All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
March 18, 2014
Guests: Stephen Cohen, Robert Francis, Colin Goddard, Anna Galland,
Jonathan Cohn, Avik Roy
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
And the most important story in the world tonight is the escalation of
the crisis in Ukraine. Today, the first fatal shots have been fired, the
Ukrainian soldier is dead. Russia has officially annexed the peninsula of
Crimea, and Ukraine has mobilized troops on the border.
All while the war of words between Washington and Moscow has escalated
to a point where it gets harder and harder to see how either side backs
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This seems we do have the first shots fired in
anger, the first fatality of this crisis. There must have been some
resistance. Shots were fired and one man is dead.
HAYES (voice-over): At a military base in Simferopol, a Ukrainian
junior officer was reportedly killed today by unidentified forces. The
first soldier killed since Russian forces arrived in the peninsula last
According to the Ukrainian government, another officer was injured in
the attack and a base commander was captured by men wearing Russian
Ukraine`s prime minister called it a war crime and authorized the
thousands of Ukrainian troops still stuck in Crimea to use arms to defend
themselves. The base attack happened shortly after Crimea officially, at
least according to Moscow, became part of Russia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time since borders were redrawn in
1945, one European country is annexing territory belonging to another.
HAYES: At the Kremlin, in a 47-minute speech punctuated with
rapturous applause from Russia`s parliament, Vladimir Putin announced that
Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia, even though it`s been
far of an independent Ukraine for over two decades. He also called out
western arrogance, hypocrisy, and pressure, saying, quote, "If you push a
spring too hard, at some point it will spring back. You always need to
Then, accompanied by some of the key players who seized power in the
Crimean government in February, Putin officially signed a treaty making
Crimea part of Russia before capping off the day with an appearance at a
rally in Red Square, where thousands of Russians cheered the annexation.
Putin reiterated today that he has no designs on other parts of Ukraine.
TRANSLATOR: "Who is shouting that Crimea will be followed by other
regions?" he asked. "We do not want the divisions of Ukraine. We do not
HAYES: The Ukrainian government is not taking him at his word, and is
now engaged in a massive counter-mobilization. Reinforcing troops close to
the Russian border including near the tinderbox town of Donetsk, site of
bloody clashes between pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine protesters.
Ukrainian army is also bolstering its presence along the new border
with Crimea, digging trenches, fortifying Ukraine`s remaining territory.
Near Kiev, defense forces are hoping to train up thousands of
volunteers as national guardsmen while in the capitol, itself, the
government approved a partial mobilization of 40,000 reservists, as a line
of veterans from last month`s uprising guarded Ukraine`s parliament.
The Obama administration has stopped short of offering military
assistance to Ukraine, but strongly denounced the Russian annexation of
Crimea and Putin`s rhetoric today.
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: It`s very dangerous to see this rise
of a kind of nationalism that is exercised unilaterally. All you have to
do is go back and read in history of the lead-up to World War II and the
passions that were released with that kind of nationalistic fervor.
HAYES: Elsewhere in Washington, D.C., the hawks are circling.
William Kristol citing Reagan and the Cold War writing this week a war wary
public could be persuaded into another war. Quote, "Events right now are
doing the awakening. All that`s needed is the rallying."
And Senator McCain asking the U.S. to help the Ukrainian military.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We need to give a long-term military
assistance plan because God knows what Vladimir Putin will do next.
HAYES: No one knows with certainty what any of the actors in this
unfolding crisis will do next, which is precisely what makes it so
HAYES: Joining me now, former Ambassador Michael McFaul, who just
ended his post as U.S. ambassador to Russia. He`s now an NBC News analyst
and professor of political science at Stanford University.
Ambassador, I want to get your reaction right off the bat to something
Ron Paul wrote today in "USA Today." He asked this basic question. I`d
love to hear your thoughts on. "Why does the U.S. care which flag will be
hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?"
What is the U.S. interest here?
AMB. MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: The U.S.
interest, and I would say the interest of the entire world, the
international community, is to have a system, a set of rules that govern
the international system. That`s why the United Nations was set up after
the horrors of World War II, and one of the principle rules of that system
has to be and has been until just recently, until today, actually, that you
don`t annex territory of other sovereign states.
If you don`t stop that, where does it begin? Where does it -- where
does it end, I`m sorry to say. Where do the dominos end if you start
redrawing borders that people don`t like?
That was a very important part of what was successful about the
establishment of the United Nations. This is now a real challenge to
HAYES: When Vladimir Putin says, you know, there`s all this hysteria
that we`re going to do more than just, you know, annex Crimea, do you take
him at his word?
MCFAUL: Well, I thought it was very important that he said what he
did today. That`s reassuring.
But I`ll just remind you, a month ago, he wasn`t talking about
marching into Crimea, either. In fact, I went back and I looked over lots
of Putin`s speeches over the last 24 hours. I don`t remember him ever
dedicating a speech to "our Russian citizens that we abandoned in Crimea
and now it`s a time to bring them back." This was all new.
This was a tactical move by him in response to the fall of the
government in Kiev. And what I worry about in Ukraine is not that Putin
has decided, "OK, now I`m going to go carve off a third in eastern
Ukraine." What I worry about is what you reported on at the top of your
show, that soldiers fire at each other, people die, it escalates, and then
there`s a process and an action/reaction process that might tempt President
Putin to get involved in eastern Ukraine.
HAYES: This is my fear as well because it seems to me while all
parties, at least publicly are saying obviously the thought of military
engagement is unthinkable. Russia obviously still a nuclear power. We`re
not going to have a land war in basically the middle of Europe and, you
know, Senator Chris Murphy who`s been outspoken saying there`s no military
That, you know, at the same time, when you have lots of mobilized
soldiers staring each other down, when you have Ukrainian domestic
politics, which if there are more Ukrainian soldier deaths, there`s going
to be some mounting calls for some kind of response, that things can get
out of hand very quickly.
MCFAUL: That`s exactly right. I mean, the history of Europe shows
that. What starts as a little incident blows up into a major war.
And I think you raised a very important point about nationalism. I
mean, imagine if Mexico had moved into New Mexico. What would be the
reaction here in the United States?
What is striking, so far, about Ukraine and the Ukrainian government
is how tolerant they`ve been. How cautious they`ve been.
But you have to believe -- in fact, I`m in touch with Ukrainians --
that are furious about this situation.
MCFAUL: That don`t like this situation, and that want to react to
this Russian annexation. That`s dangerous.
HAYES: Yes, in fact, it appears from several reports I`ve seen, and
several folks I`ve been in contact with, that there is a growing kind of
populous backlash against the perceived fecklessness of the interim
government in dealing with what they see as Russian aggression and, of
course, that`s all leading up to a national election in May. You can
imagine the kind of forces in the domestic political coalition of Ukraine
that are empowered by the thought of an imminent military engagement with
MCFAUL: Exactly. When I was back as ambassador just a few weeks ago,
I would talk to my Russian colleagues and they would say we fear these
extremists, we fear these Nazis, so-called Nazis in Ukraine. I would say,
well, then, stop aggressive policies against Ukraine. There`s no better
way to stir nationalist sentiment than exactly what they`ve done in
HAYES: Ambassador Michael McFaul -- thank you so much.
MCFAUL: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now, Stephen Cohen, my colleague at "The Nation."
He`s contributing editor, has been writing about this story. He`s also
author of "Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives."
All right. Two things in the Putin speech today that seem to be
within tension of each other. One was this is about Crimea, it`s not about
eastern Ukraine, people are being hysterical, we`re just -- and then a
broader story about the fact Crimeans woke up in 1991 and all of a sudden
switched nations that seemed to call into question of the validity of the
entirety post-Russian breakup of the Soviet Empire, basically.
STEPHEN COHEN, THE NATION: Putin gave a history speech and by in
large factually was correct. The interpretations was open to dispute.
What he`s saying is 25 million Russians found themselves, quote, "abroad"
when the Soviet Union broke up. Many in Ukraine, but also the Baltics.
Can I interject a word where you and Michael --
HAYES: Yes, please? Yes.
COHEN: I tilt more toward your view than Michael`s. I don`t want to
over-dramatize, but I think we`re two steps from a Cuban missile crisis
situation with Russia.
Those two steps would be NATO troops are moved to the Polish/West
Ukrainian border. There`s talk of doing that. In reaction, Putin sends
Russian troops into eastern and southern Ukraine. That`s the Cuban missile
What comes next is unthinkable. Now, there`s a way out. But as you
also pointed out, all the crazies, all the extremists in Moscow and in
Washington and in Europe are flocking to this issue like vultures at a
carcass in a hot desert.
I mean, where is the bold, calm, rational leadership? If it doesn`t
come soon, we may be sitting here talking about war in a week.
HAYES: OK. That`s what I think all parties want to avoid.
So how -- what is the way out of this, right? I mean, I think people
-- this is dynamic, as I see it. There`s a very important principle here
which is you can`t just go annex another part of a sovereign territory.
We`re not going to do anything militarily. We, meaning the West, the U.S.,
NATO, et cetera. But we`re going to raise the stakes, we`re going to, you
know, punish Russia.
HAYES: Russia says, eh, no big deal. So, we can take whatever you
can punish us with, because frankly Crimea matters more to us than you.
And then you get the equilibrium. The question is, what`s the way out of
COHEN: Well, I revert to the -- what I was thought as a kid, there`s
two sides to every story, even Russian story. We have to ask ourselves, is
Putin right about anything? Or because it comes from Putin, is it wrong?
Now, the point he made in his speech today is he`s cornered. Russia
is cornered by the expansion of NATO to Russia`s borders.
Is that right? Is he right to feel that way?
He said he`d been betrayed and let down by the United States. That
has to be reviewed. But he also said two very important things, his
foreign office did. We, the Russians, see the solution as a federalization
of Ukraine, where the republics, including the Russian-speaking ones, have
a certain amount of autonomy.
And they went to say that if we can bargain in that, we`re prepared to
play a constructive role, including in the rebuilding of the Ukrainian.
HAYES: OK, but --
COHEN: That`s where you start.
HAYES: OK, but if that`s the negotiation, first, let`s just be clear
about NATO. I mean, NATO, obviously, there`s this question about the
degree to which a promise was made in 1991/1992 about not extending NATO,
right? There`s a sense in which --
COHEN: It`s ancient history.
HAYES: OK. But here`s the question, right? The rejection of Ukraine
as a possible NATO country has already happened, right?
COHEN: No. No. No. Ukraine -- you mean in Ukraine or in the West?
HAYES: In the West.
COHEN: No, absolutely not. In 2008, Bush, then our president, tried
to bring Ukraine, Georgia, into NATO and it was vetoed by Merkel.
If you go back to November of last year, with that so-called economic
offer from the European Union, if you read the fine print, there`s a
section called 7 and 9, I think, security issues. It`s clear by signing
it, Ukraine became obliged to follow NATO policy.
So, in the Russian mind -- now wait a minute -- in the Russian mind,
if we try to see the other guy`s side of the story, and for this you get
called a Putin apologist -- but to see the other story, in the Russian
mind, this is about expanding NATO to Ukraine.
Therefore, if you want to sit down and solve the problem, you say, OK,
NATO expansion is over in the direction of Ukraine and Georgia.
HAYES: But then, of course, the counter to that, right, that
fundamentally functions as a reward for something that`s, like, a pretty
big violation of international norm.
COHEN: I don`t see it that way. But let me -- we have a clue. This
Ukrainian unelected leader who came to see Obama in the White House was
given a history lesson in the White House. He was talking crazy. He went
home and he talked sane.
And one of the things he said when we got home this morning or
yesterday is we do not seek NATO membership.
COHEN: In other words, it`s understood in the White House, it`s
understood in Kiev that NATO is off the table. Now, the Russians are
prepared to talk.
HAYES: Well, that is the question. Because if that is the red line,
if the NATO membership is the thing that can enable further conversation
and an off-ramp from the conflict, that seems like an area for consensus.
Stephen Cohen from "The Nation" -- thank you so much.
New clues in the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The aircraft`s movements were consistent with
deliberate action by someone on the plane. That remains the position of
the investigating team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Deliberate action by someone on the plane. There`s been some
late breaking news tonight. New exclusive reporting from NBC News -- the
turn the plane made was likely programmed into the flight management system
from the cockpit and crucially before the co-pilot`s good night, additional
details that may suggest premeditation. We will get into it, ahead.
HAYES: Coming up, the latest developments in the mysterious
disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370. Some pretty big, late-breaking news
to report tonight.
And later, Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brother funded outlet,
gets some humility and gets out of the Obamacare horror story business, at
least for now. I`ll explain, ahead.
HAYES: Breaking news tonight in the search for missing Malaysia
Airlines Flight 370, which vanished 11 days ago with 239 people onboard.
Sources tell NBC News that Flight 370`s left turn off its flight plan
was likely programmed into the flight management system from the cockpit
before the final transmission of automated communications data and
crucially -- this is key -- before the co-pilot calmly said, "All right,
good night" to air traffic controllers, at least 12 minutes before that
final transmission. That would suggest that the flight crew planned the
new route and then indicated there were no problems with the flight -- a
timeline that would seem to strongly suggest foul play by the co-pilot and
anyone else active in the cockpit at the time.
But, crucial caveat, former National Transportation Safety Board
investigator Greg Feith told NBC News that this new information does not
necessarily by itself indicate ill intentions. According to Feith, quote,
"Some pilots will program into an alternate flight path in the event of
emergency. We don`t know what the reason was for this particular flight
plan, whether to go back to Kuala Lumpur or take the airplane somewhere
away from Beijing."
This information follows a report today in "The New York Times" that
according to senior American officials, the flight`s sharp turn was carried
out through a computer system that was most likely programmed by someone in
the plane`s cockpit who was knowledgeable about airplane systems.
Meanwhile, amidst growing speculation that one or both of the flight
captain or first officer may have been responsible for the flight`s
disappearance, Malaysian authorities said today that police searches of the
captain and first officer`s home and computers turned up nothing
suspicious. And Malaysian officials facing continued criticism for
offering contradictory and confusing information to the public indicated
the search had been expanded to 2.24 million square nautical miles, a
Joining me, NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders, who`s been covering
So, Kerry, what are we to make of this? At first blush, it sounds
deeply incriminating. Greg Feith offers some caution about possible non-
nefarious explanations. What`s the takeaway?
KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think the takeaway is we
have sort of a timeline.
SANDERS: We have to remember, it was the officials in Malaysia who
initially said that the programming of anything on that turn happened after
the call. Then they revised it and now it`s before. And so, going into
that flight management system, (a) shows that there`s knowledge of the
equipment. You or I couldn`t go in there, we couldn`t figure out how to do
So, there`s somebody who clearly knows what they`re doing. It
happened after the plane took off while it was in flight, at least 12
minutes before that radio call, maybe even earlier. And so, it suggests
that somebody had access to the cockpit.
Who`s in the cockpit? Well, we know on most flights, generally, the
only people allowed in that cockpit are the pilot and the co-pilot and
maybe a flight attendant going in or out to talk to them.
But it certainly raises all types of possibilities. But, again, as
Greg points out, it may be that this is just an experienced pilot.
Somebody who knows, you always have an alternate plan set up in the event
of an emergency.
It is another data point, and I sort of wanted to be slow in the rush
to public judgment of these, the missing pilot and his co-pilot, for
obvious reasons. This data point, again, if it is hard confirmed, this is
from sources close to the investigation, does seem to push in that
direction in terms of the investigation.
NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders -- thank you.
Joining me, Robert Francis, former vice chairman of the National
Transportation Safety Board. He`s now a senior policy adviser at a law
firm Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger.
And I`ve been -- I`ve been struck, Robert, by this term "foul play",
and wondered, in your experience as an NTSB -- with the NTSB, was that
something that you, folks at the NTSB have experience looking into? What
that term even means in the context of a pilot in an aircraft?
ROBERT FRANCIS, FORMER NTSB VICE CHAIRMAN: I think the answer to that
is no. I don`t -- I mean, I think that if in any of our investigations,
and I don`t -- obviously, TWA 800, which exploded off Long Island, foul
play was a big issue and we were working hand in glove with the FBI
throughout that entire investigation.
I think that`s my only -- my only experience, and we went forward with
the investigation and determined that it was an accident and the NTSB was
in the lead.
HAYES: In the absence of forensic evidence, in the absence of
wreckage or the plane or obviously a plane safely landed somewhere, is
there anything definitive that can be determined? I mean, I guess my point
is, in the absence of finding the plane which does seem to me less and less
likely each day this goes on, or at least finding it in the near term, what
does an investigation even consist of, or is this about what we`re going to
FRANCIS: Well, I don`t see how we`re going to get a great deal more
than what we`ve got. And even what we`re getting now seems to change a
little bit. I mean, we`ve got Greg`s comments about the flight management
system being preset to the turn, and that may very well be the case, that
certainly experienced pilots do do that.
Another very experienced aviation person looked at that turn and said
that turn was hand flown.
FRANCIS: So, you`ve got a point, counterpoint, in almost every stage
of this investigation.
HAYES: Well, the hand flown theory, and, again, there was a theory
that was very popular on the Internet today by a pilot by the name of
Goodfellow who basically put forward the theory there was a cockpit fire
and that hard left bank was an attempt to kind of take the plane back
towards a runway, get it down in response to cabin depressurization.
Again, at the point of this investigation seems to be what we do know
is that the plane seemed to ping around in some kind of intentional way in
that part over the Strait of Malacca before it went off into where it went
off which does seem to indicate there was some kind of management of the
plane at that point.
FRANCIS: I think that`s correct. But, again, it`s very hard -- if
you`re losing, if there`s an electrical fire in the bay where all of the
technology is, if you`re in the process of doing that, of losing, and you
lose one thing at a time, from our point of view, looking back, it makes it
extraordinarily difficult for us to decide what are the pilots flying, what
do they know at any given time? Because they may be losing systems --
FRANCIS: -- one by one.
HAYES: Yes. Former vice chairman of the National Transportation
Safety Board, Robert Francis -- thank you for your time.
FRANCIS: You`re welcome.
HAYES: Coming up, a bill in the state legislature could make it legal
to carry guns basically almost anywhere in Georgia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. BILL JACKSON (R), GEORGIA: They`re killing people with
frying pans. They`re killing people with hammers. There`s more murders
with hammers last year than there was shotguns, pistols, AK-47s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That man is one of the lawmakers who will decide the issue.
More on this, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROTESTERS: Our lives matter! Medicaid expansion! Our lives matter!
Medicaid expansion! Our lives matter! Medicaid expansion! Our lives
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: More than 40 people were arrested today in Atlanta during a
serious of protests around the capitol and the governor`s office. These
folks, mostly retirees came out in force calling for Georgia to expand
Medicaid, something Georgia`s Republican governor and the state`s
Republican-led legislature have refused to do.
Blocking Medicaid expansion for hundreds of thousands of Georgians is
just one part of a broader reactionary agenda being pushed by Republicans
in Georgia right now.
Lawmakers down there are also trying to pass something called the Safe
Carry Protection Act right now, or, as the NRA refers to it, the most
comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation in recent state history.
Let me give you a rundown of just a few things this legislation would
do, allow guns to be carried in bars and some government buildings, and in
churches, and in certain parts of airports. One version of the bill would
expand the ability of adults to carry weapons in schools and prohibit the
state from keeping a gun database of owners with a carry permit.
But maybe the most insidious piece of this legislation is language
that would appear to extend stand your ground protection to include illegal
guns. The bill appears to extend stand your ground protection to felons
who are not legally allowed to possess guns. So, under this legislation,
even if you personally are barred from having a gun, if you could in theory
shoot someone with an illegal gun and avoid prosecution under the state`s
stand your ground law.
The state of Georgia, by the way, has already seen an 83 percent
increase in justifiable homicides since its stand your ground law was
enacted. The bill passed the Georgia House by an overwhelming majority
last month, and now House Republicans are using a procedural maneuver to
try to force a vote in the Senate before the legislature adjourns later
this week, just a few days from now, by adding their latest version of the
bill to another apparently less controversial gun bill, that one designed
to allow certain judges to carry firearms.
Will anyone be barred from carrying guns anywhere inside the state of
Georgia by the time the legislature adjourns this week? The answer is not
entirely clear at this point.
Joining me now, Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech mass
shooting in 2007. He`s a senior policy advocate for Mayors Against Illegal
Colin, one of the most controversial elements of this bill, which was
so controversial it was taken out, would actually have allowed guns to be
carried on college campuses. Am I right?
COLIN GODDARD, VIRGINIA TECH SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Right, but that has
been removed because the overwhelming majority of board of regents in the
state and students spoke out against it.
And so now we`re looking at so many other bad parts of this bill as
well. Like you said, this bill allows guns into K-12 schools, which the
Georgia PTA and American Federation of Teachers oppose. This would allow
guns in churches, where the vast majority of denominations for different
parts of the state oppose this and a giant coalition of faith leaders.
This would allow guns in government buildings, where mayors -- the
Georgia Municipal Association, the Association of County Commissioners
opposes this. This would allow guns in airports, where the TSA and Georgia
Chiefs of Police oppose this and, you`re right, further than that, would
literally allow felons who shoot and kill someone with an illegal gun to
claim stand your ground protection, which is just absurd.
HAYES: OK. Well, that`s a fairly persuasive case for me. You`re in
Georgia now, and the question is, is this bill getting traction? Is it
getting attention? Has it become -- you`re down there working with groups
that are trying to block it.
Is it in the limelight? Are folks focused on just how extreme this
GODDARD: Well, as the session started, everyone thought this bill was
a done deal, it would be done by now.
And so what they have been surprised by is the overwhelming majority
of Georgians who stood up and said, this is ridiculous, I don`t want this,
who are you doing this for? And so now we`re literally in the last like
day and a bit of legislation. And we have moderate Republicans trying to
find a solution. We have things happening constantly.
But we`re ultimately looking at the leadership in the state and
saying, what are you doing, who are you doing this for? You should listen
to the overwhelming majority of your citizens and vote against this. And
we`re looking at Governor Deal particularly, who`s in a tough reelection,
to say, are you sure you want to do this in this year?
HAYES: I`m glad you brought up Governor Nathan Deal, who`s facing
reelection in the fall. We contacted his office and were told by a
representative there that the governor does not -- quote -- "comment on
That struck me as a strange response from a sitting governor, given
that much of what governors do all the time is comment, work on pending
GODDARD: Well, right. I think the governor is just trying to avoid
more bad press. You know, like I said, when the vast majority of his
state`s constituencies oppose this legislation, yet it`s still happening,
it`s still in play, everyone`s looking at him like, you know, what`s going
on? What are you doing? And we`re needing to call him out for it.
HAYES: Where does it come from, then? You know, one of the things I
think I have tracked in looking through the gun issue is, in certain states
that are so pro-gun generally in the disposition of both their
constituencies and politicians, that gun rights advocates or the NRA, they
run out of stuff to push, because you basically -- you have kind of hit the
frontier and now you`re in the water.
I mean, is that the situation in Georgia, where the gun laws are
already lax enough that you have to come up with increasingly more
preposterous solutions to propose to a problem that does not exist?
GODDARD: I think that`s pretty close. And I think it comes from a
real no-compromise, small-state gun rights group that`s trying to get this
done, not from the overwhelming majority of citizens in the state.
And for so long, though, that they have had the field to themselves
and there hasn`t been a coordinated, organized opposition, now you`re
starting to see that. Now these dynamics are changing and now this is an
equation that`s no longer how it`s used to have been. And we`re seeing
bills that were -- as I said, were supposed to be done already going to the
last minute of the last day.
HAYES: Yes. It sounds like there`s a day-and-a-half. You think you
can stop this?
GODDARD: There is -- like I said, we had a press conference today.
We have people literally lobbying throughout tonight. We will be there
until midnight tomorrow night. We`re hoping that the moderate party --
parts of both parts come together and say this is not something the people
of Georgia want and deserve.
HAYES: Colin Goddard, thank you so much for your time.
GODDARD: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Coming up: Governor Bobby Jindal has no problem denying
health insurance to 242,000 people in his state. But when a progressive
group makes a billboard stating that fact, well, suddenly there`s hell to
pay, because the billboard dared to use the state`s tourism logo. I will
take you inside that lawsuit ahead.
HAYES: The Obamacare death spiral, the decline of the Obama
presidency, the end of the Democratic Senate majority, the collapse of
liberalism as we know it -- there were many pronouncements of doom about
Obamacare, but we have got some new data that makes those predictions look
pretty off-base. That`s ahead.
HAYES: Big news tonight. Americans for Prosperity, the Koch
brothers-backed Tea Party wing of big money spenders, are actually capable
of being shamed.
This is a surprise, because if you have been watching these shameless
ads they have been running, you would think they were indeed incapable of
being shamed. See, for instance, this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY AD)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was doing fairly well fighting the cancer,
fighting the leukemia, and then I received the letter. My insurance was
canceled because of Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As we covered here and as reported in "The Detroit News," it
turns out her new plan will save her at least $1,200 compared with her
former insurance plan, and she will be able to keep, keep her oncologist
through the new plan.
Well, guess what? Here`s the latest AFP ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY AD)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not about a Web site that doesn`t work.
It`s not about poll numbers or approval ratings. It`s about people. And
millions of people have lost their health insurance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You see the difference there? It turns out there is
apparently a level of emotional manipulation and duplicitousness that`s too
much even for Americans for Prosperity.
Or, put another way, those real people ads can easily be fact-checked
and rebutted and have been by so media outlets that AFP went in this new
Americans for Prosperity respond: "We`re currently on air with many
different types of ads, including personal testimony of Obamacare impact.
This is the same strategy we have been using for six months. It does not
represent a shift in strategy."
If you say so, AFP.
But incapable of being shamed? Apparently, Governor Bobby Jindal of
Louisiana. The governor, like many of his fellow Republican governors, is
standing in the way of health care for the state`s working poor by blocking
Medicaid expansion, despite the fact the state would not have to pay a cent
for it this year.
MoveOn.org tried to shame him with this billboard. And now the state
of Louisiana, through its lieutenant governor, has fired back, not, not
about people not getting health care, but about the billboard using the
state`s tourism logo and motto.
The state is suing MoveOn, saying the billboard is causing -- and I`m
quoting here -- "irreparable harm, injury and damages to the state`s
cultural tourism office." To repeat, the state is suing over the use of
its tourism logo because it`s the satirical use of said logo that`s causing
harm, injury and damages, not Bobby Jindal denying health insurance to
242,000 of his constituents.
Joining me now Anna Galland, the executive director of MoveOn.org.
Anna, are you surprised by the lawsuit?
ANNA GALLAND, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MOVEON.ORG: I think my first
reaction was disbelief. But then that quickly became something akin to
Look, there`s 242,000 people in Louisiana who don`t have health care.
The fact that they don`t have health care is a choice by the elected
officials in Louisiana. It`s not a necessity. And instead of dealing with
the fact that there are these hundreds of thousands of people right now,
some of whom will die because they don`t have access to health care,
instead of working on that problem, the state has chosen to sue MoveOn.
So, yes, my first reaction, I think, is a mixture of disbelief, and
it`s almost -- it`s almost funny, if the stakes weren`t so high.
HAYES: You guys have focused on Medicaid expansion. You have been
focusing on Louisiana. Why -- why this issue? Why have you taken this up?
GALLAND: So, I mean, first and foremost, it`s about the people. So
it`s not just in the state of Louisiana, but around the country there are
over five million people who live in Republican-led states who are not
getting access to health care because of this choice that these Republican
state officials are making.
And they`re making the choice not because it makes any policy sense,
and not even because it makes political sense. Actually, Medicaid
expansion is popular in these states. They`re really just, as far as we
can tell, catering to a very narrow slice of their own base.
And, so, you know, this is an issue that I think, first and foremost,
it`s about the people. Secondly, I actually think that this is an
important issue for us to take on to show Democrats what it means to stand
up and fight on health care. Right, I mean, what we`re seeing in...
GALLAND: Go ahead. Yes.
HAYES: No, it strikes me -- it just strikes me that this is a
winnable fight even in red states. What we have seen is there has not been
a uniform response from Republican governors. We have seen some Republican
governors accept it.
GALLAND: Jan Brewer, John Kasich.
HAYES: Exactly. And so this is a winnable fight.
I mean, even Rick Scott -- they haven`t accepted it in Florida, but
Rick Scott actually pushed for it. He got essentially sold out by his
Republican legislators. But this is a winnable fight. And I think part of
the prickliness in the response of Bobby Jindal and the lieutenant governor
was because they know that.
GALLAND: I think that`s absolutely right.
I think you`re seeing that -- again, if someone like Jan Brewer,
someone like John Kasich can both come out and accept the Medicaid
expansion, because, look, these are -- this is health care that essentially
taxpayers have already paid for. Right? It`s federal money that`s already
And essentially what`s happening is that these governors, by turning
down the funds, are shipping that money, those resources out of the state
to other states that are accepting the funds. So, you`re seeing this
dynamic play out, where Republicans are split on it, but too many of them
are holding out, and the result of that is deadly. That`s five million
people whose lives are at stake.
And so MoveOn members in the, you know, two dozen or so Republican-led
states where this is going on have been standing up. We put the billboards
up in Louisiana and in five other states. Louisiana is the only state
where we have been sued over use of their tourist logo.
But, you know, we`re also doing on-the-ground organizing. We`re
launching another ad campaign in Louisiana this week. We`re not going to
let ourselves be bullied. We won`t let ourselves be silenced.
So, we think this is an important issue on the merits, and we think
it`s a winning issue that we can show Democrats what it looks like to stand
up and fight on health care and point out the real villains.
HAYES: Anna Galland from MoveOn.org, thanks so much.
GALLAND: Thank you.
HAYES: Remember when Obamacare was obviously doomed, a disaster, a
smoking ruin? We will check back on the right`s predictions and match them
HAYES: Remember when one of the biggest right-wing talking points
about Obamacare was the death spiral?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The exchanges don`t work, and you wind up going
into what they call sort of the insurance death spiral.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: What did you call it, death spiral?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Insurance death spiral, yes.
ALLEN WEST (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Obamacare is going toward a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is that death spiral.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To a death spiral.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The death spiral.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS: The death spiral.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s called an insurance death spiral.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: You get into what they call that death
KELLY: This could be the beginning of the death spiral.
It could potentially be the beginning of the death spiral.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The architect of Obamacare being interviewed by
Megyn Kelly, she asked him, is this the beginning of the so-called death
KELLY: Is that the beginning of the so-called death spiral?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he said -- quote -- "That could be the
beginning of a death spiral" -- unquote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That could be the beginning of a death spiral.
KELLY: That`s the death spiral -- spiral.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, the idea back then...
HAYES: Sorry. I`m laughing. It`s -- that was really brilliantly
done, editing room.
The idea back then was that a broken Web site would mean the only --
only the old and sick would bother to enroll, and without younger enrollees
to balance out the risk, the Obamacare exchanges would enter into an
actuarial death spiral, the whole thing would be doomed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRAUTHAMMER: We have not just Obamacare unraveling, not just the
Obama administration unraveling, not just the Democratic majority in the
Senate, but we could be looking at the collapse of American liberalism.
Obamacare is the big thing for them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that true?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Answer: not true.
Here`s what actual enrollments look like, according to ACASignups.net.
With less than two weeks remaining before the March 31 deadline for
2014 enrollments, sign-ups continue to spike. This graph includes
enrollments through the exchanges, plus the Medicaid expansion, plus people
under 26 years old staying on their parents` coverage.
But an important subset of that, health care exchange enrollments
passed the five million mark yesterday, according to the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services. And so the revised goal of six million
sign-ups appears to be within reach, also in line with the CBO`s
projection, by the way.
But whether or not it does hit the six million mark by the end of the
month, health industry insiders say Obamacare has cleared the bar, with the
caveat that real examination will come on a state-by-state level.
"Health benefits consultants agree with President Obama`s assessment
this week that enough Americans have signed up to private health plans
under the Affordable Care Act that it will work."
Joining me now, Avik Roy, opinion editor at "Forbes," author of "How
Medicaid Fails the Poor," Jonathan Cohn, senior editor for "New Republic,"
author of "Sick: The Untold Story of America`s Health Care Crisis and the
People Who Pay the Price."
All right, Avik, you have been someone who has been very critical of
the ACA from the beginning, but also very cautious about pronouncements of
impending death spirals. So, do you feel vindicated?
AVIK ROY, "FORBES": Yes.
I mean, you know, in fairness, Chris, a lot of liberals were also
worried about the so-called death spiral. And they were always wrong, both
sides, both the conservatives who were cheering it on, liberals who were
scared about it, because the subsidies do provide a cushion that prevent a
true death spiral from occurring.
And, at the end of the day, it`s important to remember that we can`t
use the sign-up figure that CMS is talking about as actual enrollments,
because if you aren`t -- you aren`t actually enrolled with actual health
coverage when you go to the doctor or the hospital unless you have actually
paid the premium.
ROY: That`s number one.
Number two, it depends on whether you have been previously insured or
previously uninsured. And a lot of the people, according to the surveys we
have seen who`ve signed up for Obamacare on the exchanges were previously
insured. And only a minority, about 14 percent, 15 percent were previously
HAYES: Jonathan, what is your response to that?
I have been hearing a lot from conservatives about this payment issue,
right, that essentially CMS is hiding the ball on whether folks that have
been signed up have actually paid. Is it true they`re hiding the ball?
How important is that to the long-term health of the project of the ACA?
JONATHAN COHN, "THE NEW REPUBLIC": Well, you know, Avik is right that
there`s a lot we still don`t know, and, frankly, we won`t know for many
months. It`s just the nature of these things. The data takes a while to
I don`t think CMS is hiding the ball. I think we just don`t know.
But, look, I think this has also been exaggerated in the same way those
death spiral quotes you played were exaggerated.
If you talk to the insurance industry, they`re saying, yes, not
everybody is paying up, but it`s about eight in 10, about 80 percent. And
maybe that will even come up over time. And, you know, we don`t know what
the actual decline in number of people without insurance is, but it does
appear there`s circumstantial evidence, not hard proof, but circumstantial
evidence that we`re starting to take a bite out of the uninsured and more
people are getting coverage.
So, you know, the signs are reasonably good. I think Avik is right to
be cautious. It`s always good to be cautious.
COHN: We should have been cautious before. And we should be cautious
But, you know, a little -- you know, a little bit of optimism seems in
HAYES: Well, do you think -- did you think they were going to hit
this number, I mean, even the five million? Forget if they get to six
I mean, in the dark days -- and it does seem to me like all the Zach
Galifianakis, LeBron James, the gifts on the White House Web site, that all
of this, whether it seems goofy or not to folks that seem to be critical of
it, they seem to know what they`re doing in terms of pushing enrollment,
getting these numbers up.
COHN: Right. I mean, look, things looked really...
COHN: Oh, sorry. Go ahead.
COHN: You know, things looked really bad for a while.
And I was -- you know, I certainly had my doubts. And I sort of
thought, you know, when the Web site was having so many problems, if you
had told me they`d get to two million, three million, and there would be
big problem, I would have said, yes, that seems possible. It wouldn`t
collapse, but there would be big problems.
You know, things -- after they got the Web site together, they
actually started -- things started to work more or less like they`re
supposed to be working. So, that`s another reason to be very cautiously
HAYES: So, Avik, you`re now -- we`re on national television, so
permanent record and all. It`s March of 2014. What are your -- when we
talk about the Affordable Care Act a year from now, what are your
predictions? What do you think is going to happen in this first year in
which we have actually got people signed up for insurance?
ROY: Yes, I think what`s going to be interesting to see is what the
insurers charge next year for health insurance.
ROY: Because even the four private insurers who were very cautious
about what the risk pool would look like, who actually predicted that there
would be a skew towards older and sicker enrollees, they have actually been
surprised to some degree by the amount of sicker and older enrollees in the
pool because of some of the changes the White House has made on the fly,
because of the grandfathered provisions, things like that.
ROY: So, it`s going to be interesting to see how much that`s going to
cost next year. The numbers we`re hearing are maybe 15 percent higher than
what the prices were in year one.
So that`s going to be something to focus on. But I do think that
people are going to sign up eventually, particularly the people who are
eligible for the subsidies and the people who benefit in terms of being --
having preexisting conditions, being sicker.
And I do think the law is not going to get repealed. I do think it`s
here to stay. And I think actually a lot of Republicans believe that, too,
even though they`re not willing to admit it on the record.
HAYES: Jonathan, there is one example, there`s one precedent here,
which, of course, is Massachusetts. And, in Massachusetts, I recall that
the percentage of folks uninsured, it didn`t go away immediately. It was a
kind of progression over time, as the patchwork of the law kind of came
into place as the exchange got set up.
Is that what you expect to see? Because we were talking about -- I
remember when we were, you know, fighting on this bill when I was covering
it in Washington, 45 million Americans without health insurance, and now
it`s -- you know, we`re down quite a bit from that. The question is, like,
what`s the path from here to there?
COHN: No, that`s exactly right.
This is always going -- this was always going to be a slow process.
Even the Congressional Budget Office estimates, you know, they didn`t say
everyone was going to get insurance right away. They said it would be
incremental, year after year. And actually, even when fully implemented,
as you know, there would still be a lot of people without health insurance.
But progress would be slow, and, you know, the kinks would get worked
out. And I think if you sort of watched what happened in Massachusetts,
you say, OK, I get it. This takes some time. There`s going to be some
bumps along the way. But, eventually, you get to a better place.
HAYES: That is the open question.
And, Avik, you sound like -- it sounds to me like that there is --
that we are -- the law is here to stay, that the debate is going to shift
at a certain point about what to do about the law or how to fix it or how
to alter it. But I hope that others come along to that view as well.
Avik Roy from "Forbes," and Jonathan Cohn from "The New Republic,"
thank you both.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
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