All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, March 24, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
March 24, 2014
Guests: Clive Irving, Paul Butler, Pricey Harrison, Kate Sinding, Dan
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
The families of the 239 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Flight
MH370, not to mention the millions across the globe who have watched,
wrapped and anxious, hoping that somehow the missing Boeing 777 had touched
down safely somewhere received the sad, final news today. Malaysian
authorities announced they have concluded beyond any reasonable doubt that
the plane did, indeed, go down in the remotest part of the Indian Ocean
near the location where satellite data, as well as search aircraft, have
spotted possible debris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAJIB RAZAK, MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER: This is a remote location far
from any possible landing sites. It is, therefore, with deep sadness and
regret, that I must inform you that according to this new data, Flight
MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The conclusion of Malaysian authorities was reached after some
remarkable work by Inmarsat, the British satellite company that have
received seven signals from the plane, one an hour, that indicated the
plane had, in fact, continued to fly well beyond the time and place the
plane had lost radio contact.
Inmarsat performed six days of further analysis with input from Boeing
to verify the right assumptions regarding auto pilot speed. The Inmarsat
analysis arrived at a path of flight which was then peer-reviewed by
Britain`s air safety agency, the air accidents investigation branch, before
being submitted to Malaysian authorities yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MCLAUGHLIN, SR. VP, INMARSAT: This is the first time we`ve ever
been asked to try to find something with just a single signal once an hour.
Really, a great tribute to our scientific team that they managed to achieve
In very simple terms, we have used the difference in speed in which
the signal has come from the aircraft to the fixed point, the satellite in
space. It`s called Doppler Effect. And if you can imagine a train whistle
getting loud as it comes towards you and getting more faint as it goes away
from you. What we discovered is the southern route is the best fit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Inmarsat analysis was able to rule out that previously
reported possible northern path of the plane and also to determine that the
plane continued at more or less the same speed and in the same direction
for the last hours of the flight.
Since the plane was sending one signal per hour, the company cannot
know exactly where the plane`s flight ended.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INMARSAT: We cannot tell you do the last degree where that plane is.
We can tell you the likely area to search and certainly it would appear
that search is now concluding in that area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The clearly distraught, grieving families whose personal
moments of extreme anguish we`ve chosen not to show on this program were
informed in person or by phone or as a last resort, text message, before
the Malaysian prime minister made that announcement.
Meanwhile, the search for physical evidence of Flight 370 has also
advanced with military surveillance aircraft spotting possible debris in
the southern Indian Ocean, as described by Australia`s prime minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: The crew onboard the Orion
reported seeing two objects. The first, a gray or green circular object,
and the second, an orange rectangular object. These are separate to the
objects reported earlier today by a Chinese search aircraft.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The royal Australian air force P3 Orion aircraft dropped
flares to mark the two objects it had spotted with an Australian navy
vessel in route. A pinger locator system to detect the plane`s black box
is also being moved to the region.
Joining me now is CNBC`s senior correspondent Eunice Yoon, who`s been
covering the story from Beijing. She was at the hotel this morning where
the families received the news.
Eunice, what was that scene life?
EUNICE YOON, CNBC SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: It was raw grief, Chris. It
was grief that was on display at the Beijing hotel where the families have
been staying for the past two weeks since the plane disappeared. This
period has been a very, very difficult, emotional and intense time for them
because for every little bit of information or every rumor that`s been
coming out has been taking a psychological toll on them and weighing on
their mental state.
Last night, they were called in to a conference room where many of
them got the information from state TV, from the Malaysian prime minister,
from the Malaysian prime minister`s statement. It was, of course, a
statement they just weren`t ready to hear.
There was chaos afterwards. People were sobbing. Many people have
collapsed, were fainting. There was one man who rushed out of the room and
he actually fell down an escalator and had to be taken away.
There was another woman who came out very quickly, she burst out of
the room and she said that her children were onboard, her grandchildren
were onboard and she was now going to be alone. These were the kind of
stories that we were hearing over and over.
And in addition to that, of course, there were many people who were
also acting out and were very violent. They were very angry. One man
punched a wall. There were others who got into fights with each other, got
into fights with some other journalists. They were very upset about what
A lot of it was because all along they`d been feeling that they are
not -- that they haven`t been getting clear, precise information, and
because of that, they felt that perhaps this time, too, maybe even though
it was said by the Malaysian prime minister, himself, that perhaps this
time, too, they -- somehow they were wrong and they want, they said, that
they`re demanding they see some more evidence, not evidence that`s just
based on satellite data, but evidence as in wreckage. They want to see the
wreckage of the plane. It`s very, very difficult time right now for all of
HAYES: Yes, given both the emotional state, one would imagine ones
self in in their position and also the false starts and debunked leads and
misinformation that has come, I can completely understand.
This is part of a family statement translated by NBC News from the
original Mandarin. "Here we 154 family members would like to express our
protest and condemnation of Malaysian Air. Malaysian government and
Malaysian military, give us back our relatives. Give us back our
relatives. Tell the truth. Tell the truth."
Did you sense a certain amount of skepticism that this was exactly --
that this was what the Malaysian authorities said it was in terms of its
YOON: There was a lot of skepticism. Just like I was talking about
earlier, it --
HAYES: Looks like we lost the feed to CNBC`s Eunice Yoon. Thank you,
Eunice, for checking with us on the top of the show.
Joining me now, Clive Irving, senior consulting editor at "Conde Nast
Traveler" and a consultant to "The Daily Beast".
Clive, the sad news today coming about the beyond reasonable doubt
based on the satellite calculations, it comports with something you have
been talking about from the beginning which is work backwards from the end.
CLIVE IRVING, CONDE NAST TRAVELER: Right.
HAYES: What`s your reaction to today`s news?
IRVING: Well, as a journalist, I`d love to get my arms around one
stable salient fact in this story. So, it`s very difficult to do that. In
this condition, everything we say by the absence of stable salient facts.
But my method was to work back from the starting point, the end and
not the beginning. Now, I think we do know the important thing that
happened today is we know the end, where roughly where the end is. And
that supports the southern arc theory, not the northern arc. I was always
extremely doubtful of the northern arc nearly because it would have taken
the plane through busy air lanes and over the Chinese air defense system.
And the southern theory, I mean, the key finding there, again, there`s
so little we know. But if, in fact, this satellite data is correct, if, in
fact, it went down there and flew on at a steady speed for six or seven
hours, after it lost radio contact, that suggests that something happened
on that plane to incapacitate everyone onboard and keep the plane flying by
wire, as they say, until it ran out of fuel.
IRVING: Yes, it was quite capable of doing that. There`s still some
spongy facts in, for example, Inmarsat is incapable of confirming the
altitude it was flying at. Now, that`s very important in determining how
far it could be, because if it was at the cruise height of 30,000 or 33,000
feet, we know that it would go 3,000 miles. If it was flying, however, as
one report said, if it had gone down to 12,000 feet and it stayed at 12,000
feet, like a cruise missile almost going over the water, it would burn its
fuel much faster which means that computes to flying far less distance.
It doesn`t change the time it`s in the air, hence the pings coming.
So what`s interesting about the Inmarsat information today is, were they
able to pin down the exact distance? They haven`t said that. They just
put it into a rough location.
HAYES: In the southern arc.
HAYES: Have you ever seen something like what Inmarsat says they were
able to do in terms of the --
IRVING: I think that`s a remarkable achievement, in the total vacuum
of any other technology to help us. It`s one last thing left in order to
tell us. And that in itself is a disgraceful fact, I think.
HAYES: In fact, one of the executives, I believe, at Inmarsat had
this to say about just the fact we do not require a regular geo-location
check. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: It is extraordinary in this day and age commercial jets
do not have a requirement on them to automatically and independently report
their speed and position. It can be done for less than a dollar per hour.
Government`s got to decide to do it and regulators have got to get on with
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You agree with him?
IRVING: I do because we`re actually using VCR in the streaming age,
in the Netflix age. It`s worse than has because you have a VCR you throw
into the water and go and pursue. I mean, the basic principle of the
flight recorder, if you think about it, is quite crazy. The crucial
evidence goes down with the plane. And then you have to find it wherever
it is. In this case, it`s going to be extremely -- we may never find it.
HAYES: Right. And you think -- I mean, we had Mr. Goldfarb, former
chief of staff of the FAA, on the other night. He was making the point
that the technology exists right now out of the box and is sold as an extra
on these planes to have constant geo-location updates of, you know,
direction, speed, variability.
IRVING: Yes, it gives you a complete picture of what`s going on in
the plane, and I got wound up about this at the time of the Air France 447,
when it finally struck me, why are we still using this antique system?
Now, that`s in 2009. In 2010, the French did a lot of work on showing how
effectively these streamed information systems could do that job and at the
cost of $1,500 per plane per month. It can be done.
But where are the priorities? Priorities are stuck in the cabins full
of entertainment and cell phone usage rather than measures to make the
HAYES: I think we will see coming out of this, if I were to predict,
anything about the kind of regulatory legal response I think we will see a
real push for that to be a requirement.
Clive Irving from "The Daily Beast" -- thank you. Thank you so much.
IRVING: You`re welcome.
HAYES: All right. Coming up, here`s how the law firm Governor Chris
Christie hired to investigate his own administration describes who they
like to hire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you get that feeling that this is someone who
in the trenches is going to stab somebody else instead of supporting the
other person, it`s not going to work for us. Arrogance doesn`t work for us
and people who are not interested in other people`s opinions and people who
are interested in getting ahead but at other people`s expense. None of
that is going to work for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It sounds like a good place to work, but we don`t know if the
same criteria applies to who they let hire them. The results of their
bridge-gate investigation, ahead.
HAYES: Twenty-five years ago today, this news report aired on the
Exxon Valdez oil spill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: This is the type of accident they argued over when the
Alaskan pipeline was built. Could we get oil from there without major
mishap? Or were accidents inevitable? Conservationists say the risk was
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, as we deal with yet another oil spill, this one in
Texas over the weekend, think the conversation`s any different?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any time we hear these kinds of things, it feels
like another impediment to growing out our fossil fuel industry, another
thing for environmentalists to rally around. Although we know accidents
are bound to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You and Sam just said it last hour, just do the
Keystone Pipeline already. Create all these jobs, enough of the nonsense.
These are all distractions. That`s all they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Some things never change, but they should. And that`s ahead.
HAYES: Today, stunning news out of New Jersey, Chris Christie has
cleared Chris Christie of any wrongdoing in the Fort Lee traffic scandal.
RADIO HOST: Do you think she ordered those lane closures on her own?
Do you think she act --
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I have no idea, Eric. I`m no
longer going to speculate on things I don`t know about. That`s why we`re
in the midst of an internal investigation. And when we develop all the
facts that need to be developed and reviewed the documents that need to be
reviewed, maybe I`ll have a better view of what went on.
HAYES (voice-over): Chris Christie promised the people of New Jersey
he would get to the bottom of what happened on the George Washington Bridge
last September, what his administration knew about it, and most
importantly, why Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein closed down lanes of
traffic in Ft. Lee.
There was already an investigation under way by the New Jersey
legislature and reportedly by the U.S. attorney in New Jersey. Yet
Christie ordered his own investigation.
And today, we learned the outcome of that investigation. Sources told
"The New York Times" the private firm hired by Christie, Gibson, Dunn &
Crutcher uncovered no evidence that the governor was involved in the
plotting or directing of the lane closings.
Randy Mastro, the attorney leading the investigation, described the
process as comprehensive and exhaustive. The lawyers conducted 70
interviews, pored over thousands of e-mails. The governor, himself, handed
over his iPhone and telephone records.
So, great news for Chris Christie, right? He`s been cleared by an
investigation previewed in "The New York Times." Today, his office
reportedly sent out an e-mail praising the report.
Not so fast. Gibson, Dunn, the firm that conducted the investigation,
was hired by Christie`s office to investigate how culpable Chris Christie
was. The firm was paid with New Jersey taxpayer money, at the rate of $650
an hour, at least $1 million in legal fees.
When e-mails first leaked linking his aides to the traffic in Fort
Lee, the governor, himself, requested to meet with two top lawyers at the
firm, Debra Wong Yang and Randy Mastro. Ms. Yang has described Christie as
a very dear friend and as a former Bush appointed U.S. attorney just like
Chris Christie. Randy Mastro with a deputy to former New York City mayor,
Rudy Giuliani. He`s now at least the eighth Giuliani staffer to join team
Christie over the years.
And while Gibson, Dunn may be highlighting the documents and people
they did have access to, the four most important people to getting to the
bottom of the scandal were left out -- Mark Sokolich, the mayor of Fort
Lee, former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien, Christie appointee at
the Port Authority, David Wildstein, and Bridget Kelly, the former aide who
ordered the traffic problems in Fort Lee. All refuse to talk to Gibson,
So, here`s what we currently know. The firm that Chris Christie hired
to investigate his own administration cleared his administration of any
Here`s what we currently don`t know: why traffic problems in Fort Lee
were ordered in the first place?
HAYES: Joining me now, Paul Butler, professor of law at Georgetown
University Law Center, former federal prosecutor with the U.S. DOJ where he
specialized in public corruption.
All right. You`re a former prosecutor. Chris Christie, former
prosecutor. You`re investigating someone. You`re looking into them.
They come to you, say, hey, don`t worry about it. I hired a law firm.
I paid them to investigate me. Here`s the report. Turns out I`m all
What do you do with that?
PAUL BUTLER, GEORGETOWN UNIV. LAW CENTER: Well, actually, Chris,
prosecutors don`t have a whole lot of experience with these kinds of
reports because most people who are under criminal investigation can`t
afford $1 million --
HAYES: That`s right.
BUTLER: -- for someone to do this kind of report. There are actually
a lot of people who are criminally accused in New Jersey who would love
even a small portion of that paid for by the taxpayers of New Jersey.
So it must be good to be the governor in part because you have a lot
of people who work for you who you can blame for things, and it looks like
this report is going to be part of his familiar strategy of throwing his
subordinates under the bus, of saying the buck stops with Bridget Kelly and
not with me.
HAYES: Also let`s be clear. This is a PR strategy, not a legal one,
right? I mean, this report means nothing. It means nothing legally.
BUTLER: It has no legal force. If anything, it`s free discovery for
the prosecution because it at least lays out what part of their defense
will be, which is, again, blaming other folks for it.
But, no, the prosecutor will read it with interest, but understand
that these guys, these defense lawyers, didn`t talk to the four star
witnesses if there`s an investigation or prosecution of the governor.
HAYES: I love this part from "The New York Times" because obviously
the rollout of this whole report is part of the PR strategy. This is, you
know, this is unsourced, but this is in the article. "Friendly exchanges
with Christie aides turned a bit frosty as the lawyer`s request multiplied
according to interviews. A less-than-popular move collecting iPhones and
BlackBerrys from the governor`s top aides for inspection."
Now, this may be true or may not be, I don`t know. What I do know is,
this shows up according to interviews in "The New York Times" and it leaves
the reader are the sense, oh, this really was independent.
BUTLER: And, also, how much power does this governor have over his
subordinates he can make them turn over their personal telephones?
HAYES: That`s a good point. That`s a very good point.
BUTLER: If the defense here is I`m not a criminal, I was just
ignorant, I just didn`t know, how do you foster, have an office that
fosters this culture of abuse of power and misconduct and not know about it
when, again, you`re clearly hands-on with everything else?
HAYES: I was looking for a precedent for this kind of thing, where
you go, you hire a law firm, you pay them, you are they`re client but
you`re paying them to investigate you. And the best I can come back
actually, it goes back to Ukraine, where Yanukovych, right, recently
deposed leader of Ukraine had imprisoned an opposition leader name Yulia
He was under a lot of condemnation from the E.U. and the State
Department. So he hired an American law firm Skadden Arps. The government
paid American legal advisers for opinions that would justify to the West
the prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko, former prime minister and president`s
chief political opponent. That Skadden Arps, some of the papers showed up
when he fled the palace.
But this is not a completely precedent-less move when under suspicion
to go hire a law firm to produce a report on you.
BUTLER: It`s not. And, again, it`s what a lawyer`s supposed to do.
Zealously represent her client.
But the problem here is that`s there`s two different aspects of this
representation. One is doing this dog and pony show report for politics.
But the other is keeping Governor Christie out of prison and hopefully not
prosecuted from their point of view. So, they`re not showing all their
BUTLER: To say it`s complete and exhaustive is a little disingenuous
because they don`t want the prosecutors to know everything.
HAYES: He is their client.
Paul Butler from Georgetown University Law Center -- thank you so
BUTLER: Great to be here.
HAYES: Coming up, what does the drug peyote have to do with birth
control? I will tell you, next.
HAYES: Have you ever seen a corporation kneeling in the pew next to
you during mass? Have you ever seen a corporation getting bar mitzvahed,
celebrating a bris, taking off its shoes at Friday prayers? The answer, of
course, is no.
Because corporations are not religious observants. People are.
And yet, tomorrow, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear
arguments that the religious conscience of corporations as entities must be
protected. Not the religious conscience of individual people, the
religious conscience of companies.
It`s a really important distinction because when a corporation says it
wants to assert its religious conscience, what it means is that it wants to
make religiously based decisions for all of its employees.
And tomorrow, lawyers for the arts and crafts chain, Hobby Lobby, are
expected to tell the Supreme Court that the family that owns the company
objects on religious grounds to certain kinds of birth control. And that,
therefore, Hobby Lobby should be allowed to deny birth control coverage to
its 13,000-plus employees at its over 500 locations across the country, no
matter what those employees happen to believe.
That coverage, of course, is required in employer-sponsored health
plans under Obamacare. And while there`s an exemption for churches and a
special opt-out for non-profit religious groups that object to birth
control, there is no opt out provision for corporations owned by people who
don`t believe in birth control, at least not yet.
As of tomorrow, the question of whether your employer`s deeply held
religious beliefs should dictate your health benefit package will be in the
hands of the nine justices of the Supreme Court.
The irony of this particular battle over the definition and boundaries
of religious liberty is that today`s fight, the one over birth control and
Obamacare, traces directly back to conservative Supreme Court hero Antonin
Scalia telling two American Indians in 1990, they were not religiously
entitled to smoke peyote.
And here to explain that strange historical trajectory is Irin Carmon,
national reporter for MSNBC.com. She`s been covering the story and wrote a
fantastic piece on the trajectory of this.
All right. Irin, how do we get from Scalia telling people they cannot
smoke peyote in religious ceremonies to the Hobby Lobby case?
IRIN CARMON, MSNBC.COM: Well, in 1990, employment division versus
Schmidt, Scalia basically said every citizen cannot be a law unto himself.
Basically, you have to comply with the law even if your religious tells you
otherwise. Now --
HAYES: So, peyote is illegal, you want to smoke peyote for your
religious ceremony, tough says Scalia.
And, at the time, a lot of people thought that that was a little
harsh. Suddenly, I`m really hearing a lot people come out of the woodwork
and say that they thought that that was correctly decided.
CARMON: But, at the time, the fear was that the government was going
to crush individuals` rights, particularly members of minority religions,
and force them to comply with laws that forced them to violate their
At the time that there was outrage about that, which led to the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act, nobody was thinking that a corporation,
which like the Greens, which employs 13,000 people, would then come in and
say, I have religious exercise, too, and I want to be exempt from laws.
So, we`re talking about people who might have observances, who might
have objections based on religious reasons to things like vaccination or
certain kinds of medical care, et cetera. These kind of individuals with
conscience objections to generally adhered-to laws was the kind of test
We are now at this new frontier in which the case tomorrow before the
court is, does Hobby Lobby get to assert a kind of right to conscience over
the total domain of all its employees?
I mean, a good phrase to think about this is that it was always
intended as a shield, not a sword. It was not intended to harm the third-
party rights of others. So if a Sikh man is being forced to shave his
beard by the Army, but he gets an exemption, that doesn`t hurt anybody
But Hobby Lobby has female employees who use contraception. The
reason that the minimum requirements, the minimum preventative care
requirements were put in the Affordable Care Act was to say, women`s health
care is just as important as men`s health care. Women pay more out of
pocket than men do. Unintended pregnancy is a big problem.
So why should Hobby Lobby`s employees have to pay more for birth
control because their -- you know, the CEO of the company who`s a
billionaire thinks that they should not be able to use it?
CARMON: And that`s really the core question here. Can it be used as
a sword that`s going to hurt third parties?
HAYES: Right, and the key here, or the key distinction between the
original peyote smoking is basically there`s no one else. It`s just you
and the peyote in that case.
And so if Scalia thinks that the government can require that person,
in which there is no third party, it will be interesting to see how he gets
himself legally to a place where it`s OK -- where the government has to
back off in the case where there are third parties, is what you`re saying.
I think the court will probably have to choose between consistency and
its love of corporations. I mean, this is a notoriously business-friendly
court. So -- and, of course, there are many Catholics on the court, both
the ones that are considered liberal and the ones that are conservative.
So I think it`s an open question. And, again, you know, you mentioned
that there are already exemptions. I think it`s very important. Despite a
lot of the right-wing rhetoric, there are exemptions for houses of worship.
Nonprofits have a third-party accommodation where the insurer provides the
contraceptive coverage directly, so that they don`t have to be involved,
which they also object to.
So, again, the question is, once a corporation becomes a religious
entity, where does it end? Does it mean that they don`t have to comply
with anti-discrimination law? Does it mean that they don`t have to comply
with the Americans With Disabilities Act? Does it mean that the government
can`t scrutinize who they fire if they say that they fire a minister? This
is a very slippery slope.
HAYES: Big, big, big argument before the court tomorrow.
Irin Carmon from MSNBC.com, thank you so much for that. Really
CARMON: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: All right, coming up, remember during the `08 presidential
election, when Sarah Palin`s big foreign policy credit was Russia was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: It`s very important when you
consider even national security issues with Russia, as Putin rears his head
and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they
go? It`s Alaska. It`s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that
we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very
powerful nation, Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Why the right`s failed presidential and vice presidential
candidates are taking a victory lap over Russia next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president`s
naivete with regards to Russia and his faulty judgment about Russia`s
intentions and objectives has led to a number of foreign policy challenges
that we face.
And, unfortunately, not having anticipated Russia`s intentions, the
president wasn`t able to shape the kinds of events that may have been able
to prevent the kinds of circumstances that you`re seeing in the Ukraine, as
well as the things that you`re seeing in Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Republicans` failed presidential and vice presidential
candidates are now breaking their arms patting themselves on the back
because they alone recognized Russia as the villain.
There`s John McCain, who said on the Senate floor President Obama has
never understood Vladimir Putin`s desire to restore the Russian empire, and
Sarah Palin, who told FOX News she was right in 2008, when she said then
Senator Obama`s stance would encourage Putin to invade Ukraine.
But no one has seemed more eager to take a bow than Mitt Romney,
probably because the president embarrassed Romney for his tough talk on
Russia in a 2012 debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you were asked
what`s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not
al Qaeda. You said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their
foreign policy back, because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For Mitt Romney, Vladimir Putin`s move on Crimea was
vindication. He was the candidate who knew the enemy. He was the
candidate who saw Putin`s soul clearly.
But foreign policy isn`t about who talks the toughest. What matters
is what you actually do. So what would President Romney have done to keep
Putin out of Ukraine?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: We certainly could have taken action early on. We would have
had far more options to try and shape events to keep Russia from moving in,
for instance, working with our allies around the world to develop the
sanctions, communicating those to Russia very, very clearly, at the same
time saying, look, we`re got going to interfere with your base in
Sevastopol nor your influence in Kiev.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Mitt Romney would have told Putin that there would have been
sanctions if he invaded Ukraine. That`s his big idea, a sanctions warning.
And that appears to be it.
President Obama, of course, did put sanctions on Russia. And today,
along with allies in the G7, he threatened further sanctions and canceled
plans to attend the G8 summit in Russia later this year, effectively
kicking Russia out of the G8.
At this point, it`s less and less clear that if you take away the
critique of Obama`s insufficient rhetorical maximalism what exactly Romney
et al would like us to do differently.
Governing is about finding ways to respond to messy and difficult
real-world situations. And no matter how much Mitt Romney and John McCain
and Sarah Palin want to pretend otherwise, tough talk and posturing are not
the sources of American geopolitical strength and they`re not going to be
the way out of this crisis.
So, next time around, maybe skip
that victory lap.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the air, twisted steel clearly visible on the
barge that was carrying nearly a million gallons of fuel. Emergency
responders and cleanup crews are rushing to the Texas coast to contain the
oil, which now extends at least 12 miles offshore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One hundred and sixty-eight gallons of oil spilled into the
Galveston Bay along the coast of Texas this weekend after an oil barge
collided with another ship.
Cleanup crews are working to contain the spill, but according to the
U.S. Coast Guard, the oil is not only in the Galveston Bay, but is also
drifting further out to the Gulf of Mexico. This comes almost exactly 25
years to the day after Captain Joseph Hazelwood, who had allegedly been
drinking, made this call off the remote part of Alaska.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOSEPH HAZELWOOD, CAPTAIN: Yes, Valdez Traffic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Valdez traffic.
HAZELWOOD: Yes.. Ah, it`s Valdez back. We have -- should be on your
radar there -- we`ve fetched up hard aground north of Goose Island off
Bligh Reef, and, evidently, leaking some oil, and we`re going to be here
for a while.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Leaking some oil.
In 1989, 11 million gallons of oil leaked out of the Exxon Valdez. At
the time, it was worst oil spill in the country`s history. Exxon was
initially supposed to pay $2.5 billion in punitive damage to victims, until
the U.S. Supreme Court cut that number to $500 million.
By the way, the same year of the spill, Exxon made $3.8 billion
profit. In the 25 years between the Exxon Valdez spill and what happened
in Galveston over the weekend, there has been just about one oil spill a
year of more than 100,000 gallons in this country alone.
And this is just a partial list. It doesn`t count the scores of
smaller oil spills. The largest oil spill in U.S. history was the BP
Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. An explosion killed
11 people on the rig, and 176 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf.
That`s 16 times more oil than the Exxon Valdez disaster. When you
look back at all this, BP, Exxon Valdez, the question you have to ask
yourself is, where exactly is the accountability here?
I will tell you. Last week, mere days after reaching a deal with the
Environmental Protection Agency to once again begin offshore drilling, BP
paid $42 million to the U.S. Department of Interior, or about 0.03 percent
of last year`s profits, for the rights on 24 potential new drilling sites.
We`re not just talking about oil, though, here. The business of
fossil fuel extraction across the board tends to be a very dirty business.
Last week, North Carolina`s Duke Energy got busted for dumping 61 million
gallons of coal ash waste into a canal leading to the Cape Fear River,
marking the eighth time in less than a month that the nation`s largest
electricity company has been cited for environmental violations.
Just the other day, state regulators asked a judge to throw out a
settlement on a $99,000 fine that would not have forced Duke Energy, $50
billion company, to clean up its own pollution. All this has gotten the
attention of the feds, who launched an investigation into North Carolina`s
And get this. The lawyer hired to represent that state agency also
used to represent Duke Energy. Of course.
All this in a state where its governor, Pat McCrory, spent nearly 30
years working at Duke Energy before we got elected.
Joining me now, Democratic State Representative From North Carolina
Pricey Harrison. She`s been filing legislation on coal ash cleanup since
2009, predictably not been well-received by the utility companies.
And I want to start with the full-page letter in the North Carolina
newspapers on Sunday from Duke. They say: "Following the events of the
last few weeks, we want to regain your confidence. We`re taking immediate
action to ensure the safety of our ash basins. Our highest priority is the
safe operation of all of our facilities and the health and well-being of
Do you believe them?
PRICEY HARRISON (D), NORTH CAROLINA STATE SENATOR: Well, I guess they
have been facing kind of a P.R. nightmare as a result of all these high-
profile spills and leaches of toxins into our waterways.
And I wish that they may have had the same attitude back when they
were operating these coal ash ponds and building them.
HAYES: Had they been fighting efforts to more stringently regulate
the coal ash?
HARRISON: Absolutely, at all levels, at the state legislative level
and at the federal level.
I have been -- I couldn`t even get a study or hearing on my bill that
I filed after the Kingston spill in Tennessee and I recognized that North
Carolina had no regulations related to coal ash.
And I couldn`t even get a hearing because Duke power lobbyists were
telling my colleagues that it would raise everyone`s energy bills.
HAYES: Wait a second. No regulations of coal ash?
HARRISON: Basically none, no. And they were exempt.
And -- but we did, we managed to do one thing and lift the exemption
from the Dam Safety Act, which was how DENR now has the ability to inspect
the dams. Prior to that, it was self-inspected by the industry.
HAYES: Prior to that, it was self -- the coal ash basins were self-
inspected by the industry?
HARRISON: Yes, exactly.
HAYES: And then you got an exemption lifted so that there`s now some
kind of state inspection regulation?
HARRISON: Yes, on the dams.
And then DENR started to employ its mandate of protecting the
groundwater through the Clean Water Act implementation, and they started
off -- I guess after the Kingston spill, they started to do better
monitoring and enforcement. But there weren`t any real regulations
specifically to the coal ash ponds.
HAYES: Given the governor`s relationship with Duke Energy, I mean, do
citizens of North Carolina, can they trust that everything is on the up and
up in terms of the state being the regulator of this massive company that
the governor used to work for?
HARRISON: Well, that`s been a big problem.
He`s been quite cozy with the industry and the department has made it
very clear that their customers are a regulated industry, and not the
public, who have a right to clean air and clean water. So I think there`s
a great deal of skepticism, which is why some folks are very happy that the
EPA`s down here trying to help enforce the cleanup.
HAYES: Yes. Explain to me the EPA`s role in this. The EPA, as far
as I can tell, has basically said, we do not trust the state regulatory
body to adequately regulate the entity it`s in charge of regulating. We`re
going to come in and we`re issuing subpoenas to make sure there`s not any
kind of criminal wrongdoing in collusion between Duke Energy and the state
So, the U.S. attorney`s office has conducted a grand jury
investigation which began last week, and separately the EPA is coming down
to enforce is coming down to enforce the prevention of pollution of our
It`s just -- this coal ash problem has been a real problem for our
state forever. We have got more coal ash ponds than any other state. We
have got more high-hazard dams. We know it`s full of toxins and
contaminants and carcinogens, known carcinogens. And it`s been very
problematic to me to watch our lack of regulation continue when we know we
have this huge problem.
And Duke understood that this stuff was seeping out of its dams, its
earthen and -- dams, its dirt dikes. And the department knew it, too. So
it`s just -- you know, you got to wonder, if we hadn`t had the spill, how
much longer this would have gone on.
HAYES: How powerful is Duke?
HARRISON: Well, quite. I have never been able to get anything past
the legislature that they weren`t agreeing with on any topic, renewable
energy, or coal ash, or anything else.
They`re a very formidable lobby presence in the legislature.
HAYES: If you`re betting on legislation, bet on the side of Duke in
the North Carolina Statehouse.
State Representative Pricey Harrison, thanks so much.
HARRISON: Well, thanks for having me.
HAYES: America is set to be the number one fossil fuel producer in
the whole world. We will talk to an energy trader and a conservationist
about what that will mean ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So when you think of top oil-producing countries,
it`s probably names like Iran, Saudi Arabia. But a new study shows that
the U.S., the United States, is about to be number one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s right, Saudi America, ladies and gentlemen.
Joining me now is Kate Sinding, senior attorney and deputy director of
National Resources Defense Council`s New York Urban Program, and Dan
Dicker, an oil trader and author of "Oil`s Endless Bid."
All right. We are we are pulling more fossil fuels out of the ground
than ever before, and environmentalists like yourself are going to point at
these occasional mishaps. But, you know, we need this stuff. We have got
to burn it. And accidents happen. So do we get too panicked about spills?
rMDNM_KATE SINDING, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: No, we don`t
get too panicked about spills.
In fact, we don`t get panicked enough. It`s amazing that it`s 25
years since the Exxon Valdez spill. You know what technologies they`re
using now to clean up an oil spill, whether it the one in Galveston Bay
right now or four years ago with BP in the Gulf of Mexico?
The same technologies they used 25 years ago. This is an industry
that`s been pouring billions of dollars into figuring out more and more
intricate ways to get stuff out of the ground.
SINDING: And what we have seen is that they`re not putting the
investment in to figuring out what to do to prevent or clean up spills.
And the regulators aren`t making them do it either.
HAYES: Yes, the innovation on the extraction side is amazing.
Everything that`s coming out of the ground now because of kind of
unconventional oil, and horizontal drilling, all this stuff that 10, 15
years ago you couldn`t do, you couldn`t do it at a price point that
mattered, they have been amazing in that.
They have been less amazing in figuring out how to get it from point A
to point B safely.
DAN DICKER, AUTHOR, "OIL`S ENDLESS BID": There have been some
advances. We have to be at least a little bit fair.
DICKER: In Deepwater Horizon, for example, they had to go back and
they had to renovate basically every deepwater rig that`s out there in
HAYES: After the spill, you`re saying.
DICKER: After the spill, of course.
But it`s, of course, because of people like Kate that they have to do
DICKER: But the reason they did a good job about cleanup, which was a
fairly decent job, was because people were watching it every day on their
television. Without that kind of oversight, you just do not get that kind
of activity from the oil companies.
Blowout preventers, again, all had to be reconfigured for deepwater.
And deepwater will be arguably the safest way to extract oil now, although
not 100 percent safe by any means.
HAYES: Do you think that?
SINDING: No, I don`t. I mean, 3 percent, 3 percent is the amount of
oil that they were able to get with skimming with booms out of the Gulf of
Mexico. Eight percent total was skimmed or burned.
The rest of it was dispersed, put into the Gulf, put into the water,
put into the food stream. That`s not acceptable. And those are the exact
same technologies they used in the Prince William Sound and the same ones
that they would use if we had a spill in the Arctic. And they`re not
HAYES: So one of the arguments you hear was actually made I think
either today or yesterday on FOX News, right, any time there`s a --
particularly when there`s a freight oil disaster or this -- is that, well,
the Keystone pipeline is your solution. You`re concerned about safety.
You`re concerned about spills, you namby-pamby liberals. You`re all up in
arms. Keystone pipeline is the way to do it.
What do you say to that?
SINDING: It`s ridiculous. There`s no safe way to transport this
stuff, because all of it is under-regulated by federal regulators and by
state regulators, whether it`s Kalamazoo, Michigan, Mayflower, Arkansas,
crude oil spills out of pipelines, rail tanker cars exploding in Lac-
Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people or tankers.
It`s not safe because it`s not being adequately regulated, because our
lawmakers are beholden to the oil and gas industry, and they`re not doing
enough to make them make it safer.
HAYES: So you bid on this stuff moving around the world for a living.
HAYES: One of the things I have been thinking about in the wake of
MH370 is what a remarkable civilizational accomplishment safe commercial
air travel is, and compare that, right, to oil.
HAYES: I mean, when you look at, you know, we have got a lot of
spills here. But if you look at the Niger Delta, you look at something --
there are place that are just essentially oil-soaked. We do not have the
same level of standard that we have for, say, commercial air in terms of
getting this stuff around.
DICKER: I think there should be more regulation. There would be a
consolidated effort at regulation. It should be national. It shouldn`t be
For example, we talk about fracking. The laws in Pennsylvania are not
the same in Texas.
DICKER: We need to have something that -- we need to have a
consolidated energy policy in this country.
But in terms of the arguments against Keystone, I think the
environmentalists have it wrong. They should never have argued about
whether it was going to be a safe pipeline, whether oil was going to spill,
because pipes all leak.
DICKER: And this is a necessary fact of life. And now TransCanada
has gone the easiest route that they can. They have gone back to make the
HAYES: If that`s the kill argument...
DICKER: If that`s the kill argument, they can kill it. It`s the
wrong way to argue this.
The way to argue this is to argue based upon being not an enabler of
this kind of technology in Canada or elsewhere, not being part of that.
HAYES: Well, and every time that we talk about fossil fuel
extraction, it`s amazing to me that the conversation is never just about
the fact that we have a carbon budget.
There`s a certain amount of carbon in the ground that we`re going to
be able to take out. Some people think it`s, you know, about one-fifth of
known reserves across the globe we can safely put in the air. And that`s
amazingly absent in every single discussion, even sort of liberal
environmentalist critiques of the fossil fuel industry.
SINDING: Well, I mean, that`s exactly the point, right? We`re
focusing on, how do we get this stuff around, how do we move it around?
We`re talking about the U.S. becoming the largest energy producer, a net
That`s not what we should be talking about. Let`s be talking about
what kind of energy economy we need to be building. What are the
alternatives to tar sands, to fracking, to deepwater drilling? And that`s
going all in, in energy efficiency, getting more from less, and renewable
HAYES: Just wait until we start exporting coal, which there`s a huge
move to do right now.
Kate Sinding from the NRDC and oil trader Dan Dicker, thank you both.
SINDING: Thank you.
HAYES: That`s ALL IN for this evening.
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