or if you`d prefer, I can make you lunch in a brown paper bag.
SCHROFF: And he -- I can make you lunch. And he said to me, if you
make me lunch, will you put it in a brown paper bag?
And I was really confused. I was like, you want it in a brown paper
bag? And he said, oh, Miss Laura, I don`t want your money. I want my
lunch in a brown paper bag because when kids come to school and they have
their lunch in a brown paper bag, that means someone cares about them.
HAYES: Let`s be clear. This is a choice between you giving him money
and you making him a lunch in a brown paper bag.
SCHROFF: Right. It was not about him either going hungry, and as he
would describe it quite often. If you can imagine this as an adult, it was
like he was punched in the stomach. Who would ever want a child to feel
like they are punched in the stomach because they`re so hungry?
HAYES: Your story in the book is about essentially someone who has
not -- who is not poor, encountering the reality of a child in poverty.
And all of the ways in which that affects someone who finds themselves in
this incredibly important point in their life developmentally thrust into
an environment of tremendous, tremendous stress.
SCHROFF: Absolutely. You know, and for me, what I hope the book
would do would show how small acts of kindness can make an enormous
difference. And how people who are fortunate are able and are able to
really help people who are less fortunate.
HAYES: Did you want the -- I mean, I know that you`ve said in
interviews that I`ve seen today as this thing surfaced that you did not
write a political book, you don`t want --
HAYES: I will ask you this, though. Did you want people to come away
reading this book thinking, you know what, I thing it`s time we got rid of
food stamps or cut food stamps?
SCHROFF: Never even dawned on me. What I wanted people to come away
with this book was how I met this young boy. It was an unlikely
friendship. And sometimes we have these hidden blessings that are right in
front of us, and if we`re willing to open up our eyes and heart, you never
know what will come of it.
So that`s what I really kind of hoped.
HAYES: What are you -- having encounter this, when you look around
and see there`s 47 million Americans on food stamps, 22 percent of American
children who are poor, what`s your reaction to that?
SCHROFF: It`s heartbreaking. When you think that one out of five
children are hunger deprived, in this country, in a country as rich as
America, that`s really, really sad. When you look at the life that Maurice
led, as a child, there are children today that are still living like that.
SCHROFF: Millions. About 16 million, actually. And so, for my book
to be able to be brought to the forefront, to make people become aware that
this is how children are living -- they`re not choosing to live this way.
Unfortunately, they don`t have a choice.
HAYES: They don`t have a choice. Laura Schoff, author of "An
Invisible Thread" -- thanks so much for coming by today. Appreciate it.
SCHROFF: My pleasure.
HAYES: We`re monitoring breaking news from Southeast Asia tonight,
where Malaysia Airlines is reporting they lost contact with Flight MH-370,
traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. This is what the flight tracker
currently says. The flight status is result unknown. The plane lost
contact with air traffic control two hours into the flight.
It is Boeing 777-200 carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers,
including two infants. Search and rescue efforts are under way. We will
continue to monitor the situation and bring you the latest as it develops
right here on MSNBC.
HAYES: Coming up, Congressman Darrell Issa issues a non-apology
apology to Congressman Cummings, citing treatment of him by a Democrat
during a committee hearing nearly six years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Mr. Chairman, where in the rules
is that stated? Can I see the copy of the rules that allow --
REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: We will furnish you with a copy.
ISSA: Mr. Chairman, there are multiple members that could yield you
time. I would ask --
WAXMAN: I will have you physically removed from this meeting if you
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Cumming`s response, up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Chairman, Mr. Chairman, I have a
ISSA: We`re adjourned. Close it down.
CUMMINGS: -- directed on behalf of the White House. Before our
(INAUDIBLE) single document.
ISSA: Thank you.
CUMMINGS: I will introduce one witness. If you will sit down and
allow me to ask the question, I am a member of the Congress of the United
States of America. I am tired of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was an incredible moment we`ve been covering in which
Darrell Issa, the chair of the House Oversight Committee cut the mike when
representative and ranking member Elijah Cummings, ranking member Democrat
on the committee tried to ask a question.
Congressional Black Caucus called for House Speaker John Boehner to
strip Issa of his chairmanship over his behavior and sought a House censure
of Issa over the incident. The resolution was tabled on a party line vote
Then, a few hours later, Cummings released a statement that "Chairman
Issa telephoned me and he apologized for his conduct and I accepted his
apology." Look like everyone was moving on, except it turns out Darrell
Issa, shortly after this show went off the air last night, Issa went on FOX
News to discuss the incident and he sure did not sound like he was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISSA: After I adjourned, Mr. Cummings in what appears to have been a
pre-staged event, then went into this "I have a right to talk" and
screaming and so on. The fact is that I did things according to the rules.
I fell for the script and Mr. Cummings decided to have quite a hissy fit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s fitting Issa made those comments on FOX News because FOX
News and Darrell Issa have been co-producers of sorts in an ongoing Obama
scandal series. Issa issues the subpoenas and gets the testimony and FOX
runs the stories. It`s a symbiotic relationship.
And it doesn`t seem to faze either party if the line of attack has
already been thoroughly discredited. In fact, this situation is a great
example of that. Listen to Megyn Kelly in the interview with Issa last
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: You`re not going to shut down your probe
because of this dustup. And 71 percent of the American people agree with
you, because the polls show as recently as late February that they want the
IRS investigation to continue. This is a side issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You see, Issa`s investigation is legit, this is just a side
issue. In fact, Wednesday`s hearing appeared to have been designed to
further the claim that the IRS had targeted conservatives. That`s why
former IRS official Lois Lerner was once again called before the committee.
Yet memos released last June showed that IRS employees also flagged
progressive groups for extra scrutiny as part of an effort to make sure
that groups on both sides of the ideological spectrum that appeared
political, indeed, qualified for the taxes and status they were seeking.
But Issa won`t stop. Republican investigations have already cost at
least $14 million. Issa said last night that he plans to keep the hearings
And this is how Darrell Issa works. The guy has spent his three years
as chair of the Oversight Committee swinging for the fences and pretty much
missing the ball every time. He continues to insist the Obama
administration misled the American people in denying a connection between
the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi and al Qaeda terrorists.
Even after an exhaustive "New York Times" investigation sound no such
connection and Senate intelligence committee report found no al Qaeda
members planned or led the assault.
While Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee found there
was no stand-down order issues to U.S. military personnel who sought to
join the fight in Benghazi, Issa said last month he has suspicions it was
Hillary Clinton, herself, who issued such a stand-down order.
And then there`s fast and furious. Another one of those supposed
Obama administration scandals that Issa won`t let die. Issa insisted that
Attorney General Eric Holder owned Fast and Furious, led the charge to get
holder cited for contempt over it. And the much anticipated record from
inspector general exonerated Holder.
When Darrell Issa took over the oversight committee in 2011, he was
supposed to be the Democrats` worth nightmare, the guy who might just take
down President Obama. Instead, he managed to squander his credibility with
a series of partisan witch hunts that have succeeded only, (INAUDIBLE) very
well, in keeping FOX News happy.
We reached out to Darrell Issa`s office to see if the congressman
would come on the program tonight. Got no response.
Joining me now is John Nichols, my colleague at "The Nation", where he
is Washington correspondent.
I remember, John, when Issa got this chairmanship, there was a whole
bunch of fairly laudatory profiles that said this guy is going to be
serious, he was very intent on making sure his image wasn`t going to be
seen as a kind of partisan warrior and that this was someone to be feared
because he was going to be tenacious. What happened?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: I think FOX News happened to some extent.
The complexity of Issa`s position is this -- when he came in, he
suggested that he was going to be an incredible powerhouse. That he would
do seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks, that this would be the busiest
committee. His basic assumption from the start was that there was so much
scandal in the Obama administration --
NICHOLS: -- that you basically just had to cast your net and things
would turn up immediately.
What happened very, very quickly is that, you know, he had trouble
finding scandal. At least not at the level he was hoping for. And so,
then he started watching television looking for people speculating about
scandal and then, you know, going and investigating.
I think one of the most egregious examples, the one that I always go
back to is, when there was the Wisconsin uprising in 2011 and Scott Walker
was very much in the news, he brought Scott Walker to Washington to testify
before the committee on oversight of the federal government about labor
problems in the states. And you`re like, where did that come from?
HAYES: Right, that is why we make this joke about him sort of co-
producing with FOX News. I comment and I produce a television show or have
producers who help me produce a television show every day and you`re
looking for tape and it`s like Darrell Issa is just feeding tape over there
because you know what would look great? It would look great if we got Lois
Lerner in front of the cameras again to plead the Fifth. That would be a
great piece of tape they could lead off with tonight.
So, there he goes. There`s no point necessarily in a woman who`s
already come before you and pled the Fifth being brought in to plead the
NICHOLS: Well, it`s more than that. I mean, there was a report that
came out last month that suggested that Issa`s pressure on the IRS, this
back and forth that he`s had, 15 hearings, I believe, has cost something in
the range of $14 million? It has cost roughly 100,000 hours of time,
forced the production of 500,000 documents.
I mean, this is an incredible inquiry, and what has it turned up? I
mean, where have we ended up? You summed it up in your intro there. We`re
pretty much not there.
HAYES: Let me play devil`s advocate for a second and say, you know,
look, we`re liberals and this is the Republican chair of an Oversight
Committee that is investigating a Democratic president. So, of course, we
think it`s partisan witch hunt. We`re disposed to look askew.
I mean, convince me what Issa is doing is somehow different than what
his predecessor Democrat Henry Waxman did who was incredibly vigorous in
his investigations of the Bush administration?
NICHOLS: It is so very different than previous chairs. And this is
an important thing to understand. This is a committee that is charged with
investigating what goes on in the federal government. It`s not a committee
that has a lot of power as regard to money, per se, or setting policy.
It`s supposed to look at how things are done. Because of that, it becomes
a bully pulpit to some extent and chairmen have been very aggressive.
Historically, at its best, at least, and certainly under Waxman, been a
sense that your inquiries should be incredibly well grounded. That when
you go into ask those questions, you should know what you`re asking, not
just a fishing expedition.
And under Darrell Issa, it has increasingly become that. I do want to
emphasize something as well. People need to understand some of the back
story on this committee. This is a committee that is not, you know, the
first place every member of Congress rushes to serve.
NICHOLS: It is a lot of work and a lot of oversight, not necessarily
moving a lot of money around. Things like that. And so someone like
Elijah Cummings is there because they really want to serve. They really
want to focus on important stuff. Issa`s treatment of Cummings was simply
HAYES: John Nichols from "The Nation" -- thanks so much.
Coming up, Senator Lindsey Graham celebrates his victory taking down a
bill that would reform the military justice system in cases of sexual
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What would it be like
tomorrow if the United States senate told every commander in America,
you`re not morally capable of making these tough decisions? But that young
enlisted person needs to listen to you when it`s time for the balloon to go
up and we`re going to war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: More on that, next.
HAYES: Last night, we told you what is behind at least some of the
pro-Russian actions in Ukraine. The actual Russians who are on the ground
there, like the surgeon, a biker and personal friend of Vladimir Putin who
is in Crimea right now. Here is what happened when vice news tracked him
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So, this guy is known as "The Surgeon."
He is the leader of a Russian Biker Gang and he has come here to support
the pro-Russian forces. This biker gang has a lot of people around the
various Ukrainian administration buildings and military bases, but the
interesting thing is he knows Vladimir Putin personally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: (Speaking in Russian translated to
English): As someone who is personally acquainted with Vladimir Putin,
what do you think his next steps will be in this crisis?
ALEXANDER "THE SURGEON" ZALDOSTANOV, NIGHT WOLVES BIKER GANG LEADER,
(Speaking in Russian translated to English): I cannot speak for him. I do
not have the right. But, he deserves respect for the action he has taken.
I take my hat off to him for what he is doing. This is the first president
I can remember who deserves respect and who I am not ashamed of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is what is happening in Crimea right now. Personal
friend of Vladimir Putin helping to push the Peninsula towards Russia.
And, today, even as Russia once again denied they have any soldiers in
Ukraine or Crimea at all, troops took control of another Ukrainian military
Reporters were held back from getting to the base and there are
reports that some journalists were badly beaten outside of it. All this as
Crimea edges closer to the March 16th referendum on joining the Russian
federation. And, in case it was not already abundantly clear what Russia`s
hand was in that vote, one day after the Crimean parliament voted for the
referendum, the speaker of that parliament was in Moscow today getting the
blessing of Russian lawmakers.
For all the seeming unanimity of the current Crimean parliament on
joining Russia and for all the pro-Russia protests that have been happening
for the past week, there is at least one group of Crimeans that do not want
to leave Ukraine, the Tatars, who make up about 15 percent of the Crimean
They were deported from their homeland, and mass by Stalin 70 years
ago and only managed to start to return in the last few decades and they
have made it very clear how they feel about what is happening in Crimea
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABOURAMAN ACUZ, TATAR POLITICIAN: Our people, we feel unsafe in this
situation where on this territory in Crimea, there is no rule of law today.
There is a rule of terror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Over a 100 Tatar families have already fled their homes and
headed to western Ukraine, and today there are very disturbing reports that
Tatar homes in Crimea have been marked with X`s and crosses, an action that
has a particularly terrifying residence for Crimean Tatars who had their
houses tagged by Stalin soldiers in 1944 before he evicted the entire
population to central Asia.
Joining me now is Rachel Denber, Deputy Director for the Europe and
Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch where she specializes in
countries of a former Soviet Union. How concerned are you about the
situation for Tatars in Crimea right now?
RACHEL DENBER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR THE EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA
DIVISION OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: The situation for Tatars in Crimea right
now is absolutely alarming. The whole situation in Crimea right now is
absolutely alarming. And, the risk is that as we get closer to a
referendum that the local authorities and the people who support them, the
kind of thugs and the -- it is not really clear who they are -- that they
will take a preventative action to either -- to stop Tatars from expressing
discontents with the way things are going. So, there is a real -- I think
that there is a real risk of conflict. There is a real risk of retribution
and a real risk of violence.
HAYES: We saw Ukrainian television reporter debating today Ukrainian
television report about these crosses and markings on the houses. We
cannot confirm it independently with anyone else, so we did not play that
report. Those reports exist. It is hard to know what to make of it. What
do you make of that?
DENBER: Well, we also cannot confirm that. We do not have -- we are
not on the ground in Crimea right now. I cannot confirm that, that is
actually happened. But it is -- if it is true, I think that it resonates a
very acutely for people in -- for Tatars because they remember how their
grandparents` homes were tagged similarly.
HAYES: It is important, I think, for folks, the history here. I men
we have talking about Crimea historically Russian and given to Ukraine by
cruise ship. But, actually it is before the Russians the Tatars were
there. I mean if you go back far enough, it is not historically Russian,
it is historically Tatar. It was a Muslim nation that they lived in.
DENBER: Well, there were -- historically, there were Tatars there for
many, many hundreds of years. There were also Genovese -- the peninsula
actually switched hands many times throughout history.
HAYES: And, they have only in the last 20 years kind of come back.
DENBER: That is right.
HAYES: And, already before this crisis, there was already kind of a
crisis because these were people who had been essentially moved en mass by
Stalin who then returned to houses that their great-grandparents owned that
someone else was living in.
DENBER: Right. When they returned from deportation, of course, they
found out that their homes were occupied by other people. Eventually,
housing was created for them. But, I think that everybody always yearns to
have their home back. So, it was always, I think, the place was always
kind of bubbling with tension. Tensions, though, that were managed.
And, the problem is that when you have a situation like this, when,
you know, when there is talk of secession, those tensions cannot get
managed any more. Things bust open. Those incredible hostility and
suspicion on all sides and there is a real risk of -- there is a real risk
of violence, retribution, you know, you name it.
DENBER: That is why -- there really needs to be international
monitors on the ground right now to document what happens. There needs to
be a place where people can take their complaints so that we work with the
facts and not with rumors and myths.
HAYES: Particularly, at a moment when we are hearing reports of the
press being intimidated with an --
DENBER: That is right. That is really scary.
HAYES: -- cameras confiscated.
DENBER: What is really scary in the situation is that you see the
local authorities with some help from mystery people.
DENBER: Mystery people. You see them trying to shut the peninsula
off from independent reporting. That is very chilling. At a time when we
need independent reporting more than ever.
HAYES: Rachel Denber from human rights watch. Thanks so much for
coming by tonight. I appreciate it.
DENBER: Thank you.
HAYES: There is a test in this country that millions of people have
taken that is actually not really a predictor or measure of how smart you
are or how well you take tests or how effective your cram session was. It
is actually a predictor of how much money your parents make. I will
HAYES: Senator Lindsey Graham is ticked off not in the wake of defeat
but a victory. He, along with his friend, Senator John McCain and the
bipartisan coalition with Senator Claire McCaskill, running point, managed
to successfully filibuster the bill that would reform the military justice
system by removing commanders from sexual assault cases.
That bill pushed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. It fell short by a
mere five votes. In the wake of its demise, Graham has been gleefully
celebrating with a victory lap. You just cannot wait to rub it in the
faces of those particularly in his own party who advocated for this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA SENATOR: People wanting to
run for president on our side, I will remind you of this vote. If you want
to be commander in chief, you told me a lot today about who you are as
commander in chief, candidate. You were willing to fire every commander in
the military for reasons I do not quite understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Reasons I do not quite understand. What possible reasons
could you want to have to reform the military justice system? Maybe it is
that in 2012, an estimated 26,000 service members experienced sexual
assault or that out of all those, only 3,374 were reported.
A big reason for that, according to Gillibrand is the chain of
command. Only 302 cases went to trial, of those there were 238
convictions. Removing the chain of command is not some revolutionary idea.
Our allies like Canada, the UK, Germany, have already done this. Or you
know what? Forget about the statistics. How about things like this?
This brochure from the air force that said, if you are attacked,
quote, "May be advisable to submit and to resist." Or this headline from
just yesterday, "U.S. Army`s top sexual assault prosecutor suspended over
assault claims." There is a real problem here.
So, Senators Graham, McCain, McCaskill, if you do not think Senator
Gillibrand`s bill is a right way to fix it, you got to come up with
something better than what you have already brought to the table.
HAYES: Let me tell you about a test. A formal exam, not a BuzzFeed
quiz, that tests for a really weird thing. It tests for how much money
your parents make. By asking you a series of questions that seem
completely unrelated to your parents` income or occupation. Now, it is an
actual test, one that we administer to more than a million kids every year.
And, if you do not believe me, look, here are the results.
Now, the official name for this test is the Scholastic Aptitude Test,
the S.A.T. But, as you can see from the chart, if you want to know how
much money your kids` parents make, their S.A.T. score is an excellent
predictor. Kids whose families make the most money get the highest scores.
Now, here is the thing. The S.A.T.`s original purpose when it came to
being in the 1920s was to break down the barriers into the American elite.
Barriers designed largely to keep non wasps out and in very important
respects, it worked. These days, however, the test is pilloried by critics
who say it appears now to do precisely the opposite, to simply put a stamp
of approval on the children of privilege.
And, largely in response to those critics, the College Board, the
group that administers the S.A.T.s made a big announcement this week, a
major overhaul of the test. Starting in 2016, S.A.T. test takers will no
longer be penalized for wrong answers. The new test will also say good-bye
to obscure vocabulary words and the essay optional.
And, even before the new test is launched, the College Board announced
a new partnership with the famed con academy to offer free online practice
questions and video tutorials. The impact these changes will have is up
for debate. But, the bigger question is this, when you have a society
whose income distribution looks like this, is there any conceivable test
that will not give you a result that looks like this?
Joining me now, Pedro Noguera Professor of education at New York
University, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Research on
Equity and Transformation of School, Seppy Basili Vice President of College
Admissions and K-12 admissions, and Julie Cavanaugh, teacher and education
I guess we should start with the news of the changes in the test. One
of the big critiques was the essay. And, there is this guy at MIT who is
doing this hilarious work about how to give the essay, which is like if you
said specific facts, even if they were wrong, like the war of 1812 was in
1846. It will like help your score and also if you said, like, nonsense
quotes that were out of nowhere, helped your score and also if you just
used big vocabulary words wrongly, it would help your score. So, it seems
like getting rid of that was a good call, yes?
PEDRO NOGUERA, PROF. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Well, not exactly. Because
there is a lot of evidence of kids coming into college are struggling in
writing, and so if you take writing out, you may actually make the problem
worse. Not to say they figured out a formula for assessing writing --
HAYES: Yes. We have to distinguish between theory and implementation
NOGUERA: That is right. That is right.
HAYES: Right? Like in the abstract, let`s have a writing portion.
This thing was not --
NOGUERA: Exactly. This was not working. But making sure kids can
write before they go to college I think is a good idea.
HAYES: That is a bold stance.
NOGUERA: That is right. So it is ironic that that is what they took
NOGUERA: The real funny thing about this is that for the first time
they are really trying to make sure that kids are going to be assessed on
what they have actually learned. Now, David Coleman, who played a role in
shaping those common core standards and is president of the College Board,
is the person actually working on both ends of this.
HAYES: Yes, so David Coleman, just so people are clear about the
common core thing that is happening, right? Some sort of a substantive
body of knowledge that American schoolchildren across the country should
know is what the common core is, right?
And, well, that is the idea, right? I mean, the substantive body of
knowledge and the S.A.T. test, which has always been an aptitude test, your
ability as opposed to knowledge, is now being designed to mirror some kind
of body of knowledge. What do you think about that?
JULIE CAVANAUGH, TEACHER: About the common core?
HAYES: Well, the mirror in between the two.
CAVANAUGH: You know, I think it is sort of a back door way of sort of
having, you know, an external control mechanism over our schools. I mean,
if you align the S.A.T. to common core, then you are going to force high
CAVANAUGH: -- to really adhere to the common core --
HAYES: It is like the back door curricular power, right? If the
S.A.T. says you have to know this thing, it does not matter what your local
school district or anyone else decides --
HAYES: You are going to --
CAVANAUGH: And, it is very interesting timing as parents and teachers
across the country are standing up to common core.
HAYES: There is a fascinating trans-ideological partner -- kind of
coalition building against the common core, which is kind of another thing
to get into it --
HAYES: -- sort of left/right thing that is happening which is
fascinating. The con academy partnership, the idea here is they are going
to two out of their way to create some sort of democratized form of test
prep so that the Kaplans of the world -- I do not know, they are going to
eat into your profit margins? Like what is your feeling?
SEPPY BASILI. VICE PRESIDENT OF KAPLAN K12 PROGRAM: Firs of all it is
going to establish that test prep works. You know, the first 40 years of
the College Boards Kaplan`s existence, the College Board told the world
that test prep did not work. Now, suddenly test prep is so effective we
should provide it free for everybody. So, for my perspective, I think it
will establish S.A.T. prep as a norm and I also think that families will
continue to look for an edge.
HAYES: OK. But, here is the thing. I would like you to answer the
paradox of test prep.
HAYES: Which is that if everybody takes test prep, nobody benefits
from test prep. Hold that thought. I want you to tell me why it is not a
totally corrupt racket right after this break.
HAYES: All right. Back here with Pedro Noguera, Seppy Basili and
Julie Cavanaugh. And, Seppy I asked you before we went to break, as a
representative of Kaplan, explain to me why test prep is not a total
BASILI: Well, look, anytime there is a curve, right? Everyone wants
to move further to the right on that bell curve so to speak.
BASILI: And, you know, families make the decision to move into -- for
example to get into a particular elementary school or middle school. Ten
percent of Americans go to private school. And, lots of people choose
S.A.T. test prep for the same reason. they want an edge.
And, it is about elitism whether elitism is comfortable, whether
elitism is right. It has gotten so competitive. Harvard proudly says that
they could accept an equally qualified class four or five times over.
BASILI: So, people are always --
HAYES: Well, that was a refreshingly honest answer, actually, to what
is going on. Like let`s make no pretense that this is anything democratic,
right? It is not. I mean --
BASILI: It is about people wanting an edge.
NOGUERA: Or that it is an accurate measure of aptitude.
HAYES: That is the most important thing or that -- the other thing
is, like, why do we have this, like, why do we have this? Why does it have
so much power? I mean I have been like meditating on what you just said
about like, "Yes, this is going to make people teach certain things."
Like, maybe we should get rid of the S.A.T.
NOGUERA: Well, you know, I think that is a good question. Many
colleges now are considering it. They are making it optional, because they
do not see it as a good predictor for how well a student will do in school
and they also do recognize that it is real barrier for access particularly
to low-income and minority students. So, I think there are real legitimate
reasons to question the role this test has played and many states are doing
that right now.
HAYES: There have been some studies on this. Students who do not
submit test scores do just as well as high-scoring students who submit.
There are schools where the S.A.T.s are optional, so you can do these kind
of control studies.
NOGUERA: That is right.
HAYES: And, important non-submitters in schools where you can do
both, non-submitters are more likely to be first-generation college
enrollee, all category of minority students, women, Pell Grant recipients
and students with learning differences, right? So, you are more likely to
be drawing from groups that are not well represented in the places if you
don`t have the S.A.T.
CAVANAUGH: That is right. And, you know, what we see today in a lot
of these reform sort of movements and David Coleman certainly has been at
the center of them in terms of common core.
HAYES: David Coleman is the man and the College Board who oversaw
CAVANAUGH: Yes and prior to that was one of the main architects of
common core. It is not only about external control factors but it is about
profits. And, the bottom line is with the S.A.T., it is extremely
expensive. It tortures students and parents. And, these changes are not
going to result in anything that is really substantial. They are used to
sort, they are used to select. They are used to sort of near and continues
the inequities that we see in our society.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, the other thing I think that is important here
is that we talk about competitive schools, talking about Harvard, right? I
mean the vast majority of Americans going to colleges are either going to
two-year schools or they are going to four-year schools that accept more
than they reject, right? I mean, there is a very elite conversation about
people stressing about the S.A.T. and stressing to get into Harvard, but
that is a tiny sliver.
BASILI: It is, although it is increasingly. You know, the flagship
universities in every state, the University of Georgia, University of
Florida, there is the hope scholarship that is at stake for kids.
BASILI: There are bright future scholarships in Florida. So, there
is a greater elitism. It is not always just the Ivy League and you know,
California Ivy League.
HAYES: You know, the tension here, right? Is it a higher education
entire architecture crafted around this kind of vision of elitism going
back a long time with the kind of democratic commitments we all have as
Americans, right, to e equality and education as something that all
citizens should have, and they run right into each other when you get to
something like the S.A.T., "The Big Test" by Nick Lemon, great history. If
you have the chance to read more about that which I cannot read in the
remaining time of the program. Pedro Noguera from New York University,
Seppy Basili from Kaplan Test Prep and teacher Julie Cavanaugh, thank you
CAVANAUGH: Thank you.
HAYES: That is "All In" for this evening. "The Rachel Maddow Show"
starts now with the one and only Steve Kornacki in for Rachel this evening.
Good evening, Steve.
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